What Malema has right?
Malema is correct in saying that white South Africans got their wealth through theft and genocide. If the government needs to commandeer the land for the betterment of the country, then they have every right to do so. The confiscation of land is especially justified for land sitting idle in the form of a game preserve.
Malema proposes to confiscate the land gradually starting with land sitting idle and owned by foreigners. He makes it clear that many of the current enterprises will stay in operation if they are profitable. The only difference is the state will own the land, and the company will have to pay to lease the land. The leasing of the land will ensure that a substantial amount of the profit goes to the state. A significant share of profit is not going to the public good currently.
Malema is also honest and straightforward about the backlash South Africa can expect upon implementation of his plan. He tells followers that they will be treated similarly to Zimbabwe for a short period. His supporters know what they are getting into and still want to follow him. He understands his plan is high risk and high reward.
Protectionism is another important part of Malema’s plan. It is difficult for any country, especially a developing country, to build a strong labor force in their country when there are well trained foreign workers in other nations. Giving preference to South African workers and businesses is the only way to decrease unemployment. Protecting domestic goods protects the public from low-quality foreign goods. Malema shows a deep understanding of economics.
The EFF under Malema is providing the ANC opposition from the Left. The EFF opposition will prevent the ANC from abandoning its socialist values as it works and shares power with capitalists. If there is not opposition from the left, the ANC has no reason not to continue to move to the right as the American Democratic party. Opposition is the most important element in a Democracy and in finding the best solutions.
What Malema has wrong?
The idea that if the government confiscates the land and the West places sanctions on South Africa, the West will capitulate to RSA demands in a short period is a little unrealistic. It is possible that “white monopoly capital” will fund a rebel group to attempt to take over the government. The risk of this plan is a perpetual civil war and a restart of township violence. Similar situations happened in Sierra Leone. No one wants to see a South Africa filled with the violence of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
It is also incorrect to say Capitalism has failed in South Africa. According to http://www.tradingeconomics.com South Africa has the fifth highest GDP in Africa. South Africa has a GDP per capita of $7,504. Compare that to Zimbabwe’s GDP per capita of $908. South African Business Tech reports the average income for a black South African increased 34% from 2003 to 2012. The RSA Department of Education says only 7% of the black population between the age of 9 and 23 years of age attended grade 9 in 1995. The number jumps to 82% by 2003.
All this is not to say RSA should not work to improve conditions. However, society has progressed, and there are ways left to improve the quality of life within a Capitalist system. Increasing education will not only enhance the quality of life now it will ensure land and industry will be properly run if land confiscation is necessary. There has only been a democracy for 23 years. A person born after apartheid is just now starting their career. Causing a new revolution could destroy a country still trying to healing old wounds.
Given the fact there are many old wounds and people that still remember the past violence, inflammatory talk could have serious consequences. The singing of “Kill the Boer” is not furthering his cause and turning off many supporters that believe in socialism but do not want to risk violence. The singing of “Kill the Boer” my embolden crowds and increase support in poor areas, but if the EFF intends to be the majority government they have to be palatable to people from all walks of life. The EFF has to make itself marketable without compromising its core principles.
It will be difficult for Malema to hold Zuma and the ANC accountable for corruption while he has a corruption charge hanging over his head. His trial is currently on indefinite hiatus. The trial is a huge liability and can be used by political opponents to derail his progress. As Malema is doing with Zuma, a person can get Malema convicted of a minor charge and bring the case back to court. In addition to the legal liability, Malema has a problem with perception. He lived this lavish lifestyle supposedly off his ANCYL salary, but the public knows that he has been accused of taking kickbacks. To the average person, it would seem that to live this lush lifestyle Malema had to have done something to supplement his income. Malema needs to bring the case to trial to clear his name. If he is found guilty, he will have to resign his MP post. Malema has protested Zuma being allowed to speak in Parliament after a criminal conviction. Malema will have to abide by his own rules if he is convicted.
Where is Malema on the Spiral?
Malema is centered in Orange while having occasional forays into Red during rallies. He wants Second-Order change and focuses on IT space solutions. He does have detailed logical plan that could work for South Africa. He does understand the fundamental problem with income disparity in RSA and with blacks all over the world. However, his plan is high risk and high reward. Only South Africans can evaluate if they are ready to take this risk.
- This is the average salary in South Africa by race and industry https://businesstech.co.za
- Race Differences in Educational Attainment in Post-Apartheid South Africa
By T.Heaton http://paa2012.princeton.edu/papers/120293