There have been a few questions and unfortunate assumptions about what I meant with the term White Inc. This is a term that has featured a lot in my thoughts as I tried to grasp the extent of the resistance by a section of our society to the continuation of the fight against prejudice, privilege and total emancipation of the black people. This is a term that will feature a lot in my writing.
The year 1994 was victorious for South Africa and all it’s people but it only brought about a part of what black people had been fighting for years. At last, they could, like their white counterparts, vote for the government they want. But the playing field was nowhere level. White people were and still are insulated in centuries’ of privilege. They still owned the economy, the media and almost all the productive land. By virtue of their ownership of the economy and land they still held vast influence with the new government. Their kids still went to the best schools, they still got the bulk of government services, lived in opulent relatively secure neighbourhoods. Patronage was dispensed to a few strategically positioned blacks who in turn pleaded their case at the main table.
The goal now became the protection of the status quo. White people simply could not lose privilege! With huge resources at their disposal, the giant resistance movement came to life when black people started putting government under pressure and in turn government put them under pressure. The White Inc was born. It comprised not only of ordinary white people who wanted to protect their privileged lives but also huge sections of the media, compromised of BEE scheme recipients, so called independent commentators, business, lobby groups like AfriForum, some opposition parties, academics, some within the ruling party and even some foolish black people who think victory for White Inc would secure their jobs. So the term White Inc is not a racially descriptive one but rather of a heterogeneous group not necessarily working together but all seeking to protect white interests. Not all white people are part of the White Inc and the White Inc is not constituted of only white people.
To achieve their goal, the White Inc employs a lot of different strategies. Some of these are genius and innovative while some are rather crude and plain foolish. Let me mention a few.
We have seen a huge rise in government being taken to court for every decision it takes. Some of the challenges by the way have merit but the objective is seldom about the greater good for the country but rather narrow interests. We hear screams of constitutionality at every turn. The latest is the legal action being reportedly moulded by AfriForum against the nomination of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for the position of chief justice simply because Zuma decided to announce his nomination publicly. I am not in any way suggesting that government shouldn’t be challenged but should we really be wasting so much money and resources running to the courts literally every week to challenge things that can be dealt with by dialogue? If this is so, then let us see the likes of the Democratic Alliance, AfriForum, etcetera running to court or laying charges when something that affects only black people occurs. Let’s see them laying charges against the likes of Arthur J Brown, let’s see them laying charges against a taxi driver when his unroadworthy taxi kills innocent passengers, let’s see them running to court against the continuous provision of poor quality houses for black people in the townships, let’s see them at the Constitutional Court arguing a case for a community being poisoned by waste material that contaminates their air and rivers coming from mines and other businesses. In fact, let us hear them laying sound proposals for effective land reform, skills transfer and proper employment equity.
White Inc also uses the media very effectively. It is a fact that most black people I know simply do not take what they read in the newspapers seriously anymore. The South African media seems to want to influence rather than inform. The lack of balance their in reporting is simply criminal. It seems the South African media feels the general public can not make up their minds and need to be sheparded towards a certain point of view, usually a point of view that will further the objectives of the White Inc. I always maintained the assertion that the media is the first defender of public interest is purely fictitious. Profits — this is the first reason why most media houses exist. They are there to make money and will take on stories or angles on stories that will attract the most readers from their chosen market segment. And then it seems the as a secondary objective pursue and protect the interests of those with influence over them.
The White Inc seems to have adopted the same strategy that apartheid negotiators employed at Codesa, when it comes to issues of transformation. The idea is to throw as many obstacles as possible at the enemy, fight each single point to death before giving in. Such obstacles are the court cases as mentioned. Complicated and ineffective BEE schemes that enrich a few but does not transfer true ownership or skill ridicule and vilify any person that calls for the required change, lobby internationally, instil fear within the minorities and use the media to belittle the needs of black people. This kind of resistance gets indirect support from the ANC government in that it is riddled with corruption of its own. Many personalities within the party and government have become part of the White Inc by being recipient of these meaningless BEE schemes and becoming instant millionaires. No clear and effective policy on land reform, education changes nor economic reform by government also plays into the hands of the White Inc.
This might seem to be working for the White Inc in the short term but it is simply not sustainable. It serves to harden the hearts of ordinary black people against white people. It puts white people in a position where they feel they are somewhat protected and therefore can continue with their life of privilege while denying that on top of their individual hard work they had the cushion of privilege spring-boarding them. This cushion is still exists and causes a lot of resentment that will come to a head one day. This will open space for radicalism that will leave Malema looking like Father Christmas. Radicalism is never good, it destroys. Zimbabwe wasn’t born out of Mugabe’s greed alone. That space was created by white people who resisted change and reform for too long. The White Inc are living under the illusion that they lived under during apartheid: that it will never end. It did and it will.