It may be apocryphal as there is no written record of it, but HF Verwoerd reportedly told a Broederbond meeting in the early 1960s that he wanted to plant apartheid so deep that no future government would be able to undo what he had done. Did the National Party prime minister succeed? The jury is surely still out. The future lasts a long time, after all. Who knows what SA will look like 100 years from now? But if the old bastard is observing us from some afterlife, I’d guess that he has on his face a knowing smile. For the whole business of state capture is incomprehensible unless we acknowledge that it unfolded in the shadow of what Verwoerd and his kind built. When SA won its democracy, its modern institutions were already fully formed. From April 1994, when the Mandela government took office, until May 2009, when Jacob Zuma came to power, the ANC government did little more than nibble around the edges of what it had inherited. The generous labour rights white workers had enjoyed ...

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