So what exactly is a “sunset clause” in legal parlance or nomenclature? A sunset clause is a legal provision or institution created to facilitate a specific purpose, with a fixed expiry date, unless it later becomes law.
Given the above, in the South African context, the “so-called,” “Joe Slovo” sunset clauses were in effect compromise agreements between the old Apartheid government and the white Anglo-American capital class and the ANC.
The ANC knew that strategically they were at a disadvantage because, unlike Robert Mugabe’s, Zanu political party, the National Party and the Apartheid government weren’t in any danger of being overthrown militarily. The ANC can’t claim to have captured one square inch of South African territory. Arguably, the most important driving force behind the De Klerk political concessions was a desperate “need,” due to white capital to rescue the economy.
In 1990, the South African JSE, was the richest in the world comparative to the size of the economy and was so over-capitalized. It “made sense” for the capitalists to “free up their money.” They did this in the form of mass unbundling of the oligopolies, the mineral, oil industrial complex and the opportunities to seek listings on other stock exchanges- that offered better ROI to their institutional investors and higher rates of returns for the white billionaire elites.
The Sunset Clause can thus be viewed as the “biggest swindle,” and transference of land, money and state assets to the politically connected white people, the former MP’s and government Mandarins.
More than R3.5 billion was offered to the exclusively white “farming community” in “soft loans!” A few million acres of land was “transferred” to the Zulu nation! Future pensions were calculated at an inflationary rate for ex-members of parliament and civil servants. Hundreds of properties from the states asset register were illegally transferred to “connected” individuals and corporations, locally and abroad. The state-sponsored feeding frenzy included “so-called,” “round-tripping” of the local currency vis a vie the financial rand.
“Round-tripping” was organized to connected individuals using the SARB, the South African Reserve Bank like their bank (literally, their lender of last resort), by buying local rands on credit and swapping it for the financial rand. These people coined millions in what can best be described as “free money,” or as one would say in the local vernacular, “money for mahala.”
It can be argued, that the “larceny” under De Klerk was of such staggering proportions- it stole money from future generations of black South Africans. The ANC, in 1994, onwards was now held responsible for the repayment of the Apartheid debt- collating a state assets register and conducting at enormous costs to the Fiscus. Due diligence of all the SOE’s, state-owned enterprises and, weirdly getting rid of ghost employees and employees that held dual employment ships at more than one state-owned enterprise, simply because unlike the big four banks in South Africa, the SOE’s operated on their own and were unwilling to share vital intelligence and cross-reference employee records. This practice is still rife today, as an already corrupt ANC government struggle to shed employees that hold many of the key SOE’s ransom on account of insider knowledge, skills and experiences…..
Part III to follow…