We have legitimised wrongdoing under the umbrella of the rule of law; writes Lindiwe Sisulu

Apartheid was “legal’. Jim Crow laws in the United States were “legal”. Colonialism was “legal”. Even the Nazis were “legal”. So what does it mean to have the rule of law? And whose law is it anyway?

In our beloved South Africa, a constitution in 1994 and the rule of law took on a new lofty meaning after the deck had been heavily stacked against the victims of the “rule of law.” It was a new dispensation of justice after centuries of vicious oppression of the indigenes of the land by invaders. But what has this beautiful constitution done for the victims except as a palliative (Panadol)?

If we look around, we see a sea of African poverty.

Let’s not fool ourselves and one another; the primary motivation for the evils of colonialism was and still is economic. It is an organized crime; the robbery of other people’s land and resources; as well as the exploitation and despiteful use of their labour. It is also about the reduction of these people to mass consumers and exclusion from the ownership of the factors of production and wealth creation.

But it seems today we have legitimized wrongdoing under the umbrella of the rule of law. Many years down the line Africans manage poverty while others manage wealth. When we talk about transformation, it is just a buzzword? When we talk about reconciliation, what we don’t hear is economic reconciliation?

Also read: EDUCATION – How will we win the future; Education is key: writes Lindiwe Sisulu

There are excellent reasons why the late Sampie Terreblanche, renowned economist and fighter for justice, kept insisting on a new Truth and Reconciliation Commission focusing on economic justice. But obviously his voice, like other voices calling for economic justice, economic restoration, and economic reparations as essential for reconciliation, has been consistently ignored by those with the power to actually give effect to these calls.

That demand should be made with greater urgency now than ever before. We should insist, and not give up until they are met.


What we have instead witnessed under a supreme constitution, and the rule of law since 1994 has been the co-option and invitation of political power brokers to the dinner table, whose job is to keep the masses quiet in their sufferance while they dine caviar with colonized capital (CC). After dinner many things take place under the table and around the table. Some call it stomach politics. The politicians take care of themselves and their families while those who put them there go to bed hungry, waiting for crumbs from the table.

Otherwise, what explains the sudden astronomical wealth of so- called “liberators” over such a short period of time? How did some become multi-millionaires and billionaires overnight while a third of their fellow citizens languish on social grants? It takes several years for families and businesses to earn the status of multi-millionaires or billionaires, after real hard work and value creation. But like Mzansi magic we have some socialism-spouting ‘liberators’ draped in flags, transformed and co-opted into the capitalist class and leafy suburbs.

In 1994 they struggled to put petrol in their cars. Some didn’t even own one. And yet when it is election time you will hear them spouting “Our people, our people. Surely, this was not the vision of the real liberators. Those whom we revere as the “Struggle Stalwarts”. They have gone to their graves, with a dream deferred, their life’s work besmirched, and their sacrifices spat upon. What happened to us?


The land is where it all begins. And the law of the land makes or breaks. The law pervades every aspect of our lives, including the allocation of wealth and poverty. We are all too familiar with the history of land theft in South Africa that began in 1652. The infamous 1913 Natives Land Act that just took from Africans has merely been a legalisation and legitimisation of this scandalous process. Its disastrous effect has had a very long life. After more than a century later, the very same Africans are unable to take back what belongs to them. They have been co-opted in patches to work against the interest of their own; trapped in the politics of meaningless language, political crap and stupor.

In 1913 those who took from Africans were never conflicted in what they wanted to do. How long will the centre hold if economic reconciliation, restoration of the land, and meaningful redistribution of wealth is not addressed as a matter of urgency?

The July 2021 looting was a massive warning shot. Our country cannot afford second and third warnings.


Politicians in parliament are called lawgivers. They make the law. During colonialism and apartheid, the lawgivers were purposeful. Their purpose was rooted in the philosophy of white supremacy and entitlement to everything, including the bodies of those they falsely believed to be inferior. It was simply to take and colonise and defend, for kith and kin. It was about power. Economic power, political power, military power, and social power.

Today, the language of law has done little to really change anything.
We have parallels. One must look at the January 6 insurrection in the United States of America, and whether its proponents really care about democracy or only care about power. And ask ourselves why almost half the country voted for a man who seemed to care nothing about democracy and the rule of law. At the deepest level, it is not very different from South Africa.

Also read: What is a peaceful election devoid of appreciation of dignity, respect, love and compassion for one another, asks Lindiwe Sisulu

The stark reality is that if you don’t have land, you don’t have a country. That is why an overwhelming majority of wars in history have been fought over land and territory. In South Africa 8% of the population control 80% of the land and its resources. So, who are the real owners of the country? Meanwhile 80% of the majority in the country control less than 10% of the market capitalization at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Who is fooling who?
Meanwhile our black politicians have become black assets for colonized capital. And that capital keeps knocking at their doors for them to facilitate economic returns to multiply their investments.


The most dangerous African today is the mentally colonised African. And when you put them in leadership positions or as interpreters of the law, they are worse than your oppressor. They have no African or Pan African inspired ideological grounding. Some are confused by foreign belief systems.

In America these interpreters are called the House Negroes. It is what the father of black history Carter Woodson strenuously complained about in his famous book “The Miseducation of the Negro “. Woodson wrote, “If you control a man’s thinking you don’t have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him to stand here or go yonder, he will find his proper place. You do not need to send him to the back door, he will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit.”

Also read: Hope is what we can’t surrender; writes Lindiwe Sisulu

When it comes to crucial economic issues and property matters, the same African cosies up with their elitist colleagues to sing from the same hymnbook, spouting the Roman Dutch law of property. But where is the indigenous law? It has been reduced to a footnote in your law schools. Where are the African value systems and customs of land, wealth, and property?

Today, in the high echelons of our judicial system are these mentally colonized Africans, who have settled with the worldview and mindset of those who have dispossessed their ancestors. They are only too happy to lick the spittle of those who falsely claim superiority. The lack of confidence which permeates their rulings against their own speaks very loudly, while others, secure in their agenda, clap behind closed doors.

There is a need for an overhaul of a justice system that does not work for Africa and Africans. If the law does not sufficiently address the issue of the food fight, the law will fail and inevitably it will play out in the streets. We have a neo-liberal constitution, with foreign inspiration, but who are the interpreters? And where is the African value system of this constitution and the rule of law? If the law does not work for Africans in Africa, then what is the use of the rule of law?


*Lindiwe Sisulu is a member of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC). She writes in her personal capacity

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Mohale Thoka

Our next President.

Ntime Moepi

I read this with mixed feelings


Our next Pesident✊🏼

Bheka Ngubane

Waw this is great, I was beginning to think that all anc senior members are useless, but after reading this. What is good about Lindiwe Sisulu is that , she has no corruption skeleton. But you will need protection from these annoying boys e.g. mbalula , zizi and the bosasa cctv camera beneficiary Gwede mantashe. The will vehemently attack you.

Nomusa Mokgadi Maeko

This is the Leadership we know and need… Phakama @LindiweSisulu…🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽!

Vuyiswa Ndzakana

Interesting read ,very interesting mbokodo. Our patience have runneth over but because we know you are all trying to eat a big elephant of more than 100 years ,we try to be patient hence we put every leader into test. Don’t have to blame each other unless there is corruption.

Mgqilazi wamadimoni

Wow at last there’s hope for our children, we need more of this kind, the woke leaders of our movement, salute Madam

Vuyo majola

I hear what minister sisulu is saying, it is an undeniable fact that reconciliation without economic reparations is nothing else but continuation of colonialism and exploration of our resources and our people. It is not a secret that black people in this country continue to be howers of and drawers of water hewers of wood. But what she is not saying is that, her political party continued with the status quo, which is exploiting the black majority, lying to citizens, stealing from the resources of the country. She kept quiet when corruption was taking place, when war veterans were sidelined, insulted, disregarded and called names. What’s worse is that she was part of the very same thugs that are plundering our resources and lying to the nation. Lindiwe failed to raise these issues that she is raising now, she is part of a bigger scheme of things. Now that she is being sidelined, she wants to be relevent by raising issues that we are all aware of. Theres nothing new in what she is raising. Some of us raised these issues many decades ago. Her time is over, she is no longer relevent, she is no longer needed. She must sit at home and enjoy her pension. Lindiwe is not a leader, she is a plotician, and she is doing exactly what poloticians do politicking. We want leaders not politicians. We are tired of politicians and their lies and manipulation. Perhaps she can confuse other people who are new into south african politics. Let her comment about state capture, let her talk about corruption that took place under her nose, let her talk about the state reserve funds that were looted, oil reserves that were looted and talk about her comrades that became milionares over night. She must tell the nation what happened to prasa, where are the trains? What are happened to the SOEs, what happened to our infrastructure that is deteriorating on a daily basis, whats happening to our education, what’s happening to eskom and what happened in July 2021,who burnt down our parliament, whats happening with our government institutions. Let her address these issues and account to us the people of this country. I don’t want even to talk about the war veterans that they hav betrayed as a collective.

Josiah Nyoni

She said a mouth full ..stop looking for what serves your understanding..all you saying its a narrative of failed thinker ..its best to keep quiet if you dont have what it takes to stand up

Mlamuli Mathew Nkolomi

Failed thinker


A real leader will never fall thanks mama lindiwe Almighty God be with you all the time for verifying the truth about black South African who suffered the most in their own land

Vuyo majola

Her ambition of becoming the president of this country is well known. I still say, she is not a leader but a politician, all that she is doing is politicking. Leaders don’t write articles to convince people, leaders are doers, leaders are honest and have integrity. Leaders don’t fear, leaders don’t beg to remain in the NEC, truthful leaders speak truth to power. Politicians say things that they don’t mean, but say things to convince people to vote for them. She is positioning herself for the next conference and subsequently for 2024. Her ambition of becoming the president of this country are well known. She has been part of the failed collective, a collective that has ruined this country, a collective that protected Zuma when he was destroying this country, she defended JZ she betrayed TM bcoz she wanted to remain in power and relevent. When JZ and his administration, which Lindiwe was part of, took reigns of power and began to loot in a massive scale, she kept quiet. She enjoyed the support of JZ, never said a word about the coruption that took place at the grandscale. These are the people that forgot about their own comrades, who shered tranches with them, who fought along side and side by side with them. How can we trust people who betrayed their own comrades and friends. Do u think they will care about people that they don’t even know. If they could not take care of their own, how will they take care of us citizens that they hardly know. We are nothing but ponds to them. Unfortunately for them, some of us we were fortunate to have served under the leadership of real leaders like OR Tambo, Joe Slovo, Joe Gqabi, Mark Shope and many more. They walked the talk, they led by example, they fought side by side with their compatriots, they served their people with dignity and honor. They meant every word they said. They were not politicking, they were leaders and they led their comrades with honesty and honor. Words mean nothing, actions speaks louder than words. I’m therefore convinced that Lindiwe is not a leader but a mere politician who wants to be relevent, who is fighting to become the next president. Their time is over and they seem not to comprehend that, the people hav spoken and the people shall speak again come 2024

Josiah Nyoni

Its a pity that a house negro as she said is now speaking ..hate her but truth is all she said is just as it is ..a democratized apartheid.


You hit it on the nail, this is all politics and why is this being raised by an ANC member.

Josiah Nyoni

Lindiwe take care ..i was with the notion that you would just say it and naming the first house negro and his assistance..cyril ramaphosa and raymond zondo ..lets deter from playing political correctness..these two have sold us too just like the afore mbeki who failed to establish the truth and reconciliation of economic means..thank you lindiwe

Mlamuli Mathew Nkolomi

Brilliant piece of intellectual reasoning from a seasoned politician. It exposes our pseudo democracy and freedom. The African child is at the bottom of the pile eating poverty, dressed in poverty, driving poverty,working for poverty ,earning poverty, saving poverty, banking poverty, farming poverty and voting for poverty. That’s the reality of Lindiwe Susulu’s brilliant work.


Going through this article regardless of how one perceives @lindiwe sisulu,it doesn’t take away the fact that she wrote the truth and the truth hurts

Mthetheleli Gcumeni

Look, what she is saying is no different to what some of us have been saying all along, however I enjoyed her choice of language or words in expressing this. Perhaps she is indeed tired of taking orders… She can be a great leader if allowed or given the platform. It’s so refreshing to read such stuff from an ANC NEC Member.


I was so intrigued, I want to see more out of this


When we take an oath to govern the narratives we say are themselves the starting point of analysis going forward we will then interact with them against the social conditions vs the political theory we stand for as our solution. Where contradictions are identified the hell break lose. It is not personal it is political(conviction). South Africa needs these types of engagements. Thanks mam SISULU


What a worthy read indeed for all genuine patriotic South Africans, those who care for all South Africans regardless of statuses and breed.


It is with great interest that I note, after reading this, that really there is no basis for the press conference that was called in response to this. Lindiwe Sisulu is speaking truth to power over pertinent matters affecting the country especially the majority.

the press has blown this out of proportion indeed and do not even address the rhetorical questions that she is asking. They are having a field day over Judge Zondo’s response. they are misconstruing what she is saying.

Eric Nkosi

Thank you for opening this platform for to express our opininion.
There are many different approaches to this article.
The first approach is freedom of speech.
The second approach is Judicial System in South Africa.
IIt is indeed correct that Ms Lindiwe Sisulu is not a new comer into South African context next is new to political campaigns in South African. She is born and bred by politicians. Lindiwe understands what she is talking about. Please who is entitled to enterpret for the public the rule of law in South Africa. It is unfortunate that Acting Chief Justice opted for a defence stance rather than explain to the public the right way.
The constitution of South speaks about freedom of speech it does not limits this to Judges in court it gives all of us therefore Ms Lindiwe is correct to express her opinion. Fundementally, because she is a woman. It is unfortunate that Chief Justice is a male.
The other question that academics must clear for us is where is the academic freedom in this?.
Please, people help us to understand between criticing an article or an attack.
Did Lindiwe attacked the Judicial system or critic it.
Few questions arises
Why there are places called squatter camps in Inanda, Alexandra, Khayelitsha, Umlazi and money? Who should guard against injustices and interpret these injustices against the rule of law.
The point raised by Ms Sisulu is Law enforcement agencies has hands tied because of the constitution. For example a police can not remove umjondolo kwaMashu because he be taken to court the following. The very judges will say he /she is violeting the law. It in this light that we find Sisulu’s frustration relevant. Remember she is the former Minister of Housing and Settlement. Please help to come out of the woods rather than critisise her. Particularly Justice system come with the solution. Let’s play the ball not human beings.


At last someone in the ANC speaking the truth.


Not all wealth comes from owning land. A good education aimed at individual strengths is more important in establishing a financially secure future. At the core must be a ruling system that lays a foundation for individuals to live out their dreams. (A ruling system that builds the foundations for a society of individuals to prosper, not one that acts in self interest).

[…] Also read: We have legitimised wrongdoing under the umbrella of the rule of law; writes Lindiwe Sisulu […]

Loud Ramakgapola

Interesting read. She has a point. Poverty levels are getting worse and this SA leaders should address, There is no need to attack her but we need to understand what she is worried about. The majority poor need to feel, own and enjoy the democracy in all spheres.


The wisdom in this article is unparalleled. Long Live Africa and her cause. Long Live the Spirit of Ubuntu. Long Live Africanism

[…] Also read: We have legitimised wrongdoing under the umbrella of the rule of law; writes Lindiwe Sisulu […]

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