South Africa has been ruled by a corrupt, incompetent gangster elite and every aspect of that nation is on the verge of collapse, famous longtime liberal commentator R. W. Johnson has finally admitted—although he still refuses to name race as the inherent cause of the problem.
The Diepsloot slum, located to the north of Johannesburg.
In a new article published in the UK’s Standpoint magazine, Johnson—an Oxford educated journalist, political scientist, and historian, former director of the far left “Helen Suzman Foundation” in Johannesburg, and currently South Africa correspondent for the London Sunday Times—said that the South African state had been captured by a “gangster elite.”
Johnson—formerly an outspoken opponent of white rule in South Africa—said that Nelson Mandela was “a hopeless president” who “never understood or did the job, instead spending all his time with pop stars, sportsmen, and the mega-rich.
“He neither presided over the cabinet nor even bothered to stay right through its meetings. Corruption began to flower under his administration, particularly in the infamous arms deal of 1999,” Johnson wrote.
Next came Thabo Mbeki, in many respects more capable but given to stealthy behind-the-arras elimination of possible rivals and to grandiose visions of himself as the leader not just of Africa but of the entire Third World.
He also used nakedly racist rhetoric against whites.
His combination of paranoia and grandiosity led him to believe that the anti-retroviral drugs used to treat the HIV-positive were just a scheme by Big Pharma and that he knew better than medical science.
Accordingly, he deprived the HIV-positive of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). A later Harvard study showed he had caused 300,000-365,000 unnecessary deaths, almost all Africans — a true genocide and at least 20 times more than had died for political reasons under apartheid.
Under him corruption became structural as part of the vast ANC patronage network. Even when cadres were found stealing, no one was punished.
Finally, there was Zuma, under whom a corrupt mafia took over the entire state.
The president, a semi-literate, warned people against witches, told them the ancestors would be angry if they didn’t vote for him and also said that God supported the ANC.
He made up policy without the least regard for legality or affordability and seemed quite ignorant of the constitution.
The net result is that after 24 years of ANC rule there has not yet been one good executive president and the country has suffered enormous damage.
Johnson went on to say that “very few cabinet ministers are competent and many of them get rich with suspicious speed,” and that the new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was no exception.
Ramaphosa, Johnson wrote, has “amassed a fortune of $425 million from a standing start 20 years ago. Yet no new product or services or even any particular company is associated with him, and nor does he possess any special entrepreneurial skills.
“Instead, he has had multiple directorships and has benefited from many favourable share deals in other people’s companies.”
Johnson also admitted that every other aspect of the “new” South Africa is a disaster, and that the government’s “whole emphasis is on redistribution rather than growth, on consumption rather than investment.
The result is that under ANC rule unemployment has grown from 3.7 million to 9.4 million.
Unsurprisingly there has been an investment strike and the last few years have seen a massive outflow of capital as panicking South African firms and individuals rush to buy foreign assets.”
South Africa is now in a parlous position. Two of the three big ratings agencies have downgraded its credit to junk status, the government has run out of cash, the civil service is far bigger and far better-paid than in any comparable country and the big state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been looted and mismanaged into bankruptcy.”
For almost ten years now the World Bank, IMF, OECD and the ratings agencies have all said that South Africa needs serious structural reform.
It must radically reform its education system — the weakest in all Africa.
The public service unions (the main component of Cosatu) continually insist on and get wage settlements way beyond inflation.
In their last three-year deal, concluded when the economy was actually shrinking, they got 26 per cent plus an increase in benefits worth another 3 per cent.
And the SOEs need continual large bail-outs to save them from bankruptcy.
The state arms-manufacturer, Denel, and the South African Broadcasting Corporation both ran out of money to pay salaries a few months ago and only desperate temporary expedients are keeping them from closing.
South African Airways has been bankrupt for many years now and exists only on continual state bail-outs.
But by far the most important, Eskom — the electricity company — now owes more than $35 billion, has seen its staff double in the past five years even as its output fell, pays the highest average salaries in the country and has run out of money to pay salaries.
The government’s answer was to illegally raid the civil service pension fund to keep things going and to ask the local banks to lend Eskom $1.72bn. to tide it over for a few months.
All foreign banks have backed out, the local banks are “considering” and even so Eskom’s bankruptcy will be only months away.
This was, under apartheid, the world’s eighth biggest utility, legendarily profitable and producing the cheapest electricity in the world.
Johnson also admitted that “white farmers still produce almost all the food in the shops” and that the new policy of seizing farms and giving them to blacks will be a failure, pointing out that the “farms [already] redistributed by land reform to Africans have had a 90 per cent failure rate.”
Johnson also admitted that the current water crisis in the Western Cape is not due to “climate change” but simply the inability of the black government to “maintain the existing system.
“Inevitably, disaster has followed and water currently sells for high prices on the black market in Cape Town.”
Johnson also outlined how the new president’s policies will in fact just be a continuation of the collapse:
Under ANC rule the public hospitals have collapsed which has led the government to insist that the solution lies in abolishing the highly functional private medical sector.
Ramaphosa is continuing with this crazy policy. And he has embraced the policy of expropriation without compensation.
He seems to think he can invite foreign investors to a big conference and there persuade them to invest in South Africa but it is difficult to see how they will get beyond item one, the question of expropriation without compensation.
What it means is that South Africa, like most other African countries, is really run for the benefit of the small black bourgeoisie — perhaps a quarter of a million people in a population of 57 million.
This perspective informs almost everything about the country. For example, South Africa gains high marks from UN agencies for equality of women because it has many women MPs (mainly just voting fodder on the ANC list), yet this tiny elite is absurdly unrepresentative.
South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of rape and violence against women, three-quarters of black families are headed by a single woman and they seldom receive any support from their ex-husbands. In real terms the plight of black women is abysmal.
Finally, Johnson admitted that “African nationalism seems incompatible with wildlife.”
Already African wildlife has been exterminated throughout north and west Africa and most of what remains is in the formerly white-ruled states — Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia.
Yet everywhere those remaining animals are under threat from poaching and explosive demographic growth.
Although black politicians recognise in principle that wildlife preservation is vital to the tourist industry, it is noticeable that all the passionate wildlife activists—like the former South African cricketer, Mark Boucher — are white.
Johnson does not, of course, dare to address the real underlying reason for South Africa’s inevitable collapse. The reality is that black South Africans have an average IQ of between 74 and 83, a score which is far below that needed to build, or even maintain, a First World economy and society.
As long as race-denial remains the standard among journalists such as Johnson, they will forever be left puzzled as to why their multiracial experiments always fail.