Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The wilful destruction of South Africa


My former homeland, South Africa, is in a terrible mess.  Der Spiegel recently ran an in-depth article looking at the state of the country, and didn't hold back.  The original article is behind a paywall, but an unrestricted copy is available here.

On social media, the ANC power apparatus is now referred to as a kakistocracy, government by the least competent. This lack of competence has long since trickled down from the very top to the lowest administrative levels and ultimately encompassed the entire country. ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula even admitted recently that "if certain things are not resolved, we will become a failed state." He also added that South Africa was facing high levels of corruption. Neither he nor other senior ANC officials responded to repeated DER SPIEGEL requests for comment.

. . .

About half of sub-Saharan Africa’s total rail lines are in South Africa. But the trains no longer operate regularly, if they run at all.

Furthermore, in the fiscal year of 2021-2022, around 1,500 kilometers of copper cable was stolen, says Transnet, the state-owned company responsible for rail service in the country. Infrastructure theft has become a lucrative revenue stream for organized crime, and they don’t just target the high-voltage lines owned by the railway. In the townships, gangs dig down to the power cables and pull them out of the ground using pickup trucks. The power utility in Johannesburg registered more than 2,000 such cases and similar that same fiscal year alone. Copper wiring is even stolen from hospitals, likely destined for sale abroad.

South Africa now exports more copper than its mines produce.

Behind the walls along the tracks in Jeppestown, the imposing skyline of Johannesburg juts into the sky, a metropolis built on gold and a place where mining magnates used to live in vast palaces. Today, many parts of the city center look little different than a slum. Opulent Art Deco facades are crumbling while homeless people are living in abandoned offices and skyscrapers, cooking over open fires. Just last week, a massive fire consumed one of these illegally squatted buildings, killing more than 70 people.

Large sections of the city lie in complete darkness at night, the result of widespread power outages and because the streetlights on major arterials have all been stripped of anything of value. Hundreds of trains sit motionless outside the train station, rusting away. Rail travel in the city has collapsed.

Fears of crime and violence have grown widespread. Those who can afford it have moved out of the city to the affluent suburbs, living in houses surrounded by high walls and electric fences.

. . .

"9910. That was the train I used to take to work every day. The last one ran six years ago," an aging Black man says in disgust as he walks past the station entrance. He adds caustically: "We used to have work when the whites were in charge, and life was better."

It’s hard to believe: A 60-year-old Black man, who was oppressed and exploited for half his life, misses the Apartheid era?

There's much more at the link.  Recommended reading.

Knowing all the areas described, I find it heartbreaking that a country with so much promise has fallen so far.  Nevertheless, I continue to believe that apartheid, with all its evils, had to go.  It was intrinsically evil - evil in and of itself - and despite being better organized than post-apartheid society, treated people as sub-human, things rather than individuals.  On racial issues, it had a lot in common with Nazi ideology.  I've written about its evils before, so I won't go into them again here.  If you haven't read that earlier article, you might find it informative.

I know I'm going to hear all sorts of ill-informed and racist comments along the lines of "This is what happens when you let black people run the place".  No, it's not.  Consider:

  • Venezuela in South America is as bad, if not worse.  The same goes for parts of Mexico, Guatemala and other nations in the area.
  • Asian hell-holes like Myanmar are the same.
  • West Coast American states (yes, California, Oregon and Washington) have areas and cities that are just as bad in parts, if not worse.  In fact, consider any "big blue" US city and you'll find areas with similar conditions.
Black people are not a majority in most of those countries and places - yet they exhibit the same breakdown of society and social order as South Africa.  It's not race.  It's culture, and the lack of basic education, sound leadership and moral order, that's at the root of all those problem areas.  Remove those aspects, those values, and any society will fall apart, no matter what race(s) is/are involved.

That said, when I remember what South Africa was, and compare it to what it is now . . . it's still heartbreaking.



Anonymous said...

The other thing is that, long-term, apartheid was simply unsustainable. 10% of the population can't get away with treating 80% of the population like dirt forever, especially when that 80% has outside support. Rhodesia learned that lesson the hard way.

(Also, compare and contrast South Africa with Namibia and Botswana, both of which are reasonably functional states, if still poor.)

Steve said...

You speak as if a Christian religious belief system should be the foundation of society.
Heh, imagine that. Morals from something other than a human perspective.

Anonymous said...

As a retired engineer, I agree with your contention that "This is what happens when you let black people run the place" is not really, not fully, a true statement.

\It falls short of the truth.

Using your examples, this is what happens when blacks, or venezuelans that are communist, or asians (commy and/or muslim), or the extremist democrats of western u.s. are allowed to run the place.


NobobyExpects said...

Transition from apartheid was not well managed. Criminals were considered freedom fighters.

The regional president in exile of Catalonia, one Tarradellas, declared after coming back to Spain that he would respect and use the good things made by Franco, the late dictator.

Most politicians successors to a dictatorial regime, instead, act as if anything was done by the previous regime, then it necessarily had to be evil, even if there were solid, objective, technical, and scientific reasons for some aspects, procedures, etc. For instance, do not steal power wiring.

From there the rule of the Mob is only a short way away.

Saddest thing, the only foreseeable solution for South Africa is a Chinese invasion.

Anonymous said...

The commonality between all the places you mention is that they are run by self professed liberals.

Unfortunately, much of Europe isn't far behind, and China is facing major problems; the world is descending (back) into chaos, corruption, and oligarchy... The coming century will be rough...

Mind your own business said...

This is what happens when you let Communists and Socialists run the place.
Especially tribal ones.

Anonymous said...

But, Wakanda!

Anonymous said...

The difference between black Africa and Europe is culture, but in a specific manner.
Europe is a group of national cultures, which are / were generally high-trust at least within their own nation.
Africa, because borders are lines on a map, has far more tribal cultures than national cultures, and those are generally low-trust, except within the immediate clan. Outsiders are not trusted, because they will certainly favor their clan over making a fair business deal with someone who is to them an outsider.
The distinctions are not so clear among American blacks, because of the public school education that they are victims of white oppression, and powerless to change their circumstances. That teaching is one of the most egregiously evil teachings of the Left in America.
John in Indy

Anonymous said...

Your examples are from areas that have bought into an ideology that promises everything, but only ever delivers failure...unexpectedly, of course.

Anonymous said...

What we have now are the morals of an alien.....a non-human. Satan is his name. Do what thou wilt is his creed, "free-will" the mirage, and eternal death is the fruit, pride is the root and unbelief is both means and curse.

James said...

The major cities of the US are within shouting distance of South Africa.

Anonymous said...

Worth noting is that Europe also used to be that way. However, the pressures that moved the peoples of Europe towards where they are now are not present in Africa, and likely will not be.

HMS Defiant said...

I wonder if, like the worlds of H. Beam Piper, the Space Vikings will come and restore the light of civilization.

Chuck said...

Off-topic, but relevant

Paywalls magically disappear using the Brave browser and turning "block scripts" on. Not sure if it works in other browsers.

Zaphod said...


Re Namibia and Botswana:

Diamonds. Smallish populations.

Both countries are face-ravingly disguised wholly-owned subsidiaries of DeBeers. Of course they don't control *everything* that happens in these Almost Wakandas, but they have huge influence over who rules and how the basic infrastructure works and who gets to run it.

If a tractable population in a country not already a total basket case sits on top of vast natural resources, it makes sense to carefully husband their polity and keep things ticking over nicely. If a country is already total shit hole (hello, DRC) then it makes sense for big business to keep it fractured and deal with local warlords.

lynn said...

Sad, very sad. I know several South African refugees here in the USA, they all left SA in the 1980s and 1990s.

How do we keep the USA from going down this road ? We seem to be headed down it at 100 mph.

Ozborn said...

The mind-virus of communism (something for nothing, food for free) reigns to some drgree in all those examples of failure.

Anonymous said...

Using this and other, similar information as a primer on what is coming in the 2030's

lynn said...

> Using this and other, similar information as a primer on what is coming in the 2030's

The pain is predicted to start in 2029 with the failure of the US Dollar. One such prediction is "The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047" by Lionel Shriver.

I still have the number one review on Big River. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

I live in SA. The country is crumbling as we watch. Those who left were right, and we who stayed in our country and worked and hoped for postApartheid prosperity for all - we were utterly wrong.
What a betrayal is taking place, of everything that might have been. You may remember the phrase "gatvol", and though we certainly are, the regime has only to involve the useful spectre of apartheid to demonize all criticism.
Wish you very well Peter, and all those who got themselves and their families out!

halfdar said...

From a conceptual perspective, there is a difference between a given area undergoing systemic collapse because of the general incompetence of those who say they run it, and the same area collapsing because those in charge engage in deliberately destructive policies.
Which of these do you suspect is at play in SA? Zimbabwe? Haiti? DRC? Niger? Liberia? Chicago?

Sometimes, 'racism' is in fact 'truth'. This is becoming increasingly apparent. The difference between the media treatment of 'Try That In a Small Town'(this song incites violence and intolerance), and the 90 000 blacks chanting 'kill the Boer' in a stadium (claims of genocidal racism are unfounded and due to overthinking by fearful whites) tell the story.

It would seem we have to face the fact that our attempts to befriend other cultures have largely failed. I further suspect denials of this idea are dishonest, though I can't confirm.

Hopefully, I am just ignorant.

Mike in Canada

Maniac said...

This sums it up perfectly:

JohninMd.(HELP!) said...

I was born and raised in California, up to the 6th grade. We lived 30 miles east of San Francisco, and visited Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown often, along with the Spanish Missions. I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL...

Anonymous said...

Spot on.

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

Racism is a fake sin designed to keep men from practicing real virtues and eschewing real vices. It's a prostitution of the language in service of a Godless kleptocracy.

And yes, it's culture, not race.