Johannesburg - As electioneering for the upcoming municipal elections hots up, the Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp) has boldly declared that it is working towards overthrowing the ANC-led government.
“We are unapologetic about that. We are committed to see the government of the ANC go. We want to overthrow the whole system of capitalism with them,” said Mametlwe Sebei, executive committee member of Wasp, in an interview with The Star.
The party has been among the driving forces behind social campaigns, including #FeesMustFall, #OutsourcingMustFall, #ZumaMustFall and a number of service delivery protests around the country, among other protests.
Sebei was quick to point out that his party was not a “group of conspirators”, and was tight-lipped about whether any national or international organisation were involved. “Look, it is the task of the masses to rise up and overthrow the government,” he said, when quizzed about how they planned to unseat the ruling party.
“It’s not a matter of when the overthrowing will take place because I don’t have a timetable for that. All I can say is that the masses are crying for leadership. Two decades into democracy and we are still faced with a huge housing backlog, and corruption has become rampant. Capitalism in this country has been a catastrophic failure,” said Sebei.
He warned that there would be more service delivery protests this year.
“We are involved in all the protests in the country. We are merely assisting the poor and the working class to wage their battles. We want to see South Africa breaking free from colonial slavery,” Sebei said.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe caused a stir in 2013 when he accused Liv Shange, former leader of Wasp, of being “at the centre of the anarchy in the platinum belt” after the Marikana massacre the previous year.
Shange cried state conspiracy when she was forced to return to her native Sweden with her two South African-born children last year after the government’s decision to deny her permanent residency.
Undeterred, Sebei said the #FeesMustFall campaign would be “bigger than last year”, adding they would be the “last people to oppose a shutdown of our universities” in support of the students’ demands for free education.
The ANC Youth League-led Progressive Youth League has described those behind the campaign as “dark forces” that had been trained by the US’s CIA to prepare the ground for a regime change in the country, while Cosatu dismissed them as “hired revolutionaries”.
Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said it was dangerous for people to say they wanted to overthrow the state because the country was already in a precarious position, with the unstable economy one of the many challenges. “Such claims aggravate the situation and increase suspicion which could lead to the government responding with an iron fist. This is dangerous politics,” he said.
The ANC could not be reached for comment.