“Free the Mind – Take Back the Land!”
Founding Policy Document
BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST (BLF)
“There is no success without a struggle
What are you waiting for?
Where are you when the struggle for land is on,
What are you waiting for?
Have you not yet joined,…
What are you waiting for?
Even if you think you are rich,
What are you waiting for?
Land is truly our national wealth,
What are you waiting for?
What sort of man are you,
what sort of woman are you,
What are you waiting for?
Or are you one with the whites,
What are you waiting for?…
Let us unite is struggle,
What are you waiting for?
Unity is strength, …
We are struggling for our liberation,
What are you waiting for?
Don’t you want to be free,
What are you waiting for?”
– The Mau Mau Call of liberation (Kenya 1950s)
“We cannot look at the Black Liberation Movement as something in the past… Afrikan people are still not free…If we do not take ourselves seriously- if we do not take our movement seriously, then we will have to hang our head in shame in front of our ancestors.” -Assata Shakur
We have resolved to struggle for our liberation by any means necessary! Black people in South Africa (SA) are not liberated. Black people in Africa are not liberated. Black people in the world are not liberated. In 1994 in South Africa, whites gave black people the vote and kept the land and the wealth. This is what white people have been doing across the world and that is how they have kept us in bondage. Now we have decided that we want more than just the vote – first and foremost, we demand our land back and we are prepared to fight for it by any means necessary!
The bones of our ancestors are crying out for land. They are not resting in peace. The bones of Sikhukhune, Shaka, Nyabela, Hintsa, Moshweshwe, Cetshwayo, Nghunghunyane are calling for land now! The spirit of Bambatha, Sobukwe, Biko, Mantatise, Nzinga, Nehanda cry over the centuries across the African continent for land to be returned! It is the land that gives us life and when we die it’s the land that takes care of our bodies. Without land we are nothing! With land we are everything! That is why we must be black first through getting the land first!
Landlessness has put black people at the bottom of everything in our society. All solutions which do not start with land are false solutions. The problems black people have today are all centered on the land question. Up to now, all the political parties have been apologetic about who owns this land. All are reluctant to say ALL THE LAND IN WHITE HANDS IS STOLEN LAND! All the land of South Africa belongs to black people.
THE BLACK CONDITION AFTER 350 YEARS OF WHITE SUPREMACY
The effects of land dispossession impact very severely on blacks today. While it’s landlessness that has put blacks at the bottom, it must be remembered that it’s not only land that they took from us. Colonialists also destroyed African belief systems, African values, African identity and to this end, imposed psychological oppression. That is why it’s so important to “liberate the mind to take the land”. Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko correctly saw that, “the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”. After more than 350 years of oppression, black people have become conditioned to accept their condition as natural. It’s the task of the revolutionary movement to awaken blacks again so that they can be their own liberators.
BLACK PEOPLE LAST IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE
First and foremost, we are last when it comes to land ownership. The white settler minority has the land whilst we blacks are landless! Out of the more than 54 million people in SA, only 35 000 white families, including white businesses, own more than 80% of the land. Since 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) government has bought 8% of the land from whites at the cost of about R50 billion! The ANC is using our money to buy back the stolen land.
Since 1994 more than 1 million black people have been forcibly removed from farms! Farm workers are slaves in SA. The restitution-claiming communities, who are victims of apartheid land removals, remain landless after 22 years of ANC rule! In urban areas black people have no housing. The housing prices are out of reach for most blacks. In this context, most black professionals cannot afford housing because of the landlessness. If we were to rely on the current land policies, it will take more than100 years to buy back only 30% of the land.
Black people are last when it comes to employment! More than 45% of black people are unemployed compared to only 5% of white people! Whites are only 10% of the economically active population but occupy over 60% of the top management positions.
Black people are last when it comes to income! White families earn six times more than what black families earn. On average, a black family’s annual income is a meagre R60 000, whereas a white family earns an annual income of R360 000. Added to this factual situation is the reality that on average a black family is comprised of 6 people, compared to a white family of about 3 people.
We are last even when it comes to education. Shockingly, only 5% of blacks complete their university or tertiary education. Most black students are excluded from university due to financial constraints.
It is no secret that black people are also at the bottom of the economy. To this end, blacks only own about 3% of the listed Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) companies. Up to 63% of black people are poor. We know it’s black people who live in townships and informal settlements where life is almost impossible. The hunger, the despair, the violence and social dislocation created by white supremacy wreaks havoc with the lives of blacks.
Now we say, enough is enough! We have decided to fight for Black First through ensuring Land First!
WE SHALL PUT BLACK FIRST AGAIN!
BLACK AGENDA seeks to correct the injustices committed against black people for the last 500 years. Black people are the first people on earth! We blacks gave the white world life and civilization, but slavery, colonialism and apartheid have put blacks last. We are now correcting this injustice by calling for Black First!
By black we mean all those who are oppressed and dispossessed by colonialism and apartheid. The system of divide and rule has been sustained by creating misunderstandings amongst the oppressed. In this context the elites from within the black community have further fueled tribal animosities. Putting Blacks First is an effort to end all divisions and contradictions amongst the people so as to consolidate them into a united strong block against white racism and dispossession. Black First follows the liberating truth that “the last shall be first”. We have been overlooked for far too long! Putting Blacks First means ending suffering, poverty, landlessness and all the other ills of white supremacy that characterize the black condition. Black First is a call for blacks to love themselves, to care for each other and to fight for their liberation and dignity.
BLACK AGENDA will ensure that the land is returned by any means necessary! Without land there is no freedom or dignity. We want Land First because it is the basis of our freedom, our identity, our spiritual well-being, our economic development and culture. The land of Africans was stolen and this theft has rendered us landless in our own land. We want all the land with all of its endowments on its surface, together with all the fortunes underground as well as the sky – all of it belongs to us! We are a people crying for our stolen land! Now we have decided to get it back by any means necessary!
BLACK FIRST PHILOSOPHY
The philosophy of liberation of the BLACK AGENDA is Black Consciousness and Pan-Afrikanism. For blacks to be liberated they must return and elaborate the philosophies of black liberation. A proper BLACK AGENDA can only be guided by both the Black Consciousness of Steve Bantu Biko and the Pan-Afrikanism of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, which constitutes a holistic single philosophy of black liberation. A BLACK AGENDA is possible only when black people are at the center of thinking and acting towards their own liberation. The freedom struggle cannot be outsourced to others.
Robert Sobukwe carried the best traditions of African Nationalism and is correctly the father of Pan- Afrikanism in Azania. Steve Biko, leaning on and learning from Sobukwe, took Black Nationalism further and is correctly seen as the father of Black Consciousness. To recognise these two giants of the Azania Revolution is to acknowledge their collective labour that was put to produce the philosophy of black liberation which we today correctly see as the synthesis of Pan Afrikanism and Black Consciousness.
KNOW WHERE YOU COME FROM TO GO FORWARD
BLACK AGENDA is based on the “Sankofa” approach to knowledge production. This is African wisdom as expressed by the symbolism of the Sankofa bird which is popular in West Africa amongst the Akan people. To this end, the Sankofa bird indicates our commitment to learning from the past so as to create the present and a new future. We must be committed to learn from all our past – from antiquity to yesterday – so that we may create a better and improved today. We remember Marcus Garvey’s wise words that, “he [she] who doesn’t know their past are like trees without roots”. At the same time, we understand that the BLACK AGENDA takes Frantz Fanon’s insights that, “(w)e are not prisoners of our past”.
A SANKARIST LEADERSHIP
BLACK AGENDA is possible only with a Sankarist leadership approach. Too many black leaders use the destitution of the oppressed as a ticket to a free meal for themselves and their families. Black leaders use access to political power, which they gain from blacks via false promises of a heaven after voting, to loot. Black leaders live apart and different from the people and often feed their gluttonous lifestyles through exploiting the poor. For the BLACK AGENDA to succeed it must be built on a Sankarist leadership ethos, both in belief and practice, following and honouring the revolutionary legacy of Thomas Sankara. To this end the BLACK AGENDA needs a servant leadership being an accountable, democratic, responsive leadership that puts black people first! The operationalisation of the Sankarist leadership ethos is founded in the People’s Manifesto and the Sankara Oath annexed hereto. This clearly suggests that leaders must put the people first and eat last!
- BLACK AGENDA ON LAND
“For a colonised people the most essential value, because it’s the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”- Frantz Fanon
All of the South African land in white hands was stolen from black people. Therefore, all white people who hold land are in possession of stolen property. Justice will only prevail once the land which was stolen from the black majority is returned. However, thieves are not known to be generous people who voluntarily return stolen goods. This places the responsibility of redress and justice on the shoulders of the dispossessed. The battle for land by any means necessary is not only a battle for an important economic commodity (land amounts to more than just its economic value), it’s also about who we are and about those who perished in the many brutal colonial wars in defense of the land. Land return shall heal black people!
It is the sacred duty of all black people to fight for the return of the land. It’s the duty of parents to teach their children about land dispossession and the covenant with our heroines and heroes that we shall fight until the land is returned. It’s the duty of revolutionary teachers to spread the truth that without land we are nothing! Any people that lose their land lose their national sovereignty, their sense of being and their dignity. Right now blacks are a people without roots – landless and floating in the air. The majority of black people live in townships and as sophisticated squatters in the cities where they rent places of impermanent abode from whites who stole the land and wealth.
Land is pivotal for black people. The great warrior against British land theft, Prince Maqoma, expressed this truth more succinctly when he said, “(w)e are to have land again….Our land is us. We are our land. You took our land …. Without land we cannot be.” This has been the truth that the principled leaders of the African people have maintained. The land belongs to black people! It was taken illegally from us.
In 1955 in Kliptown, the ANC, which became the ruling party in 1994, sold the land rights of blacks to whites with the adoption of the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter proclaims that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it both black and white”. How could this be true? Who gave the land rights to whites? Since when did whites stop being settlers and foreigners? How can the country be equally shared amongst the oppressed and the oppressor? Where on earth has this ever been practiced? The Freedom Charter was correctly seen by Robert Sobukwe as “a colossal fraud ever perpetrated upon the oppressed, exploited and degraded people. It clearly bears the stamp of its origin. It is a product of the slave colonial mentality and colonialist orientation”.
Maqoma and Sobukwe’s position was endorsed by Steve Biko, who put it squarely that, “(a)bove all, we Black people should keep in mind that South Africa is our country. The arrogance that makes the whites to travel all the way from Europe to come and balkanise our country and shift us around must be destroyed … whereas whites were guests to us on arrival in this country, they have now pushed us to 13% of the land and are acting as bad hosts in the rest of the country. This must be put right”.
After more than 350 years of land dispossession and more than 22 years of cowardice by the ruling party, the message of land return has to be clear and uncompromising again. We want our land back simply because it’s ours! What we shall do with it is none of the business of the land thieves and their apologists. Right now, as pointed out above, only 35 000 white families including businesses own up to 80% of the land in SA. We note new pseudo-revolutionary movements have adopted the Freedom Charter and gone ahead and given land rights to whites so long as such land is “in use”. These agents of white supremacy have yet again surrendered the land of African people to the settlers.
The BLACK AGENDA calls upon the landless to take all necessary steps to reclaim their land without paying for it. The return of the land must be guided by the principle of “by any means necessary”. What must be resisted is “any means” to buy back the land. All the land must be returned without paying a cent. The organising principle of the land revolution is that land in white hands is stolen property and it should therefore be returned black people. After all, ityala aliboli (a crime/case doesn’t rot away)! From this point of view, the foundations of the South African constitution are anti-black because it gives legitimacy to colonial land theft. The SA Constitution is a document of surrender, not liberation.
- BLACK AGENDA ON MENTAL LIBERATION
“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”- Steve Biko.
BLACK AGENDA strives for the liberation of the mind as the primary condition towards the liberation of the land. We have to free the mind to free the land! Mentally enslaved people cannot be architects of their liberation. White supremacy has, through a number of strategies and practices, made black people internalise white thinking. Consequently, black people who have not come to black consciousness serve as the unpaid agents of the white system. After all, once you condition a people to accept alien rules and values they become the most effective agents of their own oppression. The colonialists spent a lot of time and resources destroying African identities, beliefs and culture. They also turned on the history of the oppressed people and distorted and destroyed it. Colonialists then used violence and deceit to create the native people under their own image. From this point of view white people came to symbolize everything that is positive while black began to stand for everything which is negative.
- BLACK AGENDA ON HOUSING AND TOWNSHIPS
Townships and squatter camps must end! The South African housing situation reflects colonial and racist patterns. The 1994 ANC takeover of the apartheid state didn’t lead to ending this reality. The truth that South Africa is anti-black is visually expressed in the housing question. The black majority live in townships and squatter camps while the white section of the population is accommodated in white suburbs.
It was Frantz Fanon who better expressed the colonial housing question as the expression of the truth about its racist nature. He explained the radical separation policy of racism in these terms:
“The settlers’ town is a strongly built town, all made of stone and steel. It is a brightly lit town; the streets are covered with asphalt, and the garbage cans swallow all the leavings, unseen, and unknown and hardly thought about. The settler’s feet are never visible, except perhaps in the sea; but there you’re never close enough to see them. His feet are protected by strong shoes although the streets of his town are clean and even, with no holes or stones. The settler’s town is a well-fed town, an easy-going town; its belly is always full of good things. The settlers’ town is a town of white people, of foreigners.”
This is what Fanon says about the other part – the Native towns or the places where black people live:
“The town belonging to the colonized people, or at least the native town, the Negro village, the medina, the reservation, is a place of ill fame, peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matters little where or how; they die there, it matters not where, nor how. It is a world without spaciousness; men live there on top of each other, and their huts are built one on top of the other. The native town is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light. The native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town wallowing in the mire. It is a town of niggers and dirty Arabs”.
This characterization of the living and housing spaces under colonialism is given force in South Africa in the division between town (white settlement) and township (black township). The apartheid state created townships as dumping zones for cheap labour to serve the white towns. That is why life in these townships and squatter camps is so brutal to the extent that Pastor Xola Skosana has correctly called the townships “hell on earth”.
What Is To Be Done?
Multiple interventions are necessary to end the racist housing question in our country, namely:
- Firstly, the revolutionary people’s movement and government must end the townships as we know them. This is the only way to end the apartheid spatial designs. The townships must be depopulated and redesigned to build houses which are consistent with a dignified life. Houses that cannot be rehabilitated for human occupation must be demolished and from their ashes dignified housing must emerge. There must be better houses built with all the acceptable modern infrastructure and amenities from schools, parks, hospitals, libraries and community centers. These new settlements must reflect a new society that puts black people first and respects black people as human beings.
- All squatter camps must be uplifted into proper dwellings within five years! No black person must be subjected to the indignity of a tin house in the middle of nowhere with no full amenities consistent with a dignified life of a citizen.
What about the problem of over housing by the white section of the population? To this end two interventions are necessary:
– Firstly, where a white family is over-housed, for example 4 people live in an 8 bedroom house, in that case the extra rooms shall be taxed to build housing for homeless black families. Alternatively the actual house shall be subdivided so as to ensure equitable housing for all. It is against our collective revolutionary morality that one family should be settled with over-housing whilst another has no home at all.
The policy that guides the resolution of the housing question is driven by the principle of anti-racism. Nothing must reflect the racist past and everything must put blacks first!
The people’s state shall ensure that the current whites only suburbs are built up and occupied by black families. No white enclaves shall be allowed. The biggest intervention shall be the building of new housing which shall be based on the new revolutionary ethos that puts black first and ensures dignity for all. This new housing design shall be self-sufficient and based on the community centre as the heart of the settlement. Every settlement must have a community center catering for 300 households, which shall have all the essential needs of the community. The community centre shall be the heart of community life comprising of, inter alia, librarie(s), clinic(s), entertainment centre, gym, theatre, cinema, computer center, people’s communal canteens, laundry, child care center and after care.
The idea of the community center based settlement is to cater for all the needs of the community in a collective fashion and to bridge the gap between the well off and the poor. All the children of the community shall be taken care of collectively by the community, up to assisting and guiding the children with their homework. After all, we are Africans and subscribe to the notion that “it takes a village to raise a child”. The housing design must conform to this philosophy.
The new settlement must also address both the women’s liberation question and the ecology challenges. The settlement must ensure women’s time is freed from the drudgery of household work, so that women can realise themselves as full citizens. The burden of domestic chores and child rearing must be shared collectively by the community.
In the new settlements, ecologically sound mechanisms of providing energy shall be developed and used.
How shall these challenges be met?
The first thing to be done is to end the current tender system that drives the building of the anti-black RDP houses. In South Africa right now, we have a problem of unemployment, lack of skills, lack of housing and a lack of proper community amenities. The problem of unemployment and lack of skills shall be addressed amongst other interventions through building houses for our people.
Firstly, a layer of housing development officers shall be trained through the universities, and other institutions of higher learning. We have to get Azanians inspired enough to get involved in a massive reconstruction campaign which shall get “Azania working!”. These reconstruction and development officers shall serve as guides to facilitate the massive work of rebuilding houses and new homes for the people. They shall be trained in the philosophy of black consciousness and also in technical skills of serving the community through collective work. The people shall, with the help of their government, build their own houses. From there, a national movement of resolving the developmental needs of all shall be kick started.
What our country needs is to unlock the creative energies of our communities and allow the collective genius of the people to manifest within a framework of a government that does not hamper but rather encourages people’s solutions. Within a decade the colonial and apartheid housing horror shall be something of the past as new Azania rises and blacks live in dignity in their own country. It can be done!
- BLACK AGENDA ON RACISM
BLACK AGENDA is committed to ending racism by ending white supremacy. Racism affects all black people irrespective of age, generation, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, language, educational levels, geographic location, class position and religious beliefs. Blacks were given false solutions in 1994, denying the truth that white supremacy finds its location materially in land theft. Also, it is from land theft that white supremacy develops all of its other branches so as to institutionalise itself as a way of life. BLACK AGENDA recognizes that white supremacy is the main enemy that must be defeated by blacks to completely obliterate racism.
The structural logic of white supremacy has ensured continued land dispossession. To this end, since 1994 land dispossession has been sustained by deception and this situation will continue in perpetuity until the main contradiction as indicated by Biko is resolved. Biko instructively said that “the main contradiction in South Africa is ‘white racism'”. Accordingly, the only solution to racism is “black solidarity” which must in turn completely eradicate white racism.
BLACK AGENDA recognizes the need to fight against and defeat the promulgation of anti-black legislation currently being pushed by political parties in parliament, to “criminalise racism”. It then becomes important, via concrete action, to give context to the proposed law. Unless this is done, blacks and all aspects of black struggle against white supremacy will be criminalized. Consequently, our people will become criminally liable by law for simply responding to racism. Should the anti-black legislation be passed, the struggle against racism must nonetheless continue until racism is completely destroyed. In this context BLACK AGENDA stands for adherence to the following principles so as to keep the struggle against racism on the revolutionary path:
- Land return as the pre-condition towards ending racism.
- Blacks can’t be racist.
- Anti-racism struggle to be led by backs only.
- Land return as the pre-condition towards ending racism.
As pointed out elsewhere in the BLACK AGENDA, at the core of racism is the land question – land which was stolen from Black people by the white minority and which continues, 22 years since 1994, to be in the hands of this minority. South Africa continues to be a racist society; premised on and perpetuated by the historical criminal injustice of land theft. Racism arose from colonial conquest in terms of which all African land and property was violently confiscated.
This situation led to black subjugation, pain and suffering and all the other horrors of colonialism. Blacks were dispossessed of their land and were forced into townships and informal settlements like Alexandra, Soweto, KwaMashu and Khayelitsha. White people who constitute the minority of the population nonetheless hold the majority ownership in the land. Land theft has reduced blacks to ‘kitchen girls’ and ‘garden boys’. Land theft realized the racist, imperialist and criminal vision of Cecil John Rhodes and his predecessors. Rhodes later developed and perfected apartheid as an ideology that gave legitimacy to the protection of land theft as currently indicated in the SA Constitution.
The legitimisation of land theft post the 1994 neo-colonial, neo-liberal settlement continues to subject blacks to exploitative working conditions in mines like Marikana. Twenty-two years under the ANC led “democratic” government, blacks continue to be treated like second class citizens in the continent of their origin.
BLACK AGENDA recognizes that without first restoring land to its rightful owners nothing will change meaningfully in the lives of black people. Land theft has resulted in what is referred to as structural racism or constitutional racism with Alex, Soweto, KwaMashu and Khayelitsha as the symbolic representation of structural racism. Denying the inextricable connection between land theft and racism only serves to perpetuate the situation that sees our people living in horrendous oppressive conditions that characterizes life in shacks and other sub-human dwellings. Racism is land theft and the disproportionate claim of African land by the white minority.
- Blacks can’t be racist.
Racism refers to the subjugation of blacks through land dispossession, exploitation of labor and the destruction of their way of life, as willed and dictated to by white supremacy. White supremacy is the global power that has divided the world so as to serve whiteness at the expense of the excluded and indigenous black people of the world. Racism is the power that determines which bodies are reserved to serve white supremacy and who will benefit from it. Racism serves to protect white privilege while it sustains the economic exclusion of blacks from accessing property that is habitable; education that is free, socialist and black centered; healthcare and every other service that puts people first.
Black people are not responsible for imposing racial prejudice and racism and to this end are not beneficiaries of race based privilege. The resistance of blacks to dispossession, oppression, exploitation and systematic dehumanisation as a response to the legitimation of white supremacy, is not racist. The black struggle to obliterated white supremacy is a struggle for the truth, real justice and freedom to self-determination. Consequently, blacks can’t be racist for seeking restoration of their land and property as well as human dignity. Blacks can’t be criminalised for retaliating against the ills of white supremacy and when faced with racist oppression and deception. It is right for blacks to resist being patronized into complicity by white privilege which thrives on dispossession and exploitation – lest giving whites space to continue to prescribe to blacks how to respond to the individual or combined ills of racism that colonialist, apartheid and now neo-liberal regimes have legitimized. To this end these regimes have in addition to legitimizing injustices, maintained the protection of white privilege and its ill-gotten gains. Blacks are not the architects nor are they the beneficiaries of the racism. Blacks can’t therefore be racist for standing up and resisting racism.
In this regard BLACK AGENDA recognizes the following mobilizing slogan: Blacks Can’t Be Racists!
Anti-racism Struggle to Be Led by Blacks Only
SA is a racist, capitalist country. It therefore makes sense for blacks to organize themselves around their blackness – on their own terms and free of white supervision. It makes no sense and is actually self-defeating for blacks who are victims of racism to put their trust in the perpetrators of racism to struggle to end racism. The presence of whites in black spaces of struggle leads to the dilution of the militancy of the black liberation project as well as black silence and subsequent erasure. Steve Biko’s call to reject fragmentation of black resistance so as to maintain black solidarity is instructive. BLACK AGENDA seeks the oppression of no one, but prohibits inclusion in the black struggle of the forces who continue to perpetuate black suffering.
What Is To Be Done?
- Hold an anti-racism summit
- Facilitate political-education programs on what racism is & what it will take to obliterate it
- Expose the dangers of criminalizing racism within a neocolonial, neoliberal set up.
- Come to the defense of blacks against any acts of racism.
- Support actions and organizations that are in line with the principles the Black Agenda and by extension BLF.
- BLACK AGENDA ON THE OPPRESSION OF WOMEN AND THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY
“The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or out of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph.” Thomas Sankara
“Our situation as Black people necessitates that we have solidarity around the fact of race … We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism.” Combahee River Collective statement
BLACK AGENDA is against the oppression of black women, and the black Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community. We are against patriarchy, sexism, and homophobia. We oppose any cultural or religious practices that promote the oppression of black people, and black women in particular. We understand that at the centre of white supremacy, is the desire to devalue all black lives. White supremacy devalues blacks by sowing divisions amongst us, making black men feel as if they have (or should have) some form of power over black women and gender non-conforming people. This pseudo-power creates tensions within the black community (resulting in crimes like corrective rape and the high number of black male homicides), and stalls the process of black liberation.
In order to fragment black resistance, blacks are afforded pseudo-privileges above other blacks depending on their proximity to whiteness. Blacks who appear closer to whiteness are granted some sense of privilege, over blacks who appear further away. BLACK AGENDA rejects this hierarchisation based on skin tone (colourism), able-ism, tribalism, gender, sexual orientation, and income, and rejects the use of this hierarchy to determine the shape and form of black resistance and politics. As black people we must build the resistance with a sensitivity for our differences, which should be reaffirmed and represented throughout all black liberation movements. We must be united in the realization of a black socialist world, against a white supremacist system which oppresses all blacks, albeit unequally. Our unity is fundamentally unprincipled if there is a failure to recognize the involvement, substantive contribution, and leadership of blacks of varying configurations, especially those historically underrepresented in black liberation movements.
Historically, black men have been the leaders of black liberation movements – with women being reduced to the domestic space as helpers and nurtures. Those women that were part of movements have been ‘erased’ from the history books. As American Black Radical Feminist Joy James says, in the history books “[men] appear independent of women in revolutionary struggles; women generally appear as revolutionaries only in association with men, often as ‘helpmates.'” This has been a major shortcoming of many resistance movements in South African history, and is a shortcoming we shall not reproduce.
So, for a contemporary black liberation movement to prosper, the ideas, thoughts, and political input of black women need to be valued. Black women and LGBTQIA+ black people need to be at the forefront of all political and ideological actions of black radical politics.
Our objective is to take power and usher in a black first socialist system capable of responding to the total needs of blacks including the needs of women and gender non-conforming people’s. To this end we strive to bring about the end to the current racist capitalist relations that enables patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia to thrive.
What Is To Be Done?
- Inspire a deepening of the analysis of the problem of patriarchy, homophobia and sexism in all its manifestations.
- Facilitate political-education programs regarding the following:
- the oppression of women and gender non-conforming peoples, and what it will take to obliterate this oppression, and;
- the Black Agenda’s position on the subject matter, that is, it “is against the oppression of black women and all Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) black people’s – “(f)urthermore, it is against “patriarchy, sexism, and homophobia.” Moreover, the Black Agenda opposes “any cultural or religious practices that promote the oppression of anyone and black women in particular.” Clarity must be given as to what this commitment means.
- Support actions and organizations that are in line with the principles of the Black Agenda and by extension BLF.
- Devise and recommend policy that will serve to organize and mobilize members and the broader public into taking an uncompromising stance against the oppression of black women and other gendered persons. This policy must also extend to sexual orientation and gender identities freedoms
- Devise and recommend ideological guidelines for the establishment, implementation and management of all organs of society to ensure that gender equality and sexual orientation freedoms are promoted, safeguarded and guaranteed.
- Devise ideological guidelines for the realization of monitoring and safeguarding mechanisms so as to address the offensive conduct of any individual and or entity.
- Draft and recommend legislation / policy that would effectively serve to destroy the root cause of patriarchy, sexism and sexual orientation oppressions, being white supremacy.
- BLACK AGENDA ON BLACK SOCIALISM
One of the key objectives of the BLACK AGENDA is to strive towards a fully responsive decolonised, black first, socialist society that builds and maintains a revolutionary culture with an internationalist outlook, whilst centering black experiences and desires.
The basic program of the BLACK AGENDA is the destruction of white supremacy and its guardians (‘black colonialism’) via any means necessary and the installation of a socialist system that responds to the total needs of blacks. To this end the BLACK AGENDA links all other people’s struggles to the land struggle. The return of the land which will translate into the seizure of power by the black majority is the first step towards ending racism. A new political dispensation must, out of necessity, be directed at returning power to the people through their direct participation in decision making and the economy. Not as workers but as real owners and agents of change.
This is an idea that can be expressed as Black Socialism, taken from the ideas of Black Consciousness which centralise the interests of blacks and undermines the oppressive and exploitative logic of capitalism at the same time. There are, incidentally, examples in the contemporary era of how natural resources can be used to benefit the poor of a country, not as workers but as shareholders in the wealth generated. Where the government doesn’t become the “boss” on behalf of the masses. Right now we know that the ANC government is a bad boss. Workers in the public sector are badly paid and badly treated. We can expect worse for those who work in state owned mines. We also already know that State Owned Enterprises do not serve the people, and any nationalisation under the ANC would lead to a disaster for the poor. So it must be said; YES, to nationalisaiton and socialisation of the means of production, but not under the ANC’s anti-black rule.
Some of the most successful examples of economic democracy are found in countries where the wealth of the nation is in public, but accountable hands. Saliem Fakier shows how in Alaska, which may be a little unlike SA due to its size, the principle of using national wealth for the benefit of the people has been implemented.
In Alaska there is a public fund that democratically controls the nation’s wealth; after all the key social goods are allocated, residents are also paid a dividend in cash. South Africa is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of mineral resources. We could solve our poverty challenges overnight under a people’s democracy that maximizes people’s participation and the democratisation of the economy.
These insights point to Black Socialism. The citizens of the country need to benefit directly from the economic wealth. Participation should not be restricted to elections but there must be democracy in all areas of life. With technological advancements, mass popular participation should be possible at a reduced cost. All major decisions of the nation must be subject to such popular plebiscite.
Through Black Socialism BLACK AGENDA envisions the eradication of racism ultimately. The dictatorship of blacks, as the new revolutionary state form, must do all it can to effectively eradicate racism which in turn cannot be abolished at one go. In this regard in order to eradicate racism it is necessary:
- Firstly, to overthrow the entire neo-liberal system (including its guardians, the ANC). This part of our task is still to be accomplished, but it is only a part, and moreover, not the most difficult part.
- Secondly, to understand that neo-liberalism is a function of white supremacy and by extension sees no class or gender distinctions in the black people. It engages all blacks on the level of slavery. This task of overthrowing the neo-liberal system is not an easy one and will, out of, necessity take a long time. It can only be solved by the reconstruction of the whole social, political, cultural and economic being of society. To this end it must occur by a transition from individual, disunited, petty commodity production and organization of society to a large-scale, collective ownership production and reorganization of society. This transition must, out of necessity, be extremely protracted. In this regard harsh administrative and legislative measures must be guarded against. Acceleration of the process should only be allowed via granting such assistance to the people, such as in the case of farming, that will enable them to reform or advance radically the whole farming method(s).
Under neo-liberalism and neo-colonialism (and by extension white supremacy) blacks are the oppressed majority – a majority that is deprived of the means of production of which land is central. A majority who stands directly opposed to this racist capitalist system, and therefore the only ones capable of bringing about the necessary encounter between white racism and black oppression. Upon overthrowing the white supremacist state and seizing political power, the dictatorship of blacks will become the new state form. In this regard it will wield state power; it will administer control over the means of production which, in the first place, must be socialised; it will engage and guide the vacillating and backward elements of society towards a revolutionary end, and; it will employ the necessary pressure on the exploiters so that they will not emerge again as an aggressive force so as to liquidate the gains of the revolution and prepare the road for racist capitalist restoration. These are specific crucial tasks of the race struggle – tasks which the black majority could previously not have set for themselves.
The entire white supremacist system, cannot disappear all at once under the dictatorship of blacks. While they may be smashed nationally, the struggle in this regard will still have to be linked up to the struggle to destroy international capital. To this end, their international base (of which the neo-liberal system is a branch) in the form of international capital will also have to be liquidated. For some unspecified period of time they will still retain certain means of production in part, they will still have money, they will still have layers and networks of political connections. Once defeated, their resolve for resistance against the victorious vanguard of the black majority is likely to grow aggressively.
The neo-liberal state administration gives the oppressors and exploiters an advantage and a very great superiority during the pre-revolutionary stage so that their excessive benefits and huge stakes are disproportionate to their small numerical proportion of the entire population. This is likely to continue for some time during the dictatorship of blacks via a Black First State. To think otherwise is to belabor under reformist delusions.
In relation to the vacillating and backward elements and sections of society – the dictatorship of blacks must strive to establish its influence over it so as to guide and develop it. Such is the task of the dictatorship of blacks – giving the necessary leadership to the vacillating and the backward!
The liberal idea that the transition to socialism is realisable “by means of democracy” in general has clear anti-black outcomes as it suggests the capitalist lie that “democracy” is absolute and above white racism. It must be pointed out that democracy is historically destined to transition into an entirely new phase under the dictatorship of blacks and to this end the race struggle rises to a higher level of redress. In this context the dictatorship of blacks will employ itself politically as follows: it will apply a democracy over the oppressed black majority and a dictatorship over the exploitative white minority until a state of equilibrium is attained.
To talk of transitioning to socialism via democracy in general thrusts the struggle in a trajectory that shapes notions of freedom, equality etcetera in racist capitalist relations. Consequently, to attempt to address the concrete problems of the dictatorship of blacks by such democratic generalities which is devoid of the dictatorship function is tantamount to accepting the politics of racial capitalism.
The concept of equality or freedom becomes a fiction if it does not translate into the eradication of racism. There is a clear distinction between the concepts of bourgeois-democracy and equality as a socialist concept. To this end it follows that by overthrowing the neo-liberal system the dictatorship of blacks takes the most significant step towards the destruction of racism. To bring the process to finality the dictatorship of blacks must continue the struggle by employing state power to exercise democracy and dictatorship as the context may require, until racism is no more and true black socialism prevails!
On the most basic level, BLACK AGENDA sees black socialism as a society dedicated to putting the interests of the black majority first. The basic means by which white society produces its wealth under racial capitalism – black bodies, land, factories, mines and farms – are transferred via a revolutionary state from private to black first public ownership, and exploitation is in the main thus eliminated. Black socialism unleashes the fury and innovation of the black majority, who are capable of great development when not gripped by the stranglehold of an oppressive, exploitative anti-black system.
On The Question of Taking Power so as to Build Society Along Black Socialist Lines:
The question now becomes how do we get to this new societal transformation where politics serve the people and not private interests? These same questions have confronted all revolutionaries over the ages. Some people even now hold the view that it is better to disregard politics totally, to simply engage in community development programs, to offer extra classes to assist matriculants, to start food gardens, collect money for school shoes or to use stokvels to try answer some of the problems of society. The idea of not confronting the state and trying to find solutions outside of this structure is noble but could never solve the societal developmental challenges at the scale needed in SA. There is no known example in history where charity, NGOs and community development projects outside state initiatives have ever solved societal problems. But even if they did, our country is endowed with massive natural resources which, if used in the interest of the people, could wipe poverty out overnight. But the current model of politics and economics favoured by the ANC alliance is not designed to serve the people or end capitalist exploitation.
Societal development, maximizing of liberties of individuals and building happy secured communities are only possible when the state is forced to stop acting in the interest of the elite. In other words, when the state is made non-statal so that it serves the people. The question we should expect is this, where has this ever happened? Ironically, the apartheid state served white people splendidly! State power was directed totally to the service of white interests. The current South African landscape of wealth distribution is a direct outcome of the apartheid state process. We are not suggesting impoverishing or oppressing anyone, but to merely point out the potential within the state. Today there are very promising examples of people’s democracies such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Nepal. These countries are showing us that state power can be used to advance the interests of the people. Perhaps two great examples for us would be Haiti under Jean Aristide and Burkina Faso under Thomas Sankara. The contemporary examples of Iceland (kicking out politicians from the constitution making process and going against monetary policy orthodoxies) and Estonia (using cell phone technology for voting) also come to mind as instances of people taking power and using it in their interests. There is a need to demystify the state.
The great Russian thinker and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was confronted with the same questions and his advice to his comrades was that the “real task” of a revolutionary movement or party was NOT to, “set up projects for the transformations of society [community development], not to preach sermons to the capitalists and their admirers about improving the position of the workers, not the instigation of conspiracies, but the organization of class struggle and the carrying on of this struggle, the final aim of which is the seizure of political power”.
We have already said power has to be seized first from the current political and economic elite. How? By any means necessary. By “ballot or by bullet”, as Malcolm X said. The people’s democracies mentioned above were won on the streets first and the electoral process was only a confirmation of the power already in the people’s hands. In power, the organs of the people continued the battle and didn’t stop to become politicians and steal from the people.
The veteran radical thinker C. R. L James, lamented how many revolutionary moments where squandered by blacks historically because of a lack of understanding the question of power. He lamented for instance how Walter Rodney was easily killed at a crucial moment in the Caribbean revolution. We could say the same about Malcolm X and Steve Biko. Speaking to an audience at the first commemoration of the assassination of Walter Rodney, C.L.R. James told his audience that;
“Now I come to something more difficult. What did Walter not know? Walter had not studied the taking of power. I am going to emphasize that because you have to do that. The taking of power has to become the common discussion among the Caribbean people and intellectuals so that all will know it; so that, as young people grow up and develop and begin to look at history, they begin to see not only what has been done to us, but what we have done, what we have achieved, and what we have to do. You begin to talk and to think about the taking of power, because that is what faces you now. I am serious about it. Some of you may think I am too serious about it. Let that be. History will decide.”
When we talk about taking power today we must necessarily factor in the question of its immediate alternation so that it serves the people. It’s no longer a matter of taking power and managing affairs as before. The ANC took power but only to preserve power and thereby gave apartheid a new legitimacy under new management. Power has to be taken and subverted almost at the same time. This is the invitation of forcing the state to operate in a non-statal fashion. There is no other route to massive, historical transformation of society which is not driven at the level of a new constituted power. This is the same warning CRL James made in the 80s and, this question remains today. Take power! But we must always ask for who? And how are the people going to partake in its exercise as a new power for the people!
This is important because a moment like the Egyptian uprising could present itself to us at any time. But would we, like the beautiful children of Egypt, shake the great tree of liberty only to abandon its healthy fruits to the same who stole them from the people in the first place? The Egyptian revolution was lost the moment Mubarak left and the forces of change didn’t advance immediately to announce a new society themselves. They were not ready, not schooled in the art of revolution and power and most importantly didn’t know that “revolution comes like a thief in the night”, as Karl Marx once said. This means we must be organized, disciplined and ready to take command of the hand of history. Such good fortunes come once in 100 years.
The two million combatants at Freedom Square in Cairo should have immediately instituted a people’s democracy in Egypt and not left power to the so-called experts and the army. They should have arrested Mubarak and his cronies, released all political prisoners, declared that the wealth belongs to the people and set up people’s assemblies for people’s democracy and democratic management of the wealth of the country. They should have ended the oppression of women and denounced religious and cultural justifications of the oppression of women. Two million people at that square should have been the people’s assembly and encouraged similar assemblies throughout society to institute a popular democracy!
But we must also expect that maybe no big bang will occur. It will not be like Egypt but more normal drama-less yet profound change. Our people are already abandoning the ruling party in search of an alternative. It’s a crying shame that so many of them have resorted to voting for the racist Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ANC outside the ANC the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
- BLACK AGENDA ON WORK AND MINIMUM WAGE
The ANC led government has maintained a poverty level minimum wage which continues to discriminate against workers and adversely impact on the living conditions of the country’s black majority.
White families earn six times more than what black families earn. To this end the average annual income of a black family is a meagre R60 000, whereas a white family earns an income of R360 000 per annum. This is compounded by the fact that on an average a black family is comprised of 6 people while a white family constitutes about 3 people.
An International Labour Organisation analysis suggests the world gender wage gap to be an average of 22.4% and puts South Africa’s to be at 33.5%. This indicates that the gender pay gap is increasing and that women are earning on average 33.5% less than men.
What Is To Be Done?
- Increase the minimum wage to R12500.00 per month after deductions and without exemptions. An annual increase in the minimum wage to be linked to average earnings.
- All workers to have trade union rates of pay, employment protection, and sickness and holiday rights from the first day of employment.
- Enforcement of equal pay between the genders!
- BLACK AGENDA ON UNEMPLOYMENT
As at May 10, 2016, the total population in South Africa according to “World Population Review” was 54,674,590. The black (so called Colored, Indian and African) population constitutes 90 % of the population whereas whites constitute 10% of the said population. According to the expanded definition of unemployment which includes the job-seekers who have been discouraged from looking for work, officially more than 45% of black people are currently unemployed (in reality much higher) compared to only 5% of white people. Furthermore, whites being only 10% of the economically active population hold in excess of 60% of the top management positions.
While the ANC led government is currently claiming to be tackling unemployment, big business (e.g. the mining and textile industries), are making plans to sack thousands of their employees.
The government has decided to give grants of up to R500 million annually to big business, under the pretext of subsidizing jobs for the youth. The employers will use these government grants to under-pay the youth thereby exploiting them. Also, businesses will make even more profit at the expense of public funds. This will serve to disemploy current workers to make way for other workers who are willing to accede to the bigger, more exploitative demands of big business. Employers will be given free range to hire and fire at their own whim.
What Is To Be Done?
- No job cuts. Full employment through a massive programme of socially useful public works with a living wage of at least R12500.00 per month after deductions and without exemptions. This translates into R78.13 per hour for a 40 hour work week.
- Prohibition of all cheap labour apprenticeships and unpaid internships. A guarantee of at least the minimum wage and a job at the completion of the internship / apprenticeship.
- An end to the youth subsidy grant to business. The unemployed youth must get a monthly living subsidy grant whilst they engage in state sponsored skills development and seek employment. Moreover, all young people not perusing tertiary education to be enrolled for national service so as to acquire skills development for national reconstruction.
- BLACK AGENDA ON PENSIONS AND BENEFITS FOR THE ELDERLY
BLACK AGENDA promotes a holistic approach to the well-being of the elderly.
In line with the political and ideological perspective of BLF, BLACK AGENDA draws focus for action on three crucial areas of responsibility, namely: attending to developmental needs; advancing total well-being; ensuring an environment that is enabling and supportive, and; securing a fully responsive public service. To this end enhancing the quality of life of the elderly (for example via a living pension) and encouraging their participation in programmes that advance their overall well-being (social, physical, mental and emotional) is most instructive in managing, preventing or delaying illnesses and other challenges related to aging. On the question of a living pension it must be pointed out that pensioners currently receive a maximum of R1 500 per month for those who are under the age of 75 and R1 520 for those who are over the age of 75. This is a very meager amount and the elderly struggle on a daily basis to make ends meets and evidently in vain.
What Is To Be Done?
- The right to a living pension must be realized. Pensioners should receive an immediate 150% increase on the current R1 500 per month for under 75’s and R1 520 for the over 75’s and this should be extended to all state benefits as a step towards a decent living pension.
- Free decent housing as well as free electricity, water, telephone, travel and health care (including free yearly health checks and long-term care and treatment) based on the needs of pensioners.
- State pension must be in line with average earnings or inflation, whichever is more, so as to enable pensioners to share in the national prosperity. The creation of a National Elderly Persons’ Commission to scrutinise legislation and make recommendations to Parliament.
BLACK AGENDA identifies the following further actions to be embarked upon in furtherance of affording protection to the elderly:
- Devise and recommend a comprehensive program of action that will serve to organize and mobilize members and the broader public into taking an uncompromising stance towards the protection of elderly persons.
- Devise and recommend ideological guidelines for the establishment, implementation and management of all organs of society to ensure that elderly person’s freedoms are promoted, safeguarded and guaranteed.
- Devise and recommend legislation that will serve to protect the interests of elderly persons.
- Monitor and report on the effectiveness / ineffectiveness of the country’s strategy regarding elderly persons within government as well as in the wider community.
- Explore mechanisms and methods of ensuring that the elderly have a radical voice and broad ideological space both within and outside the institutional power structures.
- BLACK AGENDA ON THE PROTECTION OF DISABLED PERSONS
BLACK AGENDA acknowledges the challenges that persons with disabilities are confronted with on a daily basis. In this context, every effort must be made to ensure that the full mental, physical and spiritual potential of persons with disabilities are realized to enable them to be as self-reliant as possible. Disability grant is currently a maximum of R1 500 per month and this itself is an indication that even the most basic need, being the right to a living grant, is not responded to by the state. Capacitating persons with disabilities so as to promote self-reliance will in turn enable them to participate relatively fully in all aspects of life (including in the economy) and to live with the rest of society, pursue their ambitions and all the time receive the necessary protection from every form of abuse, exploitation and discrimination.
What Is To Be Done?
- The right to a living disability grant must be realized. The disabled should receive an immediate significant increase (150%) on the current monthly grant and this should be extended to all state benefits as a step towards a decent living grant.
- Free decent housing as well as free electricity, water, telephone, travel and health care based on the needs of the disabled needs to be realized.
In line with BLF’s ideological perspective and tools of analysis, BLACK AGENDA shall embark on the following actions:
- Devise and recommend a comprehensive program of action that will serve to organize and mobilize members and the broader public into taking an uncompromising stance towards the protection of disabled persons.
- Devise and recommend ideological guidelines for the establishment, implementation and management of all organs of society to ensure that disabled person’s freedoms are promoted, safeguarded and guaranteed.
- Devise and recommend legislation that will serve to protect the interests of disabled persons and to this end make provision for the following: equal and full participation in social life; share of the material and cultural wealth of society; criteria for classification of disabilities; protection of the rights and personal dignity of disabled persons; special assistance; special assurance; responsibilities of government; responsibilities of society; responsibilities of guardians, fosterers and family members; obligations of disabled persons;? and, prevention of disabilities, etcetera.
- Deepen the analysis of the current disability policies, strategy, legislation, judicial / quasi-judicial mechanisms of recourse, and international legal provisions and obligations in relation to disability issues, by using a framework of analysis that takes into account historical developments and legacy.
- Monitor and report on the effectiveness / ineffectiveness of the country’s disability strategy within government as well as in the wider community.
- Explore mechanisms and methods of ensuring that the disability sector has a radical voice and broad ideological space both within and outside the institutional power structures.
- Devise and recommend ideological guidelines and plans aimed at developing mass consciousness in terms of understanding disability sector perspectives, issues and concerns including such consciousness around emerging issues.
- Devise national policy taking into account the following:
- an all-inclusive definition of disability and its implications;
- the various target groups;
- socio-economic and political considerations relating to income, employment, vocational skills, education (primary, secondary, non-formal and higher), housing, use of public services, health and social services
- social exclusion;
- barriers to inclusion such as environmental and transportation accessibility barriers, communication barriers, cultural barriers, lack of assistive devices, and societal and family expectations;
- marginalized groups within the marginalized group such as children who have disability, people who have intellectual disability, people who have psychiatric disability, people who have severe multiple disability;
- an incorporation of sectoral policies and strategies for inclusion of people with disability in relation to employment, vocational training and skills development, the various levels of education (school, non-formal, higher), health, sports, transport, housing, social security, access to the built environment and tourism. Assistive devices and information technology to children, youth, elderly persons, persons who have severe disability, persons affected adversely by civil war or revolution and mass media, and;
- an incorporation of policies and strategies so as to ensure holistic implementation in relation to community based rehabilitation, research, legislation as well as implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy.
- BLACK AGENDA ON CORRUPTION
Apartheid Era White Capitalist Corruption:
On 29 September 2015 BLF released its preliminary report following its investigations on apartheid era corruption and other economic crimes (see link: https://black1stland1st.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/blf-preliminary-report-white-corruption1.pdf).
BLF’s investigations as suggested in its preliminary report indicates the following list of perpetrators on apartheid era corruption:
- SANLAM and REMBRANDT
- South African Reserve Bank
- Minister of Finance, Barend Du Plessis, (who was in office as Minister of Finance from 1984-1992).
- Attie Du Plessis.
- Christian Lodewyk Stals (SARB Governor from 8 August 1989 to 7 August 1999).
- Marinus Daling (Deputy Chair of Sanlam Limited from 1993 and later from 1997 Chair of Sanlam Limited).
- Danie Cronje (Deputy Chief Executive and Group Chief Executive of ABSA from 1987 to 1997).
- Anton Rupert (founder and owner of Rembrandt).
- Johan Rupert (Vice Chair of Rembrandt Group from 1989 to 2000).
- James Havelock Cross (Deputy Governor of SARB from 1997 to 1999 15. TRUST BANK and Senior Deputy Governor since 1999).
- Finance Minister Barend du Plessis and Volkskas accountant Herc Hefer
- Thabo Mbeki and certain Cabinet Ministers namely Dullah Omar (Minister of Justice from 10 May 1994 to 14 June 1999), Trevor Manuel (Minister of Finance from 4 April 1996 to 10 May 2009), Alexander Erwin (Minister of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 2004), Tito Mboweni (Minister of Labour from 1994 to 1998)
More specifically, the report suggested the following salient points regarding apartheid era white capitalist corruption:
In 2003, 42 672 South African white owned private sector companies applied for amnesty for illegal activities. These companies, under the special dispensation protected by law, disclosed their illegal activities to the tune of R68,6 billion in foreign assets. The ANC government only asked them to pay back R2,9 billion. Similarly, the construction cartel which collectively and illegally amassed R50 billion from the world cup deals, was only fined a paltry R2.7 billion.
A report submitted to former President Thabo Mbeki, by a private investigator in the United Kingdom, revealed that he could trace R26 billion stolen by apartheid leaders and placed offshore. This grand theft has received scant attention from the office of the Public Protector.
R563 Billion was stolen by white capital of which R141. 6 Billion is recoverable immediately. These billions were stolen by apartheid leaders acting in collaboration with certain sectors of white business. Briefly the total amount of R563 billion is made of the following: R68,6 billion constituting illegal offshore deposits by white businesses; R50 Billion stolen by the construction cartel; R26 Billion stolen from SARB; R422 Billion stolen in 2007 via capital flight
In the process of its investigations BLF has gained insight inter alia into the practices relating to the procurement processes and public service accountability during the apartheid era. Black Agenda recognizes that the activities and dealings of the perpetrators of apartheid era crimes relates inter alia to corruption; abuses of the SA currency; money laundering; illegal dealings in minerals, precious metals and natural resources; shady foreign exchange transactions; illegal “life boa loans”, and; illegal shifting of assets including monies into offshore tax haven or shelters.
A collusionary web of silence appears to have been cast over apartheid era economic crimes. Black Agenda recognizes that corruption, which was structurally inherent in our colonial past, still shapes the DNA of our contemporary political, economic, legal and cultural reality. Corruption has become part of the daily ritual of white and black elites in South Africa. The current tide of corruption cannot be rooted out unless the historical patterns of interrelatedness of private and public sector corruption is exposed, and apartheid beneficiaries, in particular, white capital, are held accountable.
Given the silence against historical crimes of corruption against blacks, the current outcry on corruption is indeed farcical.
The Involvement Of Johann Rupert And Eight Others In The Firing Of Des Van Rooyen And Hiring Of Pravin Gordhan As Minister Of Finance:
The current crisis regarding the state relates to the involvement of Johan Rupert and 8 other white capitalists in the firing of Des Van Rooyen and the hiring of Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Finance in 2015. To this end BLF has laid criminal charges against the following persons for contravening Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004):
SA Businessman and Chairman of Swiss luxury group Richemont, Johann Rupert;
Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos;
Goldman Sachs’ South Africa head, Colin Coleman;
Investec Bank’s global CEO, Stephen Koseff;
Imperial Holdings’ CEO, Mark Lamberti;
Business Leadership South Africa chairperson, Bobby Godsell;
Toyota Europe CEO, Johan van Zyl
First Rand, CEO Johan Burger
In this regard BLF alleges the following two incidents of corruption:
- Johann Rupert had summoned the two key leaders of the ANC, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and impressed upon them the need to fire Des Van Rooyen as Minister of Finance. Trevor Manuel and Cyril Ramaphosa both have known business and personal connections with Johann Rupert. In this regard Manuel’s personal friendship with Rupert is further evidenced by the fact that his wedding was hosted at one of the Rupert’s farms. The situation is further characterized by an unethical business association between the Ruperts and the wife of Trevor Manuel, Maria Ramos. It must be stated that while Johann Rupert and the said ANC leaders have denied discussing the matter of Van Rooyen’s removal they nonetheless don’t deny actually meeting Johann Rupert.
- On 13 December 2015 the other eight bankers mentioned above summoned the top leaders of the ANC and whitemailed them to force the President to fire Van Rooyen and hire Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance. This is a clear case of corruption involving interference with the constitutional functions of the President and an instance of the state being captured by white capital.
What Is To Be Done?
BLACK AGENDA recognizes the following actions as indicated in the BLF’s preliminary report on apartheid era corruption and other economic crimes:
- Public Protector to provide updates on investigations into the theft of billions of rands by apartheid leaders and beneficiaries.
- President Zuma to release the CIEX report
- Treasury to disclose how much was declared by amnesty applicants & what was actually paid to the State
- Treasury to reveal what action was taken in relation to companies which did not comply with the amnesty provisions
- Demand an end to impunity of multinational companies for corporate crimes
- Demand an end to capital flight, and; the payment of reparations for all capital flight that occurred during the apartheid era and beyond
- All the monies recovered from all these thefts to be set aside for youth empowerment and direct benefit (18-35 years)
- The abolition of the ruinous colonial loan contracts including IMF and World Bank contracts, and the damages arising from this to be factored into claims for reparation.
BLF will, in the course of its campaign against apartheid era corruption and other economic crimes, elaborate on the above actions in line with the following objectives of the report: inform the nation of the extent of corruption and the role of white capital in it; identify where the money is and who stole it (focusing on apartheid leaders – political and business); recover the stolen wealth of the nation; undertake both civil and criminal action against the guilty; insist that the SA government take action against white capital and stop protecting it; show the link of corruption that binds state and white capital; institute a principled struggle against corruption, and; encourage basic economic literacy amongst the people so as to demystify corruption and identify the main culprit.
In line with BLF’s undertaking, BLACK AGENDA shall facilitate direct action including legal action to fight corruption at its root. To this end it will engage like-minded organizations in pursuance of principled struggle against corruption.
All those who were involved in apartheid era corruption and other economic crimes as well as the powerful capitalist plotters and state capture agents not limited to those mentioned above must face the full extent of the law. White capital has historically been allowed to break the law with impunity. This situation must be corrected. BLF has vowed to see the matter to its finality and shall consider private prosecutions should the state decline to prosecute.
- BLACK AGENDA ON EDUCATION
Education must be for liberation! The current education system is designed to create slaves and slave keepers on behalf of the colonial and white supremacist project. This very colonial anti-black education is driven by the exclusion of the majority.
What is the general purpose of education in a normal society? It was the founding father of Tanzania Julius Nyerere who provided a general outline, he argued that; “… education, whether it be formal or informal, has a purpose. That purpose is to transmit from one generation to the next the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of the society, and to prepare the young people for their future membership of the society and their active participation in its maintenance or development.” This is the general purpose of education in societies which are not oppressed.
This is a kind of education for conserving the integrity of the community, its education for the perpetuation of the society’s agreed norms and values. But what happens when the education system is not designed for the interest of the community but those of an occupying force? The logic remains the same, “preservation” of the status quo, therefore colonial education is for colonial ends.
Nyerere articulates the objectives of colonial education when he says, “(i)t was not designed to prepare young people for the service of their own country; instead it was motivated by a desire to inculcate the values of the colonial society and to train individuals for the service of the colonial state. In these countries the state interest in education therefore stemmed from the need for local clerks and junior officials; on top of that, various religious groups were interested in spreading literacy and other education as part of their evangelical work”.
The intent and effect of colonial education was to create an Europeanised African miseducated elite to manage the affairs of white people at the expense of blacks. This is how the miseducated native is described by Jean Paul Sartre in the preface to Frantz Fanon’s classical work, Wretched of the Earth, “(t)he European élite undertook to manufacture a native élite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of western culture, they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, whitewashed. These walking lies had nothing left to say to their brothers; they only echoed. From Paris, from London, from Amsterdam we would utter the words ‘Parthenon! Brotherhood!’ and somewhere in Africa or Asia lips would open … Thenon! … Therhood!’ It was the golden age.”
Dr Chinweizu takes the discussion further in elaborating what colonial education actually does to the “Native elite”. Chinweizu teaches us that colonial education makes the miseducated native elites into rats with the education of cats. We have here not education but chains. This colonial education has a function that goes on beyond the formal ending of colonialism. In fact, it can be argued that the colonialist by giving the native colonial education is preparing for another victory in the post-independence era. When colonialism managed by settlers is ended, a new phase of colonialism managed by the “native elite” begins. From this point of view, the defeat of the African in the war against colonialism is already guaranteed by virtue of the native elite’s black skin color and a soul that is white.
According to Chinweizu; “(o)n each country’s ‘independence day’, it simply moved from being ruled and exploited for imperialism by white expatriate colonialists to being ruled and exploited for imperialism by black comprador colonialists. There had simply been a changing of the colour of the staff, from white to black, in the same imperialist prison. Consequently, white supremacy remains entrenched everywhere, obscured by black buffer, front office governments.”
When Chinweizu was asked about the educated African elite and their role in society, his response was incisively as follows:
“but educated in what and for what? Were they educated in what C. L. R. James called “the political intricacies that the modern world demanded”? Certainly not. Despite their university degrees and general exposure, they lacked the appropriate political education. There is an incident reported in Nelson Mandela’s autobiography that shows that being “highly educated” and “exposed” might even be a handicap in the liberation struggle. Mandela had gone underground to start the military wing of the ANC. At one point he was hiding in Tongaat, a rural community of black plantation workers: Shortly before I was planning to leave, I thanked one elderly fellow for having looked after me. He said, ‘You are of course welcome, but, Kwedini [young man], please tell us, what does Chief Luthuli want?’ I was taken aback but quickly responded, ‘Well, it would be better to ask him yourself and I cannot speak for him, but as I understand it, he wants our land returned, he wants our kings to have their power back, and he wants us to be able to determine our own future and run our own lives as we see fit.’ ‘And how is he going to do that if he does not have an army?’ the old man said. ¬¬ [Long Walk to Freedom: 330] That incident took place in 1961. By then the ANC was some 50 years old, and it had just come to realize, and reluctantly accept, the necessity for armed struggle to attain its objectives. Now, what had taken the “highly educated” leadership of the ANC half a century to realize was quite obvious to an “uneducated” rural farm labourer!”
Chinweizu continues on what the fundamental use of education is:
“So, everything depends on the education they received, what it moulded them into. If you are educated as a lawyer, your mental framework tends to get limited to what you can do in a law court, or within the existing legal and constitutional arrangements. And if your education is such that you think from the point of view of your conquerors, if it moulds you into a black European, that is miseducation, not education. If you take a rat and train it to see the world in the way the cat sees the world, you have not educated the rat, you have miseducated it for life in a world with rat killing cats. You have actually made it an easier prey for the cats, because the natural instincts of a rat would have told it how to deal with cats, or how to avoid cats. But after you have given the rat the education of a cat, it would lose those instincts. It might even think of itself as a cat! And that is what this colonialist education has done to Africans for the last two centuries. We have been fundamentally miseducated, and we cannot even see the world from our own point of view, let alone in our own interest”.
To present the matter in these stark terms is not to deny that there is always rebellion from some rats.
What Is To Be Done?
Ngugi wa Thiongo’s take is instructive: “What should we do with the inherited colonial education system and the consciousness it necessarily inculcated in the African mind? What directions should an education system take in an Africa wishing to break with neo-colonialism? How does it want the ‘New Africans’ to view themselves and their universe and from what base, Afrocentric or Eurocentric? What then are the materials they should be exposed to, and in what order and perspective? Who should be interpreting that material to them, an African or non¬African? If African, what kind of African? One who has internalized the colonial world outlook or one attempting to break free from the inherited slave consciousness?”
What must decolonial education do? According to Ngugi, “(e)ducation is a means of knowledge about ourselves…. After we have examined ourselves, we radiate outwards and discover peoples and worlds around us. With Africa at the centre of things, not existing as an appendix or a satellite of other countries and literatures, things must be seen from the African perspective… All other things are to be considered in their relevance to our situation and their contribution towards understanding ourselves. In suggesting this we are not rejecting other streams, especially the western stream. We are only clearly mapping out the directions and perspectives the study of culture and literature will inevitably take in an African university.”
Nyerere’s take is evidently clear when he says, “(t)he education provided by Tanzania for the students of Tanzania must serve the purposes of Tanzania. It must encourage the growth of the socialist values we aspire to. It must encourage the development of a proud, independent and free citizenry which relies upon itself for its own development, and which knows the advantages and the problems of cooperation. It must ensure that the educated know themselves to be an integral part of the nation and recognize the responsibility to give greater service the greater the opportunities they have had.”
There is no possibility for a decolonised university of education in a colonial society. This explains why up to now in our country the struggle for “decolonisation of the university” has in fact been a struggle for inclusion and integration of the black elite into the existing system. What is needed is the total destruction of colonialism so as to usher in a decolonial society – the education sector would reflect this reality.
In the short to medium term there is a need to turn around the colonial education crisis through a four year extra ordinary intervention which would put the whole education system on a new footing? As a commitment to Pan-Afrikanism and recognition of the generally sound Zimbabwean education system, a four year process of co-teaching with the Zimbabwean O and A levels graduates in the public schools which have shown the most negative results must be embarked upon. This call must go to build capacity in all the schools in villages as well as the squatter camps.
There must be an examination that teachers must undergo so as to assess their suitability to teach. In this regard those who need further education should be assisted while those who are not suited to teach should each be granted a generous settlement to ease them out of the education system and to this end be retrained for their preferred and suitable profession.
A teacher is an important pillar of any society and must be taken good care of and also trained and supported. Pride and dedication has to be returned to the teaching profession.
At the end of the four years of special dispensation, a fully pro-black, decolonial integrated education system will be introduced.
The new pro-black education system shall seek to bridge the gap between intellectual and non-intellectual education. All graduates of the schooling system would be able to undertake practical and relevant tasks in society. The students during their time as learners must be part of solving real problems of society and be part of the reconstruction of society towards a different and mutually beneficial society. High school and university students would be required to undertake long periods of community development work and service. Also the students would function as a feedback mechanism to the development process going on in society.
Every learner by grade 12 should know how: the national and local budgets work; the planning system of the state and community work; how a basic house is built, and; how to plant basic foods and take care of the soil. Furthermore, every learner shall be aware of the process of how to assess people’s needs and in his regard give critical feedback to the state. All learners shall spend time in community development outside their own provinces and towns. This is to foster the spirit of national awareness and unity.
Graduates must pride themselves for having contributed to concrete development in the community – from building houses to developing gardens to building dams etcetera.
An Afrocentric pro-black socialist curriculum must be developed now and taught independently of the colonial schooling system as preparation for the whole new system of education in Azania. A parallel people’s education must commence immediately based on the philosophy of black consciousness so as to ensure that education for liberation is a reality.
- BLACK AGENDA ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND SOLIDARITY
South Africa shares with all the oppressed countries and peoples of the world, the ills that are brought to bear upon our peoples resulting from the stranglehold of colonialism, capitalist imperialism, neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism.
In this context, BLACK AGENDA rejects the assertion that the very same countries that have been responsible via white supremacy, for rendering our people landless in their countries/continents of origin and thereby destroying their bodies and spirits, can also be the champions of the total recovery of the respective oppressed countries/continents, in the interests of the oppressed majority.
What Is To Be Done?
- Formulate and promote a foreign policy towards a liberated Socialist Republic of Azania.
- Align, coordinate, and manage African Regional relations and related activities towards the construction of an African Power based on principled unity so as to influence, create and shape a New International Economic System (NIES) and to this end to:
- Align, coordinate and manage international relations and related activities;
- Monitor developments in the international environment;
- Establish and manage structures and mechanisms for achieving foreign policy objectives;
- Establish and manage structures and mechanisms towards the correction of the neo colonial situation on the African Regional level;
- Steadfastly pursue a socialist foreign policy;
- Adhere to proletarian internationalism;
- Enhance our friendship with the people of other countries by supporting and assisting:
~ the oppressed nations in their cause for liberation;
~ independent countries in their national construction, and;
~ the people of various countries in their just struggles;
- Oppose imperialism, colonialism, hegemony, white supremacy and sexism in defense of world peace, and;
- Attain and defend principled African Unity of the oppressed black majority of Africa through the organizing and mobilizing ideas of “Black First, Land First!”.
- Lead, participate in, support and promote all struggles for the achievement of the total sovereignty and “unity of action” of the African states and by extension, the African continent as an indivisible single force.
- Participate in the international struggle for the complete overthrow of imperialism, colonialism, racism and all other forms of oppression and discrimination so as to establish fully responsive black first socialist governments throughout the world.
- BLACK AGENDA ON DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY
The key problem in South Africa is that democracy does not serve the people, it serves the elected politicians. Cell phones, the internet, and other associated technologies are already greatly affecting people’s participation in decision making processes regarding issues of governance and quality of life. In the hands of the black majority and their revolutionary leaders, these tools can help address resource challenges relating to full participation of the people in the political decision making processes of the government.
Within the medium of elections and political processes Black Agenda recognizes the following areas of practice that needs to be brought in tune with full participatory democracy via the cell phone, internet and related technologies: legislative development, constitutional reform, public integrity and local government.
BLACK AGENDA advances the idea of democracy by SMS (via cell phone), where the citizens can vote on all major questions instead of relying on the 400 members of the national assembly, who are beholden to their political parties. To this end public discussions and assemblies will precede the actual voting.
A little bit of research has shown that in SA 44,5 million people used cell phones by 2011 and 59,474,500 cell phones were in use by 2014. This means almost every adult person already has a cellphone.
Secondly, in Estonia a law was passed some five years or so ago to allow citizens to use cellphones to vote! So this is not some fairy tale. If we want to stop politicians doing what they like with our natural resources and how they run the country, then we must take advantage of technology to maximise participation in democracy.
Yes, we need to frown on voting once in five years! Also, an even more interesting development is that in Iceland the citizens had kicked the politicians out of a constitution rewriting process.
In this regard they had appointed a team of 25 people to help draft the constitution. The ordinary people in turn participated directly via webpage, Facebook and SMS to pass the constitution. No secrets, no deals, everything is transparent and everyone can see what is going on.
Right now the constitution says we are all equal but we know that in fact this is not true. The politicians and rich have separated themselves from the public through increasingly creating a parallel country for themselves within South Africa.
This is the working country of private education, private health care, police and so on. The majority is left in the public sector to rot without services. The ANC promises the National Health Insurance in some 10 years or so from now – in the meantime the poor will remain trapped in the dysfunctional public sector.
Real equality must mean that all, from Zuma and Zille to the ordinary person, should enjoy equality, not only on paper.
BLACK AGENDA promotes the use of cell phones to facilitate full participatory democracy as a viable means of compelling all politicians and public servants to use public services by law!
Imagine how rapidly the quality of our schools, hospitals, public transport and public houses would improve the day our politicians and public servants are compelled by the people – sitting in their homes or where ever they may be – to use these instead of the private sector services.
We must insist on equality for all in reality to give meaning to freedom and democracy! Cell phone democracy is the most user friendly, appropriate and cost effective method of realizing full participatory democracy in the interests of blacks
- BLACK AGENDA ON HEALTH
Black people are the most unwell people because of the systematic process of poisoning for profits by the racist capitalist system. Black people are trapped between the poison of food and the poison of pharmaceutical industries. When black people lost their land they also lost food sovereignty, and the right to know what one eats and to be in control of one’s own food production. The state of health of black people is a direct result of the food we eat. The capitalist racist system feeds blacks poison. Almost 99% of the white maize which is the staple diet of black people is contaminated by Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Nowhere else on earth do people eat GMO as staple diet except in South Africa. Progressive nations such as China, Zimbabwe, Russia and most of Europe do not allow GMOs into the food system of their nations. The white settler land thieves who control food production in South Africa are poisoning the nation for profits.
The agricultural sector poisons the people and the pharmaceutical or health care sector provides temporary relief which in the long term makes black people even more unhealthy. Black people are trapped in a vicious cycle of being poisoned by the food they eat and then further poisoned by the medicines they are given. This is an evil alliance between the food and health industries which are often controlled by the same white-owned corporations which make super profits from poisoning people.
The call for universal access to healthcare without breaking the back of the source of ill health is a sure way to make the state give even more resources to the industries that create sickness in the first place.
What Is To Be Done?
BLACK AGENDA demands that the current healthcare system be classified colonial and driven by the philosophy of poisoning the people for profits. A true solution lies in the recognition that the only way to restore healthcare is for it to be driven by a philosophy that puts blacks first. A big part of the solution is decolonisation of the health and food sectors. In this direction, indigenous and alternative knowledge systems and health care practices must be prioritised. Decolonisation would put an emphasis on learning from the positive practices of indigenous lifestyles and healthcare, which are predicated in the totality of wellness including the spiritual and psychological health of the nation. The people’s state must as a matter of urgency rediscover, protect and promote indigenous knowledge systems and philosophies within the context of black consciousness.
One of the most salient practices worth emulating is how the healer is part of the community and doesn’t charge for the services they provide to the community. The people determine what kind of “thank you” is appropriate and sustainable. The health giver doesn’t use the state of un-health to subsidise an expensive life outside the community. BLACK AGENDA would end the exploitative relationship between the healthcare givers and the communities they serve.
A government driven by the BLACK AGENDA shall ensure that healthcare provision doesn’t discriminate against indigenous and alternative healthcare systems such as homeopathy, reflexology, chiropractic and somatology. All means must be taken again to turn every citizen into a pharmacist as it was before slavery and colonialism. The human brain is big enough to accommodate essential knowledge. The white racist poisonous healthcare system is based on promoting ignorance amongst the people. All this shall be reversed by the BLACK AGENDA.
A healthcare system that protects and heals is only possible under a black government. The Black Agenda encourages all to learn and fight for food sovereignty now as a minimum demand towards the total liberation.
Black First Land First (BLF) shall in pursuance of true healthcare for the people take practical steps to educate the people about food sovereignty and how the anti-black healthcare sector functions to make the people sick and dependent.
- BLACK AGENDA ON DAGGA/MARIJUANA/CANNABIS/INTSANGU/MATEKWANE/MPANJE
Colonial stupidity has to be the only thing that has kept marijuana criminalised. Black people, long before whites arrived here, when we owned our lives and lived in harmony with nature, knew the multiple beneficial uses of the holy herb. Marijuana, ntsangu, matekwane or whatever name our people have given the herb, has always been close to the lives of African people. It was colonialists who criminalised and made evil everything that is black. They took away the plant and gave us their life destroying alcohol and lung devouring cigarettes.
Now we return the holy herb to its rightful place as a plant of industrial revolution, of medicinal magic and cultural reproduction. Science is on the side of the truth. Even the white man can no longer hide the fact that intsangu is a superior plant when it comes to healing diseases the white system can’t handle. It’s a known fact that a variety of this plant when it transforms to hemp, can build houses and bridges. It can give us clothes to cover our bodies. The question is why have our so called leaders been so afraid to let the people use the plant and take control of their lives?
Today, marijuana is under threat from imperialism and the greed of capitalism. We have seen massive legalisation for commercialisation and taxation in the home of imperialism, the United States of America. More than 24 of the 51 states have now legalised some uses of the plant and there is a move to colonise the plant by global corporations. They want to take the plant away from the people like they have done with everything else. It’s time to join those lonely but principled voices which have over the decades defended the plant and faced great persecutions. We salute the defenders of the truth and thank them for bringing us here today where we add our voices in the defense of intsangu.
Matekwane must be given its place for industrial reconstruction, home construction, clothing, health and many other uses. Marijuana must be allowed to heal the nation. Intsangu must be permitted for cultural and recreational uses. No one must be arrested for using the herb. Only those who are caught trying to steal it in large quantities to take it elsewhere must face jail time. Let the people smoke! Azishe!
The recreational and cultural uses of the herb must be monitored and abuse discouraged. The healing powers of the herb must be studied in all major centers of knowledge including the mountains. The industrial power of the plant must be enhanced and assisted in the reconstruction of the Azanian nation.
The capitalist anti-black system can no longer offer us jobs. But the holy herb is already part of the solution to poverty and joblessness. Use the plant, offer the people livelihoods. No one should go to jail for using the plant.
What Is To Be Done?
- Decriminalise the plant now! Let the people continue to use the plant without feeling guilty and without state harassment.
- The plant must be declared a protected species and a national asset which cannot be patented and privatised under no circumstances. Ganja belongs to the people!
- All known medicinal powers of the plant must be made public now! No one should individually profit from the magical powers of the holy herb. Let the people benefit.
- BLF must work with other revolutionary formations to educate the people and defend the rights of people over access and uses of the herb.
Intsangu is defiant, throw the seeds everywhere in the city, villages, townships and let it grow like the revolution that must grow!
- BLACK AGENDA ON FOOD SECURITY
“He who feeds you controls you.”- Thomas Sankara
Black people in South Africa are hungry. Blacks are the overwhelming majority of the 63% of the people declared poor in SA. Furthermore, it’s black people who are part of the third of the population who are destitute and lack a regular food supply. When blacks lost their land, they were forced to turn to what whites don’t use for food. Today, what is considered “African Food” is food we were forced to eat under colonialism. Blacks eat chicken feet, heads and intestines. We must ask where are the drum sticks and breasts? Blacks eat malamogodu, but where is the steak? Before the arrival of the white man in our land, people ate what they produced and what nature provided. This harmonious relationship between people and nature has been disrupted violently for profits.
The whole agricultural sector in South Africa is racist, exploitative and ecologically harmful. It is also not economically viable as agriculture contributes only about 2% to the GDP. It’s the most inefficient sector and a perfect candidate for radical transformation to ensure food sovereignty of the people. When they took our land, they also took away the ability to feed ourselves and as Sankara teaches us, those who feed you shall control you. Landlessness has led to us depending for food from those who stole our land. Blacks work as slaves on farms to produce food they are not allowed to eat. Some of the most brutal poverty and hunger is found amongst black farm workers who produce the food that goes into the super markets and is exported to whites in Europe.
The food produced for profits is poison. White farmers are not about feeding the nation, they are about making profits. That is why the price of maize, which is a staple diet in South Africa, is determined by a ponzi scheme called a features market in Chicago, USA. Whites are playing dice with the staple diet of the nation for profits. This year South Africa is importing white maize from the USA, this maize, like the one produced in SA, is contaminated with GMOs to make it more profitable. But GMOs are not good for human consumption. Already, 99% of the maize that goes into making porridge, which is the main source of carbohydrates in South Africa, is GMO contaminated. White farmers on their quest for a quick buck chose to poison the nation and the government has legalised this mass poisoning of the nation for profits. The result is neither food security nor environmental justice. White farmers make profits but the people are hungry.
What Is To Be Done?
- All the land held by white farmers is stolen land and must be returned to the people immediately.
- A new paradigm of agriculture must be implemented which puts people before profits and is driven by environmental justice.
- Food sovereignty must be a cardinal pillar towards feeding the nation. Let the people produce what they eat so that they know what is in their food.
- Ban GMOs from staple foods with immediate effect.
- Ban tax corporations which make profits out of poisoning the people.
- Every home must have a food garden. Every school must have a community garden. Every pot plant must grow food. Greening the nation with food!
- BLACK AGENDA ON AZANIA
“South Africa” is the name our country was called by the colonisers. The very fact that the name is a geographic direction gives the strongest indication that those who named this territory were strangers to the land. South Africa represents the fraud which started in 1652 with the arrival of the colonialists led by a convicted criminal named Jan Van Riebeeck. The spirit of South Africa is one of violence and conquest against black people. South Africa in short is a colonial name that reflects the power and intent of the colonisers.
On the ashes of colonial South Africa must arise a new nation which puts black people first! A new nation which would centralise and prioritise black interests is only possible with the redistribution of land back to the black majority. We agree with George Wauchope’s argument that “Azania – Land of the Black People”. Right now Azania is occupied by a settler stock who stole land and destroyed most of the African values, practices and identity.
What Is To Be Done?
The BLACK AGENDA endorses Azania as the name to be given to a liberated South Africa. This name has been fought for by generations of anti-colonial warriors. Azania is possible only in liberated territory. That such liberation is principally predicated on the return of the land to its rightful owners.
White people shall live or leave under conditions set by the black majority, that’s how normal societies function.
The commitment is to free the mind to free the land Azania!
- BLACK AGENDA ON ART AND CULTURE
The BLACK AGENDA takes seriously the decolonisation agenda and considers the role of culture as set within lived realities and struggles of black people. It is not an appendage to some higher abstraction, but deeply rooted in its seeking for political truth and justice. Culture, in its truest form, speaks to an egalitarian vision. BA insists that culture, from its etymological to its utilitarian basis, is one of the names for land, justice, change, ethics and revolution. So the role of every cultural practitioner isn’t defined outside or at a distance from the people, but must, without self-censoring, be located and speak to and with black people.
Art and Culture have always taken the role of the instrument or weapon of the struggle for liberation. South Africa is no exception. The role of culture was and it can be argued, still is an instrument albeit this time to fashion a backward apolitical agenda. This has been the mission of the cultural policy of the ruling ANC – to regulate all expressions and contain the within consumerist, capitalistic domains. This regulation has then sowed a disconnection between our cultural practices and society, festering a tendency where culture remains mute and averse to ethics.
Traced from the word cultura, which means to cultivate or tilt the soil, culture refers to the development of our societal well-being more broadly. This speaks not just to our access to means of living but also a harmonious consistency with our environment, each other, intellection and the preservation of our humanity. So culture refers to our very being and behaviour, religions, rituals, philosophies, law, aesthetics and so on.
A society which does not reflect such values, can only rely on a corrosive and empty cultural practice in which human dignity and the world are treated with contemptible ways. Such a society uses culture to facilitate a decadent world of ignorance and narcissism, of exploitation and violence.
For the last 500 year’s black people have not just been dispossessed of their land and labour. White oppression has laid severe blows on the culture and selfhood of blacks. We have been rejected and ridiculed by the world as uncultured and unpeopled. Our enslavement and oppression were justified because our oppressors didn’t regard us as full humans i.e. with a cultural reference points attached to land, beliefs, laws and so on.
Today as the fuel of neo liberal capitalism and white supremacy, black cultural practices are in the hands of the enemy, pauperised and, commoditised to retain the status quo.
BLACK AGENDA agitates for a cultural and artistic expression that values black liberation and disregards cultural practice that promotes capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy.
- BLACK AGENDA ON SANKARIST PEOPLE’S LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANIFESTO
A proposal to the people!
This Manifesto is drafted and offered for discussion and adoption by all progressive and servant leadership of the local government for 2016. This Manifesto does not belong to any political party, or any specific organisation or movement. It is a Manifesto inspired by the commitment to serve the people displayed by Thomas Sankara and is proposed in memory of Andries Tatane who died fighting for water and for a local government that put the people first!
This Manifesto contains the values of a Sankarist Local Government that puts people first and forces councillors to be accountable to the people and serve with dedication, sacrifice and commitment. Also the Manifesto has proposals for securing the democratic choices of the people for local councillors. The people, not the political party, must choose their own representatives. The local government councillor is first and foremost the servant of the people who elected them. They must listen to the people not the political party bosses.
For the last 20 years, we have experienced promises and lies. We have been disappointed! Our townships remain places of poverty, lack of housing, no jobs, bad healthcare and terrible schooling. We watch our children destroyed via boredom. We watch hopelessly as their dreams are squashed and they surrender to drugs, alcohol and violence.
Twenty-two years after democracy the political dispensation has delivered neither freedom, services nor an accountable system of governance. It is these structural failures which have led to the brutal murder of Comrade Andries Tatane and many after him during service delivery protests.
In memory of Andries Tatane, a brave committed son of the soil, we need to fight for a new and different country and local government. No more shall those we elect enrich themselves at our expense and no more shall they be accountable to their political parties and not their
people. Enough is enough. Now those we elect must serve us.
All Councillors must be servants:
Irrespective of political affiliation. All candidates must commit and subject themselves to this Manifesto. Candidates must:
- Take their mandate to govern from the people who elect them not from
- All municipality land shall be made accessible for free to the people for housing and other development projects including for agricultural purposes.
- Land occupations by the landless shall be decriminalized. Anyone who has waited for more than a year for housing or land has a legitimate right to occupy land to erect a home for her/himself.
- The asset register of the municipality shall be made public (no more theft of municipality assets).
- The housing waiting lists shall be put on the notice board for all to see and those who have received their houses shall be marked clearly.
- The total budget for salaries must not exceed 30% of the budged and there must be parity of earnings between executives, councillors and general staff.
- Open all council meetings to the public and have Monthly People’s Assemblies where the majority of people live (townships, squatter camps), to consult on all major decisions of council.
- End the tender system. Tender only in cases of highly specialized projects and even then, such tender must be in partnership with Local Government so as to build the local state capacity to deliver these services.
- Must end privatization of services and reclaim/reverse privatized state assets, including land sold to private companies.
- Criminalise the use of police to suppress service delivery protests. Demanding basic services is not a crime.
- All memoranda from the people shall be responded to within 24 hours!
- The Local Government shall be the largest employer providing secure employment, paying all a living minimum wage.
- Young people shall be placed in mass reconstruction programs for further education so as to capacitate them to rebuild society (housing, schools, roads, hospitals) on a minimum wage.
- Institute an independent commission of inquiry on corruption. Those who stole from the people shall be encouraged to confess and repent, those who don’t cooperate shall meet the full might of the law.
- They must commit to a new vision of human settlement informed by principles of a secure, happy community.
- They must commit to being recalled through a popular vote on the basis of a petition that reveals a thirty percent desire by the constituency for such a recall.
- They must commit to a democratic and transparent annual planning and review system where each area shall have a clear development plan with priorities and targets to be determined by the Community. To this end each ward plan shall be made public.
- Councillors shall live in the constituency that elected them.
- All elected representatives and senior public servants (from mayor to councillor) shall adopt the Sankara Oath and sign it before they are elected. This will ensure the use public services and quality access by all.
- End the current executive system driven by perks. End expensive luxuries, for example, expensive cars, high housing allowance etcetera.
- The leaders of the people must not live too far away from the life realities of those who elect them.
- There shall be 50% women representation in all local government related processes and leadership.
These are the ideals of a new Local Government that puts people first!
- BLACK AGENDA ON REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY, COLONIALISM AND APARTHEID
“Justice requires not only the ceasing and desisting of injustice but also requires either punishment or reparation for injuries and damages inflicted for prior wrongdoing. The essence of justice is the redistribution of gains earned through the perpetration of injustice. If restitution is not made and reparations not instituted to compensate for prior injustices, those injustices are in effect rewarded.” ― Amos Wilson
BLACK AGENDA demands reparations from the former slave masters, colonialists, apartheid authorities and white capital. The problems we have today as blacks did not start after 1994 and with the ANC, they have their foundation in centuries of genocides, racism, displacement, and other atrocities Euro-American countries committed against black people. The combination of slavery, colonialism and apartheid turned black people (bearers of civilization), into mere objects of labour. The world’s richest countries like the U.S., were built from the ground up by slaves without which America would have never been the superpower it is today. It is the benefits of colonialism that have kept Britain a force in world politics for the longest of time. It is believed that Britain has enough gold in its reserves (taken from the loots of colonialism in SA) to sustain itself for a long period, which is why it continues to dictate the gold price.
So why hasn’t there been a ‘Pay Back’ of all the looted resources? It’s linked to the same racism, colonial and white supremacist agenda. Britain, France and America demanded reparations from Germany after World War I and II; and a plan was put into effect to pledge Germany to honour its debt, including dividing Germany between East and West Germany. The U.S. has paid Jews billions of dollars for what it deemed a great injustice in the form of the Holocaust. So why have the same countries spurned the call for reparations against them? Reparations for the crimes they themselves acknowledge built their institutions? Ken Livingston even wept while admitting the role played by London slavery, he said “(y)ou can look across there to see the institutions that still have the benefit of the wealth they created from slavery”.
What is even more interesting about Livingston’s admission of guilt is the mention of institutions which were built with the blood of slavery still standing today and benefiting not slaves but still, the slave master. BLF in its “Preliminary Report On Apartheid Era Corruption and Other Economic Crimes” found that 563 billion was stolen and remains in the hands of whites who have benefitted from apartheid.. Even when there were sanctions against apartheid, South Africa’s white capitalist class continued to sponsor apartheid and in the process, making money via the cheap labour of blacks and the looting of our mineral resources. Even when blacks continue to call for reparations, white capital remains unrepentant – all they can offer blacks are tears like that of the former London Mayor Ken Livingston. To this end, the world upholds and honors the likes of Livingston, who stole from blacks with impunity, as heroes who wept for blacks in sympathy.
Slavery, colonisation and apartheid have thrust blacks into a dungeon of underdevelopment. Our colonisers became super powers at the expense of the colonized blacks. Accordingly these colonisers, oppressors and slave masters owe blacks for the poverty and lack of development that is a result of years of slavery, colonisation and apartheid at their hands. The fact that SA is compelled by white capital to pay a colonial debt created during colonialism and apartheid is an indication of the perpetuation of slavery, apartheid and colonialism via its adapted formulations of neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism.
Why we demand reparations?
- We are poor and under developed by design of our former colonial, apartheid and slave
masters, they need to pay for us to RESTORE the plundering they have done.
- We lost trillions of dollars in mineral wealth of our country in the hands of colonialists, white
business and apartheid authorities. That money must be paid back.
- Since they are responsible for our poverty and lack of development reparations would be
used for people’s development.
- The White Capitalist businesses that made trillions off us never paid for our service (or properly for cheap labour).
- To recover stolen wealth of our nation.
- Black people, families, and communities who suffered atrocities need to be paid reparations
directly as damage fees.
Immediate actions by BLF
- To insist SA government take action against white capital and stop protecting it.
- Demand the disclosure of how much money the South African Reserve Bank wrote off, of the stolen monies in 2010, through a Voluntary Disclosure Programme.
- Demand that the Public Protector immediately release the report and findings on the R26 Billion – first identified by CIEX and which she has been investigating since 2011!
- BLF shall lay criminal charges against all the implicated parties (we have their names)
- BLF shall undertake civil claims against all those individuals, companies, authorities and
countries who benefited illegally during apartheid and/or assisted the apartheid government.
- Plan numerous direct actions to demand reparations.
- Hold meetings in communities to educate our people about how much of their money is in the hands of white capital.
- Call on black progressive lawyers and the people of SA to work with us to find justice!
- All monies recovered to directly benefit the youth, the unemployed, the poor and to subsidize the successful land claims.
- Identify where the money is and who stole it (focusing on apartheid leaders- political and business)
- Call for and facilitate an end to the ruinous colonial debt
- BLACK AGENDA ON NATIONALIZATION AND SOCIALIZATION OF MINERAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES
BLACK AGENDA stands for nationalising and liquidating 100% of all commanding heights of the economy. All mineral wealth (gold, diamonds, platinum, etc.) and also all forests, waters and skies of state importance, shall pass into the exclusive use of the state in the interests of the whole people. All the small streams, rivers, lakes, dams, woods, etc. shall pass into the use of the communes (as the people will be organized into) to be administered by the local self-governing land committees.
Ownership, control and management of all mineral wealth shall devolve as follows: 20% to communities where enterprise is located, 40% to workers in the enterprise, 60% to be owned by the people’s state. This translates into direct ownership by the people and state protection of rights of people.
What Is To Be Done?
BROAD BASED MEANINGFUL ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
- In line with achieving the main goals of the BLF of ensuring the radical transformation of the economy, eradicating poverty, creating jobs and other means of livelihood, maintaining macroeconomic stability and developing, enhancing and sustaining the economy’s capacity to produce goods and services, BLACK AGENDA shall devise and recommend ideological guidelines and policy to inform the achievement of these goals.
- To this end the BLACK AGENDA shall focus on Broad Based Meaningful Economic Empowerment to ensure that the majority of South Africans are integrated, through the State, into the mainstream economy and that the people become drivers and beneficiaries of the economic activities in the country.
- Devise ideological guidelines and policy to elaborate on inter alia the following as means to achieve Broad Based Meaningful Economic Empowerment:
- Community Share Ownership Schemes so as to:
- i) counter the culture of the patronizing Corporate Social Responsibility concessionary programs that has traditionally characterised big mining businesses;
- ii) secure for the community a proportion (at least 20%) of the equity in the mining businesses;
iii) secure for the community meaningful proportional representation in the official control and management structure of the scheme;
- iv) enable communities to benefit from the natural resources of the country, and;
- v) reinforce the role of communities in economic development by enabling them to make the right decisions in terms their empowerment priorities.
- Worker and State Share Ownership schemes so as to:
- i) ensure that workers participate through the medium of having direct equity stake in the mining enterprise they are working in;
- ii) secure for the workers a significant proportion (at least 20%) of the equity in the mining enterprises;
iii. secure for the workers meaningful proportional representation in the official control and management structures of schemes;
- iv) secure for the workers sufficient all round job satisfaction and stable employment, and;
- v) reinforce the role of workers in the development and increase of industrialization for import substitution by enabling them to make the right decisions in terms their empowerment priorities.
- Direct Equity Participation schemes so as to:
- i) ensure black majority shareholding in all strategic economic actions;
- ii) ensure all mergers, restructurings, unbundling of business, de-mergers, relinquishment of a controlling interest shall comply with the black majority shareholding requirement, and;
iii) ensure that any direct equity achieved from c (i) and (ii) as well as from the Employee Share Ownership Schemes and Community Share ownership schemes shall serve the sole purpose of ensuring that participation and ownership in the economic activities of the country maintain and perpetuate the total nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy so as to facilitate the rectification of past injustices including poverty eradication and economic growth along black socialist lines.
- d) Procurement of Goods so as to:
- i) facilitate import substitution through supporting the procurement of goods from indigenous South Africans.
- ii) ensure that at least 50% of the goods procured by all enterprises should be procured from the indigenous population;
iii) put legislation in place to ensure that commercial contracts are concluded with indigenous entrepreneurs so as to guarantee the development of indigenous businesses, the enhancement of livelihoods and the ultimate growth of the economy of South Africa.
- National Sovereign Wealth Development Fund so as to:
- i) reduce the wide gap between the rich and the poor and ensure economic growth;
- ii) filter the income from the nations natural resources towards the rectification of past injustices including poverty eradication and economic growth;
iii) address the finite status of mineral resources by developing secondary industries as alternative bases of development after the mineral resources have been depleted, and;
- iv) finance development programs across the country so as to stimulate the growth of the country’s
- Strategic Sector Specific Frameworks so as to:
- i) ensure that the indigenous black majority participates in the various strategic sectors such as Mining, Education, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Communication, Finance, Tourism etc so as to facilitate the rectification of past injustices including poverty eradication and economic growth.
- Black Agenda shall devise and recommend ideological guidelines to elaborate on:
- i) the mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that the system of state monopoly capitalism that Direct Equity Participation schemes will tend to feed into and perpetuate, is made to serve the interests of the whole people so as to cease to be state capitalism;
- ii) the need for the reorganization and higher development of industry and to that end its adjustment to the needs of the black majority as a crucial aspect of the realization of economic freedom along socialist lines to replace racial capitalism;
iii) the mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that the above Direct Equity Participation schemes do not serve to create and promote ( as a reactionary strategic objective) an indigenous anti-black bourgeoisie coexisting with or replacing the current one, and;
iv) the mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that the above Direct Equity Participation schemes serve to destroy the current anti-black neo colonial economic order and replace it with one that is responsive to people’s needs.
v) the mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that the above Direct Equity Participation schemes serve to destroy the current anti-black neo colonial economic order and replace it with one that is responsive to people’s needs.
23. BLACK AGENDA ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY, ECOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
In the Socialist Republic of Azania, environmental and social justice shall be the departure point of all environmental law, placing the respect of all life (both people and nature) above profits. The immediate reality is that our world is facing the real and present danger of ecological Armageddon. This is as a result of glutinous consumption by a small global elite and the race for profits at all costs. Global warming is real and its impact is already felt in Africa and other regions which are not the greatest polluters.
1) All housing shall have energy and water efficiency built in, to save costs to the residents
2) All housing shall have rainwater harvesting and food gardens
3) All homes shall have free solar water heaters
4) All housing shall use biodigestion for safe, dignified flush toilet sanitation
5) All housing developments shall be linked to safe, dignified and sustainable local economic opportunities.
6) All areas shall have a free shelter for the homeless
BLF views the energy sector as a core national sovereign interest and thus it should be owned by the state, with no private entity carrying the ability of private ownership. Energy is a right and thus no household should be without energy. All citizens and business entities carry the communal duty to enrich the energy circuit and ensure its success. BLF supports a mixed energy solution. BLF supports the immediate implementation of nuclear energy generation of up to a minimum of 30% of the national energy grid. Nuclear energy should directly seek to offset the growing industrial need and further move towards the replacement of carbon energy. BLF equally supports the development of renewable energy, with primary focus and an implementation in the local energy consumption community and agricultural sector.
1) No private energy ownership. All existing private contracts including IPPs, to be cancelled immediately.
2) All agricultural communities should possess renewable energy sources directly plugged into their local energy grid. The focus should be wind, water and solar.
3) All new and refurbished homes must include solar energy sources, this carries potential of generating a minimum of energy to the value of 200 units electricity. Where the household consumption is lower than the electricity generated, households should be rewarded by the state producer.
4) 30% of South Africa’s energy grid must be converted to nuclear energy generation. To this end, all coal fire power stations should be sought to be converted to nuclear energy sources, and the cost of this energy shift should be sustained by the mining and industrial sector, which would then experience the first phase of nationalization.
1) Each person shall, on a daily basis, have clean water for free
2) Clean, adequate and free water shall be a human right
Waste and pollution
1) All external costs of pollution shall be borne by the polluter
2) All waste shall carry a meaningful deposit, and communities shall be paid to return waste to the manufacturer
3) A Zero Waste policy shall be enacted, that bans dumping, burying or burning of waste in any form
4) All packaging shall be re-usable, and not contain any harmful chemicals (such as many used in plastics)
5) All products shall also carry a deposit, so that at the end of their useful life, they can be taken back by the manufacturer for re-use.
1) All shall have a right to food, adequate nutrition, and sufficient food everyday.
2) Genetically modified food shall be banned, and there shall be more focus on indigenous plants and foods
3) Agro-ecological agriculture shall replace chemical and energy intensive food production.
4) All chemically grown food shall be fully labelled
5) All processed food shall carry simple information of any known or suspected health impact of any of its contents
6) No food shall be exported until all South Africans have been fed
7) Soup kitchens shall be provided for all who are hungry, and to this end safe, healthy and adequate nutrition shall be provided.
8) All food products shall be healthy, with reductions in salt, sugar and fats to healthy levels.
9) Foods known or suspected to contain health harming properties shall be banned
1) Full Life Cycle costs of all options must be considered before decisions are made, as the people and environment of SA currently carry the external costs of industry through health impacts.
2) The economy will shift from creating jobs (which continues the power of bosses) to ensuring livelihoods, reducing the exploitation of workers in the process, and enhancing small business development
3) Local economies shall be prioritised over centralised and large scale business and industry.
4) Local production for local consumption shall be a priority.
1) Safe, regular and affordable public transport shall be prioritised over private vehicles
2) Services shall run when needed by people, not driven by the dictates of profit
What must be done?
In the immediate, BHP Bulletin deal should be immediately cancelled, much like an “odious debt” from apartheid days. They use 9% of all our electricity but create only 0.01% of GDP, 0.005% of all jobs – the 200 units free basic electricity for all would easily be financed by what Eskom subsidizes the big corporations with.
The 1 million climate jobs proposed by progressive civil society must be implemented.
The Thomas Sankara Oath
Politicians and Public Servants
I the undersigned, hereby voluntarily, without any personal or business interest, have chosen out of my free will and without prejudice to serve the public as an elected representative of the people / an employee in the public sector.
I understand that the most important principle and my duty is to serve the public through providing high quality services to all persons alike and that this necessarily entails performing the duties of my office conscientiously and to the best of my ability!
This OATH is undertaken in the spirit of Thomas Sankara who set a shining example of how the public service must serve the people and not politicians or public servants.
I also understand that mutual respect between the State and its citizens is key to realizing true equality and I therefore, as a politician/public servant, do hereby commit myself to engage in prior consultation with the public to determine their needs so as to ensure that public services which are provided respond to the real needs of the people.
At no point shall I involve the police or any repressive arm of the state in dealing with matters related to the provision of public services to the people. It is not a crime for people to demand that the State provide public services to all its citizens in equal measure.The people are not criminals!
I commit myself to help build and promote an efficient public service system that ensures the real and legal dignity and equality of all. As a practical indication of my acknowledgement that the only way to ensure that the services that I provide are of an acceptable standard, I hereby undertake to use the services that the public sector provides to the people. What is good for me is good for the people!
I THEREFORE declare that it is a criminal offence to use private services for myself, my family and my dependents, including but not limited to: education, healthcare, housing and transport. I’m committed to public service therefore; I use the services I provide.
DATED THIS DAY OF
A PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO
We promise the politicians nothing! We demand that they deliver everything! All the political parties have now published their manifestoes; the empty ritual they buy our votes with. We say 17 years of elections without change are enough. Now we make our own manifesto:
We, the people of South Africa, hereby legislate a new law, titled “POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS: USE PUBLIC SERVICES”. This law compels all politicians, from the president to the local councilor, and all public servants, from the Director General to the sweeper and their families to use public utilities: Starting with the following:
4 Housing! (The same standard house given to citizens must be used by all politicians and public servants)
- A living wage for all!
- Land belong to the people
Our politicians and public servants have neglected public services for far too long because they know they can take their families to the private sector. We say, what’s good for you is good for us. Equality for all, for real!
Our hospitals are falling apart; doctors and nurses are overworked and underpaid. By and large our public hospitals are places of death. Simply put, no one is safe in our public hospitals. Our leaders, politicians, senior public servants and their families use private hospitals and that is why they don’t care about public hospitals which are used by the poor.
Our public schools are in bad condition, teachers are underpaid and the government is not investing in their training with the result that after 12 years of schooling most children from public schools can’t read, write or count. This leads to a high unemployment rate amongst the youth who are trapped in hopelessness. Politicians and senior civil servants take their children to private schools. This explains why public schools are not a priority for them.
Our public transport system is appalling. Every morning and night our people are packed into taxis, buses and trains like sardines. The queues are long and the fares are high. Our leaders, the rich and senior civil servants have big subsidies to get private transport. Some of our ministers can buy cars worth millions with tax payers’ money.
The townships are generally badly serviced. The houses are small and millions are forced to live in shacks. The RDP houses built by our black government are worse than the matchbox houses built during apartheid. Our leaders live in mansions, while the people are forced to live in rat-infested townships.
A living wage, the ANC and DA parties have legislated starvation minimum wages for our people. Farm workers earn a shocking R105 a day. Our government kills workers when they demand a living wage as in Marikana but cabinet ministers and members of parliament give themselves millions in salaries.
Land For 20 years of the ANC has delivered only 8% of land to black. It would take 100s of years to buy back our land. Why are we buying our land back? We demand that all the land be nationalised without compensation and be equitably redistributed amongst the people.
We hereby commit ourselves to struggle to realize this legislation to hold public representatives and servants accountable to the people!
Together let’s make this law a reality.
This campaign is undertaken in the memory of Andries Tatane who was killed by our government for demanding quality services for all!
Issued by the September National Imbizo (SNI).