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  • Ivor Chipkin


I had a great discussion with Gareth Cliff and Kanthan Pillay on the Burning Platform. They were largely unconvinced that corruption could be motivated by more than greed.

At an individual level I am sure that pyschologising arguments are relevant and helpful. But in South Africa today, corruption is a mass social phenomenon that requires different terms. I am increasingly persuaded that in South Africa corruption has 1) a specific temporality, which betrays a preoccupation with the present and a lack of faith in any future. What resources there are must be taken now because there will be nothing left tomorrow. It is also has 2) a politics, justified by claims that rent-seeking is a legitimate and necessary path for black accumulation and 3) it has a religion; a prosperity doctrine that reverses centuries of Christian, especially Protestant theology by incentivising the display of wealth as a sign of divine selection.

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