I have always believed that strong institutions can help to build strong states. And it is driven by this belief that I have dedicated a significant amount of my life to working with South African companies, associations, nongovernment organisations and universities. As we know only too well, many of our institutions have become so weak that our country is now at a defining moment. The world is watching how we respond. Not so long ago, we were excited and galvanised by the conviction, both as a nation and as a continent, that Africa’s time had come. All of us had good reason to believe that if we worked hard the story of the 21st century would be an African one. Today we are painfully far from achieving that vision. Corruption, poor administration and consistently weak service delivery have engulfed SA. On the ground, poor financial management and loose accountability cripple the very communities that most need effective local government. At the national level, we have suffered from...

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