Mailbox: The two avoidable reasons why South Africa is failing

According to BizNews community member David Matthews, South Africa’s decline into a failing state can be traced to two avoidable reasons: the psychological aversion between black people and white people due to historical domination and the refusal to cooperate between races. Matthews argues that these deep-seated mindsets prevent progress and risk the nation’s potential.

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The two avoidable reasons why South Africa is failing

By BizNews community member David Matthews*

There are two fundamental, but avoidable, reasons why, despite the positive prospects the country enjoyed in 1994, South Africa is degenerating rapidly into yet another failed African state. 

One is the psychological mindset of the majority of South African blacks, resulting from their 350 years of domination by the controlling white minority. Having been consistently humiliated, maltreated, and impoverished over so long a period, many of them have developed an entirely understandable and deep aversion to whites and white values, as the root cause of their discomfort. This has resulted in the conscious exclusion of whites by the ANC from positions of authority and influence in the country.

The other fundamental reason for South Africa’s degeneration is the general mindset of whites. Attributing each government failure solely to inherent black incompetence, they conveniently ignore the fact that it was their constant suppression of black economic freedom that had left the blacks in 1994 largely impoverished, uneducated, and certainly not in a position to run a sophisticated industrial economy successfully.  Failing to adapt themselves to their radically changed circumstances, South African whites persist in the delusion of their racial superiority. Naturally highly offensive to blacks, this is expressed either advertently or inadvertently, with whites often unaware that they are giving deep offense.  

Similarly, whites clutched their pearls in horror when many of the asset-less ANC politicians, on being handed the keys to power in 1994, chose corruptly to regard the public treasury as their own property – as though any other politicians, totally devoid of assets and assuming power, would have behaved any differently in the identical circumstances. Anticipating the total breakdown of society and the threat to themselves that the current circumstances will probably involve, white South Africans have had the opportunity to assess the current cost to themselves of their ongoing, imagined moral superiority to blacks. Human nature being what it is, however, it’s unlikely that they will change their self-damaging perception.

We have an entire country that is now well down the road to ruin, almost entirely because of the negative basic mindsets of both groups of respective inhabitants, black and white. White South Africans remain glued to the prejudice of their own superiority, despite the negative situation that this creates for themselves. They do not think to reassess their prejudice to accord with their radically changed circumstances, and so facilitate and encourage blacks to cooperate with them. In failing to do so, and in their inherent conscious or unconscious arrogance, they continue to alienate the blacks who now control their destiny. 

On the other hand, the ANC rejects any active cooperation with whites in the running of the country, even though 30 years of failure has made it evident that for the present they need such assistance as is readily available. If they had rather seized their opportunity in 1994, broadcasting their problem with white prejudice, but aiming to co-operate with whites who were not racistically-inclined, it would have provided them with a unique opportunity to prove to the world that Africans are no less capable than any other peoples of running a sophisticated, industrial economy.

Instead, the ANC chose to adhere to the unproductive and borrowed Marxist-Leninist ideology of its revolutionary days (ironically founded by a white, who happened to despise blacks), so dooming itself to failure. It also now practices the same sort of naked racism in its legislation that it criticised the Apartheid government for. This raises the important question as to exactly how, and even if, the ANC differs morally from the Apartheid government. Most importantly, through its counter-productive economic, educational, and other ethnically-driven policies, it fails utterly to elevate the economic condition of the majority of the black population, which it claims to be acting on behalf of. 

It is very likely that  South Africa, despite the enormous, underutilised black and white human resources that it possesses, will indeed soon become a failed state. It is tragic that so avoidable a negative outcome should actually happen, when it could be avoided – by the whites utilising their superior education, and coming to their senses, and by the blacks thereafter generously, but also in their own interests, accepting the newly-enlightened whites into the polity.  But of course, this won’t happen, and the failure will be attributable principally to inherent human foolishness – or to be frank, sheer human stupidity, which clearly afflicts blacks and whites equally. 

David Matthews is a retired Cape Town author and commentator*

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