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What is painful about the Bosasa debacle is how widespread the practices were. The testimony alleged that this was the case in the public and private sectors.

This is why there was so little or no outrage as Angelo Agrizzi and Co were telling tales of tender manipulation.

The only issue is that the Guptas and Watsons were so brazen and unapologetic about their bribery. The Guptas’ offer of R600m to buy a future finance minister is totally believable. But the Guptas have given the commission the middle finger. There is little difference between the two families. Stories abound about how companies even budget for bribes. They attempt to be sophisticated about it in the hope that what happened at Steinhoff, where there was theft of billions, is not exposed. Business development practitioners or salespeople are given inflated bonuses that they use to bribe counterparts in the public sector without implicating their company bosses. The CEOs try to keep their hands clean by only getting involved in above-board sweetening activities such as overseas trips, weekends away and golfing jamborees where the real decisions about tenders are made. Companies that approach tenders in an honest way end up with crumbs. Once there are billions involved, like housing and...

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