VOTE AZAPO TO REVERSE THE APRIL 27, 1994 BETRAYAL
Depending on your economic status, April 27 can be a day worth celebrating or a source of huge frustration.
Let’s start with the good. If you are a beneficiary of policies brought about by the democratic government such as Black Economic Empowerment, Affirmative Action and other policies designed to redress the effects of apartheid and colonialism, April 27 is perhaps a good day for you.
If you had no proper shelter and you were staying in a shack and the government has built you an RDP house, supplied electricity and water to your house, then you perhaps have reason to celebrate April 27.
There are other less tangible but equally important dividends of democracy. Before 1994, Black people were not allowed to contest elections and vote for the parties of their choice. This is no longer the case.
Before 1994, the sick went to racially divided hospitals; our children went to racially segregated schools; and certain beaches were only opened to whites. Even though the economic means remain distributed along the apartheid racial lines, there is no law enforcing the racial segregation.
In the post-apartheid era, the country has a liberal Constitution that protects everyone. This is generally good for many people. There is perhaps reason to celebrate.
But there is another category of people – the majority of Black people. These are the people who do not have jobs. They do not have houses and still stay in mikhukhu. They lack basic needs such as water, electricity and sanitation. Many of them do not know where their next meal will come from. They live in abject poverty. They have no land. They have no education and above all, they have no hope. These people have little reason to celebrate April 27. In fact, many of them see this day as the day that marked the beginning of the shattering of their dreams. For they had hoped that once democracy has been attained, their lives would change for the better. For them, the so-called rainbow nation is a mirage, flickering on the horizon to be pursued but never attained.
25 years down the line, 30 million of the population are condemned to abject poverty, while about 10 million are jobless. With the neoliberal policies, there is no hope that the land will be returned to its rightful owners. It now becomes clearer why AZAPO boycotted CODESA and the 1994 Elections that brought us this mess.
As May 8 election date is approaching, AZAPO needs to connect with the majority of the people who have lost hope and remind them that their destiny is in their hands. The poor, who are victims of grand-scale corruption that robbed them of a better life through improved healthcare system or better education or economic growth that would have resulted in more jobs, should be reminded that they can use their vote to change their lives. They do not have to tolerate abuse by corrupt politicians. They can get rid of incompetent politicians and replace them with more caring leaders who respect the will of the people. It is not too late to create conditions that will make April 27 as a day to rejoice and celebrate.
“VEERING OFF COURSE”
Just when the Christians were busy remembering the betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, former President Thabo Mbeki was busy telling the Nation that he was now ready to campaign for the ruling party.
He said he could not do the same when his organisation was led by former President Jacob Zuma. He mocked those from his party who were going around claiming they had “a good story to tell”, when in fact his party had “veered off course”.
From the onset, let us make it clear that it is Mbeki’s choice to be active, or not to be active in his party. It is his party, after all.
If Mbeki stopped campaigning for his party because it had “veered off course”, an impression might be created that his party is now on course. That is far from the truth.
Judging by the revelations at the various commissions of enquiry that are in session in the country, his organisation seems to be continuing to veer off the course of the goals of the liberation struggle. It is in fact overturning into a freefall down the cliff of corruption. Chances of it being saved are almost zero.
The “wasted 9 years” narrative of the ANC is misleading because it seeks to reduce the “wasted 25 years” and put the blame on the small shoulders of one Zuma. The evidence placed before the commissions show that it is the ANC that is corrupt. It also shows that corruption in the ANC did not start and end with Zuma. It goes as far back as the Mandela administration.
Some corrupt leaders in Mandela’s Cabinet died before they could be summoned to answer to corruption questions. The Arms Deal corruption precedes the Zuma administration. That was the reason why Mbeki had to go and answer at a judicial commission, which turned out to be a dismal waste of the country’s resources as the terms of reference were crafted to make it difficult to get to the truth.
We know that corrupt elements like Jacky Selebi, who was convicted of corruption while he was the police commissioner, came before Zuma’s term of office. We also know how National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Adv Vusi Pikoli was pressurised to not charge Selebi.
Also, we know that the Ginwala inquiry exonerated Pikoli, and could not find him unfit for his office as was hoped by then President Mbeki. Even so, we know that “caretaker” President Kgalema Motlanthe, who filled the gap of a fired Mbeki, still would not reinstate Pikoli despite the inquiry’s finding in his favour.
In fact, President Ramaphosa and many others in government were there working with Zuma as he was destroying the country’s institutions. Ramaphosa oversaw Eskom and SOEs during Zuma’s term of office. Ramaphosa was the one leading the notorious E-Tolls in Gauteng.
It is Ramaphosa who was given R500 000 by a dubious Bosasa company to win the ANC presidency. It is an open secret that the Bosasa company was the one bribing Ministers and government officials in return for “winning” tenders outside the set rules.
You should by now see that we are now giving the bad story of the ANC’s “veering off course”. It is not one person that “veered off course”. It is the whole organisation and its leaders.
It is against this background that Mbeki’s recent promise to campaign for his organisation cannot be “a good story” for the voters insofar as it pretends that the ruling party is now clean with the departure of Zuma.
He is right to work for his organisation. But his choosing to do so should be separated from the false promise that there is now a new and clean organisation.
BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS AND SELF-RELIANCE
One of the fundamental values of Black Consciousness is self-reliance. It is out of independence that a person can assert their real worth and identity.
There are all sorts of self-reliance and independence examples. They range from territorial independence or sovereignty to ideological and personal independence. A country that is hopelessly dependent on others in terms of the economy or defence cannot be in a position to speak its mind in international relations. It will be dictated to by those it is hopelessly dependent upon. It also cannot criticise those countries.
Granted, there is no country that can completely be insulated and isolated from other countries, which are responsible for the global systems of governance on various fronts. But the relations are usually voluntary and by choice. Where one country is dependent on the other for sugar, the other country may in turn be dependent when it comes to maize. That is inter-dependence, which is technically a form of independence because a country has space to bargain.
For the institutions of learning, this self-reliance or independence is called academic freedom. The media call theirs freedom of the media or editorial independence, while the judiciary calls theirs judicial independence. There are established rules, norms and ethics that safeguard the independence of the various institutions even when some may be technically “dependent” on others for funding. Where the Judiciary appears to be funded by the Executive, that apparent dependence is misleading because the resources actually belong not to the Executive but the State. The Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive are all arms of the State whose relationship is governed by the norms and principles of the Doctrine of the Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances.
Nowhere is the value of self-reliance or independence as critical as it is in the waging of the revolution. You cannot be fighting an enemy and still depend on it for funding and ideas. Such a revolution is bound to be stillborn.
The Black Consciousness Movement knew this. And that was why it formed the Black Community Programmes (BCP) to establish and run self-help projects in the Black communities. That was designed to deprive the enemy of the moral high ground of being perceived to be good and helpful to the masses it was oppressing and exploiting. By being independent or self-dependent, the masses began to live the value that they are their own liberators.
AZAPO is one of the few political parties that enjoys political and ideological independence because it has the moral uprightness to ensure that it rejects funding that will compromise its political principles and take it off its revolutionary path. But there is a cost that must be paid for that independence. That is lack of financial resources. Even so, AZAPO will not steal from public coffers. Nor will it take dirty money from the Guptas or Bosasa.
AZAPO has politically nurtured its members and leaders in a manner that teaches that principle is sacrosanct. You should rather be poor than betraying the principles of the Azanian Revolution. You should die like Biko did rather than betraying the principles of the liberation struggle.
Principle is sacrosanct. And corruption is treason. Service and sacrifice are the weapons that keep us armed to protect our values of self-reliance and independence.
COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD MUST UNITE AGAINST US AGGRESSION
The United States’ dominance of international affairs is the biggest threat to world peace. And the scariest part is that there is no force across the globe that offers a counter-balance to mitigate the bullying tactics of the self-appointed policeman of the world.
When the US domestic interests were threatened by the decision of Saddam Hussein to sell the Iraqi oil in euros and not in US dollars, the Bush administration invaded his country with the sole aim of removing him from power. In order to justify the invasion, (not that they need to explain their aggression to anybody), the US lied about Iraqi having nuclear weapons. This has since been proven to be a complete fabrication. But there were no consequences after the US invasion that brought the country to its knees and claimed the lives of more than 600 000 people. Iraq remains in tatters even today.
After removing Saddam from power by sponsoring his murder, the next target was another leader who had also decided to stop selling his country’s oil in dollars to sell it in euros, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The mission to remove the popular Libyan leader proved more difficult because he had a huge support of his people. The result was a civil war which is still continuing to this day. Yes, Gaddafi was killed and with his death Libya became one of the most unstable countries in the world.
Earlier this week, the US government announced that sanctions on Iran would be intensified. Iran, which generates most of its revenue from oil exports, was already under US imposed limited sanctions which allowed at least five countries – China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey – to import oil from Iran. This waiver has been removed because the US has now decided that Iran oil exports should be zero. This is pure economic strangulation. When the Iranian government runs out of money, inflation would spiral, there will be intense mass protests and the country would be unstable.
The same recipe was used in Venezuela, the country with the biggest oil reserves in the world. Because of US imposed sanctions, Venezuela’s economy has collapsed. People have no access to basic services such as water and electricity. The shops are empty. And guess who is standing at the border wanting to bring food parcels into the country – the United States.
These US engineered sanctions are harming the world. Apart from war-related hunger and diseases killing thousands of people in the targeted countries, the oil bans have a devastating effect on the world economy. Oil prices across the globe have sky-rocketed, resulting in higher inflation and lower economic growth. As a price-taker in oil, South Africa is not immune from this US-created crisis.
What makes the US even a bigger threat to world peace is the fact that it has Donald Trump as its commander-in-chief. It is extremely easy for any country to meet the criteria of threatening the domestic or security interests of the US. And when that happens, you are a target of US fire-power.
Those who value world peace should realise that the current scenario is undesirable. Too much power in one country threatens global peace and stability. Perhaps it is time for countries of the world to unite against the international bully in the White House.
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ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION !