The New Fault Lines, South Africa

2016-07-11 16:53

South African politics is changing and some may argue it is changing to the negative. There is a clear divide growing, not only on race but also within races. Blacks are steadfastly becoming ever more fractured, this time not along tribal lines but elitism, a class divide. This is a situation where the ruling class, not the elected government but the power brokers and sophisticated individuals, groups and entities are grouping together to oppose and challenge those they perceive not worthy of high offices. Educational achievement is used as a point of debate but analysed carefully one sees the fracture even within the educated class.

Mistakes made by highly educated people, wealthy people or people with high family names are often seen and reviewed as normal whereas mistakes made by less educated people or those not educated by church led elite universities, the “local ivy leagues”, these are seen in negative light. Infact the latter mistakes are always overblown and exaggerated to the point of creating a crisis within society and country.

The similar occurs globally where elite leaders may make devastating decisions be those that lead to 2008 Global Financial Crisis or the Illegal Iraq War or locally apartheid crimes or Aids denialism and others. These are always seen in academic terms, studied and talked about scholarly. The purveyors of these are often used to condemn those of the lower classes, the plebs, and the commoners.

It is perplexing yet illuminating that eight foundations grouped together recently to condemn what they termed is censorship by the SABC. You had Mbeki, Tambo, Tutu, De Klerk and other getting together to issue condemnation and a call for the judiciary to enter the fray. Not so long ago Mbeki had very tough talk with Tutu effectively telling Tutu that he interferes too much in government day to day work and that he was dishonest. Shockingly Mbeki and Tutu, still alive and well, decided to bring on board an apartheid criminal who used the SABC to oppress the majority of South African whilst lying to the whites on a daily basis as another virtuous signatory to their SABC condemnation.

What however is telling about the Gang of Eight Foundations is that they then decided to enter politics and venture into all other sorts including how SOEs are managed and what the Public Protector may or may have not said and other slew of politically laced language designed to muddy waters and take clear political lines and sides. One wonders how is this good for democracy and respect of those entrusted to make decisions. The constant public condemnation and doubt from fault finding by NGOs, Foundations and others in the mainstream media may infact infringe on the rights of citizens to go through matters without these being collared by those in high places.

The Gang of Eight missive isn’t a new phenomenon, there has been organised church too weighing in on who should and who should not be ANC president and country president. They have also often weighed in on legislative proposals that have nothing to do with spirituality, morality or religion and have gone public on many matters. A host of NGOs have also come up taking the similar line. All these are fully in opposition with the elected ANC government. How the Tambo Foundation thought it must also weigh in is only for them to explain. What is clear however is that these groups are coordinating their anti-ANC and people agenda and some of these groups are from the ANC roots themselves, although currently undeployed or not involved with government?

Today it means in the name of Tambo, the SABC stands condemned irrespective of the fact that Tambo’s own government is in charge and ought to be given space to do its work. What remains are Tambo and De Klerk have now being joined on the hip to condemn a democratic institution of state under ANC government. De Klerk has been an unrepentant racist who presided over a racist government and has not come forward with all the truths needed from him about the crimes of apartheid. Tambo’s condemnation goes deeper into other areas of governance too as the Gang of Eight open-letter shows. This is open politics, but what is the politics of it all? What is to be achieved politically by ANC stalwarts coming out fervently to place public doubt on the ANC itself? Why the risk of politicizing these foundations and politically aligning them with the last apartheid president’s politics? What should the ANC itself do to manage, deal and counter this new political landscape? Who are the people in these foundations that make these decisions?

The political hate all these people have over president Zuma is now at a personal level. They are so hateful they are now blind.

There is a challenge and it is urgent and now. The elite from the judiciary, church, high offices, the mainstream media, liberal politicians, NGOs foreign and local are up against the men in the street. There is a clear battle line for control ensuing.

Mbindwane is on twitter @mbindwane

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