Pranesh Prakash on Mon, 9 Dec 2013 10:07:32 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Mandela/Madiba

michael gurstein [2013-12-06 15:58]:
> As we recognize, mourn and celebrate Mandela/Madiba it might be worthwhile
> to circulate and examine the
> <> draft South
> Africa ICT Policy Framing paper
> This paper, I've been told by a Community Informatics colleague who is on
> the SA Government's Task Force that produced this document, explicitly (as
> in section 3.5 where principles are presented) draws inspiration in large
> part from the ANC's
> <
> -has-come/> Freedom Charter (1955)
> which guided Mandela and his ANC colleagues over the decades and as they
> approached the work of Government.  

John Pilger writing in Counterpunch on how the ANC and Mandela let South
Africa down (July 11, 2013):


I had asked him why the pledges he and the ANC had given on his release
from prison in 1990 had not been kept. The liberation government,
Mandela had promised, would take over the apartheid economy, including
the banks – and “a change or modification of our views in this regard is
inconceivable”.  Once in power, the party’s official policy to end the
impoverishment of most South Africans, the Reconstruction and
Development Programme (RDP), was abandoned, with one of his ministers
boasting that the ANC’s politics were Thatcherite.

“You can put any label on it if you like,” he replied. “ …but, for this
country, privatisation is the fundamental policy.”

“That’s the opposite of what you said in 1994.”

“You have to appreciate that every process incorporates a change.”

Few ordinary South Africans were aware that this “process” had begun in
high secrecy more than two years before Mandela’s release when the ANC
in exile had, in effect, done a deal with prominent members of the
Afrikaaner elite at meetings in a stately home, Mells Park House, near
Bath. The prime movers were the corporations that had underpinned apartheid.

Around the same time, Mandela was conducting his own secret
negotiations. In 1982, he had been moved from Robben Island to Pollsmoor
Prison, where he could receive and entertain people. The apartheid
regime’s aim was to split the ANC between the “moderates” they could “do
business with” (Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Oliver Tambo) and those in the
frontline townships who led the United Democratic Front (UDF). On 5
July, 1989, Mandela was spirited out of prison to meet P.W. Botha, the
white minority president known as the Groot Krokodil (Big Crocodile).
Mandela was delighted that Botha poured the tea.

With democratic elections in 1994, racial apartheid was ended, and
economic apartheid had a new face.  During the 1980s, the Botha regime
had offered black businessmen generous loans, allowing them set up
companies outside the Bantustans. A new black bourgeoisie emerged
quickly, along with a rampant cronyism. ANC chieftains moved into
mansions in “golf and country estates”.  As disparities between white
and black narrowed, they widened between black and black.

The familiar refrain that the new wealth would “trickle down” and
“create jobs” was lost in dodgy merger deals and “restructuring” that
cost jobs. For foreign companies, a black face on the board often
ensured that nothing had changed. In 2001, George Soros told the Davos
Economic Forum, “South Africa is in the hands of international capital.”

In the townships, people felt little change and were subjected to
apartheid-era evictions; some expressed nostalgia for the “order” of the
old regime.  The post-apartheid achievements in de-segregating daily
life in South Africa, including schools, were  undercut by the extremes
and corruption of a “neoliberalism” to which the ANC devoted itself.
This led directly to state crimes such as the massacre of 34 miners at
Marikana in 2012, which evoked the infamous Sharpeville massacre more
than half a century earlier. Both had been protests about injustice.

Mandela, too, fostered crony relationships with wealthy whites from the
corporate world, including those who had profited from apartheid.  He
saw this as part of “reconciliation”. Perhaps he and his beloved ANC had
been in struggle and exile for so long they were willing to accept and
collude with the forces that had been the people’s enemy. There were
those who genuinely wanted radical change, including a few in the South
African Communist Party, but it was the powerful influence of mission
Christianity that may have left the most indelible mark. White liberals
at home and abroad warmed to this, often ignoring or welcoming Mandela’s
reluctance to spell out a coherent vision, as Amilcar Cabral and Pandit
Nehru had done.


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