Against apartheid, and against a corrupt government

SATURDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2014

Some white Afrikaners are of the opinion that they should never have given up their political power, and that fellow Afrikaners who were of the opinion two or three decades ago that apartheid was an unjust system and that South Africa had to become a multi-party democracy were “traitors to their own people”.

The only people who won’t acknowledge the current government’s corruption probably have their own snouts in the trough, but to jump to the conclusion that the previous regime should never have ended because the current government is corrupt is to deceive yourself and to expose yourself as intellectually lazy or dishonest, or both.

Apartheid and everything it meant in practice had to be terminated because it was immoral, and because it corrupts the oppressor’s and exploiter’s being to the core to oppress and exploit other people.

It was also to everybody’s advantage to end apartheid with a relatively peaceful political settlement, because if it did not end in this way it would have had to be defeated in a struggle that would have been bloodier and more violent than it had been up until 1994, in which the white Afrikaner would have lost more than just political power.

The current group of politicians who abuse their positions of power to rob the state and to deceive the public ought to be criticised as a matter of principle. It is the civic duty of South Africans of all colours and political affiliation to criticise incompetence, corruption and other cases of wicked behaviour. Yet, some white Afrikaners find it strange that people who preached a few decades ago that apartheid had to end now also complain about the ANC government. “Isn’t this what you wanted!” they write in the comment sections of articles on the internet.

What “they” wanted – these liberals and progressives of 20 or 30 years ago – was for a morally unjustifiable system of repression to end, because it was immoral, and because it would have corrupted the white Afrikaner to the core – in fact, the moral cancer had already permeated deeply in many cases.

What these liberal and progressive people still want is a non-racial, democratic republic. To blame them for the government in 2014 being corrupt and incompetent because two or three decades ago they said apartheid had to end, and may even have worked towards this goal, is to bark up the wrong tree.

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