PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Daai Een
 
Comments: 0
Article views: 64
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
View all Daai Een's badges.
 

Mandela: South Africans and that dreaded 'k'-word...

10 December 2013, 15:54

While filtering through all the Mandela posts on social media and the web, I came across a staggering amount of posts calling Mandela a kommunis (communist) in a very accusatory tone.  The k-word is typically accompanied by a zillion or so exclamation marks, presumable to enhance the severity of this devastating, earth shattering exposé.

Recently professor Stephen Ellis wrote a book, allegedly backed by extensive evidence that Mandela was a member of the SACP, getting the enemies of ‘die rooi gevaar’ hysterical. It was thus with great jubilation that various far-right wingers finally got to say 'I told you so' on the release of a press statement by the South African Communist Party (SACP), confirming that Mandela 'was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of [their] Party's Central Committee'.  The release is available on their website, here: 

http://www.sacp.org.za/main.php?ID=4154   

Now, I will neither defend nor attack communism and socialism in this space, but I’m really baffled that so many people regard this ‘revelation’ to be so shocking.  In a democracy after all, communism is not really something you can ‘accuse’ a person of, and it’s hardly something worthy of an exposé, considering that it is a legitimate belief.   However, I do see this frenzy on the fringe as an opportunity to debunk a widely believed myth that South Africa is a communist or socialist state. 

Basic but insightful definitions and the distinctions between communism and socialism are available here:    http://www.diffen.com/difference/Communism_vs_Socialism.  Communism is basically a non-party system that promotes the abolition of class distinction.  The aim is to redistribute wealth so that all citizens get equal shares, and all production is controlled by the state.  Socialism on the other hand is a system that promotes equality and diminishes class distinction, although it is possible to earn more than the norm through own initiative.  Socialism usually promotes democracy, and although various sectors are nationalised, private enterprises are permitted. However, socialism has more than one variant, and socialist systems differ from country to country.  

A very uncommunist fact about South Africa is its thriving private sector.  As recently as 2012 South Africa was ranked second in the world for the accountability of its private institutions, and third for its financial development by the World economic forum.  The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is also ranked among the top 20 in size internationally. Zero government involvement, thus no ‘k’-word in that.   (http://www.southafrica.info/business/economy/econoverview.htm#.UqX-9yeoBsR)   That brings me to neo-liberalism, which, in short, is a capitalist system that favours free trade, deregulation and privatisation of key industries. A very recent display of the ANC’s commitment to neo-liberalism was their announcement that nationalisation of mines was not part of their policy.   

Many answers to how the current economic policies in South Africa came to be, can be traced back to 1980s Britain  – the days of Margaret Thatcher.  In a nutshell, Thatcher’s Conservative Party initially supported Apartheid, but when she realised how sanctions against South Africa could hamper her free trade policies (and British business interests in SA) she got on with the program and offered her support to the ANC. More about that here:   http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/10/margaret-thatcher-apartheid-mandela.  Thatcher was an uber-capitalist, and she was aggressively pushing her neo-liberal agenda in the international political landscape.  Through offering her ‘support’ to Mandela’s (and the ANC’s) plea, it was inevitable that neo-liberalism would become the dominant ideology in South Africa as well. We’ve had Thabo Mbeki declaring in so many words, that he was a Thatcherite, as early as 1996, a mere 2 years into democracy.  (http://mg.co.za/article/2013-04-12-south-africa-shaped-by-thatcherism )

  Back to Mandela and the ‘k’- word:  Mandela was always outspoken about his socialist beliefs.  The initial policies of the ANC during Apartheid were indeed socialist, and based on the Freedom Charter, which dictated that the land should belong to all the people in South Africa, and that all the people should be sharing in the wealth of the land:  http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=72  He was also a fierce democrat (which makes his SACP membership somewhat strange), specifically favouring a tribal model of democracy.  This entails the right of all relevant parties involved in a situation to air their views before important decisions are made.  Mandela in fact declared that often his decisions were a mere representation of a consensus of what he heard in a discussion, regardless of his personal opinions. (http://monthlyreview.org/1999/04/01/mandelas-democracy)

 And that is how I think South Africa came to adopt a neo-liberal as opposed to a socialist (or communist) system.  During the past few days various commentators praised Mandela for his ability to delegate and admit his short comings.  He realised that he didn’t have experience in running a country and consulted various experts before and during his days in office.  The consensus reached by these ‘experts’ on our economic policy was clearly neither socialist nor communist, because instead of prioritising the redress of inequality and nationalising key industries, Mandela ended up going abroad in an attempt to restore the faith of the international community in South Africa. Foreign business expansion picked up during his rule, and today it is still a popular place for investors, as mentioned above.     

Anyway, despite all the theories doing the rounds, Mandela’s political philosophy, whether ‘kommunis’ or socialist became pretty much irrelevant in the very beginning of our democracy.  Best-sellers, SACP press releases and exclamation ridden Facebook updates won’t change anything – Capitalism in South Africa prevails, courtesy of democracy…

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
siphokuhle dludla
The real South Africa today

Truth be told, South Africa is a country with palpable inequalities, which is a fact, it is a country where poverty continues to lacerate a huge number of our population particularly black people. Read more...

1 comments 74 views
Submitted by
Greypatriot
The ANC constitution does not off...

The official ANC constitution does not forbid or punish corruption. The term corruption is not listed or defined as a key term in the latest version of the official constitution of the ANC. Read more...

3 comments 113 views
Submitted by
LeboDang Macman
Why using race as a proxy doesnt ...

I am not an academic nor do I profess to be, so everything I write will be based purely on experience. Read more...

7 comments 316 views
Submitted by
Themba Simelane
Lost in my creative maze

Of all the projects that I excelled in and ultimately got to complete, it was those that I had done so in my self-enclosed space. Read more...

0 comments 58 views
Submitted by
KenEverett
God vs Evil Loo-Shin

I would like to present a few comparisons between these two unequal opponents so that those ‘on the fence’ can choose wisely. Read more...

130 comments 736 views
Submitted by
thailor
Don't be so yesterday! Wake-up an...

I urge the youth to inform their fathers, mothers and old relatives about the current state of our country. Read more...

4 comments 129 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Digital Media & Marketing Association
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.