Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
By Andile Mngxitama
Comrades let me tell you this, I have new found respect for the Stellenbosch Mafia, the New Dawn, and Ramaphosa. These guys understand that they are involved in a war. It’s a war, not just a battle. It’s a long term war which is about their control over the economy. And in a war you have small battles and fronts. You’ll have to have an overall picture of the war as these guys do. They won in the ANC Naserec Conference in December 2017.
They are running this crisis in the interests of white monopoly capital (WMC) which is Stellenbosch. Parliamentary parties have also surrendered power to them. They are in control of this whole thing. This thing about cigarettes and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (NDZ) has created a crisis in this war. They are winning this war. There’s no doubt about that. Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces are completely defeated – those in the ANC and those inside the State. Stellenbosch is in charge but they misstepped with this NDZ situation. So they decided to change the tactic. I’m arguing that the new tactic of Stellenbosch is what I call, “Don’t Resist, Absorb”. To this end their thinking has been:
i. don’t resist when NDZ / RET people are moving;
ii. we’re winning the war so we can absorb small points of resistance because overall we’re winning this thing;
iii. don’t spend our energy by resisting on some fronts that are generating resistance; and
iv. if we resist, we will create a dynamic.
And so they didn’t resist but absorbed instead
Let me give you examples to show you how this tactic of “Don’t Resist, Absorb” manifests. They have decided not to resist RET but to absorb it. Guys these people are clever. Why do you think they have ruled blacks for over 350 years. They are clever. They are thinking. They are thinking war. They are thinking strategy. They are thinking tactics. Take the suspension of the two journalists from eNCA. Some people claim that NDZ is winning. You see they have realized that the public sympathy is too much for NDZ and she is becoming a force around which resistance can be organized. So they have realized that the best thing to do is to safeguard their agenda by absorbing the mishap. And they did this by suspending these two anchors for a little while. Of course they’ll be returned to their jobs in due course. But by suspending them now, the NDZ forces are left with no point of resistance. Also eNCA is supposedly apologizing, which in turn deflates the point of battle.
People think that what has happened is a victory for us. No. They’ve looked into that and realised that as long as people are so unhappy, NDZ‘s stature will grow as an alternative that is not only legitimate but has integrity. So the message from Stellenbosch is “Don’t Resist,Absorb and we’ll sort you out later.”
And an important thing has happened. Johann Rupert has withdrawn his High Court application regarding the cigarettes case against NDZ. Stellenbosch has decided not to take the court route. British American Tobacco (BAT), which is a part of Johann Rupert’s investment vehicle, has withdrawn its case. They are absorbing. They’re not resisting. Think about this. Why are they doing this. It’s for this simple reason: their strategists have thought about this and have realized that it makes no difference whether Stellenbosch (represented by BAT) wins or loses in court. Either way they will still lose. It’s a lose/lose situation. To this end, if Stellenbosch wins in court they will still lose the credibility battle to NDZ. And NDZ will again grow as a point of resistance to organize those of us that are defying Stellenbosch. Moreover, if Stellenbosch wins in court it will justify the argument that the courts are serving the interests of Stellenbosch. So by wining in court, Stellenbosch wins nothing in terms of integrity and morality. It will be dangerous for them even if they win the case.
If on the other hand NDZ wins in court, it will indicate that the RET forces can fight and win some battles against Stellenbosch. For Stellenbosch, it will be a big loss. So taking this matter to court was a lose/lose situation for WMC. Again if they win in court, it will confirm our argument that in fact the courts are in their pockets. If NDZ wins, it will strengthen us to organize with the confidence that we can take these guys on and win. So Stellenbosch’s decision was to remove the matter from court and to deal with it politically. Political management of the process gives the strategic objective back to Ramaphosa so that he can take instructions from Stellenbosch who will say “let’s wait for another 3 weeks and then we can sell the cigarettes.“ But the cigarettes matter is a small part of the bigger war. Remember there’s a bigger war out there. It is in fact a small part of the battle in the context of the bigger war. Stellenbosch can afford to absorb and not resist because if they resist they will thrust NDZ as a pole around which we, who are unhappy with Stellenbosch, can coalesce and create trouble for the project of ThumaMina. So they didn’t resist. They’ve absorbed this. They’ve removed the matter from the court because even if they did go to court they will lose as I’ve explained.
These guys are clever but you need to be clever to understand that they are clever. You see that is the other thing. You need to have something up in your head to be able to figure this stuff out. And people who have something in their heads belong to this movement called Black First Land First (BLF). We can see what’s going on. Why? Because we follow Steve Biko. Ons is nie dom nie. There are full of domkops running around claiming to be intellectual but know nothing. We are the only thinking people here. So here you go. They are absorbing. They are not resisting. This is their new tactic.
Check the situation of Covid-Organics. We have been arguing and putting pressure on the government to go to Madagascar and get us this remedy. We need it. South Africa (SA) is selling us out. Other African countries are getting and using Madagascar’s remedy for coronavirus infections. Why is President Ramaphosa not doing likewise for SA. You see, here too they have determined that they are not going to resist; they are going to absorb. I’m sure you know that the Minister of Health has now said that SA is going to send scientists over to Madagascar to do scientific testing and to work with the Malagasy people in relation to Covid-Organics. The government, controlled by Stellenbosch, is not resisting. It is in fact absorbing. What we want is not for scientists or anybody else to go and do testing on Covid-Organics in Madagascar. What we want is our government taking a decision to bring Covid-Organics to SA. It is not doing so. Here we have a difficulty. When we ask why is the Ramaphosa government not bringing the remedy to SA, they say that they have sent their scientists to Madagascar and they are working on it. So this is how they are not resisting, they’re absorbing.
Let me give you another example of how they are absorbing and not resisting. Ramaphosa now says that the ‘post Covid-19 crisis‘ economy (the new economy) is going to be RET. These guys are so confident in this war that they can even absorb the language of RET so as to legitimize an opposite program – a program of WMC, of Stellenbosch, of neoliberalism. The Tito Mboweni restructuring, which favours a State in service of WMC, will now be called RET. This is how confident they are in this battle as part of the tactic “Don’t Resist, Absorb.” So they’re even absorbing your language of RET – a language that would have displaced them – to legitimize a project which is totally opposed to actual RET.
These people are moving. They’re sharp. They’re clear. They’re thinking ahead. And our forces are in disarray. By “our forces“ I mean those of us who have been talking about RET as conceptualized by President Zuma and given content by BLF.
So it is just a difficult situation that we are dealing with right now. We have lost the battle completely to Stellenbosch. As things stand, Stellenbosch is sufficiently confident. There’s an interesting piece by the editor of News24, Pieter du Toit, titled, “ANALYSIS: Once a rival, Dlamini-Zuma has seemingly established herself as a powerful Ramaphosa ally“. Du Toit, who wrote “Stellenbosch Mafia”, is linked to Stellenbosch. He has insider information. He argues in his article that since joining Ramaphosa’s Cabinet in 2018, NDZ has become a “key player in the national executive”. Also “she has seemingly emerged as one of the president’s most effective operators“ and is not “leading an insurrection”. So he says that NDZ is not fighting Ramaphosa; NDZ is working with Ramaphosa; and Ramaphosa is in fact using NDZ to advance his agenda. Look, it’s not like NDZ has sold out. No. I don’t believe that is so. It’s just that in terms of their strategy they’ve decided to provide a discourse that says that everything that NDZ has done was not advanced to fight Ramaphosa – in as far as the misstep that has happened is concerned. NDZ is hitting these guys but part of WMC’s discourse is to say that NDZ is carrying out a mandate which is collective and which Ramaphosa has agreed to; and there’s no fight going on there. So they’ve displaced the grounds upon which some kind of resistance could have been launched against the project of WMC, against Stellenbosch.
I want to argue that the position of NDZ as the pole around which we can organize resistance as RET at this juncture is very, very shaky. Not because she has sold out, but because we have been out maneuvered. I’ve got new found respect for these guys personally. At the point that you think that you are making progress they’ve been able to turn this thing around and make it theirs. It also shows how shallow the forces of RET have been or are, because how can those people (WMC) just turn things around? How can Ramaphosa talk so confidently about the fact that he’s going to bring about RET when he’s busy privatizing as we speak. We have no capacity to resist, to stop this. And Ramaphosa says that post this Covid-19 crisis the economic regime, which we know is a Stellenbosch economic regime, will be called RET. We must analyse things for what they are. We must not lie to ourselves. We must not deceive ourselves. We must assess our weaknesses more scientifically. We must acknowledge the strenght of the enemy so that we are able to better plan our response.
At this point if you were to ask me what is the state of battle I would say we are being routed. We are on the defensive. We are running in fact. We are running helter-skelter. We are running in a disorganized fashion. You know when the enemy is messing you up, you lose formation. We have lost formation. This is where we are. I’m talking about those of us who are organizing resistance; those of us who want to work with the RET forces who are linked to the ANC. I don’t know another active fighting space except for that. I’m saying those who are organizing themselves are on the retreat!
As far as the pseudo left in parliament is concerned – the Marxist-Leninists and what have you – they had left the battlefield on the 18th of March. They went home to hide under the bed on full salaries. Those are not part of the battle. They are asking the government to allow for the sale of gym equipment so that they can build some biceps.They are so fat because they’ve been eating and drinking in their homes, having given Ramaphosa all this power to basically use the state to resolve the crisis of capital by deepening the crisis of the people. This is effectively dereliction of their duties to serve the people.
I just wanted to say that 41 days into the lockdown and things are not looking good for us. But you know I’m a little bit confident because we do have some clarity. All we need to do is to convert our clarity into a material force to help our people to fight. I can see those long queues; I can see the impatience of our people; I can see the rage of the hungry. All we need to do is to make links with those forces on the ground towards igniting a real possibility for a revolutionary crisis. We learn from Vladimir Ilich Lenin who teaches us to turn a reactionary crisis into a revolutionary crisis. That’s how the Great October Revolution of 1917 in Russia happened. They turned the imperialist war into a civil war which is a war of the oppressed against the oppressor.
Educate! Agitate! Organize!
Andile Mngxitama is the President of BLF, a radical black consciousness organization. The above is a transcript of a portion of a live presentation on 6 May 2020 on Facebook.