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The ANC destroyed South Africa Corrupt politicians care little for the fracturing nation

The Rainbow Nation is no more (Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Rainbow Nation is no more (Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)


November 5, 2021   6 mins

A hinge moment happened this week in South Africa. The country finally transitioned from rainbow utopianism to reality.

The turning point was the municipal elections in which the 110-year-old ruling African National Congress failed to gain a majority of the vote. The party is, despite its manifest failings, still custodian of the liberator’s mantle among many black South Africans — a recent survey showed that although 60% of ANC voters associated their party with corruption, they would nonetheless vote for it; such is the brand loyalty — but the party’s once hegemonic power is in retreat. The decline over the years is neatly in tandem with the nation’s trajectory towards a failed state. At its peak in 2004, the ANC pulled nearly 70% of the national vote. This week, it could barely pull past 46%.

The party has lost majority control of all the major metropolitan areas; across 62 municipalities, desperate, if informal, coalition negotiations on power and patronage are underway. And the collapse is being blamed on the fact that so few ANC supporters bothered to vote.

This is surely the result of catastrophic declines in public trust across all institutions of state — and particularly in the political classes during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s term. According to some under-reported polling in August, two thirds of respondents said they were willing – 46% were “very willing” — to give up elections altogether in favour of a non-elected government that could provide security, houses and jobs.

So after decades of banging on about how it suffered to bring democracy to South Africa, the ANC has succeeded in destroying both the substance and the allure of democracy for two out of three South Africans. No wonder the punters stayed in bed on polling day.

But the truth is, the ANC was never remotely fit to manage the complexity of what was once Africa’s largest and most successful modern economy and State.

President Nelson Mandela’s post-liberation administration winged it for five years on the back of public euphoria about the Rainbow Nation and the administrative sinews left by the departed apartheid state.

Then President Thabo Mbeki, his successor, sought to impose a sere, technocratic and welfarist vision on his realm, drawn directly from his experiences in Left-wing UK universities. Problem was that while he taught the newly enfranchised all about their rights as modern citizens, he somehow did not get around to talking about their duties. As a result, a boundless sense of entitlement has become an irreducible, damaging and informing fact of South African life, killing initiative and personal agency. Meanwhile, the technocrats who could give content to Mbeki’s vision were leaving state service in droves: victims of his racial affirmative policies.

After him came Jacob Zuma, former head of intelligence of the ANC’s military in exile, the army that somehow managed to wage a decades-long war during the apartheid years that few South Africans ever noticed. His cronies came into government trailing the odour of the Angolan military camps; the paranoia, secrecy, expedience, manipulation, fear, brutality, corruption and hopelessness.

It is estimated that during his eight-year term, Zuma benignly presided over the embezzlement of between R400 billion and R1.5 trillion of public money (1 GBP = R21) by a coterie of crooks gathered around his presidency, and by others appointed to the State services under the guise of affirmative action and “cadre deployment” (yes, they still speak like that).

The major public utilities crashed, public services withered, the security and intelligence services were infiltrated, the criminal justice system was eviscerated, the tax authorities captured, local authority areas became cesspools, in some cases literally, and public health and education systems imploded. Under Zuma, the ANC went straight from liberation movement to an organised criminal conspiracy without stopping at go and certainly not at jail. South Africa became trapped somewhere between 19th-century Sicily and late 20th-century Columbia. As always, it was the poor that suffered.

Ramaphosa’s election as party leader and President in December 2017, was widely hailed by modernist forces — and particularly big business — as a turning point: after all, they had paid heavily to fund his bid. Sadly, his promised New Dawn turned out to be in every sense a False Dawn.

During his term, employment has reached the highest levels ever; flight by the high-skilled racial minorities is now proportionately equal only to the great southern European migrations to America in the previous early century; capital flight and insolvencies are at historic highs and inward investment at equivalent lows. Not one of the damaging policies introduced by Zuma and his predecessors has been reversed.

Last month, the World Bank ranked South Africa’s once excellent ports at the bottom of the 351 ports surveyed and the Universal Postal Union conveyed the warming news that the South African postal service is now officially worse than Nigeria’s.

In his nearly four years in office, Ramaphosa has failed to decisively deal with the criminal and pre-modernistic forces in his party. They struck back in the traumatic July Troubles this year where insurrectionary forces allied to the Zuma camp and possibly involving renegade elements of the State Security Agency, unleashed a wave of pillage and arson across the Zulu heartland of KwaZulu Natal.

The State evaporated and has failed to bring a single major instigator to book, even as criminal prosecutions against Indian-descended citizens accused of killing looters proceed apace.

President Ramaphosa now enjoys the distinction of being the only South African President since the Act of Union in 1910 to preside over both a fully-fledged secessionist movement in the opposition-held Western Cape and a first-phase revolution in KwaZulu Natal.

His predecessors — Thabo Mbeki, P W Botha, John Vorster — all had the courage to split their parties to move ahead with what they saw to be reformist policies. Not the incumbent. He lost the one opportunity to save South Africa: to appeal above his party to the country and to unify all the modernist forces against the criminal, pre-modern and racist ones, most of them in his own party.

He is now offered another chance for redemption in the 50 or so undecided municipalities thrown up by the elections. Will his party align itself with the modernist elements on those councils or throw its weight behind the extremist Economic Freedom Fighters? Past form is not promising.

That form shows only excruciating anomalies: three of the most senior ministers implicated in “State Capture” during the Zuma years sat in judgment on the ethics of the party’s nominees for this year’s municipal election.

The man who was head of Zuma’s effectively private State Security Agency has popped up as prison boss and against the advice of the medical parole board, signed Zuma’s release from prison where he was banged up for refusing to answer for his sins before a state commission of inquiry into State Capture.

Zuma, meanwhile, has taken time off from another criminal case in which he is accused of corruption in a 25-year-old arms deal to hit the hustings trail in support of …. the ANC. No wonder so many South Africans believe their politics are beyond either parody or redemption.

Twenty seven years into the ANC’s divisive misrule, the political movements have solidified as never before into their racial components. The ANC is now an entirely black party: the tiny residual support from the racial minorities evaporated when Ramaphosa failed to deliver.

The EFF is unashamedly black and exclusivist: a nativist and racist organisation of provocateurs canvassing for support among the poor while wearing Gucci jeans, literally. Its support sits at an estimated 10% in these elections: a 20% improvement since 2016.

The classically liberal Democratic Alliance has made heroic attempts to break out from its strongholds in the white, Indian and coloured areas. It has failed: black support has been historically negligible and the party has seen a decline in national share in these elections from 24% to 21%.

The Inkatha Freedom Party, rooted in traditional and conservative Zulu areas, has stayed constant at about 5% of the vote, and had the unalloyed pleasure of claiming the ward in which Zuma has his mega-million state-provided home. The Freedom Front Plus, unambiguously representing conservative white, primarily Afrikaner, and Afrikaans-speaking coloured interests, has trebled its support.

Suggested reading
The ANC destroyed South Africa

By Wessie du Toit

A late-comer, Action South Africa, led by a personable black former DA Mayor of Johannesburg and proclaiming its multi-racial profile, has created a stir by winning a significant share of votes in Johannesburg but made little national headway at below 3% of share. In any case, its core constituency is also primarily amongst urban minorities tired of the DA.

Thanks to the long-tail legacy of apartheid’s policy of residential segregation, many of the country’s suburbs are still largely racially defined. These are the citadels into which the minority communities retreat to enjoy their lives, ply their politics, conduct their businesses, pray, shop, school their young and, if necessary, take up arms to protect themselves when Ramaphosa’s State goes AWOL, as it did in the July Troubles.

For decades now these informal cantons have become ever more self-sufficient: they have private police, hospitals, schools and an army of fixers to mediate between them and a truly appalling bureaucracy. So-called Public-Private Partnerships control large public business and tourist spaces, property developers build public roads, private companies manage water reticulation and major road routes are maintained by private enterprise.

Recent Government policy allows for Independent Power Producers: energy self-sufficiency is now within the grasp of these localised and internally expatriated communities.

And thus the contours of a new and informal cantonal South African state is emerging after 27 years of ANC misrule: self-sufficient and defensive pockets of privilege scattered in the interior and in a coastal arc from the Mozambican border on the Indian Ocean to the Namibian border on the Atlantic. All of this new South Africa is set in a sea of rural and urban poverty presided over by a ghostlike State managed by a collapsed and indifferent bureaucracy and a squabbling and corrupt political class. The old feel-good notions of a non-racial South Africa, Archbishop Tutu’s famous Rainbow Nation, were naïve and are now dead. Cold reality rules.


Brian Pottinger is an author and former Editor and Publisher of the South African Sunday Times. He lives on the KwaZulu North Coast.


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hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

I arrived in South Africa for 3 days on election day. “Are you voting today?” I ask my taxi driver.
“Yes”, he says. “But not for the ANC.”

“Why not?” I ask

“Corruption”, he says. “Ramaphosa too weak to stop those thieves.”

I asked him about crime. “In my area, no crime, because we have a whistle now, if someone comes to rob you, we just use it, people will come with weapons and kill the thief. Then we just call the undertaker, we don’t even call the police, because the undertaker will be there 30 minutes, the police, 5 hours.”
[queue incredulous silence from myself]
The country now reminds me of Zimbabwe (except with far more violence): The street lines are faded, there’s litter everywhere. The house I stayed at was on solar power, because state electricity is too unreliable to run a household or a business (just like Zimbabwe). The water we drank was filtered through a reverse osmosis kit because municipal water isn’t safe to drink anymore.
And don’t get me started on the railways or the national airline carrier.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

They replaced a racist regime that was functional with another one that’s not.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Of all your snarky sark this was probably my favorite

Willem Britz
Willem Britz
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Not at all. The old government is painted as being racist. They were not all racist. Its because of a lot of black peoples way of doing things, that they wanted to be separate in their affairs. Our cultures were just severely different. Black people would get drunk and stab each other with knives, white people except for some exceptions, would normally not kill someone because they looked at his wife. Black people were very primitive tribalistic. Those 2 didn’t mix. Having said this. I like black people a lot. Its just that they will do stuff in a way, without thinking they’ll react and later sit with very destructive consequences which apparently sometimes doesn’t even bother them. They’ll burn schools and classrooms. Guess what, tomorrow there’s no more classrooms. Its like they make stupid decision’s. You will not find White people doing the same. Having saud all of this, I know a lot Black people who are not like this at all. But there is a huge component that will follow and be influenced, even when they know it wrong.

Last edited 2 years ago by Willem Britz
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

The left in action. Take a good look, people, because that’s what’s coming for all of us.

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago

Indeed. “Left-wing UK universities” – the gift that keeps giving. And yet still they command support. It really does make you wonder.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

This article should have been censored, because it proves the wrong people to have been right all along.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Nobody values foresight by the wrong people, nobody appreciates hindsight by the wrong people. Lessons are rarely learned while the same loose collection of the Elite are in charge.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

AC Harper comes off as a legendary historian and awesome quote guy

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Give it time. It’s only recently been published.

Paul Davies
Paul Davies
2 years ago

And are we surprised. Many commentators expected this to happen. Its Africa after all.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
2 years ago

Such a disappointment although entirely predictable.
At least, South Africa still has some semblance of democracy with the existence of several parties that still command a reasonable proportion of the vote.
I, for one, thought that Ramaphosa would have the ability to bring South Africa back from the corruption that accompanied the Zuma regime.
However, it should not be forgotten that Ramaphosa is one of the richest people in South Africa and this wealth has been accumulated since the ANC took over government.
Let us hope the country does not descend into the total abyss that is Zimbabwe.
I suppose the UK colonialists and Apartheid era will be blamed for the failure of an economy and country that, in the 90’s, was booming.

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

I have been reading about the demise of Rhodesia and creation of Zimbabwe under Mugabe. A long time ago now but the lesson learned is one of politics, not color. Mugabe was a communist, supported by the Russians and Chinese but most importantly by the Western Left, eager to give Africa back to Africans. The road map has been given and I’m afraid that South Africa might just descend to that level
A hats off to The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and the rest who have had such a helping hand in this tragedy. And now, they come for us.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

Southern Africa was largely uninhabited until white settlers arrived. If they had been given back what was taken and no more, they’d have received an empty land. They were gifted much more: a functioning modern economy. And they’ve destroyed it.

Hennie Booysen
Hennie Booysen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

The fallacy that Southern Africa was largely uninhabited before the white settlers arrived is a product of misinformation and suppressed facts driven, I would imagine, by the regime at the time to perpetuate a myth. There is ample evidence that trade and agricultural activity across Southern Africa hundreds of years before the Dutch arrived.

George Stone
George Stone
2 years ago

Who are ‘the Africans’ exactly?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

And by the same argument, the US should be given back to the Indians, Australia to the aboriginals and so on. Where will the UK go to? How far back do you want to go? Looks like according to your solution there will be a widespread displacement of people at a scale never before seen in history.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
2 years ago

Simple, everyone heads back to Africa. Specifically the part that is generally believed to be where humanity originated. It’s going to be tight.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

And the biggest threat to the power of the ANC is the party called the ‘Economic Freedom Fighters’ who preach socialism to pull in the voters. They wear red overalls in parliament, incite violence and preach racism. Their leader Julius Malema is a young turk who presents himself as a saviour of the poor – of course he is nothing but a fraud and old style opportunist. One who wears bespoke clothing and Christian Louboutin shoes. #africandictatorstyle

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

USA Cities, the Squad, Oh, Well, nothing to see here….

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

“The major public utilities crashed, public services withered, the security and intelligence services were infiltrated, the criminal justice system was eviscerated, the tax authorities captured, local authority areas became cesspools, in some cases literally, and public health and education systems imploded.”
Sounds like a future article in the NYT in the year 2035, still blaming Trump 14 years later, of course.

Virginia Durksen
Virginia Durksen
2 years ago

Too many people imagine Mandala as a saint and not the hard-core Marxist he was.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

and Gandhi was a very mixed bag too…

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

The Federation of Conservative Students was right: Mandela should have hanged.

Hennie Booysen
Hennie Booysen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Wow! And hanged for what, exactly?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Hennie Booysen

The crimes for which he was instead jailed.

South Africa was better off under apartheid than it is as a black Marxist kleptocracy.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Rubbish. The man was near a saint.

Virginia Durksen
Virginia Durksen
2 years ago

The man never came within a thousand miles of a saint and he certainly could not meet any requirement for saint-hood.
The only thing that Mandela achieved was to prove that even a disgusting system like apartheid was better than Marxism.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Did you spend 27 years in jail, mostly in isolation, on a small bleak island, hacking away without sunglasses at a glaring limestone pit which permanently affected your eyesight?
And on release and made president of the country, consistently only preach reconciliation to your enemies? No, I can guarantee that Virginia did none of these things because she preaches hatred.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

How has that reconciliation worked out? Is South Africa now a happy and prosperous democracy, thanks to the grinning suggestible old booby? Or is it a violent, kleptocratic failed state?

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago

The take away from this is tl:dr “apartheid was better”, and duly noted that according to you Mandela doesn’t qualify to be beatified in any way, in whatever sainthood you’re referring to… particularly because he was “Marxist”. I mean he did JUST pass away as well, you’re really making a sweeping observation a bit early. You’d know some of the well known saints did horrible shit and it took a while before it came to pass. I think it would be a foolish mistake to imply it’s Mandela’s ways or his fault what he came out of and fit to mention is the missing dialogue of what South Africans could offer as the alternative path to democracy. When the strings to the purse of the continent are held elsewhere, a nation has little reason to unify only to uplift the elite oppressors and those stupid enough to think they were on the winning team.

Anayo Unachukwu
Anayo Unachukwu
2 years ago

This is perhaps one of the best pieces on the unfortunate state of South Africa.

It was the late Hugh Masekela, in an interview with the BBC, more than a decade ago, said of South Africa that the main problem was that they fought for freedom and got democracy and that there were glaring differences between freedom and democracy. In a democracy, a few things are taken for granted–basic education and everyday needs.

I was in South Africa more than two decades ago; was at one of its elite Universities–University of Witswatersrand. One of the staff asked my opinion on the state of the nation. I told her that if she thought that things were bad, she should think again. I told her that it was going to get real worse, not too dissimilar from Zimbabwe. She was most horrified. I was very surprised that she could not see the handwriting that was glaringly obvious on the wall. The germ of declension and destruction were baked into the system, a case in point was the so called Affirmative Action.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Yes, equity has never worked.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

Agreed. You can’t polish a t**d. You can at best roll it in glitter.

South Africa has run out of glitter.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Hanging onto the threads with cynical sarcasm suits you well Redman Schnauzer

Henry Ganteaume
Henry Ganteaume
2 years ago

There are a few countries in the ex-colonial Caribbean, my own home Trinidad and Tobago included, to which sadly this commentary applies with uncanny precision.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

I know T & T quite well, my partner’s parents live there. It is true that there are highish levels of crime largely as a result of being in the drug route from Columbia outwards. But the country has a stable, if unimaginative two party system where power regularly changes from one to the other without violence. The country has coped with Covid as well as the uk has. Have you ever wondered why there are not the nurses from the Caribbean like there were 40 years ago? The reason being that there is a good and growing health service employing personnel trained there. Two friends of mine, well qualified have chosen to work there (in good jobs) and raise their children there. I think the country has more than justified its independence.

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
2 years ago

Recenty watched a podcast by a guy called Simon Mwewa Lane….after the latest bout of rioting in KwaZulu Natal…..”The Sicily of the South”..his opinion was that if this was the best the Government could do, then they should give the country back to the Boer….
I wonder if this latest outbreak will prompt thoughts of a secession of say the Cape region…….

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

This is almost the same article as the one about the demise of democracy – also featuring today. Same stories, different geography.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago

As usual Brian: A beautiful essay, albeit about a great tragedy.
One might rank this tragedy with the failure of Haiti to make its own transition in the early 19th century after having ejected a Napoleonic army that was called to suppress its own uprising.

Dapple Grey
Dapple Grey
2 years ago

During his term, employment has reached the highest levels ever
Should that read ‘unemployment’?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Dapple Grey

Or maybe the author counts rioting as a respectable, bona fide occupation

Last edited 2 years ago by Samir Iker
Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 years ago

My hope is that South Africa does fracture, and that something resembling a homeland for the Afrikaners emerges.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

We need to hear how apartheid was actually a demand of trade unions.

Robert Eagle
Robert Eagle
1 year ago

“…trapped somewhere between 19th-century Sicily and late 20th-century Columbia.” Apologies for the pedantry but I think you mean Colombia.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago

If there’s any truth in the title of the article I’d say it’s time to do away with the concept of South Africa and the relic of it. There is no such thing as rebuilding a country that was intentionally built divided to keep the elite in power. If you believe in one you pretty much have to believe in the other. It’s not so much a matter of renaming as it is overhauling the status quo and breaking down barriers that keep people from living well, in which case it was the government then and quite stark in contrast it’s the government now. SA needs a lot more yet the economy only caters to the same few companies that have been running SA since forever (literally) why not fill your pockets while you’re at it? The world’s longest running gravy train runs just not with the same velocity as in its yesteryears that we’re so fond of.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago

If there’s any truth in the title of the article I’d say it’s time to do away with the concept of South Africa and the relic of it. There is no such thing as rebuilding a country that was intentionally built divided to keep the elite in power. If you believe in one you pretty much have to believe in the other. It’s not so much a matter of renaming as it is overhauling the status quo and breaking down barriers that keep people from living well, in which case it was the government then and quite stark in contrast it’s the government now. SA needs a lot more yet the economy only caters to the same few companies that have been running SA since forever (literally) why not fill your pockets while you’re at it? The world’s longest running gravy train runs just not with the same velocity as in its yesteryears that we’re so fond of.

Miriam Cotton
Miriam Cotton
2 years ago

Apartheid and colonisation destroyed South Africa before the ANC ever took over. The ANC surely are corrupt and have failed. A country, like the UK, which has not been invaded for a millenium has been able to evolve and develop systems of government by experience and mostly peaceful consensus – the Cromwellian period being the exception. When you create an elitist, violent and oppressive regime that seeks to monopolise wealth and keep most people in a state of abject dependence, and then end it suddenly, things seldom run smoothly in the first century after the colonisers move out. The vacuum is filled with inexperience at best and opportunism at worst. It will take a while yet for South Africa to settle down, for a mature and viable system to emerge from the wreckage of apartheid. Most post colonial countries are the same.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Miriam Cotton

Some of what you say is true, the former apartheid regime was oppressive, elitist and violent as well as racist, however, the post-apartheid government took over a mature and functioning state, they were not starting from nothing, there was no vacuum, Additionally many of the people who took over were educated and had large numbers of educated whites and “coloureds” who were more than willing to be involved in making/keeping SA a stong wealthy nation. Goodwill was wasted by trying to form what was essentially another racist, elitist society, just inverting the victim and perpetrator does not make for a cohesive society. As far as I can tell from the many analyses of SA’s problems that I have read this former oppressive, elitist, violent and racist power structure has been replaced by a new oppressive, elitist, violent and racist power structure with added spice of corruption, and that cannot be exclusively blamed on what went before. It is all such a waste of potential and lives and it makes me weep.

Last edited 2 years ago by Linda Hutchinson
Hennie Booysen
Hennie Booysen
2 years ago

I think you may have missed the key point – the vacuum is one of experience, management and leadership and that vacuum is filled by opportunism and incompetence (classic Peter Principle) which over time drives out competency across all levels. That is the downward spiral which is slow at first and then rapidly increases. That is where we are at now.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin
2 years ago
Reply to  Hennie Booysen

Having lived in Africa for many years , I see nothing but continued corruption, continued Nepotism and continued failure.
South Africa, like Zimbabwe were very wealthy, they had infrastructure, minerals and resources and everything required for success.Unfortunately, good old affirmative action and the stupidity and short-termism it deploys has led it nowhere but in a downward spiral to the bottom, just as the vast majority of educated people predicted and saw coming. A clear warning to the clowns who want to engineer equality of outcome by not providing equaility of opportunity. Public service and manufacturing industries require the smartest and most suitable candidates to manage them, not people who are friends of General Gdanga and who cannot be trusted with a butter knife.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Turpin
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Miriam Cotton

At the rate South Africa is going it will not ‘settle down’. The only ‘down’ you will see is further down into the abyss. There is an orgy of corruption and stealing seen on a grand scale. The immaturity and inefficiency of the incumbent ANC could be explained away as a result of apartheid for many years, but more than 25 years has gone by and the inefficiency still goes hand in hand with the corruption.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

In 1963 at the Rivonia Treason Trial the chief defence lawyer was a white Afrikaner called Bram Fischer. He himself faced trial for opposing Apartheid and in his speech at his trial he made a remarkable statement. He stated (in as many words) that during the Boer War the Afrikaners had fought, and won Africa’s first anti-colonial war but, instead of building a post-colonial South Africa had attempted, particularly from the election of the National Party in 1948 to rebuild a colonial power based on a racial theory. By 1990 that had failed also.
There is not, and never has been, a simple and painless way to decolonise and those that have left it the longest will have the most difficult journey. Revolutionary movements do not usually operate as coalitions and it is almost inevitable that when power is gained it will be concentrated in the power or group that did the most to achieve it. The ANC has had the task of undoing a century’s worth of colonialism and 50 years of Apartheid, a system designed to ensure that the Africans were steered futher away from real political or economic power. And yes, in many many ways they have failed. However I can remember when places like India, Nigeria and Bangladesh were described as hopeless basket cases but now they are doing pretty well for themselves, in spite of, rather than because of, our stewardship of them in the past.

Dan Gleeballs
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

“There is not, and never has been, a simple and painless way to decolonise and those that have left it the longest will have the most difficult journey.“

Erm… the Commonwealth? Self-government, with British monarch as head of state. Only peaceful end to an empire in all history, so worth a look. Canada and Australia are doing quite well, I believe.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dan Gleeballs
Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

Canada, New Zealand, Australia do not really count, they were basically settler countries where the indigenous population had virtually been ethnically cleansed, even so it is not a totally easy ride for them now.
Perhaps you are thinking of the “Ghandi Myth” in India which holds that we were so struck by Ghandi’s doctrine of passive resistence that we graciously allowed them to govern themselves. The reality is that we partitioned and ran away fast as we had neither the resources, energy or man-power to hold India down for even a further year.And not much of the former empire holds the british monarch as head of state.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

Look at the size of the Commonwealth. It’s incredible., all those apparently subject nations who chose to retain ties with the centre. They even get together to have a private “Olympics”.
Can you cite anything that compares?

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

We seem to be off on a tangent here, but I’m sorry Richard your assertion about ethnic cleansing in New Zealand just does not stack up, I know as I was born and raised there. The Maori tribes have a lot of political and financial clout these days.

Back on topic, the truth is that too many countries in Africa have become a byword for corruption, billionaire “leaders” while their people suffer. The Colonialist grievance industry does nothing to help this as it prevents these “leaders” being held to account.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Ansell

Fact is that NZ did not have a huge majority of Maoris as a percentage

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

One great myth about Gandhi is that the h comes before the a in the English spelling.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

I made it a few paragraphs into this article before I had to stop due to the usual regurgitation of apartheid bliss I picked up in between the lines on the article. There’s only a few unbiased opinions in any comments. Some people just need to have it out at the current state of affairs, and they must be solely blamed on the party they don’t like and don’t vote for. Because things didn’t work out for them, they’re going to talk about how things didn’t work out for the others, they’re going to talk about how much better things were a long time ago. I’m sure they really knew what things were like, or because they have/had subservient living in a shed in their back yard who agrees with them. Not everyone thinks SA is the best, particularly people outside of SA and they never thought it was a good place pre ’94 less the colonialist minded euro trash that lived on top of SA then (and still do today). Less those who still wish to walk on the broken backs of a nation under apartheid. Canada, NZ, and AU, even the US have less than 5% indigenous people left and it’s through a series of really bad sh-t. I like maple syrup on pancakes just as much as any red blooded nihilist oppressor but seriously people get a grip. All of those pancake lovers that migrated to Canada took a lot of money with them and I’m sure they worked very, very hard for it during those years and they didn’t benefit from the cheap slave labor and diminishing rights of workers and people to pull it off. Ignorance the world around these days.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

Ever noticed how these people will try to throw in some Richemont-linked garb at the last second to prove the recipients of these useless trinkets were corrupted?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

Singapore.

Alfred Eisenstein
Alfred Eisenstein
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

Probably a bit soon to tell if it’s really the only peaceful end, or if it’s an end at all.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

Afrikaners were immigrants, not colonisers.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

was the point I was making, but having fought ( and substantially won) a colonial war against the British they then sought to oppress the native people