By Thomas C. Mountain
As Nelson Mandela lays on his death bed his legacy as the godfather of neo-Apartheid South Africa has been firmly established.
Today in South Africa life for many if not most is nearly as precarious and undignified as when Mandela was first inaugurated as President some 20 years ago. So the best way to describe “modern” South Africa is it is being oppressed by a new form of apartheid.
But wait a minute, didn’t Mandela’s becoming the first black president of South Africa lead to the restoration of ownership of the land stolen from the African population nearly a hundred years previously by the racist colonial settler Apartheid regime? No, no real land reform for the masses of land less Africans. But Mandela did make sure that the international mining companies got whatever new land they thought they might need.
And while plenty of the country’s staple food, maize(corn), is being grown in South Africa today (South Africa is one of the leading maize exporters in the world) the people of the country still struggle every day to be able to buy enough maize to feed their families.
Speaking of the mining companies, which are the basis of the great wealth of the country, didn’t Mandela at one time promise to nationalize them and use their fabulous wealth to benefit the people of South Africa?
Yes he did promise such and no he didn’t keep his promise. But he did sweep aside all restrictions on the mine owners relocating their headquarters outside the country the better NOT to pay taxes.
And the promise to provide adequate drinking water to ALL the people of South Africa? No, that promise wasn’t kept either, though under his governments leadership Mandela did allow the mining companies to continue to poison the underground water aquifers in many parts of the country.
Didn’t Mandela promise to provide free universal public education to his people? The answer to this question might best be found by asking the miners who went on strike last year in part because they could not afford the school fees for their children.
Isn’t life for South Africa’s people more prosperous, don’t they have more money in their pocket and a better standard of living? According to President Zuma, South Africa’s per capita GDP is 40% more today than 20 years ago when the original Apartheid system was ended.
But the cost of living in the past 20 years has outstripped wage increases resulting in an actual lowering of living standards for the masses of people.
But what about life expectancy and health in general in the country, aren’t South Africans living longer than ever before? No again, life expectancy under Mandela and friends suffered a steep drop from which it has yet to recover, thanks in part to the failure of Mandela and his cronies failing to take the HIV/AIDS pandemic seriously. And today the HIV clinics in South Africa stand empty of much needed medicines due to the the ANC government cutting funding for such.
Once upon a time the liberation ballad sung by the ANC headed by Mandela included the refrain “One Settler, One Bullet”. Today some suspect the toasts made in the board rooms of the multinationals plundering South Africa are begun by declaring “One Miner, One Bullet” as the South Africa police at the behest of both the ANC and mine owners have begun, once again, to open fire on striking miners.
So life is little better for most South Africans and the whites still own the land and mines. Food, water, education and drugs to fight HIV are all in short supply or completely lacking but one thing not lacking at all is corruption, lots and lots of corruption throughout the ANC lead government. It seems that ALL the top leaders in the ANC, no matter the faction, stand accused of corruption, of lining their own pockets at the expense of the people and the well worn path of such runs directly to Mandela’s front door as well, though no journalist or their editors has yet had the courage to open it and let the truth be known to the world.
Twenty years ago Nelson Mandela was the Father of what became the neo-Apartheid system in South Africa and today, while laying on his death bed he has truly earned the title of Godfather of Neo-Apartheid, for what else can you call what is officially the most unequal system of social equality in the world today, modern, “Post Apartheid” South Africa.
Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com
Republished in The Balochistan Point on July 9, 2013