South Africa: Open SA's Economy to All or Kiss Our Democracy Goodbye

analysis

Colin Coleman is co-chair of the Youth Employment Service, member of boards, a former partner at Goldman Sachs and former senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute.

Powerful forces of extraction are threatening to completely overwhelm our society. This is not the domain of corrupt politicians alone, but bad actors outside government using any interface with economic resources to leverage personal benefit by means fair and foul. Their actions compound our descent into a lawless, corrupt society.

For those unable to compete in a modern economy, or structurally locked out by joblessness, gangsterism is now the primary transmission belt to access resources and extract income by quasi-legal, plainly illegal, or violent means.

Think of the taxi wars, the construction mafia, corrupt Covid tenders, criminal politicians, the gold, coal and diesel syndicates, trucker wars, the copper mafia, cable theft, illegal mining, looting of SOEs, corrupt purchasing of unsuitable equipment, crooked cops, stripping of rail infrastructure, inflated government tenders, kickbacks, buying of votes in party contests, political killings, "empowerment" gorging, degrading infrastructure, rotting hospitals and failing municipalities.

This gangsterism is the fundamental reckoning for -- and central, very real, present threat to -- our democracy. Our very own Arab Spring moment in...

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