• Deretha Bester Masters student
  • Bojan Dobovšek
Keywords: South Africa, corruption, organized crime, state capture, ANC, Apartheid


“Grand corruption” and “state capture” are two intertwined concepts of corruption that have become systemic and institutionalized in many transitional countries around the world. “State capture” can simply be defined as “the payment of bribes at high levels of government in order to extract or plunder significant amounts of money from the state”. The following paper will argue that when state capture occurs in transitional countries, it runs the risk of becoming socially embedded and institutionalized, which in turn makes it difficult to maintain the principles of democracy and threatens the overall stability of a country in transition. South Africa makes for a useful case study because it clearly represents how corruption in the form of state capture has infiltrated the political landscape of a country in transition, thereby rendering all state institutions redundant and threatening the principles of democracy. The paper will research what the dangers of state capture means for the countries in transition with the aim of proposing recommendations of minimizing state capture in order to reduce the negative consequences for security, peace and democracy. One corruption scandal that occurred in South Africa will be described which became known as “state capture”. The paper was prepared based on the analysis of documents, academic and media articles that focus on state capture and the corruption in transitional countries. The paper will conclude that governmental corruption has become socially embedded in the “logics” of negotiation and interaction, thereby indicating that it has become institutionalized and culturally embedded within South Africa.


Al Jazeera. (2015). Inside story: How corrupt is South Africa, Retrieved April 23, 2021, from
Amundsen, I. (1999). Political corruption: An introduction to the issues. Michelsen Institute.
Bloom, D.E. & Sachs, J.D. (1998). Geography, Demography and economic growth in Africa, Economic Activity, 1998(2), 207-295.
Brkic, B. 2021. It is cold outside the ANC, and Ace knows it, Retrieved 18 May, 2021, from
Crawford-Brown, T. (2004). The arms deal scandal, Review of African Political Economy, 31(100), 329-342.
Dobovšek, B. (2008). Economic organized crime networks in emerging democracies, International Journal of Social Economics, 35(9), 679-690.
Dobovšek, B. & Slak, B. (2015). Old horizons of organized-white collar crime: Critical remarks about the current definition, development and perceptions of organized and white-collar crime, Journal of Financial Crime, 22(3), 305-317
February, J. (2019). State capture: An entirely new type of corruption. Institute for Security Studies.
Gatimu, S. (2020). Finding better wats to fight corruption, Retrieved 17 May, 2021, from
Global Initiative. (2021). Corruption in Western Balkans. Retrieved 19 May, 2021, from
Masterson, G. & Meirotti, M. (2018). State capture in Africa: Old threats, new packaging? EISHA.
Mauro, P. (1995). Corruption and Growth, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110(3), 681-712.
Olken, B.A. & Pande, R. (2012). Corruption in developing countries, Annual Review of Economics, 1(4), 479-509.
SABC News. (2018). Defining state capture. Retrieved 12 May, 2021, from
Sardan, J.P. (1999). A moral economy of corruption in Africa, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 37(1), 25-52.
Satgar, V. (2012). Beyond Marikana: The post-Apartheid South African State, Africa Spectrum, 47(2/3), 33-62.
Smart Monkey TV. (2012). Andrew Feinstein on corruption and the South African arms deal. Retrieved 24 April 2021, from
Soggot, M. (2001). Evidence of ANC arms deal link. Retrieved 23 April 2021, from
Southall, R. (2014). Democracy at risk? Politics and governance under the ANC, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 1(652), 48-69.
Tanzi, V. (1998). Corruption around the world: Causes, consequences, scope and cures, International Monetary Fund, 45(4), 559-594.
Thakoor, V. & Sobrinho, N. (2019). More sand than oil, Finance and Development, 56(3), 35-37.
The Greens. (2018). The cost of corruption across the EU. European Parliament.
Transparency International. 2021. Are African countries preventing corruption and prosecuting related crimes? Retrieved 17 May, 2021, from
Vishny, R.W. & Shleifer, A. 1993. Corruption, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(3), 599-617.
World Bank. 2020. Combating Corruption. Retrieved 18 May, 2021, from
Original Scientific Papers