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CAPE TOWN, South Africa – When billionaire Mark Shuttleworth blasts off with Russian cosmonauts on April 22, becoming the first South African in space, several beleaguered leaders of the ruling ANC might feel like flying off with him.

The African National Congress – armed, trained and educated by communist China and the Soviets – has long been the darlings of Western liberals and hard core communists in Cuba, Zimbabwe, Angola and North Korea. Now, after more than eight years in power, the ANC is struggling to keep its head above water.

The ANC’s membership rolls are dwindling as South Africa’s emerging black middle class becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the ANC’s ineptness dealing with issues such as AIDS and violent crime.

Internationally, the ANC’s tilt towards Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe and his brutal white farm confiscation has enraged even the liberal Labour Party in the UK, as well as the U.S. State Department. When South African President Thabo Mbeki backed Mugabe’s election victory last month, the British Commonwealth threatened not to fund Mbeki’s economic initiatives for a southern Africa economic agenda. Within 24 hours, Mbeki changed course and followed the UK in condemning Mugabe’s victory as bogus.

Recognizing Mugabe’s election victory is one of the more recent black eyes on the ANC, which touted itself during the apartheid struggle as a champion of true democracy.

While all governments are plagued to some degree by corruption, the ANC’s missteps are especially troubling to former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mandela told the world press that he was “most saddened” by the corruption of the ANC leadership, which was “actually worse than the apartheid government.”

Scandals

South Africa and the ANC have been rocked by so many scandals it is sometimes hard for observers to keep track of them.

ANC-authored kickback scandals involving ARMSCOR, the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, and AIDS/HIV drugs have tarnished its image.

The ANC recently blundered by promising 800 billion Rand for slave reparations against South African corporations in the February budget. This fund was supposed to go to “victims” who earned “victories” in the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings, or TRC.

“One of the provisions of the TRC was that guilty parties would be fully pardoned if those injured by them were fully compensated,” said Ansuriettta Wolfardt, a South African policewoman, in an interview with WorldNetDaily.

ANC cronies were recently linked to a diamond-rights scandal in Schmidtsdrift near Kimberly, South Africa, where the black empowerment mining company New Diamond Corporation has seized the rights to ancestral lands occupied by poor blacks.

Another scandal that has hurt the ANC is its claim that Germany’s Deutsche Bank Securities colluded to drive down the value of the South African Rand through dishonest financing methods with South African chemical corporation SASOL, a major player in the nation’s economy.

Another stain on the ANC is the emergence of NDF, an offshoot of the apartheid-era mercenary army Executive Outcomes, which has been deployed in the oil fields of southern Sudan by the militant Islamic government of Khartoum in its war against black Christians and animists in that nation.

Another scandal broke open recently with the revelation that the ANC was caught red-handed accepting bribes from Taiwan to keep the ANC from recognizing mainland China.

This scandal was particularly troubling, one former Afrikaner intelligence official told WorldNetDaily, “because it shows that the ANC’s foreign policy is for sale.”

As the ANC was coming to power in 1994, the anti-communist government of Taiwan, fearful that the ANC would switch recognition to mainland China, offered the ANC $11 million to maintain relations. The ANC initially asked for $20 million. President Nelson Mandela at first said that it would be “immoral” to abandon Taiwan. This struck most South African analysts as strange and infuriated the ANC ranks since communist China had long armed, trained and backed the ANC against the apartheid regime.

The point man in this operation was Taiwanese colonel Lui Kuan-chun, a National Security Bureau agent. The ANC, says Lui, asked for the cash to “help pay off its campaign debts.” (China had donated $10 million to the ANC about two years earlier as incentive to switch recognition.)

Taiwan paid the ANC the money in three installments. This transfer was confirmed by former Taiwanese ambassador to South Africa Loh I-cheng.

Loh told the international media that when he brought up the matter with Mandela, the president was “very surprised to hear about this, yet also very pleased. At the time, Mandela was very grateful to our country and thanked me profusely.”

In the end, the ANC took the Taiwanese millions then recognized Beijing anyway. Taiwan responded by stopping its funding of a $350 million chemical plant and a $30 million foreign-aid package to the ANC.

Claire Montgomery, a white ANC activist in Cape Town told WorldNetDaily that she is troubled by the recent misdeeds of the ANC.

“We were idealists, as whites, believing that the ANC was fit to rule this country. Pure greed and a thirst for power have replaced apartheid, and considering the state of affairs in this nation, it’s far, far uglier.”

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