Forces who opposed the Freedom Charter are still hard at work
Personal Viewpoint by Ndabezinhle Sibiya
Today, the 26th June is the 177th day of this centennial Year of Nelson Mandela. It is also the day on which the Freedom Charter was adopted in Kliptown. The charter remains the guiding tool towards the transformation of society.
While this year has been dedicated to celebrate Madiba’s contribution towards the fight against apartheid, we also have an opportunity to assess performance of government as an implementing arm of the policies and programs of the ruling party, the ANC.
It is an opportunity for the ANC to take an honest look at itself and make the necessary amendments in an effort to serve the people and deliver a better life for all.
Today members of the ANC have an opportunity to analyse the challenges that are experienced by the ANC in implementing the priorities of the ANC as outlined in the election manifesto prior to 1994 general elections, which is the basis on which the electoral mandate is based. It is therefore an important year that all the cadres of the movement must take seriously.
At the beginning of this year on the 4th January, I pointed out in social media that this year, each day of the week, and each week of the month, the ANC has to analyse the political environment under which it operates and assess the balance of forces and their influence in the success of programmes aimed at transforming society.
Inevitably, the ANC needs to continuously look at the forces opposed to the programmes of the ANC led government and the ANC as a ruling party.
In reality the role of opposition parties and other stakeholders that have traditionally stood against the direction of the liberation struggle merit continuous evaluation and characterization. These are the forces whose interests may hamper the progress towards the fulfilment of the Freedom Charter.
Every hour ANC members at all levels need to characterise all those forces that do not share a common programme with the ANC as deserving focused analysis. I believe that the ANC need to be honest about this analysis.
The ANC needs to accept that of this array of opposition parties, foundations and NGOs, while an important cog in the wheel of democracy, allowing the population to exercise the freedom of expression, which we fought for and shall forever defend, very few of them, if any, promote the genuine interests of South Africans.
There are some that were opposed to free education. Some do not want indigenous people to have access to the land and others were opposed to the ANC led government programme aimed at ensuring access to free health care and social grants. There are forces whose main occupation is to take the ANC government to court, others have a sustained programme aimed at ridiculing ANC leaders - pitting them against each other and against society.
By and large, it would appear as if leaders who declare poverty and conditions of squalor as enemy number one are those that face the wrath of the forces opposed to the National Democratic Revolution.
Critically, it should be remembered that the adoption of the Freedom Charter on the 26th June in 1955 brought together African, Indian, Coloured and White organisations.
The 27th April 1994 is therefore the fulfilment of the dreams of OR. Tambo, Alan Paton, Jack Govender, Harry Gwala, Helen Joseph, Billy Nair, Bishop Colenso, Griffiths Mxenge, Ruth First, Nokuhamba Nyawo, Archbishop Denis Hurley, Dawood Seedat, A.K.M Docrat, P.M. Harry, Fatima Meer, Cliffon Brown, John Beaver Marks, Josiah Gumede and many of our heroes and heroines to many to mention.
The contribution of well-known leaders who hail from different communities is well documented and forms part of a very proud history of our beloved province and the country as a whole.
A pertinent question needs to be asked: How safe is the future of our freedom and democracy if events that led to the first democratic elections are allowed to evaporate off the face of our public discourse?
The opposition to free and democratic elections is an indication that our quest for total emancipation will continue to be challenged by forces who have always opposed the ANCs principled cause to change society for the better. The fact that there were forces opposed to political freedom is an indication that they will always be forces against our economic emancipation.
It should be remembered that in order to fight against political freedom, there were forces that ensured that Africans did not live in harmony by sowing seeds of division within the black community and its leadership. They went to the extent of sponsoring black-on-black violence.
We must pause and remember the mayhem unleashed by counter-revolutionary forces who were hell-bent on preventing the emancipation of the people of this province and all South Africans. Their covert operations resulted in the brutal deaths of thousands of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters across the corners of KZN.
As the ANC fights for economic emancipation, it is possible that the same forces are using the same tactic of sowing seeds of division within the black community and its leadership. They want to delay economic freedom for the majority of people.
The enemies of transformation, because they thrive on mayhem, will do everything in their power to plant seeds of division within the ANC. Therefore only a strong and united ANC can deliver a future of our dreams as articulated by the Freedom Charter which was adopted today.
The greatest gift the ANC can give to the forebears of our freedom who drafted the Constitution is to strengthen its support base amongst all communities it was formed to serve. There should be no feeling of alienation for any member of society and ANC membership for whatever reason.
The ANC should remain a home for all progressive forces and activists, capable of adequately representing the aspirations of all including the minority communities - those in the White, Coloured and Indian communities, who by virtue of their views, beliefs and support for the vision of the Freedom Charter are part of those who want a better South Africa for all.
Ndabezinhle Sibiya - is the Head of Content and Knowledge Management in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government Communications. He writes in his personal capacity.