The Zondo commission may, some time in the future, be remembered as the truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) of our time. As an inquiry into political, economic, institutional and cognitive capture, the commission may have to go further than the TRC. It is something SA owes itself. There was an implicit promise that democratic SA would become progressively a more equal country, with a government that was more ethical than the ancien regime and more dedicated to rolling back injustices, and would build on whatever financial and economic gains the country had made over decades and spread those gains more equitably across society. It is fashionable, as part of the performance radicalism that besets the country, to blame the Treasury for the country’s failures. This is factually incorrect, and simply part of racialist, ideological and populist rhetoric, with little grounding in evidence. The evidence actually shows that the Treasury did, for most of the democratic era, spend very l...

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