The coalition negotiations loom for a market takeover of politics and the economy

A meeting of several political parties to re-affirm their stance in the multiparty coalition lead by the DA. Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Newspapers.

A meeting of several political parties to re-affirm their stance in the multiparty coalition lead by the DA. Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Newspapers.

Published Jun 12, 2024


Bongani Mankewu and Oupa Ngwenya

The malicious alliance between phony political allies and, in some cases, vicious business scavengers pursuing rent-seeking at the expense of the people’s will must be prevented from undermining democratic patterns. South Africa's tragic history of apartheid requires that the oppressed majority be prioritised to preserve moral authority and eliminate black poverty.

Therefore, in a just society, political bargaining or social interests are irrelevant to the liberties of equal citizenship.

South Africa lost its ability to unite as a nation despite Nelson Mandela’s efforts to promote reconciliation after apartheid. Instead, the state was bestowed with more power by a democratic constitution that lacked core values. The ANC failed to articulate the South African ethos as a synthesis of the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment with the pragmatic values of Ubuntu, hard work, education, community spirit with self-sufficiency and self-governing institutions.

Due to the institutional framework, Africans lost the most highly regarded value that binds them to be a compassionate society – Ubuntu, which led to decadence. The May 2024 elections demonstrated the flaws in abundance, with tribal affiliations influencing voting patterns.

Society should be aware of the alliance between political and commercial interests, which capitalise on South Africa’s unhealthy divisions. To halt the trends, which are a destructive force determined to undermine the restoration necessary to create a just society, the public must continue to exercise caution. Certain concepts ought to be emphasised that prioritise sectional interests over the aspirations of the people as the root cause of South Africa's political anaemia crisis.

Three segmental components contribute to the political turmoil: first, the embodiment of racial supremacy, which gains from being close to the markets due to the misconception that they value governance based on moral principles.

Second, the political House Negroes thrive on remnants of racial supremacy by drawing a significant portion of the electorate to easy market stability. The last section is the epitome of corruption; their goal is to obtain the public purse to enrich themselves. These are the sections that strongly oppose the restoration of a progressive South African society after 1994. The electorate is deploying the interest groups to resolve the national crisis they created. You liberate a city by destroying it.

The theory that the diversity of political parties is necessary exclusively for democracy’s maturation is naive. The politics are increasingly becoming a means of subsistence and a fast route to becoming a microwave millionaire. They are all tied together by party-political funding, which transfers public power into the hands of donors.

Parties view their survival through the prisms of money, “markets“ and investability prospects, which makes them resistant to fundamental change and demeaning the oppressed black majority. The ANC is becoming less and less aligned with freedom, as its once-powerful mission has been appropriated and its majority has shrunk. With partisan and sectarian agendas fuelling division and creating manufactured chaos, including elections, coalitions are the only viable option for rival parties.

Freedom has lost its lustre among the parties. The 2024 general elections are a case in point. Manufacturers of chaos have a simple strategy for selecting coalition partners: take it or leave it, until money is no longer a deciding factor in politics. Politicians will refuse to speak for the poor and well-meaning if money is at stake. In these circumstances, the filthy rich will remain the priority in the process of exercising public power.

Unless money is brought under the moral command of the public and the common good, many people will lose interest in politics. The proposals by the leading party, the ANC, in approaching coalitions only benefit market logic – profit at all costs. This logic shapes state-market relations, making the state willing or unwilling to be subject to the whims of financial markets.

The likely result of the coalition efforts is a takeover of politics by markets, this time directly rather than through proxies. As a result, all state assets would be sublimated to private investors, who determine what is necessary for society.

This is the state the nation, struggling to be born, is mired in. Antonio Gramsci’s words cleanse our lenses of this moment: “The old world is dying, and the new world is still being born. And in this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. It’s the age of monsters.”

Bongani Mankewu is the director of the Infrastructure Finance Advisory Institute.

Oupa Ngwenya is the founding secretary-general of the Forum of Black Journalists, freelance writer, columnist, corporate strategist and Project Co-ordination of The 70s Group comprising liberation activists of the 1970s.