The press release by one Refiloe Nt’sekhe of the DA (Politicsweb, April 11), inter alia acknowledging the 25th anniversary of Chris Hani’s death, should make everyone familiar with DA policy wonder where the DA is going.
Nt’sekhe asserts that the DA concurs with Hani’s aim to promote the advancement of “our people.” As Cope leader Terror Lekota asked in parliament: who are “our people?”
The DA has always claimed to stand for “all the people.” So to whom is Nt’sekhe referring? Then Nt’sekhe stated that Hani did not see democracy as the endpoint of liberation but rather as a step toward social justice. As such, Nt’sekhe commits the DA “to work to realise his dreams.”
Clearly, Nt’sekhe is very naive about who Hani was and what his dreams were because there is a world of difference between what Hani espoused and DA policy on every level.
Stephen Ellis in his book External Mission: The ANC in Exile (Johannesburg, 2012) provides a number of dispassionate facts on Hani. In brief, he was an outspoken, hard-line communist who as early as 1969 told the ANC that its leadership was “incompetent” and that they were a bunch of “careerists content to travel the world attending conferences” (p. 69).
A rigid disciplinarian, Hani was instrumental in tightening up repressive measures in ANC detainee camps in Tanzania (p. 156; 180). Such was his hold over the ANC that it was said that the SACP “had devoured the true idealism of the original Luthuli ANC” ( p.243).
As an unreconstructed revolutionary, Hani and Mac Maharaj remained insurrectionists into the 1990s, dubious about the chances of a negotiated solution and worried where it may lead” p.283). In a broadcast from
Radio Freedom on 31 July 1986, Hani made it clear that social justice would only be achieved when all land, factories and mines were “given back to our people from which it was stolen” (Politicsweb, April 11).
The South Africa Hani envisaged was one of soviet-type communism. For the ignorant, that means a one-party state with state control over every aspect of life and equality in mediocrity for the masses. The likes of Cyril Ramaphosa would never have acceded to power in such a dispensation. DA attempts to muscle in on ANC icons, as we saw with the deaths of Nelson and Winnie Mandela and now with the anniversary of Hani’s death, lack credibility because they are so patently about political posturing and vote poaching. As for Refiloe Nt’sekhe, the DA leadership needs to ensure that its spokespersons are historically and politically literate. Studying Ellis’s book would be a good start.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 13 April 2018.