On Saturday, civil society group TransformRSA launched its State of the Nation Indaba (SONA Indaba) which is intended to be a series of events taking place throughout the country with the aim of keeping the government on its toes on socio-economic issues facing black people in South Africa.
Speaking at the launch, Adil Nchabeleng, the president of TransformRSA said the beginning of 2018 has been a revelation of very disturbing trends in the South African social and economic landscape.
“More and more black South Africans are being targets of a system that aims to stifle their voices. We are starting to see the re-emergence of an apartheid quasi state which is silencing and shutting down black people who offer different opinions and views. Many social and economic challenges are huge political problems but we can’t navigate through these key themes in our own country,” said Nchabeleng.
According to Nchabeleng, there are a number of counter revolutionary forces operating SA and White Monopoly Capital is dominating those forces and dominating the discourse and decision-making processes in the ANC.
“Decisions that aim to bring change are being silenced which is why we have established a SONA Indaba,” he explained.
Nchabeleng said the new initiative is creating a new precedence for black people to start having their own national provincial and community based SONA Indabas which will help them critique government policy at a base level outside of government structures.
“Whatever is discussed in parliament, we will critique it and analyse it civil society from organised labour and unions, and workers and fathers and mothers and be involved in communities. Its time to take this moment to turn things around. We cannot live in a country where 80% of its population is living in poverty. Our People are living in squalor where there are no roads, schools and clinics. Yet our government is spending billions to enrich the same companies that are refusing to aid the development of our society,” said Nchabeleng.
Providing a key note address at the launch, former government advisor and political analyst professor Sipho Seepe said it was time for words to be tuned into action which is what will form the basis of the SONA Indabas.
He explained that the South African struggle has always been shaped through ideas, and that as a nation, we are currently facing imminent disaster because black ideas are under attack in the post liberation era. In addition, there is a serious lack of unity amongst the black collective which is stifling social, and economic progress.
“We need to understand that we are products of history. Our material conditions are a product of history of the history that we have had to endure as black South Africans. We need to ask how SONA fits into what we call a historical mission of our people. Anything that does not speak to our historical mission is problematic. In SA we need to find our historical mission and apply it to the present-day context. We also need to understand that we are not free-floating individuals in space. Waiting to be discovered. This is the time to reignite the possibility of change for our people and stop wasting time in trying to appeal to conscience of white people in South Africa. Change will only occur through liberation. We Should not be asking to be included in an environment where can’t determine our own agenda. Our material and intellectual force must be merged among the people,” said Seepe.
In driving the message across, the SONA Indabas will address failure of the ANC to implement its own resolutions that were taken at its policy conference towards the end of last year. These include the back tracking of nationalising the South African Reserve Bank and lack of implementation of Radical Economic Transformation.
Nchabeleng concluded: “The SONA Indaba is ushering in that new revolution hold business and the banking sector accountable for colluding to take our wealth and concentrating it in the hands of the few. Radical economic Transformation is no longer a dialogue statement. It is going to be implemented through civil society movements,” he said.