Philip Rosenthal: ANC’s ‘patronocracy’ built on BEE – Marxism’s lesser evil

This is an interesting piece from Philip Rosenthal, the director of ChristianView Network. Rosenthal talks about the ANC’s patronage network, which came about in the days under former president Nelson Mandela. And as unethical and undemocratic as it is – Rosenthal says it’s actually a better economic scenario than if the ANC had kept to their original ideology and election promises. These are now being revived by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters looking to turn South Africa into a socialist state, and would have brought bankruptcy a lot sooner. The power struggle goes a lot deeper than meets the eye. – Stuart Lowman

By Philip Rosenthal*

Philip Rosenthal
Philip Rosenthal

While the middle class outrage at the Guptas ‘state capture’ political manipulation of the Zuma ANC government is good, it wrongly assumes this is sudden, new and due to Zuma – and somehow the Mandela’s ANC was cleaner. It may be new in their degree of audacity, but the ruling party has built a vast Patronage Network based on so-called ‘Black Economic Empowerment’, which is in reality ‘Ruling Party Economic Empowerment’ making the ANC the richest political party in the world, creating many ex-political billionaires without special investment skill in a short time, completely manipulating the entire constitutional political order at every level. Top South African companies believe that they need to give BEE shares to the Ruling Party Patronage Network rather than just any ‘black’ person, to get state contracts – and Zuma’s public statements soliciting donations for the ANC reflect that.

Elected ANC legislators know that if they rock the boat by expressing even the smallest amount of dissent in parliament, they risk disqualifying themselves from that ‘gravy train’ patronage network when they leave parliament. This explains how they vote and speak on every issue including abortion, same-sex marriage etc – when their voting support base polls the opposite views and privately they express dissent. I am told from several independent sources of the majority of ANC Parliamentarians including many very senior ones opposing same-sex marriage in caucus – as on many other issue but they fall in line with the party in public. It also explains why when there is party ‘floor crossing’, usually the movement direction is towards the ‘patronage network’ rather than against it. Any ‘split’ or dissent from the ANC in parliament such as occurred with COPE is short term, because of the magnetic force of the Ruling Party Patronage Network tempting them back. And it is not just ‘black’ ANC members who benefit from this patronage network – the network also for example baled out the white ex-ANC politician Carl Niehaus from bankruptcy. The middle class seems to have a love affair with Mandela, but the creation of the Ruling Party Patronage Network and its political hijacking of democracy happened during his presidency. And this patronage network also explains why so many ex-ANC political lawyers end up with top positions in the judiciary including the Constitutional Court, earning six figure salaries and abusing their powers by judicial activism.

Read also: Mailbox: BEE – current version of Apartheid. Robbing the ‘Rainbow Nation’.

ANC supporters cheer as South Africa's President Zuma arrives for the launch of the party's election manifesto in Nelspruit

The white business class cooperated and helped create this massive Ruling Party Patronage Network – they actively made these deals – a sophisticated form of massive scale political bribery and milking of state coffers – in the 1990s. Most of the activities of the Ruling Party Patronage Network are technically legal. The point is that if you directly trade money for political favours to get contracts, then that is illegal, but if you do it in a round-about way so that the people giving the money and those receiving the contracts are separated by a few degrees of relationship who are not next of kin, then that is not illegal. That is also how the Afrikaner Broederbond legally accumulated vast wealth into their associated institutions, who in turn ploughed part of the money back into the National Party – nevertheless in a more roundabout way and with less audacity than the ANC. There are legal Business Networks associated with top private schools, and certain ethnic minorities, but these are not exploiting political influence and state contracts as the ANC Patronage Network is doing.

South African Billionaire Allan Gray gave away most of his wealth to help needy black South Africans (through a charitable trust for example through bursaries), without giving a cent to the Ruling Party Patronage Network – that is real Black Economic Empowerment – and that is the model to follow. Ruling Party Patronage Network billionaires have really been unjustly enriched at taxpayer expense and I would encourage them to give most of it back to the people of South Africa. Now lets contrast for example the Protestant Reformers John Knox and John Calvin who in their day weilded huge political power, handled vast sums of money and died without much material wealth.

ANC_LogoAnd as unethical and undemocratic as it is – the Ruling Party Patronage Network was actually a better economic scenario than if the ANC had kept their original ideology and election promises. These are now being revived by Julius Malema’s EFF to turn South Africa into a socialist state, which would have gone bankrupt faster. But the reality is that we have a democracy so much manipulated by the Patronage Network and by the mis-use of the state media and education system to promote the ruling party – that really we never had more than a few years of functional democracy. Since the mid-1990s we have had a “patronocracy”. Wake up to it.

In exposing this economic issue, I expect I will offend some people in the Ruling Party. Maybe they will want to listen to me less on other issues, but really the basic problem is that because of the pull of this Patronage Network, the people of South Africa have very little influence over their elected political representatives – it is a core issue corrupting our democracy.

Read also: How world sees SA: Peter Hain – “Mandela must be turning in his grave”

Nevertheless, while economically, this Ruling Party Patronage Network may be the lesser evil compared with Marxism, the losers are 1.5 million murdered unborn babies who would have by now started to become voters – but never will – because their elected parliamentary representatives were effectively bribed by the hope of getting rich in the private sector from the patronage network when they left parliament – and most are rich now. Another loser is the institution of marriage, with Home Affairs distressed at the number of marriages dropping every year under current policy. And if you want to know why no one in the ANC dares to speak what they really believe on abortion and same-sex marriage – the reason is the Ruling Party Patronage Network.

It is not just the Guptas. It is a massive multi-billion rand network that bought and controls our government more than the electorate. The Ruling Party Patronage Network has blood on its hands. These are not separate issues – they are cause and effect. And we owe it to God, to our country, and those 1.5 million innocent murdered unborn and the institution of marriage to expose and end this governance by corrupt Ruling Party Patronage Network.

  • Philip Rosenthal, the director of ChristianView Network has been writing and lobbying the political process from the time of the negotiation of our Bill of Rights in favour of Christian values, especially defending the sanctity of human life, marriage and religious freedom.