Letters to the editor: December 15 to 21
ANC in danger of going to the dogs
It’s confounding that it has become fashionable for the ANC to venture into a lawfare contest for political expediency. Where have you seen family issues taken to the courts?
The gatekeepers of the capitalist class concoct their own policies to disgrace the party while they cast aspersions on others’ dirty linen. Immorality is still commonplace. No wonder they never had any regard for our people in Marikana.
Methinks the movement is fraught with disruptive and intransigent elements obsessed with power. Their minds are corrupted and they have abandoned the traditions of the organisation for selfish interests.
They’re shameless and ruthless; some settle scores with guns. Moreover, the most critical challenges facing our nation remain inequality, poverty and unemployment.
If the ANC branches allow people of that ilk to lead our movement, then it will go to the dogs.— Morgan Phaahla, Ekurhuleni
Ruling class backs Cyril
It appears likely that at the ANC elective conference wealth and propaganda will put the ruling-class candidate in power in 2017 as it did in 2007. Hence we must ask what the consequences will be. What is the ruling class hoping to achieve by bestowing power on deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa?
The first and most obvious priority must be tax cuts. This is the standard neoliberal prescription to “promote economic growth” (that is, increase the annual income of the 0.01%) and we must assume that it would be the priority of the first budget under Ramaphosa.
A related priority would be dismantling the rights of organised labour. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act will surely be amended to facilitate worker dismissal and reduce the role of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. Whether the Labour Relations Act would also be gutted depends more on the vindictiveness of Ramaphosa’s backers than on any actual need, given the current chaotic state of unionisation.
As for the dismantling of affirmative action legislation, this might happen under Ramaphosa, or might be saved for the first Democratic Alliance administration some time in the next decade.
There will also be minor issues such as reaffirming South Africa’s support for the International Criminal Court and all other forms of global colonialist power. Yet the big money will undoubtedly want privatisation. SAA will certainly be privatised but the big question is whether Ramaphosa will be able to oversee the privatisation of Eskom, where the real bucks are. To do that he will have to shut down the construction of the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations, bringing with it the likelihood of power outages.
We shall see whether he has the guts — or, rather, the stupidity, as he clearly has no guts — for that.
It is unlikely that he will shut down social services; he will probably continue starving them of funds, blaming the budgetary woes his economic mismanagement will bring.
So the consequences will be largely a tweaked continuation of the degeneration of the state under Kgalema Motlanthe and President Jacob Zuma. (Obviously, this will be temporarily submerged by a tidal wave of media and faux-academic bullshit of the kind we saw from 2006 to 2010.)
The most problematic consequence of a Ramaphosa victory will be the trial of Zuma. It will be almost impossible for Ramaphosa to avoid putting him on trial. Yet Zuma on trial will almost certainly be eager to implicate almost anyone he can.
In 2008 the South African Communist Party (SACP) purged mainly fairly honest people who were loyal to the party; in 2018 they will be purging crooks and liars who are loyal only to cash, and who will say and do anything to save their skins. Against this background of paranoia and real and fake whistle-blowing, the trial of Zuma is liable to bring an explosion of implication, with just about every politician and corporate figure imaginable being placed at risk.
Neither the SACP nor Ramaphosa and his handlers are capable of coping with this kind of crisis, which could blow the lid off the whole South African gangster state.
There is, however, a simple solution: close down debate and deny everyone except approved and well-paid liars the right to speak. This has been the solution of the ruling class, using the media, the judiciary and the NGOcracy, for many years. But because everybody knows the scale of corruption around Zuma and the elite of the JSE, the whole charade will have to be raised to a new level.
Fortunately for the ruling class, South Africans appear to have lived happily on the stage of an absurdist drama for more than a decade, so they will probably swallow all the excrement shovelled into their mouths by the ruling class. There is, however, a faint possibility that this time the public might gag on it. In that case, there will be plenty of need for big black panicky headlines in the national propaganda sheets. — Mathew Blatchford, University of Fort Hare