The ‘hidden hands’ collude not only to steal excessive amounts of money from us, the taxpayers, but also to prevent progress. Oscar van Heerden explains why this need for subversion and sedition.
“The ANC is a victim of its own success.”
These are the famous words of Jacob Zuma, and I agree. I want to address the issue of the “counter-revolution” of the transformation project in South Africa. But before this, I told myself that I was not going to respond to a recent article by RW Johnson, but suffice it to say that it is a crude caricature and full of falsehoods.
In this regard, I will just say this: all post-apartheid indices indicate that we as South Africans are doing better than we have in the last 50 years. And no, nothing was better under apartheid, Mr. Johnson, nothing.
I guess when you say things were better under apartheid, you mean only white people. The lights were on because it was for whites only. Large swaths of black townships were in the dark, good sir.
I repeat, all the indices tell a different story, including education. Yes, education is much better than it was under the 17 different education departments of apartheid. When you say better under apartheid, do you take bantustans into account?
Or do you mean just white South Africa that had all these good things and the lights stayed on? Don’t blacks read books? How racist of you, Mr. Johnson. I’m getting emotional anyway, hence my decision not to fully engage Johnson’s outright falsehoods.
This majority black government inherited a massive deficit and led the country into surplus territory. This ANC and other liberation organizations secured universal suffrage for our people, periodic elections, a Constitution to be proud of, a Bill of Rights, independent media, a judiciary and Chapter 9 institutions, but no, according to RW Johnson, life was so much more. better under apartheid.
I am well aware of the Engineering Council’s State of South Africa’s Infrastructure report and the urgent need for interventions in several areas, but to dismiss the massive infrastructure upgrades and new initiatives in preparation for the 2010 soccer World Cup as a mere flicker on the screen is being fake, to say the least. Billions were allocated and spent, and we still benefit from it today as South Africans. The Gautrain is just one of those examples. Anyway, I just needed to get that out of my mind.
There is much talk these days of an ongoing “counter-revolution” that clearly undermines the progress we have made as a country.
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Former President Thabo Mbeki has reiterated this idea on several occasions, including in the run-up to the 2017 ANC national elective conference in Nasrec. If left unchecked, he warned, our hard-fought achievements will become obsolete.
Now, before many of you say that the ANC is lost in its own Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, I agree that using that concept is outdated. After all, it is reminiscent of the literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. So, for the purpose of today’s discussion, instead of using the term “counter-revolution”, we will rather speak of “hidden hands” of subversion and sedition.
Mark Shaw, director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, says in a recent report that “it is often behind and connect (my emphasis) numerous seemingly disparate criminal incidents that we see taking place in South Africa every day.”
It goes further to say that “South Africa faces a complex and hybrid criminal threat. Having originated in very restricted conditions under apartheid, in three decades, organized crime has spread across the country and forged links around the world.” In other words, as we have become a more open society and embraced the international community of nations, the ANC has exposed us to these new threats.
Were we supposed to remain isolated internationally? Finally, the report states that “organized crime in South Africa ranges from trafficking in heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine to people smuggling, rhino poaching and the stripping of metal from state-owned energy, water and transport companies. pipelines are targets and the unions demand contracts from mining and construction companies, which pay them but do not comply”.
Who are these illegal miners stripping for? I maintain that it is not for their own stomachs. Oh no, it’s for much more prominent players who can export this ill-gotten product. A hidden hand, sure.
Parliament was recently considering passing a bill banning scrap exports and who do you think was seriously opposed to this idea? The European Union of all people as they import scrap metal from South Africa to the tune of billions. Who makes our rail lines if we don’t make it ourselves anymore? Porcelain. Is there a parallel between this fact and the incessant robbery and destruction of our railway infrastructure? Your guest is as good as mine.
“Where are these hidden hands?” I hear you ask. Well, we must ask ourselves the question, what motivates these hidden hands?
The answer is simple – interests.
Both foreign and domestic interests drive this destructive agenda. Foreign interests include foreign governments and international organizations, while national interests include organized crime syndicates, gangs, and corrupt officials in government and the private sector. The Guptas, Angelo Agrizzi, Adriano Mazzotti and Nafiz Modack, to mention a few, are all interested and active players in these hidden hands.
We have observed when cooperation between foreign and domestic interests is carried out to further subvert and engage in seditious activities. Here you just have to go back to Trillian, Bell Pottinger, Bain and many more. They collude not only to steal excessive amounts of money from us, the taxpayers, but also to prevent progress. Because progress, in turn, means stability and order, a bureaucracy with rules and regulations, and they can’t have that now, right? In effect, they are against the transformational agenda in South Africa undertaken by the ANC and other progressive actors. They are countering this revolution.
There is the revolution of independent power producers and the breakup of Eskom. We are seeing the gradual shift away from coal towards a just energy transition worth billions of rand. This is revolutionary. Reactivate our criminal justice system by not interfering with the independence of the National Prosecutor’s Office and our courts and introduce a new investigative arm to deal with corruption cases. This is a revolution.
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We have to ask ourselves, who are these illegal miners mining for? Now we export copper due to the massive cable thefts in our country. How is this allowed? Even our neighbors in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) must also bear the brunt of some responsibility. They are also serving their narrow national interest at the expense of South Africa. This is the point, the revolution, any revolution, must ensure its achievements and successes.
Has the ANC failed to do this, to protect one’s successes? Successes like those highlighted above, such as moving South Africa from deficit to surplus, a Constitution and Bill of Rights admired around the world, reconciliation, anti-racism, reintegration into the international constellation of nations as a respected member in sports, arts, culture and much more. It seems to me that the ANC was able to secure itself and its profits during the years of exile in London, Lusaka, Angola and on many other fronts, but opened up to anyone and everyone when they returned home. Is the ANC a centrifugal force moving away from the center around which the body politic moves?
As I have said many times before, the one phenomenon that we never considered a threat after apartheid and therefore did not prepare for properly was the lure of money. This is the last pillar of this equation. the interests of the individual. The unrelenting struggle for wealth in South Africa.
As Mbeki once again reminded us while delivering the Fourth Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture: “Thus, every day and during every hour of our time out of sleep, the demons embedded in our society, which haunt us every minute, seem to always call to each one of us.” towards an achievable dream and nightmare. With every second that passes, they advise us, with a rhythmic and hypnotic regularity: get rich! Get rich! Get rich! And so it has come to pass that many of us accept that our common natural instinct to escape poverty is nothing more than the other side of the same coin on which are written the words at all costs, get rich!”
Lack of insurance results in death. The opposition party in South Africa is, in fact, within the ANC. Fighting themselves and, in the process, destroying the very ANC that is supposed to advance this very revolution.
Still not convinced that we are dealing here with multiple hidden hands involved in subversion and sedition? The threat is real, it is complex and hybrid. You be the judge.
– Dr. Oscar van Heerden is an International Relations (IR) scholar, where he focuses on International Political Economy, with an emphasis on Africa, and SADC in particular.
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