Summary for Congressional Staff – South Africa

Today I sent this to the staff of one of my elected officials. I have edited out the preliminaries and some sensitive information, but nothing substantial.

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To the point: I am VERY concerned about the situation in South Africa and its implications for US national security.

Key issues:

1) South Africa is becoming a growing hub for heroin trafficking. The narcotics are produced in Afghanistan and, due to interdiction efforts elsewhere, more of the product is being moved via the Southern Route, which is actually many different variations on the theme of taking heroin south from Afghanistan to the coast and then sending it across the Indian Ocean. While it goes to different destinations, including the Far East, most of it goes via Africa to Europe. As this is evolving, more and more of it goes farther and farther across the ocean before coming ashore in Africa; South Africa is becoming a key player.

a) South Africa has very good physical infrastructure, which facilitates physical movement.

b) It also has good port facilities and commercial ties with the rest of the world; heroin and other contraband are sent via containerized cargo to distant places, such as the European ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg and so on, and because of South Africa’s extensive commercial ties and the fact that it is not known as a drug-producing country, customs inspections of that containerized cargo are less rigorous than for cargo coming from other places.

c) South Africa has the second-largest and most developed economy in Africa, including excellent financial infrastructure; consequently, it becomes a hub for laundering drug money.

d) The extensive corruption of the ruling ANC, which took a hard left turn politically in the middle of the last century and became heavily affiliated with organized criminal activities in exile during the Apartheid-era insurgency, facilitates all manner of illegal activities. It is so bad that South Africa has become an example of “state capture” – a term that refers to a situation where a government is used for private gain, including for illegal activities.

e) Leakage from transshipped drugs helps fuel the local drug economy; gangs fight to control local distribution, and international drug-trafficking organizations fight to control transshipment hubs. All of this fuels violence and crime, whether it is an addict looking to score a fix, or a war between rival gangs. This is addressed more below.

f) The heroin negatively impacts our allies. In Europe, for example, every Euro spent dealing with drugs is a Euro not spent on defense, giving the current regime in Russia a freer hand in the Black Sea area and in subverting Western democratic institutions, and keeping the West from presenting an effective and unified front against Chinese takeover in the South China Sea via bases in the Spratly Islands. Furthermore, the profits of Afghan heroin help fund jihad against our troops and our allies worldwide.

2) South Africa has a very real, very significant, and rapidly growing problem with crime. It is a murder capital; some jurisdictions are significantly more dangerous than Syria at the moment.

a) Law enforcement is on the defensive. They comprise a significant spike in violent deaths, and a relatively unknown but not unanticipated fact is that their suicide rate is also quite high due to the stress. South African police who try to do their jobs honestly and effectively are demoralized. They are in survival mode; any further stress in South African society could easily have a catastrophic impact on the cops there – they will certainly not be able to promptly turn the tide should the situation devolve.

b) An even higher spike, both in the rate of violent crime and of the violence of the crime, is the victimization of commercial farmers of European descent. During the Apartheid-era insurgency, white farmers were specifically targeted by the ANC’s military wing, the MK. This was a war crime. In the post-Apartheid era, President Mandela did try to address the Farm Attacks. However, post-Mandela, the situation has gotten far worse; reversing a policy that President Mandela had pushed, the government has removed the “Commando System” of rural militia, which performed auxiliary police functions and gave farmers an intrinsic defense capability. Furthermore, the government has deprioritized the Farm Attacks, going so far as to aggregate the Farm Attack statistics in with the rest of the high crime rate for many years, so the plight of commercial farmers would not be noticed. My own analysis of the situation seems to confirm what others suspect: the Farm Attacks appear to have de facto sanction by the South African government, and appear to be perpetrated by a government-sponsored militia, possibly tied to organized criminal activity, but definitely in the spirit of Apartheid-era MK attacks on rural farmers. In a country where “necklacing” was invented, the Farm Attacks stand out for their brutality and gratuitous violence. Officially, the phenomenon is downplayed or altogether denied; however, reports I receive via private means, including from [edited], confirm scholarly research on the phenomenon: it is serious, organized, brutal and well-connected to people in power. The murder rate of white commercial farmers and the violence associated with their deaths is a spike significantly higher even than that of South African police. To be sure, on average, whites are less threatened by crime; but white commercial farmers have what is probably the most dangerous job in the world.

c) Not in the news is the high rate of crime, much of it fueled by drugs, in the township areas inhabited predominantly by blacks. The white commercial farmers at least have some kind of mutual support network and an organized means of trying to combat the Farm Attacks; NOBODY is going to bat for the blacks in these townships, as their communities are plagued by violent crime and sexual assault, and flooded with drugs.

3) Amplifying this mix:

a) ANC mismanagement and corruption has really hurt the economy, taking the country backwards during the quarter century of their rule. One example is the public power utility, ESKOM, which implements “load-shedding” – rolling cuts of electric power. Another example is the destruction of infrastructure – criminal gangs literally rip up the tracks of commuter trains and sell it as scrap, and have gone so far as to assault commuter trains, killing the employees and the guards there to protect the employees and commuters.

b) The identity politics of the ruling ANC, as well as the more extreme identity politics of third-place EFF and the fringe group BLF, fuel ethnic unrest; this creates the atmosphere where Farm Attacks receive tacit approval, even as they are denied and downplayed, and has helped set the stage for the repeated outbreaks of xenophobic violence, the most recent of which we are seeing right now. Quite frankly, my information shows that various factions are arming for civil war.

c) Problems in neighboring countries further impact this. Zimbabwe went down the path of “expropriation without compensation” and took farms from people of European descent; this heavily damaged their agricultural infrastructure, but neighboring South Africa was there to pick up the slack. However, if South Africa goes down this path, it will devastate the entire region with the fallout. Nations in the region are now struggling due to the drop in the price of diamonds. Mozambique has issues with an indigenous Islamic insurgency, as well as with other unrest, and is now dealing with the impact of a recent cyclone. And so on. Southern and Eastern Africa cannot prop up a collapsed South Africa; rather, a collapse in South Africa will most likely have a domino effect.

Boiling this down, the situation in South Africa is much worse than we may believe, even by going out of our way to get news and information about the region. It would not take much to cause significant unrest which, in turn, could quickly spike into ethnic cleansing (as it is, the situation with the Boer farmers is a slow-motion ethnic cleansing with the Farm Attacks) and genocidal violence. This, in turn, could cause a more general collapse, famine, and a refugee crisis which could destabilize neighboring countries all the way up Africa’s Indian Ocean coast; and, it would take a US-led intervention to stabilize our key ally in the region, Botswana, which is much smaller than South Africa and has its capital right across the border. Implicit in this would be a similar stabilization force for Namibia, both to keep the problem from spreading, and to ensure logistic support to US troops in the field in Botswana as well as ensure that Botswana could maintain a degree of trade with the world community via Namibian port facilities (Walvis Bay).

In this light, reports that Zimbabwe is acquiring the Chinese HQ-9 surface-to-air missile system from China – essentially a “poor-man’s Patriot” – and of the presence of militant Islamic extremists infiltrating South Africa’s well-established and growing, but peaceful, Islamic community are just icing on a very bad cake.

In my opinion, this is moving in the direction of a Venezuela-style crisis, with the potential for a Rwandan-style genocide, and ultimately a failed narco-state kind of similar to Somalia’s experience – all along critical sea lines of communication and atop key mineral resources needed for world industry.

We still have time to prevent the worst of this. The ruling ANC has shown its sensitivity to criticism in the international arena. While we do not want to tell them how to run their country, 1) heroin trafficking is a legitimate international issue, 2) genocidal and xenophobic violence and ethnic cleansing will not be tolerated, and 3) considering that the American taxpayer is subsidizing South Africa with $510 million in foreign aid for FY 2019 – about $9 per person there, and (depending on the exchange rate and data sources) is easily one fourth of all the money that disappears there due to corruption – the US certainly has a horse in this race.

Please look into this – publicly.

Coming Apart at the Seams

Today I begin emailing this to government officials, media figures and members of civil society worldwide:

South Africa is on the verge of coming apart at the seams, and this is not just hype before their elections next year.

These deeply-rooted seams are related to different approaches to society; the roots are:

a) ethnic/cultural (but portrayed as racial),
b) political,
c) economic,
and
d) lawful/civil vs. criminal/corrupt.

The “Rainbow Nation” has a motto, “Unity in Diversity”, but the reality stemming from this diversity is far different.

A confluence of several factors is causing this:

1) incredible crime, now made much worse by significant heroin trafficking;
2) corruption so bad it is called “state capture”, where government institutions are harnessed to serve private and criminal ends;
3) “Farm Attacks”, which
a) began during the insurgency in the Apartheid era,
b) have driven three quarters of South Africa’s white farmers out of business during the post-Apartheid era,
c) constitute a de facto ethnic cleansing even as they impact food supply and food prices,
and
d) are the cutting edge of a growing ethnic (“racial”) divide;
as well as
4) failed socialist and communist policies, most recently including the drive to “expropriate without compensation” (= “take without paying”, legalized theft) farmland (and anything else).

I will address each of these items in turn, providing links for information; however, I encourage you to take a moment and find your own sources to verify that my comments on these topics accurately reflect the reality and gravity of the situation.

1) Crime and heroin

South Africa has always had a high crime rate. The murder rate is high: on average, the national murder rate compares favorably (just barely!) to many war zones (MUCH more favorably than Syria). However, some precincts are worse; for example, Philippi East, a township of Cape Town, has a murder rate estimated at 323.4 per 100,000, making it nearly six times more dangerous than Afghanistan, and significantly more dangerous than Syria:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-45547975

In addition to being a murder capital, South Africa is a rape capital; it is getting so bad that a deputy minister had to warn everyone to ensure tourists do not get sexually assaulted.

https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/watch-ensure-tourists-are-not-raped-says-deputy-minister-18098013

The crime is now being fueled by heroin.

The world’s heroin production is centered in Afghanistan these days; most of it goes to Europe. Due to interdiction efforts elsewhere, an increasing amount is going via the “Southern Route”, through the Indian Ocean. South Africa is becoming a major transshipment point for many reasons: it has excellent infrastructure, good trade with the rest of the world, and solid financial networks, all of which enable movement of contraband and laundering of drug money.

https://issafrica.org/iss-today/heroin-hits-south-africa-along-the-highway-to-impunity

http://theconversation.com/heroin-trafficking-through-south-africa-why-here-and-why-now-81627

Being a transshipment point results in increased availability of heroin on the street within South Africa.

There (and elsewhere on the continent) heroin is mixed with other drugs, such as cannabis, and these concoctions are known in different jurisdictions by different names: whoonga, nyaope, sugars. Many people who are aware of a drug problem within their community do not realize that they are all dealing with Afghan heroin.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-07-27-the-work-of-whoonga-an-epidemic-on-the-move/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31620569

https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/1179509/drug-abuse-is-growing-in-sa/

Addicts get money for drugs through street crime, and this drives the crime rate up higher than it normally is (which is high). Also, while under the influence, they commit crimes they might not otherwise commit, and the level of barbarity increases, as well.

https://crimsonpublishers.com/rpn/pdf/RPN.000554.pdf

https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/living-in-krugersdorps-drug-hell-12964346

Finally, gangs fighting over the trafficking and distribution of heroin also fuel the violent crime rate. The presence of foreign criminal gangs then, in turn, helps fuel xenophobic attitudes which themselves have in the past resulted in outbreaks of violence against immigrants from other parts of Africa who arrive in search of jobs.

https://www.iol.co.za/news/cape-gangs-have-global-backing-1790368

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/29/south-africans-are-taking-the-law-into-their-own-hands-vigilantism-extralegal-justice-police-apartheid-anc-private-security/

In the face of all this, South African police can’t even protect themselves. For 2017, they lost 160 police killed in the line of duty (from a total South African population of 57 million people).

https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/news/160-cops-killed-per-year-police-expert-13474293

By comparison, the US lost 128 officers in the line of duty in 2017 (a drop from the previous year with 143 deaths), from a population of 325 million.

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-12-28/dramatic-drop-in-police-officer-deaths-in-2017

For police, that’s over seven times as dangerous in South Africa as in the USA for 2017; if we compare South Africa 2017 with the US in 2016 (when we had not experienced a drop), the rate is still over six times as high.

2) Corruption and “state capture”

Corruption in South Africa is rampant.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2018-10-08-south-africa-a-republic-constituted-on-corruption/

South Africa is now dealing with “state capture”, where illicit and criminal activity actually take over the government apparatus and bend government services to serve criminal interests.

https://www.dw.com/en/inquiry-into-state-capture-scandal-begins-in-south-africa/a-45148092

Considering the growing influence of Afghan heroin moving along the “Southern Route” to Europe, and taking it in the context of corruption and “state capture”, South Africa could be on its way to becoming a “narcostate”.

This is happening in a country where the unemployment rate hovers a little above 25 percent.

https://tradingeconomics.com/south-africa/unemployment-rate

That’s one quarter of the population getting by on about $1.25 USD a day.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/south-africa-poverty-levels-increasing-180914111642562.html

About five million people (nearly all blacks) are in squatters’ camps, though if you do an internet search, the information returned is usually about whites in the camps. The fact that there are 385 blacks in such “informal settlements” for each white in such a place helps fuel resentment on the part of many blacks that internet searches make it look like it’s all whites in the camps.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/2018/06/14/what-the-numbers-say-about-sas-squatter-camps_a_23459035/

3) In this context, we should discuss the Farm Attack phenomenon.

During the days of Apartheid, the African National Congress (ANC, now the ruling party) was led by Nelson Mandela in the direction of communist ideology. They established a military wing, the MK, of which Mandela was chairman. This militant wing began a campaign of indiscriminate bombings, and went so far as to place landmines in rural areas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe

These things were considered war crimes at the time.

http://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/war-crimes.html

The landmines had to end, because so many of the people being killed were black Africans, whom the ANC claimed to be trying to liberate. Mandela sought to steer the military actions in the direction of sabotage, because he felt this had the best chance of success and the best chance of reconciliation afterwards; it was for this sabotage that he was imprisoned.

During this insurgency, the ANC and MK declared commercial farms (owned by people of European descent, so-called “whites”) to be military targets, and commenced a campaign of attacks on them: “Farm Attacks”.

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/the-origins-of-south-africas-farm-murder-epidemic

Deliberately targeting civilian farmers was also a war crime, but of course the insurgents were feted as “liberating” South Africa and, in any case, the winner decides who gets tried and for what.

After Apartheid ended and Mandela was elected President, the Farm Attacks continued; some genies just won’t go back into their bottle once they’ve been summoned. President Mandela recognized the serious impact on South Africa’s economy, including on food security, and prioritized these farm attacks.

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/farm-murder-blindness

Note that Farm Attacks have been defined as a special category of crime, aside from workplace or domestic violence or other “social fabric” crimes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_farm_attacks

During Mandela’s tenure as President of South Africa, South Africa’s military included a militia component known as the “Commando System”. The Commando System had roots going way back in South Africa’s history, even before the Apartheid era, but it was maintained in the post-Apartheid military organization. Commandos kept military-grade weapons at their rural homes, enabling them to respond quickly to crises, and allowing an intrinsic self-defense capability in the farm areas. The Commandos also served as a police auxiliary, and even in the post-Apartheid era, conducted tens of thousands of missions assisting law enforcement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commando_System_(South_Africa)

Mandela saw the Commando System as a key feature of rural security to address the Farm Attacks, and encouraged people – especially white Boer farmers (see below) – to join.

Looking at the Commando System in the post-Mandela era, it was determined that it should be disbanded, but NOT UNTIL a follow-on could be deployed.

http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/T%20&%20T/T%20&%20T-11-0-000-13-Web/T%20&%20T-11-1-000-13-ABST-PDF/S-T&T-11-1-025-13-301-Twala-C/S-T&T-11-1-025-13-301-Twala-C-Tt.pdf

Despite this recommendation, the system was dismantled beginning in 2003, over warnings of the main opposition political party, the Democratic Alliance, that doing so would be a disaster.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40081

By 2008, it had been phased out, supposedly to be replaced by specialized police units, which never actually appeared. This left rural farmers particularly vulnerable to Farm Attacks.

Meanwhile, the South African government deprioritized Farm Attacks, going so far as to stop publishing statistics on them. This had the effect of leaving these crimes mixed in with the aggregated crime statistics, so people couldn’t see what was going on. We only know what has been happening because the private sector, including agriculture and civil rights activists, have continued to monitor the phenomenon.

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/on-sas-brutal-farm-murders

The result was this: government policies left rural farming communities more endangered, at the same time that government policies also made the crimes against them harder to monitor.

Please let that last statement sink in. Taken together with the fact that it was the ANC that began the farm attacks, and that the ANC made these decisions, these facts establish a pattern of conduct on the part of some elements of South Africa’s ruling political party, the ANC: leave the Boer farmers vulnerable, allow them to be brutally and terroristically attacked, and cover the whole thing up.

Scholarly research into the Farm Attack phenomenon shows that its motivation seems to be one of intimidation. Research by Cristopher Gumbi (notice spelling of the first name) demonstrated this.

http://ulspace.ul.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10386/1981/gumbi_ma_2017.pdf

Based on my own research, there are some criminal assaults on rural farms that appear to be “normal” crime. However, the Farm Attacks are a distinct phenomenon; the attackers are 1) well-equipped, 2) well-trained, and 3) execute their attacks with a degree of precision characteristic of military units. Furthermore, there is 4) gratuitous violence – barbaric torture (I will spare you the details) – going far beyond anything that would be needed to coerce victims into cooperating, often lasting for hours (and even days!) after valuables have been taken, and sexual assault that goes beyond anything that could be considered opportunistic rape. Finally, 5) what is stolen is of small value, often less than $20 US, which in no way compensates for the money it takes to buy state-of-the-art cell phone and radio jammers used in the attacks, or to pay for a vehicle to wait at an exfiltration point, or which could satisfy the skilled mercenaries who would be needed to conduct these attacks.

In my opinion, it would take the resources of a transnational criminal cartel, or of a national government, to conduct such a coordinated campaign of terroristic intimidation.

The South African government knows this, and has been aware of it for decades. Yet, the problem has not been effectively dealt with; rather, it appears such crime is being enabled.

The rate of violent death of white commercial farmers in South Africa is about twice the rate of violent death for South African police.

It is noteworthy that the third most powerful political party in parliament, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was established and is led by a man who used to lead the ANC’s Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema. Malema and his people received military-style training at South African military bases about eight years ago.

https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Military-training-for-ANCYL-leaders-20100513

Malema wears a military-style uniform, calls himself the “commander in chief”, and is known for singing songs about shooting the Boer (who are the white farmers). Malema has pushed for “expropriation without compensation” and the ruling ANC is now in the process of amending the constitution to do just this; however, concerns exist that it is not just land that will be taken, but that the proposed amendment will allow anything – bank deposits, intellectual property – to be “expropriated” (see below).

The history of the Boer farmers is interesting (and this part is based on documents, not all of which are available online). When Europeans first arrived in the 1600’s, they encountered Khoi, who were nomads, and San, who were hunter-gatherers; these people are reminiscent of Australian aborigines. Boer is a Dutch and Afrikaans word meaning “farmer”; it refers to people who emigrated from Europe to these colonies in South Africa, and then to those who left the Cape Colony area when South Africa came under British control during the Napoleonic era, migrating to the northeast of what is now the Republic of South Africa.

This happened as the Zulu were moving down into the area from farther north. The Zulu were conducting a genocidal conquest of the region. Often, the Boer moved into areas that had been depopulated; many native people either fled from the advancing Zulu, or had been killed. Many of the remaining peoples found an ally with the Boer, who helped defend against further Zulu conquest. As a result, the Boer occupied 1) land that was vacant, either because it had never been inhabited, or because its inhabitants had been killed or had left fleeing the Zulu; 2) land that they procured from neighboring peoples, often exchanging cattle for it (and these people were frequently happy to have the Boer as a buffer between themselves and the Zulu); and 3) land taken from the Zulu through conquest during a defensive war.

One incident of note illustrates the situation: Zulu King Dingane asked the Voortrekker leader Piet Retief to retrieve some stolen cattle, and in return the Voortrekkers would receive land. The Voortrekkers complied, and then agreed to a treaty granting them farmland. They were then invited to a celebration, and were asked to leave their weapons behind; at the celebration, the Zulus treacherously slaughtered the unarmed Voortrekkers. The Zulus then went on the offensive, massacring more Boer in a camp nearby. In the subsequent Battle of the Blood River, 15,000 Zulu warriers attacked 470 Voortrekkers, but the Zulus suffered a crushing defeat.

Regardless of the history nearly two centuries ago, all people whose families have lived in what is now the Republic of South Africa for generations are Africans – some of European descent, some of Asian descent, but Africans nonetheless – and are citizens of South Africa; they have intrinsic human rights and deserve equal protection before the law.

That notwithstanding, people of European descent are too often referred to as “settlers” in a very clear effort to delegitimize them as Africans and as citizens of the “Rainbow Nation” and to set the stage for de facto ethnic cleansing of rural farm lands. To be sure, it is not a situation where murderous attacks on whites are particularly rampant; on average, crime impacts blacks, especially poor blacks, at a higher rate, and whites tend to be a little safer. But when you disaggregate the information and look at white commercial farmers in rural areas, there is an incredible spike, not just in murder and rape, but in the barbarity and violence of the crimes, as well. The obvious intent, both of public statements by political leaders which create the atmosphere and of the Farm Attacks themselves, is ethnic cleansing.

Genocide Watch has categorized South Africa at Stage 6 of 10 for genocide of white Boer farmers and of foreigners; elements of and spikes into the other four stages are present.

http://www.genocidewatch.com/south-africa

4) Expropriation without Compensation (EWC)

One move that the ANC-led government is trying, with tremendous support from the radical left-wing militant EFF, is to gain political leverage for the upcoming elections by pushing a scheme to take land from the “settlers” (white farmers). Though Article 25 of the South African Constitution allows for “expropriation” of property subject to fair compensation and in the public interest, South Africa is in the process of amending this article to permit taking of private property without compensation. Despite being billed as an effort to redistribute land, the reality is that no property will be safe: urban and intellectual property, accumulated wealth… all will be subject to “expropriation without compensation”.

It should be noted that the very next article in the South African Constitution, No. 26, provides that people may not be dispossessed of their homes without having their day in court. Also, Article 39 states that the courts must consider international law; much of what is going on in South Africa, and this includes the proposed EWC, would violate many provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

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South Africa is the world’s 25th largest country by area, 24th by population, and is Africa’s only member of the G20; the economy is Africa’s second largest and most developed; depending on which set of statistics you consider, its GDP ranks anywhere from 31st to 41st place in the world. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) ties the South African economy to those of its neighbors, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (now known as eSwatini). South Africa has some of the richest mineral deposits in the world, feeding world industry, and has extensive coal deposits. There are also largely undeveloped reserves of unconventional and offshore petroleum (though not a lot), and the country sits astride critical shipping lanes around the southern tip of Africa.

A great deal is at stake, and if South Africa goes the way of a failed state, you need to imagine a Somalia-like scenario, but on steroids – including Islamic terrorism, which is destabilizing large parts of Mozambique (South Africa’s neighbor to the north along the Indian Ocean coast), and which is now present in the port city of Durban. In my opinion (and in the Air Force, I was an Intelligence Applications Officer and graduate of the USAF Weapons School), this could destabilize a third of Africa through genocidal and xenophobic civil war, famine and a resulting refugee crisis.

Such a scenario will beg for a US-led intervention to stabilize the country; that failing, China would likely have to intervene to protect mineral resources and critical infrastructure. China already appears to be getting assets in place, including the alleged deployment of late-model surface-to-air missiles (a “poor man’s Patriot”) to neighboring Zimbabwe, which faces no threat requiring such a defense, unless one considers the potential for a Western intervention.

Farm Attacks: An Existential Threat to South Africa

I posted this on July 18th of this year, on Facebook, when Facebook was advertising a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

SPOILER ALERT – you may find this offensive, and I don’t really care!

________

On January 23, 1960, a mob attacked 4 white and 5 black policemen at Cato Manor Police station. The mob murdered the police officers, disemboweling some.

Two months later, on the night of March 29, 1960, small groups of militants approached the police station in Sharpeville, but were driven away by the police on duty there.

The next day, March 30, 1960, thousands of people approached the police station in Sharpeville for a protest that at first was peaceful and even festive. Later, though, the crowd grew to about 20,000, and the mood turned ugly; militant activists were coercing people into attending the protest, cutting telephone lines, and distributing pamphlets warning people not to go to work. Initially, the 20 police had had things well under control facing a peaceful protest, but as the militants more than doubled the size of the crowd and stirred them up to become hostile, the police called for reinforcements, and 130 additional officers arrived, backed by four armored vehicles. Military aircraft overflew the crowd at low altitude in an attempt to scatter it.

The crowd then started throwing rocks and began to approach the police in a threatening manner. Remembering how the police at Cato Manor had been killed and mutilated, some of the officers opened fire on the crowd, and this began a volley of fire that left dozens of protesters dead and about 180 injured.

Influenced by friends like Moses Kotane, who was trained by Stalin’s regime in Moscow and became the general secretary of the South African Communist Party from 1939 until his death in 1978, and having himself begun to really study the works of Marx, Lenin and Mao, Nelson Mandela then cofounded a group called the “Spear of the Nation” as the armed wing of the African National Congress. This organization announced its presence on December 16, 1961, with bombings, beginning a bombing campaign that lasted until the late 1980’s. Together with torture and executions in ANC detention camps, ANC bombings of civilian targets became routine; an ANC campaign to place landmines in rural areas from 1985 to 1987 was only abandoned because of a high rate of casualties among civilian black laborers.

So, on this day that would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, let’s remember the impact he had, and let’s consider what kind of a world we would live in if everyone followed his example.

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These links were in the comments on the original Facebook post:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato_Manor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpeville_massacre

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Kotane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

________

Freedom of Speech does not mean the freedom to say it’s a nice day out and to tell the tyrant what a great man he is.

Freedom of Speech means saying unpopular things – things that may be offensive to others.

This is for religious, political and scientific topics. It means questioning whether the Sun revolved around the Earth, which was at one time believed, and it means questioning whether the Earth revolves around the Sun, which is now believed. It means asking stupid questions, saying stupid things; it means questioning common “wisdom” and beliefs that have become dogma.

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I, of course, did not know His Excellency Nelson Mandela personally. But my reading on him, based on the information I have seen, is that he was a communist and a terrorist who wound up governing the country whose government he sought to overthrow. When I refer to Nelson Mandela as “His Excellency”, that is out of sincere respect for the position he held, as President of the Republic of South Africa. And, I acknowledge two possibilities: 1) he did not approve of the indiscriminate killing and torture that the ANC was responsible for, or 2) he rose above it, and tried to make things right. Please feel free to educate me about him in the comments.

Other information I have reviewed shows that the ANC, while in exile, turned to criminal activities. The association of “liberation movements” and terrorist organizations with criminal groups is a topic for another post; suffice it to say, for now, that it is common.

Let’s take a moment and discuss Farm Attacks.

Farm Attacks are not ordinary crime. This term does not refer to a routine robbery of a rural commercial farm, although that does happen. It also does not refer to “social fabric”-type crimes, such as a violent dispute between an employer and an employee or between a married couple in a rural setting, although that, of course, happens too. We are referring to a type of attack where robbery is incidental, where violence is gratuitous, where the clear intent is to terrorize and intimidate the predominantly white commercial farmers, and where the attackers tend to be well-organized, well-trained, well-equipped, and well-supported – support including cover provided by political and law enforcement officials who have been corrupted.

Frankly, it looks like a government-backed militia, or rogue government personnel, or organized crime – but high-end organized crime, not a street gang.

With that in mind, let’s review some of the history.

At one point, the ANC and its military wing, the uMkhonto we Sizwe (abbreviated as MK), accepted Farm Attacks as a legitimate means of waging war against the Apartheid government in South Africa. The legitimacy of such a decision could of course be debated. Regardless, after taking power, Farm Attacks continued. President Mandela prioritized the Farm Attacks, and sought to stop them. (By comparison, today in South Africa, priority crimes include organized, military-style robberies of cash in transit – attacks which have a particularly debilitating effect on the South African economy.)

However, later on, after Mandela’s presidency, the rural police organization known as the Commando System was abolished, despite a recommendation that this not be done until something else was ready to take its place. And, the separate crime category of Farm Attacks was eliminated, rolling these crimes into the aggregated crime statistics. The attacks themselves were, of course, deprioritized – that’s implicit in eliminating them as a separate category.

Then, not surprisingly, the Farm Attacks begin to get worse. In fact, the Wikipedia article linked above refers to the attacks from 2012 onward, after all this occurred, although it does provide statistical data going back to the beginning of the post-Apartheid era.

The fact that Farm Attacks were part of the ANC/MK strategy to destabilize the Apartheid government, coupled with the ANC’s links to organized crime from the Apartheid era when it was operating in exile, then coupled with the disbandment of the Commando System and the elimination of “Farm Attack” as a separate category of crime, and the sophisticated nature of the Farm Attacks, taken together, gives the appearance of a pattern of conduct with implicit consent of government officials, including those at high levels: somebody is opening the door to these attacks, and providing cover for the attackers; the attackers brag about this during some of the attacks.

So, back to my thoughts on Mandela.

1) Maybe he was a good guy, like so many people think. Or maybe he became a good guy. In either case, he is deceased and no longer in charge; his successors might not be so nice.

2) Maybe he was a terrorist, and the ANC is just continuing in its corrupt, terroristic ways.

Either way, we have established the pattern, including the links to past conduct.

The ANC-led government gives conflicting statements on this topic. Individual leaders have done so; His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa has personally given conflicting statements on the topic of Farm Attacks, calling for an end to them last year, but then this year denying that it is a specific problem.

They know what is going on, and they understand the organized nature of these attacks. They know it is some kind of guerrilla force or organized crime group.

How could any government tolerate this on its soil? If it is foreign, it has the backing of a state or of a powerful transnational crime cartel, and is thus a clear and present danger to the Republic of South Africa: an act of war. If domestic, it is a sign of corruption at the highest levels – state capture by organized crime – or else it is a symptom of a government tolerating a continuing pogrom against its own people. And, it’s not just against any people: it is against those who employ many (in a nation where unemployment is already at 25%) and who feed most – an attack against the very fabric of South African society, in addition to being an attack on the concept of a “Rainbow Nation” that has found “Unity in Diversity”.

These Farm Attacks are an existential threat to the Republic of South Africa.

Cui bono?

The Republic of South Africa is home to Africa’s second largest and most developed economy, a state that is located on top of major supplies of mineral wealth that are critical to world industry, a state that has commercial ties to the entire world and which is the door to half of Africa… how will it impact the rest of the world when this state collapses in famine, chaos, crime, looting, xenophobic and racially-motivated ethnic cleansing and mass killing?

Because that’s the path it’s on.

South Africa Farm Attacks – Link to Heroin Trafficking?

The first part of this is background information, and is presented “as is”. I am not providing links to any references or sources; feel free to look it up on your own. If you have something to add, or if you really can’t find something, please leave a comment. : )

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Opiates – heroin – come from Afghanistan these days. In recent decades, very nearly all the world’s production of heroin is centered in Afghanistan.

In the past, poppies were cultivated in this region, but refining into heroin had occurred elsewhere. In recent decades, though, the refining has been done increasingly on-site in Afghanistan.

Today, high-quality refined heroin leaves Afghanistan via three main routes for Europe. The least used of these is called the “Southern Route” and begins by running from producing areas to the coast of Pakistan or Iran. From there, heroin is loaded aboard various kinds of ships, but especially aboard dhows, to cross the Indian Ocean.

Much of that heroin goes to Africa, and most of that ultimately is for transshipment to Europe.

The product has generally gone ashore into East Africa. The dhows dock at small islands, or unload their product onto smaller boats at sea, in order to avoid detection in larger ports.

Often, though, the dhows go farther south…

South Africa has many benefits for traffickers: there is good infrastructure, both physical (roads, etc) and financial; and, as the most developed and second largest economy in Africa, there are plenty of connections to the larger global economy. Another important benefit is the increasing corruption of the ruling ANC, which creates an environment conducive to large-scale illegal activities.

Sometimes the product is brought in, perhaps hidden in shipping containers, to ports such as Durban and Cape Town. More frequently, though, the heroin is unloaded into Mozambique, and broken down into smaller shipments to be sent on. From Mozambique, it may go by road to Zimbabwe, perhaps even continuing on to Botswana. From Botswana, it generally crosses the border into South Africa, then is moved along South Africa’s road network. For example, one route takes it down the N18, then the N14, then the N10, and across the border into Namibia, from where it eventually finds its way northward to the markets in Europe.

Along routes where narcotics are moved, the drugs become less expensive due to their increased availability. Increased availability and decreased cost together result in increased use. To get money for their drugs, drug users resort to street crime, so there will also be a rise in thefts, robberies, car jackings, home invasions and so on. So, wherever drugs are trafficked, there is a rise in drug use and in crime incidental to the drug use.

Also, drug-trafficking organizations employ armed… uh, “security”. : ) Loyalty is important, but so is expertise and ability.

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With these thoughts in mind, let’s consider some excerpts from An Investigation of the Motivational Factors for Farm Attacks and Its Consequential Injurious Phenomena, an MA dissertation by Gumbi Mduduzi Godling Cristopher at the University of Limpopo:

One hundred (100%) per cent of the respondents stated that attacks which occurred on their farm were well-planned.

All of the surviving victims mentioned that the attacks are linked with a crime syndicate, with the chief aim of robbing farmers off their money, valuables and weapons in order to fund their organization.

The fact that perpetrators come from Gauteng, gets picked up after an attack, communicates about the possible cash to be taken (intelligence gathering) as well as the laying out of signs strongly indicate a collaboration that can be described as organised crime.

Seventy-eight (78%) percent of the respondents who reported attacks on their farm are a form of intimidation, aimed to drive farmers off their land. Respondent four stated that farm attacks are not motivated by land claims; but by intimidation to make farmers leave their land even if there are no claims on the farm.

Respondents mentioned that attacks are attributed to an organised crime syndicate which attacks farmers for their weapons and money or simply to kill them. The precision of attacks such as knowing the best time to attack, cleaning the crime scene (picking up cartridges) and weapons handling skills indicate some form of training, prior planning from the attackers such as surveying the property and the farmers’ routine activities are all characteristics of military reconnaissance.

One hundred percent (100%) of the respondents reported that their daily movements or routine activities contributed to the attacks. All the respondents stated that attackers do a survey of the farm to determine the probabilities of executing the attack successfully.

The researcher cannot reach a conclusion that renting or owning a farm is a motivational factor of the perpetrators to attack. What is clear is that attacks are often violent and in some instances victims have been shot at or killed on sight.

The researcher considers that disputes with labourers are not an ultimate contributing factor that determines the impetus to attack the farmer.

From the stolen items listed above the researcher concludes that attackers target farms because of their arsenal of weapons and for money and other valuables such as jewellery and cellular phones.

South Africa’s farm attacks constitute an organized, military-style campaign; this is a terroristic psyop. Its long-term goal is to terrorize the farmers off the land, whether the land belongs to the farmers or not.

The description of the attacks matches what we would expect if a drug trafficking organization (DTO) were behind it.

But why would a DTO do this? Wouldn’t it make more sense to try to slip the drugs through without calling attention to the operation?

The description also matches what we would expect if a government-sponsored paramilitary group were behind it.

It is clear that this kind of thing does not happen over an extended period of time on the territory of a reasonably stable and functioning country without the national government being aware of it through national and police intelligence sources.

A DTO operating with the de facto consent of corrupt politicians in key positions of power in government would exactly match the description of the farm attackers from the report excerpts above.

This is especially true if you factor in similar attacks on black victims who are too poor, and in many cases too illiterate, to draw attention to their plight.

Is a DTO establishing control over places within South Africa for retail distribution of heroin, together with control over more rural areas for use as safe houses and to warehouse their product? They presumably have the government paid off; but armed, rural farmers, with a mutual support network and over whom the government may have less influence, could cause a problem for trafficking of controlled substances either through the country or to retail markets within the country.

By the way… what happens when “state capture” is done by organized crime?

No matter how you slice it, it seems key people in the government of South Africa may now be involved in the heroin business.