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Two shocking reports on the state of SA’s municipalities last week highlight how urgent it is for us to develop a capable state free from cadre deployment. But they also spell out in horrific terms how difficult that task will be.

The auditor-general’s 2020/2021 audit of local government laid bare the dismal state of municipal finances, and in a parliamentary briefing on the National Prosecuting Authority’s investigations into Free State municipalities, national director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi illustrated how deeply corruption is entrenched in local government...

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