Perspectives- Robbin’ the Hood |
25 August 2019 | Mamello Mosiana and Michael Marchant |
Any analysis of state capture is incomplete if it fails to grapple with the network of private actors that facilitates unethical, corrupt and other criminal economic activity. A narrow focus on the structural and institutional weaknesses in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the South African state risks ignoring equally institutional and systemic problems in the global financial sector that enable corrupt elements to spirit away ill-gotten wealth.
In all cases, those who benefit from looting the state rely on two things. The first is a global financial architecture that permits secrecy, hidden ownership and the rapid movement of money across borders. The second is an army of professionals – bankers, lawyers and accounting consultants – to assist in setting up structures (both legal and illegal) that enable illicit activity while, at the same time, overlooking their legal responsibilities to identify and stop such activities. In the case of state capture in South Africa, banks and auditing firms were used to enable grand theft, putting profit ahead of their legal and ethical responsibilities.