Is SA Heading For A Soft Coup Or A Civil War – Or Both?  

Staff Writer | The Republic Mail


The police are regularly called in to suppress uprisings which, on the surface, are about bad service delivery or racist incidents, but deep down they are about a South Africa that is being torn apart by the intransigence of white South Africa to share this country and its resources with the black majority; writes Johan H.B. Raubenheimer.

When Nelson Mandela was released on February 11 1990, thousands of people gathered at the Victor Verster prison near Paarl in the hot summer sun to welcome him. Among them were journalists from across the world – but most of the South Africans present that day were black, with the exception of a handful of white struggle veterans and liberals.

The optimism in the air was nevertheless tangible. South Africa would no longer be the skunk of the world, we would become the new pearl of Africa, offering a bright future not only for the white minority, but also for the millions of black people who, until now, were third class citizens in their own country.

Fast forward 27 years to May 2017 and the latest Employment Equity Report of the Department of Labor, it shows a South Africa where whites still occupy a staggering 68% of top management positions, and black people only 14.4%. A South Africa where numerous JSE companies have been fined for not implementing employment laws, and many others are on the verge of being fined.

South Africa remains one of the, if not the most, unequal society on earth. Our Gini coefficient, which measures that inequality, is consistently one of the highest in the world. Despite a new, but small black elite and a slowly emerging black middle class, millions of desperately poor black people live in shacks, unemployed or under-employed and often surrounded by posh (mainly white) suburbs where swimming pools and expensive cars are the norm.

What went wrong, and where are we going from here?

The truth is that black people were sold a lie in 1994 – the lie of the Rainbow Nation. The lie that once we can all vote we will all be equal. They underestimated the ability of racist white capital to ensure that power and money remain firmly in the hands of white people.

Currently we have two opposing forces, both of which could eventually drag us into a civil war. On the one hand, we have local and overseas capitalists which are deeply uncomfortable with the fact that South Africa is now part of BRICS, an alternative to Western economic and political domination.

In March last year, renowned American investigative journalist Eric Draitser wrote an article entitled “BRICS Under Attack: The Empire’s Destabilizing Hand Reaches Into South Africa”, where he analysed the nature and extent of Western interference in South Africa in order to ensure the continuation of their economic and political control of the Global South.

White monopoly capital also hates the fact that our current government recently announced the launch of RET, or Radical Economic Transformation – which aims to completely restructure the country’s economy so that it will benefit everyone and not only a handful of already filthy rich fat cats.

On the other hand, we have growing unrest among the millions of South Africa’s poor black people. In townships across the country, the police are regularly called in to suppress uprisings which on the surface are about bad service delivery or racist incidents, but deep down they are about a South Africa that is being torn apart by the intransigence of white South Africa to share this country and its resources with the black majority.

Being poor does not mean being stupid or blind. What will happen if White Monopoly Capital manages to topple Zuma, or perhaps even the ANC? Does anyone really expect tens of millions of desperately poor black people to do nothing when they realise they have been sold out a second time? That their leaders such as Julius Malema have been co-opted by racist white capital?

If one studies South Africa’s social media, the term ‘civil war’ is used more and more frequently by blacks who increasingly feel they have exhausted all peaceful alternatives.

There is one final opportunity for white monopoly capital to come to the table without hidden agendas, without once again trying to prevent or delay this country from being shared equitably by all its people. But that window is closing fast.

The question is; do they realise the urgency of the situation?

Johan H.B. Raubenheimer (@Raubies) is an activist, entrepreneur and freelance writer from Cape Town, South Africa. He has a B.Com(Hons) degree and a financial background. 

  • Pierre Donald

    Great article

  • LW

    Under the present economy, enrichment is a slow process, irrespective of race. Perhaps reading the latest stats will help put some things into perspective – – like the authors understatement re ‘slow’ black middle class development. All is relative. May be low compared to the masses who live in poverty, but black middle class is now over double the dwindling white middle class – exceeding them by over 3 million! Also, why is it neccesary to make the threat about race or revert to racial undertones when it comes to the economic system – I agree that capitalism (note no racial references) favours the wealthy and is becoming more and more of a threat to the poor. But decide now which memes you wish to embrace and what system design you have in mind as an alternative, because for many up-and-coming black people are embracing this ‘monopoly’ capital and its promises – rich aspire to be the same kind of rich as the white capitalist and the poor aspire to the very same spoils of this system. Surely these desires threatens this idea that the econony has any colour or racial relationship – somehow unique to colonialism and all things evil. Perhaps it is only the communist brotherhood that think differently, nevertheless, I for one am sick and tired of this racially biased rhetoric. If there is some kind of trap waiting at the end if the economic tunnel, it is not set by ‘whites’ to trap those of darker skin tone. Capitalism has not preference for dark meat or light. It devours all flesh.

    • Heather Williamson

      This Communist, mustn’t give up his day job!!

      • Marie Peters

        Hahah remarks like these really give away your lack of intellect… go away please!

  • Ferguson

    What negative impact can 9% whites have on the other 91% with BBBEEE in place and after 23 yrs of black rule? There are no formal barriers to blacks transforming the economy of their own accord? It cannot be that RET means whites hand over their hard gotten gains to blacks? Not everything, education, health care, housing, water, electricity, etc can realistically be handed over for free?In any event why is the ANC only talking about RET now, 23 years too late.

    • Dennis Pillay

      Ferguson it is precisely your type of thinking that will take us nowhere or are you living in a different South Africa, and can you not see the deprivation that 350 years of Colonial and Appartheid ruled has done to blacks and more so African Blacks, when Mandela came into power De Klerk handed him a country that was financially bankrupt internally with billions that was secretly and illegally put into overseas safe havens under his administration. The ANC government can never fix the plunder and theft of 350 years in 23 years having only political power and economical power remaining in the hands of a white minority…..remember if the poor cannot dream the rich won’t be able to sleep.

  • Madeleine Donaldson

    I would rather suggest that indiscriminate capture of our monies and syphoned to the Zuptas (That includes the entire Zuma family) and too many in Government with huge undeserved bonuses, pensions and behind the door money , as well as lack of service delivery and BEE which is holding back Companies from hiring more staff and expanding, have a lot more to do with what is happening in our Country. Empowerment begins in the heart and mind and soul of a person, through God not through any politician. Crime, road accidents, security problems are holding us back.

    • Marie Peters

      Take off that record – every single item on your list can be debunked…The white regime by the way was far more corrupt, far more evil than our existing government.

      • Kagiso KG Motiang

        the crimes commit in the past were against humanity, declared by the UN, its happen
        ing now in Palastine today

      • Kagiso KG Motiang

        RSA’s history was declared a crime against humanity, and its happening now in Palestine

  • Sean Goss

    As always people will complain about Gupta nonsense. When last did we hear about the R26billion stolen by Rupert and ABSA, the price-fixing cartels and currency rigging which runs into trillions! It is this kind of corruption that is stifling the economy, blocking Black progress. No its not a victim mindset. It is about free and fair competirton for everyone. BEE only benefits corporate black elites..Not the poor!!

  • Siyazi

    ​Can the denialists stop making us stupid for once? Their companies covertly run government…


    The position held by corporations in the shadow state means that they wield too much power over a formal state. This allows them, now called “markets”, to dictate to government on what to do as well as on the appointment of ministers and senior public administrators. For example, at a recent WEF shindig held in Durban heads of state had to account to corporations. 

    Power of the state is taken away by those who have never been voted into power. When you get to polls you indirectly vote for Exxaro and CPS to be your “shadow state”.

    The truth is that it looks like those who scream the loudest about corruption are part of the “shadow state” which runs South Africa.

    Please read on…

  • Marie Peters

    “What negative impact can 9% whites have on the other 91%” – what an unbelievable short-sighted comment! It’s people like you Ferguson that really does transformation a lot of harm. I want you to sit and count how many squatter camps, townships etc are in this country. They did not spring up overnight. These people were always excluded from the white economy. Even if they are deemed “equal”, they still don’t have the same advantages as the average white kid. Gosh, it’s like saying they can now take part in the same cycling race as you. What you don’t realise however, is that they must first go and find the bicycle. Someone living in a squatter camp with hardly food for one day, can’t make debt to buy the bike because he is not creditworthy, can’t ask uncle to loan his bike because uncle doesn’t have one, can’t steal it because he is not a thief and so on. Do you understand the negative impact that was, and still is?How can a person be so blind?

  • Kagiso KG Motiang

    Johan Bro, I have to disagree on one point here, on the ground generally the people are aware of all inequalities, the history, how the greedy bunch are looking out for each other, color white etc.but the people are just tired of all the killing, being ridiculed, being fulled, they know the truth now. families have died for many years, too many people, there is nothing as stupid as going to war and killing each other to make a point. Only the privileged will benefit from a war. They have benefited in history, they’ll do it again. Lets fight, lets go to caught, any irregular legislation/acts needs to be changed as we go along. The problem is in the legislation and the existing unfair deals that have happened behind the masses and only benefited the few and left us here to just fight each other. War is not a solution.