‘Widespread looting and burning has killed over 100, and wrecked factories, shops and homes, with Indian and whites increasingly the target. Is the country I love, where I spent 30 years of my life, spiralling into racial warfare?‘
High rates of unemployment (70%-plus in many areas), poverty, ill health and the Covid crackdown explain the widespread manifestations of anger and anomie.
Revolutionary movements such as the ANC demand loyalty from the electorate for having defeated the enemy: apartheid. And that loyalty means turning a blind eye to the excesses of the ruling elite’s entitlement to the state’s resources, with which they buy themselves opulent villas, Ferraris and Bentley convertibles, and large farms while millions of the people they promised to set free live in ramshackle wood-and-corrugated-iron shacks in slums, sometimes without toilets, jobs or hope.
But within the ANC, the ruling elite is not a monolith. The tribal divisions run deep. Zuma is a Zulu in a party that accords hegemony to the dominant Xhosa ethnic group. And this subterranean faultline has been the fatal flaw that, since Mandela departed frontline politics in 1999, has seen it struggle to remain united.
Nelson Mandela gave the nation a gift: a non-racial constitutional democracy that enshrined freedom, equality and the rule of law…
Under Mandela, a Xhosa, Zuma the Zulu could always be contained because of Mandela’s stature. The current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, however, has a much more difficult task reining in his predecessor and his considerable Zulu following, partly because he’s a member of the Venda ethnic group, a minor tribe from the northern regions of the country.
These tribal distinctions are further bedevilled by the political factions within the ANC, which were writ large with the jailing of Zuma. Contempt of court is a foreign concept to ordinary people, who are not ignorant of the party’s entrenched culture of corruption across the board. South Africa is poor partly because of the looting of the state treasury for personal enrichment. In this regard, all ANC leaders are culpable.
Every week, another financial scandal erupts, with one of the latest being billions of rands earmarked for Covid vaccines going missing. (as has happened worldwide) This against the backdrop of excess mortality rates that suggest the virus has killed at least 160,000 in South Africa, making it the worst-hit nation on the continent.
That Zuma fleeced South Africa with the help of his businessmen chums, particularly the three Gupta brothers – all of whom protest their innocence, of course, and say the charges are politically motivated – is of no consequence to his minions, although the majority of South Africans were outraged by the scandal.
What they demand is equal justice before the law. ANC officials who destroyed every state-owned enterprise have not been held accountable and are still walking free.
But Zuma’s followers have overplayed their hand with the destruction of property and life. The image of a mother hurling her baby from a burning building set on fire by looters is seared into the global consciousness.
Aware that they have lost the sympathy both of most of the nation and of countries across the globe, Zuma’s ANC resorts to the playbook of turning on old opponents: white and Indian people. Deflection, after all, is the best form of defence.
Propaganda messages abound online, urging comrades that “the revolution has begun” and they must take it “into the white areas and to the next level.”
Others call for “the revolution” to be taken to all parts of the country, demanding: “We need to liberate ourselves from these cronies, who are political puppets and sellouts, who are working as the black face/white skin, who are the political puppets of the white supremacy and white monopoly capital … Our struggle is against white supremacy and black subjugation.”
note ‘An excellent analysis, only that others are calling for the mass murder of whites and Indians.. hopefully just rhetoric‘
While the provenance of some of these is uncertain, there’s no doubt that some high-profile people are inciting violence, including Zuma’s own family.
note.. Julius Malema, of the revolutionary Economic Freedom Fighters has called for calm and condemned as ‘unwise’ the jailing of ex president Zuma, even though it was ‘largely their own long campaign which brought him down’..
Inflammatory rhetoric of a race war, has been countered by the spontaneous emergence of ad hoc middle class multiracial militias, who have been patrolling their neighbourhoods armed with an array of weapons to keep would-be looters at bay.
‘note.. Another cause of the uprising is the Covid pandemic, hyped by the media and plagued by minimal aid, is the hardship and poverty caused by draconian and often illogical lockdown and restrictions. By 15 July 2021 only 6.5% have had any vaccine dose, due first to racist monopoly of limited supplies by the west, and then by ineffective Astra Zenica shots against a local variant, by the withdrawal of the J+J vaccine due to defective US manufacture, and then by the high costs of promised Pfizer stocks...’
..President Ramaphosa ‘deployed 74,000 troops’ during the Covid lockdown in 2020 to enforce regulations; today, as the country burns, there are about 25,000 soldiers on the streets – or at least that’s what the government claims…. but some of its officers have joined in the looting themselves.’
The newly installed King of the Zulus, Misuzulu KaZwelithini, has likened the ongoing violent protests in his region to a “suicide mission that will haunt the poor and vulnerable in the near future.”
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has blamed the rioting and looting on “coordinated criminality.” This reluctance to call the violence what it really is, is emblematic of the president’s pusillanimous leadership since he took office. …..
Post edited from info by Jani Allan, an ex South African writer and talk show host in the US.
‘The history and politics of South Africa make for an explosive and seemingly insoluble confrontation. The fact remains that, in a consumer world of massive western luxury and waste, millions of us have to spend our lives trapped without choices or basic necessities. It is no surprise then that people take the opportunity to riot, and hopefully organise themselves without leaders, sects or tribal nationalism’.