SA lost R1.5 trillion to corruption in five years and continues to bleed - report

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Protests against corruption.
Protests against corruption.
Deaan Vivier

South Africa lost R1.5 trillion through corruption in just years between 2014 and 2019, according to the Unite 4 Mzansi's first case study titled State Capture 101.

Unite 4 Mzansi - an initiative led by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) and business leaders - commissioned the Stellenbosch University's Centre for Complex Systems in Transition to analyse in much more depth how deep corruption ran in the country.

"It is broadly estimated that there was a whopping R1.5 trillion lost to our country between just 2014 and 2019. This is not to mention that some of our elected leaders continue to steal from the poor, hungry, sick and dying," said University of the Free State chancellor and one of the Unite 4 Mzansi advocates, Bonang Mohale.

Presenting the research results on Wednesday, Mohale said South Africa has made it look so easy to capture the state. While the Guptas are fresh in people's memories, the country has a long history in this, dating back to 1898 when Paul Kruger gave Sammy Marks the keys to the South African Mint Company to dip into the treasury pot. During apartheid, politicians and businesses struck many secret deals too, he said. 

So, Unite 4 Mzansi advocates came together to try and root out this culture that seems so entrenched in SA, regardless of the form of government in place.

Another Unite 4 Mzansi advocate, KPMG SA chairperson, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, said they commissioned the research because they wanted to understand the nature and the extent of corruption in the country in greater lengths so that they can understand where SA's weakest links in SA's governance ecosystem are.

"It's time to stop and really deliberate as to exactly why the failures took place. Which layer of governance has actually failed?" said Nkhuhlu.

Nkuhlu said SA needs to ensure that its governance ecosystem is much more resilient and resistant to attacks by corrupt individuals, to reduce vulnerability in its governance structures.

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