Monday, July 27, 2015

Hashtag: #WhereWasNzimande?



When Blade Nzimande was reported to have said that the Economic Freedom Fighters should be killed, we promptly and correctly dismissed him as an opportunist intellectual dwarf who do not have any sensible ideological and political programme to confront the EFF. What we did not do was to politically expose the nature, character and content of Blade Nzimande, reveal who he truly is. As will be seen through the exact historic schematisation of his political life, it is evident that Nzimande is a blatant opportunist who staff rode the liberation movement with empty and often confusing rhetoric which lack substance.

Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande was born in 1958 to an African who had economically migrated from a country that was later called Mozambique, and like me he is a descendant of Tsonga/Shangaan speaking migrants from Mozambique, only that I am a descendant of migrants who relocated in the early 17th century to the political territory called South Africa from 1910 onwards. There is completely no trace of his political activism and involvement in the struggle against apartheid, despite the fact that when the youth rose in Soweto and all other parts of South Africa against apartheid, Nzimande was 18 years old.

The paternal and ancestral origins of Nzimande should be revoked because the socio-economic conditions that led to the brutal xenophobic attacks of mainly Mozambican migrants are a direct consequence of the incompetence of a government he praises, and deceitfully refer to as progressive. As a matter of fact, if there were adequate jobs, houses, sanitation, water, and access to education for all in South Africa, xenophobic attacks against our blood brothers from all parts of Africa would not happen.  

Now coming back to the mysterious political life of Nzimande, we should state the obvious reality that the conditions of apartheid repression and suppression of apartheid laws in the 1980s had ignited the consciousness and moral obligation of all progressive youth to confront the apartheid regime, because they had nothing to lose but their chains. A substantial majority of the youth who confronted the regime in 1976 and joined UmKhonto WeSizwe and African People’s Liberation Army (APLA) were between the ages of 12 and 17, and where was Nzimande?

Many activists from KwaZulu Natal and those in institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu Natal, including Steve Biko were at the height of their political activism in the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO). Where was Nzimande? Solomon Mahlangu is two years older than Nzimande, and never had the opportunity to attend post-secondary education, but understood more than Nzimande that the major struggle was against the repressive apartheid regime, and understood that public administration and industrial psychology in a sick society had to come after liberation or infused in the struggle against apartheid. Where was Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande?

In 1976, Nzimande was accepted at the University of Zululand to study Public Administration and it is patently evident that the public administration he was studying was to prepare him to administer the Bantustans, not a post-apartheid South Africa because in his consciousness and conscience, there was nothing wrong with the apartheid South African society and administration. What was the curriculum content of public administration in a Bantustan University, which saw nothing wrong with apartheid laws and order?

Post 1976, youth activism rose dramatically in South Africa as South Africa’s youth rendered the apartheid machinery unworkable and ungovernable. All townships and towns had their own Youth Congresses, such that the biggest affiliates of the United Democratic Front were youth formations. Where was Nzimande? The United Democratic Front (UDF) was officially launched and founded in 1983 when Nzimande was25 years old. Was Nzimande in Cape Town when civil society and all progressive formations said no to apartheid?

As a matter of fact, in 1986, there were more than 600 Youth Congresses across South Africa, which mobilised all youth behind the banner of people’s liberation and the Freedom Charter. In all these Youth Congresses, the question is where was Nzimande? The South African Youth Congress went to its National Conference in 1987 in a secret location to fight for the freedom of all South Africans. Where was the 29 year old Nzimande?

From 1976, particularly after the Soweto June 16 massacre of defenceless youth, thousands of the youth from all across South Africa left the country to go join UmKhonto WeSizwe and APLA. Was Blade Nzimande part of the June 16 Detachment? No! The youth of Nzimande’s generation sacrificed their lives, dropped out of school, left their parents and homes to fight against the regime, but where was he? For someone who was a student in a University, studying social sciences, there is completely no way that he was not aware of the political turmoil that defined South Africa during his times, yet he never was part of the struggle against apartheid.

Proper class analysis reveals the obvious fact that in any class war, there can never be neutrality. As a matter of fact, even remaining silent and uninterested represents assumption of aclass position, and because he was not part of the struggle against the oppressive and exploiting class, the logical conclusion is that he was a collaborator in the same way Bantustan leaders were. After all, it is a fair political observation to define and categorise as charlatans and staff riders all of the so called Freedom Fighters and so calledRevolutionaries born after 1950, yet were never arrested, exiled, banned, banished, tortured, and terrorised by the apartheid regime, which regarded children as young as 12 as their enemy.

To his credit, perhaps we should state that the only political activism recorded of Nzimande during that period was when he partook in a hunger strike in the University of Zululand, fighting for tastier food. He recurrently recalls this ‘revolutionary’ strike because he was part of those whoprotested against the leaders of the strike who announced that even the newly offered food, still did not taste good. In 2015, students in institutions of higher learning he is supposed to lead as Minister of Higher education are not fighting for tastier food, they are fighting for basic food because they go lectures with empty stomachs, and do not even have money to buy books.

Many activists younger than Nzimande, including EFF Commissars Mlungisi Rapodile and Phillip Mhlongo joined UmKhonto WeSizwe at very early stages of their lives because they understood that the enemy had to be fought by all means possible. The absence of Nzimande in the struggle against apartheid does not define him only, but almost the entire leadership of the SACP, such as Senzeni Zokwana (National Chairperson ), Thulas Nxesi (Deputy National Chairperson), Jeremy Cronin (Deputy General Secretary) and Joyce Moloi (Treasurer). This explains why the SACP Central Committee Leaders’ faces glow in admiration and fascinationwhen the its 2nd Deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila, a novice MK soldier who went to the camps in the late 1980s(when talks before talks for the dissolution of the MK and negotiated settlements were almost at the tail end), speaks about his less than three years military experience and how he was named Rush Phakisa.

When all signs were pointing to the end of apartheid, and possible political take over by the dominant African National Congress, Nzimande staff rode the liberation movement and acted as if he is a true revolutionary and communist. Staff riding is real in many liberation movements across the world.Nzimande joined the African National Congress in 1991 (after Mandela was released from prison), not because he was critical of its political and ideological posture, but because his consciousness and political awareness meant that he should be a member of another organisation, founded as a cultural organisation.  

The disastrous assimilation of Communist Party cadres into the neo-liberal project and agenda in the mid-1990s opened space for his election as General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, a calamity which has reduced the SACP into a faction inside the ANC fighting only to join the gravy train of the degenerating ANC. The differences between the ANC and SACP under Nzimande have never been on concrete and clear ideological and political questions, but onthe entryism formula which counts the number of quasi-communists that should be deployed to sites of power, meaning cabinet, mayoral and provincial executives’ positions.

This explains why after their Special National Conference, the major political issue on the agenda of the SACP is that the Economic Freedom Fighters, which is a Marxist-Leninist political movement, should be killed. How on earth can an organisation whose name suggests that it is in a class struggle suggest that a movement of the working class should be killed? We will never know, but those who fought against apartheid learned through experience the revolutionary skill and capability of identifying and characterising the enemy.Charlatans will never know, and almost always confuse political and ideological opponents as the real enemy.

Unfortunately, the SACP lacks the experience, the depth and revolutionary ideological capacity to identify, define and characterise the enemy. This fact we fearlessly articulated in the 2009 SACP Special Conference when exposing the ideological directionless of the Party under Nzimande. If they knew, they would know and understand that the enemy of progress in South Africa is white monopoly capital, which is using them (the governing Alliance) as nothing but an instrument to rule, exploit the class which a Communist Party is supposed to represent.

Of course, those dining under his table will rush to defend him and mention the fact that he was elected General Secretary of the SACP in 1998 and in all Conferences thereafter without contestation. Unfortunately, history always produces electoral disasters, and like Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and many others, Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande is an electoral disaster and history will prove us right. The EFF will never be killed by electoral disasters. It will live forever and will legitimately take over political power, capture the State and deliver economic freedom for all. The hashtag is #WhereWasNzimande?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Zuma's incomplete history lesson:

Zuma’s incomplete history lesson:

Floyd Shivambu

While responding to the debates of the 2015 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma went off script and gave a brief history lesson on the origins of the political territory known as South Africa today. In the history lesson, he correctly highlighted the key events and developments, including the many wars of resistance. He also illustrated the fact that the battle of Isandlwana was the most prominent of these wars, and acknowledged that in all the wars, the African majority were conquered.

President Zuma correctly highlighted that what was historically recorded as the Anglo-Boer War was actually the South African war, because all South Africans were involved and became casualties on both sides of the antagonistic forces. He correctly pointed to the reality that the settlement of the South African war led to the formation of the Union of South Africa, a whites-only State whose foundation was political exclusion of the black majority. Economic exclusion was, of course, characteristic of colonial conquest, even when the settlers came across (“discovered”) the mineral resources.

It is also correct that the formation of the South African Natives National Congress in 1912 (renamed the African National Congress in 1923) was in reaction to the Union of South Africa, and its primary and founding goal was to fight for inclusion into the Union of South Africa, hence the deputations and petitions to the colonial Britain by the founding leaders of the ANC to beg for inclusion. President Zuma is also correct to say that in the beginning the intention was not to fight, but was for inclusion into the colonised Union of South Africa. Petitions and deputations to the Queen in Britain was a form of acknowledging and legitimising colonial British’s authority over the Union of South Africa, which the educated and civilised black middle class and relative elites thought they should participate in.

The repression and exclusion indeed persisted for a very long time against the black majority and Africans in particular. Despite what was patently white supremacist suppression, oppression and segregation, the ANC adopted the Freedom Charter which says ‘South Africa belongs to all who live in it black and white’. This principle of the ANC led liberation movement defined successive generations of its leadership, and as Zuma said, underpinned Nelson Mandela’s commitment to non-racialism despite his incarceration in prisons and safe houses, including Robben Island, for 27 years.

Now, President Zuma ended his lesson there, cogently illustrating and describing an ANC which upholds non-racialism as its core principle. Of course, the history lesson was meant to assure the white minorities, who had over-reacted to his reductionist January 8 statement that the problems of South African began with the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck. In assurance, he repeated that the Freedom Charter’s clarion call is that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.

Of course, the Freedom Charter says that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, but that is not the only thing the Freedom Charter says and that is not what the liberation movement merely fought for. The Freedom Charter also says ‘the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole”. About the Freedom Charter, Nelson Mandela, the very same one who fought against WHITE DOMINATION, and ‘black domination’ said in 1956 that “It is true that in demanding the nationalisation of the banks, the gold mines and the land the Charter strikes a fatal blow at the financial and gold-mining monopolies and farming interests that have for centuries plundered the country and condemned its people to servitude. But such a step is absolutely imperative and necessary because the realisation of the Charter is inconceivable, in fact impossible, unless and until these monopolies are first smashed up and the national wealth of the country turned over to the people[1]”.

Nelson Mandela said this to emphasise the point that ““The Charter is more than a mere list of demands for democratic reforms. It is a revolutionary document precisely because the changes it envisages cannot be won without breaking up the economic and political set-up of present South Africa[2]”. Whilst articulating what we, the contemporary Freedom Fighters conceptualised as the struggle for economic freedom, Nelson Mandela and the entire political and ideological literate of the liberation movement never used the concept of economic freedom in our lifetime. These Freedom Fighters however understood that political emancipation without economic emancipation is meaningless. The right to vote and assure minorities that they will not be driven into the sea is political freedom, but economic freedom is a struggle that seek to ensure that the wealth of our country is transferred and shared equitably amongst the people as a whole.

This notion was understood and internalised in the liberation movement, such that in 1969, the former liberation movement acknowledged in its 1969 Strategy & Tactics that “in our country - more than in any other part of the oppressed world - it is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the land to the people as a whole. It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy and does not represent even the shadow of liberation”.

Simply put, this means that a South Africa whose economy continues to be owned and directed by those who did prior first elections is not a liberated country, does not represent even the shadow of liberation. In his own admission, Zuma indicated in the response to the SONA debates that less than 3% of the core of South Africa’s economy is owned by representatives of 80% of the population, the African majority. The only sound reason why such is the case is because the political elite, which is supposed to hold and exercise political power on behalf of the people is nothing but the executive that manages the common affairs of capitalists, who own 97% of South Africa’s economy.

Telling South Africa’s history and omit the reality that fundamentally, essence and pillar of white oppression and suppression was economic exploitation and exclusion of the black majority is treacherous. To tell the South African story and only end where it says “South Africa belongs to all who live in it” is reactionary. Ending the history of South Africa only with the non-racial character of the struggle is perhaps the major reason the country is in a crisis it confronts today, the crisis of continued black exclusion from the economy, such that government’s conceptualisation of economic activities in the township and rural communities is narrowly conceptualised as informal and small scale agriculture respectively.

Maybe South Africa should acknowledge and accept the fact that the original aim of the ANC, as emphasised by Zuma’s history lesson, was not to fight, but to participate in the political Union of South Africa. The reality is that the ANC lacks the ideological and political capacity to fight the struggle for economic freedom and dismally incapable of utilising legislation and other political power instruments to transfer the wealth to the people as a whole. Multi-national corporations continue to rob South Africa and the entire African continent of its natural, raw and now financial resources through unmitigated exportation of natural and raw wealth, and manipulation of the international trading systems through illicit financial flows, base erosion, transfer pricing, and profit shifting.

The ANC lacks the required sophistication to first understand these phenomena, and secondly, combat them in a manner that will lead to local beneficiation and industrialisation of raw and natural resources. The ANC lacks the capacity to curtail and stop massive illicit financial flows that rob our country of billions of Rands. There is only one movement that can do, and that movement is the Economic Freedom Fighters. Unlike all other political parties, the EFF is fearless, and rooted in the ideological commitment to economically emancipate the people of South Africa, Africa and the world through socialist development of the productive forces and socialised discontinuation of private ownership of exploitative capital. We are the ones you have been waiting for.

Floyd Shivambu is Deputy President of the EFF

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The case for Malamulele Municipality.


Floyd Shivambu

The violent protests that have defined Malamulele to demand a Municipality independent of the Thulamela Local Municipality have largely been defined and characterised in media circles as tribal cries for a tribal authority. While the consciousness of ordinary people in Malamulele might have tribal undertones, it is entirely incorrect that a demand for a municipality is solely on the basis of tribal dynamics, wherein Xitsonga speaking citizens do not want to be under a Municipality that is predominated by Tshivenda speaking citizens. It is only lazy minds that reduce the genuine demands into a tribal issue because there are real socio economic aspects and features that need attention in Malamulele.

I spent a significant part of my formative years in Malamulele and in all honesty, the only two visible changes that have happened in Malamulele town as a result of public expenditure are 1) a robot on the cross road towards the shopping complex and 2) a boxing gymnasium built by the Provincial government in honour of Cassius Baloyi, who is one of the most successful professional boxers from Malamulele.

There might be other developments, but the condition of the pot holed access roads to Malamulele have not changed since 1994, except recurrent patches which recur more often than they are repaired. Electrification of most villages was completed in 2012, and due to high levels of unemployment and poverty, electrification has not significantly changed the lives of villagers who still depend on firewood for cooking and warmth during winter, expect in household of Gauteng migrant workers. The only place with a sewerage system is Malamulele town, which only accommodates less than 10% of the entire Malamulele population. 

The other obvious reality is that virtually all retailers in Malamulele shopping complex are not residents of Malamulele and this is the case with many other rural towns in South Africa. These become victims of the protests whenever the community rises in demand of a local municipality. A perception exists that majority of employees in the Thulamela Local Municipality are those who stay closer to Thulamela Municipality and if not handled properly, this perception arouses some sense that there are certain degrees of tribal preferences. This still needs to be confirmed.

Due to these realities and many others, the 14th of September 2014, the leadership of the Economic Freedom Fighters led by President Julius Malema visited Malamulele community to listen to the grievances and concerns of the people of Malamulele, in order to organically understand the Malamulele question. It emerged during our interaction with the people of Malamulele that the entire area called Malamulele has a population of over 500 000 people, more than 80 villages, 1 Malamulele Town, two police stations, two non-operational gold Mines, and the Punda Maria gate to Kruger National Park happens from Malamulele.

An absolute majority of those who spoke to us decried the lack of services, jobs, and basic necessities which would otherwise be provided by a competent government. We aware of the problems the people of all the people of Malamulele face, particularly the lack of proper roads, lack of sewerage system, inconsistent water supply, and inefficient municipality services. We are also aware of the extent and level of joblessness and unemployment in Malamulele.

Malamulele is an area of 9.57 square kilometres, with more than 80 villages, 14 wards, more than 30 High Schools, and more than 40 Primary schools. Demographically, Malamulele qualifies for a Municipality, as there are many Municipalities in Limpopo and all over South Africa which are far smaller than the size of Malamulele. Mutale Local Municipality is under the same Vhembe District Municipality as Malamulele and its population size is around 80 000, which is six times smaller than Malamulele population. Musina is a local Municipality under Vhembe and has a population size of about 50 000 which is 10 times smaller than Malamulele population.

Our thorough investigation and assessment of the reasons came to the conclusion that tribalism is not the case and reason why the people of Malamulele are demanding a Municipality. There are instances of false consciousness amongst the protestors, but an absolute majority of the people, particularly the youth and elderly woman is that a Municipality is needed so that it can provide job opportunities and deliver services quicker to the people of Malamulele and their more than 80 villages.

Of course the population size is not the only basis upon which a Municipality should be decided, there are many other aspects that need to be given practical attention, particularly the economic viability of a jurisdiction that should be a municipality.  As Economic Freedom Fighters, we support the call for a Municipality in Malamulele, made this commitment in our elections manifesto. We do not believe that a Municipality will be a panacea for all the developmental challenges facing Malamulele, hence we support the Municipality on the following grounds and basis:
a)      National, Provincial, District and Local Government should make Malamulele economically viable to generate enough resources for the Municipality to self-sustain and create more job opportunities for the people of Malamulele. 
b)      There are so many Municipalities in South Africa that are predominantly 1 language, and Malamulele will not be the first one to be predominantly 1 language.
c)       The people of Malamulele should meet with the business community in Malamulele and begin thorough discussions on how, where and when they should expand economic activities in Malamulele, including the expansion of the current shopping complex and construction of Malls to allow continued economic activities.
d)      The people of Malamulele should develop a tourism programme which links to the Punda Maria gate to the Kruger National Park, and extract maximum economic possibilities and potential out of the proximity to Kruger National Park.
e)      The two gold Mines should begin operation and employ predominantly local people, help them with skills and other basic necessities needed for the Mines to continue operation.
f)       Small scale agriculture, particularly eggs and chicken farming should be expanded through State aided provision of a hatchery, chicken houses, feed, medication, and abattoir to process chicken products.
g)      The now dilapidated Shingwedzi College of Education should be re-opened as a Further Education and Training (FET) college which will provide many vocational skills and training capacities to the people of Malamulele. 
h)      The 14 Wards currently demarcated under Malamulele should re-demarcated into 25 Wards in order to have a viable and vibrant Council.

These activities will make a Malamulele Municipality viable and present the people with possible opportunities for real economic emancipation. Reducing the genuine demand for Malamulele Municipality into a demand for tribal exclusivity is disingenuous and should be dismissed with contempt. The clarion call of the people of Malamulele is that Give them a Municipality, and make it economically viable.

Floyd Shivambu is Deputy President of the EFF:

Monday, January 05, 2015


The EFF National People’s Assembly an inspiration of hope: Siyaqhuba!

Floyd Shivambu

The Economic Freedom Fighters held its 1st National People’s Assembly between the 13th and 16th of December 2014 in Bloemfontein, Free State Province. Despite what doomsayers predicted and wished for, the 1st NPA of the EFF was a tremendous success, and everything that happened in as part of the official programme was qualitatively superior. Elected delegates from ward based branches, leaders of regions and provinces of the EFF converged in what became the most successful socialist gathering in the Southern hemisphere to discuss and adopt a programme of action towards economic emancipation in South Africa and the African continent.

The EFF 1st National People’s Assembly is represents another milestone in the many which doomsayers, and the less sophisticated analyses predict of the EFF. The EFF is not like the political parties that have existed before, and the sooner society appreciates this reality, the better. We represent a generation of freedom fighters who as Fanon made the clarion call, have discovered its mission and will fulfil such a mission. That we have discovered a mission is beyond dispute, and the reality is that we will fulfil such a mission.

A larger part of the NPA was opened to the media, because we were not engaged in some elite roundtable discussions on what should constitute our programmes towards economic freedom. In all the deliberations and policy making process that ensued, delegates from branches spoke about the EFF as a Government in Waiting, and not so much about the EFF as an opposition political party. EFF Members have internalised the fact that the EFF will be government of South Africa, hence their determined, cogent and informed propositions and ultimately resolutions on how we will best run South Africa as an economically liberated zone.

The People’s Assembly appreciated that for the EFF to take over political power, we should begin to engage in necessary struggles which will lead to the economic emancipation of the majority. The People’s Assembly also emphasised that some of the cardinal pillars that drive our movements should never be postponed because an illusion that we will be handed political and therefore economic power to emancipate our people on a silver platter should never be created. This informed the resolutions that were taken concerning the nature and content of struggle the EFF should engage in the immediate as part of building an economic emancipation movement.

Part of these programmes is radical land redistribution, which will unapologetically mean that the EFF will support, participate in and lead programmes which will allocate land to the landless masses of our people, outside the current framework of the South African government. The essence of this approach and struggle is born out of the fact that the approach of the ruling party on land redistribution does not and will never work. The ruling party only managed to buy 7% of the stolen land from white settlers since 1994, and as a result, the recently released land audit points to the fact that 79% of South Africa’s land is still under the ownership and control of white settlers and their descendants.

Another important and turning point resolution adopted by the 1st National People’s Assembly is a political and ideological determination to direct the war for economic emancipation to the real enemy for economic emancipation, which is indisputably white monopoly capital. South Africa is currently the protests capital of the world, and almost all these protests are directed at government at the local sphere, resulting in burning of local public infrastructure and Local government Councillors’ houses. The EFF 1st NPA said that we should now direct the war to the Mines, and huge conglomerates and corporations that are robbing South Africa of potential wealth.

Whilst we will engage in and support protests to local municipalities that are inherently useless under the ANC and DA governments, we will also lead massive and militant protests to the Mines to demand provision of healthcare facilities, sanitation, roads, schools, bursaries, and even food for all the surrounding communities from the Mines and other corporations. All Mines, particularly the ones with black economic shareholders should re-direct the resources they use to buy black people to the communities around them. As things stand, mining communities are the poorest and most vulnerable to diseases such as Tuberculosis, and there is no dispute that such is linked directly to the mining activities which enrich few individuals. This will come to an end when the EFF begins cogent and militant programmes around the Mines. Protesters have been burning and disrupting wrong houses and infrastructure and through building proper consciousness, the EFF will unapologetically redirect the struggle towards the primary enemy of our struggle.

Of course reformists and reactionary elements will proclaim this form of struggle as unlawful and unconstitutional, forgetting that the struggle for economic emancipation and economic emancipation itself cannot be contained within the current legalities, which in all fairness are illegitimate. Many of these reactionaries forget that it was illegal under apartheid for political freedom fighters to enter into buses and toilets reserved for whites only, but they did so in the fight for political freedom. Many reactionaries forget that it was illegal for blacks who are more than 80% of South Africa to vote in elections, but political freedom fighters undermined such laws and declared successive whites only elections as illegitimate. Many reactionaries forget that it was illegal for workers to strike and demand their rights, but workers did so in the struggle for political freedom.

We therefore will as the EFF unapologetically lead struggles for radical and faster land redistribution. Because what we currently have is illegal and illegitimate. We therefore will as the EFF lead struggles that demand an equitable share from the Mines because what is currently happening might be permissible by the laws of this country, but is morally and logically illegal. It is morally, logically and economically illegal that few individuals own huge tracts of land while majority of our people are landless. It is economically illegal that Mines make billions in profits, while the immediate mining communities do not have access to water, sanitation, houses, healthcare and other basic services. This will come to an end, and those who do not believe, better do so now because we will fight to the victorious end.

This obviously needs an organisationally and ideologically stable organisation and more than anything, the EFF 1st National People’s Assembly settled this question. In his political report to the People’s Assembly, the Commander in Chief Julius Malema said, “The EFF is a movement in a class struggle and appreciates its Congress, black conscious, pan Africanist and most importantly the internationalist and socialist character of the EFF in the struggle for economic freedom in a neo-colonial South Africa and Africa. There is no need to fragment the organisation along those lines. We are uniting Chris Hani, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, and Che Guevara in the struggle for economic freedom and we shall overcome”.

This affirms the clarity and cogency of the ideological posture of our movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters and we explain it as follows:
a)      The Congress character of the EFF is one that appreciates the non-racialist content of our struggle signified by the election of two Commissars which apartheid South Africa would have classified Indian into the top 6 positions of the EFF, and a reasonable number of those classified as coloured into the Central Command Team. Narrow ideologues, even those who proclaim non-racialism would have never understood and permitted this development. This does not in any way tie the EFF to reactionary Nationalists who believe that economic emancipation will happen through creation of a black bourgeoisie.
b)      The Black-consciousness character is one that appreciates that while our people were exploited as a class, they were also made to believe through various streams of subjugation and ideological work that as Africans they are inferior, and the struggle for economic freedom seek to liberate the inferiority consciousness which had been inflicted upon black people’s lives over centuries. Like Steve Biko, the EFF is "looking forward to a non-racial, just and egalitarian society in which colour, creed, and race shall form no point of reference”.
c)      The pan Africanist character of the EFF is cogently expressed in one of the 7 cardinal pillars in the EFF Founding Manifesto, which basically asserts and affirms the position that the economic emancipation and development of South Africa’s economy is inextricably intertwined with the economic and political unity and development of the entire African continent.
d)      The EFF’s socialist and internationalist character is expressed in the ideological and logical conviction that ours is a class struggle against capitalism and imperialism, and should be guided and underpinned by the principles of international socialist solidarity and common struggles of the exploited masses of the world.

It is important to highlight the fact that the entire liberation struggle in South Africa had fragmented these streams into irreconcilable ideological differences, which meant that each stream had to have its own political party. The EFF as the last bearer of the baton towards the economic emancipation finish line has been able through its 1st National People’s Assembly to unite all progressive forces and is on its way towards victory of and for the people and generations to come. The delegates to the 1st EFF National People’s Assembly represented more than 500 000 members and proclaimed in unanimity that victory is certain, and we should never retreat.

The unity the EFF consolidated in its 1st National People’s Assembly is unity of purpose, and not unity of egomaniacs and self-proclaimed messiahs, whose revolutionary conscience tells them that a revolutionary programme can only succeed if they are its supreme ideological and political leaders, and cannot be part of the collective even when requested to do so by the majority. The EFF embraced, internalised and hoisted the principles of internal organisational democracy, which will hold the organisation together until victory. Doomsayers will prophesy doom, yet doom will never define the Economic Freedom Fighters. Our Movement is here to stay. Siyaqhuba!

Floyd Shivambu is Deputy President of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Middle Finger to Cyril

The middle-finger gesture to the deputy president has subsequently been withdrawn, but truth prevails, writes Floyd Shivambu.
When he was answering questions in the National Assembly, ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa went about repeating what he previously said concerning the Marikana massacre, trying to recruit all South Africans to own up to a deed he primarily instigated as a director of Lonmin.
As Economic Freedom Fighters MPs, we knew that Ramaphosa would try to waffle in his responses, and we chose to ask more direct questions so that we could get direct and pointed answers and responses.
Our approach to Parliament from the beginning is that we will never refer to a spade as a gardening tool, because such leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
The time of a sleeping Parliament which avoids vivid truth has come to an end.
Now, after Ramaphosa waffled, the EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema in no uncertain terms made assertions that are truthful and reflect reality with regard to Ramaphosa’s role in the massacre of workers in Marikana.
Our assertions reflect reality because if he had not sent e-mails to politicians in the security cluster, defining the labour dispute in Marikana as a criminal action which required concomitant action, the rabid and barbaric way in which the South African police reacted could never have happened.
I personally saw the pain of the injured mineworkers and went from police station to police station checking on the well-being of the mineworkers who were arrested for surviving the massacre.
Working with colleagues and even before the formation of the EFF as a political movement, we made arrangements for the first group of legal representatives that got the arrested and injured workers freed from police stations and jail cells.
The pain I saw and experienced working with the workers to regain stability and focus still echoes in my soul and mind today. I was part of the workers when we opened a police case of murder at the Marikana police station, a case which has not yet been attended to.
Whenever I see the culprits, I remember what the workers went through. I went to all the court appearances of the workers who survived, and watched with awe when the SAPS denied them access to water to wash the wounds they attained during the massacre. The pain of the widows of those massacred still breaks my heart.
It was in that context that I gestured a middle finger towards Ramaphosa when we were leaving the chambers on the order of the Speaker of the National Assembly.
I have seen the statements of the Chief Whip of the ANC and SACP claiming that I gestured the middle finger towards the Speaker. I do not know what they seek to achieve in such utter misrepresentations, and will be ready to expose whatever happens after this process.
To me, the gesture meant that Ramaphosa’s greed and hunger for profits led to the massacre. I subsequently withdrew the gesture because I strongly believe that we should not use Parliament to express offensive gestures and signs. There are platforms where we can show Ramaphosa the middle finger, but Parliament is not one of them.
The many reactions which followed the middle-finger incident are mainly sentimental and based on the fact that he is older, and to state it clearly, I have no respect for politicians who use age to analyse any development.
Who is this Ramaphosa everyone is demanding we should respect on the basis of his age?
Ramaphosa is a careerist lawyer and politician who from the mid- 1970s had access to and interaction with representatives of white monopoly capital in South Africa. Those who understand politics will know that white monopoly capital, more than the political subjects it controls, is the primary enemy of any progressive change that will wholly uplift South Africa for the benefit of all.
For careerist purposes, Ramaphosa started the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), coincidentally during a period when Anglo American was beginning to open up on the question of industrial relations, in particular with black mineworkers.
In hindsight it is clearer that to Ramaphosa and most of the founding leaders of the NUM, the union was more of an entrepreneurial adventure than a genuine movement of the people.
Ramaphosa was never a mineworker, and was never subjected to the pain mineworkers undergo every day. This can also be best explained by the direction past NUM leaders take after union leadership. They often join boards of companies they claimed were enemies during their union days, and become the most brutal exploiters.
Ramaphosa is said to be the constitution man, the great negotiator who presided over the Constitutional Assembly that brought about the constitution.
What many people do not acknowledge and recognise is that the constitution basically constitutionalised inequalities that had existed before 1994. Placing in the constitution the clause that makes it almost impossible to redress the injustices of the past economic inequalities is treacherous. Ramaphosa’s role in the constitutional drafting process was primarily to safeguard the ill-gotten wealth of the white minorities.
When Ramaphosa threw tantrums over the fact that he was overlooked for the position of deputy president, missing and boycotting the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as first democratically elected president, white monopoly capital was ready to welcome him. From there on, he sat on the boards of virtually all big businesses and was recipient of many BEE deals, not because he was this brilliant entrepreneur, but because he insulated white wealth in the constitutional processes.
There is nothing entrepreneurial about Ramaphosa’s involvement in business because he was co-opted into existing white businesses. He therefore becomes the comprador bourgeoisie – unproductive, sucks up to colonial capital, and sells out the interests of the majority for individual upward mobility.
In his comprador role, Ramaphosa was until recently a director of a company called London Mine (Lonmin), whose arrogance and refusal to pay workers led to the deaths of 34 mineworkers, and to the most protracted protest labour action in the history of South Africa. Lonmin has not met, and actually disregarded, the prescriptions of the Mining Charter, and of course, the reason is Ramaphosa who is their security guard and can instruct politicians to stay far from the company which feeds him.
Lonmin is also alleged to be involved in the practice of transfer pricing, which is the most treacherous form of corporate crime in society.
What corporations involved in transfer pricing do is sell the commodities they produce to their subsidiary companies in countries called tax havens for lower prices in order to avoid taxes in the country they extract the commodities from.
In a report recently published by the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), it is stated that, “In sum, Lonmin, just for the years 2008 to 2012 transferred in commission fees $160 million (R1 231 billion) to a Lonmin subsidiary, Western Metals Sales Limited based in Bermuda, a well known tax haven. A further $155m (R1 170billion) was paid in management fees to Lonmin Management Services.”
These amounts were shifted from Lonmin’s South African operations and effectively put out of reach of possible wage demands, meetings of its social labour plan commitments and beyond what would have been “taxable income”.
It is necessary to ask if this is a case of the so-called “illicit financial flows” that have so worried African heads of state and prompted the Economic Commission for Africa and the AU to establish the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows.
Lonmin’s Bermuda connection is one piece in a complex inter-company labyrinth and picture of excessive dividend payments before the 2008 crash, exorbitant executive salaries as well as yearly management fees to head offices.
This is an important part of the background to the August 16 Marikana massacre and shaped Lonmin’s response to the wage demands of rock drill operators and other workers at its operations.
What this means is that the corporations Ramaphosa has been in service of have been treacherously avoiding tax, depriving South Africa of potential revenue to better services and denying workers adequate remuneration.
Workers had to resort to extreme forms of protest demanding R12 500 wages which Lonmin has been shifting to other parts of the world through a system that borders on criminality. Workers had to lose their lives, and families were deprived of breadwinners, because a few individuals are benefiting.
Now, this is the Ramaphosa whom all of us are expected to respect on the basis of his age. It will be very difficult for some of us to respect old people who are bartering our country down, aggressively extracting our mineral resources and calling for concomitant actions against workers.
Of course, the gesture expressed towards Ramaphosa was wrong and done in a wrong platform, but it is high time that someone told Ramaphosa that his personal greed and collaborationist practices are not appreciated.
When the EFF takes over political power, we will condemn such individuals to insignificance because society cannot be guided by lies forever.
As we said before, the only great thing Ramaphosa did correctly was to help fire some of us from the ANC so that we could expose its weaknesses and educate society that the party is not the liberator it claims to be. We will never surrender, no retreat until victory!
* Floyd Shivambu is EFF Chief Whip.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.
Sunday Independent

Monday, July 21, 2014

National Treasury Budget Vote 10 EFF Address: Commissar Floyd Shivambu

National Treasury Budget Vote 10 EFF Address: Commissar Floyd Shivambu
Monday, 21 July 2014
Honourable Chairperson,
1.     The EFF obviously does not agree with the National Treasury Budget Vote because it is based on the National Development Plan, whose ideological underpinnings are the same as all the right-wing policies since 1994, GEAR and ASGISA. They all say pursue growth first and the rest shall follow. Such is narrow and has not succeeded anywhere. Trickle-down economics do not work anywhere.
2.     2014 was supposed to be the year where unemployment and poverty would be halved, but goal posts have been shifted to the year 2030.
3.     We also reject the budget vote on the basis of a poorly conceptualised radical economic programme, which do not propose any substantial changes to the country’s fiscal and monetary policies. Different ANC politicians say different things in terms of what is meant by radical economic transformation. If there is anything radical, it is the misdiagnosis on what constraints economic expansion in South Africa, and a radical misdiagnosis leads to radical application of wrong remedies. We will deal with that when we respond to the President’s budget vote on Thursday.
4.     There is however one phenomenon which we seek to address for this budget vote. This constitutes the reason why the EFF does not agree with the budget vote, but also a basis of concrete proposals on what is to be done to combat the massive corporate theft and criminality that has defined South Africa and the whole resource rich African continent for a very long time.
5.     The phenomenon is called transfer pricing: Under transfer pricing, huge multinational companies create subsidiary companies in other parts of the world, largely known as the tax havens. They then sell all the goods and services they produce to their subsidiary companies in the tax havens, in order to avoid taxes in the countries where they extract these natural resources.
6.     For instance, if the internationally agreed price of platinum is R1700 per ounce, these companies sell to themselves for R300 per ounce so that the tax they pay the country that they extract the natural resource is only for the R300. This is the most sophisticated form of tax evasion and capital flight defining not only South Africa today, but other countries such as Zambia for the copper and Angola and Nigeria for the crude oil.
7.     In South Africa, transfer pricing is a reality and majority of, if not all companies involved in natural resources engage in transfer pricing. This deprives the country of a resource base and tax revenue which could contribute significantly to the money that the State collects from companies to build schools, hospitals, and fight the diseases which these mines cause. Like we did in the standing committee on Finance and the portfolio committees of Mineral resources and Trade and Industry, we once again propose to this house that a Parliamentary Commission be instituted to forensically investigate the occurrences of transfer pricing and base erosion.
8.     Under this, the commission should ask the critical questions of where does Lonmin, Glencore, BHP Billiton, Anglo American, African Rainbow Minerals and Shanduka sell their natural resources to and for how much. We need to investigate the corporations which ANC Politicians have interests in and we will discover so many things. We can assure Chairperson, that if this is done, SA will realise that an equivalent of 25% of its GDP is being eroded by these forms of corporate criminality and theft.
9.     This also explains the fact that mining as a whole, only contributes less than R25 billion per annum into the national budget, despite the fact the SA is the biggest producer of more than 52 mineral resources, which make huge profits. What this means is that the whole revenue generated from Mining and Mines cannot finance eThekwini Municipality whose annual budget is above R35 billion per annum. Is it possible maybe that the subsidy which mining companies receive on electricity, water, and the resources the state spends to repair the environmental degradation and health hazards caused by mining exceed its contribution to the national revenue and budget?
10.                        Now, the National Treasury and SARS carry an obligation to combat these forms of corporate criminality and capital theft. There has however never been a credible programme from both these institutions to combat these phenomena which rob SA of its potential wealth. Well, there is an ongoing commission on taxation, and it does not look like there is proper political leadership provided on this process.
11.                        Coupled with local beneficiation and industrialisation, which should be implemented in a clearly defined and coordinated way, national treasury should retrospectively collect all the taxes that SA has been robbed of in the mining sector and utilise the money recovered to heavily invest in local beneficiation and industrialisation of mineral resources. Such will create jobs, and decisively deal with the crises of poverty, unemployment and underemployment.
12.                        There currently is no clearly coordinated industrial expansion strategy in South Africa because entities and policy instruments work in silos, and the National Development Plan, which both the DA and ANC worship, say nothing about the industrial policy and expansion. If properly prioritised, industrial policy will illustrate to national treasury that fiscal and monetary policies should be aligned to the need for industrial expansion.
13.                        Currently, the Reserve Bank is in control of monetary policy, and its decisions recurrently affirm South Africa as a semi-colonial exporter of natural resources and importer of finished goods and services.

14.                        Such should be discontinued, so that the fiscal, monetary, macro and micro-economic policies are aligned to industrial expansion. Unless such is done, the EFF will never agree with any budget vote of the national treasury. We vote No!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela was ‘never’ a member of the Communist Party:

Mandela was ‘never’ a member of the Communist Party:

Floyd Shivambu

As part of their message of condolences on the 6th of December 2013, both the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the African National Congress (ANC) made a claim that President Nelson Mandela was a member of the Central Committee of the SACP during his arrest in 1962 for what later became the Rivonia Trial. In its statement, the Communist Party says, “at his arrest in 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the underground SACP, but was also a member of the Party’s Central Committee. To us as South African communists, Cde Mandela shall forever symbolise the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle”.

In its first statement to announce the passing away of Nelson Mandela, the SACP’s erstwhile Chairperson, its current Central Committee Member and ANC Secretary General repeats the same claim in the first official statement of the ANC after the passing away of Tata Nelson Mandela and say that “Madiba was also a member of the South African Communist Party, where he served in the Central Committee”. These are of course unsubstantiated claims, which got some of us who are critical students of Nelson Mandela and his politics, thinking. We got thinking because on various occasions, Mandela said he was never a member of the Communist Party, but did not see anything wrong with its political relationship to the ANC.

Now, the ANC and SACP’s statements that Mandela was a CC Member should be clarified, not because it means anything really, because it is now evident that the SACP would have done exactly what the ANC did upon seizure of political power—capitulation to white monopoly capital and retention of apartheid property relations. The need to clarify the claim that Mandela was a CC Member of the SACP is basically meant to re-affirm that Mandela was not lying when he said on various occasions that he was not a member of the SACP, because what December 6th 2013 Statements of the ANC and SACP basically claim is that Mandela lied to the people of South Africa. Some of us cannot live with the possibility that Tata Nelson Mandela could have misled the nation on basic things such as his membership of the Communist Party, particularly if he served at CC level.   

In the document he prepared for his meeting with P.W. Botha and published in July 1989, Nelson Mandela says “my political beliefs have been explained in the course of several political trials in which I was charged, in the policy documents of the ANC, and in my autobiography The Struggle is my Life which I wrote in prison in 1975. I state in these trials and publications that I did not belong to any organisation apart from the ANC”. Mandela repeats this assertion on many other occasions, including on his reflections of the debates that happened in Prison.

In the famous Rivonia Trial statement which he delivered in 1964, Mandela says, “there are many Africans who today tend to equate freedom with Communism. They are supported in this belief by a legislature which brands all exponents of democratic government and African freedom as Communists and bans them under the Suppression of Communism Act. Although I have NEVER been a member of the Communist Party, I myself have been named under that pernicious act because of the role I played in the Defiance Campaign. I have also been banned and imprisoned under that Act”. All of us know that Mandela used the word ‘NEVER’ to mean exactly that, but the SACP and ANC’s 6th December statements are saying that these were all lies. How SACP CC Member from 1962 could say that “Although I have NEVER been a member of the Communist Party” escapes our imagination.

As early as 1956, or even earlier, Mandela always drew a distinct line between the Communist Party and the ANC, and also between the struggle for national liberation and the struggle for socialism towards communism. Defending the Freedom Charter against those who proclaimed it a socialist programme in the ANC, Mandela (1956) specifically said, “Whilst the Charter proclaims democratic changes of a far-reaching nature it is by no means a blue-print for a socialist state but a programme for the unification of various classes and groupings amongst the people on a democratic basis. Under socialism the workers hold state power. They and the peasants own the means of production, the land, the factories and the mills. All production is for use and not for profit”.

In his autobiography, Mandela explains the details of how he explained to those he held the talks before talks with behind prison walls that his mission and the struggle he was in pursuit of was not a Communist revolution. Writing about the 1988 working group meeting which begun to discuss the details of South Africa’s transition, Mandela says, “they were also concerned about the idea of nationalisation, insisting that the ANC and the Freedom Charter supported the wholesale nationalisation of the South African economy. I explained that we were for a more even distribution of the rewards of certain industries, industries that were already monopolies, and that nationalisation might occur in some of those areas. But I said the Freedom Charter was not a blueprint for socialism but for African-style capitalism. I told them I have not changed my mind since then” (Mandela, 1994: 642).

There are many other references which keep Mandela at arms’ length of anything to do with Communism, including the 1994 May Day interview he did with the Sunday Times and said, “In our economic policies … there is not a single reference to things like nationalisation, and this is not accidental. There is not a single slogan that will connect us with and Marxist ideology”. Now, with all these empirical evidence and arguments, the ANC and SACP say to the people of South Africa, less than 24 hours after the Liberation struggle hero passed on, that he was a member of the Central Committee of the ‘Marxist-Leninist’ South African Communist Party. Mandela was evidently never a member of the SACP, despite the admission he makes that he makes in the letter to P.W. Botha that It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent States. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact”.   

This is despite the fact that Mandela recurrently asserted that Nationalisation should constitute a central pillar of South Africa’s economic transformation. This is cogently expressed in the view he expressed in 1956, wherein he said, “The Charter does not advocate the abolition of private enterprise, nor is it suggested that all industries be nationalised or that all trade be controlled by the state…All people shall have the right to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions', says the Charter. The right to do these things would remain a dead letter without the restoration of the basic wealth of the country to the people, and without that the building of a democratic state is inconceivable”. Mandela’s call was for Nationalisation (restoration of basic wealth) of Mines, banks and monopoly industry had to happen as a basis for economic transformation.

This view Mandela expressed in his first address after being released from prison, where he said “nationalisation of the mines, banks and monopoly industries is ANC policy, and any change to this policy is inconceivable”. For what appeared to be tactical retreat, not principle shift, nationalisation was shelved for the transition period, also due to the neo-liberal triumphalism which defined the late 1980s and early 1990s. Neo-liberalism is currently in a world crisis and the programme for Nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy should be pursued with that such should happen in order to diversify the South African economy, break the Minerals-energy complex dependence through diversified beneficiation and industrialisation of the South African economy.
Why then would the SACP, and the 101 years old ANC make such a hilarious claim and fabrication that Mandela was a member of the Communist Party, less than 24 hours after he passed away? There are possibly two reasons, and the first is best explained by what the proponent of this claim, Gwede Mantashe always uses as examples. Mantashe recounts the story of underweight Mineworkers who would put stones in their pockets in order to weigh heavier in the scale which determined which Mineworkers could be employed in South Africa’s Mines. The stones obviously made them heavier, and secured them jobs they would otherwise have not acquired due to their underweight. The SACP, with no relevance in South African society today is using the name of Mandela to gain additional weight, with the hope that they will gain acceptance in society. Unfortunately such will not be so, because the hollowness of the ideals and practice has been exposed for all to see.

The second reason could be a string of swaart-gevaar propaganda initiated by the apartheid regime, and strangely found its way into critically acclaimed books, such as the once recently published by Stephen Ellis titled External Missions: the ANC in Exile. This propaganda purports that the struggle for national liberation was exclusively a mission of Communists who wanted to capture South Africa for a misguided Communist project, and that the armed struggle was an idea and project of the SACP decided in a secret meeting in Emmerentia, Johannesburg in 1960. Perhaps such false propaganda has had some impact in the political history of South Africa, because F.W. De Klerk cites the collapse of communism as prime amongst the reasons he announced the release of Nelson Mandela on the 2nd of February 1990.

A sad reality though is that after the passing away of Nelson Mandela on the 5th of December 2013, his organisation the ANC and its ally, the SACP said, less than 24 hours later, that Mandela was lying when he said he was NEVER a member of the SACP. If not so, these organisations lied to the nation and world that Mandela was a member of the Central Committee of the SACP. In a recently published interview, Andrew Mlangeni, who is Nelson Mandela fellow Rivonia Trialist and a Robben Island Prisoner (with Mandela) for 26 years said, “Those who say Madiba was a member of the party (SACP) must tell us where”. Between the current leadership of the ANC/SACP and struggle stalwarts, Mandela/Mlangeni, it is safe to believe Mlangeni/Mandela because they stayed true to course for national liberation. We don’t agree with the current neo-liberal ideological posture of the ANC/SACP and some of the economic policies pursued by Tata Nelson Mandela’s government, but how many more lies will we endure from the SACP/ANC?

Floyd Shivambu: EFF Commissar—Political Education, Research and Policy.