Dispelling the myth of Radical Economic Transformation

The ANC declared 2017 as the year of Oliver Tambo; unity in action. Ironically, the party is deeply divided evidently embroiled in court cases, where factions are disputing outcomes of conferences.   The court cases pose devastating consequences for the National Elective Conference due to begin this weekend and consequently towards the 2019 national elections. The ruling party’s failure to embark on critical political and ideological introspection after it lost three metropolitan municipalities in the 2016 local government elections may have lasting consequences for the party going forward.  Towards the its National Elective Conference, the party has punted at what is vaguely known as “Radical Economic Transformation”.

Presidential hopeful, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has also used the slogan “Radical Transformation” slogan towards the elective congress. The slogan can be traced to the 1940s, in which the ANC articulated the Plan of Action through the emergence of radical and militant youth within the ANC. The generation of Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo subsequently after the formation of the ANC Youth League drafted the Plan of Action demanding scraping of the 1913 Native Land Act, that the land belongs to the black South Africans, freedom to vote, a minimum wage amongst other things.

Subsequent to the 1949 Plan of Action and the adoption of the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the people in 1955 Kliptown, the ANC adopted the document in its conference in Bloemfontein, a clearly socialist ideological approach. This resulted in the first split of the ANC whereby the pro-Africanist members of the ANC viewed the ANC as shifting away from pro-black radical politics to non-racial politics in which they believed that black and white, oppressed and oppressor could not have a reciprocal relations.

Despite the Freedom Charter’s assertion on the race and nationalisation, the Charter carries radicalism and transformative primacy to our economic system through its demand for the country’s strategic sectors such as mines, banks and monopoly industries be shared equally amongst its citizens.

The promise of radical economic transformation is not new, it predates presidential hopeful Dlamini-Zuma as far back as 1960’s at the ANC Morogoro conference which declared the party:

“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. Our drive towards national emancipation…The correction of…centuries-old the economic injustice lies at the very core of our aspiration”

Throughout Radical Economic Transformation has remained little more than a rhetorical discourse which has found new energy towards the elective conference vaguely used by Presidential hopeful Dlamini-Zuma apart from using concepts such as white monopoly capital and attack on wealthy Rupert and Oppenheimer families.

What is most troubling with ANC rhetoric since it took political power 1994 is its deliberate neo-liberal economic policies which seeks redistribution through growth?

It is troubling that the ANC post-1994 resonates with the neo-liberal economic policies. Let alone the Redistribution Development Program (RDP) debate that was radical left policy or Keynesian-left policy because of its openness to the nationalisation of mines and its promise to deal with poverty. However, the RDP has neo-liberal policy element as shown by:

Open up South Africa’s economy through reduction of tariffs and envisages export-oriented growth. There is an emphasis on creating a competitive industry in light of the above, where industries like mining are competitive abroad as South African firms, or South Africa leads in terms of producing certain products at a cheap price in a global economy.”

Not forgetting the punishment of poor South Africans by Thabo Mbeki’s administration through GEAR. The introduction of macro-economic GEAR which carried much of promised to overturn South Africa’s economy and pose radical socio-economic transformation.  But at the end ushered us with the increasing of unemployment, privatisation of water and electricity including the drastically change of South African labour relation in which workers of Universities and private companies started to be outsourced and subcontracted.

The reality is that there is nothing new about Dlamini Zuma’s camp with their Radical Economic Transformation slogan they will offer to our people. Let’s be frank, the ANC lack sophistication and ideological posture that will enable it to challenge South Africa’s untransformed economy. The Radical Economic Transformation is nothing rather than a desire to buying black poor people’s votes. Given South Africa’s economic and social challenges such as:

  • High unemployment
  • Major outflow of capital
  • Deindustrialisation, with benefits to financial sector and closing of manufacturing sector
  • Fiscal deregulation has led to internationalization
  • Continuation of the dominance of the Mineral Energy Complex

Given those challenges, Dlamini Zuma supposed to have been focusing on those issues I have mentioned earlier, but I have not heard anyone from her camp articulating how they are going to resolve those economic issues except blaming our untransformed economic system to White Monopoly Capital.

It is worth reminding that the ANC, at the National General Council in June 2011 in Durban, re-affirmed that the government should take control of economic strategic sectors such as the mining industry. Indirectly, the ANC rejected the nationalisation since Pallo Jordan, through the process of the State Involvement in the Mineral Industry (SIMS), contended that nationalisation of mines would cost South Africa’s economy too much. Noting as well that the Chamber of Mines, SIMS, and the Free Market Foundation campaigned strongly campaigned against the nationalisation of mines with the help of ANC top leadership such as Jeff Radebe.

Looking ahead to this 54th elective conference the ANC delegates must reject the rhetoric calling for radical economic transformation. Putting this in other words, 38 percent of the South African population lives underdeveloped rural areas governed by traditional authorities and municipalities. The Freedom Charter is clear on the issue of governance as it argued that “People shall govern” not through chiefs and kings but by the democratically elected government. There is a huge silence in Dlamini Zuma’s campaign in term of this radical economic transformation if it will abolish the tribal traditional authority. Because this system of traditional rules it is inhabitant patriarchy and constraint democracy since the power is only vested in a chief as a law-maker, executive and judge.

In reality is that Dlamini-Zuma is having been part of new government regime since 1994 with her government and political credentials there is nothing new they will invent. As she has been complicit in the post-1994 government that do not engage in production, nor in the invention, nor building, nor labour, their innermost predisposition it is not to change the condition of black people or eradicate poverty, and inequality but it is to enrich their families and friends such as president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzani Zuma.

So she cannot be taken seriously with her call for radical economic transformation. The ANC delegates in the congress they must bear in mind that they carrying a power of determining who will be the next ANC president and possibly South Africa’s president. Surely, we do not want to have a president of our country such as Jacob Zuma who will preside over corruption, enriching him family and friends and weakening of our state institutions merely to protect himself.


The ANC prior to its 54th National elective congress needs to shift from a neo-liberal policy framework to prioritising elevate poverty, inequality and unemployment. This must include the participation of a majority of black South Africans, particularly black women in the mainstream economy, the creation of massive employment and abolish tribal traditional authorities. Our government must diversify from depending on Energy Mineral Complex or Mineral energy-finance complex and revitalise the local economy by intensifying the township economy through the establishment of the consumer co-operatives to boost the small businesses and incorporating of stokvels and burial societies into our economy.

The delegates must argue for intensifying the establishment of National Health Insurance, take ownership of the land from corporates sector such as Banks and Mining companies’ hands. They must argue for implementation of a state bank to facilitate government payments and restructure Black Economic Empowerment to build the business from the ground up instead of buying white businesses or relying on state tenders. They must increase the informalisation of the economy with an assistance of redirection state financial institutions funds such as Public Investment Corporation in helping to building a sustainable informal businesses and cut at the tax base like Brazil.


Ashley Mabasa


The SACP is contesting elections to ensure decent lives for our people

The Metsimaholo Municipality might serve as the rise of the Paris Commune for the South African Communist Party (SACP).

The Paris Commune was a socialist government that ruled the Paris from March 28 to May 28 1871.

The Paris Commune must happen again in the Metsimaholo Municipality

As Karl Marx expressed during his long vacation among the working class in the British Museum library: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

The SACP has taken the first revolutionary step since our democratic breakthrough in 1994 toward deploying 42 candidates as councillors.

In a nutshell, the SACP has been demanding the reconfiguration of the tripartite alliance since 1994. The political alliance is in crisis as the president of the ANC takes decisions without consulting the alliance partners let alone his national executive.

The expulsion of General Secretary Blade Nzimande from Cabinet portrayed our tripartite alliance as a somersault alliance.

The SACP continues to be the ideological and political trainer of the ANC. Its adoption of the social formation as a system of “colonialism of a special type” – which means that there is no spatial separation between the colonising power (the white minority state) and the colonised black people – was affirmed by the ANC in its 1985 discussion document The Nature of Ruling Class.

This reaffirms that the SACP has been playing a significant role in the ANC by detesting liberal views inside and outside of the ANC.

When he was the deputy president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma was in court for his rape case. The communist party mobilised the working class across South Africa in defence of Zuma against the liberal faction of Thabo Mbeki who attempted to use state apparatuses to purge Zuma.

At the heart of it, the ANC never lived up to its promises of the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter formed part of the political programme that tied the alliance together even after 1994. It is the task of the SACP to fulfil the freedom charter. Contesting the Metsimaholo Local Municipality is also a revolutionary task of the SACP to fulfil what Chris Hani was standing for – serving the working class and the poor with diligence, service delivery, and a decent and dignified life for the people of Metsimaholo Local Municipality.

Indeed, the SACP has been vocal against corruption and state capture. The national executive committee of the ANC has been ignoring their task to guide the president. Instead, they are complicit.

The SACP must contest elections to ensure the people of Metsimaholo live corruption-free.

The first task they must undertake in office is to end the tender system and replace it with community cooperatives – meaning they must seriously prepare a strong legal team to fight against legal processes in abolition of the tender system.

They must establish the community funding scheme for small businesses and students. In terms of the administration work, they must identify key skilled people and systematically block the patronage and nepotism. The Metsimaholo Local Municipality must be our own Paris Commune.

• Ashley Nyiko Mabasa is an SACP member and the Young Communist League of South Africa’s Wits branch secretary

This article was published at City Press


Black government: The fallacy of ZumaMustFall sponsored views and protest



The anti-Zuma protests which have been led by elites are purely hogwash! At the centre of all this commotion that is happening in our country. Reshuffling of the president and the propagating of white monopoly capital as the forces which are gatekeeping the radical socio-economic transformation.

It is difficult to express your views in a space crowded by liberal views and pseudo-black consciousness views—such as #ZumaMustFallcampaign, #SaveSouthAfrica campaign, Black Land First (BLF) and the likes of Mzwandile Manye. However, as an activist and an ANC member cannot be pretentious remain silent on such issues.

All sorts of these campaigns against President Zuma are just waste of a time and energy. Acknowledging the fact that these protests are predominated by white liberals, black liberals and the black middle class. This is not to completely dismiss that there are downtrodden who are affected by maladministration, gluttony, patronage and corruption of president Zuma and the Guptas.

I am aware that we are existing in a neo-liberal capitalist state meaning: that our state is just a mere marionette puppet of the white ruling class. But our state is presided over by the black government which our organisation the ANC and its leadership appeared to be fully captured by Gupta family to get economic influence.  Here I am trying to show you that our state is historically captured by the ruling class and now by Gupta.

Comrades we need a radical socio-economic transformation! Which is going to be inclusive of everyone particularly poverty stricken black people. Currently, the lives of black people are just undermined under the watch of a black government. The lives of black people have turned to be statistics, here, more than 50% of people live under the poverty line, there are 8 million unemployed people. In addition, multitudes of black people are outsourced meaning their labour is separated from themselves and their production is also separated from themselves under the black government’s watch.

Following hackneyed of whites, people are black middles class to remove Zuma out of power just because he removed Pravin Gordon out of the office that is clearly nonsense. Pravin was captured by white monopoly capital like Zuma is captured by the Gupta family. Therefore, I cannot support Pravin or Zuma because they both lack the interest of advancing the interests of the black people.

For coherence, the anti-Zuma protests seek to undermine the black government. White people and the black middle class seek to undermine the black-led government. This is the same thing that happened in Ghana when the black middle class colluded with white liberals to overthrow of Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. And after that, black people in Ghana became poor like they are not independent.

Walter Rodney in 1975 warned us at University of Dar es Salaam when he was unpacking the class contradiction of Tanzania. That African leader must bear the interest of the working class and overarch the interest of producing the class strata within black people. Meaning that black government must eradicate poverty of black people, promote black national consciousness that will be pivotal for development of black productive forces.

This is the same issue Govan Mbeki was concerned with in his book “Learning from Robben Island”, that the ANC using Freedom charter as the blue-print for economic transformation the will produce non-European bourgeoisie. In other words, the non-European bourgeoisie they will discard the interest of the black people and advance the interest of their bourgeoisie friends for instance President Zuma selling our country to Gupta family and President Mbeki sold our country to the Western Multi-National Corporation at the centre of these black people continue to be poorer and serve as a fodder of exploitation capital.

Comrades we all want radical economic transformation but it must be stripped of corruption and patronage. In this rumble, Zuma and his faction has no interest in eradicating black people from poverty—if they are handled by Gupta and Gupta family made his son Duduzana Zuma a billionaire using the State-Owned Enterprise and looting the from government tenders while 50% of black people live below the poverty line and 8 million people unemployed. But this is not to dismiss his bravery of undermining the white monopoly capital as the Banking Association and the Chamber of Mines clearly pointed out that the Presidents’ renewed bid to rid himself and his cronies of Gordhan was dangerous and would have consequences. “Sighting the fall of the Rand, they noted that Zuma’s actions were once again undermining the Treasuries’ bid to placate investors over their concerns about state ‘capture’.”

Of course, I support the appointment of the new minister of finance Malusi Gigaba. He is one of the key products of the ANCYL and robust with socio-economic issues of South Africa. Surely he will transform South Africa’s structural economic system: which continues to benefit the white ruling class and the national bourgeoisie out of exploitation of the black working class. I hope he will change the fiscal policy to grow our economy, increase corporate tax and expand our economic growth but central to the redistribution—not in a Keynesian suggested theory but government legislate laws that directly benefit black people particularly black women. Minister Gigaba is still young and vibrant that he can take a fresh decision to transform South Africa’s economic system.

Also, I congratulate the appointment of Nkhensani Khubayi as the minister of Energy surely as women she will redress the issues our country is faced with: marginalisation of black businesses in the energy industry particularly women. Surely she will advance black people’s interest. She is also young, vibrant and women.

Comrades lets be frank the anti-Zuma protest have nothing to offer to the South African working class and the poor. They are always silenced on the issues which are complicit to the white monopoly capital. They were nowhere to be found when Absa and Bankorp-Sarb lifeboat issue was revealed that Absa must pay back R2 billion. When the issue of #FeesMustFall surfaced, they disappear and clampdown the call for free education. Including SaveSouthAfrica group march in solidarity with #FeesMustFall. The issue here is that they just want to undermine the black government and render it as a failed state like what they did to Libya, Zimbabwe, Ghana etc.

The struggle continues Amandla!!!

State Capture debate from Marxist perspective: Learning from Comrade David Masondo


By Ashley Nyiko Mabasa

Flowing from different conceptualisations of the state, there are enormous debates about: the state and what comprises the state. There is a different conceptualisation of the state from activists, scholars and the politicians. The past-recent saga about the “state capture report” by the Public Protectors’ has drawn a debate about whether South African State is captured or not. Here the reflection will critically attempt to discuss whether the state is captured or not. Firstly, I will give a brief distinction between the state and the government using a theoretical foundation such as Marxist. On the basis of underlying evidence and this reflection will determine whether the state is captured or not.

What is the state and the government?

The state encompasses the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. As Engels in his masterpiece called “The Origin of Family, Private Property, and State” described the State as “nothing other than a body of armed men.” These are organs the, at comprising the state, the legislature is the parliament which is the government, the executive is the President, government ministries of the country, while the judiciary is the legal system such as magistrate court to the supreme and constitution.

Whereas the government forms part of the state as Helliker taught us that government is the sphere of the legislature so that the political party that has most members in parliament forms the government for example the African National Congress (ANC) is the governing party. This means that different parties can form the government and preside over the state with different policies, but the state does not change, unlike the government. Hence Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom As Steven Friedman argued in 2014 about the formation of the state.

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However, drawing from different theoretical perspectives, there are various conceptualisations of the state. Borrowing from Classical Marxist the state is the executive that manages the common affairs of those who control the means of production such as factories, banks, and monopoly industries (Marx, 1848). The modern Marxist defines the state as the apparatus that reconcile antagonistic classes in the society, as Lenin argued when he was addressing at the University of Sverdlov that the state “serves as a justification of social priviledge, a justification of the existence of exploitation, a justification for the existence of capitalism” from Lenin in 1919 political school. He further contends that in the State and Revolution in 1921 Lenin also proposed that the state must be smashed and new kind of apparatus built.

The Post-1994 and the state

Early in 1990s South Africa experienced the democratic, economic and political breakthrough. This brought significant change to the country previously plagued by the despotic government of apartheid. In 1994 under the democratic dispensation the ANC was elected as the new governing party—under the Government of National Unity (GNU).

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In the watershed of 1994, the ANC transceded the Redistribution Development from NUMSA to RDP policy. The RDP was based on the growth of the economy and redistribution of wealth. This policy document culminated into the ANC policy and elections manifest to mobilize the working class for the electoral victory for the ANC in 1994 national election. The RDP gave the following provisions; social services, fixing education, fixing health, rural development and healthcare and worker rights.

The ANC have used the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) as the vehicle to defeat apartheid and as the ultimate route to socialism. As the ANC succinctly highlighted in 1998 that:

In a systematic way, the NDR has to ensure that ownership of private capital at all […] levels […] is not defined in racial terms. Thus the new state – in its procurement policy, its programme of restructuring state assets, utilisation of instruments of empowerment, pressure and other measures – promotes the emergence of a black capitalist class (emphasis added) (ANC, 1998).

In 1994 the ANC overwhelmingly won state power, which according to the Poulantzas is the “power of certain classes to whose interests the state corresponds.” This conceptualisation of state power was cemented by Thabo Mbeki then deputy president of South Africa in the Black Management Forum in 1999 when he declared that:

“The struggle against racism in our country must include the objective of creating a black bourgeoisie… I would like to urge, very strongly, that we abandon our embarrassment about the possibility of the emergence of successful and therefore prosperous black owners of productive property.”

Therefore, the ANC engaged, in the project of building the black bourgeoisie, using the state as the social upward mobility mechanism by establishing Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). BEE is the procurement process whereby the government empowers black people by granting them tenders and buying them assets (SACP in 2016). This argument concurs with my Economic Sociology lecture Paul Stewart’s in our discussion he said that the states have consequently always had complex and intimate relationship with the economy. He further characterised the capitalist state as sought to organise economic activity around which art, science and politics centrally turns. This argument is important because shows us the foundation of the governing party with its relationship with the economy and state.

There is a common argument that South Africa’s state is captured by virtue of being based to capitalist mode of production. This reflection argues that South African state is captured. The author argues that the state is captured by monopoly capital and the ruling class. Historically, it is argued that South African state was captured by Afrikaner group called Broederbond (SACP, 2016). The Broederbond, through its patronage-networks, was able to capture the state using volkapitalisme. The Volkapitalisme was an economic strategy, used by the Afrikaner government and business, which aimed at salvaging about 300 000 Afrikaner from the poverty and transforming the economy mode of production to fits its ethnic nature of Afrikaner.

State capture and political conjecture

Recently, the office of Public Protector released the report named “The capture of the state”. This report shows that the President, ministers, and SOEs executive are part of this. The state capture report pointed out the Guptas as critical business actors manipulating President Zuma’s administration to obtain business contracts and licences. Evidently, in 2010, the Guptas with Duduzani Zuma, the son of the President, were able to appropriate the mining Licence of Kumba Iron ore.

In the YCLSA Bua Thursday held Wits University organized by YCLSA PS cde Alex Mdakane, presented by Dr David Masondo, According to Dr Masondo this phenomenon has elevated the World Bank’s notion of state capture in South Africa’s political lexicon. The result is, Masondo further contends, that “The concept of state capture signifies institutional matrices and networks through which elites accumulate wealth – legally and illegally”( Masondo at YCLSA Bua Thursday) his argument again appeals to Marx’s (1848) argument that the state is the executive that manages the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.


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The executive arm of the state is the President with his ministers. The Public Protector’s Report (PPR) (2016) pointed out that Minister Van Rooyen – “who replaced Minister Nene – can be placed at the Saxonwold area on at least seven occasions including on the day before he was announced as Minister.” This family has established solid relationship with President Zuma which culminates into a patronage network. PPR (2016) further implicated Eskom as being a part of this, since Chief Executive Officer of Eskom Brian Molefe “has called Mr Ajay Gupta a total of 44 times and Mr Ajay Gupta has called Mr Molefe a similar number of times and this consequently led to Eskom board improperly appointed.” These facts cement the evidence of the state capture. These overt apparatuses, which encompass the notion of the state capture, only enable privileged access to sections of the business class, as Dr Masondo argued that right to be centre of the state decision-making.

Conversely, the states, under capitalism mode of production, are inherently captured by the ruling class (businesses), because they eventually depend on the decisions of the business to generate revenue. Given that the Washington Consensus of neo-liberalism led to a state not significantly owning economic assets – rather they depend on ‘business to invest their resources’ as Goven Mbeki contended. The reality is without business investment, the state cannot generate revenue from taxation to perform its obligations such as the provision of social services, and “administrating the legal framework within which business competes.”

In arguing that South African state has been captured, the established businesses such as Anglo American, Oakbay/Guptas, Absa, Murray and Roberts and Pan Mixers SA do not need direct access to the government executive to capture the state. In other words, the ruling class or business class depends on its ownership of the economy such as mines, land, monopoly industries and banks to capture or force the state to be the locus of its accumulation of wealth or surplus.


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This reflection has critically argued that South African state has been captured. Historically South Africa was captured by the Afrikaner Broederbonders through their patronage network and they used the state as their mechanism of wealthy accumulation. Post-1994, the ANC economic policy of the RDP enabled state intervention and aggregated the demand to increase the fiscal expenditure. In 1996 the government shifted from a macro-economic strategy, which focuses on the open market, and lessened state intervention in businesses. The neo-liberal policies allowed the businesses to capture the state. Without dismissing the fact those inherently capitalist states are captured by the business class. This essay has shown how South African state is captured by the Gupta family and the how through their capture of the state which give them access to the economic accumulation through the SOEs such as Eskom, Transnet and South Africa Airways including the executive of the state.

End Capitalism!!!!

By Ashley Nyiko Mabasa.

Let the YCLSA repackage the Freedom Charter for Students and Youth

Ashley Nyiko Mabasa

The Freedom Charter happen to be the political programme which undermines both the capitalists and imperialists. This Charter came about following the congress of the people, mobilised and organised by the ANC. In 1953 at the Queenstown Conference of the ANC, the National Executive Committee was instructed to organise a mass assembly of delegates elected by diverse people of all races in every town, farm, factory and mine. This organisation of the people became known as the congress of the people, whose primary objective was to work towards drawing up the Freedom Charter.The Freedom Charter remains the most revolutionary political program for the African National Congress and South Africa Communist Party. This political program envisaged a society that seeks to be transformed beyond its colonial and apartheid formation. The logical conclusion of this document is that the revolution cannot be deferred but that the revolution offers the constant changing of our society. The material condition always evolves, as Karl Marx said, that our material being determines our consciousness, not that our consciousness determines our material being. At this point, we live in a constantly changing world and the history of this continuous changing world is shaped by the bourgeoisie reactionary ideas in the advancement of the capitalism system.

In 1955, in the Kliptown square people from different races, Whites, Indians, Coloured and Black African people met and drafted the Freedom Charter. This was a turning point for the people of South Africa. However, as the Charter was not drafted by the ANC alone. The ANC adopted the Freedom Charter the year after was drafted. The ANC adopted this Charter as its policy document in 1956 as Professor Z K Matthews, then the acting President after Chief Luthuli was banned:

“I shall therefore not say anything about it (Freedom Charter) at this stage except to remind you that the Freedom Charter was drawn up not by the African National Congress but by the Congress of the people, and it is therefore necessary for you to ratify the Freedom Charter and to make it part, if you so desire, of the policy of the African National Congress.”

 The Freedom Charter is part of the revolutionary political programmes which posed a threat to the monopoly capitalism and imperialism, because they paved a way for the national democratic revolution. They aimed at restoring the land and wealth of the country to the people, and guaranteed democracy, freedom and equal rights and opportunities for all. The Charter must not be viewed as an end-product of our revolution, because it will not smash capitalism and replace it with socialism. The destination of the revolution is replacing capitalist modes of production with the socialism and eventually, once abundance has fulfiled with a full-fledged communism mode of production.

In addition, the Freedom Charter must be viewed historically and contemporarily as the political programme that seeks to address people’s transitional demands (immediate demands), such as structural racism defined by the dominant ownership of the economy and professions by the white minority and imperialist agents. We acknowledge the fact that South Africa is still tied to the chains of colonialism, which continues to hold the rest of African continent in subjection.

The Freedom Charter and our daily struggle

In the task of fulfilling the National Democratic Revolution, the Freedom Charter remains the fundamental political programme to deal with this country’s contradictions, such as the formation of elites and racial stratification in our economy. This includes the fact that white people dominate our economy and the working class is demobilised by poverty. Historically, the interclass struggle has prevailed. The intra-class struggle surfaced in the face of dealing with the national liberalism and racial economic structure of society. Consequently, students, middle stratum, youth and other oppressed people must struggle to fulfil the Freedom Charter. The working class must be at the front of the revolution. As Slovo has declared that it “faces a total racist bar against their entry into political and economic preserves of the privileged white minority.” Surely, students and this middle stratum are capable of marching side by side with the workers and the downtrodden rural in the national democratic revolution?

The Freedom Charter continues to be relevant as strategic task of realism the NDR for non-sexist, non-racial, democratic and prosperous South Africa. Why the Charter is important? The Charter seek to boost our revolution, in responding to the question of nation and the economy. In relation to the national question, the Charter asserts that “our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by the government founded on injustice and inequality.” Dialectically, the Charter focuses in an unambiguously national relationship between those who are national oppressed (the black) and national oppressors (the whites).

The preamble of the Charter that; South Africa belongs to white and Black, and there is no government that can justly claim the authority unless it is based in the will of the people. As the class struggle and the critique of the political economy which happen to take place in explanatory of framework of historical materialism. The Charter attempts to correct the colonial and apartheid formations of South Africa; both economic and political. As Marx, in the Communist Manifesto, exposed the link between colonialism and capitalism and the evil exploitation of colonial people, that involves the robbing of black people of their raw materials and the obliteration of their religious, education and cultural personalities in the name of civilisation.

The Young Communist League (YCLSA) in confronting the struggle.

The imperialism and bourgeois rule our country in a number of ways—through using intellectual hegemony, by inflicting their ideologies and using state apparatuses, such as police force. As Mza Nxumalo noted that “The real aim of the imperialism in the ideological field is to mislead our people, to cause the split in our ranks.” For example, education is part of societal superstructure, because the education system happens to be structured to feed the capitalism mode of production. This speaks to the question of knowledge production; especially to those who produce the academic autonomy and who determine the university curriculum. These happen to be the extension of the false-consciousness and doctrine. This continuously estranges our students from their revolutionary consciousness and their ability to undermine the capitalist mode of production.

In respect of the Freedom Charter, it is important to note that the Charter is not as Jeremiah’s Book of Lamentations (as Cde Mzala said). It is a political programme, which seeks solutions to the inequality in South Africa, by creating a single inclusive state not a pluralist state.  The Young Communist League must revive the Freedom Charter. Indeed, South Africa democratic breakthrough must be treated as being aimed at achieving national liberation and self-determination. It was vitally important for the Charter to be crafted to fight for the freedom so that black people can be allowed to vote, as Mzala argued that “our immediate aim is to win the objectives of the national revolution expressed in the Freedom Charter, more particularly to achieve the national emancipation of Black people and destroy the political and economic power of the racist ruling class.” Surely, Black people are politically emancipated because they are in control of the means of administration. The SACP in “The Second Transition; Going back to the roots” acknowledged that our government have managed to dismantle the apartheid administration. The Young Communist League must spearhead making the Charter’s full implementation to realise economic emancipation.

The YCLSA, as the pillar of our revolution, must guard against the revolution in the institution of high learning. Meaning that the YCLSA must infuse the revolutionary consciousness of the students and staff in order to destroy  the capitalist system itself in the Universities and bring them into agreement with the demands of the Freedom Charter. The YCLSA students must revive the Charter and use the Charter as the recruiting thought its constituency base for the addressing of the immediate demand such as the clause 8 which urges that “the doors of learning and of culture shall be open.” Education as the instrument of national integration and redistribution of social opportunities. The YCLSA, in the institutions of high learning, must recruit the progressive young professionals, such as young lecturers, to advance our scientific theory of Marxism in the classroom.

The revolution does not fall from the tree like an apple, the revolution need the socialist consciousness. As Engels said “socialism is a science and it must be conceived as such.” The socialist consciousness will deliver us to the land of peace and free education, as Mzala contended that ‘To bring socialist consciousness to the working class is not a task performed once in some meeting of zealous university students; it is, most obviously, a painstaking task for serious working class organisers.” Just as revolutionary impulses are not inborn characteristics of the students or workers.  Therefore, it is not enough to establish the YCLSA branch in the liberal universities, such as University of Witwatersrand, without consistently using political education for socialist consciousness—by infusing Marxism and Leninism to keep the revolution going.

Finally, acknowledging the fact that the students do not have the capacity to lead the revolution. First the students do not have a direct link with the production of our society, for example the Universities can be shut-down, but the production of the society will continue. In that case the bourgeoisie will continue to exploit surplus value from the workers’ labour and the working class will continue to sell their labour for survival. Marx noted that development takes place through the unity and struggle of opposite. Therefore, the students must lean to the revolutionary struggle of the locomotive forces of history – the working class. The YCLSA students must revive the Freedom Charter, as the uniting doctrine for the dismantling of the status quo, the white dominant ownership of the economy. They must eventually mobilise the social forces in the institutions of high learning to fight against the capitalism mode of production and automatically end triple contractions, unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Ashley Nyiko Mabasa is the YCLSA Shimi Matlala Wits Branch secretary

Its Youth month ANCYL please show leadership and Intellectualism: Lesson from 1976


This piece was written in June 2017.

It has been 41 years since the black and resilient youth of South Africa shook and threatened the system of apartheid. Yes, our history is important for the lessons and for the steadfast building of the future without repeating the mistakes.

It is simple and uncritical to dismiss the youth as born frees, meaning that the youth that did not experience the shackles and despotic system of apartheid politically and socially. However, these is because the youth still experience the wounds of apartheid still exist in a form of structural racism encompassed by racialized inequality and poverty.

Today, post-apartheid South Africa has been flirted with political quagmire while at the same times facing tough times as the structure of our state has not been transformed in a form of thoroughgoing transformation to service Youth.

The youth is crumbling and filled with bittiness towards the cruel system which has been built by the oppressed and the oppressor. Hence, the SACP in 1962 conceptualised the South Africa as Colonisation of Special Type (CST), as system in which the oppressor shares the space of their existence with the oppressed. The apartheid has explicitly characterised with socially, politically and economic segregation whereas post-1994 continues without explicitly racial discrimination.

Social status and classism emerge as important component for the youth which is political aligned.

Social status and classism are the order of the day for the post-1994 South African government which frustrate the youth struggle through using the coercive forces of police to clamp down on strikes and service delivery protests. This social status and classism has made the majority of the youth bystanders to South Africa’s economy and social spaces because it limits access to those who are not political affiliated.

The proximity to power through kinship and party patronage have betrayed youth struggle and filled youth with political-quagmire. For instance Duduzani Zuma is a billionaire at the age of 32 because of his kinship, by being President Zuma’s son whereas Collen Maine is the ANCYL president at age of 37 through manipulation of processes that excluded the best youth leader from taking the reign. Both Duduzani Zuma and Collen Maine earn legitimacy, high social status and class in our society due to the kinship and patrimonial politics.

The reality is that politics is becoming unfashionable and the youth is rapidly becoming disinterested into any broad political organisations. This is because party politics are stripped of honesty and coherent programmes to emancipating youth from unemployment and poverty.

The generation of today is subjected to a different struggle created by the ANC. Our ANC that has presided over the society has continuing the society to be unequal. The introduction of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in an attempt to produce non-European middle class black elites. The result of BEE is that has produced black oppressors and gatekeepers of economic transformation through corruption within political units.

Our ANC missed the point of creating black bourgeoisie as Thabo Mbeki the former President reported to the Black Economic Forum in 1999 that ‘The struggle against racism in our country must include the objective of creating a black bourgeoisie.” The limitation this creation of black bourgeoisie is that it is based on credit-capital and government tenders that are likely to involve high schemes of corruption.

Post-1994 our ANC was misguided when they choose the apartheid methodology of using the state to build Afrikaaners bourgeoisie. The reality was that toward the end of the World War Two there was no single Afrikaaner bourgeoisie. After1948 the National Party managed to produce Afrikaner bourgeoisie because of the massive exploitation and oppressing of the black people in addition of Bank Holding Corporation of SA: Sanlam. This eradicated the poverty of Afrikaners which included white youth through apartheid structures.

Today’s neo-colonial political units have demobilised the youth of South Africa since they create the possibility of ‘getting-rich-quick’ through the tender system or cadre deployment to government structures. That is why today we are trapped by “State Capture.” Which involves the president of the ANCYL being handled and funded by the Guptas.

The reality is that ANCYL is not the integrated structure that is able to represent the youth of the ANC. By virtue of being embroiled in the Gupta emails scandals which have strip them of legitimacy and integrity to represent us as the youth of the ANC. They have completely undermined the work of the 1976 generation.

In remembrance of the Youth of 1976, the youth of South Africa can attempt to re-imagine the so-called 1994 political freedom. Of course, political freedom can usher economic freedom if the political agents use the state to transform the economic structures. Meaning the youth must re-image political freedom as the vehicle of thoroughgoing transformation not a vehicle of patronage and capital schemes.

Our ANC must draft radical and practical policies that will benefit the youth of South Africa through education and participating in the economic activities. For example the creation of sustainable employment and provide free education to the poor.

The youth of South Africa struggle to access Universities because of space and money. The youth of 1976 fought for education to be accessible by all means possible. Indeed black people now are legislatively allowed to attend any university but there is a space constraint for every young eligible person to access space at Universities. For example, South African Universities accommodate 500 000 students whilst there is 15 million young people who cannot afford and access Universities.

Acknowledging that youth is the significant component of every nation trajectory economy; production, innovation, skill development, technology development and so forth. South Africa’s government and other society stakeholders must urgently find a solution for despondent struggling with substance abuse and crime.

The youth of 1976 was posited with undeniably courageous. They stood up against apartheid system by rejecting Afrikaans as their medium of instruction and their role in the struggle against the apartheid system. Notwithstanding, the fact that their influence needs a more critical and holistic appraisal of the constant significance of that moment. The Pan-Africanist Congress largely influenced the uprising as the Bethal Trial and the arrest of Zephanian Mothopeng.

The Youth of today must heed a lesson from the Youth of 1976; to stand for what they believe it is right for their future.

The normalisation of racial poverty and inequality including youth unemployment is a “ticking time bomb.” Therefore, the government must aggressively respond to the youth high unemployment rate and the Youth must also assist by engaging in small and medium scale entrepreneurship.

Ashley Nyiko Mabasa

The ANC member at Nelson Mandela branch ward 8


A Backward Gender Struggle

By Feziwe Ikhona Ndwayana

With the urgent need to respond decisively to the violence against women and children in our country, the persistent body shaming of women on social media and society in general, the shameful agenda to disable women to fully exercise their agency, the silencing and insistent marginalization of the LGBTQI in our communities, one got to ponder what is it that is yet to be addressed in so far as the gender question is concerned. What is the missing ingredient in this struggle for an equal society in so far as gender is concerned?

Here I make reference to the African national Congress. The reasoning that informed my decision to focus on the ANC is based on the fact that the ANC has been the ruling political party in South Africa since 1994. My contention is that because the ANC is the governing party, its policies within the African National Congress as guided by its objectives in the National Democratic Revolution should be discernable in society in general. An indication of this is when South African’s instantaneously attribute the losses and gains of government in general to the ANC and its leaders, because they are the majority in government and thus the governing political party.

Below, my assertion is that the matter of contention rests with a gender struggle (as defined by the ANC) that has failed to respond to the needs as displayed in our society currently. Firstly we must be reminded that our struggle is structural, thus the question of agency in so far as the woman is concerned comes to the fore. We are also faced with a gender struggle that has not evolved with the times to enable it to respond to our societal needs…a backward definition on gender and gender equity. This insistent rhetoric in our gender policy that is characterised by nuances that abide with heteronormative definitions of gender need to be dealt with to take us forward.

I further contend that most critical in this question on gender is the class analysis. So long as the household, household unpaid labour isn’t given the attention it deserves, we will be engaged in a limping revolution. And I further contend that this is where the structural challenge comes in. Can the poor and working class woman trust the middle class woman to further the struggle for gender equality?

The ANCWL (2014) refers to gender as the social, behavioural and cultural attributes and expectations, and norms associated with being a woman or a man. The ANCWL further states that gender equality then refers to how these aspects determine how women and men relate to each other and to the resulting differences in power between them. The ANCWL proceeds and mentions three dimensions of gender equality; firstly, the accumulation of endowments (health, education, and physical assets), secondly the use of endowments to take up economic opportunities and generate incomes, and thirdly the application of these endowments to take action, or agency, affecting individual, household and family well-being.

The disquisition on the subject matter I wish to embark on is concentrated around the definition of gender by the ANCWL that which I posit limits the inclusivity of various gender displays and furthermore, and most importantly impedes on the potent progress that the gender struggle could obtain in so far as gender equality is concerned.

I will now proceed by giving an account of gender by Simone de Beauvoir that Judith Butler (1986) coherently articulates. Butler, J (1986:35) commenced by making a distinction between sex and gender, she states that sex is understood to be the invariant, anatomically distinct, and fabric aspects of the female body, whereas gender is the cultural meaning and form that that body acquires, the variable modes of that body’s acculturation. Moreover J. Butler (1986: 35) says that, if the distinction is consistently applied, it becomes unclear whether being a given sex has any necessary consequence of being a given gender.

The postulation on gender equality as demonstrated by the ANCWL firstly gives an account of the traditional assumption that gender is based on a binary, mandatory system that attributes social characteristics to sexed anatomy (J, Nagoshi and Brzuzy, S; 2010: 432). This proceeds from the practice that categorised humans as male or female from birth, and this was on the basis of their external genitalia (J, Nagoshi and Brzuzy, S; 2010: 432). This account of gender equality fails to accommodate the multiple categories that disturb the neat polarity of familiar opposites that assume one dominant, and one subordinate group, one normal and one deviant identity, one hegemonic and one “other” (J.Lorber ;1996: 145). I posit the account of gender equality as illustrated by the ANCWL further assumes a monolithic understanding of gender. It is at this precise point that the ANC policy on gender begins to fall short in addressing the question on gender inequality.

Secondly, I contend that the account of gender equality by the ANCWL, is based on a feminist discourse that assumes female representation in male dominated patriarchal structures is the solution to defeating patriarchy. For instance, the assumption that the placement of women in patriarchal spaces will inevitably result in the defeat of gender inequality begs the question of black women persistently being the most underpaid group generally and also in respect to their colleagues. It further begs the question of unpaid domestic labour. It begs the question of the onslaught on women on a daily basis. The postulation by the ANCWL on the use of endowments presupposes the inclusion of females in patriarchal spaces and access to economic opportunities will result in the dissolution of gender roles, and thus patriarchal oppression.

J, Lorber (1996: 150) makes an example, she says US lesbians first identified with homosexual men in their resistance to sexual discrimination, but after experiencing the same gender discrimination as did women in civil rights and draft-resistance movements, they turned to the feminist movement, where, unhappily, they experienced hostility to their sexuality from heterosexual women. Lorber (1996:151) goes on to say that subsequently, some lesbian feminists created an oppositional, woman-identified, separatist movement that identifies heterosexuality as the main source of the oppression of women.

I concur with Julie Nagoshi and Stephanie Brzuzy (2010: 433) when they say that a feminist theory that adheres to essentialist, fixed binary conception of gender identity is inadequate in addressing intersectional issues and fails to account for how a supposedly autonomous self in such a system can be empowered to resist oppression. I contend that the ANCWL starts off correctly and defines gender, however the definition of gender equality sets the tone that at the core of the narrative is a woman focused agenda that only identifies with how women and men relate to each other, reifying the gender binary and nullifying what  would be a revolutionary gender struggle. This agenda isn’t inclusive of various genders that are currently marginalised and don’t fit into what heteronormativity dictates, there is no space created for LGBTQI+.  Even though the ANC can be viewed, correctly so, as having been the most progressive in this regard, it has however failed in challenging the two sex model, or gender binary both in action and in policy.

The 4th National Policy Conference document of the ANC states that the gender discussion is located in the context of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). Because of the twin goals of the ANCWL, in addressing patriarchy and race as a historical phenomenon, one will insist that the ANCWL is embarking on an intersectional struggle with the NDR. I say this because in the Strategy and Tactics of the ANC 2007 affirms that the strategic goal of the NDR is the resolution of three basic and inter-related contradictions of Colonialism of a Special Type in South Africa (where the colonised and the colonial metropolis lived within one nation – state): racial oppression, class- super exploitation and patriarchal relations of power.

Earlier on I stated that the gender policy of the ANC presents a monolithic account of gender and gender equality. I further stated that gender equality as demonstrated by the ANCWL gives an account of the traditional assumption that gender is based on a binary, mandatory system that attributes social characteristics to sexed anatomy (J, Nagoshi and Brzuzy). It is precisely at this point that the ANC policy on gender comes short of addressing the question on gender inequality.  I will now give a lucid account as to why I make the latter claim.

Fabricius, P (2014) states that South Africa was ‘the very first country in the world to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and has one of the most progressive constitutions along with other legislation that outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace, and legalises same-sex marriages. However, the LGBTI submitted an Open Manifesto to the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress. Chief to their demands as Phumi Mtetwa articulated was the call for The African National Congress (ANC) to make the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people a “living reality” at its National Conference.  Some of the demands that were made by LGBTI group were as follows;


  • 1. We call on the ANC’s 52nd National Conference to advance the rights, interests, needs and demands of the LGBTI in South Africa
  • 2. Create a climate of openness and non-discrimination within the ANC in order to make it possible for LGBTI members to come out and claim their space
  • 3. Create an open forum/caucus of LGBTI members within the ANC


Even though South Africa holds a progressive constitution, Fabricius.P (2014) says that it has had difficulties translating into foreign policy. Fabricius, P (2014) says that the President Mbeki administration drew a clear and sharp line between domestic and foreign policy on sexual orientation. He says, “South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in New York, Dumisani Kumalo, refused to support a French-sponsored resolution in the UN Security Council in 2008 that called for the protection of gay people against violence, because South Africa did not want to offend other African governments.”

Similar events transpired in President Jacob Zuma’s tenure as president. Fabricius, P (2014) says, “The President Zuma administration also began falteringly when Jerry Matjila, South Africa’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva at the time, opposed a similar report in the UN Human Rights Council in 2010. Matjila infamously said that adding sexual orientation to a list of categories of people requiring protection against discrimination would ‘demean’ the victims of racial discrimination and dilute their protection.”

It should come as no surprise that these events transpired, even in a country that is said to uphold one of the most progressive constitutions and was a leader in the world in adopting progressive legislation prohibiting sexual discrimination and legalising same-sex marriage. I contend, the mute posture of the ANC in so far as gender policy that is all inclusive has created confusion because its leadership does not have a mandate. This also accounts for the open manifesto submitted by an LGBTIQ to the ANC 52nd National Conference, and a response to it that is yet to be known.

“Slavery to an assembly line is not a liberation from slavery to a kitchen sink”

The structural challenge, that I contend is yet to be adequately dealt with, is the household.  The household is the bedrock of any capitalist society. That is where the reproductive activity that sustains capitalism occurs, and it is unquestionable that it is an institution that sustains patriarchal relations.

The three dimensions of gender equality, as stated by the ANCWL; firstly, the accumulation of endowments (health, education, and physical assets), secondly the use of endowments to take up economic opportunities and generate incomes, and thirdly the application of these endowments to take action, or agency, affecting individual, household and family well-being.

What this postulation on endowments lacks is the realization that the accumulation of purchasing power may result in agency but does not necessitate the defeat of patriarchy. Without the defeat of patriarchy, women – even the richest of them all- aren’t able to fully exercise their agency.

The home is where a woman will ensure the environment is warm, one where a man can relax after a long day of work, be fed, served, sleep and wake up to clean ironed clothes for work ready as productive force in the capitalist system. However, let’s be grateful, the gender equality policy on endowments has meant that women also have economic opportunities, and so they too go out to work on the assembly line. Della Costa, teaches us that those who advocate that the liberation of the working class woman lies in her getting a job outside the home are part of the problem and not the solution, slavery to an assembly line is not a liberation from slavery to a kitchen sink.

This is a crucial aspect in the gender struggle that I contend has not been given the attention it deserves. Not only does reproductive activity in the household sustain capitalism but it also perpetuates oppressive gender norms. In a neoliberal organized society, the role of the boss is concealed behind the role of the husband.  The household is also an institution in which women and children are abused and killed in their numbers on a daily basis in South Africa. Unpaid household labour sustains the “othering” of women, and thus the objectification of the woman body in the struggle for gender equality is one we are yet to conquer.

If the struggle for gender equality is merely limited to that of the accumulation of endowments, and the household is an institution that is not entertained, we will be perpetuating contradictions within the class struggle itself, resulting in a stagnant revolution.

If we are to be honest with ourselves, the application of the National Democratic Revolution has done immensely in advancing for transformation in so far as institutionalized patriarchy is concerned. However, the critical question we are yet to address fully is what has it done for women that don’t have access to good education, resources and good jobs? I contend, the results of gender equity policy as postulated by the ANCWL has resulted in a disintegration within the women’s movement based on class. The struggles of middle class women and those of poor and working class women have become increasingly different, this not denying that the common enemy is patriarchy. The fundamental question here as stated in the former is, can the working class women trust the middle and upper class women with the gender struggle? These are the contradictions that are displayed in a gender struggle that does not grasp completely that the household, as a pillar of capitalist society is one that needs to be transformed.

And as women- black women in particular – as those who have been suffering under the triple yoke of oppression, we have a duty. A duty not only to ourselves but to society in general. As it’s been said before, the liberation of women is a liberation of all of humanity, and so I contend, as we rise we have the duty to rise with others. Thus the gender struggle can no longer be advocated for without advocating for the LGBTQI people’s rights. Unity is key, standing for principle and for what is right is the bottom line.

And for our generation, the unity of women is paramount, notwithstanding a unity of society in general. A mobilised and organised voice of women is essential for the progression of our rights but especially for all of marginalized and oppressed peoples in our country and the world over. Not for our sake (because this is not about our selfish needs) but for the sake of generations to come and also for those that came before us and fought the beast that is patriarchy head on.

 Feziwe Ikhona Ndwayana

ANCYL Greater Johannesburg Region Zone 12 Coordinator

Former SASCO PEC member

Former University of Witwatersrand SRC President

Gender Activist

These views are my own