THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION, THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BALANCE BETWEEN FAILURE AND SUCCESS
South Africans have a great deal of which we can be justifiably proud. The resilience of our young democracy has once again been illustrated by last month's successful municipal elections. The magnificent success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup showed the world what glories we South Africans can achieve when we all work together.
However, there are many things of which we are not so proud. We see them in the daily barrage of press reports about corruption, incompetence and the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric of political leaders. Developments that in other countries would lead to the fall of governments are routinely brushed aside. We must not allow ourselves to be pummelled into a situation where we no longer respond to developments that are constitutionally, morally and politically unacceptable.
It is unacceptable to sing songs calling for the shooting of anyone. It is unacceptable for Julius Malema to call whites criminals - and to add that their land should be seized without compensation. It is even more unacceptable for President Zuma to sit on the same platform, smiling, while Malema, as a key office bearer in the ANC, makes such racist comments.
It is unacceptable for Gugile Nkwinti, our Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, to declare that all "colonial struggles are about two things: repossession of the land and the centrality of the indigenous population." He is actually saying that the colonial struggle is not yet over; whites are colonialists; and only ‘indigenous' South Africans are central to our society.
Much of the legislation that is currently before Parliament - such as the Protection of Information Bill, the Land Tenure Security Bill and various labour bills - is equally unacceptable.
The country is balanced between success and failure and the fulcrum on which South Africa's future will pivot is our Constitution. If the forces of history come down on the side of constitutional values we can all look forward to a positive future. However, if the balance tips in the other direction, the consequences for all South Africans could be very dire.
The main force seeking to disturb the constitutional balance is the ANC's National Democratic Revolution.
According to the ANC's Strategy and Tactics analysis, the establishment of our non-racial constitutional democracy in 1994 was not the end of the liberation struggle - but only a beach-head on the way to the ultimate goals of the revolution. The struggle has continued relentlessly since then - and it has been directed primarily against our constitutional accord.
The ANC's first priority after 1994 was to shift the balance of forces in its favour by seizing what it calls the levers of state power. These include "the legislatures, the executives, the public service, the security forces, the judiciary, parastatals, the public broadcaster, and so on." This was not just empty rhetoric. Using cadre deployment, the ANC has taken vigorous steps to take over - or to try to take over - all these institutions. In the process it is obliterating the constitutional borders between the party and the state; it is undermining the independence of key constitutional institutions and it is opening the way to large-scale corruption and government impunity.
The ultimate goal of the NDR is a ‘non-racial democracy' - in which all aspects of control, ownership, management and employment in the state, private and non-governmental sectors will broadly mirror the demographic composition of South Africa's population.
Like the communist ideal of the ‘classless society', the non-racial democracy has a superficial appeal - but is equally unattainable. In practice, demographic representivity would simply result in racial domination - what the ANC calls "African hegemony" - in every facet of the government, society and the economy.
To achieve its goal of eliminating what the ANC regards as "apartheid property relations" the NDR would require massive and forced redistribution of property and wealth from the white minority to the black majority. It would also require the disemployment of large numbers of people from minority communities.
Whites, Coloureds and Asians would be corralled into demographic pens in all aspects of their economic and professional lives according to the percentage of the population they represent. The prospects of South African citizens would once again be determined by the colour of their skins - and not by their skills, their contribution to the economy or by what Martin Luther King called the content of their character.
Malema's inflammatory rhetoric, Gugile Nkwinti's land reform proposals, cadre deployment, the failure of municipalities and government departments - can be traced back, directly or indirectly, to the NDR's corrosive and unconstitutional ideology.
Let me put it plainly. The achievement of the NDR's goals would end any prospect for racial harmony in South Africa. It would destroy the basis for national unity that we created in 1994; it would lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of people with indispensible skills; and to the collapse of Africa's largest and most sophisticated economy.
None of this is necessary. No reasonable South African would question the need to promote genuine equality; to achieve fair and sustainable land reform; and to remove any barriers that might remain to black advancement in the economy or in any other sector of our national life. Many would, however, disagree fundamentally with the ANC on the manner in which we should achieve these objectives.
South Africans urgently need to speak to one another about the best ways of achieving these goals - in the frank and constructive way that we did during the negotiations of the early 1990s. Such a dialogue is necessary because many ANC members truly believe the myths and historic distortions that underlie the NDR.
At the same time it is essential for all people of goodwill to oppose the threats that the NDR poses to our constitutional accord. The media, civil society and opposition parties will need all the support they can get from South Africans and from the international community to continue to play their key role in opposing unacceptable developments in our society. The future happiness, prosperity and security of everyone in South Africa depends on our ability to maintain our constitution.
This article is based on a speech that F W de Klerk delivered in Cape Town on 1 June 2011. For the full text of the speech please visit the F W de Klerk Foundation's website at www.fwdeklerk.org
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