Sunday, March 23, 2014

May 7, 2014: The new face of APARTHEID

File photo. Police fire rubber bullets at
 residents at point blank range, 13 March 2014, in Bekkersdal, Westonaria. Residents protested by blockading streets and pelting police cars over an election campaign planned by the ANC. Picture: Alaister Russell
Police and African National Congress (ANC) thugs shoot protesting  South African schoolchildren...A reprise of apartheid's Death Valley Days for the Black working class

By Sekou OSEI
& William PLEASANT
The African National Congress of South Africa is in a fight for its political life these days. But the challenge does not come the motley crew of right wingers and white Boer malcontents who regularly whimper over the loss of racist nirvana in Africa. No. The ANC faces a firestorm on The Left, namely from the festering Black ghettos that ring its gleaming "whites-and-certain-negroes only" cities. The payment for blood spilled by the poor of South Africa in the decades-long struggle to smash white supremacy in that nation has now come due. The ANC must pay up or face the political consequences. 

South Africa and the sterile flower of its Rainbow Democracy is poised once again to raise the ugly petals of the ANC's class treason. But this time they may get plucked, once and for all, in the upcoming May 7th elections, as frustrated poor and working South Africans either abstain from their characteristic support of the ANC and/or reject the electoral farce altogether and furiously spill into the streets for a showdown with the party/regime that has managed the country since 1994.

Many in the US solidarity movement, especially those with nostalgia for the simplicity of good-Black vs. bad-Boer class struggle-cum-morality play, must either admit their longstanding theoretical cretinism concerning the simultaneous evolution of class struggle in the midst of decolonization and neo-colonization in Africa and elsewhere in the so-called Third World, or line up in defense of the ANC as its party militias--in league with police and the military--put the slum-dwellers to the sword between now and May 7.
 Since the mid-90s until Nelson Mandela's death last year, the world has witnessed South Africa's comprador stratum engage in several dogfights over who would get the spoils of an essentially pantomime democratic exercise.

Unfortunately, Mandela's infantile, neo-liberal prescription for South Africa's development did not get buried  with him.

When the majoritarian Black slum-dwellers go to the polls on May 7th they will only have a choice between which Black thespian will portray the role of befuddled middle management in the social horror show called DANCING WITH NEO-LIBERALISM. They may not change the script. ONE CHANNEL, ONE SHOW, ONE DIRECTOR AND CAST! The ANC and its armed party hacks have made that point emphatic in the past few weeks. The question of democratizing the economy will never be raised, thus the politicians must rely on miming personal integrity and genuine concern for the plight of the downtrodden and down and out majority of South Africans. The poor may only cast their ballots for those candidates who they believe best portray humble noblesse oblige, since the ANC possesses absolutely no party program for addressing the concrete aspirations of the South African people for LAND, socialism and popular democracy, actual NATIONAL LIBERATION.

What history has shown the world is that the once, so-called leadership of the South African liberation movement--ANC-- has become a pitbull employed to protect international capital's stake in the absolute exploitation of the country's labor and resources (the historical essence of apartheid) and to thoroughly socially disorganize the masses, in the service of feathering its own compradorial nest. And the ANC--in form and content--is willing to resort to the same degree of savage state repression against Blacks and only Blacks as the Nationalist Party-- its self-proclaimed fascistic, Boer-led predecessor. On May 7th, poor and working South Africans will only have the opportunity to witness who will win the popularity contest for the privilege of conducting apartheid in blackface.

If the African National Congress, led by the revolutionary-as-Uncle Remus Nelson Mandela, was supposed to bestow South Africa's wretched of the earth with even mediocre economic and social crumbs, then HISTORY exposes the ANC as an utter, catastrophic failure. Black South Africans, despite years of desperate combat against one of the most brutally racist regimes on earth, have little to show for their efforts other than a technicolor national flag, a catchy song and a shabbily constructed soccer stadium.

All key material indicators expose the uselessness of the ANC as even a reformist tendency in the post-colonial era.

1. Income distribution
A comparison of data from the 2008 National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) and the 1993 Project for Statistics on Living Standards and Development (PSLSD) found that income inequality had increased both aggregately and between racial groups. In 2008, the wealthiest 10% earned 58% of the total income, and the top 5% earned 43% of the total income. This is a worsened situation from 1993, when the top 5% earned 38% of the total income. In fact, the ANC's South Africa has one of the top income disparities on earth.

2. Poverty levels

Under the national poverty line of $43 per month, 47% of South Africans are impoverished. The number of people living on less than $1 a day has doubled from 2 million in 1994 to 4 million in 2006. In 2005, 63% of Black children lived in households earned less than 800 rands, compared to only 4% of white children. Moreover, the poverty level of a subject is directly proportional to the distance the subject lives from an urban center. That is to say that rural South Africans live in a hellhole, same it it ever was under Boer-led apartheid.

3. Land redistribution
Remember, under the Boer-led apartheid regime, whites utterly monopolized South Africa's arable land. But under the ANC, in 2006, 70% of South Africa’s land was still owned by whites.This is despite promises from the African National Congress to redistribute 30% of the land from whites to Blacks. More than one-third of the population occupies 13% of the land, often in insecure or secondary ways, meaning that vast numbers of Blacks are still squatters in their own country.

4. Education and culture
After the Boers relinquished the whip to the ANC, racially segregated school systems were replaced by nine provincial Departments of Education which collaborate within the national Department of Education.Illiteracy--27% of 6th grade students are functionally illiterate. However, only 4% of the wealthiest students are functionally illiterate, indicating a stark divide in literacy between income groups. Black and low-income students face geographic barriers to good schools, which are usually located in expensive neighborhoods.  While South Africans enter higher education in increasing numbers, there is still a stark difference in the racial distribution of these students. Currently, about 58.5% of whites 51% of Indians enter some form of higher education, compared to only 14.3% of coloreds and 12% of Blacks. Youths in the bush are more or less neglected altogether.

5.  Unemployment
South Africa has extremely high unemployment rates. The overall unemployment rate was 26% in 2004, but historically disadvantaged groups like rural populations, women, and Blacks experience higher rates of unemployment. Unemployment is mainly concentrated among unskilled Blacks, who are also deliberately under-educated. They comprise 90% of the unemployed. The ANC government has pledged to cut overall unemployment to 14% by 2014 but, so far, drivel has been followed by only more drivel. The unemployment rate for Black South Africans increased from 23% in 1991 to 48% in 2002.

6. Access to heath services...7. Access to decent housing...8. Access to potable water and sanitation...9. Urban and rural electrification....The sickening statistics of ANC policy failure and deliberate betrayal never cease.

Gauteng healthier, residents live longer – Nomvula Mokonyane As a consequence, a few days ago on March 15, African National Congress (ANC) spokesman Nkenke Kekana said his party would meet the citizens of Bekkersdal to discuss “concerns of the community.” And naturally, town citizens, together with schoolchildren, were shot at last week by the police and members of an ANC delegation campaigning in the area because the ANC really has nothing to offer the discontented at this stage other than platitudes and bullets.
 Nomvula Mokonyane 
People have not forgotten a visit paid by Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane last October 2013, when she was jeered and insulted by a very large crowds. She exacerbated that situation by telling her audience, “People can threaten us and say they won’t vote, but the ANC doesn’t need their dirty votes.”

She inadvertently let the historical cat out of the bag. The ANC really doesn't need the electoral consent of the people to rule. It has enough gunmen and enough funding from corporations like DeBeers and Anglo-American to do its duty of pacifying the necessarily restless natives.
When people heard last week that the ANC dignitaries would be campaigning in the area, they erupted even in Mokonyane’s absence. Schooling was disrupted around 11 a.m. as pupils flooded into the streets. The Gauteng-based tabloid called The Citizen of the prior day carried a photo taken in Bekkersdal of an armed man wearing ANC colors. Nkenke said, “Right now, we don’t know who that person is. If he is a [VIP] protector, he is not supposed to wear ANC gear.”

Nelson Mdayi  of the ANC is locked and loaded AGAINST the lawful fury of the betrayed  South African masses.

Without much difficulty, the Mail & Guardian identified the man as former ANC councilor Nelson Mdayi.
 As the blue-clad cowards of the South African Police Service (SAPS) carry out state repression against unarmed platinum miners, the stench of South African fascism under ANC leadership grows.

Another image from the Citizen shows a South African Police Service (SAPS) officer firing a shotgun at point-blank range at two civilians backed up against a wall.  Along with scores of other towns, Bekkersdal in the west of Gauteng continues to be the scene of violent protests over issues like municipal corruption. In last week’s incident, residents vented their spleen on an ANC contingent including Ntombi Mekgwe, head of the housing department in the provincial cabinet, and the West Rand district municipality mayor, Mpho Nawa. The politicians were canvassing door-to-door for the party ahead of the May 7 elections, when they were forced to vacate the area after being pelted with stones.
Six people were arrested for public violence, according to Gauteng police spokesman Lt. Col. Lungelo Dlamini. ANC Gauteng caucus spokesman Mbangwa Xaba praised the SAPS and claimed there were no deaths or injuries in the clashes.
Police fired at schoolchildren and residents who had barricaded streets with rocks and burning tires. The Citizen likened the scene to the Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976. By the time the ANC dignitaries arrived, there were running battles between residents and police and columns of black smoke in the air.
A potential scapegoat for the authorities, the local community leader Thabang Wesi, denied that he initiated the attack on the ANC campaigners. Wesi, a leader of the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents’ Association, said “residents learnt about the ANC’s planned campaign through social media networks.” He also goes on to say that the violence stemmed from another incident between two rivals local gangs call the Calabash and the Creatures.
As evidenced by the two-month platinum miners’ strike, working class militancy is enjoying a needed revival. The weekly protests in every province are like little explosions foreshadowing a more general conflagration. The timing could not be worse for the ruling ANC.
During another door-to-door campaign last Saturday in the Jacksonville area of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape province, President Jacob Zuma was jeered and booed by a crowd that was so inimical that bodyguards had to physically intercede. Before that, Zuma was booed at the South Africa vs. Brazil soccer match on March 5 at FNB Stadium. This is the same venue that hosted Nelson Mandela’s memorial service last year, and where Zuma was booed in front of a global audience. City Press reported that the ANC’s own internal polls show electoral support for the party slumping in 2014 to as little as 36% percent in Gauteng. The ANC won 64.4% percent of the same vote in 2009. An ANC West Rand branch chairperson said of the internal poll results, “The mistake we made was to underestimate Julius [Malema’s] boys.”

Jacob Zuma (© Gallo Images) Jacob Zuma being booed in Port Elizabeth 

Expelled from the ANC, Malema now leads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which according to a 2013 Markinor poll could win over 7 percent of the vote in the province. Another ANC leader remarked that his party may well find itself in the “embarrassing situation where we have to go cap in hand, begging to Julius for a coalition for us to stay in power.”

In spite of his leftist rhetoric, Malema has already signaled the EFF’s readiness to serve in that capacity.
 Julius Malema 
Julius Malema’s appeal didn’t go so well and he has been expelled ...The ANC position is that protests like those at Bekkersdal are about service delivery. More specifically, the party line is that a minority of citizens impatiently take to violence when they see that they lack the facilities already delivered to other communities, courtesy of the ANC government, by the way.

Peter Alexander and other researchers attached to the South African Research Chair in Social Change at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) refute such claims. In a Business Day piece, Alexander et al. point out that the very rubric “service delivery protest” has become a catch-all for issues encompassing representation, corruption, unemployment and crime. Citizens also complain about the quality of municipal services as opposed to absolute non-delivery.
The Wits researchers urge the establishment to “take into account the way in which sympathetic handling of grievances can minimize conflict, and that dishonesty and arrogance trigger disorder.” Excluding the bloodbath at Marikana, they note that 43 protesters have been killed by police since 2004. There are “no reports of police killed by protesters.”

Cyril Ramaphosa Cyril Ramaphosa 

The ANC government is lawfully oblivious of all this. Already, indications are that Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the instigators of the Marikana mass murder of miners, is to serve as deputy president in the new administration. In this role, he will be entrusted and assigned with fulfilling the National Development Plan (NDP). Together with trigger-happy police, the NDP is an anti-poor neo-liberal blueprint. It is the white ruling elite’s only answer to the worsening crisis of global capitalism.
Under these circumstances, the ANC polls suggest that fully 25 percent of characteristically ANC voters are undecided about their preference in the upcoming election.

The question for Marxists and liberals who style themselves as solidarity activists is quite apparent: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON IN SOUTH AFRICA? The neo-liberal stooges called the African National Congress or the ascending class, namely the working and poor people of that country? May 7, 2014 begs an answer because history may be on our side, but time is not.


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