Zumanomics one and zero one

South Africa is very angry today; all except those who benefit from President Zuma’s extensive patronage system, and those who either don’t care or are too ignorant to care about what happens to their country.

They’re not angry because his knowledge of geography is as pathetic as his understanding of large numbers. They’re angry because Zuma has probably become the single biggest threat to the economy of this country. He’s just fired the Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with a little known crony, who failed dismally at being the mayor of a small town.

While the country’s Rand currency was struggling to regain value from an all-time low against the Dollar, David van Rooyen, Zuma’s latest addition to a network of questionable and downright incompetent appointees to positions of power, was being sworn in.

Not surprisingly, the media and others have been scathing in their criticism of Zuma and the cowardly members of the ANC who support this despicable creature. Read some of the criticisms here, here and most importantly here.

The seething continues…

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An Uprising, And Then A League Of Silly Women

Last week university students across South Africa rose up in protest against a hike in fees for the 2016 academic year.

Barring the few incidents of violence and destruction of property, it was a sight to behold. Never has the government of this country been shaken as much and by mere students, unified across racial, gender, socioeconomic and political divisions.

So frightened were the ruling politicians, that they caved in last Friday and announced a zero percent increase in fees for the next year. This week however, students at some institutions were still not satisfied, and continued protesting, mostly for the complete abolition of fees for tertiary education.

If students could rattle the ANC government this much, imagine what a unified South Africa could do. I think these are troubling times for the fat-cat rulers and their cozy futures doesn’t look so bright any more. Finally the ANC’s disdain for the citizenry has reaped a whole lot of detest.

Meanwhile, one of the embarrassing ineffectual wings of the ANC (the other being the Youth League), The Women’s League has decided this week to march on the Union Buildings to protest the “denigration of the image of President Zuma by so-called artists.” In other words (so they insist) they’re marching to protect the dignity and honor of the President, all  because an artist had the foresight temerity to paint a picture of His Loathsomess in an er, uncompromising but accurate position.

These women should be ashamed of themselves. Scratch that. They’re proud supporters of patriarchy after all. Seems it hasn’t occurred to them that you can’t protect the honor of a man who has none.

Oh well, back to the students.

For many people in this country who had given up hope of ever holding this government to account, our young generation have shown quite conclusively that it is possible. Thank you all for coming in from the cold.

Loathing in the time of liberation

But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about. – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera.

Over the last 20 years, there is nothing I have grown to despise more than the ANC. Or rather the leaders who have twisted and mutilated this liberation movement so much, that it has degenerated into the rotting, ponging carcass it is today. If I were to take the liberty to alter slightly the quote above from Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, it would go something like this:

But when a corrupt politician decides to usurp all power, there is no wall he will not scale, no fortress he will not destroy, no moral consideration he will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.

I have written many times before on this blog about the oh so many transgressions of the ANC, but I am unfortunately not as eloquent as writer, researcher, lecturer and political activist Dale T McKinley, who published an article in The Star newspaper. I will now take a further liberty and reproduce it here verbatum, because I think the whole world needs to know what is happening in South Africa.

Power, money define a modern ANC

One of the favourite sayings of ANC leaders over the years, and most often directed at those of its members who have departed the organisation for various reasons, is: “It is cold outside the ANC.”

It doesn’t take a political analyst or life-long movement activist to figure out the metaphorical meaning.

Simply put, the “warmth” inside the party is defined by being part of the ANC’s unequalled access to and use of institutional power – whether as applied to the ANC or the state it largely controls – and the accompanying material benefits (read: money) derived. Twenty years into ANC rule it is that “warmth” that has, in turn, come to define the party itself.

None other than the ANC number one himself confirmed this, even if for very different reasons, not long after he had ascended to the presidential thrones of party and country.

Speaking to the ANC Veterans League back in 2009, Zuma declared – without a whiff of contradiction or irony – that “money and positions have undermined the ANC (and changed its) character and values”.

He was quickly followed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe who proclaimed that: “When selflessness, one of the principled characters of our movement, is being replaced by a newfound expression of selfishness, wherein personal accumulation becomes the main cause for divisions, we must know that the movement is in decline.”

No doubt both Zuma and Mantashe were attempting to present themselves as the “new” champions of some kind of moral regeneration campaign within the party. After all, they had succeeded in ousting Mbeki and his neoliberal technocrats, with Cosatu and the SACP leading the way, by claiming that theirs was a politics of returning the ANC “to the people” through a principled, accountable and exemplary leadership.

As has most often been the case with the ANC since 1994, however, the reality is a far cry from the rhetoric. Even if present before at the individual level, under Zuma’s leadership the pursuit of money and power (position in the ANC and the state) has become the sine qua non of membership and more specifically, advancement. Closely tied to this organisationally bound accumulation path is an effective “requirement” of an obsequious loyalty to Zuma himself, a willingness to defend and cover up for number one, whatever the cost.

Over the past several years the cumulative result at the macro-organisational level has been quite dramatic. The ANC has morphed from its earlier transition days as a “modern” bourgeois political party designed to consolidate a class-based system of power overlaid with narrow racial interests to an inveterately factionalised, patronage-centred, corrupt, rent-seeking and increasingly undemocratic ex-liberation movement.

In turn, this has framed more particular examples of the ANC’s inexorable political and organisational descent:

* The retreat into the political shadows of ever-increasing numbers of the “older” generation of members and leaders who have become disillusioned with the party’s trajectory and its present leadership.

* The marginalisation, expulsion and, on occasion, murder of those in the ranks who have opposed, questioned and/or exposed the conduct of leaders of the party and the state who are, in one way or another, part of the Zuma battalion.

* The ascendance of a new breed of militarised, dumbed-down, “yes baas” storm-troopers and securocrats whose core purpose is to police the masses and guard the party/state gates against unwanted questioners and intruders.

* The embracing and catalysing of a politicised ethnic identity alongside xenophobic, homophobic and misogynist attitudes and behaviour that potentially foreshadows an inward turn towards a pseudo-”traditionalist”, social proto fascism.

* The widespread disintegration of the ANC’s grassroots structures into mostly corrupt, localised factional vanguards “servicing” various party dons;

* The sustained socio-political rebellion of its “natural” constituencies among the poor and working class, the general response to which is a dismissive arrogance combined with heavy doses of repression; and

* The spectacle of professed “communists” and “radical” unionists enthusiastically espousing a politically and socially reactionary politics, defending and covering up corruption as well as engaging in the gradual balkanisation (and in some cases, liquidation) of organised working-class forces.

Such ANC characteristics have not however, as might be expected, led to a parallel decline in the number of ANC members. Indeed, if ideological and organisational coherence, actual job performance and delivery of mandates (whether as party or state leader and/or official), respect for rights enshrined in the constitution or adherence to the general letter of the law were the main criteria for prospective members, then the ANC would surely be an unpopular choice.

Instead, over the past decade or so there has been a considerable increase in membership growth. What this shows is that more and more people are being drawn to join the ANC not out of political/ideological belief or because they think the party is the best vehicle for sustaining democracy, advancing political cohesion or contributing to effective public service.

Rather, and as several recent research contributions to a special issue on the ANC at sub-national level of the journal Transformation reveal, the key drawcard of ANC membership is the pursuit of power and material advantage (most often in the form of money). This is directly tied to patronage and clientism, which have become the dominant forms of political and organisational direction and leadership under Zuma.

Flowing from the top downwards, these forms have ensured that each successive level of leadership and structure (within the party and the state) is umbilically linked to a particular faction competing for political control and position in order to access resources. In the process, internal democracy and lines of accountability become little more than irritants, pushed to the margins of rhetorical spin.

Not surprisingly, the cumulative result is that the line between party and state, at whatever level, has become more and more blurred. ANC structures, from top to bottom, graft on to the parallel state structures like parasites feeding off the bounty. The two “bodies” become progressively intertwined, the trajectory of one dependent on the other. Where there is mutual benefit to be had, the various “bodies” will co-operate, but it is just as likely that they will enter into (factional) conflict where there is competition.

Besides the sorry organisational and political state of the various ANC “leagues”, the ANC’s own core structures are in trouble.

By all accounts, a majority of ANC branches are either largely dysfunctional or racked with factional battles. The party itself has acknowledged that the majority of its provincial executives and parallel provincial structures are “unstable”. The “best practice” example of this is to be found in none other than number one’s backyard, with the conference of the ANC’s largest region – eThekwini – having to be postponed indefinitely due to infighting and allegations of cash for votes.

With crass accumulation as well as open and often violent factional conflict combined with regular exposures of massive fraud and manipulation of meeting and election procedures, the general state of things in the ANC looks more like a mass drunken fight in a casino than a 100-year-old party governing a country.

The outside world once helped us bring down the tyranny of apartheid. I fear we may soon again be calling upon the outside world to help us bring down the tainted liberator.

“Point of order, honourable Parasite…”

What you’re watching is a session of our Parliament. Correction! Was our Parliament. It is no longer any such thing.

That hallowed institution ceased to exist when Jacob Zuma and his cronies usurped it. What it is now, is merely a deception to keep up appearances for the credulous masses that conspire to keep this rabble in power.

It never fails to at the same time, amuse and infuriate me when these leeches call each other honourable. I’d be pleasantly surprised if more than a handful of them actually looked up the word in a dictionary.

Notice how the sheep rise to applaud the Pres… er jackal when he takes up position to answer frustrate questions from the Opposition. How very diffident? And what about the Speaker? What a model of prejudice?

This my friends is a very devious form of apartheid. It is called ANC democracy.

Zuminating the shit we’re in

dejapoo

While addressing a gathering of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town yesterday, President, Jacob Zuma regaled the gathering with how effective South Africa was at fighting corruption.

Zuma told this apparently unenlightened team of world leaders that his government had put in place institutions of graft-busting that were unbelievably non-existent during the apartheid era. Shocked members of the WEF were then led into a further secret:

There is a feeling that taxpayers’ money cannot be taken by other people. No matter if you are big or small, if there is a problem we have a structure to look at it.

Then in a moment of amazing candour the miscreant President revealed how he had valiantly hand-picked a team of ruthless investigators from his own cabinet and party to investigate the allegations of corruption against him. Unsurprisingly he was cleared.

Citizens of the country listening to Zuma’s address and reading about it later, were horrified, not because he was vindicated by this thorough team of investigators, but because the President had the audacity to take a gathering of international leaders for the fools he takes his own flock. Once again Zuma had shown not only his own countrymen the middle finger, but the rest of the world as well.

Eh eh eh eh eh…

Update: Found a recording of the WEF address by Jacob Zuma. Don’t you think Schwab, to the right of Zuma, is trying very hard to keep a straight face? The rest of us couldn’t.

May the third force be with you…

thirdforce

…when you are up against it, and need to shift responsibility to someone or something else.

Politicians, especially the ANC kind know this well. They’ve used this pathetic excuse quite frequently over the years, to avoid accepting responsibility for their many screw-ups. And since the citizens of this country have failed to hold them accountable, it seems many others in so-called leadership positions have cottoned on and are following suite.

The latest “leader” to jump aboard the third force train is a parasite who leeches on our taxes while masquerading as the King of the Zulus. He goes by the moniker of King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Following a public speech he made in which he clearly exhorted foreigners to pack their bags and leave the country, xenophobic violence broke out in several provinces which led to multiple deaths of foreigners. One such incident which involved the gruesome killing of a Mozambican national, was captured by the media in graphic detail, and broadcast around the world.

While our own President Jacob Zuma, who strangely is a subject of this King, characteristically took the opportunity to blame the media for showing South Africa in a bad light, Goodwill (whose name is wasted on him) Zwelithini refused to accept any responsibility but blamed a handy third force.

What a couple of tossers! Both of them need to be tossed behind bars; the sooner the better. This country can ill afford the likes of these, these…

This ain’t no banana republic

Everything leading up to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by Scoundrel No.1 the President a few weeks ago and subsequently has given force to the idea that South Africa is a banana republic.

Social media was abuzz with claims that the beginning of the end had started that horrid day. Those video clips of the bust-up in Parliament was merrily doing the rounds, much to the delight of all those who have over a period of time come to despise this ANC administration (as admittedly, I do too).

But are we really a banana republic?

No. And far from it. However, the daily antics of our politicians, especially those in the ruling governing party will not ease the cries of the nay-sayers. But do we have a democracy then?

No. I’m not convinced that what I’m living every day is actually a functioning democracy. At least not in the traditional sense like those in countries such as Norway and Switzerland say (two random European countries. Extracted from Global Democracy Ranking), based on (1) politics, gender (socio-economic and educational gender equality); (2) economy (economic system); (3) knowledge (knowledge-based information society, research and education); (4) health (health status and health system); (5) environment (environmental sustainability).

As you can see, South Africa is not doing too well; way off the mark actually and declining. But we’re the new kids on the block, so a little leeway should be allowed, right?

No. Instead of making headway to improve our fledgling democracy, the politicians seem to be heading the other way. My experience is that the politicians are too busy looking after numero uno (well Scoundrel No.1 The President first, then themselves obviously because the system of patronage must be protected) and they have absolutely no compunction in trying to hide it, nor do they show any remorse when caught.

The levels of corruption are so bad, that when the nay-sayers do label this country as a kleptocracy, I have no hesitation in agreeing. It seems so apparent that our politicians are hell-bent on making South Africa the leading kleptocracy in Africa, maybe even the world.

Footnote: Choosing Banana Republic by The Boomtown Rats would have been an obvious choice for my mostly usual Monday music post, but I decided to go with the other one as this post developed into a rant. I Don’t Like Mondays has nothing to do with going back to work on a Monday, or whatever people usually think, but has to do with the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, USA on 29 January 1979, who like our politicians showed no remorse for her actions.

The evolution of the ANC excuse

excuses

South Africa’s government, the ANC has done a lot right in 20 years of ruling running the country. But they have also done a lot wrong.

However, every wrong was brushed aside with excuses. Rather amusing ones too. Meanwhile, it’s patently obvious ANC politicians reward themselves for every right with self-enrichment. Or because successfully pulling the wool over the eyes of the voting fodder deserves a pat on the back, they’re maybe  rewarding themselves for both. Who knows?

While they initially start with outright denial when confronted, the ANC are growing their list of excuses:

Apartheid

White people, also known as the race card

The Third Force

Colonialism

The official opposition in Government

Apartheid (yes, they use this one liberally)

Jan van Riebeeck

Economic growth

As you can see from the last two, it’s desperate times for the ANC. I’m giggling in anticipation at what they’re going to dream up next.

Rolling blackouts

blackout

Yesterday turned out to be quite a frustrating day. I had meant to watch some soccer and post a review of The Martian by Andy Weir, but our national electricity supplier decided to implement phased blackouts across the country to compensate for their gross incompetence negligence maintaining the grid.

So there I was all settled to stream the early afternoon Manchester Derby on my computer, fresh whiskey and soda poured, pretzels and chips neatly laid out by my side… when the bastards at Eskom decided to throw the switch. I wouldn’t have minded so much had it been earlier in the day as I had slept in late, but why the fuck at two ‘o clock in the afternoon?

When the power did come back on some six hours later, I was far too deep into the bottle and all interest in writing had dissipated… and Manchester United were probably either well into the post-mortem of their latest defeat at the hands of Manchester City, or into bottles of their own. Can’t say I feel too sorry for them; never did like that team much.

They say that the rolling blackouts, or load shedding as Eskom like to call it, will continue well into the week, maybe longer. I have all my fuck you’s nicely bottled up inside for when they do happen. Off course, the wankers at Eskom can hardly take all the blame; the fucking politicians have had a major role to play in the demise of the power utility. Yeah, I’m talking to you, you ANC half-wits.

Oh well, on to better things…

A fellow blogger who follows my posts regularly mentioned in an earlier post that he had nothing to fill the silly box segment of his daily blog, so I thought I would help him out. Now this really put a smile on my face and brightened up (fuck you Eskom) what would have been an otherwise gloomy Monday.

A Malawian diplomat who had once described dictator President Robert Mugabe as an idiot, refused to take up the post of envoy to Zimbabwe. He was quoted by Germany’s The Foreigner magazine in 2006 as saying:

Zimbabwe has an idiot — I am sorry, I know you are recording — but they have an idiot for president.

This guy Robert Mugabe, I hope that he lives a long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man.

Well done Thoko Banda, you have made my day. You earn a noddy badge; the only one I’m likely to hand out to a politician this year, or ever.

Now where’s the rest of that whiskey?

Scary Halloween Stories

halloween

Since it’s Halloween I thought I might share three frightening stories of a different kind, two from South Africa where I live, and one which is as international as it gets.

I’ll get the international one out the way first.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced publicly that he’s gay. And no, that’s not the scary bit. Why anyone would be required to announce their sexual orientation is beyond me, because that’s nobody’s business but their own. Again, that’s not the scary bit either. The thing that frightens me is that a homophobic idiot in Russia by the name of Vitaly Milonov wants Cook to be prohibited from entering Russia because he believes “… It’s obvious he has the intention of imposing his ideas about families, not just of introducing new gadgets.”

Milonov, a politician, was apparently also instrumental in getting anti-gay laws promulgated in Russia last year. He also commented that “This is a political act aimed at popularising homosexuality.” Bullshit! As if that’s not bad enough, who knows what evil plans the more militant homophobes are hatching to harm such a high-profile personality?

Locally, two stories today that send shivers down my spine involve the ANC and Jacob Zuma, the President.

It has been reported that the ANC is broke, and cannot pay staff and outstanding debts. They have denied it off course, but the ANC leadership are glorious denial kings. While it has long been thought that the ANC is itself a broken organization, this additional setback, just adds fuel to the speculation fire. What are they going to do to right their financial woes? Considering their infamous track record involving corruption on a multitude of occasions, most notably the Arms Deal Scandal, I am pretty terrified right now, over how I and the beleaguered taxpayers of this country are going to foot the bill for the ANC’s financial woes.

Finally, the ad-hoc committee that was set up by the ANC-led Parliament to decide whether President Jacob Zuma should be held liable to pay for the costs of the upgrade to Nkandla his personal residence, to the tune of a quarter of a million Rands, has not surprisingly decided that he is off the hook. This committee comprised a majority of ANC members of Parliament with a smattering of opposition party members who walked out at the onset after disagreeing on the terms of reference among other issues, leaving the investigation and deliberations to only ANC members.

The whole thing was a farce meant to stymie further probing into the massive fraud that was perpetrated on the country, and the resultant whitewash was hardly unexpected. It was analagous to a murder suspect demanding and being allowed to pick a jury of his own friends and family.

If the ANC can do this and get away with (as seems likely), then it has really scary repercussions for the future of democracy in this country, and indeed, the future of the country itself.