South Africa: How to Destroy a Country - Government Edition


It would be easy to blame Eskom - its R440-billion debt has government by the short and curlies - but that would be an unhelpful shortcut. At the centre of South Africa's slow slide into obliteration is a toxic vortex of politics, politicking and persistent governance failures.

Statecraft 101: "art of winning elections and achieving some necessary degree of governing competence in office". James Bulpitt, British academic (22 May 1937 - 5 April 1999).

"Every nation gets the government it deserves." Joseph de Maistre, French diplomat, writer, lawyer and philosopher (1 April 1753 - 26 February 1821).

In late November 2017 when then public enterprise minister Lynne Brown testified under oath before the public enterprise inquiry into Eskom State Capture, she delivered also an account of governance processes.

A submission would be received by her office, summarised and passed up the chain of bureaucrats before being signed off by the director-general, who would finally put it on the minister's desk. That all could take up to three weeks, and maybe even longer depending on the availability of officials whose sign-off is required.

Effectively, the minister never gets to see anything original, just information filtered through the lens of officialdom and...

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