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Andrew Kenny explores the possibility of South Africa turning away from the Western world and towards countries such as China, Russia, and India. Kenny argues that the ANC’s core ideology of a combination of Marxism and black African nationalism, combined with its economic and diplomatic policies, seem to be largely driven by the SA Communist Party. He criticises the ANC’s hypocritical stance towards the West, as it begs for Western investment while criticising capitalism and colonialism and examines South Africa’s foreign policy, including its support for Putin and its relationship with Cuba; questioning whether South Africa should turn its back on the West entirely. Read more below.
Should South Africa shun the West?
By Andrew Kenny*
Should South Africa turn away from the Western world of America, Europe, and Japan and turn towards China, Russia and India? Should we trade more with the other countries which are our fellow members in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and less with the West? Should we reduce links of investment, art, industry, technology and education with the former colonial powers and increase links with China, India, Venezuela and Cuba? Should South African post-graduate students shun Western imperialist universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale and study at universities in China and India? Should we abandon the US dollar and the Euro as international currencies and use the Renminbi and the Rupee?
Certainly this seems to be the way the ANC would like us to go, and the way in which ANC international diplomacy is heading. ANC leaders and spokesmen produce a non-stop barrage of hostility towards the West and show unbroken admiration for non-Western countries, especially if they are communist. The ANC has not only refused to condemn Russia for her bloody invasion of Ukraine but has come very close to supporting it; it seems to criticise Ukraine more than it does Russia.
On the anniversary of the Russian invasion, South Africa conducted very showy naval exercises with the Russian Navy off our coast. This is a clear sign that the ANC wants to take South Africa away from the West. The ANC’s core ideology is a combination of Marxism and black African nationalism, and its economic and diplomatic policies seem largely driven by the SA Communist Party. It is rather curious that ANC alliance now strongly supports Putin, even though he has publicly condemned communism and said it was a failure in Russia. No matter, South African communists still support him anyway over any Western leader.
Of course, the anti-Western stance of the ANC reeks of hypocrisy, as does its fuming against colonialism and capitalism. It hates the West but begs for Western investment. It screams against colonialism but worships the things the European colonists brought to Africa, such as writing, Western technology, Christianity, soccer, and the English language. ANC university children stage loud and sometimes violent protests against the West and colonialism but see high status in attending universities in England and France – much higher than those in Uganda or Zimbabwe. I suppose the biggest ANC hypocrite of all – certainly the most sanctimonious – is Naledi Pandor.
As minister of education, Pandor helped to wreck the education of working-class black children, condemning them to some of the lowest educational outcomes in the world, lower than in most other African countries, while sending her own children to elitist private or Model-C schools with white teachers. Now, as minister of international co-operation and relations, she scolds the West in haughty tones over Ukraine. In an interview with the Sunday Times last week, entitled “Don’t let the Ukraine draw focus from Africa”, she accused the world of neglecting problems in under-developed Africa countries in its concern for Ukraine. But the ANC has gone out of its way to stop its northern African neighbour from developing.
It clapped and cheered for Robert Mugabe while he was killing and oppressing the black people of Zimbabwe, while he was undoing the development of Zimbabwe’s industry, agriculture, electricity and transport that had been built up by the British colonialists and Ian Smith. The ANC gave Mugabe a standing ovation after he had turned Zimbabwe from a food exporter to a food beggar. Pandor served in the ANC government that helped to keep Mugabe in power, against the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe, when he had lost the 2008 election by a landslide.
The ANC’s record on international human rights is appalling. It never misses a chance to support the oppressor against the oppressed, especially if the oppressed are black, such as the oppressed people of Zimbabwe. In Sudan, the Arab government under President Omar Bashir ordered the systematic slaughter of up to 300 000 black Africans in Darfur. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him for the crime of genocide. But when he visited South Africa in 2015, the ANC government did not arrest him.
The ANC government cheers the brutal Communist regime in Cuba, in which a group of well-off white revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro seized the country by force, oppressed the working classes, persecuted homosexuals, and reduced Cuba from one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America to one of the poorest, causing hundreds of thousands of ordinary Cubans to flee. Recently the ANC has even sent foreign aid to Cuba! The ANC, including Pandor, continually shouts about Israel’s ill-treatment of its Moslem community but is silent about China’s far worse persecution of her Muslims.
Suppose South Africa does decide to be consistent about its rejection of the West and all things Western. The West has indeed sinned in the past. It colonised African countries by force of arms, and imposed upon them things they had never asked for, such as writing, railways and European languages. It was quite happy to work with black African slave traders to ship black African slaves across the Atlantic, until Christians in Britain persuaded the British imperialist government to ban the slave trade (much to the horror of the black African businessmen who made lots of money by selling black African slaves). Recently, the US and the UK invaded Iraq by main force, displaced the dictatorship of Sadam Hussein and replaced it with something far worse, with anarchy and bloodshed, spreading terrorism over the whole region. Then they overthrew Gadafi in Libya, and again produced far worse violence and chaos. These are some reasons why South Africa might want to turn away from the West. How to do so?
Actually, it would be quite easy. The West is becoming less and less keen on investing in South Africa. This is because South Africa is dangerous, violent and corrupt, and hostile to the West, because investment here is difficult and expensive, and because our infrastructure is disintegrating. It would not take much to stop Western companies investing here altogether. Several big companies, such as BHP, the world’s second-biggest miner, have already pulled out and others, such as BP, are preparing to go. More could easily be kicked out. It would be a simple matter for the minister of trade and industry, Ebrahim Patel, a communist, to end the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), which gives South Africa favourable trading conditions with the USA. No more trade with the hated imperialist, capitalist America! Instead, Patel could try to get a similar trading agreement with his fellow Marxists in Communist China. It wouldn’t take much to persuade the Western motor car manufacturers, such as BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford, to shut down their factories in South Africa; in fact, I think many of them are itching for an excuse to do so. We could then get the Chinese and the Indians to manufacture cars here – or, even better, end car manufacturing in South Africa altogether, in line with the ANC’s de-industrialisation of South Africa, which has been happening steadily since it came to power.
South Africa could also stop buying goods from Europe and America. No more Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pierre Cardin, Armani and Prada! Instead we could buy Shein and Chinabrands, with accessories from India. No more Apple and Microsoft! Instead we could swap over to Chinese technologies. No more Johnnie Walker, Bells or Jack Daniels! Instead we could import vodka from Russia and Baijiu from China.
Power and energy
On power and energy, the BRICS countries have more to offer us than Western ones. The Western establishment seems completely deluded with climate alarm, the unscientific nonsense that rising CO2 is causing dangerous climate change. It is doing nothing of the kind; it is just benefiting the planet by making plants grow better. Russian, Chinese and Indian leaders know this. India and China are building coal stations with great speed and enthusiasm and have no intention of desisting. The West might start boycotting South Africa goods made by the electricity from our coal stations; China, Russia and India would not dream of doing so.
China uses vast amounts of coal-powered electricity to make its solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which it then sells to the West, making lovely profits out of Western gullibility and causing electricity prices in the West to soar. Nuclear power is, of course, by far the best way of making electricity, being safe, clear, reliable and affordable, and it so happens that Russia and China make and run excellent nuclear power plants, which are built on time and on budget – unlike recent nuclear plants built by Western countries – and which produce plentiful cheap electricity for a very long time. My choice of nuclear power reactor for South Africa would be Russia’s VVER1200.
There has been a lot of talk following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine of the world economy dividing into two. In the one would be the Western world with the US dollar and the Euro, and in the other would be BRICS and other like countries trading with the Renminbi and the Rupee. The second group would have nothing to do with the World Bank or the IMF. In the Western world, some attempt would be made to link trade and investment with human rights. In the BRICS world there would be no such attempt. China would have been quite happy to do business with apartheid South Africa. (Communist Russia actually did so, especially over diamonds.) In the BRICS world there would be no human rights questions about trade; investment would be without any moral conditions at all. South Africa under the ANC would feel more at home in this world since her record on international human rights is awful.
Personally, I believe that Western Civilisation, for all its faults, is by far the best in history. It is based on liberty, free enterprise, private property, equal rights, democracy, and the rule of law. It has been by far the most inventive civilisation of all; since about 1500 AD Europe made a spectacular advance, developing science, engineering, art, and commerce in a manner quite unmatched in all previous ages. I want to be part of the Western world. The ANC, while contradicting itself on this matter with every utterance and action, seems decidedly to want to leave the West and join the other world. I have tried to show some of the pros and cons of such a course.
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*Andrew Kenny is a writer, an engineer and a classical liberal.
This article was first published by Daily Friend and is republished with permission
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR
Copyright of The Daily Friend 2023
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