Thursday, October 7, 2010

South Africa -- The Real Threat

Solid piece by Justice Malala, heartening in these times of the neo-kleptocracy.

Justice Malala, The Times, Johannesburg, 4 October 2010

ANC leader Pallo Jordan, writing in this newspaper last week, asserted that because of the struggles of his comrades I am able to write my "wordy, self-righteous columns in The Times, certain that he (I) won't spend that night in prison."

I am not sure that I won't spend tonight or any other night in prison. I am also not certain that the leaders of the ANC won't throw me in jail. Because, as outlined by ANC veteran Oyama Mabandla in an article in African Affairs in 1990, large chunks of the ANC hates free speech and hates people who speak truth to power.

Which is why this same ANC - that Jordan claims fought for me - arrested and detained him for six weeks in 1983.

This is what Mabandla said way back in 1990:

"Pallo was detained on the orders of (Communist) Party member and Mbokodo (the ANC's security department) chieftain, Peter Boroko. . Pallo was accused of exposing the Mbokodo informant network within the Department of Information and Publicity by mockingly referring to department official Francis Malaya and another man named Ace . as Amapolisa (the police) - warning other DIP staffers to be careful of them. On that basis, Pallo was detained and was to spend six weeks in detention.

"I participated in an informal meeting at Green House (Mbokodo HQ) which discussed Pallo's arrest. . During the discussion one Mbokodo officer made a chilling remark which seemed to capture the essence of the entire saga. The comment went thus, 'leli intellectual lase Merika lisijwayela kabi': 'this American-trained intellectual is uppity' - and thus in need of straightening out."

This is the ANC that Jordan now claims I should be certain will not jail me. Either he has been imbibing something strong, has been in a coma or he is delusional. He should ask Mzilikazi wa Afrika what the ANC is capable of.

Wa Afrika, in case that story passed the perceptive Jordan by, was arrested by 20 policemen in six vans, taken to a secret location in Mpumalanga and interrogated at 2am without a lawyer. The charges against him have been dropped. Wa Afrika works in my building.

I am grateful for Jordan's certainty that I will not spend the night in prison.

Yet the ANC I know is the ANC that detained Jordan for saying exactly what I say today in my "wordy" columns. It is the ANC that detained my colleague Wa Afrika just two months ago while Jordan was composing his Floyd Shivambu-esque drone.

The really offensive part of Jordan's piece is that he claims that it was him and the ANC who fought and liberated South Africa so that "today Malala enjoys the freedom to insult them with impunity".

It is time to tell the true story of who delivered the country to the democracy that it is today - and who fights to protect these freedoms. The ANC's useful idiots arrogantly claim that "it was the ANC" that fought to give us our freedom. Rubbish!

While the ANC was detaining the likes of Jordan or torturing young women in its camps, it was people like my young friends and relatives who were, under the banner of the Mass Democratic Movement, rendering the apartheid state unworkable. It was Desmond Tutu who led me and other young students to the beaches of Cape Town to defy apartheid laws.

It was Peter Mokaba who, as president of the SA Youth Congress, harried PW Botha. It was Trevor Manuel and Popo Molefe and others in the UDF, and Jay Naidoo at Cosatu, who led our mothers on marches and stayaways.

Meanwhile, the ANC was detaining and then poisoning the young leader Thami Zulu. Jordan may be interested to know that Zulu's bosses in that ANC, and the people who still won't say what happened to him and many others, are now snugly in Cabinet giving us legislation such as the Protection of Information Bill.

An ANC that can behave so abominably towards its own members, in a faraway place of hurt and loneliness, is not the noble beast Jordan tries to portray. I am empathetic to - and even love - the real ANC, the one Jordan turns his face away from: it is fallible, it is aware that it is open to abuse by people within its ranks and it is humble in its enjoyment of the freedoms that we, the people of South Africa and the world, fought so hard for. This is the ANC that values a free press.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy my sleep and write more "wordy" columns now that I have Jordan's assurance that the leaders of Mbokodo, the people who ran the ANC torture camp Quattro, won't jail me. Or Mzilikazi wa Afrika. Or even the rather wordy Pallo Jordan himself.



  1. Thank you. I am embarrassed at how little I know about present day SA.

  2. South Africa is a great country and like others it has it's problems. What burns many of us is how quickly the new regime learned the despicable tricks of the old. The ANC government has betrayed those of us who worked so hard to see it in place. Justice Malala is really expressing the dismay of the masses, the deep sense of disbelief at the betrayal by the new regime of those very masses which brought it to power. Democracy is a fragile virgin amongst a gang of thugs on this continent (and maybe elsewhere, I don't have the experience)