- Press Statements
- 2010 NGC
- National Congresses
Address by the Deputy President of the ANCYL at the Economic Freedom Seminar at the University of Cape Town
2 May 2012
Comrades let me start by saluting all the workers who joined in the celebration of Worker`s Day yesterday all over the country under the banner of fearless fighter of the workers COSATU. These workers have once more bemoaned inequalities continuing to exist in a democratic South Africa.
We as the Youth of the ANC we remain convinced that the demands of the workers are not impossible to achieve. We remain convinced that the General Secretary of COSATU Cde Zwelinzima Vavi is a selfless fighter of the workers and a thorn to monopoly capital. Hence the mouth piece of white monopoly capital the DA through its leader Helen Zille wants to paint him in a bad picture because he continues to challenge the status quo against white monopoly capital.
Cde Vavi must continue to fight against e-tolling, for a living wage and for basic services to our workers. Cde Vavi is indeed our modern day Chris Hani whose contribution to the struggle can never be measured by Zille but the workers of our Country. The only thing that can create more employment and empowerment for our people is the redistribution of the wealth of the country and not a flexible labour system. Zille is running away from the real economic issues.
The struggle of the workers is interlinked with the struggle of the Youth. The youth have always been a radical and a militant voice since the formation of the ANC in 1912.The idea to form the ANC came from a young person at the age of 31 Cde Pixely Isa Ka Seme. The idea alone was a militant one since at that time it was unthinkable that black people can come together and form one organization to represent their interests.
Pixely Isa ka Seme had to convince Chiefs, Church leaders, teachers and many other people of influence at that time. It was never an easy process as some of the chiefs were enjoying their privileges of being chiefs at the time. The Church leaders were also enjoying their social status. The Union government was still new.
Pixley had to use the Glen Grey Act of 1894 which was the pioneer legislation in dispossessing our people of their land but also prohibited them from owning land in particular areas.
Most of the Chiefs and people of influence still believed in the goodwill of the Queen that a well written memo or letter can change the Queen in favour of the Black masses.
Delegation after delegation to England came home empty handed with their well written memos and submissions. It was at this time that Seme was already convinced that only an organised organization of all chiefs, Church leaders ,people of influence in society can defeat the Union.
The chiefs were more convinced when the Land Act bill was pronounced that the is a need for an organization to defend the Land. They then agreed to congregate and form the ANC in Mangaung. This meeting was a talk of time since it was unheard of that black people can come together and defend their land and country.
Young people have always convinced the ANC to do the unthinkable even before the formation of the ANCYL. Young people pushed the ANC into a new terrain of struggle. Young people have always pushed the elders who were conservative into new political terrain of struggle. Pixley Isa Ka Seme is also a pioneer of Black Economic Empowerement as in 1912 he has already spoken and practiced black empowerment. He has done this by forming the first Native Farmers Association in Africa Areas of Driefontein and Daggakraal in Mpumalanga.
Boers of that time ridiculed this venture of black people that there can never be a serious black farmer who can do productive farming other than to farm Dagga. Hence some parts of the area which this black farmers bought were named daggakraal by the whites.
Seme formed this association with 60 people who bought the land together. They have been holding title deeds of this area since then up until today. They defended this land even after the passing of the Land Act of 1913 which prohibited black people from owning land in certain parts of the country.
Successive legislations were passed to further strengthen this regulation of Black Ownership but this group resisted up until today. One member of the committee of 12 Saul Mkhize in the farm was killed by a police officer who was send to disperse a meeting convened to defend the area. This man is a mayor of the land struggle like Chief Bambatha who died with his troops in defend of their land. We can therefore safely conclude that Cde Pixley was an economic freedom fighter in 1912.
The generation of Mandela, Sisulu and others just put their mission as freedom in their lifetime as the saw that through political freedom the will be able to dismantle Apartheid. I am giving you this history to indicate to you that every revolution is littered with examples of uncertainties, despair and adventures.
The struggle for economic freedom will not be an easy one. The youth must therefore never surrender nor despair in the struggle for economic freedom. The mission of this generation must be accomplished. The generation of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and many other founding generations of the Youth League never surrendered on their mission of freedom in their lifetime even on the face of adversity.
Nelson Mandela was tempted several times by the Apartheid Government to leave the struggle and go back to the Transkei and enjoy the privileges of being a chief instead of wasting his time with what their boers of that time called an elusion of fighting for freedom. Mandela refused to betray a generational mission and never abandoned the struggle of the liberation of his people.
Solomon Mahlangu a young man who was hanged by the brutal apartheid regime never apologised for fighting for his people. The warder assigned to hang Solomon Mahlangu gave him an opportunity to say something. Mahlangu could have said anything including to apologies for his involvement in the struggle. He could have bargained to be released on a ticket that he will never again participate in the struggle. I am afraid if it was some of you in this hall you might have apologised but Solomon Mahlangu said "please tell my mother I love her she must tell my people that my blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruit of freedom".
Inspired by these fearless freedom fighters todays generation must never despair nor surrender even when Comrades are expelled, suspended for pursuing a generational mission. Professor Sampie Terreblanche in his book history of inequality speaks about four poverty traps that were designed by apartheid to enable it to be self perpetuating even in a democratic government:
(i)High and rising levels of unemployment in a sluggish economy (ii)deeply institutionalised inequalities in the distribution of power, property, and opportunities between the white and the black elite and the poorest half of the population; (iii)disrupted and fragmented social structures and the syndrome of chronic community poverty among the poorest 50% of the population; (iv)The Mutually reinforcing dynamics of violence, criminality and ill health on the one hand and the process of pauperisation.
I found this to be the only scientific explanation why majority of our black people poverty is still continuing even today, the system of Apartheid was designed to be able to reproduce itself. You can bring GEAR, ASGISA and recently the new growth path economic inequalities between black and whites remain stubbornly unchanged.
In fact recent reports indicate that whites are becoming richer in our mother land. Chief Bambatha saw this 1906 when he said the land was taken in the battle fields and thatís where it must be reclaimed. Moses Mashamaite in his book Home Coming says we need a legislation that is forceful like a war to reclaim our land.
This is an indication that the only way to bring economic equality to SA is by amending the property clause, Section 25 of the constitution to enable expropriation without compensation and nationalisation of mines. It is through the equal sharing of the wealth of this country that there will be economic equality.
Our people must be united by the economy not Rugby World Cup or a soccer match. Sports can never unite a nation it can just attempt to build social cohesion. A united nation will come when we all own houses in the same places, go to the same hospitals, attend the same schools, have the same girl friends and boyfriends, party in the same cubs and bars.
It is an open secret that whites still go to private clinics with a few co-opted black middle class, they have their own private schools with a few children of the co-opted black middle class. We are a divided nation because we do not have the same economic muscle to live the same life. All professions are still controlled by white people. Engineering, Chartered Accountants, Legal Professionals, actuarial scientists. All the regulatory bodies of these professions are still controlled by white people.
A few black people are every year co-opted for the sake of compliance but the domination of whites remain. The only industry which is controlled by black people at face value is the Taxi industry. But when you go deeper into the entire value chain it remains white people because they buy the taxis from them, parts, petrol and the financing of the taxis come from banks. If we can calculate, you might find out that there profit received by the taxi owners in the tax industry does not even constitute 10% of the taxi industry. We must never surrender on our mission for economic freedom.
There are prophets of doom who predicted that the struggle for economic freedom is for Malema. We want to warn them that this is a struggle of the youth of SA. Political opportunists have climbed into this bandwagon celebrating with white monopoly capital the temporary setback suffered by the leadership of the Youth League.
We say itís a temporary setback because we know the ANC does not eat its children. These comrades will be exonerated by history and they will continue to play a meaningful role in the struggle.
We will soon convene an NEC of the ANC Youth League in which a proper response to the outcome of the NDCA will be formulated and will be promptly communicated to the membership of the Youth League but I want to assure you that the leadership of the youth league will never abandon Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu and Sindiso Magaqa.
We will do so informed by principles of autonomy of the ANCYL. One of its factors is that for the Youth League to be autonomous it allows it to learn in practice and in the real struggle and not be limited by fear of being charged one day.
The youth must be corrected and natured in a manner that will not leave fear so that they must not be afraid to be adventurous and bring new ideas in the struggle. It was an enabling environment that led to Mandela and his generation to propose a lot of policy changes in the ANC.
The Defiance Campaign, Formation of Umkhonto We sizwe, indicated and did a lot of unthinkable things. These are the factors that led to the generation of Peter Mokaba to do the same in the ANC. They fearless defended the autonomy of the ANCYL and we are not a generation that will surrender the autonomy of the Youth League.
Bhuti Manamela will never understand the meaning of autonomy in practice as he has never led an autonomous structure. The YCL is not autonomous from the party hence it is used as a conveyor belt of information from the party to the public. It works on the whims and wishes of Blade Nzimande. If he was indeed a committed revolutionary who is genuine about youth issues he could have called myself or came to the youth league offices to raise his concerns instead he has chosen rallies and lectures to speak to us.
He accuses us of using the media to convey information to the ANC when he himself is speaking to us through the media. We chose not to respond to him when he started because we thought he will call himself to order but he chose to continue in every rally that he has addressed thus far and we believe this is political grand standing of the highest order. Bhuti must rebuild the YCL and we must see the YCL in action through campaigns. What he is doing is like a pedestrian telling a car owner that he will buy him a car.
Let me conclude by calling all young South Africans, workers, members of the Youth League and society at large to join and support the SASCO rally on Friday the 4th of May. We support the call for free education because it is linked to the struggle for economic freedom. It is an educated nation that will run the mines that we are going to Nationalise and the farms we are going to expropriate.