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FORMER director-general in the Presidency and author of Eight Days in September, The Removal of Thabo Mbeki, Reverend Frank Chikane said yesterday that South Africa's democracy is in crisis because of compromised leaders running the country to serve the interests of crime syndicates.
Chikane said that some of these syndicates are employed within state security agencies by commanders and some work outside the system but have strong links with political leaders.
Speaking at his book launch seminar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus, Chikane also said that corruption levels in the country have increased since the days of Nelson Mandela as president and have worsened under the current leadership.
"If you read articles in the weekend newspapers about [head of police crime intelligence Lieutenant-General Richard] Mdluli, you can see that we are in trouble," Chikane said.
He said while syndicates were taking over the country, some of the dirtiest people in the world were coming and hiding in South Africa.
Chikane, who focused more on the crisis and vulnerability of democracy during the seminar than his book, said there were people in government who served syndicates instead of the taxpayers.
"If you are compromised as a leader by a syndicate, then you are controlled by them," he said.
The Reverend said these syndicates have people at the borders as well.
When cars are stolen in the country they easily make their way to other countries for sale, he said.
He said that in 1990 slain mining magnate Brett Kebble "bought a relationship with the ANC" through disgraced former top cop Jackie Selebi by donating money. He said that syndicates decided who was jailed, while others entered into plea bargains with the state.
"In the Kebble matter, murderers gave up their bosses who in turn gave up Glenn Agliotti who in turn gave up Selebi who is in jail now," he said.
"There must be no person who commits crime and does not go to jail because he is connected."