A theoretical exposition of State Capture as a means of state formation: The case of South Africa

  • Received April 15, 2019;
    Accepted November 13, 2019;
    Published December 23, 2019
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    Volume 17 2019, Issue #4, pp. 289-298
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    1 articles

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This theoretical exposition aims to add to existing theory on state design and the durability of the liberal democratic experiment. This paper is written on the case of South Africa and the rise of contending regime narratives on the interaction between the state and the economy. The notion of the state being ‘captured’ may well be a nomenclature typical of a great number of states in developing political economies. While the scholarly analysis of weak or fragile states is, to a significant extent, embedded in South African political theory, the notion of a captured state is often conflated with the conceptual confines of the corrupt or criminalized state. The research result – or theoretical contribution this article makes – is to substantiate the postulation that state capture as a feature of state formation also reflects the emergence of a contending or alternative regime preference with a distinct moral justification supplementing liberal democratic experiments. Experimental liberal democracies are more prone to such constitutional or regime challenges. While systemic patronage is a regime preference, which often co-exists with liberal regime imperatives within the constitutional domain of liberal regimes, this paper reviews the state capture as the manifestation of sectarian interests in the formal economy encroaching on the domain of the constitutional state to gain a competitive advantage within the market/economy.

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