The Poor Need to Vote the ANC Out in the Coming Election

Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement 4 February 2024

Frantz Fanon said “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity.” The challenge of our generation is to move past the ANC, to build a politics of the future, a politics by and for the oppressed, a politics committed to humanising our country and the world.

In April it will be thirty years since the end of apartheid. In that time we have watched and suffered as the promise of the new society has been betrayed by the ANC. We have witnessed corrupt leaders continuing to enrich themselves and their families at the expense of the poor majority. We have seen inequalities grow as more and more people are unemployed or precariously employed, including by labour brokers.

We have watched as the ANC continues to impose devastating economic policies, including brutal austerity, on the country as more and more people are pushed into poverty and the poor get poorer. We have seen that, year after year, there has been no real rural or urban land reform. Many more people live in shacks now than at the end of apartheid. As food and transport get more and more expensive and the government cuts spending on essential public goods such as education, healthcare and social grants the crisis lived everyday by the poor gets worse and worse.

Millions of people are without work and millions are going without food. The unionised working class is also struggling, and even many people in the middle classes are struggling and find that their salaries are finished after a week or two.

The ANC has not only failed to resolve the crisis of mass impoverishment. It has also failed to deal with the massive corruption in its ranks. In fact it even wants some of its most corrupt leaders to campaign for the party in the coming election. The ANC has also failed to deal with the crisis of violence in our society. It has allowed infrastructure like roads and water and the electricity system to collapse as well as institutions like hospitals. It rules the poor with violence. It has killed our members and comrades during evictions and protests and during ‘show your receipt’ raids. It has regularly assassinated our leaders since 2013 when Nkululeko Gwala was assassinated.

Next year our movement will celebrate twenty years of struggle – struggle on the streets, in communities, in land occupations and in the courts. However, we must now also use the coming election as an opportunity to remove the ANC for power.

Our movement is a socialist movement linked to socialist movements around the world and committed to building a global movement of movements. Our movement is committed to building the democratic power of the oppressed from below with the aim of ensuring that land, wealth and power are fairly shared. There will be no left wing party on the ballot paper when the election comes this year, and no party committed to supporting the oppressed to build its own power. We do not have our own electoral instrument.

However, we cannot sit this election out. It is essential that the ANC is removed from power and it is essential that all politicians in all parties learn the lesson that they will not stay in power when they disrespect the people.

The time to vote along the line of history is long gone. We are thankful to all those who have fought for this country’s democracy. People fought for our freedom in many different organisations and not just the ANC or Umkhonto weSizwe as we are made to believe. The ANC does not own the history of resistance in our country. However, we respect its members who fought for freedom along with all others who fought for freedom.

This time we need to make a tactical vote for the future, and that requires removing the ANC from power. Of course at the same time we need to build the democratic power of the poor from below. And of course in the future there needs to be a democratic left wing party on the ballot.

This time we are voting, tactically, to save our country from the thieves and the looters and to put an end to political repression. It is our time and we dare not to miss this opportunity.

These discussions have begun with the leaders of the movement at all levels. There will be ongoing discussion by all structures and members of the movement on this very important issue. There will be discussions in every branch.

We will then discuss with members at our General Assemblies in all five provinces where we organise. Our movement belongs to our members and is given direction by its members. The responsibility of its leaders is to facilitate discussions, not to give direction from above. The power is with the members and they will take the decision on the way forward through our careful internal democratic processes. Once all this is done we will be taking a position on the elections from an informed and democratic process.

One thing is for sure though. We will be voting against the ANC and urge all South Africans to do the same.

Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
Sinenhlanhla Mcanyana 073 832 331


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