South Africa is in a profound crisis and the ANC government has neither the will nor the ability to solve it. On the contrary, the ANC is indeed the main cause of the state the country finds itself in. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the country’s national crisis; it did not cause it.
It is in fact a double crisis: a decay of the state and the downgrading of Afrikaners to second-class citizenship. We are first-class taxpayers, but we are treated as second-class citizens and are governed in a third-class way.
There are still no convincing signs that the ANC government is prepared to do anything about the causes of the crisis. The ANC’s racial policy, its socialist policies, mismanagement, and culture of corruption have even worsened since Mr Ramaphosa came to power three years ago.
We have to do it ourselves
The starting point towards a solution is that we realise that the ANC government cannot solve a crisis it has largely created itself. That is why we cannot wait for the government to provide solutions; we will have to tackle it ourselves. This is, however, no easy task. The challenge is to provide public services without state revenue amid a failing state that is governing against white people.
This is also a government that has already declared openly that it wants to use the pandemic to intensify its racial policy and it wants to use the crisis as a test run for a nationalised health care system and other radical policies.
However, the crisis has now deepened to such an extent that many of the ANC’s own supporters realise that their party is part of the problem rather than being part of the solution. That is why more and more black leaders are starting to look for solutions outside the government, and the Solidarity Movement is being approached more and more for help and advice. It is important to point out that these discussions are not with the government but are “horizontal” talks with groups and communities outside the government.
The message of communities stepping in to address pressing issues, rather to wait for government to act, is gaining traction across the board. This is a welcoming development, and we are proud to be involved with other role players to ignite community involvement to find sustainable solutions on important issues.
It is against this backdrop, that leaders from various organisations including the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Solidarity Movement also started to discuss how and in what way Afrikaners can contribute to addressing the country’s many crises. From our viewpoint, Afrikaners and white people have been pushed out everywhere across the state, municipalities and state-owned enterprises such as Eskom.
Consequently, we are not able to help as long as the government persists with its radical racial policies. Also, to treat Afrikaners as second-class citizens offers no motivation to help now that there is a crisis.
Secondly, Afrikaners are dominated by a demographic democracy and our cultural freedom needs equal rights with that of black communities. It is not democratic that every part of our lives is controlled by the ANC and that we have fewer rights than, for example, traditional black communities have that have their own territories.
We cannot help the country if we are prevented from doing so because of our race, or if our very existence as a community is threatened by our schools and universities being targeted. Afrikaners need equal recognition as a cultural community and do not want to be seen and treated as guilty criminals.
The ANC cannot expel us from all the major institutions, criminalise our community, discriminate against us and then ask us for help when its policies have landed the country in crisis. Moreover, the ANC’s mismanagement and corruption have destroyed its credibility and they have created such a crisis of confidence that Afrikaners have no reason to believe their promises.
For this reason, mutual recognition and respect would be a prerequisite for restoring relationships of trust in the country. We are not going to help people who insult us and do us injustice all the time. Afrikaners are furious about the poor government, but we still love the country. We also realise that the total decay of the country will also be to our own detriment. No one will be able to exist in a country that is falling into disarray.
That is why we are prepared to work together towards solutions, provided that space is also created for our interests. Talks with organisations such as the Mbeki Foundation are not based on the same views but on the same interests.
Although we differ about many fundamental issues, it is in the interest of both groups that the country does not fall into decay, that services in towns are running, that crime is tackled, that corruption be stopped and that race relations do not deteriorate further. That would only be in the interests of instigators like Julius Malema.
It is also in everyone’s interest that there is food security, that there is funding for agricultural production and that Afrikaners’ fundamental interests are safe. The talks, and the framework of understanding that has been reached, does not mean that solutions have been found to all the problems yet. After all, the Mbeki Foundation does not rule the country, but the foundation is influential, nevertheless.
Therefore, this is not the end of the problems but the beginning of a process of finding solutions. There is no guarantee that it will succeed but without an attempt to resolve the crisis, failure is guaranteed.
Afrikaners need political space to gain more recognition for everything we have established in practice. We are still not going to ask for prior permission to exist, but recognition for the cultural spaces we have established such as colleges, universities, schools and towns such as Orania remains important.
Building yourself and building with others
These talks certainly do not mean that our strategy of building and protecting will change. If we can succeed with this negotiating and bridge-building, we will be able to build even faster and we will be able to protect even better. We will build ourselves to stay on here, but we will also build with others who give us the space to be Afrikaners to the full. As Christians we will fulfil our duty towards our community, but we also want to reach out to our fellow human beings in need.
We do not see ourselves as superior to other communities, but we are not subordinate to them either. That is why we believe in equal citizenship, and we approach the future in a spirit of mutual recognition and respect. We are free citizens, not obeying subjects.
Flip Buys is chairman of the Solidarity Movement. This is a translation of an article that first appeared in Afrikaans on Maroela Media.