President of the African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (ARETA) Carl “Mpangazitha” Niehaus has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of selling South Africa’s economy to white people, and forgetting the pain that the majority of the country went through.
Niehaus was speaking at the launch of his party’s Ward 46 branch in Jabulani, Soweto, on Sunday. The former ANC spokesperson formed ARETA in February this year after quitting the liberation movement in the midst of several misconduct charges that were levelled against him.
Niehaus recounted what happened to young Africans in Soweto, in 1976, where he was arrested and had his head smashed against a police van. He said what happened to him was nothing in comparison to what apartheid police did to young black Sowetans under the instruction of the then special security branch boss Captain Thenius “Rooi Rus” Swanepoel, also known as “Red Russian”.
“We know what happened in 76, how our young students who were simply protesting against apartheid said, ‘We are not going to have our education forced down our throats in Afrikaans,’ how they were attacked.
“The head of what they called the Special Security Police Unit, Rooi Rus Swanepoel, gave instructions that ‘no rubber bullets, no tear gas, live bullets, kill them.’ That is how they shot young people in the streets of Soweto,” Niehaus told his party members who gathered at Letare Senior Secondary School in Jabulani.
The party appointed a new Ward 46 interim leadership led by Convenor Nompumelelo Khanyile, Coordinator Noxolo Matoti, Organiser Bafana Magumasholo and Treasurer Mnqoba Buthelezi.
Niehaus said the country has forgotten what happened in Soweto even though the residents of the township remain in pain from the ravages of apartheid.
“Today Vilakazi Street has nice restaurants, but the blood was flowing on Vilakazi Street. Young students were taken, tied down on the railway lines, and left there for the trains to come. They were found there with their heads off and arms off.
“When we talk about this struggle, we are talking about something very important and very special because it was paid for by the blood of our people. It was paid for by the suffering of our people. This struggle is not something that we should deal with in a small way. It is not something that we can just treat lightly. It is the lives of our people,” he said.
The former Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national executive committee (NEC) member also reflected on the pain that the black community suffered when former South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Chris Hani was murdered at Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, on April 10 in 1993.
“I stood in that driveway in Dawn Park in 1993 on the 10th of April and I saw Comrade Chris Hani lying there in a pool of blood, shot dead by a white right-winger Walus Janusz. Five days before Comrade Chris was killed there, he was addressing a meeting in Boksburg. I was fortunate to be with him.
“Comrade Chris warned us, he said, ‘Please comrades, what is happening at the negotiations and at Codesa is selling our country out.’ What Cyril Ramaphosa is doing there is selling the economy of this country away from us to the whites and to the white monopoly capitalists.
“He said, ‘How can we agree to Section 25 of this Constitution?’ It says, ‘We guarantee property rights’ while the property has been stolen by the white colonialists from the indigenous people of this country. How can we agree to such a clause?” said Niehaus.
The ARETA president said it was sad to see South Africans agreeing with a Constitution that legitimised theft.
“It is like writing down in a legal document that you justify people stealing. You say that you will return the land but you will buy the land back from those thieves? How is that possible? How do we pay for stolen goods?
“If someone steals a comrade’s bakkie and he finds out where the bakkie is, is the comrade going to go there and say to the thief, ‘Can I write you a cheque for the price of my bakkie? I want to buy the bakkie that you have stolen from me?’ Never! But that is what we did,” he said.
Niehaus said Ramaphosa was responsible for the drafting of the clauses that bound South Africans to their colonial masters. He added that the clauses played a role in Hani’s death.
“That is what Cyril Ramaphosa and his team of negotiators negotiated. Today, we sit in this country without the land because of those things that have been done. And when Comrade Chris spoke about it, they said, ‘Aah, aah, this man is dangerous, we must kill him,’ and they killed him.
“I can tell you, comrades, he was not just killed by a white racist immigrant from Poland. It was arranged, together with some of the whites in this country but together with some of the sellouts in the ANC. As we sit here today we still don’t know what exactly happened because it was covered up,” Niehaus said. “There was never a proper investigation into the killing of Comrade Chris because they wanted to destroy the ideal that Comrade Chris stood for, the full liberation of the people, especially black and especially African. Comrade Chris was the person who personified that liberation.”
Niehaus, who has repeatedly protested during his days in the ANC and demanded that Ramaphosa step down, also accused the president of being part of an infiltration plan against the governing party, which he said had finished off the party.
“We were infiltrated by spies and agents. I sat on a stage in June 1991 in Durban at the first national conference of the ANC after the ANC was unbanned. When Cyril Ramaphosa walked into the hall, Comrade Oliver Tambo looked up and said, ‘Ubani lo? Who is that?’
“You see comrades, who was that, who suddenly came in and became a leader? The mistake that was made at that conference, Ramaphosa was made secretary general. He arrived at a conference and left the conference as the secretary general (of the ANC),” he said. “You see how we were infiltrated. There were many of us who saw this. We watched but we loved the ANC. There at the conference, we were fighting for Comrade Chris to stand as the deputy president, but unfortunately, those who did not want him as the deputy president prevented him.”
Niehaus reiterated that Ramaphosa allegedly instructed police to kill protesting workers at Marikana. He further accused the ANC leader of deliberately sabotaging Eskom in order to privatise it for the benefit of his own family through, billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe’s renewable energy company, African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP). Motsepe is Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law.
AREP, led by former Eskom CEO Brian Dames, is one of the major players in the South Africa renewable energy sector, which is expected to cash in from the current Eskom crisis. Dames reportedly told the media last year that AREP had invested 700 megawatts of renewable energy and had a target of 5 000 megawatts. He had vowed to increase generation capacity in the wake of legislation changes which allowed independent power producers to build projects that generate up to 100 megawatts without needing a licence.
The ARETA leader said the new political party was created to fight for the rights of the black majority of South Africa, which the ANC has allegedly neglected. ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri did not respond to media questions on the accusations made against Ramaphosa.
Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya also did not respond to questions relating to allegations Niehaus made against the president. The Motsepe Foundation could not be reached for comment.