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Malema looting poor to establish businesses: genesis of Tsotsi Capitalism

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By Andile Mngxitama

Julius Malema is a shrewd and brutal businessman. He behaves like a true capitalist whose only consideration is the profit margin. In this quest for accumulation, no consideration for the well-being of others is entertained. This is how capital reproduces itself and ensures profits.

Karl Marx, who Malema ostensibly follows, describes the brutality necessary for the initial accumulation of capital in his first volume of Das Kapital where he deals with “The Process of Production of Capital”. More specifically in “Part VIII” he calls it the “primitive accumulation of capital”. That chapter of volume 1 of Das Kapital is one of the most moving descriptions of the morality needed for capital to sink its roots. The brutality is not a personal choice. It’s a necessity for capital to expand. About this process Marx pointedly said:

“This primitive accumulation plays in political economy about the same part as original sin in theology.”

Incidentally, primitive accumulation is essentially about destroying “communal property” through dispossession so as to ensure that “private property” is the dominant feature. VBS Mutual Bank was a communal property which was looted to establish degenerate consumption and sponsor business ventures. If the founders of capitalism had to force peasants off the land and into being labourers (proletarinisation), Tsotsi Capitalism’s VBS looters had to take from the poor pensioners to sustain their businesses and Louis Vuitton gluttony. Tsotsi Capitalism is a variety of capitalism that only shares the Tsotsi ethic with established capitalism.

Like its parent, it’s based on theft from the poor or on what Marx calls “exploitation”. However Tsotsi Capitalism never really gets out of the brutality of the initial stages of the capitalist epoch, defined as primitive accumulation. VBS looting together with the looting through tenders of the Limpopo government, the City of Tshwane and the City of Joburg, are part of Tsotsi Capitalism’s mechanism of primitive accumulation so as to sponsor the ‘Louis Vuitton, Range Rovers and expensive houses Sandton’ lifestyle. It’s part of the addiction. Its “capital” is political representation. The more votes it secures, the more influence it exerts. That’s why nothing is spared during the election season to bamboozle the voter. But in the end, Tsotsi Capitalism is the “ice boy” of white monopoly capital (WMC). It’s not productive. It’s driven by conspicuous consumption.

The allegations that the SUD restaurant is owned by Julius Malema and was acquired through the money of poor and elderly black people, from VBS, shouldn’t surprise us at all. Malema is a shrewd businessman who has a nose for good business. The SUD restaurant is located at the right address where tourists like to spend American dollars. Furthermore, he is keeping things within the family. His cousin, Tsholo Malema, manages SUD.

To understand how brutality is necessary for Tsotsi Capitalism to thrive, one ought to just look at how those employed by these type of capitalists are treated. Whilst WMC pretends to follow some kind of process, such niceties do not exist in the realm of employment in Tsotsi Capitalism. Those who work for it have no rights at all.

There is still yet one more trait that Tsotsi Capitalism shares with its parent, namely Philanthropy! The likes of George Soros, who spends half the day creating global poverty for his profits and the other half of the day throwing crumbs at the poor under the pretext of alleviating poverty, illustrates this trait. Tsotsi Capitalism steals the money of the poor from VBS thereby driving swaths of elderly people into destitution and hunger. Then on Christmas day, the chief Tsotsi Capitalist plays Santa Claus by feeding the greatful elderly hungry people. That’s how capitalism works ke maloma a fodisa.

Rumour has it that even House 22 in Pretoria was acquired by Malema in the same manner, so too was the network of Yepyep entertainment enterprises. Money looted from state-linked institutions is channelled into the private property of the Tsotsi capitalists so as to ensure that the addiction to the Louis Vuitton lifestyle is sustained.

Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.

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