By Tiisetso Makhele
In early 1969, following the failures of the MK’s Wankie and Sipolilo Campaigns, Chris Hani, a group of MK combatants staying at 250 Zambezi Road, Lusaka sat down a wrote a document outlining their discomfort about the leadership of the ANC.
Comrades Chris Hani, ZR Mbengwa, Leonard Pitso, Ntabenkosi Fipaza, Wilmont Hempe, Tamana Gobozi and GS Mlenze developed what later became known as the “Hani Memorandum”.
The above comrades would be subjected to a tribunal which ultimately expelled them from the movement. Word has it that they could have faced even more harsher consequences.
It is reported that the NEC leadership at the time was annoyed by these Cdes, and the authoring of the Memorandum. It was only some leading comrades in the SACP, specifically Cdes Jack Simons, Yusuf Daddoo and Joe Slovo who showed sympathy.
When a general meeting of the ANC was called at Joshua Nkomo ZANU camp, Lusaka, in February 1969, the situation was extremely tense. Cde Joe Matthews alleges that late Joe Modise came with a funder under his belt.
It was then Acting President OR Tambo who “defused the tensions” by taking responsibility for the failings in the ANC. This was a great show of leadership.
At the meeting, President Tambo also announced that a consultative conference will be held in April that year.
The Conference sat from 25 April until 1 May 1969, as is regarded as a watershed.
At the conference, President Tambo resigned as was re-elected, and this showed the confidence the membership had on him.
Cdes Hani and other signatories to the Memorandum were pardoned and reinstated, as the conference felt that their view made political and ideological sense.
In addition, the conference also adopted more radical, working class oriented policies, a Revolutionary Council was established, and there was an integration of the political and military work of the movement.
In the current epoch, the ANC finds itself with deeply divided structures, from NEC until branches. Only a blind person, or one who doesn’t love the movement, can claim that all is well in the movement.
The ANC is unable to direct the state to implement radical socio-economic change. Instead, the state directs the ANC, and the latter seems to be pursuing alien, liberal policy stances, like the increase of the VAT, reversing of BBBEE and Affirmative Action advances, contractionary fiscal policy (austerity measures) etc.
Perhaps this is an opportune moment for all members of the ANC to sit under one roof, reflect, and emerge with a political programme to advance the National Democratic Revolution.
“The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not represent the opinions or views of Central news