Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What Changed?

Billionaire arms manufacturer Ivor Ichikowitz, a vocal supporter and funder of the ANC, has emerged as a pivotal player in the newly launched low-cost airline Flyafrica's battle for the skies. Flyafrica, which launched six months ago, is owned by a private equity company based in Mauritius, offering flights between South Africa and Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.

Ichikowitz is the founder and executive chairman of the Paramount Group, which makes, among other things, military equipment such as armoured vehicles and surveillance drones, primarily for the African market. It is the biggest privately owned defence and aerospace business in Africa, raking in more than $1-billion a year in sales. Ichikowitz also owns a private- equity company called Transafrica Capital, which insiders say is backing the new airline.

Ichikowitz, who has been outspoken about his support for the ANC in the past, is a controversial figure because of his entanglements with politicians including President Jacob Zuma and former Malawian president Joyce Banda. He was embroiled in a scandal in Malawi after Banda signed a $145-million contract for military vehicles and boats. Outrage and accusations of corruption followed when it was discovered that Banda was using Ichikowitz's private jet. The issue was a major factor in Banda's ousting in May. 

Prof S. Terreblanche"s "Inequality in South Africa" describes the Americanisation of South Africa and its role as a neo-liberal sub-empire of the American empire and a hub and springboard for international corporates to expand into sub-Saharan region. A corrupt system run by a racist clique has been replaced by a corrupt system run by self-serving black clique and yet this farce is hailed by many quarters of the left as victory for the oppressed. To criticise "St. Mandela" and the ANC's failures is considered the ultimate heresy.

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