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Step-by-step: How Zuma has used state institutions to stay in power

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State capture is the buzz term in South Africa these days, thanks to explosive allegations that have erupted around President Jacob Zuma and the Indian Gupta family, who seem to have the keys to the South African government.

While the Guptas grab the headlines, for sensational shenanigans like landing a commercial planes carrying wedding guests at an armed forces air base, there’s a more ominous feature to state capture: the use of the criminal justice system to maintain a grip on political power. Dirk Kotze, a political scientist, explains how Zuma as well as former president Thabo Mbeki understand the benefits of harnessing institutions.

In Zuma’s case, the pattern goes something like this: uncover skeletons in the adversary’s closet – and if there aren’t any, build some up; get the law enforcers to talk about criminal charges being pursued against the adversary; get law enforcers to back down after you get your way.

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