THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING AZAPO
The Azanian People’s Organisation would like to thank most sincerely all the people who voted for AZAPO in the May 8 National and Provincial Elections.
In order to understand the results of the elections, it is important to appreciate that elections in a bourgeois democracy are essentially about resources. Parties with deep pockets are able to launch much more effective campaigns and convince the voters to vote for them. The current political system also serves the interests of the incumbent. For example, parties that are represented in Parliament are given money to run their affairs. However, this money is allocated proportionally to the number of seats that each party has in parliament. In other words, the governing party gets a lion’s share of this allocation. Parties, such as AZAPO, that are not in parliament do not get State funding.
Private companies also tend to fund political parties that, in their view, best represent their business interests. In other words, parties that champion the interests of monopoly capital are likely to get funding because they would ensure capitalism as a system is safe. This explains why leftist parties such as AZAPO attract virtually no funding from the corporates.
The other variable in the elections fortunes of a political party is its ability to manipulate voters. Some parties would attract voters by making false promises, while others would appeal to voters by exploiting their fears as we have seen with the growth of the right-wing party such as the Freedom Front Plus. AZAPO has resisted the temptation of voter manipulation and opted to heed the advice of Amilcar Cabral when he stated: “Tell no lies, claim no easy victories.” AZAPO’s main message for this election was that there was no magic wand but that Black people, inspired by Black Consciousness, should use education to be the masters of their destiny. When they are in charge of their land, they should grow the economy so that they can create jobs for themselves and produce food to feed themselves.
AZAPO has always maintained that the oppression of Black people by whites was not an accident of history and that no amount of pleading will convince the white people to stop exploiting Black people, but rather Black people should assert their political and economic freedom so that they can attain self-determination. Black people have secured political freedom, but economic freedom remains a mirage, flickering in the horizon. In the run up to this election, virtually all parties made promises of creating the much-needed jobs. But this is an empty promise because sustainable jobs can only be created in an environment of economic growth. In other words, the private sector must come to the party and so far, the private sector has been reluctant to invest in the growth of the economy.
The other variable in the election was the element of the disgruntled voter. Millions of our people who feel betrayed by the lack of delivery by the governing party decided that they would shun the polls. In some areas where people have specific complaints against the government such as Vuwani and some parts of the Eastern Cape, people did not only boycott the elections but actively worked to discourage others from voting. This is regrettable because those who are not happy with the status quo should in fact have a stronger motive to vote against the current government. But many of our people are trapped in the false belief that there is no alternative to the governing party. For them, it is either the governing party or nothing. This does not produce any change.
After the results of this election were officially released, AZAPO was subjected to the same question that the movement gets after every election: Voters are seemingly rejecting you, is it not time to close shop? When AZAPO members are confronted with this question, they should remember that AZAPO has a historic mission, that of restoring the dignity of Black people by first repossessing the land and establish a Black Consciousness inspired government that will champion the interests of Black people through quality education, quality health and other progressive programs designed to destroy the colonial architecture of the economy. This is why AZAPO exists and it will continue to exist for as long as the majority of Black people are landless and stay in mikhukhu. AZAPO will continue to exist for as long as Black people are trapped in poverty without basic services such as water and sanitation. AZAPO will continue to exist for as long as Black people are living without hope because AZAPO is the hope of Black people.
In the next few days, a new cabinet would be announced, and things will continue very much like before. The plea that we make to Black people is that we should not disengage from our political system. We have no other country but this one and we should make it work. AZAPO should lead Black people to campaign for stronger institutions of governance so that the corrupt are not allowed to capture the State for their benefits and their friends in the private sector. AZAPO should lead Black people in programs that advance the interests of Black people such as supporting the call for quality education and quality health care in all our public healthcare facilities.
The battles to champion the interests of the majority Black people can be waged from everywhere, including in legislatures, but are not confined to parliament. The struggle against ignorance and for the restoration of the dignity of Black people continues and must be intensified.
“IS BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS STILL RELEVANT?”
That was the strangest of questions AZAPO President and his co-panellists were subjected to on an SABC programme known as Unfiltered this past Sunday. This is a question that predates the democratic era which started with the 1994 General Elections. This irrelevant and baseless question is not about to cease to exist.
The question is baseless and uninformed in many ways. The first question to ask, as a way of exposing how politically and theoretically empty is the question, is: “What is Black Consciousness?” The answer to that is obvious. BC is a philosophy.
That is not enough. You need to ask yet another question. What is a philosophy? Steve Biko and his Comrades in the Black Consciousness Movement answered that question more than 50 years ago. And AZAPO has kept the explanation alive ever since. The answer has always been that BC is a way of life and an attitude of mind. More specifically, BC is the way of life of Black people and their attitude of mind that is given rise to by their very same way of life. Those who use difficult language would say BC is the existential conditions of Black people which engenders a definite collective mindset. Nowadays, those who are “woke” call it the Black Condition.
Of what intellectual relevance would then be the next question? “Is the way of life of Black people and their attitude of mind relevant?” If you did not notice, your attention is drawn to the fact that this intellectually bankrupt question is the same as the serial one, “Is Black Consciousness still relevant?”
There is therefore nothing as irrelevant as asking if the Black Condition is relevant. It is the reality of the life of Black people. It is not of their choosing. Their choosing resides in the fact that they have used BC as an ideology to change their political and economic circumstances. That is what is referred to as the struggle for Land, Liberation and Socialism under a protracted movement of the Azanian Revolution.
The relevant question that could have been relevant would have been to ask if the political organisations that champion Black Consciousness are still relevant. There would still be a need to qualify the relevance. Relevant for what? If the question arises with regards to the poor performance of AZAPO in the Elections, the right question would be to ask if the strategies used by AZAPO in contesting Elections are relevant for it to grab the attention of the voters. That question makes intellectual sense. And that is the question that AZAPO should strategically answer to turn its political fortunes around. Judging by AZAPO’s electoral performance, the truth is that AZAPO needs to change its strategy.
The point we have clarified here is that the poor election results of AZAPO is not directly linked to the rejection of BC by the electorate. Not at all. On the contrary, some organisations with resources have used some BC pronouncements with huge success.
Lastly, if you look at the poor election results of Christianity-aligned political parties, you would expect that another foolish question would be asked all the time: “Is Christianity still relevant?”
SWEARING IN STALEMATE
The country is about to be held at ransom after the ruling party’s Deputy President David Mabuza’s postponement of his swearing in as a Member of Parliament. His President Ramaphosa hastily issued a statement explaining that Mabuza “made the request in light of a report by the ANC Integrity Commission in which he is alleged to have prejudiced the integrity of the ANC and brought the organisation into disrepute”.
If the much-vaunted “tradition” of the ANC’s Deputy President also becoming the country’s Deputy President, and followed by an expectation to succeed the President, is anything to go by, then the country should expect that there might be a temporary but unsettling void in the appointment of a Deputy President.
What is puzzling is why would this Commission call to question some names only on the eve of the swearing in of Members of Parliament into the National Assembly. The ANC NEC saw nothing wrong with all the names despite many of them were said to not pass the integrity or morality test. Some of the names were already mentioned in the State of Capture Report, while others cropped up every now and then at the Zondo Commission in connection with corruption. Other candidates were found by the courts of law to have lied under oath. But the ruling party still believed the integrity of all the names in its List were beyond reproach.
Apparently, the so-called Integrity Commission tabled a report at the party’s recent National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where issues were raised about some people it thought were not worthy of availing themselves for public office.
In a strange move, the NEC did table its List before its Commission, which then felt incapacitated because it did not have the sufficient powers to remove some dubious names from the List other than recommending to the same NEC, which seemed happy with the List. It is not clear why would the “dirty” List be taken to the voters for endorsement in its questionable form. It is now history that the many voters endorsed the “dirty” List. What cannot be known for sure is whether the 10 million that stayed away from the polls were in fact disgusted by being taken for granted by some political parties. However, it could still be argued that the voters had some alternatives from which to choose.
Some of the names the ANC Integrity Commission reportedly proposed for disqualification include David Mabuza, Gwede Mantashe, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Fikile Mbalula, Thabang Makwetla and Zizi Kodwa. Already, two of the ANC Top 6 has been fingered here. Though not named by the ANC Commission, almost the entire Top 6 has been mentioned in a bad light in many other processes. ANC’s Magashule’s name has been popping up like a popcorn every time corrupt names are mentioned. There is a whole book written about his alleged scandals. He has done nothing other than to threaten to take the author to court. That remains a blank shot for now. Ramaphosa has still to fully explain how it came about that his party’s presidential campaign was bankrolled by a corrupt business organisation like Bosasa. He blew hot and cold and retracted some of his initial statements in parliament. What an embarrassment for the “New Dawn”, which had all of a sudden become a New Down.
It remains to be seen if Ramaphosa will dump the man who helped him win the ANC Presidency with a narrow 24 votes. Meanwhile, the so-called Zuma faction that is holding Ramaphosa by the scruff of the neck through its numerical strength in the NEC is said to be putting forward the name of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the country’s Deputy President.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 19
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