The late Allister Sparks (1933-2016), veteran political reporter and book author, in the year before he died, reflected on some of the smart politicians he had seen in his long career, including Dr H.F. Verwoerd (South African Prime Minister 1958-66).
The sky fell in on Sparks for including Verwoerd in his list of ‘smart politicians’, in much the way Helen Zille, the current premier of the Western Cape, has been recently pilloried for saying that colonialism was not all negative.
In fact only a fool would disagree with Sparks and Zille, on both counts.
With the current situation in South Africa at highly combustible levels, the western media has shied away from the vicious racism being conducted by the ruling ANC against the eight per cent white minority. The reason is that while they demanded instant majority rule in the 1980s and early 1990s they are no longer interested in reporting on the bitter harvest they helped sow.
In fact, Verwoerd and other Nationalist leaders shine in comparison to the current socially and economically corrupt regime and its president, Jacob Zuma.
Verwoerd, as Native Affairs minister for six years, supported a concept of separate development (apartheid) because he likened the racial groups as being at different stages of development. He considered that separation ensured good neighbourliness. He argued every nation had a right to survival without being overwhelmed numerically by others of a different culture. It was not a view that found favour, internationally, as the Western world started to insist all cultures were equal – something being proven daily to be incorrect particularly with the Islamist scourge.
Verwoerd was not having any of it. He remembered South African history, including the brutality of the murderous Zulu Mfecane (crushing) in the hinterland, where perhaps over a million perished under Shaka and Mzilikazi, before the Voortrekkers established their two republics in the Transvaal and Orange Free State; and the period before the second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), when British miners (Uitlanders, or outlanders) flooded into the Transvaal and threatened the existence of the South African Republic (ZAR), by demanding the vote. The then ZAR president Paul Kruger resisted such a policy. It resulted in the defeat of the two Boer republics by a British occupying army. However, by 1910 Britain ceded control and the Union of South Africa was established under Boer or Afrikaner leadership until 1994. The common denominator of all those governments was that they were not prepared to surrender to a majority of the population they deemed unfit to govern a unitary state. But Verwoerd was no murderous despot; he conceived and introduced homeland governments for the different African groups outside of the central government, so each group could develop and care for ‘its own tree,’ instead of becoming ‘envious of the tree in another man’s garden.’
While many criticisms can be delivered at Verwoerd for not fulfilling the full recommendations of the Tomlinson Commission Report on homeland development, the fact is that African literacy rose from 37 per cent (1956) to 57 percent in 1968, while African school attendance rose from 1 million to 2.15 million (1955-66). Overall there was a six per cent growth rate, plus a two per cent inflation rate with little unemployment, in that era.
If ever a party had a chance to prove they were morally superior to successive National Party governments (1948-94), it was the ANC. Instead, they have blown an opportunity, ignoring inclusiveness to display a vindictiveness and blatant discrimination against whites in employment, imposing racial quotas in sporting teams and denigrating the cultural and historical importance of Afrikaner monuments and days. Worse, President Zuma has openly incited genocide by dancing and singing ‘kill the Boer’, and declared Christians are the cause of South Africa’s problems. In a parliamentary debate this year, Duduzile Manana, MP (ANC) called out, ‘bury them deep’ when Dr Piet Groenewald MP was referring to the plight of white farmers. This is a disgrace and would have created demands for resignation anywhere else, except, of course, in the Muslim hell-holes of the Middle East, if said about a law-abiding minority.
On the ANC’s watch, some 4,000 farmers have been murdered, many with atrocious cruelty, and there have been 15,000 attacks on farms, making SA farmers the most endangered workers in the world with more chances of being killed than US soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The ‘new Boer War’ has seen farming families slaughtered on their properties rather than being herded into British concentration camps as they were in the South African War (1899-1902).
While Australia gives recognition to its minority Aboriginal population (2 per cent), and their culture, the same cannot be said of the black South African government as regards its white minority (8 per cent). Employment and sporting quotas simply make a mockery of having a ‘level playing field’, instead reliving the past remains the raison d’etre for the ruling party; while Afrikaans remains under attack with attempts to remove the cultural importance to both white and non-white speakers of the taal, (language).
The irony of a Stellenbosch University academic, Edwin Hertzog, arguing for ‘language pragmatism’, as attempts are made to remove Afrikaans from the university, is light years away from his famous namesake, JBM (Barry) Hertzog fighting for a dual-stream language policy, in the early days of Union government. Barry Hertzog forsook an early ministerial career, to establish Afrikaans, but eventually won the fight and became a long serving prime minister (1924-39).
Even worse is the proposal, by the current Zuma regime, to engage in land theft which is what the ANC is considering. Theft is the only word that can be used when a government floats the idea of acquiring freehold land without compensation. It is the racist policy of Mugabe writ large and will produce the same devastating results as in Zimbabwe; to wit, the destruction of commercial farming, the flight of capital, civil unrest and the exodus of people with skills.
The ANC has shown in 23 years of ineptness that Verwoerd’s fears about handing over to those motivated by the politics of envy is a recipe for disaster. The destruction of Afrikaner culture, will, as predicted by President P.W. Botha in 1985, indeed see South Africa ‘drift into factional strife, chaos and poverty.’ However, Western liberals have long since passed by, on the other side, to more fashionable causes célèbres.