World-renowned author, linguist, philosopher and social commentator and political activist, Noam Chomsky famously said when asked about privatization, “That’s the standard technique of privatization; defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, hand it over to private capital.” These words could not be more prescient for South Africa under the tutelage of its First Citizen, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the man who, for all intents and purposes, stole the presidency from the previously elected President Jacob Zuma, but that’s for another time. I believe that two years into Matamela’s tenure as President of the Republic we need to extend or extrapolate Chomsky’s description of how governments aid and abet the passage of capital apropos the capture of state assets at a bargain base price.
Let’s for the sake of the scenario assume that the South African government has scoured the world for the requisite expertise to recalibrate and fix Eskom has come up empty-handed, lets further assume then that no coal-fired power stations in the history of modern-day electricity generation has experienced the problems Eskom faces and let us also assume that Eskom is over leveraged and cannot afford to take on any more debt because the government, its primary and only shareholder lacks internal and external liquidity? I am of the mind that Cyril’s agenda runs far deeper than just the sale of SAA, South African Airways and Eskom, which the public will get over in time because like all anger, it eventually subsides. I believe that his agenda is not only the “fire sale” of state assets to his well-heeled white capitalist friends but the de facto return of South Africa to white rule.
Consider his modus operandi, he promises to raise money outside of the country to create work, meaningful jobs which are strange because so far as I know, money in and of itself doesn’t create jobs, it creates debt. He resolutely ignores the Commissars at SARS, the South African Revenue Services reports that more than R37 billion is transferred out of the country annually in untaxed monies. He hasn’t reported back to the people whether the bids for fundraising capital have been successful or not, instead, he drags his feet on it. He has enacted no meaningful cooperative legislation to reduce red tape, nor has he reduced government spending by reducing the number of government departments in a bureaucracy that is comparatively bigger than the United States for a country one-sixth its size and even smaller economically. He does not announce now new plans for infrastructure development nor any capital plans funded by the government as his predecessors have. He seemingly just sits and waits, waits for things to deteriorate, for things and systems to grind to a halt, for whole organs to collapse and patiently waits out the expiration of his presidency.
The exasperated, system beaten public then throws up its arms in despair and say, “We would welcome anyone who can demonstrate the ability to fix South Africa even if he is white, we don’t care anymore?”
This is all preceded by the requisite media campaigns not explicitly blaming him but blaming the bureaucracy, the ANC and the previous presidents of South Africa, boom, it is a fait accompli. We are back to where we started a mere 25-years ago, with one difference, the sitting President sat it out as part of a broader strategy hatched so many years ago to provide a return on investment the older generation of white capitalists like Oppenheimer and Clive Menell invested in him, his education, his rise through the trade union ranks, his wealth and his ambitions to become the President, a debt that’s now been handsomely repaid in full and the sitting President can now retire to feed his beloved bulls whilst he fed us fools bullshit for so long, so long ago…..