IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa posed questions about how much influence China holds over the SA economy during a Q&A session in parliament today,
Hlengwa used his platform to suggest that Ramaphosa’s “Thuma Mina” campaign should be renamed “Thuma China”.
In response, Ramaphosa claimed that “China has not displayed any imperialist tendencies,” and said that the ANC has enough experience with imperialism to stop “plundering” of South Africa from happening again.
“We have not seen such. We have experience of imperialists plundering our country, and we are wide awake. We can see them from very, very far,” Ramaphosa said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane also took Ramaphosa to task about Chinese influence on SA, using evidence from a New York Times article to question whether Chinese loans are ultimately good for the country.
His comments were dismissed and undermined by ministers Lindiwe Zulu, Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane, who waved their hands at Maimane and laughed at him.
Zulu can be heard saying “Hayi, New York Times” in the television coverage of the session.
The ANC’s lack of concern regarding New York Times coverage is perhaps surprising since the US newspaper recently published damning allegations aimed at deputy president David Mabuza.
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Mabuza was accused, among other things, of improperly using money allocated for education in Mpumalanga to buy political power to ultimately ascend to the ANC deputy presidency.
This is not the deputy president’s biggest headache, though, as he has been accused of murdering political opponents when he was Mpumalanga premier by ANC member and bishop Hangwi Maumela.
Opposition parties bringing up China is unsurprising.
The South African government recently signed several agreements, including memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on investments, amounting to $14.7 billion with China.
Various government departments signed agreements with the Chinese government in areas such as the simplification of visas, while state-owned enterprises such as Eskom and Transnet, and private sector companies Standard Bank and Naspers also signed agreements.
The agreements were signed on the eve of the three-day 10th Brics Summit.
“We have signed several agreements and memorandums of understanding that are intended to further deepen our relations, including investment commitments that have been struck to the value of $14.7 billion,” Ramaphosa said.
“President Xi indicated that China is ready to invest, and to work with South Africa in various sectors such as infrastructure, ocean economy, green economy, science and technology, agriculture, environment, as well as finance.”
Additional reporting by ANA