By Letshela Mariri
I address poor black South Africans specifically because the middle class black South Africans know which side their bread is battered. That’s why Andile Mngxitama and others for example, can harp on about how good the Guptas and Zuma are. There is no surprise there. Mngxitama works for the Gupta TV station, he owns an organization whose funders we don’t know and God knows what else he does for a living.
Similarly, Save SA is constituted among others by executives of companies and people who lead various organizations whose funders, likewise, we don’t know.
So, in a word, there is something in this Zupta vs Save SA fight for either parties. But what do we, poor black South Africans stand to gain out of it? Nothing, sadly!
Of course both groups pretend to be on our side. The Zupta faction for example, will seek to convince us that they are fighting Monopoly While Capital as they’ve been blabbering away. That Zuma loves us and wants to give us some land.
But before we forget. It is the same Zuma government that killed our people in Marikana when all they needed was a decent wage. His govt demolished houses that the poor had built for themselves in Lenasia. Zuma’s govt puts striking university students in jail when all they want is an education.
Then you believe Andile Mngxtama when he tells you that Zuma is your messiah? Get out of here!
There is something you need to bear in mind however. When Zuma and his government do the things I mentioned above, the Rand does not fall. The country does not get downgraded to a “junk status” when more and more of us continue to get retrenched from work; when informal settlements continue to expand; when we continue to die from curable diseases or when Zuma takes money that should be used to uplift the poor and builds himself a compound with it. None of that threatens the investors.
It is only when Zuma’s greed and his government’s corruption directly threatens the interests of the “investors” and ipso facto the interests of white South Africans that the investors will react. We are witnessing that now as a result of the removal of the finance minister.
It is in moments like this when we must remember the words of Steve Biko, “Black man you [are] still on your own!”
Biko, Fanon, Nkrumah and many of our true and genuine liberators prophesied about this era. That post independence, we will have an elite class of black leaders comprising of what is called the comprador bourgeoisie.
They will seek to step into the position of privilege that is historically enjoyed by our oppressors. This will result in a contestation for power, as we are seeing in South Africa today between the faction that is linked to the Guptas and the other faction that is sometimes linked to the Ruperts.
They will bamboozle us with rhetoric to try and make us think that they are for us, when in fact, they all feed on our flesh.
But the poor have nothing else to lose anymore. What we need to do is to take these marches by Save SA several steps further. After marching for the removal of Zuma, let’s heighten the momentum and begin to occupy the land; proceed and march to mines and other corporations and demand that they build infrastructure, hospitals and schools in areas where they operate. Let’s continue to occupy the banks and demand that they revoke the laws that discriminate against poor people. We need to capture the moment and factor our interests in it.
- Letshela Mariri is a social commentator