Ebrahim Moosa - Radio Islam International | 10 Rabi ul Awwal 1439/29 November 2017
State capture is real, but the Guptas are hardly the only capturers, a respected academic has told Radio Islam.
Speaking to Under the Radar, Patrick Bond, professor of political economy at the Wits School of Governance, pointed to the more insidious role played by agents of global capital in the South African economy for a period spanning decades.
“I hope your listeners remember, if you hear about white monopoly capital, yes, it is a real thing, a real danger force that the IMF, the brothers from Manhattan, New York support. But if you hear about the Guptas or the Zuptas, those are real – The point is, they are more or less the same phenomenon, which is, world capitalism has South Africa under the thumb.”
Whilst the ongoing revelations on state capture have earned the ‘Gupta brothers’ – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, notoriety, Bond suggested what he dubbed the ‘3 Manhattan brothers’ to be equally rogue.
By being the conduits for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) logic that promotes inequality, ratings agencies Fitch, Moody's and S&P have effectively captured South Africa, he said.
“We were state captured not only by those 3 Gupta brothers, but also the Manhattan Brothers and of course Fitch, Moody’s etc. who work on behalf of the financial industry and their big policeman the IMF.”
Amidst warnings that South Africa may soon be forced to go hand in cap to lenders such as the IMF for financial bailouts, Bond agreed that South Africa faced a real fiscal crisis with foreign debt out of control.
South Africa’s foreign debt today stands at around $150 billion, he said, partly because South Africa “did the things the IMF said which was to get rid of exchange controls and to raise our interest rates, and those put the debt into a level that is now 50% of GDP for foreign debt.”
“We are very vulnerable. South Africa pays the fourth highest interest rate in the world amongst major borrowers behind only Venezuela, Brazil and Turkey…Malusi Gigaba is getting into the debt trap, and I am pretty sure in 2019 when a huge payment is due, he is going to have to borrow from the IMF or from the BRICS contingent reserve arrangement which is a route right into the IMF as well.”
And as the debt noose tightens, the academic predicts the rhetoric from South Africa’s current leaders will begin to sound ever more radical.
“Talk left, walk right,” Bond said, echoing the title of one of his famous books. “We are seeing that with Jacob Zuma. He is saying ‘I led South Africa into BRICS and therefore the US is trying to overthrow me’. We are going to see a lot more of the ‘talk left, walk right,’ but the reality is that these leaders [including Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki] [all] adopted IMF logic...and that means we were captured not only by those 3 Gupta brothers, but by the Manhattan brothers [as well].”