Will South Africa become another Zimbabwe?
It is being reported that the black-led government of South Africa is looking at ways to expedite the process by which the economic power of the majority black population can be increased to levels similar to that of the white minority. The ANC has been under some pressure to show more benefits to the black majority for the 18 years since the end of apartheid. However, I urge the ANC-led government not to bow to this pressure.
Even though apartheid ended 18 years ago, apart from the replacement of the white minority government with the black majority one, in economic terms very little has changed. Many blacks are now demanding that they should be given their fair share of South Africa's wealth. Some want to see a rapid change, like what happened in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Clearly, these blacks are not thinking.
The fact that the levers of economic power have changed little since the end of apartheid is proof enough that the black leaders of the country have understood the reality of their situation. That is, the black South Africans are in no position to manage the country economically at this time. If they could, the ANC-led government would have enforced the change years ago.
Those who want a rapid, "power-to-black-people" Zimbabwe-type change in South Africa do not wish the ANC-led country well. Let's face it, Zimbabwe is not exactly the best example we black people have of blacks taking over from whites successfully. If that were to happen in South Africa - it would be the end of the country.
There are good reasons to believe that a black-managed South African economy at this time would fail. For instance, before the ANC took power 18 years ago, South Africa had a well-developed nuclear and missile development programme. When the ANC took power, all of this came to a halt. Whether it was because they did not understand the technology or they wanted nothing to do with it is irrelevant - they gave up the many opportunities that these programmes offered.
There is no doubt that South Africa today is the most advanced country on the continent on account of its apartheid past. There is no need to be politically correct and deny this fact. As such, I would urge the black people of South Africa to make the most of the strong South Africa that they have inherited.
If the blacks in South Africa were to apply themselves fully, then the change that they want will come. Instead of demanding that whites give up what they have, why not learn their ways and build the economic and educational power of their black community? As they can no longer claim racial segregation as an excuse for not attaining their potential, I would suggest that they stop whining about their present state and start doing something practical about it.
Anyway, the type of change that the black people of South Africa want to see happen will take some time. That time can be shorter if they apply themselves correctly. What we would want to see is a prosperous South Africa for all in the future and not the "Zimbabwe-isation" of the country today.
Michael A Dingwall