Marikana could marry an unlikely couple, and maybe save SA
August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
Nothing like a national tragedy bring reality into sharp focus again. This week I’ve had a stinging deja va – and suddenly it struck me why. In June 1976 when I was but a wee lad, I sensed the same fear, angst and consternation amongst adults in my childhood of white privilege. Something unfathomably bad had happened in their world announcing an end to reality as they knew it.
I experienced it again in ’86 when PW Botha announced the State of Emergency. The Afrikaners had retreated into a laager and were going to try shoot their way out. SA had been collapsing slowly but you sensed this was the end – the Afrikaners would have one final stand, lose, and then we’d all have our throats cut.
My conservative parents relived June ‘76 when de Klerk unbanned the ANC in 1990 – their fears became their reality; the country was being handed to the people.
It was my turn again after the Boipatong massacre in ‘92, and after Chris Hani was killed in ’93 – we were on a fearful precipice; would peaceful democracy be stillborn?
Each event indicated that a threshold had been suddenly crossed; that reality had been dislocated; that things would never be the same again. Each one delivered the future into the present leaving a frightful unknown looming out ahead.
Now, nineteen years later, it’s happened again. The Marikana massacre has been a shock to all South Africans. But it’s not just the magnitude of the violence in this Sharpevillian episode that stuns us.
It’s the intuitive knowledge that the ANC has lost the support of its power base. That the marginalized poor, crazed with anger and hate, have confronted Zuma’s corrupt political elite and announced the future.
You ignored us as you enriched yourself – but we are still here. We will suffer no more. We will take this country with our pangas and our muti. You may have won the battle at Marikana, but you just lost the war.
It is a litany that strikes fear into 30% of South Africans – that is, those of us who have decent jobs, who don’t live in shacks, who get by okay. It terrifies us because the other 70% who survive on R25 a day or less have the numbers, and the power, and each one is a Malema in his thinking. And as the good Lord said, the meek shall inherit the earth.
Zuma will fall at the ANC conference because his police can’t massacre voters seen to be campaigning for higher wages. Miners have wives and parents and children and brothers and sisters – many dependent on the miner’s income – and these people all have the vote.
At the same time they resent the way Zuma slapped down Julius Malema – because they know that Malema is right. He may be an opportunist tenderpreneur – who wouldn’t grab the money when Zuma’s corrupt system tolerates it? – but what Malema says makes sense to them. And to me.
You’ve stolen the money for yourselves. You live in big houses while we live in shacks. You drive flashy cars while we catch taxis. Your police are corrupt and have become the enemy. Our children have no text books in schools. Most of us have no jobs. Those that work earn minimum wage. You kill them when they ask for more. You stole the revolution. Now, we will take the country back.
The great marginalized majority – 70% of the ANC’s voters – don’t care about philosophical nuances that upset you and me. They don’t link Zumas’s undermining of the rule of law to their misfortunes. They don’t campaign against the info bill restricting press freedom. The don’t concern themselves with Zuma’s corruption of the independent judiciary.
They just see the political elite looting the country, whites staying rich, and fatcat politicians flaunting bling. They see the police enforcing the interests of all these people. They have had enough. It’s not about preserving the institutions of democracy or returning to the values of the Freedom Charter. It’s about the money. We have it, they don’t have it, and that is going to change.
History will recall that, after a hundred years, they lost faith in the great political organization that gave them so much hope. But they have nowhere to turn. They will never support the DA which is seen as the party for rich whites. It’s too late now to form a new party that can successfully oppose the ANC is the 2014 elections. They must make a plan within the ANC.
Firstly they will drop Zuma. Then they will flex their muscles by voting in their own candidates at Mangaung 2012. The ANC elite is running scared. Too preoccupied thus far with lobbying their own interests, they now realize it’s too late to save their skins. Motlanthe is seen as too indecisive, introverted and academic. Ramaphosa and Sexwhale are sellout fatcats, the extreme end of a category that is ‘them’ as opposed to the poor ‘us’. In this category sits Cosatu and the NUM – detached cadres who got too close to government, feathered their own nests, and forgot about the people.
In the background stand Malema and Shivambu, cast-out by the NEC. What Polokwane 2010 taught is that NEC decisions get overturned at ANC elections. The ANCYL leaders will be back with a bang, headed right to the top. They represent the aspirations of the people and are brave enough to speak out. Now, they will have their victory.
The ANC think-tank has long worried about this scenario but been reluctant to do anything under Zuma’s stranglehold. But in the last year some stalwarts have been seen shifting ground if not breaking ranks.
Most notable is Mathews Phosa, a shrewd Capitalist, former NEC member and current ANC Treasurer-General. He’s angered the inner circle and crossed swords with Zuma and Gwede Mantashe over the ANC’s unethical funding methods. His days are numbered even as Trevor Manuel is being edged into the financial role.
Phosa has long seen the writing on the wall. Last year many questioned why he was defending Malema at the ANC disciplinary hearing. Surely that was political suicide? Since then the political bedmates have strengthened their union. Phosa, it seems, was one of the few alert enough to read the changing tide.
Sure as night brings day, Marikana has ensured that the marginalized poor will take the ANC reigns. One hopes that Phosa is part of the mix. An erudite and educated man, he could bridge the gap between the masses and a cleansed old guard. He would have to make courageous and sweeping policy changes, calling for the highest qualities of political brinkmanship.
In retrospect, it all seems to have been so inevitable. We were all waiting for the status quo to break. Perhaps, now that it’s done, we can exhale in relief. If Phosa is given the wheel with Malema navigating according to the people’s conscience, we might have the best team to get us through stormy waters. Respectively they have the instincts that their supporters trust. They are polar opposites in character but will educate the shortcomings and ameliorate the excesses in the other.
It may sound anathema to you in this shocking new world we find ourselves - but this is a team I think I could trust. With visionary new policies that legitimately funnel the wealth of SA to our countrymen, these two could save us yet.