DA continues the work of Jan van Riebeeck in the Western Cape

DA continues the work of Jan van Riebeeck in the Western Cape
EFF WCape Chairperson Bernard Joseph

Today in 1652 Jan Van Riebeeck landed in Cape Town, South Africa. This was the start of the nightmare of subjugation that Black people have had to suffer for the last 364 years. We had hoped that democratic elections in 1994, and the adoption of our Constitution in 1995 would put an end to the cycle of subjugation and poverty. This hope was misplaced as the tenets of the Freedom Charter were abandoned by the ANC.

For all the diseases that 17th century ships carried, Jan van Riebeeck was the host of the most destructive virus known to man – capitalism. Those wretched three ships were agents of a capitalist concern, the VOC.

Capital demands infinite growth in a space of finite resources, so it expanded its territory and rendered the native peoples landless.

Capital demands a cheap, expendable workforce, so it enslaved and subjugated the Khoi, the San, the Nama, the Xhosa and all who dared to stand in its path. It brought slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of the world.

Capital demands that you are stripped of your culture, your identity. Your name is taken away and replaced with the month when you began your indentured labour – January, February, March…

Your stories, fables and legends are scattered on the wind, denounced and killed off. Your purpose is to create more capital that you derive no benefit from. In exchange you are given the 2nd of January off every year.

Jan van Riebeeck was an agent of capital, and his political successors, the Democratic Alliance, continue his capitalist agenda. Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille continue the work of van Riebeeck by stealing land from the poor, reallocating it for the benefit of the rich, violently evicting the poor from their homes and creating ghettos of deprivation, enslaving its residents to the whims of an inaccessible and unfair labour market.

All the while they continue to glorify van Riebeeck by having a street named after him in Cape Town, as well as a statue of him on the Foreshore. These symbols that glorify the original agents of capital, slavery and violence must fall. There are other monuments to capital that must fall, such as the Anti Land Invasion Unit, which is an illegal unit yet it is the most well resourced unit in Cape Town. Blikkiesdorp stands tall as a monument to what the DA really thinks about poor, while every day there is another resident of rental stock under duress to leave or be evicted.

The City of Cape Town and the Provincial Administration of the Western Cape must be transparent about what they are doing with the land in the province. After 364 years it is time to have a land audit in the Western Cape. Throughout the Western Cape there are severe irregularities regarding land deals and it is the poor who suffer at the hands of politicians on the puppet strings of capital.

This virus called capitalism that van Riebeeck unleashed on the people of South Africa, this virus fostered by Premier Helen Zille and Mayor Patricia de Lille, it cannot be killed. But it can be mutated into a more benevolent form of wealth creation for the benefit of the poor. This begins with transparency and accountability.

If you are not economically free, then you are still a slave. We have political freedom, but it is not enough.

We demand economic freedom.

Land is the key to economic Freedom.

To begin to undo the legacy of Jan van Riebeeck, EFF Western Cape demands a land audit in the Western Cape.

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