Our sorry foreign policy

Rhoda Kadalie says taxpayer money is being used to prop up the ANC govt's dodgy foreign friends

Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. The South African government steals from the fiscally strangled taxpayer to buy favours from the corrupt. Inspired by its bizarre partisan foreign policy, aid is doled out to the ruling party's friends regardless of how they loot their country's assets to enrich themselves.

A recent media headline "Caring SA gives R3m in DRC aid" enraged me. In relation to the R100 billion spent on consultants in 2012, R3m seems small fry. But that is not all. SA also provides aid in kind, such as helicopters and a 1000 plus soldiers to the DRC. In addition, it bankrolls the profligate dictatorships of Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and even the Palestinian Authorities (PLO).

The Swazi king, with his harem of wives and multiple Rolls Royces and a daughter, who brags on TV about her Louis Vuitton bags, Jimmy Choo shoes and other brand labels, allegedly was offered R2.4 billion of South Africans' taxes in 2011. Zimbabwe, equally, receives millions of aid in cash and kind as well as electricity from SA's grid, when we have regular power outages here.

Recently Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim handed over millions in aid to the PLO from our much-ravaged coffers for reasons none other than his party's hate of Israel. While the world throws vast amounts of donations at the PLO, they equally turn a blind eye to their gross mismanagement of funds.

Unfortunately, the ANC government's political predilections determine very clearly where our taxes go. As regards our military support to the DRC and the Central African Republic (CAR), where it horribly backfired, we need to understand the reasons why our foreign policy interventions take a specific ideological bent.

I have written before about the CAR incursions and will not repeat my summations here but the aid of R3m aid to the DRC intended to help the UN World's Food Programme alleviate hunger in the country, is inspired by support for dictators and not by altruism despite Ebrahim's sentiments:

"It is against this background that the South African government, as a caring country, on the principle of Ubuntu, responded positively to WFP's appeal by contributing an amount of R3 million."

The additional in-kind support of 3 Oryx helicopters and 1 345 soldiers provides the clue. Why would we support the DRC, one of the richest in mineral wealth in the world, according to Wikipedia? "Estimated to have $24 trillion (equivalent to the combined Gross Domestic Product of Europe and the United States) worth of untapped deposits of raw mineral ores, including the world's largest reserves of cobalt and significant quantities of the world's diamonds, gold and copper," why does SA have an interest in this misnomer of a country.

A failed state in every way, I suspect SA is as much part of the marauding troops from Uganda and Rwanda, all wanting their hands on the DRC's assets. Its inability to govern and regulate itself with its endemic corruption becomes all the more glaringly evident when one reads how foreign soldiers and military commanders supported by businessmen from everywhere are all involved in the racketeering and looting of the DRC's coltan, cobalt, diamonds and other minerals.

Minister Ebrahim's assertion that SA "as a caring country, on the principle of Ubuntu" responded to the UN's request for aid in the DRC is a load of hogwash. What goes on in surrounding African countries and the wholesale looting of the DRC's minerals by insurgents is very much our business as citizens because the ruling party's dubious and limitless interests in the DRC and the failed states of Africa will have consequences for us in the long term.

This article first appeared in Die Burger.

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