South Africa’s love-affair with new Russia
On the 27th of April 2017 Judge Lee Bozalek of the Western Cape High court of South Africa made a ruling on a case brought before it by Earthlife Africa and the South African Faith community’s Environmental institute, two NGOs that were challenging the way in which the state had determined the state’s energy requirements this ruling lead to the court effectively setting aside the Russian intergovernmental agreement on state cooperation between Russia’s state entity ROSATOM and the Department of energy standing on behalf of South Africa and other intergovernmental agreements with other states on cooperation in energy.
This ruling by judge, Lee Bozalek is set to have far reaching consequences that will affect the South African State its foreign and domestic policy for generations to come, considering its importance this article proposes to reveal facts that are pertinent to this ruling and the intergovernmental agreement in general.
The Judge ruled the government’s action unconstitutional and found that five decisions it had taken were illegal. These included the government’s decision to go ahead with the nuclear build and the fact, that it had handed over the procurement process to the state utility Eskom. The court also ruled that Eskom’s request for information from nuclear vendors, a step taken to prepare the procurement, which ended on 27 April 2017, was not valid.
This decision is the climax of media and social debate about the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement that is set to lead to massive investment of Russian with far reaching ramifications on the very financial and economic model of the South African state. It must be understood the agreement is more than a business deal between nations; it is about people, nations and their destiny. In this light the present article is written taking into consideration the historic evolution and development of South Africa as a State, as a means of revealing the contemporary environment in which the ‘Nuclear deal’ as its been tagged by the opposition media is situated.
The constitution of South Africa
South Africa as a Nation state with its present borders and indigenous population was constituted by British imperial interests; the principal behind this project was an English gentleman of humble background by the name of Cecil John Rhodes, who epitomized what has been known as the imperial factor. As the 20th century drew to a close it was recognized that they was a need to bring about the Union of South Africa by the British elites, from this recognition emerged the South African socio economic political order that exists to this very day.
The Afrikaner Native element
It must be understood that the Dutch Afrikaner people although of European ancestry and culturally coextensive with Europe had all but became native to South Africa because of their continuous habitation in the Southern African lands for centuries and therefore possessed a native nationalist spirit that was peculiar to them and is still very much with them to the present day. The Dutch had arrived in the Cape in the year 1652 with Jan van Ribeek and from that first settler population other Europeans not necessarily Dutch had arrived creating a new people peculiar to Southern Africa called the Boer (Afrikaner) on the basis of a Dutch culture. These Boers later after dispossessing the Khoisan population and enslaving them had managed to establish a Dutch colony till the British took over formally and conclusively in the year 1814. These Boer colonialists remained with a rural pastoral bent up to the time of the Anglo/Boer wars, always preferring to live a nomadic pastoral life or more commonly a settled agricultural existence the word Boer means farmer in Dutch.
As British rule in the Cape colony became more and more intrusive into their way of life and with knowledge of the interior having increased over the century the Boer decided to move further inland in an attempt to escape British rule, the result of this movement known as the great trek was to further fuel tribal and ethnic conflicts in the interior of Africa that have been known as the Mfecane, these had preciously begun in modern Kwa Zulu Natal.
African Tribal States
At this time Southern Africa was going through profound changes that had begun with the first recorded economic transaction between the Portuguese and Khoisan that took place in 26 Feb 1497, with the increase of European trade the sub-continent was to experience a shockwave that affected every home, clan, polity and changed life forever. The impact of this trade on rural clan based agricultural South Africa was to lift whole clans from agricultural production into trade, all forms of traffic increased exponentially and man suddenly had the incentive and means to travel longer distances this had a most destabilizing effect on society because previously settled peoples began to move more and more, with the result of increasing interaction between the various societies, this state of affairs demanded an intervention, different African elites tried in different ways to respond, however the ethnic Nguni element from modern Northern KwaZulu Natal was to take the lead in the re organization of society into larger Agro based, African ruled polities that were accumulations of considerable capital these were built on the basis of tribal and ancestral knowledge accumulated over centuries.
These African States built by the African elites included the Zulu State in the east coast the Swazi State in the North east, the Matabele state in the central regions 'which was later renamed as the Transvaal'the Tshangani Gaza state North east, various Xhosa polities in the South another Nguni people that went through a separate state building process and effectively stood as a buffer to European power for a 100 years, the BaSutho state 'modern Lesotho' a refugee state composed of all ethnic groups epitomizing the complex cultural fusion and fission of the times, they were other states not of Nguni management but intricately connected to the Nguni initiated process like the Pedi and various Tswana and Venda polities.
Political Race relations
The salient point for our present discourse revealed from this history is the British and the Boers are not the only element with a history in state creation and management. They is an active indigenous African elite which tried it's hand in state creation and management with great success pre-colonialism these old elites managed to bring security, restore social order and maintain independence, not all African people on the continent managed to achieve such feats, this explains the very early African resistance to capital interests within South Africa. The ANC was formed in 1912 the oldest liberation movement on the continent by an ethic Zulu lawyer connected to the Zulu Royal family by marriage, this elite had the ability to organize human resources and capital to serve African interests. There is an indigenous element that has always through its own mechanisms on the basis of its own culture, political world view and moral code sort to organize and rule South Africa under its own terms and according to its own specific interests. The net result of this is that this causes a difference in vision and imagination as to how South Africa should be organized, managed and the destiny it should serve, the final result of this is system tension.
It must be understood that the 1879 fall of the Zulu power which was the major hindrance to British imperial designs and the subsequent Union of South Africa on British imperial terms, was not just a political victory but a victory of white capital over black capital meaning South Africa has been dominated by western capital ever since, which has determined the state architecture. However with the election of President Jacob Zuma, a Zulu man who has been born in proximity to the old political and cultural order, the script had to change.
President Jacob Zuma is a challenge to the status co he has methodically proceeded to undermine British financier’s interests who are cryptically known within the South African pan African discourse as 'White monopoly capital because of the Apartheid legacy this phrase has to be explained' this term is in no way is a call to racism and in no way implies that all white people and capital are part of this stated capital and condemned, but rather it’s a tangible recognition that the South African race structure has been used by financiers based in London to exploit African Labor, resources and energy in a monopolistic way. It was in the service of this very capital that the imperial factor destroyed the old African tribal states and the plunder of South Africa began.
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma's policies are threatening the very standing of this international capital and the entire socio political system with its global system of credit at the Apex ,not only within the South Africa State but also at the international level, these capital interests maintain a straggle hold on the South African since their entrance 300 years ago using various mechanism set in place over the century, however President Zuma has adopted a strategy to counter and empower South Africans and lead them to attain independence from global financial capital. This strategy has two complementary dimensions, the international and the local. At the international level President Zuma has lead South Africa into the BRICS alliance.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, South AfricaThe BRICS constitutes the above mentioned countries and is an alliance of states at a similar level of industrial and human development; it was originally constituted as BRIC without South Africa then President Zuma now lead South Africa into the BRICS in December 2010. The date and time of the current Media attacks on President Zuma, his associates and policies and a more systematic attack on his person and government within the South African media and international media and even within the ANC can be traced to this decision by the South African government to be part of the BRICS alliance.
President Jacob Zuma has explained the need for an alliance such as BRICS, by explaining the historic relationship that African countries have had with the multi-lateral financial institutions such as the IMF and World bank created after the end of the second world war, he has been an active critic stating that African countries that have sort financing from these institutions did not in any way gain any tangible benefit from them, hence the need to have alternative institutions to finance African economies which will be more developmentally oriented offering better terms, this will not only offer an alternative but will certainly influence the existing institutions such as IMF to offer better terms, he sees the need for revisiting the way the west does business with Africa from a cultural point of view stating that the Chinese, Russian way of engagement is based on mutual respect rather than the west which still has a colonial mentality and seeks to impose on the African.
In this light President Zuma has championed the establishment of the BRICS Bank, the NDB and supports the Chinese AIIB, seeing in china a progressive force that can promote Africa's development. President Jacob Zuma has been very candid in expressing his views that the current global political and financial architecture needs reform and that they is need for a revision in the way the west does business with Africa. The BRICS is seen as an alliance of emerging economies lead by China which is taking concrete and practical steps in the revision of the global architecture by creating alternative institutions. In other worlds rather than a uni-polar world a multi-polar world is being actively promoted.
At the local level president Jacob Zuma and the ANC have been promoting a policy that seeks to accumulate capital not just in African hands but all previously racially disadvantaged groups including the Chinese, Indians, colored’s etc. This policy explains the constant media attacks from the white controlled press exported worldwide in the form of allegations of corruption, a close look at this corruption reveals that the corruption meant is the accumulation of capital in any individual or corporate entity that is not owned by the white elite and their black allies like the opposition leader of the DA Party, whose party has actively joined to resist the intergovernmental agreement. The ANC has been through active government policy been promoting previously disadvantaged groups attempting to create a class of competent South African entrepreneurs, capitalists and industrialists of all races who will be the drivers of the economic transformation in the coming decades. It must be kept in mind that these are fundamental steps being taken to revise a century old order.
President Jacob Zuma has repeatedly championed the need for the accumulation of capital in African hands and has promoted the progress of entities that are not white owned without hindering the progress of already established white businesses this again is a major fuel for the corruption allegations as the media frames this as a system of patronage. A case in point is the attacks the president has received in the media for his association with a successful Indian family who have major investments in mining, media and other industries the white owned media serving well entrenched capital interests has made endless insinuations and allegations to turn public opinion against the President and his policies, it is already being postulated as a part of a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign that this Indian family is set to benefit from the ROSATOM agreement. It is not being explained how the President is expected to promote business without engaging the South African business community.
The Nuclear Agreement
On the 22 September 2014 Russia and South Africa signed the intergovernmental agreement on strategic partnership in nuclear energy, The Russian State entity ROSATOM is expected to build 8 nuclear reactors that will generate 9600 megawatts of electricity over the next 20 years, electricity that is needed to maintain and boost South Africa's industrial development and transformation that is set to be driven by a new industrial elite. This agreement if it is implemented will be the capstone of Russian South African cooperation. It is expected to result in Russian nuclear technology being transferred to South Africa and will lead to the training of South Africans in Russian universities as nuclear specialists.
This is an example of South Africa and Russia coming together to promote economic cooperation to mutual benefit in accordance with the government’s foreign policies of increasing economic integration among the BRICS nations. Russia is seen as South Africa’s main Ally in defense and other fields due to the congruence it has with South Africa in recognizing the desirability of a multi polar world order and indeed actually initiated the process of Multi polar revision through its engagement with China. China and Russia have since signed similar trade deals set to deepen relations between the two giant BRICS allies. In May 2014 President Putin signed a number of investment deals with China, among them was a massive 30-year natural gas contract valued at $400 billion.
This trade deal was Russia showing the western world that it was not dependent on the west for financing in the light of western sanctions imposed on Russia due to the Ukrainian situation. In this light the ROSATOM Nuclear cooperation agreement valued at an estimated $50 billion worth is set to show South Africa’s independence and ability to access alternative sources of financing and assert its independence from western finance, which will have a long term impact on the economic and financial model imposed on it from the time of its very constitution as a state. The net impact of this on western capital’s interests within South Africa can hardly be overestimated.
On the Local level this agreement is part of President Zuma's grand strategy of empowerment, the opposition media has gone on overdrive in its propaganda campaign against this proposed agreement primarily because the majority of the South African media serves specific corporate interests that have a stake in the survival and perpetuation of South Africa’s current economic model with its racial implications, these interests use the media as a medium for social control, South Africa is to continue to serve the purpose for which it was created, which is serve as a framework for western capital's exploitation of the country's vast mineral resources, while the Afrikaner minority elite is used as a link between international capital and its workings within the state securing their privileged status.
This is the model that emerged from the British final constitution of South Africa after the final defeat of all African resistance signalized by the military defeat of the two Boer Republics in the Anglo/Boer war using very brutal and inhuman methods were the Afrikaner and indigenous African populations were driven into the world’s very first concentration camps, only to die of disease and starvation in the interests of British Imperialism and the London financier arm behind it. it is instructive that this campaign was characterized by a concerted propaganda campaign that involved the very denigration of the Dutch people at the highest levels of British Society, a similar campaign is being carried out today against African resistance to the very same force, with President Zuma as the focal target of this attack. It is important to state that with the advent of Black majority rule in 1994 a black elite has since been co-opted in Politics and economics to join the white minority elite as a link to western capital’s working’s within the state therefore it is as much to their interest to maintain the status co!
This Russian South African agreement considering it's scale is set to undermine the imperial model by creating and promoting the accumulation of capital in African hands as many African entities are set to benefit from state tenders and the inflow of capital when the agreement is implemented, the opposition media is already estimating how much a nephew of president Zuma is set to 'benefit' from the 'nuclear deal' even before ROSATOM is awarded the contract, how do they know this? The nephew has investments in mining so by extension he will obviously get a tender such is the kind of propaganda daily fed to the South African public.
The question that must be asked is what is wrong with an African businessman or capitalist accumulating wealth? The very creation of African capitalists not dependent on the western economic model imposed on South Africa by the British is unacceptable to western financiers and their local representatives hence every asset controlled by western elites has been activated to oppose this project.
The Court ruling
Coming to the court ruling by the Judge Lee Bozalek of the Western Cape High court it is important that this judge’s ruling be viewed within the wider context of the South African Judiciary and civil society in general considering that it was two NGOs that brought this case before the court and conclusions be drawn from there. It is also instructive to realize that this ruling comes on the heels of an internal power struggle within the ANC to control key ministries, with the key finance ministry at the center of the struggle, in which the President had won a decisive victory with the dismissal of Key anti-change ministers and the appointment of progressives that are pro-change and revolutionary, This meant that the process to halt the implementation of this agreement had to move out of the political plane into the Judicial plane hence this case brought before the courts by these two NGOs, the role that NGOs play as subversive movements and proxies of global agendas is well known and has led to many countries banning the operation and activities of some NGOs restricting their foreign funding and enacting laws to curb their subversive activities.
It must be understood that this is not the first time that a South African court has made a controversial decision that is not only against the executive but the very transformative and Pan African spirit of the ruling ANC Party. It would appear that the courts have taken an active stance to frustrate government policy repeatedly, to understand this phenomenon of why a Judiciary would stand boldly against the interests of the ruling government of the day and national interests; how ministers in the ANC government itself would be a hindrance to active government policy we must reflect on South African history.
Modes of Control
Cecil John Rhodes the British preeminent colonizer of Southern Africa had an active racial philosophy which informed his policy of colonialism and exploitation. Cecil John Rhodes after his death continues to influence South African policy by the medium of Rhodes scholarships. These scholarships are given to many a bright young individual from all races who are thus helped to rise through upward mobility to very influential positions within the South African state and indeed the whole English speaking world, these individuals who achieve success through this medium promote western capital interests. It was actually for this very purpose that the scholarship program was established. A casual look at the list of former Rhodes scholars shows an impressive list of the elites that dominate the world today the list includes former Presidents, Judges, technocrats of all kinds, diplomats ‘all kinds of successful individuals’ from all races for example the former High court justice of Zimbabwe Chief Justice Antony Gubbay is a Rhodes scholar.
This scholarship program was established to advance the Imperial ideals and it still does to this very day by creating intellectuals and technocrats who serve a specific ideology, this is just one example given here that the elites have devised to maintain a strangle hold over their former colony's institutions like the Judiciary and media thereby de-facto maintain the colonial state its designs and interests, It is given here to explain the resistance to transformative policies within the body politic of the nation, elites throughout the former British colonies including the USA are being constantly created and supported to attain High public positions in their respective countries.
All kinds of organizations and societies some going back to the times of the entrance of white capital in Southern Africa are used for the purposes of lobbying for western capital's interests, institutions of higher learning that produce the governing classes are under the control of western capital till today, meaning students are prepared to serve a specific global agenda, which is the further consolidation of power into a uni-polar world order the very architecture that President Zuma has come out strongly against at the international level, and seeks to subvert by agreements such as this Russian South African bilateral state cooperation agreement.
It is instructive that President Zuma is constantly ridiculed for his lack of formal training in an institution of higher learning this means he cannot be trusted with the management of the state as he has not gone through the established process of the production of an elite black class initiated and schooled in the art of governance using western philosophies and modes, the fact that he received considerable training during his revolutionary struggle against apartheid is ignored and serves only to further disqualify him.
This intergovernmental agreement between Russia's ROSATOM and the South African Department of energy whether it is eventually implemented or not has brought out many structural weaknesses within the South African governance system and the state as a whole.
In light of the above revelations a reform process of the whole South African order from the courts, media, institutions of higher learning and the very philosophy of democracy which is South Africa's state philosophy is necessary to see to it that such proposed projects as this Russian South African intergovernmental initiative became a reality.
Democracy must be adapted to its local condition taking into consideration the historic development of a people and their specific interests in the case of South Africa this is primarily the progress of the Black majority. It must be well understood that despite the global media trumpeting, the historic fact is democracy in South Africa is the imposed construct of foreign elements and is not the outgrowth of the revolutionary struggle against apartheid or the development of a local indigenous world view meaning the African instinct for capital creation and management is constantly frustrated from the need to work within a framework alien to its very nature.
The current system is purposely constructed to be blind to the workings of western capital and its historic and current exploitation of South Africans. The role played by Russia and China in the struggle for apartheid and their immense contribution to the development of the South African economy are constantly undermined the system in place is being easily manipulated by entrenched and vested interests to frustrate the deepening of bilateral relations between the Russian state and South Africa for political considerations that are anti-South African and against the defense and national interests of the state, this status co cannot be allowed to continue.
Therefore the conclusion is the system is already rigged against certain initiatives and people. The democratic frame is being actively manipulated to frustrate the deepening of relations with South Africa’s strongest historical ally and support the continued exploitation of a people by entrenched financial and corporate interests.
A major portion of the wealth of the west came from the exploitation of South African resources and labor under very brutal and inhuman conditions modeled by foreign elite philosophers and financiers built on a system of race prejudice. They built this system! With its basis in the west’s system of credit and they took concrete measures to maintain it in case of black rule, any initiative that threatens this design like this Russian South African intergovernmental initiative is bound to face concerted resistance. This reality must be factored into the governance philosophy and institutions within the state this means looking carefully at all colonial initiatives like the Rhodes scholarships and necessary reform measures taken.
The media needs urgent reform; the media serves specific interests with a clear agenda of subverting government policy. The supporters of government lack the resources to actively counter the corporate propaganda given out by major publications serving vested interests, the playing field is hardly even. They is a well-orchestrated system and policy meant to constantly miss-inform the public, constantly push an agenda that is clearly anti-government and anti-change, the media must play the role of public informant and public educator to communicate national issues in a constructive way meant to promote social cohesion and maintain the social contract between the government and the citizens.
The tagging of this intergovernmental agreement as the 'Russian nuclear deal' is in itself an example of this hyper propaganda, The Russian image which is already under major distortion from the western international media is further miss-represented to an uninformed public through trivialization and outright falsification calculated to influence public sentiment against a major initiative meant to benefit the very selfsame public.
An initiative that is meant to provide electricity, boost the economy, create jobs, transfer invaluable nuclear expertise and have a significant multiplier effect benefiting all society is being blatantly distorted and government is powerless to counter this due to the prevailing social democratic system, It is claimed Russia will have a veto on South Africa’s further procurement of nuclear technology from third parties and that the State cannot afford the project all these are falsifications that are meant to derail the public support for the agreement by building public resistance, thereby antagonizing the governing class against the governed by making them believe the ANC is working against public interests with this agreement, this is irresponsible and has dangerous implications for social harmony and should not be allowed to continue.
The workings of Non-governmental organizations their status, motives and most importantly their funding must be looked at carefully, Any State that allows the free funding of NGOs and fails to recognize that they are some with a subversive intent meant to undermine national policy and push foreign agendas is bound to face major political frustrations, It must be recognized that this will affect social cohesion this reality must be factored into the governance of the state.
The courts have repeatedly stood in the way of government policy interpreting the law in a manner that gives the Judiciary undue power over issues that strictly belong to the authority of the executive. The ruling in this case is another example; it would appear the courts seek to usurp the authority of government, through an unconstitutional desire to determine government policy. The executive needs to take a closer look at all Judges and indeed all those who are part of the entire Judicial system, looking at their development to those positions and necessary actions be taken to ensure a Judiciary that will complement national policy and safe guard national interests.
This all calls for reforms, reforms have become necessary Russia itself has had to conduct a reform of its political system in order to respond to the challenges it faces at the domestic and international level so as to facilitate a more effective working of its institutions on the basis of its particular historic circumstances. South Africa will have to do the same President Zuma has already recognized this fact he has come out openly to proclaim that South Africa was under siege from foreign state actors without ostensible mentioning them, he has connected the South African political situation to his decision to ally with BRICS and has interpreted the impeachment of the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in the light of this global phenomenon the president has survived countless impeachment attempts and is currently facing a fresh impeachment attempt.
All these forces analyzed here the media, the courts and civil society, opposition and ruling party politicians have once against been activated in this concerted and serious attempt to derail government policy by constitutional regime change within the ANC all this calls for reform, to finally quote President Zuma himself we are at a point where if our political power is not complemented by economic power this will lead to a loss of security for the nation, and if we control Political and economic power it’s easy to control the Judiciary that is the strategy the President has laid out and to quote the Russian ally, President Putin said all initiatives ultimately have an economic basis, many a brave nation has implemented reform when necessity required it, South Africa must burn bridges and build new ones, it must uproot and it must plant, if this is not done it will be bogged down for generations. This will be the lasting legacy of this ‘nuclear deal’ whether the government will allow a skewed political system to cripple it into inaction or they will respond with a comprehensive reform process of the whole state.
Kwanele Al NKAYI -Johannesburg / Senior Analyst, Voice of Africa
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