The Poor Against The Gendarme ANC Government In South Africa
"Kudlalwa Ngathi"("We Are Being Played and Abused")
The ANC Must Eradicate and Reverse Patronage and Corruption
As we reflect on this critical statement, "We must be mindful of the prescient observation by Fanon that the post-colonial reality provides ample evidence that national liberation movements ultimately became transformed into their opposites and often replicated the style and practice of their oppressors. The neocolonial socio-economic trajectory that they adopted for their liberated countries degenerated into a patronage-based and corrupt system that progressively eschewed freedom of expression and human rights and also marginalized the poor," that in the end we get a perfect characterization of the ruling ANC-led government in South Africa today.
Post 1994, the ANC was virtually forced to adopt a neocolonial socio-economic paradigm that was propagated by the World Bank and the IMF. It also adopted its values of selfish individualism and wealth creation. The outcome was never in doubt and African South Africans have now achieved the unenviable status of being the 'most unequal society in the world.'
Without doubt there have been great changes in South Africa since the ANC took power in 1994. Millions of poor people have been lifted out of the poverty trap, thanks to welfare support payments. But contemporary South Africa manifests the shortcomings envisaged by Fanon and there is a dark underbelly because the socio-economic situation has worsened for the majority of the poor. South Africa’s Human Development Index ranks below that of many comparable developing countries with much lower levels of GDP. Life expectancy has deteriorated and child mortality has risen in comparative terms. This has substituted the rigid, racially classified apartheid social structure with a stratified class society by the present Ruling ANC-led government.
Given the fact that unemployment, especially among young people, that has stayed at crisis levels for the past three years and poverty remains pervasive for the majority of the poor, there's a need to seriously rethink about the development strategy that must adopted going forward. Under President Zuma there are indications that the ANC is seriously considering a new development paradigm that will put the poor at the centre of development policies. The work of the National Planning Commission is an inspirational bit and one hopes it will focus the attention of the whole nation and be concluded speedily.
For the ANC, as the party in government, this moment calls for visionary leadership and decision making. Patronage has become a systemic political tool that promotes corruption. It is undergirded by an electoral law and the system of governance that flows from it because it gives power to the political parties.
In this situation, the political party chiefs decide on the selection of public representatives. It is this centralized control that has spawned the patronage that is now tearing the ANC apart and inhibiting progress in national development. The electoral law is the most critical source and cause for the patronage, corruption and faction fighting that is at the heart of the instability within the ANC in all regions.
The call for change is loud and immediate, today as we speak or write. What then must be done to arrest this untenable situation? Patronage and corruption have been condemned by all in the top leadership of the ANC but it continues to grow, especially as Mangaung political shindig draws nearer[This will discussed as an update post Mangaung]. The time has come to accept and implement the recommendations of the 2003 Frederik van Zyl Slabbert report on a hybrid proportional and direct electoral system.
The goodwill that would flow from this decision would also enhance the ANC brand value as a party that is sensitive to the mood and desire of the electorate. The quality of the representative would also improve as well as the standard of accountability. Another decision that would improve the image of the ANC, especially among rural women, is to pull back the Traditional Courts Bill. In its current form it entrenches traditional feudal authority practiced by traditional leaders.
It has no place in contemporary South Africa as envisaged in the liberation struggle and vision. A vast majority of the women of South Africa(Africans) are oppressed, repressed and violated physically and murdered in more ways than one. A nation whose women are subjugated by dumb men will never give birth to a strong and future nation
Unification Of Leadership Is A Dire Need
It isn’t the most prudent thing one can do and it isn’t encouraged. Of course you will hear those in the ANC say it is, but we know it is not. When one does so, one is often attacked and comments like “Polokwane-griever” and “enemy of the national democratic revolution” abound. But I will do such a thing because, as my main man Drake puts it, “YOLO! You only live once.” So YOLO you ninjas!
We have a very insecure ANC leadership at the moment and nothing weakens a movement more rapidly than poorly conceived indecisive decisions, weakness and corruption at the top. Everything said that might be constructive — said without being sycophantic — is seen as an attack and a broadside. The ANC 'exile laager' mentality sets in and imaginary enemies are set out. Those who criticize for want of a better ANC are bullied into silence through the loud bully pulpit of the powerful and vicious deadly raw force.
To quote the man who would be the Yoda of the ANC, Nelson Mandela, “It is a grave error for any leader to be oversensitive in the face of criticism. I know he wouldn’t be sensitive over being called a Yoda, for example. Again, those who dare speak out, often speak of the hunger and suffering that follows their outspokenness.Other speak of how business opportunities dry up.
So that, the intention of this Hub is to bring out the voices of the African people, splurge them on the Web and make them as viral as much as possible, because there is a pressing need for them to tell their story of the past 18+ years of ANC rule, in their own words, what they are really going trough in South Africa.
"Other people in the private sector who might agree with the sentiments become complicit in encouraging the weak leadership by stepping in to claim those business opportunities as they allow their morality to be guided by nothing other than the pursuit of money. Bravery in private but cowardice in public should be neither encouraged nor praised.
"We know that there are many in the ANC who lament the transformation the organization has undergone. No one is happy with the ANC, with the exception of those who worship at the altar of the 'Tender'. There are many who want to be happy with the ANC but are not given room to say how the ANC could be turned into a better place because there are too many big but fragile egos.
"There was a time when people were proud of the ANC. Yes, today they are still proud. But their pride always points to the past, never the present. The present pains and disappoints them and leaves them in despair. Yet in their despair they always leave room for hope because they know that the organization can do better. They cannot and will not allow it to be broken in their lifetime."
They can’t dishonor those who came before. What shall the people say when they see them in the afterlife? Will African South Africans be ashamed or will they be proud? Will they say, “Well done, good and faithful servants of the movement,” or will they say, “Away from us!” The latter answer and attitude seems to be percolating on the fringes of the political reality that characterizes the present reign of the discombobulated South Africa under ANC rule.
Of course there is no leadership in the world that can be proud of everything it has done. Even the great saints of the ANC such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu have regrets — but these are dwarfed by their achievements. In its 2001 document, Through the Eye of a Needle, [this has a ring of Davidson "In the Eye Of The Storm sense], that the ANC outlines the attributes that will help identify a true leader. Unfortunately, it would appear as though those guiding principles have been ignored, as has been demonstrated by the so-called “Anyone But Zuma” movement.
One of the points the document makes is this and I quote, “Those in leadership positions should unite and guide the movement to be at the head of the process of change. They should lead the movement in its mission to organize and inspire the masses to be their own liberators. They should lead the task of governance with diligence. And, together, they should reflect continuity of a revolutionary tradition and renewal which sustains the movement in the long-term.” Having observed the ANC-led government, they seem to be farther from the propositions above than at any other time now and in the foreseeable future.
From the one paragraph we can already see the many flaws in their leadership:
- The people have not been inspired to be their own liberators; the state has made sure that the people are dependent on it. Thus, the party remains as their liberator and shackles them to itself.
- Some areas of government have been led well and the task of governance has been done diligently, unfortunately there is less than desired.
- The sustainability of the movement at this rate is questionable.
Point 35 of the document says, “A leader should constantly seek to improve his capacity to serve the people”. Unfortunately, many of our leaders are interested less in improving their capacity to serve, and more in increasing their chances to lead again and gaining materially for their inaction. There is a big difference between the two.
Point 37 of the document then goes on to say, “A leader should lead by example. He should be above reproach in his political and social conduct — as defined by our revolutionary morality. Through force of example, he should act as a role model to ANC members and non-members alike. Leading a life that reflects commitment to the strategic goals of the national democratic revolution includes not only being free of corrupt practices; it also means actively fighting against corruption.”
It hardly needs to be stressed that the cadre of the ANC is more for corruption, obfuscation and arrogance towards the cries, please and needs of the poor African masses
Having looked at all the points presented on the ANC document it is clear that the ANC does not apply this with rigor and forthrightness when selecting leaders. This document might as well be burned, for no one follows its guidelines.
In my estimation, the document was written to ensure that not just anyone could become a leader because they think they can lead the movement; they should lead because they have ticked all the boxes. Being an ANC leader was meant to be difficult, not easy — for leadership is not easy. But the present leaders are not making their task easier by permitting corruption and other social malaise to reign supreme.
The title of the document is taken from the Book of Matthew chapter 19 verse 24 in the Bible. A rich young ruler asks Jesus what he needs to do to get to heaven. Jesus tells him what to give up. The young man leaves because he is not prepared to give these things up, then Jesus says to the crowd, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
If we are to use this metaphor or biblical aphorism, the ANC are really not doing well, and they are at present fattened fat-cats who rule through ignoring the poor and using cronyism and crude nepotism to arrogantly and greedily enrich themselves with the nations coffers without any shame nor let-up.
The needle Jesus was speaking of is not the same as the one you think of. The “eye of a needle” Jesus spoke of was a gate in Jerusalem, which only opened after the main gate to the city was closed at night. A camel could only pass through a smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed and had to almost crawl to enter.
Therefore, a leader should be willing to let go of his baggage in order to be worthy of leading the ANC: in order for them to get through to the people be one with them. This is what is hard for the ANC to let go off-the Gravy Train and all what it has to offer them-personal wealth and self-arrogated power. They behave as if their voting polity had not sense nor consciousness to speak of or realized or to be respected. On top of that, they are unwavering when it comes to using brute force to crush dissent.
THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
There is a serious need to have a realization that the Poor masses are human beings and that their humanity needs to be restored and respected. Acknowledging that Humans are humans, not Blacks, Whites and other disrespectful references to others, needs to be weaned away from the psyche and consciousness of a people who, as human beings understand and realize and know what "Ubuntu" and consciousness is all about-if humans on this planet can do it in other lands, so too can Africans in Africa and South Africa exercise the same human nature, capability and ability to know and consciously deal with their environment and existential reality.
Julian Jaynes helps put this perspectives about human consciousness and their knowing and being aware of consciousness as being consciousness, thus making them "be" Umuntu/Motho(Human). Jaynes informs us thus:
"Some concepts need to be nailed down perfectly in order to begin the process of understanding a few things: the fact that Africans are not unconscious: which is a fiction and fallacy is what I am about to write about is what we need to have a serious understanding about consciousness and Ubuntu, or we will forever dwell in the La-la-land. What am I talking about? For example, when asked the question, what is 'consciousness'? And most of us take this 'consciousness of consciousness' to be what consciousness is. This is not true. In being conscious of consciousness, we feel it is the most self-evident thing imaginable.
"We feel it is the defining attribute of all our waking states, our moods and affections, our memories, our thoughts, attentions, and volitions. We feel comfortably certain that consciousness is the basis of concepts,of learning and reasoning, of thought and judgement, and that it is so because it records and stores our experience as they happen, allowing us to introspect them and learn from them at will. We are also quite conscious that all this wonderful set of operations and contents that we call consciousness is located somewhere in the head.
On critical examination, all of these statements are false. They are the costume that consciousness has been masquerading in for centuries. They are the misconceptions that have prevented a solution to the problem of the origin of consciousness; to demonstrate these errors and show what consciousness is not, is a gargantuan and humongous task, which will be culled into a précis for expediency.
For example the phrase, "To loose consciousness" after receiving a blow on the head. But if this were correct, we would then have no word for those somnambulistic states known in the clinical literature, where an individual is clearly not conscious and yet is responsive to things in a way in which a knocked-out person is not. Therefore, in the first instance we should say that the person suffering a severe blow on the head loses both consciousness and what I am calling 'reactivity,' and they are therefore different things.
This distinction is also important in normal everyday life. We are constantly reacting to things without being 'conscious' of them at the time. Sitting against a tree, I am always reacting to the tree and to the ground and to my own posture, since if I wish to walk, I will quite unconsciously stand up from the ground to do so. I am rarely conscious even from where I am. In writing, I am reacting to the pencil(keyboard) in my hand(Fingertips) since I hold on to it(am pressing the keys), and am reacting to my writing pad(or keyboard).
Since I hold it on my knees(as I do my keyboard) and its lines(the scrawling on the screen), since I write upon them, but am only conscious of what I am trying to say and whether or not I am being clear to you. In this case, you can replace writing pad with screen and pencil with the keyboard. If a bird burst up from the copse nearby and flies crying to the horizon, I may turn to watch and hear it, and then turn back to this page without being conscious that I had done so. In other words, 'reactivity' covers all stimuli my behavior takes account of in any way, while consciousness is something quite distinct and a far less ubiquitous phenomenon. We are conscious of what we are reacting to only from time to time. And whereas reactivity can be defined behaviorally and neurologically, consciousness at the present state of knowledge cannot.
But let us go further. Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so, consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not.
The timing of 'consciousness' is also an interesting question. When we are awake, are we conscious all the time? We think so, in fact, we are sure so! I shut my eyes and even if I try not to think, consciousness still streams on, a great river of contents in a succession of different conditions which I have been taught to call thoughts, images, memories, interior dialogue, regrets, wishes, resolves, all interweaving with the constantly changing pageant of exterior sensations of which I am selectively aware. Always the continuity. Certainly this is the feeling. And whatever we're doing, we feel that our very "Self," our deepest of deep identity, is indeed this continuing flow that only ceases in sleep between remembered dreams. This is our experience. And many thinkers have taken this spirit of continuity to be the place to start from in philosophy, the very ground of certainty which no one can doubt. "Cogito, ergo sum"(I Think, Therefore I am)..."
This is clearly understood by the Poor people of South Africa and they are acutely aware of their consciousness about consciousness which in the final analysis allow them to "Be": "we think, therefore they are aware that the Are". Ignoring the beingness and consciousness of the collective poor is arrogance unbridled, which is not good governance nor true and real leadership, and will finally lead to the fall of the present ruling African petit-bourgeois African vulture, predatory elite. Lying to the people is one of the most gave errors that can be committed by any leadership of any country; worse, to think of the masses as being unconscious, dumb and illiterate and stupid, is to commit leadership suicide… That is why Democracy is still not function to full effect nor any effect, for that matter.
Critical Consciousness-Naive Consciousness: Literacy and Ignorance
"In a Democracy, no one ignores everything, just as no one knows everything"
Mannheim says that "as democratic processes become widespread, it becomes more and more difficult to permit the masses to remain in a state of ignorance," and Mannheim would not restrict his definition of ignorance to illiteracy, but would include the masses' lack of experience' in participating and intervening in the historical process...
We began with the conviction that the role of men and women was not only to 'be' in the world, but also to engage in relations with the world, but to engage in relations with the world that through acts of creation and recreation, we make cultural reality and thereby add to the natural world, which we did not make. We were certain that the people's relation to reality, expressed as a Subject to an Object, results in knowledge, which men and women could express through language.
This 'relation,' as it is already clear, is carried out by men whether or not they are literate. It is sufficient to be a person to perceive the data of reality, to be capable of knowing, even if this knowledge is mere opinion. There is no such thing as absolute ignorance or absolute wisdom (No one ignores everything, just as no one knows everything). The dominating consciousness absolutizes ignorance in order to manipulate the so-called 'uncultured.' If some men are totally ignorant," they will be incapable of managing themselves, and will need the orientation, "direction," i.e., the "leadership" of those who consider themselves to be "cultured" and "superior (Alvaro Pinto). And to find these men, one has often look for them amongst and in the midst of the masses of those thought to be 'dumb' and 'illiterate' in more instances than not.
But men and women do not perceive those data in a pure form. As they apprehend a phenomenon or a problem, they also apprehend it's causal links. The more accurately men and women grasp true causality,the more critical their understanding of reality will be. Their understanding will be magical to the degree that they fail to grasp causality. Further, 'critical consciousness' always submits that causality to analysis; what is true today may not be so tomorrow. 'Naive consciousness' sees causality as a static, established fact,and thus is deceived in its perception.
This is what the present rulers or leaders of South Africa want to see instilled in the masses, not in a way the uplifts them or upgrades their sordid condition, but dumbs them up and down. Oppression, depression and all techniques-of controlling and misleading and misdirecting the masses, often leads them go begin to develop their own skills of critical thinking, along with self-criticism (a la Mao)
Critical consciousness represents things and facts as they exist empirically, in their causal and circumstantial correlations ... barren consciousness considers itself superior to fact, in control of facts, and thus free to understand them as it pleases. Magic consciousness, in contrast, simply apprehends facts and attributes to them a superior power by which it is controlled and to which it must therefore submit. Magic consciousness is characterized by fatalism, which leads men to fold their arms, resigned to the impossibility of resisting the power of facts.
Critical consciousness is integrated with reality; bland consciousness superimposes itself on reality; and fanatical consciousness, whose pathological naïveté leads to the irrational, adapts to reality. ... Once man perceives a challenge, understands it, and recognizes the possibilities of response, he acts. The nature of that action corresponds to the nature of his understanding. Critical understanding leads to critical action; magic understanding to magic response.
From being aware of consciousness of consciousness to critical, unknowing and magical consciousness, we know that these states of evolving consciousness is what we will read about below in the Hub when the Abahlali and other poor peoples challenge the ANC behemoth and try to gain basic human rights and dignity of the poor had to interrogate in their opposition of the present government to their, economical depression and oppression, their state of poverty, abuse, and dehumanization in post-Apartheid South Africa.
We will just peruse at Power and what it really means, specifically for Africans in South Africa, and what it means to their leaders, too. In the process of observing these, we also see a picture of 'Low Intensity Warfare' emerge when the people begin to resist their tormentors , detractors, oppressors and putrid present-day leadership.
Those Who Lead and Those Who Follow
It is the contention of this Hub that, "Power is essential for all living things. If we neglect the factor of power, as is the tendency in our day of reaction against the destructive effects of the misuse of power, we shall lose values that are essential to our existence as humans. James McGregor Burns defines the primary basis of social power thus: "Power is a relationship among persons.
To define power not as a property or entity or possession but as a relationship in which two or more persons tap motivational bases in one another and bring varying resources to bear in the process is to perceive power as drawing a vast range of human behavior into its orbit. The arena of power is not longer the exclusive preserve of a power elite or an establishment or persons cloth with legitimacy.
Power is ubiquitous; it permeates human relationships. It exists whether or not it is quested for. It is the glory and burden of most humanity. It is the self-assertion of the oppressed in quest for their humanity. This brings us within the purview the war that is being waged against the poor in post-Apartheid South Africa.
The transition from Apartheid
Over the ensuing period, the leadership of the ANC, COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP) worked overtime to convince white capitalists they were capable of taking over the political reigns and becoming responsible managers of South Africa.
This process was far from smooth. Conservative forces in South African politics attempted to stifle the transition.
And the black masses consistently renewed mobilization, taking the transition into their own hands and demanding it deliver an end to crippling oppression.
1992-3 saw a return to the streets as negotiations broke down. In August of 1992, a four million strong general strike crippled the country. In April 1993, general strikes again broke out in response to the assassination of the left-wing General Secretary of the SACP Chris Hani. Mandela appeared on television calling for calm—the ANC leadership had no control over the street fighting and stop work actions.
Here was a power capable, not just of toppling Apartheid, but of seizing the wealth held by white capitalists and putting it to work for the black majority. But the ANC were terrified of losing the support for transition amongst the white ruling class. And the leaders of the SACP and COSATU kept insisting that, "Socialism would have to wait until some distant future."
The ANC abandoned all former commitments to nationalization.
They began talking about “redistribution of wealth through growth” —not from rich to poor, or from white to black-but amongst and within the whites and the African gendarme and predatory, vulture elite and ruling elite. Through 1993, COSATU began to be incorporated into state economic planning boards, sitting alongside corporate leaders and publicly supporting the need for wage restraint to support economic growth. In the lead up to the 1994 elections,
68 out of South Africa’s top 100 businessmen backed Mandela’s campaign for President.
In South Africa’s first democratic elections, held in May 1994, the ANC received 63 per cent of the vote. But despite the jubilation that greeted this historic victory, the commitment of the ANC to running South African capitalism brought it into conflict with the black masses almost immediately. This conflict will dealt with below in-depth. This Hub may appear to be long, but it is time that story is 'outed' and let-loose onto the viral stream.
The ANC government savagely repressed nurses and municipal workers striking for higher wages in 1995—using the same police units and same weaponry as the Apartheid regime.
Some public spending programs gestured towards the ANC’s former promises of economic equality. Perhaps one of the most significant of these was the delivery of free health care to all infants. A reconstruction and development program promised 125,000 houses in the first year of the ANC government—but delivered less than 11,000.
Overwhelmingly it was the politics of neoliberalism, the same policies being implemented by ruling classes around the world, which came to characterize the approach of the ANC. They implemented massive cuts to company tax, waves of privatization and attacks on union rights.
A strategy of “black empowerment," lifted from the Mugabe dictatorship in Zimbabwe, was employed in an attempt to change the face of economic power. A number of big companies recruited blacks into the boardrooms. A handful of powerful black enterprises, incubated by the state, have become major players within the ruling class.
But white settler and foreign capital still control more than 80 per cent of South Africa’s economy. A tiny minority of blacks may have joined the ruling class in their opulent suburbs. But these still sit alongside massive squalid slums inhabited by the black majority. This extreme class segregation is a product of capitalism and a characteristic of all former colonial societies, no matter the color of the regime.
South Africa today
Despite the betrayals of the ANC leadership, the spirit of the anti-Apartheid struggle has remained very much alive. Privatization has been fought both with mass strikes and direct action at the township level. For example, a massive community-union campaign defeated attempts to patent AIDS medication over 1999-2003.
In the 21 century, South Africa has registered the highest level of protest actions per person in the world. And in recent years, splits have emerged in the ANC between leadership figures continuing to preach wage restraint and “redistribution through growth” and grassroots militants furious at worsening poverty, have been striking right up to until now as of the writing of this Hub…
In 2007, more than a million public sector workers undertook weeks of strike action against wage restraint and led the biggest general strike since the end of Apartheid. More mass strikes in mid-2009 provided the background to the ousting of president Mbeki for Jacob Zuma, who had promised to break with neoliberalism. COSATU and the SACP have begun discussions about breaking their tripartite alliance with the ANC—the bedrock of post-Apartheid rule.
But in over the long haul of the nearly 20 years of their tripartite rule, Cosatu has become one with their former masters and the new slave-driver-The ANC and the SACP.
These were not promising signs, and the lesson of these last two decades is that Black(African) oppression and crippling poverty cannot be reformed away—they lie at the heart of South African capitalism. A very Strong political organization is needed to take the explosive struggles of the exploited black majority beyond reformism and nationalism—towards revolution, empowerment, freedom and self-rule of the armies of the African poor…
Freedom and Self Rule: Dejavu All Over Again
'The Ecology Of Fear and Uncertainty'
When Tutu poignantly and pointedly called on the ANC and told them that he is going to pray for them because their governance is worse than that of the Apartheid regime, this caused me to write this Hub and try and list all the possibilities and not-so-possible realities of what he was saying and in the process, look into the possible existence of a "type" of 'Low Intensity' Warfare is being waged on Africans in South Africa and by whom, who, why, where and what the ultimate goal is or was or still being contemplated to date.
This is a loaded statement and assertion, and I am going to attempt to tabulate all the variable possibilities in order to see if TuTu is right or wrong in accusing the ANC of gross mismanagement, poor and inept governance, murder and arrest of the striking and discontent Africans in South Africa: in a word, that they have been carrying on oppression, repression, depression, suppression, abuse and the whole bit, of the poor people; in fact, who else is involved, How and Why? How, Where, When, and to what extend and end?
In fact, the word on the street, since the conclusion of the provincial elections, polls have influenced the view of people that the saw some serious minuses in terms of the ANC electorate and that they have been deserting ranks and either not voted or went-over to other parties. Confidence in the ANC has plummeted to the extent that even the elected officials are beginning, albeit slowly, to consider the possibilities of a loss in the near election.
Given the state of euphoria that ANC ascended into power, what has really happened here: the deterioration of relations between the ANC(pronounced ENK) and its voting polity-the loss of confidence of the people in the capabilities and abilities of the ANC-led governance of the country is more widespread now . This is what this Hub will try to trace and delineate with hope light might be gleaned on this entropic reality.
When the Gravy Train took off, it is unconscionable that up to date the feast and fiesta of the Gravy Train is in is in full effect and swing without abating. What is happening now and today in South Africa is not new, but has worsened and bludgeoning on its path the African South Africans and other ethnic group's newly found democracy and freedom. The wild dreams and speculations and hopes and dreams have been shattered, trampled and stumped, scorned upon with sheer, raw hate and impunity without remorse, empathy and consideration-with an arrogance and mien not matched since.
This is still going on now. No one is reporting the details that come from the actual African community itself, but the ruling party(ANC), only talk about themselves and their elite and celebrity crews statuses and life-styles. If one were to talk to the inhabitants of South Africa, more specifically, the poor African population, there's a lot many people do not know; What I am talking about is the day-to-day existence and lived lives and experiences of Africans under the Apartheid government and the present African ANC-led government, there is a consensus, the new government has failed the suffering masses and that Tutu had to at least holler out in desperation(maybe for his failed bid to Bring in the Dalai Lama for his birthday-or maybe decrying the inconclusive TRC).
Tutu was in effect echoing the murmurings of the wretched African masses of the earth in South Africa. It should be noted that the transition of the oppressed peoples to free people left its marks and continues to be part of their lived experiences that remain unchanged: inadequate social services, poverty, diseases(those from the dark days of Apartheid to those of the mixture of malingering and permanent diseases added to by the social and economic conditions and encouraged by a predator ruler-class of post and neo-Apartheid South Africa) along with their entrenched cabals, thuggerism, terrorism, lack of job and employment opportunities}.
And perpetuated under that ANC government-wherein we'll be able to learn how the local Shebeen(Tavern) kings and queens tried to block the poor peoples movement who wanted to put a curfew on their Shebeens(Taverns) not to operate 24 hours a day because they raised a lot of domestic abuses and fights which destabilized the local communities, as would be clearly elaborated on down further into the Hub by The Abahlali baseMjondolo).
Unemployed armies of the poor; alcoholism(which was designed and promoted by the Apartheid regime, drugs (of all sorts), and cheap liquor and fake cigarettes foisted on the poor and imbibed by them, mostly, the youth, decimating households, families, communities and the whole society-add in onto that the state of drug abuse and drug dealing that has gripped the country like never before; insecurity, ignorance, meanness, opportunism, jealousies, rat race, an attitude of "everyone for Themselves", and the spirit of "Dog eats Dog" spirit reigned supreme, and is still the norm and mores up to the point of writing this Hub and beyond.
The voice of the voiceless and powerless needs to be put in the forefront about any dialogue concerning anything South African. From 1652 to 2012 and beyond, Africans have not received any respite from their slave-bonded maldeveloped economic, material, political, social, spiritual, cultural, customary and traditional subjugation and national humiliation and annihilation and all sorts and forms of genocide.
Paging Through Edges of Hell
South Africa's relative wealth to the rest of Africa is acting as a magnet for the poverty-stricken of sub-Saharan Africa is massive. It is worth noting that both poverty and inequality are South African hallmarks(from the Dark Days of Apartheid in the case of Africans in South Africa, specifically). The present ANC-led government is caught in an unenviable position of balancing the needs of market stability (in a world dominated by free market economics of yesteryear) and appeasing domestic and international capital with trying to undo the damage of 400 years of colonialism, and a disgruntled polity.
The meaning of poverty in South Africa takes on different tacks within the present ruling government governing philosophy, and it is affecting development programs and contributing to a hollow and meaningless debate about the progress that the need African people to upgrade their lot becomes even more dire. It is a fact that poverty is a defining reality in South Africa, and has a clear racial, gender and spatial dimension. And whenever many definitions are used to measure poverty, one thing remains constant and common: the majority of African South Africans exist below any acceptable minimum poverty level (Seekings; Nattrass, 2005).
Looking at the low-intensity warfare we will be using the perspective and words and lives of the Africans Of South Africa(Nguni/Bakone (Africans and Colored, the Khoi and Bushmen's) and lived and experienced reality to try and bring serious attention to this tragedy that is now hanging like a dark cloud over the heads of the African South African people.
Poverty, Diseases and Ignorance are the Achilles-heel Of the Poor
Living in poverty has its effects on a people. This in turn conforms them to that state of existence, and ignorance and depression stress, oppression, repression by the state(ANC) and its functionaries collude and forge a confluence upon the lives of the poor and who are lacking in privileges to the extent that this creates maladjustments and psychiatric cases: normalcy is scorned-whilst madness becomes the ideal to be realized and achieved: the norm.
The way of life a people becomes meaningless whilst the pursuit of material ends becomes the way of life of a motley crew of the elite — that is, it becomes a new culture of the have mores and have little: the rich become richer-the poor, poorer. The old ways of the Africans are cast aside and scorned, riled and ridiculed. The customs, culture, practices and languages are trampled upon and seen as unsophisticated and barren- and also labelled as backward and infantile; the common humanity that glued the society together(Ubuntu) is perceived as outmoded and a throw-back into the stone-age.
What is immediate is the constant gnawing hunger which beckons constantly, non-stop and intensely tortures and grips the poor people's stomachs with vicious pangs that need to be satisfied immediately in the reality and existence of the poor constant shortage of food-if there is any food, questionable as to whether it is of real good quality. All the social mores and norms are blown away like one would when clearing one's nose of snuff-filled mucous-or like mist when the sun comes up.
Others aver that things have gotten better, and point out to the overland infrastructure initiated during the country's run to hosting the 2010 World Cup. The magnificent stadiums and new roads which are more or less showcase than being streamlined along an economic boom-but people are not seeing and feeling the bust. The political, social, media and economic play-books embedded within the national landscape, along with the reality and collective national psyche are those aping if not being commandeered by foreign powers and their cultures, rather than by the local people.
The Arts, Sports, Religion, Society and the whole bit is being controlled and dictated to by foreign powers and multi-corporations along with their armies and security spooks and other vested interests. The present Ruling ANC-government is in all this hook and sink-they are in cahoots with Conglomerate multi-trillion Dollar/Pound/Yen and so forth magnates and their bullies-with the country's currency controlled, i.e., the local Rand, being dictated to by International finance9along with the local white big capital. Corruption is rampant, nepotism, kickbacks, ahistorical and apolitical mind-set the daily babble spearheaded by a gaggle of willing and compliant new and old petty bourgeois of Grand Apartheid days and the one that has gelled during the first and present contemporary 'democratic' government of the ANC.
The cacophony that has been raised by the atrophied social hell is given scant consideration by anyone within the embattled country presently imprisoned by the present ANC ruling government, and is rapidly eating away at the cadaver that is the African polity(alongside many other poor minorities). The transformation a whole of the people's leadership has been made the puppet doll of the monied international potentate, and this has eroded most of the "Ubuntu" which is the fulcrum of African culture, customs and traditions. This has put the indigene at the brink of a genocide, which will be discussed in another Hub
Bantu Biko writes: [In our history] …"We are concerned with that curious bunch of nonconformists who explain their participation in negative terms: that bunch of do-gooders that goes under all sorts of names — liberals, leftists, etc. These are the people who claim that they too feel the oppression just as acutely as the Blacks and therefore should be jointly involved in the Black man's struggle for a place under the sun. In short, these are the people who say that they have Black souls wrapped in White skins. The role of the white liberal in the Black man's history in South Africa is a curious one. Very few Black organizations were not under White direction.
"True to their image, the White liberals always knew what was good for the Blacks and told them so. The wonder of it all is that the Black people have believed them for so long. It was only at the end of the '50s that the Black started demanding to be their own guardians. Nowhere is the arrogance of the liberal ideology demonstrated so well as in the insistence that the problems of the country can only be solved by a bilateral approach involving both Black and White.
"This has, by and large, come to be taken in all seriousness as the modus operandi in South Africa by all those who claim they would like a change in the status quo. Hence the multiracial political organizations, all of which insist on integration not only as end but also as a means. The ANC has arrogated to itself the right to be cantankerous and belligerent towards their own country-men and flaunt their ill-begotten wealth"
Bantu continues: "The integration they talk about is first of all artificial in that it is a response to conscious maneuver rather than to the dictates of the inner soul. In other words, the people forming the integrated complex have been extracted from various segregated societies with their in-built complexes of superiority and inferiority and these continue to manifest themselves even in the "nonracial" set up of the integrated complex. As a result, the integration so achieved is a one-way course, with Whites doing all the talking and the Blacks the listening.
"Given the situation and the facts where a group experiences privilege at the expense of others, then it becomes obvious that a hastily arranged integration cannot be the solution to the problem. It is rather like expecting the slave to work together with the slave-master's son to remove all the conditions leading to the former's enslavement. ...Once the various groups within a given community have asserted themselves to the point that mutual respect has to be shown then you have the ingredient for a true and meaningful integration.
Each group must be able to attain its style of existence without encroaching on or being thwarted by another. Out of this mutual respect for each other and complete freedom of self-determination, there will obviously arise a genuine fusion for the life-styles of the various groups. This is true integration."
We also learn from Bantu that: "From this it becomes clear that as long as Blacks are suffering from inferiority complex — as a result of 300+ years of deliberate oppression, denigration and derision — they will be useless as co-architects of a normal society where man is nothing else but man for his own sake(Ubuntu-my two cents). Hence, what is necessary as a prelude to anything else that may come is a very strong grass-roots build up of Black consciousness such that Blacks can learn to assert themselves and stake their rightful claim."
It is important to read into Bantu and what he is saying as relevant to contemporary society. Bantu was an astute observer of the Apartheid colonial/Imperial system and mind-set and how it dehumanizes Africans, who in turn end up assisting in their own dehumanization. What Bantu was talking about in the 1970s is what is actually happening today despite his warnings.
There is a permanent Gendarme cabal of semi-African vulture capitalists within the ruling government that does not have any vested interest in the "plight" and "postulations" of Bantu despite that being their real reality today in contemporary South Africa. Confusion begins, for African South Africans, when they immerse themselves in the world of liberals, who Bantu understood and explained their modus operandi as follows:
"Thus, in adopting the line of a nonracial approach, the liberals are playing their old game. They are claiming "monopoly on intelligence and moral judgement" and setting the pattern and pace for the realization of the Black man's aspirations. They want to remain in the good books with both the Black and White worlds. They want to shy away from all forms of "extremisms," condemning "white supremacy" as being just as bad as "Black Power!".
They vacillate between the two worlds, verbalizing all complaints of the Blacks beautifully while skillfully extracting what suits them from the exclusive pool of White privileges. But ask them for a moment to give a concrete meaningful program that they intend adopting, then you will see on whose side they really are. Their protests are directed at and appeal to White conscience, everything they do is directed at finally convincing the White electorate that the Black man is also a man and that at some future time he should be given a place at the White Man's table."
This is what has happened today. Africans have been given a place in parliament and living spaces, jobs, albeit they be paltry in number. A lot of African leaders and activists of all stripes are tripping over themselves, rushing pell-mell into the white world, espousing white values in expectant hopes of being accepted into the white 'life-style'. These Africans go to the extent of discarding the 'irrelevant carcasses' of their 'outdated' and 'backwards' culture, in favor of changing their languages, importing modes of behavior, lifestyles and modus operandi amongst and as a show-off against their unfortunate, poor and forgotten African voting polity and brethren.
Warfare may be viewed through the prism of armies, bombs and soldiers. The war I am writing about is severe and very deadly for the Africans of South Africa. They are still being mistreated and warred with by their own elected government, and this has left the voting African nation befuddled and bamboozled. In order for us to appreciate this, we will take an article from the Mail&Guardianonline which has this article on the comments made by the Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in Johannesburg on Thursday December 2011.
Corruption As Part Of Low Intensity Warfare
Vavi says: "South Africa was 'in trouble' on many levels. There can be no denial that we are fighting ourselves the moment...and there is an attempt by the powerful elite group to shut up everybody: including shutting them permanently. Comrades are beefing up on private security. It's not the AWB [Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging] and it's not all the right-wing white extremists. It's one another. Some government officials are too preoccupied with power games to care about the poor and unemployed.
We are in trouble politically...in 2014 we 'will not be able to offer answers when our people ask what have we done [to eradicate unemployment and poverty]. Many people were living in fear of their reputations being destroyed, their political standing being jeopardized, and fear for their own safety. Corruption is the elite's way to steal from the poor. It has become a matter of life and death. Corruption is the biggest threat to the realization of our dreams and Self-enrichment will unravel the fabric of society."
This comes on the heels of the anti-corruption summit wherein this summit was told that as many as 1273 public service officials were charged with misconduct for corrupt activities between September 2004 and June 2011. During this time, 603 officials were dismissed from public service, 226 were suspended, 134 were fined and 16 demoted; another 330 officials were given final written warnings, and 190 prosecuted (national Anti-Corruption Forum chair Futhi Mtoba) Vavi added that up to 20% of government procurement was lost to corruption as officials exploited gaps in the system to procure government tenders.
"We are facing a nightmare future in South Africa...people are systematically using their power to secure ... parts of society. If the current economic system of capitalism continued with the "me first" mentality, it would be difficult to root out corruption. The culture of "me first" accumulates and accumulates that one person in this country earns R627-million per year... while workers earn less than R1,500 per month."
The very nature of the corruption described above tells one that it is used for self gain and enrichment, and at the same time it is a form of warfare against the poor by taking or mismanaging their monies to deny them their humanity and human basic needs-impoverishing them and turning a deaf ear to their please and protestations..." We learn more and in-depth presentation of corruption in South Africa today from Tolsi
Niren Tolsi wrote the following article in the Mail&Guardianonline on October 29, 2010, that:
"State Departments to respond to 90% of government corruption cases reported by the public on hotlines during the past financial year, according to Public service Commission's [PSC] 2010 report on the state of public services. The report, released on Thursday, also points to a twelve fold rise in fruitless and wasteful expenditure by government in 2008/9 compared with the previous year — from R2,8-million to R35.2-million.
"Noting a "sharp decline" in the government's responsiveness to corruption cases, the commission said that 1,430 cases were reported in 2009/10 but there was feedback on only 150, compared with 507 responses (25%) to 1,857 cases in 2008/09. the commission evaluated the government and public service on a range of issues, including transparency, service delivery and the creation of a more egalitarian society, according to the implementation of policies and programs.
"The report also evaluated the average feedback from the government on reported corruption cases from the 2005/05 financial year to 2009/10, finding that of every 100 cases reported, whistle-blowers or the commission received no feedback to 64. Corruption is an increasingly insidious problem in South Africa, as reflected in the latest Transparency International corruption perception index report, also released this week. South Africa scored 4.5 out of 10 on the index and was placed 54 out of 146 countries. In 2007 it was placed 43 out of 170 countries, with a score of 5.1. It scored 4.9 in 2008 and 4.7 in 2009. The commission's report found that "capacity to follow up on these cases and investigate them is lacking" in departments. It painted a bleak picture of the effectiveness of structures created to fight corruption."
Tolsi adds: "It is said the Anti-Corruption Coordinating Committee [ACCC], formed n 2002 and convened by the public service department with representative from 18 key department and agencies, including the National Intelligence, National Treasury and revenue service, still had to prioritize the coordination of 'measures to build the minimum anti-corruption capacity of departments.' This is a pressing priority for the government, which will undoubtedly require resources and close monitoring. The report found that the 'synergy' between structures such as the ACCC and the National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) "needs improvement.
The NACF, established in 2001 to facilitate a national consensus on combating corruption had been debilitated by "not always having its own budget and capacity". Low levels of attendance and participation by government representatives and departments and poor recording of meetings. The commission said 1,024 cases of financial misconduct were reported to in 2008/09, compared with 868 in 2007/08. A "key challenge," it said, is "Some public servants ... implicated in acts of financial misconduct resign before disciplinary hearings can be concluded and then accept appointments in other departments".
"The report found that this was often difficult to detect because departments operated 'in silos'. It said that of the 868 officials reported to the commission in 2007/08 (or 6%) left the public service before disciplinary hearings can be held. In 2008/09, 17 implicated employees resigned after the charges of misconduct were leveled against them. The report blamed "highly unsatisfactory" evaluation of the performances of government heads of departments for the sharp rise in wasteful and fruitless government expenditure.
"As of March this year just half [51%] of these had undergone performance evaluation, a drop from 56% in the previous year. The report said that, "In financial terms this means that roughly half of the national budget [including transfers to provinces and municipalities], which was in the order of R500-billion - [excluding the state debt costs] in 2007/08 financial year, was controlled by accounting officers who were not subjected to a proper evaluation."
We are further informed by Tolsi that: "The report is forthright on what the government needs to do to improve service delivery — communicate with itself. It called for greater coherence within the government and between departments or spheres of government exacerbates the challenge even further. The report observed that national planning at the departmental cluster level is a "collection of special projects pursuing the joint objectives of cluster" rather than an integrated process.
Only 332% of directors general attended cluster meetings, no planning decisions were taken there and there was no holistic planning around outcomes. At provincial level "there is very limited evidence of actual implementation of projects and budget items flowing out of the provincial growth and development strategies" The report also found that integrated development plans (IDPs) in municipalities were "drawn up for compliance reasons and municipal activities carried on in spite of, and no on the basis of, the IDP. Forty percent of the municipal IDPs 'lacked financial strategies' and "most lacked budgets."
The incoherent government malfunctioning structures show no discipline of ideas and action necessarily for the outcome that moves the people's needs and agendas that so desperate;y need to be addressed. In fact, whenever the community itself intervened within the cracks of the malfunctioning structures, they are met with part of the corrupters on the system that protect a vested interest they have, as already been pointed out by Vavi and Tolsi above.
Whenever the enriched and governing elite feel their livelihood threatened, images and the power they wield over the poor being challenged and questioned, they resort to violence, death-threats and organizing agitators to pacify the masses and root out 'thugs, criminals, and destabilizers' of the government and the society by using and unleashing their spooks and thugs onto the poor and resisting masses.
This constitutes what this Hub aims to demonstrate, a 'low intensity warfare' which flares up from time to time when raw force is used by those elements in the state who are charged with protecting the people and at the same time are the ones who facilitate the murders, tortures, detention and intimidation of the public in order to make them conform and be loyal to the ruling regime in power today in South Africa. This will be discussed below within the hub how this was being done and carried out, and the actual narrating of events will be done by the oppressed and suppressed victims themselves in their own words.
Critique and anti-Critique: From The African, By The African…
It often bothers me that up to date, we still have to read and learn about ourselves from other people, and yet that whole idea does not jive with us African people. The problem is that we are not supposed to think or have ideas originally our own. We have to operate and exist within a prescribed and proscribed Europeans social mosaic matrix, and anything that is outside that cave and mind-set, one cannot and must not talk of nor is free to speak about.
If we use History as our guiding light, we will glean facts like that Africans, consistently within the historiography of South Africa, have never been regarded as persons who can articulate their 'Ubuntu/Botho' and because it still "exist as a word, and its actual manifestation never recognized nor known, and it still has to be foreigners who validate or reject it it. Africans have not yet been able to elaborate and act out the concept of 'Ubuntu/Botho' within a setting determined and controlled by them; yet, it is still present and functioning within their milieu.
Even when Biko has already given Africans their signposts on how to navigate this murky trap-ridden and one-sidedness of the lives Africans have to live through, and there are still questions about this being valid or not. Biko lives in the minds and lives of the Africans of South Africa-he is their product, and is one with them; he was able to mediate an articulate this without no need for any theorist nor philosopher lest he has to talk about him/her-wherein he rejects, critiques or clarifies his conception of 'Black Consciousness.'
But What Bantu was trying to do here was to capture the mind of the oppressed and compel them to express their thought and lives, whilst giving body and soul to the aspiration of the army of the oppressed reminding them who they are and how to go about asserting and establishing their being humans("Ubuntu"). What I learn from Bantu is that we should come from the experiences of the African collective masses in all the manifestations and beingness and realities.
It is not for us to provide the language which the Masses have ample to offer-we are to really be the voice of the voiceless masses and see if whatever comes out of their minds, writing saying what the masses are saying, so that it may be heard by the masses. If the leaders speak with one eye and half of their minds based on what the world or the former or present-day African people are able to speak for themselves, they have to be helped to do so-what they want to say about themselves, not what the "others" will want to hear-as in being "Politically Correct" will be one story for the ages.
At this point, I want to point out that Africans spoken and written about in this Hub are not anybody but South African Africans. The problem here when you look at Mandela's quote below, and the quotes of the many "Knowing a lot about Africans," none is saying as to what Africans are saying. The point is this, if you do not live with and among the masses, how are you going to speak for them or about them, when they are saying something or experiencing something else; yet, these experts who give their 'expert' analysis and opinion, have not really lived with Africans.
When African people speak for themselves, it is a lot different from what these 'so-called pros' are trumpeting. When people talk about Biko's Black Consciousness philosophies, they are ignoring the origins of its root and voice that he was using was not that of his own but the voice of the African people-and he was using their voices to expound and expand the concept of Black Consciousness-Africans Awareness of their Awareness about Awareness that it is their awareness of their self-awareness-their knowing of the consciousness of the consciousness-as explained above… If we base our perceptions[way of life, really] with that of the South America and Latin Americans, we conveniently forget about the origin of South African African conscious derives from the African masses, just as the people of the continents and countries mentioned above.
I have said that Bantu speaks for himself very clearly and does not necessarily need an interpretation by outsiders because the voice of Biko is still prevalent amongst their Africans of South Africa today-because his ideas were culled from their collective consciousness which was their consciousness and being consciously aware that they were conscious of their consciousness about their consciousness and reality. Bantu simply called this 'Black Consciousness.' This will be explored later, but emphasis is made as to the genius and originality of the Africans of South Africa in having a consciousness that was progressive under the oppressive raw force and laws of Apartheid that tightly controlled every aspect of the their lives.
This is why I am asking as to why should people always talk about African South Africans and on behalf of Africans, and yet have not lived with them and do not absolutely know them. Yes, they cannot talk for themselves because from the days of Apartheid, books were censored, pages taken out, blackened or newspapers glued on certain information(especially about Black Consciousness). In fact, I have one such book published by the "South African Institute of Race Relations: A Survey Of Race Relations in South Africa 1972 and it cost R3.00"*. The book has 470 pages and covers all aspects of Race relations in South Africa, which Bantu has criticized as to their prescribing and describing African ways of life in a patronizing and wrong way.
This leads me to one aspect of the quotations I have listed below, that, Apartheidization and Americanization and the Europeanization of Africans has been done in many ways that have affected African South Africans adversely,
The most ambiguous section in the Freedom Charter is its preamble, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it.” This is not only ahistorical, it is illogical. The very claim that the country belongs to all removes all claim of the African people's struggle itself. It is illogical to wage a struggle, call it a national liberation struggle, and yet deny or ignore the simple question about the very existence of the conquerors and the conquered, of the victors and the vanquished.
The struggle in South Africa was not simply for equality between human beings. Nor was it simply, as others within our ranks want to argue, only about class. Failure on the side of certain sections of the liberation movement, especially the left, has led to a false analysis of the South African question where class has been privileged over race. It must be stated that this is an inverse of the same mistake committed by nationalists, who deny the existence of class. In the South African situation, then and now, race and class became intertwined as capitalistic development took a racial form and combined, wherein class became mediated through race. (Console Tleane.)
This will be made much more clearer when we write about the stories that are told by the Africans of South Africa in their struggles, today, against the ANC government. We learn from Mandela below, how, they having been incarcerated in Robben Island, came to know about Black Consciousness, wherein he writes that:
The Changing of the Second Guard: Black/African Consciousness
Some Notes On Black Consciousness
"These fellows refused to conform to even basic prison regulations. One day I was at head office conferring with the commanding officer. As I was walking out with the major, we came upon a young prisoner being interviewed by a prison official. The young man, who was no more than eighteen, was wearing his prison cap in the presence of senior officers, a violation of regulations. Nor did he stand up when the major entered the room, another violation. The major looked at him and said, “Please take off your cap.” The prisoner ignored him.
Then in an irritated tone, the major said, “Take off your cap.” The prisoner turned and looked at the major and said, “What for?” I could hardly believe what I had just heard. It was a revolutionary question: What for? The major also seemed taken aback, but managed a reply. “It is against regulations,” he said. The young prisoner responded, “Why do you have this regulation? What is the purpose of it?”
This questioning on the part of the prisoner was too much for the major, and he stomped out of the room, saying, “Mandela, you talk to him.” But I would not intervene on his behalf, and simply bowed in the direction of the prisoner to let him know that I was on his side. This was our first exposure to the Black Consciousness Movement. (Nelson Mandela)
What you’ll find about Biko is that he was a thinker who was very much alive. His method with its “heterogeneous rhythms” makes him very much open to the here and now (see Naidoo and Veriava). As a work that seeks to critically reclaim Biko as a living thinker there are three areas of contestation that are central to this Hub. Firstly, it shows and talks about a challenge to the increasingly standardized and orthodox history of the apartheid struggle, which includes contestations over historical memory and the activity of critical remembrance.
Secondly, it has cited discussion of the largely ignored consideration of Biko as a philosopher, as an original thinker. Third, there is Biko as cultural theorist and the importance of Black Consciousness to artistic productions- and also, that Black Consciousness is a product of the collective experiences of Africans of South Africa. All these have been somewhat discussed above in relation to Biko, who was enabling and exhorting Africans to stand up and fight for themselves, no matter what the conditions they face hurl at them.
So that, Black Consciousness is thus an anathema to the BEE approach. Gordon writes, “Black liberation, the project that emerges as a consequence of Black Consciousness, calls for changing both the material conditions of poverty and the concepts by which such poverty is structured.” ... To this, the ANC has replied with vicious violence and arrest of those it deemed to threaten their status quo, as will be clearly talked about below. Moodley offered a surprising rebuttal to those who lament BC’s disappearance from the historical record: "From my point of view it’s good BC has been written out of the struggle.
"Because if it was written in then we’re part of the problem. Now we’re still part of the solution. The thesis is in fact a strong white racism and therefore, the antithesis to this must, ipso facto, be a strong solidarity amongst the blacks on whom this white racism seeks to prey. Yet he also rejects Sartre’s idea that that black solidarity is a priori insufficient by itself. Indeed, rather than “class” as an external unifier, it is already embedded in the dialectic of negativity: They tell us that the situation is a class struggle, rather than a racial one. Let them go to van Tonder in the Free State and tell him this.”
Black Consciousness set in motion a new dialectic, argues Lou Turner, based on the truth that the only vehicles for change are those people who have lost their humanity. To speak of a new humanism is radical and Black Consciousness transcends the former (analytical moment) in order to achieve a new form of self-consciousness or new humanity. And yet, Frank B. Wilderson III argues, this presence—based on absence—puts into question the very idea of liberal humanism.
In a racist society human relations are unethical because the Black is positioned below humanity. To speak of a “Black Human,” Wilderson argues, is an oxymoron. Wilderson locates the source of this absence in an inability to recognize that the “register of black suffering” goes beyond the “the political subject [as] imagined to be dispossessed of citizenship and access to civil society.” It also goes beyond the SACP’s formulation, which imagines the political subject as being dispossessed of labor power. Wilderson argues that, “[N]either formulation rises to the temperature of the Black’s grammar of suffering.”
BC on the other hand, he argues, accessed and articulated the possibility of speaking such a grammar. Different understandings and viewpoints of Fanon’s critique of Sartre and Hegel and dialectical thought directly affect approaches to Biko. Turner notes a shortcoming in his own work, Frantz Fanon, Soweto and American Black Thought, written with John Alan in 1978. In it he argues that he emphasized Fanon’s “deepening of the Hegelian concept of self-consciousness” but did not fully see the duality that Fanon posits in the dialectic of Black Consciousness, namely that alongside a will to freedom is a will to power that ends up emulating the white master.
Gordon, at another register, argues that because anti-black racism structures blacks outside of the dialectics of recognition, contradictions are not only of the dialectical kind. I contest that they are embedded and within what I will call 'Apartheid's dialect.
Does Biko’s writings on Negritude, culture, and black communalism contain tensions and insights that have often been overlooked and might be of value to the present generation? Biko is critical of Blacks(Africans) who, mimicking white liberals, take an elitist attitude toward African cultures and thus fail to understand that the criticism of apartheid education coming out of rural areas is based on a fundamental truth: an elemental resistance to the destruction of African ways of life.
In rejecting the “tribal" cocoons...called ‘homelands’ [which] are nothing else but sophisticated concentration camps where black people are allowed to ‘suffer peacefully,’ Biko was considering the experiences of people impoverished by apartheid as the ground of Black Consciousness philosophy. He articulated this in a grammar that was understood by all the poor and suffering into a coherent argument that Black Consciousness, if was mutually respected by other ethnic groups and given space to function would lead to proper integration, as he punctuated this point cited above.
For Biko, the liberation of the poor in South Africa was grounded in African cultural concepts of collectivity and sharing that resituates the human being at the center. Andries Oliphant relates Biko’s idea of culture to Fanon and to Cabral’s notion that anti colonial struggles are “acts of culture.” Based on a number of fundamental aspects—human centeredness, intimacy, trust, cooperativeness, and sharing.
Biko’s conception of African culture is essentially anti colonialist and anticapitalist. In contrast to the possessive individualism of liberal humanism, the stress of Biko’s humanism is not anti-individual but egalitarian. Like South American liberation theologians, Biko rejected the Christian homily that the poor are always among us.
Because of its gendered language, Biko’s thought has been considered oblivious to gender politics, if not outright sexist. Barney Pityana’s statement “Black man you are on your own” is offered as proof that women were not included in the BC conception of liberation. Desiree Lewis has argued that the language of emasculation used to describe black men’s condition under apartheid meant the marginalizing of women. Because of its gendered language, Biko’s thought has been considered oblivious to gender politics, if not outright sexist.
Pumla Dineo Gqola has argued that BC discourse failed to recognize points of variation among blacks. She writes, “Due to its emphasis on racial solidarity as the only means towards the liberation of Black people, it promised complete freedom at the end from all oppressive forces despite its reluctance to acknowledge their existence. The experiences of gender, class, age, geographical location, and sexual orientation were not perceived as consequential enough to warrant inclusion into the discourse of the doctrine.”
In addition to discursive problems, the experiences of women in BC organizations have been characterized by sexism. Akin to women’s involvement in other nationalist movements in Africa (and in South Africa), it is argued that women in the movement were regarded mainly as supporters of the struggle with more assertive women becoming “honorary men.” Perhaps the most famous woman in BC, Mamphela Ramphele, maintains that during the 1970s, the specificity of experience of sexism was utterly absent from the movement: “Women were important as wives, mothers, girlfriends and sisters, in fighting a common struggle against a common enemy.”
Scant regard was given to their position as individuals in their own right. As leaders in BC, women had to face the apartheid regime and the sexism of their comrades. As Ramphele states, “I soon learnt to be aggressive toward men who undermined women, both at social and political levels . . . A major part of the process of being socialized into activist ranks was becoming ‘one of the boys.’”
Into this dialogue, Oshadi Mangena and Deborah Matshoba offer a complicated and contradictory picture of gender politics in the Black Consciousness movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Their accounts and analyses add to a small but significant body of scholarship in this area, but much work certainly remains to be done. Mangena highlights the fact that Winnie Kgware was elected the first president of the Black People’s Convention when it was formed in 1972, making her the first black woman to lead a national political organization.
But as we know, the presence of one person in a position of power hardly indicates the experience of a group within an organization as a whole. Matshoba also describes the objections to a proposal for a women’s organization within SASO, on the argument that the contributions of women were essential to the main body, which would suffer if drained of their inputs.
Matshoba recalls, “I remember we came with a name, made a proposal. We called it WSO—Women’s Students Organization. They said down with WSO, they voted us down. And Steve blamed me and said ‘Debs, you’re coming with your YWCA mentality.’
"I worked at the YWCA office which was downstairs and the SASO office was upstairs . . . ‘You guys have to admit you are very powerful,’ that’s how Steve would put it. ‘You are very powerful.’ And we asserted ourselves in the organization.” As Matshoba explains, women asserted themselves by smoking, wearing hot pants and heels, speaking loudly, and adopting a tough walk.
Becoming 'one of the boys—asserting oneself on a patriarchal pattern and through a male gaze—was undoubtedly both liberating in some ways and profoundly restricting in others. Matshoba describes how they began to take pride in themselves as black women, but simultaneously started to look down upon other women who chose not to adopt their dress, appearance, and attitudes.
Mangena argues, however, that far from recognizing women as “honorary men,” the Black Consciousness movement leadership acknowledged that, “a greater effort needed to be made to mobilize women’s active participation.” This led to the “launching of the Black Women’s Federation [BWF] in Durban in December 1975...A total of 210 women attended the launching conference.
People such as Fatima Meer, Winnie Mandela, Deborah Matshoba, Nomsisi Kraai, Oshadi Phakathi, Jeanne Noel and other prominent mature women from established groups such as YWCA, Zanele and church bodies were key participants in this conference. Mangena thus argues that Black Consciousness philosophy recognized women as equal participants and 'colleagues' but not on the basis of “gender” considerations. There was a tacit recognition and acceptance of the idea, she argues, that women could be leaders in their own right.
The question of the link between women’s emancipation and human liberation was being framed and debated in anti colonial struggles and post-colonial societies the world over and the Black Consciousness movement of the 1970s and 1980s did not articulate many answers in this regard. As Mangena writes, the question continued to haunt all factions of the anti-apartheid struggle: “Does the transition to the ‘new’ South Africa warrant ‘gender’ acquiescence to patriarchal capitalism?”
Biko’s philosophy would reject such an acquiescence, but in engaging with Biko’s thought in the present, it is vital to determine how it might help us understand the contours of patriarchal capitalism and sexism, and where and how it falls short. Africans should also examine the status of women in contemporary South Africa to see if whether the absence of Black Consciousness has in any way advanced the women's cause- I doubt it and have many reasons for my statement.
The changing of the guard in the body politick and real politick and national conversation and perceptions were evolving from those of the days of Mandela, and what we are seeing today are the manifestation of this reality of the evolution of Black women's status in the absence of Black Consciousness movement, but in thede times it is sparse and wherever t exists, is on steroids.
FAILURE TO DEVELOP AN AFROCENTRIC IDEOLOGY:The Diaspora
Lessons to Be Learned: Looking At the Mirror and What's Looking back
Permanent War In the Diaspora Against Africans-Same Old, Same Old
In America, pro-White socialization is primarily anti-Black.Ideas of White superiority are embedded in every aspect of American society. For example, educational, religious, and mass media institutions all play a major role in the projection and dissemination of ideas and images that convey the innate superiority of Whites and the innate inferiority of Blacks (Boggle, 1974; Cogdell and Wilson, 1980; Staples and Jones, 1985).
Throughout the world, all societies have established sets of ideas by which life is made understandable by their members (Vander Zanden,1986: 136). Ideas such as these are generally referred to as an ideology. A society’s ideology tells people about the nature of their society and about its place in the world (Vander Zanden, 1966:136). In this sense, a society’s ideology gives structure to how group members define themselves and their experiences and also provides impetus for group action.
Thus the most important function of a society’s ideology is that it forms the spiritual and intellectual foundation of group solidarity (Vander Zanden, 1966: 136). A major aspect of the EuroAmerican cultural ideology is that people of European descent are inherently more intelligent, beautiful, industrious, and just than are non-White people(Jordan, 1969; Froman, 1972). All Americans (Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and others) are exposed to pro-White socialization messages disseminated by the school system, mass media, and religious institutions.
American media perpetuating negative images of Blacks by portraying them as descendants of savages and people who have failed to make a significant contribution to America or world civilization (Woodson, 1933; Baldwin, 1979; Perkins, 1986). The superiority of Whites over Blacks has also been perpetuated by American religious philosophy and symbolism through the projection of White images of Christ and God (Welsing, 1980; Cogdell and Wilson, 1980; Akbar, 1983).
This has had a devastating impact on the psychological development of Blacks. For example, to embrace a White God is to reject the Black self (Cogdell and Wilson, 1980: 115). Moreover, being socialized to perceive God as White creates the idea in the Black mind that people who look like them White image of God are superior and people who are non-White. The most significant problem emerging from the projection of God as White is summarized best in the comments of Welsing(1980:28); Therefore it can be said that all Blacks and other non-White Christians worship the White man as God-not as God but as 'the God'. So the White man is perfect, good, supreme, and the only source of blessing.
Hence, as a result of their religious socialization in America, in the Black religious mind, a White man is their creator, protector, and salvation (Cogdell and Wilson, 1980: 117). For example, American cultural ideology promotes a specific set of values and images that define what is and what is not beautiful. Constant exposure to beauty standards that are antithetical to their racial characteristics causes generation after generation of Blacks to experience low self-esteem and self-hatred (Clark and Clark, 1947, 1980; Cogdell and Wilson, 1980: 1-16).
Consequently, Black self-hatred has been a major factor that has historically contributed to the lack of unity among Blacks as well as a pervasive low evaluation of Blacks by Blacks. Hence, the failure of Blacks to develop an Afrocentric cultural ideology has prevented Blacks from developing the sort of collective philosophy, definitions, cultural traditions, and institutions that other American racial and ethnic groups have established in order to facilitate their survival and progress in American society. It is as if one is reading about South African Africans above, and yet it is about African Americans-The same suffering, and the same racism and underdevelopment in all cases
America’s cultural ideology has been deliberately designed to glorify whiteness and to denigrate blackness. Consequently, this process has led to the cultural annihilation of Black Americans (Mahubuti, 1978: 41, 118; Karenga, 1986). Unlike other American racial and ethnic groups, Blacks have failed to develop a distinct cultural tradition that contributes to the psychological, spiritual, cultural, and economic development of most Blacks. The Americanization of Africans in America has resulted in Blacks being locked into the role of America’s permanent outsiders.
The failure of Blacks to develop an Afrocentric cultural ideology is a major source of psychological, social, political, and economic dysfunction among Black Americans (Williams, 1974; Mahubuti, 1978). Afrocentricity as defined by Asante is the centering of one’s analysis and perceptions from the groundedness of the African perspectives. The same dysfunction can be found amongst Africans in south Africa, today, and the same techniques of underdevelopment and oppression of Africans in America is the same as that which has been done to African South Africans.
DYSFUNCTIONAL DEFINITIONS OF MANHOOD
This encompasses a specific set of expectations and responsibilities (Perruci and Knudsen, 1983) within American society the traditional, the tendency of lower-class Blacks to tolerate the tough guy, and the player of women images as acceptable alternatives to traditional definitions of manhood is another major dysfunctional cultural adaptation to White racism. In all societies men and women have distinctive sex roles that masculine role prescribes that men be tough,emotionally unexpressive, self-reliant, economically successful, and oriented toward protecting and providing for a family (Brenton, 1966; Fasteau, 1975). Successful enactment of the traditional male role is generally dependent on a male’s access to educational and employment opportunities.
However, due to their membership in a racial group that has been systematically denied equal access to political and economic power, as well as educational and employment opportunities, a substantial number of Black males lack the skills and resources that are necessary to successfully enact the traditional male role (Welsing, 1974; Stewart and Scott, 1978; Staples, 1982). Although all Blacks are subject to systematic attacks designed to have an adverse effect on their ability to survive and progress, Black males are its primary target because it is they that most Whites fear and who also represent the greatest threat to the continued political and economic subjugation of Blacks (Welsing, 1974; Kunjufu, 1983).
The high rates of academic failure, unemployment, and imprisonment among Black males are dramatic examples of what Welsing (1974, 1978) has described as the inferiorization process, that is, a systematic stress attack (involving the entire complex of political, legal, educational, economic, religious, military, and mass media institutions controlled by Whites) designed to produce dysfunctional patterns of behavior among Blacks in all areas of life.
Through the inferiorization process, Blacks are conditioned to play the role of functional inferiors. That is, Blacks are socialized to be incapable of solving or helping to produce solutions to problems posed by the environment. However, for Whites, the inferiorization process is designed to facilitate their development as functional superiors. Thus, under the system of White supremacy, Whites are conditioned to solve or help to provide solutions to problems posed by the environment.
There is a great deal of evidence that indicates the adverse impact of the inferiorization process on Black males (Stewart and Scott,1978; McGhee, 1984). For example, 44% of Black males are estimated to be functional illiterates (Kozol, 1985). Much of the responsibility for these high rates may be attributed to the public school system which promotes these students without their having obtained reading and writing skills (Staples, 1982: 3).
Moreover, in some of the nation’s largest cities, high school drop-out rates among Black males are 60 to 70% (Poussaint, 1983: 50). Consequently, as a result of their lack of marketable skills and discriminatory hiring practices, almost half (46 percent) of the 8.8 million working-age Blackmen are unemployed(U.S.NewsandWorldReport,1986).
Black males are also disproportionately represented among persons incarcerated. For example, in 1985, Black males represented 47% of the US prison population. Between 1978 and 1982, Black males were eight times more likely to be in prison than White males (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1985b). As a result of their exposure to institutional racism and the inferiorization process, a substantial number of Black males have opted to re-define manhood in terms of toughness, sexual conquest, and thrill-seeking (Perkins, 1975; Staples, 1982). Reading about the plight of African Americans in America is like oneself looking at the mirror, only to see the same Black(African) face looking back at oneself
TOUGHNESS AND PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR
Black males’ adherence to the tough guy image is a major factor contributing to the high rates of interpersonal violence among Blacks. Hence, the leading cause of death for Black males 15 to 34 years of age is homicide (Centers for Disease Control, 1985). The tough guy image is also a major factor contributing to the high rates of wife-beating among Blacks. For example, Strauss and his colleagues (1980), found that wife-beating was 400% more common among Black families than White families.Another problem that has emerged from Black males’ adherence to the tough guy image is the fear of Blacks by Blacks (Mahubuti,1978: 233; Oliver, 1984).
In many Black communities throughout the nation, Black people are becoming increasingly polarized as a result of the fear caused by Black males who terrorize the Black community. Their disproportionate involvement in lifestyles revolved around idleness, alcohol and drug abuse, drug trafficking, and other acts of criminality is a major source of this fear.
SEXUAL CONQUEST AND PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR
Black males’ adherence to the player of women image is another major factor precipitating social problems among Blacks. In his classic ethnographic study of Black males residing in a Washington, DC ghetto, Liebow (1967: 142-143) observed that many lower-class Black males see themselves as users of women and are overtly concerned with presenting themselves as exploiters of women and expect other men to do the same.
Hence, attempts to enact the player of women role is a major factor contributing to the fact that 25% of all Black babies are born to teenage mothers, 55% of Black babies are born out of wedlock and nearly 50% of Black families are headed by unmarried females (US Bureau of the Census, 1983; Ebony,1986) Moreover, Black males’ adherence to the player of women image is responsible for the high rates of divorce among Blacks. According to the US Bureau of the Census (1983), in 1982 Blacks had a divorce rate (220 per 100,000) that was two times that of Whites (107 per100,000).
Wilson (1987) has argued that these conditions are primarily products of structural pressures, that is, historical patterns of racial discrimination and social dislocation due to technological transformations in the economy. I acknowledge the power of structural pressures to impose constraints on the lives of uneducated, low-income Blacks. However, I also believe that these problems are products of a cultural context in which the Black community has allowed too many of its males to make the passage from boyhood to manhood by internalizing and acting out definitions of themselves as users of women.
The remaining sections of this article are devoted to describing an alternative model for reducing the occurrence of social problems among Blacks. Although the model is applicable to Black males and females, I have limited discussion of its application to Black males, primarily because I believe that the most critical factor contributing to the high rates of social problems among Blacks is the dysfunctional cultural adaptation of Blacks males to White racism.
THE AFROCENTRIC WORLD VIEW
In recent years, an increasing number of Black scholars have begun to promote Afrocentricity as an intervention paradigm to facilitate the transformation of Blacks from a state of dependence to a state of independence and self-reliance (Asante, 1980, 1987; Karenga, 1980, 1987, 1988). The Afrocentric cultural ideology is a world view based on the values of classical African civilizations. Advocates of Afrocentricity argue that the high rates of social problems among Blacks are a direct result of the imposition of a Eurocentric world view on African Americans (Asante, 1980; Akbar, 1983; R. Karenga, 1986).
According to Karenga (1988: 407), Eurocentric socialization has had an adverse impact on Blacks, including:(1) the internalization of a EuroAmerican mode of assessing the self, other Blacks, American society, and the world; (2) the loss of historical memory of their African cultural heritage; and (3) self-hatred and depreciation of their people and culture. Thus, the failure of Blacks to develop an Afrocentric cultural ideology and world view has made Blacks vulnerable to structural pressures that promote definitions of Blacks as being innately inferior to Whites, ignorant, lazy, dependent, promiscuous, and violent.
An Afrocentric cultural ideology would encourage Black Americans to transcend cultural crisis and confusion by reclaiming traditional African values that emphasize mankind’s oneness with nature, spirituality, and collectivism. The cultural emphasis of Afrocentricity is in contrast to the Eurocentric world view which encourages controlling nature, materialism, and individualism (Mbiti, 1969).
The Afrocentric world view is not anti-White. Rather, its primary objective is to facilitate a critical reconstruction that dares to restore missing and hidden parts of our [Black peoples’] self-formation and pose the African experience as a significant paradigm for human liberation and a higher level of human life. (Karenga, 1988: 404). It is as if one is reading about the interpretation and articulation of Black Consciousness by Steven Bantu Biko.
In addition to the collective oriented values that formed the foundation of classical African civilizations, the resurrection of the African world view in America must also incorporate definitions and meanings that reflect the historical and contemporary experiences of African Americans in an alien context. Hence, there are two specific American definitional realities that must be incorporated in an African world view resurrected out of the American experience of displaced Africans.
The Afrocentric cultural ideology must acknowledge the omnipresence of White racism throughout American society and the adverse impact it has had on the psychological, cultural, political, and economic development of Black people. Incorporating these facts in a collective Afrocentric cultural ideology will facilitate among Blacks a world view that offers a realistic interpretation of African Americans in terms of their unique cultural heritage and role in American society.
The Afrocentric cultural ideology must recognize that terms such as colored, Negro, and Black do not define the essence or depth of Black/Black American history, cultural heritage, or identity. Hence, it is critical that Black Americans re-define themselves as African Americans.
Every racial and ethnic subgroup in America, except for Blacks, describes themselves in terms of the lands of their origin. By redefining themselves as African-Americans, Blacks can begin to repair the psychic damage that has been inflicted upon them as a result of their exposure to Eurocentric values. Moreover, by re-defining themselves as African Americans, Blacks will initiate the development of a cultural context in which Black youth will be guided toward identification with the Blacks of the classical African civilizations of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Nubia.
It is critically important that Black/African children know that there is a great deal of archaeological, anthropological, and historical evidence that indicates that their native-born African ancestors were the first human beings to populate the earth, domesticate animals, engage in agriculture, develop a system of writing, establish universities, and practice monotheistic religion (James, 1954; Davidson, 1959; Jackson, 1970; Ben-Jochannan, 1970; Diop, 1974; Williams, 1974; Van Sertima, 1983, 1984). In order to incorporate the African world view in the lives of African Americans, African American adults must begin to engage in Afrocentric socialization.
This might be an article about the Lives of Africans in America, it might as well have been or is still a story of the Africans in South Africa today... Many lessons can be gleaned from the article above, and South Africans should at this point begin to look at and understand that their situation is not unique, and if attention is not paid to the issues discussed above, they will(and are already) adversely affecting and effect in the African society and making it dysfunctional in the process.
By looking at and closely studying the African American Experience in America, Africans in South Africa will readily see themselves in the same boat as African Americans. This is important since we just discussed Black Consciousness espoused and expounded upon by Biko from the African South African's collective Conscious experience. More or less the same issue exist in both peoples experiences with Imperialism, Capitalism and it concomitants as dictated and disseminated by Americanism, in America, South Africa and the Third World settled by Africans and other people of color.
POOR AND DECREPIT AFRICAN LEADERSHIP AND MASS EMPOWERMENT
Erudite African Mass Potential Leadership
There is a pervasive sense of foreboding and impending doom among Africans who let themselves look reality "dead in the face". In the face of the tremendous deterioration of their quality of life — mounting unemployment, increasing poverty, crime, moral degradation; devastating miseducation and the even more devastating lack of education; overwhelming drug addiction and insensate violence, homicide, terror, prostitution, disease and corruption. In the face of children having children, social incivility, a youth culture whose raucous music speaks of nihilism, rape, robbery and murder.
The degradation and venal hatred of Black(African) women, of everything Black(African); in the face of unfulfilled longings for the satisfaction of basic needs in the midst of the "affluent" — the need for food, for physical safety and security, for belonging, love, acceptance, higher self-esteem. knowledge and understanding, freedom and autonomy, achievement, creativity and self-realization; in the face of all these unfulfilled dreams and wishes, the African community in ever-rising crescendos emits a heart-rending cry for new leadership.
Even the old leaders are calling for new leadership. The persistent call for leadership in the Black(African) community is a call for help, a call for a set of leading persons, organizations and ideas that can provide the community with a sense of unity, definition, direction, power, with a developmental plan and the wherewithal to realize its abundant human potential.
The most persistent complaints the community makes concerning it current leadership are that they have either been co-opted by the past apartheid White ruling regime; are outdated in terms of values, goals and techniques; are not truly and deeply committed to the welfare of the people; are self-centered, self serving, egocentric, 'corrupt', out of touch with the current and future realities; timid and cannot recognize the needs of the people or articulate those needs in ways which move the people toward their satisfaction; are intellectually inept and are not effectively educating the masses and inspiring them to realize the enormous power which lies dormant within themselves; are co-opted and put into strategic position by the ANC government even if they had been rejected by the communities and the African voting polity.
I won't debate or critically go into nor evaluate these complaints. I believe that even if the contemporary Black(African) leadership accurately gauged and articulated the needs of African people and their communities, this would not necessarily empower the masses. The generation of social power requires appropriate 'organization,' 'tactics' and 'strategies' — and a unifying vision or sense of mission. It requires a guiding set of ideas or an ideology whose attempted realization defines the social attitudes, relations and institutions which together can empower a people.
A people are empowered or disempowered by the guiding ideologies of their leaders to whom they pledge allegiance. Though leaders recognize the needs of their followers and are at one with them in terms of their own needs, their choice of inappropriate social-political ideologies and goals may bring both themselves and their followers to despair. This is the kind of poor, weak and tired leadership that the poor masses have to deal with.
This then means that as we're evolving in our understanding of this decrepit situation, we need to shine a brighter light on the problems that have been listed above and find out why is it so. It is here in this article I turn to Sankara for a much more sober and focused laser-like analysis to our these problem and what he has to say about it that will make our lack of understanding of these issues much more clearer, and poor people can mull on them and think them through much more clearly in a speech he gave on March 26, 1983....
Sankara runs the revolutionary rap thus:
"Who are these enemies of the people?
They are to be found here at home and abroad. At this very moment they are trembling, but you must expose them. You must drive them back into their holes. The enemies of the people are here inside the country are all those who have illicitly taken advantage of their social position and their place in the bureaucracy to enrich themselves. By means of bribery,maneuvers, and forged documents they have become shareholders in different companies. They are now involved in financing business and obtaining approval for this or that enterprise — in the guise of helping Upper Volta. These are the enemies of the people. They must be exposed. This section of the bourgeoisie must be fought against, and we will fight against it.
"Who are the enemies of the people? They are the men in politics who travel through the countryside exclusively at election time. These politicians are convinced that only they can make our country work. These enemies of the people must be exposed and combated. We will combat them with you. The enemies of are likewise those who keep us in ignorance. Under the over of spiritual guidance and tradition, they exploit the people instead of serving their real spiritual needs and their real social interests. They must be fought against and we will fight them.
"The enemies of the people are also beyond our borders. Their base is among unpatriotic people here in our midst at every level of our society — civilian and military men, men and women, old and young, in town and country alike. These enemies from abroad — neocolonialism — are among us. From its base among these stateless men, those who have rejected their homeland,who have, in fact rejected their own people(the people Of Upper Volta [Mzantsi]? This enemy abroad is organizing a series of attacks. First will come the none-violent and the violent stage. At this stage we are living through the non-violent stage [in the case of present-day South Africa, violence has become the norm]. This is the enemy abroad — imperialism, neocolonialism — is attempting to sow confusion in the minds of the Voltaic people. According to their newspapers,radios,and television, Upper Volta is all fire and blood.
"You see, imperialism is wrong. But Imperialism is a bad student. Even though its been defeated,though it's been sent out of the classroom, it come back again. It's a bad student. Imperialism never draws lessons from its failures. Its down in South Africa cutting African throats — just because Africans there are thinking about freedom, as you are today
"Imperialism is everywhere, making us think like it, submit to it, and go along with its maneuvers by spreading it culture [cultural Imperialism], far and wide with the he;p of misinformation. We must bar the road to this imperialism. As I said,it will proceed to a violent stage. It is imperialism that landed troops in certain countries we know. Imperialism armed those who are killing our brothers in South Africa. Imperialism again is the assassin of the Lumumbas, Cabrals, Kwame Nkumahs, Machels..." Need I say more."
All I can add at this point is that practical application is needed, after writing such a pieces about ideas of 'Leadership' and What its made of and is doing at present, will be added on. The readers can make up their own mind about they have read here-the fact this remans an ongoing research project from which we will be posting ideas that are practical and helpful for Africans of South Africa. The piece above gives and intelligent view of the mass mind in a simple form, the second part are the ideas of Sankara reinforcing the call for action, practice and tactics.
The next post will put all these in a digestible context for all to use. We need to talk about these issue of leadership so as to sharpen our Critique and Anti-Critique of it... Is strange how power, society and leadership are still an on going conversation in the African communities on the Continent and in the Diaspora, and Sankara, in 1983, captured its essence and was evolving ideas how to really deal with it. What we can do as South Africans with this material is to make sure we read it, and pass it on to as many people as people.
An updated and educated masses is the most feared weapon by imperialism. The task of Africans in South Africa today is to see to it that they educate and inform the masses. This is the leader we should be looking forward and toward in the future tactics, strategies and social engineering using, implanting and embedding new formations, attitudes and ways of doing for the poor like has never been done before… I will be adding to this topic at length in the near future....
Oppression of African Americans in America-A Case In Point
Same Old, Same Old-The Same Oppression - Mzantsi or America-Same
Race Matters: Black(African) Youth Left Behind in the US and in Africa (and the so called Third word) Technological Society - Reforming Africans' Contemporary History and the African World View
Demographers predict that nonwhite youth (80 percent of whom will be Black(African) will constitute 20 percent of the youth population under the age 17 by the year 2000 and 23 percent by 2020 [Ozawa]. Similarly, 16 percent of the labor force in the 16-24-year-old age group will be nonwhite by 2020. In fact, in the labor force between 1985 and 2020 will come primarily from nonwhites, immigrants, and women with native nonwhite males constituting 10 percent of the labor force in 2020. Moreover, an increasing proportion of these nonwhite workers,p particularly Blacks(Africans) and Hispanic, will be recruited from disadvantaged backgrounds from which they have experienced poverty, school failure, and minimal work experience (US Dept. of Labor).
At the same time, the economy is moving from an industrial/manufacturing-based economy to a service/technology-based economy, which 90 percent of the newer jobs will be found in those latter occupations by 2020 (Marshall) Since many of the Black(African) youth will not have adequate education or work skills to compete for high-tech jobs, they will not be employable. Since they will be unable to earn income, they will also be unable to contribute to the economy and to support the social security program, which will be expanding as the proportion of elderly retired people increases rapidly during this same period.
Thus, Black(African) youth will not only be locked out of an increasingly technological labor market, but will also create a major drain on an economy with a shrinking population base to support ever-expanding social insurance and social welfare programs for the elderly. Just thought one should make note of what is happening in the diaspora on many fronts, especially as it affects and effects people of African descent-particularly, the Youth.
The same complains of the South African Middle Class are the same all over the world, and this article below makes my point that there are various and different types of warfare that are taking place in different communities throughout South Africa. This is a story, in the article below, about a community of different ethnic groups that are facing the problems that are part of life in places like Soweto and the other African Townships. The notion of the town of Mayfair being middle class, is a carry-over from Apartheid, and now under the ANC they are being gentrified. This is what Ferial Haffajee has to say about this issue:
Tjatjarag: The middle class is not second class
This is probably the toughest column I’ve written because it runs counter to my founding ideology of working class hegemony and supremacy.
I come from a home where a trade union, then the Garment Workers’ Union, filled many gaps. It gave me a student bursary and gave my dad medical care — a union filled the gaps for caring in an apartheid state.
As an adult South African, I understand today’s gaps — they are mapped on to our landscape and the areas of need run deep. We write about them almost every week in City Press.
Meeting the needs of a rural and urban underclass must be the priority of any democratic government. How can it be otherwise? But, of late, I am finding a different citizen’s voice. It clamors: “What about me?” My pay slip has a huge chunk cut out of it. It’s called the “Pravin gap” — named after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan – it’s my tax dollar.
Until now, I haven’t minded the gap. Every month I give Gordhan what amounts to a welfare payment. If you’re like me, you pay for your own health, education, security and pension — all of which should ideally be funded by the state through taxes.
I’m happy to pay for a stable and largely peaceful country.
Stuff works, as my colleague Mondli Makhanya says when people whinge too much.
But now I want it to work better for me as a middle class person. That’s the scary part.
Until now, I’ve felt for political reasons and the commitment to social solidarity that us middle class people — with our smart cars, nice houses, medical aid and all our stuff — must just put up and shut up.
Or maybe that’s the message you get from the state. My mum lives in Mayfair, which is wonderful with its mix of new immigrant Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali communities.
But it’s a mess — too many people, terrible services and a councillor who lives elsewhere. The entire area I grew up in looks like a Pikitup tip.
When a group of us from our community visited the Jo'burg council offices, an arrogant young planner said it would not be “gentrified”. All we wanted was for it to be cleaned up and made safe.
But for him (and, I guess, his comrades in office) providing efficient service levels is equated with gentrification, middle class problems that count for nought.
This attitude is apparent across Jo'burg, where the city and its surrounds that create the largest chunk of our gross domestic product suffer from intolerable neglect.
How did it happen that almost no traffic lights work and we don’t complain? We treat intersections like four-way stops as if we are in downtown Baghdad or Juba in South Sudan.
We pay the people in charge of traffic lights salaries of more than R2 million a year and expect no service. And what about the potholes? We scoot around them and when they’re too big to miss, we burst our tires and buy another set.
Storm water drains create havoc because they have suffered a decade of neglect.
What a tolerant bunch we are. That’s why the state thinks it can pile it on. The defiance campaign against e-tolls is a sign of a middle class that’s tired of being squeezed dry by a rapacious state.
On holiday in December, I noticed a tourism levy added to my hotel account (another tax), on top of the big fuel levy I pay to fill my car, on top of the VAT I pay on every purchase I make.
And there’s more to come when the national health insurance kicks in.
Only about five million South Africans pay tax and a relatively small proportion of those pay the lion’s share. You can squeeze a relatively small middle class only so much before it squeals and expects something in return. I’m going to start squealing.
I want decent municipal services, good roads, efficient call centers, hospitals that don’t carry health warnings and more excellent public schools. I’d love to know if you think this is a want too far. Or do you agree?"
Well, I do not know if I agree for the sake of Mayfair or not, or whether I care for their suffering class, but one thing remains the same, so long as they think(In Mayfield still think of themselves in terms terms of the Mayfair of White privilege and opportunity), the places we used to call the "Kitchens" because our mothers from the Townships were 'servants' there and had to sleep there, except on Thursday(Sheila's day-because the Zulu pronunciation spake it so), it is not as drastic as what we face in the Township of Soweto.
If those in the Cape Town Suburb alluded to above are having it good, it is because the denizens of that enclave are mostly White, as the author also pointed out that in the outlying areas of the suburbs, the people are suffering, but better, because the informer said better in those hovels of Cape Town than those in Johannesburg. Well, well said, and it is precisely this point that some see and find to be the case, not only in South Africa, but also around the World.
Below are some of the responses to the article above which enable us to have a much more in-depth peek into the lives of other South Africans and what is they have to say.
South African Speak:
"Thanks for a well considered piece. Add to that your brilliant cartoon in today's paper, and I couldn't agree more.
"What makes all the taxes even more unbearable is not only that we are expected to 'shut up and pay', but when the taxes are squandered on bad tenders, corrupt politicians and conspicuous consumption by out-of-touch and lazy civil 'servants', we are still told to shut up.Since when was it OK for those in power to plunder money from the poor? It was one of the biggest evils of Apartheid, and it still continues today. *Thank you* City Press for exposing the plunder where you can. You are not only serving the middle class by doing so, but giving a voice to the voiceless, including those too poor to buy your paper.
"The numbers are scary. About 2 million tax payers pay 85% of personal income tax collected, or thereabouts.
The NHI is totally unaffordable. Britain's NHS is the model.
The Brits spend 2 thousand pounds per head of population on the NHS. That is R34,000 per head,
We have 55 million people
55 million times R34,000 is R1.8 trillion. Per year.
Total tax currently collected is around R1 trillion.
The NHI is a cornerstone of ANC manifesto.
No wonder Pravin is quitting!"
"Spend some time in the Western Cape - the upper and middle class suburbs, to be more specific — and you will see that traffic lights are fixed within a few hours; potholes are practically non-existent; faulty water pipes and electrical connections and other municipal problems can be logged via polite, efficient call centers or SMS lines, and are dealt with the prompt efficiency that we all deserve; that city and metro police are present and generally reliable; the functioning CBD streets are cleaned daily and are generally a joy to walk along; major events and functions run with clockwork efficiency and with amazing spirit; and a public transport system that still has some way to go, but is logical, reliable, and alarmingly advanced and well managed.
And when this isn't the case, many ward councillors and local politicians are present and accessible, and though often arrogant, unforgiving and hard-lined, the sense of accountability and respect for the public's interest is there.
"The conflict, of course, is that this is not the case throughout the Western Cape - a visit outside of the upper and middle class suburbs will quickly reveal this. And so in many liberal circles — whether the members of the circles are enjoying these benefits of a functioning local government or not — to celebrate these successes of the local government is tantamount to celebrating a divided and imbalanced society. In a country successfully polarized by immature and inexperienced politicians motivated primarily by self-gain, celebrating the successes of an opposition-run province is still a very difficult and conflicting thing to do."
"Well said indeed.
The problem you articulate is one felt around the world at various times and places
It is called "taxation without representation."
Who represents the middle class in a list-determined parliamentary democracy?
Our founding fathers (mostly fathers) fixed the system to guarantee their perks going forward. They do not represent you.
Once on top of the dung heap they are there for life, if not in parliament or the top level of the state, then through cushy deployments to places like Kuala Lumpur or Hamburg
The most recent twist of the Pravin knife ensures that the top will keep its privileges in spite or, or because of Treasury rules
As in all catastrophes there is no single cause for the disaster — it takes a number of near simultaneous acts to bring such about
Proportional representation and then AA: BEE; LRA; BCES; ESTA. Eish. All so well intentioned.
They do not represent me either
The Greeks had a word for this: "metic" — someone with limited rights. Welcome, sister."
I increasingly wonder why I pay tax. Especially when I see some fat cat politician spending R1.5m on a car. My hard earned tax is squandered by the few while the country becomes poorer.
The only way to remedy this is to vote with our heads not with our hearts. Vote for service delivery. For a party that does not ignore its electorate. Vote for those we can trust.
If we want decent services, roads, hospitals give the ANC a wake-up call. Vote anyone but Zuma."
"You know, i think that's why i'm not broken up that my plan to live in jo'burg hasn't worked out. i like that even my downmarket working class suburb has largely functional services down here. [if you don't pay your rates, the city will cut you off. quickly. in return, you do get largely functional services, even in most of the informal settlements -- i'm not a fan of Helen Zille because of her general tone towards people, but i've been in informal settlements in cape town and informal settlements in jo'burg and port Elizabeth.... and i'll take cape town's any day.]
Would you suggest a middle-class tax revolt [to the extent that this is possible] until you get these things you want?
While you'd still have to pay for water, for example, you could get a *good* solar power system for your house, for example. [a *good* solar power system, still works at night, due to the battery storage]."
I'm sure there are other various ways to starve the city until they finally have to listen."
"Ferial - the concept of citizen activist/anarchist was knocked out of us long ago by the Nat government, and has never recovered, which suits the current rapacious bums just fine. We're all, or most of us, comfortably passive citizens, consumers, voters, you name it. Nothing will change, I fear, until, to quote that wonderful line from Peter Finch in "Network" (1976), we're ALL prepared to stand up and tell them, regularly and strongly that, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!". We all need to raise our voices, and DO something, other than moan. The e-toll protests MAY be a start, but we HAVE to support OUTA, and not stand back and expect everyone else to do so instead. And lots of other important initiatives too......."
-Quentin Du Plooy:
"Absolutely, Jo'burg is a wall to wall mess. From Mayfair to Malvern to Melville to Craighallbladdypark and Alexandria. Roads are cracked and potholed drains are blocked and water meters leak water across pavements. The streets are littered, parks and public libraries are dilapidated, maintenance is non existent. City departments perform erratically and randomly without any sense of planning, a casual drive across the city reveals this.
Democracy is visible only in that the entire city is equally neglected."
"The middle class is shrinking and decreasing and the burden of credit [both personal and that of government / public] have become a very large load on the shoulders and knees of the working slave, so called workers and professionals.
The credit which were made by both the private citizen and government, in the name of the voter, need to be repaid by the working middle class which is suffering to survive and barely progress in a social economics sense in the land of milk and honey.
Now it is evident that inflation is greater than annual salary increase and that the economical decrease is greater than the growth generated by the working and professional classes in the country during the last 6 years or so.
The solution lies in the possibility to either jump towards the political elite who have both their hands on all the money of the taxpayer or slide into the gutter of the ever increasing working class which fail to survive the financial and economical burdens in South Africa.
A very interesting reflection and demonstration of a failed adult generation is shown on Al Jazeera and recorded in 2013 called "Up 28 South Africa".
I wonder if it is the people who have failed, or whether it is the socio-political structures and environment, which are designed in such a manner, to result in full failure of the people, and on a medium term, the collapse of the political system.
It is therefore not strange, that utilitarianism is preached by young competitive political parties, to the current one-party state. (Red Barets....)
In the medium term say 15 - 35 years, South Africa will remain where it is, and just look around, that is the best that this country will perform and do for the next 40 years or so.
Either adapt the system, to serve the people, or have this card house, which is built on quicksand, to fully collapse.
In Africa there are many current and historical examples.
Open your eyes and look around!
At least we still have Eskom, Telkom, Bafana and Home Affairs / Dept. of Health on the one side and on the other side sunshine, beer, rugby, braai and Chevrolet.
The answer is blowing in the wind!"
-Shabnam Palesa Mohamed:
I was sharing an impassioned response only for the browser close. [I've also had my Facebook accounts and our organizational pages hacked, so be vigilant comrades, the NSA has many friendly accomplices.]
In summary of eternal Truth. The Power of the People is Stronger Than The People In Power. And any silence to any injustice equals consent, and betrayal. We cannot say and do things that insult our souls.
Which is why I have a special hatred for toxic, divisive, and manipulative racism exhibited by Mazibuye, Imbumbo, Malema; and the tender lender bastards that live off our blood, sweat and tears taxes or not. I say we challenge them to a public debate.
Read this Civil War profits filth [while you let it sink in why Zuma has a BOMB BUNKER. The bombs and drones are in our country, look around Africa and our bleeding World!.
AND THEN COMMIT TO NEVER LETTING THE ELITE USE ANY AND EVERY REASON AND EXCUSE TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER US WHEN THE REAL APARTHEID IS ECONOMIC! THE PSYCHO ELITE 1% — 10% VS. THE REST OF US!"
-Ubuntu be Afrika:
"...We law abiding citizens are tired of being drained dry with little or no more cash to further improve our lives. For now, I will still commit to being tax compliant BUT I refuse to pay for e-tolls and have no intention to ever popping out any cent for this 'tax' system. Frankly, our fuel levy can pay off whatever debt created by SANRAL/ANC government, but next time they dare not decide on our behalf without allowing us to be part of the decision-making process / conversations. Amandla ngawethu[Power Is Ours] - This government is for the people and not solely for individual politicians and their families..."
Why I posted the article above and its responses, the article is by one author and the responses provide an added perspective that the article might omit or miss. I think also, I am trying to point out that the problems of Mayfair, are no different from those in the Soweto's of South Africa. The responses speak for themselves and give the reader an added or whatever perspective. At the same time, it should be noted that the problems of the poor in south Africa are similar to those poorAfricans in European, America, Canada and South America/Caribbean.
But, what is lacking, are informants from the Townships and their own particular experiences. I think that if the author of the article above were to get to know better issues faced by those poor people in the Townships, her existence would seem like a cake-walk. The author will realize that we are all being played, and there is no one better poor than the next poor wretch in Mzantsi
Africans Under Siege-The Importance Of An African-centered Approach
Most Americans are aware of the high rates of social problems among Black Americans. For example, Blacks are disproportionately represented among Americans experiencing academic failure, teenage pregnancy, female-headed families, chronic unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, drug addiction, and criminal victimization (Poussaint, 1983; US News and World Report,1986). Consequently, there is a great deal of debate among politicians, journalists, academics, and ordinary citizens concerning the etiology of these problems.
Those who attempt to explain the prevalence of these conditions among Blacks tend to argue one of three positions: genetic inferiority, culture of poverty, or racial oppression. Advocates of the genetic inferiority perspective argue that the high rates of social problems among Blacks is a product or expression of Black peoples’ innate inferiority to Caucasians and other racial groups. Moreover, advocates of this perspective argue that Blacks possess genetic traits and characteristics that predispose them to engage in problematic behavior at higher rates than White (Garrett, 1961; Jensen, 1973).
A major problem with genetic inferiority theories is that advocates of this perspective tend to differentially apply it in explaining the causes of social problems among various racial and ethnic groups. For example, White Americans have higher rates of academic failure, teenage pregnancy, female-headed families, drug addiction, and criminal involvement than do Europeans (Archer and Gartner, 1983; Time Magazine, 1985). However, the rate differences between White Americans and Europeans are almost always explained in terms of differences in environmental and cultural conditions.
The genetic inferiority perspective is also criticized for failing to provide evidence of a specific genetic trait that causes crime or any other major social problem (Montagu, 1941). For example, the genetic inferiority of Blacks is often based on the results of culturally biased intelligence tests (Clark, 1975; Hilliard, 1981). Advocates of the genetic inferiority perspective also tend to disregard the role of systematic racial discrimination in generating social problems among Blacks.
The culture of poverty perspective is another body of assumptions designed and often used to explain the etiology of social problems among Blacks. Advocates of this perspective argue that poverty, social disorganization (i.e., the breakdown of basic community institutions, including the family, church, and school), and inadequate socialization of children are the primary causes of the high rates of social problems among Blacks (Banfield, 1970; Moynihan, 1965). Moreover, advocates of this perspective have suggested that lower-class Blacks adhere to a distinctive set of cultural values and traditions that lead to or directly condone involvement in problematic behavior (Miller, 1958; Banfield, 1970).
A major criticism of the culture of poverty perspective as an explanation of the high rates of social problems among Blacks is that this perspective fails to explain why only a small percentage of Blacks who experience poverty and exposure to community social disorganization engage in behavioral patterns that suggest the internalization of values and norms in conflict with mainstream values and norms (Hill, 1972).
The third and probably the most popular explanation of social problems among Blacks is the racial oppression theory. Advocates of this perspective argue that the majority of Blacks, like the majority of other Americans, support mainstream values and goals (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960). However, historical patterns of political disenfranchisement and systematic deprivation of equal access to educational and employment opportunities have induced a disproportionate number of Blacks to engage in illegitimate means (e.g., robbery, drug dealing, and prostitution) to attain mainstream values and goals (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960).
In a more recent formulation of the racial oppression theory Wilson (1987) argues that historical patterns of racial discrimination and the technological transformation of the economy have produced disproportionately high rates of joblessness, female-headed families, poverty, drug abuse, and crime among Blacks. A major criticism of racial oppression theories is that they tend to over predict the number of Blacks who are likely to become involved in problematic behavior.
For example, all Blacks are directly or indirectly affected by American racism [just like in South Africa]; however, only a minority actively participate in activities that cause social problems. Given the inadequacies of the genetic inferiority, culture of poverty, and racial oppression perspectives of Blacks and social problems,I would like to offer an alternative theoretical perspective based on the interrelationship between structural pressures and cultural adaptations.
The most fundamental assumption of the structural-cultural perspective is that the high rate of social problems among Blacks is the result of structural pressures and dysfunctional cultural adaptations to those pressures. The term structural pressures is used to refer to patterns of American political, economic, social, and cultural organization designed to perpetuate White superiority and Black inferiority. Thus, I argue that White racism and various patterns of racial discrimination are the predominant environmental pressures adversely impacting on the survival and progress of Black people.
Another major assumption of the structural-cultural perspective is that Blacks have failed to adequately respond to White racism. The term dysfunctional cultural adaptation refers to specific styles of group adjustment that Blacks have adopted in response to structurally induced social pressures. The piece below by John Perkings gives us just a glimpse as to how and by whom are these structural pressures created in the world by American Imperialism.
THOSE WHO HUNT AND STALK THE MASSES WILL IN THE END BE STALKED AND HUNTED BY THE MASSES
It is strange how some people try very hard on FB to make you notice that they are following, stalking you and hiding in plain sight. Well, Those in power who think that it is permanent, sometimes expose themselves believing that those who are weaker than them will never hurt them nor touch them with a reach of a toothpick. Well, maybe the government people in South Africa are the Untouchables. For now, the ball is in their courts. But there will come a day when the shit will hit the fan, when power disappears like the mist does when the sun comes out.
I still recall the Poem of Solomon Mahlangu of which its gist was that he was looking at his murderous, but was able to tell them of the futility of their torture and destroying him because they will eventually lose lower and that whatever they are doing will be for naught. Why is this pice important that I write? Well, as a media Blogger and a person who is a communication and everything Geek, I notice stalkers and trolls on my Wall, and they never say anything nor post a comment. Well, it is good for them that they do this, but in time they might find it not so advisable, but by then it will be too late. For now, those in government wield power that they have lackeys do the dirty work for them.
But those of us who are trolled and stalked by government and other cabals in government with interest of lining their pockets with handsome pay, well, with the masses crying and groaning and straining under the yoke of poverty and terror and abuse, they get used to it, and they soon, in turn, turn to be just like their detractors.
These hireling and quisling for pieces of silver live their lives searching constantly for enemies amongst their sheeples, underlings, lackeys and and cabals(who do the vulture work). This reality is captured in a way only he could stay it-John Perkings-in the excerpt below gives us the extant of this operation which is much like how the cover intrigue works in Mzantsi:
AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins joins us now in our firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!
JOHN PERKINS: Thank you, Amy. It’s great to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Okay, explain this term, "Economic Hit Man," e.h.m., as you call it.
JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring — to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It’s only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you become one? Who did you work for?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations. The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950s, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government,
Mossadegh’s government who was Times magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed — well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran. At that point, we understood that this idea of economic hit man was an extremely good one. We didn’t have to worry about the threat of war with Russia when we did it this way.
The problem with that was that Roosevelt was a CIA agent. He was a government employee. Had he been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing. So, at that point, the decision was made to use organizations like the CIA and the NSA to recruit potential economic hit men like me and then send us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.
AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.
JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan — let’s say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador — and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a US company, or US companies, to build the infrastructure — a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones.
Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And in really can’t do it.
So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, "Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil." And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. You say because of bribes and other reason you didn’t write this book for a long time. What do you mean? Who tried to bribe you, or who — what are the bribes you accepted?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I accepted a half a million dollar bribe in the nineties not to write the book.
AMY GOODMAN: From?
JOHN PERKINS: From a major construction engineering company.
AMY GOODMAN: Which one?
JOHN PERKINS: Legally speaking, it wasn’t — Stoner-Webster. Legally speaking it wasn’t a bribe, it was — I was being paid as a consultant. This is all very legal. But I essentially did nothing. It was a very understood, as I explained in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, that it was — I was — it was understood when I accepted this money as a consultant to them I wouldn’t have to do much work, but I mustn’t write any books about the subject, which they were aware that I was in the process of writing this book, which at the time I called "Conscience of an Economic Hit Man." And I have to tell you, Amy, that, you know, it’s an extraordinary story from the standpoint of —- It’s almost James Bondish, truly, and I mean-
AMY GOODMAN: Well that’s certainly how the book reads.
JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, and it was, you know? And when the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over. I come from a very old New England family, Calvinist, steeped in amazingly strong moral values. I think I, you know, I’m a good person overall, and I think my story really shows how this system and these powerful drugs of sex, money and power can seduce people, because I certainly was seduced.
And if I hadn’t lived this life as an economic hit man, I think I’d have a hard time believing that anybody does these things. And that’s why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins. In your book, you talk about how you helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of dollars of Saudi Arabian petrol dollars back into the US economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the House of Saud and successive US administrations. Explain.
JOHN PERKINS: Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well, you’re probably too young to remember, but I remember well in the early seventies how OPEC exercised this power it had, and cut back on oil supplies. We had cars lined up at gas stations. The country was afraid that it was facing another 1929-type of crash — depression; and this was unacceptable. So, they —— the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia. We-—
AMY GOODMAN: You’re actually called economic hit men —e.h.m.’s?
JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.'s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petrodollars back to the United States and invest them in US government securities.
The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire US companies to build Saudi Arabia — new cities, new infrastructure — which we've done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy.
"When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are CIA-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn’t work, they perform assassinations. Or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren’t able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had — His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how Torrijos died?
JOHN PERKINS: "Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama. Omar Torrijos had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much — and, you know, it passed our congress by only one vote. It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger.
"When Carter was thrown out (and that’s an interesting story) — how that actually happened), when he lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos — tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused. He was a very principled man. He had his problem, but he was a very principled man.
"He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which — I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There’s no question in my mind that it was CIA sanctioned, and most — many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.
AMY GOODMAN: So, where — when did your change your heart happen?
JOHN PERKINS: I felt guilty throughout the whole time, but I was seduced. The power of these drugs, sex, power, and money, was extremely strong for me. And, of course, I was doing things I was being patted on the back for. I was chief economist. I was doing things that Robert McNamara liked and so on.
AMY GOODMAN: How closely did you work with the World Bank?
JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the IMF But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we’re going to feel secure in this country again and that we’re going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help — genuinely help poor people. There are twenty-four thousand people starving to death every day. We can change that.
AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, I want to thank you very much for being with us. John Perkins’ book is called, 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.'
The spooks in the machine are posted in their positions, lurking[day and night] to stifle life out of somebody, because the passage of the Press and media gag that was passed into law, empowers them to kill, terrorize, maim and kill their opposition and those who threaten them with the loss of their three pieces of silver-in fact for more, they will go over and beyond their stated mission to show that they obey the monied potentates who are not willing to let go of the gravy change, even if they know what they are doing is wrong. The arrogance that the present people in power display, shows that they believe that they will be in power forever.
Yes, the masses are scared stiff, they are made ignorant and hungry, left sick and given no help(in many cases); given poor services and not represented properly; lied to and opportunism being. Yes, for now, the belief that masses are cowed may seem to be permanent, but it is not knowing the revolutionary democratic fire that embers in the tired and huddled masses, that, one stupid day, they will explode(remember the days of the guillotine-Mary Antoinette and her crew) was Robespierre in the guillotined motley crew... will be the day of reckoning- and the masses and be very vicious.
My sin is trying to help All poor people deal with the cumbersome imposed state of annihilation. That, then, I can stand and be accused of. Woe it be unto them who swirl in the cesspool of opulence at the expense of the mud-eating, water drinking and air-swallowing hungry masses who imbibe these just so that they could go to sleep in their cold-heater driven houses.
It is really important to note that People like Perkings ended up confessing their errant-because as they built the Empire for the USA, they made the rulers and all their followers their underling and operatives in service of Imperialism. Our leaders are under the tutelage of the Western Invested and deep-pocketed Capitalist.
And, they and their sidekicks will out-do themselves to please the Conglomerates and imperial government in oppressing, patrolling and controlling the masses… In the end, the Hunters and stalkers/Trolls, end up being hunted and stalked themselves. That will be when the shit hits the fan, and the chicken come home to roost... .
A HISTORICAL POINT AND VINGNETTE WORTH REMEMBERING AND NOTING
We must recall that when African people's invaders sounded their attack and our proud rulers sallied forth to throw them back, they did manage on few occasions to repel them. But at the testing point of arms against arms, or organization against organization, Africans, failed utterly. They could not muster the kind of organization that could deliver the right weapons in sufficient qualities to defeat the invaders and chase them back to the sea.
At Burmi, Omdurman, Segu, Tabora, Ijebu, Kumasi, Arochukwu and countless other battlefields we met defeat. The Ethiopian victory at Adowa was the exception that proved the point of our weakness. We had long been pathetically weak; finally our weakness stood exposed.
And all because, for the four preceding centuries,African leaders had been preoccupied with exporting, with inadequate compensations or none at all, African human and material resources, but they had been too busy organizing our continent for the exploitative advantage of Europe, had been busy too busy with slaving raids upon one another, and too busy decorating themselves with trinkets imported from Europe and throwing away invaluable manhood, our irreplaceable Gold, Diamonds and Ivory.
And too busy, under various European inducements, impoverishing and disorganizing the land to take thought and long range action to protect our sovereignty. An at the end of those misused centuries, when our ancestors had sown ruinous gain, we, their descendants, reaped conquest and humbling indignities. We must keep before us the pivotal and importance of that conquest. (Chinweizu)
Since the fifteenth century, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia have permeated, fashioned, and conditioned the policy, attitude/mind-set of Europeans toward African peoples. Europeans believed then, as they do now, that it is their Divine Right to rule and govern African peoples, ad infinitum.
And as part of 'the manifestation' of the evil genius of Europe, Europeans not only proceeded to colonize the world, but more importantly, they also colonized information about the world. ... Eurocentric history, therefore, has deliberately promulgated the myth that Africa was a "Dark Continent" replete with cannibals, savages, and inferior, uncivilized, backward, primitive peoples, devoid of knowledge and culture and possessing evil traits and desires.
The erudite Historian, Dr. John Hendrik Clarke correctly asserted that:
"Civilization did not start in European countries and the rest of the world did not wait in darkness for the Europeans to bring light. ... most of the history books in the last five hundred years have been written to glorify Europeans at the expense of other peoples... Most Western historians have not been willing to admit that there is an African history to be written about and that this history predates the emergence of Europe by thousands of years.
It is not possible for the world to have waited in darkness for the Europeans to bring the light because, for most of the early history of man, The Europeans themselves were in darkness. When the light of culture came for the first time to the people who would later call themselves Europeans, it came from Africa and Middle Eastern Asia...
It is too often forgotten that when the Europeans emerged and began to extend themselves into the broader world of Africa and Asia during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they went on to colonize most of mankind.
Later, they would colonize world scholarship, mainly to show or imply that Europeans were the only creators of what could be called civilization. In order to accomplish tis, the Europeans had to forget, or pretend to forget, all they previously knew about Africa."
Joel Cotton further elongates what Professor Clarke had already stated in this manner:
"... Europeans were by no means the pioneers of human civilization. Half of man's recorded history had passed before anyone in Europe could read or write. The priests of Egypt began to keep written records between 4000 and 3000 BC While the Pharaohs were building the first pyramids, Europeans were creating nothing more distinguished than garbage heaps ..."
"In looking toward the twenty-first century and the troubling transitional aspect of Pan Africanism, Dr. Clarke opines that, "It is ironic that the concept of PanAfricanism was a Caribbean creation and the Caribbean people have made the least use of it." He recalls that such Pan-Africanist pioneers as Henry Sylvester Williams, a lawyer from Trinidad, who called a protest conference in London, England in 1900 on the conviction that the Problems of Black(African folk in England were largely based on racism."
"It was Williams who coined the term Pan-Africanism. Other pioneers include C. L. R. James and George Padmore, both also from Trinidad. Along with W. E. B. Du Bois, these individuals 'gave the concept of Pan-Africanism form and substance."
Dr. Clarke defines Pan Africanism "as any effort on the part of African people to reclaim any portion of Africa that has been taken away, mutilated, misunderstood, or misinterpreted by a non-African to the detriment of Africa.
"Euro-colonial was designed to produce people who would participate in the process of colonial rule; who would participate in the process of their own oppression in the oppression of their fellow colonized people [neocolonialism]; moreover, 'colonized school was education for subordination, exploitation, the creation of mental confusion, and the development of underdevelopment, powerlessness and dependency.'
"It also reinforced the 'notion of alienation' [divide and conquer]. In other words, colonial and neocolonial education ossified the psychological dependency complex of the African colonized/oppressed to the extent that in the era of what Dr. Clarke terms "Flag Independence," the African 'wasn't to be a sovereign nation' but instead was only "preparing to imitate his slave master's ruling a nation."
Ipso facto, Africans not only: ...take for granted the validity, truth and superiority of the culture of the (European) colonizer but (also) assume that the behaviors, culture, values, lifestyles, moral preferences, and definitions of morality of the colonized as invalid, wrong, false, or inferior. .. (Moreover, they) have been infected and conditioned to invalidate and reject their own being and own culture, value and philosophical individuality ...
(They) tend to evaluate their behaviors in terms of whether or not they are acceptable to the (European) colonizer. (They accept) the colonizer as the standard..(and) crave to be like their colonizers ...)
Putting in the mix of how it is done today is the interview by John Perkings as he was being interviewed by Amy Good, that one begins to see how modern colonialism, as opposed to the way old colonialism, functions. These two ways of ruling over people and their resources, over time, is what we should begin to link as process of African incarceration, abuse and debasement that knows no bounds.
The mannerism through which Africans were colonized as explained by Dr Clarke, and the way it is being done today, explained by John Perkings, one begins to see the patterns that have been used to enslave people, yesteryear, and contemporaneously today, shows not only the process itself, but the violence and how it's being escalated and evolved over time from the British to the present-day Americans, Africans in Africa, African Americans and the poor people in the so-called Third World.
In contemporary South Africa, Africans are experiencing the same thing although operationally different, but still the procrastination we saw described today, but in today's Mafia-like way...
I think it is time to take the advices and knowledge for people like Amilcar Cabral, maybe some of us who are not familiar with his works will find hid him very useful and instructive: his Revolutionary Experiences. On FB, I had this to offer and add on to Tshikosi's statement, and cited Amilcar Cabral, whose experiences with party members took this the form I cited!
Mr. Tshikosi... I took some time off the FF to take care of some other matters. Your statement that 'the state of the Party, is the reflection of membership quality/commitment' brought Amilcar Cabral to my mind and I would like to cite some few things from his Sub-title - "Revolutionary Democracy" and I think there are many teachable moments in what he has to say, that most of us will do well to begin to learn from.
Cabral writes thus: "In the context of the principle of 'revolutionary democracy', to which we have already referred to several times, each responsible worker must bear his responsibility bravely, must demand respect from others for his activities and must show respect for the activities of others. However, we must not hide anything from our people, we must not deceive our people.
Deceiving our people is to build a foundation of calamity for our Party. We must combat this in some comrades vigorously. We cannot allow the population to come to the frontier to fetch merchandize for the people's stores, for example, and once they have arrived find themselves obliged to load up with war material.
Doing this is behaving worse than the colonialists, it is abusing our authority, abusing the good faith and good will of our people. It is preferable to say frankly to elements of the population they should prepare themselves to go and fetch war material, because the war is for our land, and if they do not want to go, they will be arrested and taken by force.
If necessary they can be arrested, but they must know where they are going. This is better than lying, cheating and looking small in the people's eye, for they, however wretched and suffering, are like any people, and they know the difference between the truth and a lie, justice and injustice, good and evil, and they are wise enough to lose respect for anyone who has lied to them. ...
We must put an end to lying, we must be able not to deceive anyone about the difficulties of the struggle, about the mistakes we make, the defeats we may suffer, and we cannot believe that victory is easy. Nor can we believe in evasions like "I thought that".This is one of the great defects of some comrades. 'Comrade, how did this happen?' — 'It seems that...' This is of no use for those who are making a revolution, who seek the progress and happiness of their people through liberation struggle. We must be aware of this. ...
There are comrades who are not able to make a clear report on what is happening in the area where they are. Happily there are other who are capable. I am focusing on the negative aspects, but you all know that there are any positive aspects. That is exactly why we are seated here and it would be disastrous for us if there were only negative aspects.
But my duty is to point out what is not going well, so that we can improve and go forward. We must trust appearances, our imagination; we have a tendency to trust our imagination. ... Revolutionary democracy demands that we combat all opportunism, as I have already told you, and that we combat as well the attitude comrades have being too hasty in forgiving mistakes.
I am a responsible worker, you make a mistake, and I forgive you with the following intention: that now you know you are in my hands. This is not acceptable. No one has the right to forgive mistakes without first discussing the mistakes in front of everyone. Because the Party is ours, for all of us, not for each of us, but for all of us. We find it too easy to excuse quickly, we must fight this.
The time has come to stop finding excuses. There is work to be done; it should be done well without excuses." If we can begin to read, seriously, learn and recall/execute what we have read and learn again from the people within whom we work amongst and with, we will further develop a language that is borne out of that struggle experience, and learning and applying these advices from Cabral, we will at least avoid the anarchy of ignorance that is threatening to engulf us.
I cannot stress this more than I have done through my pieces here on FB, we need to read, know, control, disseminate and own our intelligence, information and knowledge, because all of them signify power and lead the Africans to one nation and emancipation....
Present-day oppression and repression of Africans has taken many forms- and these tactics have merely morphed, added and tried to refine their oppressive and repressive techniques foisted upon the Africans of South Africa.
There are all kinds of 'chatter' on the FB amongst the Africans of South Africa who can afford phones that are hooked up on the Internet, and can thus talk to each other and deal with one about everything and anything.
Some people are calling for a revolution; the ruling ANC-led government is calling for an educated cadre to come and handle the teetering ship; the masses are dumbfounded and caught up in the calamity that Cabral is talking about above-being lied to and watching people become very opportunistic and materialistic, whilst the armies of the poor masses spiral deeper into poverty and death.
At this point, it is quite clear that Africans of South Africa are under siege on all fronts imaginable… What I call "anarchy of ignorance" his being used with a laissez faire carte blanche attitude that even the masses are struggling to wrap their minds around.
Of course what I have just stated in the preceding paragraph is being denied by the powers that be as being implausible, "preposterous" and "wrongfully and willingly being blasphemous and besmirching" of the legacy of the movement(ANC-ism) that has withstood other tumultuous calamities of the magnitude greater than the one we are all experiencing today in South Africa.
The only disadvantage Africans have is having to live with "imposed" ignorance, which defeats everything Africans of South Africa tried to do-in trying to change from Apartheidized design-and control or get off, at the same time, the tiger that they are riding with regards to their present-day African rulers.
Apartheid mortgaged their future [for itself] by making sure that Africans 'will not reach certain levels of academic competency through many bogus and rigged governmental apparatuses and institutions. The Afrikaners institutionalized and "Culturized 'Ignorance' amongst Africans of South Africa".
The ANC, in taking power, did not dismantle the Apartheid style, and introduced "Education of Dependency" lying to the Africans that everything is now free and open-but they(ANC) reneged on the "free" education and now we have seen sown in past two generations, Africans who are well orientated by the new "Education of Confusion", so that, in the end, we end up with no education taking place, but Africans being "Educated Into Ignorance".
The present-day African Leaders in South Africa must really figure it out that they have everything loose end tied up and a cinch when it comes to the education of the children of African people-their children-in a way.
This harkens back to what Bantu Biko addresses when he was pointing out to the fact that the children of Africans in South Africa, were being christianized and taken to these christian school, where they were marinated into the "Western Civilization" that in turn, the children turned around had such scorn and low opinion of the "Primitive" culture of their parents, relatives and African people in general.
What are we witnessing today, we see the same technique, now refined and morphed into 'taking children to better white private schools', which has resulted in the children of the African people not really cognizant with the mother tongue, culture, customs, traditions.
And in fact, end up bullying their 'ignorant' parents (who did not go to these "private and expensive) White schools in the White suburbs-disrespecting their own people, talking them down and talking down to them-rude and callous-using the English medium of their 'self expression-abusive, confused, mean spirited, materialistically hooked and acclimatized...
Fleecing their poor parents, and in general, causing confusion, dis-organization-allowing near suicidal and bad/rough treatment of their families and societies, that in the end, the youth, those 'edumacated' in these White schools, end up Black skinned and White Masked- a la Fanon.
Fanon informs us thus: "What is the origin of this personality change? What is the source of this new way of being? Every 'dialect' is a way of thinking. ... And the fact that the newly returned Negro(African) adopts a language different from that of the group into which he was born is evidence of a dislocation, a separation."
Prof. D. Westermann says that the "Negroes'(Africans') inferiority complex is particularly intensified among the most educated, who might struggle with it unceasingly. Their way of doing so, he adds, is frequently naive: The wearing of European clothes, whether rags or the most up-to-date style; using European furniture and European forms of social intercourse; adorning the Native language with European Expressions; using bombastic(grandiloquent) phrases in speaking of and writing a European language; all these contribute, for them, to a feeling of equality with the European and his achievements."
This is what I call false consciousness, which I have described at length above, in this Hub
In order to focus on the children of Africans and what is being done to them, I still prefer Fanon, because what we see today in Mzantsi (South Africa) is the very same thing, I use Fanon to point out to the fact that it is not for the first time happening to South Africans-It's a colonial thingy... Nothing of the sort in Antilles.
The language spoken officially is French [English/Afrikaans]; teachers keep a close watch over the children to make sure they do not use creole(African children today in South Africa have to deal with Afrikaans and English-not their mother tongues) Let us not mention the ostensible reasons. It would seem then, that the problem is this: In the Antilles, as in Brittany, there is a dialect and there is the French language.
But this is false, for the Bretons do not consider themselves inferior to the French people. The Bretons have not been civilized by the White man [I would hastily add that they were civilized by the African Moors who conquered Spain and went on to also civilize the rest of Europe) See my Hub "The History and the Age of The Moors in Spain: How the Moors Civilized Europe - The History of Africa" for a more in-depth narrative of this saga].
In order to wipe out a people and their historical memory from human history you destroy their History and culture , language, tradition, rites and practices-keeping them ignorant of the death-blow brought upon them, they have to be kept ignorant- and made to believe that they are not the people they are supposed to be, but remain a poor copy of their rulers.
This is caused by what Fanon calls "an arsenal of complexes" that have been developed by the colonial environment. When the ANC-led government took over the reigns of governing South Africa, these complexes were neither stopped nor changed, instead, the traumatized Africans were left on to their own accords. It does not matter if one were to build cheap houses for the Africans, give them poor health and social services, ignore them, miseducate them do anything to them, but as Cabral noted, "To not lie to them".
You’d be wrong to portray the ANC as a hard-headed organization that is stuck in the past and unwilling to see the error of its ways. It may not take kindly to external or public criticism, as evidenced by its response to businessman Reuel Khoza’s comments, but the recently released organizational renewal policy document reveals an organization engaged in honest self-reflection in a desperate attempt to avoid the mistakes made by other liberation movements on the continent.
Parts of the document are reminiscent ofHarvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig's book, Republic, Lost, albeit with less vivid imagery and more turgid language. In the book, Lessig warns about how campaign financing and lobby groups have usurped America’s democracy. So dastardly has been the sleight of hand that it has happened within the rules of democracy, mostly.
In calling “for the rebirth of the ANC," the document — one of several others to be discussed at the party’s June policy conference and possibly adopted at the December national conference — warns that the ANC may be in the throes of a similar evil threatening its internal processes(Democracy). It suggests the ANC is engaged in a battle for its soul against “new tendencies” and a “shadow culture which co-exists alongside the movement’s own organizational culture."
These tendencies draw on ANC history and symbolism and like a parasite, use the membership, and the very democratic structures and processes of the movement to its own end. This will be further clarified below when we discuss the struggle of the poor peoples movements(Abahali BaseMjondolo for one) who clearly make the reader much more aware how and why the ANC-led government is at war with them, and what is their modus operandi and modus vivendi.
One of the ways these tendencies have usurped the ANC’s democratic processes is in the influence of money in lobbying for position within the party. The influence ranges from creating secretive structures parallel to those of the party by funding lobby groups’ organizing activities to bribing members and manipulating membership systems to influence the outcome of leadership contests.
TheThe ANC Youth League in the Western Cape, for example, alleged during its chaotic elective conference in December 2011 that leaders within the party’s provincial executive and certain wealthy businessmen had been in cahoots to create Youth League “ghost branches”. It costs R10 to join the league and 100 members constitute a branch.
Once formed, these ghost branches became eligible to influence elective conferences, a league NEC member said. Regardless of the veracity of the claims, they illustrate why the document cites money, lobbying and these secretive parallel structures as a subset of the internal strife and factional battles for power that have come to dominate political life within the ANC.
This domination of factional battles in turn has become one of three organizational weaknesses the party faces. By implication, the country faces the same weaknesses, too, for as long as the party maintains its dominant position in politics.
The Western Cape ANCYL’s allegations were not the first time the notion of ghost members and branches arose within the party. In his report to the party’s 2002 national congress, then secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe said an audit had revealed problems with 'ghost members'.
But despite the further audits and safeguards the party put in place, the subversion of the party’s internal democracy through “buying” leadership positions continues today. The 2010 national general council leadership renewal document asks: “What about monies raised by candidates and lobby groups, with no accountability and disclosure about the sources [and legality] of such resources, nor how these monies are being used? Are we already in the trap of vested interests and those with money having more influence about the direction of the ANC than its membership?”
After much reluctance and handwringing, the party has in recent years taken on the issue of funding, not only of internal contestations, but also how it finances its own operations and how the country’s political organizations fund themselves."
When one reads the oppression alleged by the Abahlali baseMjondolo, one begins to see how these"operations work and the country's organizations fund themselves", as reported in the shows us the methodical subversion of the party's internal democracy through buying leadership positions, co-optation, anointment, cronyism, cabal-affiliations and based specifically on the comradeship of Exile(this gave form to relations between those who went to exile(getting better preferences), and those who never went into exile but stayed inside South Africa("Inziles").
This dividing of people into these two specific groups people being divided into "Exiles" and "Inziles" is one of the determining realities as to whether one get preferential treatment of not. So, the ghost members of the ANCYL that are operating within the ANC Party, have been used in another way described by the Abahlali basMjondolo. This will be made clearer below when we look at the story of the Poor Peoples movement “
We need to develop new methods of achieving financial sustainability that are transparent, ethical, lawful and predictable, the renewal document says, presumably because this has not been always the case. The Party’s investment arm, Chancellor House, has hardly been a bastion of transparency, nor have the methods the party used to finance itself been above reproach.
Most recently, it was revealed that the Batho Trust, of which the ANC is the sole beneficiary, held a 51% interest in Thebe Investments, Shell SA’s empowerment partner in its controversial proposal to “frack” for shale gas in the Karoo. As the decision of whether fracking would go ahead effectively lay in ANC hands, the opposition DA has raised the flag on the credibility and ethics of the proposal.
However, whether coming from within or from civil society and opposition parties, the warnings so far have been blighted by the Cassandra syndrome. Either disbelieved or perceived as not as significant as suggested, the threats have not been met by effective proposals to counter them, until now.
The organizational renewal document proposes developing guidelines on lobbying and structures to enforce the guidelines, adding criteria for leadership into its electoral rules to weed out unsuitable candidates, and having all electoral conferences operate on a set of standardized rules and guidelines.
It also proposes establishing a permanent electoral commission to oversee the election process, from screening nominees to managing elections. The commission would be manned by party veterans not vying for leadership positions and whose conduct has been above reproach. None of the proposals is particularly groundbreaking but, if implemented, could be a victory on the party’s path to reclaim its soul.
On the ANC’s financing, the relevant NEC committee has been given the task of convening a strategy session to discuss a comprehensive plan to ensure the party’s financial sustainability. As has been the case, the party is partial to growing (for itself and other parties) funding sourced from public sources to obviate dependence on mysterious private sources, who usually return for their pound of flesh.
The document says the success of these plans rests on a resilient, courageous and principled leadership — a potentially worrying prospect because some, including the ANC’s alliance partners, have found the ANC sorely lacking in this regard.
Whilst the ANC-led government has been involved with all these shenanigans listed above, the rioting and spontaneous rebellion are on the sharp increase within the land. It the pieces that follow below, we let the poor people give the version of their sufferings and struggles in contemporary South
The Rebellion of the Poor: In their Own Words
Municipal Revolts or the Ring of Fire
(There has been a major wave of popular protest since 2004.)
These protests are usually referred to as service delivery protests in the media but although there is evidence of growing unhappiness with service delivery most analysts argue that this description is overly narrow and misleading. A number of poor people's movements have insisted that their protests should not be referred to as 'service delivery protests'. But others have termed the rapidly increasing wave of protest sine 2004 as a 'rebellion of the poor', or a series of 'municipal revolts'. Zwelinzima Vavi, COSATU Secretary General, has described the increasing rate of popular protest as a "ring of fire" closing in on major cities that could result in a Tunisia style revolution.
Some of the most notable protests during this period occurred in Harrismith, Kennedy Road, Durban, Diepsloot, Balfour, Thokoza, Khutsong,Macassar Village, Lansdowne Road and Mandela Park in Khayelitsha, KwaZakhele, downtown Durban, Masiphumelele, Ermelo, Grahamstown.and Thembelihle (Lenasia).
Protests continue and some analysts take the view that protests are becoming increasingly radical.Some commentators have concluded that, "A large majority of South Africans feel that conventional mechanisms of engaging the state are failing, and that alternatives may be more effective."
A number of community organizations and movements have emerged from this wave of protest some of which organize outside of party politics.
According to Professor Peter Alexander:
"As many commentators and activists now accept, service delivery protests are part of a broader Rebellion of the Poor. This rebellion is massive. I have not yet found any other country where there is a similar level of ongoing urban unrest. South Africa can reasonably be described as the ‘protest capital of the world.'" This has given rise to Lower Intensity Warfare that is the running theme of this Hub, that is, we begin to see the reaction of the ANC and its abuse of power and killing anyone who dares question their brand of leadership…
Who Are These Security People?
We see them everywhere; from car guard to cash in transit units; they guard our homes, our cars our families and property. Who are these people, these companies with whom we feel so safe, in whom we place our blind trust. At the sound of a strange noise in your home you trigger an alarm and they arrive, with body armor, guns, mace and radios; they arrive before the police and are parked all over with a more visible presence than the police. Are they the second tier of law enforcement? Another arm of the state? Where to then in ten years time is the question? Is this the privatization of the state and beyond that a privatization of the armed forces?
What one doesn’t see is that this is an industrial complex that covers the entire range of what constitutes safety from the private to global arenas. Some companies are transnational and have a presence in almost every country in the world. Security is now big business. But the question arises: Are they as benevolent as they appear to be? Do they solely guard our families our assets our cars?
The answer is no these have become private contractors to imperialist forces and are the informal arm of regime changers. They are accountable to no one and can be used as the oppressors will. One sees their presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. Wherever there is violence and regime change there are contractors. The dangerous part is they are fluid, unknown, carry no flag, belong to no government, have no allegiance and thus no accountability. Is this good for a world one might ask?
The answer is no!
Security services are selling their services to the highest bidder and this not governed by legality or morality. Security companies have become nothing more than organized hit men; mobsters in the pay of imperialist and other grubby governments. The American government is brazen in its use of contractors and this has had negative effects in all places where the contractors have been or are still present. It is now being uncovered that the “contractors” who had a hand in killing Gaddafi are also heading for Syria.
To whom do they account; this silent invisible unaccountable hoard of killers and regime changers who are fast becoming the destabilizing third force in global politics of organized violence. The question is; how do we the people hold them accountable if not how do we arm ourselves against these thugs who seem to have more power than our governments or are in the pay of our governments?
From the way things seem to work right here in South Africa, the security Industrial Complex comprises of the very people who were a part of the notorious SANDF. Our government instead of limiting the power of those purveyors of organized violence are by silence giving them consent to engage in regime change around the world. We hear of mercenaries from South Africa being involved in operations in Iraq, Libya and now Syria. This means we, a newly liberated country are now outsourcing destabilization to other countries and our government is silent. How can we be claiming to build another unified, secure Africa when in the very same breath we export terror and violence to the rest of continent?
We need to get our priorities right and not become the destabilizing force in Africa; the very force that consciously or unconsciously kills the dream of a Pan African renaissance that we all dream of. Africa will not be free if its enemies are given a free rein through silence or a wink and a nod that is detrimental to the well being of the continent and its people. Lest we forget that these were the very people who murdered our people in our historical struggle and now for the sake of petty power we are prepared to throw the continent and its struggle for Pan Africanism into the dustbin of history.
This is a betrayal of the greatest magnitude and I can see those who dreamt of a new, free, secure, independent Africa turning in their graves. If the governments of Africa do not have the political will then we, the sons and daughters of Africa, must ensure that we liberate the dream from those who seek to kill it in the name of their ambition and subscription to imperialism. Africa demands that and we the peoples of Africa must respond to this sustained and consistent virulent attacks. Hired guns through the Security Industrial Complex must be stopped and held to account if we are to have a new, people centered, order based on the rule of law and accountability to the people.
Outlaws, no matter the name tag, have no place in a world built on peace and order. We cannot and must not, in the name of fear and security, or this or that bogeyman, trade our freedom and democracy just to feel secure to feel safe. Rather we must seek the means ourselves to make our world safe and secure. That is Pan Africanism; that is the new Africa! The alternative is: corporations will be our governments and mercenaries our law enforcement agencies who serve the Corporations and not the people-or the people themselves will take the initiative and free themselves, by any means necessary.
TOWARDS A FREE AFRICA
The story and history of the struggles of Poor Africans in South Africa fills many volumes, and the interpretations of what it means to those suffering has been well tabulated. Below I have chosen to use the people who are struggling against the inequities and dehumanization that is taking place today in South Africa, to tell us their stories and experiences.
South Africa: Democracy’s Everyday Death -- The ANC's Coup in Kennedy Road; Shack Dwellers: `Our movement is under attack!'
Protest in iRhini against attacks on Kennedy Road shack dwellers.
By Nigel Gibson and Raj Patel
You don’t need presidential palaces, or generals riding in tanks, or even the CIA to make a coup happen. Democracy can be overthrown with far less pomp, fewer props and smaller bursts of state violence. But these quieter coups are no less deadly for democracy.
At the end of September 2009, just such a coup took place in South Africa. It wasn’t the kind involving parliament or the inept and corrupt head of the African National Congress (ANC) Jacob Zuma. Quite the opposite. It involved a genuinely democratic and respected social movement, the freely elected governing committee of the shack settlement at Kennedy Road in Durban. And this peaceful democracy was overthrown by the South African government.
First, some background. As South Africa prepares to host the 2010 soccer World Cup, the poorest South Africans are still waiting for the end of apartheid’s predations. The country is spending US$ 1.1 billion just to build new stadiums, while those who fought apartheid wait in shack settlements for running water and electricity. Levels of human development are now lower than in 1994, and South Africa has overtaken Brazil as the country with the widest gap between rich and poor.
But not everyone is waiting patiently, hands outstretched, for the government to drop something into their palms. Some people, particularly those living in shack communities, have organized to bring the dividends of housing, water, education, healthcare, employment and food to their communities. When some communities organized to protest against their government, using the freedoms enshrined in one of the most open and supportive constitutions to be found in any modern democracy, the government responded by initiating its bloody coup.
In the middle of the night on September 26, men armed with guns, knives and even a sword, descended on Kennedy Road, a shack settlement housing about 7000 people. These men chanted slogans of ethnic cleansing, pitting Zulu against Pondo. With these words, they summoned an ethnic politics that was unthinkable even in apartheid’s darkest days. Even the 1980s battles between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC were political rather than ethnic clashes. But under Jacob Zuma’s South Africa, the Zulu nationalism that was once anathema to the ANC has now become its standard operating procedure.
Four people were killed. The violence continued under the eyes of the police and local ANC officials. Once it was over, the democratic leaders of the Kennedy Road Development Committee were arrested (even though many weren’t in the settlement at the time of the attacks). Thousands of shack dwellers have now fled the settlement and many shacks have been destroyed.
It has now become clear that the thugs were backed by the local branch of the ANC and its leaders. Jackson Gumede, the chairperson of the branch executive committee of the ANC in the electoral ward containing Kennedy Road, has now taken over the settlement where those remaining live in a state of fear. The ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has also become a willing partner.
It has also become clear that the target of the attacks is the autonomous and grassroots democratic shack dweller organization – Abahlali baseMjondolo — which has grown over the past four years into the largest poor people’s movement in South Africa. Abahlali has become a significant thorn in the side of the ANC provincial government in KwaZulu-Natal.
What particularly irks the ANC is Abahlali’s refusal to let the shack dwellers continue to be a vote bank for the ANC at election time. Rather than supporting any political party, Abahlali has promoted a "No house, No land, No vote'' policy. As well as rejecting the legitimacy of the local ANC councillor, Yacoob Baig. Abahlali has taken the provincial government to court over the constitutionality of the government’s Elimination of Slums Act and spoken out against the forced relocation of shack dwellers to transit or temporary camps outside the urban areas.
Abahlali have also had successes, which have annoyed local politicians. Through their activism, Abahlali activists have forced the Durban municipality to agree to upgrade some of their settlements. Controls over the settlement means control over the disbursement of funds. This is the prize that Yakoob Baig and Jackson Gumede covet.
The ANC’s decision to destroy a grassroots poor people’s movement has been condemned around the world. The South Africa Council of Churches (SACC) has called the incident "an attack on democracy'' and has issued a statement of alarm at how community leaders are being criminalised.
Bishop Rubin Phillip, the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council and Anglican Bishop of Natal, who had visited Kennedy Road, was "torn with anguish'' by the attack and spoke of the real social hope that Abahlali was creating. Around the world and in South Africa statements of solidarity and outrage continue to pour in and while these pressures may give the ANC pause in its actions against Abahlali, it is also clear that the ANC is not in control of the violence that it has unleashed. This pattern can be discerned in the killing of the Miners in Marikana in September 2012.
At the settlement anyone associated with Abahlali has been threatened with violence and forced to leave. Already 2000 people have been left homeless. S’bu Zikode, the elected chair of Abahlali, is now in hiding after receiving a number of death threats. Writing on September 29, Zikode understood that the attack was an attack on the voice of ordinary poor people: "This attack is an attempt to "terrorize that voice back into the dark corners". It is an attempt to turn the frustration and anger of the poor onto the poor so that we will miss the real enemy.'
He ends by not only calling for solidarity but asking "for close and careful scrutiny into the nature of democracy in South Africa''.
Zikode is right, of course. This is why he has been targeted by the militia, and why his safety must be guaranteed. And the attack augurs ill for South Africa’s future. The demons of ethnic hatred had no harbor in South Africa. But once unleashed, they could very well tear the "Rainbow Nation'' apart. Without swift and transparent justice to right this grave wrong, the future looks grim. History makes one thing very clear: small coups beget bigger ones.
[This article first appeared in Phambazuka News. Nigel Gibson is a visiting research fellow at the School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and the author, Raj Patel is an honorary research fellow at the School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa].
The nature of low-level intensity warfare against the poor in South Africa, as described in the piece above by Raj Patel, is one of the many ways through which the poor are intimidated and attacked and are now bound within suspended uncertainty and helplessness, that at the writing of this Hub, there is a tense atmosphere prevailing in South Africa that it could be cut with a knife.
The locals have described this tense situation that, "Even the air that is blowing it is full of sad, full of tension, evil and uncertainty for us who breath it". It should also be noted that other forms of this low-intensity warfare amongst the poor in South Africa are obfuscated in such a way there is a picture of normalcy being projected by the government and big business.
But it is the subdued discontent and bitter mumblings that undergird the people's existence and reality that are slowly becoming realized and uttered by the poor that are really the outcome of this new-style repression visited upon them: that is why the article above by Nigel and Raj, gives a much more clearer picture of what is really happening in South Africa.
The raising of ethnic/'tribal' clashes that has already been instigated spells of doom and long time and term infighting that will decimate the African people-akin to the Mfecane Destabilizing time (Scatterings)-of the era of Shaka- and will be a death-blow to Africans as they are now known. As the article above reports, this is done because at the point where the funds are supposed to be disbursed to locals, that is the frenzy feeding range of the vultures who prey upon the poor. It is important to note this issue and keep a heads up on it very closely...
Abahlali baseMjondolo: `Our movement is under attack'
By the Kennedy Road Development Committee, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) and the Poor People’s Alliances
Abahlali baseMjondolo have reported that: "We are under attack. We have been attacked physically with all kinds of weapons -- guns and knives, even a sword. We have been driven from our homes and community The police did nothing to stop the attacks on us despite our calls for help. Four people were killed. The attacks, which began on the night of Saturday September 26, were carried out by local ANC members together with Shebeen(Tavern) [sly grog shops] owners from the Kennedy Road settlement."
They were saying that our movement was "selling them'' to the AmaMpondo. It is a fact that our movement, at the local branch level and at the movement level, has no concern for where people were born or where their ancestors were born. We are a movement of the poor and that means that we do not make divisions between the poor. We have always been clear about this. This is our politics and we will stick to it. We have been told that earlier in the day the local ANC branch had a meeting.
"We were told that there they decided to take up a new operation – Siyabangena [we are entering or infiltrating them]. And they also told us that there they decided to kill Mashumi Figlan, chairperson of the Kennedy Road Development Committee (KRDC) and deputy chairperson of our movement and they said that they decided to cut off his head and leave it in the community hall so that everyone would see that he was dead and not missing."
"When the police did arrive they only came with one car and one van. They only took statements from our attackers and they arrested eight people linked to the KRDC. They took no statements from us and to this day none of our attackers have been arrested. Some of the people that they arrested had in fact been performing the imfene(Monkey) dance at a public performance in Claremont on Saturday night.
"The arrests were clearly political and aimed at destabilizing the movement in Kennedy Road. This is not the first time that most of the Kennedy Road leadership have been arrested for clearly political reasons. In 2007 the Kennedy Six, five of whom were elected members of the KRDC, were arrested on false charges and only released on bail after a Hunger Strike. All charges against them were later dropped because the state had no evidence."
"On the morning after the attack ANC officials arrived in the settlement. There were no police to protect us while we were being attacked but many, many police came with them. While the police and the officials were there the same people who had attacked us the night before demolished our homes and looted them. At least 27 houses were destroyed and many more were looted.
"They all belonged to people elected to positions in the KRDC or Abahlali baseMjondolo [AbM]. The police did nothing to stop the destruction of houses and the looting from houses. Supt. Glen Nayager and ANC ward councillor Yakoob Baig were personally at Kennedy while our homes were destroyed. Baig said, on record, that 'harmony' has been restored now that the 'Abahlali criminals' were gone.
"After the politicians and the police departed from Kennedy Road the settlement was left in the hands of the local ANC – armed young men patrolled and made it clear, via death threats, that AbM was now banned from Kennedy Road. They also made it clear that independent media were also banned. Looting and various kinds of intimidation continued. The eviction of some of our leaders and the arrest of others was followed by the destruction of our office leaving us without access to email and telephone. When our members arrived from other settlements to try and save our records and banners in the office they were threatened with death.
To this day none of our attackers have been arrested. The ANC has installed them in authority in Kennedy Road (without holding any elections) and is presenting them to the media as "the community'' or as "community representatives''. Many of the ANC leaders who have spoken in the community or to the media have attacked us and lied about us while not condemning our attackers."
On September 28 Bhekisisa Stalin Mncube, spokesperson for the provincial minister for safety and security Willies Mchunu, sent out a press release on behalf of Mchunu and the provincial police commissioner Hamilton Ngidi saying that, “The provincial government has moved swiftly to liberate a Durban community [Kennedy Road]”. Mncube added a note to his email threatening that AbM president S’bu Zikode may soon be arrested. In this statement it is quite clear that at least some people in the police and the provincial ANC have enthusiastically endorsed the violent attack on our movement.
Following the attacks on our movement Nigel Gumede, head of housing in the eThekwini Municipality, has said, on record, that the government has 'a plan to eradicate shacks,' that “anyone coming into informal settlements must accept that plan” and that it will be necessary to “jail people to get development going”. He is clearly trying to criminalize debate about government policy. How can debate about government policy be banned in a democracy?
He has also said that the imfene(Monkey) dance is part of the problem and must be investigated. How can the cultural expression of a group of people be considered a problem in this way?
Since then there have been all kinds of other attacks on our movements — we have been lied about, slandered and defamed by various people within the ANC. We consider these lies to be a way of trying to justify what was done to us and to our movement. We consider these lies to be a way of trying to make the victims of a terrible attack look as if they are themselves the problem. We consider these lies to be a way to encourage further attacks.
What happened in Kennedy Road was a coup — a violent replacement of a democratically elected community organization. The ANC has taken over everything that we built in Kennedy Road.
"We always allowed free political activity in Kennedy and all settlements in which AbM candidates have been elected to leadership. Now we are banned.We do not use violence to build support. We use open discussion. Now we are violently banned. Our members continue to receive death threats in and outside of Kennedy Road. Everyone knows that if you speak for Zikode or AbM in Kennedy Road you will be attacked.
"And S’bu has received a number of death threats and threats to his family, including his children, via anonymous calls since he was evicted from the settlement by the ANC and Shebeen(Tavern) owner’s mob. Last night five men in a white car arrived at his sister’s place looking for S’bu and his family. They asked where S’bu and his wife and children are staying now. We don’t know who they were but they were clearly hostile."
The ANC continues to attack Zikode by all means. They say that he doesn’t follow the ANC code of conduct, that he is stopping development, that he has a big house in Umhlanga. The first one is true — that is his right. That is the right of all of us. We make no apology for this. The rest is just wild defamation.
On Sunday Willies Mchunu, Nigel Gumde and others held a big meeting in the Kennedy Road Hall. Our attackers were all sitting there. People from the ANC in Sydenham Heights and the Foreman Road settlement were sitting there pretending to be from Kennedy Road. All kinds of lies were told.The Kennedy 8 are currently being held in the Sydenham Police station and will appear in court again on Thursday.
We are told that the ANC is organizing across all wards to get their members to the court to demand that the Kennedy 8 do not receive bail. This is not the behavior of an organization committed to truth and justice. They should, instead, be asking for a fair and credible investigation into all the acts of violence, theft, destruction and intimidation that have occurred. This is our demand. They should make it their demand too.
`We are all Abahlali baseMjondolo'
At a time when the Kennedy Road settlement is being targeted all the settlements affiliated to our movement across the country say, "We are all Kennedy Road – if Kennedy Road has committed the crime of organizing independently from the ANC and speaking out for justice then we are all criminals''.
At a time when Abahlali baseMjondolo is under attack all the movements that we work with in the Poor People’s Alliance, and others too, say ,"We are all Abahlali baseMjondolo – if Abahlali baseMjondolo has committed the crime of allowing the poor to organize the poor for justice then we are all criminals''. At a time when threats are being made on the life of S’bu Zikode, and his family (including his children) and when the ANC are waging campaign of slander and vilification against him we say, "We are all S’bu Zikode – if S’bu Zikode has committed the crime of telling the truth about the lives of the poor and the realities of democracy in South Africa then we are all criminals''.
We want to make some comments about the ongoing and all out attacks on S’bu Zikode from the ANC.
We elected S’bu to represent us. He did not want to be our leader. He never calls himself a leader — people call him a leader. He doesn’t live in a fancy house and drive a fancy car to talk about the poor on stages and in hotels. He lives in a shack and works in the community with the community to give us courage to speak for ourselves. Last year he wanted to step down from the presidency of the movement. We mobilized for two weeks to persuade him to remain as the president.
We know that two weeks before the attack Jackson Gumede, chairperson of the branch executive committee of the ANC in Ward 25, had said that the Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) office would soon be an ANC office. We know that at the same time John Mchunu, chairperson of the ANC in eThekwini, accused us of trying to destabilize the country.
We are not a political party. We have never been a political party. We are a poor people’s movement — we are looking for justice, not political power. We have never stood in elections. We don’t even vote because we don’t care about that kind of power. We care about building the power of the community to reduce the gap between ordinary people on the one side and the rich and the politicians on the other side. But the politicians are ignorant. They don’t know what a social movement is.
They don’t understand that there can be a politics outside of party politics. In eShowe, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) recently attacked us for being ANC. When we first started our movement in Durban in 2005 the ANC attacked us for being IFP. Now the ANC is claiming that we are COPE [Congress of the People, a recent split from the ANC led by those loyal to former South African president Thabo Mbeki]. The ANC has seen the huge support that we have and they fear that S’bu will stand in the local government elections.
They also fear us because we have exposed so much corruption in places like Foreman road, Motala Heights, Mpola, Siyanda, eShowe and Howick. They also fear us because we have stood with many other communities who are opposing injustice, such as people in Umlazi and in eMacambini. They are embarrassed that shack dwellers, ordinary people like us, took the ANC government to the constitutional court. And the judgment is coming this week.
The sad thing is that if we find that we have won we will have no place to slaughter a cow. They see the good relationship that we have developed with city officials during our long negotiations from late 2007 as a threat. They see our good relationship with the provincial HOD for housing as a threat.
We Are Wondering If Democracy Still Exists
This is not the first time that we have asked ourselves this question. We asked this question when our march was illegally banned and we were attacked in Foreman Road in 2005. We asked ourselves this question when people who challenged the ANC in local government elections in E-Section of Umlazi were assassinated in 2006. We asked this question in 2006 when S'bu Zikode and Philani Zungu were arrested, beaten and tortured while trying to attend a radio interview. We were still asking ourselves this question when our peaceful march was shot at by the police in 2007.
The ANC is about "Comradeism". It is about order and protocol. You must follow the mandate and the mandate always comes from above. AbM can just say "No!''. The new ANC committee members that has been put in place in Kennedy Road will find that they are just expected to be puppets. They will find that they are just expected to take orders from above. Zikode had the strength to take the side of the people. They will not have that strength. "Even they will realize the value of the river when drought comes."
Our movement is growing. When the time is right we will go back to Kennedy Road. We are prepared to go toe to toe with the ANC but we will not use violence. We will use open and free discussion on the realities of our country. We will counter lies with truth. We will counter a living politics with politician’s politics. People who belong to prisons must go to prisons. People who belong to Kennedy must go to Kennedy. (Those Who work on behalf of the poor have a right to speak truth to power, and they also deserve respect whenever they tell the people the truth-my addition)
Accusations Against The Movement
At a time when we are being attacked our attackers, and those who support them, should be subject to intense public scrutiny. However the politicians are doing everything in their power to make us, the victims of this attack, subject to very critical public scrutiny. The most incredible lies are being told about us and our movement. At the same time our attackers are being installed in power in Kennedy Road and introduced to the media as "the community''.
Many accusations have been made against the movement by the ANC in recent days. Each day new accusations are made. We will address the main accusations here but we request all journalists to please check with us before reporting any accusation made by the police or the ANC (or people presented by the ANC and the police as "community representatives'' -- these people may well be the ones that attacked us) as if it were a fact. We can answer any other questions at the press conference tomorrow.
1. The Safety and Security Committee. It has been said that this is an illegitimate structure that has no right to exist. The truth is that this committee was set up in partnership with the police at the time when the state stopped criminalizing our movement and we were successfully negotiating with the state on a whole range of demands. One of our long standing demands has been for equal and fair access to policing. In the past we were denied this and we were all treated as criminals.
However when the state began to negotiate with us, a process that began in late 2007, we were able to negotiate with the local police too. The committee came out of those talks. The committee is a sub-committee of the KRDC, which is an elected structure. The police were present at the launch of the committee. Supt. Glen Nayager was there personally, and police attended its meetings. Representatives from nearby settlements that are affiliated to the ANC also attended its meetings such as Majozi from Quarry Road and Simphiwe from Palmiet.
This is all detailed in our minutes of those meetings, and it can also be attested to by many witnesses. It was also covered in the local press — for instance there was an article in the Weekly Gazette of Overport with a picture of the committee and Supt. Nayager. There is nothing unusual about an elected community organization setting up an anti-crime committee with the police. The government has asked all communities to do this. In fact on the same day that we were attacked Willies Mchunu called for a "people’s war against crime''. The day after we were attacked he called the Safety and Security Committee an illegitimate and criminal structure. This was a lie.
2. The so-called "curfew''. It has been said that the Safety and Security Committee imposed a curfew on the settlement which meant that people could not watch TV or cook after 7pm at night. This is also a lie. The truth is that the committee did impose a closing time on shebeens[taverns]. They had previously been running 24 hours a day. There had been complaints about the noise for years and some of the women comrades in our movement had also argued that alcohol abuse is linked to domestic violence. Also, in a situation where there are so many fires, alcohol abuse can put the safety of the whole community at risk.
But the main reason for instituting closing times was that since the national election campaign, there have been ethnic tensions in Kennedy Road, and in other nearby settlements too. There have been fights and even murders. These fights were all alcohol related and so for the safety of the community we thought that it was necessary to put limits on shebeen/tavern hours. The police were present at the meeting where this decision was taken. They suggested that the closing time should be 8 pm. We suggested that it should be 10 pm and in the end it was set at 10 pm.
It is true that the shebeen/tavern owners did not like this. But anyone who did not like it could elect new people with different views to the KRDC in the next election in November, or call for an urgent general meeting and see if there was support to recall the people on the committee and have a new election or take up the issue with the police. Some of the ANC leaders have spoken as if setting closing times for Shebeens[Taverns] is some sort of terrible human rights violation that justified the attacks on us. They speak as though the shebeen/tavern owners rather than the people who have been attacked and driven from their homes are the real victims. They speak as though the right to drink all night is more important than basic political freedoms and basic safety.
3. AbM is Stopping Development. Our movement was formed to struggle for development. We struggle for development everyday. But development is not a neutral thing. Some kinds of development are in the interests of the rich and against the interests of the poor. Therefore our movement is specifically committed to struggling for development that is in the interests of the poor.
This means that we will oppose a forced removal from a well-located shack close to schools, work, health care and so on to a "transit camp’' (which is really just a government shack) in the middle of nowhere. This does not make us unique. Poor people’s organizations across South Africa, like the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign in Cape Town and the Landless People Movement in Johannesburg take exactly the same position. The Landless People's Movement (LPM) is an independent social movement in South Africa It represents rural people and people living in shack settlements in cities. The LPM boycotts parliamentary elections and has a history of conflict with the African National Congress The LPM is affiliated to Via Campesina internationally and its Johannesburg branches to the The Poor People's Alliance in South Africa.
Branches in Johannesburg
The Johannesburg Landless Peoples' Movement currently has branches in the following shack settlements:
- Protea South
- Harry Gwala
- Freedom Park
- Protea Glen
The movement claims to have been subject to severe repression in Johannesburg in 2010, including arrest, arson and murder.
In April 2004 57 members of the movement were arrested on election day for marching under the banner of 'No Land! No Vote!'. Some of the arrested activists were subject to torture and this was later taken up in court action against the police.
In September 2007 the Freedom of Expression Institute reported that at a peaceful protest by the Landless People's Movement:
"SAPS members fired at random towards the protesters, leaving the pavement covered with the blue casings of rubber bullets. Police also deployed a helicopter and water cannon, and we saw at least two officers using live ammunition. One Protea South resident, Mandisa Msewu, was shot in the mouth by a rubber bullet, and several other residents were attended to by paramedics due to police violence."
Poor people’s movements around the World take the same position. Academics and NGOs around the world take the same position.
Our achievements in the struggle for pro-poor development are a matter of record. In late 2007 the government stopped criminalizing our movement and began to negotiate with us. After more than a year of negotiations we signed a memorandum of understating with the eThekwini Municipality in February 2009. That MOU commits the city to provide services to 14 settlements affiliated to the movement and to explore the upgrading of three settlements where they currently are in terms of the government’s 2004 Breaking New Ground (BNG) policy. This MOU is not a secret — it has been covered in the media and we can make it available.
The MOU is a major breakthrough for pro-poor development in Kennedy Road, in Durban and in South Africa. It is a major breakthrough for Kennedy Road because in the late 1980s and early 1990s the Urban Foundation had agreed to upgrade the settlement where it was and even started the work — this is when the hall was built. But in 1995 the then Durban City Council cancelled the upgrade and the plan for Kennedy Road was changed to forced removal to a human dumping ground. We won the right to the city for the residents of Kennedy Road.
The MOU is also a major breakthrough for Durban because is commits the city to developing settlements in the city instead of forcing people out to rural human dumping grounds. It is a major breakthrough for the country because if followed up it would be the first time that the BNG policy would actually have been implemented.
Negotiations on implementing this deal were continuing right up to the attacks and in fact have continued after the attacks. We have also been negotiating for people who cannot be included in the upgrade to be voluntarily relocated to Cornubia which, because it is near Umhlanga Rocks, will have good access to work, schools, clinics , etc. We have worked incredibly hard to achieve all these victories for the development of the people of Kennedy Road. The KRDC and AbM signed that MOU. The victory is ours. It came from our blood (when we were being repressed) and our sweat (when we were negotiating).
4. AbM Has Taken The Government To Court. This is true. We have often taken the government to court. We have taken the government to court to protect our basic political freedoms such as the right to march, we have taken the government to court to prevent them from illegally evicting us and we have also taken the government to court to have the Slums Act declared unconstitutional. It is being said that this is an attempt to stop development. When the Slums Bill came out we read it together, line by line, and we developed a clear critique of it. We are not alone in our critique of the Slums Act.
The Act has been widely criticized as anti-poor, even by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Housing and our actions against it has been widely supported. We have the same right as everyone else to form opinions about government policy and legislation and to take our views before the courts for their consideration. Taking the government to court is a basic democratic right. It is not a crime — but killing people, chasing people from their homes and their community, destroying their homes and looting their goods and using death threats to ban a democratic political organization from an area are all crimes.
5. We Have Travelled Overseas. We do not hide about these discussions. We have gone overseas recently. We have been invited by churches to visit England and North America. We go there to speak the truth. That is our right.
6. We Have International Support. It is true that we have supporters in other countries. Most of these people are the same people who supported the struggle against apartheid. They are supporting our struggle because our struggle is clearly just. There are also some young people who see that there is injustice in our world, see that we are standing up for justice and want to work with us. Some have come to live in our settlements for a while to see how we make our homemade politics.
7. We Have Money. When we started our movement we had no money. We had nothing but our will. In recent years we have got a little support, mostly from churches. We have always refused money when we have felt that people were trying to buy over movement. We have never been paid to struggle. We are elected to positions and we serve as volunteers. We still have to work for a living. Our movement is not professionalized. The money that we have got in recent years is very small — before the attack we had an office but the phone was often cut off because we couldn’t pay the bill. All our records were kept in the office. Anyone could see them at any time. We also have a list of all the people who have supported us materially on our website. We note that unlike us the ANC refuses to be open about its funders.
8. We Did Not Attend The Meeting At Kennedy On Sunday. Of course we didn’t attend the meeting at Kennedy on Sunday. We received no proper invitation to it. And who in their right mind would attend a meeting after receiving death threats from the same people that would be at the meeting? Who in their right mind would attend a meeting where the people who had just destroyed their home would be presented as "the community''? Who in their right mind would attend a meeting where their supporters would be too scared to attend with them and too scared to speak if they were there.
That meeting was like an ANC rally and it would have been used as a kangaroo court if we had gone there. There were people there from Sydenham Heights and Foreman Road who were speaking as if they were from Kennedy! At this meeting the ANC announced all the victories that we have struggled for, and worked for over so many years, as if they were theirs! The ANC has a long history of hijacking people’s struggles and claiming them as their own.
1. There needs to be an immediate restoration of democracy in Kennedy Road. This includes:
• The right of everyone who was chased out of the settlement or displaced by the violence to return to the settlement and to be safe in the settlement.
• The right of Abahlali baseMjondolo to work in the settlement without fear of attack or intimidation or slander.
• The restoration of our office to us and a guarantee that the office will be safe.
• The disbanding of the unelected structures that the ANC has instituted in the settlement and the return to authority of the democratically elected organization that was running the settlement before the attacks or the holding of genuinely free and fair and safe elections in the settlement. If the democratically elected organization (the KRDC) that was displaced in the coup is returned to its rightful place the next election will be in November.
2. There needs to be a genuinely independent and credible investigation into the attacks at Kennedy Road (including the demolition of people’s houses, the looting, the banning of AbM from the settlement and the ongoing threats to AbM members in and out of the settlement) that includes an examination of the role played by everyone including the police, the local ANC and the comments and actions of senior ANC people in the Municipality and the Province after the attacks. It must include fairness and justice for the Kennedy 8.
3. There must be compensation and support for those who have been injured and traumatized, those who have had to flee the settlement, those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed and those who have lost everything that they own.
4. There must be a crystal clear commitment from the ANC, from the top to the bottom, to the right of all people to organize independently of the ANC, to protest against the ANC, to challenge the ANC’s understanding of development and to take the ANC government to court.
5. The ANC must make a public commitment backed up with real action to ensure the safety of S’bu Zikode and all other AbM leaders.
6. There must be genuine and safe negotiation on the way forward between the ANC and AbM. These negotiations should be mediated by someone that we all trust. We know that there are many democrats in the ANC and we hope that they will prevail over those who have cast us as enemies to be attacked and eradicated by all means. Kangaroo courts are not places for real negotiations.
7. In yesterday’s Isolezwe the provincial housing minister said that she will provide housing for those who have been displaced. We welcome this announcement but we demand that those who have had their homes destroyed and all their things stolen should be at the top of the list. This includes S’bu Zikode, Mashumi Figlan and the KRDC.
Many people have contacted us asking what they can do to support us. We want to thank all those who are supporting us — especially The church and all those comrades who organized protests in London and in iRhini. We are making the following suggestions:
1. Affirm our right to exist and our right to be critical of the government.
2. Organize in support of our demands.
3. Support those of us who have lost their homes and all their possessions with material support.
4. Support those of us who are traumatized, including the children, with counseling and spiritual support.
5. Organize serious discussions about the nature of democracy in our country — and include delegates from poor people’s organizations in those discussions on the basis of equality.
Contact details for further information and comment
The Kennedy Road Development Committee
Abahlali baseMjondolo leaders from other settlements in Durban
The Poor People’s Alliance
Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape – Mzonke Poni
The Landless People’s Movement (Gauteng) – Maureen Mnisi
The Rural Network (KZN) – Reverend Mavuso
The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign – Ashraf Cassiem
Anti-Privatization Forum: `In Defense Of Democracy'
The first few months of the Zuma Presidency has not interrupted the war on the poor. What took place last week in Kennedy Road, Durban, is rather signaling that the violence deployed against organizations of the poor is being escalated. A meeting of the Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) affiliate, Kennedy Road Development Committee (KRDC), on Sunday, September 27, was attacked by a militia, killing comrades Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Ndumiso Mnguni.
The office of Abahlali and fifteen homes belonging to leading members of the movement were demolished before the attack and several of the ABM’s leaders remain in hiding. Over a thousand, mostly Xhosa-speaking residents, were also forced to flee their homes.
According to eyewitness reports, when the police arrived on the morning after the attack started, they arrested none of the perpetrators of the violence. Instead, they arrested eight members of Abahlali who were in Claremont at the time of the attack, for the murder of the two comrades in Kennedy Road. It was further reported that the police then watched passively over the next several days as the militia, shouting things like "Kennedy Road is for Zulus," targeted amaPondo and particularly Abahlali members.
The lives of four more people were claimed during this organized pogrom and many more residents forced to flee. By the time the police eventually responded to the crisis on Thursday (October 1) last week, the chairperson of the local ANC branch, Jackson Gumede, was in effective control of the Kennedy Road community, demanding that residents produce their ANC membership cards.
Now, over a week after the initial attack, the militia still holds Kennedy Road in the grip of terror. Over a thousand residents remain displaced and AbM's leadership is still in hiding. The police have made no progress on the charges laid against the attackers. The eight KRDC members arrested for murder will have their bail hearing this Thursday, October 8. AbM reports that their members will spend this week mobilizing support for the liberation of their falsely accused comrades. Returning children to school, rebuilding destroyed homes and assisting all those forced to flee will also be priorities.
It is clear to the APF that what has transpired at Kennedy Road is a patent case of politically and ethnically motivated violence designed to "clear out'' AbM and destroy the inclusive and active community that has been built over the last several years. As a movement that itself has experienced the cold hand of party and state-sponsored violence and injustice, the APF admires the strength and resilience of AbM to continue the struggle and resolutely face up to their oppressors.
The support that AbM has received from academics, the Anti-Eviction Campaign in Cape Town, the Unemployed Movement, the Rural Network and various churches shows clearly that the shack dwellers are not the criminals the police and ANC councillors have so pathetically tried to portray them as. We share the conviction that the attempts to dislodge AbM will fail.
In joining the calls already made for a complete end to the violence and intimidation as well as the exposure and prosecution of the attackers and their handlers, the APF further demands that Abahlali, along with all residents forced to flee, be allowed to return to Kennedy Road without hindrance to reconstruct their homes and lives as well as to organize freely. Democracy is not the preserve of self-appointed elites and their lackeys. Alongside the AbM, the APF will continue to practice and defend our democratic freedoms and fight against reactionary attempts to divide the poor and sow terror and fear. The APF pledges its full solidarity with Abahlali.
From The Sunday Times
November 1, 2009
Homeless Carted Out Of Cape Town and Johannesburg For World Cup
Dan McDougall in Johannesburg
South African cities are planning to create “concentration camps” to house thousands of poor people well away from the football stadiums where next year’s World Cup will be staged, charities say.
Human rights groups in Cape Town and Johannesburg have expressed outrage at leaked plans to clear the streets of the homeless during the tournament. Councils in Johannesburg and Durban have told charities that street children and the destitute will be “compassionately” relocated out of city centers from next month.
Bill Rogers, from the Addiction Action Campaign, which helps thousands of drug abusers in Johannesburg, said the city had asked charities for assistance with the scheme.
He said: “We’ve been made aware of the city’s plans to move thousands of homeless people to shelters away from the city.”
Fifa, world football’s governing body, insists stadiums have smart surroundings. One rule states that no cranes or building sites should be visible around stadium skylines during the World Cup.
The clean-up is also expected to target street hawkers, unofficial security guards and thousands of immigrant traders from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Somalia.
In Cape Town the move to rehouse the poor has been met with fury by members of a newly established group called Stop Concentration Camps for Homeless People, whose supporters compare the move to the apartheid era, when black people were cleared from “whites only” districts.
Linzi Thomas, from MyLife, a Cape Town charity for street children, said the policy would damage children’s prospects. “Proposals to move them out of sight and out of mind are not only absurd and counter-productive but a gross violation of basic human rights,” she said. “What happens to these people beyond 2010?”
Violet Modise from Johannesburg’s displaced persons unit defended the plans. She claimed they were aimed at restoring “the dignity of the homeless”.
Mon, 10/12/2009 - 22:48 — John - Prostate Cancer Survivor (not verified)
Ha-ha-ha, even if there are hiccups with the democracy in South Africa, it still has among the best democracies in all of Africa, with the exception of Ghana. Thanks for sharing this, though.
Mzonke Poni leader of Abahlali base Mjondolo in the Western Cape, and accused on a charge of ‘public violence’ had his case discharged in court on Tuesday 29 September for ‘lack of reliable evidence’. Mzonke conducted his own defense and he did so brilliantly. He led the three witnesses, one from the Metro Police and two from Cape Town’s anti-land-invasion unit, into contradicting themselves and each other.
In reality Mzonke was scapegoated for his political leadership of Abahlali baseMjondolo. The organization supported an occupation of municipal land in Macassar, outlying suburb of Cape Town, in May by backyard dwellers. The city’s anti-land-invasion unit spearheaded the illegal destruction of dwellings that had been erected on the land — illegal because once dwellings are occupied, under the PIE act they cannot be demolished without an order of court. An interdict was obtained in court declaring the illegality, but was overtaken by an interdict procured by the city prohibiting erection of structures on the land. In these ways the poor are denied justice by those with the resources.
However this case resulted in a bit of a comeback for the masses. Under Poni’s questioning, the three law enforcement witnesses could not even agree what he had done to warrant a charge of 'public violence.'
The first said that Poni was a leader (“voorbok”) but could not really say why. The second claimed that he had been policing the demonstration which was “rustig” (quiet) and then Poni arrived and spoke to the people and then there was “chaos” — stones thrown, fires lit, tires burnt, etc. The third claimed that he had seen Poni lighting a fire (and though it was elicited that he was a few steps away could not recall whether it was lit with petrol or paraffin). In reality, neither of these witnesses (nor any police) had been there when the fires were lit, and only arrived later on to put them out and clear the road of tires and stones!
Mzonke stated that he had merely observed the demonstration and had taken photos of it, including when law enforcement arrived late to try to clear the road. The first witness admitted that he had approached Mzonke twice while he was taking photos, to tell him to stop. He however denied Mzonke’s claim that he had said to him “Motherfucker, we are going to motherfucking arrest you.” He said that with women and children present he would never have used such language. Mzonke said he had responded to the officer by saying “then arrest me”. The magistrate asked the officer why, if he had told Mzonke to stop taking photos, he had not confiscated his cellphone camera, or arrested him then. The witness could not reply to this.
The police witnesses were equally unclear about the circumstances of Mzonke’s arrest. In reality Mzonke was arrested after he left the area of the demonstration in order to go home. He was standing next to a road at least 500 meters from the demonstration talking to two people when police cars arrived. The other two fled, but Mzonke stood his ground. “Arrest me if you like” he claimed that he said. He stated that the police then fired pepper gas at him, dragged him into a law enforcement private car, and drove him around Macassar, beating and abusing him, before transferring him into a regular police car and taking him to the police station.
The officer who arrested him admitted that this had taken place away from the scene of the disturbance. He claimed, as did the second witness, that “minimum force” had been used. But neither of these witnesses, when asked by Mzonke, was very clear on what actual force had been used in this case.
The third witness claimed initially that Mzonke had been arrested on the scene of the disturbance surrounded by people who were singing freedom songs (while Mzonke was not singing). He could not respond adequately when Mzonke asked him why the people singing had not been arrested with him. Later Mzonke asked him whether he had seen him (Mzonke) running away when there was the attempt to arrest him. “Yes” the witness replied. “Did you chase me?” asked Mzonke. “Yes” replied the witness. “But earlier you said I was standing with people singing when you arrested me” Mzonke said. “Yes, we chased you round the block and you ended up back in the demonstration” was the implausible reply.
The magistrate had closely questioned the first witness on elements of his testimony to try to get a clear picture of events and resolve the contradictions in his evidence. She was particularly concerned as to why, if Poni had been so much an instigator, they had waited so long to arrest him. By the time the third witness was on the stand, however, the magistrate and even the prosecutor were dissolving into fits of laughter at the evidence! The comedy was better than the Keystone Cops. Dryly, the magistrate told the third witness before dismissing him “What you just said contradicts the testimony of the previous witness.”
Without any pause, she immediately declared that due to lack of reliable evidence, Mzonke was discharged and was free to go. Mzonke and I celebrated outside the courtroom with high fives. It was a small victory in the fight for justice and homes for all.
ECONOMIC dislocation is a big part of the anger that ordinary people feel about pathetic state service delivery.
And although South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of protest, per person, nothing is being done to change matters. So 2010 could be an explosive year, if uprisings in the past few day are any indication — such as at Nelspruit's new stadium on Monday, where children tried to stop construction because they still lacked a decent school building. Some protests eventually lead to profound socio-economic change, most notably the Treatment Action Campaign's 1998-2003 street pressure and legal strategy aimed at acquiring antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people.
Subsequently, angry about water disconnections, Soweto activists' protests helped drive the controversial privatizer, Suez, out of Johannesburg. Last week's lamentable Constitutional Court ruling against the Sowetan's' water rights will probably compel them to return to illegal connections. Whether durable, democratic and campaign-oriented, or just momentarily explosive in character, civil society discontent was also a contributing factor in the 2007-08 transfer of power within the ANC. Can community and labour activists reverse South Africa's long economic decline? Here are some crucial markers:
- The post-apartheid rise in income inequality, slightly tempered after 2001 by increased welfare payments, but so bad that the main measure (the Gini coefficient) soared from below 0.6 in 1994 to 0.72 by 2006.
- The official unemployment rate doubled (the realistic rate is about 40 percent) as a result of imported East Asian goods in relatively labour-intensive sectors (clothing, textiles, footwear, appliances and electronics) and capital-intensive production techniques elsewhere (especially mining and metals).
- The provision of housing to several million people was marred by the units being far smaller than apartheid "matchboxes," and located further away from jobs and community amenities.
- While tokenistic amounts of free water and electricity are now provided, the overall price rose dramatically, leading to millions of disconnections each year when they could not afford the second block of water consumption (Durban is second-worst after Pietermaritzburg according the Centre for Applied Legal Studies).
- With respect to macro-economic stability, the value of the rand in fact crashed (against a basket of trading currencies) by more than a quarter in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2006 and 2008, the worst record of any major economy.
- The problem of "capital strike" — large-scale firms' failure to invest — continues, as gross fixed-capital formation is hardly enough to cover wear-and-tear on equipment.
- Where corporate profits were reinvested, they sought returns from speculative real estate and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange: there was a 50 percent increase in share prices during the first half of the 2000s, and the property boom that began in 1999 had by 2008 sent house prices up by 400 percent (US markets rose only by 60 percent over the same period).
- Businesses also invested their South African profits, but not mainly in South Africa. Dating from the time of political and economic liberalization, most of the largest local corporations - Anglo American, DeBeers, Old Mutual, SA Breweries, Investec, Liberty Life, Gencor (now the core of BHP Billiton), Didata, Mondi and others — shifted their funding flows and primary share listings to overseas markets.
- The outflow of profits and dividends due these firms is the main reason that since 2001, South Africa's "current account deficit" soared to among the highest in the world.
-Ecological problems have become far worse, according to the government's own commissioned research in the 2006 Environmental Outlook report, which, according to the leading state official, "outlined a general decline in the state of the environment".
Some did well by these disasters. By 2001, the rate of profit for large South African capital was ninth-highest among the world's major national economies (far ahead of the US and China), according to one British government study. Countervailing claims of a "developmental state" under construction hinge upon a series of vast white elephants:
- The Coega "ghost on the coast" industrial complex aimed at attracting a persistently elusive aluminum smelter.
- The Lesotho Highlands Water Project mega-dams, which permit excessive water consumption in Johannesburg while raising prices for township residents.
- Several new or reconstructed stadiums for the 2010 soccer World Cup (notably Durban's unnecessary Moses Mabhida Stadium).
- The R60 billion arms deal.
- Pebble-bed nuclear reactors potentially costing tens of billions of dollars, alongside tens of billions more on coal-fired power plants,notwithstanding South Africa's world-leading CO2 emissions rate.
- A R25b fast-rail network allowing wealthy travelers easy albeit expensive access between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the OR Tambo airport. To finance state infrastructure spending and steady tax cuts for corporations (down from a rate of nearly 50 percent in 1994 to less than 30 percent today), the Finance Ministry engineered a growth process that looked impressive at surface level. But South Africa's current account deficit is so great (reaching a peak of -9 percent of GDP in June 2008, although declining in 2009 as profit outflows slowed and a small trade surplus emerged) that The Economist this year rated the country as the world's riskiest emerging market.
None of these economic processes are tenable. Extremely high price inflation in electricity (due to rise by 200 percent in coming years), petrol and food will fuel yet more social unrest. The question is whether the state will ignore the protest — as Tito Mboweni tried in May at the Reserve Bank, when several thousand metalworkers demanded he receive their memorandum calling for lower interest rates — or repress it, or make concessions.
If concessions are made, will that lead to capital flight and a bigger crisis? And will the National Union of Metalworkers' calls for deeper reforms such as exchange controls be heeded? But if Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's Keynesian fiscal stimulus — a substantial budget deficit — can't restore growth, will angry protesters compel the Zuma government to adopt a new post-capitalist economic policy? Only very big changes can divert the society from even bigger confrontations in coming months.
Marchers Blockade 2010 Stadium
The situation in Sakhile township resembles a state of emergency
More than 30 South Africans have been arrested after a violent protest near a 2010 World Cup stadium in Mpumalanga Province, police say.
The protesters are demanding that the government honor its promise to build a new school if they made way for the construction of the Mbombela stadium. Police told the BBC that the situation was "tense but under control". A BBC correspondent says there are fears that the recent spate of violent protests could disrupt the World Cup. Many residents of South Africa's townships are angry at what they see as the slow pace at which the government is providing basic services such as housing, water and electricity.
The BBC's Mpho Lakaje says the situation in Sakhile township in Mpumalanga resembles a state of emergency, with burning tires in the roads, schools closed and local government buildings destroyed. They become unruly and started throwing stones at police who used rubber bullets to disperse them Superintendent Malcolm Makomene. The government has sent two ministers to the area to try to calm tensions. There have also been similar protests near the capital, Pretoria. About 100 protesters gathered near the Mbombela stadium in the provincial capital Nelspruit.
The demonstrators from Mathafeni village said the schools in the area are in a bad condition and accused the government of reneging on its promise to build a new school if they agreed to move. The unrest started on Monday with students taking to the streets and blockading the entrance to the stadium, forcing workers to down tools, reports say.The stadium is almost finished. Later in the week the demonstration become violent leading to three police officers being injured, two of them seriously. Police say the protests were initially staged by students but later escalated into a community affair.
"They become unruly and started throwing stones at police who used rubber bullets to disperse them," Mpumalanga police spokesperson Superintendent Malcolm Makomene told the BBC. One civilian was injured during the demonstrations while trying to dodge rubber bullets, police said. Police said although the demonstrators protested in the vicinity of the stadium, there were no attempts to enter the ground. "
There have been no attempts to go into the stadium or destroy the property around it but police are monitoring the situation," the police spokesperson said. Work has now resumed at the 30,000 capacity Mbombela Stadium, which is to host four first-round matches. When President Jacob Zuma was inaugurated in May he promised to speed up delivery of services and improve the lives of the poor but the country's first recession in 17 years has reduced his scope for action.
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
28 October 2009
The Kennedy Road 13 returned to the Durban Magistrate's Court on Monday 26 October to hear the verdict on their application for bail. The Kennedy 13 were not given bail and remain in Westville Prison. The magistrate will take a final decision on their application for bail on Monday next week.
Once again the ANC mob had been bussed in and there was a further escalation of threats against us. New people were targeted and threatened with death. Even at the Durban Magistrate's Court, in full public view, we are not safe and our basic democratic rights to speak and associate freely are being denied.
The threats of death and harm from the mouths and at the hands of self-proclaimed ANC members and officials, which started at the Kennedy Road settlement, has followed us into the Court. The violence and intimidation, which started at Kennedy Road, is not over. It is far from over. It continues. Our movement is still under attack, and our members — in Kennedy Road, and now also in other settlements, continue to be scattered by threats of violence. Even as we declare to ourselves and the world that we will not be silenced by the ANC we continue to live in fear that free speech, free movement and free association could get us killed.
The Secretary of our Youth League has now been forced into hiding after receiving public death threats. Armed young thugs followed her from the Court, to the street, to the taxis, to her home (which is not in the Kennedy Road settlement). This is in spite of the fact that the world is watching the ongoing attack on our movement. In spite of the world watching — in spite of protests at South African embassies, on university campuses, in spite of statements by respected church leaders, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Housing, and various human rights organizations, many of us cannot return to our homes, many of us remain in hiding and we must still must hold our meetings in secret. In spite of the world watching, we cannot go to the court without facing young men threatening us with words or weapons. They bring knobkerries and bushknives to court, and openly boast that they are armed and will kill.
In spite of all this, we hear the ANC at top levels talking about militarizing the police, the same police who have already so often used their weapons against us. In spite of all of this, we hear the ANC at top levels talking about silencing "enemies of the ANC." We know exactly what they mean as their self-proclaimed members have already tried to silence us. In spite of all this, the ANC at top levels have not condemned the violence and intimidation against our movement.
There has not been one statement from the ANC about the fact that we were attacked that night, not one statement about the fact that our leaders have had their homes destroyed and been chased from their community, not one statement about the fact that freely elected community structures have been declared illegitimate because they are not ANC structures, not one statement about the fact that our movement has been banned from Kennedy Road, not one statement about the fact that our leaders, including those outside of Kennedy Road, continue to be targeted. We have not seen one statement from the ANC condemning Willies Mchunu for claiming to have 'liberated' Kennedy Road.
We are again calling on the honest and democratic members of the ANC not to be silenced, but to oppose those who corrupt their movement with lies, intimidation and oppression. Honest and democratic members of the ANC are the defenders of their movement, not its enemies. If the honest and democratic members of the ANC do not prevail at this time the organization will become an enemy of our democracy. We are asking the honest and democratic members of the ANC to support our right to organize independently. We are asking them to defend democracy. We are asking them to defend us.
Yesterday at Court, the ANC again sent two hired buses with people to intimidate us. Most of the self-proclaimed ANC members on the buses were not from Kennedy Road.
Inside the Court yesterday, there was pushing, shouting and shoving — once again, Abahlali members were physically prevented from entering the courtroom.
Inside the Court yesterday, when the judge came in, those from the ANC buses held up signs on big flowchart paper with different color slogans such as "Asikufuni Zikode Nababulali" (We don't want [Abahlali President S'bu] Zikode and the killers).
Outside the Court, those from the ANC buses were toyi-toying outside a gate. When our members stood together quietly, far from the gate, to be briefed about the result of the bail hearing, a group from the ANC buses, mostly young men, moved toward us, shouting and threatening us. They came very close. We just stood quietly.
A Reverend from the Diakonia Council of Churches tried to calmly step between us and the young men. He asked them to please be calm and stand back. Some of the young men began shouting at him in English and isiZulu: "You are just an umlungu!", "You are supporting the killers!" and "We can kill you!"
A woman, who identified herself to the Reverend as a local councilor, was leading the young men. She was dressed in ANC garb head-to-toe. She shouted at the Reverend, and told him it was not a matter of the ANC, but a matter of the community. But she is not Yacoob Baig, the local ANC councilor of Ward 25, where the community of Kennedy Road is located.
If this is 'just a matter for the community' what is an ANC councilor from another ward doing with bussed-in ANC members from outside of Kennedy Road and issuing death threats to respected church leaders at Court? What are Jackson Gumede, Yacoob Baig and other ANC officials doing at Court, watching, as men — visibly armed and wearing ANC t-shirts — openly threaten us, calling for the death of the Secretary of our Youth League, our Women's League Chairperson, and our other leaders? Why are AbM leaders from outside of Kennedy Road being threatened? Why is S'bu Zikode being targeted when he was not even in Durban on the night of the attack on our movement? It is completely obvious that the ANC is waging a political attack on our movement.
Mr. Mchunu we need an urgent and genuinely independent and credible investigation into this attack. Our demand is for openness and fairness. How can you deny this demand? If you continue to deny this demand how can you expect people to not conclude that you have something to hide? It is obvious that the ANC cannot investigate themselves. There has to be a genuinely independent and credible investigation into this attack. Mr. Mchunu, if you want to be the Minister for the Safety and Security of all people and not the Minister in charge of attacking the people who have embarrassed the ANC then we need you to start calling for an independent and credible investigation into this attack as soon as possible.
Notes on the Police Attack on the Pemary Ridge Settlement
14 November 2009
The Sydenham police arrived at Pemary Ridge at around 8pm on Friday night in one private car.Three police officers first went to a woman's tuck shop. They found that the shop was closed, and proceeded to kick down the front door. The woman, hearing the police and fearing they would damage her shop, entered through the back door. When she entered, they arrested her for having bottles of beer in her shop.
In the hours that followed, the police tore through the settlement, kicking down doors, issuing beatings with fists, batons, and even household items. The police shot, at random, with live ammunition, within close range of people and their homes. They assaulted both women and men.
Before the shooting began, one man, who was walking by the tuck shop of the arrested woman, was beaten by police, without explanation. Another man, who was walking home from work, unaware of what was happening in the settlement, was beaten on the street. He was told by police officers that, "It was to teach you people a lesson," and so that when he returned home injured from work, "that lesson would be brought back to the community."
Other people were beaten by police inside their homes. One man from the Arnett Drive settlement was visiting friends, sitting inside and talking, after work. The police kicked down the door, shouting that they were "looking for ganja." He, the two other men and two women inside, said they did not have any ganja. The police said, "Don't make us look stupid" and that they "smelled ganja." The man said whatever the police thought they were smelling was not ganja; he drinks alcohol, but does not smoke ganja. A police officer then hit him, repeatedly, for "talking back," and for "trying to make them look stupid." The officers then began beating all 5 people inside the home, including the two women. Blood covered the floor of the home, and the door remains off its hinges.
The police were not finished. Shortly thereafter, once another police van had arrived, the officers returned to the home, and pulled the man that they had already assaulted outside. They dragged him to the street that runs along the top of the settlement, and then beat him bloody again with batons and fists all over his body — injuring especially, his back and knees. The police said that they were "teaching him a lesson." With difficulty, the man managed to escape, and ran to the bush to hide.
Some people gathered outside to see what was happening: while standing and talking, both women and men were beaten by police. An estimated two men and three women were arrested. Other police officers began shooting, with live ammunition, at random, in close range of people and their homes. People ran, and hid in the bush.
Many women in the settlement then began to form a barricade in the street at the top of the settlement. At first, the women put stones and a log in the street, and then they put tires and set the barricade alight. Later, the police forced some of the people they arrested to remove the smoldering remnants of the barricade with their bare hands. Again, the police returned to settlement, with an estimated additional 14 or 15 officers. The police, again, shot live ammunition at random, while most people hid in the bush.
11 women and men were arrested. It is difficult to estimate how many people have been injured at this stage. However, the 11 people arrested apparently were assaulted, their friends and families members, who witnessed the beatings, say. Another 6 people, among those who remained at the settlement overnight, had visible injuries, swollen wounds and bleeding. There have been no reported bullet wounds, despite that police, on two separate occasions, fired live ammunition inside the settlement.
Philani Zungu is the former Vice President of Abahlali and the current chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo in Pemary Ridge. Philani's home was shot through with at least one bullet. The police were using live ammunition that night, as the community confirmed when they found the bullet casings the following day.
At the time, people were fearful that this was a shoot-to-kill scenario. Many fled the settlement when the first round of shooting began. Some hid in the bush down near the river while the police fired. After the second round of police shooting, some people left the settlement entirely for the night, as they feared the police would return. Residents went to the Arnett Drive settlement (also affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo) for the night, or to friend and family homes elsewhere.
At 11:30pm, residents themselves called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived at around 12:30am. The ambulance took one man to the hospital, with head injuries from police beatings. The others, who were also injured and bleeding, were not taken to hospital, as the ambulance attendants said their injuries were not serious enough.
Several Abahlali members from Pemary Ridge went to the Sydenham police station around 2:30am to inquire about those who had been arrested. A police officer told them that 11 people were arrested. He said they could not see the arrested, and that visiting hours were at 12pm on Saturday. He said that the arrested had not been charged yet, but that they would appear in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court on Monday. When asked if those arrested had received medical attention, he denied that they were injured. He said that the 11 arrested were not injured, and so have not received any medical attention.
The local Abahlali baseMjondolo branch organised a small press conference in the settlement this morning. About 60 residents attended the press conference. Later on an Abahlali baseMjondolo delegation went to the Sydenham Police station to demand a meeting with the police. The officers on duty used the excuse that they could not speak for those on duty last night. However a few members of the delegation were allowed to visit the prisoners. The prisoners said that four of them are seriously injured and that their requests for medical attention had been refused. Medical attention for the four was requested by the visitors but the police told them that, 'we know when to call a doctor and when not to. Who the hell are you to tell us how to do our job?' The detainees have still not been charged. It was confirmed that they are scheduled to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate's court on Monday.
This is the third time, since the attacks in Kennedy Road, that the Sydenham police have brutally harassed and arrested residents of Pemary Ridge. The last two times, the police said it was for the self-connection of electricity. Everyone knows that the police attacks on Pemary Ridge are part of the wider ongoing attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Emergency Press Update from Abahlali basePemary Ridge
14 November 2009
Police Attack on Pemary Ridge - 11 arrested, at least 15 injured
The attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo continues.
The first van from the Sydenham Police Station arrived at the Pemary Ridge settlement at 8:00 p.m. last night. The police officers went to a woman's tuck shop and kicked down the door saying that they were looking for alcohol. At the time, a man was walking by, and the police assaulted him — they struck him, and swore at him. His sister, who saw the attack, screamed in terror.
When members of the community gathered around to see what was happening, the police opened fire, and started shooting people at random. Some residents ran to the river to hide fearing a shoot to kill operation. Others assembled at the top of the road, and began burning tires in protest. More police arrived and they attacked the people protesting on the road opening fire several times. They then went from shack to shack kicking down the doors of residents' homes and assaulting people in their homes. People were beaten bloody with fists and batons. Some were also pistol whipped. The police fired several rounds into Philani Zungu's shack.
At least 15 people have been badly injured but we can't give the final figure yet as many people scattered into the bush down by the river and some are too scared to return to the settlement.
11 people were arrested and are being held without charge in the notorious Sydenham Police station where many Abahlali baseMjondolo members, and other poor African people, have been badly assaulted, and at times even tortured, over the years. Most recently the Kennedy Thirteen were severely assaulted in the Sydenham Police Station. Many of the people who have been arrested were visibly injured when they were arrested and community members saw them being beaten further as they were arrested and put in the vans. But the police are denying that they are injured and have denied them medical attention.
The Pemary Ridge Eleven will appear in the Pinetown's Magistrate's court on Monday. It is not yet clear what they will be charged with. Visiting hours at the Sydenham Police station today start at 12:00.
This is the third attack on the Pemary Ridge settlement by the Sydenham Police since the attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo in Kennedy Road. The last two times they came and arrested people for connecting themselves to electricity. This was an attack on the whole community. Before they left the police said, "This is a lesson — tell the others."
The total number of people arrested since the attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo began on 26 September 2009 is now 32. There is no democracy for the poor in Durban. In this city if you are a poor person the police are dangerous criminals and you must fear them.
eThekwini kukhala abangcwele.
Pemary Ridge Under Police Attack Now; Shooting Continues
Abahlalibase Pemary Ridge
At 8pm this evening, a Sydenham police car arrived at the Pemary Ridge settlement in Reservoir Hills. The armed officers went to a home, and kicked down the door. At the time, a man was walking by, and the police assaulted him — they struck him, and swore at him. His sister who saw the attack screamed in terror. When members of the community gathered around to see what was happening, the police opened fire, and started shooting people at random. Some residents ran to the river to hide. They reassembled at the top of the road, and began burning tires. More police arrived and opened fire several times. The police are continuing to shoot at random now. They are kicking down the doors of residents' homes. All press are urged to rush to the scene.
The whole of this, and last month, is just reports of the police shooting. 2010 has arrived, and by the time the tournament comes, the stadium will be full bullets.
The Poor People's Alliance: Abahlali baseMjondolo, together with Landless People's Movement (Gauteng), the Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, is part of the Poor People's Alliance - a unfunded national network of democratic membership based poor people's movements.
The Left in South Africa threw in its lot with the 'African Nationalists' long ago [in the name of "The National Democratic Revolution"] — hoping for an 'entryist breakthrough' but got caught-up in the murky swamp of the ANC's State corruption, the gravy train handouts and personal self-enrichment!
The socialist libertarian tradition is carried forwards by the Abahlali baseMjondolo* movement, the grass-roots squatter-camp occupiers of unused land and only supported by independent academics like Pro. Martin Legassick (ex-MWT ANC, ex-UWC) but NOT by the 'traditional Left'.
Shame On Them!
There have been brutal police attacks on this movement [see also the articles in this journal on the Kennedy Road attacks in Durban by the police and the recent 'Police Attack on the Pemary Ridge Settlement] . It is here that a real 'Movement of the People' is to be found!
* Abahlali baseMjondolo, together with Landless People's Movement (Gauteng), the Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, is part of the Poor People's Alliance - a national network of democratic membership based poor people's movements
Village Sealed Off By Protest
May 9 2012
By Neo Maditla
Police at Sir Lowrys Pass Village, where protesters closed access to the N2. Photo: David Ritchie
Thousands of residents from Sir Lowry’s Pass Village burned tree trunks, plastic and bushes in a service delivery protest that blocked access to the town from the N2 on Wednesday morning.
Some protesters lobbed rocks at riot police and fire and rescue officers while others, carrying sticks, chanted, saying they were tired of empty promises from the authorities.
Tom Mti, 62, said he had been living in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village for over 30 years, yet he and his neighbours still lived in shacks.
Mti said there was a meeting with the City of Cape Town about a month ago at which it promised to move some residents but this had not yet happened.
“Yesterday(Tuesday) we had a community meeting and decided that we were going to strike this morning because we have had enough.”
At around 9am the police managed to move the crowd back to the village, where they were met by hundreds of other residents who had blocked the roads going in and out of the area.
George Cupido, chairman of a Sir Lowry’s Pass community group, said residents had complaints ranging from housing to drainage and sanitation. “Every meeting [with the City of Cape Town] is always the same. They make us promises they can’t keep,” he said.
Resident Phillip Jankies said he lived in an RDP house and had woken up at 3am to protest in “solidarity with people in the Rasta community” who live in the area that is primarily affected.
A 23-year-old Rastafarian known as “Blackface” who has lived in the area all his life said homes flooded badly in the rainy season. “Rain water seeps into our houses, the whole area is muddy and the electricity trips. We want proper houses.”
Ward 100 councillor Johan Middleton tried to address residents this morning but they refused to speak to him, saying they wanted to see mayor Patricia de Lille.
Middleton said the problem was that there were 200 people on the housing waiting list in the area and space to build only 140 houses.
He said they had meetings every Friday with residents to try to explain the situation but that some people did not understand.
He said the mayor would not be able to make it out to speak to residents but that the Western Cape MEC for community safety, Dan Plato, was expected there on Wednesday.
Informal Settlers Homeless As Housing Dept Stalls
Makgosimang Matsuwoni lives in a tiny makeshift shack while another person occupies her RDP house.More than 300 informal settlers in Sol Plaatje squatter camp near Roodepoort are still waiting for RDP houses they were promised in 1999. Although most of the houses have been built, many have been made uninhabitable by vandalism and illegal occupation.
Despite this, officials from the regional housing department have persuaded the “owners” to sign documents, also referred to as "happy letters," confirming that they are satisfied with their houses. The residents say they signed the documents because they thought they were the title deeds to their homes.
Corruption Watch has copies of the documents.
Of the 2,558 units that have been built in Sol Plaatje, 2,200 were allocated to the rightful owners, but the remainder have been invaded or vandalized due to a lack of security. As a result, the residents who should rightfully be occupying them continue to live in cramped conditions in shacks and flats.
A remodeled hostel turned into a double-storey flat. The contractor re-used old roofs which are now falling off.According to Sol Plaatje housing development community liaison officer Joseph Letjoko, some of the houses were invaded because they were left empty for a long time without being allocated, while others have no toilets, pipes, windows or doors due to vandalism.
Fearing that if they wait for too long their vandalized houses will be further damaged and believing promises from the contractor that the existing damage will be repaired, some of the rightful owners have moved into the damaged homes, said Letjoko.
R104-million was allocated for the housing development, but, said Letjoko, “It look like they used R20 000. If you look at where our subsidies have gone you can’t see that much difference.” The houses are so shoddily built that many were flooded during the rainy season, he said.
Corruption Watch has a copy of the budget plans and has photographs showing the substandard work.
The shoddily made staircase inside one of the renovated flats.According to Letjoko, each successful housing applicant received a subsidy worth R40 000, which was ploughed into the development. The overall budget also included a R100 000 allocation for a playground and R75 000 for greening, both of which the community has yet to see, he said.
Residents also complain that stands have not been demarcated and fenced and roads have yet to be built, despite these being promised features of the development.
Located south of Roodeport around an abandoned mine hostel, Sol Plaatje was established in 1999 as a settlement for people who were evicted from three other informal settlements – Maraisburg, in 1999; Woerus, in the Honeydew area, in 2000; and Mandelaville, near Diepkloof, in 2001.
Number 2024 has been vandalized. It is not clear if it is an invader or the rightful owner who now lives in the RDP house.At the time the City of Johannesburg, which was responsible for the relocation, undertook to have houses built, but eventually residents were forced to go to court to compel the city to honor its undertaking. Not until the court’s decision, ordering the city to provide all applicants with formal housing within two years, was handed down in 2004 were any steps taken to provide housing.
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), given the task of developing the Sol Plaatje settlement, contracted Motheo Construction Group to refurbish the existing single-storey mining hostels and turn them into double-storey blocks of flats, to build RDP units and new flats and to lay water and sewage pipes.
In a press statement issued in August 2007, Joshco stated that, “The entire redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2009”. Among the facilities Joshco was supposed to provide was street lighting and the company was also supposed to facilitate the township’s connection to the electricity grid. Now, in 2012, residents still do not have access to electricity.
Some of the houses have been vandalized by members of the community.Although a clinic has been built it cannot be opened because of the absence of electricity and the community has been given no indication of when power might be supplied, said Letjoko. “We haven’t been informed of anything,” he complained. “We are in the dark; we don’t know when we’ll get electricity.”
According to Tim Potter, the director of Motheo Construction, electricity is not the only element that is missing — the settlement has no roads or storm-water drains. “Normally we would have been asked to do that process, but there was no funding,” said Potter. Construction in the area began in February 2007 and was completed in July 2009, he said.
According to Potter, houses were approved for 2,200 people and 300 applications were rejected. “You can only give occupation to the people who have been approved for a subsidy. And there are lots of reasons why you cannot be approved … if you are not a South African citizen, you don’t have a dependent or you’ve already had a subsidy and have a house somewhere else.”
Sibongiseni Ngcobo shows Corruption Watch the “happy letter” he signed confirming that number 2549 is his house — but someone else is living in it.However, the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Human Settlements were working on putting those who had not been provided for through the system to enable them to get houses, he said.
Letjoko refuted this, saying only 15 applications had been rejected permanently and about 300 residents whose houses had been vandalized or invaded had already signed for them, which meant their subsidies had been approved. “You can’t sign for a house without being approved,” he said.
While Potter claimed Motheo has repaired 180 vandalized houses, Letjoko says only about 30 have been repaired so far.
“We sat with Joshco and then measured what had been stolen,” said Potter. “We said we would repair the vandalized houses and only ask for payment for material and labour.”
He added that houses were vandalized during and after construction and it had been difficult to get the community to self-police.
Letjoko, however, asserted that the community should not have been expected to self-police because an amount to the tune of R289 000 had been set aside for security.
Furthermore, the municipality should have acted on an order issued by the court in 2010 to evict the invaders. Instead, the mayoral committee had halted the process during the 2011 local elections, saying they could not evict people during elections, he said.
Referring to the renovated hostels, Letjoko told Corruption Watch that the contractor “just patched some houses, extended concrete slab houses with bricks and re-used old roofs”.
The two-room flats that were built do not meet the Gauteng department’s housing norms and specifications for low-cost housing for 2008/9, which stipulate that each unit must have two bedrooms.
The internal walls of the RDP houses have not been plastered or bag-washed and the internal walls of the renovated hostels have not been repainted. Potter said these deficiencies were due to financial restraints and that no paint had been specified for the walls, with the exception of the bathrooms, for waterproofing purposes. The specifications had been developed in conjunction with Joshco and the council and were a function of a limited budget.
According to the Housing Act of 1997, explained Potter, each South African is eligible to a certain amount as a housing subsidy. The amount was a combination of a fixed budget provided by the Department of Human Settlements and municipal grant funding. “Joshco had been allocated a certain amount and we were required to work within that budget,” he said.
“[The flats] were originally prefabricated concrete hostel dwellings and so the design of the new units was restrained by the original structure. This is the reason why two bedrooms were not designed. The free-standing units do have two bedrooms.”
Re-used roofs simply needed to be replaced if roof tiles came off, said Potter.
Another complaint from Sol Plaatje residents was that they had not yet received their title deeds and, said Letjoko, the informal settlement has not yet been declared a township.
Potter says the reason for residents not receiving title deeds was that the land transformation process is still ongoing.
“Often these land processes can take years,” he explained. “The land was owned by private individuals. Joshco had to then arrange for the gathering of those individual purchases and get their commitment in terms of deed of sales to actually combine ownership under the City of Johannesburg.”
He said a township registry will be opened this month and once the general town plan is approved individual title deeds will be registered. But this, said Potter, will depend on whether the council receives the necessary funding.
Back To Court
Letjoko said this information had not been communicated either to him or to members of the community and he had approached the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) to help him with the matter.
“We will meet them in court,” he said.
Seri attorney Osmond Mngomezulu confirmed that he had received the documents from Letjoko concerning the Sol Plaatje housing development but that nothing had yet been done because Seri was inundated with cases. However, Seri plans to hold a meeting with the Sol Plaatje community on Sunday May 19 to investigate the matter further.
“This matter is not a straightforward one, it’s complex and requires attention,” said Mngomezulu.
Sibongiseni Ngcobo, 43, whose house has been invaded, has made repeated attempts to regain it, to no avail. Shortly after he signed the “happy letter” he had prepared to move into his new home, only to find that someone had already occupied it.
After a squabble with the invader during which he ended up breaking the door, the Roodeport police arrested him.
“I showed them the papers I had signed which [proved] I was the rightful owner and they still arrested me,” said Ngcobo. “Here the rightful owner is arrested and not the person who has invaded their house.”
He is now forced to live with his wife and four children in a two-room flat belonging to a relative.
Another resident, Gogo Makgosimang Matsuwoni, 71, signed a letter of satisfaction in July 2010, but still lives in a one-room shack while another person has taken over her house.
“I can’t apply for a house and then someone else gets it,” said Matsuwoni. “Is that right? [But] when it’s time for elections we’re all told to vote.”
When Corruption Watch approached the City of Johannesburg to respond to the complaints of the Sol Plaatjie residents, housing communications representative Bubu Xuba referred us to Joshco, saying it was responsible for the project.
Corruption Watch put forward a set of questions to Joshco, asking why the eviction process had been halted; what had happened to the money set aside for security, greening and a playground; why there were still no roads and electricity and when the residents would receive their title deeds.
Despite giving Joshco two weeks to respond, Corruption Watch has yet to receive a reply.
LIFE IN THE GULAG TRANSIT TIN-SHACKS OF Kennedy Road
By Kerry Chance of the School Of Development Studies Research Report No. 83. July 2010
The Work of Violence:
If it is part of the work of violence to destroy toward a particular end, so too often is its work to erase the traces of both that destruction and its end. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela commented in A Human Being Died That Night that a bloody massacre scene she witnessed as a child was recorded as part of the ‘official’ record as a single death.Setting aside liberalist legal, psychological, or human rights discourses that would institutionalize “truth-telling” and “bearing witness,” with its own discrete forms of erasure, her point is rather simple. Namely, that these traces were only, if imperfectly, if never completely, rendered visible in the gap between the ‘official’ record and those who witnessed and by making it public.
On 26 September 2009, violent attacks by an armed group left two men dead and an estimated thousand displaced at the Kennedy Road shack settlement in the South African City of Durban.iiWhat has been made public about that night is that members of an armed group self-identified as ruling African National Congress (ANC) supporters, some, mobilizing ethnicity, chanted anti-amaMpondo slogans. The headquarters of Abahlali baseMjondolo, a poor peoples’ social movement claiming 10,000 members nationwide, was dismantled, then ransacked, elected movement leaders and their families, fifty-seven parents and children in total, their homes destroyed by armed men, went into “hiding.”
Movement activities operated “underground.” Thirteen Abahlali members were arrested. Until July 2010, five remained, ten months later, in Westville prison yet to see trial. In movement press statements, Abahlali alleged that the attacks were carried out by an “ANC militia” and were backed by police and “high level” officials.
Protesters gathered at local universities and at South African embassies from London to New York to Moscow under Abahlali banners. Church leaders and academics from the Archbishop of Cape Town to Noam Chomsky condemned the attacks, as did Amnesty International, as well as other social movements and civic groups.
In the days and weeks that followed 26 September 2009, state officials — local, municipal, and provincial – circulated public statements, however, which told another story, one claiming that the violence at Kennedy Road was an intensely localized criminal matter, perpetrated by a “vigilante group” with links to Abahlali.
That “vigilante group” – said to be the thirteen Abahlali members arrested, one since cleared of charges that ranged from murder to assault to malicious destruction of property to robbery – held Kennedy residents under a curfew, barring them, under threat of force, from watching television, cooking or walking outdoors after 7pm.
After the attacks, the Provincial Minister for Transport, Safety and Security announced the settlement “liberated,” and that a resolution had been taken “to dissolve Abahlali baseMjondolo.”viOfficials, on September 28 2010, hosted a meeting and press conference at the Kennedy Road Community Hall, with 88 “stakeholders,” all affiliates of the ANC or state bodies.viiIn an official press statement issued that day, the spokesperson for the Provincial Minister claimed: “for the records [sic] there are no xenophobic or ethnic politics at Kennedy Road.”
“Criminals,” he said, “would soon be brought to book, which may or may not include [Abahlali President S’bu] Zikode.” A representative of the eThekwini Housing Department at the meeting, mobilizing ethnicity, warned that the imfene choir – in which some of the thirteen arrested were performers – “In our culture is associated with muthi [witchcraft].” Citing a then-pending decision by a Constitutional Court challenge brought by Abahlali over the Slums Act, he stated that the movement stood in the way of “development” in Kennedy Road.
What follows is a timeline, an account of the attacks that began to unfold, in their most violent manifestations, on the night of 26 September 2009. This account is centered upon the Community Hall, a brick-and-mortar structure in Kennedy Road, a shack settlement of an estimated 7,000 households on the outskirts of the eThekwini metro.
The Hall was a locus of day-to-day activities in the community, the national headquarters of Abahlali, and, importantly, an expressed target of armed men. To this, a further note on method: the timeline draws from approximately 100 group and individual, structured and semi-structured interviews with those present during the attacks, both men and women, between the ages of 18 to 65, across a range of affiliations or lack thereof to Abahlali, to political parties, to various ethnic self-identifications, those remaining in Kennedy Road and those who fled.
Interviews were conducted from September, within the first days after the attacks began, to December 2009, with staggered follow-up in March and July 2010. Daily, intensive doctoral research was conducted from August 2008 to December 2009, Kennedy Road as the primary site, and regular visits from 2006 to 2010.xi Colleagues provided 30 additional transcribed or recorded testimonies.xii
This timeline proposes three meaningful dimensions of the attacks:
(1) the mobilization of political party affiliation and the specter of an ethnic-other tied to material relations, especially employment and state resources;
(2) new modes of policing in an ensuing social drama over a state-backed crackdown on criminal gangs and shebeens/taverns;
(3) contested claims to political sovereignty articulated through election-time “development” projects. In proposing these three dimensions, this timeline, amid happenings of that day, sketches in broad strokes, shifts in relevant interactions between Abahlali and officials, between 2008 and 2009, at the local, municipal, and provincial level.
These dimensions, entailing both articulations during the attacks by armed men, as well as post-facto in public statements by officials, coalesced to displace members of Abahlali from their homes and national headquarters.
This is an approximate timeline, neither fixed nor conclusive. Rather than with the precision of a ticking-clock, time-headings err on the side of sequence, as well as mean consistency between separate witnesses, although variation is also noted. It is not a close reading of individual testimonies — about which much could be said – but here, instead aims at temporally
moving, ‘thick’ description. Above all, the events, which began in their complexity that night, are still unfolding. They do not rest safely in a distant past. In the courts, those arrested still await trial, postponed until November 2010, the bail hearings for which have included attendance by ANC supporters, some carrying weapons.
In the Kennedy settlement, Abahlali members today continue to report intimidation. Outside, those who remain displaced Abahlali President S’bu Zikode said “have been made refugees in our own country, in our own province, in our own settlement.”
What is conclusive about 26 September is that worlds were shattered that night, and that the gap between those worlds and the ‘official’ record remains, at least to date, staggering.
II An Approximate Timeline:
9:00am – Heritage Weekend Begins: Starting at 9am, the Kennedy Road Development Committee – a committee elected in last year at a mass-based Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Hall – hosted a weekend-long Heritage Day celebration.
Abahlali, to which the KRDC affiliates, held a similar celebration for all its regional branch areas a week earlier, at a Pinetown settlement called eMause. After 27 September, rumor circulated amongst Kennedy residents that the attacks were meant to unfold there.xvii
The weekend celebration, as KRDC members stated during the organizing stages, was aimed at building community solidarity, youth participation, and “anti-ethnicism.” Since the run-up to the national Presidential elections in 2009, tensions in Kennedy Road, as across the eThekwini region, were bubbling, articulated along fractured lines of ethnicity and rapidly reconfiguring political party affiliations, particularly amongst dispossessed youth.
At times, these intersected: in talk, for instance — within the settlement and more broadly in public discourse — which coded a post-Polokwane ANC as newly ethnically amaZulu, and breakaway party COPE (Congress of the People) as amaXhosa. Herein also lay a stereotypic material relation.
Namely, that better access and less legitimate claim to jobs, women, and other resources — especially of a developmental state such as houses and basic services — came to those of ostensibly exogenous language and origin.
In November 2008 – nationally, as COPE announced a breakaway from the ANC and locally, with the Annual General
Meetings (AGMs) looming to elect a new Abahlali and KRDC leadership — rumor spread amongst some residents of an ethnicized plot, a “Pondo plot,” to take over Kennedy Road.xxii The President of Abhalali, S’bu Zikode, was violently attacked at the entrance of the Hall in the middle of the day by three young men — two identified by their own relatives as from outside the settlement — with a knife and broken bottles.
He was beaten all over his body, hospitalized with smashed glass lodged in his face, ears, and head. His three-year old son, with him at the time, stood and watched the scene.
Weeks later, five young men, shouting ethnic slurs — identified as from outside the settlement by the bystanders who intervened — beat bloody then Abahlali Vice President, Lindela “Mashumi” Figland next to the Hall.xxivAt the Abahlali AGM, an ANC-BEC (Branch Executive Committee) member from another ward seized the microphone, reiterating warning of “a Pondo plot,” announced, “Now, is the time of the amaZulu.” Participants shouted him down, demanding he depart from the Hall.
While Abahlali, since 2005, officially maintained an election boycott position, it does not render its branches ‘no-go’ zones for political parties. The movement also does not bar members from voting, or from participating in other civic activities, such as unions, cultural associations, or church groups. In these months, party manifestos, t-shirts, posters, and other goods were distributed and meetings held in Abahlali settlements, including Kennedy Road. Local ANC branches hired buses for rallies in these areas.
In May and June 2009, two violent fights broke out at the Kennedy shebeenstaverns, where ethnic slurs were exchanged between groups of young men, leaving three hospitalized with serious injuries. Abahlali and KRDC members, in response, called meetings at the Hall, speaking against the danger of arbitrary divisions amongst “the poor” and held family mediations, drawing in mothers and grandmothers, to quell further violence.
As one Kennedy resident put it: “Apartheid told us we are Zulus or Xhosas...I grew up in the Eastern Cape, I speak isiZulu; my wife grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, she speaks isiXhosa...our children and us, we are South African, we are Black people, we are all living in this ghetto.”xxvi Ethnicity, as this suggests, was produced, unstably, its historical sediments fundamentally racist.
Heritage Day, according to KRDC members, was a Meetings (AGMs) looming to elect a new Abahlali and KRDC leadership – rumor spread amongst some residents of an ethnicized plot, a “Pondo plot,” to take over Kennedy Road. The President of Abhalali, S’bu Zikode, was violently attacked at the entrance of the Hall in the middle of the day by three young men – two identified by their own relatives as from outside the settlement – with a knife and broken bottles. He was beaten all over his body, hospitalized with smashed glass lodged in his face, ears, and head.
His three-year old son, with him at the time, stood and watched the scene. Weeks later, five young men, shouting ethnic slurs — identified as from outside the settlement by the bystanders who intervened — beat bloody then Abahlali Vice President, Lindela “Mashumi” Figland next to the Hall. At the Abahlali AGM, an ANC-BEC (Branch Executive Committee) member from another ward seized the microphone, reiterating warning of “a Pondo plot,” announced, “Now, is the time of the amaZulu.” Participants shouted him down, demanding he depart from the Hall.
While Abahlali, since 2005, officially maintained an election boycott position, it does not render its branches ‘no-go’ zones for political parties. The movement also does not bar members from voting, or from participating in other civic activities, such as unions, cultural associations, or church groups. In these months, party manifestos, t-shirts, posters, and other goods were distributed and meetings held in Abahlali settlements, including Kennedy Road. Local ANC branches hired buses for rallies in these areas.
In May and June 2009, two violent fights broke out at the Kennedy shebeens/taverns, where ethnic slurs were exchanged between groups of young men, leaving three hospitalized with serious injuries. Abahlali and KRDC members, in response, called meetings at the Hall, speaking against the danger of arbitrary divisions amongst “the poor” and held family mediations, drawing in mothers and grandmothers, to quell further violence.
As one Kennedy resident put it: “Apartheid told us we are Zulus or Xhosas...I grew up in the Eastern Cape, I speak isiZulu; my wife grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, she speaks isiXhosa...our children and us, we are South African, we are Black people, we are all living in this ghetto.”xxvi Ethnicity, as this suggests, was produced, unstably, its historical sediments fundamentally racist. Heritage Day, according to KRDC members, was a
further intervening assertion of the primacy of identification as an undifferentiated “poor” in modes of being-together, and indeed, in constituent community claims to “development.”xxvii
Similar street brawls were reported in areas unaffiliated to the movement, such as ANC-aligned Palmiet. In Embo, a settlement near Hillcrest, in June 2009, isiXhosa-speakers reportedly fled their homes after neighbors issued an ultimatum for the removal.
In Gleblands, occupants claimed that two election-time killings and subsequent violence in the hostel mobilized ethnic self-and-other identifications crosscut with party affiliations. After the Kennedy attacks, ANC supporters in KwaShembe settlement in the township of Claremont reportedly burned to the ground the homes of COPE members. Kennedy residents spoke of these incidents, whether from reports printed in the local papers, or by kith and kin in those areas.
Public responses by state and party officials to these incidents varied. While in Embo, the municipality and the province condemned “brewing ethnic tension,” in Gleblands and Kennedy – echoing official statements during so-called “xenophobic attacks” in May 2008 and in 2009 – reduced the contours of the violence to criminality, thereby emptying it of political content.
COPE, by contrast, in a provincial press statement, dated 7 October 2009, claimed that those killed in Gleblands, as well as the two men left dead during the Kennedy attacks were COPE supporters targeted by ANC cadres. Competing claims made upon the bodies of the dead by the provincial ANC and provincial COPE speak to the politicization of the settlement, not least as a party battleground.
By the early morning at the Heritage Weekend celebration, Kennedy Hall was nearly filled. Performances were inter-ethnic, from a variety of “traditional” and “non-traditional,” urban and rural forms: gumboot dancers, pantsula dancers, imfene dancers, self-organized choirs of school children, as well as an award-winning isicathamiya group, the Dlamini King Brothers. All twenty-three performers were given small trophies or medals.
A few men, who attended the event drunk, jeered and attempted to physically disrupt the imfene group, but left thereafter. Community members, approximately one thousand, predominantly women, stayed in the Hall, watching the performances until about 5pm. 5:30pm – Heritage Performances End: The imfene group, a loose assemblage of performers that had won local awards and had a dedicated following in the settlement were to stay overnight a dance competition in Claremont township. They left, still brightly costumed, on a taxi at the main rank next to the Hall.
The next day, upon their return, three among them were arrested. Of the thirteen Abahlali members arrested — to date, the only men charged with crimes relating to 26 September – all are isiXhosa-speakers, six are members of the imfene group, and two are members of the Kennedy Road Safety and Security Committee. The Sydenham police and a Provincial Crime Intelligence Officer, who had been based regularly in the settlement since 2008, participated in the investigation of the attacks, and the arrest of these men.
Since 2005, a few volunteer guards watched the Hall, including a health clinic called the Clare Estate “Drop-In Centre,” a crèche, and the Abahlali Office. Private patient documents were stored there, and costly equipment: a computer, fax machine, photocopier, and library. The office also held Abahlali’s archives — banners, newspapers, photographs, membership-databases, its material history.
On 26 July 2009, at a mass meeting chaired by the KRDC, residents, led by women, called for the establishment of a full-time Safety and Security Committee, commensurate with a national call for community-based policing made by all parties during the 2009 presidential elections, and in early July, the state launch of “Operation Wanya Tsotsi.”
At the time in Kennedy, violent crime, in particular around the shebeens/taverns, was perceived as rife and intensifying: murder, rape, assault, and robbery. These crimes, said meeting participants, were committed by known gangs and posed particular threat to women.
A Safety and Security Committee of ten members was nominated at the mass meeting. The Sydenham Police and Provincial Crime Investigator orally endorsed the Committee. An official launch of the Committee soon was hosted in the Hall, attended by the Sydenham police Superintendent, the Provincial Crime Intelligence Officer, the KRDC, and residents. xxxvii Following the attacks, the Provincial Minister for Safety and Security claimed that the Committee was a “vigilante group” with “no legal standing.”xxxviiiIn practice, however, the Committee liaised — through routine meetings and telephone conversations — with the Sydenham police, the Provincial Crime Intelligence Officer, and the KRDC.
Following the launch, Kennedy residents reported suspected crimes to the Committee – whose photographs and contact details were posted on flyers around the settlement. The Committee logged each crime, and the manner of its response. Suspects arrested by the Committee were turned over to the Sydenham police.
At times, the police would request that the Committee make an arrest. In January 2009, there was a physical altercation between two young men suspected of robbery, and three members of the Committee – all were known, personally, to each other. The Sydenham Police arrested, not the suspects, but the entirety of the Safety and Security Committee, including members who were not present with no knowledge of the incident.
A meeting and mediation was held at the Sydenham Police Station, with members of Abahlali, the KRDC, and the Provincial Crime Intelligence Officer present. The Committee was released, and the incident was declared resolved by the two parties, who walked home together peaceably from the police station. Responding to the altercation, Abahlali organized a series of workshops for the Safety and Security Committee with students from University of South Africa (UNISA) program called Street Law on “human rights” and relevant law on community policing. Weeks before the attacks, after complaints by residents resurfaced that the shebeens/taverns be regulated, the KRDC and the Safety and Security Committee entered into negotiations with shebeen/tavern-owners to close their doors by 10pm.
Complaints about the shebeens/tavern dated back to the 2008 AGM and had been regularly made at mass community meetings thereafter. Some, especially elderly, residents