Sixteen years after official end of Aparthied: An interview with Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) leader Lybon Mabasa

Lybon Mabasa was one of the young activists of the Black Conscience Movement set up by Steve Biko during the 1976 Soweto uprising.

He was also one of the leaders of the Azanian People Organisation (AZAPO) founded in 1978 to pursue Steve Biko's combat.

Today, he is one of the leaders of the Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA).

The SOPA has had an active part at international level in many of the campaigns and activities of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples.

Lybon Mabasa will be present in Algiers for the Open World Conference Against War and Exploitatiion on November 27-28-29, 2010.

For International Newsletter he went back over the present situation in his country (August 5, 2010).

As all the clamor around the World Cup dies down and as contradictions with official announcements arise, the situation in South Africa remains just as critical, even worsened by the consequences of the World Cup.

More than 8 billion Euros have been spent, notably for building enormous stadiums in nine regions over the country, for introducing certain destinations, such as high speed trains at a prohibitive tariff, and for improving the airports.

They pretended that these infrastructures would be of durable benefit to South Africa.

But this is not the case at all, for most of these high cost installations are inaccessible for the great majority.

Most of the stadiums that have been built will remain largely unused.

At the same time, to give just one example, 22 million South Africans (more than 40% of the population and mostly blacks) continue to live in shanty towns without access to drinking water.

The tragic situation from the housing point of view is only one expression among others of the improverished living conditions into which the majority of South Africans are plunged.

Nearly fifty percent of the population survives on less than 1 dollar a day, which is below the official poverty level. Forty percent of the active population is unemployed.

These homeless, unemployed are in their vast majority (abou 90%) black.

How is this possible sixteen years after the overthrow of the Apartheid regime institutions?

The situation from the land point of view supplies the first answer: the Apartheid regime was first established on the basis of evicting blacks from their land.

Today, sixteen years after the fall of Apartheid, more than 80% of cultivatable land still belongs to 62,000 white families.

In other terms, the economic basis on which Apartheid was built has not been touched.

That does not only concern land but also the main wealth of the country (its mineral wealth) which remains the private property of the big Apartheid families linked to multinational corporations.

The compromise, which was negotiated between the Apartheid Government and the leadership of the national movement (the ANC), made explicit provision for protecting private property, i.e. for protecting foremost the big fortunes of Apartheid capitalism.

How do the black people of South Africa react to this negation of what was at the heart of their combat against Apartheid?

Today, through a series of movements and strikes in particular, the black people of South Africa, the working class, are rising up against this state of things.

That is why the SOPA , which fights for democracy and for today's exploited and oppressed majority to exercise power, has put the proposal to all organizations with roots in the national movement, claiming to belong to the labor and democratic movement, to unite together on the basis of the most immediate demands of the people:

− a stop to lay offs

− nationalization of mines, of big industry, of the financial system so that the country's immense resources be used to eradicate poverty

− a true agrarian reform which gives the land back to the black farmers who are the legitimate owners

− an end be put immediately to the debt inherited from the Apartheid regime.

It is unbelievable and scandalous that at a moment when millions of South Africans are plunged in the direst misery, the country continues to be bled by whites to pay off the debt of the slave regime it overthrew.

Will the SOPA be sending a delegation to the World Conference in Algiers?

Yes, we shall be sending a delegation to the Conference. It is convened to fight against “war and exploitation.”

How could we not be there? War and exploitation designate precisely what Africa is today, as a result of pillaging, of undermining the sovereignty of our countries and of the manipulation of our peoples by Imperialism.

Fighting the lethal plans of the IMF and World Bank, more ferocious than ever because of the world crisis, is a necessity if we want to ensure the safeguard and survival of our peoples.

This combat demands organizations independent of predatory states and their institutions.

It implies that these organizations are capable of combining their efforts, because action for saving the peoples of Africa can only be undertaken at international level.

That is why I shall be present in Algiers.


For more information on the Open World Conference of Workers check out the link below:

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