“We want everything that whites have!” – Is it a fair claim, I think it is-
These are some of the words, a tired and physically strained Julius Malema shared in a clearly scorched voice. He said “if they ask you what we want, tell them, we want everything that whites have”. This for me as colloquial even rhetorical it may sound summarize in stark clarity the essence of the non-dying economic struggle discourse. For some had hoped a Malema court case or hearing will end the debate.
If we talk in 2011 of an economic CODESA or a discourse manifested in true action exemplified in redress, it is the grave acknowledgment that the gap between those who have and don’t have is real and cannot be dealt with unless serious intervention is the order of the day.
Not only is this a simplistic case of those who have and those who don’t have, but such is vehemently informed by a race definition of such disparity.
If we talk of economic redress in this season it’s not because we all of a sudden had a revelation of the disparity of a race based economic description. It is not that we were somewhere on vacation and came to the realization that South Africa is a divided nation immanent in economic expression. Regardless to whether a Patrice Motsepe, Cyril Ramaphosa and a few others as blacks are wealthy and on the famous Forbes list, such is no true reflection but an indictment of the true economic reality of SA in democratic embrace. The youth as led by the ANCYL marched this week, they visited the mining homes, financial powerhouses and ultimately the political authority manifested in Union Buildings.
Their message is clear, the economic struggle is our struggle, the economic struggle is our reality, the economic struggle is one we must bring to the fore. For in the absence of such the sickness of this unequal society who rally temporarily to support the “Bokke” and “Bafana Bafana” is a divided economic context that is gnawing at the fibre of a society that is desperate at defining themselves as one.
The youth says we are challenged to deal with the economic struggle for all nations in Africa who have gone free politically first almost never attain the economic freedom.
When the Youth says we want everything what whites have, it must beg the question what do whites have?
1. Whites have and own our land. This land that no settler came with on ships, boats or aircraft for it would not fit in such, is today legally owned all 86% of it controlled and owned by a mere 12% of the population. Such originally illegitimate ownership is now supported by a constitutional democracy that advances market prices and defends the individual rights of them who own, guaranteeing them the right to free market based pricing.
Such land which cannot as yet be expropriated without compensation as such would be a violation of the SA constitution. The youth is saying we cannot afford to delay the legitimate claim of those who rightfully must own this land by pussyfooting around technicalities when the wealth of whites as owners of this land is enforced and the gap between the have and have not’s in racial definition is accepted as standard and normal.
2. To say we want everything that whites have, is to say we want our rights to mines as a God given right to own returned to the original people starting with the Khoi- San. When mining irrespective how remains the enclave and control of whites who siphon out of this country legally wealth for the mining companies are listed on London stock exchanges and only uses this country to explore, dig up and take it out to other nations where their wealth is protected.
3. When the Youth says we want what whites have, is to recognize that the current SOE’s (state owned enterprises) like Eskom and many others have life time contracts worth billions that entrench white control uninterrupted and less perturbed.
These SOE’s have in the last 10 years not attained even 5% of empowerment for blacks and have found creative ways to perpetuate these gross imbalances manifested in white economic empowerment.
4. When the youth says we want everything that whites have is to acknowledge that the banks of South Africa and the financial homes is the enclave of white supremacy in which a few blacks may be called CEO’s but that simply does not translate to the disparity of this race infested and directed controlled economy that all want us to believe is normal.
6. When the youth says we want all that whites have, is to admit that the access to opportunity in job creation is not simply the role of government alone but the existential role of corporate SA who have benefitted immensely and continuous to benefit from this economy in which human capital essentially black is having to contest for a living wage when the owners of the means of production’s only claim of wealth came at the hand of the very poor who are black. It is to recognize that the issue of equality is not a negotiable commodity up for the highest bidder but a reality that if not addressed with meaning will threaten all of what is currently known to be the SA economy.
7. When the youth says we want what whites have, is to say the right to education at all levels is a Freedom Charter right in which a democratic government is compelled to ensure that education at all levels is free. That these mines who take the wealth must be held accountable in community definition to build and develop these communities and ensure first class schools are build in every town it has an operation.
That the type of education that defines the meridian of a Waterkloof High” is that which is shared nationally for such is the benefit of whites exclusively except for a few blacks who have qualifier economically to have the children share the space with whites who rains 100 years ahead in benefit.
It is to argue those who advance the notion that affirmative action and the true empowerment for blacks must have expiry dates for all children born post-1994 are equal. Such advancement negates the truth that such cut off visible in a proposed 1994 takes no cognizance of the inherent, synaptical context of this economic disparity in which whites have always and even now benefit more than any other group.
8. When the youth says we want all that whites have, is to admit all BEE deals in Corporate SA came truly as a benefit to those who owned the companies and projects that black people bought into. Pound for pound these whites have benefitted more than those who bought into these deals as attested by the many deals that ended up in paper wealth for blacks as shareholders.
9. When the youth today says we want what whites have, is to acknowledge that whites are a respected people because they have shaped this economy to be respected and have entrenched their future for the average white child in SA can afford to spend a year in England which is covered for by parents who have the means to afford that, for they know how important it is to afford the white child an opportunity to develop his epistemology (world view) as a means of development and maturity.
10. When the youth says we want everything that whites have is to argue white children are guaranteed an annual family vacation where they see sides of South Africa that the average black child will never see or experience. Simply because the living wage of a black parent will never afford to give his/her child such opportunity of knowing his country in carefree embrace.
11. When the Youth cries today we want everything whites have is to say whites pound for pound are the highest earners per capita. That means the true beneficiaries of this economy are whites which gives them buying power second to none.
I suppose I may continue and give more reasons why the cry of the Youth is to be taken serious, but let me close by saying the young people says we want EVERYTHING that whites have. This means do not rob is of anything that made them. Kenny Kunene the controversially claimed “sushi- king” who also marched is on record for saying his wealth came because whites made it possible.
This means in order for the youth to get their stake it will have to come from whites. Such means we will have to revisit what some consider sacrosanct but for us a work in progress. The constitution of SA must be made welcoming and embracing of this the cry for an equality of economic context. To therefore argue for it’s revalidation is by no means proving a precarious and banana republic nature but to call that it works for those whose blood underwrote this constitution.
We therefore echo the claim ” WE WANT ALL THAT WHITES HAVE’ and we say Halala the Youth, halala economic freedom in my lifetime, halala we want all that whites have and we want it now!
Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine is an independent observer and the author of “Through the Prism of My Soul”- An Anthology of contemporary political commentary and analysis