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GOING BACKWARDS - THE DE-INDUSTRIALIZATION OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN ECONOMY

Doing the rounds on social media is an article about the true meaning of regression. The piece by Professor Anthony Turton illustrates the backward trajectory of the South African economy, bringing to mind what happened to so many African states after the colonial powers departed.

The pattern is repeating itself in today’s South Africa, but the scenario is much more tragic. This country at the tip of the African continent was a developed state, with a third world component. Now it is third world, with a first world component, the latter struggling to keep the nation afloat against truly insurmountable odds.

Professor Turton is a twelfth generation South African and a trained scientist specializing in water resource management as a strategic issue. Most sane countries would be delighted to have a dedicated expert like Professor Turton as one of their citizens. Not so the South African authorities. In 2010, Dr. Turton was to present a paper on South Africa’s water crisis at the government-funded Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria. Just before the presentation, the CSIR executive suspended Dr. Turton with immediate effect, charging him with insubordination and ”bringing the CSIR into disrepute”.

The professor’s paper contained “unsubstantiated” facts, according to the CSIR Executive, as well as photographs of xenophobic attacks which, the executive declared, “may disturb people”.

In his presentation Dr. Turton said that South Africa had run out of surplus water, with 98% of it already allocated. And because most rivers and dams were highly polluted, they had lost the ability to dilute effluents.
Poor water quality was threatening economic growth, he said. The pollution ranges from acidic mine pollution from coal and gold mining, to levels of eutrophication characterised by an abundant accumulation of nutrients that support a dense growth of algae and other organisms, to radio-nuclide and heavy-metal contamination from a century of largely unregulated gold mining that had left many black residential areas on top of “contaminated land”.

Turton declared that the government’s development targets were “simply unobtainable” and that “social instability will grow and South Africa will slide into anarchy”. The then current “xenophobic violence is a taste of things to come if we follow this trajectory”, he concluded.
He was right of course, but this scenario was too uncomfortable for people whose ignorance was only exceeded by their arrogance.

SERVICE DELIVERY
Dr. Turton’s predictions were repeated by many others over time. Soon after the ANC government came to power, all the signs were indicative of regression and, ultimately, destruction. But nobody in authority was listening. And they still don’t listen, even when the results of 25 years of pillage and depredation stare them in the face.

“What shocks me is the rate of de-industrialization in SA”, declares Dr. Turton. “Remember just 25 years ago we had specialist entities like USCO that made sophisticated steel used for example in gun barrels. We were leaders in oil from coal. We were the only producers of steel in Africa at Iscor. We made copper cables at African Cables. There was more energy concentration in a 100 sq. km in Vereeniging than any other African country. Samancor produced specialist alloy feedstock and Stewart’s and Lloyd’s manufactured a range of sophisticated products of great precision, like pumps. Dorbyl fabricated heavy engineering components.

“On the military side we were nuclear capable and on the threshold of weaponizing nuclear warheads exactly like North Korea is doing today. All this was possible – and I’m not saying it was good or bad to be nuclear capable – only because we had sophisticated technical capacity.
“In two decades that world-class capacity has been lost and raw sewage now floods the basements of buildings. The collapse has been total and rapid. The epicentre of the most concentrated form of primary production on the African continent has been wiped out with one sweep. The country that pioneered heart transplants now breeds new pathogens that are likely to create a health catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.

“This speaks of the inability of a liberation movement to govern, This is a shocking truth that few want to admit. The army that just 25 years ago produced the most sophisticated artillery in the world and created an attack helicopter equal to the Apache, is now retreating from Emfuleni, unable to execute the mission given to it last year”.

We may add that the SA army has nowbeen reduced to keeping the peace in the gang-infested areas of the Western Cape where people are murdered as a matter of course, and where in many areas the police are afraid to venture.
What then is the ANC government doing to halt the slide into near anarchy? What is the president doing ?

THE BOTTOMLESS PIT

“Too Big to Fail” was the documentary aired on Sunday 27 July on the TV station Al Jazeera. The sorry story of South Africa’s decline into third world status has now made it to big-time media and there is now no mercy for the ANC whose cause was so diligently espoused by these very same media behemoths now so angrily disappointed that they backed the wrong horse. South Africa’s state owned enterprises (SOE’s) were the focus of Al Jazeera’s scathing searchlight, as was the ANC’s corruption and the bailouts needed to get these ravaged BOE’s back on to any sort of keel, even or otherwise.

AJ pointed out that to bail out power company Eskom and ports operator Transnet would ensure that government debt would shoot up from 57% to 68% of the SA’s Gross Domestic Product! Eskom says it does not need at least a third of its employees, numbering 46,665 in March this year. But President Ramaphosa dares not fire anyone because the powerful but obtuse and self-serving unions allied to the ANC are breathing down his neck!

Under the ANC and its trade union partners, the desperately-needed privatization of Eskom won’t happen. Taxpayers will be asked to bail out and bail out until...... who knows? SA is so vulnerable. Eskom produces 90% of this country’s electricity. Will Eskom bring us all down? R6,5 billion has been spent on diesel over the book year to the end of March to keep South Africa’s lights burning. Eskom’s debt is currently R441 billion, up from R389 billion the year before. It is so crippled that it doesn’t even earn enough to pay the interest on this debt. Despite this, there were funds to pay staff bonuses of R1,3 billion last year! This year, Eskom’s salaries amounted to R33,2 billion, almost 13% more than what was paid in 2018. In addition, R2,2 billion was paid in overtime!

Warnings many years ago by some who knew with absolute clarity what an ANC regime would wreak upon South Africa went unheeded. Instead various businessmen and sundry “intellectuals” jetted off to West Africa and London to score a deal with the ANC in the hope that they, as pathfinders to SA’s new democracy, would be protected under a future ANC government. So we all reap what they have sown.
The breadth and depth of the de-industrialization of the SA economy is so pervasive that we are all affected. Our cities were once clean, functional and safe. Barbed wire, electric fencing, guard dogs and no sitting on the verandah in the evenings (and in some areas during the day!) are the hallmarks of the lawlessness now encroaching upon suburbs and towns. We are ruled by gangsters with as much shame as an ant.


They have cursed South Africa, and all who live in it. Good honest people are in fear for their lives if they try and expose wrongdoing. Murder is commonplace, so is torture. Farm couples are burnt with a hot iron as they hand over their valuables to zombies who feel nothing for people who have worked all their life for what they have. An Australian sports captain told a British TV crew that going to Cape Town or Johannesburg was like “being a gladiator”. The total lack of feeling or compassion for “the people” to whom the ANC promised a better life is frightening.
They are destroying South Africa before our very eyes. Where then are the overseas supporters of the ANC regime who helped them to power? Where are the overseas TV crews to film the outright invasion of private land by those who “haven’t anywhere else to live” and where they “purchase” pieces of land belonging to someone else, from “bogus “owners” who have arrived in posh cars to set up an “office” to transact their dishonest deals? Where is the protection of private property? Where are the police who are understaffed and underpaid and who are scrabbling for vehicles that will actually start?

Mr. Ramaphosa’s government stubbornly refuses to hire skilled people to try and fix the battered and broke municipalities. In the meantime, millions stream over our borders from the rest of Africa willy-nilly. They set themselves up in the ever-sprawling townships and the ever-diminishing vacant areas around the cities.

The point is: how do we counteract this destruction? We believe there are enough South Africans of ability, good intentions and a sense of patriotism who will refuse to sit quietly and watch the destruction of their country. The ruling clique is destroying itself from within, while its supporters now realise they have been duped. The ANC’s promises are worthless. It is thus incumbent upon all of us to stand together to rid South Africa of this destructive force. South Africans are a tough lot, and we have together come through much in our history. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Ridding South Africa of the scourge within our body politic should be our primary goal. South Africa is too precious to fail.


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