Russian President Vladimir Putin greets President Cyril Ramaphosa during the welcoming ceremony at the Russia-Africa Summit in 2019.
PHOTO: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
With the war in Ukraine and in light of Putin’s planned visit to South Africa, it has increasingly necessary to consider holding a referendum on SA’s BRIC’s membership, argues Joe Kitchen.
South Africa joined the loose BRIC federation of states in 2010, which aimed to provide an alternative to the dominance of the US dollar in the global economy.
This happened while Jacob Zuma was the president of our country.
The decision was made for us. There was no referendum on the matter. Suddenly, we find ourselves grouped together, in the same breath, with countries like Russia and China.
Since we became a member, the name has changed from BRIC to BRICS.
Competition is good
To be honest, even if there had been a referendum on this matter at the time, I wouldn’t have been sure how to vote. I’m not terribly pro-American. And in any case, competition is a good thing. Competition between the dollar and other currencies keeps people on their toes. The whole world doesn’t have to drink Coca-Cola and eat McDonald’s burgers.
Furthermore, there are now many other currencies that also want to join the BRICS grouping. Things are flourishing in the global economy. While the United States is going through its worst midlife crisis ever, a growing group of nations is getting ready to throw off the yoke of Biden’s dominance.
Leading the pack is Ramaphosa and his group. Unlike some of the other BRICS-friendly countries, it appears – although the ANC don’t say it in so many words – that they are not opposed, or shocked, by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There is even talk of inviting Russian Vladimir Putin here for the BRICS summit later this year. And I can assure you that it’s not with the intention of arresting him for war crimes.
It’s difficult for me to write a column about this. If I were to argue against our membership in BRICS, I wouldn’t necessarily align myself with the guys who will ultimately come out on top.
Uncomfortable with SA cosying up to Putin
But here’s the thing: like many other South Africans, I feel very uncomfortable with South Africa cosying up to Putin. It’s poor style, it’s immoral, and it’s dangerous. It would be much better if the ANC government devoted all their energy to fixing their own municipalities, addressing the problem of mismanagement in the country, tackling the processes of decay and decline that are now visible everywhere, dealing with the electricity crisis and the unemployment crisis. Not to mention the crime situation and the problems in our schools.
They are busy destroying the country from within. Is it really necessary to also make a mess of our foreign policy?
What do you do when you live in an area where most people cannot identify with the thinking of the government of the country as a whole? That’s why the idea of Capexit is becoming increasingly popular.
However, Capexit is a dangerous idea, almost as dangerous as the fact that the ANC is so close to Russia. Capexit will only be truly necessary when it becomes clear that the rest of South Africa has irreversibly collapsed into a failed state. We’re not there yet. We still have a free media. We still have the Springboks. We still have thousands of entrepreneurs who haven’t given up.
That’s why I don’t support Capexit.
I don’t want a passport just so I can perform shows in Bloemfontein.
ANC shouldn’t be deciding on behalf of all of us
However, there is another scenario that would make the secession of the Cape seem like a realistic option.
It seems increasingly necessary to me to hold a referendum on South Africa’s membership in BRICS. With the war in Ukraine and in light of Putin’s planned visit to South Africa, it has suddenly become an issue that needs urgent consideration. It is no longer acceptable for the ANC to decide on this on behalf of all of us.
Imagine this scenario; there is a nationwide referendum on BRICS, and the Western Cape decides that they don’t want to be part of BRICS.
Or perhaps the Western Cape holds its own referendum?
It would break my heart if the Cape decides to break away from the rest of my country. But I don’t want to live in a country where people like Putin are welcome to visit whenever they please. It’s simply unacceptable.
Not to mention the other bills that the ANC is pushing through; the nationalisation of medical funds, to name just one. Do we really want to be part of such a mess?
No, I’m not a supporter of Capexit. But I’m warning you, don’t force our hand, Mr. Ramaphosa
– Joe Kitchen is a South African musician, singer, songwriter and writer who sometimes goes by the name of Koos Kombuis, André Letoit and/or André le Roux du Toit.
* This column was translated from the original Afrikaans column published on Netwerk24, with the help of ChatGPT.
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