The ANC’s five deadly sins – and what the future holds for SA beyond the 2024 elections

The ANC’s five deadly sins – and what the future holds for SA beyond the 2024 elections
Former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Photo: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP) | Former South African president Thabo Mbeki. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | Kgalema Motlanthe, who served as South African president between 25 September 2008 and 9 May 2009. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti) | Former South African president Jacob Zuma. (Photo: EPA-EFE / STR / POOL) | South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Thomas Lohnes / POOL)

Outspoken political economist and analyst Moeletsi Mbeki discusses in detail what he regards as the governing party’s gravest mistakes, and makes predictions about the 2024 elections and what the future holds for South Africa.

His late father was Govan Mbeki and his brother is former president Thabo Mbeki, both leading intellectuals and important figures in the formation and growth of the ANC. However, businessman and independent political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki is adamant that the ANC has committed what he calls five “mortal sins” during its 30 years in power.

In a wide-ranging interview to reflect on the three decades of democracy, and challenges and solutions for South Africa, Mbeki listed the five mortal sins as:

  • Adopting Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) as a government policy;
  • Growing the black middle class through affirmative action as an employment policy in the public service and state;
  • Retaining inherited state-owned enterprises instead of privatising them;
  • Foreign policy failures in Zimbabwe and Mozambique; and
  • Removing the military’s control of South Africa’s land borders.

Businessman and independent political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki. (Photo: Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe)

MORTAL SIN 1: BBBEE as a government policy

Some of the fallacious policies implemented by the ANC, Mbeki maintains, include BBBEE and affirmative action. These, he says, have broadened the black middle class, but have alienated all the other races and led to stagnation in the economy.

“The ANC adopted the BBBEE policies that were started by business to ingratiate itself with the new ANC rulers by giving money and shares to individuals like Dr Nthato Motlana, Cyril Ramaphosa, Patrice Motsepe, Saki Macozoma, Tokyo Sexwale and other individuals connected to the ANC.

“It also created a black middle class using affirmative action policies by creating jobs and perks in the state, and offering early severance packages to whites who were in the public sector. Those who took up those jobs did not have the capacity or skills to run the departments that they were now in charge of.

“You see this when things are falling apart in the public sector. The classic example of this failure is in municipalities – many in this country are on the verge of collapse, and others have already collapsed and cannot deliver services,” said Mbeki.

“The ANC could still have created the black middle class by making available opportunities for them to be productive industrialists, farmers, artisans and small business owners who would build the country, and create wealth at the same time.

“The current forms of BBBEE and affirmative action, as implemented, confirms the stereotype that blacks are inferior to whites and they cannot create wealth on their own, and thus need white handouts to survive.”

MORTAL SIN 2: Affirmative action as an employment policy in the state

Although the private sector was correct to implement BBBEE, it has had a catastrophic effect as a state policy, Mbeki says.

“Business can do what it wants – within the law, of course – but it does not have the mandate of nation-building. As the ruling party, the ANC had the role of nation-building. Instead, it has adopted policies that benefitted only the African elite and alienated everyone else, including the poor blacks, the whites, coloureds and Indians.

“About 40% of coloured voters voted for the ANC in the first democratic elections and 19% of Indian voters voted for it. Now, less than 4% of coloured voters vote for the ANC because of BBBEE and other policies that discriminate against coloureds and Indians,” Mbeki said.

“The whites didn’t care because they have never voted for the ANC, but these other race groups felt betrayed because they were discriminated against during apartheid and now the new government policy also discriminated against them.

“The most discriminated-against group in South Africa is the coloured community. They were uprooted from their countries in Africa and Asia to come to South Africa to endure 200 years of slavery. Their living standards now have not improved much from the time when they were under slavery. BBBEE and affirmative action discriminate against them, and discriminate against In­­dians and whites.”

‘Parasitic’ black middle class

Mbeki believes that the ANC has crippled the country’s economic advancement by creating a black middle class that is dependent on the state and public service perks for its sustenance or prosperity.

“The ANC is a party that benefits the black middle class. It has done this by offering early severance packages to white civil servants at the dawn of democracy and replacing these whites with blacks.

“This black middle class don’t produce anything, yet they pay themselves huge salaries and other perks. The South African public servants are the highest paid in the world as a percentage of GDP.

“In South Africa, as of November 2023, there were 55,000 civil servants who were earning more than R1-million. This is the highest in the OECD [Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries. These are people who have a parasitic relationship with the state, wherein they get huge salaries for doing absolutely nothing, ” Mbeki said, adding that the state taxes the private sector and mineral companies to deliver that tax to public servants.

A Transnet logo at the Port of Durban in South Africa, 25 May 2018. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

MORTAL SIN 3: Retaining SOEs instead of privatising them

Mbeki believes that, for all intents and purposes, the ANC was not ready to govern South Africa and its complex economy when it took over the country in 1994. And once it took over, it repeated a number of mistakes committed by post-independence countries in the north.

He maintains that the ANC should have privatised most of the more than 700 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) it inherited from the apartheid regime.

“Sasol was privatised just before the ANC took over. It is now a cutting-edge global energy company with factories, service stations and other facilities in South Africa, Canada, Gabon, Mozambique, Australia and 27 other countries. Telkom is also performing greatly after it was partly privatised.

“All vital state-owned companies that the ANC retained under the state are faltering. Eskom, Transnet, Prasa, Denel and the [SA] Post Office are the most scandalous failures.

“A banker by the name of Mark Barnes [CEO of the SA Post Office from 2014 to 2019] approached the government with a vision to turn around the SA Post Office and its subsidiary, Postbank.

“He said the Postbank would be at the centre of this turnaround strategy, and this was opposed by key government officials. He had to leave before the end of his term after failing to win the confidence of the political leaders. Now the Post Office is in a mess and 6,000 workers are facing retrenchments,” said Mbeki.

“When the ANC took over, it should have protected the local manufacturers against foreign competition before opening up the country. As a result of this deindustrialisation and other disastrous economic choices, there was a bloodbath of job losses in the manufacturing, mining, textiles, steel and other sectors of the economy.

“The unemployment rate and associated poverty is higher in townships and black areas in general. This is because the black population is 80% of the population of South Africa and is the great majority of blue-collar workers. ANC government policies that have led to the deindustrialisation of the economy have created unemployment among these blue-collar workers, who are mostly black and live in townships and in the former homelands.

“For the past 15 years, the South African economy has been growing backwards. This has been largely due to the underperformance of state-owned enterprises – Eskom and Transnet, both of which have been major obstacles to the growth of the economy. Eskom cannot provide an uninterrupted supply of energy to power the growth of the economy, and we cannot export our minerals and goods to international markets because of the problems overwhelming Transnet.”

Investment boycott

Mbeki says business has been holding back on investments – which would otherwise create jobs – as a result of inefficiencies.

“Business controls more than 75% of the South African economy. It creates most of the jobs in this country, and produces the food we eat and builds the houses we live in. Business is handicapped from growing by the underperformance of state enterprises.

“The state also taxes the profits of business, which business needs to reinvest in order to grow the economy. That tax is used by the government to promote private household consumption such as social grants, and government consumption.

“A significant part of household and government consumption comprises imported products like Scotch whisky products not made in South Africa,” he said.

White Monopoly Capital scaremongering

The term ‘White Monopoly Capital’ became part of South Africa’s lexicon during the era of President Jacob Zuma and polarised people along racial lines. This White Monopoly Capital, said proponents of the so-called Radical Economic Transformation grouping, controlled the country’s politics and guzzled all its economic gains, leaving everyone poor.

Mbeki doesn’t believe that White Monopoly Capital exists. “This term was coined by a conservative British PR company, Bell Pottinger, that had worked closely with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

“This name was coined by this PR company at the behest of the Guptas, who were stealing billions from South Africa and wanted to use the term to divert attention from their grand theft,” he said.

Former president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, 29 July 2018. (Photo: EPA-EFE / YESHIEL PANCHIA)

MORTAL SIN 4: Foreign policy failures in Mozambique and Zimbabwe

Mbeki maintains that the post-apartheid government has also made a number of foreign policy blunders, particularly in neighbouring Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

He says the ANC government has allowed heroin to be exported from Mozambique and transported into South Africa – sometimes for export to other countries in the West and elsewhere.

“The short answer is that I do not know what benefits the ANC gets from turning a blind eye to the heroin trade from Mozambique. When the Americans found out that some of this heroin was being re-exported to the US by smugglers, they sent an anti-narcotics team to South Africa to entrap the kingpin, which they did. He was deported to the US to face trial in New York and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment,” he said.

“Poor people, especially black youngsters, have become addicted to this drug. The ANC government has turned a blind eye to this.”

Mbeki is also critical of South Africa’s “quiet diplomacy” in handling the Zimbabwean economic, political and social conflict that has polarised the region.

“Here, too, the South African government turned a blind eye as Zanu-PF was attacking dissidents and opposition leaders, unleashing the war veterans on farms and destroying the Zimbabwean economy. This resulted in the influx of poor and middle-class Zimbabweans into South Africa who could not survive in Zimbabwe as the economy was on its knees.

“So, the failures in foreign policy have had a telling effect on the SADC [Southern African Development Community] region and the African continent.”

South Africa is the land of milk and honey for thousands of Zimbabweans streaming across the border. This elderly woman illegally enters South Africa near Beit Bridge border post, August 2007. (Photo: Gallo images / You and Huisgenoot Archives)

MORTAL SIN 5: Removing the army’s control of 4,862km of land border

Mbeki says the South African National Defence Force has “night-vision equipment, off-road vehicles and equipment, and its personnel are trained to work under any weather condition”, but these resources are wasted as the country’s land border with six countries is porous, with people and illicit goods and drugs going in and out.

“If you don’t have an army protecting your land border, you are playing into the hands of your enemies and other scavengers. South Africa doesn’t seem to comprehend the huge levels of poverty and instability facing our neighbouring states,” he said.

“People in those countries see South Africa as a very wealthy country; they see it as their salvation. Some people are prepared to walk from as far as Ethiopia and Somalia to get to South Africa.

“There are also national security issues, as the world is a dangerous place today. For instance, the enemies of South Africa could infiltrate agents through our porous border, commit whatever acts they want to commit and walk out without detection.

“In the days of dangerous enemies like the Rwanda-backed M23 rebels and Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado’s Islamist insurgents, every country has to know the identities of people entering and going out. Here, there are many people whom the government doesn’t know anything about because they entered the country illegally,” he said.

Is there redemption?

“Will the ANC repent and seek absolution for these mortal sins before the coming elections? I doubt it. The consequences are predictable – the loss of its majority, which to politicians is a death sentence worse than hell,” Mbeki said.

He added that this year’s election would mark the beginning of the end of the ANC, a fate that befell most of Africa’s former liberation movements around the 30-year mark after independence.

Most opinion polls predict that the ANC, which has had an uninterrupted hold on power, will lose its majority for the first time in the post-apartheid era.

Mbeki says South Africa’s woes will continue long beyond the election because none of the more than 300 political parties likely to participate in the elections is likely to bring any meaningful changes.

“Neither the ANC nor South Africa’s opposition parties offer solutions to the huge amount of poverty in the country, especially in the former homelands. They also have no solutions to the de-industrialisation of the country’s economy. None of the political parties has the policies or the capacity to solve the multitude of problems facing the country,” he said.

“The ANC already lost its national majority during the local government election of November 2021. I do not expect this will be different with the coming national and provincial elections. No one can predict what coalitions will be formed until we know the election results.

“After this election, what will happen is this: the ANC will lose its majority, but it will remain a dominant party and no other political party will be able to form a government without the ANC.

“So, the ANC will be the big brother of any coalition government that will be formed and the pathetic policies of the ANC will continue for the foreseeable future, until another party emerges that will take the place of the ANC, with new policies and strategies to deal with South Africa’s challenges,” he said.

“All liberation organisations in Africa have never survived long after liberation because they fail to fulfil the promises, and people start to turn against them. The regimes then start using repressive methods inherited from their former colonial masters and weaponise these against the people or the opposition.

“If democracy survives, people vote out these parties, and oftentimes democracies don’t survive and the military takes over,” Mbeki said, adding that the major turning point for the ANC came during the Marikana massacre, when 34 miner workers who were on a lengthy wage strike were killed in clashes with the police. DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Martin Smith says:

    Interesting that Mbeki can say how BEE has created a parasitic elite, even naming names, the President included, and that White Monopoly Capital is a fiction created by Bell Pottinger at the behest of the Guptas to justify the looting of the state.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Tragically accurate, but there is a sixth mortal sin: the sin of racism.

    ANC you have failed to learn from apartheid that division always fails, and you continue down the same racist road in reverse, forcing separation of our people, in your words and with your actions. We all know you do this because it is an easy way to win votes and deflect blame for your many failures.

    But it is inevitably short sighted and it is destroying the limitless potential of our rainbow nation.

    In a rainbow, the colours are beautiful, together. Separate them, and the beauty of the rainbow is lost.

    ANC you are living the African stereotype the world looks on with such disdain and laughs at from their comfortable lounge chairs. You need to find the courage to do the right thing, the sensible thing, the only thing that will save our country: Embrace all our people and all our skills and allow the best to excel and to lead, regardless of race or gender, to the benefit of all of us.

    It is not too late to let our South African rainbow shine like a beacon to all in this world.

    • Matthew Quinton says:

      Actually, the beauty of the rainbow is created by the distinction of the colours, each shining in their bands proud and separate…. you may recall from childhood… that as soon as you mix too many colours you always end up with some kind of dirty brown..

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        Really? You’re describing a rainbow to me ? You’re a funny guy 😀 (the parts of a car are separate too, the point is that they work beailutifully together, apart they are useless)

  • Ismail Lagardien says:

    Such great insights.

  • Jon Quirk says:

    Fully agree, Mr Mbeki.

  • Wendy Dewberry says:

    Thank you for that excellent precis. Just a point made by the writer surprised me .. that whites did not vote ANC in the beginning. Because almost everyone I know voted ANC. We all wanted justice. And all the people I know still feel the same way. So in terms of all the economic issues pointed out in the article, the vote now needs to go to a party or parties that will focus on an economy that will attend to these structural issues. Its not hard to figure out that the moonshot pact coalition offers the most viable solution of the lot?
    I am interested to read other comments.

    • Freda Brodie says:

      I certainly hope you are correct !

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      He of course was speaking in general. I mean, I still remember from the detailed results of the 1994 election, that the Freedom Front of general Viljoen got quite a number of votes from the polling stations in the African townships – there would be absolutely NO whites there, let alone Afrikaner conservatives, because the ANC young militants forced all whites out of the townships in those few days. I know that from personal experience – I was thrown out personally myself. But the about 80 votes that the Freedom Front got was about 0.3% of the total votes. I am sure a lot more ANC votes were from “white” leftists, but it would still have been a very small percentage. If I remember correctly, the ANC got 62.8% of the vote in 1994. By the way, the National Party got about 20% and the IFP just over 10%, and the NP got far more votes in the African townships than any other “African” political party (PAC or AZAPO for instance) other than the ANC; it was because the whole campaign coverage by the TV channels was structured in such a way that it would be basically a two-horse race between the ruling NP and the ANC as main liberation movement, and that was what was the determining factor in my opinion.

  • Bill Turner says:

    I enjoyed reading the article. South Africans are forever hopeful.

    One the one hand I wish we could judge politians vy what they do rather than what they say. But we are a nation of dreamers.

    I hope we acquire the needed wisdom soon to navigate our dreams for SA.

  • Garth Mason says:

    Interesting as always from Moeletsi, but I’m wondering why the R49,157,323,233.68 lost to State capture does not make onto his of mortal sins?

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      As far as I know, State Capture losses to SA was R64 billion ONLY TO THE GUPTAS; that was the determination by Daily Maverick journalists. And I have to presume that when Ramaphosa (in his SONA speech last week) referred to action by the NPA to get R64 billion back, he was referring to specifically this.

  • Ian McGill says:

    Surely the ANC’s biggest sin is the Soviet-Era’s economic ideas. All this anti-imperial nonsense. Capitalism made South Africa the biggest Economy in Africa until the comrades stole it blind. Second greatest sin, the culture of no consequences for the cadres.

  • Donald bemax says:

    He has hit the nail on the head in every respect.I have always admired his outspoken criticism.

  • Bosman Puren says:

    Again mr Mbeki hits the nail on the head with a sobering and well thought out analysis based on actual facts. Would love to hear your thoughts on the opinion that the ANC will get into bed with the EFF as a last act of desperation. Boggles the mind that you dont venture into politics, mr Mbeki. With your absolute grasp of our reality and your pedigree you are, in my opinion, well suited to help save our beautiful country.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      I can’t see that the ANC will get into bed with the EFF at all, if they have an alternative; even though some alliances at local level exist, the national ANC, as was clearly instructed by Fikile Mbalula who is in control of the ANC organisation, wants these alliances to be terminated. Besides, does anyone really expect Ramaphosa to form a coalition with a party that has vowed to oust Ramaphosa? No, what we should be scared of is when the ANC and MK (of Zuma) parties together still have more than 50% – because then it is almost 100% certain that an ANC/MK (in other words, Ramaphosa/Zuma) coalition will rule SA for the next five years, dooming SA to more mediocrity. I see the MK party is getting a lot of support in the by-elections in KZN, so they are likely to get more than 5% support in parliament. And Ramaphosa has already indicated that that will be his preference. So everyone, start to pray that the ANC will lose enough support that it will only be able to form a coalition with the DA, in other words that the ANC get less than about 40%; and that the DA will be willing to be part of it. Because if they don’t, there is more than enough smaller leftist, corrupt parties on the left side of the ANC that the ANC may use as alternative if they include the EFF, and that will be the worst of the worst scenarios. I can fully understand that at this moment the investors are reluctant to invest, because the election poses a lot of risks to SA.

      • Wendy Dewberry says:

        Coalition choices will surely depend on agenda. From what I see, there is more similarity between the EFF and the (new) ANC. In a nutshell – reallocation of wealth.
        The DA touts as a structural cleaning up so that the economy will once again be able to afford to pull its citizens up by the bootstraps. That will take fiscal discipline, with strict focus on education and skills development and meritocracy. I don’t see the eff or the (new) anc in that camp. Ever.

    • Ivan van Heerden says:

      The ANC getting into bed with the EFF is not an act of desperation. It is the fruits of the creation of the EFF by Jacob Zuma to capture a 10% voting block to ensure the ANC stays in power. His most recent creation of MK is simply another brick in that wall.
      Of course if the DA had anything like a political brain they could have made the EFF stand on its principle of removing the ANC by having them join the opposition. As the philosopher said “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” Instead, predictably the DA has made it easy for the EFF to fulfill its function

  • Jeremy Carpenter says:

    I value the opinion of this political commentator. Not because of his name, colour or age. Simply because he makes good sense. I am currently rereading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It would be useful if our political leaders were to read this book but I wont hold my breath. They are too engrossed in pillaging our country to be concerned about the destruction they are creating. And consuming single malt whisky is much preferred to sitting down in front of a book. I often refer to Animal Farm when best describing the ANC. The characture is uncannily accurate.

  • Lyle Ferrett says:

    “Neither the ANC nor South Africa’s opposition parties offer solutions to the huge amount of poverty in the country, especially in the former homelands. They also have no solutions to the de-industrialisation of the country’s economy. None of the political parties has the policies or the capacity to solve the multitude of problems facing the country,”

    The DA has proven itself wherever it governs. The DA are many orders of magnitude better than the ANC.

    That said, vote for any party in the “Moonshot Pact”.

  • louis viljee says:

    What a shame to see that Moeletsi Mbeki still hasn’t seen the disaster of neoliberalism which has caused further inequality since the 1980’s. What does stand out in his analysis is to what extent race identity is still so fundamental in our politics, although some of his conclusions are rather debatable, like the definition of coloured people and that race alone explains the loss of ANC support. That the ANC has long been a great disappointment and clearly unable to save either itself or the country isn’t news. A shame though that there’s still no credible opposition in sight but that everyone seems to have the arrogance thinking they can do better, alone. Or merely grab their share of the spoils of self-enrichment?

  • andrew.linington says:

    Excellent summation, except, the one issue I have is the statement that none of South Africa’s opposition parties offer solutions to the huge amount of poverty in the country. The writer has emphasized that it is the private sector that creates jobs and the DA has proven through it’s achievements in the Western Cape that it’s policies have helped the private sector to create jobs, anyone with two eyes can see that on any past visit to the Western Cape in the past 10 years.
    While I understand the reluctance of disgruntled ANC voters to move their vote to the DA, because of it’s erroneously perceived “whiteness”, the option of not voting at all, is far worse. If the writer (and a host of others just sitting and commenting) wants to see progress to a better future for the young people in South Africa, then he should get off the fence and have the courage to lead by throwing his support behind the best option that is currently available.

    • Belinda Cavero says:

      Agreed. Give DA a chance to turn other provinces around, like the WC is proof of.

    • Dave Callaghan says:

      I don’t see that the DA is erroneously perceived as a “white party”. I feel that is a fair characterization of its current state. Not that it hasn’t tried to shake off that image and is still trying very hard at the grass roots level to be a more racially inclusive and representative party. It’s more recent disastrous experiences with completely scandalous sell-outs, Patricia De Lille and Mmusi Maimane have left it with severe “burnt fingers” syndrome regarding raising up credible black and coloured leaders. I think the DA still has a lot of internal work to do to be a party of broad appeal. Nevertheless, I don’t agree that it has no answers to poverty and economic decline. It’s simple. Keep doing the right things economically and things will slowly but surely get better. Which is what the DA does. Keep doing the wrong things economically and things will slowly but surely get worse. Which is what the ANC does. Race identity aside, not many people truly believe that the ANC will ever improve the economy or that the DA would ever wreck the economy. So we are still very much stuck in racial identity politics which is getting frighteningly close to destroying us all. What happened to the happy rainbow nation! Shining example for the whole world. Come on South Africans! Use your brains and take back control of our future!

  • Rae Earl says:

    The voice of despair and hope. Moletsi Mbeki highlights our problems with searing insight into the realities of ANC governance. The hope that his 5 deadly sins will be addressed and eliminated is there, but it will take years to materialise assuming SA doesn’t become a failed communist state. The DA made a fatal mistake in allowing Mmusi Maimane to leave the party. Maimane compounded the error by exiting of his own accord. The DA is the only party capable of governing effectively but, despite being multi-racial, it has the white face of John Steenhuisen at its helm and this is what the majority of black voters see.

  • Lyle Ferrett says:

    Speaking to BBBEE, another mortal sin of the ANC is their failure to establish a sunset clause for racial classifications.

    Why, thirty years after the end of apartheid, are South Africans still required to categorise themselves as black, white, Indian, or Coloured?

    There are no clear definitions for these racial groups. Thus, a “white” person could easily defend themself for classifying themselves as “African”. It’s utter baloney.

    The ANC, like the apartheid government, uses race to divide South Africans. The ANC’s greatest fear is South Africans getting along with each other.

    In the future, choose “Other” when asked to state your race.

  • timothyjacobs2015 says:

    Mbeki got it so wrong when referred to “coloureds” using a racist term like the Apartheid and ANC governments, when he he says we are descendants of only slaves from
    Africa and Asia.

    We are also descendants of the South African indigenous Khoi and San.

    He is either not familiar with our history or ignore the true history of people like me.

    Mbeki should make time to visit the Camissa Museum before making uneducated history statements.

    • Martin Smith says:

      Yes, I was shocked by that and had to re-read it before I could be sure that he had actually said it. I’m surprised that the DM didn’t insist on a correction.

  • Christopher Campbell says:

    Looks like the wrong son was groomed for the presidency or is it just hindsight that addresses the errors.

  • markstrydomontagu says:

    Very astute observation!👍
    Well said. Saying what should be said aloud… 🤝

  • dondodithebe1 says:

    I never supported moeletsi for the longest of time but now he is spot on this time around and I wish this debate or narrative should be broadened and raised as a central point of advocacy for nation building

  • kaundam says:

    I didn’t see one SOE in the report: SAA. Other private airlines came and went

  • Pierre VILLAIN says:

    One major sin was forgotten in this list. Absence of coherent investment in EDUCATION Essentially along the primary and secondary education. Result is accumulation of almost 3 generations of illiterate population, that now levels to the bottom SA Universities . And non availability of CADRES able to handle the country.

  • Andreas Joss says:

    Excellent analysis. I remember when I was in school from 1999 to 2010, in general there was a huge excitement of building a new rainbow nation together. The climax I would say was the FIFA world cup. It was amazing to feel part of this nation building.

    After that, the devisiveness of ANC politics really took over (including increased BEE), and just a sense that government really didn’t care about the country. Corruption was acceptable for the ANC. Of course the fact that the economy dragged along and state owned enterprises were failing did not help. And now the nation building experienced before 2010 is just a memory.

  • I have always wondered why Mr Moeletsi Mbeki was not in politics and stood for president. He sees the reality of our country clearly. Saying that however I doubt he would ever be chosen, as the reality of things are, the mistakes made will take many years to repair and the powers that be, will not give up any time to enrich themselves even at the expence of there people and our Nation.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      Maybe his analysis is so objective specifically BECAUSE he is not in politics. Because politicians are in general forced to adhere to ideological biases. I know that from dire experience; because I put the truth before ideology I became extremely unpopular in party political circles; oh they all flirted with me, as long as I was prepared to be at the bottom of their lists.

  • Frederick Williams says:

    Mr Mbeki, you make valid and hard hitting writing, exposing the rot of governance, the criminal and selfserving leaders, but why only now, its not as if we are living in fear of being punished or jailed as being done in Russia, North Korea, China to some extent(probably more, than we know of), but yours is the voice, and other influencers that should have come to the fore, demanding that the public, institutions of influence, stop the rot, when it started, how is it that our constution, cannot ‘impeach’ (is that the correct term) , or some form of law, which can outlaw a leader or minister, municipal nanager etc, when they fail outright to govern efficiently. This sounds ludicrous, but what state capture (also a mild word) ,has caused for the rape of this countrys resources, the complete breakdown of functioning goverance, criminals let loose, yes, and apartheid will be the scapegoat for another 30 years or 300, for convenience, for an array of newbies, hunger for power, there’s an oldie already flexing his muscles, poised for a comeback, hungry. We’ve have been on this precipice for to long, not long fir the final nudge.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      He has been saying these things for more than a decade now – he has written a number of books and has been giving regular inputs in the forums of the South African Institute of International Affairs, of which he is one of the top leadership figures.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    “The ANC could still have created the black middle class by making available opportunities for them to be productive industrialists, farmers, artisans and small business owners who would build the country, and create wealth at the same time.”

    Not if the workforce created is unemployable.

  • Respect for Truth says:

    Moeletsi Mbeki’s writing is like a breath of fresh air – always insightful and on point. What a pity that the wrong brother entered politics – but again, to paraphrase the old adage, very few people who would make good political leaders, have any desire to enter politics.

  • George 007 says:

    Thank you, Mr. Mbeki, for stripping away all the rhetoric and leaving only the 5 mortal sins. The ANC has committed far more sins, but almost all of them have roots in these 5 mortal sins. The future government needs to focus on the roadmap you outlined in this article.

  • Bryan Shepstone says:

    Pity that Moeletsi Mbeki can’t do anything to help us out of the mess we find ourselves in.

  • Les Thorpe says:

    Very good article. Mr. M. Mbeki’s article are always incisive.

  • markuslouisfaasen1 says:

    Thank you, Chris Makhaye for providing these beneficial perspective-forming facts in your article. This article indicates the current direction in which South African politics is moving, and the historical facts that caused them.
    The article helps me as a young South African on how I should think in the future.

  • Peter Merrington says:

    Brave and true. With this kind of candour maybe there is still hope. In the fullest picture the de-industrialization of SA has been the worst consequence. Many of the vast number of unemployed now stand at traffic lights (the market place) and hope for work as charwomen, or as gardeners, and so on. And thus they are betrayed by the ANC. The future under the ANC means comfy suburbs outside some of the cities (I think of course of Cape Town) and beyond those a nation of subsistence farmers dependent on social grants. Thus they can keep up their own narrative of ‘privileged’ suburbia and a disadvantaged majority (a political sub-text of resentment and victimhood). And we all go down inch by inch.

  • Stanislav Zimela Nkosi kaMthembu says:

    Completely wrong on the first three, completely right on the last two. Issues around the border and downstream impacts are clear for every South African to see. This is an apex threat to the continued existence of SANs as a nation. 342 Years of colonial and apartheid de-resourcing of our people still calls for deliberate, targeted, time-lined, government interventions; BBBEE and affirmative action are just two of such. Corruption should be at second tier after reckless border management. Both have impacted every facet of our existence, every layer of our society. Emergent threats are also descendants of the two, for example, the disrespectful attempts at Western Cape secession, and similar sentiments from somewhere else in the Republic. Deal with the Border crisis, deport all illegals to force openings and opportunities to reset, placing SANs at the center of their development. All those that have violated our laws must account to the fullest extent of our law.

    • Aa Uu says:

      Nonsense reverse racism.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Aw diddums, always the victim, never take accountability for your own future

    • John P says:

      And we can see what BBBEE and affirmative action have achieved so far. A corrupt wealthy elite and a failing economy.

    • ST ST says:

      Agree some form of levelling-up was/is needed. Clearly due to lack of governance skills and corruption, the chosen method went horribly wrong. Some form of levelling up is expected in western economies too. The issue was that unlike in the other countries where candidates may be matched (more or less) in all but certain demographics, in SA, that was nigh on impossible due to the drastically low education and preparedness levels amongst the blacks against their counterparts. It is not right to practice reverse racism. It is also not right to constantly accuse people of crying victim and calling their views on this nonsense.

      Some blacks have crawled out of their mud huts and today have high level of education and success globally (and I don’t mean tenderpreneurs). However, a lot don’t even have bootstraps to pull themselves up with.

      Because of the lack of an effective truth and reconciliation process, a lot of people still don’t understand what apartheid did and what it’s legacy is, in what form it may exist and how long for. Even those who escape still have to face systemic racism, globally.

  • econdow says:

    A very credible assessment – also contains the solution

  • I read and listened to Moeletsi’s analysis of the ruling party policies, especially economic over the years. I am always fascinated by his vision and intelligence. However, I always felt that the ANC leaders and tbeir supporters are not listening. A sad story indeed. We who love him, will continue to pray that blacj citizens will change their voting habit because we are the ones who are suffering in the end as a result of these crooks, thieves, non-thinkers. They destroyed the good economy which they inherited claiming everything as apartheid things. Shame!

  • What an informative article and spot on. Is there ANY hope for our country and all its people?

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Great summary, but addressed to the wrong people. What the esteemed Mr. Mbeki should be doing is talking to the people who voted for the ANC/EFF parties. Sadly, his valid and factual arguments will fall on deaf ears. By the way, here’s a list of the original seven deadly sins: pride/arrogance, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth. Anything sounding familiar there, South Africa?

  • Gerald Davie says:

    I thought that there were seven deadly sins.

  • tariq13patric says:

    I expected something much better and more substantial in analysis than this shallow drivel. Molestsi you surely can do much better than this? But I suppose that if socio-economic political analysis is boiled down to “Saints and Sinners” and “venial and mortal sins” rather than digging deep to understand what really has gone wrong then we get this populist echoing of the puerile. What were the forces behind the melt-down and the key disastrous policies, practice, cultures, and omissions to act decisively? This does not even scratch the surface. Don’t play to the peanut-gallery…. get your teeth into the deep-rooted real problems, lack of innovation and leadership and the lack of a basic rallying philosophy to make Project South Africa work and stand out locally and Internationally. For instance, when we look back to the anti-colonial struggle of Malaysia inclusive of Singapore so many decades ago we see some similarities to SA politics – they had a tripartite alliance of a nationalist movement, trades union congress and a communist party with very similar notions of policy and practice to the ANC Alliance. When Singapore, the most backward and poor part of Malaysia broke off (or was pushed off by Malaysia) to go it alone what was it that it did in terms of policy, practice, culture, innovation and philosophy (big mobilising idea that inspires the nation to work and achieve)??? It certainly did not slavishly follow Western nor Eastern approaches but applied itself (now as a matter of record) in a ground-breaking manner to become the success story that it has become. I mention this without going into detail to illustrate the poverty of the kid of regurgitated thinking being expressed in this article. It really misses the mark. We all need to do a lot more serious thinking if South Africa is going to find its Mojo…. and perhaps this is only going to come from fresh young people’s minds less bogged down by dogmas and neat boxed thinking.

  • Selva Naicker says:

    Insightful and right on the money 👌🏽👌🏽

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Excellent analysis, thought with one much-needed correction and one mortal sin in my view not mentioned:
    Mbeki’s description of the history of the Coloured community is entirely lacking in complexity and nuance and entirely omits their highly significant local roots through the Khoi and San, casting them as a fairly two-dimensional group.
    A mortal sin not mentioned is that of education. The apartheid regime in all its evil incarnations realised one thing at its very start, when they started placing their own cadres in positions from the very top to the very bottom, namely that education was key. During British rule the Afrikaans community did not place a large premium on education, and not being part of the economy in a significant way and certainly not being part of the civil service saw little need for that. Once the civil service and the key levers of state and the economy had to be managed, education was seen as one of the key drivers to ensure that the loyal and the trusted would be competent enough to manage those levers.
    Pierre de Vos wrote an excellent piece this week illustrating that cadre deployment is not the scourge it is made out to be, but instead ANC corruption is. But where would we have been with a civil service peopled with highly trained individuals who were delivering on their mandates and not in the job to be on the take, as without the know-how, what else is there to do other than grab and pay obeisance to the masters at the top?

  • hartpgf says:

    i have MMbeki’s 2009 book in front of me……..he predicted many things that have materialised…..just one of which is the declined rate of employment! Why cannot the ANC listen to one of their own?

  • Tersdekock says:

    Very good and comprehensive piece. Trust it will be distributed widely.

  • Freda Brodie says:

    He is so right, a wise man.
    But nobody will listen to him.

  • Val Ruscheniko says:

    It’s all over, bar the shouting. Just another Banana Republic on the skids.

  • Andre Swart says:

    Grow governance or enterprizes? SA must choose!

    South Africans are ‘over governed’ and ‘over represented’ to the extend that the expenses of government and politicians, far exceed the capacity of the exhausted the taxpayers, to fund it.

    Only when governance and representation costs are cut by 50% and taxation reduced accordingly, will there be reserve cash floating around, to grow private enterprizes.

    When hard earned money (tax) remains in private enterprizes, in stead of getting wasted on bloated, unproductive governance and politicians, then jobs will be created by the private sector.

    To be able to stimulate economic growth in SA, we must first ‘derail the gravy train’!

    Reduced spending on governance (and ‘representation’ by politicians), will FREE up much needed money to kickstart the stagnated SA economy.

    Kick out the FATCATS first in the coming election!

  • This is the same situation in the current zim context

  • retha.bos says:

    An excellent description of what went wrong with our economy and country. I’ve always had respect for mr. Moeletsi Mbeki’s truth. Thank You!

  • Jabu Mhlanga says:

    ANC government has also turned a blind eye to billion of rands generated by spaza shops in township…smuggled out to Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Asian countries.

  • Grant S says:

    What a fascinating take on the last thirty years. Basically a South Africanised regurgitation of what most countries went through post 1970’s, a privatisation of business with political parties tasked with creating environmental conditions that encourage private investment, job creation and growth. Not rocket science at all. Just a shame that the greedy elite decided to be no better than the political regime they took over from.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    I thought the 5 deadly sins were the guys in the picture?

  • Mr Mbeki clearly has no idea of history, pertaining to the so called Coloureds. It’s indeed a skew and uninformed representation of a complex nation and its reach history. The indigenous Griekwas, Gouriqwas, Outenikwas to name but a few are not even mentioned in his narrow minded opinion. The ANC has indeed turned into a mockery of democracy and racists par excellance.

  • We are poor no leaders, only politicians , working for their interest, unemployment,hunger, starving.illigal foreigners bringing cheap labour,secrifising for Africa at our expenses, watch the crises.

  • wolf.fleischhammel says:

    Thank you very much for that excelent article. Yes, these are the faults/failare of the last 30 Years. Mbeki was part of it, the brother. Democracy is sometimes difficult to practise and the danger is on the doorstep, everyone has to do his share, otherwise the millitary and the dictators will take over. It is not too late for SA, I wish and hope another Nelson will appear an take over.

  • William Stucke says:

    Every time that I have met Moeletsi Mbeki he has impressed me as a very sensible individual. Perhaps he’s the right person to lead the “Moonshot Pact” (MPC), precisely because he’s an intellectual and a decisive thinker and not a political animal?

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