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The majority of South Africans have lost faith in the ability of ANC leaders to provide them with a better life, according to sociologist, businessman and political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki.

Mbeki based his assessment on the events of the July riots and the outcome of the November 2021 local elections.

The ANC had left the uneven economy it inherited from the National Party largely intact.

This economy had been designed solely to serve the British colonialists and the minority, by extracting and exploiting South Africa’s enormous natural resources using cheap black labour. He said that left the vast majority of hungry and angry black South Africans, who were on the margins of society, seeking radical change by any means necessary.

The beginning of the end

The ANC would not recover from the November 2021 local government poll, in which the party fell to 45% of the national vote from highs of 69% in the 2004 elections. He said to a gathering of professionals, civil servants and politicians in Durban at a dialogue organized by the Durban-based Xubera Institute for Research and Development under the title “SA Now Faces A New Uncertain Future”, as well as in follow-up questions by DM168.

“Let me remind you what happened in the November 2021 local elections, in case you have forgotten. The results of these elections show that the black majority is no longer ready to continue supporting the nationalist in the form of the ANC… This means that in the future the other parties can form a government without involving the ANC,” Mbeki said.

“If you look at other African nationalist parties that came to power in the 1950s and 1960s in other African countries, once they lose power they never recover. The reason they never get over it is because [once in power] they fail to replace the colonial economy, so the population loses confidence in them. The ANC, as I have pointed out, has failed to replace the colonial economy with one that benefits the whole community.

“All African nationalist parties, once they lose the support of the people, they never recover, so they disappear. If the ANC loses the 2024 elections, as forecasts suggest, it will be the beginning of the end for the ANC.

“It is now clear to the people that the ANC, whatever form it takes, is incapable of solving the country’s problems,” Mbeki said, adding that the parties that would replace the ANC would also fail if they could not. replace colonialism. economy with an economy that would benefit the majority.

The provocative sociologist said the Afrikaner nationalists – the National Party – had businessmen, landowners, the church, farmers, shopkeepers, craftsmen, shopkeepers and shopkeepers in its ranks. The National Party ensured that when it took power from the British, it taxed mining companies and invested in railways to get produce from farmers to cities; in Afrikaner conglomerates and parastatals to employ their own staff. He said Afrikaner nationalists used taxes to build transportation networks such as railways and highways, ports and other infrastructure for the benefit of his elite.

Afrikaner nationalists have also hindered the growth and development of the South African economy by limiting the development of human capital of black South Africans through their flawed education policies and employment practices.

On the other side, the African nationalists, the ANC, which did not count in its ranks either landowners or people with economic levers, kept intact this economy of British colonial origin, which was further deindustrialized. since 1994.

The ANC used taxes from mining and other sectors of the economy to support conspicuous consumption by the middle class or black elites.

African nationalists, in the form of the ANC, have abandoned or betrayed their historic mission to serve the interests of the black majority, he said.

African nationalists have also hindered economic growth by failing to invest in quality education and upgrading the skills of the poor black majority, he added.

“Since 1994, the ANC has used its power to tax the rest of the economy to promote a consumer economy for the benefit of the black middle class. This is why the black majority still lives in poverty.

Mbeki said Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana praised the mining sector during his budget speech and said he was responsible for phenomenal revenue returns. Meanwhile, two Anglo-American mining companies were declaring billions in profits, which they distributed to their British owners and shareholders, at the expense of the South African economy.

“South Africa’s economy was designed and developed to serve the British, whether you [have] the National Party or the ANC [in power]It’s still the same.

“That’s why the majority of South Africans live in poverty.

Re-industrialize

“The way forward is that we have to reindustrialize our own country. What we are doing today is extracting minerals, sending them to England to sell for the benefit of the Brits who own our mining companies like Anglo American, which used to be South African owned but is now owned by British. They mine our minerals, sell them and inject billions in profits into the UK economy. We need to change this so that our economy can benefit South Africans and employ the 70% of young people who are currently unemployed.

Mbeki said recent statistics indicated that the South African civil service was the highest paid in the developing world, higher than most countries whose wealth was far greater than that of South Africa.

To illustrate his point, he said that most of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises were in shambles, wasting billions and not fulfilling their mandate. However, some executives and managers reaped millions in compensation and undue benefits.

The poor masses were poised to ignite a violent uprising against the ruling elite unless the country changed course, re-industrialized and welcomed the poor and angry masses, including the 70% unemployed youth. .

Mbeki said a report by a high-level panel appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate the July riots and violence found, among other things, that there was a weakness in state institutions. such as the police, intelligence services and others due to their ousting.

It also found high unemployment, especially among young people (and no practical, coherent government plan to address it). High levels of poverty inherited from the past and lack of state planning have left many poor people living in appalling conditions in slums around urban centers. The report also said that state capture and corruption at all levels of government were responsible for the unrest.

The black majority rejected the ANC at the polls because the party had diverted taxes to conspicuous consumption, benefiting the African elite instead of developing the economy and investing in human capital and other measures, said said Mbeki.

“The black majority is asking ‘what are we benefiting from this economy’ and throwing the ANC back at the polls,” he said, adding that the party was unable to correct itself and reverse its decline.

Besides the mining companies and their shareholders, a small group of South African elites – between 10% and 12% of the population who earned more than 60,000 rand a month – profited most from the country’s wealth, Mbeki said.

Unless the pool of beneficiaries is considerably enlarged and accompanied by a massive qualification of the population, the country would not develop optimally and would instead remain on the edge of the precipice.

He said South Africa, under apartheid, once sent troops to South Korea to protect that country from communism. Yet today, South Korea’s economy was ten times larger than South Africa’s because the South Asian nation had spent its resources to industrialize, develop its human capital and grow its economy. optimally instead of diverting its resources to the benefit of the ruling elite.

It was a myth that South Africa’s minerals were inexhaustible and that the country would forever benefit from these natural riches. “Once you extract these minerals, they don’t come back. South Africa was once the largest gold producer in the world; today he is seventh. We must begin to reindustrialize. We need to start developing this economy beyond mining.

The country is blessed with untapped reserves of skilled professionals who could help South Africa develop an alternative economy that would embrace the majority and create much needed jobs, he said.

In search of messiahs

Asked what he thought of Ramaphosa’s presidency, Mbeki replied: “We in South Africa are [always] is looking for messiahs and there are people who present themselves as messiahs. The reality is that the ANC is a 110 year old institution. So as an institution, that’s how the ANC works. It is not ruled by individuals, is not regulated by individuals, and it is not going to fail by individuals.

The ANC was a black middle class party that benefited from the economy in its current form. “The black middle class knows that everyone has to make sacrifices to change this economy and they are not ready to do so because they are taking advantage of it. The black middle class believe their interests are best served by retaining the British colonial economy which thrives on mining and cheap black labor and they want it to stay that way.

“So it doesn’t matter if Cyril Ramaphosa is the president, Thabo Mbeki is the president or Jacob Zuma, it’s always the same. The ANC is an institution that serves the interests of the black middle class,” Mbeki said. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly daily maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 from Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookshops. To find your nearest retailer, please click on here.

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