Let's Think

What happened to the CODESA pact?

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Are the constitutionally recognised principles of affirmative action and black economic empowerment so agressively implemented by the ANC government that it amounts to a post-war situation?

It would seem that these principles are being implemented to such extremes that it amounts to the claiming of war loot and revenge.

This results in the country not being governed in the spirit of the principle accepted at CODESA that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

At CODESA (1991-1993) opposing parties comprising mostly the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC) agreed to follow the civilised route of entering into a Pact (agreement) of peaceful coexistence, and not to engage in a bloody civil war.

Our Constitution

The Pact is embodied in our Constitution. It details the rights and duties of the country’s citizens, and defines the structure of the government. It should protect each and every citizen against the misuse of power by government.

The ANC government should subject itself to the provisions of the Constitution in the spirit of the Pact and demonstrate that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it”.

Practices of war

The fact that the political leaders of South Africa agreed to avoid a bloody and devastating war excluded two practices normally associated with wars:

  • The winner is entitled to loot. The ANC had no claim to war loot. However, it became the ruling party after the elections of 1994. As such it took control of the capital stock of the state, which was about 43% of the capital stock of the country. In addition it was given control of 24% of the annual national income in the form of annual tax income. (Figures from SA Survey — 2008.) It was supposed to use these assets and income to continue to create prosperity for all the citizens of the country; and
  • The winner takes revenge. To prevent revenge, it was agreed that political misbehaviour of the past would be dealt with by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Political crimes would be dealt with by the courts.

Loot and revenge

Some 20 years after entering into the 1993 Pact, the ANC governs the country as if it had conquered it by winning a bloody war. It seizes loot and it practices revenge!

Land and other property appear to be the main tangible target. It’s time to give back the land … (Mr Zuma). This statement militates against the compromising spirit of Section 25 of the Constitution and the integrity of the party’s acceptance of the Pact.

The numerical approach applied in affirmative action is a way of looting the incomes of minority groups. The harm of this looting is aggravated by cadre deployment. Tragically, the Constitutional Court ruled this looting permissible.

Black economic empowerment (BEE) in all its forms focuses on the looting of wealth, i.e. capital. In addition it ties in the lucrative income of high-level business employees and the windfall profits of preferential procurement.

The Preferential Procurement Act legalises rent-seeking corruption and is the most effective method of looting. The beneficiaries are the tenderpreneurs. It is a racially-based process by which ANC cadres share out fortunes to other ANC cadres.

The insensitivity with which affirmative action, BEE and preferential procurement are pursued demonstrates how deeply revenge is embedded in the ANC government’s governing doctrines. It even pollutes the judgements of judges of the Constitutional Court (CC). Recently a judge reminded someone from a minority group that she should accept that she would suffer because of the discriminatory policies of the past.

The ruling party repeated this justification for its revenge so often that it has become a doctrine as strong as in religion; so much so that even victims of revenge accept it in silence. Martie Retief-Meiring asked in Die Burger of 15 January 2015: “How long must a group pay for its sins?” (Translated)

Moral cruelty

Even if an agreement doesn’t reach the level of an enforceable contract, there is a moral obligation to do the things we agree to do, especially if others are counting on us to do so. This kind of duty is the product of the commitments we make to others and is the basis of the ethical principle requiring us to keep our promises.

The fact that the ANC entered into a Pact they are morally obliged to honour was expressed by Mr Mandela in his presidential inaugural address: “Let us forget the past … what is past is past ... Let us work together to make a great country. It is not time for recrimination but a time for joy, as the dreams of all the millions of South Africans who had suffered so greatly … could now be made real”. (Adapted from: Anthea Jeffery, 2014, BEE: Helping or Hurting, p29, Tafelberg: Cape Town)

Looting and revenge destroy the dignity of citizens in the minority groups, undermine their creative and enterprising spirit, and erode the skills they acquired through learning and experience. The ANC portray them as villains who deserve to be punished. However, the majority of ANC supporters pay dearly for this moral cruelty. They remain unemployed and poor. They are bribed with social allowances, at their own peril.

                                                                                                                                              by Mike Levin

(Mike Levin (Professor Emeritus) is an economist, and former dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Vista University, Port Elizabeth)

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