Retired Constitutional Court Justice Johann Kriegler says it is dangerous to view state capture as something which only relates to former president Jacob Zuma and his relationship with the controversial Gupta family.
Speaking at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and Public Affairs Research Institute’s (PARI) one-day conference in Auckland Park on Wednesday, Kriegler said: “It (state capture) is much more pervasive than that.”
The theme of the conference was “Defeating state capture and rebuilding the state”.
Kriegler said: “We have had a decade in which our president went rogue… our parliament went to sleep and our judiciary went to ground.
“We were aware, all of us, what was happening [and] in one way or the other, failed in our duty either as Cabinet members, as parliamentarians, as judges and as citizens to do something…”
The retired judge added that there were clear manifestations that the loss of professional competence in the National Prosecuting Authority, SA Revenue Service, police, Crime Intelligence and the Hawks had been “deeply corrosive”.
“The poison introduced by the appointees of state capture is still there. Not all of those who are affected have been removed and those who were not actually dishonest were demoralised and many of them left the service, and you have lack of integrity and professional capacity at those levels.
“The poison lingers on… we are all upset that we have seen no easy matted cases. We want to see people in orange [prison] uniforms. We are angry.”
The commission of inquiry into state capture, which is currently under way, is investigating allegations of undue influence by the politically connected Gupta family on Zuma and at state-owned enterprises.
Zuma previously admitted that he was friends with the Guptas.
Since the start of the commission, inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has heard some startling testimony.
Some have even suggested that the scope of the inquiry should be extend to include all arms of the state.