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17 January 2014, 11:59

Word on the street is that the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest liberation movement on the African continent, has snatched the identity of the red beret from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the newest liberation movement on our continent. This sentiment is also shared by the rank-and-file of the ANC. This rank-and-file is disappointed by the cheap politicking between the ANC and the EFF. The rank-and-file of the ANC is utterly disgusted by the fact that the gigantic ANC is mud wrestling the minuscule EFF. It would seem they are claiming “that the ANC is dancing to the tune of the EFF”. Just like the famous story of the oracle of Nebraska aka Warren Buffet, the ANC is following in the political footsteps of the EFF. Examples to be prove this assertion are: 1) the recent wave of red beret that painted the ANC Mpumalanga manifesto event red, and 2) the proposition to build a house for Malema’s neighbours in Seshego township after the EFF built a house next to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

·         Is it not true that the African National Congress’ Youth League (ANCYL) comrade wore red berets even before the EFF was founded?

·         Is the ANC desperate or is it just a normal act of politics?

·         Why is the red colour so important?

In my knowledge of the context of history and politics, the red colour is associated with communism. If the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is to be believed, the ANC is not a left wing party but a pro-capitalist one. Then why is the ANC obsessed with the red beret?

I believe that the red beret is a symbol of the solidarity of the under-, uneducated-, unprivileged-, and working-classes of South Africa. The ANC has historically amassed votes from this electorate putting it as the undisputed heavyweight of South African politics. So, by appealing to this mass electorate through populism and demagogue, the EFF is threatening the very existence of the ANC. By extension, any symbol of EFF is a real threat to the ANC no matter how trivial.

We know that through its economic policies (GEAR, ASGISA, and NDP) that the ANC is a right leaning party and not leftist as the Freedom Charter prescribes. So, it makes sense that the ANC should abandon the red colour in favour of more market friendly colours. This is because we are told that the markets are too sensitive, and that even a “reckless” word such as nationalisation affects our economy negatively.

The reality is that the “broad church” which is the ANC is caught up in its classical dilemma of “how to appease the black majority (under-, uneducated-, underprivileged-, and working-class mass electorate) while alienating the fears of the white minority (the owners of the means of production and captains of industry). The ANC is caught between a rock and a hard place. The EFF is exposing this classical dilemma by using reckless rhetoric that turns the black under-class against the white upper-class. This reckless rhetoric fuels the antagonism between these two classes.

Killing the sympathy vote

Anyone familiar with the theories on bullying knows that the victim always gets the sympathy. My advice to the ANC is that it should not “bully” the EFF as this might create sympathetic votes for the latter.

Avoiding the punishment vote

The ANC should scrap the e-toll system and find a way to deal with Nkandla gate in a transparent and just manner. This will boost the public’s confidence in the ANC thus avoiding the punishment vote.

You cannot have rights without responsibilities

There cannot be rights without responsibilities. The ANC’s “right” to govern has to be juxtaposed by a responsibility to its diverse (also in terms of class) people. Until today, the EFF does not have this right so it cannot exercise responsibility through the use of cautious and courteous language, and we should not expect more from it. However, we should demand more from the ANC. Hence, the ANC should continue to pursue inclusive, sensitive, and progressive policy actions that benefits all and sundry.

The aim of nationalisation is privatisation

The ANC should be shaken by talks of nationalisation (from the EFF) because the aim of nationalisation is privatisation. The goal of nationalisation is privatisation because without proper controls (checks and balances), and independent management nationalised industries are open to manipulation and prone to abuse by the occupying political elite. This will be true for South Africa because some or most of our politicians are demagogues (they use lies to get elected) and practice kleptocrats (rule by thieves). Obviously, these nationalised firms will eventually collapse and sold at auction to the highest bidder. When this happens, it would be proof that nationalisation creates poverty (just like in Zimbabwe, the poorest will suffer) and privatisation breeds neo-colonialism (industry will be bought by foreign capital). Professor Giddens (former advisor of British Prime Minister Tony Blair) proposes the Third Way or the Centre as a solution our challenges.


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