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Conditions for a revolution are rife in South Africa

By Andile Mngxitama | Dec 12, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 18 ]

THE year 2012 is likely to go down in history as the year the post-Mandela revolution started.

Students of revolutions know that "the revolution comes in the night like a thief". But a keen student can see the signs long before the revolutionary outbreak happens. Those in power are always surprised by a revolution and feel betrayed by the people.

This is the year of the Marikana Massacre, followed by the Lenasia apartheid-like demolition of houses and then the historic farmworkers strike in De Doorns, in Helen Zille's territory. These three events jointly tell us where we are headed.

The Mangaung shenanigans will be a small footprint in history. More interesting is the fact that both the ANC and DA handled the situation with arrogance and force, instead of standing with the people. Correctly, a revolution is likely to topple both the ANC and DA at the same time.

These events tell us that the ANC has failed to transform the state into an instrument of the people. Instead it has been about managing the very system it inherited from apartheid.

From here on only two possibilities can be realised. Firstly, the government will use violence and arrogance against the people instead of listening to the people's legitimate demands. Secondly, the people will increasingly use extreme measures to fight for recognition of their needs and desires. A confrontation is inevitable.

Right now respect for the Constitution by the people is under stress. The contradiction between the notion that the Constitution protects the rights of the people and the reality, in which the government is actually acting against the people, is getting bigger. We see how workers have abandoned formal processes like Nedlac. Workers know that if they want wage increases they must embark on a "wildcat strike" or illegal unprotected strikes.

We see the same with "service delivery" protests. This in reality means the Constitution is failing to protect the people, so they will increasingly disregard it. How far this will go we do not yet know.

The question we need to ask is will the South African revolution be by the ballot or by insurrection, like the Arab Spring? These two possibilities exist with equal likelihood. A ballot revolution is dependent on the emergence of a strong, radical pro-black movement that will guide the hand of the people during an election to bring about a new government of the people.

While conditions for this exist, such a movement does not yet exist.

An insurrection is likely to follow the same contours as the Arab Spring, in which the government is run down by the people and a new dispensation heralded by popular will. Both routes are fraught with pitfalls. Victory is not guaranteed.

It is not a small matter that after Marikana the ANC lost a by-election there, nor is it a non-factor that a party like the IFP, which is practically dead, could beat the ANC in Nkandla, the hometown of the president. How these factors match and mix in the next few years is key. The revolution is coming.

COMMENTS [ 18 ]

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Indeed, the smell of spring is in the air.


"Firstly, the government will use violence and arrogance against the people instead of listening to the people's legitimate demands. Secondly, the people will increasingly use extreme measures to fight for recognition of their needs and desires. A confrontation is inevitable."

1st option: We go Syrian rebels on the government
2nd option: We resort to sabotaging government targets.

Dec 12, 2012 2:51 | 0 replies

Very good analysis, the only question I have is, is this what we have left after the final edit? I'm asking this question to ask whether this is what the struggle has come to? Is this the end of the road? Should we throw in the towel and call it a day? I think there's still time for the ANC to get things right. I don't want to believe that after spending years in Jail, or exiled, away from a mother you never got to bury and a siblings that still bear the physical scars of being brutally beaten by the police, that you would just throw your aspirations away just like that. What happened to the ideals of freeing the people, and the people shall govern? I wonder really.

We live in very interesting times.

Dec 18, 2012 5:18 | 0 replies

you have aptly captured the mood on the ground. conditions today are similar to those which preceded the formation of the congress youth league in the early 1940's. one which ap mda, one the most brilliant theoreticians this country has ever produced characterised as of general 'social and political ferment'. what can be learned from the egyptian revolution is this: the 'revolution' must be preceded and at least in part, be consciously directed by revolutionaries on the ground. we need clarity of purpose and vision. what elements must it contain? what do we mean by revolution? what qualitative difference will it hold in contrast with the current state of affairs?

your diagnosis that as of now, no radical 'pro-black' party exists in this country to prosecute these ends, thus even after the emergence of genuine popular uprisings such as happened in marikana and de doorns, the revolutionary spirit is thwarthed and extinguished because of this lack of clarity and of a total perspective. this is suprising since the country has a wealth of ultra-nationalist ideologies particularly from the 1940's (with anton lembede and ap mda) up to the seventies (with stephen biko and the black consciousness movement). the latter broadly spelt out the terms of engagement between the black nationalist forces and the racist oppressor when he quipped "we don't want to be spectators in the game we should be playing". while in the 1950's and 1960's africanist theorists like sobukwe elaborated on the nature of an african nationalist state. this he said would be unapologetically nationalist and socialist and in broad terms would seek to return the social and economic status of the indigenous african people more or less to what it was before colonialism.this the anc failed to do and is ill-disposed to achieve because from the days of its re-interpretation of the nature of struggle in sa, it seeks democratic reform within this system created by european foreigners. it does not make a distinction between the african nation and the european settler nation and its descendants. it attempts to marry the two forces with contradictory interest in the name of a 'south african nation'.

Dec 18, 2012 5:4 | 0 replies

@ CYBORICO

You sound just like one of those hated evil apartheid activists always wanting to resort to violence to intimidate and harm those with whom you disagree!

And whaddya mean "u had years and years to mess the country up and when we try to fix it..."

Are you seriously saying that you be unaware of the textbook saga, the failures of our health, education, infrastructure developments, tribal factionalism, police violence, labour and, of course, local corruption - to mention a just few of the most recent issues South Africa's suffered over the past 20 years of miserable and inept ANC leadership.

So how’s this “fixing” thing doing, then? Really??? Are y’all even familiar with the omni-shambles concept?

Know that if y’all cain’t even supervise the delivery of a few textbooks or manage provincial elective gatherings or run, for that matter, a politically restrictive national radio & tv station without getting hysterical and requiring
massive re-injections of public capital to re-stabilize the consequences of unskilful management by your hand-selected cadres

THEN

y’all have no business being in government, at all - ever!

You ruining the country even more with your stupid strutting around like you have even a modicum of ability and common sense but look around and wake up! See what you have with your

Give your head a hard shake and join us here in “reality land” please. We not even slightly overawed by your sly threats of “war“. And yes, I be one of your 40 million but I’m definitely not on your side either… You gonna shoot me?

Dec 15, 2012 1:1 | 0 replies

Andile is just a dreamer. He knows very well that the government that is rulling government has been elected democratically and it is only through the ballot box that it will be removed which does not look like it might happen anytime sooner to the media and and the likes of Andile's dislike. Hence the wish wof so many so called analysts. If you think the ANC has to be removed then you must go to the people and convince them as such. Articles like this will not in any way sway the will of the people. The people of Mzansi are not foolish.

Dec 14, 2012 11:0 | 0 replies

Good & clever people can be thick at times. You are similar to those who predict 21/12/12 is the last day. Stop it Andile.

Dec 12, 2012 4:33 | 0 replies

CYBORICO - "the magority is to an extent happy with the gorvenment"

Oh really? We've had a record amount of protests this year. More than any before in South African history.


"wena u have been brain washed a lot by right winger groups, let me ask u a question, what happens when u and your rebel gang were to find out that many of what u think will be easy targets have actualy gained some militory training"


My weapon isnt explosives or guns. Its my keyboard, pen and paper. You actually have faith in our military? Hows it going in Syria with the highly trained military against the rag-tag rebels?

Dec 12, 2012 4:2 | 0 replies

@blackseed
thanks Black seed, mind control over internet and media chanels has lead to many a blood shed

Dec 12, 2012 3:54 | 0 replies

!#Sinudeity#!
Indeed, the smell of spring is in the air.


"Firstly, the government will use violence and arrogance against the people instead of listening to the people's legitimate demands. Secondly, the people will increasingly use extreme measures to fight for recognition of their needs and desires. A confrontation is inevitable."

1st option: We go Syrian rebels on the government
2nd option: We resort to sabotaging government targets.

the magority is to an extent happy with the gorvenment , they just want to see more delivery not a change in power, wena u have been brain washed a lot by right winger groups, let me ask u a question, what happens when u and your rebel gang were to find out that many of what u think will be easy targets have actualy gained some militory training while u were basking on the fact that only u and your kind received the said training, will u b happy with 30 000 vs 40 million type of civil war? so please stop fueling this war stuff just becauize its not your granddad siting at the presidential chair. actually the gov need to send the infantry to come scoop u up, u rttn piece of trash, u had years and years to mess the country up and when we try to fix it u want war? nxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dec 12, 2012 3:52 | 0 replies

Andile, hurricanes will come and go but the birds and BlackSeed will continue to be nourished by Mother Nature.

Media and its journalist should stop this delusion that they are the adjudicators of righteousness and time.

You should stop writing about your Friday night’s discussion and report on news, not opinions or fabrications.

The Earth Farm is busy swallowing the KZN blood cloth; maybe that’s the Rise you should worry and write about

No mind control for me thank you

Dec 12, 2012 3:41 | 0 replies

Well it depends what your definition of a revolution is.

Dec 12, 2012 3:21 | 0 replies