Opinion

We have to fight this toxic cocktail of corruption and dysfunctionality

Growing and supporting pockets of excellence in the public service may be our best defence against the corruption that feeds off SA’s broken systems

29 November 2020 - 00:00 By Ivan Pillay, Yolisa Pikie and SRIDHARAN KESAVAN

A Mozambican minister of transport visits his colleague in Portugal. On a helicopter ride over the country, the Portuguese minister points to a bridge, a dam, a new road and a flyover. For each infrastructure project, he pats his back pocket, grins and says, “10%”. A year later, the visit is reciprocated, and now the Mozambican minister takes his Portuguese colleague on a helicopter ride. But there is nothing to be seen: no dam, no bridge, no freeway. The Mozambican laughs heartily, patting his back pocket, and says, “100%”.

There are of course important differences between the Mozambique as described in the anecdote and our country. However, few disagree that corruption penetrates our society at all levels, too. Fighting this scourge should be an absolute priority, lest we also arrive in a future where all our bridges, so to speak, have crumbled...

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