Freedom Charter Untruths

The only conclusion that can be drawn from Benjamin Roberts’ effusive praise of the Freedom Charter (The Mercury, June 29) is that such articles serve to prosper deceit.

The claim that the Freedom Charter was “not drawn up by a small group of visionaries seeking to impose their ideals” is untrue. There may well have been widespread input as to what people wanted. But the reality is that not only was the Charter the work of SACP members Lionel Bernstein, Joe Slovo, Ben Turok and Ruth First, but the process of its conception was charted by SACP front organisations, namely, the Congress of the People, the Congress of Democrats, the SA Peace Council, Federation of Women and others.

The Freedom Charter mirrors the ideals of communism: all land, resources, banks and manufacturing belong to the people and are maintained on their behalf by the state.  Free health- care and education for all: controlled by the state.  Employment, housing and security for all: guaranteed by the state.

Nowhere is a private enterprise, private ownership and multi-party democracy enshrined in the Freedom Charter. From start to finish, it is premised on collectivisation and the predominant role of the state which, as is increasingly obvious in South Africa, means the SACP/ANC.

Another of Benjamin Roberts’ blatant falsehoods is that the Charter reflects “bottom-up governance.” The top-down, undemocratic, unconstitutional conduct of the cabal within the ANC handing down Covid-19 regulations proves otherwise. The vice-like grip of communists within trade unions also makes a mockery of so-called bottom-up governance.

In claiming that the Charter “holds lessons concerning needs and aspirations” and that we should be “asking about the type of society desired,” it is remarkable that Roberts is unable to see the progressive failure of socialist policies in every aspect of governance in South Africa. Yet incredibly he asserts that the Charter “was ahead of its time in inspiring progressive change.”

The coercive, undemocratic communist ideals of the Freedom Charter were rejected by hundreds of millions in Eastern Europe and the former USSR over 30 years ago. Yet sadly, that same communist hegemony is currently oppressing and impoverishing the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea which is why the Freedom Charter should be renamed the Servitude Charter.

Sent into The Mercury and published, 1 July 2020

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