Fronting is a criminal enterprise not only because it is fraudulent but also because it is an affront to the human dignity of black people whom the South African Constitution has targeted for an especial economic advancement and protection. The Constitutional Court has at least twice – in 1995 and in 2018 – identified the human dignity of black people as requiring an especial protection. So, why is fronting not prosecuted as the criminal offence that it is?

The state, in all its forms, seems either impotent or disinterested in the economic crimes committed against black people in South Africa. It seems caught up still in the “reconciliation” warp, refusing to address emotional and political blackmail (where black people who point out racial exploitation are accused of “playing the race card”) at the expense of the economic redress that the Constitution demands for black people.

Fronting is principally a race issue in South Africa. Uncomfortable though the implications and impact of the race question may be to some, race being a central factor is a truth from which there is no escape. It has to be confronted and dealt with decisively, not avoided in the hope that it will go away. The Constitutional Court, no less, appreciates this when it says in Bato Star

“measures that bring about transformation will inevitably affect some members of the society adversely, particularly those coming from the previously advantaged communities”.

There is no escaping that when the Constitutional Court refers to “those coming from the previously advantaged communities” it is making an unmistakable reference to white people, whether or not they were born during apartheid. No point in quibbling about this. The question is: how do South Africans bring about the constitutional promise of the achievement of equality despite the inevitable discomfort that white people must of necessity suffer through the process?

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