I doubt whether this article will ever get published by News24, as the overwhelming sentiment in the country at the moment is to only publish articles that are completely sensitive to the feelings, wishes, and ideas of the majority in this country.
To try to publish anything else is considered blasphemous and pure heresy. Everything has two sides, and it is my attempt to write something that reflects the opinions of the other side, based purely on fact and history. In my position I have extensive interactions with high placed people belonging to the minority, and I feel in the interests of fairness, their attitudes and opinions should also be allowed to be aired. I am not taking sides for either the minority or the majority, simply stating facts, as they have been presented to me.
To begin with, all humankind it would seem, originated from Africa. In periods of changing sea levels, certain human beings migrated across empty seas to overseas countries, mainly Europe, Nordic Countries, Russia and Britain, etc.
With time massive development occurred in these countries such as the Agricultural Revolution, Industrial Revolution and lately the Technological Revolution. The seas had long since come back, and Africa as a continent was cut off from the rest of the world, and consequently all these ensuing revolutions and development in society as a whole. Africa thus became a backwater of development, not in any way because of its people, but purely because of geography.
Further I believe that Africa was blessed with a good climate, rich fertile soils, good rainfall, etc. and its people were more than content to remain rural, living a simple and fulfilled life, living off the land and all the blessings it offered. They did not have to survive in blisteringly cold winters, ice and snow, and struggle to grow crops and struggle to find and kill beasts for food. They were unsurprisingly, less inquisitive in rapid development, than their neighbours across the seas.
With the advent of the sailing ship, world exploration started, and the white man finally arrived in Africa. He liked what he saw, and decided to settle and develop the continent in his own eyes and ways, and culture. It is a fact of history that the local African was not as advanced in his ways as the arriving white man, through no fault of their own however, and that the white man took it upon himself to lead and rule on his own. It was simply guns and canons against spears and shields.
Coming now to South Africa, it was the Nationalist Prime Minister, Hendrik Verwoerd, that put into place the disastrous, cruel and inhumane system of human oppression that is known as “separate development”. In his mind, he never wanted the white man to be ruled by the black man. He felt the only solution was separate development, with the black man being given his own homelands to rule and govern himself, while the white man governed and ruled his own territory. In the old days the white and black populations were not that different in number. With time however, the black populations grew at a much faster rate, and the division of land between the two became more and more disproportionate.
The main fears of the Nationalist government were that under black rule and government:
- The government in power may become totally corrupt, incompetent and have all high positions filled by people with no skills, qualifications or aptitude, merely being placed because of their connections in high places.
- A government unable to fill it commitment to the peoples because of a blind ambition of self-enrichment and power, to the detriment of the masses.
- A tin pot, despotic autocratic president, who may sell the country to the highest bidder for a pocketful of silver, and think of nothing but the self-enrichment of himself, his family and his close friends.
- A government unable to competently manage the large parastatals due to entrenched corruption, incompetence and political appointment of fools to positions of high office.
- A collapse of the country's municipalities through incompetent and unqualified staff, denying the masses adequate and good service delivery, and improving their living conditions from squalor to acceptable.
- A rapid deterioration in the health services and hospitals of a country, where these were once so good that they were the place where the world’s first heart transplant took place.
- The collapse of the schooling and education system, where once government education was considered to be on par, or better than that in the rest of the world.
- The establishment of an all-black owned and run bank, that collapsed through poor management, incompetence and corruption, and threatened to destitute dozens of municipalities, who had their cash invested in them.
Moving on to the contentious land issue. My white friends unanimously agreed that the present system of land ownership and distribution, was totally unfair and unjust, and that it is a matter of dire urgency that the problem must be addressed. They however firmly stated that it must be done according to the present legal system, without any adjustment to the present property clauses in the Constitution.
Security of land tenure is an essential part of the law in every civilised country of the world, and must never be tampered with. Should “expropriation without compensation” become a reality, foreign capital will flee this country immediately, and international investors will look elsewhere as a home for their money. SA will be boycotted and endure sanctions from the rest of the world. A Zimbabwe future will stare the country in its eyes.
As far as they are concerned, no land presently, has been stolen from anyone. On average, farms change ownership every ten years. This means all white farms have been legally purchased, with none having been inherited from past dispossesions. If you now want these farms, then simply buy them, like everyone else has to do. In America the farming population makes up 2.5% of the population. All other Americans make their livelihoods elsewhere. The luxury of owning an unproductive farm catering only for small subsistence farming is long gone. SA has an every growing population, and highly productive, large scale, commercial farming is required to feed the people.
A very hypocritical situation at present is that of traditional leaders saying they will fight to the death to keep the vast tracts of land they presently have under their control, and not cede title deeds to the present occupiers. This land, mainly in the previous homelands, belongs to the people, not some “king pot” traditional king. They must keep quiet and come to the party. It is the right and just thing to do to hand the land of to its rightful owners. What the black people in this country need is title deed to the houses and properties they presently occupy. This will improve their financial state in life by giving them real assets they can borrow capital against, to improve their lot in life. There has been a mass exodus of people into the cities. They have abandoned the farms and land they grew up on. The most important thing to them is for them to own the suburban land they presently occupy.
Moving on to the so called massive exploitation of the people on the African Continent, with regards to their mineral wealth. This is a further myth with history and facts proving otherwise. In absolutely no way I am trying to demean or insinuate the local population were inferior in any way, I am simply stating historical facts. Technological development raced ahead in the western countries for reasons I have stated above. There is not a single instance in the entire African Continent, where a wholly owned and internally financed, all African Consortium explored, found, exploited and developed a fully operational mine. They simply did not have the scientific and financial capital available to them, to do this. Western Companies came in and intensively geologically mapped the entire continent. This was followed up with highly sophisticated geophysical airborne surveys to target rich mineral deposits. This was followed by geochemical sampling of soil samples and extensive percussion and rotary core drilling of the underlying geological formations. Mineralogical research was carried out by highly qualified overseas mineralogists, in International Universities. International capital was then used to build new mines, and Geological, Engineering and Financial skills were used to make these mines productive and financially profitable. Without this imported expertise and capital, no single mineral deposit would ever have been exploited in Africa. The rich mineral wealth would of course still be there, but buried deep underground and hidden to all herding their cattle, sheep, goats and chickens above, blissfully unaware of the mineral wealth lurking below, asleep and untouched.
I have recently been in Senegal and Mali, and a South African mining company has just spent $1 billion on exploration of potential gold deposits. This is close to the GDP of smaller African countries. What do they want in return : An internal rate of return on capital invested of 20%. Can one really call this vicious exploitation of the African continents mineral resources. Once the mine is up and running, they will be paying a very healthy tax to the government on profits earned. I was at the exploration site which employs hundreds of locals. There is the presence of only a handful of whites. The rest of the staff comprising black locals from Senegal as well as bordering African states. All senior Geological and Engineering positions at the site are occupied by highly qualified black professionals from the surrounding countries, being paid salaries on par with those for similar positions anywhere else in the world.
In the DRC, Gecamines is the Governments Mining Department. It is a “sleeping” 50:50 partner, and demands 50% of all mining profits made. They take the word “sleeping” very literally, and add nothing to the mining operations in the way of technical expertise, management or risk finance. If that is total exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources, then you are entitled to your own views.
Coming to the point of mining companies ruthlessly exploiting the natural environment of the areas where mining operations take place. In mining the ore is crushed, the gold extracted, and the fine mine waste pumped out to slimes dams. All Tailings Storage Facility dams, Return Water Dams, and Excess Storm water dams are lined with impermeable polyethylene membranes at enormous cost, to prevent any leakage and contamination of underground natural water sources. In fact the only pollution present, is in close proximity to the existing mines. Here local African artisanal miners, digging hundreds upon hundreds, of shallow pits to pan and sieve remnant gold out of the soil, are the biggest polluters of the countries natural waters and rivers. They use raw mercury to agglomerate the gold, and it is this mercury that finds its way into the local waters, causing mercury poisoning and resultant brain damage, to the local population using these polluted water sources.
Addressing the rampant racism presently exposing its ugly face in SA. The biggest racist at large at the moment is Julius Malema, the firebrand EFF Leader. He makes statements like “All Indians are racist, and that they were exposed to a very different form of separate development, and now consider themselves superior to all blacks”. He has not ordered “The murder of all whites…Not yet anyhow”. “One settler one bullet”. The fact that as a white farmer you are 100 times more likely to be murdered than members of the population as a whole. Malema inciting the population “If you feel like a certain piece of land, then simply go and occupy it illegally”. Looking at the above, who is fermenting the worst racism in the country at present, and yet what censure comes his way. Simply nothing at all. What Penny Sparrow and Hellen Zille had to say, fades into insignificance with the above rants, as far as I am concerned.
And finally, the national furore over the supposed racial incident on DSTV involving Ashwin Willemse. My comments here are purely speculative and could be completely wrong. I only present them as an alternative viewpoint, as Ashwin himself, mysteriously refused to appear before the commission of inquiry into the incident. From what I have heard, he repeatedly came into the sports studio at the very last minute, completely unresearched and unprepared. His co-producers by comparison, had been in the studio for many hours beforehand, researching and preparing what to say. When his co-producers, who had been doing all the commentating up to then, decided it was only fair that he should be given the chance to comment on the next game, gave him the opportunity to speak. Being completely unprepared, he was caught totally on the back foot. In order to save face, he threw down his microphone, stormed out of the studio and viciously threw the race card at his two co-announcers. Should this be true, shame on you Ashwin.
I sincerely hope this article will be published by News 24. As I do feel it represents an alternative viewpoint to those continually filling the news space, day after day, after day. As I said, is not aimed at offending anyone, simply a presentation of facts and history as presented to me by others. Both sides of any issue in my mind, are just as important as the other.