Monday, January 09, 2012

A Not So Happy Birthday

South Africa's ruling African National Congress, Africa's oldest liberation movement, celebrates the 100th anniversary of its birth.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle, has voiced his disgust at the cronyism, patronage and degenerating ineptitude of Zuma and his ministers by saying: "They stopped the gravy train just long enough to get on themselves." He went on to say that Zuma's administration is "worse than the apartheid government" and that he would "pray for the downfall of the ANC".

South Africa under Jacob Zuma, the state president and ANC leader, is plagued by the ruling elite's rampant corruption, catastrophic levels of unemployment among the young, income distribution as skewed as anywhere on earth and plummeting education and healthcare provision. Zuma has just spent some R400 million (£32 million) on expanding his lavish private home in Zululand where his five wives and innumerable children live. The expansion includes three sets of air-conditioned underground living quarters reached by lifts, a clinic for the family, a gymnasium, 20 houses for security guards, underground parking and playgrounds. Entry is through a 250-yard-long tunnel from a helipad. Zuma has spent a similar sum on upgrades, including saunas and swimming pools, of his official residences in Cape Town and Pretoria. Zuma seeks a pliant judiciary and lost no time in abolishing the country's independent and top anti-corruption agency, the Scorpions, which tried unsuccessfully to indict him for accepting bribes in a multi-billion rand arms deal with Britain's BAE Systems and other European arms manufacturers.

ANC leaders such as Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale have moved from high-idealism politics to the private sector, becoming Russian-style billionaires. Enrichment displaced racial justice as their key concern. The policy of Black Economic Empowerment became a means for party bosses to feather their nests.

For more on post-apartheid South Africa read the blog Socialist Banner

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