Black South Africans are worse off today, says Miyeni

South Africa’s economic policies favoured whites, former columnist Eric Miyeni wrote in an open letter to the African National Congress on Tuesday.

The ANC said it would respond to the letter later in the day. “We are looking at it,” said spokesperson Brian Sokutu.

“It’s been 17 years since you started running South Africa,” wrote Miyeni.

“An old petrol attendant summed up your leadership throughout this period when he told a friend of mine just before our latest local elections that if anyone should vote for you, it’s South Africa’s whites, because, in his opinion, nothing has changed.

“In many respects the old man is right. Many black South Africans are worse off today than they were under apartheid.”

A freelance journalist, Miyeni was recently fired by the Sowetan newspaper after writing a column titled “Haffajee does it for white masters”, in which he called City Press editor Ferial Haffajee a “black snake in the grass deployed by white capital to sow discord among black people”.

Miyeni wrote that in the Eighties, Haffajee would have had a burning tyre around her neck.

Haffajee later said she would not take him to court over his comments, but would lay a complaint with the Human Right’s Commission or the public protector.

Mind the gap
In his letter Miyeni wrote that the gap between South Africa’s rich and poor was the widest in the world.

“In a nutshell, you have super-charged white people’s stockpiling of wealth, while black South Africans have remained where they were before 1994 or had their fortunes reversed.”

He said the ruling party had been a brilliant political fighter, but a dismal economic warrior for black South Africans.

Miyeni said the white-owned media were fighting against the advancement of black South Africans in the economic arena, using the same tactics they used during apartheid to block blacks from attaining political freedom.

“Those who consumed this media then saw black people as the scariest, least humane and the most crazed people on earth. South Africa’s white media sold this lie as truth in preparation for apartheid politicians to step in, detain us for as long as they wanted for whatever reason they deemed fit, torture us in whatever way they chose and murder us at will without guilt.”

‘Black danger’
He said white media used “black danger” tactics to hold black South Africans back on the economic front.

“The new lie that they are peddling is that we Africans are corrupt thieves who know nothing about financial matters ...”

He found it disturbing how the ANC had acted at the behest of the corrupt, racist and selfish media ever since its return.

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