There are many microcosms of decay that one can use as examples of the decay of the macrocosm of South Africa. In many respects the booming of South Africa’s mining industry and its current decay under the ANC‘s BEE system is a microcosm of the booming of the Republic of South Africa under Apartheid and its decay under the ANC regime.
During the first half of the 20th century, gold was discovered on several farms south of the Freestate town of Odendaalsrus.
After the Second World War, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and his Anglo American Corporation, the progenitor of Anglo Gold bought up all the prospecting rights in the area and decided to mine the richest gold find in the history of South Africa.
Prices of property in Odendaalsrus skyrocketed so Sir Ernest Oppenheimer decided that he would build his own town for his miners instead of paying the exorbitant prices in Odendaalsrus.
He drove 20km south and climbed a hill called “Koppie-alleen” (Hill alone) and looked down on the plains where his mines would be and decided to build a town from scratch called “Welkom“, named after the farm where the gold was first discovered.
The people of Odendaalsrus were upset and took him to court objecting to the new town.
Ernest Oppenheimer’s lawyer was Abram (Bram) Fischer, an Afrikaner Communist and Anti Apartheid activist that would later defend Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia trial.
Fischer was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and travelled to the Soviet Union in 1932. He was also later awarded the Lenin Peace Prize (1966) the Soviet equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was normally awarded to prominent Communists who were not Soviet citizens.
Fischer, incidentally, was married to Molly Krige, the niece of liberal Boer General Jan Smuts. She was also a staunch Communist.
Nevertheless, in 1947 the Provincial council issued Oppenheimer with the birth certificate of the town of Welkom.
In his mind Oppenheimer envisioned a beautiful garden city with broad streets. He commissioned the design of Welkom to leading town planner William Backhouse and landscape gardener Joane Prim.
For Backhouse the design of a town from scratch was a dream came true. Space was not a problem on the Freestate plains, so he designed the streets broad with no traffic lights, only roundabouts, to keep the traffic flowing.and no high-rise buildings. In the centre of Town he wanted a Roman Forum with a square where town folk could gather. It was surrounded by a horseshoe shaped road of 75metres wide, known affectionately by the town people as the “Hoefie” short for the Afrikaans word “hoefyster” meaning horseshoe.
Sports clubs, golf clubs, Olympic swimming pools, cinemas, theatres, hospitals, parks, schools, a technical college and an airport was built.all with the riches of the gold below the soil.
The town attracted people from all over South Africa. Money was flowing, salaries were high.
By the 1970’s Anglo Gold was operating six massive mines with 22 deep level shafts in which 122,000 people worked. The mines of Welkom were producing 35% of South Africa’s gold, which in turn was producing 75% of the world’s gold.
Everyone was driving a new car at least every year. They would say that when the ashtray was full, it was time to buy a new car. The “hoefie” gave rise to the hot-rod culture of Welkom where young men would drive around at night showing off their new Ford Cortinas with eagles painted on the bonnets and flames on the sides, fur on the dashboard and plastic oranges on the radio antennae.
This culture also gave rise to the building of a Grand Prix racing track at Welkom. Times were good for blue collar whites.
Even in the nearby black township of Thabong and the coloured township of Bronville, the living standards were very high.
But then the ANC took over in 1994, mostly with the help of the Oppenheimers and J.P. Morgan who founded Anglo American Corporation in 1917. Hardly have the ANC communists taken over or they wanted not only a cut of the pie from the mining industry, but the whole thing.
Black Economic Empowerment was introduced and mines had to give away half of their assets to black ANC members. For Anglo American Corporation the writing was on the wall and before they could lose everything, they merged with Minorco in 1999 and moved their assets to London.
In the last 10-15 years more than 100,000 jobs have been lost in Welkom.
The skip wheels of the mines are not turning anymore and the noise of the mines as well as the hot-rods have fallen silent. The ziggurat-like walls of the slime dams next to the R73 road is the last remnants of a once thriving mining industry.
Today, the mines are in the hands of BEE companies and being plundered for scrap metal.
The municipality of Matjabeng is run by the ANC. In June 2011 it came into prominence as one of the worst examples of ANC corruption and misrule. How a small town blew R2bn on dodgy deals< http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article1113227.ece/How-a-small-town-blew-R2bn-on-dodgy-deals >
Most of the whites have left Welkom. Blacks make up 90% of the population and whites 8%. To say that the town is a shadow of its former self is an overstatement.
The decay is obvious everywhere and it is fast becoming a ghost town. 1500 staff houses at the mines are standing empty. Even churches have closed their doors.
The remaining whites in the area, mostly farmers are struggling under stock theft and brutal farm attacks, tortures and murders< http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/farmer-wife-worker-injured-in-farm-attack-1.474519 >.
Elsewhere it is not going any better. The Aurora mine at Grootvlei, which is owned by the Zuma and Mandela families and at one stage employed 5000 workers now have less than 200.
Aurora is now a ghost town< http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011/01/31/aurora-mine-now-just-a-ghost-town >
On the 8th of May 2011 in a Carte Blanche TV show, it was revealed that Cosatu calls the owners of Aurora (Zuma and Mandela) “Super exploiters”.
If there is an abyss of desperation, these men at the hostels are in it. At Grootvlei, near Springs, the water and electricity has been cut, the toilets are a shock. On good days they have hot food.
Two hours drive to the west is the Orkney mine in Klerksdorp. There is an inescapable feeling of sadness here. Cooking pots are empty here too. Ntsani Mohapi has been on the mine since the mid ’70s, he should be in line for a pension but that is all gone now. There are people who are crying, there are people who are dying because we deal with people who are lying.”
As things stand hundreds of miners are still in limbo; millions are outstanding in salaries.
Wives have left husbands, children have dropped out of school, people have been blacklisted. They can’t even claim UIF.
The allegations against Aurora’s directors are damning: since they took over the Pamodzi mines in 2009, which were fully operational at the time, they have been accused of not paying salaries, making endless broken promises, misappropriating UIF and pension fund money and stripping assets of mines they haven’t paid for. Source Carte Blanche< http://www.solidaritylegalservices.co.za/aurora-iii/ >
Even the BBC has extensively reported on how the Zuma and Mandela families exploit their workers < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13275704 > and treat them worse than dogs. While the Zuma and Mandela family members grow rich and fat, they do not pay their starving workers, which effectively makes them slave owners.
Is this the “Freedom” Mandela and Zuma spoke about and fought for?
They were not Freedom Fighters. They were not fighting for the Freedom of the people, rather for the enslavement of the people under a communist yoke.
The Grootvlei mine now stands in ruins< http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/grootvlei-mine-now-stands-in-ruins-1.1075667 >
What could not be stolen and sold for scrap is cut up and sold to Chinese state-owned mining company Shandong Gold.
The white foreman at Aurora can only watch as the looting of the mine continues< http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/foreman-watches-as-aurora-mine-was-looted-1.1075668 >
This is the same ANC who wants to nationalize the mines< http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/ANC-must-nationalise-mines-Malema-20091023 >, the banks and the farms.
Can you even imagine the utter enslavement of blacks, the dilapidation and ruin of South Africa that will follow?
As the rivers of gold and other critical minerals that once flowed from South Africa dries up one after the other due to BEE and nationalisation,
the world and especially the Oppenheimers will long back to the good old days when the whites were in charge of South Africa and they were making their fortunes. The day will still come that they will realize that they might have betted on the wrong horse.
As the blacks are being more and more impoverished by their ANC masters and South Africa driven into a starving Zimbabwe like state, the day will still come that Blacks will miss and long back for Apartheid.
Nevertheless, those who have let the genie out of the bottle will have to put him back again.
Main Source: *Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa*. Alister
Sparks. 2003. Page 239-246****
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