Khaya Dlanga

Why corruption should be legalised

2011-03-29 11:21

It’s simple really. Once you make something legal it stops being illegal. OK. I’m not suggesting that we legalise crime; if we do that means General Bheki Cele will be out of a job. Who wants that? Actually, never mind. Don’t answer that.

This reminds me of a skit from that great South African classic, the Pure Monate Show. One of the show’s most loved characters was a dictator. Like any self-respecting dictator, he only ever wore military gear.

The skit shows the dictator about to address his people. Before he does so, one of his lackey advisors informs him that the people are complaining because some of them are unemployed. The dictator gets on the podium because he wants to solve this horrible situation out of concern for his people. He speaks loudly and asks the unemployed to stand on the right and the employed on the left.

The people part. Then he makes some sort of hand gesture. We then hear gun shots. After some time, the gunshots stop. Then the dictator speaks to the remaining masses, which we never see, “Now there is no more unemployment!” His Yes Man behind him applauds him. This is not what I am suggesting.

If you wait for me to make my point you will understand. The free market systems already encourage it. And it works. Let me make the point.

Let’s take the airline industry for example. If you want to get a good seat and you want to be really comfortable on a long haul flight, and, if you want to have access to really comfortable seating arrangements during your flight, you pay for a hefty business class or first class ticket. Your advantages include not having to wait in a long queue when you board. Basically, to make your life easier, you have to pay.

Now let’s take this to a government department. How would it work? Let’s say you want to get a passport but you want it within a week, not three or four. You get to pay a hefty fee, which goes to the government of course, not to the official assisting you. People are already willing to pay hefty fees anyway to speed up processes, why not make sure that those fees go to the government instead of individuals within the system?

Secondly, the government would then hire people with degrees and excellent qualifications as clerks. These people would be empowered to make decisions and be highly paid. This means these people don’t have to wait and go to a superior to apply for a special request. The hefty fees that people pay to get services done speedily would ensure that you only hire the best people for these jobs.

Laws cannot be broken, processes must still be followed, and it just means that if you pay the required fee, your application process just goes twice as fast as everybody else’s. Again, this happens already but the government benefits zilch from the practice.

The only unfortunate bit here is that only those who can afford it would benefit from the service. But that is how the free market works. Just like the airline business. If you can’t afford to fly first class, sorry for you.

We all know that the government likes money. Why not just take the money, make it efficient and not lose out? I know that the way I’ve explained it is a tab bit simplistic, but you know it could work if applied properly.

Of course this won’t apply to crime. If one breaks the law they don’t stand to benefit. Maybe they get to pay for a better cell?

- Follow Khaya on Twitter.

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