ANC bound to lose power, Moeletsi Mbeki predicts
The ANC is bound to lose power before too long to a new party that is likely to emerge from an alliance between organised labour and big business, author and entrepreneur Mr Moeletsi Mbeki predicted on Friday, 11 May 2012.
He was addressing Stellenbosch University (SU) students and staff on issues raised in his new book, Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges (Picador Africa). The event took place at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, and was organised by the University’s Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Student Leadership Development.
Mbeki, brother of former President Thabo Mbeki and son of Rivionia trialist, the late Govan Mbeki, said an alliance between labour and business was not as unlikely as it sounded because both groups wanted to see investment in the country’s industrial sector in order to promote development and alleviate poverty.
“Instead, under the current government, South Africa, which has huge potential, is trapped in a downward spiral of deindustrialisation, growing insecurity, capital flight and worsening inequality as the political elite look after their own interests.”
Mbeki said “the primary challenge of South Africa is that 50-70% of the population is living in poverty, with unemployment standing at 34%.”
He pointed out that the poor are the ones keeping the ANC in power. They vote for the governing party because they get social grants, but this just allows them to keep head above water and sooner or later it will not be good enough for them anymore.
“People are right to be unhappy and they are right to go out onto the streets. The economy is being mismanaged and corruption is a big threat. The political elite are paying themselves massive salaries while the poor get crumbs, yet they were the ones who made all made the sacrifices to change South Africa. They are entitled to better treatment. I fully support service delivery protests.”
He warned of “grave consequences” if the country continues along its current path, and said there was a “new political awakening” taking place.
“The potential for revolution, like we saw in Tunisia in 2010/2011, is very high. The North African nations and South Africa are the only middle-income countries on the continent. You have a relatively well-educated population that has high expectations, but the economic system is not delivering. That’s when things go wrong.”
Mbeki said the economic elite does not have confidence in the government’s policies and are therefore taking their money abroad.
“In 2007 alone, R20 billion flowed out of the country illegally. Up to 20% of our GDP is lost to South Africa annually in this way.”
Mbeki warned that independent groupings in civil society could expect the government to clamp down on them as it tried to maintain a grip on power. He pointed to the threat to media freedom posed by the “Secrecy Bill” (the Protection of State Information Bill), and “President Zuma’s attempt to control the judiciary and the Constitutional Court through his appointment of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as Chief Justice.”
Regarding solutions, Mbeki said: “We have to run a proper education system, and we have to invest in new industries. That’s how you create jobs, solve poverty, solve unemployment. There is nothing mysterious about it.”
Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Student Leadership Development is named after a former Chancellor of the University, Dr Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert. It was established in 2011 and is the first of its kind within higher education in South Africa. It forms part of the University’s HOPE Project, a campus-wide initiative to tackle developmental challenges in society.
“Conversations like this enhance our ability to think about our context and where we should be in our country and on our continent. This University invests heavily in its students to ensure that they can be role players and change agents to take us forward, said the Institute’s head, Dr Leslie van Rooi. – DESMOND THOMPSON
- Visit http://www.kalahari.com/books/Advocates-for-change/632/41320975.aspx for more information on Mr Moeletsi Mbeki’s book, Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges (Picador Africa).