Jonty Fisher
Jonty Fisher

‘South Africa’s going the way of Zimbabwe’

I’m consistently amazed — no, make that, concerned — at the amount of seemingly intelligent people who still hold this opinion. It’s easy to write off the usual suspects for comments like this, but when people in their 30s with professional careers in high-powered positions make a comment like this around dinner tables, it beggars belief. Now I’m never one to begrudge anyone their opinion, but I’d like to blow this myth out of the water.

Firstly, let’s look at presidential politics. Mugabe moved very quickly after freedom to make himself a president for life. At that stage (early 1980s), Zimbabwe was a prosperous country and the world, facing other significant issues, turned a blind eye. Mugabe also made these moves quickly, at a stage when the populace was still blindly following him and, perhaps more importantly, before democratic institutions and checks and balances had found their feet.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution at that stage was also poorly defined and malleable (it was negotiated at Lancaster House in London, as part of a peace agreement ending years of civil war), which Mugabe leveraged very well. Contrast this with South Africa. We have an immensely strong Constitution that not even Thabo Mbeki (with all his paranoia and power politics) has tried to amend through two terms, and that remained robust under all the challenges of Madiba’s presidency.

The Constitution holds independent judiciary and has been well respected by all and sundry within the ANC, the party largely responsible for it. So, 13 years after the fall of apartheid, we still have a strong and unaltered Constitution with a range of weapons against an overbearing president.

In the Loony Tunes version of Zuma’s potential presidency, these same individuals see Zuma being given free reign to change the Constitution, change the entire economic progression of the country and make himself a corrupt, benevolent ruler. How so? What will the half of Cosatu members — supposedly his bedrock of support — that don’t want him as president (Markinor study earlier this year) have to say about that? What will the plenty of power players left in the upper echelons of the ANC say about that? Will Parliament just rubber-stamp any Bill in front of it, regardless of its merit? Will the judiciary stand idly by? These individuals will confidently reply yes to such questions, but there is no logical basis for this assertion, only prejudice.

Secondly, let’s look at the economics. South Africa is an immensely more powerful economy than Zimbabwe ever was. Yes, Zimbabwe was once the “bread basket of Africa”, but that was a reference to its agricultural production, a primary good that was delivered internally and for immediate neighbours. South Africa has a developed-world, complex good economy, strong in service and manufactured goods that makes the country irretrievably connected to the international economy. Look at the pressure Mbeki is under from international leaders about the state of Zimbabwe currently, and that is on humanitarian grounds only. A South African president would find himself or herself under unbearable pressure should any of these “mistakes” be made on his or her watch. Our economy is unbelievably robust, and is infinitely more difficult to ruin as agricultural production, the cornerstone of Zimbabwe’s strength, was by Mugabe.

Thirdly, let’s look at property rights. This is a huge legacy issue in South Africa, and it is incredible how little trouble it has caused thus far. The land-restitution process, although slow, has resolved almost all of the urban land claims peacefully since 1994, with the final claims being resolved by 2008, representing a total of almost 80 000 claims. That is staggering.

Agricultural land is more difficult, and the government is short of its target of 30% redistribution by 2014. However, this process has been slow because of the government’s absolute adherence to the letter of the law, not because of any improprieties. The land-restitution process allows for a willing-buyer, willing-seller process in almost every case, except when the seller is being obstructive in selling price (where a genuine land claim has been made on his or her farm) and negotiations have failed for six months or more. In this case, the government can appoint an independent adjudicator to review the process and decide on a fair selling price for the farm, which is given to the farmer and the land expropriated. This has only happened once so far, and is a far cry of land grabs in Zimbabwe.

Land restitution is something we have to live with in South Africa. That land was taken from people under apartheid, and there has to be restitution for them. Farmers get the full price of their land, and that will not change. In my view, property rights are cemented in the Constitution, and property rights are rock solid in South Africa.

Finally, let’s look at the global situation. South Africa is a strategic player on the world stage, for its position as the economic and political powerhouse of Africa, its control of globally scarce minerals and its importance as an emerging economy for the global economy itself. There are too many players with vested interests in the country for even hints of a “Zimbabwe situation” to occur. With all that’s going on politically in South Africa at present, read the European press, how interested they are in the local occurrences. There’s too much at stake in South Africa for anything to be allowed to flounder here. Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, the same could not be said for that country at the time.

Let’s add to this rebuttal in comments, and build a solid counter-argument for the dinner-party blow-hards. It’s time this was put to bed. And it’s time these apologists put their backs into making our proud nation work, and stop wishing it to fail.

  • titifertat

    You are wrong on one point. I was one young, white female who left this country in 1968, leaving my entire family behind and breaking their hearts and mine in the process.

    Why did I go? Because I was sick of what the Government was doing to all it’s people, both black and white. Blacks didn’t have a total monopoly on suffering during the Apartheid years – some of us whites suffered as well, just in different ways.

    I was lucky. I fell in love with my adopted country (England), did well and have now bought a house here so that I can spend the last few years that my mother has left to live, in closer proximity to her. Unfortunately, it’s too late for my grandmother and my father. What price can you put on the unhappiness my mother endured at never having the pleasure of seeing her granddaughter growing up. Yes, we ALL suffered.

    My brother and his family are now gone too (victims of BEE) so I am all she has left. And, guess what, I am only allowed to come here for three months at a time. Yet more suffering for someone who put the masses before family and nowadays sometimes regrets it, when confronted with reverse racism – and there is plenty of it about.

    I feel no guilt for apartheid – it was not my doing, I didn’t condone it (nor did anyone else in my family) yet by being here now, I am able to support financially, the education of two black children and hopefully do my bit to offer them a better life. This would be one good way for South Africans of all colours to invest in their future rather than resorting to racism and driving people out.

  • Ndumiso Ngcobo

    Titi – “victims of BEE”? That’s a first.

    Do pray tell. I want the whole blow-by-blow shebangs – don’t leave anything out.

    Thanking you in anticipation.

  • titifertat

    Isn’t it odd that you only made one comment – just a little bit touchy don’t you think?! Did I hit a nerve?

    Sure, I’ll give you a blow by blow account.

    My brother was a structural engineer with more than 30 years experience in one of SA’s major engineering groups. He had to stand by and have someone totally unsuited for the job, promoted over him. The man made numerous errors which my brother had to cover up. He now works for a major US engineering group where he is promoted on his skills and not held back by his colour.

    My niece qualified as a junior school teacher but could not get a job in a government school. She was not interested in the private sector as she wanted to make a contribution to people who really needed her. She now works in the US school system in a predominantly black area.

    My nephew was an IT specialist who could not get a job either other than in a fast food establishment. He now works for Apple in the US.

    They left SA in 1995. Perhaps things would have been different now but they couldn’t afford to stay and find out.

    One thing is for sure though, the US has certainly benefited from skills that South Africa could well do with now and they won’t be coming back – they are now all US citizens and totally comitted to their new homeland.

    These two kids are now also separated from their mother who still lives in SA as her ailing parents needed her.

    So, another generation of white South Africans has been split – and this time not by apartheid but by reverse apartheid. When will it all end?.

    As I said previously, we have all suffered but in different ways. It’s time we buried the past and got on with the future so that no more highly skilled people (both black and white) are forced abroad.

  • Ndumiso Ngcobo

    Titty, it takes a little bit me more to get me riled up. I was just mocking you.

    Now that we know your concept of BEE is a little warped, we can move on. So, your problem is with AA. Old argument, been there, moved and got the scars.

    So, AA promotes incompetent, perhaps slightly dimwitted black people over brilliant, qualified white people. Got it.


  • titifertat

    Nobody said anything about dimwitted black people except you.

    I was not suggesting that the man promoted over my brother was dimwitted – just under qualified through no fault of his own. Five years down the road, he may well have been equally or better qualified through experience, but he wasn’t at that time.

    What about my niece who had the skills this country desperately needs? I know how desperately because I am putting two black kids through school and also supporting a local (predominantly coloured) school, where the government contribution towards reception class education is R4 per pupil, per day, at a time when the Government is flush with money.

    So really, as far as education goes, not a lot has improved but a lot of people have got very, very rich and I am not suggesting for a minute that they are all black. This is the BEE problem and really AA is simply a form of BEE except that ordinary people don’t get filthy rich on it. I personally know white people (not previously disadvantaged!), who have gained huge benefits from BEE.

    Take the blinkers off. Stop thinking that everyone is anti black. Give white people a chance and you will see that some of us really care and are doing our best.

  • Liansky

    “He had to stand by and have someone totally unsuited for the job, promoted over him. The man made numerous errors which my brother had to cover up.”

    Hey, isn’t that like, what they did back in apartheid… ya know… qualified black guy teaching dimwiited white guy so that dimwitted white guy can be boss of qaulified black guy? Oh, wait a wimnute. That is actually what is still happening. At one of the few ‘real’ jobs that i’ve had, i recall dimwitted white guy being given prefernce by dimwitted white boss. Sheesh, the good ol days still rocks. I also remember hard working black guy being let go after contract was finished. I do however understand why dimwitted white boss let hard working black guy go. That dude was roo freakin black. I mean seriously, that dude is blacker than Wesley Snipes. No jokes.

  • titifertat


    Grow up! Learn to read what is written, not what you think is written, write intelligently and spell correctly and then make a considered contribution rather than the usual rant. That way I might give some credence to what you have to say. Clearly you didn’t “read” my second letter.

    Just because “they” did it doesn’t mean” we” have to do it. We need to move beyond tit for tat, mature and help this country grow into the wonderful place it can be for all of us.

    Get off your high horse, drop your anti white attitude (whether you are white or black), say goodbye to the past and move on into the future. If this doesn’t happen, there is no long term hope for South Africa.

  • Lindy

    Thank you, Jonty for addressing this issue!

    I have been part of endless discussions surrounding this topic, and I am discovering the importance of observing what is happening in a more global context as well.

    In a nutshell my current perception leads me to consider that we are facing a global challenge that is similar to challenges faced in other countries in the world, and we are at a point where history is in the making and the world dynamics are changing very rapidly.

    These changes are impacting on Africa as a whole, just like they are also impacting on the American, European and Asian continents right now.

  • cecil

    I read with interest, and a not so small smirk, most of the posts. You optimists are what makes a country great; unfortunately, you have little understanding of the dominant culture that is leading you. That history is conclusive: there is no chance for success. SA is doomed, it is merely a matter of time.

  • Clint B

    I’m am one of the South African’s who left. I left not because I hate South Africa, but because my beautiful wife is a Canadian girl. We lived for sixteen months in SA after our marriage and after an incredibly long time of being rejected from position after position we decided to apply in Canada (where I now live and work.) I was told countless times to my face that if I was black I would be the perfect applicant. What racism is this under the guise of rebuilding. Apartheid isn’t dead… it’s just changed ownership. There are several things that I refuse to apologize for. I refuse to apologize for a past I had no hand in. I was a kid when apartheid ended. Did I benefit from apartheid? Probably… but I didn’t ask for those benefits either. I am not a racist… I believe the lack of acceptance for any other human being is an incredibly destructive force, however I am proud of my culture…and will not say sorry merely based on pigmentation I share with some bigots who ran SA into the ground.

    The second thing I won’t apologize for is wanting the best for my wife and kids. Does SA have a lot to offer? By all means. Was I satisfied with the level of security for my family and what I had access to as far as employment? No!!! There is often this depiction of ex-pats that we took the easy way out… Let me assure you there is nothing easy about uprooting all you have to make a better life and future for your kids. There is nothing easy about leaving behind ll that you know and love. I wish all the best to those who stick it out. We’re all a little brave and cowards in our own way.

  • Bongani

    whether or not zimbabwe’s economic crisis was because of poor management or poor governmental controls, this started even before mugabe was elected as a president, i therefor say south africa is heading nowhere near zimbabwe’s blues, blue collar or BEE.

  • Bongani M.

    i have read most of the comments, but what i have to say has nothing to do with race, but with gender. implentation of programmes like “take a girl child to work” undermines my confidence as a young fella from a township, to add on that more and more opportunities are being granted to females, what are we preaching gender equality whereas we don’t mean it, now the question : is affirmative action ferminine? south africa will never hit down bottom like zimbabwe did!

  • Hans Blix

    Just be careful what you wish for South Africa!.Isnt it ironic that just a couple of months later since Jonty posted this blog,SA is going the Zimbabwe way — whatever that means.In case you dont know,the signs include a depreciating/weakening currency,loss of confidence in the financial mkts,higher inflation,unemployment concerns,weak fundamentals generally — not to mention rolling powercuts by our beautiful ESKOM expected to last four years.You might want to blame it on govt profligacy,BEE,falling commodity prices,poor governance,poor investor policy or OUR ZIMBABWE indeed but bottomline is you’re eye balling the spectre of gradual and sustained economic malaise and ultimately,collapse — not withstanding that your correspondents from the STAR,M&G,SABC 2 and 3 and e-tv (from Beitbridge — poor Deborah Patter — I just love it) are busy trying to solve our problems while South Africa burns!.Told ya.Good luck.p/s dont mess up 2010 for us please.

  • Clint B

    Bongani M, I respectively disagree. Although Zimbabwe had issues before Mugabe they were never as severe as they are now. From the moment Zimbabwe removed farmers who had the ability to add to the GDP from farm land and handed it over to Mugabe’s cronies. The moment the country was crippled in it’s ability to produce it was all downhill from there. South Africa is walking a very thin line. There is discussion in SA parliament right now about the speeding up of an expropriation act. Land redistribution is a joke. Where do we draw the line. Surely land should then be returned not to the Zulus, Xhosas and Sothos but to the rightful heirs SA’s first inhabitants the Khoi San or “Bushmen”.) Land redistribution is nothing but a farce.

    It will cripple SA’s farming. Our mining industry is already running at less than capacity because our politicians who have there heads so far up Mugabe’s rear are giving electricity away for next to free to Zimbabwe while SA can’t produce enough for its self. We can live in this delusion that SA will never become like Zim, but it’s merely arrogance we can’t afford. It’s time to stand up to foolish leaders (i.e. Thabo Mbeki) and begin to make healthy choices for South Africa and Southern Africa.

  • wgotora

    Clint B, Its very easy for you to say “Land redistribution is nothing but a farce” because neither you, your father & your grandpa were at the recieving end of the oppresive colonial/ apartheid regimes. Its people like you who are quick to say “it all in the past” presumably while sitting on your leather sofa and watching your favorite program on a 60″ television. Maybe i’m wrong about you but your comments have made alarm bells ring in my head. I’m keen to know how you would redistribute wealth/land in the new South Africa.

  • Owen

    @wgotora – while I fully support the notion that land should be given back to its rightful owners once the invaders have been defeated, the rightful owners need to undertsand how to use the asset.

    If property rights are not safe guarded by the government of the day then foreigners will not invest in the country. Without foreign investment (ie trade) local economies don’t thrive and grow and the land becomes less valued and useless.

    Secondly there are now more people than land in any country. The land has to feed the people otherwise starving people tend to get rid of the government.

    So you can take back your land BUT be careful that you don’t starve your people. The communists the world over have found this out to their detriment.

    Uncle Bob is now so anti white that he is no longer pro black and his own people are starving.

    Be pro black not anti white by first ensuring that your people are fed and then ensure that they can participate in the economy by using assets like land properly and don’t throw out foreign expertise before you have local expertise to replace it.

    That is, manage transition from colonial rule to local rule. This takes at least one genreation to get right. There is no easy quick fix otherwise like Uncle Bob and most of africa you can throw out the baby with the bath water.

  • Clint B

    wgotora ,frankly I don’t give rats behind what you think you know about me. I was in school when apartheid ended… so I’m not going to apologize for something some Afrikaner did to your people. I refuse to apologize for sharing the same skin tone as some bigots whose actions I was never old enough to condone or approve. No black person is disadvantaged because of my actions. This is where affirmative action and land redistribution is critically flawed. Innocents are made to suffer for the screw ups of the guilty. An unhealthy cycle is created. When will my generation of young white folk be avenged for the way they have been treated. In 20 years will we need affirmative-affirmative action. Will land need to be claimed back for folk who didn’t gain there land through ill means in the first place. Marten Luther King Jr said it best… “An eye for and eye leaves every one blind.”

    wgotora, I’m wondering how you suggest we handle redistribution of wealth/land in our country. If we’re basing it on returning land to it’s rightful owners, how far back do we go? Land in SA doesn’t then belong to Xhosa and Zulu folks as even they are not truly indigenous to SA… the first to move into the region were the Khoi San… if anything they should have it.

    I was never handed anything on a silver platter. I completely put myself through college in a “free” and desegregated South Africa. I worked hard for everything I have. Even my school career was desegregated for most of my schooling. So… with zero white guilt… I don’t give a flying fig what you think.

  • Hans Blix

    Clint B,you are still young at heart good sir.You write so passionately about the world as you’d rather see it with your young eyes.You don’t want the sins of your ancestors to be visited upon you,and rightfully so.But WGOTORA has a valid point in that land redistribtion and BEE are policies or political processes that you cannot trivialize or just wish away so flippantly or frivolously.They are deliberate policy initiatives aimed at redressing past imbalances created by repressive,segregatory (if ever there was such a term!) policies which sought to empower a minority few at the expense of a million others.For as long as we have a powerful minority clique Clint B that lords it over an impoverished majority that situation is untenable,a recipe for a revolution — an accident in waiting so to speak.Therefore,the sooner the political leadership addresses the thorny issues of land redistribution and economic black empowerment the better for South Africa.In this regard I wish to empathise with Mr Gotora who writes knowingly about the years of racial abuse at the hands of white people we cannot suddenly disregard,whimsically.Let us embrace these policy initiatives that seek to cure a festering wound so to speak.I hope you understand what we are saying —- read this with an open,objective mind good sir.

  • wgotora

    Clint B & Owen, thankyou for your responses. both of you have missed my point completley. Clint B:- I did not ask for an appology from you nor is anyone forcing you to appologise for the “sins of your kith”. You obviously do not understand what land redistribution is all about. You seem to think that its all about revenge. The word “redistribution” is self explanatory, its mereley sharing the land equitably for all citizens of South Africa without racial bias. If you read my posting correctly, you would have noticed that i never said all the farms must be returned to its (in you words)”rightfull ownwers”, i was simply objecting to your comment that “Land redistribution is nothing but a farce”. You’re correct in saying that the land does not belong to the Xhosa and Zulu folks, in fact, the land belongs to all the citizens of South Africa and therefore MUST be shared equally & transparently. To answer you question “how far back do we go?” We go back to the time when white colonial settlers started to allocate for themselves some 80% of SA’s land at the expense of the local inhabitants. by the way, you still have not responded to my question on how you would handle the current imbalances of wealth in the new SA.

    Owen – I agree with you in most respects except that i’m neither pro black no anti white, I am pro a South African Nation with genuine equality for all citizens.

    pls excuse any spelling errors as english is my second language.

  • Clint B

    Hans Blix, I am young, but this does not disqualify me from seeing truth. From knowing what is right or wrong. you said, “They are deliberate policy initiatives aimed at redressing past imbalances created by repressive,segregatory (if ever there was such a term!) policies which sought to empower a minority few at the expense of a million others.” I have two issues with this. The first is this, is it not counter productive to correct imbalances by creating further imbalances? Maybe this is less true of land redistribution, but it is certainly true of affirmative action. Will there come a time when we will need affirmative action for white young people that have been marginalized by our government. Our current government has joined in perpetuating the cycle that apartheid started rather than trying to overcome it. Bee and affirmative action don’t cure the problem, but rather create new problems and new inequality. Sorry, I’m a big picture kind of person and looking down the road I see us needing to correct or “heal” the problems that the Current New Apartheid has made for us. I have a problem with the double standard philosophy that our government teaches. On one side we say, “There is no white or black or coloured or indian in South Africa… there are only South Africans…” but on the other hand we say, “In order to correct the imbalances of the past. The sinful system of apartheid that disqualified people based on the color of their skin… mere pigmentation… we must do the same thing. We’ll disqualify millions of young white south africans who had nothing to do with Apartheid based on the colour of THEIR SKIN!” Does this method not scream it’s flaws at you. Until South Africans are treated based on their shared birth right and their common inheritance their will never be true equality in South Africa. I’m not asking for you to agree with me, but to at least understand my point of few and where my intense frustration and anger comes from. I like millions of White South Africans did not ask to be born in South Africa, but we were. We did not condone apartheid, but it happened, to be deprived of our inheritance because of what Some racist e did does not breed a sense of equality, but further contempt and separation amongst South Africa’s youth. This approach will not bring the healing it so fervently claims that it’s trying to bring. The second part of your statement I take issue with is this, “For as long as we have a powerful minority clique Clint B that lords it over an impoverished majority that situation is untenable,a recipe for a revolution” Their has been for a while in South Africa a new minority that lords it’s power. However it’s no longer as clear cut as a Black and White issue. The current regime as well known for benefitting a mere few while the majority suffers. Bee and other reformative processes haven’t benefitted the masses, but rather a minority of Elitist Black folk. Here in lies the rub! For almost every third world or developing nation this has been the case and it is something I see behind the curtains in South Africa. The intentions are good… but it is naive to believe these tools benefit the masses. When our politicians put their money where their mouths are and and not into their own pockets maybe I’ll come around to your side a bit.

    Wgotora, just two responses from your statements, ” its mereley sharing the land equitably for all citizens.” I hope you are right I hope it can be done so peacefully and productively. I wish I could have so much trust in the system, however it’s been a betrayal already to so many people both white and black that I’m not putting any money on it. I’m hoping that Zimbabwe isn’t a road map for South Africa. Where land didn’t go to who it should have, but rather to Mugabe’s elite. If we don’t implement adequate agricultural training for the new farmers and we don’t give them the skills… I’m pretty sure we will be heading down a dangerous road. You said, “You’re correct in saying that the land does not belong to the Xhosa and Zulu folks, in fact, the land belongs to all the citizens of South Africa and therefore MUST be shared equally & transparently.” That does not give me any sort of peace of mind us our Current government does not have a great track record when it comes to doing things transparently. There have already been so many accusations of corruption thrown around that I’m not holding my breath.

    You also wrote, “To answer you question “how far back do we go?” We go back to the time when white colonial settlers started to allocate for themselves some 80% of SA’s land at the expense of the local inhabitants.” Who decides this…. Who set’s this horrible time in history as the time.” These settlers are dead… do we become the new colonials and chase farmers off their land who had no part in this.” If we’re going to address history and try and fix all our mistakes… we truly need to go back further and not a white or black person should own a shred of land. Like I have said repeatedly the Khois San were here first… I’ve always been a first come first serve kinda guy! I’m simply saying… that this can become obsurd. What if I went hundreds of years back and went to scotland and insisited I had land returned to my family… I’d be laughed off in a second. You have hundreds of claims for land by people who never lived on that land… not in their generation. The only place I say for land claims are in instances like district 6 where we have people who are still alive who were personally effected by that event, but to take land away from current innocents in order to correct something in some cases over 100 years ago is bordering on lunacy and will be committing the same sins against a new generation.

    In response to how do we handle distribution of wealth and land in South Africa. I don’t say that I have all the answers. I know I don’t trust the current government to be ethical in their handling of this issue. We can clearly see that their elite has benefitted more than anyone. I do know their are things that need to be done correctly from as far as I can tell and I have read hasn’t been done. I think genuinely adequate training needs to take place so that the new inhabitant and all South Africans could benefit from the wealth of that land. If the land just becomes dry baron and abandoned the way it has in Zim, well than that land isn’t really good for anyone. Farmers who are requested to give up the land need to be payed market value for what they are asked to give up. As an alternative their should be a 50/50 or 60/40 land share proposal. What is wrong with asking farmers and potential new inhabitants to consider a share situation. We can not repair all mistakes of the past, but the least we can do is not further damage a new generation in the process. Wgotora, I could ask you the same thing. You haven’t really answered my question about how we should go about returning land and wealth to the people. The ANC hasn’t really pulled it off… so you must know of some other miraculous way to pull it off with out damaging our economy. Hope this clarifies things for both of you.

  • Hans Blix

    Well said Clint B.Your arguments are logical and quite reasonable but you have to appreciate the fact that governing a country is a very practical exercize,purely administrative in some respects viz the beaurocracy and stuff but at other times there is an overriding political landscape that leads to decisions being made which may be seen to be undermining the interests of certain races or groups.South Africa only got independent in 1994 if I m right,so point is its too early for white people to start complaining of being “marginalised” or left out in the dark.I do not in anyway condone corruption,where you claim a few black elite have hijacked BEE and affirmative action policies for their own selfish benefit but at the same time remember that we talking of so many poor black people who were disadvantaged in the worst concievable manner,by a system which was totally unjust and evil FOR SO MANY YEARS.Thats where the catch is.For white people to therefore start crying about being marginalised or left out of the political process (inadvertently in my opinion)is preposterous my dear friend.Its only been 14 years Clint B.Don’t be such a cry baby son.These guys have been decent enough to say lets forget about apartheid and try to co-exist peacefully with people of color.What more do you want?And dont talk about crime cause it affects everyone the same.Not to be too hard on you all i m saying is land redistribution and affirmative action are crucial to appease a hitherto disadvantaged black majority (its called national ethos or something) and I think for the time being lets overlook the petty issues of black elites and stuff cause these are arguments which detract from the overall objectives and achievemants of these noble policies.We cannot therefore stop BEE and affirmative action because Clint B and his buddies think its unfair to them?Can we?There is a season for everything and right now Patrice Motsope and the Cyril Ramaphosas and those other guys can go ahead and make their billions I m cool with that.White people dont want to see black people make money.Thats how it comes across.

  • Clint B

    Wow, I’m always amazed! As soon as somebody speaks up in South Africa and uses their democratic right to point out the injustices of our governing system or of the high crime rate in our country we’re told to hush up or to “stop being a cry baby” …hmmmm… kinda sounds like another system just north of our borders… Sir… you are lucky to have people like me in South Africa who don’t shut up and who speak up when they disapprove. THIS IS DEMOCRACY. Autocratic states and dictatorships tell us to shut up and stop being cry babies. Maybe that is what you want for SA… but it’s not what I want. Your statement about it being only 14 years is irrelevant. That would only have any logic if I had a roll in apartheid, which I did not. A country punishing innocent citizens under the guise of equality or as in the old regime, under the guise of keeping the peace is wrong. It was wrong during the old Apartheid and it’s wrong now during the current Apartheid!

    P.S I’m very happy for black folk to make billions I think it’s awesome, not though when it’s done through means that cripple their own people. When an ANC politician spends funds on themselves meant for the uplifting of a poor community that annoys me.

    Sir… there seems to be in your writing another motive, Something sinister. You see… I am truly pro South African… not white nor black but South African. I don’t want to see just some elite politician ( which I by no means see as a small problem) at the top taking the cream… I want to see all South Africans benefit from this…. Did you do something during apartheid that you need to ease your conscience?

    You see… I don’t have any white guilt… to express guilt for sins I didn’t committ would be ridiculous. I think that’s exactly it… Maybe you treated maid or your gardner poorly during apartheid and this is your remorse? Jumping on the ANC propaganda band wagon and spewing out all their PC words… or maybe their is some way that you are benefitting from BEE and so it suits you to say all that you do.

    All I can say is Viva the cry babies, because it will be a sad day for South Africa when that democratic voice is squashed. You may want a dictatorship Hans… I want to see a truly democratic SA where nothing is based on skin colour. That is the South Africa Nelson Mandela envisioned. Weather it be for 1 year or 14 years or 46 years injustice to any race is wrong. The kind of South Africa your prepose Hans makes you sound just a little like a Fascist. You want to oppress the voice of South Africa’s diaspora. There is a reason their is a mass exodus of South Africa’s youth. Again young folk who have nothing to do with the Apartheid regime other than the fact that they share the same lack of tan with PW Botha…. You can use pretty words like affirmative action and bee…. but when millions… MILLIONS of innocent white South Africans are displaced because they are not afforded the same rights as black people that is racism no matter how you paint it or what politically created word you insist on using. You talk about deliberate strategies from the government. You talk about it being just a clinical administrative process… that sounds exactly how Hitler and the Nazi party painted the beginning of their rule in Germany.

  • Taslim Torabally

    I left South Africa three years ago because of the crime rate where I was mugged twice and my brother’s house being broken into. I started to believe that South Africa was going the way of Zim but after much thinking I know in my heart of heart that that was not true. South Africa is in my heart – it is the land of ‘Cry The Beloved Country’. So many foreigners are crying to be there.

    People from Britain come to settle down there. People from Mauritius, Pakistan and India find it a good place to settle and run a business. Water, electricity and needless mentioning the food are so cheap. With a salary of R5000 per month in Durban one can easily live and fill one’s fridge.

    Your article is so genuine and factual that it has re-kindled my heart and given me a new sense of awakening.

    It is just the crime rate that is affecting the lives of people. Fear of the unknown and intimidation can be the scariest experiences in one’s life. Hence, this is what happens when one is a victim of a bad experience. Like myself, I have judged the whole state because I was attacked and robbed.

    I think much effort is needed from the Government to tackle crime in South Africa because apart from affecting the lives of simple people in many areas it has and is still affecting business on a large scale. Johannesburg and Hillbrow used to be oosmopolitan, safe and people could walk anywhere they want without any fear. But look at the city now. Buildings in ruins. no-go areas, derelict and investors have ran away to run their business elsewhere. This would not have happened if policing, patrolling and arresting criminals were more tough. The UK has the most number of CCTV cameras in the whole world – South Africa has the financial resources to employ more police with the latest fighting crime technology.

    I have often been told that police in SA are not well paid and therefore they do not want to risk their lives for peanuts. So, the general attitude is that many of them will turn a blind eye when a crime is being committed. They need to be motivated and properly paid.

    Anyways, SA is only going down on the crime rate but going down like Zimbabwe? No, I don’t think so. I miss my braai man at Blue Lagoon in Durban man.

  • Clint B

    Jonty Fisher… how arrogant and assured would your article be if you wrote it today. There have been so many things happen in very recent news that push us as a country ever closer to the brink of becoming the next Zimbabwe.

    We have a president that quite frankly should marry Rober Mugabe already… I mean they’ve been courting for so long they may as well make it official. His “quiet diplomacy” is an absolute farce. Now we are seeing the repercussions of that lack of action. By not taking a stand and action against Zimbabwe we have reached critical boiling point in our own country. It had to happen sooner or later. Now we are left to pick up the pieces from this monumental xenophobia situation. Come on speak up… write us a new “insightful” article.

  • Jason P

    Yeah – go, on Jonty. Give us that rose-tinted whimsical fantasy you & Mbeki are clearly peddling… I could uses a laugh. Only problem is – the likes of yourself will be the first to jump ship when it hits the fan… thats if you’re still in town right now.

  • Gareth

    Yeah Jonty, who’s supposedly intelligent now? I have to admit your snotty condescension irked for a long while but anyone with such blinkered outlook was never going to read the signs and not see the trend. Actually I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you still think its hunky dory in sunny SA? I had noticed you have been somewhat silent in the last few months, could you really be feeling a bit of a …? As Clint B says, let’s hear what you think now?

    Ten years ago I was a serious optimist, now I’m just really sad and if it all turned around tomorrow I would be ecstatic, but this country needs objective commentary, not your puppy dog optimism.

  • cory

    having seen what happened in zimbabwe & now in south africa you can understand why the whites of south africa did not want to give power to blacks. it was survival.

  • cory


  • Michelle Frost

    The poem Ken F posted here (October 10th, 2007) is mine.

    Homeland – author Michelle Frost. :-)

  • Martin

    great article – yet in 2009, it looks more than ever like SA is going the way of Zim.

    Time will tell.

  • Kortes Strauss

    I wrote more than 18 months ago as my wife and I left the UK for the pastures in SA, our baby daughter was born soon after our arrival here.

    I am now more confident than ever that one of the good decision I ever made was to go to the UK, to explore the world, to see how things are done in the 1st world and to make up my mind about SA. I found that many Saffas living abroad live a lie, by constantly reminding themselves of how bad life is in SA and how grand it is over there. The harsh reality is that I was one of them, until I could no longer face the lie I was living in.

    The other excellent decision I made was returning to this glorious country of ours. I truly feel at home and welcome. I can see that our daughter grows with enormous health here as the air is a lot cleaner, the food (yes believe it) a lot more healty.

    People should focus and look at the positives. A culture shift is needed where all people, especially the ones from the poorer communities realise how important it is to be well educated. They will be pleasantly surprised to see how much this country offer. We must help ourselves and should not wait for the government to do it for us. The reality is that any government can only do this much …

    Kortes (John in UK) Strauss