The African National Congress must rue the day when they appointed billionaire mine boss buffalo Bill Cyril Ramaphosa to expel the leaders of its own youth league, particularly Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambo. Julius Malema worked his way up through the ranks of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), and as the leader of the ANC Youth League a key figure in organising and mobilising votes for the ANC. Floyd Shivambu, on the other hand, is the philosopher-activist and theoretician, the quiet analyst of the mood of the youth.
Once expelled Malema and Shivambu formed the EFF with other expelled comrades and led an exodus of the entire youth of the ANC. Their expulsion was demanded by the mine bosses, given that the youth were loud proponents of the Nationalisation of the mines and the commanding heights of the economy.
Malema and his comrades very effectively used the opportunity offered by the callous massacre of workers at Marikana to expand their support base beyond the youth into the working class.
The EFF captured the imagination of the black South Africans by attacking the central weaknesses of the ANC – its failure to effect systemic structural change in the economy, leaving foreign owned monopoly multinational corporations to dominate mining. While the corporations who benefitted most from colonialism, and the Apartheid cheap labour economy, not only in mining but also in banking, wholesale, retail and agribusiness continued to benefit from a complete lack of systemic and structural transformation, leaving the vast majority of black South Africans excluded from the economy.
Young people saw how their working class parents, who had suffered the brunt of Apartheid capitalist oppression and exploitation, found themselves still trapped in urban ghettoes called townships, and squatter camps. School going youth could not avoid noticing that their schools remained under-resourced, underfunded and under-staffed. Parents found themselves forced to fork out thousands of ranks to pay taxis to send their children to expensive former white suburban schools that had libraries, science labs, disciplined teachers and sports facilities.
The servitude of the ANC saw a trade-off in which the ANC leadership traded away the possibility of a living wage for mineworkers in return for shareholding and board positions in mining corporations. To further cheapen mine labour and increase profits for foreign shareholders the ANC government, the Reserve Bank and successive ministers of finance allow for the progressive devaluation of the Rand until its current level of R15 to $1. This effectively neutralised every wage increase that workers won through hard fought strikes. The ANC leaders became instant billionaires while the masses descended into poverty.
The complete failure of the ANC to address the land question over its 23-year rule was also effectively exploited by the EFF. Added to the ANCs failure to deal with the land question is the callous grabbing of land by foreign multinational mining corporations. Challenging the abusive greed driven land grabbing of Australian, Canadian, Chinese, Indian and the old colonial mining monopolies has allowed the EFF to make inroads into the deep rural areas and the peasantry.
The ANC responded much like old British colonial rulers did, by strengthening the traditional leaders, and by weakening the democratic rights of rural communities. The traditional leaders are easy targets t be corrupted by mining corporations seeking mining rights.
Everywhere the ANC is perceived to be the reactionary black face of foreign white monopoly capital. The ANC government acts as if it is the appointed consultants of foreign white mining capital.
Finally, thE EFF succeeded in targeting the plunder of state resources by the ANC for the private accumulation of capital. The ANC’s corruption right up to the level of the President is so obvious that it is nauseating to the general public. So while the masses, the working class and the poor have experienced a progressive drop in their standard of living, everyone could see the blatant theft of ruling party leaders in government.
The ANC, desperate to please foreign capital, has systematically demobilised and depoliticised popular structures which emerged during the final decade of Apartheid such as the United Democratic Front, COSATU, SASCO, COSAS and the Civics/SANCO. Finally, it began consuming itself in the expulsion of the ANC Youth League.
Believing that it is a party of the middle class and capitalism, the ANC disarmed itself and paralysed its own capacity to mobilise among the masses.
I am therefore not surprised that tens of thousands of people turned up for the EFF Manifesto launch today at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. I am also not surprised by the roar of voices demanding that Zuma must Fall. Or, the approval for Julius Malema’s insistence that the upcoming local government elections is a three-way race between the EFF and the ANC.and IEC.
I think that the second stage of our revolution is about to break out and that the ANC will be left behind in this new economic revolution by the youth, the working class and the poorest of the poor.
By having systematically excluded the black working class majority, the peasantry, the youth and the poor and by defending monopoly capital at every turn the ANC shut out the very electoral base that could keep it in power, the house of the ANC is a house without a foundation about to be washed away by a red tsunami.