During the past few months as a white member of Agang SA, I have seen many parts of South Africa that I can bet few white South Africans have seen before. Now, I am certain that I am not the only white Afrikaner that has visited these areas before, however I do believe that speaking to the people in a political scene has given me an insight into views that even the opposition party might be not fully comprehend. In no way do I want to be seen as an expert on this subject, as it is probably more complex than my observations. To some readers this might actually not be an insight and just a ‘’repetition’’ of what you already know.
Here goes my observation and the argument for my topic today.
I sadly have to admit that the EFF has to be taken seriously during this election. The average supporter of the EFF is most likely to be my age group and in my generation. He is in his 20s, equipped with an education system that is worse than his father’s Bantu education, unemployed and living of social grants. In some cases he or she has fallen into parenthood, living with 2-3 children on the streets of Diepsloot, Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, Die Winterveld or Soshanguve without being able to properly take care of them. Alcohol abuse, drugs and HIV are in the order of the day.
Their anger is justified against the ANC government, who for the past 20 years - despite the legacy of Mandela left them in dire poverty. One just has to go and visit Pretoria, walk in the streets of Zambesi and Hans Strijdom, to see how desperate people are begging on the side of the road. God comes to them in the form of a slice of bread daily. The sad reality is that they have been equipped with an education system that makes them suitable for the very manual labour that the Apartheid regime wanted them to have. The average EFF supporter has not known Apartheid; they only heard it through stories of hatred - they have been taught to hate by the ANC. He still blames the white man for his woes, even though the White man can no longer accept any responsibility for it - for we are no longer in control of any political system.
The NDR has failed the EFF Supporter and wealth has not been ''distributed to him'', because wealth cannot be distributed, it can only be created. As Steve Biko said "handouts do not work".
To put it more blatantly, the ANC government has now succeeded in creating a system that produces cheap labour at a rate of which Andries Treurnicht and Hendrik Verwoerd would only be envious of.
The consequence of an oversupply of cheap labour is an economy which has not changed its way of doing things since the early 20th century. Wage prices have been driven to be below the breadline. We still have a mining sector stuck in the 1900’s and an agricultural sector that cannot industrialize, because it will face serious opposition from the unions. The unions are totally ignorant and a big cause of the problem. The result of this has been that our economy has fallen behind year after year compared to the rest of world - even the rest of Africa is catching up with us.
Despite the economic growth that we have had, our mines and government can no longer sustain the massive social service that is required to take care of the poor. South Africa is truly on a knife’s edge.
The labour laws instituted under Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma’s era of governance has led to unions being able to monopolize labour and it has made it too expensive for employers to absorb the mass rate of unemployment. Combine this with heavy business regulation then you have a market that cannot even grow the most basic entrepreneurial skills.
If you take the profile of the average outcast of this system, exploited by unions, ignored by government and abused by his own party then you have a typical economic freedom fighter, he who seeks to be equal, when a system made him unequal. He is radical and he is willing to try and engage politically in any type of solution even though it will not benefit him.
It is easy for us to ridicule the ideas of nationalization and of farm grabbing, because one only has to point out examples of history where this has failed or show empirical evidence, and then any sane and rational person would be convinced that the ideas are fringe, backwards and without premise.
This social zeitgeist, however, creates the platform for ideological mad men to come to the scene. I say “men”, because Malema, contrary to popular belief is not the brainpower behind the EFF - he is only the stooge, being used again like Zuma used him to push ideas that he himself doesn't even understand.
The ideas of the EFF are based in flawed Marxist ideology, which points to a darker history of the ANC and the true perceived meaning of the freedom charter. It is fuelled by Afrikanism belief that caused suffering to millions of people on this continent. The pseudo intellectuals like Andile Mngxitama who spew bigotry on every street corner and who support the EFF’s nonsense is the real problem. Also the white people in SA who have only preached white guilt during the past 20 years have given these clowns ammunition and justification.
If the leadership of SA is really serious on taking on the issues, then a mass focus on skills training will have to occur in this country or else the EFF’s ideas might actually become more common in the daily rhetoric. This is why I say we need to take them seriously; their so-called mad men will lose their ammunition if they do not have the poor to exploit for their own political gain. However if we don't then even the ruling party might have to adopt its policies to try and stay relevant. Riding on the back of Malema and standing on the graves of 1976 is no longer going to cut it for the ANC or whoever might win next year's election.
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