Dear Gwede Mantashe

Dear Gwede Mantashe,

May I assume that when you talk “transformation” you are actually saying “share” or “give”?

I am part of that private sector you are now attempting to blame for problems actually created by you, your party and your ideology, thus perhaps my point of view is valid, and of value.

Your wish, it seems, is to “transform” what I’ve built into something another person can share – or own - even though he’s provided no finance, no expertise and no labour himself at all.

You would need to educate me here about how your “transformation” really works as for the life of me I cannot understand how my small business will be more viable once “transformed” - i.e. shared with another.

Will this new partner of mine want a salary too or will he be happy to just be part-owner?

Furthermore, will you be able to convince my new partner that he too will have to pay a share of the rent, taxes, costs and the like in order to get a share of the business, even though the profits will then be very small?

Of course if you’re saying that I must give my business to somebody you nominate then that would require a lot more convincing on your part. Surely I would be better off just closing the doors, firing the staff and forgetting about “transformation”?

You are of course a communist, whereas I am a capitalist, which necessarily entails me having to explain some points about capitalism to you. Here goes:

Capitalism is based on trading, free enterprise and profitability, among other principles. Features necessary for capitalism to operate properly and succeed are motivation, ability, education, ambition, individuality, spirit, labour and lots of self-denial.

Capitalism works because throughout the world people generally understand that they are all individuals, with different wants, needs and desires and thus all can operate as they wish to and do whatever they want to make a living, within the law and societies’ constraints.                                                                                                                              

Believe it or not, this actually works in a world where all can think intelligently, operate (basically) honestly and be non-reliant on others for their own survival.

The mind-set involved in this is more difficult to explain to a communist such as yourself but suffice to say that capitalists are independent, ambitious and motivated individuals whose desire to improve their lives - and invariably the lives of those with whom they associate, especially their employees  - overrides the basic human need to just survive.

Communism involves social engineering whereby everybody, and everything, is broken down to the lowest common denominator, except for those in power of course – the leaders - who take, and are given, big chunks of wealth, in whatever form, for themselves. Nobody is quite sure why this should be so but you would know, having the experience after all of being a leader with a big chunk of pie all to yourself.

The usually unwilling participants in these social engineering exercises then have their motivation removed, also their individuality and ambition and, voila, you have masses of robots, or workers as you prefer to call them.

The result of such social engineering, as we’ve all noted over the past 40 years, is that economies falter, countries fail and everybody involved suffers, except the aforementioned “leaders” who profit enormously, for a while. Then the mobs usually shoot them.

Invariably, under communism, all people – the workers - are left with is the desire to survive.

Let us now talk about some specifics, those mentioned by yourself.

You, and your comrades, are very partial to farming it would seem. The call is for land ownership to be “transformed” so that everybody, and his dog, has a piece of land.

Some like the Zulu King want more of course – they want all the land that they, as a tribe, ever walked on. I trust that you have a plan of action for dealing with that, else we could all be living in the Kingdom of Zululand by Christmas and the name changes will be horrendously expensive.

Now, besides the point that nowhere in history have the losers in a series of wars ever been given back the land that they once, in antiquity, lived on, it would seem that your analysts haven’t done their homework at all.

I would have thought that the removal of white farmers in Zim – and the subsequent spectacular crash of that currency and country – would have given you a hint as to what happens when you take profitable, viable farm lands away from the owners and “transform” it into wasteland by giving it to people who know nothing about farming and buy their food at Checkers.

Obviously you missed that episode.

The 35% of commercial farmers owning 82 million hectares that you refer to is necessary for the people – the workers – to have something to eat when they return home after working all day.  Which part of this don’t you understand?

The fact that farmers are educated, trained and then spend many hard years building their farms into productive, profitable areas which feed not only the nation but also our neighbours, like the Zimbabweans, seems also to have escaped you.

Do you really believe that you can create farmers when you can’t even educate the youth to be more than hawkers?

You cannot redistribute wealth, nor land or enterprises already owned by someone, to just satisfy your ego, or because your supporters are now demanding something you promised but can’t provide.

To do that you would need to go the whole hog and “re-educate” the now-previous owners, possibly in internment camps of some kind, as they would naturally enough be quite angry and anti your “transformation” policy.

Are you willing to go that far? Do you and your comrades really want to “transform” South Africa into a war zone?