An Appeal to India

South Africa: A land and a people that were saved from the evils of colonialism and imperialism and the hatred of apartheid and white supremacy by Indian people is in trouble. A well-meaning Indian, Mahama Gandhi, organised the Indian labourers in South Africa, with the help of the Natal Indian Congress, before initiating the Natal Native Congress, through John Dube, an organisation which contributed to the founding of the South African National Native Convention in 1912. The SANNC became the African National Congress in 1928. The African National Congress, modelled on the Indian National Congress, led South Africa to freedom and democracy between 1990 and 1994, in no small part thanks entirely to Mahatma Gandhi whose influence on Nelson Mandela is known throughout the world.

Between 1820 and 1850, the colonial settlers in what would become South Africa, had failed to get the native people to work their farms, build their railways and infrastructure or to prospect and mine for minerals. It was decided, in the absence of slavery, to acquire labour from India, through the indentured labour system. This process lasted from the late 1850’s to the early 1920’s. As such there arose a significant Indian community in South Africa, some the descendants of indentured labourers, some the descendants of traders and professionals; from the late 1920’s onwards. Today there are a few million Indians in South Africa. They are South African citizens and are for all intents and purposes ordinary South Africans without an obsessive “India the Motherland” attitude.

However just as Indians were required to actually create South Africa under the direction of the colonial machinery, prior to 1910, when South Africa was formally created through the union of the four South African colonies; the Indians today labour in an effort to keep South Africa from collapsing. Between 1910 and 1948, colonialism skewed the economy away from dignity for all towards white supremacy and between 1948 and 1994, apartheid skewed the economy away from opportunity for all towards entrenched privilege for white people. However from 1994 to 2020, the African National Congress has through its majority in government, entrenched a hegemony of its own comrades and cadres that has looted the state, the government, the parastatals and the public enterprises. South Africa teeters on the brink of bankruptcy.

Wholesale theft of public resources and money is being brought to light through the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that has been ongoing for the last few years. Officials at all levels of the public service are under investigation as the government attempts to cling to power by bringing the guilty to justice. It is however too little too late. The damage to the systems and infrastructure has already been done. Corruption has found its way into every corner of the public sector. This has had through the policy of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment a knock-on effect in the private sector as well, with every publicly listed company being either bankrupt or close to it. The culture of what South Africa’s call “chow the money” has eaten away at operational resources such that there is no value for shareholders. It is quite seriously likely that shareholders would get a better return by holding their money on long term deposit rather than by investing in shares in listed companies.

South Africa is in a dire state of distress. It is becoming a failed state. We see nothing more than a procedural excuse mongering parade that is followed by some redeployment of comrades and cadres and no real justice being served, before the next corruption junket of state spending gets announced for the comrades and cadres to “chow the money”. In South Africa the political class eats very well at the expense of the people. This would be tolerable if South Africa’s public sector was profitable. But unfortunately every public enterprise, every parastatal, every government department and the state, in its entirety, is bankrupt, so heavily indebted that it is incapable for surviving on its revenue and that it relies on bailouts and subsidies from public funds just to overpay its workers and suppliers. Add to this a falling revenue collection from taxes and South Africa is borrowing to stay afloat and borrowing to meet its public expenditure bill.

The South African economic is shedding jobs not creating them and there has been a general move away from permanent employment towards contractual fixed-term employment over the last twenty-five years, which means that there is no long term culture of craftsmanship and professionalism, as everyone who is privileged enough to be employed, is simply chasing their wages while they can. This means that there is no innovation taking place and that everything which is new is nothing more than a repetition of what has been innovated in other countries. We play this game in South Africa where we pretend that the galloping inflation which makes our GDP look good, is normal and where South Africa is a “leading economy” because we are sizably large in Africa. In terms of the real scale of power, being military expenditure, South Africa is a non-entity. Its leading role in the African Union, along with Nigeria and Egypt, is a fiction that is predicated on being friends with everyone and in promoting the chattering classes to have good times.

While all this is rather frightful, there is a solution. Please send five million Indians to settle in South Africa. To live, work learn and believe in South Africa. Please send them now. The thing that could save South Africa is the Indian culture of hard and earnest work. In South Africa the people demand easy employment, jobs, money, perks and benefits – some people actually believe that social media activity is a legitimate way to spend office hours – people are discouraged from developing a culture of work, a work ethic, that speaks to the notions of productivity and quality of service, or that is imbued with the logic of professional craftsmanship. It’s a case of easy-ways and smartphones that keep the cockroaches and pests believing that they are people and worse still that people are the same as persons. How disconnected the South Africans are, from the reality of being coloured people who don’t have any indigenous claims whatsoever.

Please send the Indians. The Indians working in South Africa, whether as employees or as self-employed persons will be able to lift South Africa’s economy out of the morass that it’s in and set it on a proper footing. The diligence of the Indians will rescue South Africa from the disaster that is impending. As someone who works with secret things – South Africa does not have any hostages, outside of bankrupt drug syndicates, being held from the African National Congress – they simply do not exist in my work. This may seem silly , but it is the White, Coloured and Asian South Africans who are paying for South Africa – the Nigerians and Egyptians don’t recognize the native South Africans claims to being entitled to live for free or to a free ride. So please, send the five million Indians to settle in South Africa so that South Africa can be saved from the reality that is forthcoming.

Please India Please, Save South Africa Again!

By avishkargovender

Avishkar Govender is 3i.

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