By: Silumko Bushula
Dear Mr President
I write the letter with a heavy heart, that today and during your tenure as the President of the ANC and also the duly elected President of the Republic of South Africa, the life of a Black person does not matter, while we just concluded Women’s Month not so long ago, the hair of a Black Woman, the other main part of Black Women’s beauty and identity, does not matter to racist White business.
When the ugly apartheid came back to haunt us (excluding you Mr President), and when your leadership was required in these matters, you as the President both of the ANC and that of the country, kept quiet, as was expected when it comes to matters affecting Africans in general and Blacks in particular. When Black people needed what they knew as the revolutionary movement, the ANC, it was nowhere to be seen, yet just like other PR freaks who only talk about Gender-Based Violence (GBV) doing it all for show and for the indulgence of the poor in a sick attempt to “reconnect” and feign utter disgust and disbelief, the ANC wrote a letter in “support” of the Black Lives Matter movement in America, an opportunistic move by what used to be a revolutionary movement. Failing to recognise in our own country that Black Lives Matter.
The deafening silence of the President of the ANC and that of the country leaves a lot to be desired and makes ANC members like l, start to wonder where the movement is being driven too. Has the ANC now taken the Democratic Party (DA) role of protecting the white establishment at the expense of the Black majority which is its main constituency? When is the ANC going to stop paying lip service to Black Matters of development and the thorny issue of economic emancipation for Black Africans and the dismantling of the current economic models which disadvantage the Black majority, which form the bulk of the membership of the ANC and a significant demographic in the country? Is the ANC still going to keep on lying to us (Blacks) that it cares and fights for us, when there is reasonable evidence that the opposite is true? Why in this day in age, under an ANC government, we don’t have a Black Owned Bank (100% owned) or Black owned and made car? I hope you will answer this question Mr President and for once without thinking about FNB, Standard Bank, NEDBANK and ABSA, White owned banks or Mercedes Benz, VW or BMW interests.
My question to you Mr President, why is the ANC selling Black People to the White Monopoly Capital (WMC)? CLICKS, is the WMC, period, it’s not Black owned and it has always been WMC. But of course the ANC leaders who chaired the economic commission in its NASREC conference, said there is no White Monopoly Capital yet ONE sits comfortable at the board of NEDBANK, a bank that is not owned by Black people but is in White hands, with a few sprinkles of colour to add to the rehearsed and fake adherence to the disastrous Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Equity (BBBEEE).
In reality, Blacks have no Health & Beauty retail chain that is owned by Black Africans because Whites have monopolised the space through Locking the vertical and horizontal Value Chain and no Black African Health & Beauty chain could ever get the supply of health & beauty products from the likes of UniLever (TreSemme) without Clicks getting the better deal or dictating how the makeup of that transaction should be and who should stand to benefit, meaning their acolytes whom they have planted in the ANC.
There is no more clearer indication that there is a cushioning of WMC than during this recent episode of race humiliation of our Black women. The intention of the advert was to hammer it into the psych of our young women and adult ones that the hair that distinguishes them from any other race demographic as Black Africans was inferior, an age old race rhetoric peddled by emboldened racist establishments who have become too comfortable because they see you, Mr. President as their man in government who will shield them from ever taking responsibility if they ever peddle race politics, and they now seem to do it with impunity because they believe there will be no repercussions.
It pains me to learn of the reality we now seem to be on our own and the leader of society is leaving us as the Africans in general and Black people in particular on our own devices, to fend for ourselves as it were, when stepping up is the only option.
Pandering to the whims of the establishment, which remains largely White in content, character and form. Gone are the days where we would find comfort in an ANC that would act decisively and became a prominent player in the body politic of both in the country and the continent of Africa as the leader of society, particular Africans and Black society.
We have now gone through a near-technical recession, a situation that has come about mostly because of the lockdown that was initiated in our economy because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-1 9). This has compounded the challenges that your administration has to deal with, Mr President, because, on top of having emboldened white racists speaking out and challenging us as a people, we are now faced with an economy that is shedding jobs and which has sluggish growth.
This is not entirely your fault, and one is tempted to empathise with you and your administration and the efforts you have undergone to ensure that you attend to these issues. No one goes out of their way and wishes bad things for the country of their birth and this correspondence is not an exercise that seeks to do that but for a country that experienced a technical recession in the third quarter of the 2019/20 financial year, coupled with the many incidences of corruption and maladministration and misappropriation of public resources picked up by the Auditor-General, we as a country are in it.
It does seem that there is no clear plan to deal with the highlighted matters raised by the Auditor-General of South Africa in the report on local government. It must be borne in mind that local government is the sphere of government that is closest to the people (Blacks in particular) and is charged with the responsibility to deliver adequate, primary services. Misappropriation of public funds and rampant corruption cannot be allowed to continue without an end in sight. This rot must be arrested inclusively as a matter of urgency, lest, we become euthanised to its devastating impact.
Allowing corruption to fester for such a long time will dent our already tainted image with YOUR international peers and will reinforce the notion that laypeople have of the ANC and the government that it leads, that it is corrupt to the core. Your election came amid much fanfare and you were positioned as a champion of anti-corruption and a crusader of some sort that would dent the prospects of the so-called corrupt cabal in the ANC, which I hope you will start with those who were championing your campaign, so that we believe your corruption curbing appetite and sincerity.
The mistake that the public and the media conglomerates made was to believe that those who were doing your bidding were suddenly corruption-free, when most of them were active participants in the feeding frenzy that also happened under your watch, first as a Deputy President (worse as a leader of Government Business) now as the President. The assumption that they had arrived was that you would look the other way. So, it has come to pass that when South Africans were quarantined and observing lockdown regulations, there began a feeding frenzy and a rush to the feeding trough for many tenderpreneurs and COVIDpreneurs who saw an opportunity to loot the public resources with impunity.
The very same people who were the lieutenants and ground forces for organisational renewal and anti-corruption fronted their spouses to loot the state coffers even more. The challenges that we are experiencing are similar to that which are recounted by the renowned African literary giant Ngugi Wa Thiong’O in the book titled, “l Will Marry When I Want” published in 1967 cited these challenges and how corruption in Kenya became a favourite sport and how corruptors (WMC) and corruptees were idolised and soon accumulated wealth. They are saying it is their time to eat.
We are now at that stage where we are now running out of members of our governing party, the leader of the motive forces, is now defined using derogatory terms which we have now become euthanised to such as the ANC being portrayed as a “corrupt organisation” and many other not so subtle plaudits and less flattering accolades which leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) funds more start-up companies hence its economy is shifting from dependence on multinationals to local enterprises. The ANC government has consistently failed to support Black start-up companies instead Government Enterprise institutions like the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) only funds tender (PPE’s) based businesses, meaning Blacks who come up with innovative ideas or start-ups will never be financed by this institution and others like it. ECDC is the reflection of all State Finance Institutions that the President would make us to believe they support Black business or Black start-ups. Anything Black is feared, it’s even feared by the very same ANC that purports to care for, and when in reality the ANC only wants the Black votes. It could be why the ANC government is still pussy footing around when it comes to funding Black start-up businesses who could be manufacturing hair products for Black woman hair than Blacks relying on UniLever products.
How often President Ramaphosa have you spoken and acted on Black business financial support or Black matters without having to first appease Whites or fear disappointing Whites? President Ramaphosa only talks more and with gusto on abuse, corruption but never on Black school kids being discriminated and insulted in former White schools for their hair or the way they style their hair because they are being forced to style their Black hair the White way.
I cringe Mr President at a thought that at some point in my revolutionary life I naively believed that the generation that led the ANC after our unbanning would have by now freed Africans and Black people in economic hardship instead Blacks are still second class to Whites in this country. This is the reason why White teachers in most parts of the country whether in Pretoria schools or anywhere in the country, find it easy to insult a Black child who they destroy psychologically in those schools by making them to feel small, subhuman and insignificant.
White Retail stores like CLICKS and big conglomerates who you do business with are still looking down on African and Black people in particular. White people today feel they were not responsible for apartheid and voting for the sustenance of apartheid or its devastating consequences on African people because they never apologised for apartheid nor were they made to pay for apartheid atrocities and genocide, partly because the ANC made a deal with the devil and sold us in CODESA, a disaster you championed Mr President as chief CODESA negotiator.
The reconciliation project and this fake euphoria of a choreographed sentiment of a Rainbow Nation without changing the economic spatial plan and how this will continue to be the legacy of the ANC, that we were presented with an opportunity to dismantle White supremacy, instead, we embraced our colonisers (White Supremacists in big business) who treated us and still continue to treat us with disdain, albeit not in a blatant manner like before. They have now adopted their methods to act in a subtle way, the same way they do with racism.
The White supremacists have now become emboldened because they believe you will be their saviour and can now do as they please because your brand of nationalism involves us going through some amnesia of what has happened and what continues to be the reality of the past 26 years. It must be noted that our utter disgust as the people, is the fact that when we have to discuss matters that involve the dismantling of the economy in favour of the previously and perpetually marginalised classes, which is constituted in the main by Africans in general and Blacks in particular there seems to be a concerted effort to muzzle those discussions, another indicator that Blacks are not taken seriously in this country. We have been hanging on to a hope that one of these days you would man up and prove the naysayers wrong in their assertion that you are the weakest President ever to ascend to the highest position in the ANC and the highest position in the land.
It is now becoming apparent that we will wait for that day until the cows come home or wait for Nongqawuse to come clean on her intentions for giving a delusional sounding pseudo-prophecy or who was her handler. It has been a hope of mine that you would even discard my own reservations about your ANC and State Presidencies. Clearly, my view of you and how you are perceived generally is reinforced by these developments and how you have tended to take a lackadaisical approach to matters concerning the dignity of the ANC and that of the people which it leads, which is the society of South Africa. If we continue to pander at the whims of WMC, how can we expect to arrive at the National Democratic Society (NDS), and how are we going to wage the National Democratic Revolution which will liberate the poor and the marginalised class which is the masses of our people.
In this lifetime, we have had the displeasure of having a leadership that does not put the interests of the poor and marginalised, that seeks the approval of the WMC and the Jim Crow-type of economic distribution we have in this country, which has been perpetuated at your insistence, Mr President. The previous economic dispensation has been left largely to their own (White) devices because when the members of the ANC tried to remedy this through Radical Economic Transformation (RET), those who benefitted from White intervention in business through easy money which made them to be captured by their White masters, blocked the RET noble idea decided by the masses of the movement.
I accept I will be labelled and branded just like anyone who is an independent thinker is branded when voicing anything about you. Yes I have three revolutionaries of KONGOLOZI I admire and some have taught me revolutionary politics, the likes of Brain Bunting who taught me Socialism in Mowbray (near Cape Town, in SACP political school) just after the unburning of the political organisations, Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma and Thembisile Hani and I make no apologies for admiring these revolutionaries. Yes, my letter will be viewed as factional to dismiss it because it talks about Black Lives and I don’t apologise for talking about what Matters in Black Lives.
You allow yourself Mr President to be defined by the complacent South African media as the ANC. The ANC is not defined by an individual but by the content of its character. What is the content and the character of the ANC Mr President? Can you stick to the character of the ANC and stop pleasing the media and those outside of the movement. Your open letter to the ANC branches proves exactly that, pleasing those who want to or have captured the ANC, the big business, and the noise makers, the captured media.
As a parting shot Mr President, I have never imagined in my lifetime that a dictatorial system will be introduced in the ANC as you have now introduced it by deciding for members of the ANC through an open letter, against the set rules of the ANC constitution and as anyone who critiques you gets isolated, prevented secretly in anything that has to do with government, State machinery released against such person. I will not be the first nor the only one nor the last, to be branded as enemy number one for saying what I like. I’m afraid as independent Blacks we may have to look at the possibility that the time in our country for us to be found dead, or start looking for refugee status is near as we have now entered the dictatorial regime. The State has now become impatient of dissenting views though its action is at least for now, subtle.
The ANC, Mr President, must claim no easy victories (the only young opposition stood for and with Black people in their racism insult) when it comes to fighting for Black Lives, in particular when it comes to CLICKS, TreSemme and UniLever apartheid style continuous insulting of our Black Women. I stand with our Black Women because this is an institutionalised emotional insult done on purpose by big business. Why aren’t they insulting White women if it were a mistake to insult Black Women?
It seems the ANC of OR Tambo and Langalibalele Dube that used to be with us and for us, is no more. Must I say Mr President, RIP ANC? If not, be a man, stand up and fight for Black Women when they are insulted by Big business or choose between big business and Black Women.
As Paul Mooney say, “If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they are not happy”. Our fight as Blacks against White racism continues.
Black Women and Men, you are on your own.