Articles – Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com The Logical Alternative Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:24:29 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 https://i2.wp.com/rationalstandard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cropped-RS-Logo.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Articles – Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com 32 32 94510741 Freedom Day: The Price of Eternal Vigilance is Still to be Paid https://rationalstandard.com/freedom-day-the-price-of-eternal-vigilance-is-still-to-be-paid/ https://rationalstandard.com/freedom-day-the-price-of-eternal-vigilance-is-still-to-be-paid/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:24:29 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5360 The American classical liberal and president Thomas Jefferson said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Freedom is not a fixed state of affairs, and we can be robbed […]

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The American classical liberal and president Thomas Jefferson said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Freedom is not a fixed state of affairs, and we can be robbed of it at any time. This is why we are supposed to have a free press: to be eternally vigilant, especially with what government is concerning itself with. But ordinary people, too, need to be vigilant, especially when the press has manifestly abandoned its core mandate.

SEE ALSO: South Africa Blind-sided by Nicholas Woode-Smith

On 27 April 1994 all South Africans, for the first time, went to the polls together to elect this country’s first democratic government. The outcome of that election had long been a foregone conclusion, but the electoral process being done in a democratic fashion was part of the package of a free society. Freedom, after all, is a slow process, which it has often been indicted for by dictators. “Parliament’s endless bickering is hindering us from progress!” was the essence of the twentieth century fascists’ justification for dictatorship. Even in the United States, the most libertarian society, Barack Obama and his successor Donald Trump make use of so-called ‘executive orders’ to implement their agendas rather than waiting for Congress to give the go-ahead. And Congress, which has long since abandoned its duty of eternal vigilance, acquiesces.

South Africa’s parliament, unfortunately, has never been vigilant. While this was fair enough during Apartheid, as Parliament was elected particularly to defend that horrid system, our democratic parliament has no excuse. When Members of Parliament are sworn in, they do not take an oath to implement their political program; no, they take an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. This means that the mere fact that Jacob Zuma remains President of South Africa, is that Parliament has not followed through with their promise to South Africa. On the contrary, Parliament has actively and consciously violated their oath. Two days before Freedom Day 2013, Parliament passed the Protection of State Information Act. This legislation will, when eventually signed by Zuma, among other things prohibit press outlets from reporting on any state activity, if government deems it in the ‘national interest.’ More recently, Parliament passed the Expropriation Act – similarly waiting for Zuma’s signature – which makes it easier for government to steal private property for its own ideological programs.

Parliament aside, the press media has oftentimes concerned itself with sensationalism rather than keeping an eye on government. Advocate Mark Oppenheimer recently spoke at the Free Market Foundation about this very phenomenon. Oppenheimer points to December 2015, when Zuma fired finance minister Nhlanhla Nene; the press media faithfully reported on it, but once an unknown and obscure tannie from the forests of KwaZulu-Natal wrote something racist on Facebook, all the attention was given to her. Nenegate and the destruction wrought on our economy became a story second to an irrelevant person who said something offensive. The social justice lobby, naturally, was happy with this state of affairs. “Only white people care about Nene – black people still live in shacks and a weakening rand changes nothing” is what they said when South Africa expressed its outrage about Nene being fired. To the social justice activists, Nenegate was a diversion from their own agenda, and Penny Sparrow brought them back into the limelight.

SEE ALSO: Editorial: Don’t be Distracted – Media, not Roodt, are to Blame

Just two days ago, Radio 702 similarly showed its contempt for South Africans’ intelligence by referring to Rhodes University as “University Currently Known as Rhodes”. Here you have a media outlet which cares not about its mandate to keep an eye on government; instead, they care about virtue signalling and advancing their own doctrinaire commitment to social justice ideology. This is not the first time the press has ‘renamed’ things to fit their narrative. Nicolai Haussamer wrote in September 2016 about how News24 casually went about renaming buildings on various South African university campuses – names chosen by social justice activists in the #FeesMustFall campaign. Oppenheimer also gave some insight into this press phenomenon, saying that university journalism schools no longer produce journalists – they produce activists. These activists then enter newsrooms with an ideological agenda, rather than a commitment to providing South Africa with the news.

Without the help of the legislature, the press, and with a constantly-beleaguered judiciary, our only hope for the protection of our individual rights and freedoms is ourselves. If 2017 is to be the year of’ anything, I hope it will be the year of vigilance – the year we came to understand that red herrings and petty distractions are not worth losing our freedom over. The days of concerning ourselves only with our careers and putting bread on the table have long past – we have all been silently dragooned into being the guardians of our own liberty. To reject this state of affairs is to acquiesce ourselves with tyranny.

Martin is a co-founder and the Editor in Chief of the Rational Standard. He is the Legal Researcher at the Free Market Foundation, the Academic Programs Director for Southern Africa at Students For Liberty and the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian. Martin holds an LLB from the University of Pretoria. His articles represent his own views and beliefs, and not that of any of the aforementioned organizations.

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The die is cast https://rationalstandard.com/the-die-is-cast/ https://rationalstandard.com/the-die-is-cast/#comments Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:00:21 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5311 ‘Radical economic transformation’ will lead South Africa to bankruptcy. Then comes the IMF and the World Bank crisis loans as well as structural adjustment programs (which are nothing but an […]

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‘Radical economic transformation’ will lead South Africa to bankruptcy. Then comes the IMF and the World Bank crisis loans as well as structural adjustment programs (which are nothing but an attempt to shield irresponsible governments from the consequences of their actions). The IMF and World Bank will then be blamed for the social unrest that will inevitably follow as civil servants lose their pensions, some are laid off, as well as the cuts to the social welfare budget.

The government will then probably capture the Reserve Bank in order to print more money as a way of easing the pressure off themselves. This will, of course, lead to hyperinflation and even worse poverty – possibly even famine. We’ll continue blaming the West as those are aware of what’s really going on try to leave the country. Government repression will increase and our constitution, as we know it, will go out the window.

The poor will become poorer, the rich will immigrate to where there is more economic freedom, and we’ll all be much worse off. Out of desperation, government will implement price controls, exchange controls, and productivity will crash. After all, what idiot would continue busting their back for ever-diminishing returns?

We’ll add more groups to the category of “people to blame for all our problems”, and this, of course, will mean taking rights away from more people. Our relatively-independent judiciary will need to go, too, as we can’t have anyone stopping our glorious economic project, after all.

The sad thing will be that we did it to ourselves – but most of us will never acknowledge that; always seeking a new bogeyman to blame. The social justice left in the West will blame corruption and their own governments, but no one will ever think that maybe – just maybe – spending more than you have, while making your productive industries unproductive, is a really bad idea.

This is going to happen and it has started already.

The only thing that could stop South Africa’s collapse is an honest assessment of the problems government has caused and taking immediate steps to resolve them. This would include selling state-owned enterprises, doing away with restrictive labour laws, firing some public servants (it would be a good idea to start with those who aren’t very good at their jobs), progressively cutting the pay and benefit packages of those who remain, cutting expenditure on social welfare, eliminating the budget deficit and begin paying off our debt, cutting taxes and regulations to allow the economy to be productive and absorb the people who lost their jobs and their government welfare.

That won’t happen, however, because it would require not voting for your local Marxist-socialist. It will require voting for a party committed to fiscal sanity, such as the DA or the IFP. It will require citizens to exercise their right to vote rationally, and it will require the abandonment of myths like ‘white monopoly capital.’

I write this knowing that it won’t make a damn bit of difference, but I write it nonetheless. Maybe some part of me wants to have the cold comfort of knowing – as I stand in a line waiting for the next USAID food parcel – that I tried to warn them.

Author: Mpiyakhe Dhlamini is an important person to his two friends on Facebook. He is also a web developer who has recently developed an unhealthy obsession with Angular, a front-end web framework.

Non-permanent writers and guests can submit their articles to us and we’ll publish them. If a writer proves their writing skill, they may be invited to come on as a permanent writer.

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Racialism is a nasty but profitable business https://rationalstandard.com/racialism-is-a-nasty-but-profitable-business/ https://rationalstandard.com/racialism-is-a-nasty-but-profitable-business/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:00:28 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5325 Races among humans are artificial, perverse constructs generated by misapplying the taxonomic category subspecies or by arbitrary socio-political construction. The subspecies, as a biological category, was formalized by Carl Linnaeus, […]

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Races among humans are artificial, perverse constructs generated by misapplying the taxonomic category subspecies or by arbitrary socio-political construction.

The subspecies, as a biological category, was formalized by Carl Linnaeus, the 18th-Century “father” of taxonomy. Linnaeus and contemporary racist theorists popularized human subspeciation using morphology and “demeanour” to divide us into a handful of “races”.  Homo sapiens europaeus was described as “white, sanguine, muscular”; Homo sapiens afer as “black, phlegmatic, relaxed”.

Racialism – the beginnings

‘Racialism’ was probably employed by the earliest humans.  Post-Linnaean racialism was further misused to identify a multitude of ‘racial’ groupings sharing a common language, religion, culture, class and/or national affiliation.  Within the “First People”, the Southern African KhoiSan, the pastoral Khoi (khoi literally means “People”) regarded morphologically similar, hunter-gatherers as “San” (“Others”).  The ‘San’ (perhaps the earliest genetically-definable modern humans), in turn, have no collective name for themselves and are highly diverse linguistically and genetically – self-identifying as more than ten ‘nations’.

World-wide, over 200 ‘races’ have been recognized. Within Haiti alone, local people employed more than 100 different racial terms. In extreme instances, ‘races’ in power used their ‘superiority’ (and inferred threat) to ’justify’ their hyper-oppression and even genocide of the ‘others’.

Regardless of the number of  races ‘recognized’, the primary purpose of human ‘taxonomy’ is to denigratee ‘others’.

This is unjustifiable: biologically, culturally, educationally or socio-politically.

Nature: biology

Since World War II, there has been widespread agreement that human races have no biological basisHomo sapiens evolved once, in Africa about 200,000 years ago, and cannot be subdivided further. So, pioneer Pan-Africanist Robert Sobukwe hit the racial ‘nail’ on the head in 1959: “There is only one race to which we all belong, and that is the human race”.

Genetics: Humans all share the same set of genes.  The DNA of any two human beings is 99.9% identical.  In stark contrast, genetically distinct populations of our nearest living relative, the Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes – confined to Central Africa and sometimes less than a mile apart – are more genetically distinct than humans that live on different continents.

There is greater genetic variation within human populations confined to a given continent than between populations from different continents. For example, within KhoiSan-variation exceeds that among populations form throughout much of ‘non-Africa’, and many Brazilian “whites” have more African ancestry than some US “blacks”.   In short, we are all genomic ‘kissing cousins’.

If ‘genomists’ were forced to ‘discover’ geographically distinct groups from randomly-sampled humans, only a handful of African ones would emerge.  The rest of non-African humanity would fall within one or other of these groups. In short, non-African modern humans are genetic ‘paleo-refugees’.

The major human genomic groups are not Asians/Africans/Europeans/Native-Americans!  Studies claiming the opposite (e.g. newsman Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History) and that societal differences reflect differential evolution in intelligence, impulsivity, manners, xenophobia, etc. are a “mountain of speculation teetering on a few pebbles”.

‘Racial genomists’ confirmed ‘racialization’ because they first separated the studied-humans by geography and ‘race’, avoiding individuals that don’t easily fall into these categories. Afterwards, they searched for the few rapidly-evolving, adaptively neutral, bits of “junk DNA”  that can discriminate amongst them.  This ‘strategy’ may recover some traditional racial groups.  But they are fabrications based on ‘cherry-picked’ samples.  Furthermore, if one pursued this genomic strategy to the extreme, humans could be ‘racialized’ much, much more finely – providing the apartheid-kindred with results that they could have used to ‘justify’ “separate development”.

Genetic genealogy

This genomic capacity has been exploited by a growing, aggressively-advertised, genetic ‘ancestry’ industry. One can even get a ‘certificate’ indicating your ancestors’ geographical provenance and your geographic (read: racial) genetic makeup. As far as I can understand, this makes some sense as a probabilistic, forensic scientific statement. But, the accuracy of the ‘diagnosis’ depends inter alia on the markers used and the scale of geographical coverage of the comparative material. One thing is certain: this ‘genetic astrology’ is not legally actionable evidence of ‘racial’ or genealogical identity. For example, markers derived from one source (e.g. mitochondrial DNA) might place ‘roots’ in one area and suggest a certain ‘racial signature’, and those from Y-chromosomes others.

A noteworthy example of human genetic ‘connectedness’ is the finding that millions of Americans may be descendants of the 4th century Irish King, Niall of the Nine Hostages. During an Oprah Winfrey Show, eminent African-American Harvard historian and ardent ‘genome-genealogist’ Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. announced that he and an Irish-American police officer (who arrested him for trying to gain entry to his locked home) are among them!

Also based on this ‘diagnostic capacity’, some 21st century ‘decolonist’ researchers, e.g. South Africa-based philosopher, Achille Mbembe, seem to advocate the biological rehabilitation of human races.  Mbembe maintains that: “ongoing re-articulations of race and recoding of racism are developments in the life sciences, and in particular in genomics” and allow delineation of human races, making them “amenable to optimization by reverse engineering and reconfiguration”. This assertion is based on the above-mentioned blatant misuse of forensic genomics.

Morphology (overall anatomical form) and Physiology:  Humans vary strikingly in whole-organism ‘appearance‘.  Potential diagnostic features include, inter alia, tolerance to alcohol, body odour, earwax, cold adaptations, eyelid folding, head hair structure, height/mass, high altitude oxygen metabolism, HIV resistance, microbiomes, menarche, pigmentation, steatopygia, prevalence of sickle-cell anaemia and other genetically-based diseases, ability to sense bitterness, toxin tolerance and osteology (especially of the cranium). But, such physical and physiological variations tend to change clinally (geographically gradually), rather than abruptly, and are generally inherited independently of one another. Furthermore, the clinal variation in one trait generally does not parallel that of others and those of genetic markers.  In short, they are ‘discordant’; rendering any attempt to establish lines of division among human populations both arbitrary and subjective.

For example, skin pigmentation results from natural selection operating differently in different parts of Earth.  As early as the 14th century, the Islamic sociologist Ibn Khaldun proposed that dark skin in humans was an adaptation to the hot climate of sub-Saharan Africa.  Modern research ties this to protection against melanoma-inducing sunlight in lower latitudes, and selection for lighter pigmentation at higher latitudes to allow production of vitamin D in the skin. Indeed, darkly pigmented skin can be rapidly lost evolutionarily and regained (over as few as 100 generations, or about 2500 years) depending on the ultra-violet radiation in areas ultimately ‘colonized’ by dark-skinned humans that emerged from Africa.

Nurture: culture, sociality and politics

Some South African humanities scholars, e.g. University of Cape Town sociologist Xolela Mangcu, media personalities (Eusebius McKaiser), NGO leaders (Andile Mngxitama) and politicians (Julius Malema) advocate continuation of official and de facto use of ‘race’. Their goals are to socially justify material redress, ‘affirmative action’ or even violence to offset past or continuing socio-economic oppression and to effect ‘Afrocentric’ educational and political “decolonization”.

‘Race’ is re-conceptualized from a social perspective based on “self-identification” according to shared attributes including pre-colonial nationality, history, language, religion, myths, behavioural norms, values, traditions, common expressive symbols, etc. Radical South African university student/staff ‘protesters’ (fallists) have even taken on the mantle of ‘race’ to justify the establishment of quota ‘race’-based academic appointment policies and the creation of racially exclusive associations.  Extreme fallists employ racial defamation, illegal intimidation, vandalism, destruction and extreme violence to ‘topple’ real or imagined, ‘white’ supremacist/capitalist “hegemonies”.

‘Racialist philosophy’

To give racialism academic/legal ‘credibility’, based on the premise that racism and ‘white supremacy’ remain engrained in the institutional fabric of society, social scientists and legal ‘scholars’ developed Critical Race Theory (CRT) “a [Eurocentric] collection of critical stances against the existing legal order from a race-based point of view”. CRT attacks the very foundations of South Africa’s internationally acclaimed Constitution, the non-racial, academic-freedom ‘dream’ of legendary UCT Vice Chancellor T.B. Davie and its implementation by subsequent VCs Stuart Saunders and Mamphela Ramphele. CRT advocates assert that the “values” underpinning constitutional law and academic freedom have no enduring basis in principle and are mere social constructs calculated to legitimize “white supremacy”.  They amount to nothing more than ‘false promises’. In effect, CRT seeks racial emancipation by replacing broadly consensual systems of law with racial power.

UCT is currently advertising a professorship restricted to “black South African” applicants proficient in “critical theory” and has, without advertisement and apparently approval by Senate, formally recognized the racially-defined Black Academic Caucus as a structure on par with other long-standing societies.

Debunking a menacing myth

Nowhere are the fallacy and nefarious actions of this racist philosophy better exposed than by UCT’s (and arguably Africa’s) greatest ‘racial scholar’, Crain Soudien, in his final public address as an employee at UCT in 2015. According to Soudien, human ‘races’ have no essence/ontological-status: biologically, culturally, socially or politically. He elaborates on this in his book Realising the Dream: “Race is an invention” … “only being framed in opposition to whiteness” … “an ideological smokescreen” … “viscerally inscribed in our heads and in our bodies”.  In short, racialism is a relational concept, having no inherent reality in the absence of an antithesis – whiteness, blackness or some ‘otherness’.  To get a handle on the even harder-to-demonstrate “whiteness”, I could refer Mangcu et al. to Rachel A. Dolezal and/or Dylann Storm Roof or, better still, Nell Irvin Painter, professor emerita of history at Princeton University and author of The History of White People.”

To my mind a nonsensical use of the racial term ‘black’ is that proposed by Black Consciousness advocate Steve Biko (and implemented at UCT) to socio-politically ‘encompass’ dark-skinned African (‘Bantu’ sensu Verwoerd), Asian and ‘coloured’ South Africans. The only common ‘character’ of this subset of humanity is their ‘non-whiteness’ defined by long-gone segregation/oppression-based Apartheid Laws.

Regardless, of how ‘racial’ identity is allocated, assigned or assumed, in the end, the favoured ”group” will use its ‘status’ to dominate/victimize the “other(s)”.  To allow the rehabilitation of ‘race’-motivated rule in post-Mandela South Africa defaces the non-racial Constitution for which he was “prepared to die”.  Nevertheless, realizing Desmond Tutu’s dream of a Rainbow Nation requires the ruthless eradication of racialism’s inevitable spawn – racism, its ‘sister-isms’ and xenophobia.  That cannot be achieved by the emerging ‘neo-racism’ advocated by Wade, Mbembe, Mangcu et al. and extreme fallists.

Professor Tim Crowe is a descendant of oppressed Irish freedom-fighters from the United States working class. He is a first generation university graduate, non-settler immigrant alumnus, Elected Fellow and emeritus (40 years’ service) professor at the University of Cape Town. He is a Ph.D.-educated expert on evolutionary biology (covering everything from ‘race’ to deeply rooted evolutionary trees) and conservation biology (especially regarding sustainable and economically viable use of wildlife). He has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers/books and is regarded as the world’s leading authority on game birds (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls, etc.). About 70 of his graduated students have published their research and established themselves in their own right, including four professors.

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Hurrah – the party of genocide! Hurrah – the party of misery! https://rationalstandard.com/hurrah-party-genocide-hurrah-party-misery/ https://rationalstandard.com/hurrah-party-genocide-hurrah-party-misery/#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 07:00:10 +0000 http://rationalstandard.com/?p=5242 ‘Stop that nonsense with me’ – Lady Astor to von Rippentrop, German ambassador to the court of St. James, giving her the ‘Nazi’ salute In the Sunday Times issue dated 26 February, […]

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Stop that nonsense with me’

– Lady Astor to von Rippentrop, German ambassador to the court of St. James, giving her the ‘Nazi’ salute

In the Sunday Times issue dated 26 February, we were spoiled with an article from the pen of our dear and beloved ‘uber-comrade’ Blade Nzimande, who lectured us about a young South African communist revolutionary (deceased since 1991) whose work he maintains is still able to teach us capitalist-minded dwarfs  much – no, muchissimo – of wisdom.

Internet rumour has it that this gentleman, the honourable Minister of Higher Education and Training “on Monday afternoon launched South Africa’s first school of schools of witchcraft and wizardry. The school which is located in Durban KwaZulu Natal, has opened its doors as of today.” (National news bulletin, 12 March 2017).

It may be a long way to Tipperary but obviously it is a short way from Marx to Muti.

Comrade Blade introduces us this intellectual giant as a “prophet of true radical economic transformation”.

Prophet? Did I read prophet? Well, from time to time I receive leaflets introducing a certain kind of prophets and doctors and professors to me who are all able to look through water and mirror, bring back lost lovers, help with small manhood, and bring back lost money. I am not quite sure which kind of ‘prophet’ Comrade Blade has now in mind taking into regard his taste for ‘alternative science’.

Let us assume that he used or tried to use this term in the classic meaning. Even then he got it wrong. Contrary to popular belief and widespread misunderstanding – of which a Minister of Higher Education should be aloof – a ‘prophet’ is not one who tells the future but as we know from the Good Book is commanded by God to tell the people uncomfortable truths and asks them to change their habits and repent. For example, a ‘prophet’ in the field of economics should tell us  that all forms of Socialism do not work; that scientific and any kind of dogmatic socialism or communism has only brought misery, destruction, hunger, mass murder, tyranny and genocide to all people and nations who had the dubious luck to be under the magic spell of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin-Mao-whoever muti.

Let us return to the introduction of Mr “Mzala” – nickname not explained – given to us by comrade Blade.

“..neither a celebrity thinker nor a self-aggrandizing personality”. What the hell did he then do among the bolshie bunch?

“He died young” – my condolences anyway; I do not like to make fun of him but of others – “…just as his intellectual activity was starting to flourish and reach maturity”. If so I am sure he would have quit scientific and dogmatic socialism within a very short time.

Comrade Blade informs us about all the schools Mr “Mzala” attended and that he was then able to study law at the University of Zululand. That is interesting. On the one side they tell us how bad “Bantu-Education” was and on the other side their heroes go to good schools, excel there and then are allowed to enter universities. Something is wrong about those stories…

I rather guess that the narrowness and stupidity in some fields of the past system bred rebels and made critical and industrious minds revolting.

The ‘trick’ Comrade Blade and a lot of radical lefties display now is that only communism was the true alternative to Apartheid. This is a very simple hedge attorney trick and bluff, played on us since many decades ago; it is therefore one that was and is very successful.

No, we have to say it loud and clear: Apartheid is and was and can be criticised and analysed effectively from a Conservative, a Libertarian, a Christian Democratic, a Liberal, a free market, or an anarchist point of view. Nobody needs advocates of a sterile dogmatic commando system of social engineering to overcome  another system of social engineering.*

So an intelligent, maybe idealistic young man who should have found a place in a productive system naturally possessing some tolerance – otherwise it would not be productive one – was deeply annoyed by the atmosphere of the sixties and seventies and turned bolshie. That is an argument against that system but not a valid one in favour of communism.

“… Mzala left South Africa … From the time he went into exile he read voraciously the works of Marx and Lenin, as well as the literature of the ANC and the SACP…” (emphasis mine)

The miracle word is ‘voracioulsy’. That is a wonderful description of the attitude, the power politics, the habit and strategy of scientific and dogmatic socialism and communism. Voraciously, Lenin took power in a ‘putsch’ against a liberal-social democratic government; voraciously, he overran Russia, mercilessly destroying every opposition, including left opposition; voraciously, the sailors of Kroonstad were massacred in 1922; voraciously, the Tscheka murdered middle class and aristocrats; voraciously, Stalin murdered six millions of Ukrainian peasants; voraciously, Stalin murdered hundreds of thousands of party comrades civil servants, officers in his big purges; voraciously, communist tyrannies had been established in Eastern Europe after 1945; voraciously, the Hungarian revolution was put down 1956; voraciously, the “Prague Springtime” was suppressed; voraciously, revolts by Polish workers in 1956, 1972 and 1980 had been suppressed; voraciously, Mao Tse-Tung took power in China; voraciously, dozens of millions of Chinese had been murdered; voraciously, in the “big leap forward”, destruction and misery were created; voraciously, the cultural revolution destroyed wide realms and artefacts of culture, of schools, of universities, and murdered hundreds of thousands.

Voraciously, voraciously , voraciously… also in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia , Cuba, Venezuela, Ethiopia, by the 68-ers in Western Europe and the U.S. and so on. The voracious atrocities of scientific and dogmatic socialism and communism fill books – for example, the “Black book of communism” – and compared with the endless lessons about fascism we receive, it is still quite concise.

“In the Soviet Union, Mzala received training … would make time to read books on a wide variety of topics … deployed to …  he was sent to advanced ideological and political training to the German Democratic Republic…” So he received classic communist indoctrination – I wonder how ‘wide’ the ‘variety’ of topics was he was allowed to study was – Maybe hundreds of boring speeches by the party grandees or something similar but certainly not a universitas of information and knowledge from all kinds of ideological backgrounds. So he was on his best way to become an apparatchik and politruk. Sorry to say, I am not impressed…

“Mzala had a reputation as an independent thinker unafraid to differ sharply with leaders … while always remaining fiercely loyal to the ANC and the SACP.” How does that go? Is there any example in the history of communism in power that a real independent mind was tolerated within the organisation? What happened to Milovan Diljas, Heinz Neumann, Margarete Buber-Neumann, Wolfgang Leonhard, Ernst Fischer – to name just a few? In the very moment one really became independent minded and un-dogmatic he was spit out of the party and destroyed, at least in reputation (if not physically)!

“He also wrote … on the relationship between the national and class struggle in South Africa.” So he entered the field of combining nationalism and socialism – that George Sorel and Benito Mussolini did many decades ago already. A dangerous mine field we enter now. So be it!

“In 1977 Mzala was working on a simplified book on Marxism-Leninism in Zulu”.  So the Zulus can only stomach and digest simplified books? Blatant racism that is!

“…it was he who recruited me to the SACP.” Sorry dead comrade, all forgiven but not this! Not this! That after many years of studies and training in the various provinces of the empire of evil he did not discover this roving rural rustic may not be forgiven. Didn’t they have standards ? “Hate speech”, according to the new, proposed bill, my attorney whispers in my ears. I apologize…

“…medical treatment in London…” Not in Leningrad or Kiev or Moscow? The comrades did not trust their own medical system and doctors. Fighting against Capitalism but in doubt seeking medical treatment in private hospitals in capitalist countries. Sometimes these guys are funny…

The radical economic transformation Comrade Blade demands is just an old smelling fish, a recipe that ruined a lot of nations and states, including Venezuela.

“…basic wealth and the basic resources are at the disposal of the people as a whole” means if we look at the history of communist commando systems at the disposal of  the party apparatchiks. “… and are not manipulated by sections or individuals be they White or black.” That clearly means that free markets, independent actors and transactions in the markets are ruled out. What the bolshies call “manipulations” are just normal, free actions of free participants in a free economy. That they will never understand. That the price a bakery charges for a bread and a buyer willing to pay are not results of evil manipulations but of considerations by millions market participants within the system of spontaneous order as described by Friedrich August von Hayek. That independent minds are able to act responsibly and freely will never be understood by materialistic and historicist minds. This should be Bad luck for them, but unfortunately since 1917 it was bad luck for a multitude of nations and peoples.

A radical economic transformation in South Africa can only mean a drastic reduction of taxes (2-10 percent income tax, 10 percent corporate tax and 5 percent VAT and that is it – not one cent more!), a drastic reduction of state activities, selling all SOE to private enterprises, reducing red tape and all kind of mindful but impractical legislation and completely leaving health services and education within a general legal frame work to private activities on free markets and closing down 80 percent of the bureaucracy and the state departments. Why 80 percent? According to Wilfredo Pareto, dead wood always amounts to around 80 percent.

And now I may tell you, dear readers, that I have enough of bolshies ‘innocently’ telling their stories and advertising their ideology. Their ideology and parties mean tyranny, genocide and misery. I am fed up that all the scientific and dogmatic socialist and communists got away with all their crimes. The history of these systems is a trail of moral and material destruction and devastation. We cannot hang the red tyrants any more, as the allies did with Nazi leaders in Nuremberg (in the meantime they all died more or less peacefully in bed). But we can still hang them in effigy and despise them and their ideology, power and command system and tell all their remaining functionaries, fellow travelers, and intellectual miscreants who constantly play down the horrible effects of communism and assorted academic nitwits: Your time is over. Stop that nonsense with us!

*To make it clear: Apartheid was by far not as worse as anything that scientific or dogmatic socialism and communism produced but nevertheless a waste of time, energy, human possibilities and resources.

Dr Harald Sitta is a Contributor at the Rational Standard. He is an Austrian attorney emeritus and business owner who immigrated to South Africa in 2007. He obtained his postgraduate law degrees at the University of Vienna.

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ANC ‘rebels’ without ‘claws’ https://rationalstandard.com/anc-rebels-without-claws/ https://rationalstandard.com/anc-rebels-without-claws/#comments Tue, 18 Apr 2017 07:00:32 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5303 An article describing recent hijinks within the African National Congress (ANC) as a “rebellion” is fatuous, to say the least. The article is surprisingly naïve, given that its author is […]

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(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

An article describing recent hijinks within the African National Congress (ANC) as a “rebellion” is fatuous, to say the least.

The article is surprisingly naïve, given that its author is a highly-knowledgeable political scientist and a long-serving, savvy member of the ANC. This is obvious from the first sentence which focuses only on the last nine “tumultuous” months of the Zuma administration. Jacob Zuma’s rapacious and corrupt skulduggery can be traced back on a scale of decades. Moreover, Zuma was not “swept into power” as President of the ANC by overwhelming support from rank and file members of COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP) – it was through a political conspiracy instigated and implemented by an oligarchy within an already-corrupt Tripartite Alliance. The members of a corrupt cabal decided that they could get more from Zuma’s kleptocratic trough, than they were getting from Mbeki’s. Mbeki’s attempt to cling to the ANC presidency was a last-gasp effort of a once highly-respected leader who had apparently lost interest in the poorest of the poor and may have become unwilling or unable to satisfy the greed of incompetent kleptocrats, while he hopelessly pursued Pan-Africanism and black nationalism.

Make no mistake about it, Mbeki’s criminal failure in dealing with the threats of HIV/AIDS and his disproportionate interest in Pan-African matters (including propping up the genocidal dictatorial leader of Zimbabwe) more than warranted his removal both as leader of the ANC and the country. But, the reality was that Mbeki’s political assassination was nothing more than two ruthless politicians interested in personal ideology (Mbeki) and sheer greed (Zuma) fighting to the ‘death’. It had nothing to do with “disciplined members” of a reputable party seeking to help the oppressed masses to become self-respecting and self-sufficient members of a non-racial society. In a matter of months, Mbeki was removed from the pinnacle of political power in Africa and effectively became an historical footnote.

The author’s description of the process that transpired using ‘praiseworthy’ words such as “outvote, outflank, and outmanoeuvre”, is disingenuous at best.

To suggest that Zuma could stay on as President of South Africa after 2019 is simply poor scholarship, since the South African Constitution limits an individual to two full terms. Zuma may have delusions of grandeur, but he is not so arrogant to believe that he can amend the Constitution.

Suggesting that the SACP’s motives for removing Zuma are justified by his involvement in state capture is also disingenuous. The Communist mini-oligarchy in this case is acting because it has correctly discovered that it has ceased being the puppeteer of the Tripartite Alliance. It is fighting a rear-guard action to find a new marionette who is ideologically similar to Mbeki.

The author cites a list of ‘powerful’ individuals (Ramaphosa, Mantashe, Mkhize and important foundations) and some of the paleo-ANC members who retain dignity, honesty and respect as a ”groundswell of opposition” within the ANC. The most senior of these ‘overwhelmers’ is a BEE billionaire tainted by his undisputed association with the Marikana massacre. Regardless, this “rebellion” was vaporized in a matter of days by Zuma and fellow kleptocrats, described as “loyalists” by the author. The author then goes on to characterize the retention of ‘efficiently corrupt’, incompetent, parasitic ministers by implying that this is the norm “elsewhere in the world”. Yes, there are such individuals. But there are also stellar examples of senior leaders (Thatcher, Nixon, Agnew and almost Clinton) who have been removed for much less egregious behaviour.

The author then ‘recalls’ the Mbeki recall, writing that Zuma “supporters” are “sit[ting] on the fence”. Why not call a geotome a shovel and replace “supporters” with kleptocratic sycophants and “sitting on fences” with poised between troughs of public funds?

Staying true to form, the author closes with: “Opponents who wish to remove him will have to organise a coalition”. Once again, please cease fannying about. What may (but probably will not) happen is simply one corrupt cabal will instigate yet another conspiracy to replace the existing one which controls an even more profoundly corrupt and uncaring oligarchy who control a once highly-respected political party that abandoned the marginalized oppressed masses more than a decade ago.

These largely very young and very old victims will have to emulate the desolate masses during the US Great Depression and sing: “The rich get rich and the poor get children.  In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun”.

The even greater tragedy for South Africa is that the parties in opposition offer little in the way of improved, honest, principled and effective leadership.

Professor Tim Crowe is a descendant of oppressed Irish freedom-fighters from the United States working class. He is a first generation university graduate, non-settler immigrant alumnus, Elected Fellow and emeritus (40 years’ service) professor at the University of Cape Town. He is a Ph.D.-educated expert on evolutionary biology (covering everything from ‘race’ to deeply rooted evolutionary trees) and conservation biology (especially regarding sustainable and economically viable use of wildlife). He has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers/books and is regarded as the world’s leading authority on game birds (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls, etc.). About 70 of his graduated students have published their research and established themselves in their own right, including four professors.

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Release the Lion https://rationalstandard.com/release-the-lion/ https://rationalstandard.com/release-the-lion/#comments Fri, 14 Apr 2017 09:41:16 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5270 We don’t have to be stuck between two mythical deities known as white monopoly capital and state capture, both are an attempt to frame all our problems around one single […]

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We don’t have to be stuck between two mythical deities known as white monopoly capital and state capture, both are an attempt to frame all our problems around one single problem – with government the solution in both cases. This is plainly not a true assessment of the situation we find ourselves in. Yes, we had colonialism and apartheid which caused serious problems in this country; both of those severely curtailed the potential of black people. That does not mean that those who fought this system had all the right answers. We’re human, and we make mistakes, but you need to have a sustained process of rational engagement with the ideas you are generating to fix your problems. Look at history to see what works and what doesn’t.

The ANC played the biggest part in uniting this country after 1994 as well as solving some of the most pressing economic problems with apartheid. Mbeki and Manuel’s Gear policy did help create the black middle class, through liberalising our economy and allowing people to trade more freely with each other (they could have gone even further: the economy was still hamstrung by labour laws, exchange controls, sectoral minimum wages, and our unaffordable welfare system).

Then we allowed the populists to take over – and they believe in solving problems through spending and raising taxes (Gordhan is part of this populist crowd). Yes, firing him so suddenly was bad for the economy but only because it signals a shift further towards increasing deficits, higher taxes and inflation. Never let something as stupid as race distract you from paying attention to the economy!

Equally, corruption is really bad for good fiscal management, but the bigger the government role in the economy, the higher the dividend for trying to corrupt state officials – people like Brett Kebble, the Broederbond and, our good friends, the Guptas.

The real big idea we haven’t explored is whether it is better to shrink the state to its bare minimum, providing a judiciary and police, with both functions localised to the municipal level, national defence, and prosecutorial services also established at the municipal level. The national government would only take voluntary contributions from the municipalities to fund an agreed-upon level of defence and capacitating the foreign affairs service. There would be absolutely no role for government in business – someone from the townships can think of an idea and just start running with it because the idea is a good one and everyone who wants to make money will invest in that idea and make money.

Economics is not a zero-sum game – a lot of economic transactions are about someone conceptualising something new and trying to sell that thing for as close to the conceptualised value as possible. He engages in negotiation with his neighbours trying to prove the thing’s value, so both parties win if both are right, i.e. that the thing really has the value they agreed on.

It is time to release the African lion into the world. Markets are ripe for conquering by people who have our survival skills. Let’s not be pussies. Let’s seize the moment and define ourselves instead of always seeking validation from someone else.

I challenge you: build something that makes the world around you better. Let’s throw away the shackles of government and make money together. It’s not a finite pie – imagination is the limit.

Author: Mpiyakhe Dhlamini is an important person to his two friends on facebook. He is also a web developer who has recently developed an unhealthy obsession with angular, a frontend web framework.

Non-permanent writers and guests can submit their articles to us and we’ll publish them. If a writer proves their writing skill, they may be invited to come on as a permanent writer.

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Domestic rhino horn trade is good news for rhinos https://rationalstandard.com/domestic-rhino-horn-trade-good-news-rhinos/ https://rationalstandard.com/domestic-rhino-horn-trade-good-news-rhinos/#comments Wed, 12 Apr 2017 07:15:23 +0000 http://rationalstandard.com/?p=5237 The Constitutional Court’s ruling allowing for the legal domestic trade of rhino horn can only be a good thing for game farmers, conservationists, and anyone else who wants to see […]

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The Constitutional Court’s ruling allowing for the legal domestic trade of rhino horn can only be a good thing for game farmers, conservationists, and anyone else who wants to see the rhinoceros thriving.

To many, it might seem counterintuitive, but the basic economic and social consequences of the criminalisation of the rhino horn trade have made the conservation of rhinos far more difficult than is necessary.

SEE ALSO: Saving the rhino – free market style by Nicholas Babaya

South Africa currently holds the overwhelming majority of the world’s rhino population with two of five extant species being native to South Africa, namely the black rhino and the white rhino. While the historical range of these species extended all throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, a history of war, strife, poverty and government mismanagement has led their numbers to dwindle. South Africa has a country with relative peace and high regard for its wildlife, and so it’s no surprise that we have the vast majority of the world’s rhinoceros population.

The value of rhino horn by weight currently exceeds that of gold and, as a result, the lengths to which poachers are willing to go have become extreme and dangerous. This has had the effect of creating a security risk for farmers who have rhinos on their farms. Rhino poachers are serious criminals and so many game farmers simply decide not to keep rhinos due to the security risk they pose to them, their families and their staff.

By legalising the trade of rhino horn, the security risk will be lowered, and so it will become more attractive for game farmers to breed rhinos on their farms. This will be a huge help in boosting their population and making sure that there is a good degree of genetic diversity. Historically, many species which have been brought back from being critically endangered have faced the problem of what is the ‘the genetic bottleneck’ in which excessive inbreeding becomes necessary because of small populations. This tends to bring out recessive genes which give rhinos traits which might adversely affect their survival in the wild. A notable example of this would be with American bison, which were almost killed off in the 1800s and had to be bred back to a healthy population often by cross-breeding with cows (something which is normally considered unethical by conservationists). Even today, most American bison have a small percentage of cattle DNA as a result of the genetic bottleneck.

The other benefit to conservation from rhino horn trade is that if game farmers were able to sell rhino horn, they would be earning money which would then be put back into their business, i.e. conservation. The rhinos would effectively ‘pay for themselves’ in this way. It’s also much better for farmers to dehorn rhinos, as they could do it safely and in a way which does not harm the animal. By contrast, poachers often use gruesome methods, often using a chainsaw to cut horns off and leaving the animal to bleed to death.

Overall, liberalising trade in rhino horns will ultimately be the factor which save rhinos from extinction. South African conservationists need the help of lawmakers to amend statues regulating agriculture so that the business of conserving endangered species ceases to be based on moral prohibition and starts to be business-oriented in which the preservation of the conservation of a species can benefit those who put in the effort to preserve those species.

Nicholas is a Senior Staff Writer at the Rational Standard. He is a Local Coordinator for Students For Liberty as well as an organiser of SAFREECON 2017. He takes great interest in the philosophy underlying classical liberal values as well as the Austrian school of economics. He is currently a student at Rhodes University studying towards a BA in Chinese and German.

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A Tale of Two Downgrades https://rationalstandard.com/tale-two-downgrades/ https://rationalstandard.com/tale-two-downgrades/#comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 06:00:07 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5259 The last couple of weeks have been politically tumultuous in South Africa, following the firing of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, and the subsequent credit rating downgrades on South African […]

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Bull and bearThe last couple of weeks have been politically tumultuous in South Africa, following the firing of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, and the subsequent credit rating downgrades on South African government debt.

What is ‘junk status’, and why does it matter?

For those completely unfamiliar with government borrowing and bonds, it is important to first clear up some basics.

As most are now aware, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch recently downgraded their credit ratings on South African government bonds – some of which are now rated below investment grade (i.e. they are rated as ‘junk’). S&P, which was the first to downgrade our bonds, has rated South Africa’s long-term foreign currency-denominated bonds as being below investment grade, while Fitch has applied the same rating to both our long-term foreign- and local-currency bonds.

In effect, this means that these ratings agencies view the South African government as being riskier from a credit perspective, particularly for long-term lending. To some extent, this means that the South African government will begin to pay more as it borrows money in future. As I wrote following ‘Nenegate’:

If the drop in investor confidence persists … the government is going to be paying more to borrow money in order to finance its budget deficits. This in turn means that more of the national budget will go towards debt payments, and less towards actual ‘services’. In order to maintain planned levels of expenditure, the government will either have to borrow more, or raise the taxes on our already-minute tax base.

Why was SA downgraded?

The statements put out by both S&P and Fitch justifying their ratings downgrades point largely to the same three issues at play in South Africa.

Firstly, both point to our political situation and the effect it has on government financing. In particular, S&P has voiced concern over “policy continuity” being put “at risk”, while Fitch states that “recent political events … will weaken standards of governance and public finances.” Fitch was quite explicit about the cause of their concern, going on to say that:

… Fitch believes that following the government reshuffle, fiscal consolidation will be less of a priority given the president’s focus on “radical socioeconomic transformation”.

The second major issue is that of “contingent liabilities”. Essentially, this refers to the financial guarantees that the government has made or likely will make in relation to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and their liabilities. A major concern is the explicit guarantee pertaining to Eskom, but there are implicit or assumed guarantees that pertain to the liabilities other SOEs, which, according to Fitch, range in the hundreds of billions of rands. This says nothing, still, about the problem of municipal debt and whether or not the national government will eventually have to provide cover for that as well.

The third of these crucial issues is South Africa’s weak economic prospects. Quite simply, if the country performs poorly economically, this may lead to less tax and other revenue being collected by the government, which in turn makes it more difficult to service debt. As S&P pointed out in their statement:

An additional risk is that businesses may now choose to withhold investment decisions that would otherwise have supported economic growth.

More fallout to come?

One of the fist concerns to be brought up has been inflation. The rand weakened considerably over the last week or so; going forward, if that weakening persists, this may lead to food and fuel price increases over time.

Another concern has been potential increases in interest rates, although where this has been discussed, the reasons for possible increases have generally been articulated poorly.

There are two possible factors that could lead to the repo rate being increased. The first would be an increase in consumer price inflation (CPI). CPI has been around or above 6% for over a year now. Keeping in mind that one of the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) mandates is to try to keep CPI within the 3-6% range, a repo rate hike in response to increased inflation is quite possible.

The other possible factor is instability in the financial sector as a result of the downgrades. Again, achieving this stability forms part of the SARB’s mandate. If we see drastic rand weakening or bond sell-offs, the SARB may raise rates as a result.

If either of these factors triggers a repo rate increase, prime interest rates will naturally increase as well. Anyone with floating interest rate exposure – in other words, most people with home loans, vehicle finance, credit cards, and other forms of debt – will face higher interest rates, and thus higher interest payments, as a result.

At the macro level, questions have been raised about whether bond investors will continue to lend money to the South African government. This is more of an ambiguous problem.

Even though some of South Africa’s bonds have attained ‘junk status’, there are still investors here and abroad whose investment mandates and risk appetites will allow or now encourage them to buy South African government debt. This is not to say that other investors won’t be pulling out of South African bonds, though; there are others who simply won’t be able to hold onto or purchase more government bonds, precisely because of their investment mandates.

Furthermore, South African government bonds have been removed from some global government bond indices, which forces certain investors to sell those bonds. If Moody’s – the only major rating agency yet to respond to recent political events – drops long-term bonds below investment-grade level, then even more indices (such as the World Government Bond Index) and investors would have to follow suit.

History repeating itself?

In December 2015, ‘Nenegate’ took most people by surprise, and the market responses – in both the foreign exchange and bond markets – showed it. With recent events, things seem to be different.

The bond market’s reaction this time around has so far been nowhere near what happened after Nene was dismissed from his position as finance minister. It’s quite possible that bond markets have been pricing-in the underlying reality of the government’s fiscal position for a while now. In addition, the removal of a finance minister is not exactly unfamiliar territory.

Overall, the two downgrades are a bad sign, but essentially reveal no new information about our government. Arguably, this is a double-edged sword: while things are currently better than they otherwise could have been, the downgrades confirm that the government’s financial health and (by implication) that of ordinary South Africans are in long-term decline.

Nicolai is a Copy Editor and Senior Staff Writer at the Rational Standard. He is a fourth-year actuarial science student at the University of Cape Town. He enjoys thinking and writing about economics, Critical Theory, culture, and current affairs.

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Andile Mngxitama Unmasked https://rationalstandard.com/andile-mngxitama-unmasked/ https://rationalstandard.com/andile-mngxitama-unmasked/#comments Sat, 08 Apr 2017 10:40:01 +0000 http://rationalstandard.com/?p=5192 “We want cadres who can plant food, but who are also excellent with propagating our ideas via twitter!” – Andile Mngxitama, Political Report to the 1st BLF National Strategic Planning […]

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“We want cadres who can plant food, but who are also excellent with propagating our ideas via twitter!”

– Andile Mngxitama, Political Report to the 1st BLF National Strategic Planning Meeting, December 2016

In March, Andile Mngxitama was alleged to be under the direction of the Zuma presidency via a London-based PR firm, Bell Pottinger. According to press reports, documents exist which confirm his connection to Zuma. Specific allegations have been made that Andile Mngxitama’s Black First, Land First (BLF) movement was either set up or funded via Bell Pottinger as a means of buoying the Zuma presidency.

In my mind, there are two questions: First, how likely is it that Bell Pottinger has, in fact, employed Andile Mngxitama to provide PR support for Zuma? From a simple logistical point of view, is it even possible?

Second, it is worth noting that one of the tenets of Pan-Africanism is the emphasis on clean governance (often referred to as the ‘Sankaran Principle’), something Zuma is hardly an angelic model for. Why, then, would a Pan-Africanist like Mngxitama make such a radical move to support an obviously corrupt presidency?

In other words, is it logistically feasible that Mngxitama was bought out by Zuma via Bell Pottinger, and what might his motives be for turning his back on fundamental Pan-African ideology?

A Timeline Analysis

Loyalty to Pan-African principles of clean government: From the time of the inception of the September National Imbizo (Mngxitama was a founder of the SNI) in 2010, right through to his involvement in the formation of the EFF, and even the later exit from the party in April 2015, Mngxitama has consistently argued that a corrupt government is unacceptable.

He has consistently argued that the Zuma-led government has run the country in a manner that corruptly benefits the white minority.

An open letter (May 2012) of the September National Imbizo committee is particularly telling: he argues that not only is the Zuma government “divorced” from the electorate, but that it has “failed dismally to alleviate the brutal conditions of the poor”. In another interview he argues the ANC has “shit processes”.

In July 2013, Mngxitama not only helps form the EFF, but also has a hand in writing the EFF’s key principles, one of which is the commitment to an “Open, accountable, corrupt-free government and society without fear of victimisation by State agencies.” All of these actions and positions are pretty much in line with standard Pan-African ideology. Mngxitama’s position is in no way unique or unusual. It is also worth bearing in mind that the EFF was founded on an explicitly anti-Zuma platform. It would be illogical of Mngxitama to help form a party that holds views he opposes.

By September 2016, however, he is singing a very different tune. The obvious non-Sankaran issue of Nkandla and other corruption problems are blatantly ignored by Mngxitama. He now starts to argue that Zuma, despite his historical role in setting up what Mngxitama considers a “puppet” government for the white elite, is somehow an economic saviour. He even goes on to bizarrely suggest that the problems in the country have nothing to do with the ruling ANC government.

What motivated this sudden change in ideology?

Financial Woes

As a Member of Parliament for the EFF, Andile was earning about R80 000 a month salary, or just under a million rand a year. Evidently, he seems to have put this to good use. Newspaper reports suggest that by the time he was expelled from the EFF, he had bought at least six to seven properties. However, with the loss of income as an MP, it evidently caused him financial difficulties.

In November 2015, the first of Andile Mngxitama’s numerous properties is put under auction. By April 2016, in a desperate move to secure cash, he then invests in the MMM ponzi scheme.  Evidently this doesn’t bring in the cash flow he sorely needs to keep up with payments to the bank. A month later, in May, Nedbank puts a further six of his properties under auction. Andile Mngxitama is clearly in dire straits financially.

However, barely a few months later, by September 2016, BLF is suddenly operating an obviously well-funded slick operation with an explicit pro-Zuma stance. The BLF has a very small membership, acknowledged by Mngxitama in the December 2016 Strategic Planning Meeting, so it is very unlikely that the income is coming from membership fees.

Where has the sudden injection of cash come from?

Bell Pottinger and Twitter Campaigns

According to reports, Zuma employed this service sometime in the beginning of 2016.

Now, there are a few things that we can take away from this claim. First, when considering this date it is impossible that BLF was originally set up by Bell Pottinger, as the BLF was formed in August 2015. However, the beginning of 2016 is only when the original approach was made by Zuma representatives. It would take time to put together a complete programme – possibly several months.

Conveniently for Bell Pottinger, this also coincided with Andile Mngxitama’s increasing financial woes. Bear in mind that he was desperate enough to invest into a ponzi scheme, thus the other possibility suggested by the report, that the BLF is funded, rather than was formed by Bell Pottinger, is more logical and realistic.

From September through to February, BLF is very active, picketing Thuli Madonsela’s office, demonstrating at a few ABSA branches, and a picket outside the Reserve Bank. All of which were very slickly run, and appeared well-funded. These actions are accompanied by extensive Twitter campaigns by BLF committee members. Again, this suggests not only a well-timed cash injection from Bell Pottinger, but also mentoring and guidance on manipulating social media.

It can’t be stressed how important social media is to BLF strategy. At the December 2016 Strategic Planning Meeting, Mngxitama even went so far as to demand during the opening speech that:  “We want cadres who can plant food, but who are also excellent with propagating our ideas via twitter!” I have observed on Twitter that a number of fake accounts were set up that suddenly gained several thousand follows in a space of a couple of weeks. All the followers of these accounts were obviously bots (automated accounts that retweet to magnify the original tweet to help it trend) – all of whom mysteriously seemed to religiously retweet anything BLF/pro-Zuma related.

Conclusions

To return to the two questions:

  1. Is it feasible that London-based firm Bell Pottinger is directing and scripting the actions of Andile Mngxitama and the BLF? According to the timeline of events, it fits well, and explains the emergence of slick and well-funded campaigns by the BLF both online and in real life. Even Mngxitama’s strange decision to ignore Pan-African (Sankaran) principles of clean government, tie in perfectly with the sequence of events.
  1. What motive would Mngxitama have for turning his back on Pan-African ideology? Again, the timeline of events is useful – Mngxitama was in all likelihood approached by Bell Pottinger between June and early August, just as his financial woes had come to a peak. His financial decisions suggest he was desperate for cash. News reports don’t provide a figure as to how much Mngxitama was offered, but it seems enough, to not only revive his political career, but to turn his back on Pan-African ideals.

(I’d like to thank one of the Rational Standard’s readers for alerting me to Mngxitama’s property woes.)

A Timeline of Key Events

December 2007:

Jacob Zuma assumes the presidency of the ANC.

May 2009:

Jacob Zuma assumes office as President.

September 2010:

The September National Imbizo meets and sets out the state of Pan-African politics. They are dismayed by the state of South Africa and argue that the now Zuma-led government is running the government in the interests of the white minority.

May 2012:

The September National Imbizo writes an open letter to Zuma and Helen Zille. In it, they accuse the DA opposition and the Zuma government of having “failed dismally to alleviate the brutal conditions of the poor”. They further argue that elected representatives are “divorced” from the electorate.

April 2013:

Events at Waterkloof Air Force Base give rise to the infamous Guptagate furore.

July 2013:

The EFF is formed. Andile Mngxitama, along with other members of the September Black Imbizo, joins the EFF and has a hand in the writing of the so-called seven principles. The seventh and last principle being: “Open, accountable, corrupt-free government and society without fear of victimisation by State agencies.”

March 2014:

Thuli Madonsela finalises the Nkandla report.  The country holds its breath.

February 2015:

Andile Mngxitama has very public clashes with EFF leadership, necessitating the involvement of police. He is quickly suspended. Mngxitama is accused of sowing division and ill-discipline.

April 2015:

Andile Mngxitama, along with two others, is expelled from the EFF. At the time, Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala alleges that the EFF has plans afoot to have Mngxitama stabbed to death in Cape Town.

July 2015:

In an ad hoc committee, MPs clash over findings of Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report. Opposition MPs accuse the committee of trying to impose arguments so illogical, they are like “witchcraft”.

August 2015:

BLF has its First National Convention and unveils its new logo. In addition, a set of principles and purpose is set out. Included in this a commitment to Sankaran leadership principles, essentially the commitment to a clean government that spends government resources on the people, rather than to the exclusive benefit of a governing elite.

November 2015:

The first of Andile Mngxitama’s numerous properties is put under auction as he fails to make bond payments.

December 2015:

ZumaMustFall campaign is in full swing.

Beginning of 2016:

It is at some time around this point that the Sunday Times alleges that Zuma employs the services of PR firm Bell Pottinger, and later Andile Mngxitama’s BLF.

March 2016:

The ANC executive committee meets over concerns of state capture. It is evident that the public and many within ANC leadership are now publicly concerned about Zuma and his presidency.

April 2016:

Andile Mngxitama’s financial woes continue and he appears to take desperate measures to secure finances by investing in the MMM ponzi scheme.

May 2016:

Six of Andile Mngxitama’s properties are put under the hammer by Nedbank as he is unable to keep up with bond payments. The MMM ponzi scheme hasn’t appeared to work out for him.

September 2016:

BLF’s pro-Zuma campaign kicks off in earnest. Mngxitama does an about-turn on the Zuma presidency and the ANC, arguing that “under his leadership that the distant dream of economic liberation could become a reality.” He also now argues that the problems of the country are not to do with the government in power, but rather a “white agenda”.

October 2016:

BLF pickets Thuli Madonsela’s office to demand investigation of various banks.

December 2016:

BLF holds its Strategic Planning Meeting. This meeting sets out key strategies for the BLF to contest the 2019 general elections. Again, the thrust is very much pro-Zuma. In addition, a call is made to strengthen the movement’s social media presence.

January 2017:

BLF manages to have a small number of protests at a handful of ABSA branches, despite the call for national picketing. It is accompanied by a voracious Twitter campaign by BLF members, with many repeated tweets designed to get the protest to trend. ANCYL KZN members picket ABSA’s regional headquarters in Durban the day before.

February 2017:

BLF organise a protest at the South African Reserve Bank.

March 2017:

Reports surface that Andile Mngxitama and BLF are being employed by PR firm Bell Pottinger. By the end of March, Zuma is in the process of firing Gordhan. The ZumaMustFall campaign re-emerges.

Anthony Stuurman (a pen-name) is a regular Contributor at the Rational Standard. The writer is an educator in the Eastern Cape with an interest in neuroscience, ethnobotany and a passion for free speech.

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Only Property Rights can Give Meaning to ‘Land Reform’ https://rationalstandard.com/property-rights-give-meaning-land-reform/ https://rationalstandard.com/property-rights-give-meaning-land-reform/#comments Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:00:58 +0000 http://rationalstandard.com/?p=5094 What do Julius Malema and the EFF have in mind when they say they intend to challenge the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act (Riot Act) on constitutional grounds? In light of […]

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What do Julius Malema and the EFF have in mind when they say they intend to challenge the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act (Riot Act) on constitutional grounds? In light of the recent High Court decision interdicting Malema from encouraging land grabs, does the EFF have a valid public policy point to argue? Or is this simply an attempt to shield the party from the consequences of its tactless calls for lawlessness?

Much of the Riot Act has been replaced by other legislation – notably the Intimidation Act – and the provisions that remain espouse perfectly-acceptable protection for persons and property, in line with international practice. The remaining provisions oblige caution when using explosives, determine what is an incitement to public violence, and regulate how ‘attempt’, ‘conspiracy’, and ‘incitement’ operate in South African law. Malema is charged under the Act for inciting his followers to violate property rights.

The only problem with the Act which has been identified, is when it was passed – 1956, at the height of Apartheid. However, we still live under many laws passed during the previous regime, including statutes as innocent as the Marriages Act (1961), the Wills Act (1953), and the comprehensive Criminal Procedure Act (1977), all of which have been amended by the democratic Parliament to accord with our new constitutional values.

A constitutional challenge against this law will not succeed, because the Riot Act codifies principles evident in every rights-respecting legal system around the world. Any legal team which believes it can remove the crime of incitement from South African law is sorely mistaken, as incitement, in any case, is a crime under the common law. We would need a new law that explicitly makes incitement legal before free-for-all land-grabbing can become sanctioned, as many on the left would want it.

The socialists might argue that incitement to commit a crime, in principle, should be illegal, but that, however, due to South Africa’s history of dispossession, an exception should be made.

The problem with this argument is twofold. Firstly, the radical left’s policy is not to give land to dispossessed people. It seeks the State to acquire ownership of all agricultural land and to license it for use by aspiring farmers. On the other side of the coin, those who gravitate toward free markets seek to give individual South Africans – especially poor, landless individuals – ownership of property.

Secondly, land restitution must take place according to an ordered legal process that will be sustainable in the long term. If every Tom, Dick, or Harry can simply ‘occupy’ a particular plot of land, how will that make the land his? And, more pertinently, what will stop anyone else from occupying that already-occupied land? Free-for-all land-grabbing is a recipe for chaos and violence; not the solution that will deliver a free and prosperous future.

Frédéric Bastiat wrote in 1850, “the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.” Bastiat, a revolutionary opposing aristocrats who sought only to secure their own political futures, lamented the fact that the law was no longer being employed as protection for property, but rather as a tool of plunder (‘redistribution’) in and of itself.

During Apartheid, the Roman-Dutch legal tradition was similarly perverted to enable the State to plunder. Strong protection for property rights and an emphasis on individual freedom were carelessly set aside by our then-sovereign Parliament to implement its programs of social engineering. It seems counter-intuitive that today’s apparent ‘progressives’, who claim to represent the landless masses, would seek to operate within this very same oppressive philosophy. Jimmy Manyi and the Progressive Professionals Forum, too, seem to want to give Parliament back its sovereign power to cast rights and freedoms aside on a whim. What is the ultimate purpose of studying history, if not to avoid making the same mistakes?

The Riot Act is a constitutionally and morally sound piece of legislation. It is one of the few statutes being applied in South Africa, in a time of increasing social engineering through legislation, that does what the law, by its nature, is supposed to do. Ignorance and disregard for the rule of law, today, is endemic among South Africa’s political class. To target a necessary law like the Riot Act serves as a distraction to lure attention away from other, far more disturbing legislation.

Martin is a co-founder and the Editor in Chief of the Rational Standard. He is the Legal Researcher at the Free Market Foundation, the Academic Programs Director for Southern Africa at Students For Liberty and the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian. Martin holds an LLB from the University of Pretoria. His articles represent his own views and beliefs, and not that of any of the aforementioned organizations.

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