Image Caption: The Curate, not wishing to be rude about the food, insists the rotten egg before him is “good, in parts”.
There is nothing being done in Nelson Mandela Bay that can’t be replicated elsewhere
There is a battle for the soul of South Africa. So says Ramaphosa, so says Helen Zille. I disagree. It is not a battle for the soul of South Africa, but for the souls of its governing elite, whose wards, the people, are seen as an inconvenient mass of clay upon whom they all hope to work their strange designs. And in this battle, all parties – whether Liberal (DA, COPE, Action SA) or Charterist (ANC, EFF, PAC, BLF) – differ not in their imagined vision of South Africa, but in the means they prefer for making that South Africa a reality. They all see the future South Africa as being atheistic, culturally homogeneous, egalitarian, English-speaking, and black-dominated.
The differences between them – economic models, rights and constitutional arrangements – are indeed very different. But these are merely the means for achieving this imagined “Afro-Saxon” South Africa, this kamakastigland beyond the rainbow. And because they share the same vision of what our country means, those with the strongest popular appeal, and the greatest control over the levers of power, the most ruthless and expedient, will determine the path forward.
That won’t be the DA, and it certainly won’t be the people. Because the only means to achieve this state via Liberalism requires suspending democracy; the alternative means confiscating property, and crushing Liberty. And the only means for holding onto power in South Africa today is though violence, racial grievance and patronage. These are games the DA will lose, because if they ever acquire the skills and powers to fight on the ANC’s level, they will make themselves into something just as rotten and hollowed out.
And as they crumble, the hopes for South Africa will fade. I write this article therefore, to implore whoever is listening in the DA to please reconsider.
In Helen Zille’s most recent public appearance, she pointed out that the ANC has declined to below 50% of the vote at a national level, and that, as most analysts agree, they are almost guaranteed to need coalition partners in 2024. pushed for the solution to South Africa’s woes being a DA-ANC coalition, seeking the “moderate reformers” in the ANC. She claimed that Cyril Ramaphosa held the same values as her party, but that he was trapped by the ANC, and pointed to a few key public comments at the State of the Nation as evidence, wherein he complimented the DA on running at least one city well.
The core DA strategy is based on the assumption that, as Ngwenya said, “there is nothing being done in Cape Town that can’t be replicated elsewhere”. The DA won Cape Town from the initially unchallenged ANC through a coalition in the 2006 local election, and subsequently won the Western Cape province outright in the 2009 general election. By simply governing better than the willfully negligent and parasitic ANC, the DA managed to win the affections of the Coloured population. Now, especially considering the coalition they believe they can replicate this at the national level.
But this is a fallacy. Regardless of the cynical attempts to rebrand under their marionette Mmusi Maimane, the DA is still universally seen as “the white party”. Cape Coloured people, looking forward to the end of white domination, voted overwhelmingly for the ANC in 1994. But they still voted for the old Afrikaner Nationalist Party in significant numbers, because many feared black domination just as much, and because they are culturally closer to the West than to Africa. After showing themselves to be worse trustees of the Coloured community than anybody expected, the ANC were rejected, in favour of the only alternative, the DA.
But this will not be repeated, because the Cape is different, and ethnicity matters. If one is tempted to believe that black people will be converted en masse to English Liberalism, it is worth paying attention to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality to be disabused of that illusion.
Even with the largest share of the vote (46% to the ANC’s 40%), the DA still saw their efforts to rescue the city foiled. Threatened by accountability and the end of the gravy train, the Charterists engaged in a sustained campaign of looting and sabotage, the greedy and corrupt coalition partners betrayed the DA, and the city fell again to those who robbed it bare to begin with. All the gains in service delivery were lost, and the DA sunk to 39% – parity with the ANC. Party leaders like Athol Trollip defected to other parties.
And whereas there was only one option in the Western Cape 15 years ago, today there is the EFF. The ANC, if they don’t get the deal they want, can always turn to the EFF. And the DA’s vote share is declining. 22% is a hard national support ceiling, and 53% in the Cape, after a long declining trend – the DA is heading for coalitions in its home turf too. They are already losing districts to emerging local parties, and votes are increasingly going to Coloured identitarians like the National-Socialist CCC, and the nihilistic gangsterism of the PA.
Meanwhile the governance quality of the Cape deteriorates as DA complacency gives way to sclerosis. Corruption scandals are being seized upon even ANC puppet organisations like De Lille’s GOOD party. Street lights are going out in Paarl, and there are potholes in Wellington. Billions in debt are becoming unpayable, while open-ended local contracts are being made permanent. DA candidates are even starting to be assassinated due to internal competition.
Homicides in the Western Cape have been climbing, and there are more trains destroyed by vandalism than anywhere else. This is of course the ANC’s fault; these are part of deliberate efforts to make the province ungovernable. But there are other efforts too, like the subsidised population influx, structured by ANC-directed land seizures to prevent Coloureds from receiving housing they’ve waited for for decades. And these are not going away.
And as time goes on, the population becomes less White, less Coloured, less Indian. It also drifts radically more leftward. Terms like exclusion/inclusion, redress, and inequality dominate discourse, especially among junior party members on campuses, who routinely denounce non-woke ideas and condemn conservatives. The tide is going in only one direction, as those watching the universities of of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand can tell you. It’s a constant slide into left-wing radicalism, which now dominates every arena of social commentary or institutional reform. Even the private schools are falling to antiwhite racism, as Richard Wilkinson’s research will show you.
And that’s just the whites and the liberals. Since my days at university when Rhodes Must Fall revolutionised the political discourse, genocidal rhetoric has become normalised, to the point that complaining about it in any context, even in the mouth of a leader of a major political party, is seen as racism. For the entire generation about to enter leadership, who form a majority of the voting age population, militant black nationalism is the default. You can’t bargain with that.
And the truth is, Cyril Ramaphosa promises many things to many people, including the radicals. For example, he promises prioritising the party over the nation, and completing the 2nd phase of the National Democratic Revolution (EWC, one-party state, constitutional reform, etc). I think trusting Cyril is naïve – corruption has not even slowed under his watch; it has in fact accelerated. It is he who has initiated renewed efforts to pursue expropriation of white property without compensation or a fair trial. Who is Cyril lying to, and why is it not you?
The “moderate” Thuma Mina faction of the ANC (as opposed to the radical, Zumaist Radical Economic Transformation faction) can just as easily be seen as a Janus-faced money-vacuum with no principles but survival. Ramaphosa has no ethnic base, and so appeals to the communists and the unionists as his base in the party, and the oligarchs, like brother-in-law Patrice Motsepe, and the old families Rupert, Oppenheimer and Rothschild for his base without. He parties with the WEF and the Russians, and hopes to keep all doors open.
Zille correctly points out that the ANC, and in fact the police force and civil service have become a vast system of interlocking criminal enterprises, and that ANC branch votes are bought, competitors are assassinated, and that much of the criminal underworld is tied to the ANC directly or indirectly. She also spoke on the use of Russian money to buy votes.
This is all true, but it is the consequences she misses. What little order and structure exists in SA, is the law of brutal patronage and violence, which the ANC commands. Therest of the economy is hollow. The volume of money funnelled in from British and American sources, and from South African oligarchs like the Rupert, Oppenheimer and Rothschild families was what got Ramaphosa his spot in the last leadership election. The powers mobilised in the last ANC leadership competition were vast, and hundreds of targeted assassinations occurred, most between rival taxi gangs attached to ANC factions.
You don’t hear anybody complaining about that, because Cyril was a favourite with foreigners and white leftists until his failures started piling up. Even the impotent MKVA managed to shut down half the country for two weeks last year to keep their chief Jacob Zuma from prison. That vast criminal economy must turn somewhere, or it will turn to fight. The DA cannot play this game. They need the ANC to agree to hang itself in the courts, and do nothing to prevent the dismantling of this whole world, without pulling out enough jenga pieces to topple the tower into civil war, while giving immunity to collaborators.
To even dream of getting close to this project, the DA need two things – a radically different vision, and hard support from outside the party system, including massive enough funds to prevent David Mabuza from winning the upcoming ANC leadership contest. They think they have them both – the vision, and the support – when in fact they have neither. Let us start with the first.
A steady leftward compromise
The contest, as Helen Zille puts it, is between non-racial Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law on the one hand, and a totalitarian, race-nationalist one-party state on the other. This is is less substantial a basis for governing than she thinks. Even the other major theme of the DA’s past manifestos, federalism, is an impotent one.
Following the law and prosecuting corruption, and setting the powers of the state in stone, is something everyone believes in, even communist totalitarians. Rule of Law is just what people call it when the laws agree with the moral intuitions of the ruling class, and those laws are enforced relatively consistently. Liberals tend to use it as a cypher for Western policy consensus. This is why black radicals are confused by the concept (as I argue at length in another essay).
And we already have a constitution, one the DA believes in. But this constitution has smothered their every ambition even as it is most sternly applied. It constrains provincial and municipal powers so precisely only a constitutional amendment could devolve power, killing the “federalism” they claim to believe in (and yet it took until last year to take their very first steps in this direction, after 15 years in power in the Cape).
As for race, it allows for racial discrimination if that discrimination is “fair”. The Constitution, as its preamble states, stands for “social justice” – collective redress and collective material equality.
What the DA have left is Liberalism. But that isn’t as sturdy a shield against racialism or wealth redistribution as it used to be.
In government, they are respected because they have managed to achieve “service delivery” in the Cape. This is a major achievement under current restrictions (the Constitution affords very little powers to the provinces). But this focus on “service delivery” suggests that the primary aim of government is to give free stuff to people, rather than secure their collective security, cultural heritage and moral beliefs. South Africa is just a blank slate to them; only brute material issues matter.
They do have a lot of respected policies though. But these policies are respected because they look like the policies that the rest of the Western world has for all its social issues. The notion that policies being taken at this stage of Western Liberalism are what produces its best qualities are like saying the best way to get a rose bush is to plant its flowers.
The DA’s policy agenda is largely set by the very technically talented and intelligent, but fatally unimaginative, Gwen Ngwenya (see the DA policy conference 18 months ago). As the current DA mayor once explained, her career was made at the University of Cape Town on the Student Representative Council when she drafted the race- and class-quota acceptance policy the university eventually adopted. Her mode of approach is that of “reasonable” compromise with whatever the radical voices demand. This is not intentional, but it is a result of a major weakness, not just of Ngwenya, but of all her colleagues.
Instead of reframing the aims of the national project, or engaging in serious critiques of the political system, they aim to be the true standard-holders of the system as it is – to paraphrase an old Marxist cope, “the real South Africa has never been tried”. Ngwenya, more so than her other colleagues, takes the position of advertising that she is the adult in the room by giving the children what they want in a more reasonable way. She cannot see, nor articulate, that the “children” want the wrong thing to begin with.
Ngwenya’s emphasis when speaking of “non-racialism” is not the most politically important aspect of it – that different races must, within a unitary republic, be treated equally before the law. What she highlights is merely that racism is the problem of generalisations and stereotypes. And so she is perfectly comfortable with racial discrimination in the name of equality – levelling the relative material conditions between racial groups – the same grand aim as the ANC, and as Western Critical Race Theory. Hence her endorsement of “more sensible” affirmative action policies.
This makes her remarks largely opaque to her colleagues. Like the rest of the former prominent DA black liberals – Lindiwe Mazibuko, Mmusi Maimane, Herman Mashaba – she is a believer in the moral justifications for BEE, only that it needs a tweak. It’s easy, she seems to think, we just need to be pragmatic, and explain it to people. It’s obvious once you see it. In reality, this “pragmatism” is really a constant concession in the face of mounting forces of chaos, as proposals for open borders amnesty for illegal immigration demonstrate. Even the IRR sees the danger in this approach to race laws.
DA governance as Westernisation
Unfortunately, this makes them very much up to global standards. Much like the post-apartheid order did at a smaller scale, the prevailing ideas of the West, built in the ashes of the World Wars, aim to undermine any capacity for ethnic or religious solidarity – it sees nationalism (and as a result of older revolutions, religion too) as dangerous, and so the West seeks to consolidate a global government out of international cooperation that will destroy forever the cultural bonds that made smaller political units disagree with each other, or able to articulate different aims or values politically. This is why, despite relying on them for support against Russia, the EU is trying to punish Hungary and Poland.
We in South Africa understand this problem at a deeper level because of its proximity – racial and political disagreements, even violent ones, deadly ones, do not go away just because you achieve a monolithic government. They do not go away just because you have a socially liberal legal system, nor if you hand out generous social welfare, nor make everyone speak the same language, nor offer preferential treatment to those who arrived from outside the political system.
And black Africans, especially if you listen to their intellectuals, the most incisive of which is Ndumiso Dladla, are fully aware of the fact that South Africa is a Western system. T o them, it is a colonial construct which perpetuates the order which subjugated them nearly 400 years ago. Even in 1994, the prominent Struggle activist Phyllis Jordaan articulated as much, when she accused the ANC of being black bourgeoisie aiming to join white society rather than overthrow it. It remains a fact that our Constitution is a Western one, based on the ideals of the Western Enlightenment and mid-century American progressive liberalism.
It also remains a fact that is resented by most of the ANC’s membership, and at least half its leadership. This is because black Africans still share a deeper political culture, based on univocity – consensus, not opposing parties: there must be unity, at all costs.
This favours single party systems, and entails hard solidarity, which is often coercively enforced. It also demands cultural homogeneity. It also means that everyone must speak the lingua franca, which means a Black Nationalist South Africa will be English. Others who live in their own communities, or display a material advantage, earned or unearned, are seen as failing to demonstrate solidarity, and must give back to the community, or else. This suspicious and resentful attitude is all the stronger because of the history of white domination from colonisation until present.
The trouble with the DA is that they happen to endorse political principles that are also essential to justifying the radical political program of their opponents – equality, and historical racial redress. But when they sell Keynesian economics and social Liberalism as a means of achieving this, they come across as insipid. Those on the ground who endorse their program of nonracialism just want to be left alone by their state and have clean, safe streets – those who interact with them from the other side see this as a two-faced excuse for preserving “privilege”, and they aren’t entirely mistaken.
The battle among our elites does matter, without a doubt. Malema in government would be a rapid trip to catastrophe. But both parties back racial policies and norms of racial discrimination that lead to a despotic Afro-Saxon future, only on different timescales. And the increasingly woke West is there to lend a helping hand in that direction – that the Biden administration is “woke” is not a state secret, and nor is it true that any Republican government has even once turned the clock back on even one leftist reform.
And so it is no surprise that the West turned to Ramaphosa for representation over the DA in 2019, a move which must have stung. And it is even less of a surprise that the DA have reached for America recently for support. This is not going to work out the way they think.
The American connection
In my previous essay, I described a few dimensions of the DA’s use of American patronage to build towards the 2024 election challenge, with a focus on the endorsement of the American foreign policy on Ukraine, which earned them a public endorsement form the American ambassador to the United Nations in the Un General Assembly. Previous efforts earned USAID finance for localisation of electrical supply and for the Western Cape vaccine effort.
The first wave of such maneuvers was the gift of discount real estate, through WESGRO, for the key private partners of the American security state – Amazon, Google, Facebook – in exchange for a new transatlantic fibre cable. This was accompanied by a sycophantic attempt to chase COVID maximalism, during which DA CVs collected a slew of plastic badges from WEF subsidiaries for their concerted effort to remain uncritical of the dishonest and politically motivated CDC pandemic guidelines.
The second wave has hit under new Russian escalation of the Donbas War. As Cyril Ramaphosa and company took a nominal public stance of diplomatic neutrality, while celebrating the invasion in private with cocktails at the Russian Embassy, the DA took to an extravagant show of public condemnation, which has now included banning Russian diplomats from provincial public buildings. This is a rare thing outside of Ukraine – an opposition party openly undermining the state’s foreign policy and making their own.
They picked a good moment .The United States is seeking total compliance in a final global push to either become an uncontested planetary hegemon and determiner of all policies on earth by crushing the Russian economy, or else fall to to second place in a multipolar order in which their debt will become unserviceable following the loss of the dollar as global reserve currency. It’s too soon to tell which way it all goes, but the desperation of the moment makes American support all that more forceful.
The reason for this effort by the DA is quite clear. The DA, which will never be capable of scoring higher than 25% of the vote, must seek bigger partners in order to negotiate a political settlement that can achieve reform. And for that, there is precedent in our past, in the early 90s.
Former American ambassador Princeton Lyman opens his memoirs of his service in South Africa with reference to one event – the endorsement of the ANC and condemnation of the NP in the UN Security Council, requested by Mandela, and acquiesced to by the Bush administration. What followed was the lending to the ANC of the United States’ diplomatic clout during the height of their unipolar moment.
As apartheid came to an end, foreign countries were instrumental to the effort to establish a unitary democracy. The Russians had financed the ANC’s deadly People’s War, the American USIA and the Anglican Church were instrumental to the Black Consciousness movement, the whole world, both sides of the Iron Curtain, got behind sanctions, and the Anglo-American establishment defined many terms of the negotiation during transition.
With this in mind, it is worth paying attention to the DA and their attempts to leverage American influence to gain power in South Africa. American interference has gotten us where we are – fundamentally, our constitution and our official state ideology, against which the ANC has been struggling, is American – constitutional supremacy, and progressive liberalism.
Here is the former diplomat to South Africa Princeton Lyman:
KREISLER: What is distinctive about the way in which we conduct foreign policy?
LYMAN: There are two things that make us a bit distinctive. One is, we do think of ourselves as a bit exceptional. […] The second thing is that being now the only superpower (but even before, a major power)has a major impact on how you carry out foreign policy, and how you carry out diplomacy. on the one hand, there are no initiatives that go on that people don’t want the united states involved, because they feel if the US is involved, it will work. On the other hand if we get involved, there is tendency to feel that if we get involved, things have to get done our way.
KREISLER: And where do you think “having our own way” comes from? Is it out of our cultural history, or is it the power we have in the world?
LYMAN: I think its partly the power we have in the world. I think its – and this is one of the things I’m struck by in American foreign policy – you have a feeling that when you’re negotiating for the united states that you have to bring back something that is a good solution, but will pass muster with critics in congress.
Lyman talking about his experience in South Africa describes a situation in which the leaders were highly cognisant of the disasters of Somalia and Ethiopia, and thus had no desire to see the country on fire, even in the aftermath of Chris Hani’s assassination. He also describes how the Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie Foundations (which have close relations with the CIA) steered the negotiation on behalf of American interests, and how the World Economic Forum (which is in fact a CIA cutout) convinced Mandela in 1991 that his political programme would have to be scrapped. Quoting John Ikenberry, Lyman pointed to the global civil society as an instrument of American imperial hegemony.
And that hegemony is increasingly Progressive, or in that most ugly of terms, woke. Any part of the West that does not see the world in these terms is rapidly sidelined and attacked, as Afriforum is here and Poland and Hungary are in the EU, even if they rely on these countries as a bulwark against Russia (and Afriforum as a bulwark against black supremacy). Even those looking for market liberalisation among Western capital firms are dominated by ESG scores (set by the US, the UN, and the biggest US Federal Reserve-dependent investment funds like Blackrock), which demand the same BEE/AA programs as we do here, just with smaller quotas, and more environmentalism.
The biggest capitalist empires, like the Rothschild family, now run woke firms like the “Council for Inclusive Capitalism”. Having seen the surprisingly unfiltered social media posts of its members, I can assure you, the Rothschilds (at least those in South Africa) are very woke.
And liberties in the West are easily abandoned for expediency and security. The internet is censored by social media companies attached to the American security state, even for the sake of securing election outcomes. Books are delisted by monopolistic distributors, and mainstream media is centrally coordinated by only two organs – the Poynter Institute and the Trusted Media Initiative. Peaceful protest (anti-lockdown) can be crushed and violent riots (BLM/antifa) endorsed and protected, political critics can have their assets seized without a trial and blocked from the financial sector (Canadian truckers). “Terror suspects” can be jailed and tortured without trial (9/11 and 1/6). This is the Western idea of Rule of Law under Liberal Constitutionalism.
This dependence on the United States will foster the worst tendencies in the DA, both in terms of progressive leftism, and in terms of authoritarianism. Zille is not averse to the draconian use of state power for mandatory vaccines, on the basis of that old liberal policy that the state may intervene to prevent harm. But redefine harm as risk, and demonstrate that risk in such a complex and global world is in fact unbounded, and the justifications for power are infinite. This will mean the loss of what the classic liberals of the DA value.
But it is also the only way that a DA minority government could possibly fund a cleanup of the country. It would require deploying the private security sector as state employees and waging a vast and bloody repression campaign against Charterists and criminal syndicates. That requires US aid. And that means America will call the shots.
And the consequences?
After the coalition deal is struck, a lot of people will feel betrayed, not least of which, the smaller parties that they currently share power with in Gauteng.
In power, the DA will have to perform an undiluted miracle, keeping the ANC from defecting to the EFF while prosecuting them for corruption and fighting a guerilla war against the forces of crime and Charterism with mercenary violence and American money. They will need to change the constitution to remove the possibility of racial discrimination.
In the absence of miracles, the largely conservative white population will abandon the DA, and the black youth will flock to the EFF. ANC members will swing hard to the RET faction, as their narrative of WMC being the real state capture will suddenly hold a lot of water. The black radicals will make a comeback with a vengeance.
After this deal, the DA will have destroyed the credibility of themselves, and the moderates in the ANC, and the likelihood of them achieving what needs to be done are essentially zero – they haven’t the bargaining power to ask for what they need. The Cape will begone, because the DA will no longer be able to govern it again, and with them goes all the honest bureaucratic experience left in this country.
Then, the future will fall to the Solidariteit movement, and the corporate walled-off enclaves in the major cities, keeping the spice flowing by bribing political gangsters. And that is a bitter future – the ANC have made South Africa ungovernable for the forseeable future, and the endgame is Zimbabwe.
On the other hand, there is a more immediately painful solution that could save at least some of our country. That is to endorse Cape independence. The rest of South Africa is bound to pursue the ideas of Black Consciousness, and Azania, as they like to call it, will make or break their future on their own terms, not that of an intransigent Anglo minority. Fail or succeed, black South Africans will own their future as honourable men, not trustees of some post-colonial white-man’s-burden.
I am for Cape independence, it is no secret. And I don’t think it will be possible after five more years of demographic change, driven as it is by racial discrimination in the job market and by shack farming and land theft by the ANC. To work the miracles they need, the DA will need to centralise power so extremely, that federalism will become a thing of the past, and any failure will destroy the hopes of even regional autonomy.
I implore you, to seize the opportunity now, for a chance to give the Coloured people not just a meaningless ballot, but real electoral power, a say in their future that matters. To give Afrikaners the possibility of a state that honours their language and culture, to Muslims, one that protects a 300 year harmony, a state that bears the marks of the best of English constitutionalism without its sinister leftward tendencies.
This will bring a future for minorities who seek a future away from the foetid ruins of postcolonial Africa, and the greying edifices of the sterile and decadent West. A future in which the leftward tilt of history can be stopped, or even reversed, at least in one corner of this earth, will be worth it. A small, neutral country, on the furthest southern reaches, sipping the passing nectar of free ocean trade, aloof from the violence of world politics, with no mineral resource to be envied, and no ties to great powers or old blood feuds.
A free Cape.