In March 2018, the Freedom Front Plus adopted a comprehensive policy framework. It considers the nature and foundation of the party; global tendencies that are of importance to the party, its ideals and its members; a proposed restructuring of the South African constitutional dispensation to ensure cultural vitality for Afrikaners and other minorities; and how the cabinet and each of its portfolios would function if the Freedom Front Plus should take over government. The policies for different portfolios can be supplemented over time as the need arises.
The full document was considered and approved by die structures of the Freedom Front Plus. This “Abridged version” was compiled for the sake of accessibility, but should the opportunity for opposing interpretations exist, the full document will always be paramount.
Nature and foundation of the Freedom Front Plus
The founding of the Freedom Front Plus in 1994 was a response to the revolution which was under way. The party was founded by Afrikaners who could foresee that the so-called constitutional checks and balances would not deliver the promised guarantees. While the new constitutional dispensation could not be averted, self-determination had to be a part of it. The mission of the party centred on this truth and initially focused only on Afrikaners. Over time, however, it became evident that other minority groups struggled with the same problems as Afrikaners and the mission was reformulated to take each and every minority group into account. It now reads as follows:
In short, the Freedom Front Plus stands for freedom. Freedom is when a cultural group’s fate is in its own hands and if it is allowed to make both the good and the bad decisions which determine the future.
The world as it unfolds today
The only constant in the world we know today is change. When the most important changes in an epoch are indicated, the elements of a comprehensive system are highlighted. There are, of course, many more elements at play and even though the elements are discussed separately, they all constantly influence one another.
The focus here falls on the elements that are expected to have the greatest political impact. These are: climate change and reactions to it; the “fourth industrial revolution”, including the “internet of things” and “artificial intelligence”; and the development of private money.
In the scientific field, the consensus is that the burning of fossil fuels over the last 250 years has changed the earth’s atmosphere so much that it has brought about climate change. This process is mainly caused by the generation of electricity by means of burning coal and transport by means of burning crude oil. Apart from the impact this has had on the environment, it also has a significant effect on international power relations which is very important.
Renewable energy is a power factor that will irrevocably change both the impact on the environment as well as international politics. Sunlight and wind are much more readily available and evenly distributed across the globe than coal and crude oil and the cost of using the sun and wind to generate electricity has been decreasing drastically. Regular consumers can access and use solar power, while wind power can be utilised on a larger scale.
At present, a renewable power plant already costs only a fraction of what a coal power plant of the same size costs, unfortunately the fact that a renewable power plant cannot keep generating power to the same capacity throughout a 24-hour cycle counts against it. The cost of storing energy has also decreased and the price per power unit from a renewable power plant with sufficient storage is already competing favourably with retail network prices.
It would benefit South Africa greatly if the country would respond to the call to take decisive action against climate change. It is a part of the reality that could favour the realisation of the Freedom Front Plus’s ideals, providing that action is taken proactively.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The industrial revolution is an extensive socio-economic process that has still not run its course. Some observers consider the first industrial revolution to have taken place at around 1750 when steam power was increasingly used to replace human and animal power. The second industrial revolution took place at around 1890 when mass production increased the efficiency of labour. The third is an information revolution, which started more or less in 1960, as since then computers have been better than humans at performing certain administrative and repetitive tasks.
The fourth industrial revolution is already under way and its most important characteristic is that machines are increasingly responsible for decision making. The “internet of things”, which connects instruments, computers and other devices with one another, plays a great role in this. To illustrate this, here is a simple example: the hygrometer in a maize field sends data to a computer that is connected to the irrigation system. When a predetermined soil moisture level is reached, the computer switches on the irrigation system. Fridges, coffee machines, production automata in factories, solar panels, wind turbines and any other devices that one could think of can be connected in this way to prompt it to automatically initiate or complete certain tasks.
“Artificial intelligence” describes the phenomenon of where computers form “neural networks”, in other words, where computers have the ability to learn through experience. To use the abovementioned example of the irrigation system, one could set a predetermined level of soil moisture to indicate when the irrigation system must switch on, but neural networks have the ability to “realise” which changes could produce a better result and can then implement these changes all by itself.
The use of artificial intelligence goes much further than production processes. With the analysis of big data, for example, relevant court cases could be examined so as to help an attorney prepare to a specific case or it may help the judge make the right ruling. The ultimate decision maker is not eliminated, but certain subordinate people are.
The first industrial revolution made beasts of burden and slaves redundant, the second drastically decreased the need for tradesmen and the third decreased the need for administrative personnel. The fourth industrial revolution is reducing the need for schooled decision makers, while simultaneously also reducing the need for labourers, tradesmen and administrative personnel even further. This drives the phenomenon of jobless growth, where economic outputs are increasing even though job opportunities on all levels are becoming less and less.
Throughout human history, employment has been the way whereby each person could get his or her share of what the earth yields – not equally, but in relation to his or her competence, efficiency, knowledge and skills. In contrast to that, we may soon enter an era where the willingness to work hard will not guarantee that one gets the job. There will be enough money for everyone, but it raises the question of how that money must be distributed.
Up to now, the answer has been: the government. Tax the institutions that are still making money and then distribute the wealth. However, in the next section it will become evident that the government’s ability to impose redistribution is waning.
Private money – the government is running out of fuel
The government functions by way of its monetary capacity (the right to control the creation of money within its territory) and its fiscal capacity (the right to collect money through taxes and then spend it). Taxes are fees levied by the government on all economic activities in exchange for services like infrastructure, safety, education etcetera.
The government makes use of banks to perform the tasks related to both capacities. Commercial banks create wealth by granting loans under the supervision of the central bank. Banks also keep record of all transactions, which makes the collection of taxes easier. The increase in electronic transactions and decrease in cash transactions also facilitate this process.
Private money (sometimes also referred to as crypto money) entails a process whereby parties can transact with one another without the arbitration of a bank and everything about the transaction is transparent, except for who the relevant parties are – this is the so-called blockchain technology. From a tax point of view, it is untraceable and it undermines the government’s fiscal capacity.
From a practical point of view, it means that tax payers will increasingly be able to decide whether and how much tax they want to pay. The great, mighty and impersonal government, not to mention the corrupt government, will find that citizens are no longer willing to finance it. Thus, a closer relationship between the government and its citizens will be vital. Smaller states, which will serve as a home for its citizens, may become the new norm.
What it means for the Freedom Front Plus
The processes described above are very volatile and unpredictable. Their impact is not some sort of “social physics” as it is ultimately formed by people and their reactions. The potential for disaster must be avoided, while opportunities must be seized and realised.
A world in which production is less dependent on the direct input of people, creates the opportunity to live where you feel at home. Such a community may have numerous people without formal jobs, but the ability to support them may still exist. It will form a backdrop against which cultural activities, such as arts and crafts, gardening, amateur theatre and the like – which almost did not survive the present-day industrial society – will once again add meaning to people’s lives. Worldwide, highly automated production can be supplemented by countless local and unique production systems in an exceptionally nuanced reality. Individual happiness may begin to depend greatly on the quality of the community life.
Cultural unbundling, which was impossible due to economic bundling, will once again become a possibility. That is the sort of post-industrial society that the Freedom Front Plus envisions.
Proposed changes to the South African regime
South Africa is a state that was artificially created to meet the needs of the industrial economy. Diverse cultural groups were roped together so as to make the provision of food and labour to the economic hub, the Witwatersrand, as easy as possible. As a result, the government is highly centralised and repeatedly under the control of a single segment of the population – first it was the British imperialists, then Afrikaner nationalism and at present, the westernised black elite. Under the rule of these three, the other segments did not feel as if their interests and needs were taken into account. The Freedom Front Plus believes that the world, and how it is currently unfolding, has presented us with the opportunity to reorder the country for the sake of its citizens.
Countrywide Afrikaner Council
International treaties undersigned by the South African government after 1994 stipulate that minority groups have the right to determine, for example, their own education, heritage conservation and welfare if they so wish. Accordingly, the government is responsible for the institutions that build out these minority cultures.
Every black tribe in South Africa has a tribal authority which is funded by the government and coordinated in Houses of Traditional Leaders. There is also a Khoisan Council which furthers the interests of those affiliated with it. Afrikaners, however, do not have any such structure.
Consequently, the Freedom Front Plus is working hard to establish a countrywide statutory Afrikaner Council. It means that this Council will not merely be an association that can dissolve, but a government structure that forms part of the South African constitutional dispensation. The Council should have executive powers with regard to the matters discussed above as well as other matters that may be negotiated. Each and every Afrikaans school, old-age home, sports club and heritage site must have the choice to either remain under the administration of the present government structure or to transfer to the Afrikaner Council.
In this way, the emphasis shifts from individual rights to community rights. Instead of saying that there is a market for a school with Afrikaans as medium of instruction and that individuals who wish to do so can choose to attend that school, one says that the Afrikaners in a specific region are entitled to such a school. The size of the school will naturally depend on the numbers, but the right must remain as long as there is a functional Afrikaner community.
Since 1994, Afrikaners have opted to rely on individual rights to exercise their rights. It has, however, become increasingly clear that these individual rights are buckling under population pressure and seemingly neutral democratic considerations. And that is why it is absolutely necessary for the emphasis to shift to community rights. This is made possible by the inclusion of Sections 185 and 235 in the South African Constitution and the time has come for people to stand on these rights.
A cultural council such as the one proposed above will exercise its capacity countrywide with regard to a specific cultural group. In contrast to that, a territorial structure is only responsible for the people in a specific area. In some cases, these forms of self-determination may overlap; as is the case in Kwa-Zulu-Natal where it will always be the Zulus no matter which party governs and the same is true for the Tswanas in the North West Province.
There is a great number of Afrikaans communities in the western part of South Africa. The influx from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape means that the Western Cape can no longer really be seen as an Afrikaans province. The Northern Cape, on the other hand, does not have an influx, but time and again a part of the North West is added to it.
The Freedom Front Plus wholeheartedly supports the statement made by the then Minister of Political Development, Mr Valli Moosa, who said that the ideal to develop the region between the Orange River and the West Coast as a cultural home for Afrikaans-speaking people is a legitimate ideal.
In practice, it comes down to the current district municipalities of Pixley ka Seme (Upper Karoo), ZF Mcawu (Lower Orange) and Namaqualand being represented as a tenth province. Predominantly Afrikaans communities live in this region and they benefit no more from the current regime (after 1994) than the one before. Less than 1% of the country’s economic activities occur here, but the water of the Orange River and the abundant sunshine form a solid resource foundation for large-scale development to take place. Black Economic Empowerment measures must be abolished in this region and must be substituted with measures that will ensure that all residents benefit from economic development.
Local communities, where cultural identity is the strongest, will form the building blocks of such a province. Only those tasks that cannot be meaningfully executed on provincial level will be escalated upwards.
The Afrikaner Council and the tenth province are not two opposing notions, but are rather supplementary to one another. A multicultural country like South Africa simply cannot be built by stigmatising and oppressing all the identities that differ from that of the majority, instead it is built by recognising and conserving diversity.
How the Freedom Front Plus would govern South Africa
The Freedom Front Plus is a republican party that is committed to protecting property rights and the free market. Thus, the party believes in subsidiarity – the notion that authority belongs on the lowest local level and that matters should only be escalated upwards to the provincial and/or national level if there is no other way.
Should the Freedom Front Plus govern South Africa, the public service will be seen as a service provider rather than a job provider. It means that state-owned enterprises will be privatised and that fiscal discipline will be recovered – in other words, spending will be properly managed.
In South Africa the Reserve Bank is responsible for the implementation of the monetary policy. When the economy grows too fast and drives up inflation, or when the opposite occurs, interest rates are used to restore the balance. That is why there is an interest rate announcement every month and the Freedom Front Plus supports this policy.
When it comes to the implementation of the fiscal policy, the Freedom Front Plus aims to establish a fiscal council similar to the Reserve Bank. This council will be tasked with controlling the VAT rate just as the Reserve Bank is tasked with controlling the interest rate. When government expenditure exceeds the budget, the fiscal council must increase VAT. When expenditure is under control again, VAT can be lowered.
A Freedom Front Plus government will also be much smaller. In accordance with international best practices, the present cabinet will be condensed to 16 portfolios, each with only one minister and at most one deputy minister at the steer of things. Please refer to the Freedom Front Plus’s full policy framework for an explication of the policy for each of the 16 portfolios as they are listed below:
• Deputy President
• Minister of Finance
• Minister of Domestic Affairs
• Minister of Foreign Affairs
• Minister of Defence
• Minister of Health
• Minister of Labour
• Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
• Minister of Education, Arts and Culture
• Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism
• Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
• Minister of Police
• Minister of Community Development and Land Affairs
• Minister of Water, Sanitation, Human Settlements and Environmental Affairs
• Minister of Transport, Public Services and Administration
• Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology
• Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources
Each member of cabinet will be an expert in his or her field.
The Freedom Front Plus is committed to furthering the interests of minority groups – particularly the Afrikaners, but also those of the general Afrikaans community. In addition, the party has a clear vision of how South Africa ought to be governed as a whole. In the local councils governed by coalitions, the Freedom Front Plus has proven itself to be a reliable and competent coalition partner.
A political party that fights for the rights of a specific group does not have to prove that it has the support of the majority of voters in the country. What it does, however, need to prove is that it has enough support among those that it represents for the party to be taken seriously.
This is the policy that the Freedom Front Plus would like to present to voters. If Afrikaners want an Afrikaner Council and if Afrikaner communities want to enjoy greater independence in a tenth province, then they must vote for the Freedom Front Plus. We will continue to fight alongside other opposition parties against corruption and poor governance as well as for other bread and butter issues.