South Africa: Post 2010

In the wake of the Fifa WC ticket debacle, where South Africans had to stand in long queues only to be disappointed, a look into the crystal ball predicts some very interesting trends. Presently the hype is all about soccer. This euphoria will be short lived and come 12th July 2010, all will be forgotten.

If Danny Jordaan and his LOC together with our government think that Sepp Blatter and Fifa are holding the soccer spectacle for compassionate and caring reasons, they should think again. In fact Sepp Blatter’s re-appointment as Fifa president was clouded in controversy. He was accused of being no better than the CEO’s of most multinationals.

Fifa is a “dictatorship” and a very powerful one at that. As in politics, a dictator either serves his master, ala Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan or acts on its own and is constantly threatened by the superpower with sanctions and other punitive measures –” Iran, Venezuela and Brazil.

Fifa falls into the first category. It is part of a huge complex that promotes western commercial interests. Government leaders become caught in a trap of debt that will guarantee their life long loyalty. The superpowers can call upon these ensnared leaders, at any time, to satisfy their (the superpowers’) economic, political and military needs. These governments, to protect their political positions develop industrial parks, electrical power plants, harbours and airports, ostensibly for their people. Who provides the expertise and funding for these developments? South Africa certainly did not have the financial muscle nor the technical know-how to provide the infra-structure to host a successful world cup. These were imported at huge financial costs. These foreign owned companies (the suppliers) become fabulously wealthy and our country is saddled with a debt that it can barely service.

Multinationals, who have secured huge contracts and have head offices in the major western capitals, hire locals at slave wages to work under inhumane conditions. These companies destroy the environment, killing people, animals and vegetation. When the local inhabitants suffer from epidemics, the medication is supplied by western pharmaceutical companies at huge profits, paid for by the World Bank and the IMF, established by these very conglomerates. The so-called “aid” packages provide a huge source of income and profit for these multinationals.

For a moment look at the nature of foreign aid. It is idyllic for a developed country to promise “aid” to alleviate poverty and misery. When is this “aid” unadulterated and when is it self-indulgence? The fact that more than half the world’s population lives in abject poverty and squalor may answer the question. To help the sick and needy was hardly the prime motivation for international assistance. John Perkins, in his book “The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” questions this very motivation of “international aid” when he says:

“Indeed I began to question whether such aid is ever altruistic, and if not, whether that could be changed………………………, but I was equally certain that this was seldom, if ever, the prime motivation for our intervention.”

It is well documented that the international aid promised to governments of countries which have suffered catastrophic natural disasters, never receive the promised amount. The South East Asian Tsunami is a good example. This exploitation of the worlds’ poor, including South Africans, means that we will have to do without health services, education and other social benefits while our children and grandchildren will forever remain prisoner to the greed of the industrialised countries.

The chart of entrapment has always included the supply of energy, transport and airports. With the world cup as the façade, we have embarked on the Gautrain project, King Shaka Airport, roads improvement and energy supply, at huge costs and financed externally. South Africans have been made to believe that this investment will benefit all citizens of this country. If this were true then why is it that the income ratio between the rich and the poor has widened from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 70 to 1 in 1995? (In dollar terms and world wide). It has recently emerged that Eskom has been providing BHP Billiton, a multinational company, with electricity at below cost. Eskom has secured a loan of R30 billion from the World Bank which Joe Soap will have to pay back. We will also have to bear the brunt of Eskom’s losses.

Economic growth has only benefited a small, exclusive group. The majority live in increasingly desperate circumstances. The leaders of our industries are paid outrageously high salaries. They are rewarded for their greed. These fraudulent values become the norm and our children see these dishonest leaders as their role models. Large sections of our communities remain subservient to this elite minority. John Perkins precisely summarises this ultimate scenario in his book: “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and I quote:

“The loans of foreign aid ensure that today’s children and their grandchildren will be held hostage.

When South Africans become aware of this exploitation that has enslaved us in anticipation of a 2010 windfall, we will hopefully no longer tolerate it. With any luck we will commit ourselves to navigating a trail of compassion, democracy and social justice for all. Presently the majority of us swim in deficiency, toxic waste and brutality. I hope that the lessons of the 2010 soccer top prize will inspire us to new heights of enthusiasm, perseverance and commitment and compel us to realise our dream of a balanced, honourable and proud nation.