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Shutdown campaign is all about protecting white privilege

Opinion
It doesn’t take much to expose the hypocrisy of these white-led groupings and their claim of taking a stand against corruption, writes Faith Muthambi.

The veteran journalist Max du Preez, who is no friend of President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress, could not have phrased it more sharply. He asked: “Imagine what could have been if we white South Africans were as outraged at apartheid, torture and death squads as we are at Zuma right now.”

Du Preez’s observation cuts through most of the crap that masquerades as analysis. The Shutdown South Africa campaign has nothing to do with saving South Africa. It has more to do with the protection of white interests and white privilege.

The enlisting of blacks into an agenda that is inimical to their interests is an old trick. It dates back to the epoch of slavery when the slave owners could count on house slaves to whip their own into line. It comes as no surprise to find so-called former revolutionaries in the company of the most racist detractors of a legitimate government.

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Save South Africa supporters march to Parliament to demand President Jacob Zuma’s resignation. Picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA Pictures

Their closeness to white monopoly capital speaks volumes.

It is precisely for this reason that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) advised its members to reject all activities organised under the umbrella of Save SA. In this regard the federation was unambiguously scathing in its observation:

“We are not confused about who our enemies are and in everything we do, we will be guided by our class interests. We will never march with the agents on monopoly capital to remove a democratically elected government.”

In case Cosatu was misunderstood, it went further:

“We refuse to be useful idiots of those who want to remove President Zuma in order to remove the ANC from power and protect their ill-gotten wealth and inherited privileges... The same CEOs who are pontificating are not committed to root out corruption. They have refused to appoint social and ethics committee as required by company laws to evaluate their compliance with labour and corruption laws We are not going to be lectured by them and their hired hands about values.”

Indeed, it doesn’t take much to expose the hypocrisy of this new found activism by these white-led groupings and their claim of taking a stand against corruption.

These groupings and their black lackeys are deafeningly silent when it comes to corruption in the private sector. For instance, they were nowhere to be found when the Competition Commission found that banks had engaged in corruption. Nor did we hear them call on Absa to account for funds that were illegally loaned to it.

Their moral compass is unaffected by recent revelations pointing out at how the construction industry and the bread cartel colluded in siphoning resources from the country and the poor respectively.

Somehow, the mass democratic movement led by the ANC was hoodwinked and bought into the ephemeral hype of rainbowism. The liberation movement failed to appreciate the extent to which class, ethnic, and racial interests are entrenched in our country.

This should have been expected.

It would require a heavenly alchemy to change centuries old racial prejudice overnight. The recent developments including the Shutdown campaign attest to the fact that South Africa remains a multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-class society. If anything, the Shutdown and the Save SA campaign represents the convergence of white and class interests. It has also enlisted the coalition of those wounded in the Polokwane political contest. The hangover of political humiliation seems incurable.

We are also not surprised that the whole brouhaha around the cabinet reshuffle has assumed an ethnic character. The noise is restricted to concerns of my former colleague Pravin Gordhan, who has since assumed a new occupation of being the main attraction and new master of memorial services. My other colleagues have been reduced to a mere historical footnote.

The invisibility of black people in a racist society is consistent. For instance, there was no white outrage when 44 black people were killed in Marikana.

To this day, we are still reduced to monkeys. This makes it possible for a trigger happy white man to kill a black person, and argue successfully in court that he thought he was shooting a monkey.

We are therefore not surprised to learn of “...an image comparing President Zuma to a gorilla was shared over 1800 times. This is indicative of how pervasive racist sentiment is in South Africa.”

What is most revealing is the ease with which former liberation comrades find common cause with this deplorable conduct.

That explains the extent to which these racists and black minions are consumed by their personal hatred for President Zuma.

The road to a non-racial, non-sexist, non-ethnic, democratic and prosperous society will be filled with many potholes. The Shutdown SA by Save SA is one such political pothole to be addressed. Indeed, Inde Lendlela.

* Muthambi is Minister of Public Service and Administration.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Sunday Independent

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