South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, is adopting a dangerous political approach used in failing states like Algeria, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Its aim is to deflect attention from its policy failures and from numerous scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma, his family and the politically connected Gupta network. The approach was allegedly crafted by Bell Pottinger, a London based public relations firm. It focuses on two concepts. The first is the term “white monopoly capital”. The phrase broadly refers to control of the economy by apartheid beneficiary capitalist oligopolies at the expense of South Africa’s black majority. Accompanying it is the term “radical economic transformation”. This is defined differently by various senior government officials. But is understood to mean rapidly changing the economy’s ownership, control, and production patterns in favour of the previously disadvantaged. However, beyond damaging South Africa’s social fabric, framing t...

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