[Marxism] Once again on the ANC betrayal of South Africa's poor.

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Mon Dec 1 20:43:23 MST 2008

Tom Cod wrote:
> ... that this 
> "intensified" the exploitation and oppression of blacks compared to what existed before is nothing but the 
> delusion of insolent white radicals 

Technically, the rate of exploitation has increased, as the profit share 
to wage share rose from 44-56 to 50-50 from 1995-2005 (giving SA firms 
the 9th highest profit rate among major countries in the world by 2001), 
according to insolent white radicals (like myself) and the SA 
government, too.

The oppression of blacks is nothing like what it was during apartheid, 
of course that's true. In qualitative and quantitative ways, though, the 
oppression of poor black people has increased:

• there was an immediate post-apartheid rise in income inequality, which 
was slightly tempered after 2001 by increased welfare payments, but 
which meant the Gini coefficient soared from below 0.6 in 1994 to 0.72 
by 2006 (0.8 if welfare income is excluded);

• the official unemployment rate doubled (from 16% in 1994 to around 32% 
by the early 2000s, falling to 26% by the late 2000s - but by counting 
those who gave up looking for work, the realistic rate is closer to 40%) 
as a result of imported East Asian goods in relatively labour-intensive 
sectors (clothing, textiles, footwear, appliances and electronics) and 
capital-/intensive production techniques elsewhere (especially mining 
and metals);

• the provision of housing to several million people was marred by the 
facts that the units produced are far smaller than apartheid 
“matchboxes”, are located further away from jobs and community 
amenities, are constructed with less durable building materials, come 
with lower-quality municipal services, and are saddled with 
higher-priced debt if and when credit is available;

• while free water and electricity are now provided to many low-income 
people, the overall price has risen dramatically since 1994, leading to 
millions of people facing disconnections each year when they cannot 
afford the second block of water consumption;

• the degeneration of the health system, combined with AIDS, has caused 
a dramatic decline in life expectancy, from 65 at the time of liberation 
to 52 a decade later;

• the education system is still crippled by excessive cost recovery and 
fiscal austerity, leaving 35% of learners dropping out by Grade 5 (worse 
than neighbouring Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland) and 48% by Grade 12, 
and, according to the most recent (2001) survey of schools, leaving 27% 
without running water, 43% without electricity, and 80% without 
libraries and computers;

• ecological problems have become far worse, according to the 
government’s own commissioned research in the 2006 “Environmental 
Outlook” report, which according to the leading state official, 
“outlined a general decline in the state of the environment”;

• the high crime was accompanied by an arms race – private security 
systems, sophisticated alarms, high walls and razor wire, gated 
communities, road closures and booms - that left working-class 
households more vulnerable to robberies, house-breaks, car theft and 
other petty crime (with increases of more than 1/3 in these categories 
from 1994-2001), as well as epidemic levels of rape and other violent 
crimes; additional corporate crime (including illicit capital flight) 
was generally not well policed, or suffered from an apparently organised 
penetration of the SA Police Service’s highest ranks.

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