White monopoly capital no PR ploy

2017-09-03 06:02
The legacy of white monopoly capital is stubborn.

The legacy of white monopoly capital is stubborn.

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Recent revelations by the Statistician-General Pali Lehohla on poverty and economic growth trends clearly show that indeed there is still validity in calling for total economic transformation in South Africa.

Lehohla’s assertion that more than 30 million South Africans live in poverty should make us stand up and do more to address the poverty and social inequality time bomb in our midst.

As expected, the report reveals that black Africans are still the most vulnerable group to poverty and unemployment.

Consequently, such statistics call for enhancing the effectiveness of progressive policies such as broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), industry charters, affirmative action and gender equity, to mention but a few.

Despite populist rhetoric in some quarters, we still urgently need to address the historical injustices and discriminatory realities of our recent past.

Also, the stubborn legacy of white monopoly capital tells us that despite the best will in the world, unless drastic changes take place, it makes no sense to expect that government alone can meaningfully change the patterns of socioeconomic inequality without enabling black people to take a lead in the running of the economy.

While some in South Africa are narrowly obsessed with the shenanigans of the Guptas, that this is being done at the expense of the unfinished business of our economic emancipation is largely ignored.

We all know that while this family has seemingly not behaved well, its presence has also touched a raw nerve among those who have been enjoying the spoils of the economy while the black majority was and is excluded.

Controversy, propaganda and lies

Today more than ever before, we must accept that the burning issue of economic redress is political and is therefore a source of controversy, propaganda and, at times, deliberate lies.

Why is there silence on the 73% of the Eskom R100bn spent on coal meant for the Anglos, BHPs and Exxaros, as well as the 40 to 50 years’ ever-green contracts monopolised by these big companies? What of the 27% spent on five other companies including Tegeta?

It is disturbing to see some of our most trusted and respected leaders speaking against the Mining Charter.

It is as if the charter will hurt them more than it will the dominant and largely white-owned mining companies such as Anglo, Lonmin and Impala Platinum.

What kind of circus is this when some seem content with dancing and singing for the amusement of white monopoly capital?

After all, this charter only calls for a further 4% for black ownership in the land of our birth as black people. The charter would increase black ownership to a miserable 30% for people who represent 85% of the population.

These people, black South Africans, offered a hand of peace and reconciliation to their fellow white citizens and did not throw anyone into the sea nor take the land by force.

Nevertheless, we must not turn a blind eye on irregular contracting, but must ensure that we do this across the board and avoid double standards.

We must refuse to be seduced by the opportunistic slogans of the hour.

Any wanton looting of the state coffers must be properly investigated and due process must take its course through our courts and not through trial by the media, kangaroo courts and all manner of brazen grandstanding.

Yet as we fight the scourge of corruption and nepotism, the righteousness of our cause must not turn us into overzealous propagandists who lie at will – as if for a plate at the dinner table of the erstwhile master who today masquerades as the custodian of virtue and nobility.

Bold, responsive and responsible leadership

More vigilance and principled leadership is sorely needed today to ensure that South Africa continues to be a model and revered country among other nations.

Bold, responsive and responsible leadership is needed across all spheres of our society.

Even if those with socioeconomic power may want to wish us away as black people, and want to treat us as hewers of wood and drawers of water in the Verwoerdian sense, we must rise and ensure that our dreams are not deferred.

Black business and black managers in particular must use their unique positions of influence to fight poverty and unemployment – especially for the black African.

Responsive and responsible leadership calls on all of us to fully acknowledge the brutal and dehumanising legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

No matter the winds of deceit and denialism that are currently blowing from certain quarters such as claiming that the concept of white monopoly is all of a sudden a PR ploy, and not rooted in our broad liberation movement and the fight for socioeconomic justice, we must raise our heads and dismiss this shallow and ridiculous narrative for the white lie that it is.

Why should it take a white former ANC national executive committee member such as Carl Niehaus to point out to us that indeed we are being fed lies and utter nonsense when some we trust and greatly admire today find it appropriate to deny the reality of the exclusive dominance of white capital in key sectors of the economy?

One wishes all this mess was nothing but a terrifying dream.

Of course we are hearing all this unfortunate talk in our waking moments.

Surely if one is to let this big fat white lie go unchallenged, the agenda to transform the economy, effect affirmative action, BEE and BBBEE becomes a hollow exercise.

What is beginning to rear its ugly head in certain quarters is collusion with denialism.

It is the denialism of the brutality of imperialism, colonialism, apartheid and a barrage of legislative measures through which black people were excluded from land ownership, commerce and even certain professions through job reservation practices.

When the majority of black people are trapped in abject poverty, do not own land and are marginalised by obstinate white capital, what utter silliness should make some of us stand on a pedestal and tell the world all is well and good in this rainbow land of milk and honey.

Dlamini is executive chairperson of SekelaXabiso, a black-owned professional firm specialising in internal, IT and forensic audits and business consulting

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Read more on:    pali lehohla  |  economy  |  poverty  |  bee

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