The launching of manifestos

Freedom Front Plus's Pieter Groenewald wants the singing of the struggle song, Thina Sizwe Esimnyama, condemned.

The Black Consciousness oriented Azanian People’s Organisation launched its manifesto in Mahwelereng, Limpopo Province yesterday. The SABC reporter summarises issues raised in that link The land question, as expected, was one of the issues raised. Azapo’s manifesto raises people centred issues, no false promises, no reneging and backtracking on its commitments, no mendacious statements and no scare tactics and fear mongering.

Another group that launched its manifesto yesterday in Pretoria is the white supremacist party the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus). It raised, inter alia, issues such as the self-determination for white people, ‘slaan terug’ which means hit back or fight back; privatisation of public utilities and opposing affirmative action and black economic empowerment policies of the ANC government.

It should be noted that the policies of the predominantly white party the Democratic Alliance (DA) which is the main opposition party in parliament, converge in many areas with those of the FF Plus except that the DA has not openly called for the self-determination of white people but tacitly support it. DA posters call for ‘securing our borders’ and ‘keeping our streets safe’.

This begs the questions: fight back against who exactly and securing our borders against who? This is ironic considering that the very same people who are calling for self-determination and ‘securing our borders’ originate in Europe and are calling for their ‘self-determination’ which they denied the indigenous people. To this day the indigenous people do not have their right to self-determination. Almost everything is imposed on them from jurisprudence copied from Europe to an imposed elitist constitution and a dog-eat-dog capitalist system.

The FF Plus and DA use subliminal messages to convey their racist vitriol yet the media ignores these load of hogwash because the media is still a citadel of white supremacy. It should be borne in mind that there are many African people who do not have any truck with affirmative action and black economic empowerment because they create the wrong impression that African people are in the positions they occupy not because of merit but because of favours.

Secondly, these policies benefit those who have political connections and are close to those who are in the high echelons of power including some white people as the Bosasa scandal has revealed during the state capture commission of inquiry. Moreover, who affirms whom? Why should there be affirmative action where Africans are the majority? In the US they claim they used affirmative action because African Americans were a minority. These policies should be called affirmative action for certain people and black economic empowerment of certain people.

The FF Plus and the DA say they are against corruption but they were happy to stay mum when apartheid officials were embroiled in corruption. Corruption is corruption irrespective of who is involved.

The FF Plus manifesto launch was attended by white people only. There is nothing wrong with an all-white manifesto launch since manifesto launches of some political parties that are led by African people are also predominantly African. What is wrong is for a predominantly white party such as the DA to have a sea of African faces at their manifesto launch when the party is controlled by white people. Another wrong thing is for white supremacist parties such as the FF Plus and the DA to accuse the ANC and other predominantly African parties of racism when they are the worst bigots around.

African people in the DA are voting cattle and token leaders. It is about time that African people in the DA learn why some black students left the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) in the late 1960’s and went to form the black consciousness oriented South African Students Organisation (SASO). They should also learn why the Africanists led by Robert Sobukwe in the 1950’s objected to be led by whites in a struggle that was about the liberation of Africans. The principle is that one cannot expect another group of people with diametrically opposed interests to one’s interests to fight for one’s liberation, especially when that group benefits materially from the system that they purport to oppose.

In present day South Africa, the DA is fighting to safeguard and preserve the interests of white people and their businesses which derived from the apartheid government and it is using Africans to achieve its racist exploitative agenda. In other words, the DA wants to maintain the status quo. Hence the DA is calling for the privatisation of public enterprises such as Eskom which is supposed to supply affordable electricity to poor people the majority of whom are Africans. Naturally, African people would like to fight for the status quo ante. A political party that supports the privatisation of public utilities is not worth supporting.

During apartheid, the same white people who are now calling for the privatisation of Eskom used to enjoy exclusive electricity benefits when Africans did not have electricity at all. Now that everybody is supposed to benefit and has benefited from affordable electricity, the DA and FF Plus are calling for the privatisation of Eskom. The DA and FF Plus anti-African schema has been laid bare.

An analogy with other private and public entities is called for. Private facilities are not designed to serve majority interests. They are good for the few rich individuals. Let us take, for example, private hospitals which have the best medical care. Poor people cannot afford to go for medical treatment at private hospitals. They go to public hospitals which are government funded. Just imagine how the situation is going to be when only a few rich people – who are mostly white – have access to electricity and the rest have no electricity because they cannot afford it?

As far as I am concerned there are no compelling reasons to privatise state owned enterprises. Finally, last week SABC television covered what it called a PAC manifesto launch in Johannesburg. But the SABC and IEC are well aware that a legitimate PAC leadership was elected last year December in Kimberley. One wonders what the SABC is going to call the organisation that, if the rumour mill is anything to go by, is going to launch its manifesto on the 21st March.

Perhaps the SABC has a brief to deliberately cause confusion among the voters. Or is the SABC planning on not covering the 21st March PAC manifesto launch since the SABC apparatchiks have convinced themselves that they are done with the manifesto launch of the PAC. Should the PAC launch its manifesto on the 21st March and the SABC fails to cover the event, they will have to come up with a very good reason.

Sam Ditshego is an independent researcher.