First post-apartheid finance minister denies existence of white monopoly capital
“Sir, you have served white monopoly capital with distinction. You have worked for them as an agent and a counter-revolutionary, selling out our right to have transformation of the apartheid economy. You have betrayed the values that define a disciplined cadre. Today you live large in arrogance and attempt to lecture us when we, as soldiers for our liberation, are dying as paupers.”
Dear Mr. Manuel
We read with interest your new conviction that our claim of white monopoly capital is a fallacy, invented by a public relations company named Bell Pottinger, as you recently did at the Nelson Mandela Foundation event you attended.
We as the leadership of the MK Inkuleleko Foundation pen this letter as representing 200+ former MK members aptly described by one of the departed gallant soldiers who took the liberty to refer to them as “Prisoners of Hope”. Hope then is the atmosphere in which our faith, unswerving commitment to see a better tomorrow, finds meaning and purpose.
You may forget that most of these members are in their fifties and majority still stay with their parents at home, not for lack of trying to be independent or because they so had determined by choice. These are the very same soldiers that you and your friends have opted to label as thugs, hooligans and all unwelcoming names.
Mr. Manuel, we choose to address you as Mr. Manuel. Sincere apologies for the length of this. It is only because you were the longest finance minister – a title you wear with pride. It is increasingly difficult to refer to you as a cadre. Permit us to prevail on you in briefly reflecting on that period prior to the dawn of our democracy, commonly known as the Talks about Talks and CODESA era.
We must then remind you that during the negotiations, these foot soldiers were held in high esteem. Negotiations simply were not possible and could not proceed until weapons were laid down. If we share today in any benefit of a negotiated settlement, it was against the confirmed backdrop of a need to have arms laid down. Therefore, to consider our freedom in democracy in denial of this important moment in history is to engage in cheapness of our current fruits of democracy.
There exists no doubt that some time in history, at some point in our chequered past, the nation’s cause for freedom was served by these soldiers – many of them willing to lay down their lives against a brutal and ruthless apartheid government that would kick pregnant women and torture the black masses as they rose in the proverbial winter of discontent.
These soldiers became the critical force that the Movement could unleash in the event of a deadlock. Mr. Manuel, these soldiers, despite extreme poverty and the everyday challenges of life, remained resolute and disciplined, resisting any temptation to use their military skills to plunge our beautiful country into turmoil and thus discourage investors.
Africa, the landmass of fifty-four countries that made Europe and its allies exceptionally wealthy, is replete with examples of former soldiers who ultimately formed rebel forces rendering their countries ungovernable through concerted efforts of insurrection thus creating havoc in their countries.
Today we know that the MK soldier was not just trained in execution of military discipline but also represents the finest of political school alumni, who have sat through political education without infrastructure immanent in colleges or schools.
Our soldiers remain disciplined regardless of the prevalence of an unjustifiable manifested adversity. The BEE [Black Economic Empowerment] deals you and the administration you served engineered produced a thin layer of the super rich. That BEE has come and is gone, rendering you and others like those of the para-structure ‘101 veterans’ to varying degrees, the ultimate signpost of our economic freedom.
At the earliest convenience that white monopoly capital offered you and those of you who today claim a moral high ground, you bowed and ate from that trough. This, when all of you in convenience chose to let self-interest count, therefore forgetting the foot soldiers – the very ones you were ready to unleash, the same foot soldiers like Ashley Kriel, Zuka Baloyi and others, who paid the highest price for our liberation. You could not hitherto have done anything for the Kriel family, let alone Johnny Issel who died a bitter cadre, because you chose to forget him and many others – like you forgot the foot soldiers, when you started flying the now retired Concorde.
Mr. Manuel, in your position as Minister of Finance, regardless of the fact that you were responsible for budgeting, you failed to allocate a budget for the repatriation of our fallen heroes and heroines, whose blood nourishes the freedom that you and your cohorts today enjoy and even abuse.
Sir, let it be known today – like Cadre Johnny Issel is the face of that foot soldier that you literally left in the gutters – we represent those who were never the beneficiaries of your failed BEE policy and we remain economically destitute yet disciplined.
You Mr. Trevor Manuel, in case you think we forgot, you threatened Dr. Rev. Allan A Boesak when he wanted to reveal in his book ‘Running with Horses’ that you have a case to answer, as the one who received assistance. You threatened him by claiming that you would show him who you are. Sir, you went gangster on a man of the cloth, because you, Mr. Manuel, have suffered a sense of entitlement as a ‘golden boy’ when you never remotely deserved to serve in Mandela’s cabinet.
You, like all of us, know that you only served in that government of National Unity thanks to the need for a racially inclusive cabinet. It was your false race of a Coloured identity that placed you in Mandela’s cabinet – you may protest it as much as you want to, but just like the Rev. Allan Hendrickse of the Apartheid Tricameral system, you owe your political and economic presence of whatever significance to that false identity of being a Coloured.
As I alluded earlier, the majority of our members are over fifty and others are already dying as paupers. We have vowed this time around we will never allow you and your white monopoly capital friends to derail that which rightly is aimed at correcting the ills of your actions.
Radical Economic Transformation (RET) is not a slogan; it is not an empty rhetoric; it is not radical looting as you would want our people to believe. It is the conclusive answer for the economic plight of the downtrodden still – yes those who still must benefit as the masses. The R500 billion in State Procurement spent, is not a pipe-dream but it is earmarked as a catalyst and will go a long way in addressing even our challenges as former soldiers.
We are compelled to enquire from you as to when did you come to the realization of your new doctrine that, in this season, denounces the existence of white monopoly capital? It is clear that you are being instructed as a hired gun by your white monopoly capital masters, to cause to delay and sidetrack the potential tsunami that has more than a mere potential to dislodge your master’s hand in our economy of inclusive growth.
You are today fulfilling the necessary role of a ruse as always to deflect our concerted efforts to feverishly work to realize economic freedom for more than yourself, your friends like Cheryl Carolus and Sipho Pityana who today count among the wealthiest in the country.
As OR Tambo reminded us, “To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation”
Let it be known that you don’t represent us. You represent your masters and you are a mere puppet in the hands of the bastion of American Monopoly Capital, that Rothschild’s family of thugs. You are doing just enough today to obtain a loan from your handlers to buy the Barclay stake in ABSA.
Today you sing for your lunch, because Anton Rupert allegedly paid for your wedding to your second wife. Your wedding took place in the heart of white monopoly capital because the wine farms of SA are no different to the game farms owned by white monopoly. In case you have forgotten, from the warm pristine Indian Ocean coastline to the cold but ultra-scenic Atlantic Ocean front on the west of what defines a South African coastline, this confirms the presence of white monopoly capital.
You do know that every sector that makes up this economy is white controlled. You,sir, choose today to lecture us from the comfort of your pummeled oversupply of resources as you sing for your meal and do the slog work of your handlers in the ilk of a Judas Iscariot of the biblical narrative who betrayed those who loved him. You chose to be a part of a sophisticated network that has been plundering our resources/economy for many years and today you benefit handsomely.
You were long captured when you served as Finance Minister. You were wined and dined into submission by your masters when you were the Minister of Finance and head of Treasury.
Not dissimilar to so many like you who are captured, when you left the state after serving your masters with distinction, you were rewarded handsomely with a position in their abode.
Today you sit as Old Mutual Chairperson when you oversaw the demutualization process. Let me remind you of the COSATU press statement in 1998 which noted with dismay the decision of the NCOP to pass legislation allowing Old Mutual and Sanlam to go ahead with their demutualization plans. We regret this hasty action on the basis that we are currently engaged with both the ANC and the companies concerned on this issue. The bill was passed and demutualization continued with your influence, because you always acted as if you were a prime minister during your tenure. COSATU’s vital concern was the real transformation of the two mutual companies controlled by policyholders.
This, sir, presents a clear conflict of interest for your intervention back then. It set you up for your current position as Chairperson of Old Mutual. We will pursue a criminal case against you for this conflict of interest.
Clearly Sanlam and Old Mutual, seeking at the time respective listings on the London Stock Exchange, was not in alignment with South Africa’s economic transformation goals. As in the case of the Arms Deal you justified demutualization with the following statement, “Once demutualization is completed in the latter part of this year the Umsobomvu Fund is expected to have in order of R1bn of capital and will be in a position to start investing in training and development programmes for young people.”
You had no moral conscience of any degree to condemn the Arms Deal in its flawed reality as the clearest indication of our first mass scale corruption deal under the democratic government. You promised job creation and justified the debt we are still paying when any true prudent finance minister would have questioned the efficacy and necessity for this expenditure. When Andrew Feinstein shared the conviction of his mind on this corrupt deal, you had the nerve to tell him his claims would go nowhere.
You, Mr. Manuel, had no presence of mind to raise your so-called moral conscience when over 300,000 South Africans died in the HIV/AIDS denialist genocide. You today feel entitled, in between sipping on your favourite libations, to lecture us when you had no moral stand when it was needed most.
We will not entertain your type anymore. We will not respect you and be quiet, but we will call you who you are – a true sell-out and a counter revolutionary of note. One who despite being not remotely qualified to hold that office was given a responsibility to serve, and you became inebriated with your own toxic substance of a sense of enlarged self-importance. Today you sit as chancellor of the bastion of white Afrikaner oppression. You are comfortable in that space because it is a reward for your work for your masters.
Can we keep you directly accountable for this injustice? It should be that finance ministers, as accounting officers, are held personally accountable for the privatization of natural resources since this attests a grave assault on those who constitute the poor.
Sir, you have served white monopoly capital with distinction. You have worked for them as an agent and a counter revolutionary, selling out our right to have transformation of the apartheid economy. You have betrayed the values that define a disciplined cadre. Today you live large in arrogance and attempt to lecture us when we, as soldiers for our liberation, are dying as paupers.
You had plenty of time to serve your masters. In the words of Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine who aptly captured you, ‘it is amazing what being associated with the Rothschild Family, the USA bastion of white monopoly capital, does to a former activist. They first render you a black diamond (the ultimate insult to a black identity) then they pummel you with resources and access. Finally you speak for them and repeat their claims in stark contrast to your upbringing and fight for the factory workers of the Cape Flats”.
Let it be known – we will not give you rest! Neither you, nor any of these new mlungus (township lingo for blacks who became wealthy) will be allowed to claim a moral high ground when you have long betrayed your own.
Convener of MK Foundation