PICTURE: GALLO IMAGES Why does crony capitalism happen? Most people in SA today associate crony capitalism most immediately with the Gupta family, whose business has been built to a greater or lesser extent on favourable contracts with government institutions, in return for which the family has supported, financially and otherwise, both the ANC and the president’s family. It has buttressed this support with its media outlets, designed not so much to inform, but to blow smoke on the truth.There is a reason the family knows who is going to be appointed to what post sooner than anyone else; it matters to them more than anyone else because the whole I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine process doesn’t work if the decision makers won’t play ball.Although the Guptas are SA’s most recent example, African history is replete with examples of crony capitalists of all races and descriptions. Perhaps the most famous is Tiny Rowland, who built the once mighty Lonrho empire that at one time...

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