Why Violence and Looting Have Exploded Across South Africa

Why Violence and Looting Have Exploded Across South Africa. By R.W. Johnson.

Socialist racial party rule, the losers:

When the ANC was first elected in 1994 its posters promised “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” but paid little heed to that once they were elected. In 1995 the average number of unemployed, according to official figures, was 1,698,000 or, if one took the expanded definition of unemployment, including those who had given up looking for a job, the figure was 3,321,000. With only a few exceptional periods to the contrary, that figure has grown steadily and hugely to surpass 11.4 million today. …

The ANC has routinely deplored poverty and inequality but it has generally tried to pretend that this is part of the “apartheid inheritance.” As the figures show, this is the opposite of the truth. …

If you assume that each of those 11.4 million has two or three dependants, we are talking of households comprising 30 million people — half the entire population or even more. They are, for the most part, sitting in shacks, cold, hungry, without alcohol (banned as part of the COVID lockdown), insecure, with nothing to do and with almost no hope of a job. It is a picture of pure misery. These are the greatest victims of ANC misrule. Many of them are young people who have never worked in their life and who have given up hope that they ever will. For the young women among them prostitution is almost their only hope of an income. …

South Africa is now in its seventh consecutive year of falling real per capita incomes. …

The winners:

The government is far more concerned with the “haves” within its coalition — the BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) capitalists, the public sector workers and the trade union bosses. The government’s offer of an extra R18 billion ($1.25 billion) for already well-paid public service workers came only days before the unrest and was, effectively, an insult and a provocation for the unemployed. Similarly, Ramaphosa attempted to garner public sympathy for the “plight” of MPs — who are among the one percent best paid people in the country.

Most striking of all, however, is the BEE legislation which has, not surprisingly, been nominated by foreign investors as the biggest single drawback to investing in South Africa. It is, after all, effectively a tax on investment — if you want to invest in South Africa you have to more or less give away a large chunk of your equity to BEE partners who have nothing to offer by way of skills or capital other than an ability to get government ministers to take their calls. This is straightforward crony capitalism. The effect of such legislation is to push foreign investment away — at the cost of many jobs — simply in order to line the pockets of a handful of ANC-connected cronies. …

Everyone in South Africa now scorns the government:

The government’s response has been limp in the extreme. The looting started on a Friday and Ramaphosa said and did nothing until the following Monday. … Ramaphosa finally ordered 2,500 troops in to support the police but they make no difference: they too stand passively by as looting goes on, for the government is clearly terrified of the optics of a black government firing on poor black people.

The government is in shock. Its standard election slogan is that it is building “a better life for all,” but what the riots point to is the colossal failure of ANC governance. It has emphatically not brought a better life for poor Africans, and one hears on all hands unfavourable comparisons with the old apartheid government: nothing like this occurred on its watch, after all. On radio, TV, and social media there is a torrent of angry comment, virtually all of it scornful of the government. …

In most African countries such a large demonstration of the government’s weakness and lack of resolve would result in a military coup but South Africa’s army has been cut to the bone and is probably not up to anything so ambitious.

Apart form lining the pockets of some black cronies, what has the ANC done for South Africa?

A great deal of social infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed — some 400 malls were attacked, including many pharmacies. The ANC is more divided than ever and the economy has taken an enormous blow. Without doubt real incomes will continue to fall.

And this is what the ANC has achieved after 27 years in power.

Long article, much of interest. But few commentators, including this one, dare mention the IQ gulf — think competence and trust if it makes you more comfortable — or how that impacts the situation.

You’d have to be ideological not to see parallels between South Africa and the situation developing in the USA.

Possibly related:

hat-tip Adrian, Stephen Neil