South Africans would do well to take note of President Zuma’s statement in Parliament yesterday regarding the ANC’s plans to "intensify the implementation of affirmative action policies in order to deepen reconciliation and social cohesion in our country." The President did not grab these ideas from the air - they are a core element of the second phase of the ANC’s National Democratic Revolution.
FW de Klerk warned the public about the ANC’s intentions in a speech that he delivered on 31 January at the Foundation’s annual conference in Cape Town. In his comments De Klerk summarised the main elements of the NDR as follows:
"The ANC sees itself, not as an ordinary political party, but as a national liberation movement with an uncompleted revolutionary mandate. It sees "the continuing legacy of colonialism and white minority rule" as the "defining reality of our society."
"Unlike its negotiating partners, the ANC did not view the constitutional negotiations as the means to achieving a final national constitutional accord. Instead it saw them as a means to achieving a beachhead of state power - which would then enable it to shift the balance of forces further to its own advantage. In the process it admits that it had to make constitutional compromises that it regarded as temporary expedients necessitated by the then prevailing balance of forces."
"The ANC’s first priority after the 1994 transition was to shift the balance of forces in its favour by seizing control of the levers of state power. Its targets, in its own words, were "the legislatures, the executives, the public service, the security forces, the judiciary, parastatals, the public broadcaster, and so on". It planned to gain control of these institutions by deploying ANC cadres to leading positions.
"The central goal of the ANC’s National Democratic Revolution - even after 1994 -continued to be the elimination of apartheid social and economic relations. This would be achieved through the "de-racialisation of ownership and control of wealth, including land; and equity and affirmative action in the provision of skills and access to positions of management".
De Klerk said that it was against this background that the ANC’s debate in 2012 regarding the commencement of the 'second phase' of the transition had taken on special significance.
In his closing remarks to the 2012 Policy Conference President Zuma implied that the triple crisis of unemployment, inequality and poverty had been caused - not by ANC policies - but by white males and the continuing impact of "apartheid colonialism". He warned that "unless we decisively deal with racialised and gendered inequality, poverty and unemployment, our collective democratic and constitutional achievements would be put at grave risk".
The President also believed that the balance of forces had shifted sufficiently - in South Africa and internationally - for the ANC to abandon compromises it made during the political transition.
In his speech in Parliament yesterday President Zuma once again alluded to the "second phase" of the NDR when he said that "after the elections, the country will enter a new radical phase in which we shall implement socio-economic transformation policies and programmes that will meaningfully address poverty, unemployment and inequality."
The President repeated the "second phase" theme that "we have achieved political freedom, now we must achieve economic freedom, and ensure that the ownership, management and control of the economy is deracialised further".
In his speech on 31 January, De Klerk pointed out that the ANC had failed to achieve real transformation - "particularly with the promotion of equality and the provision of decent education and other important services." It had also failed "to create jobs" and "to achieve levels of economic growth that are sufficient to meet the aspirations of all our people".
He added that the ANC’s transformation policies "were not rooted primarily in the Constitution but in its own ideology of the National Democratic Revolution".
De Klerk said that this was not what the non-ANC parties agreed to during the constitutional negotiations.
"We signed off on the values, rights and institutions that are articulated in the Constitution. We did not sign on for the National Democratic Revolution. We were never consulted about the ANC’s approach to transformation and we do not accept it. These policies - in the ANC’s second phase of transition - are overtly directed against South African citizens on the basis of their race as part of an ongoing historic struggle that we had hoped had been concluded in 1994. This is the antithesis of the goal of national reconciliation."
De Klerk concluded by calling for serious talks between the Government and all those who are targeted by its version of transformation - including, our minorities, our farmers, the media, civil society organizations; and small and large businesses.
He said that, collectively, we need to talk to government
- about its approach to transformation;
- about its divergence from the values in the Constitution;
- about the likely consequences for the economy, for inter-community relations and for the future of our national accord of its transformation approach; and
- about how we can all work together to achieve real transformation as envisioned in the founding values of our Constitution.
By Dave Steward, Executive Director of the FW de Klerk Foundation