The state of the nation is terrible. Government is committed to making it worse. Saint Cyril won’t stand in its way.

Cyril Ramaphosa was never going to be South Africa’s saviour. Despite the rather embarrassing Ramaphoria among the commentariat when he became South Africa’s president in 2018, he has been a disappointment even to his most ardent fans.

On 15 February 2018, Ramaphosa ascended to the august office of president of the country, recently vacated on the recall of his venal predecessor, Jacob Zuma – whom Ramaphosa had faithfully served as deputy president. A day later, he delivered his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Very little of the content was his, of course. You don’t write a speech like that in a day. The venerated Saint Cyril, the liberator of South Africa from the clutches of the corrupt Zuma faction, was merely channelling the ANC.

Yet this was his ‘new dawn’ speech. His ‘thuma mina’ (‘send me’) speech. Drunk on the wine of Ramaphosa’s promises, observers – from journalists to investors – lapped it up.

Committed socialist

This could not stand. I promptly penned a column for Daily Maverick, in which I warned that a smart, charismatic socialist is a dangerous socialist. I pointed out the pipe dreams, ideological dogma and contradictions in his speech.

In that first SONA, Ramaphosa already floated many of the ideas that we’ve heard in every SONA since. He sought to woo foreign investors with one hand, while with the other proposing to expropriate property without compensation.

He promised to employ one million youths. He promised that the state would gamble taxpayer money on entrepreneurs and start-ups. He described mining and agriculture as ‘sunrise industries’. He said the tourism industry could easily double in size. He promised to ‘re-industrialise on a scale and at a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy’.

Yet he also promised a national minimum wage, which would inevitably depress employment numbers.

He promised a larger government that would do more for the people. He promised a mandatory National Health Insurance monopoly that would cover the medical expenses not only of poor people who needed assistance from the state, but also of the rich who don’t need that assistance and are perfectly happy to pay for themselves.

He committed to the African free trade agreement on one hand, but on the other promised a protectionist ‘buy local’ programme, just as John Vorster and PW Botha did with their exhortation to ‘Koop Suid-Afrikaans’ in the dark days of Apartheid.

‘Do not mistake Cyril Ramaphosa for anything other than a committed socialist,’ I wrote. His policies were those of the National Democratic Revolution, penned by the South African Communist Party as ‘the most direct route to socialism’.

‘Permanently negative’

After the SONA of 2019, I pointed out his unfulfilled promises, and what he’d have to do to make good on his new promise, namely recovering South Africa’s place in the top 50 of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report.

At the time, the country was ranked 82nd, way down from around the 30th mark at the end of the Mbeki era. In the most recent report, South Africa is ranked 84th.

I described the 2020 SONA as barren, weak and empty.

In it, he promised to teach robotics and coding in Grades R to 3, even while reporting that children in Grade 4 are still largely incapable of reading for meaning.

He said SAA is a perfect example of state capture, corruption and mismanagement, and that it should not be dependent on further government funding. Yet government bailed out that rotting zombie yet again, ensuring that the jet set can go places and the politicians can get free flights, while the great mass of the people wait patiently for government to beg, borrow or steal enough money to buy vaccines.

He waxed lyrically about building smart cities, as if they don’t require an uninterrupted supply of electricity and functioning traffic lights. He dismissed those who failed to appreciate the progress that had been made as ‘permanently negative’.

Ferial Haffajee, in the Daily Maverick, has been tracking Ramaphosa’s promises systematically since 2018. Her look back at the 2019 SONA in 2020 and her assessment of the 2020 SONA in 2021 both make an excellent case for being ‘permanently negative’.

Burn it down!

This is not just ideology speaking. Business confidence has collapsed to its lowest level since the index was launched in 1985, for reasons Ed Stoddard eloquently explained. Consumer confidence is also near record lows.

I elaborated on previous assessments of SONA not to be able to say I told you so, nor even to remind us how similar the 2021 SONA sounded to those that went before. I did so to emphasise that the state of the nation was terrible long before it was struck by the Covid-19 pandemic, which punched the economy in the gut, and the national lockdown, which kicked it while it was down.

That brings us to this year’s SONA. Once again, it was entirely forgettable. It’s as if Ramaphosa believes he can change things for the better simply by uttering vacuous inspirational niceties.

He took a leaf from finance minister Tito Mboweni’s book by opening with a botanical metaphor. At least Mboweni’s aloe ferox metaphor made sense, signifying an economy struggling valiantly in harsh conditions. Ramaphosa, however, chose to compare the country to fynbos, which needs to suffer devastating fires every few years in order to thrive.

Does Ramaphosa really believe that a country, or an economy, needs to be destroyed every so often to make it better? If so, I’d like to be the first to congratulate him on a job very well done. The government burnt the South African economy well and truly to the ground in 2020, and in large part for little or no benefit at all.

Of course, the metaphor does fit very well with the idea of revolutionary socialism, in which the ownership basis of capitalism needs to be destroyed in order for the state, in the name of the proletariat, to assume control of the means of production.

Early on in the pandemic, I noted that using lockdowns to destroy the middle class and small businesses fits with the ANC’s agenda, quoting minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: ‘COVID-19 also offers us an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of some long agreed-upon structural changes to enable reconstruction, development and growth. These opportunities call for more sacrifices and – if needs be – what Amilcar Cabral called “class suicide” wherein we must rally behind the common cause.’

Our ‘economic recovery’

Ramaphosa said that this year, ‘we must accelerate our economic recovery’.

Pray tell, what recovery would that be?

Economic growth for 2020 was -7.2%. Before the massive blow in the second quarter of 2020, growth had been negative in six of the previous ten quarters. It has been hovering around zero since 2014. There was no sign of an economic recovery, then or now.

Investment as a share of GDP fell from between 18% and 19% when Ramaphosa took office, to 14% when the pandemic hit, to less than 11% at last count, in the third quarter of 2020. That’s not a recovery.

The unemployment rate, which was 26.7% by its narrow definition at the start of Ramaphosa’s presidency, steadily rose to 30.1% prior to the lockdowns, took a sudden nosedive because people who weren’t permitted to leave their homes to look for jobs weren’t counted as unemployed, but rebounded to its highest level ever in the third quarter of 2020, at 30.8%.

Other than a dead-cat bounce from the depths of hard lockdown, there is no recovery now, and there was no recovery before Covid-19 struck. As Ramaphosa acknowledged, ‘Poverty is on the rise. Inequality is deepening.’

So there is no recovery to accelerate.

Master plans

Ramaphosa claimed to be standing there ‘not to make promises but to report on progress in the implementation of the recovery plan and the priority actions we must take to restore growth and create jobs’.

Yet he had very little of major significance to report, except to revisit his dream of ‘smart cities’, in which Apartheid-era spatial development would finally be done away with.

It’s a noble dream, in that sense. One of Apartheid’s ugly legacies was the situation of black townships on the periphery of every city and town in South Africa. Although a new black middle class has arisen and moved to formerly white areas, the townships and squatter camps remain a blot on the socio-economic face of the country.

This won’t be solved by a government building new cities, however.

It might be solved, gradually, by granting people living in those townships full ownership over their properties, giving them incentives to maintain and improve them, sell them, or use them as collateral to raise money to start businesses. Ramaphosa said nothing about redistributing state-owned land to the people who live on it, however.

But he does have master plans, based roughly on the master plan for the automotive industry, in which the state offers tax breaks and levies import tariffs to protect the domestic automotive sector.

Those tax breaks and import tariffs are costs imposed on South African taxpayers to fund multinational car manufacturers that largely produce luxury vehicles for export to rich people in Europe.

For all his nice words about small business, Ramaphosa’s priority seem to be to keep his big business cronies happy, instead.

While government has ‘worked closely with the auto sector to help it weather the pandemic’, Ramaphosa said nothing about the tourism, hospitality and restaurant industry, which has been crippled by interminable lockdowns, travel bans and repeated prohibitions on alcohol sales.

The master plans government will roll out to protect inefficient industries by making consumers pay more will now be extended to poultry, sugar, and clothing, textiles, footwear and leather.

‘Ease of doing business’

Ramaphosa claims to have ‘worked to facilitate investment by increasing the ease of doing business, including making it easier to start a business’.

It is true that starting a business is easy, and can be done in a matter of hours from the comfort of a laptop, as he explained. As the country’s further slide down the World Bank Doing Business ranking shows, however, it is not easy to do business.

Businesses are beset by regulations. Arrayed against the would-be entrepreneur are onerous labour laws, minimum wage laws based on what big business can afford, black economic empowerment laws, unpredictable load-shedding, and even more unpredictable lockdown regulations. All this makes it extremely hard to do business in South Africa.

Instead of relaxing the state’s hands around the throat of business, Ramaphosa promises to double down: ‘we must accelerate the implementation of broad-based black economic empowerment policies on ownership, control and management of the economy’.

So much for ease of doing business.

‘Substantial progress’

Ramaphosa said ‘Eskom is making substantial progress with its intensive maintenance and operational excellence programmes to improve the reliability of its coal fleet.’

Eskom would beg to differ. It has reported that its energy availability factor has been at record lows for the first five weeks of 2021. Year-to-date, it was able to produce energy from 57.8% of its installed capacity, compared to 65% for 2020. In turn, 2020 was worse than 2019, which was worse than 2018, which was worse than both 2017 and 2016. The heyday of 86% energy availability is now a decade in the past.

More than 25% of Eskom’s generating capacity suffered unplanned outages in 2021, compared to less than 21% in 2020.

Installed capacity is predicted to decline in 2022 and 2023, as planned shutdowns of end-of-life power stations exceed the amount of new generation expected to come onto the grid. It will recover slightly by 2024 when all Kusile units are expected to be in operation, although with Eskom, perhaps it is wiser not to expect what it expects.

Ramaphosa himself admits that ‘there will be an electricity supply shortfall of between 4 000MW and 6 000MW over the next five years. According to energy analyst Chris Yelland, we should expect the worst load-shedding yet in 2021.

There is no story of ‘substantial progress’ in these numbers. On the contrary. Everything is pointing in the wrong direction.


Ramaphosa waffled some about ‘improving educational outcomes’. If he has any clue how to achieve this – by breaking the power of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union which makes it impossible to hold failing teachers to account, for example, or introducing school vouchers – he did not let on.

He said: ‘We are repositioning Durban as a hub port for the Southern Hemisphere and developing Ngqura as the container terminal of choice.’

This makes no sense at all. By sea, South Africa is about as remote from the rest of the world as it gets. The Suez Canal made the long and dangerous Cape of Storms route obsolete in 1869.

South Africa is also a poorly located hub for African trade. There is hardly any decent overland freight infrastructure into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Pinning hopes of an economic recovery on becoming a shipping hub hardly builds confidence in the country’s master planners.

He mouthed a line or two about our rail system, but he has yet to deliver on any of his previous promises involving trains, particularly in curbing the vandalism, destruction and looting of passenger trains and stations. I suppose we ought to be relieved he didn’t revive the delusional idea of a bullet train.

The solution to the problem of chronically bankrupt, corrupt and mismanaged state-owned enterprises is apparently greater centralised control and new overarching legislation. In the minds of Ramaphosa and the ANC, central planning is a marvellous idea. This time, it will work, pinky-swear!

He also made more promises about honesty, ethics and integrity in the public service, and greater accountability for cabinet ministers.

‘We remain on course to build a capable and professional civil service that delivers on its mandate and is accountable to the South African people,’ he said, as if government has ever been on such a course.

Likewise, he told us about the great strides that have been made in dealing with corruption, although these strides have yet to lead to a substantial number of significant prosecutions.

A different, better South Africa

Very few of the promises he made have any credibility, and most of the policy proposals he advanced will in reality drive South Africa further into a stagnant morass of state control and dependency. One can only wonder how Ramaphosa thinks Covid-19 has presented us with ‘an opportunity to build a different, better South Africa’.

Different? Yes. Better? No.

The vision that Ramaphosa has for South Africa, disjointed as it is, is nothing other than the hackneyed old socialist vision of the National Democratic Revolution, coloured by a heady dose of African nationalism.

The one thing Ramaphosa is right about is that South Africa is populated by ‘everyday heroes that walk among us, who work hard every day to put food on the table, to keep the company running, and to give support, help and care to our people’.

We are indeed a nation of resilient people. And, boy, are we ever going to need that resilience in the years ahead.

 [Picture: eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash]

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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  1. The IRR has been spot on about Ramphosa – an anachronistic socialist who is blind to the causes of the repeated failures in post colonial African countries.
    Doubling down on racist BEE policies and ongoing cadre deployment and lack of accountability, EWC amongst a raft of other livelihood destroying policies is the madness of the ANC.
    Clearly, as long as there is enough left for the ANC elite to plunder, the plight of the masses is of no importance.
    Tragic for a country filled with so many good people.

    • Tragic for a country filled with so many good people

      I become more unconvinced of this point by the day – The ANC continue to hold a majority, along with this further to their right bearing down on Fascism and Even worse dictatorial ideology the numbers are close enough to 2/3 of the voters that vote. Most leaving the ANC as voters opt for the worse…. Good people – Not so much -everything else that makes you less of a contributor to positive human endeavor ….well….

      • I totally agree with you, those ”good people” STILL votes for these thieves and what do THEY get……..R1 860.00 P/M for their VOTE – WHY ……THEY don’t want to work
        Such feelings fall straight into the hands of these SOCIALISTS……

    • I wonder about the “good people” bit. I think Solidariteit’s Buys put it very well: If you keep on voting for the ANC, you are an accomplice, not a victim.

  2. It fascinates me endlessly that these characters in the anc spew forth this rubbish with a straight face and pride in their ‘achievements’. A primary school kid could see through all this stupidity. This ‘government’ is a shameful embarrassment. Great article, Ivo, setting out the insidious decline of our country.

    • Their voters are mostly illiterate and mentally retarded (IQ of 55-60).
      They can’t remember what they were promised the day after. That is why they will throw stones and burn tires on the Monday, on Tuesday they will attend an election rally where they will receive a tax funded yellow T shirt and a 1kg bag of samp, on the Wednesday they will make their x next to the ANC and a day after the results they will be back burning and throwing stones.

      • Perfectly Put!!!!
        Thanks for the satire and belly laugh!
        The ANC are a bunch of over weight thieves…when the time comes they won’t be able to run from the tribes that will chase them into a rat hole…just like Gaddafi!!!!!

      • Marcell, you have summed up the cause of this countries’ problems in a couple of sentences. Big question remains: If the low IQ’s do an about-turn and vote the waffeling Ramaphosa and his ANC out, is there anybody from another party able to lead this country effectively and prevent it from imploding?

  3. “We are indeed a nation of resilient people. And, boy, are we ever going to need that resilience in the years ahead.”

    ” We” are going to have to learn — Mandarin

    The official dialect of China is Mandarin, also call “Putonghua”. More than 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin, but there are also several other major dialects in use in China: Yue (Cantonese), Xiang (Hunanese), Min dialect, Gan dialect, Wu dialect, and Kejia or Hakka dialect.

    To understand WHY ….

    I am astounded that Dr Frans Cronje appears to NOT factor this into his — futuristic analyses ?
    Perhaps like the current president of South Africa he is similarly deluded ?

    • No harm in learning Mandarin, or Russian. Or German, for that matter, if we’re still even trading with them.

      Also that Russian no-visa scenario may work out well for us…

  4. Why would a committed socialist president appoint people like our current finance minister and reserve bank governor both of whom are orthodox and conservative in their policy and aporoach ?

  5. Tacitus, the Roman historian: To plunder, to slaughter,to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace.

    He wrote this about the invading Germanic hordes, but it seems nothing has changed in 2000 years.

  6. Great and realistic assessment of the state of the nation, the delusional SONA and the man who delivered it. I, however, fear you are preaching to the converted and that those who need to take note, will dismiss it out of hand.

  7. I don’t know why he also has this “British” accent … he is truly the head clown in this ANC “ sekkis ( circus ) I have zero respect for the man he should give all the money back that he got for free and go act in a soapie..

    • Agreed , we where all fooled, obviously he was chosen for his eloquence, command of the english language and ability to talk inundated shit to the uneducated and gullible masses.
      After all Bullshit baffles brains.
      Look no further North than our Borders ,ala President Bob.
      He was a past master at it.

  8. We’re just too used to the blank eyed dribbling and shouting of socialist dogma – masquerading as words, so we just shrug. All politicians lie, all the time. Cyril is as criminally dangerous as the rest of the ANC buffoons, just more polished.

    I often wonder though, if this is a great strategic plot too control everything, or whether it’s just stupidity in power – kept there by a largely uneducated and pliant electorate who occasionally riot because that’s the only fun thing left in their lives.

  9. All that you said above is all good and well, but what are we as people of South Africa going to do about it. Are we going to sit and talk or are we going to stand up again this gangster, corrupt ANC and this useless president. I think it is up too us now……… or they will destroy us all, black and white….. WHAT THEN!!!!!

    • but what are we as people of South Africa going to do about it. they are doing what the have always done – 2/3 still support the ANC and worse when they leave the ANC at the polls.

      The game is over – Those that do not like it have very few options left – and none of them are locally based future endeavors

    • What you do is always act in your own best interests.

      We have and are going to get more “crash and burn” and slowly as more and more people, acting in their own best interests, produce a critical mass that results in change.

      As Frans Cronje says (I’m paraphrasing), each of us must make sure that we are not brought down by the collapse so that there is something with which to start again.

  10. Great article. I can forgive you for forgetting to even mention SA’s continuous and constant downgrades from the ratings agencies (S&P, Moodies, Fitch etc), which also looks at the government’s policies and have also determined it as empty promises (seeing beyond their nice narratives and rhetoric). The rating agencies is also clear independent evidence of your article and proof of the state of SA and the nation.

    • Good point, not to mention that the ratings agencies have thrown us plenty of bones. We have been junk bonds for years, it’s just official now. But hey, at least we can run to the BRICS bank for loans, yay!

  11. Ramaphosa don’t care about nobody but himself and his communist he is a liar deceiver he is according to me the biggest racist , Promises , is his best tactic’s he hates the white people, blaming them for his failure , and then say he are a weak President , He don’t care about nobody not even about his own people , Farmers are being murderer and set alight he has no remorse no feeling , no respect , no integrity, no passion only to fill his pockets with his comrades, I have no time for him at all he is not a President but a dictator , manipulator they who are running the A N C are corrupt to the core and then they have then he blame the whites for there failure they want everything for free everything they do fall into pieces , always making money from the taxpayer , when last did he said something positive to his people that looks up to him, crime is the highest in the world , raping’s, hijackings, burning of trucks , hijackings of couriers services, and where are Cele Mr Chuck Norris he must be fired from the police because he cant run the police at all .This is my opinion about the A N C .
    The only thing i pray for is that God will stop them from ruling this beautiful country , Look at the infrastructure, Railway lines, Stations, Schools , Hospitals , Municipalities , Roads , South Africa is beginning to look like Zimbabwe , No work for his own people, B E E is his down fall

    • I hope that Ramaphobia only cares about himself, because if he’s just a muppet who takes the money and STFU like Jacob Zuma, the country is still at least somewhat not going to hades in a handbag. I fear that Ramaphobia is a dyed in the red communist, though, so it’s not just about the money (of which he has plenty). I fear he sincerely believes that red kool-aid is the best kool-aid, pity that he has to fight with the cadres about the implementation.

      • Ramaphosa is only the president in name but not in action.

        What do I mean by that?

        The real president South Africa is still Jacob Zuma who is ruling through his proxy, Mrs Kopdoek, whom he is only legally divorced from.

        They realised that the average chauvinist South African won’t accept a female president, so they made a deal with CR. He gets to carry the title, but she runs the country as per the instructions she gets from Jacob.

        Why do you think CR is just waffling more BS when asked about what he plans to do about JZ and the billions he stole while in office? He doesn’t even want to allow the Zondo Commission to throw Old Showerhead in jail.

  12. Ivo’s article tells it like it is! It’s not news to anyone. Everyone knows the country’s not going anywhere except down the gurgler.
    What would be very interesting is some forecasting of the future from those who’ve written about the miserable, non performance of the socialist “governments“ over the past 27 years.
    Surely all authors would have known where the economy & the country as a whole was headed. Socialism is a failed philosophy. The first independent African state, Liberia, has been a disaster from day one, that date has been lost in the mist of time. All independent states have followed a similar philosophy from Ghana in the 1960’s to Zimbabwe in 1980’s. South Africa was the last to attain “the dream” in 1994. With all that history of African independence who really expected a different outcome in RSA. We all know the saying about continually making the same wrong decisions & expecting a different outcome.
    So let’s have some forecasts of what is to come now that lessons (should) have been learned. Dancing around spruiking popular socialist dreams & propaganda is not serving the people of the country.
    The problem I believe is that writers & journalist fear for their careers, if not their lives by writing the truth.

    From this article one can see that reality has finally arrived & the shocking truth with it . A bit late in the whole sorry saga of the demise & destruction of what was Africa’s hugely successful industrial & mining giant. 😪😪😪

  13. Thanks Ivo, Great assessment! We used to have a saying in a very good company that I used to work with; “If you are looking for the cause of any problem, a good place to start is by looking in a mirror!”
    Clearly none of our political “leaders” have mirrors at home.

  14. Thank you Ivo – appreciate good journalism. The question is how do we evolve our population away from socialism. When a person has very little – the promise is better than the reality, although deep down they tknow it is unlikely to materialise. We need a state enabler not state controller. Build roads, ports and rail and give out title deeds. Leave the rest to us to do our best to utilise and manage these assets and we will prosper.

  15. The great tragedy of all of this is that there is no alternative party which currently has a real chance of taking power from the ANC at the next election. The ANC will still be elected regardless of how disastrous their policies are to the well being of the S African populace. The hard reality is that the only worthwhile opposition with sustainable long term policies – the DA – is led by a white man and however good or able John Steenhuizen may be , in the present day S Africa no party led by a white person has any chance of taking power . The key is quality education. Until the majority if the population is sufficiently well educated to discern the shortcomings of their government they will continue to vote for the ANC. That – in a nutshell – is why our education system is a disaster !

    • I think thats why the ANC keeps the education at such a low standard to keep out the wise guys from politics.Then you blame the normal culprits like Jan ,apartheid and colonialism for their bad policies and the MSM supports the ANC all the way.

      • The subjects that matter, namely STEM subjects, have not deteriorated at all. In fact, the standard for those are higher now than ever before at school level. So it’s not true that education is holding us back, it’s just that not enough people take STEM subjects (a problem all over the world) and the rest of the people are really just wasting oxygen and everyone’s time by being institutionalised to learn the kind of things one can learn in an afternoon on Wikipedia.

        The delusion is that we just need to vote for the right people, then things will change. They will not. Not even with the right people in charge.

  16. Have we not realized yet that there is no plan.

    The ANC have been on one mission which is to pillage the government and resources of the Country for themselves.

    The annually repeated plan to improve the economic results and bring new policies to encourage growth and employment has no substance to be continued with.

    Surely, the Government has realized that they cannot continue with escalating debt / borrowing from all available sources until be bring about a culture change of paying for services and property as Government cannot remain a socially responsible state if there is no means to carry such responsibility within a stricter policy for South African Tax Payers.

  17. I always thought that ever since Robert Mugabe came to power that he would have learnt the lessons of failure from his cousins up north; but no!
    Now the same is true for S Africa and Cyril the Squirrel our State President. How do they think that they can implement a Stalinist type unDemocratic Centralised Communistic Government that has repeatedly failed everywhere it has been tried globally and left citizens impoverished. We are living in a “dictatorship” under the guise of an electoral system of Proportional Representation where cadres are told to “toe the party” line. The rantings of Jessie Duarte and sudden appearance of Carl Niehaus (appearing out of the dung) show that we are are already a Communistic state hidden in a party (the ANC which is a form of communist subterfuge) that pretends to the saviour of doing good for the proletariat whilst doing nothing and robbing them blind whilst filling them with empty promises.
    It is time the ANC split into their various factions so that the voters can see everyone’s true political colours; the ANC or the Communist Party.
    It beats me why any investor would want to invest in Africa in the first place!

    • Remember it has not left the gov officials impoverished only the people and who cares about the people anyway.Commies have never worried about the masses anyway,nor do they worry here.Nice article IVO,this is your forte.

  18. Above comments are all true, we cannot escape further exponential decay in into chaos and mismanagement, only more bleating and ranting of misguided political ideologies to look forward to!

  19. Great article.You have been very kind to the Aligned National Crooks, that govern this country. I think you’ve been kind by quoting an unemployment rate around 30%; a realistic figure is probably closer to 85%. A no hope country in a no hope continent.

    • Roger Chicken: A no hope country in a no hope continent. Trump hit the nail on the head when he called Africa a Shithole.

  20. I often wonder what the main trigger point was that caused the ANC to take up arms against the apartheid government. I look at our history, the current situation and future prospects, and see many of the same potential trigger points. And so, in dread, I wonder if we are approaching this point again, and who they will be.

    • Keep a sharp eye open for Malema & his Stalinist EFF. He can’t wait for the ANC to implode. Then the proverbial will hit the fan & it’ll be game on.

  21. Enjoyed your article, Ivo, and read the responses. Most of the commentators complain about the lack of intelligence of the electorate who keep on voting the ANC back into power. Perhaps they should read the articles published in the Sunday Times written by really intelligent black journalists who express the same concerns about the state of the country and are speaking to the black middle class and can influence the future electorate of SA.

    • I agree. I don’t think the electorate is that stupid. I think they vote on material issues. Socialist promises appeal to poor masses. For quite some time, the ANC materially improved the lot of black people. This has reversed in the last decade, but the absence of opposition with strong appeal in the black community will make it hard for voters to vote against the ANC, as opposed to simply not voting, which they’re already doing in droves.

      • I pray that Mashaba may get it right. He has some attributes. He is black. He is successful in business with a real track record, as opposed to the Poser who was gifted his money via BEE. He resigned from the DA (this is a plus for the anc voter – sticking it to the “whiteys) and he talks a lot of sense. What I hear of actual concrete improvements he made in JHB, sounds good. So he has experience in governing as well. Yes, I know he got too close to the eff, but hey, he could have joined them. Instead he formed his own party. I am tracking him……I hope he realizes he has to ramp up his PR to include regular adverts in media read by the anc voters, and regular appearances on TV (SABC channels) Maybe also do a Trump, and hire someone permanently to manage his Twitter account which needs to ramp up his message. Let’s see…… certainly the anc’s cruel and malicious behavior to its own people during this pandemic has created the best chance Mashaba will ever have.

        • Think Mashaba needs a funding mechanism to attain that sort of level of penetration into the people who watch TV.He needs people doing legwork aswell. Good luck to him ,but a serious problem is the IEC run by the ANC which I believe should be a multiparty institution as vote rigging is very common in Africa.

    • Unfortunately the intelligent black journalists and the black middle class you refer to are currently a very small percentage of the electorate. The real voting numbers lie in the rural areas where the majority have received poor education and are the voting fodder for the ANC . I hate to say it but I have a gut feeling that until a new party which has broad appeal across all racial lines appears on the scene , S Africa is stuck with the ANC until has it’s own “Arab Spring” .

    • Exactly. I don’t see it as a lack of intelligence voting for the ANC. The numbers don’t bear that out. The numbers testify enough intelligence not to vote for the DA as an opposition party. Reason being, instead of voting for the ANC, erstwhile ANC voters who are also disgruntled just don’t vote at all.

      It’s not true that there is a conspiracy to keep the proles dumb enough to vote ANC. The truth is even worse than that: It’s sheer incompetence that is the reason for chronic mismanagement, but the powers that be are still the pigs at the through. They simply do not care, they have no skin the game.

  22. The only thing resembling a “smart city” that I see is the Solidariteit Soltech Campus which shot out the ground in no time courtesy Squirrel’s arch-enemy the boiled-froggie white man hehehe… us!

    That must rile him and his fellow ANC vermin.


  23. A very accurate article. But since we already know the path we are heading down it may be prudent to have a well considered action plan for when we arrive in that level of chaos and disaster. Anyone know where/how we should start such a daunting exercise?

  24. We need a parallel economy. How about this: private enterprise tells Cyril they will build a mega-city. However there are conditions. It is in effect an independent city-state with its own rules. Free market, no labour restrictions, nada.
    The only way to swing voters is to show them how a profitable country can work, offering vast numbers of jobs.
    After all, why does half of the E. Cape come to the W. Cape?? It’s the same principle.
    This year there are 18,000 new learners to place in W. Cape schools. Do a head count….

    • How about this? Just do it. No need to tell Cyrel Ramaphobia anything. Not BEE compliant? Tough. My business, my rules. Not enjoying the electricity we pay for? Tough. Here’s my solar solution. Want me to pay a fine or a license for my solar panel? Get bent. Just stop being complicit and stop giving in to their moronic ideals. Just build an alternative economy. We don’t really have a choice. Operate it in crypto if we have to.

  25. I’ve always believed in doing and leaving the talking to other people because talk is cheap. Why doesn’t somebody or some society or party sound out the people in the Western Cape about secession. IT REALLY IS OUR ONLY HOPE. Of course there are going to be obstacles but surely they will be easier to overcome than the ones we are presently facing.
    The SONA was a jumble of lyrics, poetry, lies, promises and poppycock. I did try and read through it but gave up after about the 500th sentence.

  26. Ivo, here I agree with you – unfortunately. These “leaders” don’t care about the welfare of the country – they only care about their pockets, That is the recklessness, for if you care about the country, every body’s pockets will be in better state – and theirs. George Orwell’s book Animal Farm sort of illustrates this all too well. I guess the challenge is to increase the intensity of educating the electorate, but it seems tradition sticks like jam. The opposition party needs a really bright, aggressive and energetic leader. I can name one leader elsewhere from the past but I would rather refrain.

  27. Cyril do not have a spine.He is spineless to stand up to his chomma zuma and send him to jail.He is part of all the top ANC thieves in this country.They even steal the money donated in this pandemic time.It is just a shame that the masses do not want to learn that their god figures are bullshitting and also steal their money.Somebody wrote 5 years.You my friend are very positive as this country are gone allready.It is just a matter of time before his other friends the Chinese tell him what to do and how to govern SA.PLEASE SA WAKE UP AND VOTE THEM OUT AND STOP THIS SICKNESS OF STARTING NEW POLITICAL PARTIES.THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT TO STAY IN CHARGE.

  28. Thanks for an excellent article Ivo.
    Every time I read the comments from people responding to the articles I get from the IRR, I get a sense that the majority of the respondents are White and I base this primarily on the names of the people responding – I may be wrong. My question is why there are a minimal number of Blacks responding. Are they purely uninterested? Do they silently disagree/agree? I believe it is important to gauge and/or elicit their views as well. I think the IRR should do more to ensure that Black people receive the article and respond to it. Perhaps this is wishful thinking or way off the mark. Please comment.

  29. Thank you for the article Ivo. As always, I thoroughly enjoy your insight and scathing wit 🙂

    I recently saw the Daily Maverick article about Ace Magashule positioning himself to grab leadership within the ANC and wondered what your opinion would be? Much as I dislike CR and his bald faced pandering, would it be worse if Ace takes the prize? Or is one El Presidente the same as another?

      • Indeed a most frightening article by Poplak but given the choice between Ace, Cyril and lets not forget the dark horse DD Mabuza – who would you rather have at the wheel?

      • Thats a very interesting comparison. Had to reread Kruschevs bio. But it sharply illustrates the dichotomy of using capitalist ideals to fund socialist ideology. In a choice between the two; a slow, frustrating grinding down, or a fiery apocalypse, one has to wonder which is worse? This year will be interesting, if nothing else. Thanks for the reply Ivo

    • I wonder if the ANC has anyone left of the calibre of the Mbeki brothers? For all his flaws, at least Mbeki had some economic literacy and the country was going pretty well with him at the helm. Provided of course you do not suffer from AIDS.

  30. Ivo, so Zuma goes to jail for a few months then gets released. Then what happens? The commission has been wound up and he no longer has to answer questions. Or is there another scenario?

  31. Ivo, good piece, but we know all these things, BUT the electorate “out there” does not! We need a new media instrument that is able to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in language
    that ALL the groups can understand. One other ‘thing’…please stop using the term “hard” for something that is actually ‘difficult’.

  32. I made many jaws drop when I unwisely discussed politics at a braai and opined that we’re still going to miss Jacob Zuma. Well, here we are. Missing Jacob Zuma.

  33. Mr Vegter,,,how refreshing to see how your dissenters have done an about-turn to this piece. You have gone from being labelled a Commie to being an insightful analyst. One thing I admire about your pieces is the inherent validity. Whether you’re talking God or ANC, you never lose your searing humour and insightful take. It’s only a pity that the readership doesn’t maintain consistency in their comments. If you bash the “low-IQ African Socialists” you’re guaranteed a thumbs-up. Do the same with God and you’re damned. It would seem you can’t go wrong if you attack the “popular” (at least in these white middle-class dominated platforms) enemy. If tomorrow you were to pen a pro-EWC, you’d be back on the stake. Nonetheless, I like that you are seldom swayed by such disapproval.

    • If he were to pen a pro-EWC piece, I would be the one to light the match of that stake. Totally agreed about the narrative of low-IQ African socialists. Socialists are not low-IQ, that’s why they are dangerous. They are cunning. And socialism has failed in Africa the same as it has failed everywhere else in the world, so IQ has nothing to do with it. It’s a flawed system. Always has been, always will be.

        • ALL you are seeing is — the tip of the iceberg
          Do NOT be fooled ….
          The Cape is still the Cape — Simonstown is — a holiday resort ..the SUEZ CANAL is … well — VULNERABLE
          October 6th 1973

  34. I just don’t understand how and why big business ( the finance institutions in particular ) are so quiet on this serious EWC matter, in fact their silence is deafening. After all they stand to loose mega bucks as who in their right mind will continue repaying a loan on property they no longer own.
    I get the impression they are all dead scared of this bunch of ANC communists/socialists.


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