Remembering Chris Hani; preserving the legacy
By Khaya Xaba
“I`ve never wanted to spare myself because I feel there are people who are no longer around and died for this struggle. What right do I have to hold back, to rest, to preserve my health, to have time with my family, when there are other people who are no longer alive - when they sacrificed what is precious: namely life itself” Chris Hani
The Month of April is celebrated as Chris Hani Month by communists and all peace loving South African`s and April 10 is the day we commemorate the anniversary of the assassination of the late General Secretary of the South African Communist Party [SACP], National Executive Committee [NEC] of the African National Congress [ANC] and Chief of Staff of the Military Wing of the ANC, Umkhonto WeSizwe.
During Chris Hani Month Cde Chris` legacy will be debated, analysed and the question `what if` will be asked repeatedly. It is with great heaviness that we feel the passing of our leader and this does not grow easier as time elapses. It is for these reasons that we continue to be vehemently opposed to the granting and the release of both Janusz Walus and Clive Derby-Lewis on parole.
The YCLSA has the immediate task of developing a level of cadreship amongst its members that can strive to be like Chris Hani. More than ever we need to develop a cadreship that will ensure that we advance to fulfil the ideals that Cde Hani fought for. The YCLSA has to be a breeding ground more Chris Hani`s.
Comrade Hani espoused and advanced the ideals of a socialist South Africa and died while negotiating for a prosperous, non-sexist and non-racial South Africa. He defined socialism in the following fashion:
“Socialism is not about big concepts and heavy theory. Socialism is about decent shelter for those who are homeless. It is about water for those who have no safe drinking water. It is about health care, it is about a life of dignity for the old. It is about overcoming the huge divide between urban and rural areas. It is about a decent education for all our people. Socialism is about rolling back the tyranny of the market. As long as the economy is dominated by an unelected, privileged few, the case for socialism will exist”
A frank assessment of some of the issues mentioned in the above quote and most of the pressing issues currently in South Africa reveals that the ANC administration since taking over from the National Party on April 27, 1994 has done much for the people of South Africa. However, more still needs to be done to bring betterment to the lives of the working class and the poor.
Comrade Chris taught us that the principles of communism must translate into basic services for all. While noting the strides made by the ANC government in providing roads, sanitation, housing, and education we still have mud schools and pit latrines. The YCLSA since re-establishment in December 2003 has been at the forefront of calling for the abolition of the tender system.
The tender system breeds corruption and gives leeway to corporate capture. What we need is a competent state that has capacity to undertake jobs instead of outsourcing to tenderpreneurs who are infamous for inflating prices, shoddy workmanship and wasteful expenditure.
One of the major achievements of the ANC administration has been in the education sector. The education of young people has been a top priority of the Government. Free basic education with no-fees schools have been provided across South Africa. The pass rate has increased for matric students and the number of students able to access National Student Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS] loans has significantly increased.
The ANC-led Government has committed R6.9 Billion more than originally budgeted towards the education of our youth. This is over and above the R10 Billion already allocated towards NSFAS. The scheme has also been able to help more than 70 000 students in 2016 including the ‘missing middle`.
Two new universities are being built in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape, provinces that previously had no universities. Efforts are being made to streamline post-school opportunities with FET colleges.
However, there remains a long way to go for our education system to be the model our children deserve.
Communities, teachers and parents increase their focus on the education of the youth and see this as the primary effort of communities and families. The ultimate goal would be to roll out free quality education from Grade R until post-graduate and to ensure universal access for all.
Youth unemployment continues to be one of the pressing issues in South Africa with a rate of 25.5%. South African`s at large must applaud the role played by the Cde Yershen Pillay in steering the ship of the NYDA to calmer waters. He was in his tenure able to emulate Comrade Hani`s example and contributed in creating an agency into a pivotal catalyst in young people`s lives.
The YCLSA has the daunting task of ensuring that we impart Chris Hani`s spirit and teach the youth of this country about his legacy. More efforts need to be invested in ensuring that we build a nation that is committed to education, liberation from both racial and economic discrimination.
South African`s from all walks of life must join in while we impart the legacy of Cde Hani to the young generation.
Khaya Xaba aspires to be like Chris Hani and is a member of the PEC of the YCLSA in Gauteng