“Cadre employment must stop and an effective civil service must be built up by appointing competent people. Officials and managers at all three levels of government should possess the correct financial and technical skills for the job.” So declared president Cyril Ramaphosa after a visit to Kimberley recently where the ANC celebrated its 108th birthday. He was “shocked” at the living conditions he found there, he said. “But we know the (country’s) looting and the wholesale state capture shebang took place right under his nose, with his eyes wide open”, said columnist Barney Mthombothi (Sunday Times 12.1.20). So why the president’s shock at the Kimberley situation? Doesn’t he read the newspapers?
He said that if the country’s peoples’ lives must be bettered, then the services delivered by the country’s three levels of government must improve.
How will he better this parlous situation? He declared that attention must now be given to the “thorough training of the state’s civil service corps”. (But they have shown themselves to be untrainable and, more seriously, to have no integrity. They have caused irreparable damage to South Africa’s local government systems and structures over the past 25 years.) Mr. Ramaphosa is going to restore to “health” the country’s parastatals (such as South African Airways.) “We will get it right by appointing qualified and experienced managers and give them the space to fulfil their mandates,” said the president.
So why didn’t he do this a long time ago? Because he doesn’t intend to change anything, just move cadres around like deckchairs on the Titanic. Proof of this chicanery can be observed by checking out the media advertisements for government jobs, especially for municipalities. All of these, without exception, state that the municipality (or any other government department), is “an Employment Equity Organisation that subscribes to the principles of affirmative action”. In other words, no whites must apply.
There we have it. Mr. Ramaphosa is a teller of tales which bear no resemblance to the truth. Declares Mr.Mthombothi: “Apart from his well-earned reputation as a coward, Ramaphosa is cultivating another unfortunate trait. He’s telling too many falsehoods. These fibs are not only corroding his credibility, they are a godsend to his ever-expanding bank of enemies”. (Mthombothi was referring to the rafts of lies told and promises made during the president’s tenure, including the whopper in New York in December 2018 about SA farm murders “not existing”.)
The root cause of South Africa’s descent into third world status is indeed “affirmative action” (AA), a term first used in the United States in Executive Order No. 10925 signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961, which included a provision that government contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, colour, or national origin.” This was followed by further legislation in 1965 and in 1967, when gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.
According to Wikipedia, “this action prevented employers from discriminating against members of disadvantaged groups.” In South Africa’s post-1994 election period, the term “previously disadvantaged” became part of the country’s politically correct lexicon, implying that, in quite explicit terms, whites had historically suppressed the other South African race groups. The corollary of this narrative was a relentless media chronicle (intentional or unintentional, the jury is still out on this!) to heighten white guilt and its spin-off, black entitlement. This has resulted in a policy of reverse discrimination so severe and unyielding that is destroying the South Africa we knew. It is in fact deformative action.
One key to the SA government’s warped version of affirmative action is the word “disadvantaged”. Many argue that this word misrepresents history, and with good reason. Empirically there is no contrary narrative to the fact that when whites arrived in the Cape in 1652 and subsequently moved throughout Southern Africa, there was no evidence of a local civilization other than a basic way of life that did not include the written word, or serious infrastructure or any other sign of natural evolution or development towards a way of life similar to that brought to South Africa by the whites from Europe. This fact has been attested to by writers, travellers and historians who visited Southern Africa over the centuries since 1652 where they chronicled what they saw. Political correctness had not reared its ugly head at that time, so what they saw and what they wrote cannot be challenged because there were no other versions, and their agendas were mostly historical.
Is it any wonder that the descendants of these people who occupied Southern Africa at the time of the arrival of the whites have virtually destroyed South Africa’s functioning infrastructure and the social fabric created and built up over 450 years? They never developed anything remotely resembling the accoutrements of a functioning modern civilization. When the ANC/SACP alliance appointed their political friends and colleagues to posts via the official policy of AA, where not even the vaguest knowledge and skills existed to enable many of these appointees to fulfil their mandates, it can be concluded that the collapse of South Africa was entirely predictable. There could have been no other outcome.
So why the term “disadvantaged”? Many would assert that black South Africans have been advantaged by their co-option into the Western civilization developed by others which gave them the written word, a Western-style education system and all the trappings of a way of life which, alas, is so desperately lacking in most of sub-Saharan Africa. It could be said that the real disadvantaged are the South Africans who pay the bulk of the taxes, who pay for electricity and water when millions use these services and pay nothing, and who see the country’s schools, transport services and other facilities go up in smoke at every protest about “non-delivery” of services for which they have never paid and will never pay! This destruction is wanton and the serious consequences thereof never seem to enter the heads of the perpetrators.
With the exception of only two years – 2011 and 2014 – there has been a steady net growth in the number of SA emigrants. It is estimated that by 2017 more than 820 000 wealthy educated people have left South Africa. The number of SA born emigrants to the Big Five countries (UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) almost doubled between 2000 and 2017, an average net increase of about 1 500 per month. These people are the cream of South African society, the taxpayers, the job creators, the entrepreneurs. They left because the ANC government has got it all wrong, and there seem to be no remedies in sight.
Nothing is done
The appointment of AA cadres is exacerbated by the inability and/or obstinacy of the SA government to do anything to ameliorate the problems associated with AA: vast and pervasive incompetence, indolence, corruption and a totally unjustified sense of entitlement. Neither the government nor their cadres can introspect. They cannot see what others see – that they are useless. Or maybe they don’t want to see. While the country falls apart around them, they will continue to talk the leg off an iron pot at meetings, summits, lekgotla’s and sundry get-togethers where they endlessly discuss the country’s “challenges” (read failures). BUT NOTHING GETS DONE. Businessmen, commentators and a myriad of worriers write endless articles “urging” the government to do something. These pleas fall on deaf ears. The ANC moves at its own pace: its real goal is the retention of power at any price. Such is the ransom we have paid on the altar of African “democracy”.
The destruction continues relentlessly. There is no stay of execution. A cursory glance at any daily South African newspaper will confirm the continuity of the ANC government’s stupefying stupidity. One blatant example is president Ramaphosa’s announcements that his government will proceed with legislation enabling the expropriation of private property without compensation. In the next breath he talks about the investment “millions” that will flow into South Africa, as if one circumstance will not influence the other.
Now the ANC proposes that the courts will not be the arbiter of whether or not the state will pay for land it expropriates. This power is given to the relevant minister. This latest rashness reveals a remarkable lack of “cause and effect” thinking, but then this has always been a hallmark of a rudimentary mindset. The example of Zimbabwe’s collapse seems to have either escaped the president, or he believes that things will be different here! Either way, the president is hardly fit to lead South Africa.
Affirmative action in South Africa is a tragic failure. The inevitability of its outcome was pointedly ignored by those who had neither the integrity nor the foresight to know what the future would hold, despite the numerous examples of nepotism, patronage and affirmative action displayed by virtually every African government north of the Limpopo. In South Africa, leaders and influencers were seduced by the world’s approbation of this country’s “transition to democracy”. Warnings were either ignored or dismissed as the rantings of extremist groups. History will be the judge of who was right. But being right doesn’t necessarily mean you win!