No matter how hard we try to disguise it or the rhetoric we may use, Africa is still colonised by the West and its allies as the exploitation of the continentâ€™s resources continues. The saying that political independence counts for nothing without economic independence sounds true when, after decades of political independence in most African countries, the means of production are still being controlled by foreigners. In the next few lines, the politics behind the expulsion of Julius Malema as the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League President in South Africa shall be expounded.
During the struggle for independence in South Africa, the ANC, as the leading National Liberation Movement, adopted the Freedom Charter (the charter) on June 26 1955 and this has been used as the guiding light in the fight for the peopleâ€™s aspirations. The document is notable for its demand for and commitment to a non-racial South Africa, and this remains the platform of the ANC. The charter also calls for democracy and human rights, land reform, labour rights and nationalisation. When one looks at the charter and listens to the speeches of the deposed ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema, you are left wondering what wrong the young and promising leader actually committed to deserve such a still penalty. In all fairness, he was simply pushing or reminding the Executive branch of government to pursue the agenda as laid down in the charter for the betterment of the citizenry.
During the apartheid era, while most South Africans were suffering in the form of land seizures, tax and pass systems, a small population was benefitting and this minority tried as much as it could to stifle any opposition to the system realising that any changes to the status quo would mean losing all the benefits that accrued with the system. When change came in the 1990s, these people had already cemented their positions and were at ease.
Enter Malema and his philosophy, some quarters of the population became extremely uncomfortable with his bold utterances and determination to change the course and landscape of South Africaâ€™s politics, more so when the Youth League is viewed as a nursery to future political leaders of the country.
Now, during the struggle for independence, ANC received monetary and all kinds of support from different well- wishers. Some of the donors had vested interests in the country and whatever they could milk out of it. First among those would be some multinational companies and organisations with multimillion dollar investments in the country.
Upon hearing Malemaâ€™s stand and realising that following the charter by the letter would change their fortunes, panic set in. Pressure from their board of directors and mother countries, one would fathom, found its way to the seat of the South African government and the drama unfolded. It is a fact that Malema is one of the best orators in the ANC and has won popularity among the poor South African youths with his calls for the nationalisation of mines and seizure of white-owned land. These calls emanate from part IV of the Freedom Charter.
The evident inequality in the living standards of the people of South Africa leaves a lot to be desired. It is an open secret that where precious minerals are found and exploited, the people living in that area ought to be the first ones to benefit from the exploitation of such minerals. Now, is it a question of misplaced priorities, lack of political will or there is someone pulling the strings from behind the scenes regarding wealth distribution? Where does all the money realised from South Africaâ€™s minerals go to if it cannot be used to uplift the well-being of its citizenry? Why should a lot of people live in crammed places when a few live in opulence.
Those are some of the questions that killed Malemaâ€™s promising political career. All things being equal, the ANC would have been the first body to pursue the agenda for change because that was the trump card that propelled it into power.
As things are, the watchdog has been caught sleeping on the job and no plausible explanation could satisfy the people of South Africa once the ANC loses power as to why it failed its own people. It is about time for the ANC to ruffle a few feathers and implement the provisions of the charter and the attendant documents no matter who it hurts for the sake of the common human.
Lastly, as a nation, South Africa cannot allow multinational organisations and a few wealthy individuals to exploit its resources and labour to their advantage at the expense of the majority and expelling Malema is no solution to the land or nationalisation issue. Equity demands that ownership of the means of production be reversed orderly and wealth equally distributed for the benefit of all South Africans.