The hand-wringing over South Africa’s unemployment “ticking time bomb” (The Mercury’s front-page headline of March 31) overlooks the most basic cause of this tragic situation: socialism is the parent of unemployment.

Thanks to their promotion of disinvestment, sanctions and economic sabotage, the ANC inherited an economy in 1994 which already had four million unemployed. Ever since then the figure has ballooned to way beyond ten million. Besides fundamental incompetence exhibited at every aspect of governance, deliberate marginalisation of the only sector that creates employment – private enterprise – has been core ANC policy.

Driven by inflexible labour laws, enforced demographic representivity, radical economic transformation and now outright “majority rule,” as KZN Commissar Sihle Zikalala prescribes, the economic state of the country adheres historically to the textbook of socialist ruin.

The so-called experts can tut-tut and tip-toe around all the corollaries of what has brought the country to the tipping point, but the diagnosis of Oxford historian RW Johnson, made seven years ago says it all: “South Africa can either choose to have an ANC government or it can have a modern industrial economy. It cannot have both.”

If the almost daily headlines are factored into the situation, Johnson’s reference to “an ANC government,” no longer applies, particularly in KZN. Internecine warfare has overthrown what once was government. Instead, the government is now a bloody contest between rival ANC factions to see who can loot what remains of the depleted economic carcass.  Thanks to the ANC and its dogmatic adherence to socialist ruin, KZN has become a kakistocracy –from Port Edward to Pongola, Durban to Dundee.

Two hundred years ago a slow process began which, despite much error and tragedy, established the province of Natal. But as the key elements of that achievement are systematically neglected, reviled and ruined, they recede and relocate. Ironically, KZN’s twilight is fuelling the Western Cape independence movement and generating a new historical cycle.

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