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Is the South African rainbow on the cusp of disarray?

12 Jul 2021 at 06:41hrs | Views
Events are unfolding very fast in the rainbow nation, South Africa. And just like the previous week, the country is in suspense as the Free Zuma campaign gathers momentum in KwaZulu Natal province. It is clear that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is a troubled party and its inability to hold things together is spilling over, resulting in the destruction of property and disruption of economic activities.

this could have been anticipated, mitigated and avoided. signs have always been on the wall that the situation would degenerate. All that is unfolding now is a sign of an ageing and fading pseudo rainbow concept no longer capable of withstanding the heat of the time. the pre-independence script by the white monopoly capital can no longer keep things together.

Let's start with recent events. On May 5, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was suspended from the party on allegations of corruption. His attempt to get his suspension lifted via the courts was futile and he claimed the judgment was political implying some external forces influenced court decisions.

On June 28, former President Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court. this is just one in a series of past and pending court cases under his name. On July 7, after what looked like a climax of political drama, Zuma handed himself over for incarceration at Estcourt Prison in KwaZulu Natal. some media, for strange reasons, reported that calm had returned to Nkandla, deliberately neglecting the brewing tensions in the province.

From July 8, waves of violence started in KwaZulu natal. the media, that had camped at Zuma's homestead in Nkandla, continued annihilating the unfolding protests in KwaZulu natal. On the other hand, social media was ablaze with reports and disturbing images of violent protests in KwaZulu Natal.

By last weekend, it was clear that the massive damage caused by the protests could not be ignored. the people of Zululand want their man out of prison. the national government remains mum, save for a statement by the KwaZulu natal authorities calling for calm and restraint.

The reaction by the people of KwaZulu natal was to be expected as tensions around Zuma's arrest mounted. Of course, both the AnC and the government could have mitigated the damage and the violence. But no. It appears the white capital monopoly script is at play and pulling the strings from the behind the scenes. notwithstanding his transgressions, it is widely believed that Zuma's real crime was attempting to hand over the economy to the Guptas a wealthy Indian-born family. And for that reason, the white capital monopoly will leave no stone unturned to punish Zuma and to make him an example for future offenders. the government inaction and the annihilation of the events in KwaZulu natal by the media partly back this assertion.

As the nation waited to be updated on the protests that were gaining momentum in KwaZulu natal, rumours and social media started filtering of how the Zuma story and events in his province were being censored by the media. How possible is this scenario given what appears to be a diversity of media organisations in South Africa?

Simple. The media in South Africa remains in the hands of white capital monopoly. More than 20 of South Africa's most prominent print and digital news outlets are owned and controlled by one group of companies. those that are not part of this group have links to the markets. Unlike in other countries, the government has limited or no role to play in the editorial management of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. this simply means it takes a click of button by the white monopoly capital to instruct editors to annihilate or cover a story. that is a sign of a rainbow in disarray.

While for the past 27 years the media in South Africa have assumed a democratic face, the Zuma situation has pushed them to show their true colours, demonstrate their political affiliation and revealing who is behind them. those in the media industry are feeling it and they have begun to raise their concerns and voices. It is surprising that they have woken up this late and maybe they will realise that democracy in South Africa is only allowed when white capital monopoly's hold on the economy is not threatened. Other than that, it is game on.

the white monopoly capital's hold on the levers of power is not only limited to the media and the management of public opinion. there are allegations that it extends to civil society organisations and the judicial system. In 2019, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng claimed that he rejected a R600 million offer to modernise courts "with the necessary contempt because that is how capture happens".

He further noted that although he had confidence in judges, he called on South Africans to watch them carefully to ensure that the Judiciary was not compromised.

"Watch us closely, otherwise our constitutional democracy is gone ... who do we associate with the most? Who are we uncomfortably or indecently friendly to? And check judgments when those people are involved. Ask yourself, does it make sense?"

Similar claims were made by Zuma last week that there are judges who would never rule in his favour no matter the merits of the case.

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa. He writes here in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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