Beware the new Racism

Douglas Gibson on Bell Pottinger’s sinister “White Monopoly Capital” campaign for the Guptas

Beware the new Racism

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, the retired Public Defender, recently tweeted as follows: “I’ve always believed that the invention of the White Monopoly Capital campaign was a clever racist diversion from the state capture question.”

Of impeccable integrity and sound judgment, she was and is listened to by honest and decent South Africans. When she describes a campaign as a racist invention then most of us are inclined to believe her and to think badly of those who so assiduously spread the lie.

We know where it originated: Bell Pottinger, the UK public relations firm employed by the Guptas and by one of President Zuma’s sons used the racist lie against their own client, Johan Rupert and it was enthusiastically welcomed and spread by people like Mzwanele (Jimmy) Manye, paid to be a Zuma propagandist. Bell Pottinger then employed a small army of fake twitterers to spread the lie further and to attack politicians, several in the ANC, perceived to be opponents of the Zuma faction of the ANC, as being soft on White Monopoly Capital (WMC).

Bell Pottinger has now withdrawn from acting for the Guptas and in a remarkable display of self-pity ascribed their action to the social media attacks on them. They had become the story and could therefore no longer with credibility represent the Guptas’ Oakbay company. No matter, though, the racist invention has now become common currency and many of the idiots and economic illiterates that litter the ANC benches in parliament and the cabinet have fallen in love with the term “White Monopoly Capital.”

Why it is so attractive is that the word “white” is used as a pejorative. White = Bad. This is the new currency of a political party that prided itself for decades after it admitted Whites, Coloureds and Asians into its ranks that it was non-racial. The ANC professes to love the Freedom Charter, many of the provisions of which found their way into the Constitution in the stirring words: “We, the people of South Africa, believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

Perhaps it is not surprising that the racists in the governing party are emerging one by one. How could it be any different when the president himself has shown his true colours? There are many current examples of this. The birthday speech in which the president dismissed the tens of thousands of citizens of all races who marched in opposition to his reckless actions and the misuse of his presidential prerogatives, as “racists.” In that context what he clearly meant was that these were whites who were marching in opposition to him as a black person.

Television viewers all over the country will attest to the fact that there was a remarkable mix of citizens and that the marches, especially the major marches in Cape Town and Johannesburg looked like South Africa: made up of all races. But of course, that is not the point. Even if every marcher had been white that would not have delegitimised their action. South Africa belongs to all of us and every citizen has the right to oppose (or support) the president and his failing government without being smeared as “racist.”

The Union Buildings march that united the opposition parties was clearly overwhelmingly black. I seldom quote Julius Malema with approval but his remark that “If opposing Zuma makes us racists, then we are proud to be called racists,” was spot-on.

A more subtle form of racism is that now used by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, one of the former wives of the president and mother of twenty per cent of his children. We are told that he favours her to succeed him as president of the ANC, hoping that if that party wins the 2019 election, she will become the president of South Africa. I like her and appreciate many of her qualities but she ought to be completely ruled out because her election would be seen as and would in fact be a Zuma third (and fourth?) term. She has been co-opted by the Gupta faction of the ANC.

Ms Dlamini Zuma made a stump speech the other day where she launched an attack on the model C schools, largely attended and staffed by members of the white community. Naturally she forgot that they form about the only part of our secondary education system that works. She said “All of us need to look at what our kids are being taught in model C schools. School children are being taught that the ANC is ‘useless’ and ‘corrupt’ … the impression is being created that to pass you had to discredit the ANC.”

The irresponsibility of the woman beggars the mind. Of course it is true that the ANC is useless and corrupt but one finds it hard to believe that apart from isolated teachers who forget themselves and their responsibility towards their learners, that model C schools generally are guilty of this misconduct. It is also ridiculous to suggest that ANC supporting parents and especially their politicians who all send their children to Model C schools, would tolerate such bias without complaint.

Is it any wonder that the mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mzwandile Masina, takes his cue from the new racists? He warned white South Africans that things were about to get ‘very rough.’ “We will crush any individual who stands in the way of nation-building and social cohesion…” Chilling words indeed. He was telling whites to shut up.

Patriotic citizens have the duty to stand, united in our diversity, against the new racism. If we do not, the future for our country looks bleak.

Douglas Gibson is a former Opposition Chief Whip and former ambassador to Thailand. His website is douglasgibsonsouthafrica.com.

This article first appeared in The Star.