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‘Don’t play us for fools’: If SA wants to remain a close US partner in Africa, it must meet us halfway

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John James is a United States Congressman representing Michigan’s 10th district. He serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep James’ legislation HR 7256, the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act, passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with bipartisan support on March 21, 2024.

Pretoria’s recent alignment with Moscow, Tehran and Beijing contradicts South Africa’s proud tradition of non-alignment and sends troubling signals to the United States about the future of our fruitful, bilateral relationship.

The South African narrative embodies hope, reconciliation and unwavering determination. Throughout my lifetime, the bond between the United States and South Africa has been one of pride and significance.

However, recent decisions made by the African National Congress (ANC) have raised concerns among Americans about South Africa’s commitment to fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.

South Africa stands as America’s largest economic partner on the African continent, exemplified by the successful utilisation of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa).

The growth in trade, from $13.9-billion in 2010 to $21-billion in 2021, reflects our dedication to mutual benefit and shared prosperity.

American businesses in South Africa have not only created thousands of jobs but have also generated billions in value for the South African economy.

Furthermore, the United States has demonstrated unwavering support for the South African people, providing over $8-billion in assistance since 2003 through initiatives like the President’s Emergency Program for Aids Relief (Pepfar).

Pepfar stands as a testament to our commitment to saving lives and fostering progress; a legacy I am deeply invested in upholding.

Nevertheless, amid domestic challenges in America, doubts have arisen about whether South Africa’s partnership should remain a top priority. 

As chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Africa, I understand that the United States is no longer South Africa’s only choice as a global partner – therefore we must strive to be the best choice for African nations.

However, when faced with efforts by malign actors to undermine longstanding partnerships between the United States and her critical allies, I am duty-bound to the American taxpayer to act.

Legislation such as HR 7256, which I have championed on a bipartisan basis, underscores our concerns regarding the direction of the ANC’s foreign policy decisions.

This legislation simply calls for the type of objective and collaborative review that should be non-threatening to those who mean America and our friends no harm.

Alarms raised

Recent events, including joint military exercises with China and Russia, and involvement in attempts to undermine human rights, good governance and democratic safeguards, raise alarms about South Africa’s intent and trajectory.

While we understand that South Africa must guard its independence jealously, recent debate on the floor of South Africa’s National Assembly highlights the very kind of involvement of malign actors in South Africa’s domestic affairs that are at odds with the ANC’s stated goal of non-alignment.

If the allegations of the opposition and civil society groups are found to be true, then recent financial benefits directly provided to the ANC present a perception of impropriety and threaten to undermine the ANC’s sworn duty to prioritise the wellbeing of its people over the ambitions of South Africa’s power brokers.

Pretoria’s recent alignment with Moscow, Tehran and Beijing contradicts South Africa’s proud tradition of non-alignment and sends troubling signals to the United States about the future of our fruitful, bilateral relationship.

Historically, our partnership has thrived on cooperation and mutual trust, bolstered by America’s significant financial support. It is my fervent hope that the United States can continue to earn its position as the preferred partner for African nations, including South Africa.

I acknowledge that improvements are needed in our diplomatic engagement to address the challenges of this century and to safeguard our shared future, but the American people will not be played for fools.

So, again, while the United States deeply respects South Africa’s sovereignty and its right to determine its own domestic and foreign policy, it is also essential to recognise that actions have consequences and that the American people have choices too.

Rebuilding trust with the South African people is paramount, and I am personally committed to that endeavour. 

I believe in the potential of our nations to work together for the prosperity of our people and for the advancement of our partnership.

A thriving South Africa is integral to a flourishing Africa.

The United States is prepared for the long journey ahead, but it is only fair that South Africa, if it desires to remain America’s close partner, meet us halfway. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Derek Jones says:

    Thanks Mr James, it is a worry to many that our cash stripped government is indebted somehow to Russia Iran and China. I have no inside information but the decisions taken by the ANC you refer to seem and probably are disastrous. Please though understand that those decisions are not the will of the country. The ANC had a chance when they were voted in to make a difference for the poor in South Africa, but instead they chose to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor. Their motives have been and are still selfish. They are not to be trusted. Now, they are dangerous as they have their backs to the wall. South Africans are a good, fair, resourceful and patient nation, but many voters are so destitute they would throw away their voting potential to oust them because of the belief that if they vote for anyone else they would lose their grant of R350 per month. To punish the ANC for their disloyalty would punish those you wish to help. These are desperate times and understanding is needed to get us out of this political suicide.

    • Shaq Attaq says:

      We need the USA more than the USA needs us however the USA needs a foothold on the continent so we are both over a barrel here to some extent

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Ja the USA is fast getting tired of those countries Trump once so famously labelled. I am no fan of the USA and their bullying tactics, but I would prefer our comrades to make more friends rather than enemies. They show no consistency.

  • John Seccombe says:

    As someone who was born, schooled and who worked in South African gold mines and as a journalist, I can simply offer this: Be very careful. By your friends, you’ll be known. I am an American now and I am very proud of my adopted country. Turn away from us if you must, but be prepared for the cost of your decision. Rep. John James is right; Americans are not fools.

    • Tumelo Tumelo says:

      Mr James and some of his fellow countrymen don’t seem to realise one thing; the global south no longer fears the US, there is zero deterrence in play for the global south to reject US. A country that sent the first man to the moon has now embraced mediocrity and buffoonery which almost led to a coup on the steps of its democracy now expects the global south to take it seriously? From the thugs in ANC; to bandits in the Arabian peninsulas; the rag tag armies in the Sahel; the primitive taliban in Afghanistan and most importantly the Chinese- the US is considered to be in decline. Simply put congressman, the thugs in Luthuli house and the rest of the global south do think you are fools. Get your house in order and then you might get back to playing the world as fools as you once did.

      • Troy Marshall says:

        Ouch, you didn’t pull your punches Tumelo Tumelo.
        I’d prefer South Africa to keep close ties to the USA, and not mollycoddle to the likes of Russia, Iran and China … but …
        I agree with your sentiments regarding the USA. The worlds self appointed policeman has been gradually losing it’s moral compass since the early 60’s. I’d hoped Obama’s Presidency would signal a new era, but what came after – yuk!

      • jason du toit says:

        well put. don’t get me wrong, US support is vastly preferable to the authoritarian countries we seem to be sidling up to, but there is much about the US that is wrong. the only difference between their corruption and ours is that theirs is legal (super PACs anyone)?

        the world does not respect the US. we can’t help but watch it with a grim fascination as if watching a show, silently shaking our heads and laughing in disbelief. the only thing is… well the largest military in the world, and the dominance granted by owning the global currency.

        fascination is far from respect.

  • Garth Kruger says:

    Excellent piece, Mr James. Just remember you are dealing with the ANC. At the next International Investor’s Conference, I don’t think we will see Russia, China and Cuba making a significant contribution. The West will step up as per usual and the anti-west rhetoric will persist. You are dealing with arch-opportunists.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Your good intentions and goodwill, whilst appreciated and valued amongst many right thinking South Africans, are wasted on and in fact scorned by the vile and hypocritical anc. Forget the old anc – that ceased to exist a long time ago. What you now have is a predatory, criminal, parasitic, corrupt, inept, self-serving and treasonous cabal of rapacious thieves that have betrayed our values, our Constitution, human rights and turned this country into a wasteland and a virtual failed state. They are in bed with, worship and subserviently pay homage to the most vile and bestial regimes around like the mass-murdering evil monster Putin, the tyrannical Chinese communist government, the diabolical and revolting Iranian mullah regime etc etc. These are the most valued friends including Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Hamas, Zimbabwe etc. Stop turning the other cheek to these ungrateful and duplicitous scum. Start by cancelling the AGOA agreement- they really don’t deserve your kindness and largesse. They take with one hand and give you the middle finger with the other! They laugh and mock you behind your back.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      Mr Fedup, I would like to lay down a simple challenge to you for the upcoming month of April:

      For you to go the whole month without using the word ‘bestial’ in online commentary. It’s an effective word to be sure. Strong. But bold words such as this one are best reserved for the rarest of occasions; overuse them and they start to lose potency.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Isn’t that exactly what you did during apartheid .. to your fellow SAs ? Spare us the BS outrage !

      • Grant S says:

        Yes, quite likely true. And now it’s happening all over again. Mr Oliver Tambo must be turning in his grave. Nobody can be happy with the current government direction unless they personally benefit and don’t care about the long term health of the nation. Is the idea of a nation for all an impossible dream?

    • William Stucke says:

      Dear “Mr Fedup”, I too would like to lay down a simple challenge for you.

      My name is William Stucke. You can find me on Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or your search engine of choice. LinkedIn provides a reasonable history of my working life. I made the decision some years ago that if I wish to comment in public, that I owe it to myself to take responsibility for my statements. I need to “own” my opinions, as the young might say. Further, I owe it to those who read and engage with my comments to enable them to see who I am and to judge for themselves how much veracity they should attach to my opinions.

      My challenge to you is simple: Use your real name. Be a real person.

  • Steve Daniel says:

    Chilling insight into how we are perceived to be but, we are not the they who misrepresent who we truly are Mr Jones. We, The People, are not the corrupted, the self serving, the uncaring, the betrayers of our Hope. We, The People, so desperately need the Good to nurture just a glimmer of the Hope now lost.
    Do not abandon the many for the deliberate, dishonest failures of the few. By your honest truth we know you as a true friend, and when days are dark – true friends are few, few indeed, one less is one too many. You do have friends here John – do not punish them.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Yes … like our ‘hero’ Klipkop Steenhuizen who got the ball rolling by asking the most corrupt regime in the world (the US – just ask Assange) for their ‘intervention’ (like they are doing with their double talk in Palestine) without a shred of evidence of ‘corruption’ with our upcoming elections .

      • Troy Marshall says:

        Steenhuisen scored himself a trip to the Ukraine. Reason given : fact finding mission about the war.
        DA member voices an opinion in support of Palestine ; Message comes down – cease and desist. The DA is just as hypocritical as the rest

      • Rodney Weidemann says:

        We do need independent observers of our elections – especially these critical ones – but I do agree that asking the country where half the people don’t believe the current president is legally elected, and who attempted to overthrow their own government in a coup, is probably pushing the envelope somewhat!

  • O'Train D says:

    Oh, please!

  • Tumelo Tumelo says:

    Mr James and some of his fellow countrymen don’t seem to realise one thing; the global south no longer fears the US, there is zero deterrence in play for the global south to reject US. A country that sent the first man to the moon has now embraced mediocrity and buffoonery which almost led to a coup on the steps of its democracy now expects the global south to take it seriously? From the thugs in ANC; to bandits in the Arabian peninsulas; the rag tag armies in the Sahel; the primitive taliban in Afghanistan and most importantly the Chinese- the US is considered to be in decline. Simply put congressman, the thugs in Luthuli house and the rest of the global south do think you are fools. Get your house in order and then you might get back to playing the world as fools as you once did.

    • Karl Sittlinger says:

      None of what you said excuses the ANCs support for Russia and Putin, or any of the other facist countries like China etc. The USA is far from perfect, and I dont even want to know what will happen when Trump wins, but the forces that the ANC are courting now are far more sinister.

      • G C says:

        Spot on, that is how I feel. Russia,Iran and China are not good friends or role models to follow. You will see the ANC targeting freedom of speech next.

        Once trumps gets in then relations with South Africa will take a down ward spiral.

  • Luke S says:

    Thirteen thousand dead children in a handful of months. Every university destroyed. Hospitals and homes flattened.
    With your bombs.
    The US’s “us or them”, “with us or against us” attitude to the rest of the world is not our problem to manage.
    This conversation is only happening because we didn’t take “your” side in the middle east. So please, don’t talk to us about hypocrisy in foreign relations.

    • Mohsin Wadee says:

      Exactly, when I read this piece I was howling with laughter.

      So we must cut ties with China, Iran and Russia because US says so? John James can lick my you know what.

      • Rodney Weidemann says:

        No, we should cut ties with those countries because they are authoritarian, fascist (in the case of Russia) and keep their people in subjugation, much the way the Apartheid regime did to the majority here. Cosying up to countries that murder young girls for the ‘crime’ of not wearing a hijab, nations that drive tanks over protesting students, or ones that ignore international law by summarily invading a neighbour does not make SA look good, whatever way you choose to look at it.

        • Luke S says:

          So in your opinion, looking good and politics (BS + money) is what’s important here?
          Why is the US re-evaluating “ties” (BS + money) with us all of a sudden? Because we offended them and put them on the spot with logical, rational thinking, by exposing their “unconditional” support, militarily, financially, and politically, of blatant, horrible, law-breaking human-rights abuses of the Palestinian people for almost a century.
          But as long as we “look good” with our politics (BS + money), then we’re doing the right thing? Because what’s important is BS + money, not human beings. Right?

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Moshin -perhaps engage your brain before launching your vitriol. At no stage did Mr. John James say that SA must cut ties with these (tyrannical) countries. The anc makes much of its non-aligned status which actually means being neutral, which we are anything but.

    • Mohsin Wadee says:

      He’s threatening us, with a very thin veil. And when the US cuts ties with Israel, then I’ll listen to him, kapish?

    • Enver Klein says:

      I find James statement: “… that actions have consequences and that the American people have choices too”, quite amusing.
      The American people!!! Who is James trying to fool? The American people, specifically and more importantly, the Amercian youth, have woken up to the fact that the American Congress, Senate, and many industries are controlled by AIPAC or more specifically, Israel.
      To quote Netanyahu: “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in our way …”

  • Greeff Kotzé says:

    Rep. James, is your quarrel with SA, or with the ruling ANC? If it’s the latter, I should tell you that you are essentially preaching to the converted by penning an article in this publication.

    But either way, the bitter accusations of ‘election interference’ and/or ‘attempted regime change’ should head your way any moment now. Just like former president Trump’s cries of victimhood boosts his campaign over there, allegations of US interference plays well to the local audience over here. In Xwitter parlance, any ‘kleva black’ simply must be a CIA agent, of course.

    So I pray, kindly let us put in pin in this for a couple of months (just over two should do), and supply no further electioneering fodder to the ANC or the EFF in the meantime. We can circle back to this issue after our election results are announced.

  • Ismail Lagardien says:

    Mr James is funny. Funnier, and sad, is the vacuous encomia in this comments section. Mr James is emboldened only by the vast military force that his country has deployed over the post-war period. He is quite without shame.

    See this list of the countries bombed and/or invaded by the USA from the end of the Second World War to 2020:
    Afghanistan 1998, 2001-
    Bosnia 1994, 1995
    Cambodia 1969-70
    China 1945-46
    Congo 1964
    Cuba 1959-1961
    El Salvador 1980s
    Korea 1950-53
    Guatemala 1954, 1960, 1967-69
    Indonesia 1958 Laos 1964-73
    Grenada 1983
    Iraq 1991-2000s, 2015-
    Iran 1987
    Korea 1950-53
    Kuwait 1991
    Lebanon 1983, 1984
    Libya 1986, 2011-
    Nicaragua 1980s
    Pakistan 2003, 2006-
    Palestine 2010
    Panama 1989
    Peru 1965
    Somalia 1993, 2007-08, 2010-
    Sudan 1998
    Syria 2014-
    Vietnam 1961-73
    Yemen 2002, 2009-
    Yugoslavia 1999

    • Luke S says:

      Boom. Quite literally, unfortunately.
      US foreign policy seems, to my perhaps naive and uninformed eyes, can be summed up as follows:
      Ensure that the oil-rich countries are kept in chaos, and therefore unable to gain wealth and power (and military strength). If they already have that power, make sure you include them (regardless of their human rights records – which should supersede everything else, everything else) in your list of allies.
      Make sure that policy applies to every country that could threaten yours, in any way possible. International law, humanity be damned. Make sure there’s a flag on every corner and embed a deep respect for your country’s military personnel, and make sure that you identify enemies around every corner (if this sounds like North Korea et al, think about that – patriotism, nationalism, propaganda, where are the rational lines? Who’s thinking of the bigger picture?).
      Why do you think the US unconditionally supports Israel? Because it keeps the oil-rich middle east in chaos, less powerful and poor perhaps? How many simple basic human rights UN security council resolutions have the US vetoed over the years, that decries the clear violations of basic human rights of the Palestinian people, all within living memory? Did you have choice which country you were born in? No. Imagine you were born there. How would you feel?
      Mr. Lagardien I tip my hat to you. The hypocrisy of Mr. James’ political BS stands out like a sore thumb.

    • Andrew P says:

      I think you forgot Laos. ;p

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Mr. Greeff Kotze – thank you for your message. I used the word bestial as it aptly describes what I think and I don’t see it losing its meaning. Must we refrain from often calling the anc as corrupt, hypocritical and inept as it might lose its meaning. I don’t think so. They are most definitely corrupt and inept and pussyfooting around it serves no purpose.

  • Jeff Robinson says:

    I am an American and say without hesitation that the USA is a “malign actor” on the world stage as evidenced by decades of complicity in the oppression of Palestinians as it has been complicit if not a prime mover in all manner of covert and overt interferences around the world. This is not to absolve Russian, China, Iran, etc. And I have nothing but disdain for Hamas which has become some kind of liberation hero instead of murderous jihadists. The people of Gaza need to be liberated from the horror that they have been experiencing since October 7 and Hamas would acquire some real bona fides by laying down arms, surrendering and releasing the remaining hostages.

    • Luke S says:

      When you are severely oppressed for generations, anyone, everyone, you included, would eventually realise that there is no other option other than terrorism. Nelson Mandela was one of the founders of the ANC’s armed wing that planned, and used bombs, terror, to bring attention in the only way possible under that oppression.
      Whether it’s Hamas or MK, and I’m not excusing terrorism in anyway, but when the oppressors literally, explicitly want your entire race eradicated from what they consider their land, most already taken by force, within living memory, and the only card you have to play are hostages, would you just let them go? Think logically about the inevitable result: Genocide. When there is no consideration anymore from the Israeli government about Israeli citizens in Gaza, what is going to stop them flattening the entire population there? What would you do? How would you feel as one of the thousands of parents who are devastated by the death of at least one of their children by their oppressors, who want your land, again, because… centuries old books say so. Desperation. Think about that word. Empathy too. Humanity.

      • Jeff Robinson says:

        I doubt you will see this given the article no longer appears on the webpage, but for what it is worth …. My disdain for Netanyahu and his thugs knows no bounds and among them are those who would wish for the genocide you style as an “inevitable result”. I have thought about it logically and I have often used the adjective ‘genocidal’ to characterize the response of Israel to the Oct. 7 attacks. It looks like genocide, but if it genuinely was genocide they could have pulled it off with no land invasion whatsoever. The difference between Hamas and the ANC of apartheid days is that the former is blinded by an archaic religious ideology that endorses the genocide of infidels (even though moderate Muslims seem able to overlook this). If Hamas was a secular resistance force, they would have my support without question.

        • Luke S says:

          And the Israeli government is not blinded by archaic religious ideology, that endorses the genocide of non-Jews?
          I don’t support Hamas’ methodologies either, but there is no question about supporting the Palestinian people’s resistance.
          And the only reason that I can see why they didn’t just go full out from the start, is to try to retain international support, and bombs being sent over.

          • Jeff Robinson says:

            You are absolutely right. I find it beyond comprehension that in 2024 we still get millions of people continuing to embrace the myths of bronze age nomads and a sixth century zealot phrophet. Here we have children of Abraham killing children of Abraham, all believing that they do so with divine sanction. Nothing chills me more than dead Palestinian children being lauded as martyrs, as if they chose death in the cause of jihad.

  • jason du toit says:

    “throughout my lifetime, the bond between the united states and south africa has been one of pride and significance”.

    james was born in 1981. US efforts to oppose apartheid were then meagre at best. quiet diplomacy was not invented by the ANC with regards to zimbabwe; raegan was its champion with regards to apartheid. the US supported the nats through most of apartheid, even providing the intelligence that got mandela arrested. the US vehemently opposed sanctions through most of apartheid, as well as supporting SA in the border war. the US only got on the bandwagon against apartheid by the time it was starting to crumble. compare that to the soviet union, their arch enemy, who actively provided support to the anti-apartheid movement within SA.

    not to mention trump’s attitude towards africa, south africa, and anyone not an american citizen. all the while cozying up to putin and other despots; funny how the US was so silent about that, yet feels free to call out others over the same behaviour. not to mention trump joking about being a dictator.

    “it is my fervent hope that the united states can continue to earn its position as the preferred partner for african nations” he omitted “so that the vast mineral wealth of africa can be ours instead of china’s.”

    the US does not stand for any freedom other than its own; it does what it needs to in order to make money and gain power. it is a mercenary and a bully.

    unfortunately, SA needs you. i wish there were a better alternative.

    • Luke S says:

      “the US does not stand for any freedom other than its own; it does what it needs to in order to make money and gain power. it is a mercenary and a bully.”
      By far, by FAR, the US has the highest percentage of its population in prisons, per capita. Apparently feeding homeless people is a crime in most states!
      Freedom? It’s a very vague term. Freedom to do what? Freedom from what? Break it down, and there isn’t really much. Propaganda.
      Mr. James, if you want us to meet you halfway, on your repulsive journey to world domination by subversion and violence, think about the people who suffer along the way. Human beings.

  • Luke S says:

    “The United States is prepared for the long journey ahead, but it is only fair that South Africa, if it desires to remain America’s close partner, meet us halfway.”
    A thinly veiled threat if I’ve ever seen one.
    My ethos is “Keep asking ‘Why?’, and be brutally honest with yourself”
    Why is a member with a high-level American political status lowering himself to the level where he feels he has to justify, in a “news” website, a sudden change in the political relationship between his (powerful), and our (recently highly involved in middle-east politics) country?
    Why?
    And then when you’ve answered that with as much painful open-minded truth as you can handle, ask why again, and go deeper.
    Then keep going, as far as your fragile ego can take.
    Mine stopped caring long ago.
    But there’s a tiny bit of hope in the butterfly effect.
    In Ubuntu.
    “No raindrop feels responsible for the flood”

  • Herman Higgins says:

    With all due respect Mr. James, even though you are a House Representative I want to proint out two things: 1) Perhaps you should focus your energy on Detroit. It is a bankrcupt city in need of real leadership; (2) you are the same age as I am. Born in ’81. You and I know nothing much about the atrocities that were part of the Apartheid regime. I doubt whether you have EVER watched the TRC’s videos. Be that as it may, let’s talk about your proposed bill that is nothing more than sanctions. Think about what that will do. Your bill is going to fail. It won’t be enacted. And then what? It will just make it clear that the US is weak on South African foreign policy. The best thing you can do is to engage in diplomacy with South Africa. You don’t want to push South Africa further into the arms of the Russians and the Chinese. You need to bring them into your orbit. I’m a white Afrikaner, I’m the same age as you. I am pro non-alingnment. But the ANC is not. But you also need to understand the dynamic of our political democracy, a democracy that your government supported in the early ’90s.

    • Herman Higgins says:

      Why don’t you focus on supporting the minority parties in South Africa? Why do you fear the SA army? For heaven’s sake. The present South African Army is ill disciplined. It is not the same army that stopped the Russians from invading southern Africa in the ’80s. So when the SADF participate in so-called millitary operations with the Russians and Chinese, you need to ask yourself one very important question: are they really an army? I can assure you that the Russian and Chinese generals probably bang there heads against a wall every time the SADF generals come to the party. Furthermore, South Africa is not wholly and fully represented by the ANC, so if you want to cut off aid to South Africa, know that it will impact lives unrealted to the ANC regime. Also, the US has provided a lot of aid in terms of AIDS prevention but let me tell you, it’s not enough. One out of four South Africnans has AIDS. It is an EPIDEMIC. We need more AID.

      Also, we need constuctive diplomacy with the US. We need the US. But the ANC does not represent us all. You need to start engaging with the minority parties and the official opposition. Running to the Congress and proposing sanctions will be counter productive.

      • Herman Higgins says:

        Furthermore, you say that American companies have contributed to job creation in South Africa. Please provide the data. What I do know is that Bain and Company was a clear participant in State Capture in South Africa, and as of date none of their executives have been prosescuted either locally or in the US. But it makes sense doesn’t it? Bain and Company is highly politically leveraged in the States. Mitt Romney served as its CEO for some time.

  • Luke S says:

    There is a solution.
    There’s even big clue in the word ‘solution’.
    It’s been around for a long time.
    America has given it the middle finger, and a HECK of a lot of bombs, and dead and oppressed people, for more than a lifetime.
    The “Two state solution”.
    Stop pushing bombs to your most highly-addicted client, like a drug-dealer, and consider a peaceful world, instead of the “Us” and “Them” world that your country has imposed on the rest of us.

  • JP K says:

    I guess when Trump spoke of sh*thole countries he wasn’t speaking about South Africa? I guess you’re too young to remember America’s support of the Apartheid government? I guess when you mention concerns about human rights, you’re not thinking about the genocide you’re supporting? I guess when we think of PEPFAR we shouldn’t pay attention to the contraints it places on responses known to be effective?

    So call it a business deal or whatever, but spare us sanctimonious talk of good governance and concern for human rights.

  • Trevor Forbes says:

    An excellent article emphasizing that all countries have choices. Unfortunately they don’t always make the right ones. Tumelo seems to ignore the economic realities just as the ANC does at South Africa’s (economic) peril. In his comments on the supposed decline of the U.S. he ignores economic realities. The U.S. economy has grown faster than any of the developed world’s major economies consistently over the last decade with a gap that continues to widen. Over the last three years the U.S. economy has grown much faster than China’s. Foreign investment in China is collapsing as recent numbers published by their government indicate. At the same time, the U.S. has been gaining substantial inflows of foreign investment. So, Tumelo, which is the stronger partner? Given the disparate sizes of the U.S. and South African economies, American interest is political and strategic, South Africa’s is principally economic. Given the parlous nature of the South African economy, her people do not have the luxury of turning their backs on partners such as the U.S., UK and the EU who generate South African jobs. China actually takes jobs away from South Africa while Russia and Iran have economies that are inconsequential. South Africans should think long and hard on May 29 as to who has the best interests of ordinary South Africans at heart. By the actions and rhetoric of the ANC, clearly Cyril and his comrades do not!

  • Grant S says:

    Lots of words to summarise the simple. You want SA (current) national government support and ‘friendship’ – show them self enrichment opportunity and a lifeline to stay in power.

  • Chris le Montfort says:

    This is not a threat, it is a word to the wise. AGOA for example is not in the US President’s gift, it is an Act of Congress and comes with conditions – which South Africa is seen to be ignoring if not actively rejecting. The present alliances the Govt. of South Africa now appears to prefer, with Russia, China, Iran et al are all inimical to the Govt. of the USA and the Country must not be surprised by the consequences. Ramaphosa’s latest message to Putin, congratulating him on his “re-election” is a case in point, plus our continued failure to condemn his invasion of a sovereign Country, the Ukraine. And Pandor’s cosying up to Hamas is even more shameful. Maybe she doesn’t read their communiqués? The latest is that they will continue perpetrating atrocities like October 7th until the State of Israel and all the Jews within it are eliminated. That would genocide Minister Pandor. But you were unable to reply to a questioner on your recent trip to the USA, who asked if you agreed that Iran was an authoritarian state, funding terrorism (Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis, in case you have forgotten). You said you did not know what an authoritarian state was! And you lived in South Africa under apartheid – or maybe you were in comfortable exile somewhere in the West, which you now disdain.

  • Agf Agf says:

    In diplomacy there are always consequences. We have joined the Axis of Evil and we will pay for it.

  • Andrew P says:

    You can’t play the American people for fools… unless you’re Donald Trump, or Fox News, or Boeing and the FAA, or the Sackler family, or a televangelist, or a war hawk, or a fast food advert, or a general knowledge quiz.

  • District Six says:

    No one is saying that the USA and its citizens are fools, Sir. But neither are we, the citizens of South Africa, fools. We see the USA and how its foreign policy is marked by “America First”, “US exceptionalism” as a doctrine driving US foreign policy, the trashing of UN bilateralism by the Bush and trump Administrations, etc, the Iran-Contra crimes, the USA support for a dozen tinpot dictators in Latin America over decades, etc. You get the point. The USA does not hold the high ground in geo-politics.

    In short, Sir, South Africa has not told you whom your friends should be; show us the same courtesy.

  • Stephen Paul says:

    All these b – s childish comments about USA not being a paragon of virtue. And I suppose Russia, China, Iran are ?? This had got nothing to do with the economic survival of millions of South Africans. International relations, except for the ideological hide-bound self-enriching comrades in cANCer, are informed by national self-interest not friends or saving a once proud liberation movement from bankruptcy. But reading these comments it is evident that the Daily Maverick has become a willing repository for anti-semitic tropes, wild accusations, revisionist history and conspiracy theories. It is horrific. It is also obvious that the obsession with Israel, not Ukraine, not the muslim Uyghur real genocide in China, not human rights atrocities in Iran, but with the Jewish state, is far more important to some South Africans than the saving of South Africans from hunger, disease, poverty , by the only world power, hypocritical as it might be, having the capacity or will, with the only ulterior motive to demand that S A has the decency to remain non-aligned as it so righteously proclaims. Pandor and her box at least recognise, if the the DM readers do not, about the crucial support of AGOA and are over there at the US Congress pleading like spoilt brats not to be punished.
    If this was Peanuts comic strip South Africa would be Lucy and USA Charlie Brown.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    William & Rodney – play the ball and not the man. If you don’t agree with my opinions, that is perfectly fine. Whether I choose to use my real name or not is my decision and it makes zero difference at all. If you don’t like it, then I suggest you don’t read my submissions.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Very disingenuous Mr Lagardien! Your anti US bias so clearly and pathetically evident. You list the bombings committed by the US mostly in defence of the free world, human rights, democracy and freedom against the brutal and tyrannical communism which has been/is an evil curse on the world since inception, whilst totally ignoring the bombs from Russia in Chechnya, Syria, Ukraine etc and all the other vile countries like Iran, Venezuela, Zimbabwe etc. Whilst the latter weren’t bombed, the common folk were nevertheless murdered in their thousands. You are like our government – hypocritical, immoral, duplicitous and hugely selective in what you choose to condemn. Given the choice between the US and the West as opposed to the mass-murdering countries that you defend, there is simply no choice. Countries like South Korea, the Baltic States, Eastern European etc are forever grateful that the US stood by them when the communist beast, sponsored by Russia and China, were at full throttle in trying to take over the world in imposing this miserable and monstrous ideology on the world. You, as a so-called academic, would have been on the hit list, together with teachers, government officials, police etc like happened in South Vietnam when the Viet Cong and the NVA were subverting and murdering their way into the South. Remember too that the US bombed Serbia in order to save the Bosnian Muslims. Your memory is short and hugely ungrateful! Fairness and balance is called for.

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