Our peo­ple want an­swers on land and the Re­serve Bank

Che Se­lane is Lim­popo ANC Youth League Pro­vin­cial Sec­re­tary and an LLM Stu­dent in Devel­op­ment and Man­age­ment Law Stud­ies. He writes in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity.

African Times - - Perspectives -

It was the gen­er­a­tion of Nel­son Man­dela which steered the door to door cam­paign to so­licit the peo­ple’s vi­sion of a free and demo­cratic South Africa. In re­sponse, the peo­ple over­whelm­ingly voted for jobs, free and qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, proper health care, proper in­fra­struc­ture, wa­ter and hous­ing, re­turn of land and other com­mand­ing heights of the econ­omy. The cam­paign pro­duced a blue­print for the fu­ture; it came to be known as the Free­dom Char­ter. It was adopted on 26 June 1955 in Klip­town, Soweto.

The Free­dom Char­ter is char­ac­terised by quite ex­ten­sive and numer­ous de­mands of the peo­ple.

The strate­gic de­feat of apartheid in 1994 trans­ported some of the se­ri­ous chal­lenges for the ANC gov­ern­ment. Chief among these chal­lenges are un­em­ploy­ment, poverty and in­equal­ity, and they have neg­a­tively im­pacted on or­di­nary peo­ple. In­formed by its his­toric sta­tus as a lib­er­a­tion move­ment and a dis­ci­plined force of the left, the ANC has to adapt to the new ma­te­rial re­al­i­ties.

Some of these chal­lenges are in­formed by huge and un­rea­son­able com­pro­mises of the CODESA ne­go­ti­a­tions, par­tic­u­larly the prop­erty clause in terms of land resti­tu­tion

The 2017 ANC Polok­wane con­fer­ence re­solved to na­tion­alise the mines, banks and other strate­gic monopoly in­dus­tries and to trans­fer the land back to their right­ful own­ers. These res­o­lu­tions were taken af­ter a thor­ough and in­tense po­lit­i­cal as­sess­ment based on the needs and aspi­ra­tions of the peo­ple, and the bal­ance of forces in the coun­try.

It was that the bal­ance of forces was in favour of the pro­gres­sive forces, will­ing and com­mit­ted to pur­sue the agenda for a rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Since the Polok­wane con­fer­ence, the rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion pro­gram was not suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented as dic­tated by the Free­dom Char­ter. Twenty-four years down the line, ser­vice de­liv­ery is at a snail pace. Gov­ern­ment lacks the strat­egy and abil­ity to fast-track ser­vice de­liv­ery and eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of the his­tor­i­cally dis­em­pow­ered.

We must also ac­knowl­edge that part of our fail­ures to im­ple­ment rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion is in­formed by lack of san­ity in gov­ern­ment led by the ANC. It is there­fore im­per­a­tive to in­tro­duce hy­giene so that we sani­tise the ANC led gov­ern­ment to fight cor­rup­tion and de­liver ba­sic ser­vices to our peo­ple.

Af­ter twenty-four years of democ­racy and free­dom, our peo­ple still de­mand an­swers to their unan­swered ques­tions from their lead­ers and gov­ern­ment on land, re­serve bank, mines and other ma­jor sec­tors of the econ­omy. The peo­ple are ask­ing whether the rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion agenda out of Polok­wane was the Langston Hughes dream de­ferred that would dry up, like a raisin in the sun.

To the peo­ple it ap­peared that there was no po­lit­i­cal will or de­ter­mi­na­tion on the lead­er­ship of the ANC to im­ple­ment the rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion agenda. Their so­cio-eco­nomic and de­vel­op­men­tal rights were un­der­mined, and the prob­a­bil­ity of not be­ing re­alised was ex­tremely high.

For that rea­son the peo­ple con­tinue to ham­mer their beloved or­gan­i­sa­tion and its lead­ers for an­swers on the Polok­wane rad­i­cal agenda of trans­form­ing so­ci­ety and the econ­omy in par­tic­u­lar.

Re­al­ity is that rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion will re­main a pipe dream as long as the lead­er­ship of the ANC through gov­ern­ment and state in­sti­tu­tions fail to im­ple­ment con­fer­ence res­o­lu­tions. There ap­pears to be re­luc­tance or lack of po­lit­i­cal will to give con­crete ex­pres­sions to the Polok­wane 2007 rad­i­cal plat­form.

The peo­ple of South Africa are also sharply ask­ing the ques­tion which is ex­plicit in the Free­dom Char­ter on the ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land. They ques­tion whether the land re­form or re­dis­tri­bu­tion pro­gram is just an aca­demic ex­er­cise? They be­lieve that the ANC will re­store their land and dig­nity in their life time.

We should ap­plaud the work made by our gov­ern­ment for the in­ten­tion to amend sec­tion

25 of the con­sti­tu­tion. The land must be re­stored to the right­ful own­ers, par­tic­u­larly the his­tor­i­cally dis­ad­van­tage peo­ple who are African. Land ex­pro­pri­a­tions must how­ever oc­cur with­out vi­o­lence and dis­rup­tions to the econ­omy of the coun­try.

We know that this democ­racy and free­dom we are so en­joy­ing didn’t come cheap but with strug­gles and sac­ri­fices which at times meant the losses of free­dom as in Nel­son Man­dela and lives like in the case of Solomon Mahlangu. As we in­dulge in free­dom and democ­racy we must ap­pre­ci­ate and ap­plaud the roles and con­tri­bu­tions which Madiba and his gen­er­a­tion made in fight­ing against the vex­a­tious dra­co­nian and apartheid regime.

As we are con­fronted by chal­lenges in gov­ern­ment, let us re­mem­ber that Man­dela said that if the ANC gov­ern­ment treats them or be­haves like the apartheid gov­ern­ment, our peo­ple must not hes­i­tate to pun­ish it. His idea was based on the Free­dom Char­ter which is the Peo­ple’s Char­ter.

Man­dela’s pro­foundly prophetic words would be echoed by Chris Hani who had the love of the peo­ple in his heart. Some months be­fore his death, Hani said that af­ter the at­tain­ment of democ­racy and free­dom, the ANC must live up to the pro­vi­sions of the Free­dom Char­ter. He once said that, “if the ANC fails to serve the peo­ple, the free­dom and democ­racy will not be worth­while for or­di­nary South Africans.”

“Or­di­nary peo­ple would be lead­er­less and the coun­try rud­der­less. They will be with­out hope and there­fore re­sort to des­per­ate mea­sures for re­dress. They will fol­low false prophets who will re­place our ab­sen­tee lead­er­ship and lead the peo­ple astray. This would hap­pen, and most im­por­tantly, the ANC would have for­got­ten and aban­doned the peo­ple.

Un­der these cir­cum­stances, the ANC would lose its his­tor­i­cal sta­tus as the spear and shield of the peo­ple for over a cen­tury that ad­vanced and de­fended their na­tional and so­cial in­ter­ests. Fi­nally, a vic­to­ri­ous en­emy of the peo­ple will bring the or­di­nary peo­ple un­der a new form of sub­ju­ga­tion and ex­ploita­tion”. It is in mem­ory of Hani and other mar­tyrs of the strug­gle for lib­er­a­tion and South Africans in gen­eral that the ANC should never fail in its mis­sion to deepen and widen free­dom and democ­racy.

The ANC has a rev­o­lu­tion­ary obli­ga­tion to serve the peo­ple.

Its fu­ture solely de­pends on the Free­dom Char­ter. The Free­dom Char­ter is the fu­ture; the fu­ture is the Free­dom Char­ter!

Pic­ture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Visu­alBuzz SA

The peo­ple of the coun­try are still keen on the land ques­tion and its an­swers.

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