George Orwell’s last book, written in 1949, was called Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). It was about the consequences of totalitarianism and the repressive regime of Stalinist Russia. Orwell was writing about a dystopian future that was 35 years away. Today, we are not much more than 35 years past that date. Looking back in time through the lens of GDP data, it appears that South Africa has regressed to 1984.
The irony is that the ANC government operates from a socialist ideology. The Nation Democratic Revolution (NDR) is the ANC’s playbook to achieving centralised state power and control. The NDR is the ANC’s version of totalitarianism. The economic data reveals the damage that is being done to South Africa because of the ANC’s destructive policies.
In South Africa, the 1980s was at the height of Apartheid and international sanctions. The Nationalist government was under severe economic pressure to abandon its race-based policies. Could it be that South Africa has come a full circle? The ANC replaced one set of race-based policies with another. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) was intended to be the solution to correcting the injustices of the past. The reality is that BEE has only served the elite. BEE has created a smokescreen of cover for extortion and theft. Under the guise of “transformation”, the ANC has set South Africa on a path back to the dark days of the 1980s. There is another irony here. The ANC has repeatedly told its constituency that they mustn’t vote for the Democratic Alliance (DA) because the DA will bring back Apartheid. It appears that the ANC has done an excellent job of returning South Africa to the dire economic circumstances that were brought about because of Apartheid.
To quote another Orwell novel by the title of Animal Farm, Napoleon says to the animals, “you are better off than you were under Mr Jones”. Yes, South Africa is a better place now than it was under Apartheid. Unfortunately, when measured against a standard of economic wellbeing, it is not better off.