Image: The leadership of the Black First Land First movement, from left to right: Lindsay Maasdorp, Yerushka Chetty, Andile Mngxitama, Zanele Lwana and Ncedisa Mpemnyama.
By Yerushka Chetty
The extended National Coordination Committee (NCC) of our movement which is the highest decision making body between national imbizos, met over the weekend of 16-17 July 2016. The NCC reviewed a number of important challenges facing our movement. Furthermore, the NCC noted the growth of the movement since the national launch in May 2016. National membership currently stands at 10 000. The NCC notes also that BLF student movement is now recognized in a number of institutions of higher learning and shall be contesting for SRC positions this year in at least four universities.
The NCC noted that the meeting happens at the aftermath of an ongoing racist violent onslaught on black people in South Africa and in the USA. Furthermore, BLF recognizes that up to now, the war against black people has been one sided, however, this is changing albeit very slowly. The response to the violence of the USA on black people by the late Micah Xavier Johnson is not only heroic and courageous but its also historic. This is a response that must be celebrated by all black people who have freed themselves from colonial thinking.
Micah Xavier Johnson the Martyr
BLF has in recognition of the revolutionary courage displayed by Micah Xavier Johnson named him as one of the martyrs of black liberation. He stands tall next to the likes of Malcom X, Harriet Tubman, Dedan Kimathi, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe and scores of others who contributed immeasurably to the cause of black liberation. BLF has declared the month of July a month to remember and to honor Micah Xavier Johnson. All BLF meetings during this period shall be opened with observing a moment of silence for the black martyr.
Anti-Racism Self Defense Units
The NCC also considered the ongoing racist attacks on black people in South Africa by whites. It noted that the state and institutions meant to uphold peace and protect all have not been able to protect black people. The violence against black people is naturalized on farms where black farm workers are treated as slaves and often murdered without justice. This reality calls on black people to defend themselves. In this regard BLF shall be investigating the possibility of setting up “Anti-Racism Self Defense Units”. Any racist harming black people needs to know that black people shall defend themselves. Self-defense is a natural right.
Also BLF shall be submitting a response to the proposed legislation to criminalize racism. As things stand the legislation is going to criminalize black people.
IEC sabotage and who will BLF vote for?
The NCC noted that the decision of the IEC to block BLF from contesting the 2016 Local Government Elections, is political and possibly illegal. The IEC has decided to deny BLF the ability to submit its list of candidates on indefensible grounds. BLF submitted an application at least three days before Minister Van Rooyen announced his proclamation which sets out a time table of the elections and legally declares the LGE date. It’s not the fault of BLF that the policy is not clear as to when the minister should declare a proclamation. Why is BLF punished for policy weaknesses of the IEC? BLF has then appealed the initial decision of the IEC but after all manner of avoidance and delays the IEC has returned with the same unjust decision to exclude BLF from participating in the LGE. BLF will be submitting papers to the Electoral Court to reverse the IEC’s illogical and arbitrary decision. This will be done to seek justice and vindication and as a first step towards a possible civil claim against the IEC. Let no other movement suffer such unjust exclusion.
The NCC considered the reality that irrespective of what the Electoral Court may now decide, it would be practically impossible to mount any campaign now because of time contraints. Therefore the NCC had to give direction on what must the members and sympathisers of BLF do with their votes. The following resolutions was taken:
That all BLF sympathizers and members vote in a manner that would enhance the development of the Azanian Front. This means organisations and independent candidates who are ideologically oriented towards both Black Consciousness and Pan Africanism must be prioritized. However, BLF has put forward a condition, our votes do not come for free and must contribute towards a different political and leadership culture that puts people first. All organisations and independents who wish to enjoy BLF votes must adopt the Sankara Oath and the Sankara Local Government Manifesto. Let representatives of the people represent the people and not themselves. We call upon our people to insist that all those who wish for their votes must be told that the pre-condition is the adoption of both these important policies: The Sankara Oath and Sankarist Local Government Manifesto.
BLF shall be doing door to door activities to popularize the Sankara Oath and the Sankarist Local Government Manifesto. Power must return to the people!
Corruption cases against White Capital
On 24 March 2016 BLF opened corruption cases against 9 white captains of industry who had instituted an illegal “State Capture” by forcing President Zuma to hire their favourite candidate Pravin Gordhan. This was an illegal and corrupt act by white capital which has been neglected or deliberately covered up by the media in its narrow and unethical campaign against the Guptas.
When the Guptas are said to capture that state, it makes media front pages. But there is no coverage when whites are said to capture the state.
BLF laid criminal charges at the Hillbrow Police Station in Johannesburg, against 9 white capitalists who have acted unlawfully by contravening Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004). The case number is: 39/4/2016.
Here is summary of the criminal activities of these white capitalists:
Firstly, Johann Rupert (also known as the Stellenbosch Mafia King), chairman of the Swiss Luxury group Richemont is alleged to have broken Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activities Act, 2004. He broke the law and acted in a corrupt fashion when he summoned Cyril Ramaphosa and Trevor Manuel, and instructed them to ensure the firing of Van Rooyen as Minister of Finance. We know Rupert has interests in the economy, so he wanted a minister who would take care of his interests. The charge is corruption!
We know that Johann Rupert denies meeting with these two gentlemen, and Ramaphosa however does not deny that the meeting occurred, but only that there was no discussion of the hiring and firing of ministers. We know thieves and criminals never admit to their crimes, so the police must do their work and the courts must deal with the criminals.
The second crime happened on the night of the 13 December 2015. The following bankers, captains of industry, and some of them representatives of multinational corporations, all broke Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activities Act, 2004 . Here is the list of the wanted:
1. Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos;
2. Goldman Sachs’ South Africa head Colin Coleman;
3. Investec Bank’s global CEO, Stephen Koseff;
4. Imperial Holdings’ CEO, Mark Lamberti;
5. Sanlam CEO Ian Kirk;
6. Business Leadership South Africa chairperson Bobby Godsell;
7. Toyota Europe CEO Johan van Zyl and
8. First Rand CEO Johan Burger
BLF is happy to report that the HAWKS have now taken the case away from the Hilbrow Police station and it is currently being investigated at the highest levels. To date, three meetings with BLF representatives have been held with the HAWKS where further particulars have been given to the investigating officers. We shall continue to follow up until justice is served.
Thuli Madonsela Refuses to Investigate White Corruption
BLF can’t wait to see the current public protector leave office. Thuli Madonsela has been a great disappointment when it comes to investigating corruption by whites. The Office of the Public Protector has been turned the political arm of the Democratic Alliance (DA) to prosecute black people and to institute an illegal regime change like those in Brazil. There is an undeclared alliance between Thuli Madonsela, the DA and those inside government who are involved in serving white capitalists such as the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. BLF is not at all surprised that Pravin Godhan has made money available to investigate the Guptas a few months after the DA laid a complaint. We are not at all surprised that the Public Protector has made it her mission to prioritise the case over almost 4000 other cases lodged with her. She has become the protector of white capital.
Last year BLF undertook actions to help the Public Protector do her work. We first occupied her office in Pretoria and then disrupted her Desmond Tutu lecture. She then promised that the matter of the R26 Billion stolen by white capital, a case which had been on her desk gathering dust for almost four years shall be finalized by the end of 2015. Needless to say, nothing has happened. Furthermore, the office of the Public Protector has constantly lied to BLF about this matter. BLF has sent numerous requests for updates and the office of the Public Protector has now resorted to completely ignoring BLF.
The second matter BLF placed before the office of the Public Protector is the corruption by white capital in relationship to State Capture. Our complaint was lodged with her office on the 31st of March and further documents were sent on April 1, 2016. BLF has not even received an acknowledgment of the communication and even when further requests have been made, all have consistently been ignored. This has led us to conclude that Thuli Madonsela is not interested in investigating state capture by white capital. She has turned her office into a weapon against Zuma and the Guptas as a political mechanism to settle political vandettas.
The R26 Billion stolen by white capital is recoverable. This money must be returned to the unemployed youth of South Africa. BLF insists that Thuli Madonsela stop lying and tell us what has she done with the investigation. State Capture by Johann Rupert and white capital is a serious matter, Thuli Mandonsela cannot protect white capital at our expense. BLF demands that she responds to us ASAP.
BLF has lost all trust in the Thuli Madonsela; it is clear to us that she the protector of white capital. BLF will be taking action to force the Public Protector to do her job without biases and political consideration.
We hope that parliament will be brave enough to select Judge Seraj Desai as the new Public
Protector to protect against all corruption, including that of white capital which has been persistently neglected by Thuli Madonsela. Judge Desai is fair and progressive, his judgments speak for themselves. BLF wants to make it clear that whoever takes over from Madonsela must know that we won’t allow white corruption to go on without punishment.
BLF’s position on SABC’s decision of 90% local content and campaigns to reverse it
The NCC noted that the ongoing campaigns directed at the SABC by foreign funded NGOs, white owned media and the reactionary alliance between former president Thabo Mbeki and the apartheid mass murderer FW De Klerk are against the SABC’s 90% local content. BLF is clear that the primary attack against the SABC is driven by opposition to the progressive and radical 90% local content policy.
BLF commends those artists and members of the public who have stood up in defense of the SABC 90% local content decision. Part of the campaign against the 90% local content is disguised as fight for media freedom, but this is a lie since all media (more-so white owned media) in SA is driven by censorship and racism. If these campaigns against the SABC were about workers’ rights, media freedom, and the transformation of the newsroom then the SABC would not be targeted as the first offender. There is definitely a need for media transformation urgently, but this must not be used to push reactionary and often racist agendas.
The vilification of Hlaudi Motsoeneng must be seen within this context. He is being punished for instituting the 90% local content. We note that, however, Enca has elected to appoint a white man, Anton Harberto, to head it as the so-called solution to deal with serious claims of racism at eTV.
We call on all black journalists to call a summit to deal with media transformation in SA without fear or favour!
Actions to be taken to take back land
The NCC noted that after 22 years, blacks still remain landless in their own country. It was further noted that, it would take more than 100 years to buy back only 30% of the land. The NCC noted that the so-called “expropriation bill” does not move away from the, “willing buyer, willing seller” failed policy of the ANC government. The NCC has also reiterated its position that the President must not sign the Bill into law because it is a useless piece of paper.
BLF also noted that all opposition parties merely pay lip service to land expropriation. A disturbing observation was that even when land occupations are threatened, it is always against state land never directly against white land thieves who hold up to 80% of the land. There has been an avoidance of any confrontation with white capital, thus instituting the de facto protection of white land thieves.
The NCC has advised all provinces to identify land to be occupied. We call on our people to use the few last weeks before the elections to intensify land occupations. Politicians around elections do not want to act against voters because they want your votes. We encourage our people to use this moment as a window of opportunity to take back the land. We also warn our people against liars who promise to give land after they have been voted into municipalities; nothing of that sort shall happen.
BLF is particularly pleased to report that land belonging to one of the biggest land thieves Johann Rupert is on the list of land to be occupied.
We ask black people to refuse to be used by politicians to engage in black on black violence for votes. The enemy of black people are not other black people in different political parties’ colors. The enemy of black people remains white capital and land thieves. We ask our people to use the Sankara Oath and the Local government manifesto as shields against liars and other tricksters during this time of elections.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph
Yerushka Chetty is the National Coordinator of the Black First Land First Movement.