UF to 'shake up' political landscape -Ronnie Kasrils

By Drum Digital
15 December 2014

The United Front (UF) will help "shake up" the political landscape in the country, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils said on Monday.

"Our country and the ruling political elite, as much as the traditional wealthy elite controlling the economy, have needed a shake up and challenge, and the EFF, no less Numsa and now the UF, are providing that," he told Sapa.

"This all constitutes signs of revival of real mass struggle towards real socio-economic change and democratic principles and values."

This was cause for optimism and the lifting of spirits going into the festive season and 2015, he said.

Kasrils is part of the interim national working committee elected at the UF's assembly in Johannesburg at the weekend.

The UF was started by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

Kasrils said he was drawn to the UF through a need to be involved in the struggle for socio-political renewal.

This was at a time when the African National Congress and SA Communist Party, which he had been part of for 55 years, had "miserably failed" the country's poor and marginalised.

"The UF is a social movement of protest and change for a better, more equitable and socialist-orientated South Africa, aiming to create an umbrella for all such organs of society that currently exist."

Kasrils said the UF, at present, did not necessarily intend to become a political party contesting elections.

However, the debate on whether the Freedom Charter should constitute its program was left open.

"We will see how things proceed as we organise for the formal launch on 25-27 April next year."

He said he was sure the ANC and its allies were worried about the emergence of the UF, which could have an effect on how the ruling party performed in the 2016 local government elections.

"In their hearts they know they are seeing their support eroded, as witnessed by the high level of protests and strikes through the country and the results of the May national elections this year, where the ANC lost three percent of its previous vote down to its lowest margin since 1994."

Kasrils said by 2016 the UF would be well established at national and grassroots level and local government elections would be hotly contested.

"The deep-seated grievances over ailing service delivery, corruption at municipal level, police brutality and ruling power denialism and arrogance will see heavy defeats for the ANC.

"The UF will exert influence in favour of those candidates, independent or otherwise, standing for honesty, service and socialist values," he said.

If a workers' party was established by then the UF would support it.

"The prospect is one that will give the ANC many a sleepless night. And is of their own making. The rot has gone down to its very roots."

Kasrils said the UF represented the best principles and values of the liberation struggle which the ANC had forgotten about.

"We are determined to keep the tradition of integrity and selfless service and sacrifice alive to counter the debasement of our politics through self-interest and feathering one's own nest that has become endemic to the ruling political elite."

-SAPA

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