ANC Failures Hasten Malema Rise: White South Africans Prepare for Exodus

Julius Malema drew thousands of supporters to his Economic Freedom March earlier this week, continuing his incision into the support of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) whose faltering performance, corrupt tendencies and listless leadership have led to widespread protests across the country.

Malema at the Economic Freedom March
Malema at the Economic Freedom March

Whatever the faults of the ANC – and there are many within the Jacob Zuma administration – growing support for Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is an alarming development, particularly if you happen to be a white South African. Malema has made no secret of his desire to completely disenfranchise the white population in favour of the blacks, advocating a raft of ridiculous economic policies likely to send South Africa back to the Dark Ages.

Left-wing struggles are not new in South Africa. In 1919, the Industrial & Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) launched in Cape Town to provide a radical political vehicle for labour reform (regardless of race) and they were joined in 1921 by the South African Communist Party (SACP). These two groups provided a more effective opposition to white minority rule than the ANC did during the early days of protest.

The ICU pursued a populist mandate which neglected effective labour organisation
The ICU pursued a populist mandate which neglected effective labour organisation

Although the ICU was a short-lived organisation, the SACP would later align itself with the ANC as one of the foremost opponent groups of Apartheid. Indeed, the SACP actively encouraged and organised some of the earliest anti-pass book protests and bus boycotts in South African cities and townships during World War Two (WWII).

Of course the ANC would later be painted as communists by the ruling National Party (NP) in an attempt to retain the political backing, and economic support, of their Western allies. There was certainly a conflation of ideas and endeavour between the ANC and SACP. Indeed, longtime SACP leader Joe Slovo was one of the most prominent anti-Apartheid campaigners and a commander of the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe wing of the ANC.

Through a combination of militant violence, international lobbying and political and social persuasion, these ‘left-wing’ groups helped bring about the fall of Apartheid.

These groups were, however, fighting against an unjust and repressive political system. Malema and his EFF seek to topple the democratically-elected ANC so that they can use the levers of power to punish the whites. Should the EFF ever displace the ANC then there will be a repeat of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe in South Africa.

Robert Mugabe has allowed blacks to seize white farms in Zimbabwe, destroying productivity in the process
Robert Mugabe has allowed blacks to seize white farms in Zimbabwe, destroying productivity in the process

The ANC has performed a wholly inadequate role in the post-Apartheid era. In a desperate attempt to reverse the racial discrimination of the Apartheid era, they have progressed too swiftly and with tragic results. Few incentives remain for white businessmen and farmers to stay in the country and yet they are the ones with the experience, capital and organisation to provide a sound economic basis for the country. The blacks, because of their stifled development under Apartheid, do not have the same economic capacity and this scenario will not improve if they are simply handed rewards without work (something Malema is keen to extend beyond the current ANC policy).

City centres have become slums and impoverishment amongst the black population has increased under the ANC’s watch. Why? Because its leaders are more interested in lining their own pockets and protecting their own business and political interests than improving the lot of their people, a sad fact common across the African continent.

The once-trendy district of Hillbrow in Johannesburg is now a crime-ridden slum
The once-trendy district of Hillbrow in Johannesburg is now a crime-ridden slum

It is therefore understandable that Malema and his populist rhetoric have struck a chord with poor black South Africans. Undoubtedly, should he ever attain political office he is likely to go the same way as Jacob Zuma and all those other self-serving ‘freedom fighters’ he claims to revile.

More worryingly, however, is the fact that he will plunge South Africa into anarchy, sealing its economic fate and driving out the remaining few whites who have resisted the racist policies and declining opportunities of the past few years to contribute what they can to the country that they love.

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Malema, the EFF and the Promise of a New Zimbabwe

With Nelson Mandela unlikely to survive much longer, South Africans will soon have to confront a future devoid of the multi-cultural and multi-racial consensus embodied by their former leader. Whilst South Africa is far from racially harmonious, Mandela’s efforts, both during and after his presidency, have prevented the sort of widespread bloodshed and racist retaliation seen in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Mandela's gestures of reconciliation gave hope of a harmonious, multi-racial state in South Africa
Mandela’s gestures of reconciliation gave hope of a harmonious, multi-racial state in South Africa

Without Mandela, an increasingly weak, corrupt and indecisive ANC government, and a promotion of militancy by firebrands such as Julius Malema, a new Zimbabwe may be on the horizon.

Malema is one of the chief concerns. Formerly leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, Malema was expelled for his aggressive challenge towards the ANC hierarchy and refusal to play second-fiddle to established politicians. His response has been to establish a new political party: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Described variously as Marxist-Leninist, Communist, Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Imperialist, the EFF is little more than a quasi-militant body, using political registration for a veneer of legitimacy. Prominent members include pan-Africanists and ANC dissidents. This includes Dali Mpofu, whose affair with Winnie Mandela led to the irrevocable staining of the latter’s reputation, despite Malema’s idiotic claim that the affair was a fabrication of Afrikaner propaganda.

The ANC has accused the Zimbabwean ruling party, Zanu-PF, of supporting Malema’s EFF and it would be little surprise if this is true. Like Zanu-PF, the EFF is an inherently racist party, no better than the white minority regimes of the past that it is so keen to decry. Like Zanu-PF, the EFF, if given the chance, would steal white land and distribute it to its black supporters. Threats of violence against white South Africans are a feature of fledgling EFF rallies.

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Malema makes no secret of his hatred for white South Africans
Malema makes no secret of his hatred for white South Africans

Robert Mugabe has never apologised for the excesses of his ‘land reform’ in Zimbabwe and has refused to compensate victims despite rulings from independent tribunals in South Africa. Should Malema ever come to power, he is likely to be equally uncompromising.

It should be noted that Malema and the EFF are unlikely to storm the next general election and form a South African government. However, if the EFF is unable to enact its planned policies ‘legitimately’ through government, it may choose to do so illegally through unsanctioned land grabs and mine seizures.

Furthermore, as the Zuma government and the ANC becomes increasingly synonymous with corrupt practices and an inability to improve the lives of the poorest black Africans, the EFF will gain greater support. The most recent accusation against the hapless president is that he grossly overspent on upgrades to his rural homestead in the name of ‘national security’.

The longer such abuses of power continue, the less people will associate the ANC with its anti-Apartheid legacy. Whilst many still vote for the ANC out of habit and gratitude, the increasing publicisation of its declining effectiveness in government will lead those regular supporters to question their complicity.

White farmers were forcibly removed in Zimbabwe and agricultural productivity subsequently crashed
White farmers were forcibly removed in Zimbabwe and agricultural productivity subsequently crashed

All this helps Malema, a racist in the true sense of the word, a man keen to impose the Zimbabwean model on South Africa and destroy any remaining notions of Mandela’s consensus.