Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The View from my Bicycle (Column)

At recent soccer games between South African sides and Man U, by far the majority of South Africans dressed in red. That's because everyone loves a winner. Which is what makes the support we've seen by our politicians of Zimbabwe so utterly crazy. How do you support someone who runs a country into the ground? There is one possible reason - if you're embarking on the same scheme. That is, finding ways to liquidate a country systematically, and lopping off the gravy for your own account.

In the Mail & Guardian I read an excellent article which said that the current debate shouldn't be about politicians deciding Zimbabwe's future, it should include civilian groups, to allow them the opportunity to redress their own deplorable circumstances. After all, it's politicians that have screwed that country up royally. Tsvangirai and Mugabe sit around playing cards deciding how the spoils should be shared, while South Africa's president nods sagely...this bodes ill for Africa and the subcontinent.

There is a saying in the bible that if you are given a little and you do nothing with it, it will be taken away. With great power comes great responsibility. Africa's leaders, almost without exception (Botswana is one) fritter away responsibility. I think a reckoning is at hand. The great powers are amassing, and looking at Africa with envious eyes. It is a continent that has loitered over its own resources. In the same way that the USA supports a dictatorial regime in Saudi (one friendly to their interests), we are likely to see the Chinese and Americans playing chess with African governments, and while the politicians feather nests, the people will burn. Right now, they smoulder.

250 000 people have streamed into Botswana via Zimbabwe recently. In South Africa, the country that points the finger of blame endlessly to the evils of Apartheid, now exposes itself as a hotel for hypocrisy. After faux measures were taken to 'take care' of foreign immigrants, these are now being hounded and harassed by the authorities. The news tonight had that old Apartheid dog Pik Botha troubling the current authorities with the illegality of land seizures. Botha was saying that the Constitution that was agreed upon via a process during '92, '93 and '94 never agreed to these measures (land can be bought by government at a price decided by government, and these prices cannot be contested in court - what the government says goes).

I've predicted this before, but we will see - as the high fuel and food situation continues to worsen - crime levels in South Africa soaring to levels that resemble anarchy. It will be a great tide, and vast swathes will cry about the extinction of the Scorpions...nothing will stand in the way of this growing disorder. The police and military will commit acts of violence that will become indistinguishable from the criminals that prey on the innocent.

It is a sad fact that while our 2010 games today seems a foregone conclusion, this time next year there will be serious doubt, and by 2010 the suburbs will be burning, no one will be flying here or overseas. Economies will experience convulsions. A lot of empty stadiums will be standing there, but might find a use as venues for Kristalnacht type ethnic cleansing or rally points for the ANC as they drum up support for Zuma or eventually, both. It will be the greatest battle South Africa has ever seen: The Law vs The Lawless, the Haves vs The Have Nots in a great seizing of fizzling power. In fact, when the country was handed over in '94 to a man leaving jail, the metaphor was not evident. There was a glimmer of hope that Mandela had ushered in a new era. But Mandela was one man. And he has passed the country over to lesser men, with great visions for themselves.

The View From My Bicycle is for a rapid deterioration of law and order in South Africa, and also the complete dissolution of political order and sensibility. I cannot imagine that people will be safe in big cities, or on farms, which begs the question: where will it be safe? Maybe Madagascar. Maybe the moon. The dark night is now upon us.

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