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South Africa’s infinite humiliation A dalliance with Russia is the latest tragedy

Will a liberal coalition defeat the ANC? Emmanuel Croset/AFP/Getty Images.

Will a liberal coalition defeat the ANC? Emmanuel Croset/AFP/Getty Images.


June 14, 2023   9 mins

Olive Schreiner, the South African author of The Story of an African Farm, surveyed her Edwardian society as an impoverished exile in London in a letter to a lifelong friend, John X Merriman. “A dead pall rests over the whole life of the people,” she despaired. “A passion for dress, luxury and gain is eating up the middle classes”; the whole press is in the hands of the capitalists “because they represent the spirit of the nation”; the working classes and democratic movements are “dead or at least torpid” and a “lifeless striving for gain for themselves has taken its place”.

Schreiner’s words would strike her countryfolk today with stark resonance. The white middle classes, confined to their urban or coastal bubble communities, have largely given up — those who can leave often do. The black middle class are hardly different: revolutionaries have become businessmen and sometimes not very honest ones. “I did not join the struggle to die poor,” proclaimed one senior ruling African National Congress (ANC) politician endlessly mired in sleaze allegations. The unions, meanwhile, are corrupted by greed and the “democratic movements” — a few courageous exceptions allowed — are knee-deep in self-enrichment.

It is now clear that whatever force drives public policy within the opaque and factional halls of the ruling party — which is certainly not the impressionable President Cyril Ramaphosa, who drifts like kelp in the coastal currents of the Western Cape seas — has come to three dreadful conclusions. Firstly, the ANC will stick to its catastrophic redistributive economic policies rather than pursuing growth. Secondly, knowing that its economic plan will cause chaos, the government will batten the hatches against capital flight and pre-emptively seek to chill free speech. And thirdly, it has accepted that what is left of developed world investment interest will dry up and a flailing South African state will have to find succor elsewhere. Enter the Russians and the Chinese.

Let’s start with the ANC’s disastrous economic policy. The recently passed National Health Insurance Act seeks to impose a complex and unaffordable R256 billion (£11 billion) national health insurance system on a state which has utterly failed in key governance functions for nearly 30 years due to epic corruption and maladministration. This has been most prominent in healthcare, where criminal cartels have operated with impunity for decades in securing tenders and, in one recent case, assassinated a whistleblower. The new measures, meanwhile, threaten to displace the extensive and highly successful private healthcare system on which the middle classes and many formally employed workers depend, black and white.

Other draft regulations, this time by the Department of Labour, allow the government to set employment targets for every business to reflect the precise demographic profile of the country, both an absurdity and an impossibility given the uneven spread of skills and demography. On top of this, draft regulations by the Department of Water and Sanitation require businesses and farmers applying for water rights permits to prove that between 25% and 75% of their businesses are black-owned: the equivalent of asking multi-generational Devon farming families to cede chunks of the value of their farms to Tory cronies for the future right to draw water from the Tamar.

And this comes on the back of a failed land restitution programme, which has seen a catastrophic decline in productivity and employment in the millions of hectares handed to new crony or communal ownership. Millions of other hectares, 2.8 million in KwaZulu Natal province alone, remain under communal tenure systems dating to Victorian times. The ANC is too afraid of a rural insurgency to touch the power of the traditional leaders who have the right to rule over this land: the whites are an easier target.

All of these measures will certainly be fought tooth-and-nail up to the Constitutional Court, and may well be defeated: the Court, some brave opposition politicians, and a small band of intrepid and independent investigative journalists remain the only deterrents to South Africa becoming a badge-bearing failed African state. But in the interim, the proposals are creating enormous uncertainty.

This explains why, on the eve of Easter this year, the South African Revenue Services quietly published amendments to its capital export rules. Whereas once individuals could export R10 million (ÂŁ431,000) a year as offshore investments, now the transfers are classified under the same terms as those dealing with formal emigration: a vastly more complicated and expensive process. The authorities insist the measure is simply to tighten up on cross-border movement of securities after the country was grey-listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for laxity when billions of rands of embezzled state money flowed out of the country in the freebooting days of former president Jacob Zuma.

Yet it forms part of a trend. Regulatory changes in 2021 prevented emigrating pensioners from having their pensions paid abroad for three years after leaving South Africa. This effectively kept them hostage, denying them the opportunity to fund the waiting periods to get foreign residency rights. If the young are fleeing, grab the old folks. The government, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with amendments to the Prevention and Combatting of The Crime of Hate Speech Act, which free-speech advocates argue could be used to suppress genuine dissident opinions. Given that the ANC routinely dismisses as racist all criticism of its actions — no matter how valid — this is not an unjustified concern.

The effect of all this will be to hasten the already terrifying skills exodus from South Africa. Nearly a fifth of white South Africans have emigrated since the political transition in 1994; the white proportion of the population is now almost half what it was then. With them went a significant slice of current and future high-level skills. Emigration rates among the talented and hugely entrepreneurial Indian-descended community is reaching similar proportions, limited only by their sense of family duty. This exodus is comparable to the rates of migration from Ireland in the mid-19th century, Italy in the early 20th-century and Syria during the civil war.

Collapsed state educational and training institutions cannot feed demand quickly enough with young black replacements. The coy phrase “capacity crisis” runs through all state justifications for its universal institutional failures, yet it is a self-induced crisis caused by the systemic discrimination against whites and latterly Indians — many of whom were not even born during apartheid — in access to state jobs, tenders and bursaries, and in the preferential employment policies forced on the private sector. In the place of the departing whites have come an estimated 3 million migrants and economic refugees from the rest of Africa, sparking xenophobic outbreaks from black South Africans and the recent panicky withdrawal by the government of 834,000 temporary work permits for Zimbabweans, who have traditionally done the menial and artisan work black South Africans prefer not to do.

The impact on the tax base is visible. Only 12.3% of South Africans pay income tax, and this figure is diminishing. Meanwhile 47% of all South Africans draw state grants, rising to 62% of the black population, and this is growing. Unemployment is at an all-time high of 32.9%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a growth rate of 0.1% for this year, far below that of African peers. We don’t need Yeats to grasp that the centre cannot hold.

That reality was abruptly reinforced last week by the IMF’s annual Article IV Report on South Africa, which warned that the country urgently needed to get its financial house in order lest its current “moderate” risk of sovereign distress deteriorates. The warning coincided with historically low rates for the rand and the first signs that the government may not be able to find enough local buyers for the bonds, which foreign holders spooked by the ANC’s inexplicable policies have been dumping since 2019. Retailers speak openly of bread riots. The Arab Spring is invoked.

The response of President Cyril Ramaphosa has been typical: an emergency meeting last week with South Africa’s captains of industry to hammer out a new contract of mutual support. This time, the ANC ostensibly accepted the long-standing offers of the private sector to provide high-level administrators for state functions: perhaps an admission by the government of its abject inability to govern; perhaps just a ploy with an eye to next year’s elections.

Few here have any confidence it will make a difference: the last man drafted from the corporate world, in this case to head up the national power utility, gave his notice in December last year after a failed poisoning attempt on his life. He was then summarily dismissed when he publicly alleged high-level collusion between senior ANC figures and criminal cartels leeching the entity. Many ask why Big Business has not demanded an end to the government’s reckless economic redistributive policies as a price for cooperation, but then since the Act of Union in 1910, it has always rolled over for its tummy to be rubbed by the politicians. The cash registers must ring.

The situation is now dire. South Africa’s postal services, rated worse than Nigeria’s by the Universal Postal Union, is about to file for bankruptcy. The ports are rated in the bottom 10 out of the 370 facilities listed on the Container Port Performance Index. The national electricity supplier is technically bankrupt after years of plundering, racial preferment in jobs and tenders, and sabotage. Power outages of 12 hours a day are common. This week it was confirmed that impoverished Mozambique, languishing towards the bottom of the UN Human Development Index (HDI), would be asked to supply power to South Africa, once the most successful economy in Africa.

Every financial metric has weakened under Ramaphosa’s tenure, which is ironic when one considers it was the business community that bankrolled his presidential ambitions in 2017 on the promise he would cleanse the ruling party, create a reformist alliance, and put the country back onto the path of modernity. Pity his backers did not insist on money-back guarantees. The betrayal of the promise of the democratic transition in 1994 is complete, the humiliation absolute.

It is not surprising, then, that the ANC government, bust, broke and bereft of old allies, has turned to new friends who can be relied on not to raise inconvenient questions about governance or human rights or competitiveness: Russia and China. South Africa has refused to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Indeed, its navy took part in joint operations with China and Russia in February this year. More intriguingly, in December last year, an embargoed Russian ship, the Lady R, secretly loaded a consignment of munitions from the Simonstown naval shipyard, according to a public accusation made on 12 May by Reuben Brigety, US Ambassador to South Africa. Subsequent reports suggest the cargo may have been bound not for Russia, but for the Russian-Wagner-supported Rapid Support Forces fighting a civil war in Sudan for the reinstatement of their old boss and the ANC’s friend, Omar al Bashir. The deposed president, now imprisoned for corruption, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged human rights violations in Darfur Province during his tenure. Typically, President Ramaphosa, nicknamed here “Cyril The Silent”, smartly shuffled the issue into a secret Commission of Inquiry whose findings, he assures, will not be made public.

What is not in dispute, however, is that Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin, some on the US embargo list, are now the main financial backers of the perennially bankrupt ANC. Nor is it contested that a mysterious cache of dollar notes stolen from a sofa inside Ramaphosa’s private game lodge two years ago originated from a Sudanese businessman, Hazim Mustafa, identified by Sudanese media in 2017 as once being close to, yes, Omar al Bashir.

This diplomatic shift has not been a considered strategic response. Like all ANC initiatives, it is a survivalist cringe in the face of a self-induced crisis: panicked, clumsy, shortsighted, self-serving, and harmful. Inevitably, it ends in farce or tragedy as has happened with South Africa’s turn to host Brazil, Russia, China, and India at the BRICS summit in August. The event, which Ramaphosa wanted to make a jamboree of for his new best friends, has turned into a Ruth Rendell-type nightmare in which the host might technically be expected to arrest a main guest, Putin, on a warrant issued by the ICC of which South Africa is a member (but not Russia or China).

South Africa faced the same dilemma in June 2015, when the ubiquitous al Bashir attended an African Union meeting in Durban as Sudanese President while confronted by an ICC arrest warrant. A South African court ordered that he be detained pending clarification as to whether he be handed over to the ICC, but the South African government let him walk away with no more than a tut-tut from the liberal press and opposition.

Now, however, the stakes are far higher, with a vastly displeased United States watching closely. In a typical piece of diversionary fandango, President Ramaphosa has rustled up four other African Heads of State for a lightening “peace mission” to Moscow and Kyiv next week. The summit may move to China or go virtual or be held in South Africa with an immune Putin in attendance, in which case the US will certainly exclude South Africa from the benefits of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives South African exporters, primarily agricultural, a free ride into US markets. Indeed, a bipartisan group of Congressmen have asked Washington to boot South Arica now. One of the country’s top banks, meanwhile, has warned that the government is imperilling up to R32 billion in foreign trade because of its dalliance with Russia. Whatever the outcome, it will either lead to national humiliation or to further economic devastation.

Is there a way out of this nightmare of serially dashed hopes? General elections are to be held next year. The ANC’s share of registered voters has dropped from its high of 58% in 1999 to 37% in 2019. If no more than one in five ANC voters chooses to go to the shebeen rather than the polls next year, party support will drop 31%. Even in coalition with its natural ally, the nativist Economic Freedom Front (EFF), an organisation with, if possible, a more elevated sense of entitlement than even the ANC, it leaves a pool of between 55% and 59% of registered voters to build a possible winning reformist and modernist coalition from four of the main liberal and conservative opposition parties. That is if they too do not engage in what Schreiner diagnosed as a “lifeless striving for gain for themselves” and if, crucially, a defeated ANC complies with the last great rule of democracy: go when you are licked. The record is not encouraging.


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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Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

I think, what is becoming abundantly clear, is that European ‘civilisation’ is not random chance, and that it didn’t come without sacrifice, hard work, and a fair bit of luck. It didn’t ‘just’ happen, by accidental and, given a bit of lipstick (You can give a pig lipstick, but it’s still a pig), or the facets of Western European institutions doesn’t necessarily, and the odds are probably not good, turn a country into that European success story. European success is not a veneer, it is more than a bunch of institutions, or laws, it is a journey that has been traveled (somewhat erratically) over a couple of thousand years. It can’t just be ‘smeared’ ‘liberally’ hoping that it will hide the ‘sometimes’ savage teeth and claws of the places it imposes itself upon, whatever the intentions.
I’m not saying that European culture and civilisation is perfect, or that it can’t take lessons from elsewhere, far from it, but, possibly, in much the same way we look back on the Roman or Ancient Greek worlds, our descendants might also muse, in centuries to come, at our hubris, and complacency at what we had.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Lewis
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

European civilisation has certainly been an unimaginable force for good in recent centuries (though from the viewpoint of most of the remaining world, until a few decades back, the positive impact of European science was more than offset by the negative impact of colonialism – both European and “other”, though the latter is not politically correct to mention).

And there were certain unique aspects driving it – the concepts of law, rationality, scientific approach, merit.
it is genuinely a pity, and a serious negative for humanity, that Europe is turning it’s back on those founding principles.
However, I would suggest the impact is going to be less severe now, because those concepts have become much more broadly accepted and disseminated.

What is probably forgotten that European “civilisation” has lagged behind Asian cultures (China, India, Persia) for pretty much all of history except for the last few centuries. In medicine, astronomy, maths, philosophy, mechanical inventions. Regions like South Africa, despite the desperate attempts by Wakandists, never amounted to much. But China and increasingly India are going to pick up on terms of contributions to science and human progress.
And you already see that here in Western countries already, if you go to a STEM or medicine class, and observe the ethnic mix.
The one thing that I think would be lost, and is unique to western countries, is a culture of risk taking, humour and irreverence towards authority. That is a big part of Western “civilisation” and not as easily replicated.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I agree with a lot of this, but irreverence towards (ludicrous) authority in the West? This doesn’t seem to be true to any great extent any longer. Look how quickly people rolled over during lockdowns. At least there was significant push back in South Africa.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

“Only 12.3% of South Africans pay income tax, and this figure is diminishing. Meanwhile 47% of all South Africans draw state grants, rising to 62% of the black population, and this is growing. Unemployment is at an all-time high of 32.9%.”
The odd thing about this information is that if one believes it describes a completely untenable situation, or is a sign of failed government, you must be racist. Therefore, what other than war is the answer to purge ourselves from this insanity?

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

There’s a lot of evidence that China is going to destroy itself, due to an irresponsible attitude to technology.

Arthur G
Arthur G
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy JS

Not to mention a looming demographic catastrophe. Now that couples can have more than one child, they don’t want too. Urban living is too expensive, and the future too grim, in a 1984-esque techno-surveillance state.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy JS

There are systemic issues in China, but at least they are building a strong country in terms of infrastructure and scientific progress. And of course they steal a lot of technology, but the basic scientific potential of their population, both in terms of average IQ and number of people, is undeniable and unmatched.
Pity though they aren’t a democracy. Would mean a better and more secure planet in every way possible.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Why do you think China would be significantly different if it were a democracy?

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Why do you think China would be significantly different if it were a democracy?

Arthur G
Arthur G
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy JS

Not to mention a looming demographic catastrophe. Now that couples can have more than one child, they don’t want too. Urban living is too expensive, and the future too grim, in a 1984-esque techno-surveillance state.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy JS

There are systemic issues in China, but at least they are building a strong country in terms of infrastructure and scientific progress. And of course they steal a lot of technology, but the basic scientific potential of their population, both in terms of average IQ and number of people, is undeniable and unmatched.
Pity though they aren’t a democracy. Would mean a better and more secure planet in every way possible.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Name some major advances that have benefitted the entire world, and that haven’t just relied on cheap labour, that have originated in either China or India in the last 500 years?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I agree with a lot of this, but irreverence towards (ludicrous) authority in the West? This doesn’t seem to be true to any great extent any longer. Look how quickly people rolled over during lockdowns. At least there was significant push back in South Africa.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

“Only 12.3% of South Africans pay income tax, and this figure is diminishing. Meanwhile 47% of all South Africans draw state grants, rising to 62% of the black population, and this is growing. Unemployment is at an all-time high of 32.9%.”
The odd thing about this information is that if one believes it describes a completely untenable situation, or is a sign of failed government, you must be racist. Therefore, what other than war is the answer to purge ourselves from this insanity?

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

There’s a lot of evidence that China is going to destroy itself, due to an irresponsible attitude to technology.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Name some major advances that have benefitted the entire world, and that haven’t just relied on cheap labour, that have originated in either China or India in the last 500 years?

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Singapore has done a very good job of imitating the best aspects of European civilisation without the bad parts. And that’s with a multiracial population which usually means things don’t go well. It shows what can be achieved with the right attitude.

T Bone
T Bone
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy JS

Right but it’s a short-lived country of 5 million people living in an effective one-party government. If you flush a country with Capital and contain dissidents you can do great things…temporarily.

T Bone
T Bone
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy JS

Right but it’s a short-lived country of 5 million people living in an effective one-party government. If you flush a country with Capital and contain dissidents you can do great things…temporarily.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

European civilisation has certainly been an unimaginable force for good in recent centuries (though from the viewpoint of most of the remaining world, until a few decades back, the positive impact of European science was more than offset by the negative impact of colonialism – both European and “other”, though the latter is not politically correct to mention).

And there were certain unique aspects driving it – the concepts of law, rationality, scientific approach, merit.
it is genuinely a pity, and a serious negative for humanity, that Europe is turning it’s back on those founding principles.
However, I would suggest the impact is going to be less severe now, because those concepts have become much more broadly accepted and disseminated.

What is probably forgotten that European “civilisation” has lagged behind Asian cultures (China, India, Persia) for pretty much all of history except for the last few centuries. In medicine, astronomy, maths, philosophy, mechanical inventions. Regions like South Africa, despite the desperate attempts by Wakandists, never amounted to much. But China and increasingly India are going to pick up on terms of contributions to science and human progress.
And you already see that here in Western countries already, if you go to a STEM or medicine class, and observe the ethnic mix.
The one thing that I think would be lost, and is unique to western countries, is a culture of risk taking, humour and irreverence towards authority. That is a big part of Western “civilisation” and not as easily replicated.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Singapore has done a very good job of imitating the best aspects of European civilisation without the bad parts. And that’s with a multiracial population which usually means things don’t go well. It shows what can be achieved with the right attitude.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

I think, what is becoming abundantly clear, is that European ‘civilisation’ is not random chance, and that it didn’t come without sacrifice, hard work, and a fair bit of luck. It didn’t ‘just’ happen, by accidental and, given a bit of lipstick (You can give a pig lipstick, but it’s still a pig), or the facets of Western European institutions doesn’t necessarily, and the odds are probably not good, turn a country into that European success story. European success is not a veneer, it is more than a bunch of institutions, or laws, it is a journey that has been traveled (somewhat erratically) over a couple of thousand years. It can’t just be ‘smeared’ ‘liberally’ hoping that it will hide the ‘sometimes’ savage teeth and claws of the places it imposes itself upon, whatever the intentions.
I’m not saying that European culture and civilisation is perfect, or that it can’t take lessons from elsewhere, far from it, but, possibly, in much the same way we look back on the Roman or Ancient Greek worlds, our descendants might also muse, in centuries to come, at our hubris, and complacency at what we had.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Lewis
John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

“certainly not the impressionable President Cyril Ramaphosa, who drifts like kelp in the coastal currents of the Western Cape seas”
Amidst a pretty grim piece of reading, that is a lovely turn of phrase.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

True. You instantly picture it in your mind’s eye: the epitome of a good metaphor. One that seems equally applicable to PMs Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson, unfortunately.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

True. You instantly picture it in your mind’s eye: the epitome of a good metaphor. One that seems equally applicable to PMs Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson, unfortunately.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

“certainly not the impressionable President Cyril Ramaphosa, who drifts like kelp in the coastal currents of the Western Cape seas”
Amidst a pretty grim piece of reading, that is a lovely turn of phrase.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago

This line from fourth to last paragraph:

…a self-induced crisis: panicked, clumsy, shortsighted, self-serving, and harmful. Inevitably, it ends in farce or tragedy… 

…this seems to be (only slightly out of context) a fair summing up of black-dominated governance throughout Africa and beyond. Our ever-virtuous advocates of equity should be careful what they wish for.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago

This line from fourth to last paragraph:

…a self-induced crisis: panicked, clumsy, shortsighted, self-serving, and harmful. Inevitably, it ends in farce or tragedy… 

…this seems to be (only slightly out of context) a fair summing up of black-dominated governance throughout Africa and beyond. Our ever-virtuous advocates of equity should be careful what they wish for.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Well surprise, surprise!

I seem to recall that when the BBC’s Fergal Keane( aka ‘the voice of misery’ *) was covering the Independence celebrations with his saccharine commentary, many in my Club said it would “end in tears” and so it has proved!

Four centuries of ‘white’ progress all but destroyed in a mere thirty years, and for what?

(* Closely rivalled by Ms Orla Guerin it must be said.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Keane is sub pond life

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Keane is sub pond life

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Well surprise, surprise!

I seem to recall that when the BBC’s Fergal Keane( aka ‘the voice of misery’ *) was covering the Independence celebrations with his saccharine commentary, many in my Club said it would “end in tears” and so it has proved!

Four centuries of ‘white’ progress all but destroyed in a mere thirty years, and for what?

(* Closely rivalled by Ms Orla Guerin it must be said.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Oooh… I thought that South Africa was a booming democracy, and like the rest of Africa in the forefront of industrialpower, culture, learning, academe, medical science, finance, manufacturing, and criss crossed by state of the art trains and roads? Surely it is racist not to believe this?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Oooh… I thought that South Africa was a booming democracy, and like the rest of Africa in the forefront of industrialpower, culture, learning, academe, medical science, finance, manufacturing, and criss crossed by state of the art trains and roads? Surely it is racist not to believe this?

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
1 year ago

“Firstly, the ANC will stick to its catastrophic redistributive economic policies rather than pursuing growth.”
Well they were originally communists, sponsored by the USSR when it existed.
Any European heritage South Africans should leave (even if their ancestors went there in the 1600s), as it’s difficult to see them being anything other than scapegoats and targets when SA implodes.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

Go where? The US southern border?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Perhaps Panama?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

My cousin is going there… I will take my chances here rather than going to Panama. It is all a balance of age and money. It is too easy to say just leave.
Further, the chance of the new ‘health’ initiative actually coming to pass is considered unlikely. This is major posturing before a general election and they have to jump through hoops to get this passed. As for expediting – they have zero chance. If this comes to fruition it is time to drink the kool-aid.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lesley van Reenen
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Texas?
A couple of my friends left S A a few years ago and headed for Australia! A big mistake as it turned out
.
.far, far too WOKE!

So now they are safely ensconced in Texas, USA.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

I do want the ocean
. And I’m not sure the US would want me anyway.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago

NZ – the only sensible choice….

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago

NZ – the only sensible choice….

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

Texas isn’t assured. Cities are all blue.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

I do want the ocean
. And I’m not sure the US would want me anyway.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

Texas isn’t assured. Cities are all blue.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Texas?
A couple of my friends left S A a few years ago and headed for Australia! A big mistake as it turned out
.
.far, far too WOKE!

So now they are safely ensconced in Texas, USA.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

My cousin is going there… I will take my chances here rather than going to Panama. It is all a balance of age and money. It is too easy to say just leave.
Further, the chance of the new ‘health’ initiative actually coming to pass is considered unlikely. This is major posturing before a general election and they have to jump through hoops to get this passed. As for expediting – they have zero chance. If this comes to fruition it is time to drink the kool-aid.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lesley van Reenen
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

A lot have already left to go Australia and the UK – doubtless also the US. If we are still to have any choice in who we allow into this country, I’d put these people pretty high up the list – generally hard-working, honest, no nonsense types not afraid to have to start again in a new country and not expecting handouts.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You have to have claim to ancestry, or have loads or cash. Easier to bob in on a boat.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You have to have claim to ancestry, or have loads or cash. Easier to bob in on a boat.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Latin America, or anywhere that places a value on honest, solid, skilled, hardworking citizens.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Perhaps Panama?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

A lot have already left to go Australia and the UK – doubtless also the US. If we are still to have any choice in who we allow into this country, I’d put these people pretty high up the list – generally hard-working, honest, no nonsense types not afraid to have to start again in a new country and not expecting handouts.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Latin America, or anywhere that places a value on honest, solid, skilled, hardworking citizens.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Brian Kullman
Brian Kullman
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

In general it is only the young who leave when their future looks grim. The old lack the energy to start anew, and have financial ties (or handcuffs) to their current circumstances. Once established, the young may reach back and gather in older family members.

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

It is a crime that these people are not given priority status as refugees. They should be at the front of any immigration queue.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

Go where? The US southern border?

Brian Kullman
Brian Kullman
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

In general it is only the young who leave when their future looks grim. The old lack the energy to start anew, and have financial ties (or handcuffs) to their current circumstances. Once established, the young may reach back and gather in older family members.

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Marsh

It is a crime that these people are not given priority status as refugees. They should be at the front of any immigration queue.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
1 year ago

“Firstly, the ANC will stick to its catastrophic redistributive economic policies rather than pursuing growth.”
Well they were originally communists, sponsored by the USSR when it existed.
Any European heritage South Africans should leave (even if their ancestors went there in the 1600s), as it’s difficult to see them being anything other than scapegoats and targets when SA implodes.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Most of this piece is depressingly true, but I will add the caveat that the USA, for example, is no longer a shining example of a democracy with fabulous human rights. It is all theatre.

Arthur G
Arthur G
1 year ago

Not what we once were, but still a damn sight better that 95% of countries.

Arthur G
Arthur G
1 year ago

Not what we once were, but still a damn sight better that 95% of countries.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Most of this piece is depressingly true, but I will add the caveat that the USA, for example, is no longer a shining example of a democracy with fabulous human rights. It is all theatre.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 year ago

As we are, they once were. As they are, we will be.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Momento mori.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Momento mori.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 year ago

As we are, they once were. As they are, we will be.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Jeez, it’s a comprehensive economic and social catastrophe. Like the country formerly known as Great Britain, but slightly worse.
Well what did people expect the result of ending white rule to be? It’s not as if 30 years of post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa hadn’t provided the template, 20 or 30 times over.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Jeez, it’s a comprehensive economic and social catastrophe. Like the country formerly known as Great Britain, but slightly worse.
Well what did people expect the result of ending white rule to be? It’s not as if 30 years of post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa hadn’t provided the template, 20 or 30 times over.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago

Is there any way to determine if the average black South African was happier, healthier, more satisfied with life, under apartheid or under the ANC?

gordon markey
gordon markey
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

About 15 yrs ago whilst on hols in SA I bought a local paper up in Camps Bay that had done a poll that said 45% of black people thought they were better off under apartheid. An appalling indightment of the illiterate and incompetent ANC. All decent people in SA should rally round the genuine liberal anti corruption parties and vote them in. Inter-alia, there should be integrated schooling and housing and no more reference to “black” “white” “coloured” people. Just humans , working hard to get a potentially fantastic country out of the ANC gutter.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  gordon markey

ha ha! Serves them right!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  gordon markey

ha ha! Serves them right!

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

He was certainly safer from crime under Apartheid, in the round, and better fed and housed.

gordon markey
gordon markey
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

About 15 yrs ago whilst on hols in SA I bought a local paper up in Camps Bay that had done a poll that said 45% of black people thought they were better off under apartheid. An appalling indightment of the illiterate and incompetent ANC. All decent people in SA should rally round the genuine liberal anti corruption parties and vote them in. Inter-alia, there should be integrated schooling and housing and no more reference to “black” “white” “coloured” people. Just humans , working hard to get a potentially fantastic country out of the ANC gutter.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

He was certainly safer from crime under Apartheid, in the round, and better fed and housed.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago

Is there any way to determine if the average black South African was happier, healthier, more satisfied with life, under apartheid or under the ANC?

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

Excellent article.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

Excellent article.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

There have been a few articles at Unherd about South Africa, and they all amount to the same thing: South Africans will soon pine for the luxury of Zimbabwe.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

There have been a few articles at Unherd about South Africa, and they all amount to the same thing: South Africans will soon pine for the luxury of Zimbabwe.

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago

Yet another well thought out article that demonstrates that the zenith of African history was the period of European colonialism. The question is how many of these do we need to read before we realize that, with open borders, we are looking into our own future. Oh, and btw, that guy in the photo is probably singing their de-facto national anthem “Kill the White Farmer” which was just recently ruled NOT to be hate speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6NJitdq8Bk

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago

Yet another well thought out article that demonstrates that the zenith of African history was the period of European colonialism. The question is how many of these do we need to read before we realize that, with open borders, we are looking into our own future. Oh, and btw, that guy in the photo is probably singing their de-facto national anthem “Kill the White Farmer” which was just recently ruled NOT to be hate speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6NJitdq8Bk

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

The ‘colonialism = BAD!’ line of argument is shallow and of no value to discussion (as distinct from political debate). In the modern context its orientation is anti-European and therefore racist. What about the earlier colonisation of southern Africa by Bantu people out of the Congo basin during the centuries before European colonisation commenced? These Bantu colonisers displaced and wiped out the indigenous Khoi San bushman peoples who’d populated the land from time immemorial (and whose remnants lead a harsh existence in the Kalahari desert where nobody else wished to settle). At least the Khoi San peoples left behind a visual record of their lives in their former savannah homelands in the form of exquisite rock art.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

The ‘colonialism = BAD!’ line of argument is shallow and of no value to discussion (as distinct from political debate). In the modern context its orientation is anti-European and therefore racist. What about the earlier colonisation of southern Africa by Bantu people out of the Congo basin during the centuries before European colonisation commenced? These Bantu colonisers displaced and wiped out the indigenous Khoi San bushman peoples who’d populated the land from time immemorial (and whose remnants lead a harsh existence in the Kalahari desert where nobody else wished to settle). At least the Khoi San peoples left behind a visual record of their lives in their former savannah homelands in the form of exquisite rock art.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
1 year ago

A great reflection, difficult times ahead for South Africa…

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
1 year ago

A great reflection, difficult times ahead for South Africa…

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago

Shebeen = pub according to google. I think we may see a color revolution sponsored by the CIA if the elections don’t go the way the U.S. wants.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

Or ‘The Eagle and Child’ perhaps?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

Perhaps but we are stretched thin with our own upheavals. We are imploding.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

Or ‘The Eagle and Child’ perhaps?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob C

Perhaps but we are stretched thin with our own upheavals. We are imploding.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago

Shebeen = pub according to google. I think we may see a color revolution sponsored by the CIA if the elections don’t go the way the U.S. wants.