the enablers

 the bankers, accountants and lawyers that cashed in on state capture

Co-authored by Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations, The Enablers explores the largely overlooked yet extensive evidence of the role of the private sector “enablers” in state capture.

The Enablers focuses on the role of banks, accounting firms, consultants and lawyers in facilitating criminal conduct that formed part of the state capture enterprise. Sometimes this conduct constituted gross negligence, but the evidence all too often suggests intentional complicity. In all cases, there was a failure to fulfill legal or professional duties. A failure to interrogate, fully and energetically, the private enablers of this enterprise would leave the work of the State Capture Inquiry (Zondo Commission) incomplete. It would also undermine ongoing efforts not only to understand state capture, but to rebuild institutions and systems in ways that guard against similar abuse in the future.

This investigative report shows that the systems that enable grand corruption and state capture are global in nature, and that private sector elites are central to the problem. Removing corrupt politicians from office and holding them to account is only the first difficult step. Directors of complicit corporations in South Africa and abroad must be held to account too. Further, to guard against state capture, it is imperative that we change the rules of a secretive international financial system in which private actors profit immensely from enabling corruption. This investigative report is intended to provide the evidence and analysis to assist Justice Zondo and the Commission with this pressing task in 2020.


Note* The Enablers report was updated in April 2020. The edition includes a few revisions concerning the conduct of McKinsey and Company based on correspondence between Open Secrets and McKinsey. This correspondence is available to read below and in the final pages of the report.

The Enablers

The Bankers, Lawyers and Accountants that Cashed in on State Capture

correspondence with mckinsey & company

mckinsey responds

open secrets responds


fact sheets