South Africans being led up the garden path by politicians' false promises

Millions of poor black people have been duped into believing the propaganda fed to them by politicians, and they will be the ones who suffer most, says the writer.
Millions of poor black people have been duped into believing the propaganda fed to them by politicians, and they will be the ones who suffer most, says the writer.
Image: ALAN EASON

On January 9 1928, fiendishly gifted Nazi spin doctor Joseph Goebbels delivered a speech to his comrades, titled "Knowledge and Propaganda".

Here is the crux of his dirty message: "History proves the greatest world movements have always developed when their leaders knew how to unify their followers under a short, clear theme."

With that in mind, it is painful to see many South Africans falling prey to Goebbels-type ruses today.

Millions of poor black South Africans have been duped into believing that, once parliament finally amends section 25 of our constitution, all shall be well.

People believe this kind of propaganda because, as Goebbels decreed, the EFF has given them a short and clear slogan: "land expropriation without compensation".

There are poor black people who visualise themselves wearing khaki shorts, long socks and big sunhats - standing in the sun as new owners of a farm expropriated from a heavily bearded Afrikaner somewhere.

Such imaginary images are alluring. They are the stuff of the propaganda spread by Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe about the year 2000. After hordes had invaded and taken over farms from whites, it was poor black people who queued for long hours to buy the last bag of potatoes on the empty shelves of their previously full supermarkets.

Very soon millions of dark-skinned Zimbabweans fled to South Africa seeking a better life. These are the piteous souls you now see at street corners across SA. They clapped hands when their political demagogues shouted short, clear slogans like "land expropriation without compensation". Now they are suffering in SA.

The most painful thing is that the politicians who promised heaven and earth after white farmers left are themselves well fed. The only people who suffer are ordinary black Zimbabweans.

The other SA political leader who is busy applying Goebbels-type tactics is Cyril Ramaphosa. Millions of hope-thirsty South Africans have swallowed his short and clear slogan: New Dawn.

Hypnotised by the New Dawn, people no longer see reality around them. It is true that most of us are very happy that the spectre of Jacob Zuma is finally confined to Nkandla, but it is equally true that life has become tougher.

GDP growth has declined, which means our economy has shrunk. What matters is not a sweet-sounding investment pledge from China, or some Arab country; the real question is whether the economy is growing or not. Even a mindless buffalo knows the economy is in decline.

We wake up to yet more sad news that Implats will retrench 13000 workers, and Goldfields 1000. Where is the New Dawn when workers lose their jobs?

A top secret, now leaked, is that the government is contemplating massive public sector retrenchments - estimated at 30000. Denials are not accompanied by a promise of new jobs.

Another fact, which does not sit well with short and clear slogans, is that the price of petrol has been going up. You now pay more for food at your nearest supermarket.

As if to add insult to injury, the New Dawn hiked VAT from 14% to 15%. All this takes more money from our already empty pockets.

Soon innocent people will celebrate another $2-billion (R29-billion) loan from China. It is a dawn of debt.

With the land expropriation brouhaha that has polluted our atmosphere, we must expect more job losses in the agricultural sector. Reality finally bites. Remember the saying: "If you forget that you are poor, your conditions will remind you."

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