I often run into former South Africans and Zimbabweans who complain about the current government of those two countries. There is much to criticise – but this is too much:
Mr. Zuma was elected president in 2009, and soon he began to seize personal control of important state institutions by appointing loyalists to lead them. Those under his control include the National Prosecuting Authority, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (better known as the “Hawks,” South Africa’s version of the FBI), the intelligence services, and possibly even the new Public Protector, or state ombudsman.
These institutions are now routinely abused to harass Mr. Zuma’s opponents and protect his corrupt friends and allies. Parliament has all too often been an uncritical rubber stamp for his policies. Legislators have failed to exercise proper oversight to prevent corrupt practices.
Now I have no doubt this criticism is correct. But the complainant is F.W. de Klerk. Now F.W. himself was not actually a war-criminal and I’m sure he never personally killed anybody. But … he was a senior minister in a government that did actually kill people, that did commit crimes against humanity. David Webster, for example, a social anthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg was assassinated in his front garden while de Klerk was leader of the National Party and de facto leader of South Africa (P.W. Botha at that stage had suffered a stroke and was on his way out). He and his co-conspirators managed to negotiate amnesty for themselves in the wash-up.
So F.W. carrying on about evil, bad, corrupt government is a bit too much for my liking. Subverting the institutions of civil society – now who did the ANC learn that from?