An Orgy of Violence

“Bullet proof vests in the suburbs; universities trashed; rector’s office petrol bombed; artifacts burnt; farmers murdered; land grabs increase; ‘burn the building and those inside’: ANC Member of Parliament; highway shootings and robberies; 87-year-old bludgeoned in home—twice; restaurateur shot dead; police report 7,000 firearms ‘stolen or missing’; panga attack severs B.Sc. student’s hand: Just another week in blighted South Africa!”

So begins the latest situation report on South Africa issued by the TAU-SA, the oldest agricultural union in South Africa. Founded in 1897, the TAU describes its mission as the promotion of a “productive and safe existence for its members on the land they own,”—an objective, the organization notes, which is currently not achievable.
The situation report, part of the TAU-SA’s international news service, continues:

The ANC and its followers have reverted to type. Violence gets them what they want or what they think they want. The more compromise and concessions given, the more demands are made and more violence ensues.  Violence works for the ANC—it always has. It’s a tried and tested recipe that delivers every time. And after the violence, after the lust has been satiated, after the racial hatred has been slaked and the resentment played out, then what?

This question is being asked by many South Africans as they witness yet again the mindless Khmer Rouge-type vandalism that has become the hallmark of many young Africans “demanding” everything under the sun, whether they want it or not. A free-for-all lawlessness has gripped the country: unbridled mayhem has become a modus operandi, and everyone and everything is fair game.

The seeds of this mindless fury were sown many moons ago. Historically the ANC used violence as a means to obtain the political rights which they declare were denied them by the British and later white South Africa. South Africa has been particularly convulsed by revolutionary violence since the early sixties. Late seventies and mid-eighties’ terrorism increased in barbarity and brutality. It was hallmarked by its own particular savagery: the relentless intimidation of blacks who would not join their revolution and a grotesque cruelty which out Mau-Mau’d the Mau Mau. The ANC called it “a people’s war”. It targeted not only policemen and soldiers but also local councilors, “collaborators,” “informers” and all “puppets of the regime”. The aim was to render South Africa ungovernable and to ultimately overthrow all authority. The seeds of violence as an effective political tool were planted.

In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, the ANC was unbanned and negotiations began for universal suffrage. To all intents and purposes, the violence should have stopped. Its raison d’etre no longer existed. The demands had been met. Or so we thought.

Violence however intensified. In his book The Secret Revolution, the National Party’s Intelligence chief Neil Barnard tells of how former prime minister P W Botha pleaded with Nelson Mandela to renounce violence as a condition of his release. Mandela refused. He declared that practical negotiations should begin as soon as possible. “Then the momentum of the process will make violence superfluous”. How wrong he was. Or did he know he was offering Botha a pie in the sky?

The rest as they say is history. After Mandela’s February 1990 release, violence increased fourfold. It continued even after the United Democratic Front (the internal wing of the once-banned ANC) was disbanded in August 1991. Some 9,500 people died between February 1990 and April 1994, an average of 300 per month compared to a monthly average of 90 from September 1984 to February 1990.

The use by the UDF of the necklace method of torture and death (where a rubber tire is placed around a person’s neck, filled with petrol and set alight) decreased during the 1986 state of emergency but increased after Mandela was released, and increased further in 1992. Declares John Kane Berman in his book Political Violence in South Africa: “The investment in terror pays off because people learn to behave in ways expected of them”. This tactic harks back to the Soviet KGB and the Gulags.

Terror campaigns against black local authorities were part of an overall strategy to achieve the collapse of apartheid, writes Kane Berman. These campaigns rendered black areas ungovernable and were strategies created by the UDF at its formation in 1983. “In 1990 (after Mandela’s release) the campaigns were stepped up”. (So much for the swindle punted by Mandela to Prime Minister Botha that violence would become “superfluous” once negotiations were under way!)

In a 1990 editorial the black newspaper City Press blamed black youth for their “political immaturity in introducing the necklace method of killing and going on the rampage, stoning and burning houses.” The then secretary general of the ANC, Alfred Nzo, said that “collaborators must be eliminated”. Asked by the Sunday Times of London whether this included necklacing, Nzo nodded emphatically: “If they decide to use necklacing, we support it”.

Not once during his premiership did Nelson Mandela ever condemn necklacing, let alone the relentless violence perpetrated by his supporters. Indeed it was his party’s policy to keep up the violence until power was handed over to the ANC. Few young South Africans who were born after the end of apartheid know the history of this era. They only see the endless puff-piece books on bookstore shelves lauding those who had previously made South Africa practically ungovernable.

The ANC-sanctioned violence of those days against the previous government is being repeated today under an ANC government. It is the same mindless gangsterism. Any chance to go to the streets and tear something apart is taken up with alacrity, whatever the so-called causes.

The true background of the ANC is being slowly eliminated from a history whose realities, were they available to present-day South Africa, might explain this mindless mayhem now being perpetrated under the guise of demands for better education, or free housing, or service delivery.

In any sane country, farmers would be cherished. After all, what is more basic than three meals a day? In South Africa, the malice shown towards the commercial farming sector is so patent that it can only be attributed to an illogical animosity and resentment rooted in a huge (but justified) inferiority complex. After all, what sort of agriculture existed before whites arrived in South Africa?  The ANC cannot face an “inconvenient truth”, as the movie title says.  Can the ANC feed SA’s population of 53 million?

From 1990 to 2015, 1785 farmers were murdered and 3,745 farms were attacked. In January 2016, six farmers were murdered and there were 26 attacks. In many of these cases, the murders can be termed atrocities. Newspaper pages are replete with reports of knifings, hackings with pangas, suffocations, rapes of farmers’ wives and daughters, burning with hot irons, and worse.

In addition to this onslaught, the government tinkers with expropriation legislation, with plans to take 50 per cent of many farms to give to “the workers”, and farmers are burdened with the myriad legislative inhibitions already placed on them. Land grabs have increased as squatters take possession of “unoccupied” land.

South Africa’s endemic violence has affected the SA economy. During the 1960s there was an annual growth rate of 6 per cent. This halved in the 1970s and halved again in the 1980s. In the 1970s, even while facing terrorism, riots and involvement in a border war with the Cubans in Angola, the SA rand was stronger than the US dollar. In Mandela’s first four years as president, the rand lost 80 per cent of its value and more than 2,8 million man days were lost to strikes. The national debt also doubled under Mandela’s presidency.

The ANC has reaped what it has sown.