Radical Economic Transformation - the Mugabe’s the Zuma’s the Malema’s and off course all the other less famous brands
t remains mind boggling how each of these demagogues believe that they will be the first to succeed in their redesigning of society (radical economic transformation), only to find out, always too late, that they have failed. These projects always end in disaster, with the prime instigators, without exception, the main losers.
- Adolf Hitler had such high, albeit crazy, ideals - rumour has it that he brought about his own demise;
- Benito Mussolini - he, with his mistress, was shot dead and their bodies hung upside down - by their erstwhile supporters;
- Joseph Stalin’s end played out in the form of a messy death fearing experience; was he poisoned?;
- Nicolae Ceausescu, the dictator that brought Romania to its knees, together with his wife Elena, were simply shot dead like stray dogs; and
- Idi Amin - Ugandan president and mass murderer, fled his country and spent his last years in complete obscurity in an Arabian port city.
So the list continues. After these rulers all caused immeasurable harm to their countries, their demise was brought about by the people who once worshipped them, and it always happened as soon as ‘resources’ - in the broader sense of its meaning - dried up; when they were eventually exposed.
Mugabe, through his version of radical economic transformation, has brought Zimbabwe to its knees. His end approached slowly, then happened suddenly. He might be fortunate; he may escape with his life and will probably end his days in relative peace and luxury, but with a terrible legacy to ponder on.
President Zuma who, with his version of ‘radical economic transformation’, is also destroying our recourses and in doing so is bringing about his own political demise. What will his fate be? Will he end up being pardoned, in obscurity in Nkandla, or will he spend his last days in jail or in a mansion in Dubai - Idi Amin style.
Then there are the Malema-type ‘transformationists’ - licking their lips for their day when they can put their hands on resources and take their revenge on whites - using radical economic transformation as the instrument to bring about their ideals - thriving on the creation of an illusion of a better life for all. That is until they are found out - when they ‘run out of other peoples’ money’. Their end, if they ‘succeed’, won’t be any different from those that attempted similar forms of societal re-engineering (radical economic transformation) - and failed, without exception.
The only question which remains is - what fate will befall them when resources dry up and those who once supported them turn against them.
The power-drunk more often than not disregards history. The Mugabe-scenario however is a timeous reminder of the consistent outcome of those who act upon bitterness and greed.
This opinion piece is by Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA). He writes this in his personal capacity.