Infrastructure Decay Under The ANC

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The exterior of Saint Anne’s Hospital two decades after ‘Africa’s oldest liberation movement’ gained political control in South Africa.
The exterior of Saint Anne’s Hospital two decades after ‘Africa’s oldest liberation movement’ gained political control in South Africa.

Imagine if, before the Covid-19 pandemic started, some benevolent institution, some philanthropic billionaire, had funded the construction in the heart of Pietermaritzburg, of a fully-equipped, fully-staffed hospital.

Well, that’s what happened.

In 1898 the Vicar Apostolic of Natal, Charles-Constant Jolivet, consecrated Saint Anne’s Hospital, a sanatorium staffed by Augustian nuns, as a gift from the Catholic Church to the people of Pietermaritzburg

It was transferred to the Natal Provincial Administration – then under the political control of the National Party government in 1970 – and handed as a going concern to the new ANC government in 1994.

So what role did Saint Anne’s Hospital play in ameliorating the dreadful impact Covid-19 has had on the citizens of Pietermaritzburg?

None whatsoever.

Desecrated by the ‘broad church’ of the African National Congress as part of its ‘good story to tell’, it lies abandoned and derelict, a shell slowly being colonised by trees and plants which now reach for the sky where a roof once existed, taking lonely root where operating theatres and maternity wards once bustled with human life and healing.

It is an apt metaphor for the consequences of the ANC’s ‘National Democratic Revolution’ and for its illegal deployed cadre patronage system which lies at the heart of the Beloved Country’s incremental drift towards  becoming a dysfunctional and bankrupt state.

The exterior of Saint Anne’s Hospital two decades after ‘Africa’s oldest liberation movement’ gained political control in South Africa.
The exterior of Saint Anne’s Hospital two decades after ‘Africa’s oldest liberation movement’ gained political control in South Africa.
The interior of Saint Anne’s Hospital – a tangible metaphor of the ANC’s ruination of South Africa.

I was reminded of this when the Naspers newspapers published photographs of the once-thriving Jim Fouche holiday resort in the Orange Free State.

Replicating the derelict Saint Anne’s Hospital – the Jim Fouche holiday resort in the OFS.

These newspapers had been alerted to this tragedy by a media release from Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL – Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Legislature.

A derelict rondawel at the once-thriving Jim Fouche holiday resort in the OFS

The media release was headlined ‘Ruined Jim Fouche Resort a mirror image of Magashule’s legacy’ and you can read it here.

The ANC’s de facto focus on self-enrichment through corruption as part of its deployed cadre patronage system, combined with its utter indifference to the concept of preventative maintenance has been reflected in headlines for the past two decades:

The ANC has acknowledged that its multi-billion rand farm land claim reclamation project has utterly failed and former white-owned farms which produced food valued at hundreds of millions of rand annually and employed thousands of people have been abandoned and now lie fallow – see here and here.

In most cases this is because the successful claimants lacked the necessary expertise and government help.

However, as Dr Jankielsohn has pointed out, at least one farm is now derelict because of pervasive ANC-linked corruption in the Orange Free State.

The ANC’s abandoned Maluti Dairy Project in the Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality in the OFS.
An interior view of the ANC’s abandoned Maluti dairy project in the OFS.

The most obvious manifestation of the ANC’s twin evils of corruption combined with complete indifference to preventative maintenance is the way the bankrupt and dysfunctional municipalities its deployed cadres exploit for financial gain have turned the Vaal River into an open sewer to the detriment of the poor who live on its banks.

The Klip River tributary discharging sewage into the Vaal River
Sewage flowing through Sebokeng township which falls under the ANC-controlled Emfuleni municipality that has been placed under administration.
Dead fish in the highly-polluted Vaal River – the result of ANC controlled municipalities not maintaining waste water treatment plants.

An enduring monument to the ANC’s combination of corruption and indifference to preventative maintenance is one of which I have personal experience.

The SABC-owned Rocklands Villas building in Sea Point – derelict for more than a decade.

Rocklands Villa is a row of semi-detached apartments behind the SABC building on the Sea Point beachfront. It was built at the turn of the last century and, until the ANC took control of this regional office two decades ago, it was used as low-rental accommodation for maintenance technicians on 24-hour call and lower income employees. In what was perceived by non-ANC aligned employees as a routine, self-enrichment scam, the ‘new’, ‘transformed’ SABC evicted all its employees from Rocklands Villas and gutted the building with the clear intention  of selling it as a refurbished building.

Most of the evicted employees were from the Cape Flats and, in what I called “District Six revisited”, these scatterlings were once again cast adrift by the ‘transformed’, ANC-controlled SABC management.

Once the building was reduced to a shell, the rapacious new overlords discovered that a former employee had registered the building with the National Heritage Council. The building was effectively abandoned and quickly occupied by drug dealers, prostitutes and feral street children who made life untenable for neighbours. At one stage it caught fire. The plight of those living nearby was ignored until the Cape Town municipality declared it a problem building and threatened prosecution. Reluctantly, the SABC fenced it off.

It’s been 21 years since the ANC-controlled state broadcaster evicted its own employees from Rockland Villas in a stymied get-rich-quick scheme. A former employee put in an offer to buy the building through his lawyer. The SABC did not respond to the letter.

Rocklands Villas, a tangible metaphor for the consequences of the ANC’s deployed cadre patronage system and the consequent countrywide decay, is now barricaded and unoccupied, having lost millions of rands in value. Rooms which once echoed to the happy laughter of children now hear only the ghostly rustle of rats, scurrying along foetid, flame-scarred passages.

All part of its glorious National Democratic Revolution, of its ‘good story to tell’ by those who claim to be the ‘authentic voice’ of the South African people.

It should be on the itinerary of every tourism company in Cape Town because it is a very real symbol of what has become of this country since the Last Jacobins of Africa took control and of what it is yet to become.