What becomes of a nation that resolves to outright steal, by force, the property of its citizenry? Not its businesses through nationalisation, not property or funds related to criminal enterprises; but the land of the citizenry by wholesale, outright theft?
This is the reality that South Africa faces.
The apartheid government in SA used the law to force blacks off their land, and they were bastards for doing it. Initially, to redress this, the ANC tried to buy farms and property back from the current owners. Even as late as 2017, they refrained from legalising land seizures without compensation.
Now, the state has embraced land seizure without compensation. And they’re bastards for doing it.
Now, not only has land seizure been legalised, but embarked upon. The government’s talk of land appropriation has riled people up. Squatters sporting EFF logos are camping out on land as they see fit, convinced it’s their land now. Escalations into force and intimidation are becoming a reality.
It’s one step away from Zimbabwe. Incidences like this will occur more and more as the disenfranchised poor see an opportunity to get something for themselves. The fact that the ANC has been keeping them poor, well, that might be ignored a little longer. Perhaps the ENC believes it can buy itself a reprieve by doing this. Regardless, the ANC’s bizarre kowtowing to the EFF has only gotten more and more absurd.
It’s hard to contemplate South Africa sliding into a situation like Zimbabwe. Plenty of expats have said just as much over the decades, and I’ve retorted that SA has dodged bullet after bullet, and persevered. Yet every crisis, every exposure of government corruption, took us closer to a fate best avoided. Cynicism is proved right more often than not. With the developments this year, I can’t look at this for anything other than what it is. Even the prior rumblings of seizing white-owned businesses, I’d dismissed as yet more race-baiting by parties like the EFF. Now? The state has become a robber baron.
Nor is this a government that inspires confidence in other areas. Oligarchical influence (state capture) is a reality for South Africa. Zuma’s flagrant corruption was a constant insult to the rule of law. Ramaphosa, perhaps foolishly, was heralded as just the right person to put South Africa’s economy back together.
We’ve dodged bullets in the past. By god, how we’ve dodged! We didn’t fall completely to pieces after apartheid. People predicted an outright civil war after Chris Haani was assassinated. The TRC’s revelations came on the heels of the end of apartheid, and many of them were more than shocking enough to provoke violent unrest that could have torn the country apart.
Somehow, cooler heads prevailed, and they did so time and time again. Yet every crisis, every exposure of government corruption, took us closer to a fate best avoided.
I think we’ve out of luck now. SA’s rating by Moody’s is the worst investment-grade rating the agency has. We were quite close to being rated junk. For a country that relies on investment and mining to the degree that South Africa does, it’s a dire situation. Who wants to invest in a country when your property can get seized by the state?
Aah, only home can be home. There’s no replacement, as much as I love the US of A.
But I think now that home is going away. What South Africa becomes, from here on out, lies on a dim horizon.
And once it goes, it will go for everyone. White, black, brown, green – pick a colour. Today it will be white farms, tomorrow it will be indian businesses. The ANC cares not. Once the state rationalises seizing the property of the citizenry, it will continue to do so. There will always be another justification to seize something, steal something, to fend off the inevitable for just a little bit longer.
This isn’t the start of national collapse. But it is the beginning of open ANC robber-barony. The state itself has gone from corrupt oligarchy to outright tyrant.
“But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never again come into being; nor can the dead be brought back to life.” – Sun Tzu