By Gillian Schutte
A copy of the Report on the ANC Integrity Commission’s (IC) engagement with Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reads like a petty and contradictory missive written by those with a vindictive agenda to excise a senior member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for apparently ‘going rogue’ on them. In it the IC recommends that the NEC should: “publicly reprimand Cde Sisulu and instruct her to write a public apology to the judiciary. It goes on to say: “If this instruction is ignored, appropriate action should be taken and the NEC should publicly distance the ANC from her harmful utterances, and apologise to the general public.”
Sisulu’s so-called “harmful utterances” were made in her January 7, 2022, article Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?
In what needs to be read in the framework of critical race theory and Pan African ideology, she points out, amongst other things, the failure of the judiciary and its constitution to adequately represent and protect the poor whilst re-privileging the white settler population. She also critiques a government that has sold its soul to white capital and elitism – writing: “Meanwhile, our black politicians have become black assets for colonised capital. And that capital keeps knocking at their doors for them to facilitate economic returns to multiply their investments.”
She goes on to write: “The most dangerous African today is the mentally colonised African. And when you put them in leadership positions or as interpreters of the law, they are worse than your oppressor. They have no African or Pan African inspired ideological grounding. Some are confused by foreign belief systems.”
“In America, these interpreters are called the House Negroes. It is what the father of black history Carter Woodson strenuously complained about in his famous book “The Miseducation of the Negro”.
Within the context of Woodson’s writing on the colonised and mentally enslaved Black subject, who remains compliant and complicit to whiteness having been afflicted with self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy and inferiority as a consequence of slavery and oppression, she adds: “Today, in the high echelons of our judicial system are these mentally colonised Africans, who have settled with the worldview and mindset of those who have dispossessed their ancestors. They are only too happy to lick the spittle of those who falsely claim superiority. The lack of confidence that permeates their rulings against their own speaks very loudly, while others, secure in their agenda, clap behind closed doors.”
This it seems, is her cardinal sin and the IC document has this to say: “It was pointed out that when a senior ANC comrade publicly characterises the judiciary as “house negroes” and having “colonised minds” – it was to be expected that there would be negative consequences.”
So problematising the judiciary in a neoliberal bourgeois democracy, in which even the state and all its organs, as well as citizens, are stripped of democratic rights and increasingly become subsidiary to the market place, deserves a punitive response?
This really amplifies the assertion by Noam Chomsky and Manuela Cadelli that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also “every aspect of our thought”.
This is nothing more than an anti-intellectual attempt to malign Sisulu and silence her voice lest the “liberation” party is exposed for the anti-poor, white monopoly capital serving sham that it has become.
THE ANC’S COMMITMENT TO FREE SPEECH?
Ironically the IC’s assessment of the interaction with Sisulu begins with these words: “The IC is unequivocal in asserting the ANC’s commitment to free speech. It is one of the basic principles of the organisation and can be found in every relevant policy document . It is a crucial part of the Freedom Charter and was subsequently brought into the Constitution of the Republic by the ANC.”
It then directly contradicts the above statement with this neo-Victorian moralism: “However, a member of the NEC and the Executive is expected to know where and how to express herself or himself. To select the ‘right to speak’ as a defence to justify her unfortunate utterances in public is disingenuous.”
So writing in the framework of critical race theory and liberation values is unfortunate and disingenuous? And does the fact that other senior members of the ANC, as well as some members of the judiciary, have put out to public similar critiques, hold no significance?
Surely we must question why different rules apply to Gwede Mantashe’s calling of the judiciary “counter-revolutionary” and Sisulu’s suggestion that some judges are “mentally colonised.” Why do they elicit such different responses from the party? Why was Mantashe defended by the ANC for his utterances yet Sisulu was hauled before the Integrity Commission for her free speech?
The somewhat regressive and contradictory conjecture in the IC document can only read as an attempted assassination of Sisulu’s reputation, because she, like Chris Hani and some other ANC members past and present, has stated her alignment with the original revolutionary principles of the ANC when it was a liberation party and has dared to critique the Constitution as having done little to improve the lives of the poor in South Africa.
Could this attack on Sisulu from within the ANC signify that she is perceived as a threat to Ramaphosa in the Presidential race? This would explain the obvious collusion between white media, business and the Ramaphosa faction in manufacturing fear and loathing of Sisulu while casting her as a rabid radical. Liberals across the race bar are still baying for her blood in an irrational backlash that has, bizarrely, cast her in the monstrous Black trope, as they are wont to do with those who are marked as a threat to the status quo.
The white media (which is shamelessly Ramaphosa-aligned) has come down upon her like a neo-colonial shit-storm. She has been accused of all manner of misdemeanours, including being a Zumanite, a Barbie Doll/Gucci Minister with presidential aspirations, a veritable constitutional vandal, a power monger who has sought to undermine the judiciary with malicious intent and a danger to the “integrity” of her party. Of course we know that her essay has also scared the bejesus out of the privileged asset-owning white population and they have thrown insults at her from all corners of their limited ideology.
Ramaphosa, on the other hand, has been flaunted as a paragon of virtue, the hope for the return of the heart of the ANC, the poster boy for anti-corruption, ethical leadership, a champion for whiteness as well as a revolutionary actor for the poor.
What a joke.
Firstly, Ramaphosa has a publicly known legacy of his own alleged financial corruption. This includes but is not limited to: corporate tax-dodging during his leadership of Lonmin Platinum Mines as well as MTN, the largest cellphone dealer on the continent. Add to this the controversial contracts procured through his Shanduka mining company.
Ramaphosa is also the very man who, along with Lonmin bosses, was at the center of the Marikana massacre and who never adequately apologised for his role in the death of the 34 miners shot down and murdered in cold blood for none other than striking for a living wage.
Ramaphosa prioritised his shares and protection of the London-based Lonmin tycoons when he insisted that concomitant action be taken against the striking miners. This call for police action was sent in an email on 15 August 2012 by himself to Lonmin management, minister of mineral resources and the police minister. In a collusion between these forces the miners’ fate was sealed and on the 16 August the tragic massacre took place at the Kopple where the unarmed strikers had gathered. As a former union boss, Ramaphosa could have encouraged negotiation. Rather he chose brutality against ‘expendable’ Black miners.
Ramaphosa’s bloody legacy does not, however, end with the Marikana Massacre.
What we have witnessed during his feudal-style reign is that any unrest taking place under his watch has been swiftly and brutally dealt with by his state security cluster, resulting in mass violence against defenceless Black body – a violence that destroys any semblance of the applicable rights outlined in Chapter 2 of our so-called progressive constitution. Horrifically, even in the absence of protest, defenceless native citizens have died in numbers on two notable occasions under Ramaphosa’s Presidency. These are: the Covid level 5 lockdown in which 17, mostly African male township and shanty dwellers from across South Africa, were killed at the hands of the SANDF or the SAPS. The other is the death of 300 mostly African and poor people in the July 2021 unrest as well as the racially motivated murder of 35 innocent African people by Indian vigilantes in the Phoenix area – a tragic injustice that has become known as The Phoenix Massacre.
Again the President has never so much as addressed these tragedies in the public arena nor spoken of reparations to the families of the victims. This really says all we need to know about his empathy-disconnect with the usurped majority. Minister Sisulu, in contrast, visited the families of victims in Phoenix and, a source reveals, she paid for, out of her pocket, some of the burials of victims of the massacre. This echoes her revolutionary conviction in her personal history in the struggle. It also highlights Ramaphosa’s cold and calculated corporate approach to governance and lack of conviction to the on-the-ground struggle of the poor.
It comes as no surprise then that Ramaphosa’s gory track record has earned him the nickname, “Mr. Massacre.”
The ANC ought to be thoroughly embarrassed by Ramaphosa’s ‘off-with-their-heads’ rule. Instead, they claim that Sisulu is the embarrassment, though she does not have the blood of massacres on her hands. They are, it seems, seeking to impose the step-aside ruling on her for writing a critical pro-poor article, which they claim, brings the party in disrepute. What logic is applied that finds the massacre of innocent civilians and strikers the lesser evil?
It is also worth mentioning that unlike Ramaphosa, Sisulu was never mentioned in all forms of State Capture Reports. Her track record indicates that she faithfully fought corruption in all sectors, from the Public Administration department, to Water Affairs, to Tourism, where, a source reveals, she found dead people still earning salaries. Ironically she never received any form of support from a President who claims to be “fighting corruption on a daily basis”. It appears his time is spent protecting all those who are aligned to his faction. A source reveals that Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, is a case in point and is shielded from corruption allegations because he is talking 2nd term for Ramaphosa. This, the source reveals, means Ramaphosa’s personal ambitions supersede the interests of the country, especially the fight against corruption. He goes on to say: “This is not to say that the Integrity Commission, white media and high-heeled Foundations are not aware of Mabuyane’s corruption cases, but they choose to keep quiet because he is aligned to CR 22. And look at the pace they are using in Mantashe’s implacable role in the State Capture report. It’s unfolding at a snail’s pace because Mantashe supports the President’s 2nd term.”
Some have claimed that the Integrity Commission is an extension of CR 22 and this is made obvious by their silence on all Bosasa beneficiaries which includes their President. They question the lack of follow through on the R500, 000 Bosasa story which, it is alleged was paid to the CR17 campaign. Then there is still the scandal of the R2million paid to the President’s son by Bosasa.
On reading the IC document on Lindiwe Sisulu I have to question who authored it. It reads like a collusive mix of disgruntled Thuma Mina propogandaists, some Daily Maverick type journalese, perhaps the doublespeak of an embedded ‘formerly progressive’ academic or two, a couple of judges, a bouquet of Stellenbosch stench and a flurry of Foundation gatekeeping. Certainly it is a curious mix of P W Botha finger-wagging and neoliberal false-morality mixed with white outrage and ‘non-white’ bourgeois babble. In short it is deliberately offensive and prejudicial to Sisulu, a perceived contender and threat to CR22. This type of vilification is, it seems, a buffer zone constructed in a concerted effort to protect Ramaphosa’s campaign.
It is hard not to suspect that Ramaphosa and his faction is being shielded by a judiciary that appears to be actively participating in ANC’s internal politics and succession debate. Yet when Sisulu critiques the captured judiciary, which allegedly sealed the 2017 Nasrec files, she is set upon and attacked vociferously.
In all, Ramaphosa (aka Mr Massacre) seems to be fortified by both the judiciary and the Integrity Commission of the ANC, which deals swiftly with anyone who is likely to contest Ramaphosa. Assassination-by-reputational-damage is clearly the weapon of choice and is a weapon the White Media is happy to wield in their blood sport of extermination-by-reputational-damage of those considered threatening to Ramaphosa as well as big business and entrenched white privilege.
But come now. Surely anyone with a sense of justice, outrage at, and empathy for, the plight of the dispossessed majority, can see clearly that it is President Ramaphosa who must step aside, not his ANC senior, Minister Sisulu.
This article was first published 12.05.2022 on www.africanewsglobal.co.za