Preparing the way for President Malema
As I have frequently remarked, you can die of many things in South Africa but boredom won't be one of them. The run up to the next general election promises to be even more hilarious than the last, particularly now Juju Malema is back in the headlines. A friend visiting from London asked me how a man who is up on charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering and who owes the taxman R16mln can be allowed to form a political party.
I explained that this is Africa and that we no longer subscribe to outdated colonial values down here on the southern tip, much as we may covet their cars and admire their tailoring. The incredulous friend then asked if Juju would find any support and I had to reply that, as the only truly populist politician, he would enjoy enormous support should he make it through to 2014 without first being chucked into prison.
The great thing about Malema is that, while he may appear to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic, he pushes all the right buttons among the poor and dispossessed. They're not remotely interested in the fact that he has had a few money problems and may have been involved in some dodgy deals. They don't give a fig that he wears clothes and jewellery that cost more than they can hope to earn in a lifetime or that he has a taste for premium whisky.
All they care about are his revenge politics policies. Things like nationalising key industries and delivering free farms which will have been repossessed from thieving colonialists without compensation. But why stop at farms and land? Surely all those empty holiday homes on Clifton beach could be repossessed and handed out to party loyalists?
The great thing about the Economic Freedom Fighters is that they aren't racist.
"Who are we to say whites must be driven into the sea?" asks Malema who anticipates that there will be a free red beret for every white person who helps out with land redistribution. On the other hand, if you just want to hang onto your land and not make the contents of your bank account available for the upliftment of your fellow South Africans then you may find the going a little rough.
Now it would be easy to dismiss the EFF and Malema as simply an amusing sideshow if it weren't for the fact that there are folk just as barmy holding high rank in the ANC. The idea of a land grab (justified by our apartheid history) is never far from the minds of the more left leaning ANC members. If it achieved nothing else, at least it would be a sop to those who have been waiting for the ANC to deliver the goods these past twenty years.
The same applies to nationalisation. If you are preaching politics to economic illiterates then why not tell them that capitalism is a wickedly exploitive system and the only fair way to run a country is when the "people" own the assets. Viva nationalisation viva. All the mineral wealth belongs to the people and they will all share in it. As they do in places like China....or maybe not.
With the economy done and dusted all we have to worry about is how the Economic Freedom Fighters will handle foreign policy. With all that money streaming from government run nationalised industries and looted bank accounts it would be crazy not to build up a sizable arsenal of sophisticated weaponry for random attacks on countries perceived to be hostile. It's worked for North Korea and there's no reason it shouldn't work here too. On national holidays Pres Malema and his generals, resplendent in their ill- fitting red berets, could watch all their military might trundle along the potholed roads of Sandton while they ponder who to nuke. Oh no, it's never going to be boring living in South Africa.
It was inevitable that the not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial would prove unpopular with those who believe that any killing of a black person must, per se, be an act of racism. Predictably, those who objected to the freeing of George Zimmerman took to the streets and to the social media sites much as football hooligans do when their team loses.
Unlike the members of the jury, the irrational majority of those who howled down the not guilty verdict would not have been exposed to all the court evidence. Neither would they have spent hours deliberating Zimmerman's guilt, knowing full well that they were dealing with an emotionally sensitive case.
It would have been much easier for the jury to have found Zimmerman guilty because they would have become national heroes by doing so. The fact that they found him not guilty suggests that they took their duties very seriously indeed. The US legal system may not be perfect but it's better than many in the world.
What the lynch mob led by Rev Al Sharpton (not one to preach forgiveness evidently) want isn't justice. What they want is someone to suffer for the death of the "unarmed" black teenager. They ask, what would have happened if Trayvon had been a white kid? What they don't dare ask is what if George Zimmerman had been an African American and not Hispanic.
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