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Purges will hamper South Africa's anti-graft agencies

Friday, February 6, 2015

Subject

Dismissals in South Africa's anti-graft agencies.

Significance

Multiple suspensions of senior officials are causing turmoil in South Africa's anti-corruption agencies. The immediate effect will be to delay, and in some cases halt, investigations into high profile politicians and police officers. The suspensions are the latest example of how what are meant to be agencies operating at an arm's length from government are being made more directly accountable to ministers allied to President Jacob Zuma.

Impacts

  • Intrigues within the well-regarded revenue service could damage its reputation -- at a time when the government is proposing new taxes.
  • 'Strategic delays' by the state will slow the opposition party's attempts to obtain records pertaining to Zuma's dropped corruption charges.
  • New rules barring public servants from doing business with the state could spur new kinds of front companies to bid for contracts.
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