Guest Column

With Zuma recalled, the time is ripe for land expropriation

2018-02-15 13:57
PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images

PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images

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Mcebo Freedom Dlamini

The decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC to recall President Jacob Zuma is one that was long overdue.

The citizens of South Africa have for a long time expressed their anxieties regarding Zuma as president of the country. There are many reasons why South Africans want Zuma to go but chief among them is that the president has been implicated in numerous corruption cases including the recent State of Capture report.

Although delayed and without a timeframe it is commendable that the incumbent ANC NEC has taken the bold decision to recall Zuma as president of South Africa – heeding a call that the people have been making for a long time. 

What does this mean for the people of South Africa, who have given the ANC a mandate to serve and facilitate total emancipation?

South Africa has seen more than three heads of state in its 24 years as a democratic country but the conditions of the people have not changed substantially. Although some strides have been made the hierarchies that existed during apartheid and former president Thabo Mbeki's tenure have not been altered. There is still a small group of people that happens to be white that continues to hold all the wealth while the black majority of the country continues to languish in poverty. 

This requires us to think critically about what ought to be done to ensure that this brutal reality is changed. The state of affairs invites us to think about the problem as structural and not necessarily as an incident of the structure. In other words, the head of state can change but this will not necessarily result in better conditions for those in the townships and rural areas. 

South Africa is a country that uses the party system and the implications of this are that the decisions are subject to the collective as voted in by the people. The removal of Jacob Zuma will not facilitate a paradigm shift in the political trajectory of South Africa but will give us room to make more demands that will to move forward. 

This moment in South Africa can be seen as a déjà vu moment, where a sitting president of the country is forced to resign before the completion of his tenure. This was the case with Mbeki and many reasons were stated as to why he should resign. The people of South Africa celebrated thinking that their problems would end and their conditions would change. This did not happen, in fact,things remained the same.

If we are really students of history, as every nation ought to be in order to progress, we should anticipate that the removal of Zuma will most likely not change much in the life of ordinary South Africans. This is in no way an attempt to suggest that the current government is not laden with corruption and that those who are found to be implicated in corruption cases should not be removed from the ranks of government. But South Africans have to stretch their imagination and make radical demands that will change their livelihoods. 

It is the people of South Africa who have applied pressure to ensure that the ANC NEC recalls Jacob Zuma as its deployee. This demonstrates that the ANC is still an organisation that listens to its people. But it also demonstrates the potential power that South Africans have to influence decisions about their country and how it ought to be governed.

It was not the first time that South Africans were able to speak truth to power and express their discontent with the status quo. They were able to do so during Fees Must Fall and since then there have been improvements with regards to the accessibility of higher education.

We should therefore see to it that the government implements the expropriation of land without compensation as resolved by the 54th national conference of the ANC. We need not rehash the importance of land expropriation in ensuring that inequality is eradicated.

The urgency applied when removing Zuma must be used to facilitate the implementation of the progressive resolutions taken by the ANC because, as mentioned, the removal of the president will not suffice in altering the status quo. The same energy put in anti-Zuma protests and court cases must be directed to a program of land restitution. 

The ANC has taken bold and necessary decisions in the past couple of months. This reaffirms its commitment to serving the people of South Africa and addressing their concerns.

The party has declared this year as the year of Nelson Mandela. It should emulate the strongest qualities of the former MK soldier: bravery and foresight. The ANC lives, the ANC leads.

- Dlamini is a former Wits SRC President and student activist. He writes in his personal capacity.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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