Republic of Gupta

A Daily Maverick review by Marianne Thamm of investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book on state capture in South Africa:

Reading the review, I’m reminded of Rian Malan’s words in Resident Alien:

“The past two decades, South Africa has been stricken almost weekly by scandals that would have toppled governments in the West but seem almost meaningless here. Who stole the funds donated to help resettle ANC exiles? Who asked the Zambian government to throw Katiza Cebekhulu into a dungeon so that he couldn’t testify against Winnie Mandela? Did Thabo Mbeki really negotiate the arms deal on a ‘government to government’ basis and pocket the resulting commissions? Did he really tell Bulelani Ngcuka to bring him the head of Jacob Zuma, even if that entailed fabricating evidence and setting honey traps? When these stories break, you think they’re going to tear the country apart and alter everything forever. But they don’t. They linger for a week or two and then fade into oblivion, blown off the front pages by the next dumbfounding scandal. The ordinary laws of cause and effect don’t seem to apply here. The boundaries of the matrix we inhabit remain unknown.”