The Inaugural Stephen Ellis Memorial Lecture was recently delivered by Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State. In it he makes some very valid comments about the current wave of student protests at South African universities and the role that white academic and cultural intransigence, an apathetic government and a new generation of black intolerance have played in its emergence.
The venality and gross incompetence of the ANC government have provided a convenient smokescreen for unelected lobbyists and vested interest groups to inveigle themselves into the South African political process at the expense of transparency and democracy. One such organisation is the Free Market Foundation, a neo-liberal lobby group that styles itself as a non-profit Public Benefit Organisation.
South Africa’s Democratic Alliance has diluted its liberal democratic principles to such an extent that it has become impossible for true democrats to support them. My family have been staunch PFP, then DP and now DA supporters for three generations. In South Africa’s 2014 election I will however not be voting for a party I believe has lost both credibility and gravitas.
British colonialism, Apartheid policies and post-apartheid politics have all played a role in curbing and regressing the rights of a large section of the South African population. Unfortunately for 17 million rural South Africans there are plans afoot to disenfranchise them further via the introduction of the Traditional Courts Bill.
Our attitudes towards immigrants say more about ourselves and our national character than we probably realise. Rapidly increasing human migration is a reality of the modern global economy. Countries that figure out how to utilise the phenomenon to their advantage will be the economies of the future.