I can’t say I was surprised by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s attempt to go to Marikana, in what has been rightly labelled as a cheap amoral political point-scoring move. Nor can I say I am displeased that a group of men associated with Amcu turned her away before she could lay her compromised wreath on the site of the Marikana massacre.
The Marikana massacre will remain one of the most painful moments in our national life. The day August 16 2012 will remain one of the foremost failings of the ANC government, a government which has become accustomed to the trappings of power. The blood of 34 miners and 10 more citizens before them will remain a shameful blot in our history.
The massacre was a rude wake-up call, which tragically, has not been treated as such. The same dynamics which led to the massacre are still firmly in place. The terrible living conditions, unemployment, lack of meaningful skills development, low wages and a labour intensive economy are all firmly entrenched.
The government of the day is too busy with the political project of state capture and self-enrichment to care. In the meantime, a sizeable portion of the populace has become numb to the pain, resolving itself to the reality of having to fight the endless battle against injustice for all time, even if a little each day. None of us can claim that evil has a skin colour, or belongs exclusively to the colonialist British Empire or to the long dead National Party of apartheid.
This massacre in Marikana happened during a time we called our own; a democratic era we were all convinced represents South Africa. The massacre happened under the regime of the oldest liberation movement in Africa, and self-appointed sole liberator of South Africa, the ANC. It is this massacre which displayed our national nakedness for all the world to see. Our fledgling democracy was tested, and we failed. That failure would not be limited to the horrible events of the day. For five years now, the government of the day would show little regard for the grisly meaning of the massacre. Very little answers came from the Marikana Commission. What we got was mostly for window-dressing purposes, and so countless questions remain. No political head was sanctioned. No police were arrested. The wounds never healed. No annual national commemoration to be accompanied by a national resolution that this will never happen again in our land.
It is with this horrible failure in the background that Dlamini-Zuma’s attempt to boost her presidential aspirations is particularly distasteful. The priority of political consideration, political interest and political expediency which seems to have gained the status of the holy grail under the ANC has gone rogue.
Nothing is sacred, nothing too important or too sensitive to remain untouched by political consideration and the cheap political point-scoring which comes with it. Besides the fact that Dlamini-Zuma has nothing to offer South Africa except stale, empty rhetoric steeped in compromised vocabulary, she actually represents a danger to South Africa. Her oblivion to the fact is truly revealing. Her presidential campaign which hitches a ride on the issue of women leadership, does a great disservice to the cause. Her campaign is neither genuine nor considerate of the cause of women in society. That she is a woman, a learned woman at that, does not reflect in her trivial, empty campaign, whose only pillar is populist sloganeering.
Dlamini-Zuma represents a closeness to corruption and state capture which is clearly incongruous with our aspirations for South Africa. Corruption and state capture are our greatest enemy right now. Dlamini-Zuma’s inability or refusal to connect the dots and appreciate that she is too close to Zuma, should have convinced her that she does not qualify, under any ticket to lead the country. She has sat too quietly while her Zuma wreaked havoc in the country, engineering state capture and producing the Marikana massacre in the process. Yet she marches on with great ambition, shouting slogans, pulling blue lights, and stepping onto a Marikana she never showed as much interest in before. What the people at Marikana have done for us, is to show once again that, we are not entirely powerless. Whilst the powerful may hold incredible power, that power is nothing if it does not serve the people. We, the citizens, hold the power to refuse that we, our circumstances and misfortunes be used for political expediency.