By BO Writer
Black First Land First (BLF) on Saturday, 8 October 2016, officially launched its “preliminary report on apartheid era corruption and other economic crimes” (BLF report on white corruption) at 77 Bufferlake in Mamelodi. 77 Bufferlake was an interesting choice of venue. It’s regarded by many as the headquarters of the movement. It’s a revolutionary site of thriving land repossession that the BLF is very integrally involved in. Gavin Zitha, the leader of the 77 Bufferlake Land Committee – referring to the Jojo water tanks that BLF had given the community as well as the movement’s dedicated commitment to land return – introduced BLF as the one who gave the community life.
Introducing the said report on white corruption, BLF’s National Convener, Andile Mngxitama, told attendees who were mainly from 77 Bufferlake and the surrounding communities that the ANC government was told in the 1990’s by a government commissioned report (CIEX) how apartheid-era white capitalists stole over R560 billion from the State. To this end, CIEX also indicated that huge amounts could be recovered from those who looted and it identified the European bankers who assisted the thieves to hide the stolen billions. Mngxitama submitted that the Mbeki cabinet as well as the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) pushed the CIEX report under the table and that they did nothing about its findings because they were protecting the white capital.
The crowd were informed about the history of colonial land dispossession. It was pointed out that “when Jan van Riebeeck, together with his gang arrived here in 1652 as convicted criminals who specialized in corruption, they systematically pillaged the wealth and land. The British thieves then joined in and while they each fought for supreme control they subsequently agreed that it was far better to unite and steal from blacks. Hence they constituted themselves as a united front against black people which in turn was ideologically expressed as colonialism, apartheid and imperialism. This is how they created the foundations of modern South Africa”.
“This corrupt state,” Mngxitama stressed, “was inherited by the ANC in 1994 and has since never been transformed”. Moreover, none of the historic crimes of white corruption were accounted for. The CIEX report reveals apartheid leaders, bankers, and white capitalists who committed further crimes of corruption in the decade leading up to 27 April 1994 and beyond who were never prosecuted with a view to recovering what was stolen from blacks – despite overwhelming evidence of wrong doings.
The BLF report on white corruption goes into the extent of apartheid era corruption and white capital’s role in it. It further suggests who stole the money and where the money is and indicates a course of action going forward.
In terms of the above BLF report a total of R563 Billion was stolen by white capital which is recoverable. It speaks amongst other things of how: apartheid era white capitalist criminals looted from the SARB; in 2007, 20% of the GDP in the amount of R422 billion was stolen through capital flight under the watch of President Thabo Mbeki;
6 billion was declared by companies as illegally taken out of the country in 2003 and how they only paid a R2 billion fine; the post-1994 government has on two occasions given amnesty to white capital for theft of billions (in 2003 and in 2010); R50 billion was identified by the Competition Commission to be illegally gained in respect of which fines totalling 5 billion was paid; R26 billion was stolen from the SARB in respect of which (despite the fact that at least three investigations had indicated wrong doing and the possibility of recovery of the money) nothing has been done to date p, including by the Public Protector (PP) to whom the matter was referred to in 2011.
The launch was briefed about how BLF has, since September 2015, been trying to get the PP to finalize her report regarding the stolen R26 billion . Also since March 2016 the movement has been urging the PP to take their complaint of white state capture seriously and to this end finalize and release her report. Furthermore the launch was told about the various direct actions taken by BLF in furtherance of getting the PP to deliver her reports regarding the stolen R26 billion and state capture by white capital, including amongst other things, the sit in at her office on 30 September 2016; the protest action the next day in terms of which BLF disrupted her keynote address at the Desmond Tutu lecture at UWC, the protest action at her office that resulted in 26 BLF members being arrested and subsequently imprisoned for 8 days on trumped up charges of public violence, trespassing, kidnapping and intimidation; the march to her office on 6 October 2016 comprising of over 400 protesters; the overnight picket (from 6 to 7 October 2016) at her office; the planned 24 hour pickets at her office over the period 10 to 13 October 2016, and the planned march to her office on 14 October 2016.
A call was then made to all black people and progressive forces to participate in the programs of BLF that was due to unfold from Monday, 10 October 2016.
Zanele Lwana, the Deputy National Convener of BLF, also addressed the launch. She told the people (in the context of the BLF report on white corruption) that BLF is an anti imperialist, anti capitalist, Black Consciousness, Pan Afrikanist movement that is against all forms of oppression and exploitation including that which reflects the backward patriarchal practices of society against black women. She was clear that the liberation of black women and in fact all blacks in general is inextricably linked to land return which in turn is linked to the resolution of the main contradiction, being white supremacy.
Against this backdrop the picture of Thomas Sankara, who was the leader of the revolutionary government of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, was presented to the launch. The attendees were then schooled in his legacy of defeating white settler monopoly capital and western imperialism. Sankara was hailed for returning the land to the indigenous people of Burkina Faso which in turn made all other things, possible. He was further honored for making gender equality a reality in that women’s revolutionary role and participation in all aspects of life were enabled via decree with consequences for non compliance. Sankara’s leadership ethos, that teaches politicians and public servants to only give services to the public that they themselves can utilize so as to elaborate a state form that is fully responsive, was suggested as the standard that all those who govern the state should aspire to.
The launch ended on a high note with a clear lesson to take home on who are the enemies and who are the friends of the revolution.
The following names of white capitalists, as those implicated in state capture, were introduced to the crowd with the directive never to forget who the real enemies of blacks are:
1. SA Businessman and Chairman of Richemont, Johann Rupert.
2. Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos.
3. Goldman Sachs’ South Africa Head, Colin Coleman.
4. Investec Bank’s global CEO, Stephen Koseff.
5. Imperial Holdings’ CEO, Mark Lamberti.
6. Sanlam CEO, Ian Kirk.
7. Business Leadership South Africa Chairperson, Bobby Godsell.
8. Toyota Europe CEO, Johan van Zyl.
9. First Rand CEO, Johan Burger.
The two most wealthiest white families in South Africa, being the Nicky Oppenheimer family and the Johann Rupert family, who both own the wealth of 25 million people in the country put together – were marked as the foremost enemies of blacks.
The further emphasis by Mngxitama on the fact that only “35,000 white families and businesses own 87% of South Africa’s land” was strengthened by his call for blacks to keep their focus fixed on the objective of destroying white settler monopoly capital and its global wing, imperialism.
Against this backdrop the audience was given clarity on the aim of BLF’s campaign of #HandsOffZumaEconomicLiberationNow – the campaign is aimed at fighting imperialism (including those implicated in the BLF report on white corruption) via a revolutionary program that compels the ANC to answer the big question of economic liberation, including that of land return.
Preliminary Report on Apartheid Era Corruption and Other Economic Crimes. See link: http://blf.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/blf-preliminary-report-white-corruption1.pdf