A good looking bandaid on a cancer

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It’s a compelling image – 25 years after the first democratic election in South Africa a black South African captain of the Springboks holds aloft the World Rugby Cup trophy on behalf of his country.

The optics are marvellous. The picture tells us a transformation has unfolded so that black South Africans now enjoy full citizenship and are finally on an equal basis with white South Africans.

Unfortunately, the reality behind the picture is one of betrayal, corruption and abandonment.

The ANC has been in government for all the 25 years since apartheid was abandoned and it has made no material difference to the lives of the vast majority of black South Africans. Blacks now have civil and political rights but in terms of housing, health, education and employment the statistics are appalling. The majority are going backwards with the country dominated by a sense of hopelessness.

And to underline most starkly the legacy of this corrupt ANC government – South Africa is now officially the most unequal country in the world.

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As inequality has risen so have the social problems associated with great wealth and grinding poverty alongside each other. In violent crime, rape and murder South Africa is also a world leader.

As far as I’m aware all the black South Africans in the Springbok team got there through scholarships to attend private schools where only a miniscule minority of black students have the opportunity to access resources for quality education, including sporting opportunities.

For the vast majority of black children and teenagers there is so little investment in their education or life opportunities that when they leave school vast numbers enter a world without work where unemployment is a way of life.

South African government politicians blame “the legacy of apartheid” for the parlous state of the country. Give us a break. In 25 years the ANC has destroyed the dreams and smashed the hopes for the vast majority of South Africa’s citizens. Instead of transforming the economy they adopted neo-liberal economic policies where the rich have been enriched at the expense of the poor. Hence the race to the bottom and the status as the most unequal country in the world.

The patriotism on display with the world cup win is really just a good-looking bandaid on a cancer. It is as flimsy as the ANC government’s commitment to justice and equity for all South African citizens.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, the ongoing failure of the new RSA becomes more frustrating by the year for those principled NZers that marched and planned and seemingly lived on fish and chips all winter in ’81 to oppose Apartheid, Muldoon’s racist tour, and show solidarity!

    The ANC had the great misfortunate to assume power at the height of neo liberalism, and lets remember that corporate support helped end Apartheid too in the end stages. Those multi nationals operating in SA basically did a dirty deal with the international community that they would tolerate the end of official Apartheid on the basis they would not be nationalised and could keep operating in SA and repatriating profits. There was always doubt about the exact class nature of the ANC should they ever assume power.

    But whatever the initial difficulties and setbacks, there has now been ample time to rectify the basics which has not happened. And the other downside of a failed state is that white South African bludgers deserted the place, and now infest the likes of Aucklands North Shore and provinces.

    How not to run a revolution! But it is up to the people of SA to get their act together basically, and I do not regret for one minute spending that winter with a crash helmet on!–and getting involved in all sorts of Māori issues and struggles in this country over the years since.

    • Im sorry but go fuck yourself.
      Calling the South Africans that live here bludgers is weapons grade bullshit.
      I have a number of friends and colleagues from South Africa (white, coloured and black) and they are all hard working decent people who have escaped an immoral, corrupt and dangerous country in order to build a better life for their families.

    • Tiger Mountain: “…white South African bludgers deserted the place…”

      This is an unfortunate characterisation. It’s by no means just whites who’ve come here; and none of them is a bludger, that I’ve ever heard. The fact that South Africans are still coming to places like NZ, all these years after the fall of apartheid, says, more eloquently than anything else, that all is not well in that country.

      I was part of the anti-apartheid generation; we were deluded if we couldn’t foresee that black-led government was just as likely to fall prey to corruption as its apartheid predecessor. Humans are humans, whatever their skin colour.

      Holier-than-thou observers here sneered at South African whites taking their wealth and decamping to NZ; what else were they expected to do? Whatever the ANC was saying, whites were being made to feel unwelcome; from what I’ve read, that hasn’t changed much. Whites are also the victims of robbery and murder; they aren’t the ones doing that sort of crime.

    • … ” The ANC had the great misfortune to assume power at the height of neo liberalism, and lets remember that corporate support helped end Apartheid too in the end stages. Those multi nationals operating in SA basically did a dirty deal with the international community that they would tolerate the end of official Apartheid on the basis they would not be nationalized and could keep operating in SA and repatriating profits. There was always doubt about the exact class nature of the ANC should they ever assume power ”…

      This is good.

      …” And the other downside of a failed state is that white South African bludgers deserted the place, and now infest the likes of Aucklands North Shore and provinces ” …

      This is not.

      I was in Patu, .. found myself there in the second to front rows…

      I hated what I saw eventually,… Kiwis at each others throats.

      Turned me off any form of violent actions to enact change. Something the people over at The Standard failed to grasp when I posted a few articles about the American Civil War… brother against brother… ugly.

      Just ugly.

    • Xray: “…wasn’t this 25 years?”

      Yes, you’re right. It’s 25 years since the first democratic elections.

  2. I thought this was exactly what the Springbok captain was saying in his speech receiving the World Cup. South Africa suffers from neo-liberalism, and also on-going corruption from the ANC government which Jacob Zuma is finally defending in court.
    I have enormous respect for the way you challenged Mandela on these issues after he took over government, John

  3. I do not believe that this is the time for typical John Minto cynicism and I’m normally a supporter. John, you criticise the lack of progress in 25 years yet you come from a country that is still struggling from colonisation 250 years after it began. Did you witness the homecoming of the SA team? This COULD be a watershed moment in SA, a moment that is only possible after Nelson Mandela got the ball rolling in 1995. A black captain led the team and lifted the cup, how he got there doesn’t matter if it means unification, even temporarily for the rainbow nation. Yes, major inequality exists but it only started one generation ago from a point where black South Africans had nothing. NZ used to be a country with shared wealth until our elected leaders gave it away and the likes of Fay & Richwite merchant banked their way to billions of it and got knighted for their theft, I believe steps have been made in the right direction for SA but there is a long way to go. This victory is a huge step in the right direction John so can you just accept it for what it is at this moment in time. If SA was a a game of snakes and ladders, this event is a large ladder so John stop being the proverbial snake.

  4. Its the same old thing, neo liberalism at the heart of civil destruction.

    Ever since the World Bank and IMF were hijacked by the likes of the Mont Pelerin Society and its emissaries like Milton Friedman,… poverty, crime and social malaise has followed in its wake.

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