JULIUS MALEMA – Honest communist? Alternate approach to equality on the table

Opinion by Gideon Brits

JULIUS MALEMA – Honest communist? Alternate approach to equality on the table
Malema and Shivambu's VBS bank gifts. Photo: Die Vryburger

The more I think about ‘equality’ in South Africa, the more it starts to look like George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. A book that exposes the false promises of communism by means of story about animals on a farm. These animals decided to implement a communist society and in the end they discovered the truth about communism: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

Below is part of the EFF’s policy on Human Settlement as contained in their election manifesto for 2019. Note how “some animals are more equal than others”.

For the political elite: “The EFF government will put mechanisms in place to ensure that all public servants have houses.”

For the middle class who can actually afford houses now: “The EFF government will subsidise housing finance for middle-income earners.”

For the rest of South Africans, the poor and disenfranchised, who actually need assistance: “The EFF government will re-zone all informal settlements by 2021”

Perhaps we should send a 1000 copies of Animal Farm to the EFF head office. Perhaps we can inscribe these copies as follows:

“Mr. Malema, we are not calling you a communist spreading the false promise of communism, at least not for now. Mr. Malema, at least you have the strength of character to clearly tell your voters that the EFF elite will get houses, the middle class will get subsidies and that they, the poor and disenfranchised will get ‘rezoned’ by 2021. Mr. Malema, would you please tell South Africa that the current description of equality, just like your utopia, neglects to focus on the poor and disenfranchised.”

The current false promise of equality works as follows:

Our society is divided by means of policies of discrimination into classes of human .We then discriminate against each other based on these classifications. Gone is ‘united in our diversity’ as per the preamble to our constitution. We are purposely depriving South African humans of part of their human rights, human rights guaranteed in that very same constitution we use to deprive them of their rights.

Our system for human rights deprivation starts with black female humans at the top and ends with white male humans at the bottom. One would think that ‘We, the people of South Africa’ had learned our lesson, apparently not. It get’s crazier.

Next we take population statistics from somewhere and use this to create some form of ‘Population Representation’ (PR) table. I call it PR, because that is what it is, just some PR exercise to keep us, ‘The people of South Africa” divided. And while we are divided, fighting each other … well …, need I point this out? Zondo Commission? ESKOM? BOSASA?

It get’s crazier. Once we have this table, we seek those things that divide us, things like race and gender. The battle of the sexes, race division. We make a list of all these things that can divide us amongst ourselves. We then calculate the percentages and divide the opportunities in our country accordingly.

By doing this we say we don’t care if you work hard to provide for your family. We don’t care about the fact that you might utilise this given opportunity better than the next person and thus strengthen our economy to the benefit of all. We don’t care about any of that. You are not female, sorry. You are not black, sorry.

All we need to do now is to throw in BEE, the promotion of wealth, not primarily based on hard work only, but to a large extent also on political connectedness (note that we don’t care for gender here). And so we think we are creating a wonderful utopia of equality. We say that we would like everything to be equal, like Eskom. Our ideal is that the whole economy must look like Eskom. Imagine all the jobs for the poor and the disenfranchised that this utopia will bring!

Don’t get me wrong. We can all agree that the stated IDEAL of this decisive PR type approach is good. Equal participation in the economy between races, it is a good thing. Equal participation between the sexes, it is also a notable ideal. Greater participation for the disabled, not one of us will disagree with this ideal.

The fact is that disagreeing with the method to achieve the ideal does not mean that we disagree with the ideal.

The method we are currently using to pursue these ideals are giving us more than we had planned for. We are also moving in the opposite direction of one of our stated goals, to; “Heal the divisions of our past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”

Instead of true equality we are getting Eskom, we are getting Bosasa and whatever else is still going to come out at the Zondo Commission.

Is there another way to achieve these ideals without forcing divisions amongst us?

If your father committed a crime, is it fair for your children to pay for the crime? If your father’s crime was that he is a male, is it fair to deprive your son a fair chance at a better job and a better life because he is a male?

Even if we can accept that our male children “are equal, but other children are more equal”. Even then, in our South Africa, in the reckless pursuit of this PR exercise that we call equality. Even then, we have still forgotten the poor and the disenfranchised in our fight to divide the opportunities in our country.

Perhaps those of us who disagree with Mr. Malema on how to achieve equality can do better. The constitution is the supreme law in our country. We might find the answer there.

Perhaps if we can expand the definition of equality in the context of our ‘democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom’. If we can find a ‘less restrictive means to achieve the purpose’ of our ideals. If we can provide each South African with an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY and a chance for a better life. A society where regardless, rather than in spite of, your skin color or gender, you might achieve a better life. The promise that you might achieve a better life simply by the merits of your own effort. That this opportunity for a better life is granted to each and every South African.

Perhaps then we might have the hope of one day putting a stop to discrimination against, and the limitation of the human rights of, South Africans.

Perhaps we might arrive at solutions that truly gives equality to the poor and the disenfranchised. The ‘long term objects of freedom movements’ as Mr. Mandela called them. For these are complex problems with no easy solutions. The first step might be to free up our economy and in this way create more opportunities for all South Africans.

” I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  – Nelson Mandela

I urge the political leaders of South Africa to have the courage to seek new solutions on how to redefine and achieve equality in a way that takes into consideration the poor and disenfranchised, perhaps even without limiting basic human rights for half the citizens of our country.

I urge the news media to not only focus on ‘state capture’ but to report on important policy statements by our leaders. 8 May is coming closer and we need to hear the voices of our leaders so that we can decide on how to vote.

I urge my fellow South Africans to learn what I have learned from another South African recently: “We should be talking to each other rather than about each other”.

And Mr. Malema, in spite of what you may have said you will do to South Africans like me; I hope you find your office full of copies of George Orwell’s superb work ‘Animal Farm’. I for one believe that you are an honest leader for our people, at least sort of. If we could change your mind on your policies then I for one would vote for you. Thank you for showing us that we have forgotten the poor and disenfranchised.