Friday, March 02, 2018

Ruthless Afrikaner and ANC Predation Configured South African Apocalypse...,

News24 |  It completely makes sense for someone to be impatient when, 23 years after the dawn of democracy, he still feels excluded from our country’s economy, while some foreigners are relatively well of.

I must also quickly hint that the issues raised by some protestors that 1) foreigners are taking their jobs; 2) foreigners shut their businesses through illicit operations; and 3) foreigners promote drug and human trafficking, are simply symptoms of our real problem. Our real problem is general lack of loyalty by the rich, who are mostly white. For example, for many of our people to be unemployed, it is mainly because of the failure by business to promote broad-based black economic empowerment. For our young sisters to be slaves of prostitution, it is because of joblessness and poverty. And for many of our foreign nationals, especially Africans, to come to South Africa, it is because of the desperate conditions in their countries, which are still reeling in the effects of neo-colonialism.

In their paper Capital flight From South Africa, 1980 – 2000, (2004), Seeraj Mohamed and Kade Finnof argue that if capital flight is not addressed, it will impede the country’s “ability to deal with structural issues such as high unemployment and concentration of wealth.” According to the paper, between 1980 and 2000, capital outflows amounted to an average of 6.6% of GDP per annum. But the paper also strangely finds that during the relatively politically stable, post-Apartheid period from 1994 until 2000, capital outflows increased to an average of 9.2% of GDP per annum.

“We suggest that the higher capital flight observed in the relatively more politically and economically stable period 1994 to 2000 (compared to the pre-democracy period 1980 to 1993) is reflective of the attitudes of wealthy white South Africans about the transition to democracy rather than political and economic uncertainty”, the paper states. Such increased outflows are strange because, in a normal environment, capital outflows are understood to be choices by individuals or firms to move money offshore because of fears of political or economic instability. But the South African experience shows that racial prejudice, anger at loss of power and sheer lack of patriotism played a more significant role in these on-going outflows. 

Guardian |  Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s unpopular president, has finally been removed. Yet the terms of his departure were deeply problematic. In what was a painfully tortuous process, the ANC could not even agree on a timeframe for his departure.

Although Zuma was embroiled in many scandals – acquitted of rape after being accused by the daughter of a friend; refusing to pay for a massive building project at his palatial home; a questionable friendship with a family alleged to have benefited from corrupt state tenders – the ANC failed to act against him for years. When asked “Why now?”, party leaders seemed dumbstruck – exemplified by the stumbling response of Ace Magashule, the new ANC secretary general, after he was pressed to explain what exactly Zuma had done to provoke the recall procedure.

A recent leak of files linked to the Gupta family, close associates of Zuma and his family, showed the depth of the patronage network. Many members of his cabinet and those responsible for state-owned enterprises and ancillary services had been sponsored by the Guptas for holidays to Dubai. It was evident that the hypocrisy would rankle the public. Even Malusi Gigaba, the minister of finance appointed by Zuma and a man closely associated with both the president and the Guptas, appeared on TV to issue Zuma an ultimatum. Many political observers noted the irony.

None of this bodes well for the fortunes of the party. The disastrous Zuma years are over, but the ANC’s renewal is far from certain. In addition to purging the party of corrupt individuals – many in the ranks of the senior leadership – Cyril Ramaphosa, the new president of the party, will have to address the corruption of the party’s internal processes. Since Zuma’s ascent, charges of vote rigging and the manipulation of the electoral system at all levels – from branches to the national executive – have been rife. Re-energising the party’s base will be an uphill battle, and some voters may choose to punish the once mighty ANC at the polls.

Still, politics in South Africa continues to be defined by history. The Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition party, continues to be seen as a party that serves the interests of the minority white population despite the fact that it is led by a young black man and has increased its black membership significantly. The rising Economic Freedom Fighters may gain at the polls, but for the moment they remain marginal in terms of electoral politics. The ANC is still likely to prevail at next year’s elections, but this certainty should not deter Ramaphosa, the country’s new leader, from enacting wide-scale party reforms.