Freedom Charter sold out the dispossessed by Motsoko Pheko (The Sowetan), 2 Feb 2012

THE present ANC is not 100 years old. It abandoned the fundamental objectives of the original 1912 ANC more than 50 years ago.

In 1955, a section of the 1912 ANC leadership was captured by a section of the white ruling class.

Despite the background of racial segregation laws, in 1955 the authors of the Freedom Charter falsely proclaimed: "We, the people of South Africa, declare that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white ... and, therefore, we the people of South Africa, black and white together, equals, countrymen and brothers, adopt the Charter."

This was a colossal colonial fraud. Fifty-seven years after this deception, there are two "nations" in South Africa.

One is an extremely rich and white minority, and the other is extremely poor and an 80% black majority.

In 1943, 1944, 1948 and 1949, the Congress Youth League had formulated four freedom documents. The original 1912 ANC had adopted these documents as its policy.

It implemented them under presidents Dr AB Xuma, Dr James Moroka and Chief Albert Luthuli. The Freedom Charter defectors threw them into the political dustbin.

On the economy, the 1944 document proclaimed: "The Congress Youth League holds that political democracy remains an empty form without substance unless it is properly grounded on a base of economic democracy."

On land, the document proposed "the re-division of land among farmers and peasants of all nationalities in proportion to their numbers". It said the the ultimate goal of African nationalism with regard to education was to ensure one hundred percent literacy.

A section of the 1912 ANC that rejected the Freedom Charter declared: "Following the capture of a portion of the black leadership of South Africa by a section of the white ruling class, the masses of our people are in extreme danger of losing sight of the objective of our struggle.

"This captured leadership claims to be fighting for freedom when in truth it is fighting to perpetuate the tutelage of the African people. It is tooth and nail against Africans gaining effective control of their land.

"It has completely abandoned the objectives of freedom. It has joined the ranks of the reactionaries. It is no longer within the ranks of the liberation movement.

"These leaders, after doing a dirty job, namely, seeing to it that the African is deprived for all time of his inherent right to control his country effectively, of seeing to it that whatsoever new social order is established in this country, the essentials of white domination are retained ..."

The ANC president, Albert Luthuli, did not know who drafted the Freedom Charter.

"I can only speak vaguely about its preparations that went before ..." he wrote in his book Let My People Go.

"The main disadvantage from which it suffered was that the branches submitted materials for the Charter at a very late hour, too late in fact, for the statement to be boiled down into a comprehensive statement. It was not possible for the National Action Committee to circulate the draft carefully. The result is that the declaration in the Charter is uneven."

In 1984, General Sebastian Mabote, the chief commander of the Mozambican army, explained on behalf of president Samora Machel why his country had agreed to support the Zimbabwe freedom fighters in Rhodesia but was not prepared to give the same measure of aid to the ANC of South Africa.

He said: "The Zimbabwe guerrillas are fighting for self-determination, independence and liberty. In South Africa the ANC is carrying on a fight for civil rights and not an armed struggle for national liberation."

In 1955, the ANC became a civil rights movement.

In 1994, it negotiated "democracy" and not equitable redistribution of land and resources according to population numbers.

The Native Land Act of 1913, through which Africans were dispossessed, is entrenched in Section 25(7) of the "New South Africa" Constitution.

This civil rights movement and "Freedom Charter" ANC government has laws for issues the dispossessed people of this country never asked for.

Some of them are on homosexuals, same-sex marriages, abortion "on demand", prostitutes who are now called "sex workers" and so on. Their government is infested with endemic corruption that is destroying the country because the Charterists have lost the 1912 ANC vision for this country.

The negotiations the ANC pursued at Codesa with the apartheid National Party were not in accord with the fundamental objectives of the 1912 ANC.

In his book Betrayal of South African Revolution, journalist John Pilger writes about how in September 1985 the Freedom Charter ANC leaders met a group of whites in Lusaka, led by Anglo-American chairman Gavin Relly.

Their message to the ANC leaders in exile was that "transition" to a black-governed liberal democracy was possible, only if "order" and "stability" were guaranteed.

This was reference to a "free market" state where social justice would not be a priority.

What followed later were secret meetings that took place in England.

This is the very England where King George V had ignored the land dispossession of Africans raised there by the founders of the ANC.

This time the meeting was with the Afrikaner elite.

In his book, A History of Inequality, academic Sampie Terreblanche observes: "The ANC's core leaders effectively sold its sovereign freedom to implement an independent and appropriate socio-economic policy for a mess of potage when it entered into several compromises with the corporate sector and its global partners. These unfortunate transactions must be retracted or renegotiated."

If South Africa "belongs to all who live in it, black and white ... equals, countrymen and brothers", as claimed by the Freedom Charter, why is the ANC spending billions of rands buying land for blacks from whites on a "willing seller, willing buyer" basis? This is getting the country deeper into debt.

The demand that was made by the 1912 ANC leaders "that the Africans must be put into possession of land according to their numbers" has not been met.

Pheko is the author of How the Freedom Charter betrayed the dispossessed.

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