A couple of things that happened this week bug me. Unfortunately I am currently hip-deep in work, and so haven't been able to write an article till now. However, when something bugs me long enough, my thoughts tend to stew over them for a while, until I just have to get it all down and post it.
Anyone notice how closely the government’s new demand on the mining companies to hand out shares to local communities in their areas (and failure to comply will lead to asset seizures), resembles nationalisation?
Business is business. At least, I always thought it was. The mining companies lease or own the land, and they keep to government prescriptions on how to mine safely, etc etc. Being told to just hand over part ownership of their operation to "the people" is neither fair, nor part of a free-market system, nor a democracy. Nor is just issuing an ultimatum to comply "or else". This is more in line with communist-fascist or socialist ideology.
Didn't Julius Malema make loads of noise about nationalising mines in South Africa a while back? Didn't the ANC say "categorically" that it would "never happen"? Well, what would you call this, other than the same thing spelled differently? It's classic redistribution of existing wealth instead of generating new wealth. What will happen when there is no more existing wealth left to redistribute? Will they then look at the private sector, properties, homes, cars, bank accounts? It happened in every other former colony in Africa, give or take one or two "civil" wars. Hmm. It's no secret – I'm not a big fan of the current administration.
Instead of providing services and effecting job – and wealth-creation to the people, the ANC now seems intent on forcing private companies to give away part of their company ownership to do it instead. As if current lessons that should be learned are going unnoticed. Then again, they probably are. I'm also referring to so-called "land restitution". Farms are being bought off non-white farmers, and given or sold to landless black folks by the government. While this may seem like an incredibly noble thing, what happens is that the new owners have no clue how to farm, manage the intricate business that is agriculture, and pretty soon, a productive farm becomes a white elephant that produces nothing at all – hence why our country is for the first time in a century or more importing food it was until recently able to grow for itself.
So much for learning – but then, given the shocking state of our so-called education department, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
Then there is the shocking racist policy of affirmative action, or "BEE", still in effect in this country – which awards jobs to people of one race while depriving people of another simply based on racial characteristics. How is this any better than South Africa pre-1994? Oh wait, I know – because the formerly disadvantaged are now the currently advantaged, that's why. Some justice that is – punishing subsequent generations of kids finishing school who were never around to inflict injustice upon those in power, who are now neither disadvantaged, nor poor – unlike the majority of their own group which still somehow languishes in abject poverty and gripes and grumbles in the shacks and poorly built RDP housing. Everywhere the hot topic is "transformation" and "right-sizing", with some government departments imploding because of corruption and incompetence to comply with BEE. But that's not racism, no.
How about High Commissioner Qwelane – ordered two months ago to make apology to the Pink Community by the Equality Court? Has he paid his fine? Has he apologised for his hate speech? Has he been removed from his post by the South African government who claims to cherish the constitution and the constitutional protections for the group he offended and threatened – and who face violence in the country in which he represents South Africa? No, the whole works is being held up again by legal manoeuvres. You should fire that man, Mr Zuma – his occupancy in the office of High Commissioner is an affront to every South African citizen who cherishes the Constitution and the principles of a free and open equal-opportunity society – and who pays tax for his salary – and yours.
How about Juliaaaas and his "Homegate" scandal? I don't know about you, but this whole ruckus surrounding his 16-million-rand house under construction and his implication in accusations of pay-offs in return for awarding tenders just smacks of the same odour as the arms scandal. And how about his complaining about the "fat cats" living off the cream of the land while the poor languish in abject poverty – and still support him in his quest for power and even more riches? Oh, the irony.
Think it will affect his chances of becoming the next prez of South Africa? President Malema? Many would also say that would "never happen", but then again they said the same thing about Zuma becoming president back in 2006.
It just goes to show that some things will "never happen" – until they do.
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