There’s always a risk of making too much of small details, of freighting them with larger meanings they perhaps can’t possibly carry.

But the moment I saw the photograph of the ‘GAAN AUSTRALIA’ protester taken in Senekal on Friday by colleague Gabriel Crouse, I sensed I was looking at something that expressed far more than a cursory glance suggested.

The man in the ‘SANCO say’s VOTE ANC’ T-shirt cuts a solitary, static figure among a lounging group that seems otherwise bored, disengaged and uninterested.

The misplaced apostrophe in the say’s on his shirt competes for attention with his scrappy cardboard placard, and the evidence of its maker seeming to have lost heart or energy in clarifying the message.

The small ‘g’ of the first word matches the suggestion of hesitancy in the unfinished rendering of the rest, the author having run out of ink or time or resolve in darkening and thickening all but the S, T and L.

Though the man thrusts his curiously unemotional message upward for all to see, its deficiencies somehow rob it not just of menace, but of conviction. The impression is only heightened by the razor wire in the right-hand bottom corner of the image, an apparently needless barrier against what is so obviously the very picture of lassitude.

There is no knowing what the protester had in mind in – we presume – urging farmers (or is it just white farmers?) to up sticks and leave the country, but there is no escaping how this ANC supporter’s message cuts to the heart of the larger, debilitating contradiction in our politics today, as well as to the creeping weakness of its authors: the ANC itself.

Remarkable boast

Consider that less than 24 hours before the Senekal scene played itself out, President Cyril Ramaphosa made a remarkable boast in Parliament.

‘Our agricultural sector has continued to grow,’ he said, ‘with a bumper maize harvest and the expansion of many high-value crops.’

On the face of it, this is encouraging – an unvarnished acknowledgement by the national leader of the success of a relatively small segment of South Africans who feed the country and help to grow the economy, despite the odds (not least their vulnerability to the criminality and violence that cost Brendin Horner his life),

But how meaningful can this be when you consider that, only four days earlier, Ramaphosa’s administration announced the gazetting of the new Expropriation Law with all the enthusiasm the president brought to his boast of the country’s farming prowess?

The Expropriation Bill stands as the single greatest threat not just to the success of South African agriculture and its capacity to produce bumper crops, but to the entire economy.

The risk could not be put more clearly than the recent warning by Janine Myburgh of the Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry, who wrote: ‘Investors in a country do not put their money in a place where the basic protection of their money and property is subject to local political party dogma. Leaving disputes to the courts to resolve does not obscure the fact that the decision not to pay compensation, and indeed the decision to expropriate, will be with politicians.’

Weak and deeply indebted

The prospect of a weak, deeply indebted state widening its own powers to take assets that belong to others is the policy equivalent of that Senekal protester’s ‘Gaan Australia’ sentiment.

Two truths are plain. The first is that South Africa’s hopes of economic recovery hinge on farmers not going anywhere, and the same is true of every other loyal, enterprising and law-abiding category of the populace.

The second is that, as long as it is resolved to threaten property, or tell farmers they are not welcome, the ANC is assured that its hopes of recovery will not go anywhere either – and, it inevitably follows, the same is true of its own fate as an effective presence in South African politics.

Look at the picture again, and you will realise how expressive it really is.

[Picture: Gabriel Crouse]

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed, mister Morris. If I had money, I wouldn’t invest it in South Africa. If I wanted to buy land, I likewise would not buy in South Africa. The reality is that I have about four hundred bucks, rent a one room apartment (my brother lives next door and we share a bathroom) for which I’m behind with the rent thanks to Ramaphosa and his stupid lockdown, and do not even own a burial plot. Therefore, on the face of it I have nothing to lose but that which people in two countries on two continents have been trying to take since I was five years old- my life. Black September was a terrorist group formed to shield politically Fatah and Yasser Arafat from some outrageous terrorist acts. The EFF strikes me as a political party formed with the purpose to give ANC some deniability and distance from acts of violence and racism it would perform itself if the political situation was different, ie. like before 1994. Whatever the truth about this may be, what is clear is that over the years both parties have done a lot to stoke racial discord and move towards the nightmare of communist dysfunction and slaughter in this country because they don’t know how to run a country any other way than into the ground- and no matter how the media and idiotic CEOs who jumped on his Thuma Mina bandwagon tried to spin it afterwards, Cyril Ramaphosa made it clear right from the beginning that he’s in with the “radical economic transformation” and “expropriation without compensation” crowd. To my mind we face two questions: 1. How can we stop it? 2. Will we be able to take the linguistically challenged protester’s hint when the faecal matter finally strikes the air conditioning?

    • These are not easy questions to answer, they venture on ‘deepities’ whereby on one level, they seem so obvious. But on another level, they harbour with them devastating consequences.

      For me, it’s worth noting the handful of political parties who at least voted against nationalisation/land theft in parliament. I will certainly not even consider making my X next to any other party, and the one that shows how seriously it takes our natural rights, of which the right to property is certainly one, will get my vote. Except the DA: They still haven’t removed me from their spam lists, and they are still tainted by what’s left of the Twitterati. Put it this way: The real DA members who should not tweet, or even be in the ranks of leadership there, are still there and not going anywhere. Actually, let them tweet, so we know how vacuous they really are. But back to the topic:

      1. We can stop it by preventing a 2/3 majority vote to amend Section 25 of our Constitution from going through in parliament. The public participation process has shown unequivocally that South Africans are not in favour of returning to the friendly police state of apart hate, which had the power to be fast and loose with property rights, and also promised that it would not use that power for evil. To this end, speak up on social media platforms, participate in the public participation process and lend more weight to that notion: It should be political suicide to venture into the realm of nationalisation, here as much as it is overseas. A resounding No, TSEK.

      2. Yes, it is becoming easier to move overseas since South African people are quality people and internationally, nobody trusts the Fourth Estate any longer. Overseas, people believe more in the notion of white genocide (regrettably) and farm murders being a real thing (that is good, but the two issues should not be conflated). That means, at least diplomatically and economically, a communist like Ramaphobia has absolutely no credibility. The plight of South Africans who fear for their property rates and pensions being on the line to bail out blundering incompetent modern day securocrats right now as it did during apart hate, is being heard around the world. The Rona put a damper on things, but as economies open up and start to recover, South African demeanor and skills are going to enjoy a surge in demand. That means it will be easier to ‘gaan Australia’, if you really want to go there.

  2. Hey, more than happy to ‘gaan Australia’ or anywhere with a working legal system that steers clear of the activism and still has a basic grasp of the notion of rule of law and certain inalienable natural rights like the right to property, the right to freedom of expression, and the right to self defence. The activist types are welcome to move to ‘gaan Cuba’, ‘gaan Noord Korea’, or ‘gaan Venezuela’.

    My only request is that if this is really the attitude of the powers that be and not just some peanut gallery misfire: Make it easier for us to go. We want to go. Don’t try to pull a fast one on our taxes. Don’t make us jump through hoops to live and work overseas – and likewise, contribute to that economy with our taxes.

  3. Garg..then sell up and go chum. There can only be an opposition acceptable in RSA which stands for non-racialism (publicly), has an evidence-based decision-making poloicy, strives for the Rule of Law and fair trial a la Magna Carta, has a UN-structured and a world-wide pursued Social Economic Policy where profit(s) are encouraged, with a commensurate societal usefulness, and job-creation by de-regulation first, and then a market economy, which will follow as night and day, and a restructuring of the SOE’s, inter alia.
    There is only one, thanks in the main to Gwen Ngenya.

    Look around you if you are not going – there is only one group/organisation/cohort..what you will, that has this publicly expressed exposition.

    What ACTIONS have you taken to resolve those thing which have disappointed you, about our opposition politics, other than write trite observations?

    These IRR essays available on Daily Friend & PolWeb inter alia, yep, inter alia, offer rational evidence-based observations, from which you are supposed to choose an area/areas, get some ‘goons, commit to your area of specific concerns and get going…in ACTION towards those goals so desperately needed here.

    Otherwise, as I wrote above…sell up and move chum!

  4. I would not place much credence in a solitary ‘gaan Aussie’ sign. Neither would I place much credence in what the President has to say. More interesting, and important, is to watch what he does! The poor man has so many constituencies (that are killing each other) I don’t think it is possible to get by without lying. This goes for all politicians, not merely the President.

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