OpinionWorld News

South Africa, Putin’s Marxist cadres and the ICJ

Anglo-American nations blissfully ignore Africa's strong connection to despotic regimes and persist in their simplistic approach toward these countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor at the U.S. Department of State in Washington on Sept. 15, 2022. Credit: Freddie Everett/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor at the U.S. Department of State in Washington on Sept. 15, 2022. Credit: Freddie Everett/U.S. State Department.
Nils A. Haug
Nils A. Haug is an author and columnist. A trial lawyer by profession, he is member of the International Bar Association, the National Association of Scholars and the Academy of Philosophy and Letters. Retired from law, his particular field of interest is political theory interconnected with current events. He holds a Ph.D. in Apologetical Theology. Haug is author of "Politics, Law, and Disorder in the Garden of Eden – the Quest for Identity" and "Enemies of the Innocent – Life, Truth, and Meaning in a Dark Age." His work has appeared in First Things, The American Mind, Quadrant, Minding the Campus and The Gatestone Institute.

In South Africa, the most important benefactor of the African National Congress party since independence in 1994, providing military support for years, was the former Soviet Union. Despite exhibiting a veneer of democracy, the ANC and their associates remain fervently Communist-Socialist, adopt Marxist-Leninist socialist dogma as their political worldview and hold Russian President Vladimir Putin in high regard.

In the three decades since the neo-Marxist ANC commenced its rule, however, South Africa, as a country rich in natural resources and with a hitherto first-class private business sector, has been experiencing a depressing unofficial unemployment rate of nearly 40%, with daily electric power “load-shedding” nationally, a compromised water supply and endemic corruption at every level of government—generally to the benefit of a politically connected elite.

During November 2023, for instance, the Office of the Auditor-General estimated that more than 12 billion rands ($651.5 million) were lost the previous financial year through corruption in government departments. In fact, the authorities have no real idea of the exact amounts involved, as trillions have been “lost” through corruption and maladministration over the last 30 years, severely weakening the country’s financial solvency.

The official implementation of Communist “cadre deployment” strategies in all sectors of the public sector has severely damaged one of Africa’s largest and most vibrant economies. Apart from government departments, all state-owned enterprises (SOE) are bankrupt, dysfunctional and crippled by endemic corruption through ANC appointed cadre directors and managers. These personages draw substantial salaries but are incapable of fulfilling their designated functions competently or at all.

SOE examples include the sole mandated supplier of electricity, ESCOM; the national broadcaster, SABC; the national airline, SAA, the national Post Office and so on. Long-suffering taxpayers fund these nationalized entities year after year with no improvement in sight.

All major arms of government and the public sector appear to be dominated by socialist, unionized, ANC-appointed loyalists, resulting in a centrally controlled, dysfunctional public sector designed to generate political allegiance to the regime. South Africa’s government employees are considered the highest-paid in the world, relatively speaking, as are politicians at all levels, from local to provincial and national. This situation has led to highly competitive elections, particularly at local level, for the enticing rewards of office. Ironically, the practice has also led to a compromise of democratic principles as elected officials are constantly under threat of assassination. As a result, many persons of integrity are dissuaded from seeking office.

Since July 2018—in one province alone, Kwa-Zulu Natal—more than 150 politicians, either elected or standing for election, have been assassinated. In addition, 300 cases of politically motivated crimes such as attempted murder, intimidation and conspiracy to murder are under investigation. The situation in other provinces is basically no different.

Embracing the standard Marxist dualism between “oppressors” and “oppressed,” the ANC implements draconian racist restrictions on the “colonialist” white race group (to a lesser degree on Indian and mixed-race communities), effectively prohibiting them from entering the public-sector tender-driven economy on an equal footing.

In the private sector, ANC racial requirements, at all levels, compromise traditional capitalism and freedom of trade, going so far as to subject private real estate agents to calamitous racial standards.

In November 2023, short-sighted regulations were promulgated by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (a misnomer), allowing permits for the export of agricultural products (a mainstay of the economy) to be issued only to those entities complying with drastic racially-defined requirements under Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) rules. Here, the ANC in its pursuit of total control of all facets of the economy further reveal their statist ideology in seeking a nuanced neo-Marxian utopia.

The inept ANC cannot manage its own party finances, even though it is the largest political party in a somewhat sophisticated African country. During the first week of December 2023, the High Court Sheriff served a Warrant of Attachment and Execution on ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, as a result of an unpaid civil debt amounting to millions of rands. In the process, the ANC’s bank accounts and assets were seized. This is not their first financial crisis: ANC employees have frequently gone without wages due to cash flow issues.

The ANC’s brutal racist intervention in South Africa’s economy, adversely affecting the social life of citizens, suggests a form of “revenge Apartheid.” Notwithstanding that Apartheid ended in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela as president, in the ensuing 30 years the country has become more racist than ever. Whites born after 1994 who knew nothing of Apartheid are discriminated against as they struggle, irrespective of merit, to obtain access to certain educational institutes, such as medical schools. Whites are prejudiced against both in the public sector and private sector economies—the latter due to demographic racial requirements newly imposed on large corporations.

Irrespective of enticements and preferential U.S. and European trade conditions (such as AGOA—the African Growth and Opportunity Act), and with billions of dollars in annual financial benefits through USAID and others, southern African countries do not support the West when it counts. At the United Nations, for instance, they vote against (or abstain from) condemnation of Russia for the Ukraine invasion.

Instead, in early 2023, South Africa conducted joint military exercises with Russia and China and, according to the U.S. Embassy, allegedly supplied a sanctioned Russian warship with matériel, presumably for the Ukrainian war. In late April 2024, giant Russian cargo-aircraft collected military goods in South Africa ostensibly for delivery to defense force troops stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Predictably, the ANC strongly supports the terrorist movement Hamas, despite the atrocities it perpetrated on innocent civilians in Israel that fateful day in October 2023. Hamas operates offices in Cape Town, unofficially sanctioned by the ANC but to the disgust of many South Africans, including the main opposition Democratic Alliance party. On Dec. 5, Hamas officials attended a memorial for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The officials included Bassem Naim, erstwhile Gazan health minister, and Khaled Qaddoumi, Hamas envoy to Iran.

To support the jihadist agenda, a recent report indicated that South African religious Muslim students flew to Syria carrying suitcases full of cash donated to Islamist terrorists. On May 10, the South African government, led by Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, hosted the inaugural “Global Anti-Apartheid Conference on Palestine” aimed at gathering all anti-Israel activists, both state and non-state actors. The given agenda was to create a “global movement to dismantle Israel’s settler colonialism and apartheid.”

Here, too, the ANC emulates Putin’s stance on Israel, while ignoring Hamas’s slaughter of innocents. In early November 2023, the editor of the South African Jewish Report wrote that South Africa’s foreign minister “congratulated Hamas on the success of their operation.” He adds the minister’s view accords with the “ANC line which supports Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Cuba.” In the same perverse mode, an ANC spokesman declared “the decision by Palestinians to respond to the brutality of the settler Israeli apartheid regime is unsurprising.”

To further publicize South African political support for revolutionary jihadists supported by Iran, on March 25, the progressive University of Cape Town hosted a Zoom conference with Hezbollah and Hamas, which have never been designated in South Africa as terrorist organizations.

Iran and the ANC also enjoy a close relationship, and few doubt that Iran’s funding enables the ANC to pursue their ani-West agenda.

The ANC has historic alliances with Palestinians, initially through Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. They confirmed their allegiance to Hamas when downgrading their Tel Aviv embassy to a liaison office and voting to shutter Israel’s embassy in South Africa. The ANC recalled their ambassador in 2018, indicating their future stance on Israel some six years back.

In November 2023, the ANC indicated its intention to rename Johannesburg’s most prominent street, Sandton Drive, after noted Palestinian activist and airplane hijacker Leila Khaled. Later in 2023, the ANC, on behalf of the South African government, brought charges of genocide against Israel in the International Court of Justice.

This case seems to be another fatuous endeavor by the ANC for prominence, and one which has generated much criticism not only from Israel but also the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Many feel that the ANC is an embarrassment to South Africa.

The Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein, spoke for many South Africans on the Israel-Hamas conflict when he explained that the ANC has effectively “turned its back on Western values, and expressed its support for countries and organizations that subscribe to terror as a measure and method of governance.”

Once in power, liberation movements rarely appear capable of transforming into successful democratic governments. Revolutionaries seem never to change their fundamental ideology: They seek power above all else. Craving respect as international power brokers, the maladroit ANC elite make seemingly irrelevant peace trips to Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere, while demanding an urgent BRICS head-of-state meeting on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The explanation for ANC mismanagement of South African life can be demonstrated by the typical anarchist mode of res delenda est—everything Western, regarded as colonialist or imperialist, must be destroyed and recreated according to atheist, socialist, dogma (the ANC’s ideological ideal), in pursuit of a revolutionary version of pseudo-egalitarian social justice.

The historic ties of some African countries to the totalitarian countries of Russia, Cuba and China and to revolutionary movements such as Hamas are as strong as ever. Through BRICS and other forums aligned with anti-Western actors, these African countries oppose the West with impunity and reject any pretense of joining the West’s sphere of nations with their liberal democratic traditions.

Anglo-American nations blissfully ignore Africa’s strong connection to despotic regimes and persist in their simplistic approach toward these countries by showering them with financial incentives and arranging unproductive conferences such as annual meetings of the United States and African Union Commission (AUC) in Washington, D.C.

African countries gladly accept the offered funds while remaining aligned to totalitarian regimes. Financial enticements by the West for the purposes of gaining favor are made in vain: These leaders remain, at their core, Marxist revolutionaries imposing extreme socialist policies on their populace, unfortunately leading to the demise of hitherto prosperous and productive economies.

Until a positive regime change occurs, no improvement in the lives of the average citizen can be expected. The people get poorer by the day. The 2021 mass uprising by the populace in South Africa revealed justified anger with the current political and economic situation, the unacceptably high unemployment rate and the absence of hope for the future. The dim prospects of the poor, which led to the protest and resulted in millions of dollars in damage to the economy, have not improved. There is therefore every reason to expect another uprising in the not too distant future. Such unrest will no doubt be exploited by an ANC kleptocracy for the further entrenchment of their regime. They, as other leaders, have little inclination to relinquish power. In the meantime, these countries continue to strengthen their ties to Russia, Cuba and China.

Realistic hope turns to despair for southern Africa’s political and economic future, particularly South Africa, which is fast approaching a failed state.

A 2023 Harvard Kennedy Business School study describes the cause as “collapsing state capacity and spatial exclusion”—which translates as state inefficiency and the exclusion of whites from certain aspects of the economy. The same can be said of Zimbabwe (very much a failed state), Namibia and others. It was Lord Acton who pointed out in 1834 that “false principles cannot serve as a basis for reconstruction of civil society.” Consequently, skilled workers continue to depart the country in droves.

This is the complex world of southern African politics, whose leaders present lip service to the Western ideals of democracy while accepting generous global hand-outs—usually offered, unfortunately, with no demands for accountability.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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