Looking for some affirmation of your latent misanthropy? Does a certain type of South African irritate the shit out of you, but you can’t quite figure out why? Welcome to a slightly tongue-in-the-cheek, non-exhaustive list of uniquely South African arseholes.
1. Traditional leaders
There’s no place in a modern democracy for feudal fiefdoms that cannot even finance themselves. These petty dictators, living off taxpayers’ money, are trying to disenfranchise millions of rural South Africans via the Traditional Courts Bill. It will create a separate legal system in which unelected and unqualified traditional leaders will wield near absolute power.
The traditional leader racket is in reality a hangover from apartheid’s bantustan policy under which they wielded absolute power over community resources. This has resulted in numerous instances of corrupt dealings with mining companies and the arbitrary confiscation of the land their ‘subjects’ make a living on.
The criminal irony is that these grifters are kept afloat by taxpayers, most of whom do not support this patriarchal stone-age institution.
2. Pan-Afrikanist fascists
The flipside of white supremacy, these inferiority complex-riddled clowns don’t let facts or civilised norms stand in the way of their pseudo-intellectual, often violent, pursuit of power.
Their wild-eyed battle cries of ‘Africa for Africans’ and ‘black excellence’ are usually based on naive and very selective interpretations of Marxist ideologues like Thomas Sankara (ironically murdered by his fellow revolutionary and friend, Blaise Compaoré).
Nationalisation and expropriation are the magic silver bullets with which they are going to kill the spectre of white monopoly capital and create a workers’ paradise. Lack of cognitive ability prevents them from acknowledging that this approach, which negates the true drivers of prosperity (ingenuity, competence, accountability and hard work), has never worked in the history of humanity.
Trigger them by asking about the history of the wheel in sub-Saharan Africa.
3. ANC cadres in the public sector
Incompetent scumbags who will sell their mother for R5. They destroyed South Africa’s infrastructure and siphoned off billions meant for the upliftment of the poor.
As part of the ANC’s corrupt patronage network, they have ensconced themselves as government officials, state-owed enterprise executives and municipal officers, despite being hopelessly unqualified for these roles. Special mention to Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who among stiff competition, established himself as the poster child of this Kafkaesque shit show.
The result: scores of babies dying in hospitals, raw sewage flowing through streets, rolling power cuts, people killing each other for government jobs, and the collapse of what was once Africa’s largest railway network.
4. White MAGA Trumpists
Dyed in the wool apartheid racists didn’t disappear after 1994. They simply became virulent Trump supporters who coopted the MAGA slogan as a dog-whistle for anti-black sentiment.
These overt apartheid apologists, who use ignorance and bigotry as a shield against reality, include a motley array of anti-vaxxers, QAnon fans, climate change deniers and other lunatic fringe conspiracy theorists. In their delusional universe, logical, fact-based reasoning takes a backseat to parochial knee-jerk opinions.
Local MAGA supporters are living proof that many functionally illiterate white South Africans can’t survive without apartheid legacy privilege. Entertain yourself by triggering them with threats of compulsory vaccination, blanket nationalisation, and multi-racial co-ed dormitories.
5. Classical liberals / libertarians
The sophisticated version of Trumpists, these victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect refuse to acknowledge historical injustices. Holding apartheid criminals to account, creating equal access to opportunities, or leveling a targeted tax on ill-gotten generational wealth is anathema to them.
As huge defenders of vested interests (big oil, tobacco, monopolies, cartels), it’s always about growing some phantom cake with them. Environmental protection is secondary to economic growth, unless of course it happens in their backyard. Then their constitutional rights are paramount.
You will never hear these arseholes mention Naspers’s apartheid-era monopoly pay-tv licence or its links (via two seats on Tencent’s board) with human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Neither Glencore subsidiary, Prodeco’s ethnic cleansing and massively polluting activities in Colombia under the auspices of South African executives.
Trigger them by casually mentioning structural racism and critical race theory.
Mostly white professionals and academics working in the media and NGO space, with disproportionate reach on media platforms due to their privilege-driven networks.
These opportunistic social justice warriors are oblivious to the hubris and hypocrisy of claiming wokeness, while whitesplaining black issues (often for a tidy profit) and keeping better qualified black professionals out of jobs.
Any attempt at nuanced criticism of contentious issues such as BEE is usually met with performative moral outrage. Attacking every aspect of Western civilisation (while making full use of the privileges it afforded them) is a badge of honour. Virtue signalling has become a thriving cottage industry for these arseholes.
Trigger them by asking about their second passport (to be used when they have had enough of black people). Look what happened when well-known woke artist, Nickolaus Bauer, was asked if he has a second passport to a white-majority European country.
7. Trade unions (especially NUMSA & SADTU)
Trade unions across the world have a long history of fighting for worker rights and forming a counter-weight to voracious laissez-faire capitalism. Typically South African, we managed to fuck up this proud heritage by turning trade unions into corrupt organisations that hold society hostage with exorbitant wage demands and threats of violence.
Most South African trade unions have contributed to a culture of entitlement coupled with low productivity that keep millions out of jobs, destroyed the education system, and sabotaged the national power grid. The brutal reality is that unrealistic wage demands and draconian labour laws are the main drivers of South Africa’s high levels of inequality.
Say it with me, “Irvin Jim is a moron, Irvin Jim is a moron”.
8. BEE beneficiaries and tenderpreneurs
Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale, Phuthuma Nhleko, and Patrice Motsepe all derived most of their billionaire wealth from BEE deals. With the possible exception of Motsepe, they had very little to do with the development of the assets they received for free.
Most BEE and tender recipients are opportunists with ANC connections, who have never built a sustainable business. Really good at destroying them though. Just have a look at Delta Property Fund, EOH, Independent Media, the list is endless.
It’s an undeniable fact, BEE is the biggest driver of corruption in South Africa. If it wasn’t for corrupt government contracts or private sector companies blackmailed into giving them a piece of their business, most BEE recipients would be living far more modest lives.
9. Liberal white racists
These good okes and okettes are very vocal about their love for South Africa, non-racialism and Nelson Mandela. Which for them means stuffing your face in expensive restaurants, swilling a Cab Sav from Stellenbosch, visiting game parks, enjoying sun-drenched beaches, braaing and watching rugby – mostly stuff that the marginalised masses don’t have access to.
They love SA’s liberal constitution which protects their privilege, and black coconuts who speak with a ‘proper’ English accent, but not so much those pesky black radicals who bang on about apartheid legacies and the land. Tend be inordinately smug about their, usually fairly modest, educational and career achievements.
Not as woke as pseudo-progressives, but also often carry a second passport to a white majority bolthole like the UK or Germany. Their carefully hidden motto: if it doesn’t walk and talk like a white, it ain’t right.
10. Professional cartels
McKinsey, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY have all been implicated in facilitating economic crimes and State Capture. Repeated failures to adhere to auditing standards have contributed to the collapse of companies like Steinhoff and Tongaat Hulett.
At the centre of all this corporate malfeasance are the accountants who have become a law unto themselves. Guess what qualification alleged Steinhoff fraudster Markus Jooste holds? Chartered accountant. Murray Munro, the disgraced ex-CFO of Tongaat Hulett? Chartered accountant.
Not to be outdone by the accountants, South African lawyers contribute their own brand of vileness. From the dodgy qualifications and incompetence of Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane to the politically motivated unprofessionalism of ‘People’s Advocate’ Dali Mpofu, the profession has not covered itself in glory.
The main problem is that these professions govern themselves like medieval guilds, covering each other’s arses, ripping off clients (by charging exorbitant fees), milking tax payers (e.g. Zondo commission), and facilitating consumer or civil abuses (e.g. SLAPP suits).
These professional arseholes should have oversight bodies, composed of individuals from outside their fraternities, with the power to send them to jail if they get out of line.
Bonus: the Super Arsehole
Super arseholes are truly special, since they tick multiple arsehole boxes. For example, pseudo-progressives with dual passports. Racist liberals with libertarian inclinations. Pan-Africanist fascists who support traditional leaders, but work in the public sector. The combinations are legion.
Towering over all these super arseholes is a Gollum-like creature so devoid of integrity, cognitive ability or substance that his Wikipedia entry described him as a “massive p**s and an embarrassment to the human race”. That lowly creature is Carl Niehaus, self-appointed MKMVA spokesperson and Zuma cheerleader, who has single-handedly united black and white South Africans in shrieks of derision.
So there you have it; our top ten types of South African arseholes. Disagree? Did we omit any arsehole types? Exorcise those misanthropic demons in the comments.