THE FINANCIALISATION OF SOUTH AFRICAN POLITICS
Before the advent of democracy, which means before 1994, money did not play a decisive role in politics even though it was still important. Moneyless organisations like AZAPO could still exist and wage the struggle effectively despite poor financial resources.
The exiled BCMA and AZANLA could effectively pursue the armed struggle despite non-recognition by both the OAU (now AU) and UN. Recognition by those organisations opened floodgates for weapons plus financial and material resources. As a matter of fact, the scarcity of such resources forced the Black Consciousness Movement to be self-reliant. Crowd funding from its members and supporters was sufficient to keep the BCM going strong in the revolutionary struggle.
Enter parliamentary democracy. The role of money was so elevated that it became decisive in the course of the electoral politics. Everything became money. Money was going like torrential rains in the direction of the ruling party because the capitalists and imperialists wanted to have a strong grip on the policies and strategic direction adopted by the ruling party. In that sense, there was indeed no free lunch.
The pattern of election results soon displayed a dangerous reality that the votes polled by a political party were proportionate to the amount of money it invested in the election campaign and the build-up thereto. Truth and political correctness did not matter anymore. Money equalled truth and political correctness.
Powerful and influential journalists were on the payroll of the parties that had access to the abundant monies of the capitalists and the imperialists. What came out of the electronic and print media was no longer determined by newsworthiness or the need to inform. Everything was determined by money.
The political analysts were not spared. Most of them were hired to say what they were saying. It was no longer political analysis, but the reading of a script written by the ruling parties in accordance with the prescripts of capitalism and imperialism. Journalists and political analysts had become praise singers of their clients who foot the bill for their supper.
The financialisation of politics led to a political anomaly where parliamentary parties came up with laws to keep the rest of the political parties outside the parliamentary gates through impossible financial deposits before they could contest the elections. If a party outside parliament managed to empty its resources on the deposits, it would therefore be left with nothing to wage a meaningful campaign. Mind you, the capitalists and the imperialists backed only their established ruling parties to the exclusion of the new entrants.
The only time the ruling parties were threatened of losing the access to the abundant financial resources of the capitalists and the imperialists was when such ruling parties started to sing capitalists tunes off-key. That was the time capitalist money migrated elsewhere for regime-change purposes. Sometimes the capitalists and the imperialists did not completely remove an off-key ruling party. They merely financed new choristers as understudies to indicate to the ruling parties that they were not indispensable. This situation can be seen in motion in South Africa where some of the opposition parties are heavily and secretly funded by the same capitalists to intimidate the ruling parties to toe the line.
On the side of the people there was the understandable but unrealised belief that the era post-1994 was the era of reaping the fruits of the struggle. As a result, the masses lowered their struggle guard waiting for the dropping of this manna from the political heavens. Self-reliance had become a casualty in both the people and the political parties. The ruling parties found the people so desperate that they could hire the people to attend the political rallies through free transport, free T-Shirts and food parcels. Besides, there was free entertainment at the stadiums by popular but favoured artists that were also hired through the capitalist money.
This is how the truth became the casualty. Poverty and desperation also forced the people to disregard the political content in the organised activities and instead concentrate on the fact that there was some relief for them. The voting tended to be rationalised to express gratitude to the relief and bid for its sustenance.
Organisations like AZAPO stood little chance if they went to the communities empty-handed armed only with their political correctness and struggle credentials. Indeed, poor and desperate people cannot eat political correctness and struggle credentials.
The impact of the financialisation of politics impacted negatively on organisations like AZAPO. It kills self-reliance that used to be the lifeblood of these organisations. Mimicking the members of the ruling parties, AZAPO members soon expected that they will be bussed to meetings, clothed and fed. They expect to see popular artists performing in a stadium filled to capacity like it happens with the ruling parties. Meanwhile, the community members expect the same treatment for them to attend AZAPO political activities.
This financialisation of politics is so bad for democracy, and even worse for sovereignty and self-determination. If money has become the decisive factor in politics, that means any force with money can capture the South African politics. As they say, the one who pays the piper calls the tune.
There was a time the leader of the ANC revealed that her party had spent more that R1 billion in that election. The ruling party tried a spin and claimed that it actually spent far less than its leader had made it out to be. It now turns out that its leader Cyril Ramaphosa fundraised more than R1 billion just to become the president of the party. That is not the same as the ANC contesting General Elections where it is expected to spend a number of times more than Ramaphosa did. So, how many billions of rand does the ANC actually spend in an election? Where does that ruling party get all that money. Well, the Zondo Commission revealed that such money comes from corruption done in Guptas, Bosasa, VBS and many such elements of corruption.
The leaked “CR17” emails show that, while the Zuma ANC faction was captured by the Guptas, the Ramaphosa faction is captured by the Ruperts and the Oppenheimers of white monopoly capital. The financialisation of politics has effectively captured the electoral politics. The Azanian Revolution needs to heighten the awareness of the masses and intensify the struggle to defend the sovereignty and self-determination of our country. We dare not forget that the struggle goes beyond participation in electoral politics to the waging of the struggle for land reconquest, liberation and socialism.
STRONG ALTERNATIVE TO THE RULING PARTY NEEDED
Albert Einstein once said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Despite our collective denial as a country, the problems that our country face today were created by the ANC. And much as we may not want to hear it, the ANC is unlikely to solve the problems it has created. The evidence is there for all to see. The economy is shedding jobs. Corruption continues unabated.
Of course, many may disagree with the assertion that the ANC is incapable of solving the country’s problems. One of the main reasons for this denial is that many people are unable to imagine South Africa without the ANC at the helm. And because of that, they have to split hairs. They have created a new reality in their heads. They have to pin the problems facing the country on former President Jacob Zuma. Even senior leaders who were very central to Zuma’s administration freely and confidently talk about the “wasted 9 years under Zuma.”
These people create two ANC’s. The one ANC is led by Zuma and his supporters including the party’s Secretary General Ace Magashule. This is the ANC that business leaders wanted to stop from retaining power when they gave money to the so-called CR-17 campaign, that was designed to catapult Cyril Ramaphosa into the presidency of the party and by extension to the Union Buildings.
The second ANC is led by Ramaphosa and has fashioned itself as fighting corruption and State Capture. Sadly for Ramaphosa’s ANC, there are revelations that undermine the narrative that his administration is clean and would rid the country of corruption.
The disciples of Ramaphosa’s ANC openly argue that had he not accepted the millions from countless donors who wanted him to be president, there is no doubt that he would not have become president and the Guptas would by now have brought the country to its knees.
Despite his accession to power, the dark clouds are gathering. The economy is in a bad state. Unemployment is extremely high, with four out of ten people without a job. Government debt is rising. And this is worsened by parastatals that are milking the fiscus of billions of rands such as ESKOM and SAA.
South Africa appears to be on its way to the World Bank and IMF, with a begging bowl for loans. These instruments of imperialism – the World Bank and IMF – have destroyed many developing countries throughout the world. Their recipe is simple. They prescribe to the countries applying for the loans to privatise State entities and to cut the public service wage bill. These measures create social and political instability and in no time, the country is up in flames.
As South Africans, we need to look at the bigger picture and avoid the World Bank and IMF debt traps. But first we have to sort out our politics. The obese nature of the ANC will kill South Africa. We need to develop strong alternatives to the ruling party.
As Einstein has warned: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
QUEST AGAINST CULTURAL IMPERIALISM
Our struggle against colonialism and apartheid for national liberation and self-determination was waged in three fronts. Firstly, it was a struggle against political oppression, directed at the oppressive settler-colonial regime. Secondly, it was a struggle for economic freedom which would be attained through the repossession of our land and the wealth of our country. Thirdly, it was a struggle against cultural imperialism and against the subjugation of our culture by the white minority regime.
While there is a great deal of attention paid to political and economic freedoms, there is limited focus on the restoration of our culture and the use of culture as a weapon for freedom.
The Dutch settlers, who later called themselves Afrikaners, used the Christian faith to justify their policy of racial segregation. They selectively used the Bible to force Black people to accept white rule, quoting the Biblical verses such as Romans 13: 4 “The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good,” and Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them…”
They also used scriptures that forbid the Jews from marrying gentiles. And in the context of apartheid, this meant that whites should not marry across the racial line. The apartheid regime passed the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act in July 1949, basing this on the Bible.
But the regime did more than that. In order to totally subjugate Black people, they started a comprehensive program to mentally enslave Black people. Everything black became evil and sinful, and everything white became good and godly. If one was too dark, this was considered ugly. And the opposite applied. African traditional beliefs were dismissed as black magic, evil and satanic. The test of civilisation meant the embracing of white culture and their religion.
As we continue on the protracted road for genuine liberation in Azania, AZAPO Voice salutes two outstanding Azanians – Zozibini Tunzi and Gogo Aubrey Matshiqi.
Tunzi, an African beauty queen from rural Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, was crowned Miss SA last week. She is not pale. She has short hair. Her looks are a problem for the mentally oppressed because their definition of beauty is through the European prism. They struggle to accept her as Miss South Africa. In fact, a Black radio station even conducted a poll, essentially questioning her beauty. How sad?
AZAPO Voice welcomes Gogo Matshiqi’s embracing of his ancestral calling. For far too long, traditional healers were associated with uncivilised, unsophisticated and uneducated people. How refreshing it is to hear great political analysis being delivered by Gogo Matshiqi in his traditional healer’s regalia.
The struggle against cultural oppression continues and these two outstanding Azanians have made a huge contribution to advance our quest against cultural domination. We salute them. Aluta!
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 30
ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION!