South Africa: It Is Critical to Understand the Difference Between the Afrikaner and African Elites


What is the lesson that the African elite should learn from the Afrikaner elite that Zwelinizima Vavi suggests? The answer: Nothing.

In recent months I have come across heightened interest in what black South Africans can learn from the Afrikaners about economic empowerment. Zwelinzima Vavi's critique of Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni's supplementary budget in a recent Daily Maverick opinion piece goes back to the 1930s and asks what the ANC government can learn about management of public finances from General Barry Hertzog's National Party government of the time.

"Mboweni dares not look back to history, but the answers are obvious. The South African government dug out of the 1932 debt crisis with several techniques that even if we consider that regime as racist as that of the formal apartheid era, we must learn from."

Vavi praises the Afrikaner government of the day for growing the country's Gross Domestic Product by an average rate of 8% a year between 1932 and 1946, "the fastest recorded in modern South African history", he notes. He says the results of this economic growth were positive even for Africans whose wages also grew.

Clearly there must be a lot to learn for the ANC...

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