There is a third force in South Africa - Deal with it

2015-11-10 07:28

A worrying, yet revealing, reality in South Africa is the tendency by the ruling political elite to label organized formations or institutions that advance the cause of social justice as being influenced by a third force. The 'third force’ rhetoric is deliberately intended to deligitimise those who are seen at the forefront of the movement agitating for social change. By extension, this rhetoric also legitimises the use of state intelligence and force to stalk, intimidate and attempt to silence these progressive voices in our society.

Worryingly, the ‘third force’ rooftop howling by the ruling elite is indicative of an absence of ideas and solutions to respond to the demands, accusations and causes of those seeking social justice. More worryingly, this rhetoric showcases that the ruling elite is embarrassed and it then attempts to appear bold and knowledgeable about what is (the ‘third force’) driving the people to rise against power. In reality the ‘leaders’ suffer from social disconnect and have not got a clue what the real nature of the people’s struggle is about. In part this is because the ruling political elite is convinced – erroneously so – that it is giving South Africa the best we can ever hope for. Nothing can be more further from the truth.

Any agitation for social justice poses a challenge to the ‘good story to tell’ narratives. Such agitation also showcases to South Africans that there indeed exist different pathways to mobilise society towards a cause outside the traditional African National Congress (ANC) structures. This reality is indicative of a declining exercise of influence by the party over society. This not only shocks, but sobers up, the party to a possible reality of a South Africa with an alternative centre of political influence. The party is faced with a double ‘attack’; one from within and the other from society.

The first is a scramble for the soul of the ANC in order to have a say and hold on both party and state resources. The second is a society that is more WOKE and articulates (through sharpened understanding and renewed consciousness) its struggles with greater affirmation and resoluteness. These two bombard the ruling political elite to a space of paranoia, leads them to conjure conspiracy theories to life in order to deflect attention from their inadequacies. Thus the accusation that (multiparty) students – including those of the ANC – advancing their struggle under the #FeesMustFall banner were being influenced by the ‘third force’.

This accusation makes police officers to respond with a greater sense of purpose when they mete out violence against the students. Their purpose is clear – they are defending the state against proxies of some hidden, evasive and unseen ‘third force’. Unlike when Kebby Maphatsoe accused Thuli Madonsela of being used by a ‘third force’ – the CIA – there is no mention or any sense of lead as to who or what the ‘third force’ behind the students is. Let me name it because it exists. The third force that is ravaging South Africa is indeed hidden, evasive and unseen. Its name is Structural Violent Injustice (SVI – just for a code name).

Thomas Sankara once said ‘a soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal’. I want to state that a police officer who lacks objective political education is a serious danger to our society. He/she lacks ability to formulate a stance and understand that those who agitate against social injustice have a just and genuine cause to transform, reimagine and reorder society even for their own benefit. Due to a lacking political education the police officer is found to be a remote controlled puppet and defender of the state.

Such education would enlighten the officer to this SVI and where agitators for social justice are seen to be orderly, peaceful and reasonable, would allow the officer not to unleash violence, to make no arrests and to intimidate no one. This is because the officer would be WOKE, upholding their oath to carrying out their duties with commitments to social justice imperatives. Disappointingly this is missing. What remains a serious possibility is the arbitrary arrest of peaceful protesters, them being injured and/or killed by police officers that have taken an oath to protect the citizens from harm’s way. Even in the absence of harm we have seen police kill citizens because they are too focused on being ‘guardians’ of the ruling political elite.

Unfortunately this means one thing. Expect more police brutality and violence against agitators for social justice. The impediments and barriers of Structural Violence Inequality to society are becoming even more pronounced and citizens are becoming even more resistant, vocal and critical over them. There is a sea of protest that is going to confront the ruling political elite and it is going to be more coordinated to a point that the ‘third force’ theory will be ventilated through the mouth, nose and ears. The political elite will be caught by surprise and wonder if Moeletsi Mbeki’s predicted South African Arab Spring is upon us. Rest assured, police – due to lacking political education – will apply physical force to people who are fighting a hidden, unseen and evasive injustice. Had they been given any analytical tools they would understand that such agitations are in the best interest of society.

Like most countries just twenty years or slightly more after liberation, South Africa is a country being woken to the reality that real freedom has not been achieved and the road towards it has been hollowed with potholes deliberately (wittingly or unwittingly) dug by the ruling political elite. The WOKE citizens are a threat to these elites because they understand that whilst SVI is abstract and evasive, it is being implemented by seen, visible and physical human beings – the ruling political elite. What is in the best interests of the country is that we all agree to confront this SVI instead of demonising those who are already on the correct path of seeking justice for all.

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