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Johannesburg. Stock photo: Unsplash

It all used to work like clockwork in South Africa!

The major Western powers foisted the ANC onto South Africa in the early 1990s. After a quarter century the country is just a shadow of its former self, writes Gabrielle Graser.

Published: May 15, 2021, 7:54 pm

    Destruction, thy name is African National Congress! Disintegration, degradation, decay and denial are the hallmarks of this organisation which the world hailed as the saviour of South Africa. Currently going viral is a black Boksburg resident’s WhatsApp video of a crumbling Boksburg East railway station. He laments the “apocalyptic” ruination of a once beautiful concourse east of Johannesburg. The rails are “on air” because the wooden sleepers have been stolen, while on a nearby line, the iron rails have been plundered, leaving the sleepers to rot in the sun. “The ANC has messed up big time” says the Boksburg resident. “Things used to run like clockwork under apartheid. Like a Swiss clock. No one can mess up like the ANC. They are useless. They are criminal – they are good at destruction.” He declares that “we are doomed”.

    Railway tracks have been stolen all over the country. Between Brakpan and Springs on this same East rand, virtually nothing is left: rails and sleepers have disappeared. Overhead electricity lines have been stolen, supporting poles are bent or broken, while security fencing has been carted off in trucks and wheelbarrows. The Springs railway police, a unit responsible for patrolling this particular corridor, are not around: not a single vehicle is available to monitor this rail environment.

    These examples are the tip of the iceberg. Throughout South Africa, our once world-class railway system is being plundered piece by piece. In addition, most of the country’s ancillary roads are illusions – they have become like the rest of Africa – potholes, no side tar edging, grass growing its way into the road centre. Verges and sidewalks have become small forests, as high as a man. Everyone sees the decay but the ANC doesn’t care – they are concentrating on winning the next election. Pillaging has become a way of life for them: they are people whose ability to parasite is second to none. No matter how much president Ramaphosa pumps up his fairy stories about new projects and exciting investments , third world dissipation has taken over. We know the signs – we see it all over Africa. Does the ANC see this disintegration? Someone said they see nothing ugly and they see nothing beautiful. As one former Transkei official told a visiting American many years ago, “we don’t care if the roads turn to dust, as long as we get rid of the whites”. Their roads of course did turn to dust.

    What a tragedy to watch one’s country disintegrate under a destructive force calling itself a government, a rag tag bunch of bush revolutionaries whose only claim to fame is that they are proficient at terror, corruption and destruction. Those responsible for assisting this travesty – the British, American and sundry European governments – are now averting their eyes. The overseas press is silent, while churches both here and abroad occasionally rap the ANC plunderers’ knuckles. But there is no definitive call to get rid of this ANC plague, in contrast to the world’s cacophony to defeat “white minority rule” in South Africa. The country’s citizens of all races pay the price for this international cowardice and political correctness.


    In a recent merciless editorial, political commentator Gareth van Onselen talks of a dying city, Johannesburg, once the star of Africa. “You can map Johannesburg’s decay, using official numbers and statistics – debt, maintenance backlogs, inner-city investment. They paint a depressing picture. But off the record and between the lines, there are no numbers. They are too big. But they are the city’s real condition. You can no longer properly quantify the degradation. It has spiralled past the point of control. Managing the city is no longer an exercise in damage control so much as it is an exercise in uncontrolled damage. Age and disrepair mean the city’s infrastructure has turned in on itself – the more it is fixed, the more it breaks”.

    Continues van Onselen: “Take (electricity) load shedding. (Read: blackouts). Cut the electricity and fuses blow, sub-stations explode and cell phone reception dies. The skeleton that underpins the city is so malnourished, so weak and fragile, that to suspend the blood supply for a moment means any number of bones break, and supporting tissue tears. All the while, residents are asked to “play their part”, to watch consumption for, as Rand Water puts it, the system might “collapse”. It’s a kind of polite blackmail, but with the blackmailer who never keeps up his end of the bargain. The more citizens play their part, the worse things seem to get.”

    Beyond redemption

    “There is no money”, says van Onselen. “For anything. Measure the city against its true debt and it is not just bankrupt but beyond redemption. There is no sum of money that could fix all of this in fifty years. The cost grows to outstrip income two to one on any given day. At night Johannesburg goes dark. Street lights don’t work, or are kept off to save electricity. If it rains, the city turns into a series of tributaries as blocked or broken drains overflow and the roads become rivers. The torrents sweep away more infrastructure with them. There are many things you take for granted in a city – greenery for instance. Johannesburg once touted itself as one of the most treed cities in the world. Today the trees are dying. They are infected with the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle. The whole city is sick. You see these sicknesses everywhere – incompetence, greed, corruption. It’s rotten to the core and there is no sign of new life, on any front.”

    “Johannesburg is terminal. Those places people meet and pass each other by – train stations, bus stops, bridges, public swimming pools and parks – are falling apart. You do not meet there, as you might in a functioning, healthy city, but you get away from them, as fast as you can, if only because the place itself is so unpleasant, so neglected and dirty. Stay and you can almost see things fall apart. You can watch the paint peel, or a wall crumble. It happens in real time.”

    “Technically you could agree that Johannesburg is a city” says van Onselen, “but only technically. In truth it is just an idea. It is a battle ground where you fight to keep up the pretence of order in the face of an ever -increasing entropy that has taken on a life of its own. Ultimately there will only be one winner.”

    Wholesale fraud

    The story behind the rot is the deployment of ANC political pals to jobs for which they are hopelessly unqualified. But these deployees don’t care, and nor does the ANC government. Perusing advertisements for these jobs, it is clear that great fraud is being perpetrated against the citizens of South Africa. Despite the president’s stentorian pronouncements that race is not a yardstick for competence, he ensures that his government’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy is well and truly embedded in all state job offers. In other words, whites need not apply. Political friends are given the jobs, while the qualifications needed to satisfy the job performance are not even considered. What the South African Qualifications Authority is doing with its time is moot, but it is certainly not overseeing this particular fraudulent practice. Many of the political deployees to these positions could not meet the employment requirements in a hundred years.

    After the ANC takeover in 1994, one Johannesburg municipality saw ANC cadres simply walk into the then-occupied offices and advise the occupants that the ANC was now running the show “and if you don’t like it you can go”. There was not the slightest shame or discomfort that these nouveau political appointees could not possibly do their jobs. That matter was of no consequence – the ANC was in charge and that was that. The decay set in as the competent class packed up and left. These instant replacements’ salaries started at around R1 million a year, and they proceeded to demand huge increases annually. Productivity took a dive. Says a black commentator discussing ANC comrades in government service (Mail & Guardian 9.4.21): “Looking at ANC comrades who should never have aspired to public service, the rot and malfeasance oozes from every pore, but they hold on to public office and the power that comes with it. They have benefactors who fund their life of luxury yet never hesitate to appropriate the struggles of the poor with slogans that begin with “our people”. Acting on principle and in the interest of the nation is a fool’s pastime, they believe”.

    The recent news that 35% – more than 3 300 of the 9477 senior managers in national and provincial departments – do not have the necessary qualifications for their jobs is no surprise. These departments include, crucially, the police and the department of justice and correctional services, inter alia. How did the ANC get away with this? Did these people actually apply for jobs advertised, or did they simply march into the offices on instructions from Luthuli House? Is president Ramaphosa aware of this? Of course he is. It is significant that the president himself was at one stage on the ANC’s cadre deployment committee!
    One of the more bizarre offshoots of this farce is the media coverage of various ANC mayors and managers currently and very publicly filling potholes on South Africa’s roads, suddenly aware that these holes were causing not only vehicle damage but deaths. Couldn’t they see the potholes over the years? Jacob Mamabolo, Gauteng’s MEC for roads and traffic, thanked a newspaper reporter for “bringing the question of potholes to his attention”. So what usually takes his attention?

    The public has moved in to repair roads, sewage plants, electrical substations, water pumps and other appurtenances of municipal infrastructure. Judges have ordered this action as citizens dip into their pockets to approach the courts so that they themselves can fix the country. Those in power do not apologise, nor do they feel shame. What drives these ANC people? What is in their DNA that they firstly destroy, then hang on to their jobs while others fix their destruction? Where else in the world does one find this mentality? Jobs for pals and the retention of power is the same primal mentality we find in the more primitive African countries. This is not to say that there are not pockets of first world competence, cleanliness, and sound structure in South Africa, but not courtesy of the ANC. Where they are in charge, mayhem rules. Millions of concerned South Africans do their best to try and live with dignity, but it’s an uphill battle. Cape Town for example is still one of the world’s most beautiful cities but of late it has suffered terrible fires allegedly started by homeless people who have simply taken up residence there, living on the streets. One Tanzanian man who lost his tent said he had been living without papers in Cape Town for ten years. There are millions like him all over South Africa.

    Crime index

    The international Crime Index 2021 carried out by statistics website says six of South Africa’s cities are ranked within the twenty most dangerous in the world. After Caracas in Venezuela and Port Moresby in New Guinea – the two most dangerous cities – Pretoria comes in at number three, Durban fourth, Johannesburg fifth, Pietermaritzburg seventh and Port Elizabeth 14th. Nineteenth is Cape Town. Comparably, Baghdad is 55, Syria’s Damascus 31and Bogota, Columbia 58. How’s that for Nelson Mandela’s legacy! Abu Dhabi, an autocratic dictatorship in the United Arab Emirates is placed at number one, with Dubai and Sharjah, both in the same UAE and also dictatorships, in the first ten in the world for safety and security. South Africa’s cities only emerged as hell holes under the ANC’s so-called democracy. Who convinced the people who gave our country to the ANC that democracy was the answer? These persuaders are today as silent as the grave.

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    • Eric the Red

      No discussion is necessary. Everyone knows the real reason why this is happening, but nobody is allowed to state it clearly and directly. Instead they must dance around the issue, using tepid language that will have absolutely no effect on improving the situation. The future can only be complete decay. Oh well. At least we can all pat ourselves on the back that we are supremely moral.

    • oromae

      The USA is on a vector to the same end.


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