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Karl Z. Meyer and John M. Luiz

The authors describe how South African corruption has roots in the colonial era. Under apartheid, the state resorted to money laundering and organised crime. The shift to black majority rule starting in 1994 did little to change its prevalence, allowing a small elite to capture the state as a means of extensive rent-seeking. The corruption of President Jacob Zuma, who faces 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering, is a case in point. An unstable political environment and intense income inequality have fuelled corruption in different corners, a burden carried largely by the poor. As a result, distrust of the state is rampant. The authors then examine private corruption, such as in the country’s construction industry, and conclude by turning to corporate responses.