Even if the ANC was to remove Jacob Zuma from the office of president of the country today, South Africa’s social and economic fundamentals are so badly damaged that they can’t be fixed by a sacrificial goat, no matter how it’s placed on the altar.
Therefore, hope that things will improve just because Cyril Ramaphosa won the ANC’s presidency is unrealistic.
Once again, our country’s problems are such that there’s no single solution to fix them in one shot.
For whatever it’s worth, here’s a brief, no-nonsense assessment of where South Africa is and where it will be two to seven years from now.
To undo the decade’s worth of damage caused by Thabo Mbeki’s and Zuma’s policies, unchecked utterances of Julius Malema since his days in the ANC and the party’s own comments, the corruption, incompetence, waste of resources, capital flight, emigration, drought, economic decline and increasing social tensions, a political party in power needs the will to do the hard things to fix everything, no matter how unpopular it may eventually become with its voters.
The ANC won’t do that because its leaders enjoy too much the power they have and perks that come with it, and fear such a loss.
The South African economy is nearing collapse because of the still-adverse global economic climate, decline in local manufacturing and purchasing power, labour rigidity and over-emphasis on resource extraction instead of sophisticated manufacturing and extremely serious loss of confidence in the country.
This is largely due to ANC’s constant attacks on the private sector and white people especially.
Also in the mix is the South African government’s pivot towards Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela.
Desperate to keep things going and, while he was at it, feed his incessantly greedy financial backers, Zuma allegedly made an expensive nuclear deal with Russia.
The problem is most people are against this and two finance ministers have lost their jobs trying to keep us out of it.
The EU and US have problems of their own, and are little inclined to help South Africa.
As such, besides the almost unthinkable, it appeared the only hope left over the last three years or so was China.
This is now problematic because the Chinese economy is heading towards a crisis and is unlikely to shore up South Africa to the extent needed, especially since our recent sovereign debt downgrade to junk status.
To make matters worse, the ANC is losing voter support and factional infighting is not helping, but the party is unable and/or unwilling to self-correct, even though it desperately wants to remain in power.
About the only hope it has is to sacrifice some minor corrupt players for cosmetic purposes, then spend as much state revenue as possible to keep voter loyalty.
Unfortunately, it costs a huge mountain of money the country hasn’t got.
This is quite a problem for the ANC, because the country’s tax income is falling and since we’re at junk level, borrowing is going to cost more until it becomes unaffordable.
People hope Ramaphosa is pragmatic and well-meaning enough to recognise this and steer the country away from the path of the unthinkable.
But even if he were, it does not change the fact that to get the ANC presidency, he had to align himself with the “expropriation without compensation” crowd.
One thing has to be understood: never in the history of mankind has expropriation been carefully managed or gone smoothly, and if tried here . . .
The ANC’s choice is a grim one right now, either take everything or get control over something.
That something is the financial system, but more importantly, the private financial institutions which collectively hold some R21-trillion of South Africans’ pensions, savings and investments.
This is where the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank comes in and I forecast it is only the beginning.
The other part is the ANC’s loosening hold on power, then what will happen if Zuma is kicked out, and the 783 charges of corruption and racketeering are re-instituted against him?
Opening that can of filth will splash onto the ANC and not only may it never recover from it, but it may lose elections in 2019 or more likely, in 2024.
Add to all the problems we currently have, the mooted expropriation of land and recent moves by the SANDF to increase its powers during a state of national emergency, and we’re possibly looking at Ramaphosa only serving one term as president, after which we can expect a violent shift towards totalitarianism around election time in 2024 at the latest, but not before South Africa becomes Zimbabwe II. Fellow citizens, you have been warned. Now have a happy new year, but cherish this time because it will probably be the last, best for years to come.