Andile Mngxitama, the erstwhile MP and accidental Commissar of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has written an opinion piece which questions the EFF’s political and ideological approach to the Gupta phenomenon in South Africa. His argument is that the EFF’s pursuit of the Guptas is to the exclusion of white monopoly capital, which the movement has defined as its primary enemy. Typical of his conspiratorial self, he attributes this to the fact that the EFF has decided to isolate the Gupta family and their criminal enterprises and expose them because they are parasitic petty capitalists who use patronage, bribes, and ostentatious pampering of ANC politicians to gain access to state contracts and vital entities and spaces.
Under normal circumstances, the EFF leadership is not supposed to respond to shallow political analysis and perspective from Mngxitama who possess no organisational and political capacity to mobilise society behind any political action. Mngxitama is nowhere in the ranks of the senior leadership of the EFF deserving of any form of attention. However, we carry an obligation as the EFF Students’ Command to educate society, confront heretics and redirect the discourse back to the focus points of the struggle so as to sustain the momentum of our struggle while giving clarity to confused individuals on the true character, content and nature of the EFF-led socialist struggle for economic freedom. If we do not do so, novice activists will fall into the trap of the misleading statements of the likes of Mgxitama.
The biggest political event Mngxitama ever organised was a 10-person opportunist protest action against the public protector, aimed solely at gaining attention. The biggest political meetings he has ever attended were EFF rallies and conferences, which he tried to staff-ride and was rejected by the membership and expelled for failing to understand a basic democratic centralism principle that the decisions of the majority are binding on the minority.
Now, Mgxitama is finding solace with the Guptas, whom he is defending with the pretext that he is questioning the EFF’s commitment to the war against white monopoly capitalists in South Africa. The EFF’s primary political and ideological programme is to deconstruct white monopoly capital, and this is squarely demonstrated by our founding manifesto which says we should take land from white monopoly control and redistribute it to all. Furthermore, our call for the nationalisation of mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy means we will take ownership from white monopoly capital.
As part of its political programmes and raising consciousness, the EFF is the only independent political movement outside of the trade unions which has a political programme that targets white monopoly capital and its institutions and corporations. The EFF raises consciousness in the form of elevating protests that are ordinarily directed against powerless municipal councillors, to now confront white monopoly capitalists. Our protest actions to the mines, banks, Chamber of Mines, JSE, and Reserve Bank were primarily aimed at placing demands on the doorstep of white monopoly capitalists, and the demands we made were demands of and for the working class and the poor.
Nowhere in the memoranda of the EFF did we demand that big business must reserve a slice for a few black individuals; we instead demanded that all corporations in the JSE must transfer a minimum of 51% of their companies to their own workers. We demanded that these companies adopt a minimum of 100 schools to help ordinary African children. We demanded nationalisation of the banks and mines.
It has been clearly articulated that our objective is to collapse white supremacy in South Africa and the world. In the highly publicised and circulated speech to the Oxford Union in England, the CiC Julius Malema categorically stated that “we want land to be expropriated without compensation because it was taken through genocide. We are refusing to bow down before colonialism and imperialism. We want total control of South Africa and Africa as a whole”. The CIC further said, “The message remains the same, because we shouldn’t be tempted to change the message when (we) speak to different constituencies. Because we will be misleading. The message is economic freedom in our lifetime in South Africa and African continent. And that message has been shared yesterday with Africa investors, serious captains of the industry”.
In all platforms internationally and domestically, the leadership has been consistent with the founding values and politics contained in the founding manifesto of the EFF. All these addresses and articulations are accessible on social networks, and we can offer Mngxitama some bundles to watch and learn. Julius Malema’s consistency on particularly the war against white monopoly capitalism and for expropriation of land without compensation predates the formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters as an organisational vehicle to fight for economic freedom in our lifetime, and all evidence is there, for all alcohol-free, to see and remember.
Now, in defence of the Guptas, Mngxitama claims that the EFF’s decisive campaign against the Guptas is to the exclusion of the war against white monopoly capitalism and such is inspired by the visit to London. Such argument is utter gibberish and represents ideological and political poverty and laziness typical of attention-seeking staff riders.
The campaign against the Guptas is a genuine campaign.
Our escalation of the fight against the Guptas is a direct response to the recent events marked by the conduct of Jacob Zuma which demonstrated that the Guptas have succeeded in effecting a soft coup in the republic and because of our extremely negative experience not only as a country but as a continent with colonialism, apartheid and white monopoly capital, we remain very vigilant. The biggest protest action led by the EFF to a mine was directed at one partly owned by Patrice Motsepe, and that a black person owns such a mine did not deter the EFF’s protest action because capitalism exploits workers even when partly owned by blacks.
The Guptas’ business activities, like those of Cyril Ramaphosa and Patrice Motsepe, do not represent even a shadow of genuine black economic emancipation. These are parasitic and often corrupt activities that turn political capital and connections into financial capital and connections, mostly at the expense of poor black people who ordinarily should be primary beneficiaries of the wealth they create. Ours as a movement is to identify and thwart any oligarchies and criminal syndicates no matter in which form they masquerade.
The facts about the Guptas have been widely publicised and as the CIC said in his rejection of Zuma’s State of the Nation Address, what is reported about the Guptas’ corruption is just the tip of the iceberg of patronage, corruption and parasitic sucking of State-Owned Enterprises and business. The facts are there, and these are some of them:
- The Guptas are influencing Zuma on the unaffordable R1-trillion nuclear deal in order that they can benefit through their supply of uranium after they acquired uranium mines. Zuma has been advised that the country cannot afford this nuclear deal, but because the Guptas and his own family have to benefit, it is being forced through. The nuclear deal will cause South Africa a massive fiscal crisis, which will collapse South Africa’s currency, ratings and basic ability to provide basic services to all people. The nuclear issue is one of rationality. If South Africa needs additional energy, the best way would be green energy sources, which would kill two birds with one stone — create jobs and provide energy.
- Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was removed and replaced with Des van Rooyen because the Guptas said so. The thoughtless action of removing a Minister of Finance weakened South Africa’s currency making it more expensive for SA to buy goods and services from outside the country and therefore making the lives of ordinary South Africans more expensive. We are not defenders of Nene, but the manner in which the first African Minster of Finance was removed and replaced brings into question everything this president does.
- They are corruptly exploiting the resources of this country and enriching themselves in the name of freedom. The Guptas illegally influence the issuing of mining rights, and they have effectively taken control of key parastatals such as Transnet, Eskom, SAA and now Denel.
- In their network of influence, they have premiers of the Free State and North West provinces, ministers, chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of state-owned companies. They also have control over many critical decisions that financially and corruptly benefit them and the puppets they control.
Despite these realities, the self-proclaimed Vice-Biko, Mngxitama has exposed himself as a politician for hire by choosing to defend the Guptas and Jacob Zuma before even the ANC has defended them itself. His justification of the relationship between Zuma and the Guptas as an adoption of the Look East Policy is a serious corrosion of a benevolent Zimbabwean Government policy, which is political plagiarism and intellectual immorality. Such conduct seriously divulges his desperation. It’s a fact that during his short-lived stay in the EFF, he borrowed money and asked for financial assistance from almost all commissars and leadership of the EFF, including from branch leaders in all areas where he was deployed.
Mngxitama’s defence of the Guptas squarely locates him in the same box as the intellectually barren Jimmy Manyi, and others who line up in Saxonwold to sing for their supper. We are not shocked and will not be shocked if he soon becomes a resident commentator in all Gupta platforms.
We perhaps should be kind to him and take this opportunity to welcome him to the Gupta family, and like all the people the Guptas ideologically colonise, he should now be given a new name and called Mguptama, not Mngxitama. We are patiently waiting for your organisation, Mr Mguptama, and hopefully Atul and Ajay will be members. Bantu Biko would have disapproved of such conduct, because if he were alive, he would associate with the socialist struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime, because he said, “We are looking forward to a nonracial, just and egalitarian society in which colour, creed and race shall form no point of reference”. The operative concept is egalitarian society, and that is what the EFF seeks to achieve. DM
Mpho Morolane is EFF Students’ Command President.