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Despite that, the ANC seems determined to copy all the mistakes of Nkrumah, Kaunda and Nyerere. The current water crisis in the Western Cape, for example, is directly traceable to the nationalisation of water in 1998. Water — which is precious, scarce and costs a lot to extract, store and recycle — was declared a national resource which would be freely available to all as a human right. But little effort was made to increase water resources or even to maintain the existing system. Inevitably, disaster has followed and water currently sells for high prices on the black market in Cape Town.

Ramaphosa is doubtless a great improvement on Zuma but he seems committed to much the same failed ANC policies. He talks of the need to stop corruption and stealing in the state-owned enterprises but assumes they will remain state-owned, which is a bit like saying he will stop mice from eating cheese. Under ANC rule the public hospitals have collapsed which has led the government to insist that the solution lies in abolishing the highly functional private medical sector. Ramaphosa is continuing with this crazy policy. And he has embraced the policy of expropriation without compensation. He seems to think he can invite foreign investors to a big conference and there persuade them to invest in South Africa but it is difficult to see how they will get beyond item one, the question of expropriation without compensation.

There is a post-apartheid consensus which is effectively endorsed both by the parliamentary opposition and internationally. This is best summed up as transformation plus black empowerment. Transformation is a process which is supposed to happen to every area of life from company boards to sports teams where as many black people as possible must be appointed or selected at least until demographic representivity is achieved — though no one will mind if you go beyond that to 100 per cent black. There is a particular concentration on the topmost positions in leading sectors (e.g., the directors of the 50  biggest companies) because, of course, such positions are of particular interest to the new elite.

Transformation can only be achieved by massive affirmative action, often with disastrous results, such as an Eskom board with no member with engineering or business experience. But South Africa is a middle-income country in competition with many other countries in which appointments are made on merit. And while a minority of affirmative action appointments work well, most don’t, a potent cause of South Africa’s slide in all major international rankings and its almost zero economic growth. Ironically, affirmative action, though hugely popular with the black elite (its main beneficiaries), is, according to opinion polls, unpopular with most blacks — after all a black miner or farmworker or domestic servant cannot benefit from it but will suffer from the inferior delivery of services which it results in.
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April 16th, 2018
9:04 PM
While Thabo Mbeki deprived black South Africans of retroviral drugs the Apartheid regime caused a much greater genocide. Its rule resulted in millions of black South Africans, mainly infants and children, dying of starvation because they were deprived of food.

April 13th, 2018
3:04 PM
There is much truth in this piece but it gives white South Africans a free pass.They have white Messiah Syndrome deeply embedded—most senior positions in companies are held by whites not because they are more competent but because most whites have refused to change and embrace meritocracy. The decisions are made in secret white laager committees—so nothing has changed from Johan Anthoniszoon "Jan" van Riebeeck’s days.

April 9th, 2018
5:04 AM
This article did not cover the other aspects in all this. Julius Malema...he is the greatest danger to peace.

Eddie Goldschagg
April 8th, 2018
8:04 AM
R W Johnson.There are a lot of people who certainly will not like what you said, but you hit the nail on the head. Thank you. I will follow you with interest.

April 8th, 2018
7:04 AM
As a South African I ask. What is the next step?

Craig Schweitzer
April 6th, 2018
5:04 AM
Att: R.W. Johnson I am a South African, am a third generation citizen and spent my entire life living in Johannesburg. We get bombarded with political opinions from numerous sources. People comment of current affairs from various perspectives, and often with differing agenda's. I read your article with interest, and was captivated from your first sentence. You have so succinctly documented exactly what is happening in South Africa (and Africa) right now, that I feel your article should be used as a reference point in understanding the political and economical situation of this country before continuing with a political direction. I feel that the reality, which you have described, should be understood, and the course of our future altered to fix our future outcome, not for the benefit of the quarter million only. Thank you for writing this article, I will certainly share it far and wide, and intend following your future commentaries.

Johann Fourie
April 6th, 2018
2:04 AM
A most interesting summary of events of the past 20 + years, albeit alarming at times.Full marks to the authour.

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