The Guardian article gives a case study on the corruption in post-apartheid South Africa. Private individuals and companies have commandeered organs of state to redirect public resources into their own hands, and have gutted those institutions responsible for protecting the country against such corruption. These individuals and companies use bribery as underground means as well as donations to the party or running and staffing as above board means.
In Robert Cameron’s article, “Redefining political-administrative relationships in South Africa,” he discusses the growing politicization of public services and the South African bureaucracy. The piece begins by examining the New Public Management (NPM) movement in the 1980s that was focused on privatization and the early rise of politicization with managers having more control over their selection for agency heads. After giving a short summary of the government structure in South Africa, Cameron goes on to explore the politicization before 1994 with the control of office that the National Party had, citing that 40% of directors were appointed by political influence and 13% by both seniority and political influence. This escalated with the African National Congress (ANC) and their appointments of those individuals who supported their radical policies. After exploring some of the data behind his results, Cameron concludes by calling for a reform of public service policy by moving “away from the ANC’s Cadre Policy and Deployment Strategy to a merit-based human resources system” and writing that depolarizing the bureaucracy will lead to more effective public service delivery (698).
In his article on corruption the Mexican political system Morris begins by saying that corruption has always been a part of the Mexican government tot he point where the two have become synonymous. Morris also hypothesizes that the longstanding negative public reaction to the government, as well as cyclical presence of anti corruption campaigns show that corruption coincides with political stability and that the causes of corruption have not changed much over time. What has changed is the kind of corruption that ensues. As external pressures have increased the stabilizing effect of corruption has changed.
This article describes the different theories on how the Mexican bureaucratic system works with two main themes. One is that all decision making flows upwards in a hierarchy with an elected president at the top; the variation between the theories in this regard is how much does the president rely on underlings to inform him on his decisions and how much outside influence determines his decisions. The second theme is that corruption is very much the system in Mexico, that the mexican government works with corruption efficiently.
It seems like corruption pervades all levels of the state in Mexico, creating an environment where all kinds of crimes can thrive. A lot of the readings focus on addressing this issue and imply that citizens lose faith in their society’s institutions because citizens fall victim to violent crimes and watch their governments do nothing to stop them. My question will be: (although systematic corruption cannot be beaten merely through the enactment of some legislative instruments) is there any chance that the corruption level in Mexico can be lowered?
In this paper, Carolyn and Martin Needleman argue that scholars and the general public have a common understand that the Mexican political system is ultimately run by the president, with a central reliance on interest groups and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) while ignoring the voices of the local Mexican people. However, the authors write that many American scholars hold different interpretations on how governmental power is actually distributed throughout the Mexican government. The first is the that president is omnipotent, meaning that his power comes from “a personal charisma” and that there is a leadership group, the “Revolution Family,” composed of governmental elites that can influence decisions (1017). Second, is the view that the president relies completely on interest groups and the PRI to influence decisions, which results in political stagnation as they all attempt to compromise on their respective policy ideas. Third, the president’s power is at the extent of the bureaucracy and has been decentralized to the local level, eliminating the PRI’s and president’s role in decision making. Lastly, some believe that the president acts as an administrator and works closely with the bureaucracy. After discussing the four view, the authors question and evaluate how the president can supervise the bureaucracy, can respond to the demands of interest groups, and allow the PRI to work hand-in-hand in policy formulation. Although I appreciated how the authors clearly divided the four point of views and shared quotes from authors defending each point, I would have liked to see more empirical data and real-world examples showing how presidents have acted in one or more of these classifications. However, I ultimately agree with the theme of the paper which is that in order to help advance the Mexican political process and governmental capability/efficiency, there needs to be a better understanding on how power dynamics work within the government.