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Expert commends SA for state capture probe

Joel Hellman, an American expert into the matter, says state capture is a challenge faced by a number of countries.

A video screengrab of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo opening proceedings at the commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown on 20 August 2018. Picture: YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has been commended for being one of the few countries investigating allegations of state capture.

Joel Hellman, an American expert into the matter, says state capture is a challenge faced by a number of countries.

He was giving testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture via live streaming on Friday.

The inquiry is investigating claims of abuse of power by senior government officials and former President Jacob Zuma's involvement with the Guptas.

Hellman says the inquiry is a step in the right direction.

“And yet a few of them are investigating as systematically as you are and that is why we’re so pleased to be part of your thinking, analysis and deliberations.”

Hellman says countries need preventative measures to limit attempts by individuals or firms to influence rules and regulations.

“And the more transparency and openness there is in the whole process, the more difficult, if not impossible, it is for any single individual, firm or group to shape a law, rule or regulation that impacts the entire country to their own advantage, at the expense of the country.”

He describes state capture as a form of corruption that affects the very formation of rules of laws and regulations.

“The privatisation of state-owned enterprise can become this remarkable arena for state capture, which would have tremendous implications for the way the market economy will be structured."