CALLS FOR TWO AFRICAN PERMANENT UNSC SEATS

The African Union will at the 73rd United Nations General Assemby call for the continent to allocate two permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC), President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

Ramaphosa made the remark while addressing the diplomatic community accredited to South Africa, among them ambassadors, high commissioners, consuls-general and Chargé D’affaires.

“As we go to this assembly, South Africa will strongly advocate for the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council. We are calling for the expansion in the permanent and non-permanent category of the Security Council from 15 to 26 seats.”

For Africa to be fully represented at the Security Council, President Ramaphosa said it should get no less than two permanent seats and a total of five non-permanent or elected seats.

The position was later reiterated by Dean of Diplomatic Corps and DRC Ambassador Bene M’poko, who said South Africa had the expertise and commitment to the peace agenda based on its past and mediating in issues of conflict in Africa.

In June, South Africa was elected at the United Nations General Assembly to serve as a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the term 2019-2020.

President Ramaphosa said South Africa would in its two year tenure continue to campaign for a permanent seat.

South Africa, he added, was committed to working with its partners in Africa and across the world to secure outcomes that serve national, bilateral and multilateral interests, “in a manner that reiterates the inescapable reality that the development of South Africa”. This development, he added, is inextricably linked to the African regeneration.

SA, diplomatic partners to strengthen relations

The President further said it was important for South Africa and its diplomatic partners to strengthen relations.

“We live in a time when the world is getting smaller, when new technologies are enabling progress at an unprecedented pace. This is a time when the means to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality appear to be well within our grasp.

“South Africa has collaborated actively in bilateral and multilateral efforts to resolve some of the Continent’s recurring conflict situations.”

Investment drive

President Ramaphosa said government was working towards improving the country’s investment environment by ensuring policy certainty and consistency that would see the performance of the economy improve.

“Earlier this year, I announced an investment drive aimed at generating at least $100 billion in new investment over the next five years,” he said. 

The drive will culminate in an Investment Conference to be held in Johannesburg from 25-27 October 2018.

Land reform

Regarding the ongoing land reform debate, President Ramaphosa assured diplomats that this process would be undertaken in an orderly manner that advances economic development. The process would also be in a manner that increased agricultural production and food security, and provides well-located housing for the poor.

“This is one of a series of measures that we are undertaking to accelerate land reform to correct a historical injustice and unlock the economic potential of this valuable resource,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

 

THIS WEEK IN THE ANC

Minister Bheki Cele: A safer SA is everyone’s business

Police Minister Bheki Cele lobbied sectors outside law enforcement to join hands with the men and women in blue to stem the tide of crime. Addressing day one of the two-day National Summit on Crime and Violence Prevention in Boksburg, Cele said fighting crime requires an integrated approach from all quarters of South African society, if decent inroads are to be made. Cele again decried the crime statistics which revealed that 57 people are murdered daily. “As the SAPS we urgently need to be seen to be doing something regarding the crime stats. But we want to walk with you; it can’t just be the South African police,” said the Minister, stressing that everyone must be mobilised to be “part of reversing the situation”. 

Labour conducts own investigation into sites after two fatal incidents

The Department of Labour said it will direct more energy in the efforts to improve enforcement of the occupational safety and health regulations. This follows the death of 8 people at the Somerset West Denel plant, following an explosion. It also follows the death of the 3 firefighters who lost their lives while responding to the fire that erupted at The Bank of Lisbon building. All these incidents were preventable. The department has assured workers that it will leave no stone unturned and all those who are found to have flouted the law will be dealt with accordingly.

Upcoming jobs summit to attract investment, tackle poverty

Deputy President David Mabuza said the up and coming jobs summit will ensure that South Africa continues to address the country’s poverty and income inequality. The Deputy President said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Assembly. The Deputy President said the most sustainable way to address the challenge of poverty and inequality lies at the heart of industrialising the economy in order to enhance greater levels of participation by historically disadvantaged economic citizens and marginalised regions of the country. In this regard, government has made significant progress in directing strategic investments towards targeted areas in order to support economic growth and job creation, Mabuza said.

Government committed to 4th Industrial Revolution

Government pledged its commitment to create an enabling environment where innovation geared at the Fourth Industrial Revolution is supported. Speaking at the opening of the South African Innovation Summit (SAIS) the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) Deputy Director-General of Special Economic Transformation, Sipho Zikode, said the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a phenomenon that should be embraced. “The world must embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution because it is a new way of doing business that will be with us for a foreseeable future, and as government and society we should collaborate in creating the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to adapt and adopt the 4IR technologies for the creation of a better life for all,” said Zikode. The South African Innovation Summit is an annual flagship event on the South African innovation calendar that nurtures, develops and showcases African innovation, as well as facilitate innovation thought-leadership.

THIS WEEK IN ANC HISTORY

14 September 1991: The National Peace Accord was signed by all major political organisations. The peace accord called on all political parties to end political violence and lay down their weapons to create an environment conducive for free and fair negotiations.

15 September 1976: The apartheid government began removing 45 000 Bakalobeng tribesmen from a Transvaal area into the Bophuthatswana homeland as part of its policy to assign Black tribes to autonomous areas.

16 September 1963: The final report of the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid was released. It gave a detailed review of developments in South Africa’s racial policies since 6 November 1962. The report was unanimously approved and published on 18 September 1963.

16 September 1986: 177 mineworkers were killed at Kinross Mine in one of South Africa’s worst mine disasters and 235 workers were injured and one was reported missing. After the disaster, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) complained about low safety standards in the mines and organized a protest.

17 September 1832: About two thousand slave owners met in Cape Town to complain against new slave regulations to be implemented at the Cape, claiming that according to existing regulations the working conditions at the Cape was already better in many respects than conditions of factory workers in Britain.

18 September 1992: More than 70 000 mourners gathered at King William’s Town, to pay their respects to the victims of the Bisho Massacre who were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force troops on 7 September 1992.

19 September 1980: The apartheid government handed over Mafeking to the homeland Republic of Bophuthatswana, three years after being granted independence. The town became the seat of the Bophuthatswana government until the new capital, Mmabatho, was developed.

20 September 1994: King Goodwill Zwelithini and the Zulu Royal Family severed all ties with Chief Buthelezi. This followed a stoning by Inkatha Freedom Party youth during a meeting between the King, Buthelezi and President Mandela at the king’s Enyokeni Palace.

 

THIS WEEK IN ANC HISTORY

7 September 1992: as many as 80,000 protesters gathered outside of Bisho, the then capital city of Ciskei, and demanded an end to the military government of Brigadier Joshua Gqozo and the re-absorption of the so-called black homeland into South Africa.  The Ciskei Defence Force opened fire and continued firing indiscriminately into the crowd for about five minutes using machine guns and rifle grenades. Several young men were shot in the back as they fled.  No warning was issued, and no attempts were made to use non-lethal means to disperse demonstrators.

8 September 1986: a bomb exploded in the ANC office in Stockholm Sweden. The office was severely damaged but nobody was killed. The bombing was part of a broader strategy of the apartheid government in the 1970s and 80s that sought to eliminate or neutralise South African liberation movements and the Anti-Apartheid movement outside the country. Both African and non-African countries that supported Anti-Apartheid movement and the ANC were targeted.

8 September 1991: 13 people were killed and 18 injured in an attack on Soweto residents after the IFP rally at Jabulani Stadium.

9 September 1986: Andrew Sibusiso Zondo was executed at the age of 19 after he was found guilty of a bomb attack in a shopping centre in Amanzimtoti.  Zondo was a member of the ANC’s Butterfly Unit of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK).

10 September 1984: renewed detention orders were issued to members of the United Democratic Front including its President Archibald Gumede. A month earlier, just before the elections for the new Tricameral Parliament the same UDF members had been held without charge.

11 September 1990: in a bid to avert further hiccups in its talks with the ANC, the apartheid government released seven ANC members from prison.

12 September 1989: Advocate Anton Lubowski (37), Secretary-General of SWAPO was shot dead at close range with an AK47 rifle in Windhoek. The Civil Co-Operation Bureau (CCB) was held responsible for the assassination of Lubowski.

13 September 1984: 6 political refugees,  Archie GumedeMewa RamgobinGeorge Sewpersahd, M.J. Naidoo, Billy Nair and Paul David sought refuge in the British consulate in Durban and asked the British government to intervene on their behalf. This left the British government in a difficult position. It could not expel the men into the hands of the police, but it sat with an embarrassing use of their consulate.

THIS WEEK IN THE ANC

President Ramaphosa concludes visit to China

President Cyril Ramaphosa returned to South Africa following his two-pronged visit to the People’s Republic of China where he was hosted on a State Visit and co-chaired the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit. During the State Visit, South Africa and China entered into several agreements, with one agreement alone worth over R14 billion, and signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), that pave the way for economic growth, educational opportunities and job creation in South Africa.

Overwhelming response for NSFAS funding

Cabinet welcomed the overwhelming response from prospective students since the opening of the 2019 National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) applications process. Applications for the student funding opened on Monday. “Over 45 000 potential and current students logged onto the NSFAS website on the first day. Progress has also been made to clear the backlog of outstanding payments to students,” Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday. The application process is based on a new system which makes funding decisions quicker and applications are now easily filled in by students regardless of their location.

President Ramaphosa authorises new SIU investigations

President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate suspected wrongdoing by public servants and persons or entities in the private sector in the awarding of tenders or contracts by the national Department of Water and Sanitation and the Ekurhuleni and Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipalities. The latest proclamations signed by President Ramaphosa complement a number of investigations called for by the President since his undertaking in the February 2018 State of the Nation Address that “this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions”.

  

SA companies confident of accessing Peruvian markets

South African companies on a trade and investment mission to Peru are confident that their products and services will find a market in the South American country. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is currently leading a group of local companies on an Outward Selling Mission (OSM) to the South American country’s capital, Lima.

The local companies are impressed about the countless trade leads and valuable market information they have obtained in the first two days of the mission.

 

THIS WEEK IN THE ANC

ANC WELCOMES GOVERNMENT PROCESS ON #FEESMUSTFALL STUDENTS IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

27 August 2018

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, announced a process aimed at assisting students in trouble with the law as a consequence of the 2016 #FeesMustFall protests.  The ANC welcomed this intervention and urged all involved to exercise patience and allow relevant legal processes to unfold, while urging government to move with the requisite speed in bringing finality to the matter.  The ANC has, since its inception, 106 years ago, been committed to the realisation of free education. This is well articulated in the freedom charter and many of its founding policy documents.

 

ANC CONCERNED ABOUT SURGE IN ILLICIT FAKE FOOD PRODUCTS

29 August 2018

As the nation was reeling from reports of sale of expired and fake food products to unsuspecting consumers, sporadic incidents of violence targeting small informal shops operated mostly by foreign nationals in our townships were reported.  The ANC expressed alarm at this phenomenon and called for swift action by authorities to ensure that such products are removed from the shelves and those found to have wilfully placed people’s lives at harm’s way should face the might of the law.  The ANC similarly called for calm and urged communities not to take the law into their own hands, and allow law enforcement authorities to do their work.  Swift action by the City of Ekurhuleni of conducting inspections and removing such products was commended as exemplary and should be replicated across the country.  The ANC committed to championing the campaign of community activism and encouraged communities to blow the whistle on those who violate the country’s laws governing packaging and sale of food products, wherever it occurs, whether at large retail chains or informal shops in our townships.  Such campaign will be conducted in a responsible manner, in partnership with relevant authorities, and discouraging vigilantism.

 

ANC OUTLINES PERSPECTIVE ON COALITION GOVERNMENT IN THE METROS

30 August 2018

Following the vote of no confidence at the Nelson Mandela Bay which saw the removal of the incumbent DA mayor and a similar vote of no confidence on the cards at the Tshwane Metro, the ANC articulated its perspective on coation governments in the Metros.  The ANC’s approach to coalitions is based on a long-term perspective informed by its commitment to transform South Africa into a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. In this regard, it is the ANC’s firm conviction that local government in the cities, towns and rural areas should be guided by the constitutional mandate to provide basic services to communities, stimulate local economic growth and development and, generally, contribute to the improvement of the lives of citizens, especially the poor.  This commitment is grounded on the principles of non-racialism, good governance, ethical conduct and effective leadership.  In pursuit of the immediate stabilisation of both the Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane metros where these alliances have collapsed, the ANC has decided to work with parties that share its immediate aims and that are committed to placing these municipalities on a path of recovery, to resolve the immediate challenges. As the ANC traverses this path, it is committed to exercising maximum vigilance to ensure that it is not beholden to any perverse political and material interests. 

 

 

TRIBUTE TO AN INDEFATIGABLE WARRIOR AND FEARLESS REVOLUTIONARY, COMRADE NOMZAMO WINIFRED MADIKIZELA-MANDELA

I am still numb due to the devastating news that my mother, comrade, mentor and leader is no more. As days go by I seem not to shake off this niggling feeling that it is just a dream as the larger-than-life Mama Winnie is one not to die. However, there is one part of me that also tells me that, in as much as she defied death on a number of occasions, she is also mortal. Still, the reality has not sunk and I am living with the hope that I will one more time see the smile on the glowing face of Mama Winnie and I will hear that infectious laughter of a loving mother and a gallant fighter for freedom and democracy.

I am shattered as I had always looked forward to one of those immemorial and priceless opportunity to draw from your well of wisdom and courage especially given the challenges that our movement, the African National Congress and our country are facing. Mama Winnie, you are one of a kind. A true revolutionary that stood steadfastly for justice, equality and freedom for all. You were forthright and principled. Whilst facing adversity, like a true lioness, you did not only stubbornly fended off attacks on your children (and these include some of us) but charged forward in pursuit of a better life for all our people. You epitomized selflessness as you would not mind putting your life on the line for the freedom of others.

Your motherly love and instincts were unmistakable as you would take care of not only your children but everyone who needed care as though they are children of your own. Indeed, you are a Baobab tree that provided protection from the scorching African sun and other unforgiving elements. Never one to retreat, you would confront the apartheid regime and its surrogates with an untold fearlessness and vigour and this is what inspired old and young to pick up the spear when liberation movements were banned, leaders detained or imprisoned or even forced into exile.

Whilst distressed, I take solace in the rich legacy you have left us. A legacy of selflessness, altruism and service to our people that we need to promote and preserve. You stood steadfast and your commitment and dedication to the struggle against the inhuman apartheid colonialism and for freedom and democracy was unshakeable. This is a characteristic that made you to survive persecution, detentions, banishment and even vilification.  You never retreated, you were never broken no matter how hard the apartheid regime tried to break your spirit and you knew no surrender as you led, from the front, battles against the racist police and army who at most times turned our townships and villages into military and police barracks. 

A community builder at heart, Mama Winnie was always on the look out for opportunities to develop her community. Adversity notwithstanding, you created an opportunity to uplift that community when you were banished to Brandfort. It is no coincidence that you studied social work as your life was about the welfare of your people. You served our people a social worker, albeit for a short while due to continued repression, with distinction. As fate would have it, you were drawn into active politics when it became almost impossible for you to continue practicing as a social worker due to apartheid police harassment.

Having cut her political teeth in women struggles against the repressive pass laws, Mama Winnie dedicated her entire life to the struggles against apartheid and for freedom and democracy. The more the repression, the more committed she became and the sentencing of Cde Nelson Mandela and other leaders to life imprisonment on Robben Island only served to sharpen her resolve to liberate her people. You became one of the most vociferous voice for the release of political prisoners hence the Release Mandela Campaign gained traction internationally to the point where the apartheid regime could not ignore the clamour for the release of Cde Madiba and other political prisoners.

 

Your fiery nature and unmistakable defiance in the face of repression angered the racist regime as their relentless efforts failed to crush your revolutionary spirit. It is not surprising that your modest Brandfort house was petrol bombed and no one has ever been arrested or even charged for that crime. You took this desperate attempt to cow you into submission in your strides hence you decided to come back home to Soweto in a courageous and open defiance to one of the most ruthless regime in history. Your defiance continued unabated as you ignored your banning order and spoke at public gatherings and to the international media and this galvanized our people into action against a system that the world declared a crime against humanity.

Your contribution to our liberation struggle continued as you led countless mass actions that led to our country becoming ungovernable and the apartheid system unworkable. Even beyond the democratic breakthrough in 1994 you continued to contribute towards the transformation of our country. With an incisive mind and brutal honesty, you spoke your mind having no regard to the consequences of your honesty and forthrightness. 

The outpouring of love that our country is demonstrating since your passing bears testimony to your selflessness and commitment to serving our people. Indeed, you loved your people and you were always there with us.  

Your life is and will remain an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived and to all who are opposed to oppression, injustice and deprivation. You are a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and all forms of racism an inequality; the gallant fighter against patriarchy and for equality and the hero of African liberation. We will miss you but we take solace in the legacy of love, giving and selfless service that you left. 

As we bid you farewell, we will remember your courageous and inspiring words when you said: “I shall never lose hope and my people shall never lose hope”. 

Indeed, Mama we shall never lose hope. We shall fight until all South Africans have a better life.

Lala ngoxolo qhawe la maqhawe!

Cde Paul Mashatile is the Treasurer General of the African National Congress

GIVING PEOPLE A VOICE OF THEIR OWN BECAME HER LIFE’S MISSION, PROFESSIONALLY AND POLITICALLY

On behalf of the African National Congress, I wish to convey once more my personal condolences and those of our glorious mvement to the family, friends and comrades of Mam Winnie.

We are here today to honour her as a humble, selfless and fearless human being whose simple service to society and care for others elevated her to an extraordinary national hero.

 A leader of our people and international icon whose impact and reach is reflected in the diversity of humanity who are in Orlando Stadium today.This is a fitting reflection of a national movement that evolved over time into a global struggle.

As the ANC, we are strengthened in this moment of loss by the outpouring of grief and support we have experienced across our country and around the world.

We are particularly touched by the response we have seen from young women in our country; young women who are clearly picking up the revolutionary spear with a commitment that mirrors that of Mam Winnie to keep building a better life and a better world for all of us.

As a young activist, Mam Winnie herself drew inspiration from women who had forced open doors and pathways that had been reserved for men – even within our own Movement in the early years of her life.

She therefore fought internal and societal patriarchy to champion the cause – not just of women – but of all oppressed South Africans and oppressed peoples around the world.

Comrade Winnie was the human face of globalisation even before we knew this word.

She was born in 1936 – a year that produced such notable comrades as the Cape Town artist Lionel Davis and Dr Neville Alexander.

But,1936 was also a year that produced FW de Klerk, against whom Mam Winnie would wage countless and fearless campaigns that helped to bring down the curtain on apartheid, while Madiba and our leadership remained incarcerated and later in negotiations.

Born into a large family of nine children, Mam Winnie benefited from the high value her rural Eastern Cape family attached to education. With her father, Columbus, as a history teacher and her mother, Nomathamsanqa, the young Winnie Madikizela was herself guided towards studying towards a profession.

She elected social work, not because of what it would do for her, but because of what it would for the poor South Africans among whom she lived and dwelt.

She saw social work as a medium to uplift poor people and give people a voice of her own.

Giving people a voice of their own became her life’s mission, professionally and politically.

Mam Winnie did not think of this as leadership. She thought of this as service. It was just something she did. But it proved to be something that could change an entire society.

Her commitment and charisma also shape a man who would go on to play a major role in our history and in the history of the world.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela found the perfect transformational and revolutionary soulmate in the young Winnie Madikizela when they met in a happy coincidence of circumstance and content.

Both were on a path to bring into being the South Africa in which all South Africans, black and white, enjoy a better life today.

This was a path of personal sacrifice and patriotic struggle; a path of pain, of conflict, of resistance, and of foregoing many of the joys and comforts that accompany family life.

It was a path Mam Winnie walked in the glare of news media in the days before social media. It was in this same blaze of publicity that the shameless and merciless apartheid state persecuted and prosecuted Mam Winnie and her comrades.

Following the Rivonia Trial and the incarceration of our leadership, Mam Winnie – through no design of her own – became the face of our Struggle.

She kept the home fires burning, both in terms of her maternal role and in terms of rendering the country ungovernable by the apartheid authorities.

She stood strong and kept singing, marching, mobilising and fighting in the face of banishment to Brandfort; in the face of more than a year of solitary confinement at The Fort (now home to our Constitutional Court) and in the face of torture and attempts at humiliation.

Together with countless generations, including the women of 1956, some of whom including Mme Sophie De Bruyn are still at our side, they pioneered and sustained the traditions of selfless service of our movement.

Working tirelessly alongside many other powerful and brave women and men in the trenches of our struggle in the 1960s and ‘70s, Mam Winnie nevertheless became the poster woman for our Congress, for courage, for consistency, for clarity and for commitment.

Her commitment spanned our struggle era and our democratic dispensation, in which she served as a vociferous Member of Parliament and d Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture.

Her championship of the cause of land restitution and reform is a championship that was interrupted only by her passing away last Monday.

Today, Mam Winnie, the ANC gives thanks to you for being unwavering in your activism and unbowed in the face of repression. 

We say thanks for your years of patriotic service to the ANC, to the United Democratic Front, to the Women’s League and to so many other collectives that bear the imprint of your personality and ideology.

We thank the many fraternal organisations who are with us today and whose support of our struggle in their own countries concerntrated global attention on the plight of black South Africans under apartheid.

We say thank you to the Madikizela and Mandela families who were deprived of a constant presence during Mam Winnie’s decades of focus on the plight of others around her and the plight of downtrodden and oppressed communities all over South Africa.

We also remember and pay homage to other mothers such as Comrades Limpho Hani and the family of Solomon Mahlangu who felt brutally and bloodily the mercilessness of the apartheid state.

We say thank you to the millions of South Africans who are mourning with us across the spectrum of race, colour and class, to acknowledging the passing of a truly great South African.

As we mourn Mam Winnie’s passing, we cast our gaze ahead to the Winnie Madikizela-Mandelas – black and white – who must fight our Mother’s fight in years and generations to come.

South Africa’s transformation is not complete, and we therefore look to a new generation of young women – and young men – to advance the causes in which Mam Winnie led us so capably and forcefully.

The resolutions of the ANC’s 54th National Conference held in December 2017, are a fitting tribute to her especially the far reaching decisions on land redistribution and transformation of the economy. It is incumbent upon us to remember and mark her remarkable life by ensuring their full implementation to the benefit of all South Africans, the majority of whom are poor, African and female.

Mam Winnie’s life remains a blueprint for activism in the 21st Century, because no matter what technology we are able to employ today to realise the vision of our Freedom Charter, our Constitution and our National Development Plan, activism and struggle must come from the heart, not the hardware. 

Our activism must be fundamentally rooted in our concern for humanity and community. It must be rooted in our understanding of the challenges that face our country, our region, our continent and the world. And it must be rooted in wanting to make a difference; not a difference in our personal circumstances, but a difference in our communities and the wider world.

We will miss that unique blend of fiery militancy and charming friendship that characterised Mam Winnie. We will also miss her inner beauty and outward attractiveness.

We will miss her inspiration; her sense of principle; her ability to innovate and adapt in the face of adversity; her ability to establish a community clinic in a place of banishment, as she did in Brandfort.

But for all the attributes we will miss, we will be comforted by her legacy of a better South Africa in a better world.

We will be comforted by the rights we have won and the transformation we have effected using these rights.

We will be comforted by knowing that Mam Winnie had not resisted, fought, struggled, embraced and reconciled in vain.

We will be comforted by knowing that while her voice has grown silent, the voice of the previously voiceless will ring out across our country as continue to move South Africa forward.

We look forward to 2019 as a year not just of contestation but a year of advancing the values and vision for which Mam Winnie stood.

Today, all of us will find ourselves moving back and forth between celebration and mourning; between reliving the pain and the inspiration that was a part of Mam Winnie’s life, and between reflecting on her life and reflecting on our own.

Most of all, I hope we will grasp this national period of mourning as a moment to rededicate ourselves to completing the many revolutionary tasks Mam Winnie began in her own lifetime and left for us to complete.

Cde Jessie Duarte is the Deputy Secretary General of the African National Congress 

SHE WAS A SYMBOL OF HOPE TO ALL THE OPPRESSED AND A SOURCE OF COURAGE FOR THOSE WHO WANTED TO FIGHT AGAINST INJUSTICE

Just over a week ago our country was shattered by the devastating news of the passing away of Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela whom we befittingly and affectionately referred to as the Mother of the Nation.

Symbolic of her own special place in our struggle for freedom, justice and equality, Mama Winnie took her last breath right at the beginning of the month of April; a month of massive historical significance in the political life of our country.

It was on this month that the seeds of colonialism and apartheid were planted with the arrival of Jan Van Riebeeck and his troops in 1652. It was on this very month three hundred and forty two years later in 1994 that the big tree of apartheid colonialism was finally uprooted and the oppressed people of South Africa won their freedom.

In the intervening period, we lost many freedom fighters whose only sin was to defy and undermine the unjust laws of the apartheid regime by boldly asserting that they too were human.

Even in this regard, the month of April imposed its political significance by claiming among these freedom fighters the most celebrated giants of our revolution.

We remember and pay tribute to Chris Thembisile Hani whose life was brutally cut short by unrepentant apartheid apologists exactly twenty five years ago today. Comrade Chris was indeed a fearless revolutionary whose radical ideas made the apartheid regime very uncomfortable.

We continue to draw inspiration from him as we pursue our programme of radical socio-economic transformation.

We also remember the gallant Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu who never betrayed the cause of freedom even when quite literally confronted with death.

We pay homage to the unparalleled icon of our struggle who also hails from Bizana, our longest serving President, Isithwalandwe Oliver Reginald Tambo. The spirit of President Tambo continues to guide us as we are seized with efforts to build a renewed, united and totally cohesive ANC that is best placed to serve the interests of the South African people as a whole.

Comrades      

In recognition of the role Mama Winnie played in building the ANC and our nation, we have gathered here to make an unequivocal statement that whilst we mourn her passing, we also celebrate her life because it was a life well lived and selflessly dedicated to the improvement of the conditions of others.

Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela was a product of her time. She joined the ANC and became an activist at a time when the generation before her, that of Nelson Mandela and others, had successfully propelled the ANC onto a higher terrain of struggle.

She was inducted into the radical politics of defiance and non-cooperation with the apartheid regime. She was from the onset part of determined forces of resistance who understood that pacifism was not the answer to repression.

She believed quite correctly that freedom would have to be fought for and achieved; and that the methods of struggle chosen by our democratic movement would always have to be commensurate with the strategies employed by the enemy to effect oppression.

Her actions were therefore at all times informed by her commitment to enhance the capacity of our movement to fight effectively against apartheid and eliminate anything that threatens to weaken that capacity.

Learning from her and in respect of the current context, we have mobilized all democratic forces to do everything possible to enhance our capacity to fight effectively against poverty, unemployment and inequality; and to eliminate anything that threatens to weaken that capacity, including selfish acts of grand corruption and state capture.

I am making this point about Mama Winnie being a product of her time because there are some within our borders and beyond who have sought to demonize her character, even in death, by referring to what they deem to be massive excesses in her praxis of the revolutionary struggle against apartheid.

I could not find a better response to these critics than the words of the German revolutionary Bertolt Brecht.

Writing in his poem titled “To Posterity,” Brecht advises the generations that will come after him as follows:

“You, who shall emerge from the flood
In which we are sinking,
Think —
When you speak of our weaknesses,
Also of the dark time
That brought them forth.

For we went, changing our country more often than our shoes.
In the class war, despairing
When there was only injustice and no resistance.

For we knew only too well:
Even the hatred of squalor
Makes the brow grow stern.
Even anger against injustice
Makes the voice grow harsh. Alas, we
Who wished to lay the foundations of kindness
Could not ourselves be kind.

But you, when at last it comes to pass
That man can help his fellow man,
Do no judge us
Too harshly.”

Comrades and Friends

Mama Winnie will always have a special place in our hearts. She has made an indelible mark in the life of our nation. She was a symbol of hope to all the oppressed and a source of courage for those who wanted to fight against injustice.

She was there on the home front with the different generations of youth who kept the flames of freedom burning when the apartheid regime thought it forced the liberation movement into a state of lull.

She was there in the 70s taking advantage of the energies of the youth and guiding a generation that would later change the course of our history for good.

She was there to harness the anger and impatience of young people by recruiting them into the ranks of Umkhonto Wesizwe. These are the young people who made up the heroic June 16 Detachment to which Solomon Mahlangu belonged.

She was there to lend a hand and offer all the necessary political support when pupils who wanted to unambiguously associate themselves with the Congress Movement founded the Congress of South African Students. It is no surprise therefore that COSAS made her its honourary and lifetime President.

In the 80s, Mama Winnie continued to work with young people on the ground to up the ante against the increasingly murderous apartheid regime.

She played a significant role in ensuring that young people of our country respond positively when the call was made by President OR Tambo to make South Africa ungovernable and apartheid unworkable.

She inspired many of the actions of the death defying young lions of Oliver Tambo which accelerated the fall of the apartheid regime.

Mama Winnie was there to inspire the student movement in our country led by SASCO and its predecessors SANSCO and AZASO to play a bigger role in opposing apartheid.

Her role in the processes to dissolve SAYCO and re-launch the ANC Youth League in 1990 cannot be overemphasized.

She continued to inspire the militancy of the Youth League even after the 1994 democratic breakthrough with the intention only to communicate to the ANC that it is not yet Uhuru and that the struggle continues.   

When the political reasoning of the Youth League came into conflict with that of the leadership of the ANC a few years back, she was there on the side of young people because she genuinely believed that the contradictions brought about by the Youth League were consistent with the history of the ANC and necessary for a forward movement.

The point I am making here is that Mama Winnie was always on the side of the youth. Because of her age-defying militancy, she identified more with the radicalism and impetuousness of the youth than with the conservatism associated with many of her age.

It was this relationship she had with the youth in struggle that correctly earned her the title “Mother of the Nation.”

Comrades

Mama Winnie endured a lot of pain that was visited upon her for nothing other than opposing and fighting against apartheid.

The apartheid regime sought to break her spirit by constantly harassing her family, subjecting her to the worst forms of torture, detaining her without trial, putting her in solitary confinement, banishing her to a place far away from her home and imposing on her a long distance relationship with her husband and children.

But consistent with the character of the generation of defiant and resilient men and women from which she came, Mama Winnie’s spirit was never broken. She emerged out of every situation meant to break her even stronger.

Not once did she succumb to that persistent inner voice that always, in fear of pain and loneliness, offers the unsolicited advice that one must hang up their boots and live to fight another day.

She instead stubbornly chose the path that put her firmly on a collision course with the apartheid regime, daring them to do their worst, proclaiming the fear of nothing, determined to die with her boots on and asserting on every available platform that her people must not lose hope because the cause of freedom shall surely triumph.

Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela was also a symbol of women’s emancipation. Throughout her life as a political activist, she did not conform to the politics of respectability and sexist gender roles.

She did not see women as inferior to men by any measure. She inspired many women to fight against the patriarchal relations of power even within her own movement, the ANC.

The resolution of the ANC at the Polokwane conference to have equal representation of both men and women in all leadership structures, popularly known as the 50/50 policy, came as a result of women’s struggles over many years. Mama Winnie played no small part in this struggle especially in her role as President of the ANC Women’s League.

She was a true Mbokodo who did everything in her power to advance and defend the cause of women.    

In her honour, we call upon especially young women to take the baton and organize themselves in order to confront all the social ills that continue to oppress them on the basis of their gender.

We also call upon the men in our society to say NO to the abuse of women and to denounce and abandon backward patriarchal attitudes towards women.

Comrades

We are proud that as she departs, Mama Winnie was very happy about some of the resolutions we took at our 54th National Conference. She was particularly happy about the resolutions that form the backbone of our programme of radical economic transformation such as the expropriation of land without compensation.

We are determined to correct the original sin of the violent dispossession of our people’s land and its wealth. We are cognisant of the fact that Mama Winnie will only rest in peace if we restore the dignity of our people by ensuring that they have an equal claim to the land of their birth. I want to assure all and sundry that on this, we will not retreat.     

As we continue honouring her legacy, we must seek to emulate her by being honest and hard working servants of the people of South Africa.

Like Mama Winnie, we must have the courage to speak truth to power when we see that things are clearly going wrong.  

We must work to renew and unite the ANC and make it the effective instrument of transformation Mama Winnie wanted it to be.

I thank you.

Amandla!

Matla!

All Power!

Cde Cyril Ramaphosa is the President of the African National Congress 

WINNIE MANDELA WAS IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

The first question we should ask ourselves at this moment is; are we mourning the passing of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela or are we celebrating the life of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela?

My own choice is that, there is no reason to mourn because Mama Winnie has done everything that should be done by a human being. In celebrating her life, we should acknowledge that Mama Winnie defied all odds from a very young age.

It is said, that she was the first black medical social worker. That was her first defiance of the odds. She invaded space that was reserved for white social workers.

Being a social worker as a profession is a commitment to serve. Social workers are never driven by the desire to earn a lot of money. They are driven by the desire to serve, hence they get satisfaction from counselling those who are in trouble. That is Mama Winnie

She got married to a very imposing character, the late Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe, President Rolihlahla Mandela. That was a big decision to make on its own. She got married to the trouble itself. That is a major decision reflecting the character of a person. They had two daughters.

Mama Winnie refused to be dwarfed in the shadow of Nelson Mandela.  She emerged as herself. She grew to be a political leader in her own right.

Mama Winnie was not a leader because she was married to President Mandela.

She was one of the most outspoken leaders of the ANC.

Mama Winnie was in the belly of the beast in Brandfort, facing the enemy face-to-face. It will be unfair of all of us to try and find fault in what she did. We must appreciate that she was in the warzone commanding forces. In that process, there will be victories and mistakes, there will be setbacks and other victories. If we could understand that, negativity about her will never exist.

In 1986, an incident occurred in Mpumalanga wherein 177 mineworkers were killed in 1 day, nobody else came but Mama Winnie. Upon her arrival, she taught us a basic lesson that, that was not just an accident, it reflected the brutality of capital and capitalism as a system.

She also visited when there was a disaster in Welkom.

She went across terrains mobilising people for a command issued by the then President of the ANC, President Oliver Tambo, to make South Africa ungovernable and apartheid institutions unworkable.

Nobody is more known and respected in informal human settlements more than Mama Winnie because she was in the belly of the beast. We must appreciate that being in this position, you take decisions on your feet. Therefore, you cannot be penalised for your mistakes. Instead, you must be recognised for the risk you take and the ability to come out of that situation and lead another skirmish.

When the ANC was unbanned, there was a big debate on the 30% representation of women in any elected structure of the ANC. Mama Winnie’s fingerprints on this are very prominent and visible. Women won the debate. They increased it later to at least 50%. Mama Winnie was involved

We cannot celebrate Mama Winnie when we are divided. If we are still organised as CR17 and NDZ, we are far from celebrating her life. Let us fight factionalism wherever it manifest itself to have a strong ANC.

To reinstate trust in the ANC among the people, we should not just talk about the fight against corruption and state capture. We must be seen to be fighting it. We must deal with the inflation of prices in projects.

If we are to celebrate Mama Winnie’s life, the ANC should be seen leading a clean governance. She would have loved that. She would have loved to see an ANC that is free of corruption. She would have loved to see an ANC that does not delegate the responsibility of governing.

The ANC must be united. A united ANC will win the elections next year. People have hope. People are beginning to reinstate their trust in the ANC. However, they expect the ANC to act decisively with the necessary speed. If we don’t do that, they will be disappointed and turn their backs on us.

Personally, Mama Winnie didn’t treat me as a leader. She treated me as a child. However, when she had to respect me as a leader, she accorded me that respect. When she had to scold me as a child, she did that.

With the passing of Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela, her characters reflect in us the living. Her closed eyes opened the eyes of the living.

May her soul rest in peace!

This is the edited tribute to Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela delivered at a Memorial Service in Brandfort

Gwede Mantashe – National Chairperson of the African National Congress and the Minister of Mineral Resources