April 24, 2004


Liberation hasnít worked. We idealists who imagined a safe, peaceful nation emerging from decades of tyranny were wrong, and we should admit that our bid to impose Western-style democracy has led to shocking lawlessness. Everything is worse now than it was under a government that treated the majority of its citizens as worthless non-people.

Maybe South Africa was better off during apartheid:

In reading articles marking 10 years since the end of South Africa apartheid, I was struck by the similarities between that countryís struggle since liberation and the current struggle since the liberation of Iraq. Likewise, I was struck by the relative silence of the left on the real problems South Africa has faced in the past 10 years.

In the early 1990ís, the movement against apartheid was one of the most passionate cause of the American left. The struggle for freedom is South Africa ended on April 27th 1994 when over 90% of the people of that country went to the polls to elect the first democratic government the country had ever seen. Since that time, South Africa has been one of the most, if not the most, dangerous place to live on the planet.

Read the rest, from a reader at Andrew Sullivan's site. South Africa is a freakin' quagmire.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 24, 2004 02:16 AM

As you may or may not be aware, I am a South African, centre right, criminal attorney specialist.

I have lived here my entire life and I fought in the army during the days of Apartheid.

I attend court in Soweto(Protea Court) or Alexandra (Wynberg) and elsewhere.

The country has now gone through it's 3rd election and given the ANC it's 2/3rds majority.

South Africa has problems with crime and many other areas. Don't we all?

If anyone genuinely believes that the sickness known as Apartheid was better then they either don't live here or weren't at the forefront of it's evils.

I am very anti the policies of the ANC BUT I am entitled do so and to express my opinions without fear.

I live in a society which is far from perfect but I would rather that than persecute people for being black. That is so repugnant as to be laughable.

Anyone who believes that living under Apartheid is preferable must be so self absorbed as to miss the pain of others.

I like to think that it is the right wing parties of the world who bring us decency, safety and progress.

In general it is true. The ones who gave us Apartheid are a definite exception to this rule.

Posted by: traps at April 24, 2004 at 02:59 AM

When will the liberals be forced to apologize for turning South Africa into a hellhole?

Posted by: perfectsense at April 24, 2004 at 03:06 AM

My point, traps, was not to defend apartheid, but to draw comparison with those who believe Iraq was better off under Saddam -- and who say that therefore we shouldn't have invaded. Apologies for my lack of clarity.

Posted by: tim at April 24, 2004 at 03:46 AM

Tim first off I must rate as one of your biggest fans. I love your columns and this site....you make a WHOLE lot of sense.

Please let me clarify : This topic of, Apartheid days being the glory days, is not restricted to the subject matter under review ; It's rife.

I understood this topic Tim, it's just something I wanted to get off my chest.

In America, Britain, Australia, South Africa, Israel etc the right wing parties are to my way of thinking the ones who will get the job done.

In SA today Tony Leon's Democratic Alliance, the official opposition, right of the ANC, carry policies which can only be described as sensible, effective and aimed at redressing the social problems of South Africa.

Foreign policy is very pro USA/GB/Aus and anti the terror bloc. They are fearless and hit the govt wherever and whenever.

Unfortunately we are still in the time when people remember the "liberators" rather than eg Mbeki saying that AIDS relief is uneccesary because......(I can't it's that stupid) OR buying 50 billion rands worth of fighters that nobody needs because of the kickbacks.

(Just a point on the fighters : The Deputy President was indicted by the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions for his role)

Winnie Mandela was convicted for fraud and got 8 years. Bill Moysies the magistrate who sentenced her is a mate of mine. She's on bail pending appeal.

Point is that 2 very high powered figures found no sympathy from the system. Unlike Africa as a whole the rule of law applies.

Under Apartheid the broederbond was basically untouchable.

Please don't misunderstand me there are many problems that need addressing. Many Many Many but at least it's within a healthy basis rather than trying to justify evil.

As a member of the SADF special forces I was and am no bleeding heart. I just hated defending evil.

Tim you should be editor of the Washington Post or Guardian. Turn toilet paper into the finest papers in the world.

As I said a HUGE fan.

Posted by: traps at April 24, 2004 at 06:58 AM

I understand what Tim meant (I think). Liberating SA was the right thing to do, even though there are still problems. Ergo liberating Iraq is the right thing to do, even though there are still problems. It's the far-Left who distinguish the two.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at April 24, 2004 at 02:08 PM

The nature of the pressure on South Africa was spot on -Sanctions. So much so that the ANC discovered that when they took power there was very little in the bank to kick off with.

Sanctions drove the National Party to the negotiation table. Militarily SA could have beaten a 'Rest of Africa' and started on the Middle East for an encore.

It had reached the stage where we were developing and exporting weapons.

Sanctions would NEVER have worked in Iraq because they could buy there way out of it. Our "friends" in Paris etc were, as usual, stabbing everyone in the back with sanctions busting.

In addition it suited Hussein to have this economic nightmare so he could blame everyone for Iraq's problems and maintain the status quo.

In terms of weapons of mass destruction he could never tell his people he didn't have them because they may have flattened him. Iran, still glancing over the fence, are also not the guys you want to tell that you are weak.

Did Tony and George lie?

My gut feel is they probably had an idea but knew that there were compelling reasons to go so they went.

My big regeret is that they don't counter the publicity by saying that if they were so devious why didn't they plant the evidence?

The fact that the truth is on the table proves they are HONEST because the truth is giving them headaches.

Pre-emptive strikes were necessary to restore calm to an area of strategic importance to the world.

In the next decade oil is going to be a huge question and tin pot dictators a luxury we cannot afford.

The humanitarian issue is a massive bonus.

The slaughter will stop as opposed to a continued blood-Baath.

The lefties always forget that when they oppose intervention.

In Rwanda and Zimbabwe they like to think of sanctions and protest as effective.

Cliton went to Rwanda to apologise. I'm sure the population were impressed that Clit-on is man enough to say I'm sorry.

They'd thank him far more if they just had the time off from burying the bodies his inaction caused.

In Zimbabwe current estimates of 3-6m dead from AIDS/Starvation thanks to Mugabe. (WHO projection)


It's so risable I could cry.

No pre-emptive strike?

Why because cunts like Fisk and Pilger believe in crap like sovereignty of states?

How about they go into Zim now and explain to the starving masses why they believe people should die for "their" principles.

Sort of "over the dead bodies of Zimbabweans will you attack a sovereign state".

If it was over Fisk and Pilgers bodies I'd be happy to delay the strike a day.

As in the cases of Iraq and Rwanda failure to intervene creates mountains of body bags.

The lefties will cure world over population all on the lonesome.

More canapes anyone?

Posted by: traps at April 24, 2004 at 06:13 PM

In last week's Spectator, Andrew Kenny (a South African journalist) wrote a similar article, pointing out that everyday life in South Africa had not improved greatly since liberation from apartheid in 1994. He made some good points, too:

It is now compulsory for employers to classify their employees by race, to state whether they are white, 'African', 'coloured', or 'Indian', and to submit a plan showing how they will change their racial proportions to match the ANC's racial masterplan.


...the economy is held in a strangling grip by the government, a few large corporations and the big trade unions. In true fascist style, the three have come together to draw up highly restrictive labour laws, which cripple small businesses and shut the poor out of the economy.


The ANC is quick and loud in condemning the actions of foreign governments, such as Israel, and so its utter silence in the face of Mugabe's reign of terror, torture, rape and murder against millions of black Zimbabweans implies complete approval. Our foreign minister... has given her approval for the recent Zimbabwean laws to shut down free newspapers.

It's well written and persuasive.

Posted by: TimT at April 24, 2004 at 07:11 PM

TimT as a practising Orthodox Jew I have significant differences with the ANC's foreign policies.

In context it represents gratitude to those, including many terrorists, who helped the ANC during the Apartheid years.

What Mbeki and company have failed to grasp is that when you become a government, responsibilty must replace gratitude as your starting point.

Tony Leon head of the Democratic Alliance, is also Jewish and hypercritical of their taste in "friends".

Mbeki has told the world that he is following a policy of "quiet diplomacy" in Zimbabwe.

Quiet Diplomacy is where you do nothing.....and after awhile you do nothing some more.

Then he forgot himself at the Commonwealth and went out to bat for Mugabe big time. I'm not sure if that was pre- or post lobotomy but I'll try and find out.

Needless to say the DA has been acid on the subject. I mean what kind of barbaric, disgusting moron would back Mugabe?

Okay France but I'm referring to humans here.....

In terms of labour law the ANC is openly practising quotas or "affirmative action" as it is known here.

It applies to entities who employ more than a certain amount of staff. I'm not sure of the exact number but 50 springs to mind.

I am vehemently opposed to the system which is found in many other countries as well.

It places idiots in key positions, reduces effectiveness, increases wage bills, costs increase, prices increase and makes SA less competitive in the world markets.

It's the ANC's way of redressing discrimination. In reality it reduces jobs because companies don't want to exceed staff levels , investors don't want unskilled tokens and less exports means less opportunities....to name a few.

The governments grip on the economy is not as bad as Kenny made out but the return of a 2/3rds majority may have a major impact on that.

What people must understand is that the ANC is, and for at least 2 more elections by my calculations, the majority by some way.

The aim of South Africans opposed to their views, as I am, is to let them have it with both barrels.

What is significant is that freedom to have a full go, is right here and right now.

The public, press and even the state watchdogs are given freedom to act and uncensored news to form their opinions.

I guess the trick is to see the good with the bad and not everything is good or bad.

Posted by: traps at April 24, 2004 at 07:59 PM