THE ANC has rewarded racism and white supremacy by giving Martinus van Schalkwyk and others jobs, while the left is poorer today than it was a decade ago. As a result, apartheid-era cronies are allowed to rule the roost, creating legislation that marginalises the working class and erodes basic freedoms. The only reason why conservative Trevor Manual can talk about lowering the standards of labour legislation is because he, like his fellow advocates of National Conservatism, is in cahoots with the National Party.
An example of how far this new conservatism goes, is the fact the Basic Conditions of Employment Act is being steadily eroded by ministerial tinkering. As a result of various directives, the act now only applies to certain “classes” and “categories” of people, thus ruling out equality in the work-place as CEO’s of large companies are given exemption from the gruelling work schedule as outlined by the legislation.
“If you have a high salary you needn’t worry about the rights of workers and issues such as solidarity with the working class” or so the logic goes. (For those who don’t know what the working class is, it is comprised of those individuals who have to work for a living.) This is in essence the message from big government, as increasingly the ANC beds down with large multinational corporations that have no reason to share profits with people living below the wage threshold — the lumpen poor. The trickle-down economics of black economic empowerment is, in all actuality, a myth. Compared to the wealth creation achieved by the apartheid system, the new dispensation has achieved very little.
By and large, those with empowerment opportunities are those who either sold-out to the apartheid regime or who exploited the handover of power and yet have only themselves to blame when the truth is revealed that the majority of South Africans are still impoverished by the system as it stands. The trickle-down economics of Mbeki’s government, instead of addressing distortions within the economy, has simply created a convenient divide between rich and poor. The rich are richer, and the poor are still basically poor. As a result entire communities are stuck in underdevelopment and the majority of South Africns are, in reality, second-class citizens, with lower status and less opportunities than those in the ANC who accept racist beliefs and racialism as part and parcel of the new national dispensation.
Ironically, as race-based apartheid institutions become a distant memory, and reconciliation fails to address poverty, a new economic version of apartheid prevails with equality meaning equality for some. The statement is reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in which pigs are more equal than other animals. As for the new pigs of the middle class establishment, eating at the trough of market fascism. We know who you are.