Concerned by the growing political and economic crisis that has rocked the country for the past few months, political economist Moeletsi Mbeki warns President Zuma and his government to fix the economy or face an unexpected war.
Addressing an audience during the launch of his book ‘A Manifesto for Social Change: How to Save South Africa’, Mbeki warns that there was a low-intensity “hidden” civil war in South Africa, which could be worsened if the country failed to move to full industrialization to increase the economy.
He further pointed out that the current internal violence among ANC supporters in KwaZulu-Natal was a sign of war and that should the government fail to adhere to this call and engage in “a very radical restructuring of our society”, which would industrialize the country and lead to massive employment, worse situations will be lying ahead.
“South Africa has what we call the hidden civil war. Part of it is becoming visible like we are seeing within the ANC in KZN.
“This is a very troubling situation for the future of the country,” he said.
When asked when he thought the hidden war would come to the surface, Mbeki said: “What we are saying in this book is that an explosion of this nature is inevitable in South Africa.”
According to him, the country had the highest murder rate after Syria, which was at full-blown civil war. He went on to say that the cause of the trouble in the country was that more than 50% of young people were unemployed and either depended on their employed family members or government grants.
“We have on average 18 000 murders a year in South Africa. We are not at war, but we have rate of violent death next Syria, and Syria is at war. Unlike Syria, ours happens year in and year out. The civil war in Syria will come to an end and then those violent deaths would stop.”
He said government leaders overtaxed the private sector in order to pay themselves and their support staff, public servants, at a rate of more than 20 times the salaries earned by similar staff in the private sector.
He also said President Zuma’s salary was higher than those of the prime minister of England and chancellor of Germany.
According to him, SA’s GDP and that England and Germany are in no way related yet the president and the rest of the public sector still earn higher than those in these countries.
He summed all up by adding that political elites use power to enrich themselves and its support systems. This is one of the sources of conflict in South Africa Mbeki warns.