NICHOLAS WOODE-SMITH: ANC leases SA’s foreign policy to highest bidder
With Hezbollah leaders having visited SA, a Hamas office operating in Cape Town and Iran recently joining Brics, we are further down the wrong path
SA’s shameful accusations against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) were not just lacking in any substantial evidence, but also insincere.
Before the ANC’s accusations of genocide against Israel, the party was broke — it was struggling to pay its bills and couldn’t afford its election campaign for 2024. But miraculously, after blowing its trumpets and condemning Israel, the governing party somehow has enough funds to execute a costly election campaign on top of somehow paying its debts and footing the bill for a fancy legal team.
Coincidence? It wouldn’t be the first time the ANC leased out SA’s diplomatic infrastructure and foreign policy to the highest bidder. From 1994 onwards the party has made a habit of demanding large sums of money from foreign governments. While leaders of democracies cannot always fulfil such blatant requests for bribes even if they want to, dictators have no qualms.
Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi gave the ANC $50m while Sani Abacha of Nigeria gave it $50m. Even Muhammed Suharto of Indonesia gave the ANC $60m, in exchange for SA entering into formal relations with Indonesia during its ongoing genocide of the East Timor people in the 1990s.
Like Indonesia, none of this was free. Gaddafi and Suharto received the Order of Good Hope in 1997. SA used its clean diplomatic slate and popularity in a post-apartheid world to undertake “quiet diplomacy” on behalf of Abacha and Nigeria in 1994 and 1995. This, while Abacha was executing activists.
SA offered to delay its derecognition of Taiwan in exchange for $10m, all the while ingratiating itself with communist China. This latter relationship helped fund the ANC’s election campaign in 1999.
On the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, SA’s foreign office was cosying up to Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime to see what it could extract for the ANC. Sure enough, the party was able to fund its 2004 election campaign — apparently with Hussein’s money. In exchange, SA gave diplomatic support to Hussein during the US invasion.
SA’s continued support for Vladimir Putin and Russia came during a questionable nuclear power deal, fraught with corruption. China has received ample support from the ANC as more money flows into cadre coffers as a back-pocket deal attached to Chinese development and investment in Africa.
It is clear that the ANC considers our country’s foreign policy to be just another way of enriching cadres and funding the party. Is it therefore so surprising that the ANC would approach oil-rich pariahs offering to use its position as a so-called third party to level false allegations at the ICJ?
This is the same country that backed Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF after its North Korea-backed Matabele genocide. SA under the ANC does not base its foreign policy on principle, or even what might help our international standing. Rather, every diplomatic decision is made to serve the bankrupt ideology of the party and line its pockets.
There are many oil-rich backers that would be only too happy to bankroll the ANC to aid in the international propaganda war against Israel. Iran is the most likely candidate this time around. In its quest for regional dominance and the destruction of Israel, it has funded various proxy groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis.
In August, SA and Iran signed a co-operation deal to aid in developing five refineries in the country. While this sounds pragmatic and innocent on paper, we mustn’t forget that Iran is a regime that actively funds terrorism, has aspirations for regional governance, and actively oppresses its Christian population.
With Hezbollah leaders having visited SA, a Hamas office operating in Cape Town and Iran recently joining the Brics bloc, we are going further down the wrong path.
Jihadists are currently running roughshod across Southern Africa, killing Christians, burning churches and seeking the establishment of an Islamic state. The ANC is making a grave mistake aligning itself with radical Islamic theocracies and terrorist organisations — especially considering the Christian majority in this country.
While the party is happy to profit in the short run from selling SA’s soul, it — and we — will eventually have to pay. We are already a laughing stock among the nations that matter in the world. It is a matter of time before the US withdraws the trade benefits we enjoy through its African Growth and Opportunity Act, which represents many millions, if not billions, in annual investment and trade income.
We are already greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force, and are at risk of being considered a pariah state that associates with thugs, warlords, genocidal maniacs and terrorists. And all for a little handout to the ANC. Remember that when you’re told the ANC is targeting Israel out of the goodness of its heart.
• Woode-Smith is a policy analyst, economic historian and author.