South Africa Has Banned SpaceX

It is noteworthy to acknowledge historical aspects related to Elon Musk’s grandfather, who expressed support for Hitler during World War II.

[Musk’s grandfather was] leader in a fringe political movement that called itself Technocracy Incorporated, which advocated an end to democracy and rule by a small tech-savvy elite. During World War II, the Canadian government banned the group, declaring it a risk to national security. Haldeman’s involvement with Technocracy continued, though, and he was arrested and convicted of three charges relating to it. Once he got to South Africa, he added Black Africans to his list of rhetorical targets.

During World War II, being associated with a hate group labeled as a “risk to national security” in Canada carries significant historical implications. Subsequently, Musk’s grandfather moved to South Africa, playing a role in the formation of the racially discriminatory Apartheid state. Moreover, reports suggest that Musk’s wealthy father leveraged the existing racism for unfair financial and political gains.

Musk has said that he bought Twitter to halt the advance of a “woke mind virus” spreading online. His grandfather wrote his tracts to raise an alarm about what he called “mind control,” on the radio and television, where “an unconditional propaganda warfare is carried on against the White man.”

Similarly, in the case of Peter Thiel, his parents reportedly served under Hitler before seeking refuge in South Africa to evade accountability for being Nazis and to benefit from the Apartheid system.

After the end of Apartheid in the mid-1990s, both Musk and Thiel immigrated to the United States, where they pursued success by engaging in an unregulated technology sector building payment exchange and digital financial systems. Here’s how their startup was self-described.

…the equivalent of a Swiss bank account in your pocket… governments can’t stop their citizens from moving money out of the country.

And here’s why that dog-whistle signaled so strongly, from two individuals with a history of benefiting from gains acquired under South African Apartheid and Nazi Germany, drawing attention from and for renegade white men.

Switzerland was the favorite haven for Nazi bank accounts and safe deposit boxes, which often contained property plundered from Jews. Swiss banks did a lucrative business with the German Reichsbank and with individual Nazi officials. Symbolically, even the royalties from Hitler’s Mein Kampf were deposited in a Swiss bank account. […] Right up until the end of the war, Switzerland laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen assets, including gold taken from the central banks of German-occupied Europe. At the war’s end Switzerland successfully resisted Allied calls to restitute these funds…

Why did Switzerland resist government calls to return stolen money to the victims, and instead send this money outside its borders? Allegedly the pivot was because after Switzerland was forced to stop being Hitler’s helper they fled into propping up investments in Apartheid.

…a Swiss research group published a study showing that Switzerland was a leading investor, financing loans, trade credits and public bonds for the cash-short apartheid regime.

It is important to approach these accounts of history with careful attention to accuracy and precision, revealing how Musk and Thiel came into their positions, recognizing the implications of wealth and power accumulation within systems of racist privilege.

In the present day, South Africa has raised serious concerns about perceived inequities in business practices at SpaceX, asserting the company is being unfair to historically disadvantaged groups within the country.

On August 14th 2023, South Africa banned the import of Starlink kits. South Africa’s telecommunications regulator has demanded that a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) stop acquiring, distributing and facilitating the sale of any Starlink products in South Africa, that will in any form provide satellite access to Starlink services.

The ban is due to a legal requirement imposed by the Electronics Communications Act (ECA). This act mandates that historically disadvantaged groups (HDGs) must own 30% of a company before it can get the necessary telecoms licences to operate a broadband service locally.

HDGs include black people, youth, women, and people with disabilities. Since Starlink has not met this requirement it could not get the necessary telecommunications licenses to operate.

Simply put, SpaceX did not achieve the government requirements that had been established to protect historically disadvantaged groups. It seems clear why Elon Musk, let alone his family, would never really try:


  • August 20, 2014: SpaceX Workers Launch 3rd Suit, Allege Racist Policies
  • June 20, 2020: Elon Musk’s Juneteenth Problem at SpaceX and Tesla
  • November 14, 2021: Former SpaceX engineer accuses company of racial discrimination
  • November 20, 2022: SpaceX accused of age discrimination by former employee
  • August 24, 2023: Justice Department Sues SpaceX for Discriminating Against Asylees and Refugees in Hiring
  • October 6, 2023: SpaceX sued for discrimination, again. Female former engineer alleges systemic pay discrimination against women and minorities
  • November 10, 2023: At SpaceX, worker injuries soar… [due to the] chaotic workplace where often under-trained and overtired staff routinely skipped basic safety
  • November 20, 2023: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Condemns SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Endorsement of Antisemitic and Racist Propaganda

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