To: Ministry of Justice,
Hon. Minister Mr TM Masutha
From: AZAPO SG Mr Z Cindi
Date: 27 October 2017
Subject: OCTOBER 19TH 1977 BANNING OF BCM ORGANISATIONS and RECLAIMING OUR ASSETS
The formation of the University Christian Movement (UCM) in 1967 created an environment for Black students to come together to evaluate the issues and problems facing Black students in campus life in particular and the situation of Black people in general and as a whole. At the next meeting in Stutterheim Black students agreed on the need for a nationally representative Black student organisation. It is that decision that gave birth to (SASO] South Africa Student Organisation in July 1969 at (SOVENGA) University of the North in the then Pietersburg now Polokwane.
- It was not long before SASO became a thorn in the side of the colonial, racist, illegal apartheid government by defending the collective dignity of Black people against harsh treatment by the white racist society. The desire for freedom by Black people as articulated and spearheaded by SASO gave birth to the Black People’s Organisation(BPC) and this led to more new formations across the spectrum of the Black nation resulting in at least 17 organisation espousing the philosophy of Black Consciousness and constituted what was to be known as the Black Consciousness Movement(BCM).
- It is these BCM organisations that agitated the Black nation and saw it pitted in a relentless fight against the racist white minority to rid ourselves of the chains of oppression and colonialism. This epic fight against colonialism racism and capitalist exploitation was accentuated in the 1976 June 16 uprisings that epitomised the spirit of resilience never seen before in this country.
- It is now history that on the 19 October 1977 these organisations of the people were banned by the illegal racist regime of the past. The few names of these organisations recalled herein for posterity are the: South African Students Organisation(SASO); Black People’s Convention(BPC); Black Community Programmes(BCP); Union of Black Journalists(UBJ); South African Students Movement(SASM); National Association of Youth Organisations(NAYO); Black Women’s Federation(BWF); Black Parents Association(BPA), Medupi Writers Association; Mihloti Arts Commune; and the ZIMELE TRUST FUND.
- Equally it is a historical fact worth noting that after these bannings of October 1977 that the Azanian People’s Organisation(AZAPO) the now flag bearer of Black Consciousness and the heir to SASO and BPC was founded in April 1978 to carry on with prosecuting the struggle for total emancipation to this day.
- Set of Demands
5.1 RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
To you Hounarable Minister, forty (40) years later here in Tshwane, once called Pretoria a citadel of repression and Nazism, now a beacon of hope since the dawn of democracy in 1994 we submit. The dawn of participatory democracy in 1994 is undoubtedly among many strides of resistance a result of this era in our national liberation struggle. We look to you for a positive response. We stand here as AZAPO at the doorstep of the department of justice, which is to be regarded as the highest office of justice in the land to demand restorative justice.
5.2 RETURN OF OUR ASSETS
Mr Minister the assets of our movement taken illegally then are now under your auspices. It is for that reason and respect that we present these demands to you. Our request Mr Minister is that your department and government return to us AZAPO all assets confiscated illegally by the government that now rest on your shoulders.
5.3 Constitutional Precepts on Injustice
It is our sincere belief Mr Minister that as the founding document of our country’s democracy post 1994, our constitution behoves you to rectify the injustice meted to us. To illustrate our point we refer to the preamble of the constitution the following words below:
Recognising the injustice of the past,
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land
Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights….”
5.4 Quantification of Assets
These words Mr Minister, standing here with you shoulder to shoulder at the doorsteps of our justice system, crystalise our deepest quest for justice as AZAPO.
A cursory glance at our assets then Mr Minister tells us that the government of today have to return to us, AZAPO these assets worth an estimated R30 million then made up of but not limited to in the form of Bank Accounts that were frozen; our printing machines and facilities held at our offices of SASO in Durban; at our BPC offices at Chancellor House in downtown Johannesburg; the machines and facilities at the leather project in Njwaxa in the Eastern Cape, assets of Zimele Trust Fund, assets of BCP in the form of machines and various Bank Accounts that were frozen including from some of its community projects, all material(books.etc) confiscated by the Department of Correctional Services at the Kgosi Mampuru facility at the conclusion of the SASO/BPC Trial in 1976,to name but the few.
In conclusion Mr Minister, it suffices to quote the late hero of our struggle, Steve Biko in summary and say “ We have set on a quest for true humanity and somewhere in the distant horison we can see the glittering prize. In time we shall be in a position to bestow upon South Africa the greatest gift possible- a more human face”.
Therefore Minister the greatest gift to Biko is to return what belongs to Biko to Biko.
One Azania! One Nation!