Former African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule has launched a new pan-Africanist political party, saying it strives to restore the dignity of the oppressed and downtrodden masses of South Africa.
During his inaugural address as president of the African Congress for Transformation (ACT) this morning in Orlando, Soweto, Magashule accused his former political party of forsaking its centre-left stance in favour of a white monopoly capitalist agenda.
Magashule explained the rationale behind establishing a new political party by stating that its guiding principles are upholding African nationalism, cherishing and fostering pan-Africanism as a pillar, and promoting the spirit of African self-determination.
“Our political party will exist as a custodian of the aspirations of its people and generations to come. This political party shall exist to challenge all forms of oppression, discrimination, and injustices.
“We wish to join our people and partner with them. We are community leaders and activists. That is why in our leadership, you are going to see people from across various sectors of society; people living with disability, people with albinism, all South Africans, black and white, Indian and white,” he said.
Magashule decried the liberation movement’s transformation into “an imperial puppet” in an attack on the ANC.
During the past six months, he consulted with former ANC leaders and provincial chairpersons, among others, and expressed his opinions to them.
“There has been a bitter struggle inside the African National Congress for its soul. There have been contradictions over the years for the hegemony of progressive ideas within the ANC. Sadly, we have seen the oldest organization moving fast toward the right and abandoning its center-left position,” the former Free State premier said.
Commemorating the late Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Magashule said he learned how to operate the Russian AK-47 rifle at her Orlando residence during the apartheid era.
He also indicated that Madikizela-Mandela was one of the heroes and heroines of the anti-apartheid struggle who were marginalized when the ANC was catapulted from exile trenches to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Magashule attacked President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling him a neo-liberal puppet without mentioning him by name.
“The struggle for the soul of the ANC has witnessed the systematic marginalization of forces to the left. Winnie Mandela was sidelined, Chris Hani was killed in cold blood, and Julius Malema was expelled for demanding the return of the land. Jacob Zuma was hunted down like a dog for fighting against white monopoly capital.
“A new ANC cadre endorsed by the Democratic Alliance and neo-liberal handlers has emerged. The sacrifices of our people who went to exile and those who died at the apartheid gallows must never be in vain. The struggles and sacrifice of our people who fought for freedom in South Africa and outside South Africa must never be in vain,” he added.
Magashule stated that the party’s introduction ended rumours that he would join Carl Niehaus’ African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (ARETA) or Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters.
“We are not joining any other party. I have engaged the leaders of different political parties, especially the progressive parties in South Africa, of the like-minded, who understand the aspirations of our people. I have also informed the leaders of the African National Congress.”
Magashule urged South Africans from all spheres of life to embark on their voyage through the turbulent waters of political freedom.
“We make a clarion call to academics, teachers, workers, nurses, doctors, our youth, the elderly, students, unemployed graduates, taxi drivers, queue marshals, soldiers, police, traditional leaders, uneducated and educated people, all public servants, churches and synagogues to join us in the new ship of freedom.
“We are going to sail together to the true destination of freedom. We are here because we have suffered collective betrayal as a people and a nation at the hands of people who claim to be our leaders. We have been sold for a few pieces of silver. We, as leaders, have abandoned and forgotten our masses,” he said.
According to Magashule, the ANC has neglected the values of Oliver Thambo, the late anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader.
He said the ANC experienced deeper divisions after he and other members fought against the idea of selling off state assets to private hands.
“South African Airways was sold for a song, and I believe Eskom will soon be privatized. What must become of all those retrenched workers? The Post Office is going. The judiciary is captured and compromised. There is selective justice, and the media is quiet,” said Magashule.
Magashule hinted that ACT will work with progressive pan-Africanist political parties in future.
“We have informed our friends across Africa because we are about African nationalism; we are all about pan-Africanism. We have informed the likes of Swapo, Zanu-PF, and all the liberation movements. We have informed all the countries belonging to BRICS, and we have written to various embassies.
“We have been invited by ANC comrades in the next three weeks. The ANC comrades have called us to a cadre’s assembly, which will be in the Vaal. We hope they will all join this movement. Our slogan is #Amadelakufa.
“During the struggle, Amadelakufa died with information when they were arrested during apartheid. We are not going to talk about ANC and ANC leaders. We are not bitter, but we are disgruntled because the ANC has sold out our people. This party is going to talk about our people and their struggles,” Magashule said.