Mngxitama: ANC has failed the ideals of Steve Biko

The African National Congress (ANC) has succeeded in making black people accept that they’re third class citizens, said EFF’s (Economic Freedom Fighters) Andile Mngxitama, at Wits yesterday.

Mngxitama was speaking at the first in a series of lectures that commemorates the life of Black consciousness leader Steve Biko.

Speaking about the ideals of the Black consciousness movement to an audience of about 100 people, Mngitama said “[The] ANC has destroyed the capacity of blacks to take themselves seriously”.

“No sane person can defend the ANC … at least [give] a rational defence, at least [give] a pro black defence.” Mngxitama said that in South Africa people black people have to fight for RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) housing even though they should be entitled to these homes. He said many South Africans are not aware of their entitlements as citizens because of the ANC.

Mngxitama said the problem with the ruling party is that its policies are inherently “anti-black”  He argued that Black consciousness as an ideal runs counter to non-racialism as the latter does not recognise “the black situation”. He said even the Freedom Charter, which was written by the ANC in 1955, is suspending black thought because its ideals do not empower black people.

Responding to recent incidents involving his party in parliament, Mngxitama said that “parliament is not a place of truth” and said that radical movements like the EFF are meant to turn places like parliament upside down.

South Africans should be enjoying fruits of the freedom charter

NO MORE APATHY: Irvin Jim emphasisied the importance of meeting the demands of the freedom for equality and democracy. Photo:TJ Lemon

NO MORE APATHY: Irvin Jim emphasisied the importance of meeting the demands of the freedom for equality and democracy.
Photo: TJ Lemon

By Rofhiwa Madzena and Lameez Omarjee

The exploitation of the working class by “white monopolists” is the reason why South Africans will not fully enjoy the benefits of the Freedom Charter, said keynote speaker, Irvin Jim, at the Ruth First Memorial lecture in the Great Hall tonight.

Jim, the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa General Secretary, spoke about the life and work of Ruth First, arguing that she sacrificed her life for a just and equal society.

He said: “We live in a safer, less threatened environment … For Ruth First, racial and gender oppression and national domination was not acceptable.”

Jim explained that the current socio-economic climate in South Africa contradicted the Freedom Charter which was developed in 1955 by the ANC ( African National Congress’). “… We are apathetic about the sufferings of millions of South Africans,” he said.

Jim said: “Ruth First was killed for our Freedom Charter. It is not irrelevant. She paid the highest price. We must feel her suffering, fear, the terror she faced throughout her adult life.”

Ebrahim Fakir, the 2014 Ruth First Fellow,also presented his research findings on political protest and political participation at the lecture. 

He spoke about “democracy, delivery and discontent”. He said there are close to 300 protests a year in South Africa, which indicates the remaining inequalities in our democracy.

Fakir based his research on the conditions in the Bekkersdal municipality, South-West Gauteng.  “Bekkersdal, is a microcosm of what is happening in townships across South Africa,” he said.  “I found a disaster and dystopia in Bekkersdal”.

Academics, students from Ruth First’s former high school (Jeppe High School for Girls) and others came together in honour of Ruth First at the annuam lecture hosted by the Wits University Journalism Department at the Great Hall.

“Ruth First was assassinated for her belief in the struggle for just, democratic, socialist, non-racial SA.”
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To read Ebrahim Fakir’s full address, FinalRuthFirstLecture2014.EF

To read Irvin Jim’s full address, Irvin_Jim