Our system of governance is under extreme pressure

South Africa has the three arms of the state that must oversee each other and ultimately make sure that all of them – the judiciary, legislature, and the executive – work together to protect the constitution and the constitutional democracy.

I am most worried that South Africa has worsened its rankings in the Global Organised Crime Index 2023. The categories that make up the crime index are called markets in that the prime motivation of all organised crime is making money.

South Africa has since deepened its participation in these criminal markets and now ranks in the top seven countries most infested with organised crime.

In Africa, South Africa has no equal in financial market crimes, whether these involve money laundering, terrorist funding and illicit financial flows. We lead in drug trafficking, human trafficking and illegal mining, where you find a mishmash of sordid partnerships between politicians, big business, multi-national corporations, mafia and the small-time operators in our townships, villages and suburbs.

This preponderance of large-scale organised crime that links to many syndicates in the Americas, Europe, Afghanistan, India, China, and West Africa, can only flourish once the SA Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority and the courts are captured by the South African gangster state.

We now live in a situation where you never really know whether the person receiving your case at the police station or the prosecutor handling your case in court, or the judge or magistrate, is not a well-established member of the mafia or the gangster state. The motives and actions of the state and the mafia are not distinguishable.

Judges Matter and Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitutional, unjustifiably, came out with all guns blazing against Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for saying the courts are ready to prosecute any case properly brought before them by the NPA, but Zondo also decried the practice of the executive of nullifying sentences properly given against high profile politicians such as Shabir Shaik and Jacob Zuma.

In the circumstances, the ANC, its cabinet and parliament are running a protection racket for their members who fall foul of the law.

Criminals will continue to join the ANC in large numbers and use it for protection against criminal prosecution and incarceration. That must not be swept under the carpet.

I felt numb as I read with deep disappointment and worry that the KZN regional court president, Eric Nzimande, has been selling magisterial posts for a long time, at least for three years, according to independent news.

This news tells me that the country is sliding deeper and deeper into a state of crisis.

“Nzimande, as the regional court president for KwaZulu-Natal, was responsible for making recommendations to the minister of justice and correctional services for the appointment of acting regional court magistrates,” said NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara.

“The minister relied on his guidance in making these appointments. It is alleged that during the period of April 2012 to October 2015, Nzimande recommended several individuals to be appointed “as acting regional court magistrates”.

This comes on the back of two senior judges being impeached by our parliament, namely Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe and retired judge Nkola Motata.

Hlophe was clearly exhibiting troublesome mafia-like behaviour by seeking to influence other judges to make sure that Jacob Zuma does not get convicted for the arms deal.

Motata could have avoided his crisis by apologising to the private property owners whose home he bumped while drunk rather than display reckless arrogance and anti-white racism. Clearly, we cannot sleep well at night when there is concrete evidence of moral depravity in our courts, in the lower and high courts. That is what the proponents of constitutional democracy need to focus on.

Zondo and others must be supported as they make a robust intellectual contribution to South African moral philosophy. The philosophy here is that each person must get the same justice as any other and not be favoured by the judges or by the cabinet or by the state president. Those who are sentenced must serve their prison time fully.

To add insult to injury, it is now common practice for the SAPS, Hawks, and others to assist in the killing of upright police officers. Charl Kinnear remains a haunting example of our many relatives who have been allegedly killed by their SAPS colleagues. Senior investigators are themselves arrested for corruption. It will not help us to ignore this moral malaise.

Younger activists must now lead a moral regeneration of our country. The current crop of leaders are in it too deep.


  • Swana is a political analyst, an academic and a member of the 70s Group

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