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AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue Number 40

AV40


AZAPO LAUNCHES ITS 2019 ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN

On 1-2 December 2018 AZAPO will launch its 2019 Elections Campaign at the Edendale Lay Ecumenical Centre in Pietermaritzburg.

The Centre has been specially chosen due to the historical relationship it has with the Black Consciousness Movement. Some of the BCM historical meetings include the 1971 presentation by Steve Biko of his Paper ‘Some African Cultural Concepts’ at the IDAMASA Conference, the 8 July 1972 BPC meeting that led to the launch meeting and the 1973 SASO NEC meeting.

To return to the Centre is part of a political move to reconnect with the constructive spirituality of the formative stages of the BCM. This move represents the recognition that 2018 marks a significant milestone of the 50th anniversary of the BCM.

The Leadership of AZAPO considered it appropriate to take the Elections Launch to a location where the BCM‘s ancestral spirits could be summoned and be advised that their Movement remains as potent and vibrant as ever despite the challenges of the electoral politics.

The National Council is held under the theme Black Power, Our Weapon for Land and Socialism.

In recent times AZAPO has made commendable strides in the direction of consolidating and sharpening the weapon of Black Power for Land Reconquest and the establishment of an anti-racist socialist republic of AZANIA

Without any noise, AZAPO has been moving with speed to launch a number of Branches in the various Provinces. The rural folks, women and young people seem to be more attracted towards AZAPO. This is an interesting development for AZAPO, because such social groups are more susceptible to making up their minds and changing allegiances. In the past, AZAPO used to appeal a lot more to the educated and urban people. Historical allegiances have been distorted by the ability of the ruling party to dish out patronage in terms of tenders and jobs for those singing its tune.

The National Council will entertain policy discussions flowing from the Papers that relate to areas like Tactics & Strategies; Culture, Language & Spirituality; Labour; Education; Economy; Commerce & Industry; Poverty & Inequality; Crime; Science, Technology and Innovation.

There have been refreshingly critical debates leading up to the National Council. All indications are that there will be no holy cows. Nothing will be taken for granted. AZAPO will undergo a strategic repositioning and a corresponding institutional reconstruction. Resistance to change and tensions are inescapable. And it is not tranquillity, but such tensions that will propel AZAPO forward.

The area of Tactics & Strategy will seek to grapple with positioning AZAPO in electoral politics and identifying new constituencies and alliances for both electoral politics and the intensification of the Azanian Revolution.

The area that is sure to ruffle feathers is the one that will investigate if there is a need to re-interpret and re-articulate the Black Consciousness philosophy in the 21st Century. Despite the theoretical and ideological acceptance that BC is a dynamic philosophy, it is never easy for the established liberation movements to conduct a re-introspection to validate themselves. The tendency is to try and do the impossible of slowing down the time and re-adapting the masses to fit to the Movement.

AZAPO President Strike Thokoane will lead our launch for the 2019 Elections. AZAPO has no choice but to do well.


POLITICIANS TO STOP PLAYING TO THE GALLERY

When Amilcar Cabral warned us to “tell no lies, claim no easy victory”, the revolutionary theorist was acutely aware of the dangers of populist rhetoric in the cause of the revolution.

It is tempting, especially in an epoch of bourgeois democracy, for politicians to play to the public gallery, essentially saying what they believe the public, and by extension the voters want to hear.

One instance that this cheap populism can be dangerous is when politicians besiege the courts, leading members of the public to nudge the courts to deny suspects bail. The call by the politicians to urge the presiding officers to deny suspects bail may be in harmony with the expectation of the public but may not be in the interest of justice.

It is in this regard that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s warning to politicians in particular and to members of the public in general that they should allow the judiciary the space to do its work should be welcomed. Mogoeng went further to state the obvious. Denying the suspect bail should not be seen as part of the sentence, which can only be given after the suspect has been convicted.

In line with our law, which states that suspects should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, bail can only be denied to advance justice. In other words, bail should be denied if it can be shown that the accused is a flight risk, or if it has been demonstrated that the accused will interfere with the investigation or intimidate witnesses. Otherwise suspects are entitled to bail. And there is actually very good reasons for that. Chief among these is the fact that a suspect can be held in custody for anything from two years to even five years waiting for trial, only to be acquitted at the end of the trial.

Politicians, especially those in positions of State power, should stop playing to the gallery, spewing bile, “we urge the courts not to grant the accused bail”. They should rather help educate the people that bail is not equivalent to an acquittal. It is important to contribute to the restoration of public confidence in our judiciary.

AZAPO is a principled organisation that believes in sticking to the truth, at all times, even at the risk of losing followers.


GIVE AZANIA A MORE HUMAN FACE

Without culture or a value system, human beings can just behave like other creatures in the animal kingdom. As Afrikans, one of our cultural heritages is Ubuntu, a set of value systems that is sadly fast disappearing.

When Dutch settlers led by convicted fraudster Jan van Riebeeck landed on our shores on 6 April 1652, in three ships – Reiger, Dromedaris and Goede Hoop, many of them were very sick. They were vulnerable. Our forefathers could have annihilated them. But in an act of kindness, Ubuntu, our forefathers gave them shelter and food. They also assisted them to settle. Welcoming strangers comes naturally to Afrikans. It is who we are. As Afrikans, we share the little we have with others.

Our forefathers only started fighting with the Dutch settlers when there was a clash of cultures. The European culture was that of plunder, of land theft and of subjugating other people.

Our cultural value system explains how we relate to the most valued asset – land. Afrikans do not own land as individuals. We have a system of communal ownership, whereby a community or a tribe own the land. In fact, we hold the land in trust for our children and their children.

This is why in areas where Afrikans occupy the land, they do not have title deeds. They know that it is their land but there is no piece of paper that confirms ownership.

But in a capitalist society, a system that focuses on the individual, is the embrace of Afrikan culture, of Ubuntu, a liability? Does our orientation of moving together and not competing against the other, work against us as other people accumulate wealth at our expense?

Currently, corruption has been identified as the biggest threat to our democracy. The unbridled pursuit of money and wealth is at the heart of the rising acts of corruption as the culture of Ubuntu has been replaced by the western-inspired culture of greed that has its roots in capitalism.

Our historic mission as AZAPO is not just to help analyse society but to change it. As our founding father, Bantu Biko stated: “In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face.”

Is it possible to achieve this when our souls as Black people have suffered the corrosive effects of capitalism that has turned many of us from being agents of Ubuntu to greedy and selfless chasers of wealth and money without regard to others?

In addition to being a political movement, AZAPO appreciates the power of culture in shaping the kind of society we want to build. We do not need to look far. Our forefathers cared for other people. They had Ubuntu. We too can use that heritage as an anti-thesis of this barbaric system of capitalism that focuses on wealth accumulation and not on the well-being of humans.

The infinite quest for true humanity is what drives AZAPO.


THE XHOLOBENI JUDGEMENT RETURNS POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Last week the North Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of the Xholobeni community that no mining can take place without the full and formal consent of the community with customary connections to that land.

This is a battle that has been running for years.  The people of Xholobeni who belong to the broader Amadiba community of Umgungundlovu have resisted the despotic move by the ANC-led government to give a mining licence in relation to the titanium-rich sands coastline to an Australian mining company called Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM).

Not surprisingly, the ANC-led government joined forces with the foreign company to oppose the April 2018 court application of the Xholobeni community to defend the land and minerals they have historically been connected to for centuries.

The corrupt politicians and the foreign mining company have sought to divide the Xholobeni community by offering bribes to some community activists. That is how the local traditional leader, who used to fight on the side of his people, is said to have turned against his people and joined the imperialist mining company and the ANC-led government in this land struggle. He was reportedly offered an expensive luxury car and additional benefits to buy him away from his people. It remains to be revealed just how much the politicians and their political parties must have benefited in terms of massive bribes.

Where the community activists rejected the bribes, intimidation and assassinations have been used to silence the community activists. Fearless Xholobeni community leader Bazooka Radebe was assassinated in March 2016 under those circumstances.

Strangely, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and the foreign mining company relied on the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002 (MPRDA) to seek to rob the local people of their mineral resources. The MPRDA empowers the Minister to grant a mining licence to a mining company against the will of the land owner. Under this Act, the communal land owners of Xholobeni cannot stop mining on their land. And a real threat exists under that Act which amounts to them being forcefully removed in the same despotic manner that took place under the white settler-minority regime.

However, the Xholobeni community relied mainly on the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPILRA) of 1996. The Act provides that people with customary rights to land enjoy “informal rights” to the extent that they cannot lose their land or its riches without their consent.

On the contrary, the ANC-led government and the imperialist mining company argued that MPRDA supersedes IPILRA because the MPRDA strips the land owner of the right to refuse mining from taking place. Judge Annali Basson disagreed and ruled that the Acts must be read together.

AZAPO salutes the Xholobeni community for standing up for their rights. This community understands that the value of their land cannot be equal to money. The land carries their identity, cultural values and their entire history. The graves of their forebears are connected to their land. Black people understand the connection of land to African Spirituality.

That is why AZAPO follows the political line that stipulates that the land and everything above and beneath it shall be owned by the Azanian people through the State.


To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue Number 40
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