Azapo is alive and kicking

2012-04-07 13:46

In his article, “Time for Pan-Africanist parties to call it a day” (City Press, April 1 2012), Thabo Shole-Mashao is pained by the fact that parties like Azapo are not occupying centre stage in the country’s political life.

He bemoans the state of ­education, culture and the not-so-well-managed economy. He seems to suggest that Azapo should be a stopgap party.

We share Shole-Mashao’s pain. In fact, we live with it.

We are ourselves not happy that Azapo appears to be no longer a household name. Like all political movements throughout the world, Azapo might be riding the trough of the political wave, but this won’t last forever.

We will soon be at the crest of this wave. Watch this space!

Where we disagree with Shole-Mashao is his conclusion that ­Azapo should “immediately exit politics” because of the challenges posed by parliamentary politics.

Azapo would like to remind Shole-Mashao that in politics nothing is permanent. We ­remain steadfast and have the ­resolve to face challenges head-on. In the past, many political analysts, editors and journalists predicted that Azapo would disappear from the political landscape of our country because of not participating in the Kempton Park talks.

Sadly, most of these analysts and editors are no longer media practitioners. They have been replaced by a new breed of commentators. In his article, Shole-Mashao is making the same mistake these erstwhile commentators used to make: judging a political party by the number of seats it has in ­Parliament.

We are of the view that a political party should be judged on the ­political contribution it makes in society. Azapo’s immediate past president, Dr Mosibudi Mangena, started the department of science and technology from scratch and produced wonders in President Thabo Mbeki’s Cabinet.

Azapo is the only political party that pointed out that it was unconstitutional for the ANC as a party to recall a sitting state president in South Africa.

Only Parliament has that power because it elects the president of the country, not the ruling party.

Shole-Mashao ignores the fact that there is general political ­suffocation of opposition parties on the left. In our country what counts is the influence a party has as a result of resources.

Resources – financially and otherwise – enable a political party to have a wider reach of the electorate. It is possible in this epoch in South African politics to be the ­ruling party, yet fail dismally to ameliorate lives of the voting public.

Azapo argued that it has been blacklisted by many media houses, and only features when articles about its demise emerge. The same is true of this newspaper.

If Mr Shole-Mashao says Azapo has no programmes, how about the current campaigns that have been in most unbiased newspapers and electronic houses, campaigns such as abolishing provinces – which is a call for stopping the balkanization of Azania; calls for reorientation of government’s policy position on land and agrarian reform; a call for redirection of the country’s resources from non-productive sectors to education, specifically education of black children; calls for scrapping grants for ­people who are willing to work, able to work and want to work.

These calls never found space in City Press and other newspapers.

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