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Don’t let State Capture take our eyes off the ball – IRR chief, Frans Cronje

Don’t let State Capture take our eyes off the ball – IRR chief, Frans Cronje

CAPE TOWN — CEO of the revered Institute of Race Relations, (IRR), Frans Cronje, is one other of these passionate South African thought leaders who spends most of his waking hours wrestling with our seemingly intractable South African Rubik Dice. He believes that the random combine of colors can someday be twisted and become cohesive, uniform concord. It’s a dream value having as a result of there are some scary options needing spine, vigilance and braveness to keep away from. His is a extremely motivated name to motion. South Africa is replete with these sterling qualities as demonstrated by those that’ve paid the final worth in preventing for what they believed in. But recently we’ve been a nation asleep in an more and more scorching tub of rainbow-nation induced euphoria. Cronje urges us to study from ANC historical past in understanding our present actuality. To look at the ANC’s long-term underpinning ideology is to discover a extra complicated and strong rationalization for its redistributive, statist insurance policies. There’s consistency, even with the current opportunistic grasping usurpation of ideology for egocentric profit. We danger dropping the ball in simply shouting State Capture and Corruption. There’s a much bigger ANC agenda at play. That’s the place the recreation is at, says Cronje. Story courtesy of PoliticsWeb. – Chris Bateman

Notes of Frans Cronje’s* briefings to involved South Africans in July and August 2018

A few years in the past, I spoke on the similar stage as a outstanding Zimbabwean farmer who wept as he spoke of how he regretted that once they got here to him he didn’t inform his countrymen what he feared the proof clearly to point out – about the trajectory of that nation – however informed them as an alternative, in the face of that proof, what they needed to listen to, that it will all be alright. Had they recognized what was coming, they could have averted catastrophe. So I’ll inform you what I feel the proof exhibits and the way we should always reply if we’re to avert a catastrophe.  

Frans Cronje, CEO, Institute of Race Relations.

The context towards which the present expropriation with out compensation query has arisen is never articulated in the public area. It’s however important in understanding each the disaster the authorities is hurtling in the direction of and find out how to counter it.

One among the stupidest issues the Nationwide Social gathering ever did was, in the 1950s and 1960s, to hound a reasonably average ANC into the arms of the Soviet Union and the East Germans. The Soviet embrace infused a lot hard-left considering into the celebration which culminated in the ANC’s 1969 endorsement of the concept of Nationwide Democratic Revolution (NDR), which had earlier (in 1962) been taken on board by the South African Communist Social gathering.

The NDR principle was based mostly on Lenin’s principle of imperialism, which claimed that the wealth of the colonial powers arose solely from their oppression and exploitation of the colonised. From this basis, Lenin argued that the function of anti-colonial revolutions should all the time be to dispossess the coloniser – after which embrace communism – failing which the colonised might by no means be free.

The SACP made this concept relevant to South Africa by creating the notion of ‘colonialism of a special type’ – to imply that each the coloniser and the colonised lived collectively inside the similar nation, into which the coloniser had grow to be completely built-in. However, the argument went, regardless of that integration, white/capitalist prosperity remained solely the results of the oppression and exploitation of the black majority, and certainly extended that poverty – and that the coloniser, regardless of his integration, must be dispossessed if the colonised have been ever to be free. The ANC has yearly recommitted to the NDR, proper as much as this yr.

Issues took a flip in Davos in 1991, when Nelson Mandela delivered an handle by which he appeared to jettison such revolutionary dogma (the backstory is that he rewrote the paragraphs of the tackle ready for him on financial coverage – a fantastic danger for him, as the ANC was but to convene a serious coverage convention). He emerged from Davos to inform his celebration that Afro-socialist experiments had failed and that South Africa would pursue a extra pragmatic path. He additionally lent his gravitas to his de-facto prime minister, Thabo Mbeki, who was then capable of drive the Progress Empowerment and Redistribution, or GEAR, coverage. This, for many intents and functions (and regardless of inner contradictions), was run-of-the-mill widespread sense that revered property rights and the primacy of a market financial system.

Throughout the Mbeki years, the pragmatism of GEAR, coupled with a measure of excellent fortune, noticed a price range deficit inherited at ranges of round -5% rework right into a surplus 13 years later. The debt-to-GDP ratio was halved, whereas the financial progress fee rose (with the assist of the commodities growth, and untapped shopper potential) to over 5% between 2004 and 2007 – the first time since 1970 that progress at this degree had been maintained for 4 years. The outcomes when it comes to dwelling requirements, jobs, and the roll-out of welfare have been spectacular, but whereas public opinion and ANC electoral efficiency indicators peaked, Mr Mbeki’s ideological adversaries inside the ANC and the SACP seethed with resentment.

As Mr Mandela’s affect pale, Mr Mbeki would make two unrelated strategic errors that later intersected to basically alter South Africa’s coverage trajectory and lead on to the disaster we confront at this time. The primary was to ship the charismatic Jacob Zuma to wrest the rural Zulu nationalist vote from Inkatha, with out appreciating that if Mr Zuma succeeded (the place each Mbeki and Mandela had failed) he would come to inherit the mantle of Zulu nationalism and wield it as a weapon in the ANC – precisely as got here to cross. The second was on HIV and AIDS. Right here, Mr Mbeki’s missteps allowed the lengthy remoted Left inside the ANC to regroup, fundraise, and develop platforms of affect round the AIDS pandemic that they later used to beautiful impact to assault Mr Mbeki’s financial insurance policies and to show public and common opinion towards him.

These two errors led to Mr Mbeki’s defeat at Polokwane in 2007. The Left was pleased to take advantage of Mr Zuma’s populism to eject Mr Mbeki, whereas Mr Zuma was glad to experience the wave of ideologically impressed anti-Mbeki media sentiment crafted by the Left. After Polokwane, the Zuma camp would go on to loot the state, whereas the Left clawed again lots of the levers of coverage affect that they had been denied since Davos in 1991. That these shifts additional coincided with the international monetary disaster in 2008 created the good governance, coverage, and financial storm and the outcomes have been catastrophic. Debt ranges greater than doubled. The finances deficit once more plumbed apartheid-era lows. Fastened funding flows turned unfavorable, making the nation an exporter of scarce capital. Progress charges fell to a low of zero.three%.

The political penalties have been as extreme. Fashionable confidence in the way forward for the nation is down 40 proportion factors from that of a decade in the past. Violent anti-government protests are up virtually 300%. These and different tendencies generated the as soon as (for ANC leaders) unthinkable proposition of the ANC surrendering its nationwide majority, and of doing in order early as 2019. That worry triggered an inner energy wrestle between the ‘leftists’ and the ‘looters’, as each side sought to flee duty for the ANC’s reversals – a struggle by which the Left finally prevailed through the use of the thesis of ‘state capture’ to discredit Mr Zuma and convey Cyril Ramaphosa to energy as ANC chief. Nevertheless, this was by the narrowest of margins – 179 votes out of over four 700 delegates. And whereas state seize had undoubtedly accomplished a lot injury, it was solely part of the drawback – and in our judgement not the main half.

The actual, deeper, and broadly unacknowledged supply of the disaster (notably after 2013, as South Africa’s progress trajectory departed from that of the remainder of the world), is that after Polokwane the ANC turned its again on Mandela’s 1991 ideological flip and allowed the Cupboard to champion hard-line statist insurance policies (from the cancellation of greater than ten bilateral funding treaties, to mad immigration guidelines, the Nationwide Well being Insurance coverage proposal, greater minimal wage legal guidelines, and the draft mining constitution – amongst many others) that vilified the market financial system, property rights, and racial minorities as obstacles to the social and financial liberation of black South Africans – whereas fending off important scrutiny by interesting to base racial nationalist sentiment round questions of transformation and empowerment. And the method during which that sentiment was unquestioningly taken on board in the media, civil society, opposition politics, and enterprise was the single biggest success of the NDR strategists – and is immediately accountable, greater than anything, for the disaster our nation confronts.

The Structure of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Immediately those self same ideologues are nonetheless in the Cupboard urgent forward with the NHI (which is actually EWC for the personal healthcare business), and a mining constitution that accommodates provisions that quantity to EWC of mining funding, all the whereas turning the screws on ever extra onerous racial empowerment dictates. What the agriculture sector is experiencing now’s, subsequently, not distinctive – and EWC has and can proceed to unfold its tentacles to wherever there’s wealth to be extracted or ‘colonial relics’ to be destroyed.

Nor, as some analysts proceed to recommend, does the current menace to property rights owe its origins to the ANC coverage convention final December and might be regarded merely as a short-term political stratagem that may deserted as quickly as the subsequent election has handed. There’s a clear sample of coverage that predates that convention.

To hint its current origins, return a minimum of to the 2007 assault on the willing-buyer/willing-seller coverage at the ANC convention in Polokwane that knowledgeable the content material of the draft Expropriation Invoice of 2008, which in flip knowledgeable the dropping of the Proactive Land Acquisition Technique in 2010, the drafting of the agriculture inexperienced paper of 2011 which forewarned of each danger from land ceilings to EWC – all of which might be drafted into coverage and laws inside the subsequent six years – the 20% proposal in the Nationwide Improvement Plan of 2012, the 50/50 proposal that got here scorching on its heels, the Land Restitution Modification Act of 2014 that sought to impress tons of of hundreds of latest land claims with out the price range to finance them, the subsequent Property Valuation Act by way of which the state sought to flee that budgetary bind, the Agri Land Invoice that sought to make the state custodian of all agricultural land as the Inexperienced Paper had warned – thereby escaping any budgetary bind in any respect – the Regulation of Land Holdings Invoice that might cap farm sizes and drive farmers to give up the surplus, and now the proposed modification to the Structure. But even this chronology accommodates just a few outstanding markers in the sample; our analysts tracked 35 separate legislative, coverage and regulatory makes an attempt to erode property rights broadly since 2017 – all of which constructed one upon the different in a scientific and ordered method.

What South Africa’s farmers face at present is subsequently not about poverty, or public strain, and even land itself. They’ve been swept up in a far deeper political and ideological battle, the battle of concepts, over whether or not South Africa will survive as a contemporary, free, and open society or whether or not it should sink right into a socialist and later communist morass of poverty, oppression, and state management. It’s a battle for the survival of the Judeo-Christian ethic in southern Africa. And what occurs to farmers could be very a lot the litmus check of who will win that battle – which means, and given what’s at stake for the entire nation, that in lots of respects all South Africans are business farmers as we speak.

For the time being, farmers will stay very a lot at the sharp finish of that battle given the extent to which a decade of nearly unchallenged hate-filled rhetoric, racist propaganda, and falsehood has been directed towards them and what they characterize – that they stole the land, abuse their staff, refuse to work in the direction of a greater South Africa. Have little question that the propaganda was intentional to so stigmatise them that nobody would dare come to their defence when the authorities inevitably turned on them – and used their case to erode property rights not simply with respect to land however throughout the financial system.

It was a horrible mistake for the agricultural business subsequently to not problem the propaganda simply because it was a horrible mistake to dismiss the post-2007 coverage sample, and the ideology that underpinned it. All have been parallel and associated processes designed to check-mate the business into negotiating the phrases of its personal demise – inside frames of reference set by its ideological opponents – a course of from which you’ll be able to draw a direct line to Mr Ramaphosa’s bulletins final week.

As you break down the myths and falsehoods, you realise that EWC is just not about land in any respect – however about 4 different issues.

The primary is an incompetent try and outmanoeuvre the EFF on land. However that has backfired spectacularly with the EWC problem creating new and beforehand undreamed of political platforms for the EFF – reminiscent of their digital chairing of public land hearings (though we’ve ever extra purpose to consider that the two events are working hand in glove in the direction of their reunification).

The second is an try to increase as a common precept of regulation the concept of a regulatory or custodial taking and thereby eroding property rights usually – one thing that may succeed minus a Constitutional modification. Land is simply the skinny fringe of the wedge, as the present NHI coverage proposal reveals. The third is to attempt to unite the tripartite alliance. Unity is a larger coverage precedence for the ANC than reform and to unite a political motion, you want an enemy and the years of principally unchallenged political and media propaganda towards business farmers has allowed the authorities to painting them as we speak as an enemy of the individuals.

The fourth is to open the option to the erosion of civil rights broadly, given the doubtless future threats to the ruling get together’s political hegemony, and provided that property rights anchor human liberty in all free societies. Step-by-step, the elements of a downward financial, social, and political spiral are assembled and put into movement.

Whether or not these risks could be countered and later reversed will depend on one factor alone; the future trajectory of South Africa’s battle of concepts. ‘Battle-of-ideas’ concept, during which we’re a lot practised, holds that the winner in any public coverage wrestle will finally be the aspect that injects the biggest quantity of compelling argument into the public area. Therefore, farmers’ present predicament at the finish of a decade of nearly unanswered public stigmatisation.

My group’s ethos and strategies are aligned very intently to the concept that the warfare in Vietnam was misplaced in America’s dwelling rooms and on the streets of Washington and never in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Put in a different way, it’s the means to form and command public opinion that determines public coverage. That is one thing the ANC understands very nicely – their technique and techniques paperwork are a masterclass in the concept.

It’s fairly pointless, in our expertise of many many years, to hunt to persuade a politician to vary his or her thoughts if that politician can’t at the similar time be satisfied that the stability of energy in public opinion is towards her or him – and I’m ever extra sure, as considered one of the nice veterans of those battles put it to me lately, that the ANC won’t change its thoughts on this concern. However it might change its notion of the stability of forces – and solely then might it pull again.

Public opinion is the strongest coverage asset there’s. So long as that opinion continues to be pushed in favour of statist financial interventions, South Africans have ever-diminishing odds of securing their property. The agricultural business and enterprise usually, I’m afraid, stays nearly absent from the battle for public opinion, whereas the political opposition is near ineffective, and organised enterprise is just too enraptured with the new administration to see the place the nation is being led.

All that’s left is you, the particular person, and whether or not you’ll get into the recreation – as a result of should you do, then the tide may flip. However earlier than that, decide – a choice that you’re not going to take a seat again and put up with the abuse, the insults, the racism, the vilification, and the threats. Rise up and battle. In your aspect are tens of millions of individuals identical to you (we seen them in our polling) – hard-working, law-and-order individuals – black and white, who need precisely what you need for our nation.

My colleagues and I struggle for you and for them day by day to counter the stigmatisation, mitigate the most damaging of the authorities’s proposals, educate the public of the penalties, maintain the line on the significance of property rights, and use all that to show public opinion so as, in time, to show the coverage. Their efforts have secured over 750 opinion articles, letters, interviews, and associated media citations on EWC alone since the first of January. They’ve immediately lobbied over 80 teams from political events to chambers of commerce to governments and businesses (of which over 40 occurred in Europe and America) on why they should act to oppose EWC. They’ve left the South African authorities and the ruling social gathering in little question as to the political and financial hell they’re marching themselves in the direction of.

Be a part of us in that battle, right here, or you’ll stay remoted and alone, frightened and powerless, and you may be floor down and ultimately worn out. By drive of numbers we will higher prosecute the battle of concepts and switch public opinion, opening the means for sane insurance policies that respect property rights and South Africa’s future as a market financial system – and thereby its future as a constitutional democracy.

Change in societies occurs at factors of disaster – and the course of that change will often comply with that of the group which had the biggest affect on public opinion at the time of the disaster. The disaster isn’t far off now, the authorities is hurtling in the direction of it – and South Africa might be in close to catastrophic social, financial, and political peril inside a number of brief years. Together with your help, we’ll improve the chance that, when South Africa hits its subsequent main disaster, the concepts we now have articulated will outline the insurance policies which might be adopted in the period that follows the disaster.

I can’t assure you that we’ll win – as a result of it’s late in the day and since it’s now extra obvious than ever that those that, towards our repeated recommendation and in the face of the proof, assured you that there was nothing to worry have been incorrect all alongside. However I can inform you that we’ll struggle; as exhausting as we will, till there’s nothing left, in order that we all know we did all we might. And you have to battle now, too, in order that you’ll know that additionally – that you simply didn’t simply stroll quietly away into the night time. However I can assure you that if you don’t battle, this can be a battle you’ll lose.

  • Frans Cronje is CEO of the IRR
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