Today I had a conversation that picked up from where we’d left off on the #ZumaTradeOff series. It was about why white people have a vested interest in ensuring Black Economic Empowerment works.
BEE was created to protect white people from more radical means of accomplishing redress for historical injustices like apartheid and colonialism. But for BEE to continue doing that, it has to bring about restitution, not postpone it.
[And yes, on this blog we refer to people by the racial classification apartheid would have assigned to them because that’s how political parties and advertisers gain power over us. To take that power back, we need to anticipate their thoughts, not avoid them.]
The conversation reached a point where I started explaining that even white people who do not or cannot have BEE in their businesses need to ensure that where there is a BEE scorecard, whosever’s it is, it must be real and really help with transformation. One way to ensure this would be to lobby for the lowering of the “new entrant” threshold as I’ve advocated in previous posts in the #ZumaTradeOff series. But it’s not the only way to skin this cat.
What happens if white people don’t ensure the integrity and power of existing legislation?
The EFF and the ANC will egg each other towards changing the Constitution, that’s what.
And that change can look or sound like anything. We saw this in late Feb/early March this year — that because existing legislation has not delivered transformation but has enriched an elite few, we are potentially one Parliamentary sitting away from the most radical alteration of the Constitution in recent history. Once someone touches Section 25 of the Constitution, everything comes into question.
It’s that easy to reverse the effects of apartheid and level racial inequality — the EFF’s 6% and the ANC 62% would just have to agree on it.
And nothing could stop it. God wouldn’t stop it. Other countries wouldn’t intervene beyond speaking against it. This is a democratically elected government. Nothing, do you understand me, nothing would stop it. The whole thing dangles by a thread no stronger than a cobweb.
The louder white people call for Jacob Zuma to fall without offering the trade-off of economic transformation, the more desperate Jacob Zuma becomes to sacrifice something to appease the agitated crowds. White people it is; their votes don’t amount to much. Because, as explained in previous posts, unaccompanied by a white-backed call for economic transformation, those calls for his resignation can easily be construed as being horrendously self-occupied with whiteness’s interests at best, and racist at worst.
Again, only way to contest this is if white people lobby and march more for transformation than they do for political reformation, leaving the political reformation to black people who would then have a vested interest in protecting the economy they’d be let in on.
After the ANC refused to vote with the EFF on land expropriation without compensation, Zuma openly said the ANC MPs should have voted with the EFF. The only thing that stopped ANC MPs from voting with the EFF was political ego; at least, that’s what Zuma said when he lambasted [his! I emphasise: his, not their on consciences’; his] MPs.
But now that he’s effected the cabinet reshuffle, everyone in there fears him more than before. If they didn’t, they’d vote for him to go. So if he said yes to land reform, then, why shouldn’t they listen now?
Also, the ANC’s need for a scapegoat is greater now than it was in early March. Whether you and I believe “white monopoly capital” exists or not is completely irrelevant; all that matters is that all protocol considered, we are potentially. One. House. Sitting. Away. From. The. Most. Radical. Change. To. The. Constitution. One. Uno. Like, one take. The real thing. No dry run, no dress rehearsal.
Let this sink in because I don’t think people understand. Everything can change in one blink of an eye. In one sitting.
Think you that State and ANC President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma hates his life, hates his freedom, hates his family so much; think you that he so despises power that he’ll watch his MPs vote for him to leave office to appease white calls for him to step down, but won’t throw dust in everyone’s eyes by pulling the rug out from under white people’s feet?
Do you think he is that much of a saint? That much of a push-over?
The same Jacob who collected Cyril Ramaphosa’s and Gwede Mantashe’s spines after they openly criticised him? A whole Jacob Zuma?
Why do you think he’s been screaming, “These marchers are racist!” if not to prepare the country for his response to their calls for him to step down?
Did we learn nothing from the cabinet reshuffle?
The less power the current Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment codes have to transform the economy, the less resistance the EFF and ANC would encounter from their respective constituencies if they changed the Constitution in this way.
The more power existing codes have, the more resistance these parties would encounter from their respective constituencies.
That’s why, quite simply, white people have a vested interest in what I’ve been discussing in the #ZumaTradeOff.
This is all assuming that they want to keep their assets. I don’t know. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with altering the Constitution if the people affected don’t mind, I guess.
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My book is coming.