NEWS & ANALYSIS

The lockdown exposed the ANC's true nature

Koos Malan says it also provided lessons in how best to oppose the regime

The true nature of the ANC regime came to light plainly amidst Covid-19. We are up against a dangerous, totalitarian animal with an aggressive, dictatorial urge. You must escape it, otherwise it will devour you.

Since the arrival of the coronavirus, the regime has issued successive volleys of crazy decrees. The regime offends our dignity and disrespects our freedoms. It belittles us like childlike subjects and treats good people like criminals. The regime’s main bullies – its ministers – and many of its uncontrolled comrades boss the populace around, and humiliate and brutalise them.

The regime intimidated some. However, it also provoked another, well-earned reaction from especially from the middle class. They look down upon it, and they ask how we can be freed from this dangerous dictator.

There is a spirit of revolt. Silently, unmistakably, there is also a meaningful additional dimension: Self-governance. Groups of people who act in an organised fashion according to their own norms and convictions – not according to the regime’s decrees.

What is relevant here is not so much the extensive illicit trade in liquor and tobacco, but rather the thousands of people who, despite the regime’s decrees, continue under the radar to earn a living rather than becoming a burden to others.  

Also of relevance – and very significant – are the organised groups who, convinced of the correctness of their case and the folly of the regime’s decrees, openly continued their commendable illegal work. Three examples among many others illustrate this point.

Solidarity Helping Hand (SHH) in cooperation with the agricultural organisation SAAI rejected the regime’s attempted improper centralisation of food distribution and continued to provide food to indigent people according to their own norms.

The second example is the 1 000 Women Trust, who took on the regime to keep its claws off their soup kitchens, subsequently continuing their commendable work according to their own norms.

Third, and certainly the most significant, are the churches. Neels Jackson wrote in Rapport of 7 June (“Kerk floreer in tyd van korona” – English: Church prospers in time of corona):

“And where there are talks that churches may not provide food because the government wants to centralise this function, the reaction from several ecclesiastical quarters was that they would continue to do this (provide food). In this regard, they were prepared to swing into civil disobedience.”

Once again there was resistance, paired with action according to their own discretion, free from the regime’s dictates.

What these three institutions (together with many others) had in common was the well-founded sense that the regime wanted to abuse the corona crisis to reinforce its totalitarian grip on all sectors of civil society. Against all expectations the regime was met with determined civil institutions and moral convictions. The regime failed and, in this way, betrayed that it is significantly weaker than what is thought.

Let us now consider the most important political questions of our time against this backdrop. What is the true nature of this regime, and how do we meet this regime head-on?

The regime’s temperament

The ANC regime’s ideological temperament is overbearing, totalitarian and anti-constitutional.

Several other similarly important features illustrate the nature of the regime further. It is also opportunistic, thievish and corrupt.

Just as important is that the regime does not have insight into the essence of the modern state. It does not grasp the modern state’s dependence on the public office bearers and specialisation.

The regime’s self-confidence is waning, and its self-image is dwindling. Behind the façade of bravado, it is ashamed, touchy, suspicious, envious and often afraid.

All these apparent discrepancies are interrelated; these strengthen and implicate each other.

Overbearing, totalitarian and anti-constitutional

The ANC has always been open about its totalitarian and dictatorial tendencies. Decades ago, and since then times without number, it has committed itself to the “National Democratic Revolution”.

According to this, the regime assumes to put all the centres of power and public influence under the control of its cadres: Not only the legislator and the executive authority, but also the judiciary, civil service, defence force, police, Reserve Bank, professions, education sector, commerce, industry, mining, agriculture, civil societies and the private sector, etc. – and, as has just been illustrated, even civic welfare organisations.

This means that the ANC is anti-constitutional, because constitutionalism in fact means that power is diffused and that mutual checks and balances are exercised between power centres. In this way, any power centre is prevented from becoming so strong and dangerous that it may abuse its powers, from dominating only to promote its own interests and from crushing people’s freedoms.

The regime’s own underwriting of these checks and balances is nothing but pretence, as is the case with the transformed Constitutional Court, which is hardly more than a judicial embranchment of the regime. When judges of integrity – like Hans Fabricius and Norman Davis – call it to order, it is not because the constitutional order executes itself according to ANC convictions, but because there are troublesome anti-revolutionary powers in the judicial who obstruct the regime and expose the frustrating transformationist deficiencies of the constitutional order.

Since its takeover in 1994, the regime has worked unremittingly to perfect dictatorial control through cadre deployment, representivity and similar stratagems. Despite not being complete (luckily), it has progressed quite far on this bad road.

South Africa’s liberal (statist-individualistic) Constitution provided a favourable habitat for establishing the dictatorial regime because of the fact that it allocates no governmental power to communities, but essentially centralises all governmental power to the majority – under control of the regime.

Thievish and corrupt

The regime’s record shows it to be thievish and corrupt. Conforming to its ideological temperament, it improperly appropriates the assets of others. It does so under the pretence that it is right to do so.

I do not maintain that every ANC leader and cadre is dishonest and a thief, but indeed that the regime as collective is thus wired. Its actions show this, and its ideology confirms it.

The Jacob Zuma era was a kind of high point for theft and corruption. These thievish tendencies go back to the eras of Mandela and Mbeki, however. A while back in the Sunday Times, the political commentator William Gumede calculated the amount that disappeared since 1994 at the hand of the regime to an amount (inflation included) equal to what was spent on rebuilding Western Europe after the Second World War under the Marshall Plan. This is truly a lot of money. To steal and squander so much takes an uninterrupted, deliberate effort. The regime did this.

There is no true commitment to eradicate corruption. On the contrary, the regime destroyed consecutive state organs that effectively curbed these crimes, thereby facilitating continuing theft. The very effective special unit that was managed by retired Judge Willem Heath and investigated white collar crime was dissolved already in 2001. Seven years later the same fate befell the very successful Scorpions. The erosion of the National Prosecuting Authority started in the 1990s. Today it is a crippled institution with 600 vacancies. The police’s expertise is seriously thinned out and corruption flourishes.

The regime’s thievish temperament is not accidental. It is ideologically predestined, because it is in the character of totalitarian regimes to monopolise property for themselves to allow them to finance patronage, buy support through grants and otherwise consume assets for their own benefit.

The regime is arrogant in its aversion to private property. According to its progressivist creed, the natural human state is one of equality (except, of course, for itself). Those (except the regime) who are wealthy therefore have no particular talent, have not been working hard and are not enterprising. They, or their predecessors, stole and disrupted this natural state of equality. The regime may therefor “take back” the “stolen property”.

Another equally important reason for regimes like the ANC’s aversion to private property is that property rights provide the material basis of a counterbalance against just such regimes. Materially wealthy individuals and institutions have the self-dependence to raise their opinions freely and oppose a delinquent regime. Totalitarian regimes therefore want to confiscate private property, as this is a hurdle in the road to dictatorial domination.

It is specifically for this reason that the regime has been waging a battle over decades against the private sector, and why there is validity in Ivo Vegter’s point of view (“Die slagting van die middelklas” (English: Butchering the middleclass), Rapport, 24 May 2020) that the regime now wants to finally deal with the middleclass in the midst of COVID-19.

Incompetent, envious; (self-)injured and dwindling self-confidence, touchy and often anxious

Africa’s most developed state fell into the hands of the ANC regime in 1994 to unparalleled international acclaim and goodwill. Despite this, the historic record proves irrefutably that it has since created an unprecedented mess.

The regime primarily failed because it has no idea of the demands of a functioning modern state. A state requires public office-bearing, that is, fit, specialised public office-bearers and officials who govern and administer to the benefit of the whole.

The regime operates a comprehensive network of patronage for the benefit of sectional gratification, but under the misleading banner of state management: nepotism, jobs, consultancies, tenderpreneuring, corrupt government contracts, all at high, often excessive costs. (Watch out: Corona’s R500 billion will usher in a new episode in corruption.)

The result – very important in answering the question of how to react to the regime – is that the state deteriorates, leaving open voids that beg to be filled.

The regime’s failure stands in stark contrast to the private and civil sectors, which perform well despite the regime’s animosity. The regime is jealous and envious of their success. Its own comparable pathetic performance makes it ashamed, destroys its once shining self-image and makes it petulant about criticism. Despite often parading as powerful, this happens in the midst of and as compensation for self-sullied self-confidence.

As a result of its weakening, the regime is restless, distrustful and unsure of itself. Vexing questions torment it. These are not speculations. It constantly reveals its frightened state of mind. White monopoly capital disturbs it; the ideology of whiteness, that is, the superiority it ascribes to white people in contrast to its own wretchedness, makes it feel weak and pathetic; the neo-liberal capitalist onslaught that the concerned regime is imagining frightens it. The realisation that the enterprising private and civil sectors, especially among minorities, outperforms the regime is agonising. How do they succeed, while the regime botches everything, despite its excessive self-favouring? Which powers – ill-boding anti-revolutionary (magical?) powers – are intensifying here against it? In this way, the regime gives us insight into its tormented state of mind.

As we know, the regime is obsessed with what it calls the balance of forces. Such ideological use of words also hails from the Leninist lexicon and breathes the same uncertain state of mind referred to above.

The regime’s totalitarian temperament, strengthened by its fear of the powers that threaten it, leaves it with only one (and the same) cure: Seize even more power and assets in a bid to destroy the evil powers that threaten it and to overcome its own anxiety. That is what it wants to achieve above all.

The regime cannot do what it wants, however. It can only do what it can do, that is, what its opponents allow it to do.

There have been a number of cases in which its opponents stopped it in its tracks. The regime’s opponents stopped it more than a decade ago already with the regime’s first open attack on property rights. It was also stopped in its tracks again in its attempts to violate freedom of speech through excessive punitive measures. There were numerous other successful attempts to stop it in its tracks.

Yet, there are also numerous other cases in which its opponents were not strong or astute enough to stop it, and where the regime indeed had its way.

Do not think that the regime has given up on cases where it was stopped, however; because this regime is an opportunistic chancer. As soon as the balance of forces turns in its favour, it strikes again.

This is exactly what the regime does in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. It thinks that the balance of power has turned in its favour and that it may now seize power and assets, and destroy freedoms, which wasn’t otherwise possible.

Meet the regime head-on

Given our insight into the true nature of the regime, its power and its special weaknesses, we can start to determine what is to be done.

The crux of the matter is this: Do not accommodate the regime, but meet it head-on, just like the organisations that provided food took a stand against the regime in a civil but firm manner. Opposition is insufficient, however, because as explained, this regime’s greed for power is insatiable, just like its Bolshevist, Nazi and Maoist cousins.

It is therefore necessary to become permanently free from its harassment. With this in mind, communities should become permanently regime resistant. Therefore, a critical minimum degree of self-governance must be achieved. It is difficult – but possible.

Consider your weaknesses continuously and act responsibly. However, do not despair in the delusion of your own powerlessness. Also carefully consider that this regime, as explained, is unsure and much weaker than what it seems to be at first glance; neither underestimate the power of active, ingenious communities. And let us keep clearly in mind that the hiatuses of a failing state create extraordinary opportunities.

It is the business of an independence-inclined, organised civil society and private sector to implement the required minimum degree of self-governance. Institutions, groups and organisations are of essential importance in this regard because individuals can take a stand against dictatorial regimes only with much difficulty. Our civil society is already well-organised with numerous business, legal and welfare institutions, trade unions, occupational organisations, local initiatives, media, thinktanks, neighbourhood watches and many more in which everyone can tip the scale according to their own abilities and talents. The hard work still lies ahead, however.

Prof. Nelius Niemand, former Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church, reminded the churches of their responsibility in this regard (“Waar is die kerke?” (English: Where are the churches?), Netwerk24, 19 May 2020). Churches, Niemand declares, should be the voices for the voiceless. And, in reference to churches, he rightly asks who will stand up against government’s draconian regulations.

Neither can large businesses escape their responsibility.

A community who do not respond to a challenge in an assertive enough manner is removed from the stage of history. It has happened before. But, as Arnold Toynbee explained in detail, a community who has overcome the most difficult challenges with exceptional diligence obtains the greatest human achievement. This has also happened before.