Jacob Zuma is a despicable human being: a corrupt politician responsible for the theft of over R246 million of public funds for his private abode, the disruption of our economy through ill-made cabinet changes, overseeing the collapse of South Africa’s market and the aiding of a family in capturing the key power structures of the state. Those are only the concrete accusations. Zuma is also allegedly responsible for rape, corruption in the Arms Deal and many other crimes, most of which we probably have no knowledge.
Yet with this resume, Zuma is still not South Africa’s main enemy. He is a criminal and must be dealt with like one, but the notion that South Africa’s problems end with Zuma is a misnomer. He is a symptom of South Africa, not the cause of the disease.
Zuma’s rise to power and his maintaining it would be admirable if it wasn’t so destructive. He has skilfully used the tools of politics to cement himself in such a position that nobody with the authority to eliminate him truly can or wants to. Zuma has come to this position partly through his own cunning but mostly through a system that enables corruption and dominance to survive. Zuma rose to power and retains this power because South Africa maintains a system that enables politicians to exploit their positions at the expense of South Africans.
South Africa’s problems, as many like to point out, are age-old. We are the product of a legacy of authoritarianism in different shades. This has been ingrained in South Africans to the point that even when we protest, we do so for more authority, not less. Protests in South Africa are not a healthy sign of defiance, but a tool used by the political elite to distract the public or push forward policies that would otherwise seem too radical.
The reason for the latter is that the ruling party and its allies still cling to an undead and unacceptable ideology. The African National Congress still survives under the beck and call of the Tripartite Alliance and its twin Communist aligned organisations in Cosatu and the SACP. These two organisations have blocked honest and potentially prosperous policies in the ANC. It is often said, no less by me, that the ANC is the rot in South Africa – but this would be unfair, as they are rotting at the behest of two chimeras who seem to forget that their ideology has already been slain.
But that’s incorrect. The ideology of Communism and the Marxism that fuels the Tripartite gremlins never died. It lives on in academia, in the gremlins themselves and in ill-thought student movements that demand to be shackled and demand that prosperity become illegal.
The ANC, the Tripartite alliance, the academia and the student movements are not external enemies seeking to bring down South Africa. They are succeeding as such, but not because of any real desire to do so. They are collapsing this nation because South Africa continues to retain Socialism as an acceptable ideology. Every step we make towards progress, to help the poor and to help our nation as a whole, is blocked by adherents to an undead ideal.
The life support was never unplugged, no matter how much it should have been, and now we are living with the consequences: a GDP growth rate, which as of January 2016, is sitting at 0.6%, an unemployment rate sitting at 24.5%, a crime rate rivalling some war torn countries and a government that seems not to care.
The government has cared in the past. Old ANC officials actually had real ideas on how to fix our flagging economy. The policies of Trevor Manuel could have patched up the sinking ship, but the Red Menace within the alliance was more content with letting the ship sink, and South Africa’s people with it.
Many things are blamed for South Africa’s problems: Zuma, the ANC, Apartheid, Jan van Riebeeck. These are all scapegoats. What has truly enabled the dominance of Zuma, the destruction of our economy, the double dictatorship of living under an incompetent government and the brunt of crime – is a society that allows this to go on.
South Africa fails because we as South Africans are complacent enough to be content as our country is raped and pillaged by small and large criminals. A country that entertains veritable hate groups that want to stop the only means to our self-defence. A country that thinks the Freedom Charter actually stands for freedom. South Africa flags because South Africans let it. We enabled the ANC, and Zuma, to fail. Some of us avidly supported the move.
We have built a country where the only opposition to the ruling party are effectively shinier versions of their sworn enemy. We built the means to our own destruction. South Africa’s enemy is itself.