The term 'state capture' was first used by the World Bank (c 2000) to describe the situation in central Asian countries making the transition from Soviet communism. Specifically it was applied to situations where small corrupt groups used their influence over government officials to appropriate government decision making in order to strengthen their own economic positions; these groups would later become known as oligarchs.
Defining state capture
The classical definition of state capture refers to the way formal procedures (such as laws and social norms) and government bureaucracy are manipulated by private individuals and firms so as to influence state policies and laws in their favour. State capture seeks to influence the formation of laws to protect and promote influential private interests. In this way it differs from most other forms of corruption which instead seek selective enforcement of already existing laws.
State capture may not be illegal, depending on determination by the captured state itself, and might be attempted through private lobbying and influence. The influence may be through a range of state institutions, including the legislature, executive, ministries and the judiciary, or through a corrupt electoral process. It is similar to regulatory capture but differs in the scale and variety of influenced areas and, unlike regulatory capture, the private influence is never overt. The private influences cannot be discovered by lawful processes, since the legislative process, judiciary, electoral process, and/or executive powers have been subverted.
A distinguishing factor from corruption is that, while in cases of corruption the outcome (of policy or regulatory decision) is not certain, in cases of state capture the outcome is known and is highly likely to be beneficial to the captors of the state.
Also, in cases of corruption (even rampant) there is plurality and competition of 'corruptors' to influence the outcome of the policy or distribution of resources. However, in state capture, decision-makers are usually more in a position of agents to the principals (captors) who function either in monopolistic or oligopolistic (non-competitive) fashion.
State capture examples
Protests in Bulgaria in 2013–14 against the Oresharski cabinet were prompted by allegations that it came to power due to the actions of an oligarchic structure (formerly allied to Boyko Borisov) which used underhand manouevres to discredit the GERB party.
- Mcebisi Jonas, former Deputy Finance Minister; explaining the process of state capture.
In 2016 there were allegations of an overly close and potentially corrupt relationship between the wealthy Gupta family and the South African president Jacob Zuma, his family and leading members of the African National Congress (ANC). South African Opposition parties have made claims of "State Capture" following allegations that the Guptas, said to be close to President Jacob Zuma, his family and other ANC leaders, had insinuated themselves into a position where they could offer Cabinet positions and influence the running of government. These allegations were made in light of revelations by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that they had been offered Cabinet positions by the Guptas at the family's home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
Mentor claimed that in 2010 the Guptas had offered her the position of Minister of Public Enterprises, provided that she arranged for South African Airways to drop their India route, allowing a Gupta linked company (Jet Airways) to take on the route. She said she declined the offer, which occurred at the Guptas' Saxonwold residence, while President Zuma was in another room. This came a few days before a cabinet reshuffle in which minister Barbara Hogan (then Minister of Public Enterprises) was dismissed by Zuma. The Gupta family agreed that the meeting took place and agreed offering Vytijie a ministerial position. President Zuma claimed that he had no recollection of Vytjie Mentor.
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said he had been offered a ministerial position by the Guptas shortly before the dismissal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015, but had rejected the offer as "it makes a mockery of our hard-earned democracy‚ the trust of our people and no one apart from the President of the Republic appoints ministers". The Gupta family denied offering Jonas the job of Finance Minister.
In May 2017, Jacob Zuma denied the allegation of blocking an attempt to set up a commission of inquiry to probe state capture.
The Guptas' alleged "state capture" was investigated by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. President Zuma and Minister Des van Rooyen applied for a court order to prevent the publication of the report on 14 October 2016, Madonsela's last day in office. Van Rooyen's application was dismissed, and the President withdrew his application, leading to the release of the report on 2 November 2016. The report recommended establishment of a judicial commission of enquiry into the issues identified, including a full probe of Zuma's dealings with the Guptas, with findings to be published within 180 days.
Zuma and Van Rooyen denied any wrongdoing. The Guptas' lawyer disputed the evidence in the report, and the family welcomed the opportunity to challenge the report's findings in an official inquiry.
On 25 November 2016, Zuma announced that the Presidency would be reviewing the contents of the state capture report. He said it "was done in a funny way" with "no fairness at all," and argued he was not given enough time to respond to the public protector.
On 11 September 2017 the former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, estimated the cost of state capture at 250 billion Rand, in a presentation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.
On 13 November 2017, in an exclusive interview with ANN7 (belonging to the Gupta Family), South African President Jacob Zuma said 'State Capture' was a fancy word used by media houses for propaganda proliferation. He said that a real state capture would include seizure of the three arms of the onstitution - Legislative, Executive and Judiciary - which has never been the case in South Africa.
The captured state of Hungary started after 2010. The former main opposition party won the 2/3rd of the mandates in the parliamentary election. The manipulation of the constitutional law and the Constitutional Court became possible. The parliamentary election laws was later tailored also to the purpose of the new governmental party. Step by step, the different institutional applications, competitions, and tenders have been won almost exclusively by organisations and individuals loyal to the government. The winners have been frequently the relatives of the governmental staff or connected with them. The managements of different institutions have been filled with persons loyal to the government. Independent applicants have been rejected without explanation or by created formal causes. The incomes of the government independent media had been dried up. These have been ceased with scarce exemptions. The subventions and advertisement expenditures of the state owned and government loyal companies have been directed to the purpose of the widely accessible propagandistic state media and to the government loyal press. The majority of the Hungarian population can only access government influenced radio stations. Only a single government independent television channel have been tolerated as a source of unfiltered news. The propaganda applies classical "Machiavellian" cunnings. It regularly use war termini, and show up two typical imaginary public enemies: "migrants" and "George Soros". Altogether these proceedings provided additional 2/3rd victories for the governmental party and more unrestricted possibilities for the administration.
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- reporter, Citizen. "R250bn lost to state capture in the last three years, says Gordhan". The Citizen. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
- Africa News Network 7 TV (2017-11-13), #StraightTalk: ANN7 exclusive interview with Pres Jacob Zuma, retrieved 2017-11-21
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- Hungarian parliamentary election, 2014
- Hungarian parliamentary election, 2018