Underfire: IEC Chairperson - Adv. Pansy Tlakula

Underfire: IEC Chairperson – Adv. Pansy Tlakula
Source: http://www.transformsa.co.za

The arrogance of ANC leaders clearly shows that they are rigging elections and have Western backing. There is no way a leader of a corrupt political party can engage in corruption, make dismissive utterances of corruption charges against him and in the same breath say “the ANC will rule until the second coming of Jesus” if elections were not rigged. What about the response to the Public Protector’s recommendations that he pays back the money improperly spent on his homestead? What did he say? He said he was not going to pay it back because he did not ask anybody to make the so-called security upgrades at his private residence. Yet he says he and his party are going to win elections with a two-thirds majority for that matter. What does this say about the majority of the people of this country? Are they apathetic?

One almost invariably hears analysts and commentators spewing the constant refrain “the ANC is going to win the up-coming elections though with a reduced majority” without mentioning a thing about the voting system and electoral process. Are these analysts and commentators indolent in their work or are they complicit in voting fraud? There is also dearth of investigative journalism especially with regard to voting fraud.

The first problem is that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is not independent because it is run by supporters or members of the ANC. Presiding officers belong to Sadtu which is affiliated to Cosatu which is part of the tripartite alliance with the ruling ANC. It is a misnomer to refer to the IEC as ‘independent’. For example, there is a pending case of vote rigging against the IEC in Tlokwe in which it rigged elections in favour of ANC candidates and in another instance it disqualified independent candidates from contesting by-elections and was forced by a court ruling to reverse that decision. Moreover, it’s Chairperson, Adv. Pansy Tlakula was found guilty of corruption and conflict of interest by the Public Protector. Nothing has happened to her. Can such a character be entrusted with running this country’s elections when the IEC itself is beset with problems of stealing elections? There needs to be an immediate injunction against her not to get involved in running elections until she has been sanctioned.

South Africa has thousands of polling stations but not all the votes are counted especially from the rural areas yet we are told there is one man, one vote. What happens is that the Electoral Commission uses a particular mathematical formula to count the votes and concentrates on the votes of the “big” parties and assign a thumb-sucked percentage to political parties such as the PAC and Azapo. The percentages given to these political parties are a total thumb suck…. they are not based on the real votes counted. The EFF has already been given its percentage even before the elections are held. They “predict” that it is going to get four percent. Initially they predicted about ten to twenty percent for the EFF.

In the US elections are rigged through voting machines and programmed software. In Ohio in late 2012 there were media reports that a company linked to Mitt Romney owns the voting machines used in Colorado, Ohio and other states. The Election Systems and Solutions (ES&S) is one of the companies that sell voting machines and manufacture software that is used to rig elections. It is important to find out where elections materials of the IEC such as, for example, computers and its software were manufactured or bought from. All the political parties must agree on the elections materials to be used during elections because running of the elections is not the exclusive prerogative of the ANC or IEC. The ANC with the connivance and collusion of the IEC perpetuate itself in power through rigged elections.

Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the West also wants the ANC in power and will do everything in its power to keep the ANC in power. After all, the ANC was installed by the West through imperialist brokered negotiations and a rigged election. There are very few countries in the world whose ruling parties the West has not endorsed. They are our neighbour, Zimbabwe, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, Ecuador, Cuba and Venezuela. The rest have the approval of the West. Any left leaning political party that can defeat the ANC in elections will face persistent destabilisation from the West including sanctions or the ANC will refuse to relinquish power. The West does not believe in the will of the people as it claims. It merely pays lip service to it.

South Africa is said to be a corporation owned by Britain whose CEO is Jacob Zuma and that Britain would not allow political parties they disapprove of win elections and rock the boat. South Africa is literally owned by Britain and Britain is under the Vatican. To compound the situation, two former South African Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki were honoured by the Duke of Gloucester. Mandela was invested as a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St John at a ceremony at St James’s Palace when he was 86 years old. This order is headed by the Queen of England. Mbeki was made Knight of the most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Cape Town. Helen Zille and Ebrahim Rasool were present. All these Orders and secret societies fall under the Vatican.

South Africa’s problem is much more complicated than what most people think. It is not going to be a question of winning elections and unseating an organization anointed by the rulers of the world to safeguard their interests. The ANC is a political party of Western allegiance no matter how its leaders want to portray it as a revolutionary organization. It is not a revolutionary organisation; it is a poodle of the West. The people of this country must take charge of their country by making sure that the ANC, IEC and the West do not decide our future for us by manipulating elections and rigging votes.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

Pictured: Willie "Siyaya" Nkonyeni

Pictured: Willie “Siyaya” Nkonyeni
Photo by Xola Tyamzashe

It is with deep sadness, for many of us that the Nkonyeni family should lose such a son so unexpectedly. Your son is a great loss also to this nation and to the liberation movement of which he was highly respected, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. Major General Siyaya Nkonyeni has departed to eternity at a critical time in our history when we need more warriors, for our authentic liberation, like him. He has served the African national liberation struggle of our country with distinction and tenacity.

This is a soldier who knew his military science well and understood that its ultimate objective is the equitable redistribution of land and its resources in our country according to population numbers. This African case was put to King George V of England by Sol Plaatje, John Dube and their three colleagues in July 1914. Our Kings had already fought heroic wars for it. Political giants of this country such as Lembede, Mda, Sobukwe and Mothopeng endorsed this land issue and articulated it without compromise.

Major General Siyaya was a brave soldier. Long before he joined the South African National Defence Force in 1994, his name was associated with the song “Siyaya ePitori” – We are going to Pretoria. This was when he lived in the forests, mountains and hills of Africa where he was being trained as a guerrilla fighter for this country to be liberated from colonialism and apartheid. This was during the darkest times. But far away from his country, where he was suffering the gruesome life of guerrilla warfare, he became famous for the freedom song, “Siyaya ePitori.” This sounded like a manifestation of mental disorder – insanity.

But he did go to Pretoria – Tshwane, not as an apartheid colonial slave. He joined as a free man and he rose in the ranks of the South African Army to the rank of Major General. He served with honour and earned trust to be deployed in our sister Democratic Republic of Congo to perform his Pan African obligation there, as taught by Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, that visionary who was imprisoned on Robben Island without even a mock trial.

I want to convey my personal appreciation to M-Afrika Siyaya’s family and to all his relatives for contributing to our national liberation struggle, a politico-military cadre of Comrade Siyaya’s calibre. Without such men, the indigenous owners of this country would have ended in the 11 Bantustans called “home lands” by the colonialists. They had the audacity to tell us where we may live in the land that God, Qamata, Modimo, Mvelingqngi gave to our ancestors.

Let this generation and coming generations derive inspiration and wisdom from our heroes such as Major General Siyaya Nkonyeni. The liberation journey he was involved in is still long. Cde Siyaya was in the class of General Makhanda colonially called Makana. He defended land rights for Africans in this country under King Ndlambe. On 25 December 1819, he stormed the British colonial garrison in Grahamstown – eRhini isixeko seNgwele!

General Siyaya walked the road of General Makwanyane of Moshoeshoe’s Army who wiped out those who were trying to climb Thaba Bosiu and dispossess Africans of their country and land. Makwanyane demonstrated political clarity and military prowess when he said: “Tshwara thebe e tie wa Rasenate, Wa bona fatshe leno le yaya.” (Hold firm your shield son of Rasenate, You see the land of your ancestors is taken away).

General Siyaya “ePitori”: Sobukwe, Mothopeng, Pokela, Jafta Masemola and many other heroes of our authentic liberation are proud of you.

The architect of Battle of Isandlwana, King Cetshwayo – Uphaqa nje ngelanga; Inyathi yasenhlakanhlakeni; Unokuzila ukudla kwamagwala; Impunzi kaNdaba! is full of joy for your sacrificial national service.

King Hintsa was also a great soldier – Njonga ntshiyini bathi uqumbile; Inkunzi abayikhuzu ukuhlaba ingekahlabi; Uzigodlwana zemazi endala; Zingalala endleni yazini kunyembelekile. He too, is smiling with joy upon your patriotism.


General Major Siyaya Nkonyeni Rise in Honour and Glory!


Izwe Lethu! Fatshe la rona! Shango lashu! Tiko ra hina! The Land Is Ours!

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko

African Union

African Union

After a long time of disappointing many people, the African Union (AU) has given some hope that it can defend and protect African interests without fear from the intimidation of imperialist countries.

It was an unprecedented bold act on the part of the African Union (AU) to elect President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as First Vice-Chairman of its executive during the General Assembly meeting of African Heads in Addis Ababa on 30th January 2014. This appointment paves the way for him to be eligible for the chairmanship of the AU next year (2015).

The European Union (EU) imposed crippling economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in order to effect a “regime change.” One of its members, Britain, proposed the invasion of this African country, like what it did in Iraq. The EU therefore, reacted to the AU election of Mugabe angrily. The EU threatened not to invite President Mugabe to the coming summit of both the AU and the EU in April this year.

Zimbabwe, led by Mugabe, remains targeted under a list of restrictive measures. These measures stop Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials from travelling in Europe. The AU has rejected the EU disrespect of Africa and her sovereign decision, democratically taken at the highest body of the African Continent.

Speaking on behalf of the AU, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Wylbur Simmusa said, “We must now speak with one voice and make sure we act in the interest of Africa. That is why for the EU-Africa Summit coming up, where Zimbabwe is singled out with restrictions for President Robert Mugabe from attending, the position that the AU has taken is that if Zimbabwe won’t go, then Africa will not go and that has been agreed upon.”

The AU deserves congratulations and full support by all Africans on this important decision. For far too long, the AU has bowed to the ne-colonial machinations and arrogance of the EU regarding the interests of African people.

History shows that when Africans fight for their rights Pan Africanly as a family, they always win. The stubborn fact is that Africans are one. They have a common destiny. In their struggles for Africa’s authentic liberation, they will win together or perish together.

The truth is that when Africans were enslaved or colonised by Western Europe, the perpetrators never cared whether their victims of the vile systems were Mozambicans, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Somalis, South Africans, Azanians, Batswana, Zambians, Zimbabweans or Basotho. They inflicted their atrocities on every African whether in Jamaica or in America.

Africa must not engage with the world as if she is a beggar with nothing to put on the international table. Africa has land and riches in it. African leaders must stop dealing with some of the world’s leaders as if they were demigods. Africa is rich. She would have been far ahead today economically if Western Europe did not under-develop her people through slavery, colonialism and racism at gunpoint.

Africa must control her riches for the uplifting and development of her people. She is rich. For example, some researchers have found that Tanzania has most kinds of biological resources including mahogany and other woods. Zambia has 36 million tons of copper. Namibia has the largest deposits of the best diamonds in the world. Guinea in West Africa has the highest reserves of bauxite in the world. Nigeria has 32 trillion cubic feet of gas. Somalia has 30 million tons of Jepson, a building material including recently discovered oil along with Uganda.

This list of Africa’s riches is very long. The Democratic Republic of Congo for which Patrice Lumumba was killed; if developed, can electrify and feed almost the whole of Africa. This African country is 905,355 square miles. It is as large as twelve European countries such as Britain, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Armenia and Albania. DRC potential wealth is equivalent to the gross domestic product of Europe and North America combined. Any wonder why DRC has been a victim of mercenaries and proxy wars for so long?

It is not surprising that Secretary Godding of exiled Belgian government after Belgium was overrun by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi army; boasted, “During the war [European Second World War), the Congo [then a Belgian colony] was able to finance all the expenditure of the Belgian Government in exile in London, including the diplomatic services as well as the cost of armed forces in Europe and America…the Belgian gold reserve could be left intact.”

The African Union member states must now consider and attend to the following challenges facing the AU:

1. Promote peace and political stability among African states and stand in solidarity with one another when any of these states are threatened by external forces and pressurised to serve the interests of imperialist countries. African people must be sensitised to be vigilant and refuse to be used for the destruction of their Continent and their people.

2. African States must prioritise and maximise the study of modern science, technology, agriculture, geology and international law to avoid signing documents such as the Rome Statute which created the International Criminal Court, now being used against Africa alone. At present knowledge is in the hands of former colonial powers which neglected the education of the colonised Africans. To neglect the education of the African youth is to gamble with the future of Africa.

3. African States must stop exporting their raw materials for exploitative purchasing prices and importing them back as finished products. Africa must develop high technology to process her raw materials and export them as finished products.

4. Where an urgent need has arisen to process a raw material, African States must exchange that raw material for relevant high technology. Many countries are secretive about technology transfer to Africa in order to keep Africa dependent on them. Important raw materials such as uranium, platinum, chrome etc must be exchanged for high technology not for cash or goods. This is the only way Africa can speedily advance technologically and look after her mineral and oil wealth.

5. AU member states must insist on investment on the infrastructure of Africa, instead of in things like KFC, MacDonald etc which indigenous people can do. Infrastructure is essential for the development of Africa. The modern way of foreign investment must be a partnership that advances Africa, while also making investment worthwhile for the foreign investor. African leaders must stop governing their countries primarily for foreign investors instead of advancing their own people and uplifting their standard of living. It is important to note that after nearly fifty years of independence, not a single African country has developed as a result of foreign investment. Most investors have taken more out of Africa than they gave or left after their departure to their own countries.

6. AU Member States must intensify intra-trade among themselves.

7. The AU supported by all its people at home and abroad must demand the cancellation of all “foreign debts”. The European traders in human cargo and colonialism owe Africa 370 trillion dollars for the slave trade alone. The “foreign debt” is a drop in the ocean compared with the amount owed Africa on slavery alone.

8. AU Members States must avoid “foreign aid” which recolonises the Continent. The pioneers of Africa’s liberation long said that they would accept “aid without strings.” “Foreign aid” has already compromised many African States at the expense of Africa’s economic development and social emancipation of African people.

9. The AU must have stringent code to deal with corrupt leaders. AU must have zero tolerance for corruption in all its forms. Corruption destroys nations. It causes revolutions which often lead to massive loss of human life and destruction of property.

10. Work ethics was the secret of Africa’s success before European slavery and colonialism. Africans must work hard to build their own countries and make them places to be proud of for themselves and their children. Work, work, work and hard work are the mother of success and prosperity for a family and for a nation. An African proverb says it all, “Charity will never fill the granary.”

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is author of several books such as TOWARDS AFRICA’S AUTHENTICLIBERATION, REDISCOVERING AFRICA AND HER SPIRITUALITY AND THE HIDDEN SIDE OF SOUTH AFRICAN POLITICS. He is a former member of the South African Parliament.

The PAC of Azania

The PAC of Azania


South Africa is an integral part of the African continent; and like all African countries it is the result of colonial and imperialist conquest that led to the division and re-division of Africa among imperial powers following the Berlin Congress of 1884-85 and subsequent World Wars I and II. The end of World War I saw the re-division of Africa among the victorious powers; Germany losing German East Africa or Tanganyika (now Tanzani) to Britain and German West Africa or South West Africa (now Namibia) which was given over to South Africa to administer from the Mandate of League of Nations, now under the Trusteeship Council after the United Nations which succeeded the League of Nations.

At the end of the World War II a new world order was ushered in which heralded the end of colonialism in all its forms and elevated the right of colonised and dependent countries and peoples to independence and self-determination. This accelerated the process of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles that saw the colonized countries of Asia and those under the former Ottoman Empire attain political independence and the exercise of the right of self-determination. Africa followed suite as the wind of change blew over the entire continent uprooting colonialism, white minority rule and apartheid. Thus Africa entered the 21st Century rid of colonialism, white minority rule and apartheid.

Post apartheid South Africa is therefore the outcome of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles accelerated by the new world order following World War II that ended in 1945 and saw the birth of the United Nations which supported decolonisation. The struggles on the African continent were waged or fought under the banner of Pan Africanism – the quest for the total liberation and unification of Africa. The successes of these struggles were strengthened and accelerated by the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) founded on the 25th May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Africa has come a long way since the independence of Ghana on the 6th March 1957 and the founding of the OAU on the 25th May 1963. The total liberation of Africa was achieved when the last colony on the continent – apartheid South Africa attained national freedom after a long and arduous political and civil strife combined with armed struggle supported by economic sanctions, arms embargo, cultural and sports boycott imposed by the international community culminating in talks about talks that led to the release of political prisoners, the unbanning of the liberation movements, the return of exiles and the beginning of negotiations and the reaching of agreement on the drawing of a new constitution that opened the way for the democratic elections on the 27th April 1994.

The end of colonialism, white minority rule and apartheid marked the beginning of a long process towards the eventual unification of the continent and the struggle for economic emancipation. The process towards uniting Africa kicked off with the establishment of the Pan African Parliament in March 2002 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This was followed by the Inaugural Summit that launched the African Union (AU) from 28th June to 10th July 2002 in Durban, South Africa. To achieve economic development, the AU created the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This is the framework within which Africa is waging struggle for the unification and economic emancipation of the continent. But for Africa to develop, she must stop looking up to the industrialised and developed countries of North and Japan for development aid and investment. The African continent must embark on self-reliance development strategies to build basic infrastructure such as roads, rail networks, bridges, dams, irrigation schemes, hydro-electric power, clinics, hospitals and schools using the available resources on the continent.


South Africa like all other countries on the continent has achieved political freedom; however, this freedom has remained incomplete without economic liberation. In some countries on the continent, political independence was followed by instability and civil wars that caused a lot of mayhem and destroyed schools, clinic, hospitals, water and sanitation systems; disrupted economic growth and development; destroyed road, railway and telecommunication infrastructures; claimed the lives of innocent people with women, children and the elderly being the most affected and continue to suffer because of the failure of African leaders to establish functioning and acceptable political institutions accommodating all political and ideological persuasions in the post colonial era as well as developing capacity to meet the expectations of the masses of the poor who suffered during the colonial era and continue to do so even after national freedom has been attained.

In the case of South Africa, the transfer of power from white minority to the African majority and the achievement of national freedom had little hiccups. There was undoubtedly violence; state orchestrated violence, so-called Black-on-Black violence; assassination of certain key and popular leaders such as Jafta Masemola, Chris Hani and Sabelo Phama who it was perceived would disturb the arrangement between Mr. F.W. de Klerk of the National Party and Nelson Mandela of the ANC; there were also attempts to disrupt negotiations at Kempton Park by the right wing fringe; there were also elements of the liberation movement who did not believe in negotiations because they were not convinced that negotiations will achieve the goals of the national liberation struggle. They continued to carry out sporadic attacks on targets and symbols of the apartheid regime. They refused to lay down their weapons or gather at the specified camps.

Despite all these incidents, the negotiations continued and succeeded due to the compromises, assurances and guarantees made by the leaders of the majority parties whose leaders had bent too backward to accommodate, appease and alley the fears of the white minority who for over three hundred years had dispossessed, oppressed, exploited, suppressed and humiliated the African majority whom they regarded and treated as inferior beings.


Political compromise was made at the expense of economic liberation because of the protection of property rights which has been entrenched in the new constitution. This state of affairs is buttressed by the policy of reconciliation that has meant the maintenance and perpetuation of the apartheid economic status quo and hence the continued disparities in the possession of property and wealth and the consequent racial and social inequalities that continue to characterize the South African society. This neo-colonial set up is perpetuated and sustained by the new ruling elites in partnership with the apartheid elites.

In practical terms this means leaving the control of the country’s basic resources such as mineral resources, agricultural resources, marine resources and forest resources in the hands of those who controlled them before 1994. This leaves the indigenous African majority dispossessed while they continue to be hewers of wood and drawers of water for other national groups and foreign interests. They do not benefit from these resources and continue to live in abject poverty and destitution in the midst of wealth and plenty in the country of their ancestors and yet politically free.

In other sectors such as manufacturing, service sector and information sector, the majority Africans are still illiterate or semi-literate, unskilled and semi-skilled labourers and consumers who earn wages far below the poverty datum line. These sectors are still owned and controlled by others other than the indigenous Africans whose positions in management are still at lower levels in the corporate hierarchy and at best tokens. The biggest handicap and excuse is that Africans lack the required skills and experience to manage such organisations or sectors or occupy executive positions in these enterprises. Africans also still need equity as well as access to credit to enable them to venture into such sectors. They also need political support to ensure that they enter these institutions without undue hindrance. This calls for political will, courage and policies to break the monopoly in the control of wealth and skills so that these can be opened up to the majority.


It is the continued existence of the above situation that has given rise to the phenomenon of the haves and have-nots, the very rich and very poor, with the latter living in the township ghettoes, shack dwellings or squatter camps and the rural poor who are huddled in overcrowded, barren and unproductive and underdeveloped parts of the country including the farm workers who are treated as of yore; working like slaves, refused burial on the farms on which they have lived and worked on for decades; evicted with impunity, mistreated, sometimes shot and killed, overrun with trucks or tractors, beaten, refused to exercise their right to vote, children walking long distances to schools, in some cases schools demolished or closed; in other cases children taken out of schools to work on the farms.

This is the colonial situation which is still prevalent on most white farms in this country. This is the result of the continued exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few as was observed by Sobukwe in 1959. Over 50 years later this situation has yet to change and yet we have the government of the majority since April 1994. In fact the gap between the rich and the poor is widening by the day and aggravated by the neo-liberal policies of the ruling ANC government. The leaders of this country are not ashamed to acknowledge the fact that South Africa is the most unequal society in the world. There is no political will or radical strategy and programme to end the legacies of apartheid because the new ruling elites are beneficiaries of the economic status quo and have vested interest in maintaining and perpetuating this system of neo-colonialism. To change this situation, the struggle for equality and justice must be intensified. The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania must re-affirm its policy of the most equitable distribution of wealth in this country with emphasis on equality of income which will enable equal access including land redistribution or confiscation for redistribution.


The situation as we see it in new South Africa calls for radical change so that national freedom becomes meaningful to the masses of the African majority in whose name the liberation struggle was fought. It is true that no one expected miracles from the ruling elites. The masses of the poorest of the poor and have-nots expect the ruling elites to fulfill the promises they made to them when they were elected in April 1994 and in subsequent elections in 1999, 2004 and 2009. The masses of the people also expect the ruling elites to pursue the agenda of the liberation movement to its logical conclusion – that is liberation from all forms of domination, especially from economic domination and the continued lopsidedness in skills.

Failure of the ruling elites to tackle these challenges will send a wrong signal to the masses of the poor who had put their trust in the ruling elites. This will also question the commitment of the ruling elites to the cause of the masses of the poor especially disadvantaged communities of this country who also happen to be the African majority whose material conditions have yet to change remarkably since 1994. Despite this situation, the poor and destitute still hope that change for the better will come. There is an appeal for patience and the masses of the poor are told that Rome was not built in one day.

It is only time that will tell how long it will take until Rome is built and hope and patience fulfilled. But for as long as the socio-economic inequalities and the poverty inherited from the apartheid racial stratification remain intact, the masses of the poor will eventually realize that they were misled and made to live under the illusion that change for the better will come. And this will be the turning-point and the point of no return for the poor. And once this happens, it will be too late for the ruling elites to defend the unfulfilled promises they have made to the poor.

Already in some municipalities it is clear the patience of the poor is exhausted. The masses of the poor and have-nots have become restless as shown by unrest that has turned into violent protests characterized by destruction of government property, burning tyres, closing or barricading of roads, attacking homes of councilors and demanding the removal of corrupt councilors and those who are not delivering the expected basic services. The phenomenon of violent protests has become a general rule all over the country as unrest is spreading to other municipalities or areas where there is lack of delivery or poor service delivery.


Failure to effect desired changes flow from the framework the ruling elites adopted after they came to power. Initially the ruling elites adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) as development policy or strategy. RDP was people oriented. But along the way the ruling elites scrapped or abandoned this programme and replaced it with a new programme or policy called Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR). This programme or policy is more inclined to big business and put more emphasis on the appeal for investments, especially Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The new policy or programme does not seem to be different from the Structural Adjustment Programme of the IMF and the World Bank which wrought lot of havoc on economies of some African states. The new policy is based on privatization of state assets and has resulted in hundred thousands of job losses due to companies effecting what is known as restructuring. The restructuring is embarked upon to answer to the imperatives of the neo-liberal paradigm and globalization, that is, making the companies lean and mean so that their products can be competitive on the world market. This has led to workers being laid off as companies become more capital intensive in order to reduce cost of production. This increases the army of the unemployed and thus aggravating poverty and misery of the already poor and have-nots.

Neo-liberalism does not favour the robust role of the state in the economy. It is against state intervention in any form or shape. Neo-liberalism for its champions stands for competition between nations, regions, firms and individuals. According to them, competition is necessary because it separates the sheep from the goats, the men from the boys and the fit from the unfit. Neo-liberalism is based on the survival of the fittest. It is supposed to allocate all resources whether physical, natural, human and financial with the greatest possible efficiency. It is against social spending because this does not produce profits.

This explains why neo-liberalism is against state intervention or the role of the state in the economy. It is monopoly capitalism at its highest level of development known as globalization or the domination of transnational corporations of industrialized and developed countries or economies of the North and Japan supported by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as well as the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The neo-liberal paradigm or framework inhibits upliftment and development of the poor because it is based on the rich or middle class as its driving force hence the focus on Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).


There can be no end to the imbalances or socio-economic inequalities or the gap between the rich and the poor in this country or privileged and disadvantaged without the decisive intervention of the state in the economy. If this does not happen, transformation will remain on paper or an empty slogan. There can be no change without the effective involvement of the poor themselves in the process of transformation. This cannot be done for them without them and by them. The point of departure here is the recognition of the existence of a huge human resource or capital that is lying idle in his country. This human resource or capital must be put to use in the transformation and development of the economy of this country.

We have seen this approach in the Chinese experience. The building and development of the infrastructure such as: roads, railways, bridges, dams, canals, irrigation schemes, hydro-electric power, schools, clinics, hospitals were the result of self-reliance. This approach will also help in the skills development of the masses of the people through involvement and training on the job. This approach will also promote local exchange of goods and services or internal trade instead of dependence on foreign investment to kick start this processes.


From the above analysis it is clear that South Africa like all African independent states achieved political freedom but did not achieve economic liberation. The ownership of the means of production, subsistence and distribution are still in the hands of the privileged white minority, local and foreign owners of capital. South Africa does not own and control the mineral resources; the energy sources; a huge portion of the land, forests and marine resources of this country. The bulk of the land is still in the hands of private owners and foreigners; the same applies to the manufacturing industries, service industries and the information industries or sectors.

We have a situation in this country where leaders have been elected by the dispossessed majority but do not represent the interests and concerns of this electorate; at best they represent their own stomachs and at worst neo-colonial and imperialist interests. The economy remains an appendage of the free market economies of the industrialized and developed countries of the North and Japan. These leaders are more concerned with the investors than with their own people and that is why their policies must be adjusted to the interests of these countries.

South Africa like most African independent states continue to be a supplier of primary goods to the developed and industrialized countries of the North and Japan; like all these countries South Africa is subject to the deterioration of the terms of exchange or trade due to the falling of prices of these primary goods affecting rates of exchange and the balance of payments and leading to chronic international debts that compromise the independence of these countries. Not surprising when there are political changes in the country you see these leaders running to London, Washington, Paris, Berlin etc, to go and explain to the leaders of these creditor countries not to panic or worry because there will not be any policy changes by the new leaders. They do not account to their own people or electorate, they account to their bosses in these capital cities of these developed and industrialized countries because that is where their bread comes from. We saw that after Polokwane when the President (Jacob Zuma) rushed to Washington D.C.and the then Minister of Finance rushed to London and the E.U. countries to explain the new situation that had arisen in the aftermath of the recall of Thabo Mbeki then President.

This is the situation in post-apartheid South Africa. We have a country that has not fundamentally changed since 1994 because it has carried forward the socio-economic inequalities and disparities that existed during the apartheid era into new South Africa. This means the material conditions of the majority have not changed remarkably; in fact, there is a view or perception that the life of the majority is worse than what it was during the apartheid era. It is not uncommon to hear people wanting to return to Egypt which is really sad for people to think of apartheid as having been better when so many people have suffered physical, mental and psychological pain and many others losing their lives and some still unaccounted for to this day.

The situation is made worse by the failure of the new elites to deliver simple services to the masses of the poor. This has led to some of these basic services such as water supplies being privatized to conform to the imperatives of the free market economy or the neo-liberal paradigm or being given to what has come to be known as ‘Tenderpreneurs’. In some cases privatization has been met with fierce resistance and violent protests from the masses of the poor. The case of Mothutlung is another where water, a basic necessity or need was deliberately cut in order to give tenders amounting to millions of Rands to water tankers who are relatives, friends and cronies of those in government.

The resistance and protests by the masses of the poor is a clear message from the poor that not all is well 20 years down the line since April 1994. They were made wonderful promises many of whom have remained unfulfilled especially jobs, houses and provision of basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity. They have been made to believe that all will just come down like Manna from heaven and this made the masses of the poor fold their arms and do nothing for themselves and this is the mindset which will be very difficult to reverse and in the meantime the ruling elites are amassing wealth, eating, wining and enjoying while the poor are wallowing in squalor and abject poverty. The ruling elites have in a very short space of time forgotten who they are, where they came from and how they came to be where they are today because they ‘eat good and dress good’ as Malcolm X (Malik Shabaaz) would say about the House Nigger.

This situation of poverty and misery has made others resort to crime to survive and some have yet to become political and realize that there is a need for an alternative to the ruling elites who are not going to change until they are booted out of office by the same vote that put them where they are today. But a lot of work will be needed to change the mindset of the masses of the poor who have been made to believe that there is no alternative to the current ruling elites except what they dread most – the return of the white minority and it is this that continue to blind the masses of the poor to the existence of other parties which are possible alternatives. But there is also a subtle manipulation of the race card which must be countered with a clear and consistent ideological and political education that will ensure that the masses of the poor do not confuse their interests with those of the ruling elites. Their interests must be a reflection of their material conditions and not to be confused with the flashy lifestyles of the ruling elites which are paraded and flaunted in expensive clothes, cars, big houses, birthday parties, weddings which are mirrored in the minds of the poor who are made to believe that they also will be like that one day. This is false consciousness which must be replaced by true consciousness.

The masses of the poor must be aware of their real material conditions which must be a reflection of their consciousness and interests. They must know that they are their own liberators. The struggle for liberation must start with the mind. Sobukwe said: ‘Once the mind is free the body will soon follow’. They must learn to do things for themselves, think for themselves and only accept help where and when necessary. They must shun the habit of handouts and develop the spirit of self-reliance. They must develop the habit and skills of working for themselves and not for others so that they must stop accusing others of taking their jobs whilst folding their arms and doing nothing for themselves and their children. Freedom must mean work or UHURU NA KAZI (freedom and work) as Tanzanians were exhorted under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Kambarange Nyerere.


There are fundamental issues that need to be addressed if there has to be change for the masses of the poor in South Africa. Some of these fundamentals constitute the elements of real power. They are essential for peace and stability. They constitute the priority of any new government that takes power from colonial rule, that is, classical, settler or apartheid colonialism. These fundamentals include inter alia: the state and administrative machinery, the economy, education and morality. These issues must be seen within the framework of the Africanist perspective driven and guided by the basic needs and interests of the African majority, that is, the poorest of the poor and have-nots; what Sobukwe describes as the illiterate and semi-literate masses of the African people.


From the onset, changes must be effected in the state and administrative machinery. The army, police, the justice system, prisons and the civil service must be transformed drastically and radically to ensure that the leadership as well as management is in the hands of competent and capable leaders from the African majority and not just put in the hands of party cadres who do not have knowledge and skills. These changes must reflect the demographics of our society at leadership and management levels. This will need courage and political will to make the necessary decisions to effect these changes. There must be no equivocation as to what the intention of this process is – the indigenous Africans must be in the forefront of every aspect of life in this country. The cadres who are deployed must have the ability and capacity to provide leadership with competence and discipline.


The economy of South Africa is still characterised by crying socio-economic inequalities and disparities in wealth possession. The white minority and foreign interests are still in control of the major instruments of production, subsistence and distribution buttressed by habit, experience, and monopoly of skills. The latter have been joined by the new African political, bureaucratic and business elites and together constitute the new ruling elites that maintain and perpetuate neo-colonialism. Together these elites share the spoils of the economic pie with very little trickling down to the masses of the poor who continue to live in abject poverty and squalor.

The masses of the poor and destitute comprise the majority of the urban toiling and unemployed masses, illiterate and semi-literate and live in the township ghettoes, shack dwellings or squatter camps adjacent to the opulence and wealth in the cities and suburbs of this country. Most survive on informal or small businesses comprising of the sale of a gamut of small articles, vegetables, fruits, beverages or soft drinks, cosmetics and the provision of a range of services including catering and hair dressing. Those who do not fall in this category of activities and have no other pre-occupation find themselves idling. We know that idle hands are Satan’s workshop. They become social misfits and resort to serious social evils in order to survive. They get involved in violent crime, prostitution, robberies of all types including car-hijacking, heists, bank robberies, bombing bank ATM’s with explosives, drug trafficking, rape, child and women abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, etc. Others do these things out of frustration but some choose these activities as a way of life and these must be dealt with ruthlessly.

In the rural areas the colonial law still reigns supreme. The master and slave relationship is still the order of the day. Unequal access to occupation and use of land has remained intact over 18 years down the line since 1994. The white farmers still occupy vast tracts of land comprising several farms for each farmer. Some of the land has even been turned into game farms which are of no benefit to the majority of this country except for tourists from Europe and Americas and some members of the new ruling class. The majority poor can no longer hunt and kill to enjoy the fauna/venison of their country and if they do so they are arrested or even killed for trespassing and pouching. Only those with money have the right to go hunting and shoot what is regarded as game. This is how alienated our people are from their land and its resources.

Farm workers on these colonial farms are still treated as of yore. They work like slaves and their rights are not respected or recognized by the farmer who is the employer. They are evicted from these farms at the pleasure of the farmer with no recourse to any judicial process and if any the case is lost in advance because of lack of evidence, insufficient evidence, no witnesses or simply because people are afraid to give evidence or the farmer get away with murder because some twisted or funny technicality as was seen with the killing of Chisale who was thrown in the lions enclosure. We know what happened and it is now history because the main perpetrator has walked away a free man whilst the Chisale family has lost a loved one and a breadwinner.

It is not uncommon that the farm workers and their family members are refused burial on these farms on which they have lived and worked for generations and no one does anything about this because these farms belong to the white farmers; it is their property -we are told. Farm workers are ill-treated, even killed and maimed and no one does anything about it. Sometimes their stock is taken or killed and no one does anything about it. Their children’s schools are sometimes demolished or closed by the white farmer and no one does anything about this and yet we respect the rule of law or human rights. All this is happening because these people have been alienated from the land which they one time owned but taken from them and occupied by force.

When people claim this land they are told that it must be bought on a willing seller/willing buyer basis and at current market prices. The properties our fathers lost in the townships under forced removals were compensated on a flat rate basis and the loss of income from these properties of about 50 years was disregarded because the poor were not important and did not need to be appeased. For instance my family was removed at Riverside (Storm near Eersterus) to Mamelodi (then Vlakfontein) in 1955 and we were given R60 000 as compensation in 2006 and at the time our parents had passed away and 8 of us had to share this money. This is what happened to other families in the same situation.

There are also the rural communities that live adjacent to the white farms and some under traditional authorities. Most of these communities live on barren and unproductive land. There are no good farming and grazing land on which they can engage in agricultural activities and stock farming except subsistence farming. All the able-bodied men and women have left for the cities in search of employment and only old men, old women and children have been left behind. Not much is being done to transform and develop these communities. No inputs such as training, equipments, fertilizers, etc have been forthcoming from the government, that is, local, provincial and national and yet we hear outrageous and irresponsible statements such as “use it or lose it” from a Minister of Land and Agricultural Affairs when there is nothing to show that the Department had done anything to help the land owners to effectively use the land.

It is clear that once people start ‘eating good and dressing good’ they forget who they are, where they come from and how they came to be where they are today. This is what is happening to the fat cats. Uppermost in their minds is food security. For them this can be only be provided by white commercial farmers, hence the neglect of the development of African farmers and rural communities. They forgot that the masses of the poor of this country were dispossessed and made only to work for others other than themselves. The only farmers the people know in this country are white farmers (Boere). Africans cannot be farmers. They must be farm-workers and nothing else. This mindset must be changed and the people must be freed mentally and psychologically so that they accept self-reliance as the basis for development. Who does not know that the Native Land Act of 1913 was introduced to stop African farmers and communities from competing with white commercial farmers?


Education is still characterized by inequalities and domination by the white minority elites. They have the monopoly of critical careers, skills or know-how, knowledge, experience, information and habit. There is an urgent need to change this lopsidedness so that the children of the disadvantaged and poor catch up in these critical careers and skills. This demands courage and political will from the ruling elites if they are serious about ending the imbalances inherited from slavery, colonialism, settler colonialism and apartheid.

More resources must be pumped into the education and training of the children of the disadvantaged and poor. These resources should be used to transform the material conditions of the schools including equipping these schools with relevant material and paraphernalia for learning and teaching such as libraries, laboratories, computers; ensure that these schools have properly qualified teachers; competent school managers with the authority to impose discipline and create conducive climate for teaching and learning; build more schools to solve the backlog of classrooms; solve over crowdedness and teacher-pupil ratio.

It is for this reason that free education becomes a necessity or logical proposition for the children of the disadvantaged and poor. This will enable these children to continue to tertiary education and training without interruption. This is the only way the disadvantaged and poor communities will be uplifted and participate and contribute in the economic and social development of this country. This is how the imbalances inherited from the apartheid system will be eliminated and a truly democratic and egalitarian society developed based on equal access and equitable distribution of resources.


We are all aware of the disintegration and decay of the moral fabric of the African society in this country due to many factors including migration, urbanization and industrialization. To counter these disruptive and destructive processes there is a need to restore Ubuntu Morality in order to regulate behaviour, human relations, attitudes and perceptions. There is a need to restore the dignity of the African family threatened with collapse due to the above mentioned factors but also because of the creeping in of new ideas and concepts affecting the relationship between males and females in our society. The family unit in South Africa has collapsed and is further disintegrating as most children are today without a father figure who is traditionally the head of the family and provider. If he is there he has lost authority or his authority has been rendered ineffective due to the shift in economic power in favour of the female or wife. This has resulted in many men or husbands deserting their families/homes to avoid humiliation and stress in order to find sanity where their position/status remains intact. But we also know that there are men or husbands who do not want responsibility or who are simply irresponsible and are afraid to raise a family or take care of children they have fathered. This also applies to women.

As a result of this situation, many single parent households are headed by women who have now become providers. This situation undoubtedly affects the family unit that has no father figure. This has led to children going out of control and misbehaving and some ending up in the streets indulging in alcohol abuse, using drugs and involved in all sorts crimes and some ending up in prison. This may sound like what feminists call male chauvinism. But this is just the reality in many African families today. This situation also leads to another phenomenon in which women end up having children from different males or fathers. To restore the African family unit and Ubuntu Morality there is a need to find reconciliation between tradition and culture on the one hand; and on the other hand the new ideas and forces unleashed by the new social and economic situation we are living in today. There is need for dialogue on the question of gender equality which was suddenly thrown in the African society without thorough dialogue and discussion. The concept has caused confusion and bitterness in many men who blame Nelson Mandela and the new ultra-liberal constitution seen by others as permissive for introducing gender equality and also the rights of children who can no longer be controlled or disciplined by their parents.

We are aware that women in the old democracies compete for comparable positions and jobs on the basis of merit and not appointed or pushed into these positions just because they are women irrespective of competence or necessary credentials. Even where the Proportional Representation electoral system is practiced women compete for comparable positions without favour from their male counterparts or government. It is real men and women with the same human rights and democratic freedoms who have access to these positions or opportunities. This eliminates tokenism, corruption and nepotism because the right men and women are there for the right positions.

Ubuntu Morality is inimical to moral degeneration in all its forms that include violent crime, abuse and violence against women and children; it is against drug abuse; alcohol abuse; raping of women and children. Ubuntu Morality does not accept abject poverty, squalor and deprivation living side by side with scandalous wealth and comfort. Ubuntu Morality is against individualism, selfishness, greed that has led to insensitivity and corruption that have become the order of the day and way of life in this country. The older generation and elders of our society have lost the respect they enjoyed in our society in the past. This was a means of social control which is no longer there because of the narrowing gap between generations, the result of exposure but also because of the nature of upbringing, nurturing or parenting.

Ubuntu Morality is against promiscuity and prostitution; it is for good sexual behavior; it is for one sexual partner so that we can combat the spread of this new germ warfare or alien disease known as HIV/AIDS that is ravaging and decimating the young, adults and old in our communities. Abstaining for the teenagers should be the first weapon in the line of defense. To wage war against this germ warfare, teenagers must know who they are as a people, where they come from as a people and how they came to be where they are today so that they can have direction and purpose as future leaders of this country. The African people of this country and continent will survive if we take ourselves very seriously, not taking others for granted and knowing our interests in relation to the interests of others and ensuring that we defend and promote our interests and thus prepare the future of our children and their children’s. Let us stop being agents of others; let us be our own agents and stop being dictated to and told what to do and not what to do by others who do not have the interests of the poorest of poor, the have-nots and the dispossessed of our country and continent at heart except those of their peoples and countries.

Izwe Lethu! I-Afrika!

By Molefe Ike Mafole
The writer is a Member of Azanian People’s Liberation Army Military Veterans Association (APLA-MVA) and Member of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania. He can be contacted on 072 630 2206.

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: Founding President of the PAC of Azania

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

Ma Veronica Sobukwe captured the essence of her late husband’s core mission in life when she chose the apt inscription for his gravestone: “True leadership demands complete subjugation of self, absolute honesty, integrity and uprightness of character, courage and fearlessness, and above all, a consuming love for one’s people.”

Using a political lens, the kernel of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s contribution to public discourse in South Africa may best be understood as revolutionary thought leadership.

He noted early on, that in African history some chiefs and traditional leaders had, of their own free will, participated in the sale of their subjects to slave traders. They had showed no care for the well-being of their own people, and gleefully focused on self-enrichment. They collaborated with foreign invaders to entrap African people and turn them into beasts of burden. They were invariably used as pacifiers to help get little or no resistance. This anomaly could replicate itself in the modern age if trusting Africans were not consciously aware of their history.

In the Americas, for instance, the indigenous people fought vigorously against the white man’s slavery system. Once captured, they preferred to commit suicide rather than live as slaves. The slave traders then went across the Atlantic sea to fetch cowed products. Sobukwe extolled the revolutionary deeds of Toussaint L’Overture, who led the San Domingo (Haiti) slave rebellion to victory.


Sobukwe developed into a formidable intellectual and acquired academic honours in the languages, economics, law and political science.

His outstanding leadership of the liberation movement was infused with revolutionary ideas which marked a radical departure from conformity, compromise and careless submission to the whims of the powers that be. He acknowledged the influence of intellectuals from the All Africa Convention (AAC) in his initial development. The AAC was marginalised from the mainstream of public discussions due to their non-conformist approach. Sobukwe took the popular platform in the schools, tertiary institutions and the press and tamed it.

His Completers’ Speech at the University of Fort Hare was a game changer in student politics – influencing southern Africa’s burgeoning intellectuals. The historical impact of his speech can only be regarded as a forerunner to Onkgopotse Abram Tiro’s graduation address at Turfloop University in 1972.

Mainstream thought leaders like ZK Matthews, Chief Albert Luthuli and their protégés, Nelson Mandela and OR Tambo, subscribed to the concept of “exceptional-ism” for South Africa. In their prognosis, the country’s colonialism was complex and of a special kind – after the Act of Union of 1909 – and could not be easily likened to the rest of the African continent. They believed that a national convention by all the race groups was best placed to chart a peaceful settlement suitable to all.

The old guard leadership were influenced by Booker T Washington’s Up from Slavery, which advocated moderation and gradualism in winning changes from the authorities. They vouched for steady reforms, the build up of an African bourgeoisie and cooperation of the racial groups under multi-racialism.

Sobukwe on the other hand read the works of WEB Du Bois, George Padmore and other militant revolutionaries in the worldwide Pan African movement. He stated that national politics in South Africa could only be understood from an international perspective.


As a thought leader, Sobukwe interpreted abstract concepts of political theory into concrete ideas which could be understood by ordinary folk. His entire writings do not carry a single exclamation mark. There is no anger and rancour in the way in which he expresses strongly-held ideas against land dispossession, exploitation and racial bigotry. He consciously exercised intellectual rigour and discipline.

Under his watch, the PAC’s eco-system blended various intellectual disciplines – including those who were seemingly in opposition and contradiction to each other – to work seamlessly together in a united front, under the banner of African Nationalism. The church, business, youth, students, rural farmers and traditional communities, the proletariat, and professionals found space to air their views and be heard. He linked the PAC with the 1949 Programme of Action – which he drafted. The PAC was also part of the continent-wide winds of change.

The national executive committee of the Pan Africanist Congress was referred to in the newspapers as Sobukwe’s cabinet ministry, acting as a shadow government to the ruling settler regime. It had luminaries like Nkutsuoe Peter Raboroko, a premier political theorist; Lekoane Zephania Mothopeng, a leading educationist who campaigned against the Bantu Education bills; PK Leballo, a second world war veteran; Jacob Nyaose, labour federation unionist; and a host of other rising revolutionary intellectuals. Founder of the congress youth league, AP Mda, served in the backroom as a spiritual leader.

The policies of the PAC were Africanist in orientation, original in conception, creative in purpose, socialist in content, democratic in form, and non-racial in approach. They recognised the primacy of the material, spiritual and intellectual interests of the individual. They guaranteed human rights and basic freedoms to the individual – not minority group rights, which would transport apartheid into a free world.

His comrades fondly referred to Sobukwe as ‘the Prof’ – a term of endearment for his charismatic leadership and recognition of his intellectual prowess. They were however all required to return to the source – the masses – and show the light, in biblical simplicity. They formed unity between workers, poor peasants, and revolutionary intellectuals. Robert Sobukwe’s team went on to set the pace for the national liberation struggle from 1960 onwards by putting South Africa (Azania)as a troubled spot on the world map.

Sobukwe’s abiding concern has been that Africa as a unified whole could participate as an equal in world affairs. The patchwork of colonial borders drafted at the 1884 Berlin Conference had to be ultimately done away with. A united Africa, under a single government, could spread its humanising influence to resolve conflicts among nations – after the League of Nations had dismally failed to contain and control Nazi Germany’s aggression – and to having its civilisation appreciated and understood.

Sobukwe’s own lifestyle was an expression of his ideas on mass-based leadership. He adopted the political standpoint of ordinary folks in the rural areas and in the urban cities. He led a humble life, and could relate to the poor and ‘the unwashed’, engaging them in genuine dialogue on matters of national importance, even though he had held a ‘prestigious position’ as a senior tutor of languages at Witwatersrand University. He knew that positions like his, shorn of the frills and trappings, were dominated by right-wingers, liberals and leftists from minority groupings “who arrogantly appropriate to themselves the right to plan and think for the Africans.” If he conformed to the status quo, he would be domesticated with a dog-collar mark as in the fable of the Jackal and the Dog.

Sobukwe loved and glorified God. He believed in the power of prayer and called his family and comrades to do likewise. He became a lay preacher in the Methodist church. The PAC followed his path – initiated by the slogan first coined by AP Mda – of making Christianity and other religious beliefs relevant to the continent by stating that “African is for Africans, Africans for Humanity, and Humanity for God.”


After the Sharpeville and Langa massacres, Sobukwe was singled out for severe punishment by the National Party administration. He was imprisoned for three years in hard labour. The whites-only parliament extended his imprisonment by enacting the Sobukwe Clause to keep him in solitary confinement without trial for six more years. They fed him pieces of broken glass in his food, poisoned him in secret, and when he developed traces of lung cancer they banished him to Galeshewe township in Kimberley. He died a banned person in February 1978.

He served the African people selflessly. He suffered under the yoke of oppressive laws like the majority of the people. More than anything else, Mangaliso Sobukwe sacrificed himself and his family for the national liberation of African people.

His detractors who supported the Bantustan system paired him with Stephen Bantu Biko and said as ‘commoners’ they were without a traditional mandate to lead the collective of black people.

The Accra Conference of liberation movement leaders in Africa resolved to target 1963 for complete independence of the entire continent. The PAC mobilised its supporters into an unfolding programme of mass action until freedom is attained – by 1963. Critics oblivious of this background information said Sobukwe’s target date was naive and unrealistic. They claimed the masses were not ready for mass action.

For Sobukwe, the masses needed to assert their African personality and overcome their fear of prison, then overcome their fear of death, in order to overthrow white domination.

In the acclaimed autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, the author condescendingly remarks that Sobukwe was a clever man. He then juxtaposes Sobukwe’s frustrations in handling difficult leadership merit questions from an awkward personality at the Pretoria Central Prison when he served three years for the consequences of the Positive Action Campaign. This literary device is disingenuous and silly, because the parties treated with disdain are not alive to corroborate the anecdotes or to tell their side of the story. It is a cheap propaganda tactic.


They met in the heat of a nurse’s strike in the Eastern Cape and sparks of love ignited. When they became soul-mates in matrimony, they also understood that their union was an everlasting bond. Ma Sobukwe grew up partly in rural Kwa-Zulu and partly in the dark city of Alexandra township. She has endured hardships – but was prepared beforehand for the long road ahead of them. When she drafted the inscription on the gravestone as a quote from his Completers Speech in 1949 she was transmitting the message on true leadership as a consuming gift to the Azanian masses.

By Jaki Seroke
The writer is a strategic management consultant. He is a member of the National Executive Committee of SANMVA, the newly established statutory umbrella body of military veteran’s organisations. He is the chairperson of the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

1. GXabe, Zamikhaya (2008): Serve, Suffer, Sacrifice – The Story of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. Limacocobela. East London.
2. Mapanje, Jack – editor (2002): Gathering Seaweed – African prison Writings. HEB. London.
3. Pheko, Motsoko (1984): The Political Legacy of Mangaliso Sobukwe. London.
4. Pogrund, Benjamin (1990): How Can Man Die Better – The Life of Robert Sobukwe. Jonathan Ball. Johannesburg.
5. Raboroko, P Nkutsoeu (undated): Congress and the Africanists – the Africanists’ Case. PAC Publication. London.
6. Veronica Sobukwe (1997): http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/hrvtrans%5Ckwtown/sobukwe.htm

The nervous looking President Jacob Zuma.

The nervous looking President Jacob Zuma.

I watched the parliamentary debate on 17 February after many years of not watching that circus. I watched because I wanted to listen to the responses to President Jacob Zuma’s porous state of the (ANC) nation address taking into consideration scandal after scandal involving him and the ANC, the ubiquitous service delivery protests and foreign policy faux pas. However, Mr. Zuma deserves kudos for mentioning the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Onkgopotse Tiro and for having invited Tiro’s brother as a guest. It should not end there Mr. President. The killers of Tiro who are known must be brought to book because they never applied for amnesty at the Truth Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

All the political parties, including Azapo, the torch-bearers of black consciousness, failed to at least acknowledge that Mr. Zuma is the only President since 1994 to mention the assassination of Tiro in the national assembly. Azapo’s Member of Parliament, Mr. Jacob Dikobo should have acknowledged the mentioning of the assassination of Tiro in the state of the nation address. It would not have meant Azapo agreed with the state of the nation speech. Dikobo threw out the baby with the bath water. The PAC should have also acknowledged the mentioning of Tiro. But, alas, the PAC MP chose not to address parliament at all. Only God knows why. Or did I miss him? PAC founding President, Robert Sobukwe was mentioned twice, not by the PAC and not even by Azapo but by IFP leader and MP Mangosuthu Buthelezi and APC leader and MP Themba Godi.

Going back to the state of the nation address, I wonder if these politicians are aware the electorate is watching their shenanigans. I wonder what illiterate people make of these parliamentary debates. What about people without access to television sets? Or are these debates meant for the elite or the so-called middle class? They are some of those who are invited the day after the opening of parliament to the SABC-New Age breakfast banquet. One wonders what The Public Protector’s report said about those SABC-New Age banquets and about Motsweding Fm Station Manager in Mafikeng, Sibongile Mtyali ,who was exposed as corrupt in a series of Daily Sun articles but is still retained by Auckland Park, thanks to Hlaudi Motsweneng. Some of these politicians yell at each other in the glare of the television cameras but at the end of the month they go all the way to the bank laughing to cash their fat cheques. They greet each other nicely in the bank queues and sip expensive whiskies together during weekends.

The first politician to speak was Minister of Education Blade Nzimande who, amidst his presentation, took a swipe at the IFP Buthelezi and UDM leader Bantu Holomisa when they had said absolutely nothing. He said they were only concerned with Mangosuthu Technikon in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the University of Transkei or Walter Sisulu University respectively. In his reply, Buthelezi retorted that he didn’t know what Nzimande was talking about because he was once a lecturer at Mangosuthu Technikon. Holomisa on his part spoke in Xhosa that he once helped Nzimande obtain a driver’s license in the Homeland of the Transkei and asked Nzimande, “am I lying”?

It is normal and acceptable in this country for a Cabinet Minister to undermine Members of Parliament in a partisan way and defend his/her party from criticism of the state of the nation address by the opposition as was the case during this state of nation debate on 18 February 2014 and the previous parliamentary sittings. A Cabinet Minister is a Minister of State and an MP is a people’s representative. Just like an MP who is elected, Speaker of Parliament is required to abandon his party loyalty and be non-partisan, Ministers of State are also supposed to abandon their party loyalty and be non-partisan. By the same token, once an MP is appointed a Minister of State or Cabinet Minister he should abandon his/her loyalty to his/her party and serve the country.

The rationale behind this line of thinking is that Cabinet Ministers are answerable to parliament and the custodians of parliament are Members of Parliament. Consequently, Ministers of state should account to the people’s representatives who are Members of Parliament. It should not matter whether or not a certain Cabinet Ministers loathes a particular MP. If the ruling party feels the opposition needs to be challenged, then MP’s from the ruling party are there to challenge MP’s from the opposition benches, not Cabinet Ministers. That is why political parties should appoint educated or learned MP’s who can engage in constructive debates and not bumbling yahoos and voting cattle who are always in slumber land during debates only to wake up when it is time to vote.

What is more important is to make sure that there is no conflation of the ruling party and the state. If Cabinet Ministers speak in Parliament as ANC MP’s then they are conflating the state and the ruling party and that is unconstitutional and unacceptable. Not only is it unacceptable but it also makes a mockery of democracy. If this country’s constitution allows partisanship among Ministers of State then the drafters of this country’s constitution should go back to the drawing boards and amend it. If not then it should be acceptable for other civil servants like police and army officers to publicly take political stances and criticize political parties which they do not belong and those who belong to the ruling party should defend it …and let us see where this would lead to.

There was nothing in the President’s speech about the threat Africom poses to the African continent and no political party raised this issue. There is also no political party that included Africom threat in its manifesto, not even the PAC, the torch-bearers of Pan Africanism. Does this mean the PAC is led by paper tigers? The Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, whom the South African government helped to overthrow by voting in favour of UN Resolution 1973 that declared a no-fly zone over Libya which ultimately led to his overthrow and assassination, had expended his country’s resources in blocking the setting up of Africom military bases on the African continent.

Finally, we can scream until we become green about funding for education but as long as we don’t talk about the quality of education we offer our children, we might as well keep quiet. Why are the books relevant to the conditions of the continent not prescribed? There are many books, which must be made compulsory reading in schools, colleges and universities, by and about African authors. Keeping the African people ignorant by presenting state of nation addresses that conceal the truth will one day backfire.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).

Dr. Motsoko Pheko

Dr. Motsoko Pheko

The meaning of the term “African Renaissance” now running parallel with Pan Africanism in the corridors of the African Union must be clarified. It is confusing to people who are not rooted in the history of Africa before the tragedy of the European slave trade in African people and plundering of African countries by Europeans through their Berlin Act of 26 February 1885.

Lest we forget, the “European Renaissance” brought slavery, colonialism and racism to Africa. It dehumanised Africans, plundered the riches of Africa, destroyed African civilisations and under-developed Africa. Africans have suffered the worst holocaust in human history as a result of the “European Renaissance.”

Pan Africanism challenged the effects of the “European Renaissance” formally from 1900. The wars of national resistance against colonialism in various parts of Africa were of course long fought in countries such as Azania (South Africa as early as 1510). From the very beginning Pan Africanists spoke of liberating Africa and restoring this Continent to its colonially lost power and glory. Pixley ka Isaka Seme spoke of “African Regeneration.” He was right and wise in not using the term “African Renaissance” which would look like an African colonial imitation of a “renaissance” that took place in Europe.

The first renaissance in the world was African. Africa is the cradle of the first human civilisation which was destroyed by the agents of “European Renaissance.” Africa was advanced long before she was invaded by Europe. Europeans took advantage of the superiority of the gun over the African spear in war. Before all this, fascinated by the greatness of Africa, in admiration of this Continent, that famous Emperor of the Roman Empire Julius Caesar proclaimed to the world, “Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi!” (Out of Africa comes always something new). This is not surprising when it is remembered that not long ago, Europeans adored “the Black Madona” – the holy family of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary. Sir Godfrey Higgins’ ANCALYPSIS pages 137-138 states, “The infant God in the arms of his black mother, his eyes and drapery white, is himself perfectly black….There is scarcely an old church in Italy where some remains of the worship of the Black Virgin and Black Child are not to be found.” Sir Godfrey has, however observed that lately, “Very often the black figures have given way to white ones and instead of the black ones as being held sacred, they were put into retired places of the churches, but were not destroyed.” This has been one of the many attempts to hide the glory of the first renaissance on earth which was African and to portray the barbaric and immoral “European Renaissance” which produced the darkness of slavery, colonialism and racism as “superior” to the very Africa that sustained and enlightened the world.

The truth however persists. Commenting on the peace and security of many African states before the European Berlin Conference in 1885 which grabbed and partitioned Africa into “British Africa, “Belgian Africa,” “Spanish Africa,” “French Africa,” “German Africa,” Portuguese Africa,” and “Italian Africa”, leaving nothing for Africans except Ethiopia, Basil Davidson, a British journalist and author wrote that “Only six missionaries of some 300 who had penetrated into East and Central Africa are known to have been killed by wanton murder. What looked like chaos was seldom anything of the kind. What seemed like danger to life was nearly always a huge exaggeration. Life for the traveller in middle Africa was in fact a good deal safer –from wars and human killings than it generally was in Europe; which explains – of course, the gentler way in which Africans were accustomed to receiving strangers.”

For his part, the biography writer of Prophet Mohammed, Hisham has stated that this prophet so trusted black people that he instructed those who were persecuted in Mecca to go to Ethiopia [Africa]. “There they will find a king under whom none are persecuted. It is a land of righteousness where God will give you relief from what you are suffering.”

Lucian, a Greek satirist who is regarded as a “free thinker” of the olden days has written, “The gods on occasions do not hear the prayers of mortals [in Europe] because they are away across the ocean among the Ethiopians [Africans/black people] with whom they dine frequently on their invitation.”

Prof. Cain Hope Felder of the Howard University, Washington D.C., has remarked, “It shows the esteem in which the ancients held the African people; that they selected them as the only fit associates for their [European] gods.”

Because many people have deliberately caused confusion about Mizraim in Africa (which the Greeks called Egypt), it is important for me to first clear this confusion. An African Egyptologist, Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop has written extensively on the early history of Africa, especially of Mizraim (ancient Egypt). He has declared, “Egypt was a Black civilisation. The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in the air and cannot be written until African historians dare to connect it with the problem of Egypt. The African historian, who evades the problem of Egypt, is neither modest nor objective or unruffled; he is ignorant, cowardly and neurotic.” Prof. Diop elaborated, “Imagine if you can, the uncomfortable position of a Western historian who writes the history of Europe without referring to Greco-Latin Antiquity, and passes off that as scientific research….The ancient Egyptians were Black. The moral fruit of their civilisation is to be counted among the assets of the Black World. Instead of presenting itself as an insolvent debtor, that Black World is the very initiator of the Western civilisation flaunted before us today.”

When the African Union talks of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance, which “African Renaissance” are they talking about? The first renaissance on this planet was African. If the present African Renaissance AU is talking about is merely to mimic the racist “European Renaissance,” then the Pan African objective of total liberation of Africa; will not be achieved.

The pre-colonial Africa fascinated not only Julius Caesar, but Napoleon Bonaparte of France. Napoleon so envied the title “Pharaoh” which was the title of Black rulers of Mizraim that he also wanted to bear the title “Pharaoh”. Anyway about 1820, this French Emperor sent his scientists to carry out archaeological research in Egypt, Africa. These archaeologists affirmed that ancient Egyptians were Black people. Abbe Emile (1850-1916), a highly qualified Egyptologist excavated Om El’ Qaab. He discovered and identified sixteen African Pharaohs more ancient than Menes who united south and north Mizraim. In fact, a French Egyptologist Count F. Volney has recorded that “The Egyptians were the first people to attain the physical and moral science necessary to civilise life.” A German scholar Karl Lepsius after visiting the tomb of Pharaoh Rameses III, exclaimed, “Where we expected to see an Egyptian [white person], we are presented with an authentic Black!” Also on this subject, Sir A. E. Wallis Budge, a British Egyptologist who has written extensively about Mizraim (ancient Egypt) has declared, “The prehistoric native Egypt [Mizraim, Kemet etc], both in old and new Stone Ages was African and there is a reason for saying the inhabitants came from the South.” Budge was a keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum.

The view that ancient Egyptians were Black people was held by leading ancient historians such as Pliny, Strabo, Diodorus, Tacitus and the venerated Herodotus himself. Africans built Memphis, the capital city of Mizraim in 3100 B.C. Greeks built Athens in 1200 B.C. The Romans built Rome in 1000 B.C. Africans invented writing. It was Hieroglyphics before 3000 B.C., Hieratic alphabet shortly after this. Demotic writing was developed about 600 B.C.; while the Kushite script was used in 300 B.C. Other African scripts were Merotic, Mende of Mali, Coptic, Amharic, Sabean and G’eez, Nsibidi script of Nigeria and Twi script of the Twi people in Ghana.

The AU speaks of “African Renaissance”. The question is which “African Renaissance” is the AU talking about, the one that is just a mimicry of the “European Renaissance”? If it is mimicking the latter, this would be merely a pandering to the arrogance of the agents of cultural imperialism. The earlier notion of Africa’s restoration was expressed in a Zulu/Xhosa slogan “Mayibuye! iAfrika!” Many Africans were aware that Africa had been taken away from them by Europeans through the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. From then onward everything Africa had been colonised and expropriated by the colonisers for themselves. “Mayibuye iAfrika” means “Africa must return to its rightful owners” with all its resources and its colonised African epistemology. To this notion of African restoration, Prof. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s Pan Africanist Congress added, “Izwe Lethu! iAfrika! (Afrika [and all its riches] is our land!

It is estimated that from the 15th century, the slave trade practised by Europe, America and others pilfered from Africa over three hundred and seventy trillion US dollars ($370,000,000,000,000). This excludes the colonial damage to Africa which is going on even now. Yet, Africa is harassed for “foreign debts” by former practitioners of slavery in human beings and thieves of other people’s countries and their riches. Africa was never inferior to Europe until European terrorist militarism imposed slavery and colonialism on Africa.

As Edem Kodjo, author of AFRICA TOMORROW, who is a great researcher puts it, “It is here in Africa that history began. Far from being a gratuitous assertion, this statement is an undeniable scientific fact for which one finds corroboration when one roves the world in search of the remains of the ancient civilisations. According to the present state of research on the origins of the progress of humankind, the Mother of Mankind, Africa remains the privileged source of the first manifestations of intense human creativity.”

By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is a historian, political scientist, lawyer and theologian. He is author of books such as Towards Africa’s Authentic Liberation, African Renaissance Saved Christianity and Rediscovering Africa And Her Spirituality. He is a former Member of the South African Parliament and former Representative of the victims of apartheid and colonialism at the United Nations in New York and at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.


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