Manuel worried about extent of state capture

Trevor Manuel says state capture can only be reversed if corrupt officials face harsh consequences.

Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Former finance minister Trevor Manuel has told Eyewitness News he's very concerned about the extent to which the state has been captured.

Manuel says this can only be reversed if corrupt officials face harsh consequences.

He's adamant that the behaviour of those involved in graft is contrary to the values of the African National Congress.

Manuel, who served as minister under four presidents, was asked to what extent he believes the state has been captured.

"I think we are at a very, very low ebb now. Things are very, very bad."

He says it's difficult to eradicate widespread corruption because of the personal stakes involved.

"If you have lived off the proceeds of corruption, you have acquired a lifestyle that you cannot normally afford. To call a halt to all of that voluntarily seems to be incredibly difficult."

Manuel adds that's why consequences are needed.

"People must go to jail for stealing from the poor."

WATCH: Manuel on the state of the economy, state capture and corruption.

MANUEL CALLS FOR BLAME TO GO TO POLITICIANS IF SA IS DOWNGRADED

The former finance minister says politicians will largely be to blame if rating agencies downgrade the economy.

He says political stability and economic growth are two key indicators for rating agencies and politicians are not giving the right messages.

WATCH: Manuel: 'ANC will never recover under its current leadership'.

Manuel says rating agencies look at long term projections for future growth and not just any single quarter.

"And I am not seeing sufficient strong messages from across government. Partly because there is policy uncertainty and ministers can't explain themselves."

Manuel says rating agencies, in their last reports, emphasized the need for political stability, but this is not evident in the behaviour of many politicians.

"The conduct of some Cabinet members sends a message to the rating agencies that we are an unstable nothing. We are not even a democracy, we do exactly as we please."

Manuel says this could impact negatively on future rating decisions.

WATCH: Trevor Manuel on the ANC and Tripartite alliance.