Thursday, September 3, 2009

South Africa following Zimbabwe?

Mike Campbell, the former subject of a documentary about white farmers in Zimbabwe, had his farm destroyed earlier this week, the final blow after nearly being beaten to death last year.

Unfortunately, farm attacks are not unique to Zim. Some 2500 white farmers have been murdered in South Africa since 1994. When I was in South Africa a year ago, I had the opportunity to stay with an Afrikaner family. A large proportion of their income was spent on security, but that didn't save the fellow who later drove me through Mozambique and Malawi from being mugged in broad daylight, carjacked 3 times, and having his garage emptied of a lifetime's accumulation of tools. He once responded to a call through the Commando system (which the ANC government is dismantling on the grounds that this Afrikaner self-defence network is part of the apartheid legacy) that led him to a neighbour's farm where he encountered the burnt body of a man who had been tied to a chair before being set alight.

It is difficult for Canadians to appreciate the level of crime in South Africa. Much of South Africa is very 1st world, such that one could not tell whether one was in a mall in Potchefstroom or Calgary, but almost every Afrikaner I met had a horrifying tale to tell. According to the BBC, "It is a fact that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped, than learning how to read." Although most of the crime victims are black, a reflection of their 80% share of the population, whites, constituting 9% (a number in decline because of ongoing emigration), are far from immune.

My impression of the Afrikaner response to the constant threat of violent crime was that they would typically take either the approach of my friend's father-in-law, who told me to "never trust a kaffir" (a remark for which he could be prosecuted under the 2000 Promotion of Equality Act), or that of my friend himself, who decided to give up on a life of material accumulation (you can't lose what you don't have) and just live day by day, which in practice meant hand to mouth.

That said, I would not agree with much of the reasoning of the Canadian refugee board decision in approving the application of former Cape resident Brandon Huntley. Based on my experience of South Africa, I don't believe whites, other than the landowning farmers, are targeted per se, and the claim that he would “stand out like a sore thumb" anywhere in South Africa is dubious.

On the other hand, I don't agree with the opinion of CBC journalist Heather Mallick that this incident is a "huge embarrassment" for the Prime Minister, a man she says hails "from the extreme right", such that it "may spell the end" of his government, if for no other reason than that the opposition parties are hardly any more likely to crack down on the chronic abuse of the refugee system.

What I find galling is not the ANC's well founded charge that the refugee board decision gave too much credence to this white man's claims of being racially victimized but that the ANC should be picking a fight with Canada while supporting a noxious cocktail of repressive regimes around the world. As the Economist has noted,
Since 2006, when South Africa secured a (non-permanent) seat on the Security Council for the first time, it has been chumming up with China, Russia and other authoritarian regimes to water down or block virtually every resolution touching on human rights.
Meanwhile, the ANC government is busy selling arms to Sudan, Syria, Libya, Mugabe and Chavez. The laughably named "Arms Control" Committee has even authorized sales to Iran and North Korea. Since opposition MP David Maynier exposed these actions the ANC has menacingly indicated that Maynier could be subject to "imprisonment of up to 20 years".

The ANC government's Black Economic Empowerment program is so aggressive even the black Inkatha leader Buthelezi says "the government's reckless implementation of the affirmative action policy is forcing many white people to leave the country, creating a skills shortage crisis." Besides law enforcement indifference with respect to the welfare of whites being far from unknown, corruption in the ANC's South Africa is rampant. I saw police corruption first hand while I was in SA, and watched an evening TV news program that had tape of police cars driving up to drug dealers to conduct business.

In 2023 South Africa will have thrown off white rule for as many years as Zimbabwe has today. Unemployment in South Africa has risen since the apartheid era despite the lifting of sanctions and in Zimbabwe, this year unemployment reached an astounding 94%. Wherever South Africa ends up 14 years from now, one can only hope that it is not where it currently appears to be heading.


Me said...

What a sad state of affairs.

I honestly believe the huge amount of foreign aide that has been sent to Africa has generally set the entire continent back several decades. South Africa is a bit of a different beast...but quickly deteroiating as well.,1518,363663,00.html

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