Cameron Modisane says the “good story” from the past 20 years is a lie.
The African National Congress (ANC) has been selling “a good story over the past 20 years in South Africa” for the upcoming elections. Sadly the “good story” is nothing but a figment of their imagination. Over the past 20 years, South Africans have been plagued by historic and endemic mass unemployment, abject poverty, chronic starvation, rampant HIV/Aids and way above-average illiteracy for the majority of South Africans.
We have been sold this lie that the ANC of the late Nelson Mandela delivered freedom to us as a nation. Political freedom without economic freedom means absolutely nothing. What the ANC failed to grasp is the fact that freedom is a holistic entity, it is achieved as is and not a ‘piece by piece’ effort. You are either free or you are still held captive by your oppressors, and there’s nothing in between. As things stand we are not free.
As can clearly be seen today, South Africa’s democratisation was profoundly compromised during the West-negotiated CODESA, by an intra-elite economic deal of neo-colonialism. It was a deal gone wrong, as for most black Africans it worsened poverty, unemployment, inequality and economic oppression by our former oppressors.
The agreement negotiated between the racist apartheid regime and Mandela’s ANC allowed whites to keep the best land, the mines, manufacturing plants, and financial institutions, and to export vast quantities of capital. The “Transitional Executive Committee” (TEC) took control of the South African government, combining a few leading ANC leaders with the ruling National Party. During this time, South Africa faced a balance of payments difficulty in 1993, which was the result of a long history of poor economic management and a siege economy.
The transitional executive council subcommittee on finance included the likes of Trevor Manuel (former Minister of Finance), Maria Ramos (ABSA Group CEO), Pravin Gordhan, Tito Mboweni (former Reserve Bank Governor) and they were led by Thabo Mbeki. The TEC accepted (on 1 December 1993) an $850 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), signed first by South Africa’s current Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan. The loan included the following “terms and conditions” which Mandela’s ANC gladly accepted when they signed the deal and sold out the economic struggle:
• Lower import tariffs;
• Cuts in state spending,
• Large cuts in public sector wages;
• Free trade routes;
• Excessive flight capital off the borders of SA;
• Privatisation of state own enterprises;
• Fiscal controlled economy; and
• Last but very importantly, the ANC must move away from its radical position of nationalisation of mines, banks, other strategic industries of the economy and to abort its policy of expropriation of land as documented in the Freedom Charter.
In addition, Michel Camdessus (then IMF managing director), put informal but intense pressure on incoming president Nelson Mandela to reappoint the two main stalwarts of apartheid-era neo-liberalism, the finance minister Derek Keys and Reserve Bank Governor Chris Stals, both from the National Party.
The TEC delegates from the ANC made a political blunder and ideological suicide which most black Africans still find themselves suffering from today. The $850 million loan they took in the guise of a political shift of power from apartheid to democracy was nothing but succumbing to white monopoly capital and allowing imperialists to still be in power.
The ANC government under the leadership of the late Nelson Mandela, together with their National Party counterparts, gladly accepted these “terms and conditions” at the expense of the majority of the black masses. The very same IMF and World Bank were funding the apartheid government between the 1950s to early 1990s when the South African government was sanctioned for its brutal and evil repressive apartheid regime against black South Africans.
This was rather treacherous of the ANC as the World Bank and IMF had a regrettable history in South Africa which included the following:
• the World Bank’s US$100 million in loans to Eskom from 1951-67 provided only white people with electric power, but all South Africans (including blacks) paid the bill;
• the World Bank refused point blank to heed a United Nations General Assembly instruction in 1966 not to lend to the racist apartheid regime in South Africa;
• the IMF provided apartheid-supporting loans of more than $2 billion between the Soweto uprising in 1976 and 1983; and
• the World Bank and IMF’s consistent message to South African workers that their wages are too high, and that unemployment can only be cured through “labour flexibility”.
Then the ANC was very loud in criticising the IMF and World Bank for supporting apartheid regime through funding. However, it was the very same ANC back then in the early 90s which entered into an “economic deal” with the devils that supported apartheid.
Today, the ANC government is still paying back the loans taken by the apartheid regime used to oppress black people in South Africa. The ANC government is still servicing the debt to the tune of billions annually which accumulates inflated interests yearly. As a consequence the state cannot grow its economy and create jobs because large chunks of its GDP goes to the IMF and most of the profits generated by mines and banks in South Africa is invested offshore as part of the conditions of the loan taken by the apartheid government and the political opportunist council of a transitional government called the TEC.
Former South Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni is said to be returning to cabinet and will be the new Minister of Finance if the ANC wins the May 7 elections. This is the man who was on the transitional executive council subcommittee on finance and it was this committee that made the recommendation to the transitional executive council to accept the $850 billion loan from the IMF together with the “terms and conditions” that came with this loan.
The ANC are economic sell-outs – including former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and the late Nelson Mandela who embraced neo-liberalism without a whiff of shame. They felt that the nationalising of the mineral wealth would cause the ANC government to be labelled ‘leftist’, anti-business, and South Africa as being a communist country.
There is reliable evidence that the economic state of the nation is worse for most people today than it was during apartheid. One must remember that the apartheid regime was democratic – exclusive but democratic. By comparison, today we have an inclusive political culture where people are allowed to freely cast their vote every 5 years, yet the poor are poorer and the rich are richer. This is as a result of failed economic choices and compromises which were made by Mandela’s ANC.
Another economic blunder which the ANC made was the fact that they surrendered the South African Reserve Bank to capitalist and made it private. At present, the Reserve Bank enjoys a considerable degree of autonomy in the execution of its duties, in terms of section 224 of the Constitution. The Reserve Bank has 650 private shareholders. True economic freedom cannot be realised for as long as the suppliers of money are capitalists in South Africa.
Baron Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), who is the founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty, appropriately put it: “Give me control of a nation’s money supply and I care not who makes their laws”.
Whoever controls the means of production in a country, de facto the money supply, is the one with the real power. The ANC sold out their power to capitalists, it is in the economy where power rests. The ANC surrendered the control of the Reserve Bank to private capital.
No one said it better than the late Nelson Mandela himself, when in January 1990 he wrote to the Mass Democratic Movement: “The nationalisation of the mines, banks and monopoly industries is the policy of the ANC, and a change or modification of our views in this regard is inconceivable. Black economic empowerment is a goal we fully support and encourage, but in our situation state control of certain sectors of the economy is unavoidable.”
Mandela’s ANC has moved away from this vision and we need a new party that will take us forward to the “Promised Land” since the ANC has failed the majority of black Africans in this country. EFF‘s vision for economic emancipation is that of the industrial and economic development of our nation to be counted amongst the Now Developed Countries (NDCs) in the world within the 20 years post 2014. The EFF aims to bring back the dignity of the native Africans and also correct the Land Act of 1913 which the ANC failed to do after 20 years of being in power.
We live on a future of broken promises and more promises that will never be delivered by the ANC as they have been promising a better life for all but we have yet to see that. We are sold this sugarcoated “Rainbow Nation” myth that is nothing but a figment of the ANC’s imagination. The ANC doesn’t govern South Africa; they are the faces of imperialism and protectors of neo-capitalists who still control the economy to this day.
Real freedom is when means of production dwells with the people, not a select few like the Oppenheimers, Ackermans, Ruperts, Motsepes and Ramaphosas of this world. What came out of CODESA was that ANC became an extension of the Nats; it was a change of faces of the status quo but no change to the status quo itself.
The ANC’s job is to keep the wrath of the people manageable, so that their imperialist bosses can continue the exploitation of resources and being owners of the means of production. All it took was them being told they would benefit from things like BEE and get co-opted to businesses they did not even know how to run by themselves and all the blood spilt over 365 years in defence of our land and the Freedom Charter was forgotten.
The real true freedom is yet to be realised in Azania – do not be fooled.
Cameron Modisane is an auditor by profession and a political animal by passion. He is also a gay rights activist and a social media junkie. Follow him on Twitter: @Youngster_Cam
This column first appeared on News24.