OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage said politically connected cadres at national and local government levels are plundering state coffers ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Duvenage told Biznews that corruption and malfeasance worsened despite Cyril Ramaphosa replacing Jacob Zuma as president.
He said there is a slew of planned procurement changes, from South Africa’s energy market to student financing schemes, which are questionable.
“The corruption and maladministration are all to make as much money as they can before the next elections. It is a plunder spree of note,” he said.
Duvenage said the stealing is getting out of hand. “We have our work cut out for us to prevent state coffers from being plundered,” he said.
He added that the widespread theft and corruption come amidst South Africa facing severe financial challenges and economic pressure.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana unveiled plans to cut runaway spending to prevent hitting a fiscal cliff.
However, Duvenage said unless the government addresses the gross maladministration taking place, these measures will be worthless.
He explained that the national and local governments have numerous inept people who are out to rob the state.
“Unless this problem is addressed, we will have difficulty turning South Africa around. Every day of looting is a day we go backwards,” he said.
Duvenage’s comment followed a report about widespread corruption and mismanagement, which caused the collapse of South African Airways (SAA).
A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report highlighted the gross and excessive plundering of the once-leading state-owned airline.
Most of this plundering took place under Dudu Myeni. She was appointed director in September 2009, acting chair in December 2012, and chair from January 2015 until November 2017.
“Myeni and her lackeys set out to remove managers who got in the way of their plunder spree,” Duvenage said.
“In a very short time, so much money was looted that the airline was trashed, even before the blow dealt by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
This is why SAA has received R38.1 billion in taxpayer-funded bailouts since April 2018 and why the airline collapsed.
“This is the result of inadequate ministers who appointed inadequate, disastrous directors to the SAA board,” he said.
“These directors, in turn, appear to have protected and nurtured certain staff members who siphoned billions of rand out of the airline.”
He highlighted that the SIU said it had received new allegations concerning the Takatso deal, which is now being assessed, hinting that corruption continues.
“It is a tragedy that the connected people implicated in state capture still roam the streets freely, living the high life and spending the stolen public funds without a care,” he said.