MESSAGE FROM AZAPO PRESIDENT : SEASON’S GREETINGS TO ALL
It is only a number of hours before many will be happy to see the back and end of 2018. A turbulent year indeed with scandals of unprecedented proportions being exposed. For it is during this year that the most horrendous experiences of maladministration and mismanagement of State resources was revealed, pointing to serious problems in all sectors of our society.
Cadre deployment rot and corruption were laid bare in the education, health, housing, service delivery and savings bank sector. As if learning under trees and mud schools was not bad enough, 2018 saw more school children dying in toilets. Families losing their loved ones in the Life Esidimeni scandalous saga at the hands of a callous and uncaring MEC of Health in Gauteng. MEC Qedani Mahlangu continued with “her studies abroad” as Life Esidimeni death toll continued to rise.
The stealing of hard earned savings of poor families and the most vulnerable citizens shocked us even further with the VBS scandal. The Nugent and Zondo Commissions exposed very senior government officials’ involvement in acts of corruption. The VBS bank scandal also saw those who claim to be on the side of the poor being involved in looting the meagre life savings of the same poor people.
Racism continues to rear its ugly head once again in the country. The government appears to be too weak to attend to it. The Clifton beach case is just but one example. There are many such incidents that remain unexposed. It is equally sad and depressing to note that the year ended with fatalities on our roads as people were travelling around the country to be with family and friends as they enjoy the festive season.
As we usher the year 2019, AZAPO wishes the people of AZANIA a prosperous year that will be characterised by: –
- Good health: which does not only mean absence of disease but the following of healthy lifestyles found in them engaging in physical exercise more often and a religious observance of good primary health care practices.
- Vigilance and careon the roads especially by those who have to travel back home and in preparation to earn a living at their workplaces to be extra careful on the roads. People are urged to avoid drinking and driving as well as drinking and walking on the roads.
- Counselling to be given to those matriculants who would not have made it when the results are announced to note that failure is not the end of the road as there are other alternatives
- Accelerated programs aimed at addressing the land question.
- AZAPO urges all people of voting age to register to vote on the 27th – 28th January 2019 in order to put their “X” on the ballot paper when the time comes.
- Lastly, AZAPO wishes Banyana Banyana to do well in their endeavors on the world stage.
COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON TO ALL
Strike Thokoane – President of The Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO)
THE CLIFTON BEACH PROTEST PUTS RACISM ON THE POLITICAL AGENDA
On 28 December 2018 Black protesters ambushed the Clifton beach in Cape Town and slaughtered a sheep to, as they said, “cleanse the demon of racism”.
There have been conflicting reactions to the sheep slaughtering. The usual outcry of white racists hiding behind the SPCA were quick off the mark in condemning the act as cruelty to animals. They acted in unison with the white residents of Clifton who are accused of hiring a private security company to harass and remove Black people from the beach. The matter is under investigation because no one wants to take responsibility for hiring the security company. The DA-ruled City of Cape Town has also distanced itself.
For those who may have forgotten, the beaches in South Africa were segregated on the basis of colour under the apartheid laws. It took struggle by Black people to liberate the beaches from the imposed “whites only” tags. The Clifton beaches of this racist world were among those that were inaccessible to Black people in the country of their forebears.
Racism did not end with excluding Black people from resources and opportunities, it went further and undermined their culture. Their religion was dismissed as superstitious. Their languages were not developed as languages of business, law and science. They were not allowed to practice their spirituality which sometimes included the slaughtering of animals. While racists were notorious for perpetuating cruelty against Black people for centuries, they were all of a sudden activists pretending to protect animals against “cruelty”.
By-laws were imposed to forbid Black people from practicing their rituals which require animal slaughtering. Middle class Black people who reside in the white suburbs have to migrate to the townships and villages when they have to do their customary ceremonies.
Black people fought hard over the decades for the recognition of their customary rites by the South African laws and public policies. White racists suggested that Black people had to slaughter the animals in a “non-cruel” way that excludes pain. Shooting the animal was one of the ways proposed by the “know-all and experts” over the lives of others. They said that the animal would die instantly without being subjected to torture and pain. What they did not know is that African customary ritual requires the blood spilling and the yelling of the animal. Black people do not assassinate an animal for customary rites. They slaughter it.
The Clifton protest should be viewed in the context of Black people finding struggle spaces to raise their voice about the racism that is still rife in South Africa despite the black faces displayed in public offices.
The Clifton protestors are not naive to think that they were indeed practicing a spiritual ritual, because that would require it to be done in line with specific protocols at certain places.
In that regard, AZAPO salutes the bold action of the Black protesters who successfully put the matter of racism in South Africa on the political agenda of the Azanian Revolution.
EDUCATION REMAINS THE BRIDGE TO DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPERITY
The release of Matric results on 4 January 2019 will be the culmination of a very difficult academic year in the education calendar of Azania.
It was an academic year that was characterised more by issues of ill-discipline and disruption of teaching and learning, the epitome of which was the stabbing to death of a teacher in a Lehurutshe school by a learner.
The year basically highlighted the challenges that are faced by education in the country; and this does not paint a good picture about the future of education in Azania.
Despite all these challenges, there is a need to applaud the learners who remained focussed and did well under the circumstances. We salute the teachers who did their best in ensuring that learners were ready for examinations even if it meant working 7 days a week.
The Department of Basic Education must revisit the issue of post allocation to schools. Former Model C schools are able to appoint extra staff using the School Governing Bodies (SGB) funds. Consequently, they are able to deal with reduced loads in classrooms. Township and village schools do not enjoy such luxury.
The results for private school candidates, those who sat for the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) certificate have been released earlier than those from the public schooling system with a pass rate of 98.92%, an improvement from the 98.76% achieved in the previous year. This will worsen the anxiety among the thousands who are still to wait a bit longer for their results. But that is the price you pay for allowing parallel education streams that are differently resourced. The unfortunate result is that the IEB results seem to be preferable to the institutions of higher learning and employment sector.
Nevertheless, AZAPO remains hopeful that the results will average more than the 75,1 % recorded last year to afford a respectable number of learners access to higher education. A negative result will be indication that a bigger number of Black learners will be condemned to joblessness, poverty and crime as an escape route.
Issues relating to funding for access into higher education remain unresolved. We however remain hopeful that the government will prioritise assistance to all the learners who qualify for university enrolment. That should help minimise the growing number of the youth that are unable to be absorbed anywhere after completing Matric.
The Higher Education and Training Department will have to avail all possible resources to assist schools in dealing with learners who may not have performed well during the past year. Assistance must be provided to prepare learners for supplementary examinations, and also help those who could not write all the subjects to qualify for certificates.
Schooling needs to be stabilised this year to ensure less disruption and more purposeful teaching and learning. The government need to be more decisive in the appointment of school managers to ensure that qualified people are appointed in areas of responsibility so that we can have effective schooling. It is disappointing that despite the fact that investigations were made to establish facts behind the sale of posts in schools, no action has been taken against those identified as culprits. It is high time that the Basic Education Department takes charge and ensure that poor communities are not short-changed and disadvantaged by corrupt individuals who view teaching as an opportunity for self-enrichment.
2019, THE YEAR OF CHANGE
As usual this time of the year, many people will be setting their New Year objectives. Many of those objectives will be personal. That is welcome.
But AZAPO calls on the people to move a step further and set political objectives upon which the personal objectives are anchored. Our personal objectives to find a job may not be met if the economy is mismanaged in such a way that it sheds jobs. The homeless may not realise their objective to have a decent home of their own if the government policies do not prioritise decent housing for the poor people closer to places of employment. Our children may not achieve their objectives to pursue their educational objectives if the institutions of learning keep them outside by imposing impossible exclusionary entry standards, while educational fees are out of reach for the poor parents.
2019 is the year in which the country’s General Elections take place. That means the voters can use their voting power to not only set their objectives, but move a step further to realise those objectives. That will happen if they take a bold step and take their power back by removing political parties and politicians that abuse and misuse the power they are entrusted with by the electorate. Once the necessary removal is done, the voters must take the next bold step and give their votes to political parties like AZAPO, which use Black Consciousness and Steve Biko as their political guide to do what is right for the people and the country.
The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), of which AZAPO is the leading organisation, was able to do what was right for Black people even during the rule of the white settler-colonial regime. We built clinics like Zanempilo in Ezinyoka village in the Eastern Cape where we provided primary healthcare. We established a number of self-help community projects under the banner of the Black Community Programmes (BCP). AZAPO pursued that self-reliant legacy through its various community projects like the Community Health Awareness Project (CHAP), which was headed by the assassinated People’s Doctor Abubaker Asvat. If AZAPO and the BCM were able to do what was right for Black people during the times of naked oppression and colonialism, you can imagine how much more it can do when the voters have given it the electoral mandate to use State power and resources to actualise the liberation of Azanians.
The importance of what AZAPO is raising will soon be clear when Black students will be queuing for places at the various universities without any success. It will soon be clear when Black parents will be hopping from school to school as their children will be rejected in the various white suburbs. That will be the time when they will realise that they needed to vote for a party like AZAPO, which will build the schools in the townships and villages and equip them to provide quality education.
If the voters continue to be jobless, homeless and poor, they need not look any further for the cause of their hardships. Their hardship is caused by how they vote. 2019 is the year for the voters to do the right thing and vote joblessness and poverty away.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 1
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ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION !