THE RECOGNITION AND CELEBRATION OF WOMEN IS SHOULD TRANSCEND ‘SPECIAL’ PERIODS LIKE WOMEN’S MONTH

By Ntombi Mekgwe

As we draw the curtain on the month-long celebration of Women’s Month, this should by no means mean that we scale down with the recognition of the contribution that women from all walks of lives continue to make in our society. The central theme that has been rightly identified for 2017 “The Year of OR Tambo: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward” remains very much relevant even beyond this month or year.

Building on the hard-fought legacy of the courageous women of 1956 it is important that we continue to recognize and celebrate the significant role that women firstly have played in the South African struggle for liberation and secondly in reconstructing a new society anchored of the values of non-racialism, non-sexism and equality.

Women continue to break barriers of culture, patriarchy, and societal limitations and as such today we are represented across all sectors of society.

Today, many women provide leadership in fields such as education, health, science, technology, aviation, business, public service, media and many others.

More South African women continue to be the backbones of their families and communities, working hard to make South Africa succeed. The critical issue is that, the women’s economic empowerment is fully supported by the Constitution, and other legislation and policies of government.

Women remain essential to the growth of South Africa’s economy and their success is an integral part of our country’s success and prosperity.

We therefore need to make it our collective obligation to ensure that we build on the valuable work that been taking place since the dawn of democracy and encourage women to build their careers in not only the public but in the private sectors as well.

In the space where I am women have been at the fore front of law making playing an instrumental role in legilstures across the three spheres of government. They have been hard at work to ensure that apartheid legislation is replaced with laws that are at pace with our much-celebrated Constitution and that our constitiutional democracy is safe guarded.

The strides that women have made continue to be threatened by the by stubborn patterns of patriarchy, sexism and the escalation of violence against women and children. Ours is an every day struggle to ensure that women can fully appropriate the inherent benefits that our democratic dispensation guarantees.

All South Africans should continuously rededicate themselves to the realization of the vision of those gallant women of 1956 who sought a country where they had equal opportunities, felt safe and had the freedom to contribute as equals to their country’s development.  Their bravery shaped the history of our country and plight of our people. It showed us that when the power of women is unleashed we can be assured of a brighter and a better future for all our citizens.

Comrade Ntombi Mekgwe is the Provincial Treasurer of the ANC Gauteng Province and the Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature

IN CONVERSATION WITH AZOLA ZUMA 

By Staff Reporter

South Africa marks the 2017 Women’s Month under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Women united in moving South Africa forward”. This month is dedicated to women as a tributeto the thousands of women who took part in the historic 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings against the pass laws of the oppressive apartheid government.

Women’s month a call to action for the current generation of women to continue the struggle towards the total liberation and empowerment of women.

ANC Today speaks to Azola Zuma, CEO Sanlam Investment Management, on the strides we have made and the most pressing challenges facing women in South Africa.

Question 1: What are some the key ingredients that have led to your success?

Azola: It has been a combination of things. Firstly, like many, you get role models as you growing up. My mom is one of those. From a very young age, my mom used to wake up at 04:00 am, to see to it that she puts bread on the table, educate her four kids. She got divorced when I was about a year and two months old, she had to fend for herself and provide for her kids. She had to work very long hours. A very strong women, she was the person that you could go to, she provided comfort and the support.

There’s is a lot of sacrifice that went into ensuring that we receive the basic education. I didn’t come from a well to do family. When it came to me having to go to tertiary, I applied to only one University and that was the University of Cape Town, because I wanted to get the best tertiary education there was at the time. We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t know how we were going to fund my Business Science Degree. Luckily, government at the time had put in place, what is today known as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), to assist needy students to access education. Essentially, NSFAS pays for your education if you pass in any particular academic year, 40% of that gets converted into a bursary and effectively you only are liable for the 60%. In short, government took me through school. However, there were living expenses. My mom had to take care of those. It was that unrelenting spirit of wanting to get that education no matter what that got me through. My mom didn’t have a plan, but, we had to make a plan, and government came through for our family.

I attained my business science degree, and then I entered the work environment. Generally, ambition is one the things that has been a driver, just in terms of how I tackle life and how I approach any obstacles that are in my way. I am a go getter, those I work with can tell you that once I have set my mind to something, I will not let up until I get it.

It is that unrelenting spirit of pursuing your goal that kept me going. Being clear in terms of what your goals are and relentlessly pursing them. Having the discipline to ensure that you followup and follow your goals and see them to their logical conclusion

2. What would you say are some of the key challenges that women continue to face?

Azola: There are a number of challenges facing women in South Africa and in the World. The World Economic Forum (WEF) released their 2016 global gender gab report, the mere fact that there are even reports to track this particular set of circumstances is, for me, astounding. Considering women actually entered the work place very long ago, but they started entering the work place in a more meaningful way, I think it was in 1835, but it is now 2017, and we still face gender problems in the work place.

There is the gender gap, where you get a male and female doing exactly the same job, same qualifications, same abilities, but they will be compensated differently. That continues to be an issue. I’m not sure that we are going to chip away at the problem if we don’t populate those high decision making roles with females. I think it is the females that are going to resolve the problem, because, I think men had the opportunity to do something about it, and we are still sitting where we are today.

The second challenge that women tend to face generally, is we are not authentic in who we are in the workplace. There are studies that are being conducted around the benefits of people that live in the work environment being true to who they are, and actually economic benefits of that. Typically, if you are in a work environment and you are pretending to be something you are not that takes away a lot of your energy and as result, it has a negative impact on productivity because you have to put up appearances, try to act as if you are something you are not just to fit into the work environment. It is problematic and it continues to happen

There are a lot of women who come into the work environment, and I’m confining my argument just to the work environment, because I think that is topical. Gender mainstreaming is a big thing in corporations all over the World. Women need to find their voice in the work place. I think there is a tendency to defer to the status quo and women don’t assert themselves enough. We run a danger that society is going to remain where it is if women do not stand up and take their rightful place in this corporations and shape the future of the context within these corporations operate.

3. Critics are saying not much has been done in the past 23 years by government, what has been your experience in terms of advancing the agenda of women?

Azola: We have to be careful around too much legislation, sometimes, it is probably necessary and really what government has to do. We have the Employment Equity Act, for example, making contributions by training your staff and be able to claim back from the various SETAS. Government has done a lot, but trouble with what we are seeing, is that there is a lot of noncompliance. You can legislate as much as you want to, but ultimately, if you don’t have a mechanism to monitor compliance to a specific piece of legislation, you are going to come short, because people know that there is nobody policing them for want they are doing.

What ultimately needs to happen, and what is happening in financial services in particular when it comes to gender issues, is not much. In terms of the JSE, the last stats that I saw with respect to the companies listed, it’s only 3% of those companies that actually have females represented on their boards. There’s is a lot that needs to be done.

The other perspective that I can bring into the equation is that a lot of the institutional investors in the South African market are your retirement funds, pension funds, money that you and I contribute towards our employer scheme that has been established for retirement saving purposes. It is really our money. This money is of the men in the streets, but those monies are being presided on and all the decision making that happens is in the financial management industry. Those financial management that you provide mandate to say help us grow our wealth, they have the power to engage with the investee companies that they place monies with. I think this question of gender mainstreaming can probably be tackled from many angles, firstly, is putting in place proxy voting policy, for example that these retirement funds can get their asset managers to exercise on their behalf so that they can incorporate within such policies things like, we want to see females being represented at the board levels of these companies, within management, and report on that on annual basis. That can be done. The legislation is already there, the EE, they compile a report on annual basis just to track how we are doing.

The mere fact that we are not making progress with respect to this suggests, to me that maybe our legislation is a little bit blunt, and perhaps it has to be re-looked at, reviewed, and maybe we need to sharpen it in certain areas.

What is fascinating is what happened in Rwanda post genocide, if you look at the the global gender gap report that WEF released, Rwanda is sitting at number 5 out of 144 counties that are tracked in the WEF report. The reason is that a lot of the men died because of the genocide and so the females now populate the parliament, they set policy, they run the institutions. It took a genocide to actually achieve that kind of stat, by the way of all the countries that are in the top 10, Rwanda is the only African country.

It is fascinating and problematic, the gender issue is really a big conundrum and I think that it is going to take women to stand up for other women and open up doors for other women and ensure that they pull them up the ladder.

Question 4: If you had an opportunity to speak to your younger self, what advise would you give her?

Azola: That is a difficult one for me to answer. I have always been serious and ambitious from day one. I would say to myself, pursue the things that I feel I let myself down, such as, getting a qualification to become a Chartered Accountant, because CAs are held in high esteem in the World, particularly, here in SA. I’m not sure if it is too late to obtain that kind of qualification.

Maybe advise for young people in general, there are a lot of things that have gone wrong, some are systematic. The AIDS pandemic also made a contribution, a lot of kids had to effectively raise themselves, and when kids are left to their own devices a lot can go wrong. The kind of advise to kids, that grow up who have made some mistakes, we have experienced a lot of teenage pregnancy, I think to those kids, I would say, life is long, as much as people say life is short, but life is very long. To them if they have made those mistakes, and maybe they are in their mid-20s at the moment, one has not obtained a matric, they must just go back to school and get it. There is a lot of support that is available for such. They must just get that matric. If you just passed matric and you wish you could improve your results because you want to follow a particular stream at a tertiary level, just go back and improve your results. You have a lot of time. There is a lot ahead of you. South Africa has many opportunities and South Africa actually needs its youth to be people that are going to make a real contribution to the future of this economy. Go back to school, equip yourself, this economy is alive with possibility.

People like myself who are in positions of influence, currently, are actually laying the ground work for those people to come in and plug into positions that are ultimately going to ensure that we continue to build the future of South Africa. Alcohol isn’t going to get you anywhere anytime fast. There is a time for everything in life. If they can get the foundational basis for their future, they won’t have any regrets.

Question 5: If you were to become President for one day, what would you do?

President for a day, first of all that wouldn’t be adequate time for all the things that need to happen, in South Africa, but, I would probably focus on giving an inspirational speech on how much potential we have as a country and how much a lot rests on our education system.

I think a lot of the problems that we are going to continue to have as a country is the fact that we have lowered standards when it comes to the quality of the education that we are providing to our youth. That is probably where I would focus most of my attention in getting that right and ensuring that we go back to a system that is going to produce quality students that are going to be able to get into tertiary side of things and thrive within the tertiary environment. Varsity just gives you an urge in life

Probably, what I would alter or enhance in our curricula is introducing an entrepreneurship stream, because for a developing nation such as ours, surely, we can’t be saying to kids the only thing that they ever going to be good for is jobs. We need to create a crop of kids that are going to be creators, they need to create companies, invent things that are going to occupy the world stage

Education would be very key, top of my agenda, is to change the curricula. Currently the pass rate is ridiculous,

Give an inspirational speech to try and encourage South Africans to come together as a nation. There is so much racial hatred happening in the country at the moment and the political environment doesn’t help much, we need to meet each other somewhere in order to take this country forward

IN CONVERSATION WITH IPELENG MKHARI: CELEBRATING IIMBOKODO – AN INTERVIEW SERIES

South Africa marks the 2017 Women’s Month under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Women united in moving South Africa forward”. The country marks Women’s Month in tribute to thousands of women who took part in the historic 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings in protest against the pass laws of the oppressive apartheid regime.

Women’s Month also serves as a call to action for the current generation of women; for them to continue to struggle towards the total liberation and empowerment of women.

ANC Today speaks to prominent businesswoman Ipeleng Mkhari, CEO of  Motseng Investment Holdings, on the strides we have made towards gender equality as well as the most pressing challenges facing women in South Africa today.

ANC Today: What would you say would be the key ingredients that have led to your success?

Ipeleng: Fundamentally passion. I truly love what I do. I love working with the people that I work with. I love creating things, coming up with innovative thoughts and ideas.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to have a creative state of mind. You need to have the passion to take on that level of risk.

The success factor is defined by broad themes around the offices people work in, the number of people that they work with.

A lot of people don’t know what it took to get to that point. It is important to talk about the real issues and challenges of being an entrepreneur, because success is not just an event.

You must have passion. That has been a major contributing factor in my journey;  getting up even when I failed many times – to still get up again and still do the same thing over again.

ANC Today: What challenges did you have to navigate to get to where you are today?

Ipeleng: I have been in business for 20 years. In 1997, I started working for a certain organisation and in that same year, I realised that I was just a front. I had just finished university and was six months into my job.

My greatest challenge was learning, in adversity, to be able to navigate obstacles that you don’t expect to come across your way. You have got to make decisions quickly, and decisions that are based on a value system or a set of rules and integrity you carry.

If I look at that 1997 to 2007 trajectory for me, I went through various challenges. There have been challenges around raising finance, cash flow sustainability,  and being able to attract the best people and keep them.

I have never gotten into business because I believed it was something sexy or glamorous to do, because it is very hard.

The challenges are necessary to make you realise the need to focus on what you are doing. They also make it that much more important to protect and grow your business.

Question 3: If you had an opportunity to talk to your younger self, what advice would you give? 

Ipeleng: I would say to a 20 year old Ipeleng, “don’t be afraid, fear is a huge crippler of people’s ideas and their own vision of self.”

I think I have done okay in that area, and I have done it only because I was young. Truly don’t have fear, those are my words even to Ipeleng today.

Try something out, because you don’t know what could come out of it. That has been, to a certain degree, a little bit part of my journey, I had a lot luck.

The time when I started, there were no policies around the codes of good governance, BBBEE was there.

There were no very strong policies as we have today around women and youth. The policies have grown over time and have enabled businesses like Motseng to survive or grow. When I started, it was a lot of trial and error.

ANC Today: Critics say nothing much has been done in the past 23 years of this government, what has been your experience?

At macro level, 2017 has been a seriously, fundamentally painful year for the country and for women.

We have experienced and seen horrific tragic femicide and other acts of brutality on women. It is not that as a country, we have not been exposed to this for many years, I believe we are a violent nation generally.

This is not a government problem requiring just a  government solution. Government has a role to play, but in my mind, it is not solely a government responsibility.

At a micro level, this is a societal issue –  civil society, government, private sector & businesses matter. It is a description and a narrative that needs to be taken and very seriously by all members of society.

When we look at our leaders, in all walks of life, we need to look at them and be able to say, you are the kind of people, men and women, who represent the people we want and feel safe around them.

As a women, I feel very strongly that the Department of Women has no voice in this conversation, has no narrative to speak of, that I can say there it is –  that’s what they stand for and have been active in this conversation since its inception.

That’s a real challenge because that is an arm of government that has been setup to deal specifically with that particular group that is so challenged.

I also that think the justice system has certainly got an even more critical role to play and I think they are playing it, within the limitations of their own challenges.

I understand that there’s discussions about establishing courts that will focus specifically on matters related to violence against women.  I think those are the kinds of things that we need.

We need to be able to hold the perpetrators of such acts seriously accountable. This means they need to feel the full might of the law.

I think our government has always spoken out against violence, the need to protect, celebrate and uplift women. As a society, we just haven’t realized how deeply wounded we are and how violence begins.

ANC Today:  If you were to be a President for a day, what would you do? 

Ipeleng: I’m a go getter, and obviously thats the type of President I would be.

My top priority would be to look at how do we get the economy growing. How do we really engage and support small to medium size businesses, like Motseng, to survive ?

We must really engage society around entrepreneurship and what that brings to an economy that cannot rely on the good old resources based sectors.

We need to start understanding what the new sectors, globally, are and engaging our young people in the concept of doing it for themselves, so that they are able to create businesses that employ other people, that put food on people’s tables, so that people can go out there work, learn and grow.

We are going through a major economic slump, we certainly are an emerging market, but that doesn’t suggest that our GDP must be growing at the very low levels it is growing at. That would be my thing, that’s what I know.

IN CONVERSATION WITH BASETSANA KUMALO: CELEBRATING IIMBOKODO – AN INTERVIEW SERIES

South Africa marks the 2017 Women’s Month under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Women united in moving South Africa forward”. This month is dedicated to women as a tributeto the thousands of women who took part in the historic 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings against the pass laws of the oppressive apartheid government.

Women’s month a call to action for the current generation of women to continue the struggle towards the total liberation and empowerment of women.

ANC Today speaks prominent business woman Basetsana Kumalo, on the strides we have made and the most pressing challenges facing women in South Africa.

ANC Today: What are some of the key ingredients that have led to your success? 

Bassie: I was raised by incredible parents. My father was a bus driver, my mother was a teacher. We were an enterprising family that didn’t have much, but what we had was love. We were raised by God fearing & God loving parents. To a  great degree, that has defined who I am, and what I stand for.

It was my parents who also taught us from a very early age that young minds should not be idle, but also critically, that hard work has never killed anybody. When other kids were used to playing after school, my parents created opportunities to supplement the family income.

We never had time to play in the streets. We never had time to idle. We had a collective responsibility to help the family, supplement the income, so that we could have shoes on our feet, clothes on our back, roof over our heads, and education.

As such, I used to sell a tray of boiled eggs up and down our street. I sold sandwiches and ice cream. My dad would braai meat and my mother would prepare pap, and we would sell those at stadiums. I understood at an early age, growing up in the dusty streets of Soweto, that one had to work hard to be able to get yourself out of the environment.

My mother also got us involved in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. We were in the youth choir and entered beauty pageants. I won Miss Black South Africa in 1990 and Miss South Africa in 1994, a year after the black majority was “allowed” to enter Miss South Africa.

At the Miss World pageant in 1994, Basetsana was not the first runner up – South Africa was. It was a critical time of our country, new democracy, new generation, new dispensation, a new era. I understood the opportunity it presented to me that I needed to use the platform, not only as an ambassador of a new nation, but to inspire a new generation of young people.

Growing up in Soweto, under the apartheid was not easy. The system of the past had relegated some of us to be rebels. I decided to become a rebel with a cause. I decided that I will help rewrite the narrative about what a black girl child can achieve even under the system of the past.

ANC Today: In your view what are the key challenges faced by women in society today? 

Bassie: There are many challenges that women are facing in South Africa and  access to education is one of the most critical. Madiba said “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. A girl child, often does not have an opportunity to finish school and unfortunately when a girl child is not educated, she is already out of the system. If girls and women are not economically emancipated they are already out of the system. For me it is about waking up to a South Africa where a girl child is able to complete school.

At a given time, women also have to have children and build a family. That plugs you out of the economic mainstream. In your 20s, you go to school and get degrees. In your 30s, you are already in the work force, and it is in their 30s that women are having kids.  While you are on maternity leave and raising kids, somebody else is being promoted to take on a job that you were qualifying for.

To this day, women are still being paid less for the same job that men are doing. This needs to be addressed.

The numbers that speak to the upward mobility of women in the corporate sector are increasing at a snail pace. There is a pool of capable women that South Africa is not gleaning from, a pool of smart women who can help us fast track this economy, grow the economy, and make sure that this economic is sustainable.

We need men to really understand why women have to be equally empowered. When a society is progressive, when both men and women are working together to build a progressive society, that society becomes a winning nation. There have been really great strides made by government regarding gender parity, but it is not enough, so much more can still be done by government, civil society and business.

As a business woman, I made a conscious decision to predominantly employ women, 90% of my staff are women. It is only when we lift each other up that we can succeed. We have a collective responsibility to pull each other up and rise. I want to urge women to make a conscious decision and employ a girl child, and give them an opportunity.

We need to raise strong boy children. We need to raise decent men in our own homes. We should raise them so that they can respect women.

We live in a country currently where the rate of femicide is deplorable, women and children are being raped, murdered everyday.  We have been too silent for too long.

I recently launched a campaign “Not in my name! Count Me In” . Such campaigns must be run for 365 days of a year, because often times, when the headlines have stopped, when a Karabo has been buried, everybody seems to have moved on with their lives. When we hear someone being abused in the hood, you raise the volume in your car higher so that you don’t hear it. You are a co-perpetrator if you don’t speak out and report what you see in your environment.

I still believe that there’s hope, but it is going to take everybody, collectively, to bring the change forward

ANC Today:  Looking back over an illustrious career, if you had an opportunity to speak to your younger self, what advice would you give her? 

Bassie: This is what I would tell Basetsana Makgalemele – “You have inner strength, ability, intellect and are somebody in the society.”

The system of the past sought to relegate us to people that we would never amount anything, so I became a rebel with a course. When I was young, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to become, but I knew for sure, that I never wanted to be poor. I knew for sure, I wanted to be educated and make my parents proud.

I would tell my younger self that be brave, have courage, stand up for yourself, own your voice, work hard and have a bit of fun.

ANC Today: Critics say nothing much has been done for women in the past 23 years of this government, what has been your experience? 

Bassie: I commend this government for the work it has done with regards to gender parity. In 1994, when the ANC came into power to lead a new nation, a third of the cabinet was women, that alone said that this government is serious about taking the course of women forward. In 2017, parity is there. We are sitting at 50% of parliamentarians from the governing party if not more being women.

The polices are there – be it gender equality, Black Economic Empowerment, Employment Equity. Regulation is what will change the trajectory. The private sector must be held accountable, named and shamed where, for example, boards have no representation of women.

Much more still needs to be done, especially with key portfolios. We want to see women in key portfolios and not relegated into softer portfolios. Corporate South Africa has an equal responsibility to ensure that women are given the fair opportunity to lead the JSE listed companies.

I had the privilege about 10 years ago to be the President of the Business Women Association, we used to do a survey every year. The survey seeks to track the upward mobility of women in corporate South Africa and in government.  The statics are disconcerting when you see the trend of were women seat.

In Corporate South Africa, approximately only 11.9% of CEO and Chairpersons are women. That is not good enough. Only 22% of executive directors and 29% executive management are women. Women make up more than half of the population in South Africa. Gender parity is very key.

We live in an incredible country, we have our own challenges. However, equally so, we all have a collective responsibly to take this country forward. It is through the collaboration and working of both men and women in this country that we can be able to move South Africa forward.

Government needs to be lauded and applauded, that they have really taken forward the call to empower women. The battle is not won yet. We have to work together to take this country forward.

ANC Today:  If you were to be a President for a day, what would you do? 

Bassie: I would want to wake up to a country where there is no more violence and rape of women and children. I would want to wake up to a country where women and children are treated equally. Violation, rape and murder of women and children had ended, that is a country I want to live in and would work tirelessly to achieve.

ANC CANNOT ASSOCIATE ITSELF WITH CORRUPT INDIVIDUALS – ZIZI KODWA 

Photo Credit: Greg Nicholson

Photo Credit: Greg Nicholson

Staff Reporter

“ANC cannot associate itself with corrupt individuals. The ANC is incorruptible” this is what the ANC National Spokesperson, Comrade Zizi Kodwa had to say to News24 in an exclusive interview at the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg earlier this week.

Speaking on the work that Parliament is doing through the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises to  “investigate the cancer of state capture in relation to Eskom”, Kodwa said “We support the work done by Parliament…that investigation must be extended where possible, to investigate allegations of looting and corruption in other State Owned Companies (SOCs)”

“We need to bring back stability and restore people’s confidence. Parliament must do their work without fear or favour” Kodwa added.

Asked about the role of law enforcement agencies must play in aking these allegations seriously and investigating them, Kodwa said “Law enforcement must act without fear or favour, regardless of the position people hold, they must act.  If we are to be true to ourselves in dealing with corruption and allegations of corruption, we must deal with tigers and flies, equally. We must not just be quick to act when it comes to officials, who become scapegoats. We must deal with even senior leaders, those who hold senior positions, even at executive level” Kodwa added.

“The sooner law enforcement agencies act and act decisively, the better. Not just for the ANC, but for the country”

“People elected the leadership of the ANC to manage the public pursue, they bestowed upon us their confidence, we dare not fail. We must not take that for granted” the National Spokesperson said

Asked to reflect on the increased calls on action against Guptas, the National Spokesperson was emphatic in his response that  “the ANC distances itself from any shenanigans done by the Guptas. They’ve got nothing to do with the ANC. We have no branch called Guptas. Anybody who is implicated, be it a member or leader of the ANC, can explain for themselves”

“We are looking forward to the establishment of  judicial commission to investigate these claims. Our view is that it should have been established as in yesterday, because the sooner we establish that credible institution led by a retired judge, the better for all of us”

“The commission must investigate everybody. It must have the power to subpoena everybody. We have to get to the depth of these allegations” Kodwa added. “A single allegation made against a member or a leader of the ANC, it damages the ANC. The more we don’t act on these allegations, the further the damage. That is why, we want to see action”

Speaking ahead of the party’s NEC Lekgotla this weekend, the Secretary General of the ANC, Comrade Gwede Mantashe, has said that fighting corruption is expected to feature prominently on the discussions to be held over the course of the three day meeting.

OR TAMBO REPRESENTS THE BEST OF THE ANC – MANTASHE 

mantashe-gwedeStaff Reporter

“President Oliver Tambo embodied be values of the ANC. He represents the best of the ANC” ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in Auckland Park

The Secretary General was speaking to the SABC following its simultaneous #ORTambo100 Special Broadcast on no less than four (4) National Radio Stations yesterday.

The broadcast initiated by the SABC, launched the 100 days countdown to President Oliver Tambo’s birthday on October 27. Had President Oliver Tambo lived longer, he would have been turning 100 years on that date.

The longest serving President on the ANC, President Oliver Tambo “had a Christian background and a very deep commitment as a revolutionary” Mantashe quoted Comrade Pallo Jordan who also formed part of the panel on the radio broadcast.

“He loved freedom for others, not for himself” Mantashe added.

Asked about the lessons that we can learn from a leader such as President Oliver Tambo, Mantashe said “We learn that being in a position must never take away humility from you. You must always be responsive to the issues people raise”

“If people have concerns, don’t defend yourself. Confront their concerns and address them. You must always sacrifice what is dear to you for the betterment of the lives of the people” he added.

A committed President Oliver Tambo never did things “halfheartedly”. Like he did, “As a leader, put your all in what you do for the people” the Secretary General of the governing party said.

“We must talk more about him (President OR Tambo), so that future generations can learn about him” Mantashe added.

Asked about state capture, the Secretary General gave a stern response that “State Capture is cancer that needs to be dealt with”.

“We are very determined to deal with state capture and correct it. Resources of the state must go where they are needed. They must never be channeled to other programmes that have nothing to do with serving the people” Mantashe added.

“Ours is the preparedness to serve not to benefit” Mantashe

Asked about the state of the economy, Mantashe said “Projections are that we will get a very moderate growth this quarter, meaning, we will break the recession at least. Then we can deal with the credit downgrading that has seen us being rated as junk status”

“The economy must be sector based. Sectors must pay particular attention and perform individually. It is a collection of sectors that will take us to a growth trajectory” he added.

Speaking on the upcoming ANC NEC Lekgotla, Mantashe said “The Lekgotla of the ANC, must put details on what should be done to turn the economy around and create employment”

“We must strive for humility, selflessness, commitment to serve, like President OR Tambo did” Mantashe concluded

ICC NOT THE ONLY INSTRUMENT FOR BALANCING JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION

edna-molewaBy Edna Molewa
The decision taken by  the Pre Pre-Trial chamber of International Criminal Court (ICC) earlier this month that South Africa violated its legal obligations to the Court in failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2015; vindicates the ANC’s position that South Africa should withdraw from the ICC.

The court was in essence forcing South Africa to choose between carrying out its obligations in terms of the Rome Statute – and arresting a sitting Head of State whilst he was attending a Summit as a guest of the African Union: a decision with far-reaching and potentially disastrous foreign policy implications.

Far from being praised for our efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, South Africa would have been regarded as having been a ‘player’ in the conflict – with consequences for our peacekeepers in Sudan, and for the country as a whole.

The ANC reiterates its commitment to multilateralism as a means to advance the aims and objectives of the UN Charter on Human Rights. However, justice is a universal ideal, and does not only apply to some.

In 1998 the South African government ratified the Rome Statute in good faith; optimistic the court would act impartially and in the best interests of all nations.

 

Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case- as the ICC selectively pursues justice; with external actors imposing sanctions over signatory countries in line with a Statute they themselves are not subject to. These instances of political interference can no longer be ignored.

With regards to not only Sudan but all societies embroiled in or emerging from conflict; questions must be asked.

Firstly, as to whether arresting President al-Bashir would have been in the best interests of Sudan. Secondly, whether the ICC is the only means by which one may balance the need for justice, peace and reconciliation.

On the first point; the ANC is committed to be part of the solution in Sudan: a solution where the needs, hopes and aspirations of the people of Sudan come first.

 

South Africa is involved in peacekeeping missions in several countries, including Sudan, and is also ‘actively involved in ensuring that the fragile peace process underway in Sudan and South Sudan holds- in the interests of the peoples of those sovereign states.’

President Zuma has met with warring factions in the region on a number of occasions, where they expressed to him that there could be no solution to the conflict in Sudan without involving the National Congress Party, and President al-Bashir.

There have recently been small but positive signs that peace may be coming to Sudan. Last week President al-Bashir extended the four-month long ceasefire currently in place in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan in ‘as part of the government’s initiative to bring peace to Sudan.’

This month the United States administration is expected to announce whether it will lift a 20-year economic embargo on Sudan; as the six-month review period expires.

In January the outgoing Obama administration had issued an executive order ‘to permanently repeal a range of sanctions’ against Khartoum, citing that government’s efforts to improve regional security.

Any improvement in bilateral relations between the US and Sudan, as well as with the other countries of the continent would not be foreseeable without the Sudanese government.

On the matter of whether the ICC is the only viable instrument of pursuing international justice, the ANC has been clear that we will continue to urge government to enter into multilateral and bilateral negotiations with African countries to expedite the reform of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.

This is in addition to supporting other regional tribunals ‘to ensure that serious crimes against humanity can be promptly and efficiently tried by these bodies.’

An example is the community-based gacaca courts set up in Rwanda following the 1994 genocide. The The Special Court for Sierra Leone, set up in 2002 to try those accused of war crimes, is another example.

 

The most notable example is South Africa itself. Upon attaining democracy, we could have chosen the Nuremburg Trial route – but instead opted for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

 

With regards to Sudan itself, there were calls made around 2009 for the AU to assist with the establishment of a local tribunal to be established to deal with abuses committed in the Darfur region.

These regional tribunals align with the ANC’s International Relations policy priorities that are informed by amongst other things, our endorsement of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU): of “an integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa… driven by its own citizens…”

The ICC decision, although widely expected, is regrettable. The ANC government’s decision to withdraw from the ICC remains, and is in line with various party resolutions; reaffirmed during the recent National Policy Conference.

 

It is the people of Sudan who stand to lose the most if the region once again descends into warfare. Executing the arrest warrant would have scuppered any chances for peace in Sudan.

EDNA MOLEWA IS CHAIRPERSON OF THE ANC INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE

 

USE MANDELA DAY TO PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN – GWEDE MANTASHE

mantashe-gwedeStaff Reporter

“We must reclaim our streets. That should be the commitment of the Mandela Day” ANC Secretary General, Comrade Gwede Mantashe urged community workers in Oranjeville, Metsimaholo Location, in Free State today, 18 July 2017.

In marking the International Nelson Mandela Day, the Secretary General visited the Oranjeville Community and visited households with elderly persons, disabled persons, and a Primary School.

Addressing community workers at a local community hall, the Secretary General spoke at length on the fight against femicide and unity of the organisation.

“Unless street committees are formed, our women will be abused, killed and they will stay in fear. It is this the community that can save our women from femicide and rape. Form street committees to protect your women and children” Mantashe said.

Speaking on unity, Mantashe started off by quoting President Nelson Mandela “People are taught to hate, but, we can teach them to love, because love comes more natural to a human being”

“It is our duty to remind ourselves to love each other. We must love ourselves even if there are Conferences. Contesting a position, does not make those in contestation enemies” Mantashe added.

Deepening unity remains the primary objective of the ANC, as declared in the 2017 January 8th statement. ANC Secretary General emphasised on the importance of fostering unity within the ANC. “Unity is very important, particularly today when the ANC is so divided. We are divided to the point of hating each other” Mantashe said.

“If you see mistakes of a Comrade, you must be part of finding a solution to help him, not to destroy him. This 67 minutes must used it for that. We are members of the ANC, we belong together. We may have different views. Historically, ANC explains that diversity of views is the source of strength” Mantashe added.

Coming from the 05th National Policy Conference, where robust debates took place on policies and heading towards the 54th National Conference, which will adopt policies, Mantashe said “We have a duty to convince each other with the logic of argument”

Mantashe warned against classifying Comrades with different views as enemies. “If we become enemies, you will see what is happening in KZN and spreading to the Eastern Cape lately, of Comrades when they disagree, they go to an extent of killing each other. That is un-ANC” Mantashe said.

“ANC is under siege, attacked by enemies. If we are divided, our enemies will come amongst us and divide us further. It must not be easy to take a public platform and insult your Comrade” Mantashe added.

In concluding his address, the Secretary General spoke on ethical behavior of Comrades. “Our people are expecting us to behave ethically. If we don’t, we disappoint them. They feel betrayed. That is why it becomes important for us to put the highest standards of behavior” Mantashe said.

“If we can have justice to fore and friend, we are not going to want to destroy one another, but, we are going to support each other” Mantashe concluded.

LOVE, RESPECT, HONESTY, SERVICE & HARD WORK MAKE A GOOD LEADER: ANC TG TELLS YOUNG WOMEN 

zweliStaff Reporter

Addressing young women leaders at the Ernst & Young (EY) NextGen leadership camp earlier this week, the ANC Treasurer General, Comrade Zweli Mkhize urged the young women to believe in themselves and understand that they are the “masters of their own destinies” and their own futures.

The NextGen programme, is aimed at empowering young women of high school age to reach their full potential and become future entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Speaking of the programme, the ANC Treasurer General said, “We expect that this contribution by EY in helping you to build yourselves is something that over a period, will bear the fruits through the kind of growth and leadership that you will attain, that will make South Africa a much better country that all of us, who are older, would have ever imagined”

“Your role is to shape the future of our country and the future of all the children of South Africa because of the contribution that you are going to make” Dr Mkhize added.

On a much casual note, Dr Zweli Mkhize urged the young women to set their priorities straight. “Boyfriends cannot be your first priority. You must define your relationship with your boyfriend. It shouldn’t be an economic relationship, but emotional relationship. Don’t allow yourselves to be physically abused, simply because he supports you”

The Treasurer General then used the opportunity to teach the young women about being a good leader by identifying love, respect, honesty, service and hard work as the most important attributes of a good leader.

“When speaking about love, I’m not talking arrogance, but love. Look after yourselves and make sure that you do things that will make you a good person. If you love yourself, you can then love your family, community & country. Most important is to love the people of your country and your country” Mkhize said. “Respect yourself. Others will respect you because you respect yourself. People copy, they do exactly what you do to yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, they simply won’t respect you”

Comrade Mkhize emphasised honestly as being of utmost importance in a leader. “A sense of responsibility is based on being honest, so that people can trust you. Honesty will make you a better leader” Dr Mkhize said.

Speaking on service, Dr Mkhize reiterated that “Umuntu, umuntu ngabantu” and that being a servant is about improving the life of humanity. “Others are better humans because of the service you will render. Serving humanity is the top most honour that society can give you. When you are in a position, you need to understand that it is not about bullying other individuals, but about you serving people. If you are a leader, you must know that your first priority of to serve people” Dr Mkhize added.

“If you want a bright future, you work for it. If want to be an important person, you must work hard. Hard work is the answer or key to success. You cannot lead anyone if you are not hardworking yourself. If you don’t work hard, you can’t tell others to work hard, because you need to lead by example. Anywhere you go, hard work is the way to go”.

“Hard work is what you must learn as a culture, wake up and read, study and do your work. Hard work is what will make you the best leaders that this country needs” Mkhize added.

Concluding his address the, Treasurer General cautioned the young women against being affected by “things that can be prevented”. “Don’t allow yourselves to be disturbed by unplanned pregnancy. You can’t allow yourselves to be disturbed by getting into crime and substance abuse” Dr Mkhize concluded.

 

THE MINING CHARTER: MARKET FORCES WILL NOT DELIVER ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

yonelaBy Yonela Diko

In October 2015, the Nelson Mandela Foundation invited the rock star economist, Thomas Piketty, a man who – true to his Rock Star Status – is independent and brutally frank, like someone who knows his name is carved in the books of history even if he never sell another speech. In that gathering he outlined to a captive audience why he thinks South Africa is still so dramatically unequal – and suggested a few things that can be done about it.

Piketty began with the jarring claim that Europe’s success in reducing inequality had more to do with violence than market forces.

“It is due, to a large extent to the very violent shocks of the first World War, the Great Depression, World War 2 and, most importantly, to the new social policies, welfare state policies, new fiscal policies [and] progressive taxation that were finally accepted by the elites after these violent shocks […] which put strong pressures on the elite in western countries to accept reforms, which until 1914 and World War 1 were refused,”.

Then Piketty drew parallels with South Africa. ‘If you look at the South African wealth data, especially within the top 1%-5%, it will be up to 80% white, so although things have changed a little bit, we are still very much with the same structure of racial inequality that we used to have. So now how can we make progress?”, Piketty asked.

While Piketty refrained from saying so explicitly, the implication seemed to be that South Africa needs its own violent shocks to force the issue.

Then Pickety went for the kill. “I think it’s fair to say that black economic empowerment strategies, which were mostly based on voluntary market transactions […] were not that successful in spreading wealth. So I think we need to think again about more ambitious reforms,” he said.

After that Piketty Lecture, South Africa’s former finance minister Trevor Manuel said, ”while we all know Piketty is right, no one – not the South African government, not big business, not the economic elites – is in a hurry to implement his ideas”.

To be frank, this was a disappointing response from Manuel. Here was an opportunity presented by a world renowned economist who the markets cannot ignore, telling us that South Africa will never break the back of inequality until it employs some violent shocks into its system. Piketty was effectively saying the market forces will never deliver to us our transformation agenda, which is is both morally and surprisingly, economically correct.  A 2012 World Bank report on South Africa traced the differences in life opportunities for South African children and unsurprisingly found large differences based on race, gender, location and household income.

It is a fact that South Africa’s income inequality has hardly changed despite the introduction of social transfers that now reach 17 million poor South Africans. Inequality remains high, partly because the number of jobs created over the past 23 years barely kept pace with growth in the labor force

Thanti Mthanti, Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of the Witwatersrand, in his article titled ”Systemic racism behind South Africa’s failure to transform its economy”, published on 2 February 2017 on the Wits website, echoes Piketty’s sentiments about the lack of transformation, particularly in the business sector and the failure of black economic empowerment by government.

”Transformation rules and the interests of informal racist agents have proved to be incompatible. As a result, whites have used racism to crush the perceived threat to their property rights. They are able to attain their goals since the ownership and control of listed companies and banks is highly concentrated in their hands. They are able to use their oligarchic power – and grand corruption – to maintain the status quo. They stifle black advancement and also engage in grand corruption, by falsifying their empowerment scores to get large construction tenders, banking and mining licences. In this way, they subvert black advancement and entrepreneurship. White oligopoly power is so effective in marginalising blacks because it has one or two friends in the ANC government’, Mthanti says.

Mthathi then accused the governing party for not enforcing its own transformation or land distribution laws. Instead, he says, sometimes ANC uses state power to protect white oligarchs.

But is this true. Is the government not enforcing its own transformation laws?

The recent actions by Minister Zwane may well be said to be a government finally awakening to it’s lacklustre approach to enforcing its transformation laws and business’s tendency to fight these transformation aspirations. There are two contentious aspects that arise out of the charter Minister Zwane has released. The first is the 30% black ownership target as well as the “continuing consequences” principle, often referred to as “once empowered, always empowered”.

Although the attack is on Zwane, simple because of his rather unfortunate dealings, Thebe Thabani takes us further back to March 2015, when former mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was due to release the 10-year review of the first mining charter that had expired in 2014. This was put on hold to allow the parties to seek a declaratory court order to clarify the issue of ownership. At that time, the markets went on a free fall, with mining stocks plummeting, again just to assess whether transformation was taking place seemed to be incompatible with the interests of informal racist agents.

Now, 13 years later, a target of only four percentage points higher has a similar effect. What is to be done?

Piketty, who has nothing to gain or lose told us that black economic empowerment strategies, which were mostly based on voluntary market transactions, were not that successful in spreading wealth. So he thinks South Africa needs to think again about more ambitious reforms.

26% to 30% is not even ambitious. We must therefore tell government that without enforcing these BBBEE targets and without ambitious programmes of change, the social tinder is going to explode.

The ANC Policy Conference held in Narec, south of Johannesburg seemed aware of its weaknesses concluding that in order for the ANC to give meaning its radical posture, the centre needed to hold. It would be a sign of weakness if ANC became excessively negotiable with monopolies and their race posture, monopolies that clearly did not support ANC resolutions. The ANC government must commit to its own resolutions and support ministers and public servants who were implementing them.The dream cannot be differed indefinitely