Crawford-Brown criticizes "rapacious foreigners" and "local warlords" for plundering Africa's natural resources and agricultural businesses.
"And there is basically no end in sight," he adds.
"In the 150 years since they were discovered at Kimberly, diamonds have brought minimal economic benefits ... to indigenous populations in South Africa, Namibia or Botswana. About 97 percent of production has been exported 'in the rough' for cutting and polishing in Belgium, Israel or India."
Industrial diamonds are a critical ingredient for many military armaments, precision machine tools and laser technology.
Crawford-Browne also criticizes Mbeki for his central role in spending South African government funds -- $7.5 billion in U.S. dollars -- to buy submarines, naval frigates and fighter jets new fighter planes and other armaments by 2006.
In 2008, Desmond Tutu and F.W. de Klerk, the former president of South Africa, asked the government to create an independent commission to investigate ongoing arms deals. The commission was never created.
"Mbeki's positions on AIDS, Zimbabwe and the arms deal became the three defining issues of his unlamented presidency," Crawford-Browne writes, referring to his support of dictator Robert Mugabe and his denial that the HIV virus caused AIDS.
When Jacob Zuma succeeded Mbeki in 2008, the "whole thrust" of his new administration "was to block any investigation into the arms deals," Crawford-Browne writes, particularly into possible illegal transfers of money.
Meanwhile, South Africa's new government failed in many of its key functions.
"South Africa's public education and health services are even worse than they had been in the apartheid era. The number of people living in shacks in the most appalling conditions was, and remains, a national disgrace. These failures by the ANC government are inexcusable," Crawford-Browne writes.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have died of HIV/Aids-related causes because weapons procurements were given priority instead of anti-retroviral drugs. With unemployment rates of approximately 40 percent, South Africa's future as a constitutional democracy has been severely imperiled."
Mandela, on the other hand, has been a prominent advocate of helping people suffering form AIDS around the world.
Violent attacks on whites
Ben Freeth's "Mugabe and the White African" tells deeply disturbing stories about life in Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe became leader of the former Southern Rhodesia in 1980.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from South Africa, praises Freeth for explaining "how the shocking acts of violence and wanton destruction committed in the name of land reform have demolished property rights and all but ruined commercial agriculture in this once high successful African country."
The white population of Zimbabwe plummeted from just under 300,000 to 100,000 between 1973 and 1983.
"Mugabe's first aim was to cleanse the land of white people. If the white man was out of the way, then he could get on with intimidating the black people without any hindrance," Freeth comments.
Mugabe once said, "I am the Hitler of our time. This Hitler has only one objective -- justice for his own people."
Mugabe launched public and covert campaigns against commercial farms to remove white landholders from their property, even though many of those landowners were providing some of the country's best jobs held by black African workers.
Mugabe's policies caused joblessness and devastating economic problems for nearly two million farm workers and their families.
"The vast majority of [white] farmers had already been evicted from their farms," by May 2004, Freeth writes. "Not a single farm had been vacated through a bona fide eviction, order from a court, and nobody was being compensated."
After getting re-elected in 2005, Mugabe nationalized all land owned by white Africans. White farmers who tried to stay on their land could be sentenced to two years in prison.
Many newly-unemployed farm workers moved into towns and squatter camps. Mugabe then destroyed and flattened 700,000 of their homes, affecting 2.4 million poor people, according to the United Nations.
In his book, Freeth tells painful stories about attacks on white landowners by the Zimbabwe National Army and unidentified thugs working with the government. Thousands of farm owners and farm workers were maimed, burned or killed. Some black African farm workers had their hands and arms cut off.
A Spanish journalist in his home when it was under attack, Freeth wrote, "told me that he'd faced dangerous situations in Iraq and Afghanistan but had never been as scared as he was in our house on a farm in Zimbabwe."
Shortly thereafter, Freeth's house was burnt down to the ground.
Esterhuyse has a dim view of the present and immediate future, especially after Mandela left the presidency.
Today, South Africa suffers from "terrible poverty, and the legacy of apartheid is visible everywhere.
"There are also high material expectations on the part of the oppressed," he adds. But "the gap between rich and poor is massive."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.