Letter to Julius Malema on Zimbabwe
If uncollected rubbish dumps, lack of running clean water and a dilapidating infrastructure inspire you Julius, then I suppose you should relocate to Harare.
Greetings to you Julius. I am sure you will note that this is my second letter to you on the same subject matter.
I understand that you visited my country Zimbabwe recently, and that you continue to be inspired by how ZANU (PF) has decimated our economy and its potential. Well, Julius, I dare say that your standards are obviously not that high and I forgive you for that. You see, this is the case with most black Africans; all you have to do is look throughout Africa to realise that the black man, left to his own devices, has dismally failed to raise his standard of living despite having all the resources he needs. Your country, South Africa, is currently suffering from the same disorder and events in the Limpompo province, where you come from, certainly do not inspire me. Shouldn’t you be rather spending your energy there to get things right?
There are historical reasons for that I think, the main one being that coming from poverty backgrounds, black Africans do not really demand or expect much from their leaders. You see Julius; there is just something about us black people and our standards. They are just so low and your inspiration from the Zimbabwe situation proves that to me. By the way, Julius, I forgot to ask you whether you had electricity at the wedding you attended because on that day, I didn’t.
If stinking uncollected rubbish dumps, lack of clean running water and a dilapidating infrastructure inspire you Julius, then I suppose you should relocate to Harare. I have a perfect spot for you where you can, once again, get inspired using pit latrines as some of you do now in a developed South Africa. I understand that this is also the case in Limpompo, where some infrastructure is in bad shape even after some black owned companies were paid to do the work to repair it. I am sure you are aware of that. That hardly inspires me Julius.
I am an enthusiastic believer in economic transformation and the ownership of our economies by the majority and not by international monopolies and oligopolies who are to me, the new colonialists. On that point I fully agree with you. However, that does mean that I should accept a substandard life style. I don’t know about you Julius, but I note that you aspire to live in Sandton (the taxman willing) and not in Thembisa as most of your brothers and sisters do (not that there is anything wrong with living in Thembisa).
I don’t know whether you are aware that Zimbabwe does not actually control its mineral wealth? These have been dished out to the Chinese and to ZANU (PF) cronies some of who are reported to be now building mansions there in Durban. We don’t even know where our diamond revenue is going Julius, can you believe that? I guess that inspires you Julius.
You no doubt, will also be inspired by our agricultural revolution (as you would call it), where now we cannot even feed ourselves and must import maize from Zambia. Yes Julius we in Zimbabwe now “own” those farms but they are useless and lying idle.
Julius, in Zimbabwe, we even own closed factories and shops, we own our own airline which is grounded, we own all our state enterprises that are facing closure because of mismanagement, we own steel mills, power stations, railways, mines; hell you name it Julius and we own it. But all that we own is either underutilised, in a state of disrepair or being driven to the ground through corruption or mismanagement. That’s inspirational Julius, isn’t it?
My advice to you Julius, is to use this “sabbatical” that the ANC has forced upon you wisely, and study and improve yourself. You do have some good arguments on how we must begin to ameliorate the condition of black Africans. You however, need to sharpen your thinking skills.
Africa needs future leaders who are educated, principled, who have integrity and are sensitive to the dynamics of the environment that they operate in. If you by any chance aspire to be one of those, good luck, but I can tell you that will not get that from coming to Harare to insult our intelligence. You seem to have a unique gift of persistently doing that.
Julius, economic freedom in this lifetime is possible, but only if we insist on high standards of leadership and delivery. Nationalisation will not achieve that economic freedom, nor will violence, greed and corruption. Fighting for higher wages is like a slave, fighting for a daily tea break; it will not fundamentally change the economic relationships in South Africa.
I shall be in touch with you again soon, and we may perhaps sit down and inspire each other on the need to develop both our countries and come up with new economic models. Let us rather spend our energies on that, don’t you agree?
Finally I encourage you to choose your friends wisely Julius, because the tide is turning and true economic freedom is coming soon to Zimbabwe. Real economic freedom Julius, which you might want to be once again inspired by.
Your comrade in the economic struggle to free Africans from dictatorship, incompetence and poverty.
Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org