Dlamini-Zuma merits the support of marginalised

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faced a fierce backlash after she announced the continuation of the cigarette ban under level 3 of the lockdown. / Veli Nhlapo
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faced a fierce backlash after she announced the continuation of the cigarette ban under level 3 of the lockdown. / Veli Nhlapo

Our battle hymn for the present is undisputed: "uNkosazana, uNkosazana. silawulwa uNkosazana isosha lomkhonto."

The current government administration, led by Africans, has demonstrated their unwavering commitment to serving the interests of the ruling class - those in charge of the commanding heights of the economy. That is the monopoly industries, the prime land, mines, manufacturing industries, and so on.

The loyalty of the incumbent government to the ruling class has been evidenced by the refusal to amend section 25 of the constitution, to allow the dispossessed natives to have access to land.

It has been further proven by a lack of zeal to tamper with the core structure of the economy, to introduce policies that will alter the patterns of ownership and allow the transfer of wealth to the natives. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, by virtue of his position as president, is at the helm of this sellout government administration.

It is for this reason that the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma merits our support as the most marginalised masses of this country. She has positioned herself as an internal opposition to the current administration that has the serious backing of the ruling establishment, through its media outlets that serve as propaganda machinery and the incumbent president who is the darling of the ruling class.

Dlamini-Zuma has not only dominated Covid-19 news headlines over the past few days, but she has also invited unwarranted slurs and insults after she announced the continued ban on cigarettes. That contradicted an earlier announcement by the president, that the ban was to be lifted.

As Dlamini-Zuma continues to face a backlash, an online petition was launched, calling for her removal as minister. This petition was signed by more than 170,000 people within a period of 24 hours. This is what happens when you tamper with the bourgeoisie interests.

The cigarette ban was introduced for entirely logical and understandable reasons, scientifically and otherwise. It is a position that must be supported even after Covid-19. The tobacco industry in SA has been left untouched for many years. It is the very same industry that continues to exploit the health of many South Africans young and old, especially in black communities.

The continued cigarette ban is a progressive move for black communities. However, one ought to appreciate the fact that a fight against drug abuse can never be completely resolved without engaging in a systematic fight against structural problems that our people are subjected to.

Put differently, black communities are systematically oppressed. Their problems are structural, including the problem of drug abuse. Upon resolving systematic and structural subjugation, the problem of drug abuse will wither away.

Therefore, our support for the cigarette ban as spearheaded by Dlamini- Zuma is an attempt to deal with symptoms of the actual problems in black communities.

This we do while we continue to navigate towards arresting the actual problem.

We should all support Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the progressive reforms she is pursuing.

*Khanyile is a youth activist under three years' house arrest

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