July 2024

I apologise for slandering the good people of South Africa by suggesting they weren’t stupid enough to start a civil war

Yesterday on my blog “Has the last honest person in South Africa just died?” I foolishly suggested that South Africans were not stupid enough to let their country descend into the kind of useless, destructive civil war typically seen in most African countries. I wrote “There is no danger of the country descending into the kind of tribal civil war so beloved of most African countries. The danger to South Africa is widespread corruption practised by the political and bureaucratic classes“.

I sincerely apologise for this. What I meant was that for the next maybe 5 years there was little danger of South Africans destroying their country in a tribal civil war. However, I worry that within 10 to 15 years, our South African friends will decide to start massacring each other and ruining their country. Here are three possible scenarios for South Africa’s future:

1. Growing prosperity – Jacob Zuma and his ANC cronies decide that corruption is really not a very good thing. So they all become totally honest and the country’s massive earnings are reinvested in schools, hospitals, universities, roads, sanitation, electricity and all the other things that lead to development and increasing national wealth for the majority (In your dreams! ed.)

2. Growing corruption and economic stagnation – the country continues on its present course where much of the money earmarked for inward investment mysteriously ends up either in the brimming offshore bank accounts of the ruling elites or else at their local Mercedes dealerships. So, schools don’t get built and pupils are taught without books in shacks. With few people being educated, no universities are built. Tens of millions continue to live in squalor without sanitation or electricity. And the corrupt  rich become richer and more corrupt and richer and more corrupt.

3. Tribal civil war – I believe that while he was alive, Mandela acted like a kind of moral anchor. Just his presence prevented some of the worst abuses of power. But now he has gone, all bets are off. What might now happen is that Jacob “Mugabe” Zuma decides to expropriate white-owned assets, particularly farmland just like his hero Robert. That would be OK if the farms were given to South Africans with agricultural education who know how to run the farms productively and profitably. But most will probably be given to ANC bigwigs and other members of the ruling elite – and most will probably be given to members of Jacob Zuma’s Zulu ethnic group (I cannot write ‘tribe’ as that is now deemed condescending and politically incorrect).

This favouring of ANC bosses (particularly Zulus) will be resented by the other ethnic groups. (There are about 9 million Zulus, 7 million Xhosas, 6 million Sothos and 20 million from other ethnic groups in South Africa’s 42 million black African population). Moreover, food production will collapse and food prices will shoot up. This won’t affect the ruling elites, but the rising prices will be disastrous for the poor. There will be protests. They will probably start in the mines where I think mainly Xhosas work (though I may be wrong) or in the townships:

This will lead to a government crackdown and growing unpopularity for the ruling ANC kleptocrats. Seeing that it could lose power, the ANC will use Mugabe-style creative tactics (dead people voting, supporters being bussed around to vote in many districts, opposition supporters being removed from electoral rolls etc) to keep power.

Next step will be widespread unrest as people protest about a “stolen election”. The ANC will, of course deny any wrongdoing, will accuse “foreign agitators” (maybe even Britain) for causing the trouble and will launch a crackdown on the opposition. Seeing that they can achieve nothing through democratic means, people will resort to violence and there will be attacks on Zulu property and possibly small local massacres. These will lead to reprisals. The situation will escalate and soon we’ll have what so easily could have been avoided – a full-scale civil war.

Is a South African civil war avoidable? Yes. Will a South African civil war be avoided? Who knows.

And if a civil war breaks out and all the “experts” express surprise and astonishment that yet another potentially prosperous African country could go from civilisation to barbarism because of the greed and stupidity of its leaders, remember we predicted it all on

3 comments to I apologise for slandering the good people of South Africa by suggesting they weren’t stupid enough to start a civil war

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