George Devenish (Mercury, October 24) rightly censures the ring-fencing of state contracts exclusively for Africans as proposed by ANC KZN faction leader Sihle Zikalala. But what Zikalala seeks is actually a refinement of what the ANC has been doing for years.
Sections 9, 195 and 217 of the constitution refer to persons, that is individuals, and categories of persons, meaning racial groups, as being favoured for preferment in posts and contracts. Yet the constitution does not prescribe racial group quotas such as we see where jobs and the like are allocated in terms of demographic percentages. Yet in all matters, from procurement to contract allocation and staffing, the ANC applies racial group quotas.
Thus, in KZN with a black demographic in excess of 80%, that is how the provincial cake is cut despite the wording of the constitution. Of course, this practice is an utter violation of the principle of non-racialism. But as a good Marxist, Zikalala is simply applying Lenin’s dictum that “principles are like pie crusts: they are made to be broken.”
Having gone unchallenged in applying racial group quotas, the likes of Zikalala are simply tossing constitutional fetters overboard and applying the ideal his ilk has always fostered, namely, the old PAC slogan, “Africa for the Africans.” Zikalala’s proposal also reflects the political desperation of his faction. Faced with the reality that his grip on power is under severe threat, constitutional niceties cannot be allowed to restrict his political ambitions.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 28 October 2017.