During the 50s through to the 80s, the developed world would have branded anyone with the audacity to claim that the poor were oppressed by the rich, a communist who needed to be shot at dawn.
The rule of thumb was that you were poor for only one reason... laziness.
Some people are born into poor families, some into working class families.
Some are born into slums and townships, and others into middle class, university educated lives. It’s not your fault where you begin, it just boils down to random luck.
What is however your fault is where you end up in life.
I’ve heard countless tales of people, mostly black, who came from a family of eight, in a shack somewhere in township South Africa, who made it big in life.
Were these people lucky in life, or did they create their own luck by striving for more, and making it happen?
We’ve all grown accustomed to the various political factions, from the ANC, to the Youth League, to COSATU’s recent outbursts that the country is governed by the elite, the rich... the privileged.
More so than often, these include whites and Indians, the former because they 'were advantaged by apartheid' (as if whites would be absolutely useless were it not for Verwoerd and Co.) and the latter because they can’t afford shiny chains and chromed mags if they were poor... so they became rich.
I tried to think of a country where the poor young masses governed according to their will, and failed to come up with any successful nations where this was the case.
The conclusion then, is that the few, will always rule over the many, and the few will always be the upper class.
Any U-turn in the scenario, and the country will have catastrophe written all over it in no time. The rich are the rich, because they own most of the country, it’s as simple as that. Any other scenario pre-supposes communism, and we all saw where that brought Russia.
China, although communistic, does have a different approach to international trade, but is still heavily reliant on capitalism for its success. Without the West, there is no China. It’s as simple as that.
Thus, the argument that the people of the country – the poor masses, should own it, via the government, is as silly as a desktop computer these days.
It is the rich of the country, who should be empowered to create jobs, build the infrastructure and ensure entrepreneurial success in the creation of an industrialised economy, not government, least of all the poorest of the poor.
Unfortunately, the South African government consists of some of the richest people in the country, earning some of the highest incomes amongst politicians in the world; I suppose most ANC members believed that PW Botha and FW De Klerk were the richest men in South Africa during apartheid, and hence allocated massive salaries to government employees, when they eventually came to power.
Bottom line... yes, the country belongs to the rich, because it should. Any alternative would be the downfall of the nation.
Government is squarely to blame for creating the culture of ‘give me more because I’m black’ instead of creating an atmosphere where people can help themselves, as so many blacks have done on their own.
Whites never received handouts during apartheid, although opportunities were given to white people to make something of themselves, as is the case today with black people.
All you need to be successful in today’s S.A is a black skin, and a very basic three year degree, and Voila [!] you are guaranteed to find a job with a huge salary.
Want to start your own business? No problem... if you are black...
Because then a business development grant will do the trick (at nearly no interest), and you have free access to financial and legal advisors in the beginning of your entrepreneurial undertaking.
I understand the need for transformation... really I do.
What I don’t understand is why the man on the street, government, COSATU and politicians in general complain when all those mentioned hold all the cards.
On the other hand, transformation has done wonders for white men in South Africa. The term ‘That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ certainly made the guys with the guts to stay in the country, far better qualified and far more committed than any of their counterparts, especially since we are the last people considered for any position.
The poor, hungry and starving masses in contrast, still stand with one hand in their pockets, and the other held out to anyone willing to toss something their way.
These are the pawns of the politicians, the people willing to listen when you tell them that it’s not their fault that they are where they are in life...
These are the people you should never promise the world to, because they have nothing else to do than hold you to your promises.
These are the people you pity, even though they make you think...
...the day the poor rule the world, is the day the world ends... simple as that.