As South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy, the country has seen so many achievements in the upliftment of the people. But amid the successes, greed has led to billions of rands being lost.

The money, many argue, could have been used to address a myriad of challenges the country faces.

The dawn of democracy in 1994 heralded a new chapter in South Africa.

As Nelson Mandela took the oath of office, many hoped their lives would change for the better. There was also hope that many institutions, which underpinned democracy, would be run properly.

Without a doubt, benefits of a democratic South Africa have been immense, but it’s not been all that rosy. The country has had to deal with a number of corruption scandals.

Arms Deal
The arms deal was probably the first major scandal to hit the democratic government. Meant to modernise the country’s military, the package was estimated to be R29 billion. However, kickbacks and escalating prices mired the process into widespread corruption. The Seriti Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate the allegations.

As the country continues to watch proceedings at the State Capture Inquiry, Bosasa has proven to be one of the biggest scandals this country has seen. Allegations of bribery, money laundering and exchanging money for politicians and high profile individuals for influencing tenders stunned the country. It’s estimated to have cost the state R12 billion. The Zondo Commission is continuing investigations.

The notion of capturing the state has been largely associated with the Guptas. This family has been accused of exerting influence on cabinet appointments and top management of parastatals including board members. The family, whose proximity to former president Jacob Zuma is well documented, is currently outside the country as the Zondo commission zooms into its activities.

The security upgrades at former president Jacob Zuma’s homestead cost more than R250 million. This caused an outcry from the public.

Construction Cartel
The building of World Cup stadia was also mired in controversy as allegations of collusion among big construction companies surfaced. They were subsequently given hefty fines.


When former Prasa boss, Lucky Montana wrote a letter setting out accusations that the Gupta family schemed to capture the parastatal and grab a R51 billion tender for a bidder they represented, it laid bare the depth of corruption at the parastatal.

Eskom, which is currently before the Zondo Commission, is detailing a number of corrupt activities which have characterised the power utility. Even the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations are said to have been overpriced and badly designed, hence the two stations are not able to produce sufficient electricity. The estimated cost could be R500 billion.