A series of charges of corruption of South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma and his supposed puppet master Schabir Shaik and the apparent willingness of the elites of South Africa's government to protect Zuma have to be seen in light of a wider growing pattern of corruption in South Africa.
Personally, the current row takes me back to a conversation I had with one of the editors of the Weekly Mail (as it then was) in early 1994. Had he not noticed, I inquired, how many leading ANC figures had quickly acquired godfathers who were paying their way? Mandela had been provided with a palatial mansion by Douw Steyn. Sol Kerzner was making free with lavish hospitality for the whole ANC leadership so much so that the Mafikeng ANC branch had passed a motion criticising Thabo Mbeki for his "perceived over-closeness" to Kerzner.
Mbeki himself had acquired a BMW almost as soon as he returned to SA. Cyril Ramaphosa was being taken through upmarket fly-fishing resorts by Sidney Frankel. A number of ANC leaders already had children in expensive private schools. And so on.
...I recall another conversation at that time with a leading trade unionist. He explained to me that he and his comrades had always taken it for granted that they would be poorer than their peers and that this was part of the struggle. Then, however, they had met the returning exile ANC leadership and realised with shock that many of them were well off and intending to become seriously rich.
"The effect was explosive. From that moment on all the comrades wanted the same. Corruption within the unions really took off," he told me.
Of course, this has to mean that South Africa is going down the tubes. Racism against non-blacks will reduce the number of competent people in key positions in government and industry. Corruption is just another reason why poor decision-making will cause a general deterioration. This puts the whites still left in South Africa in a difficult position. The whites are not allowed to take any property when they leave. So the older ones would have to leave with no retirement savings and the younger ones with fewer skills will find it hard to find nations that will accept them.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 September 12 05:51 PM Civilizations Decay|