I got an email here from an overseas reader which is interesting enough to blog about. Because of my books, he sometimes reads South African newspapers, why I would not know for they are as politically correct as can be and sprout mostly what smells nice. Anyway, we have a picture of our President sitting in a gold covered chair asking for investments. Yep, I am shaking my head in disbelieve in this (yet another) tactical blunder of the highest order.
You may know I don’t hold the British Royals in high regard. Taking the Mickey out of them in my books as well as the Arch Liar (Winston Churchill to you) and Pommies in general (with love, no malice, I admire the bastards) is what I do and I would never say a “royal” looks like a twat sitting on a throne with some fawning toadies around him. Nah, that is expected, it is part of the royal circus and for us colonials to laugh and jeer at. But when an African, country, not race, President sits on his throne begging for investments? Eish, I am sorry but it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth and I believe other investors also. What message do you send out, Mr President? Sitting like a tyrannical king in such a chair? Tell me, why do I not see such chairs in the White House or in the Kremlin even? Perhaps they get it that we are competing with other Eastern Bloc countries for investments, they want to see some humility from beggars. Fire your spin-doctors for they are useless and they are costing this country a lot of investments.
I remember back in 1990 when De Klerk made his prodigious promises and part of that was the word “INVESTMENTS” and how the world will now invest in a multi-racial South Africa build on the principles of democracy. Yep, they did not, really. They came to plunder, to buy out all of our banks (no loss but still), all our military technology and our mining houses immediately left to list on another stock exchange, where again? London, that shows you business confidence of a doubtful nature if ever. Prudently, they foresaw the crashing Rand. In 1990, if told we would lose every year billions to corruption and nepotism, or that the petrol price would rocket to seven times what it cost then, we would have voted “no” and continued Apartheid. What is sad about this, to me, is that the nineties were a time of hope for us. We felt we actually re-joined the world. We suddenly had many American entertainers here to make a few dollars (it was worth it to them, we were starved of any entertainment and the Rand worth having). Many others, including every second rated actor, came rushing to see Mr Mandela and post selfies of them and yes, we had hope for a bright future. It was a time of hope, even those who emigrated, they had hope for a new beginning.
I get it that politicians lie for a living, mostly, to get votes and to get the good life. Few of them could hack it in the private sector which makes Donald Trump something of a mystery to me. Here at home, one crisis and one scandal after another until the hope is gone and the people starts to riot. How bizarre is it that we have more riots now in South Africa than during Apartheid, how sad, actually. I do feel bad for the SAPS trying to control this, with every second person now having a video camera and YouTube, Facebook, etc. they are really in a corner unable to do much and are then told they are wankers. I know the feeling of frustration when you face rioters abusing you. It is not easy. By the way, the turd brigade (politicians, they talk what they float in) causes the riots 99% of the time with bad leadership and then they call the police to suppress the people. It is a never ending wheel turning to nowhere.
I wrote a book, about two years ago, called Tricks of Trade – Memories of a Rogue Lawyer – which is about the shenanigans you find in Africa - the scams any investor should look out for before coming here. It is not much of a book to be honest and certainly not an autobiography, my legal career was too boring, too short and now too secretive to write books on and when it came out many complained I was driving investors away. We should lie, they told me, tell them it is paradise you know, don’t warn them about shenanigans. Yeah, the truth will make them run away, job losses etc. Oddly, I got many emails from people stating flatly they now know what to lookout for and hence able to invest, thank you, case closed, I was right again. But what they don’t want to see is a President asking for more investments sitting on a throne, really not. They have images of a despotic African country, not race, in turmoil and about to fail and if it fails it will cost them money. This is not South Africa, by the way, it is not a failed country although we are failing and not living to our potential. Whatever the Presidency thinks, image is important, we don’t like the smell of rotting bananas and neither do the investors and they are smart people, mostly. Get rid of the throne Mr President!
Shocking idea, is it not? Most of you would know my late wife was an American woman, good-looking, smart, cute and with what is known as a great heart and I loved her beyond words. In fact, I wrote 1.6 million words in her honour and memory since she went to heaven last year, 21 May, and may the day rot in hell forever. She was such a wonderful soul and person and yet I feel at times we are way too nice with her tribal members from a legal viewpoint.
Let me explain how Africans in general is treated by Europeans and Americans. In the first place, everyone is from Nigeria, criminals all of them, and secondly we are from Ethiopia, dying of hunger, no doubt and then we have no education and live in mud huts with wild animals walking our streets (may be true). So it stands to reason, I suppose, that all of us are in dire need of a green card and or are Islamic terrorists hell-bent on taking them out. Yes, even me who is clean shaven, Christian and serious about it and a known expert in counter insurgency and a man who served his country well enough to be decorated for it. I too am all the above and more according to some and most certainly are you, if you are reading here and born in Africa. You are treated like a Jew in Nazi Germany by Europe and the USA, nah, actually worse I would say.
In case you don’t get yet what I am talking about, it is four letter word with absolutely no congeniality in it, yes, VISA. You try and visit someone in America or Europe and you will find out what they really think of you, an African citizen. You will be subjected to every type of indecency known to man, you will reveal your private bank statements, your non-existing criminal record, where you going and where you have been in the last five years and then some lowly assistant will decide if you and your money are good enough to visit their hallowed shores. And you will pay, dearly, for the privilege of even asking in a non-refundable visa application and be assured, you will do so or you will never get there legally. Frankly, I am astonished that anyone is willing to even go there as this leaves a bad taste before the journey even begins. And once you get there, yeah, big disappointment, strange people and culture, horribly old buildings stinking of urine and so expensive you will live on water and long for the meat baskets you are used to here. And then there is never sunshine and no Southern Cross at night in the stars. You will feel hard done by, I am sure.
Worse than all this, when you marry an American girl, your soul mate, she is continuously advised that you need a green card and will leave her the moment you can do so legally. It will play havoc with her nerves for no reason at all as it is based on mere speculation. I have to wonder, since almost no law enforcement is taking place against illegal immigrants since 1990, why now suddenly be so afraid of Africans? And to be clear, there is nothing wrong with such activities in law. It is entirely comprehensible that such examinations or background checks are needed before issuing a visa. The turd brigade (politicians to you, they float in what they talk) will tell you how much this is needed to safeguard you from foreign attack (it won't). Yep, it is not working, I can see flaws in their methods as I type here but that they can work out for themselves, I will not help them tighten their borders, they can read my books and wake up. Their insecurity is entirely based on arrogance, a lack of local knowledge and fear of failure.
But this is all fair to me, I don’t mind, I get why. No, what is annoying me here is that we are not doing the same to them. In law, international law, you have every right to treat a country the same as it treats you. They want a deposit paid for you to get a visa, man, you will pay one to get here. So why, I am asking, are we allowing every American and European to arrive here without a visa? They should in all fairness go through the same process as we are subjected to. Fair is fair and so it is. Let us treat them as criminals and see if they like it (they won’t). But I can tell you why this will never be done by us.
A few months ago the visa regulations were changed in South Africa. What it basically said was that you now need genuine proof on your relationship to the children travelling with you. Immediately and since then the tourism industry blamed these rules for a lack of tourists, in other words, money they are not making and they are making record profits. To them it does not matter that South Africa is one of the top child smuggling countries in the world (drugs too, apparently). Nope, these measures, to ensure a child is safe, must be taken away so that they can make money… My word, what pathetic people are they? It is so sad when people only think of themselves and their next dollar and place that above self-respect and guts. Yes, self-respect, if you had guts, you would say to the Europeans and Americans, “you treat my citizens with respect or see what I do with yours.”
What will they do? Stop coming? Nah, no evidence of that whatsoever. It is the same argument with the “Royals” – that tourists pay to see the inbreeds? Really, now tell me, why is France, whom we know got rid of their leeches with a guillotine, then visited? Are the tourists trying to see a ghost perhaps? What about Russia, a few shots in the woods and so it was, bye bye leeches and yet, the tourists arrive to stare at the wasteful palaces where a few lived in splendour. Nah, it will make no difference and tourism can only be stopped by war or terrorism. Visa regulations, done to save children from slavery, will not make a difference. You are plainly idiotic to even state such things and then siding with the child smugglers. Disgusting in fact.
It reminds me of us being defeated, again, by the All Blacks this past weekend as widely predicted even by the Springbok Coach (shame). I see the loser’s attitude everywhere. “Ah well, was not by much you know, only two points!” Yet, you lost and so it is, you lost, you came second best and you are out of the World Cup. That is the facts you should face and do something about. We should regain our pride as South Africans, become obnoxious again and become respected because we are obnoxious. It is deserved you know, respect, no a given. We can start by treating those who treats us as criminals in exactly the same way. That will make my day anyway.
There is a nasty saying which we all know by heart, “Show me a good loser, and I will show you a loser” and it holds as true today as when it was first written. Let me be clear that I am not a rugby fan…meaning you will not find me wearing a rugby shirt supporting any team (many of the obese supporters and their female companions really look like twats) or jump up and down during a match roaring in support. I just don’t have the personality to show such emotions in public (a pity, I am sure) but a good one in court or negotiations.
However, I do have some pride left in me and grew up believing, not thinking, I knew this to be fact, that the Springboks cannot be beaten on a rugby field. Not by the English, the British Lions and certainly not by the All Blacks from New Zealand. We knew, obviously, they were cheaters well able to substitute rugby players with boxers and trip rampaging Springboks from behind. And this was seen as a chance to show them we will still win and to be fair, we did. Up to 1994 we won a lot more than what we lost. History, my favourite subject, will show this and no arguments about it. We won and so it is and our forwards created a style of grinding rugby feared by the world.
But now something has gone terribly wrong in South African rugby. Yesterday the local newspaper shouted (headlines, first page, my word) that it is “David versus Goliath” next week when the Springboks take on the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-finals. I am still in shock. Where in the world have you ever read that a Springbok rugby team, the pride of the Afrikaner and the rest of the nation (doubtful but whatever) is seen as a “little David OMG feel sorry for me” before they even go on the field? I had to read the article twice to comprehend they really see it like that, no chance and perhaps not to lose by too bad a margin, that to them will be entirely satisfactory. Fine, so we look at the Springbok coach who stated he has no problems with being the underdog against any team. Really? Where is Springbok pride I wonder? Where is South African pride because the two are linked?
To me the above is a loser’s attitude and if you want to have such attitudes in accepting less than the best you will become a loser, I am sorry to say it so bluntly to you. It is pathetic. We should be saying, “Well, they are a good team, the All Blacks, hard bastards and cheaters no doubt, but by God we will make them work for every ball, every yard and we will constantly attack them where it is least expected! We will play hard and fair and cheat where needs be but we will win and so it is written. Come on Saturday, we are going to show you who is who in this zoo!” (And to the fly half, stop kicking the damn ball away and start running at them, keep the ball with the forwards and get the forwards out of the backline, they are too slow to do any good, blah.)
We can see this is a disease and it is everywhere. Mediocracy is the norm these days and standards are dropped dramatically. We had finally become just another African country with no pride and a feel sorry for me attitude. No more rampaging Ratels and Caspirs, no more showing the middle finger to the world for decades and emerging victorious. No, now we cringe and apologise for losing against Japan!
Someone asked me the other day, what is good about South Africa? To my shame I had to think long and hard of something good as I see nothing good, I see corruption, failure, nepotism, political shenanigans and general doom and gloom on the future. Am I wrong? Have we not lost our pride somewhere or do I just don’t see it? Are we really only capable of moaning & groaning and being the “underdog” apologising like a demented Canadian before we even start the battle or the new day? How did this happen and how long, how many generations before we forget what we once were and can be again? I don’t care who wins the coming clash, it brings no money or any other benefit to me, but if you want to lose, then lose like a man. At least try.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.