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How governable is South Africa? Part 1

By Udo W. Froese
With the war-cry from public platforms, "We will make South Africa's mines ungovernable", the young politician, Julius Malema, attempted to incite anger and unrest among the mineworkers of South Africa.

Without a significant manufacturing industry, adding proper value, this country's mining industry remains the economic backbone.

During the widely reported strikes, Malema was no part of the mineworkers, no part of the trade unions and no part of the negotiating team of mine management.

This raises the question, why did Malema go to the platinum and gold mines to address the workers? Was it to exert pressure on the mine owners to pay decent wages, or was it to receive maximum political mileage and media cover age in order to gain a bigger following? Is Malema merely the tool to divide the ANC in the interest of those within the ruling tripartite alliance, who ultimately want to become president?

Referring to the fired former ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, and the power struggle within the ruling party, the president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) stated at its Congress in Midrand, Johannesburg, this week, "This is a systematic, orchestrated long-time plan that is unfolding now."

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said, "The ANC as the ruling party should not be afraid to be bold, condemn and expose. The ANC has to continue to identify and deal with those who fund this chaos." In other words, follow the trail of the money.

President Jacob Zuma and his leadership of the ANC are often viewed as being indecisive and unmovable to take any decision. It seems to be allowing 'known rogue elements and moles' to divide the former liberation movement with the keen assistance of the corporate mainstream media. The ANC is sectionist, because it is such a broad church of so many interests and ideologies. In fact, it spans the entire ideological spectrum. The ANC's culture however, remained the same since its inception in 1912.

Mechanisms to ensure consensus are so deep that quick decisions are not part of it. A slow institutional process has led to non-decisiveness. It has led to a functional impasse between running a government and receiving input from the ruling party.

The 'Marikana mineworkers' massacre' did not allow much time to consult the ANC. There are definite signals coming through that that indecisiveness is changing. A more aggressive Zulu culture seems to surface. It comes across as a determined approach. Under Mandela and Mbeki in comparison, there was lengthy debate. This is more of a Xhosa culture. The mining crisis exploded, as that situation was simply not dealt with quick enough.

South Africa could best be defined as a 'racial oligopoly'. The ownership of the carteleconomy and the corporate mainstream media reflect the racial divide. The white elite incorporated an over-compromised black elite. Of 50,5 million South Africans about 68% live on less than one United States Dollar per day. Most white South Africans would form part of a lowermiddleclass.

The real elite of about 3000, who matter in this economy, live in fear of an integration of the working and the middle classes, as that would be fertile ground for a real revolution. Jacob Zuma came to power because of re-called former president Thabo Mbeki's political delinquency and arrogance.

Mbeki philibustered and bullied all critical voices and political opponents, creating many enemies. They had become politically and economically hurt. Zuma was the choice of the coalition of the wounded. Neither Julius Malema, nor Fikile Mbalula, nor the ANC Youth League therefore, actually had any role in "making" Jacob Zuma the president of the ANC and the country. The drivers behind Zuma's presidential nomination were the ANC Women's League, the disgruntled ANC branches, the veterans, Cosatu and the SACP. The vocal ANCYL had marginal representation in Polokwane.

South Africa's corporate mainstream media showed its mischievous hand when it quoted some 'youth league national working committee member', who claimed "ANC leaders believed Malema was being funded by Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF to weaken the ANC internally and to destablise the country, but it was not true."

The aforementioned newspaper writers quote their "source" as saying, "ANC leaders can't get over Julius getting an audience with Mugabe, which they can't do and the fact that Mugabe gave Julius cattle." But, ZANU-PF has no funds to finance its own programmes and has no direct, or indirect connection with the ANCYL. The workers in South Africa's platinum and gold mines are not Zimbabweans.

ZANU-PF almost lost the political game in Zimbabwe, because of a lack of funds. A known senior politician and Member of Parliament in Harare queried, "How would ZANU-PF benefit from financing Julius Malema? Where are the cattle that Mugabe allegedly gave Malema? This is inflammatory reporting with the opportunistic hope to drive a wedge between the ANC and ZANU-PF." He described that report as "tribalistic madness."

He also added, "The only two Zimbabweans that would be able to finance Malema, would be the publisher of the Johannesburg based 'Mail & Guardian', Trevor Ncube, and his close colleague, Strive Masiyiwa, of the Zimbabwean mobile phone company, 'Econet Wireless'. They both live in Johannesburg and have access to foreign capital."

The young Malema announced during one of the radio talk shows in Johannesburg that he had received death threats. If this is indeed so, it would be concerning. If Malema would be killed, the "Anyone But Zuma" and the "Friends of Malema" campaign would turn its heat on Jacob Zuma. In fact, such evil act would be used to bring Zuma and his leadership to a fall. It would be in the interest of all involved to protect Julius Malema now.

A respected foreign academic, specialising in South African socio-economics explained, "The ANC would practice mature politics, if it would simply ignore Julius Malema, unless there is factual proof of serious corruption and misappropriation of public funds, tax evasion and tenderpreneurship. Only then Malema could be locked up.

South Africa's ruling party would be viewed as playing infantile politics, if it would charge Malema with incitement and High Treason. Zuma would then stand accused of playing the same hand as his recalled predecessor, Mbeki, using the state machinery to get rid of political opponents."

It is now more important than before that the ANC receives the assistance it needs to deal with the dirty campaign meted out against it.


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