Caught Between Liberation and Liberalism
The South African discourse over corruption reveals a philosophical and practical contradiction between a liberal conceptualization of constitutional democracy entailing a neutral state and a liberation movement’s vision of the democratic state as an instrument to bring about fundamental economic and social transformation. According to the African National Congress (ANC) leadership, the democratic state should function as a means to an end, namely, bringing about the end of white minority economic, social, and cultural power. The state and its various entities ranging from government departments to the large state-owned enterprises are to be used as a mechanism to bring about black economic empowerment, and the subsequent enrichment of ANC connected individuals and groups is justifiable as part of that transformation process.
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