Category Archives: South-Africa

NEW COLUMN: A New Party Boss In South Africa Is No Reason To Party

Africa, Communism, Democracy, Morality, Political Philosophy, Race, South-Africa

THE NEW COLUMN comes abridged and unabridged. “A New Party Boss In South Africa Is No Reason To Party” is the short and not-so-sweet version, now on

In Africa, You Oust A Tyrant, But Not Tyranny” is longer with lots of “inside baseball” for the nerds. It’s on the Unz Review, America’s smartest webzine.

An excerpt:

READERS were angry. I had rained on their parade by venturing that the appointment of a new party boss to head South-Africa’s dominant party was an insignificant game of musical chairs.

But perhaps it is I who should have been annoyed. Nobody with a modicum of cerebral agility should see in the new South-African Strong Man, union boss-cum-tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa, a significant change of the guard.

Surely by now it should be common knowledge that in Africa, you replace a despot, but not despotism; you oust a tyrant, but not tyranny?

There’s a reason Ramaphosa riles crowds at a South African Communist Party rally just as easily as he excites the head of Goldman Sachs’s South Africa office. (For a clue, ask yourselves how a union boss becomes a tycoon.)

In the tradition of dimming debate, the chattering class has reduced systemic corruption in South Africa and near collapse in Zimbabwe, respectively, to the shenanigans of two men: Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe.

Emblematic of this is a thematically confused  article in The Economist, offering a description of the dynamics set in motion by the Zuma dynasty’s capture of the state.

At first, the magazine explains the concept of “state capture” as “private actors [having] subverted the state to steal public money.”

Later, the concept is more candidly refined: “The nub of the state capture argument is that Mr. Zuma and his friends are putting state-owned enterprises and other governmental institutions in the hands of people who are allowing them to loot public funds.”

Indeed. Corruption invariably flows from state to society.

And, “state capture” is quite common across Africa, even if “unfamiliar elsewhere in the world,” which is all the “context” The Economist is willing to provide.

“To avoid a dire, two-decade dynasty of dysfunction, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress should ditch the Zumas,” the magazine concludes.

That’s it? If only.

The Corruption of South Africa,” courtesy of The Economist, hurtles between being an excellent exposé, yet providing nothing more than reportorial reductionism.

Continental context, if you will, is essential if one is to shed light on the “Dark Continent.”

To wit, the seductive narrative about the ANC’s new boss, Cyril Ramaphosa, gets this much right: There is nothing new about the meaningless game of musical chairs enacted throughout Africa like clockwork. The Big Man is overthrown or demoted; another Alpha Male jockeys his way into his predecessor’s position and asserts his primacy over the people and their property.

Elections across Africa have traditionally followed a familiar pattern: Radical black nationalist movements like the ANC take power everywhere, then elections cease. “One man, one vote, one time,” to quote the book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Or, if they take place, as they do in South Africa, they’re rigged, in a manner.

For a prerequisite for a half-decent liberal democracy is that majority and minority status be interchangeable and fluid, and that a ruling majority party (the ANC) be as likely to become a minority party as the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). In South Africa, however, the majority and the minorities are politically permanent, not temporary, and voting along racial lines is the rule.

So, as the dictator Mugabe hung on to power for dear life, reasonable people were being persuaded by the pulp and pixel press that if not for this one megalomaniac, freedom would have flourished in Zimbabwe, as it has, presumably, in Angola, Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and the rest of strife-torn Africa south of the Sahara. …

… READ THE RESTA New Party Boss In South Africa Is No Reason To Party” is now on

In Africa, You Oust A Tyrant, But Not Tyranny” is on the Unz Review.

Economic Growth In Zimbabwe

Africa, Europe, Foreign Aid, South-Africa

Economic growth in Zimbabwe in the age of Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will depend on achieving “the minimum economic and political reforms needed to unlock largess from the World Bank, IMF and others.

This was pointed out and fleshed out in “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for American From Post-Apartheid South Africa,” written in 2011. The growth will not be organic, but will come from outside.

As I Said A Few Posts Ago Regarding Cyril Ramaphosa’s South Africa …

Economy, Federal Reserve Bank, Private Property, South-Africa

Via Zero Hedge comes the news that South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has just caused the Rand to plummet with the news that it will seek “constitutional changes for land expropriation (from whites) without compensation.” The ruling party, moreover, has decided that “the Reserve Bank must be wholly owned by the state.”

As my book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa,” shows, the SA constitution already allows expropriation of private property, with only nominal compensation.

Facebook Friends were angry at me for raining on their parade, a few posts back, writing that the appointment of a new, South-African leader to head the dominant-party state was an insignificant game of musical chairs.

But already the news out of Cyril Ramaphosa’s South Africa is bad.

As for the alarm over the nationalization of the country’s Reserve Bank. Reserve Banks are private in name only. Who still pretends this is not the case? Central banks serve The State and are for The State and its cronies. Private shareholders are ensconced to put up a facade to the contrary.