Ruling party must accept full responsibility for massacre

"KILL US, please abelungu," yelled a wounded, probably dying Marikana striking worker shot by the police last Thursday.

These words speak a truth we don't want to face: the Marikana massacre was in defence of white capital, the Cosatu bureaucracy and the ANC government.

The wounded workers understood that the South African state is anti-black.

This state was founded in 1652 through violent land dispossession, destruction of the African way of life and forcing blacks to become workers to provide cheap labour for the mines, industry, on farms and in the kitchens of the whites.

This process created the modern South Africa, the township and squatter camps for blacks and leafy suburbs for whites. The racialised inequalities are a creation of history, to be poor is to be black, to be rich is to be white.

This remains a general truth. The ANC inherited this violent, anti-black state and never transformed it.

Instead, the ANC leadership used access to power to access white privileges and left the majority in the same position as they were under white rule.

We see the reality of the continued anti-black state by the quality of services the government gives to blacks. These services are for the most part no better than what apartheid gave blacks. In some instances the services are worse, such as RDP houses.

The SA state was founded on black oppression, it was never designed to serve blacks. It means that the ANC are now the black managers of this state and are inevitably going to use force to keep blacks under control.

The demand for a minimum wage of R12000 by the Marikana workers strikes us as unreasonable because we have come to expect blacks to be treated with no regard at all.

We know that on average a white man earns R19000 a month and a black one R2400. Cosatu, as a component structure of the ANC, also plays its role of keeping blacks in their place by not supporting a living wage or even democratisation of the economy through workers' control.

The reason is that the leadership of Cosatu, like that of the ANC, has access to white privileges - hence the leader of NUM, the mineworkers' union, is reported to earn R1.4-million a year. The workers he leads earn R48000 a year!

The continuation of the anti-black state to defend white capital must necessarily use violence against blacks from time to time.

Malema is wrong, if not opportunistic, to single out President Jacob Zuma - the whole ANC must take responsibility. The massacre must not be used for factional fights in Mangaung. This is not the first or last massacre. In an essay before Zuma became president, I predicted that he will give the masses bullets, when Vavi and Malema were saying they would die for Zuma.

The problem is not the individuals, it's the policy choices the ANC has made.

The ANC must take full responsibility for what has happened, as in the case of Andries Tatane.

When the police killed the children of Soweto the world was clear that the National Party was responsible. We must be consistent and say: this time around it's the ANC.

  • Mngxitama is the author of the essay: From Zuma to Mbeki: what is the difference?