Two recent articles by John Kane-Berman, a previous CEO of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), got me thinking – as they usually do. The first one contains advice about what the government should do to fix the country. The other is a forthright rebuttal of criticism to the first.
Kane-Berman is one of South Africa’s foremost intellectuals and I have admired his courage and honesty ever since I started reading his work more than a decade ago. To this day, he is one of the few voices speaking (complete) truth to power when most analysts and commentators are cowed into silence or merely going after the low-hanging fruits.
I thus agree wholeheartedly with the contents and tenor of both these articles. Sustained scrutiny and criticism of the ANC’s racial and ideological policies is something that is ignored across the board.
Criticism of cadre deployment and corruption are soft targets, and the media and most opposition parties never question the broad ideological direction of the country or probe the reasons for its many failures in great depth. Its noxious racial policies are holy cows that are accepted willy-nilly.
The ANC’s misguided attempts at empathy by means of grants and creeping socialism is not being denounced to any significant degree. While the outcomes and symptoms of its deleterious policies – such as corruption, the brain drain and unemployment – are constantly lamented, their causes receive precious little attention. Luckily, there are quite a few exceptions and if you look carefully, their ranks are growing in often unexpected quarters.
I also agree that loudly and continuously declaring your opposition to harmful policies and laws and putting forth sensible ideas are not “pie in the sky”. Failed countries are ones where everybody with a meaningful voice is silenced.