Déjà vu at the Zondo show: Saxonwold shebeen’s many predecessors

Judge Raymond Zondo is certainly not the first to take charge of a commission into state capture in SA. Matthew Blackman and Nick Dalldelve into some of the frightening, sometimes farcical, attempts to hold the powerful to account in their coming book Rogues’ Gallery: AnIrreverent History of Corruption in SA, from the VOC to the ANC

21 February 2021 - 00:00 By Matthew Blackman and Nick Dall

In 1706, the bosses of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC, or Dutch East India Company) in the Netherlands held an inquiry into governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel's corrupt administration at the Cape.

While Van der Stel was a company employee, not a political appointee, his kleptocratic fiefdom at Vergelegen bore all the hallmarks of state capture. Not only did Van der Stel gift himself the land Vergelegen was established on and use company labour and materials to develop it into the largest agricultural operation at the Cape, he also sold its produce back to the company at prices he controlled. And this from a man who was forbidden by the VOC to own "larger gardens or a greater number of cattle than required for the use of own household". ..

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