George W Bush. Picture: REUTERS
George W Bush. Picture: REUTERS

In the late 1990s, a group of men gathered in Washington, DC. All were proponents of a reactionary ideology born of frustration at the US’s perceived loss of influence in the world. Together, they would establish one of the most destructive forces to feature in politics yet — an extension of neoconservatism designed to simplify complicated multi-dimensional regional and religious issues into a contest of righteous versus evil between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Their timing was fortuitous. After a contentious election victory and the 9/11 attacks, President George W Bush attempted to administer the US in the manner of a nervous farmer and, in his clumsiness, he allowed the same group of people to surround him and pursue their own definition of "moral clarity".

While their hostility was appealing to quarters of the American electorate, this group discovered that aggression wasn’t all that contagious — the long memories of many Americans, from Vietnam to Somalia, had formed a suspicion of the kind of branded patriotism that seeks to attract young men.

So, the group turned to the British and discovered, via manipulation in the spirit of simplification, that it was possible to amplify suspicions and half-truths into a terrifying acronym: WMD.

Until his expulsion from the ANC, only Julius Malema and his supporters used the phrase "white minority capital". Today, WMC is also distributed with extensions, one of which is the theory that London controls much of the South African economy at the expense of blacks.

Ironically, this feature has absorbed Malema too; during his visit to the UK capital in 2015, Malema met several individuals and groups. They had no leverage over national policy or investment decisions, but this didn’t bother President Jacob Zuma’s supporters, who jeered Malema as an agent of WMC.

Nor does it appear to matter to Zuma’s supporters that the local peddlers of WMC are documented casualties of the convergence of money and politics.

Jimmy Manyi and Andile Mngxitama often demonstrate symptoms of people who have lost control of their lives through incoherent, illogical social media posts along with an enthusiasm to embarrass themselves in public.

No more racist hype exists in SA today than WMC. It implies that whites are irreversibly superior, that blacks are stupid and useless, predestined to poverty via the arc of history, and the only means to correct this involves the confiscation of assets.

According to the WMC propaganda, the expropriation of land will tackle some of this imbalance, as will state interference in financial institutions. It is the most ambiguous, provincial, paranoid hearsay ever to have emerged from the country.

WMC is a combination of WMD with distinctive traces of Robert Mugabe circa 1999. Just as Mugabe panicked into rushing "land reform" when threatened with electoral defeat, so the ANC quarters supporting Zuma are furious at the prospect of being exposed for rampant looting that is emerging with their clear decline in support and people’s increasing reluctance to accept Zuma’s own revision of the term "moral clarity".

In their haste to destroy scrutiny, they have adopted a new acronym, RET (radical economic transformation), another meaningless extension of WMC.

The only association London shares with WMC is that it is the place from where this gossip is orchestrated. The success of any disinformation campaign depends entirely on how well it is managed, and in the case of WMC, experience in the reputation advocacy of Latin American dictators or illegitimate wars is necessary, something no individual or group in SA has.

By comparison, the architects of the more compelling Fees Must Fall demand are tragically aware that despite the convincing merits of their campaign, only accompanying acts of violence will enhance its prominence.

The myth of WMC has emboldened government spokespeople and officials, on the taxpayer’s dime, to behave in an appalling fashion that lowers an already poor standard. Departmental spokespeople Lumka Oliphant and Esethu Hasane attack racial fault lines with no aim but shameless self-promotion.

Thanks to the British, Bush was sold WMD in the same way so many fellow Texans have been duped into buying London Bridge in the past. It cost the life of weapons inspector David Kelly, then thousands of young others.

London is home to many strange people who will say almost anything to influence the appearance of their own networks and knowledge. CIEX. Donald Trump’s golden showers. It’s time someone acknowledged the obsession with WMC is nothing but the same fluid in words.

• Reader works for an energy investment and political advisory firm

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