AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue Number 23



August is dubbed the Women’s Month in South Africa.  August is chosen as the symbolism to remember and honour the 9 August 1956 women’s march on the apartheid Union buildings against the pass laws.

On 1 August 2018 the women in South Africa organised marches throughout the country under the #TheTotalShutdown.  AZAPO is proud that its women’s wing, IMBELEKO, participated in the marches.  The main march was in Pretoria to the Union Buildings.  Ironically, 62 years ago women marched on the Union Buildings, and in 2018 the women are still marching on the Union Buildings.

Sadly, the ANCWL withdrew its support and held a separate march to the ANC headquarters of Luthuli House where they handed over a petition, hugged and embraced with their leaders in a jolly atmosphere.  They said the reasons they went on a tangent was because the #TheTotalShutdown did not allow men to join their march.  Because men would not be allowed to march side-by-side with women, the Bathabile Dlamini-led ANCWL felt it necessary to compromise the Sisterly Solidarity.

It is tragic that women could be divided over the same men whose bad practices are the target of their action.  That disunity was a lease for a longer life to patriarchy.

At the Union Buildings, women rejected a woman in the name of Naledi Pandor to be the one to receive their petition.  They were made to wait for about 8 hours for President Ramaphosa – a man, who was said to be out of town.  One of their demands was that men guilty of Gender-Based Violence should not be appointed in government offices.  That demand would have compromised an ANCWL that stood by Zuma and against his rape accuser Fezekile Khuzwayo who had to be exiled as a result of constant harassment and abuse by the ANC and ANCWL.  Mduduzi Manana, who was convicted of assaulting two women, was, until last week, rubbing shoulders in a honeymoon with the leaders of the ANCWL as fellow MPs in Parliament.

While the misogynist honeymoon is being staged, femicide is on the rise in South Africa.  Statistics South Africa reported on Tuesday that the murder rate for women increased by 117% between 2015 and 2016/17; and that the number of women who experienced sexual offences jumped from 31 665 in 2015/16 to 70 813 in 2016/17.  That amounts to an increase of 53%.

Perhaps it will make more sense when we talk about the actual women who perished under Gender-Based Violence rather than the dry statistics.  In 2017 a 21-year old Zolile Khumalo was shot and killed by her boyfriend Thobani Mzolo.  On the same day the news of Zolile’s murder broke out, Sandile Mantswe was found guilty of murdering and disposing his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena.  The list is endless – Nompumelelo Mhlongo and Nonkululeko Mpanza of Thokoza; UNISA student Jabulile Nhlapo; Promise Mthembu of KZN.

While men have some role to play in ending patriarchy and sexism, AZAPO believes the fight, its leadership and direction belong in the hands of women.


10 years ago, in the list of top 50 wealthiest South Africans, 13 were black.  Ten years later, that list has only 5 black faces.  And there is only one black man – Patrice Motsepe – in the top 10 of the wealthiest South Africans.

If there was any doubt that South Africa is not making progress to reverse the legacy of colonialism and apartheid, the latest survey conducted by City Press on “who owns what” in the country provides sufficient proof.

Just as a side issue, Motsepe has attracted some vitriolic attacks from some political circles in the Black community for his wealth.  He is not the richest South African, but that he is Black and among the richest people in the country seems not to sit well with some political forces.  Why?  This is because racism has made it normal for white people to be rich, and extremely “immoral” for a Black person to be rich.  This talks to the psychological chains that continue to oppress many of our people.

The categorisation of Black people as poor is so firmly entrenched in our minds that Black business people who get state contracts are subjected to serious scrutiny, while no such attention is given to white companies that get major contracts from the state.  That is perhaps the reason that the corruption associated with the big construction companies involving billions of rands in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup was described in the mainstream media as “collusion”, but not corruption.

But we digress.  The real issue about our country is that it is not transforming economically.  In fact, we are going backwards.  The colonial architecture of the economy remains in place.  Despite the talk of Radical Economic Transformation, the truth is that the economy is still in the hands of a white minority tribe.  The system of white monopoly capital is so creative and agile that it co-opts most of the Black leaders who have the capacity to challenge it.

Capitalism is a ruthless and barbaric system, which cannot be reformed but can only be eradicated through a socialist inspired revolution.  But while we are still waiting for the dawn of socialism, it is appropriate that we deracialise the face of the free market system and the captains of industry.  The Black and patriotic bourgeoisie can be harnessed to play a positive role in the reconstruction of our country to address the legacy of apartheid and colonialism, which has resulted in millions of our people living in mikhukhu, without water and sanitation.

But for the situation to change, we need a revolutionary government that is unapologetic about its love for Black people and black business.  It is not enough for the government to play victim when it has more than a trillion-rand budget that can be used to change the face of the wealth in our country.


Former security policeman Joao Rodrigues appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court this week facing charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice in connection with the death of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol 47 years ago.

The apartheid security apparatus had claimed at the time that Timol had committed suicide by jumping through a widow from a building where he was being interrogated by the police.  His family and many in the liberation movement had always maintained that Timol, like many other freedom fighters such as Steve Bantu Biko and Tshifhiwa Muofhe, had been brutally murdered by the security police.

The opening of the case offers a chance for the Timol family to get closure but perhaps more importantly a chance to get justice, which they deserve, for the murder of their loved one.  On the face of it, the news of a trial for the apartheid foot soldier appears to be good news.

However, there are more fundamental issues that the court appearance of Rodrigues raises.  The first is the obvious one.  Rodrigues, if indeed is guilty of murdering Timol, would have committed the murder not in his personal capacity.  He had no personal gain or motive in the murder of Timol, but he was part of a system that had vowed to crush all efforts of Black people to attain their liberation.  So, arresting Rodrigues is to go after the small fish, while ignoring the masterminds behind the murder.  How come we do not see the significance of the arrest of political principals who would have given political guidance for such gross human rights abuse to be committed with impunity?

There is a reason why the political murder of Timol has been reduced into a common murder where the system of apartheid is not on trial.  AZAPO is the only political movement that has been consistent in its rejection of the Kempton Park-negotiated deal as a sell-out.  The deal offered Black people the minimum – political freedom but the land and the wealth remained in the hands of the minority white tribe.

But the biggest injustice of the Kempton Park was the characterisation of our liberation struggle as a crime.  Freedom fighters, who gave their all to fight for justice, democracy and the repossession of the land, were given the same status as the terrorists who were fighting to retain and enforce apartheid, a system universally condemned by the United Nations as a crime against humanity.

That is the reason why the defenders of apartheid and their leaders got away literally with murder.  It is easy to go after the Rodrigues of this world, but there is no political appetite by the ruling party to bring the commanders and political principals of Rodrigues to book.  We were sold out.  What a shame!


The labour force survey released by Statistics South Africa for Second Quarter of 2018 confirms that this country is in a New Down.  With 24 years or 5 terms in state power, the ruling party has dismally failed to turn the lives of poor Black people around.  Poverty and inequality are getting worse.  The wealth gap between black and white is making no promise that it will close.

The unemployment rate has now increased from 26.7 in the First Quarter of 2018 to 27.2 in the Second Quarter.  It is not a sudden development.  This very high unemployment rate is the order of the day under the ruling party.  The unemployment rate averaged 25.57 from 2000 to 2008, and reached an all-time high of 31.20 in the Fourth Quarter of 2008.

Even so, we are still talking about the official version, which excludes those people that have given up looking for a job.  The absurdity of the official version is that if you stopped looking for a job because you do not have the money of waking up and commuting to town, you are removed from the database of the unemployed people.  Believe it or not.  You are no longer unemployed once you stop looking for a job!

AZAPO is not in the habit of hiding the plight of Azanians behind statistics.  If we give you the full and raw picture of the unemployment rate in South Africa, AZAPO will reveal that the figure is 37.2 in the Second Quarter of 2018, which increased from 36.7 in the First Quarter.  The lives of Black people are deteriorating under the rule of the ANC-led government.

Even according to the official or contracted version of 27.2%, the number of unemployed people rose by 103 000 to 6.08 million from 5.98 million in the First Quarter of 2018.  The number of the employed people fell by 90 000 to 16.29 million from 16.38 in the previous quarter.  The Survey tell us that the loss of jobs took place in informal sector which lost 73 000 jobs; the formal sector lost 35 000 jobs; while 3000 jobs were lost in the agricultural sector.

These figures represent people, and negatively affect the lives of human beings.  These human beings are Black people the majority of whom are already poor.  We know that about 55% of the population are living below the poverty datum line, which is itself, just like the official unemployment version, a statistical way of hiding the real poverty of Black people in South Africa.

The way things stand, you might say there is no incentive for being educated.  First, education is unattainably expensive.  Yet there is no guarantee that the young graduate will get a job.  Of course, having a qualification is better than no one at all.  The unemployment rate of young graduates stands at 11.9%, and that is “more than two times higher than their adult counterparts at 4.4%.

AZAPO is worried that the sector of the people referred to as the future is worse off.  The youth sector faces an unemployment rate of 38.8% compared to the adults at 17.9%.  The simple meaning of all this is that there is no future under the ruling party that has plunged the country into a New Down for 24 years.

To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue 23

For all comments and inputs, please click here, we thank you in advance.


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