Fac­tion­al­ism within the gov­ern­ing party and its re­cent adop­tion of the EFF’s call for rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion show how in­ef­fec­tual it has be­come, writes

CityPress - - Voices -

If the anal­y­sis of the land ques­tion given by my former comrade Enoch Godong­wana (Voices, March 19 2017 – “We must not be reck­less”), re­flects of­fi­cial ANC think­ing on this key is­sue, then we must for­get about equal­ity in South Africa – at least, un­til the re­moval of the ANC from gov­ern­ment, which, for­tu­nately, is im­mi­nent. Godong­wana’s cen­tral the­sis can be summed up into five in­ter­re­lated ar­gu­ments:

The lim­its of sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion have not been tested in the courts; A yearn­ing for an “or­derly land re­form process”; The mooted re­moval of sec­tion 25 will scare off in­vestors;

ANC MPs were cor­rect to re­ject re­cent calls by the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) to amend sec­tion 25; and

South Africans must unite to de­feat “the grow­ing global phe­nom­e­non of pop­ulism”.

Quot­ing re­tired Deputy Chief Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke’s cor­rect lamen­ta­tion of the star­tling fact that the ANC gov­ern­ment, among oth­ers, has hith­erto dis­mally failed to test the lim­its of sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion is hardly an ex­cuse for a rul­ing party which went the other way and in­vented an un­so­licited trans­for­ma­tion-proof concept called the “will­ing buyer, will­ing seller” prin­ci­ple. In this con­nec­tion, the ANC re­mains the will­ing sell­out.

That prin­ci­ple was the ANC’s idea of the “or­derly land re­form process” that Godong­wana and his com­rades strive for. As if there is such a thing as or­derly rev­o­lu­tion­ary change.

There was noth­ing or­derly about how Africans were dis­pos­sessed of the land. Why were suc­ces­sive colo­nial and racist regimes pre­ced­ing 1994 not overly con­cerned about in­vestors be­fore spilling blood in the bat­tle­fields, im­pos­ing un­jus­ti­fi­able taxes, pass­ing the 1913 and 1936 Land Acts, declar­ing so-called Group Ar­eas and other in­flux laws en­forced by forced re­movals, and other forms of bru­tal­ity?

If in­vestors were not put off by such atroc­i­ties, why would they turn their backs on demo­cratic South Africa merely for amend­ing our own Con­sti­tu­tion to deal with our his­tor­i­cal bag­gage and to bring about restora­tive jus­tice and equal­ity? Why would they be so of­fended if we dare to re­store the dig­nity of Africans?

One of the key mis­takes made by the apos­tles of or­derly land re­form is their fail­ure to take a his­tor­i­cal ap­proach to the land ques­tion. How did we get here?

They fail to dis­tin­guish be­tween two sep­a­rate but in­ter­wo­ven sys­tems. The first was the colo­nial de­pri­va­tion of land, mo­ti­vated by ter­ri­to­rial con­tes­ta­tions, agri­cul­tural am­bi­tions and the de­vel­op­ment of the im­pe­rial econ­omy – in short, set­tler colo­nial­ism.

The sec­ond hap­pened mainly af­ter the dis­cov­ery of min­er­als, cou­pled with the need for farm labour – the so-called gold and maize com­plex – as well as the need to gen­er­ate cheap labour for those two key pri­mary eco­nomic sec­tors. This, in short, is pro­le­tar­i­an­i­sa­tion.

Both sys­tems achieved their ends by em­ploy­ing the most se­vere forms of vi­o­lence, op­pres­sion and dis­or­der.

Far from be­ing pop­ulist, the case made by the EFF for a united front of pro­gres­sive forces in the es­sen­tial and ur­gent re­ver­sal of the above is premised not on vi­o­lence or Zim­babwe-style in­va­sions by so-called mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, as our de­trac­tors cheaply in­sist, but on noth­ing more dan­ger­ous than a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment, fol­lowed by con­gru­ent leg­is­la­tion and po­lit­i­cal will.

The demo­cratic state would then dis­trib­ute land to all South Africans, black and white, eq­ui­tably and equally ac­cord­ing to spe­cific re­quire­ments, be they res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial or agri­cul­tural.

Any in­vestor who can fear the lev­els of cer­tainty, sta­bil­ity, op­por­tu­nity, hu­man dig­nity, jus­tice and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, which can be brought about as a re­sult of this, would need their head ex­am­ined.

Would such an in­vestor pre­fer the present sit­u­a­tion of home­less­ness, hope­less­ness, land­less­ness, dis­ease, un­em­ploy­ment, drug abuse, vi­o­lence, crime, so­cial un­rest and a lack of qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion as the more at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive? I doubt it.

It is no mis­take that for two decades, the ANC has elected to in­ter­pret sec­tion 25 as nar­rowly and harm­lessly as pos­si­ble. It is be­cause of what was se­cretly agreed upon dur­ing the eco­nomic ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the ANC and white monopoly cap­i­tal at the Con­ven­tion for a Demo­cratic SA in Novem­ber 1993.

This pact was it­self achieved by the dual meth­ods of ex­tolling the virtues of eco­nomic growth and trick­le­down eco­nom­ics to the former rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, and si­mul­ta­ne­ously in­still­ing in them the fear of the sup­posed loom­ing back­lash of flee­ing in­vestors if a more rad­i­cal path was fol­lowed.

The ac­cep­tance of this false and self-serv­ing ide­o­log­i­cal dogma by the ANC spelt guar­an­teed and ever-in­creas­ing mis­ery for mil­lions of work­ing class and poor South Africans till to­day.

This cul­ture of empty prom­ises, cou­pled with scare­mon­ger­ing, is now en­demic in the ANC.

Godong­wana re­peat­edly warns about the loom­ing re­moval of sec­tion 25 when all that has been mooted is its amend­ment. There is a big dif­fer­ence, and he knows it. But in case one is not scared enough by the re­moval scare­crow, he of­fers you the next bo­gey­man – pop­ulism, which must be ur­gently “de­feated”.

If it is pop­ulist to call for the con­sti­tu­tion­ally based de­ploy­ment of state power to ex­pro­pri­ate land with­out com­pen­sa­tion when­ever it is legally sound and ap­pro­pri­ate to do so, then call me a proud pop­ulist. What is laugh­able is that, as Godong­wana ral­lies his troops for the es­sen­tial de­feat of pop­ulism, he waxes lyri­cal, as he must, about the ur­gent need for rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. Pre­sum­ably, the in­vestors have noth­ing to fear from this. So, the in­vestors and the poorest of the poor ought to em­brace rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and unite to­wards the de­feat of pop­ulism. If the poor and land­less African ma­jor­ity can buy into this ide­o­log­i­cal my­opia, God save us all. The ANC has ab­ro­gated to it­self the role of a 21st-cen­tury Nongqawuse – and we are ex­pected, again, to be­lieve that by burn­ing our eco­nomic and in­tel­lec­tual as­sets at the stake, the an­ces­tors will arise from the dead and res­cue us from im­pe­ri­al­ist eco­nomic sub­ju­ga­tion, nowa­days known as the glob­al­i­sa­tion of cap­i­tal­ism.

Nat­u­rally, the call for land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion be­comes what Godong­wana calls a “mean­ing­less, self-serv­ing pop­ulist slo­gan” when ar­tic­u­lated by the EFF, but not when it is re­peated, al­beit vac­u­ously, by in­vestor-friendly and ex­em­plary lead­ers such as Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, ANC Youth League head Collen “Oros” Maine and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Batha­bile Dlamini. Th­ese “lead­ers” sug­gest that the ANC should have voted with the pop­ulists.

The truth is, of course, that they and Godong­wana be­long to bit­terly op­posed fac­tions of the ter­mi­nally ill ANC. None of them has any in­ter­est what­so­ever in the re­turn of the land.

The “rad­i­cal” rhetoric from Zuma, Deputy Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Ayanda Dlodlo and the like is a ploy to cre­ate a plat­form for the Dlamini-Zuma or Gupta fac­tion, an­swer­able to the Premier League, and to por­tray the other ul­tra­l­ib­eral wing, an­swer­able to Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and their white fun­ders – let us call them the Rup­tas – as less rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

Who­ever wins, the day af­ter the ANC’s up­com­ing De­cem­ber con­fer­ence, you will not hear any­thing about rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion or land re­dis­tri­bu­tion. In­stead, you will hear about the need to keep in­vestors happy, at what­ever hu­man cost to the poor and the land­less peo­ple in the ru­ral ar­eas and squat­ter camps.

Do not be fooled, South Africa: Godong­wana’s di­a­tribe is not an at­tack on the EFF. It is a thinly veiled at­tack on Zuma and his acolytes like Dlodlo, Oros, Dlamini and other overnight rad­i­cals, not to men­tion their drum ma­jorettes like Mzwanele Manyi.

We must ask Zuma and his fac­tion: If you be­lieve in rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion, why did you op­pose th­ese very things at the 2010 ANC na­tional gen­eral coun­cil in Dur­ban, and why did you liq­ui­date the 2011 ANC Youth League?

Sim­i­larly, we ask the fac­tion headed by Ramaphosa, Godong­wana and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han this: If sec­tion 25 al­lows for land re­dis­tri­bu­tion, as you ar­gue, why must we be­lieve that a party which has failed to re­alise it in 23 years, and which has adopted the ne­olib­eral Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan, can even be­gin to re­turn the land? And why are in­vestors so com­fort­able with your ver­sion of rad­i­cal­ism?

The truth is, there is no ANC fac­tion which will re­turn the land. In fact, there is no ANC. The ANC died in Polok­wane in 2007 and, as will hap­pen to most of us, was buried back at its birth­place of Man­gaung in the Free State, in De­cem­ber 2012. The un­veil­ing of the tomb­stone will be in De­cem­ber 2017.

The ghost of the ANC, and all its fac­tions, must fall. Like the bib­li­cal sac­ri­fi­cial lamb, the ANC and its continental coun­ter­parts needed to die so that Africa might live. Mpofu is na­tional chair­per­son of the EFF. For a full

ver­sion, visit city­press.co.za


SELF­SUS­TAIN­ING Aaron Dlamini (49) is one of 13 farm­ers in­volved in a men­tor­ship pro­gramme run by non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Tech­noServe in Steyns­dorp, a ru­ral vil­lage 50km from Eman­zana, Mpumalanga. Tech­noServe claims its work is closely aligned with gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan, which aims to elim­i­nate poverty and re­duce in­equal­ity

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