As we mark 57 years after the establishment of the People’s Army, Umkhonto We Sizwe, it is important to review the past and chart the future.
Some comrades are still shell-shocked, waiting for the next order from MK senior commanders. They missed the transition from the armed struggle to the political struggle. Some still blame various ANC leaders for their misfortune. Does it help to blame anybody?
Let us wake up, comrades. It is too late in the day to blame anybody. We have to solve our own problems ourselves. ANC leaders have long moved on from MK days: today it is the era of political campaigns for office, either in government or state. MK comrades must acknowledge that the terrain and the battle lines have changed. The era of armed struggle is long over and this is the era of political campaigns, just as it was in ANC before 16 December 1961. We have to campaign like all ANC activists and other political party activists to be MP, mayors and councillors etc. We should not wait for anybody to provide us with benefits, houses and pensions. We must fight for our rights, as we did in our past as freedom fighters.
Waiting for the next order today cannot be seen as being disciplined but rather living in oblivion. Next order might be from Saxonwold or Dubai … is that the order we are waiting for?
Let us join the Veterans League branches and use that structure as a vehicle to fight for all our rights within the ANC and the state. Nobody will give you anything. Nobody owes you anything. We have to fight for all our rights. There is nothing on a silver plate for us.
We fought the armed struggle as a way to achieve political freedom. Now we have to fight within the new political freedom to get our social rights such as adequate pensions, medical benefits, etc.
Nobody owes us anything, we owe it to ourselves to fight with new political tools to achieve our rights.
The democracy we fought for in SA has not yet been realised. We still do not have the right to directly elect members of parliament for ourselves – the same right that white voters had under apartheid. We have to continue fighting using new methods such as campaigns to establish parliamentary democracy where the voters will elect their members of parliament and provincial legislature directly as individual candidates who the voters know and trust, not via a proxy or party headquarters for a party list, as now.
The only black South African to have tasted that right was Dr WB Rubusana who was elected Member of Parliament for East Tembuland in 1909 before blacks were barred from parliament. As former MK comrades we believe it is a worthwhile right to campaign and fight for.
In military theory for guerrilla warfare, we ourselves were taught to use all the advantages of the terrain and to be very careful about the disadvantages. After 1990 we graduated to a new terrain, with many new advantages but also disadvantages. Our first duty is to study this terrain and apply ourselves to it, as a new form of struggle. If we failed to do this during the armed struggle, it was our own fault. It is the same today.
Adapt to the new terrain, comrades, do not expect it to adapt to us!
Sidwell Moroka [Omry Makgoale]
MK Luanda District Commander 1984