London – The ANC sold its people down the river in the negotiated settlement of the early 1990′s, wrote freedom fighter and former Minister of Defence, Ronnie Kasrils in an opinion piece which appeared in the UK’s The Guardian.
“Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle like myself are frequently asked whether, in the light of such disappointment, the sacrifice was worth it. While my answer is yes, I must confess to grave misgivings,” he writes, “I believe we should be doing much better,” he wrote.
The piece is an edited version of the introduction to Kasril’s autobiography, Armed and Dangerous.
Kasrils says he believes the ANC made a mistake in their negotiations. He says the organisation which fought for the freedom of all South Africans was perhaps too optimistic about the future and the economy of South Africa, and thus “overlooked the tenacity of the international capitalist system.”
“From 1991 to 1996 the battle for the ANC’s soul got under way, and was eventually lost to corporate power: we were entrapped by the neoliberal economy,” he said.
He added that while there have been impressive achievements since 1994, such as roads, infrastructure and the provision of water and electricity to those who had never previously had access; these gains have been offset by unemployment, a breakdown in service delivery and inadequacies and inequalities in the education and health systems.
He speaks with particular horror of the Marikana shootings of 16th August where police massacred 34 striking mineworkers at the Lonmin platinum mine.
“The Sharpeville massacre in 1960 prompted me to join the ANC. I found Marikana even more distressing; a democratic South Africa was meant to bring an end to such barbarity.”
Kasrils believes South Africa would have been a different place today had the ANC not made the many concessions to the capitalist classes which they did. Including allowing big corporations to shift their listings abroad and setting aside a wealth tax on the super rich to finance developmental projects.
“I do not believe the ANC alliance is beyond hope. There are countless good people in the ranks. But a revitalisation and renewal from top to bottom is urgently required. The ANC’s soul needs to be restored; its traditional values and culture of service reinstated,” said Kasrils.
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