By Henry George*
The rise of Nelson Mandela and the ANC in 1994 and the end of the malevolence of apartheid in South Africa was meant to usher in a new era of social justice and racial equality in a nation in a continent that had never known either.
There were great hopes for the future, with many sure that the creation of a political ecosystem that relied on democracy and the removal of discriminatory laws and regulations would be a sure-fire recipe for success, which would be fair to each group on South Africa and would be guaranteed to lift up those who had been underrepresented politically and who had underperformed economically.
To say that this has not happened is an understatement. The rulers who govern South Africa today are classic examples of the archetypal ‘extractive elite’, who use the power of their office to extract power, prestige, influence and wealth for themselves and their close associates, be it family, friends or loyal politicians. It is political tribalism with an added layer of acquisitive moral corruption. And the people it hurts most are of course those the ANC claims to stand for.
The ANC has consistently promised economic prosperity and social justice since 1994. It had delivered neither. South Africa today is in a worse position than it worse position than it was 23 years ago. It should surprise no-one; when Marxism (as the ANC avowedly is) meets racial demagoguery it is never a recipe for success, for anyone, whatever their skin-colour. The gains made in giving the black South African population its political rights and extending to them their inherent natural rights – like freedom of movement and association – have been vastly overshadowed by increasing economic stagnation – due in no small part to the mandatory quota system imposed on employers – and decline, the decline of the country’s infrastructure which has led to protests over poor sanitation and drinking water and an increasingly unreliable electricity supply, the decline of its political institutions, the massive rise in crime and political incompetence and corruption and the massive drop in life expectancy.
To direct the increasing protests away from its own pathetic failures, the Zuma-run ANC scapegoats the large numbers of migrants in South Africa from other African countries looking for work. Attacks on black migrant workers have been on-going and increasing for over 2 years now. Added to this, the white minority have also felt the effects of the rising social tensions and the racially motivated scapegoating policies and rhetoric of South Africa’s governing party, with many who can afford it now living in veritable fortresses in an attempt to mitigate the greatly increased risk of deadly home invasions.
Mandela’s dream of a harmonious and utopian post-racial nation, if it was ever as real as many hoped, is now dead, and has been for some time. The issue of crime alone is enough to consign all the hopes of the 90’s to the landfill of history. If the sanctity placed on an individual’s life is the barometer by which we measure how civilised a society is, then South Africa now falls far short. John Simpson admitted a while back that South Africa was (and is) so violent that it was tied with Iraq and Colombia for one of the most violent nations on earth. It became so violent that the ANC imposed a blackout on the release of crime statistics in order that its credibility as a government whose first duty to its people is to protect them from crime would not be undermined. The fact that this action had the opposite effect points to the ineptitude of the people in power. Statistics are now released once a year, and even then it is hard to gauge just how bad the levels of different types of crime are.
First, one must ignore the SAPS’s (South Africa Police Service) tactic of playing down the levels of crime by comparing low-crime rate areas in South Africa with high crime-rate areas in other countries. One example is that of comparing Pretoria with Washington D.C.. Back in 2001, the BBC ran a story on the shocking rise in baby rapes, a fact that would be awful enough on its own if it weren’t for the fact that a woman is raped in South Africa every 26 seconds. Meanwhile, this estimate provided by the People Opposing Women Abuse group is disputed by the SAPS, who says it is more like 36 seconds. It is estimated that 40% of women will be raped in their lifetimes, that only 1 in 4 rapes are reported, and that 14% of those charged of child rape are convicted, while for adult rape the rate drops to 3%. As an aside, the phenomenon of child gang-rape has been given the sobriquet of “Jackrolling”. Western feminists, where are you?
The homicide rate meanwhile is just as shocking. From April 2004 to March 2005, 18,793 people were murdered in South Africa (population at the time 43 million). In the “high-crime” United States (then population of 299,398,00016) the country saw 16,740 homicides. Put another way, South Africa had sixty homicides per 100,000 people; the US approximately six. To add an extra layer of context, the Sharpeville Massacre of blacks, by police, protesting the pass laws in 1960 saw 69 people gunned down. That number of people was almost equal to those killed every day from 2004-05. The murder rate then dropped slightly (nothing to be celebrated here) but shot up again last year: in the twelve months to March 2016, there were 18,673 homicides, a rise of 4.9% over the previous year, up from 17,805 murders. This equates to over 51 murders a day last year.
The picture could be worse, however. In a 2003 report, Robert McCafferty of the United Christian Action has said that Interpol had pegged South Africa’s murder rate at “114.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants,” around twice those released by the SAPS. In 1995 and 1996, Interpol counted 54,298 annual homicides to the SAPS’s 26,883, a discrepancy of 27,415 murders, a not insignificant gap if accurate. It must be stated however that these statistics are from 2003, and of course are subject to change over time (although the overall trend is upwards with a few troughs rather than downwards with a few spikes), while the claim of underreporting to this extent needs to be further checked out. However, I’ve not seen anything that directly disputes these figures, which I suppose is because they’ve been ignored. In any event, if this underreporting continues today, then the levels of violent crime in South Africa could be much worse. Again, where are Western liberals? Do they not care about black people dying in these numbers? The fact is that when asked in a 2001 survey by the Human Sciences Research Council about their feelings of safety, 70% of respondents said they felt less safe than before 1994. The ANC government has failed its voters, and has betrayed them by sacrificing their lives for continued political power.
The situation could yet worsen further. The amount of racial animosity, both against foreign blacks and against whites is on the rise. The man mainly responsible for South Africa’s descent into increasing racial animosity is Julius Malema, former leader of the ANC youth-wing. The leader of the almost farcically-misnamed Economic Freedom Fighters has been in the process of building up his own power base by appealing to all those left behind by the ANC’s incompetent and corrupt misrule. From Malema himself we learn that “This country is still in the hands of white people… They have been enjoying themselves because they always owned our land… We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now. What we are calling for is the peaceful occupation of the land and we don’t owe anyone an apology for that… White minorities be warned. We will take our land. It doesn’t matter how. It’s coming, unavoidable. The land will be taken by whatever means necessary [emphasis mine].” His use of “for now” is crucial, as it basically means “get ready for violent action in the near future”. This ramping up of rhetoric never ends well for anyone, whatever their race.
To shore up his position, Zuma has joined in and thrown his support behind the EFF’s economically suicidal (and immoral) proposal to expropriate what remains of the white-owned farmland without compensation – even though no-one is sure of what race are the owners of the 78% of private land, according to the independent Institute of Race Relations – leading to warnings that he risks a race-war if he pushes the required legislation through. In response to this, the head of the Boer Afrikaner Volksraad, Adnreis Breytenbach said that his organisation – which has 40,000 members – would take expropriation of land without compensation as a “declaration of war”. “We are ready to fight back”, he said, “we need urgent mediation between us and the government”. “If this starts, it will turn into a racial war which we want to prevent”. The fact that white farmers are being culled at a rate of, by some estimates, 130 per 100,000 has lead to the deaths of between 1,701-3,000 farmers since 1994 and has worsened the situation considerably.
This legislation would require that all the black parties unite to push it through, something Zuma has been calling for, which may offer some slim reassurance to the optimists among you given that he could fail. And yet, Zuma represents the mainstream opinion and a relatively moderate voice (if you can believe it). To understand how crazy the intellectual atmosphere in South Africa is, one need only consider the ideas of Chris Malikane, professor of economics at University of the Witwatersrand, who is an advisor to the country’s Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba.
Malikane has called for “expropriation of white monopoly capitalist establishments such as banks, insurance companies, mines and other monopoly industries.” He did admit “that this country will plunge [into crisis] and become like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.” But obviously this is a price worth paying for the glory of the revolution, as he asked, “Did you think to transform is going to be nice? We need a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution. Otherwise, to achieve what we want to achieve, we need to go that route [take up arms]. Let’s try two-thirds. I don’t like war.” The end of that statement is beyond parody because everything the Marxist revolutionaries in power have been doing is making a horrific race war more likely by the day.
None of this is helpful or conducive to avoiding mass violence. As a result of their Marxist collectivist heritage, those in the ANC and other parties are fully invested in economic collectivism, a failing which also extends to the race-based collectivism on show in South Africa today. This form of race-based collectivism makes it easier to find a scapegoat, and to avoid the nuance of differences within the white population that would negate the racial guilt associated with being a white South African.
For example, a large minority of white South Africans never voted for the apartheid National Party, while liberal anti-apartheid parties were represented in the government, campaigning to the end the racially discriminatory system. In 1948, the National Party lost the popular vote by a large margin, only winning because of South Africa’s first-past-the-post system.
Added to this, large numbers of white South Africans supported the ending of apartheid and the inclusion of black South Africans in the political and social life of the country. Let us also not forget that the generation of South Africans who’ve come along after 1994 never lived under apartheid, and most never supported or condoned it. Why should they be tarred with the same racially-collectivist brush? I would argue that it is because it would be a betrayal of the ANC’s (and co.) Marxist roots and would involve real self-reflection on the part of the ANC (and co.) as to why their country is doing so poorly, and they can’t stand the idea that they are responsible for South Africa’s decline since 1994. Civilised societies blame individuals for a crime, not whole groups. This is yet another way in which the government has failed its people, both black and white.
The ending of apartheid presented an opportunity to create a country where race became a consideration consigned to history. This has not happened. It would not be too much too argue that South Africa is now in a worse position than it was before 1994 or at any time since, economically, politically and socially. The violence continues to escalate, both within the various black communities, against black migrants, and against the white population. This situation has been made worse by the collectivist nature of the government, who when shown the utter failure of their incompetent Marxist economic plans in the form of high unemployment and virtually no tax base for their welfare and other payments, turned instead to racial demagoguery to distract their supporters from the reality of their plight. South Africa had the chance to be a beacon for the rest of the continent; instead it squandered the opportunity and is now on the precipice of mass racial violence.
About the author:
*Henry George studied for a History BA at Royal Holloway, University of London. He then studied for a War Studies MA at King’s College London, focusing on ISIS inspired terrorism and Fourth Generation Warfare for his dissertation. He also blogs here, focusing on issues surrounding identity politics, political philosophy, free speech and cultural issues broadly linked to the West’s decline. He can be reached on Twitter at @intothefuture45.
This article was published by Bombs and Dollars