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No stop to the rot — the grave legacy of ANC’s hierarchy of greed

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Dr Marius Oosthuizen is a scenario planner and writes in his own capacity.

While millions of South Africans languish at the bottom of the pyramid, struggling for food, security and belonging, the new black elite have rapidly climbed to Maslow’s apex, in search of grotesque self-aggrandisement through material wealth. 

The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy that outlines a five-layer model of human needs, depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. These include needs for food and clothing, safety, the need for love and belonging or friendship, esteem, and finally self-actualisation — the expression of one’s identity and ideals.

The basic premise the theory suggests is that the most basic level of needs must be met before individuals can attend to needs higher up in the pyramid.

While millions of South Africans languish at the bottom of the pyramid, struggling for food, security and belonging, the new black elite have rapidly climbed to Maslow’s apex, in search of grotesque self-aggrandisement through material wealth.

They have sought to steal and shop themselves to the top, and lost sight of the evolutionary ideal which birthed the so-called struggle. It was always about liberating society for higher levels of development, not to enrich a few at the expense of the many.

Election outcomes 

Recent polls suggest a slight shift in the political landscape for the national elections in South Africa. The ANC is expected to experience a continued decline in support, potentially receiving less than 50% of the vote for the first time in a national election. This indicates a potentially pivotal moment in South Africa’s democratic journey, reflecting a broadening of the political spectrum and possibly a more contested electoral environment.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), newly formed Rise Mzanzi and BuildSA, with other opposition parties, might not capitalise fully on the ANC’s predicted losses, but the overall political scenario suggests a more fragmented national assembly, possibly leading to a coalition government.

Not yet Uhuru 

In Swahili, “Uhuru” means freedom, and the phrase “Not yet Uhuru” signifies that while South Africa has achieved formal independence and dismantled apartheid, the full promise of freedom, including economic and social equality, has not yet been realised for all its citizens. The term “Not yet Uhuru” was, ironically, popularised by the ANC.

The expression is often used to acknowledge ongoing struggles and the need for further progress in achieving the comprehensive liberation and well-being that were the goals of the anti-apartheid movement. Essentially, it serves as a reminder that the journey towards a truly free and equal society is still ongoing.

Freedom from what? 

Since the ANC took power in 1994, it has faced numerous accusations of succumbing to corruption. Initially celebrated as a liberating force against apartheid, over the years, there has been growing disillusionment as numerous leaders within the ANC have been implicated in scandals that suggest a deviation from the party’s original values of integrity and public service. The issue of corruption within the ANC has undermined governance, investment and public trust.

This pattern of behaviour has hindered South Africa’s progress towards economic freedom and equality, as resources meant for development and upliftment are diverted into private bank accounts. This has perpetuated inequality and slowed improvements in living standards for many South Africans, contrasting sharply with the liberation ethos on which the ANC was founded.

Read more in Daily Maverick: 2024 elections hub

The term “State Capture”, describing the extensive influence of private interests over state decisions to the detriment of the public good, has become synonymous with these issues, especially during the presidency of Jacob Zuma. The so-called “nine wasted years” of Jacob Zuma have been followed by “wasteland years” in the economy under Cyril Rapamphosa, with near to zero growth and declines in job numbers.

What South Africa now needs is liberation from the greedy black elites who have captured the government and State for personal gain. The nation needs to kick the incumbents off the gravy train, but who can muster the personal and positional power and influence to do so? Only a highly motivated, articulate and principled cohort of young black South Africans can fight off the hungry hyenas at the top of the hierarchy, and replace them with servants of the public.

This will be crucial if the masses of South Africa’s people are to climb up Maslow’s hierarchy to:

  1. Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
  2. Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
  3. Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
  4. Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

I do hope that citizens will play their role, by voting for change. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Robert Pegg says:

    Tribal loyalty and blind obedience are what will determine the outcome of the elections. There are not enough voters out there who can think and act for themselves.

    • Confucious Says says:

      Pretty much! The fact that someone like Kakop Zuma could have a single supporter after its been acknowledged and proven that he destroyed the economy and facilitated State Capture is testament! How on earth could anyone (ok, except for those who benefited from the proceeds of crime), happily accept him back in any political form????

  • dexter m says:

    Great article. The problem is a vast majority of the post 94 children have not even registered to vote. They have given up on democracy and non of the parties have invested enough in voter education and recruitment in this demographic. The majority of voters on the roll are still stuck in the pre 94 mindset .The sad part is the opposition parties have not done enough.

  • Rae Earl says:

    The DA receives a continuous barrage of negative statements, more so from the white community than the black. This is exactly what the ANC and EFF are feeding off. So maybe John Steenhuisen misses the point here and there, don’t they all? Steenhuisen has developed into a hardcore politician which is an absolute necessity when dealing with opposition parties like the ANC and EFF. Steenhuisen is not afraid of launching full scale verbal attacks on these parties, drawing attention to their corruption and blatant destruction of SA . Get behind the man instead of denigrating him and that goes for Helen Zille as well. Her credentials are unmatched by a single member of either the ANC or EFF but she nevertheless takes flack from people who should know better. We are in desperate need of urgent change and knocking Steenhuisen and the DA simply plays into the ANC/EFF hands.

    • Cachunk Cachunk says:

      I agree with you Rae. So what if one doesn’t like Steenhuizen and Zille. That shouldn’t mean you do not vote for a party that WORKS! How anyone can think the anc/eff/mk/etc is a better option than the DA is completely beyond me. We should ask ourselves if want SA to succeed for ALL, or are we inspired by that great democracy on our Northern border?

    • PETER BAKER says:

      Agree 100%.. pity the so called liberal press is so fixed on its adherence to the necrotic ANC…. They continue to poison the papers and airwaves with their feeble criticism of their “ruling party”.

  • Andre Swart says:

    SA is not a democracy … not even close!

    Elections are basically a sensus of races … Blacls, Whites, Coloureds and Indians.

    The people have no clue about democracy, rule of law, the constitution or patriotism etcetera.

    The electrorate is oblivious to political party policies … or what ‘good governance’ is all about.

    The majority will vote for any political leader that promise them FREE EVERYTHING … from the cradle to the grave.

    Like minor children the voters see a government as their mothers and fathers that must provide … and thereby denigrate themselves to be perpetual dependent minors.

    The ‘demo’ in democracy refer to mature adults … that governs! Not the immature dependent juveniles that reside in SA.

    For democracy to work … the nation must first GROW UP!

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