Tiisetso Makhele – Since the early 2000’s or so, many South African communities have faced protests of one sort or the other. Whilst the reasons for these protests vary, the underlying factor seems to be that of discontent and a desire to be listened. According to their paper, ‘Social protests in South Africa (2011’, Mortiar. S and Bond. P state that there has been an average of 8 000 ‘Gatherings Act’ incidents per year since the mid-2000s.
The paper argued that if social protest is taking hold as a way for aggrieved poor and working-class South Africans to articulate and enforce their interests, then a range of understandings of this phenomenon should be considered. It is indeed true that social protests are predominantly used by poor and working class communities, and seems to be a most potent too for these communities to get an audience from the authorities.
The socio-economic implications of the situation in KZN are far-reaching and extremely worrisome. The ANC must speedily intervene to calm the fires, literally and figuratively, before the dilemma spills all over the country. At 16%, KZN is the second largest contributor to the country’s economy after Gauteng. In addition to this, KZN has various harbours and an international airport. Any disruption will negatively affect both imports into the country, and exports outside the country.
It is also in the interests of the ANC, as a party which contests power through elections, to calm the situation and engage the communities. Out of the more than 10 million votes the ANC got in 2019, almost 2 million or 20% came from KZN. This was the second largest contributor to the ANC national votes after GP (2.1 million). It must be noted that the 2 million votes the ANC got in KZN were a sharp decline from 2.4 million votes the ANC received in 2014. It
It is speculated that the decline was, amongst others, as a result of the recall of President Zuma. The ANC must therefore stop further vote losses in KZN and elsewhere in the country. In an environment of popular elections, hegemony is gained and lost through the polls. For an organization that seeks to attain a revolution, the ANC must continue to enhance the hegemony of its ideas and leadership amongst the masses.
Our national economy was already recuperating from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, and any protest action is not in the interests of anybody, especially the ANC. The ongoing protests in KZN will collapse tourism potential, and also discourage further investments. There must be stability in KZN, as there must be stability elsewhere in the country. Let the ANC leadership stop blue-ticking the masses, irrespective of any personal or tribal misgivings.
Makhele is an ANC member and an African Marxist. He writes in his personal capacity
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