Between BBBEE and a Harder Place

Ankh em Maat – Living in truth, justice and cosmic orderWingedIsis

I have just read Andile Khumalo’s article on page 10 of the Sunday Times, August 14 2016/the Business Times section. Titled, ‘Pinnacle ticks the boxes but fails the test: Corporate social investment is masquerading as empowerment‘, the article really made me glad that there are still some intellectuals who are keenly keeping watch on what real black representation in the South African economy means. Even for a person who is not as well versed in the jargon of investments and the macro-economic environment, Khumalo made it plain and simple that there is a crucial difference between the obligatory corporate social investment and what broad-based Black Business empowerment entails.

Personally I am not a great supporter of the BBBEE policies but I understand why theu exist as well meant attempts to address the gross inequities in prevailing in Azania / South Afrika – (Elaborate )

Khumalo asks crucial questions that expose this and most so called BBBEE deals as a fraud. He writes: “How is this effective participation when the company to be empowered is the one writing the script for the broad-based BEE shareholder – founding its trust, appointing its trustees, specifying that half the trustees need to be black and dictating its beneficiary initiatives?”  This is a point he clearly elaborated in the previous paragraphs, elucidating how Pinnacle Holdings sale of some 29.9% of its wholly owned subsidiary DCT Holdings to a BBBEE partner, is flawed; and then he goes on to state:

Deals like this undermine transformation and prove that there remains a tick the box attitude towards broad-based BEE. I am afraid this attitude will remain for as long as broad-based BEE is seen as a “best endeavors” project that relies on nonexistent good faith. Enough is enough, It’s time for the stick.”

One of the other reasons I think that there is no shortcut solution to South Afrika’s socio-economic troubles, is because the whole system is racially based and biased. We need nothing short of a radical revolutionary mass movement advancing a Black First ideal society which will firstly re-humanize the Natives by endowing them with real power. Any attempts at airbrushing and reducing the racial connotations and basis of our inequality is reactionary falsehood that we should disabuse ourselves from.

Following the advise of the Black Consciousness movement’s figure-head Steve Bantu Biko and radical scholars such as Nigeria’s Dr Chinweizu, even many white scholars have long diagnosed this problem as racial in essence. So no amount of colour-blindness and perpetuation of the market-economy or status quo can lead us out of the mire of poverty and corruption. Writing in the New Left Review as early as 1991, John S. Saul analyzed the precarious state of South Afrika’s transition:

South Africa’s system of racial segregation and repression is a veritable paradigm of capitalist super-exploitation. It has a white monopoly capitalist ruling class and an advanced black proletariat. It is so far the only country with a well developed, modern capitalist structure which is not only ‘objectively’ ripe for revolution but has actually entered a stage of overt and seemingly irreversible revolutionary struggle.”

While Saul was paraphrasing Magdoff and Sweezy’s 1986 study of South Afrikan situation, it is clear that ruling ANC entered into was the well documented betrayal of revolution called teh SUnset Clause. In clear language, the ANC did not attempt to dismantle the capitalist structure it found, but instead reestablished themselves as the new black colonialists.

No one exemplifies this class of neo-colonialists/capitalists catapulted to stupendous wealth through BBBEE deals better than the Deputy president of the ANC itself, Cyril Ramaphosa. Thabo Mbeki biographer Gevisser writes ()

On an April evening almost exactly three years to the day South Africans voted Mandela into power, you could watch, at a black-tie dinner in Johannesburg, the dynamics of South African power relations change before your eyes. The dinner celebrated the deal in which Anglo-American the vast mining house that rules the the South African economy – sold a controlling share of Johnnic, a $2 billion company with blue-chip industrial holdings, to a group of black businesses and trade unions called the National Empowerment Consortium (NEC), led by Cyril Ramaphosa. ‘I think’, said Anglo-American’s Michael Spicer when introducing Johnnic’s new head, ‘we can call you chairman Cyril rather than comrade Cyril.’ Replied the former trade unionist who led the mineworkers’ charge against the company a decade ago: ‘It’s wonderful to have Anglo as a minority shareholder!’ “Ramaphosa, the man most responsible for organizing the working masses into the collective action that brought apartheid to its knees, no leads another charge: an advance, by the mushrooming black middle class, on the commanding heights of the economy. The corporate sector is crowing. ‘Cyril Ramaphosa was the man who built unions in the 80’s’, one very senior Anglo-American executive tells me, ‘and he’ll be the one to break them in the nineties.‘ ( Gevisser 1997)

The white executive was eerily prescient since Ramaphosa did much more than just break unions and follow Thabo Mbeki’s plan Black middleclass at the expense of the poor black majority, he is now in the 2000’s, suspect number 1, fingered for the murder of 44 miners in Marikana’s London Mines. This is just a quick and vivid example of how white supremacist power corrupts absolutely and how neither social corporate investment, BBBEE or neo-liberalism can create a really new society out of us as South Afrikans/Azanians. The only way is to educate to emancipate.

Make Land return to black majority a priority and a reality and ensure that Education is decisively Afrika-logical and addresses our pressing needs. We must be rulers of our own destiny, overcoming petty prejudices and party lines. One principle uniting us. LAND in Ma’at.

The revolution will not be sustained while the economy is still controlled by the minority and the ruling party is more notorious for corruption and striking self-enrichment deals with former oppressors, rather than setting new standards of excellence and economic inclusion.The masses themselves must be king-makers, the call of Amandla Awethu ( Power to the People) must be realized sooner than later, since almost 20 years of have yielded nothing of relevance.

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen an Government officials, but the voters of this country.“- Frankilin D. Roosevelt

Nice advise from one of the United States of America’s former presidents, but since we as black people are also skeptical of the real benefits of democracy, we would rather do what Mwalimu Nyerere advised and advance our own radical governing systems, our own ethos and our own methods of economic developement based on our own lessons and indigenous knowledge systems.

 

 

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