Political corruption in post-1994 South Africa: implications for development and justice.
Zondi, Nduduzo Syprian.
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In the dawn of democracy, the ANC led democratic government has committed itself to transforming the country from the past injustices created by the apartheid system towards a better life for all. It has done so through development and justice in terms of delivery and just distribution of services, goods and resources, which were inaccessible during the apartheid system, particularly in the rural homelands. In achieving this goal, the government has formulated and implemented socio-economic policies like Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) which was more socialist in nature, and recognized the state as the primary actor in bringing development. Moreover, the government has deemed the public procurement, an arena of hiring, purchasing and attaining goods, services and resources, as the means through which it can bring development to its citizens. It is this policy, coupled with the reformed procurement system that saw millions of South Africans having access to clean and safe drinking water, electricity, schools, hospitals, tarred roads, and other forms of physical infrastructural development, particularly in the previous homelands. The ANC government deserves credit for such achievements which have at least provided conditions conducive for better life on the part of its subjects. However, this study contends that the ANC transformation efforts through development and justice have been largely undermined by corruption in the public sector, particularly procurement irregularities and financial embezzlement. Regardless of the above-mentioned achievements by the government, it is evident that the country continues to experience issues of service delivery, especially in rural areas, and this is best illustrated by the prevalence of service delivery related public protests. It is evident that huge amounts of government funding attached to procurements have been converted to the pockets of tender holders entrusted with those funds to bring development to the intended targets. Such conversion of funds has perpetuated the class division in South African society, widening the gap between the rich and poor (inequality), and also undermining the constitutionally envisioned goal of social justice. This issue calls for an increased attention by the government, civil society groups, and citizens at large, to fight jointly against this cancer.