In this article, the author believes that South Africa's current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is serving the interests of the British Empire and its capitalist allies and not those of his people, especially Black people who overwhelmingly support the ruling African National Congress.
Queen Elizabeth II is not just a symbolic head of state. Her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria made the plundering of the Third World an acceptable business activity. In 1952, Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth and Queen Regnant.
Under sanction of made-in-the-West international law, her greed capitalism team re-focused profit sourcing from the physical occupation of nations to financial colonialism [[i]]. United States dollar based transactions under unfairly applied free trade-cum-globalisation advanced through debt and structural adjustment programmes reduced Africa to the poorest and least productive of all world regions. Elizabeth amassed (estimated) US $530 million, only a slice of the extended family’s US $95 billion [[ii]].
How wonderful it must have been for her to see a plan come together, knowing that as she fades Africa’s most advanced economy is in the hands of a modern Rhodes in Ramaphosa!
By dubious means [[iii]], by doing what he is told, Ramaphosa has banked more than energetic Rhodes [[iv]]. There is more to come: He has been instructed to send into Elizabeth’s world four ambassadors, folks who have themselves been well served by the greed system [[v]], to announce South Africa’s failing pantry is open to “investors”.
The Queen and I
I grew up in Southern Africa, a region that I witnessed being used as an extraction depot. European businesses with supporting governments set artificial boundaries within which they profited by building-collapsing-rebuilding-collapsing again nation-states according to their assessment of the political fervour of the day.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland formed in 1953 to advance business interests lasted ten short years before dissolution because a handful of whites refused to cooperate. They threw the region into a war financed by the fire-sale of raw resources ensuring the only winners were capitalism’s (sanctions ignoring) Big Business. 40 years of Big Business seeking to impose its will followed, resulting in today’s devastated and desperately indebted, but still supplying Europe with its goodies, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The United States-United Kingdom alliance supported Portuguese brutality, but when they couldn’t shift Lisbon’s closed-door trade policies, the 1974 coup happened. The deadly mess that followed saw the alliance (mostly covertly) support South African interference. In the end all is, in dollars and cents, fine. Destitute Mozambique is now in the British Commonwealth while corrupt Angola’s [[vi]] oil is again safe with the corporacy. But it delayed change in South Africa. Not for the first time.
Strides (unofficial) towards racial equality (with productivity gains) made during World War II were derailed by Prime Minister Daniel François Malan’s profitable radical apartheid. Successor Hendrik Verwoerd attempted to impose his will with exchange controls only to have British and American and local English business (dominated by the Anglo-American Corporation—ACC) respond by raising prices, threatening to leave/sell out, and finally they began to do so.
It was John Vorster (Prime Minister from1966 until 1978) who understood the message relayed from New York and London. Apartheid had to be replaced with an alternate that would not simply find favour with world anti-apartheid activists, but also have them applauding. And it had to happen without the disruption of profit exports.
Pieter Willem Botha nearly upset matters, but State President Frederik Willem De Klerk, suddenly a convert of management-by-money, tossed Afrikaner ideology and led South Africa into a majority-rule-with-no-change-to-business country in the early 1990s.
With Ramaphosa’s help
The African National Congress (ANC) also tossed its Charter to embrace greed capitalism’s motivation of maximum profit for the favoured few [[vii]].
So easy! We know why, but what of how and when?
Some ten years before the talks began the “Merit System” was introduced. To be applied across the board, it proposed universal workplace “discrimination” in that people were to be employed, trained, promoted and paid based entirely on qualifications, experience and performance-productivity. Colour, language, age and sex no longer counted.
In practice it was as unethical as apartheid – a replay in reverse of the situation prevailing at the birth of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
The Boer was struggling to become an Afrikaner, the low class English immigrant struggling to make the new land home; they didn’t like each other and they were in the backyard of a black population that was three times bigger. But more important to the history of business and profit is that there was a significant percentage of blacks who were at least the equal, by ability, of the whites, yet … Elizabeth’s great-grandfather nevertheless declared them qualified only to labour.
85 years of intellectual and physical degradation for non-whites followed [[viii]].
De Klerk brilliantly followed-up on Vorster’s perfect understanding of the New York message. And with the AAC/ANC’s Ramaphosa’s “win”, most blacks only got a vote and an unaffordable constitution. Only a small percentage could compete under the Merit System against the better educated-fed-housed-healthier and better versed in business whites and invited expats.
Bottom up black unions … Top down MBAs
Because I had inside information [[ix]] I enrolled in Africa’s first ever Master of Business (MBA) programme specifically designed to infuse the new way of managing the interface between business and labour even before the convening professor had returned from his orientation training in the United States! My special relationship over 1981-86 gave me insight into the government and business scramble to educate leaders to introduce the Merit System, De Klerk’s close collaboration with Big Business [[x]] and of AAC’s hurry to unionise.
Business courses that introduced merit-based-discrimination in place of apartheid flooded the country’s universities. By 1985, they were in the technikons [[xi]]. Everywhere graduate schools offered “MBA” certificates for courses of six months to six days, run in any hotel with a decent buffet and students flocked in. The word of gods is for Sundays; the new word of money and people management in South Africa was every day. Companies were paid by government to pay us to run in-house courses.
As happened in WWII, we openly, sometimes with government inspectors’ participation, broke the law instructing mixed classes. I taught my clients’ managers there were no more white-reserved positions or black jobs/wages/conditions. Company policies and procedures drawn up by me as a registered practitioner (not parliament) dictated. Remuneration levels were set by company-industry-region surveys, jobs graded and rewards distributed by management according to ratings – can he/she do what is needed, perform well and without paternal mollycoddling? Fail, three-warnings and out. So simple; so defensible for employers.
Ramaphosa was bottom up
Desperate for world reformists’ approval, Anglo American knew it had to produce a trade union empowered to negotiate with – to oppose – itself. AAC (allegedly) did it the old fashioned way and seeded their own [[xii]].
The watching world saw a normal headline-making trade union come about to take on AAC. But within, critical leaders were in tune with what the AAC management required. It is probable the labour division’s [[xiii]] “information services” nudged from the rabble one to become The Man. It is what winners call strategic planning. The Man was Ramaphosa [[xiv]].
Queen Victoria and the Lords Salisbury and Rothschild used Cecil. Circumstances allow Elizabeth to embrace Cyril … after some 30 years of close team-business training.
Back to normal
South Africa has always been run by men selected (either) by or with Malan/Verwoerd and Zuma [[xv]], manipulated and used by Big Business to extract maximum possible profit … to send overseas. That’s the killer.
Whatever your political view, look around, see that overseas-run capitalism of 150 years has taken without giving. The result: a nation so unproductive and inefficient to the extent that it has collapsed into record levels of vicious crime, poor health, Rand and skill flight with over a third of the youth out of work.
At the macro level, it is a world-damaging disaster. At the individual level, you could be the next vicious crime statistic. But for Big Business, with a gutless ANC at the helm, opportunities to (for example) mechanise even more and privatise everything abound.
We all understand by legal convention business companies are required to pay owners/shareholders maximum profits. Few seem to understand employment costs are strictly limited to pay just enough to keep the (from professional to unskilled) workforce in place. Business needs a Ramaphosa to entice corporate vultures to come do the things business calls “investment” … making money by limiting costs.
Real investment only happens when we put maximum effort and money into developing a sustainable future for our families within a supportive community to make a winning region, regions combining into nations.
And South Africa has to be saved. Focusing on making money alone has blinded Big Business to the fact that as countries fail they become super-charged climate change hot-spots. Migrating to Europe is no longer an option. It is filling fast with failed greed capitalism-made refugees.
Another world is possible
South Africa isn’t a watered, educated and wealthy European country: Practical African ideas that take into account the enormous problems mismanagement has brought are needed to compete against Ramaphosa’s ambassadors.
To ensure every citizen gets a better chance at life, to see national renewal, there needs to be total rejection of conventional European/American led capitalism.
A year ago in “Zuma’s Not Junk, He’s Just Lost Our Marbles” I looked at how South Africa has lost her capacity to be an independent state. I followed up with comment on Rand manipulation and with ideas on saving our water for ourselves.
The private banking situation is ridiculous. Citizens work hard making money for their bosses to buy a family home and the interest they pay to buy the home goes … to Big Business! Taxation has to happen in a fairer way but more importantly than simple fairness; it must be overhauled if we want to lift our neighbours out of beggary. The budget process too must change – to riot over Zuma’s state capture and ignore successive ANC ministers borrowing from overseas in overseas denominated money is to accept that the ANC is part of the greed machine. That is nation surrender.
The development of our last true asset, tourism and the wild animal base, must be expanded and protected before it is too late. Policing and correctional services must change: We are manufacturing criminals and letting the naturals go free. Building more hospitals before spending real money on women’s emancipation, on basic home health and living improvements, and on education and, last but definitely not least, training, is either dumb or seeing things through greed capitalism’s chaos prism: the more things fall apart, the more things need redoing and the more redoing there is, the more money there is to make out of the hopelessness. It makes no sense, but that is what business calls investment.
The president broke off his visit to Team Senior Elizabeth at South Africa Private Limited’s Head Office in London because, we were told, he was to defuse the outbreak-of-upset in the North West province way [[xvi]]. It is just another world headline carried by the corporacy owned media who have decided on behalf of all South Africans that South Africans will know and accept he is indeed a caring president, and that Big Business knows deepening “pro-corporate neoliberalism and austerity” is the only way [[xvii]]. They are so wrong.
The change needed is impossible for Ramaphosa unless he violates London’s Rule No 1 – maximum profit no matter the cost. When he was the chief negotiator representing all Africans he didn’t. He danced to greed capitalism’s tune, became a billionaire. His total disregard for people and place he carried into the well-documented Marikana Massacre [[xviii]] and subsequent Lonmin dealings.
As long as South Africans believe the way things are, are the way things should be, they are sunk. I have an idea to accommodate that too.
*Douglas Schorr is author of The Myth of Smith, which is available on Amazon Kindle
[ii] See CNBC report of 1 February 2018
[vi] Angola has a new president who is settling in.
[viii] The missed train @ http://www.douglasschorr.com/2018/03/winning-communities.html
[ix] My Awakening starting at “Dodo”.
[x] [x] Big Business must be understood to include the “Afrikaans half” plus all the government departments and parastatals. The businessman De Klerk was powerful. The National Party leader element secondary.
[xi] South African institutions offering technical and vocational training at tertiary level
[xii] A massive example. Ian Smith started the council system.
[xiii] Mine Labour Management was likely more powerful than Bantu Administration and Development.