MASTERS OF THE ART OF DECEPTION
You must give it to them. South Africa’s ruling party has mastered the art of deception. Yes, they have perfected the skill of manipulating public opinion to advance their political interests. Little wonder that they have managed to remain in power despite a poor record of delivery of promises made in their election manifestos. They are experts on deception.
It is only the ruling party that can ask you to get onto a train that is heading to Johannesburg but expresses shock when the train arrives at Park Station. “We are shocked, we are here!”
In the latest of their political gymnastics, the ruling party has not only expressed shock but also went on to stage demonstrations to protest against a decision by the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, ordering the release of murderer of liberation hero Chris Hani, Janusz Waluś, on parole.
Gauteng Premier and ANC Gauteng Chairperson Panyaza Lesufi, known to be among those ANC leaders referred to as constitutionalist because of their open support for the rule of law, was at pains to explain why his party had besieged the Constitutional Court in protest against the court following its ruling on Hani. The explanation was pure hogwash.
The simple truth is that the ruling party wants to have its cake and eat it too. They know that Hani was one those icons of our liberation struggle who still enjoys adoration by the majority of the people of South Africa. And because of his huge popularity, if you were to release his killer, you would draw public outrage. As it is, there are some polls that suggest that the ruling party will not retain its majority in the national elections. The last that the ruling party needs right now is the anger from the people for releasing the killer of Hani. So, what do they do? They pull a stance that creates an impression that they are totally against the release of Waluś and that they would continue to fight that Waluś is not released on parole. They know very well that this is just an act. The horse has already bolted.
But what is the benefit of this act? Ordinary members of the public will be misled into believing that the ruling party was not part of the “reactionary” judiciary that released the killer of Hani.
This is cheap politics, but the ruling party has consistently benefited from these acts of organised deception. When it is convenient, the ruling party does not stop telling anyone who cares to listen how it gave us this “best” Constitution in the world. It is the same Constitution that allowed the abortion of justice through the Truth and Reconciliation Act. The TRC rendered our just and righteous struggle for freedom against colonialism and land dispossession criminal. It is because of this “universally admired” Constitution that our selfless freedom fighters such as Hani, Letlapa Mphahlele and Skaap Motsau are common criminals just like Eugene De Kock and other apartheid killers.
The same Constitution articulates conditions for parole. In terms of the law, Waluś meets the criteria for parole and that is the reason the Constitutional Court has ruled in the manner it ruled. Judges, as powerful as they are, do not make the laws. They simply interpret the law and that is what they have done when they ruled that Waluś should be released.
If there is anybody who should take the blame for what the Constitution says, it is those who wrote and passed it in parliament, not the judiciary.
The screaming match by members of the ruling party and their allies, castigating the Constitutional Court on its decision on the killer of Hani, should be seen in the broader context of a ruling party in decline which has resorted to populism to remain relevant in desperate attempts to stay in power.
THE PAIN OF AFRIKAN FOOTBALL
It should have been a great joy for Switzerland player Breel Embolo to score his first goal in the FIFA World Cup. But Embolo refused to celebrate his goal that secured Switzerland’s victory over Cameroon. Reason? Embolo was born in Cameroon. In his heart, he is still a Cameroonian citizen.
Embolo is one of the galaxy of Afrikan stars that ply their trade outside the Afrikan continent, mainly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. One of these Afrikan stars is Timothy Weah, the son of Liberian president and Afrika’s most successful player George Weah, who plays for the United States of America.
Many European countries have fielded soccer players from the Afrikan continent as they compete against Afrikan countries. It is common knowledge that the most successful football players would want to play in Europe, where there is more money. This explains why many Afrikan players would prefer to play for their adoptive countries, shunning their mother countries.
The exodus of human capital from the continent is as old as slavery. The difference is that during slavery, Afrikans were hunted, captured and put on ships to take them to Europe and the Americas. Today, it is Afrikans who volunteer their talent and labour to the western countries in search of better economic prospects.
And because there are more Afrikans wanting to emigrate to Europe and North America, these countries have the luxury to choose the best of the most skilled and qualified Afrikans. Afrikan countries spend billions of their currencies educating professionals such as medical doctors and engineers but only to lose them to the western countries after they have qualified.
Those Afrikans with less skills are refused entry into these more economically developed countries. The cream of the crop is allowed in, to be part of those countries’ economic and social infrastructure. Armed with the best brains and skills, the western countries retain their positions of dominance over the Afrikan continent. This is how the West continue to under-develop the Afrikan continent. Afrikan human capital is driving growth in the West at the expense of Afrikan countries.
With limited human capital on the Afrikan continent, there is limited economic growth which results in poverty and unemployment. Due to lack of industrialisation, politics become the only way to better economic prospects and that is why Afrikans literally kill each other to access political power.
It is time for Afrikans to do a proper diagnosis of the factors that are arresting development on the continent and offer concrete solutions so that Afrika can stop being used to subsidize the economy of other countries both in the West and East. If we succeed in changing the current trend, we may see the best of Afrikan soccer players playing for their Afrikan countries. But more importantly, we may see Afrikan countries retaining their best professionals who will help drive the renaissance of the Afrikan economy.
CDE MATHATHA TSEDU THANKS THE SESHEGO COMMUNITY
Black Consciousness stalwart and veteran journalist Mathatha Tsedu hosted a unique function over the weekend in Seshego outside Polokwane. The function was to thank members of the Seshego community who stood by him and his family during the period of his banishment in the township.
The guest speaker at the function was Freedom Park Chief Executive Officer Jane Mufamadi. The function was also attended by AZAPO honorary President Mosibudi Mangena, AZAPO veteran leader Don Nkadimeng and AZAPO Provincial Chairperson Pat Moyaha.
In his address, Moyaha praised Tsedu for not forgetting those who stood by him during the dark days of apartheid. “Our problem is that we forget too easily. Those in power have forgotten about the suffering of our people. They have even forgotten what the struggle was about. That is why they even steal money which was supposed to help patients at Thembisa Hospital.”
Tsedu said his family decided to host the function to express gratitude to the Seshego community members who were brave to offer support to him in the face of open intimidation by the security police who had wanted to ensure that his banning meant that he lived in total isolation.
Tsedu was a journalist and a freedom fighter in his own right when the apartheid regime imposed a five-year-banning order on him which confined him to Seshego. He continued his political work to increase political consciousness of the people by working at a Community Advice Centre which had an office at Lutheran Church.
He told the gathering that he advised many dismissed workers that they were in trouble mainly because they were not members of a trade union and urged them to join a trade union.
Tsedu lived by the teachings of Mao Tse Tung who said a freedom fighter should rely on his community just as a fish relies on water. It is that strong connection between the freedom fighters and the community that created semi-liberated zones where freedom fighters would be largely protected from arrest by the security police.
The function on Saturday serves as a reminder that our struggle for freedom was waged with the support of ordinary people. If people can remember their modest, yet not insignificant, role in helping the prosecution of the struggle, they may be revived to rekindle the belief that they have the power to change the political situation for the better. Currently, virtually everybody is lamenting the state of our politics. As a nation, we seem to be on a free fall. However, perhaps if we remember that it was ordinary people, without RPG-7 or Mig-31, who brought the regime to its knees.
The people have the power to determine their own destiny. It is up to us to use it.
THE RACIST BELINDA MAGOR
The decision by the Azanian People’s Organisation to stage a picket at the residence of Belinda Magor, following her racist insults on Black people, is a demonstration that AZAPO is a defender of the dignity of Black people.
Magor made headline news through her racist rant in which she insulted Black people in general, saying they raped, killed people and that they were worse than the pit-bulls that some were calling for a ban to be imposed on breeding them.
AZAPO has opened a case against Magor. However, Magor has since been released on warning and her case has been postponed until March next year.
AZAPO Voice condemns that attitude of the law enforcement agencies over what appears to be a kid-glove manner of dealing with racists.
If the law enforcement agencies viewed the utterances of Magor as serious as they should be viewed, she should have been locked up. Her case should have been prioritised so that it is processed quickly to send a very strong message that this country does not tolerate racism. However, the manner in which the case is being handled suggests that it is not a serious matter.
The decision by AZAPO to stage a protest demonstration at her home will help tell the public that Black people are outraged by the racist utterances.
These are not just words. They are a calculated attack on the dignity of Black people in general. Racists should not be allowed to operate freely in our country. Black people must demonstrate that they will not allow racists to insult them with impunity. If the law does not come to the defence of Black people who are victims of racism, then Black people are within their right to do anything in their power to protect their dignity.
The State has an opportunity to educate all people that it is against racism. How this matter would be dealt with will either confirm our long-held belief that the State still suffers from apartheid hangover as many of those who were active agents of apartheid still hold positions of authority or change our view that the State has suddenly woken up to the reality that racism remains a serious threat to our stability.
So far, the State has been found wanting. The racists seem to have a free reign. The racists have analysed the State and concluded that it is soft on racism. That is why they can openly insult Black people and even urinate on their books and laptops.
AZAPO, THE CUSTODIAN OF BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS AND BIKO
It is not in vain that the founders of AZAPO proudly declared the organisation as the flagbearer of Black Consciousness and the custodian of Biko.
AZAPO is the organisation that is the political heir to the legacy of Biko and the revolutionary history of the Black Consciousness Movement. It took AZAPO and the sacrifices of its members to keep Biko politically alive and engraved in the hearts of the people the world over.
AZAPO is the leading organisation of the Movement that addressed the primary healthcare needs of the people right inside the domain of the white settler-colonial regime. The Zanempilo Clinic remains standing strong in Zinyoka Village near eQonce as a reminder of what the BCM could do for the people even under hostile circumstances. AZAPO pursued this Biko-inspired self-help project under the Community Health Awareness Programme (CHAP), which was under the leadership of Dr Abubaker Asvat.
There are many more community self-help projects that AZAPO initiated during both the settler-colonial and the democratic eras. The political and cultural significance was more pronounced during the misrule of the settler-colonial regime.
This was in line with the principle of self-reliance and popular sovereignty. We could not fight to overthrow the alien regime and still rely on it for our livelihood. In AZAPO’s principled view, the Azanian masses should never have been condemned into the desperation of being grateful to their enemy.
AZAPO has resolved to #ReLioniseAZAPO by rebuilding itself into an action-oriented organisation that will serve as the weapon and shield of the Azanian masses towards the repossession of the land, liberation and socialism.