Business Day Spotlight
PODCAST | Dirty politics and its impact on SA and the economy
SA’s election mechanisms mean MPs serve their parties, not the people
In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the state of governance in SA and its possible implications for the country and the economy.
Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of political studies at Wits University, to discuss the issues. Hamilton is also the SA-UK bilateral research chair in political theory at Wits and the University of Cambridge.
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With former president Jacob Zumba refusing to appear before the Zondo commission into state capture, as well as the ANC’s Ace Magashule appearing in court on corruption charges this week, we look at the state of governance in SA.
The discussion begins by looking at the potential economic fallout from underhanded dealings by elected officials and other authority figures in the government.
Hamilton says one of the inherent issues plaguing governance in SA is the lack of mechanisms that allow South Africans to directly vote people in and out of power. A representative government, such as that in SA, means people vote for parties, which then appoint MPs depending on the number of seats the party has been able to secure.
Hamilton highlights this as a major reason for breeding a toxic governance environment. Leaders are beholden not to the people but rather their party.
The discussion also touches on structural issues that help breed corruption, how SA compares to other countries when it comes to governance, ways in which the system could be improved, as well as the difference between systemic and individual corruption.
Hamilton ends off by acknowledging that there is no perfect system of governance anywhere in the world. Rather, the job of a country is to take seriously the journey of creating an inclusive system that minimises leakage such as corruption. At the end of the day, he says, the power and incentive to have better governance in SA lies with the people.
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• Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.
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