The Tokologo African Anarchist Collective supports the protest march held by members of the Khutsong community – where we have active members – to the Merafong municipal offices.
We support the community’s demand for the removal of the long-acting Municipal Manager on the following grounds:
Being implicated in mis-spending of public funds in Westonaria to the tune of R1.5 million, allegedly paid to a Pretoria-based law firm for personal interests. Being implicated in Merafong Municipality mismanaging over R28 million, allegedly for building a website that doesn’t exist
Spending over R50 000 per month for a travel allowance without consulting the supply chain.
We therefore support the Khutsong community’s demand that both the Municipal Manager and the Mayor must be charged for failing to protect the public funds of the municipality, and that they must face charges for allowing irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure to occur and, therefore, prejudicing the proper administration of the Merafong Municipality and for misconduct for failing to ensure contracts were awarded in a fair, equitable, transparent, cost-effective and competitive manner.
We also support the community’s demand that the Merafong Municipality be placed under Section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
However, while we support the community’s demands as a way to try and get some justice out of the situation, we also note that we are doubtful that simply removing or replacing the Municipal Manager or getting the Manager and Mayor to face charges will solve the problems of corruption and mismanagement of public funds in Merafong Municipality.
This is because, as anarchists, we believe that corruption and mismanagement are endemic to (a normal part of) the capitalist and state system in which we live. We say this because, despite the fact that we now have the right to vote, we live in an undemocratic society where we don’t have any say over how budgets are set and how public spending is allocated. We have the right to vote every five years but in the interim, between elections, we have no control over what the people we elect do. Also remember that we do not elect most public servants and state officials; they are appointed by government.
Furthermore, for many the state has become a way for the emerging black elite to get rich quick, because blacks are still largely excluded from private business which remains majority white-owned. Therefore, people get into politics not to serve the people but because it gives them access to state coffers; to tenders and contracts that they can award in return for favours and bribes. This is why there is so much corruption and mismanagement of public funds and, because we only vote once every five years, we can not hold these corrupt officials accountable.
Therefore, as anarchists we believe that we need to struggle for and build a new economic and political system where the working class majority can have a real say in all the decisions that affect them, and in how society’s resources are spent, through a federation of workers’ councils and community assemblies.
However, it is though mass working class mobilisation in the present that we can actually hold the politicians and public servants that are supposed to represent and serve us accountable and build towards the future society we wish to see.
While we therefore support the Khutsong community’s march today, we are aware that this is but one battle in an ongoing and protracted class war between the black working class majority – on the one hand – and the black and white ruling class elite, both in the state and private sector – on the other – that derive and maintain their wealth, power and privilege by exploiting and oppressing the black working class majority.
We therefore need to use this march – and other day-to-day struggles for jobs, higher wages, service delivery and development – to unite the working class in struggle – regardless of whether we are isiXhosa or seSotho, local or migrant, employed or unemployed – and begin to build a new mass movement of the working class that can both hold government and public servants accountable and, eventually, impose our will on government and private companies and literally force them to accede to our demands of job creation, development and service delivery through working class mass direct action.