OPINION | For sometime now, there’s been a clear, well orchestrated campaign to discredit Radical Economic Transformation (RET). The term has now conveniently been used against the black majority, who remain landless and excluded from the economy and any meaningful change. It cannot be that we as the black majority, especially young black people in our so-called nation, allow this term to be used against us.
The term RET has no owners, it doesn’t belong to any political party or group of people, it doesn’t belong to any faction but belongs to all disgruntled black South Africans. It’s an idea of which all sober minded black people should believe in and fight to see being implemented by those in positions of power.
We shouldn’t allow opinion makers and a certain faction within the ANC to silence us when speaking about this idea of which its time has come. We cannot sit and fold our arms as we’re called names for fighting for the dignity of black people and for this God given land.
Mainstream media has successfully managed to capture the minds of many suffering landless citizens of this country as to think that those who believe in RET are only members of a faction within the ANC. RET is an idea which we believe in because it represents our hopes and aspirations of a better future. It’s a constant reminder that we have to live with thinking of the dusty townships we come from. The financial institutions that continue to exploit us, the universities that continue to block us entry because we simply cannot afford to pay for fees.
It’s a constant reminder of how our brother’s and sisters who live in places like Alexandra and Gugulethu live in poor, inhumane conditions while others sit comfortably in places like Sandton. It’s a dream which is soon becoming a nightmare, thinking of how it’s now been used against us.
As black people we’re the ones without land, we’re the ones who bank continue to charge exorbitant prices and see us as “financial risks”. It’s us who have to constantly face rubber bullets and often death as we face the brutality of police while fighting for a better day. It’s us who remain at the bottom of the food chain, without any bank that sees us as humans instead of mere cash cows. It’s us who don’t in any way benefit from the neoliberal policies which have taken over our country for the last 27 years. Why would shouldn’t we all fight for RET?
When miners in Marikana died while asking and pleading for a better salary, they were fighting for RET. When university students take to the streets every year, it is them who are fighting for RET. When citizens from different political parties and civil society movements joined hands in the richest square mile in Africa(Sandton) regarding #RacistBanksMustFall, they were fighting for RET.
As South Africans, we should be very critical of people who seek to talk ill of RET, especially those in government. We should ask ourselves how has it become that people who’ve been elected into power by the hungry masses of this country can now be against a policy that seeks to redress the injustices of the past. We should not accept any misdirected campaign that seeks to move us away from our dreams and aspirations.
Radical Economic Transformation, apart from it being policy, is a dream. It’s a dream we should all constantly fight to have implemented. It’s a dream which encapsulates our pain and suffering. Therefore, it belongs to no one, but us, the black majority of this country.
It’s a dream which goes beyond the borders of South Africa, it’s an African dream of which all of us as African people from Cape to Cairo should believe in. It is us as African people who continue to be forgotten from the richness of our continent, it is our minerals which benefit the entire world but us. As African people, we should all join hands and fight for RET, if we don’t, we’ll continue living like visitors in our own home. We’ll continue being the home of poverty and of growing inequality.
BY Modibe Modiba (Co-founder and host of The Insight Factor).