Seriously, comrades, at least spend your loot on some decent ...

Ideas

Seriously, comrades, at least spend your loot on some decent bling

If our rulers are going to steal from us can they at least spend it on shiny kitsch rather than parochial mediocrity

Columnist

One day, when historians look back at the burning brown paper bag of dog turds that was the second decade of ANC rule, I hope they ask, at least in a footnote, why it was that corrupt cadres managed so consistently to spend their stolen loot on such mediocre stuff.

When I was a child, I read with awe and wonder about the pleasure domes built by the great thieves of history. Gilded Roman palaces; bejewelled Byzantine temples; the endless baroque corridors and formal gardens of European royalty.

Even as recently as the 1960s and 1970s, some of the most corrupt leaders in the world were still surrounding themselves in gold and satin, like Romania’s Nicolae Ceaușescu or Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko, who spent way more than R1bn on a vast palace in the tiny village of Gbadolite, replete with its own airport, designed to be long enough for Concorde to use...

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