Ms Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala (EFF)


Economic Freedom Fighters MP, Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala, impressed many with her recent maiden speech in Parliament when she spoke passionately without being note bound. See her in action during the SONA debates here. Prior to joining the EFF and becoming a Member of Parliament, she was the first woman to attain the rank of rear admiral in the South African Navy.

Political background and qualifications: I am ex-MK which would make me ex-ANC although more exile-ANC than a post 1994 ANC activist. Post ‘94 I went to UCT, I got my undergraduate and majored in Political Science and Drama. I then did my honours and joined the Navy where I was caught up with my military qualification courses. Then I did my masters in criminology at UNISA and last year I started my PhD with the Atlantic International University in Hawaii. I joined the EFF this year. In my studies I have seen that most people will say that Africa is politically free but not economically free, but I want to pose the question: Are the two even able to be separated? Its madness, its like saying someone can chew but they can’t swallow.

What drew me to a career in politics is the liberation of African people. I don’t define African People by South African black people; I define them as [from] the continent of Africa. Some people take offence and think it is racist but I would differ because they are the most oppressed people at the moment. So my quest in life is to see the restoration of the dignity of African people and to see their liberation. Centuries of colonisation have taken the dignity of African people. It started with Arab colonisation, followed by the slave trade, followed by European colonisation, followed by one the EFF really fights now: Neo colonialism, which means Africans are colonised by whites through multi-national capital, that I call cultural slavery. The ideology of black consciousness is still needed. It’s good to be told being African is beautiful. Its good to know I don’t need to apologise to anybody for the way I look, for my culture and the way I speak. The EFF are fighting for the economic freedom of the country, of being against multinationals.

My MP job involves sitting on the Rules Committee and the Programme Committee, because I am one of the EFF whips. I also sit on the PC for Justice and Correctional Services and SCOPA. So it is a lot of work not withstanding the fact that I am doing my PhD research at the moment. It is good to be in the place where policy is made. As EFF we are willing to participate in a fair parliamentary debate and I hope that as the population hears our voices and the quality of our arguments and the alternatives that we are proposing, more and more of them will start seeing that surely there are alternatives to the way things are at the moment.

My constituency is Nkangala in Mpumalanga. On Saturday I am launching my branch and I am adopting a school. For me the enemy number one in Africa and South Africa is ignorance. I like the verse in the bible “my people die for lack of knowledge” so my primary thing is addressing that. So if there is a mud school, make sure you campaign for a proper school. I want young people in my constituency to come to a point where they can say they know what Parliament’s processes are, when you ask what is the power of your vote, they know how the election system is run, when you discuss capitalism they understand how Scandinavia’s welfare state works. That kind of empowerment is what I want to look back on after my five years and say okay, I have educated someone, now they know.

The changes I am hoping to see in SA’s laws are for starters, nationalisation. For most white South Africans, when you mention nationalisation they will go into a frenzy. Why are they so scared of nationalisation, it will benefit them too. We cannot forever continue to be a supplier of raw materials and let Anglo-American and British Petroleum and whoever come and run the show in South Africa. They cannot dictate how we live. So the first change I want to see is the nationalisation of mines and banks to a certain extent. In my studies I looked at what is called social banking in Indonesia. Surely there are alternatives to what Nedbank, FNB and all those other banks are doing to us? Why are we choosing the European style of banking over other models? In those Indonesian banks you don’t qualify for a loan because you have got collateral, you actually qualify because you are poor. The Freedom Charter says there is an alternative but we just took capitalism straight as it is.


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