SA’s May 29 Appointment With History

The reported uncertainty of business leaders about economic prospects in the event that a coalition wields power after May 29 obviously hinges on the components of such a coalition (The Mercury, May 10).

Coinciding with this uncertainty in business circles are the announcements that the world’s sixth-largest bank, BNP Paribas, is closing its corporate and investment services in South Africa. Like another French banking giant, Societe Generale, it justifies its departure as part of “strategic realignment” by Europe’s banks and the scaling back of operations elsewhere.

Shell Petroleum giant has also just announced its exit from South Africa. The significance of these developments is their timing – just weeks before the May 29 election. Like Standard Bank, which issued a statement published on March 22 predicting that the ANC would continue in power, are the exit announcements by Shell and BNP Paribas endorsing that forecast?

If that is so, it means they fear the “doomsday” scenario of which DA leader John Steenhuisen warns. They recognise the risk of investing in a country whose government excels in dysfunctionalism and corruption, expropriates property without compensation, imposes an unaffordable and impractical national health dispensation, and demands ever greater empowerment of a black elite.

To gain insight and understanding on developments, tracing the money trail invariably proves enlightening. None of the “doomsday” components appear to lack finance. Zuma’s MKP is said to enjoy backing from Putin, the ANC is favoured by Iran, while the EFF is quiet about its major sources, which are enabling it to contest the election in lavish style.

But what those who are withdrawing from South Africa appreciate is the agenda of the financial backers of the prospective ANC, MKP, EFF troika: it’s a new form of colonial exploitation. Along with China, Russia and Iran see great prospects for cheap acquisition and exploitation of the mineral wealth and resources of South Africa.

That is the price the country will pay under a dystopian ANC, MKP, EFF coalition at the expense of the slogan “a better life for all,” which is why Steenhuisen’s “doomsday” warning should be resolutely embraced. South Africa has an appointment with history on May 29: a turning point or a point of no return.

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