By SIfiso Mbuso Xaba
The South African social media sphere has responded with utter disgust and shock at the inhumane treatment of a man who was thrown out of his shack in Cape town. This barbaric act occurred during an eviction raid in Empolweni informal settlement by the City Of Cape Town at the hands of the Anti-Land Invasion and Police Officials who were deployed to the scene by the city officials.
What might seem to most people as an eviction operation gone wrong is in fact a perpetual streak of violence, captured within the manner of response to public issues, by the state on its citizens in every sign of protest or dissatisfaction. Whilst the wrath of the pandemic is felt globally and not only in South Africa, the pandemic came to expose one of two things. One being the competency of public officials elected into office and the other being the readiness of the state in responding swiftly to this global pandemic, that has since wreaked havoc to both the economy and the lives of the people in general.
The video of Bulelani Qholani does not come as a wakeup call to the perpetual violence unleashed by the state every time the black, poor and downtrodden choose to express their impatience of the empty promises that snuff out the little hope they have in political parties and public institutions. The video comes, in fact, as a defining characteristic and persona of what the state has always been – a vicious hand that is quick to serve violence to the poor every time the poor requests accountability for the unresolved cancers that engulf the body of a supposed “growing democracy”.
In this supposed “democratic” country we have seen the state use a violent approach to disperse the rightfully angry citizens from protesting. We have seen, in the same country, the brutal murder of Marikina miners, the brutal killing of Andries Tatane and the character assassinations of some of the student leaders who fought and stood up for the cause of Free Education. The state seems to be a lynch mob that protects its own peace despite the loud screams of hunger emanating from the people that elected them into office in the first place. The current spotlight on violence against citizens is mere normalcy when compared to pre-Covid-19 South Africa.
These politicians, who benefit from the misery of the people they call their own, ignore the fact that the COVID 19 pandemic has exposed issues which South Africans have called for throughout the years, without fair response. It is no surprise that at the beginning of this pandemic students in particular were calling for the implementation of e-learning to be paused until thorough preparation was done.
It is in that struggle where the government again, exemplified by their selective memory, overlooked the fact that the student movement had once called for data prices to fall and yet little to nothing was done. This was until the pandemic pushed students out of their residences to their underprivileged and underdeveloped communities. Not to mention the tons of land invasion campaigns and evictions that are nothing but a reflection of the reality that comes with being landless. This includes the parliamentary politics of playing deaf to the call of land expropriation yet being extremely quick to respond to invasions with the harshest form of violence.
Contrary to belief, the ANC, as the majority representation in parliament, is unable to transform the lives of ordinary South Africans to a standard that they are able to become independent global players. The broader overview of some of its founding ideas and policies prove this theory to be incorrect. Yet this means that the ruling party is not incapable of delivering the rightful services or expropriation of land without compensation. Rather they choose not to do so.
History has proven in several instances when offered the vote by the EFF in parliament to address the issue of land, which indirectly concerns the issue of dignity, the ANC has indeed responded to such an olive branch. However, the question remains: who truly benefits from the misery of the poorest of the poor? From whom do they receive their benefits that are worth the souls of the African man and women? Perhaps the answers are staring us right in the face or else only time will tell.