You’ve probably heard many South Africans liken Jacob Zuma to the evil dictator ruling north of the Limpopo, but when the Washington Post get in on the act you know it’s not a very good look.
They’re not mincing their words this time around, going for the headline “South Africa has reached its Mugabe moment“.
Written by the men behind one book that is already out – How South Africa Works – and another that is set to be released to be soon, Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst did not hold back.
Let’s dive in:
South Africa has reached its Mugabe moment. Will it follow, despite an admirable constitution and vibrant civil society, the path of neighboring [sic] Zimbabwe, where a predatory state enriches the elite while investors flee, unemployment rises and government institutions collapse? Reaction by the president’s immediate colleagues was swift, negative and not particularly effective.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is widely respected among South Africa’s business leaders and in the United States but has been useless to date in opposing Zuma’s actions, criticized Zuma’s actions as “totally, totally unacceptable” but said that he would not resign.
The secretary general of the ruling African National Congress, Gwede Mantashe, similarly said that he was “uncomfortable” with Zuma’s actions but gave no hint of moving from his post.
That would be because Gwede and Cyril have recently had their backbones removed, you see?
To truly understand the Mugabe comparison one must understand how, similar to Grace taking the reins when Bob finally pegs, Jacob’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is being readied to become president in 2019.
…we know the country’s path if he stays in power and is followed by his ex-wife. The state-owned enterprises, especially the rails, ports and airways, will continue to be squeezed to provide patronage to the “tenderpreneurs” that form an important Zuma constituency.
South Africa will undoubtedly move ahead with a deal for a large number of Russian nuclear plants that are not only inappropriate for the nation’s needs but will provide extraordinary opportunities for graft.
Property rights for farmers and mines will be further diminished so that Zuma allies can participate in once-thriving South African industries that are now in decline because of a lack of business confidence. Foreign investors will look elsewhere, and South Africans will move their money out.
Basically, they’re saying we become another Zimbabwe. More body blows to come:
The nation’s debt will be downgraded, and it will enter a spiral where ever-more state funds must be used to service debt and thereby squeeze social services that especially benefit the poor among the African population. The economic foundations of a beautiful land will continue to rot, impoverishing the growing African youth population, among whom already half are unemployed.
The comparisons between the two leaders really laid bare below:
Due to the inheritance of apartheid, whites still benefit greatly from their role in the private sector. Because the necessary reforms that South Africa must undertake can always be cast as pro-private-sector and therefore pro-white, Zuma can claim, as he did when firing Gordhan, that he is somehow promoting “transformation.” Robert Mugabe has been allowed to destroy Zimbabwe through similarly clever use of the race card, when combined with bribery and state-instituted violence…
It is unclear if there is a powerful and committed ANC faction to reverse course, or whether the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition, which wrested control from the ANC in several key cities in local elections last year, can repeat this feat in 2019. However, absent such dramatic measures, South Africa will accelerate its decline and increasingly resemble the economic wasteland of Zimbabwe.
Happy First Thursday to you, too.
Make some noise tomorrow, folks, but do it in a way that doesn’t alienate your fellow South Africans. The Daily Vox with just a little insight into why tomorrow needs to be done with respect and understanding:
Think about what it must be like for a black person who survived apartheid, who fought against unspeakable cruelty that may very well still be persisting in their lives now, and here is a white person giving you the “I told you so!” treatment. No man, that is kak insensitive and downright dom if you ask me. This is MORE painful for most black people in our country than it is for you. Show that you have some inkling of their pain and that, with our history of dispossession and cruelty you are willing to walk beside or behind them in terms of finding a way forward from here.
I don’t know if mass mobilisation on Friday will make any real, tangible difference, but perhaps it will prove to be somewhat cathartic for those involved.
You can find the details of tomorrow’s#NationalShutdown HERE.
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