Leon Lemmer: RW Johnson: Die nuwe Suid-Afrika, ‘n nagmerrie

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Dit is moeilik, selfs onmoontlik, om ‘n lys saam te stel van die verliese wat Suid-Afrikaners sedert 1994 gely het. Uit die blanke oogpunt is die verlies van ‘n gemeenskapslewe een van die sake wat my die meeste hinder. Daar was pragtige stede en dorpe met ‘n Europese atmosfeer. Die plattelandse dorpe het hoofsaaklik Afrikanersakeondernemings gehad. Die dorpe was skoon, ordentlike, veilige plekke, grootliks vry van misdaad. Die plaaslike owerheid is deur blankes beheer, bv ‘n eerbare burgemeester en ‘n bekwame, opgeleide stadsklerk of dorpsbestuurder. Elke dorp het grootliks aan homself behoort en sy eie heil uitgewerk. Goeie, bekostigbare, betroubare munisipale dienste is gelewer. Dit was aangenaam om in so ‘n omgewing te woon. Daarna het die hele atmosfeer verander. ‘n Ander manier van dink en doen is deesdae aan die orde van die dag en dit is nie ‘n beter manier nie.

Nadat die land in 1994 mandaatloos aan swartes oorgegee is, het die (midde)stede en dorpe beheer oor hulleself verloor. Enersyds is metropolitaanse gebiede geskep deur middestede en die omliggende gebiede elk onder ‘n enkele owerheid in te dwing. Andersyds is groepe dorpe in makro-munisipaliteite saamgegroepeer. Die hoofmotivering hiervoor was dat daar nêrens in die land ‘n plaaslike owerheid mag wees waar die nie-blankes, veral die swartes, in die minderheid is nie. Die gevolg was dat poste in al die plaaslike owerhede meesal deur onervare en onkundige nie-blankes, veral swartes, verswelg is. Die koste van munisipale bestuur en administrasie het eksponensieel gestyg terwyl die gehalte van die dienste dramaties gedaal het. Die blanke belastingbetalers is die hoofverloorders omdat hulle al hoe meer in ruil vir al hoe minder moet opdok terwyl hulle, danksy FW de Klerk en sy groepie meelopers, geen deurslaggewende beheer oor die verslegtende situasie het nie.

Dit is nie net die plaaslike owerhede wat in die hande van veral swartes beland het nie, maar ook die sentrale en provinsiale regerings. Immigrante stroom meesal onwettig uit veral die res van swart Afrika en die Indiese subkontinent die land binne. Hierdie inkommers is oorwegend ongeskoolde mense vir wie daar plaaslik geen aanvraag bestaan nie. Hulle plak, tree op as bv voertuigwagte, straatsmouse en misdadigers en misbruik gratis mediese en onderwysdienste. Die land het reeds miljoene werkloses wat die staatskas uitput weens toelaes waarop hulle aanspraak maak en as stemvee vir die ANC funksioneer. Tydens die “bevrydingstryd” het die ANC die plaaslike swartes geleer om nie vir munisipale dienste te betaal nie. Die meerendeel van hulle hou vol met hierdie onsosiale, misdadige gedrag terwyl die inkommers met hierdie parasitiese leefwyse akkoord gaan. Die resultaat is ‘n onhoudbare en onvolhoubare situasie. Gewelddadige diensleweringsbetogings deur nie-betalers is ‘n daaglikse verskynsel wat groot skade veroorsaak terwyl daar nie doeltreffend teen hierdie misdadigers opgetree word nie. Die relatief klein groepie belastingbetalers moet ook vir hierdie skade betaal.

Seker geen plattelandse dorp kan meer daarop aanspraak maak dat dit ‘n goedversorgde blanke dorp is nie. Die sakeondernemings het in die hande van veral inkommers beland. Die tradisionele Afrikanerwinkels (met hier en daar ‘n Engelse of Joodse een) het plek gemaak vir bv Somaliese winkels waarin Westerlinge geen behae het nie. Selfs in die middestede en dorpe word daar geplak. Straatslapers is ‘n algemene verskynsel. Die strate en sypaadjies is dikwels onversorg en die paaie wat plekke verbind is vol slaggate. Betroubare, veilige openbare vervoer bestaan feitlik nie. Eie vervoermiddels kan nie eens meer snags veilig in die straat gelaat word nie. Ek onthou ‘n tyd toe motors nie gesluit is nie; toe motors uit gewoonte ongesluit in Adderleystraat in Kaapstad geparkeer is. Private sekuriteitsdienste het toe nie bestaan nie. Daar was bitter min misdaad. ‘n Doeltreffende polisiediens en regspleging het verseker dat enigeen, behalwe misdadigers, geluk onder die son kon vind.

Dit is asof daar geen werklike besef is van die mate waarin die land binne ‘n kwarteeu agteruitgegaan het nie. Dit is asof baie inwoners hulleself probeer wysmaak dat ons omstandighede nie dramaties versleg het nie. Wat veral ontstellend is, is dat dit ook Afrikaanssprekende blankes is wat opportunities en met ‘n groot skeut valsheid voorgee dat al wat nodig is, is dat ons almal die bedenklike owerhede moet onderskraag; dat sodra die amptenare genoeg gesteel en KFC geëet het, hulle gaan lostrek om die nuwe Suid-Afrika “te maak werk” en dat ons almal dan een groot gelukkige familie saam met ons broers en susters in die res van Afrika gaan wees. Een van die opvallendste verskynsels in die swart sektor is die misdaadgeneigdheid, waarvan korrupsie ‘n voorbeeld is. Mense wat hulleself van 1994 af as bekleërs van die hoë morele grond bestempel het, het geblyk opperste misdadigers te wees. Ek dink nie enige blanke het by die intrede van die nuwe Suid-Afrika werklik besef hoe endemies swart misdadigheid op alle vlakke gaan blyk te wees nie. Die tyd toe Hans Strijdom (1893-1958, eerste minister 1954-1958) sy eie posseëls en koppiespelde gebruik en sy ampsmotor nooit vir eie gewin misbruik het nie, voel asof dit ligjare van die hede verwyder is. ‘n ANC-bewind was die laaste ding wat Strijdom sou koester.

Hiermee het ek hoofsaaklik enkele van die sigbare verliese uitgelig wat ons sedert 1994 gely het. Van veel groter belang is die minder sigbare en onsigbare verliese wat Afrikaners aangedoen is. Daar is ‘n onoorbrugbare kloof tussen Afrikaners wat trots op hulle verlede én hulleself is en diegene wat die nuwe bedeling omarm en die skuldkultus aanhang pleks van skuldmoeg en gatvol vir die vyande van die Afrikanerdom te wees. Daar is Afrikanerkultuurverlies weens grondige wantroue in kerkgenootskappe wat die koers byster geraak het; dus van die smalle weg afgedwaal en die breë weg van globalisme van die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad van Kerke en die Wêreldbond van Kerke betree het. Die ongedurigheid van die NG-gemeente Moreletapark met die NG Kerk kan onder meer hieraan toegeskryf word. Die NG Kerk is nie meer ‘n volkskerk nie. Daardie eer kom veel eerder die Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk (APK) toe.

Daar is die smart wat geradbraakte Afrikaans veroorsaak en die afskaling en selfs uitroeiing van Afrikaans in skole en aan universiteite. Daar is liggaamlike en geestelike vryheid en selfbeskikking wat deur Afrikaners koerster word maar waarop tans ernstig inbreuk gemaak word. Blanke woongebiede en eie skole is die minimum vereistes vir Afrikanerselfbeskikking. Inklusiwiteit, diversiteit en multi-kulturaliteit werk vernietigend in op Afrikaners se lewensruimte. Samevattend kan gesê word dat daar sedert 1994 ‘n hartverskeurende verlies aan (Europese) beskawing en selfs van doodgewone ordentlikheid, is. Deesdae dien brutaliteit as plaasvervanger vir beskawing. Gelukkig is daar steeds diegene wat kultureel onoorwinlik suiwer Afrikaners bly met onuitroeibare Afrikanerskap diep in hulle gees en hart en niere en wat hulle Afrikanerwees ook spontaan na buite uitleef.

Daar is veral twee Engelstaliges wat ‘n meer realisties blik op die nuwe Suid-Afrika as baie van die Afrikaanse outeurs bied. Die een is Anthea Jeffery, wat uitstekende boeke soos People’s war (2009), The truth about the Truth Commission (1999) en BEE: Helping or hurting (2014) gepubliseer het. Die ander een is RW Johnson met voortreflike boeke soos South Africa’s brave new world (2010), How long will South Africa survive (2015/2017) en The African university? (2012). Laasgenoemde handel oor die Universiteit KwaZulu-Natal.

Malegapuru William Makgoba, rektor 2004-2014, het gepoog om kennis van Zoeloe van al die studente en personeellede te verwag; klaarblyklik om blankes en Indiërs sover moontlik uit te werk. In sy jongste boek (kyk hier onder) skryf Johnson: Makgoba “had all but destroyed the University of KwaZulu-Natal (p 61). ‘n Mens kan jou afvra: Waarom het die eens Afrikaanse universiteite nie soortgelyke moed openbaar deur eentalige Engelse studente en personeellede uit te sluit nie? Die hoofrede hiervoor is dat ten gunste van swartes gediskrimineer word. Die nuwe Suid-Afrika het nie ‘n era van gelykheid en nie-diskriminasie ingelui nie. “Aspiring academics or researchers would find that many universities had a ‘blacks only’ appointments policy” (88), wat niks anders as blatante rassediskriminasie is nie. Die Wikipedia-artikel oor Makgoba bied interessante leesstof.

Sowel Jeffery as Johnson het die tradisionele liberalisme as vertrekpunt en veroordeel apartheid met oorgawe, bv: “Apartheid was a dreadful, inhumane, and degrading system, but it was a long way short of slavery” (160-161). Johnson verwys sonder meer na “the nonsense of Bantustans” (201). Terselfdertyd is Jeffery en Johnson egter uitstekende waarnemers van die onverkwiklikhede en ongeregtighede van die nuwe Suid-Afrika, bv: “Ironically, the West and East Africans who throng to South Africa today have little or no sense of victimhood and frequently comment on how curious it is that black South Africans exhibit this trait so strongly, together with an accompanying sense of entitlement” (161). Die veronregting en bevoordeling van Amerikaanse swartes word deur die plaaslike swartes nageboots terwyl hulle en hulle voorsate nooit eens slawe was nie. Met verwysing na werkloosheid, wat tans die lot van minstens 10 miljoen in Suid-Afrika is (terwyl toegelaat word dat inkommers die land binnestroom), het Joan Robinson (1903-1983), ‘n marxistiese ekonoom, geskryf: “The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited” (161).

Fighting for the dream

RW Johnson (gebore in 1943) se jongste boek is Fighting for the dream (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2019, xii, 244p, R275; Amazon Kindle $12,18). Die hooftema is: Die 1994-droom het ‘n nagmerrie geword. “What this book is about is how it came to this. What are the real problems? And what will be necessary to fight for the dream?” (p 13). Die outeur was ‘n dosent aan die Universiteit Oxford en het soos baie ANC-kamerade in 1995 na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer, waar hy mettertyd al hoe meer ontnugter is. Johnson skryf vloeiend en onderhoudend. Die boek lees maklik en bestaan uit kort hoofstukke met onderhoofde. Die outeur is buitengewoon goed ingelig oor wat in Engels oor Suid-Afrika gepubliseer word.

Let op hierdie ná 1994 gevonde realisme: “The uncomfortable truth has to be faced that the Afrikaner Nationalists were quite correct in their designation of their opponent: they pointed to the disasters wrought by African nationalists elsewhere and argued that if the ANC was allowed to come to power in South Africa, the results would be the same. For obvious reasons a large section of international opinion found it convenient to accept the ANC claims of exceptionalism. Nobody [?] today would argue that apartheid was ever justifiable, but it is a bitter truth for liberals in South Africa today (myself included) that in this respect, at least, their National Party opponents have been vindicated” (101). “The ANC has been in power for a quarter of a century and its policies have resulted in failure on almost every front” (116).

Vir ingeligte lesers behoort baie van die inligting in die boek bekend te wees, maar dit word oortuigend en gesaghebbend in duidelike kontekste geplaas. Johnson is glad nie (meer) ‘n bewonderaar van die ANC nie. Hy kam al die staatshoofde sedert 1994 af, insluitende Nelson Mandela en Cyril Ramaphosa. Oor Mandela skryf Johnson: “South Africa’s downward slide began under him” (16). Suid-Afrika het ‘n “formerly developed country” geword (86). Die buitensporig groot kabinet word beskryf as “a forum where ignorance, incompetence and ideological blindness jostled to produce often extraordinary arguments and proposals” (3). “This was Mandela’s most damaging legacy: an overlarge and massively overpaid and underskilled bureaucracy” (18). “The ANC had always been squeamish about disciplining its own, so when the job had to be done it was invariably whites or Indians in the ANC who had to chair the disciplinary committee. In the case of Malema, the job was given to Derek Hanekom” (4).

Johnson verduidelik hoe onseker Ramaphosa se posisie in die ANC is. Die ANC-parlementslede word deur die ANC-party uit Luthuli-huis bestuur. Die sekretaris-generaal van die ANC, Ace Magashule, en sy adjunk, Jessie Duarte, is Zuma-ondersteuners en eintlik teenstanders van Ramaphosa. Verder is die lojaliteit van Ramaphosa se adjunk, David Mabuza, onseker. Mabuza was ‘n Zuma-ondersteuner maar het tydens die 2017-ANC-kongres sy steun aan Ramaphosa toegesê. Dit was heel moontlik ‘n opportunistiese skuif. In die topses in die ANC-uitvoerende komitee is daar nou geen Zoeloes nie, terwyl die helfte Zoeloes was in Zuma se termyn (54). As ‘n Venda-stamlid kan Ramaphosa nie op substansiële stamsteun aanspraak maak nie.

“Every possible sort of manipulation and vote-buying was possible in the election of delegates to the ANC conference” (6). Ook tydens die konferensie kan afgevaardigdes geïntimideer en stemme gekoop word. “Undeniably many votes were bought and many more were rigged” (52). Dit is amper ‘n wonderwerk dat Ramaphosa met 179 stemme gewen het; des te meer omdat Nomvula Mokonyane, “one of his [Zuma’s] strongest supporters, was made head of elections for the conference” (53). “Ramaphosa has no control over Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters office, and also is at the mercy of shifting majorities at the party’s NEC [National Executive Committee] meetings” (185).

Oor die ANC se wapenskandaal skryf Johnson: “There were recurrent reports that he [Thabo Mbeki] received $20 million. It is highly probable that a considerable cast of lesser characters received pay-offs and that the deal also paid for the ANC’s election campaign in 1999, thus solving a major problem for Mbeki” (22). “There is little doubt that the vast amounts of money spent by government departments and SOEs [state-owned enterprises] in ‘wasteful and irregular expenditure’, noted every year by auditors, played a considerable role in funding the party, as well as filling many other private pockets” (23). “The ANC leadership had no objection to corruption in itself, only to its political consequences” (28). Korrupsie is ‘n endemiese probleem in ANC-geledere (28). “As much as R100 billion may have been stolen through state capture by the Guptas and others” (87). Sylvia Lucas, wat in 2014 die premier van die Noord-Kaap geword het, staan bekend as “‘the Fast Food Premier’, spending R53 000 on fast food in her first ten weeks in office” (47).

Die vakbond Cosatu is soos die Suid-Afrikaanse Kommunistiese Party ‘n alliansievennoot van die ANC. Vakbonde is van die hoofstruikelblokke in die pad van ‘n vreedsame, voorspoedige Suid-Afrika. Die ANC-regering het nie die moed of oortuiging om bv buitensporige looneise teen te staan en onnodige poste te verminder nie. “The Eskom workers won a 7.5 per cent increase despite the fact that Eskom was 66 per cent overstaffed and even more overpaid” (76). Daar is 15 000 tot 20 000 onnodige Eskom-“werkers” (208). Die gemiddelde salaris van Eskom-werkers is glo R700 000 per jaar (109), dus R58 000+ per maand. Kan dit werklik die geval wees? Maar ‘n mens kan dieselfde vraag oor die volgende stel: In Februarie 2019 het Eskom se skuld R420 biljoen beloop (150). “Its debt was expected to soar to R600 billion by 2022” (151).

Die buurstate van Suid-Afrika (Angola, Namibië, Zimbabwe en Mosambiek) wat ná 1974 polities onafhanklik geword het, het minstens een kenmerk gemeen: Dit gaan om die vestiging van ‘n welvarende swart opperklas en nie soseer om die lot van die armes te verlig nie. In hierdie opsig is die nuwe Suid-Afrika geen uitsondering nie. “Chiefs everywhere had begun to charge rent on land that had historically always been bestowed free, thus using their power to transform themselves into a wealthy landlord class” (92). Oor BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) word gesê: “The whole emphasis of the policy was bent towards the creation of black fat cats” (92). Daar is in werklikheid “a redistribution process from poor to rich” (83). “The only real attempt at redistribution towards the poor lay in the system of social grants, which at least kept many of the most poverty-stricken from starving. This was largely paid for by the minority of taxpayers” (92). Die groter wordende welvaartsgaping tussen ryk en arm word gerieflikheidshalwe maar valslik aan die eertydse blanke bewind toegedig. Die werkloses het van 3.7 miljoen in 1994 tot 9.6 miljoen in 2018 gestyg (86, 109).

“Effectively South Africa is now run for the benefit of a smaller minority than it was under white rule” (90). Johnson noem die nuwe swart opperklas ‘n “bureaucratic bourgeoisie” (82). “In 1998/99 there were 1.17 million civil servants. By 2014 there were 2.161 million – 455 701 at national level, another 1 118 748 in the nine provincial administrations, 311 361 in local government and 275 851 in other government organisations (though not including SOEs). This was ludicrous overstaffing and featherbedding … by 2018 there were well over 2.2 million civil servants, earning average salaries of R338 000 per annum [R28 000+ per month]… ‘the largest gravy train ever seen in Africa'” (123-124). “Civil-service salaries take up no less than 35 per cent of the national budget, and year after year such workers enjoy inflation-plus increases, even when the economy is not growing” (90). Dit gebeur ook in die res van swart Afrika.

Hierbenewens is daar ook ‘n tradisionele opperklas wat buitensporig baie staatsgeld inpalm: “By 2010 there were no fewer than 13 kings or queens in South Africa’s strange republic. In that year, it was decided to reduce the number to seven, but the pressure to increase that number again would be insistent” (92). Die ANC betuig graag lippediens aan die nuwe demokratiese Suid-Afrika, asof die regering (altyd) doen wat die meerderheid kiesers verlang. In werklikheid is die ANC “a naturally authoritarian movement” (94). Die land sit opgeskeep met “a Soviet-style democratic centralism. The party continued to view its electoral rivals not as opponents but as ‘enemies'” (95).

“The real reason why, despite all the ANC’s averrals [assertions of truth], African nationalism in South Africa has taken an almost exactly similar course as it did in the rest of the continent is that once in power it is driven by the same politically dominant class, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie. Moreover, the explosive factor that drives them far off course is also the same, the almost irresistible (and apparently bottomless) appetite of that class for primary accumulation. The fundamental problem, of course, is that a bureaucratic bourgeoisie is not productive in the way that a commercial and industrial (or even agricultural) middle class is. Because it does not itself generate wealth, it is inevitably parasitic and can achieve its goals only through patronage and corruption” (106). Hierdie geneigdheid tot parasitering verduidelik deels waarom die Ramaphosa-ANC so entoesiasties oor die onteiening van blankes se eiendom sonder vergoeding is. ‘n Ander rede is doodgewone wraaksugtigheid.

Die swartes word deur die ANC as die enigste egte Suid-Afrikaners en Afrikane beskou; dus “the assumption that the whites, Indians and even coloureds were mere settlers, not fully rooted in South African society” (108). Voorheen wou die bruines blank wees en het hulle geroem op moontlike blanke bloed in hulle are. Sedert 1994 probeer talle bruines ter eie bevoordeling om (generies) swart te wees en beklemtoon hulle die mate waarin hulle slawe- en ander swart bloed het. Die onregte en vergrype waaraan hulle blanke voorsate na bewering skuldig is, word hulle gerieflikheidshalwe nie toegereken nie.

“In the quarter-century that followed the ANC’s accession to power, the black middle class grew at great speed. Primarily it was composed of the overpaid workers of the massively overstaffed public sector, particularly its affluent upper ranks, but increasingly a black business class came into existence, usually feeding off state and other public-sector contracts and the preferential procurement laws applied to both public and private entities” (108). Dit is dus nie primêr bv inisiatief, kundigheid en toewyding wat swart sakelui laat slaag en hulle welvarend maak nie, maar blatante ANC-bevoordeling; dus rassediskriminasie ten koste van veral blankes en Asiate.

“Despite the theory that this patriotic bourgeoisie was merely afforcing the principal driver, the working class, it was apparent from the first that the former group was granted an absolute supremacy over the latter. Thus, for example, the forced sale of white farms to black interests invariably led to the loss of large numbers of farmworker jobs as production collapsed on the farms taken over, but usually the bankable asset of the land ended up in the hands of the black elite” (108). “Almost 90 per cent of the farms thus transferred have failed because farming is a highly specialised, competitive and tough business. In fact, relatively few Africans want to be farmers: far more want urban land or land that they can develop or sell for cash. Land is simply a proxy issue for feelings of black dispossession and inequality, feelings that can never be assuaged by any mere legislative proposal” (118).

“An even more clear-cut case [than farms] was the mines, in which successive editions of a Mining Charter compelled higher and higher equity shares (30 per cent by 2018) for black investors. The result was to stifle the mining industry almost completely, and many thousands of mining jobs were lost. Clearly, these lost jobs mattered much less to the ANC than the help they were trying to give to would-be black capitalists” (108-109). Johnson verwys na die ANC se poging “to insert a new and parasitic upper social class – the owners of that 30 per cent equity share – into the existing social structure. In effect, the insertion of this new layer would destroy the profitability of the capital already invested in the mines” (109).

“By insisting on the primacy of the interests of this would-be black bourgeoisie, the ANC guarantees that South Africa will be unable to compete internationally – after all, where else in the world do governments insist that investors simply give away 30 per cent of their equity?” (109-110). “The black middle class is clearly still, in Marx’s terms, only a class for itself – a multitude of individual interests all pushing and manoeuvring for personal advantage” (112). “What was missing was any conception of a national or common good” (112). “It is almost as if the ANC is intent on throttling the economy. Mining and agriculture are, after all, the historic mainstays of the economy and the Mining Charter and EWC [expropriation without compensation] seem almost designed to bring both to a halt” (121).

Vergelyk dié hede met die goeie ou dae. “The group that the ANC and SACP misnamed as the ‘comprador bourgeoisie’ [kapitaliste met buitelandse bande], ie the white business classes, really constituted far more of a ‘patriotic bourgeoisie’. Over many generations the white and Indian business classes had built thousands of productive and lasting businesses, a powerful and independent financial sector, highly successful retail chains that fed and clothed the population and a successful commercial agriculture sector that grew the country’s food. These were deeply rooted institutions that had invested massively in South Africa over the years and had also contributed philanthropically to many schemes and NGO’s with the aim of furthering the national future. They had of course done this for profit and their ranks included the normal number of scoundrels, but their overall achievement was not to be denied” (112).

“That old [white/Afrikaner] ruling class had many sins to its name [?] but over the 84 years since Union in 1910 it built a formidable infrastructure, a developed economy and a series of powerful and efficient institutions – the armed forces, Eskom, Transnet (including a large railway and port system), the civil service, a strong police force, a highly developed water distribution [and roads] system – and much else besides. It was able to do all this because it was a class for itself with a strong solidaristic consciousness of itself. This was crucial, for it ensured that individual or sectional interests within that ruling group were held in check and subordinated to a strong sense of a national interest” (122).

“The new [ANC] ruling elite is a merely bureaucratic bourgeoisie … This group has no settled relationship with the forces of production in the way that a class of farmers or industrialists might have. Instead, it is an artificial creation, existing only on the taxes paid by old productive businesses and the white middle classes, which it resents and despises (though also seeks to emulate). It is pumped up in size and income purely as a matter of political fiat and without any regard to function or utility. Inevitably it is opportunistic, with its members continually seeking to build business careers by means of illicit family companies to which they attempt to divert state procurement. All attempts to prevent such practices have failed and, indeed, they are endemic” (123). “The [black] elite wants power not in order to use it to achieve various policy goals but simply in order to possess it, to be in charge, to get rich and enjoy the perquisites of office” (182).

Aan die begin van die hoofstuk oor die DA (Demokratiese Alliansie) skryf Johnson: “As soon as the organisation grows to encompass all races, one begins to find separate racial caucuses forming” (127). Die DA het ‘n aparte swart koukus wat indruis teen die wese van ‘n (histories) liberale party (129). Aparte koukusse dui daarop dat mense naas gemeenskaplike belange ook groepbelange van ‘n eiesoortige aard het, bv ras-, etniese en kulturele belange. Wat plaaslik en elders (bv in Amerika) gebeur, is dat nie-blankes, veral swartes, die opsie van eie koukusse en verenigings gegun word as uitdrukking van hulle solidariteit, maar as blankes op ‘n soortgelyke manier uitdrukking aan hulle eiebelange gee, word dit as rassisme afgemaak.

Weens algemene stemreg vir volwassenes sedert 1994, met alle stemme wat gelyke waarde het (die stem van die plakker dra dieselfde gewig as dié van die nyweraar – tipies nuwe Suid-Afrika-geregtigheid) is daar die volgende werklikheid waarmee alle politieke partye gekonfronteer word: “South Africa was now and forever an African-majority country” (128). Op grond daarvan het die DA besluit: “To be competitive a party had to have African leaders” (128). Dit is ook waarom die “nie-rassige” ANC nooit iets anders as ‘n swarte as leier sal hê nie. Die noodsaaklikheid van ‘n swart leier druis nie net in teen die ideaal van kleurblindheid nie, maar ook teen die DA se “principle of meritocratic selection for all posts” (128). Die punt is: Sedert 1994 is dit nag vir die plaaslike blankes, met die komplimente van die Nasionale Party se grondwetlike onderhandelaars.

Weens sy ingesteldheid op die steun van swart kiesers het die DA swartes soos Lindiwe Mazibuko, Mamphela Ramphele en Mmusi Maimane voortydig in leierskapposisies gedruk. “It was a textbook case of how accelerated promotion through affirmative action can lead to overconfidence and an overdeveloped ego. For the curious nature of affirmative action is that even those who are most in favour of such a policy are wholly unwillling to believe that they themselves are affirmative action appointees” (130). Dít en die verwysing na “overdeveloped ego” laat my spontaan aan Jonathan Jansen dink. Teen die feite in (wat ek by vorige geleenthede verstrek het) beweer Jansen dat hy suiwer op grond van meriete as opvoedkunde-dekaan aan die Universiteit Pretoria en as rektor van die Universiteit Vrystaat aangestel is. Toets gerus hierdie waarheid: Hoe kleiner die ego, hoe groter die gees en hoe groter die ego, hoe kleiner die gees.

Soos in sy vorige boeke beskou Johnson dit as (feitlik) onafwendbaar dat rommelstatus-Suid-Afrika boedel aan die Internasionale Monetêre Fonds (IMF) en die Wêreldbank sal moet oorgee. “An IMF bail-out looks increasingly likely” (143). Faktore soos gereelde salarisverhogings bo die inflasiekoers, lae produktiwiteit, minimum salarisse, stakings, meer as ‘n dosyn openbare vakansiedae, die behoud van oortollige personeel,* gratis tersiêre onderrig, die dalende landbou-opbrengs waarby al hoe minder boere betrokke is, asook endemiese korrupsie,** gaan die kameel se rug breek. “Just as pools of stagnant water inevitably attract mosquitoes, so in modern South Africa any large pool of capital – amased for whatever purpose, in a bank, trust, pension fund or state account – will attract looters” (146). In ruil vir geldelike hulpverlening sal die IMF vereis dat Suid-Afrika op ‘n gesonde ekonomiese grondslag geplaas moet word. Byvoorbeeld, Argentinië, met ‘n bevolking van 45 miljoen, is deur die IMF verplig om sy kabinet tot tien ministers te verklein. In Suid-Afrika, met ‘n bevolking van 60 miljoen, is daar naas die president en sy adjunk 33 ministers en 31 adjunk-ministers.

[* “The commitment made [by Cyril Ramaphosa] at the jobs summit in October 2018 that there would be no retrenchments at all anywhere in the public sector” (183).

** “Only 33 out of South Africa’s 257 municipalities got a clean audit in 2018” (209).]

“A key objective would be to make South Africa as internationally competitive as possible in order to maximise investment and job creation.* For a start, all taxes on investment would have to go. This would mean the abolition of BEE, of all rules governing racially directed procurement, of the Mining Charter and the various other industry charters, and also of affirmative action. This would doubtless produce some resistance, but once it became clear that these changes would vastly increase the number of jobs, that would soon fade away. South Africa needs to study such African success stories as Rwanda, Mauritius and Ethiopia – none of which allow any of these taxes on investment – and copy them” (164-165). “It would be pointed out that BEE and affirmative action were merely more recent varieties of social favouritism, akin to job reservation under apartheid, and that around the world most other countries had long since abandoned such practices. (The United States is a partial exception, but even there affirmative action is under attack almost everywhere.)” (165).

[* “In the period 2008-2018 South Africa lost 300 000 manufacturing jobs – nearly 15 per cent of the total” (198).]

Die afgelope 30 jaar het die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking verdubbel. Daar is groot werkloosheid, ‘n nypende tekort aan behuising en ook waterskaarste. Desnieteenstaande stroom inkommers die land grootliks ongehinderd binne. “In March 2018 South Africa signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which calls for the free movement of goods, capital and labour throughout the continent, a clear attempt to emulate the formula that has made the EU [European Union] a success. No one can doubt that freer trade and investment across borders would be beneficial, but for South Africa any agreement to a free movement of labour would constitute an almost suicidal triumph of ideology over common sense … if one does nothing, immigration control will be forced in the end through the explosion of xenophobic violence” (166-167).

“Why, for example, are SAA’s [South African Airways] costs per seat-kilometer 53 per cent higher than the average of their international competitors? Why does it cost several times as much to build a kilometer of motorway in South Africa as it does in the USA, despite higher American wages? Why are South African port charges and airport charges among the highest in the world? Why are South Africa’s educational levels among the worst in the world despite one of the highest proportions of GDP [gross domestic product] spent on education?” (209). Waar lê die fout? ‘n Aanduiding van waar die probleem gesoek moet word, kan dalk in ‘n stelling van Nelson Mandela gevind word. Hy het gesê: Suid-Afrika se grootste bate is sy inwoners. Die teenoorgestelde kan waar wees. Is baie Suid-Afrikaners (bv finansieel, maatskaplik) ‘n bate of ‘n las vir die land?

Wie betaal vir die gelag, eintlik ramp, genaamd die nuwe Suid-Afrika? “Only 13 per cent of the population pay income tax, which provides government with 38 per cent of all its revenue. And the wealthiest one per cent of the population pays 61 per cent of all income tax … 80 per cent of all income tax is paid by just three per cent of the population … taxes have increased 25 per cent since 1994, with South Africa now one of the world’s most highly taxed countries … In effect, all this heavy taxation in South Africa has a single purpose – the creation and maintenance of a large bureaucratic elite whose salary levels are 30 to 40 per cent above those for comparable jobs in the private sector … one finds that 36 per cent of all government revenue is spent on the public-service wage bill – a quite crazy figure. And another 17 per cent of the budget is spent on the social grants that essentially serve to keep the poorest from starving or rising in revolt” (204-205).

Al betaal almal koopbelasting (eufemisties belasting op toegevoegde waarde – btw – genoem ) sou dit ‘n veel beter opset wees as net diegene wat inkomstebelasting betaal stemreg het; dus net inwoners wat ‘n substansiële belang in die heil van die land het en moontlik werklik produktief is. Van politici op al drie regeringsvlakke moet nie net funksionele geletterdheid vereis word nie, maar ook ‘n graad, want matriekstandaarde het so laag gedaal dat matrikulasie geen waarborg vir effektiewe funksionering in die politiek is nie. Hierdie voorstelle bied die grondslag vir ‘n beter funksionerende en welvarender Suid-Afrika.

Wat doen Ramaphosa aan hierdie benarde situasie? Hy bak mooi broodjies wat nie met konstruktiewe aksies opgevolg word nie. “What he hopes to do is simply to talk up the economy – what Larry Summers, the former US treasury secretary, once called ‘the cheapest form of economic stimulus'” (211). “One has to ask such basic questions as to whether the ANC has ever been capable of a comprehensive South African patriotism. After all, what did all those decades of militant nationalist struggle amount to if, in practice, ANC leaders were willing to sell their country down the river at the bidding of a criminal family of Indian immigrants? It’s as if the whole ANC pursuit of power was really a journey powered by individual self-enrichment” (213).Wat kan gedoen word? Die beste skyn te wees om oor te begin. “It would be best to return to the status quo ante of 1994, that is to say, a GNU [government of national unity]” (215). Daarby moet nie net politici van die verskillende partye betrek word nie, maar ook “a few non-political businessmen and managers” (215).

Teen die einde van sy boek het Johnson verdere (hoewel gekwalifiseerde) komplimente vir Afrikaners in vergelyking met ANC-kamerade. “As one looks back, one realises that for most of the 20th century the white Afrikaners who constituted the ruling class enjoyed certain advantages. True, they were committed to white supremacy and, within that, to Afrikaner domination. But they felt a powerful patriotism towards their country, even if not to all its peoples, and their morale as a solidary group and their Calvinist morality exercised a strong limit on personal corruption. The net result was that they presided over a long period of successful national development in which not just Afrikaners but all the other groups shared: their numbers, per capita income, educational levels and life expectancy all increased. The sins and downside of Afrikaner rule are too well known to require re-enumeration but they nonetheless provide the only benchmark that there is. No Afrikaner leader feathered his nest in the way Jacob Zuma did. Already ANC rule has seen steep falls in African life expectancy (due to Mbeki’s Aids denialism) and the last five years have seen a steady fall in per capita income. Moreover, future economic development has already been blighted by the way the ANC has transformed Eskom from having a surplus of cheap electricity to dire shortages of very expensive electricity. The comparison is, indeed, so unflattering for the ANC as to make it clear that it cannot succeed on its own” (214); vandaar Johnson se voorstel dat die ANC-regering deur ‘n regering van nasionale eenheid vervang moet word.

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