Write the truth about the PAC and why it was formed

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Sam Dit­shego

STAR colum­nist Onkgopotse JJ Ta­bane, like most colum­nists, wakes up and writes what­ever comes to mind, with­out re­flec­tion and re­search.

In his July 31 ar­ti­cle, he wrote that in the four years of its ex­is­tence, the EFF has shaken our po­lit­i­cal land­scape more than any other splin­ter party in the his­tory of the ANC. He con­tin­ued, “Even the PAC, which broke away on ide­o­log­i­cal grounds, can­not claim a frac­tion of the suc­cess of the EFF as a solid al­ter­na­tive of its mother body.”

Your cor­re­spon­dent has scant re­gard for the truth and facts. He knows noth­ing about the PAC and its found­ing pres­i­dent, Robert Sobukwe. The sec­ond time he men­tions the PAC, he spews gob­bledy­gook. There is no way he could know the im­pact and in­flu­ence of Sobukwe and the PAC, when he had not pe­rused lit­er­a­ture on both. The best thing he could have done was not to have writ­ten non­sen­si­cal state­ments.

Let’s ex­am­ine the facts on the ANC-PAC “split”. The PAC is not a splin­ter party. The ANC had two doc­u­ments after its found­ing – African Claims of the early 1940s and the Pro­gramme of Ac­tion of 1949 that ev­ery mem­ber of the ANC at the time they were drafted ac­cepted. In 1955, some mem­bers of the ANC, who wanted to smug­gle in the Free­dom Char­ter through the back door, came to be known as the Char­ter­ists. Other mem­bers of the ANC, who were known as the African­ists, ob­jected to this.

A con­tes­ta­tion be­tween the groups en­sued and ended in an ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence in 1958, when the African­ists were phys­i­cally pre­vented from tak­ing part in elec­tions through thug­gery. The late Oliver Tambo ad­mit­ted he hired thugs to pre­vent the African­ists from tak­ing part in the elec­tive con­fer­ence. The elec­tions went ahead with­out those who wanted to res­cue the ANC from adul­ter­ation and po­lit­i­cal pros­ti­tu­tion. Those who hired thugs con­tin­ued with the elec­tion where the Free­dom Char­ter was adopted and in­cor­po­rated into the Con­sti­tu­tion.

This was a com­pletely new or­gan­i­sa­tion. The real ANC mem­bers were pre­vented from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the elec­tions and left with the tra­di­tions of the ANC to form the PAC. Ta­bane should read the let­ter the African­ists’ wrote to that con­fer­ence of im­posters, char­ac­terised by thug­gery and in­trigue. The ANC of 1912 was not formed the same way as the ANC of 1957/58. Thug­gery and in­trigue were for­eign to the 1912 ANC.

In the nine months that it was in ex­is­tence (not four years) be­fore its pro­scrip­tion in April 1960, the PAC of Sobukwe not only shook the apartheid gov­ern­ment to its very foun­da­tions but the en­tire West­ern world. The 1960 an­tipass cam­paign col­lapsed the South African econ­omy, which was bailed out by US com­pa­nies and banks.

Sobukwe and the PAC never ad­dressed im­pe­ri­al­ist con­trap­tions such as the Royal In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs.

In­stead of writ­ing un­sub­stan­ti­ated sto­ries, try to find out what the Chatham House Rule is and why Julius Malema agreed to ad­dress the in­sti­tute in the first place.

On the in­flu­ence of Sobukwe and the PAC, they gave us the word “non-racial­ism”. The ANC’s for­eign pol­icy is a poor ver­sion of what Sobukwe es­poused in his 1959 in­au­gu­ral ad­dress. He spoke about African re­birth in his 1949 Fort Hare speech and ex­plained what it is.

In 1962, the apartheid gov­ern­ment in­sti­tuted the Sny­man Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the PAC and POQO, its erst­while mil­i­tary wing and the fore­run­ners of Apla. About a hun­dred cadres were hanged in the 1960s at Pre­to­ria Cen­tral Prison. Con­sid­er­ing this and many other PAC and POQO con­tri­bu­tions and suc­cesses, how can this Ta­bane boldly write, “Even the PAC, which broke away on ide­o­log­i­cal grounds, can­not claim a frac­tion of the suc­cess of the EFF as a solid al­ter­na­tive of its mother body”? Ta­bane should do his re­search.

The real ANC mem­bers (left the party and) formed the PAC


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