Without viable public institutions, a country is unlikely to sustain a viable growth path.

That may be of no concern to the practitioners of Zuptanomics but, for millions of South Africans, the corruption of key public institutions can only mean, at best, tepid growth and thus continued poverty, the degradation of dignity and an increasing loss of hope.

Last week the future of key institutions and thus the direction of South Africa’s economic path were in the spotlight. A parliamentary subcommittee chose its candidate for the position of public protector, an office that, thanks to the work of Thuli Madonsela, has been critical to the protection and promotion of the institutional tasks of accountability and transparency.

There was great concern that the ruling party would ensure that Madonsela’s successor would be very different from her to ensure a quiet life for those who fear exposure and censure for wrongdoing related to the public purse.

And, yet, thanks to a transparent process created in part by the activism of civil society, some elements of the media and opposition parties, this did not happen.