Collen Malatji

YOUNG PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, UNITE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS

Collen MalatjiCollen Malatji

For many South Africans the June 16th 1976 events symbolized a brave campaign organized by young people against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools. But there is a story untold about the events that took place prior to the 16th of June 1976, the events are crucial because they prove that the Soweto Uprising was necessitated by the impact of colonialism, in the political, educational and social aspects. It is through colonialism that the education system in various African societies was commodified, used as a tool for political propaganda, used to both create a maintain class divisions and in our context it was used to enhance racial divisions, each will be discussed further below.

The precolonial African societies were constituted on the basis of communal order, in such societies it can be argued that Africans were able to engage in economic systems, social, and political activities such as; subsistence agriculture and farming, hunter gathering, rearing livestock, conducted the administration of initiation schools, slaughtering cattle or goats for ancestral rituals and spiritual purposes, solving conflicts through the traditional courts and of course participating in the wars of disposition. These basic human resources observed in African societies were then transferred collectively by members of the community to the younger generation through basic educational systems in order for them to appropriately relate, administer and perform the tasks. It is important to note that the process of socialization in the African societies during this epoch prioritized the stability and wellbeing of the collective; this means that the education system was used for the advancement of society, maintaining its values and shaping the African civilization.

With the arrival of the first European-settlers-cum colonizers in our shores the communal societies was faced with the introduction of European modernity and marked the destruction of the African civilization. This is evidenced with the commodification of the education system through the expansion of the so called missionary schools in our soil. Admissions to the schools deepened the societal stratification that already existed in the pre-colonial African societies, in some schools only the children of the missionaries, the chiefs and those that owned some portions of the and were admitted, and you may ask, what happened to the children of the peasants? Well many of them had to start working in the farms that were confiscated by the Europeans immediately when their parents were getting old and could not offer any cheaper labour anymore.

Karl Polanyi in his book, The Great Transformation, best describes the assertions shared, when he said that, “To separate labour from other activities of life and to subject it to the laws of the market was to annihilate all organic forms of existence and to replace them by a different type of organisation, an atomistic and individualist one.” This means that the education system reflected the forces of production, and played a crucial role in the advancement of the division of labour and its commodification. The market utility in such societies strives on rapid forces of production in order to maximize on the accumulation of surplus value gained through the alienation and exploitation of the working class and the poor masses.

The apartheid regime intensified the legacy of colonialism in the education system through racist legislation such as the Bantu Education Act of 1953, which divided education based on class and race and maintained the racialized class divisions. The education system was then transformed from being a mere commodity, into a political propaganda and a tool to systematically orchestrate a society that can be defined as that of humans (white people) and sub-humans (African people) at the same time as that of slaves (African labourers) and slave owners (white capitalists, especially white men). The legislation also proves that education was used to enhance patriarchal values and norms, for instance young African women were meant to be taught household duties, while young African men were subjected to offer hard labour in big industries.

When the students guided by the working class and the poor took to the streets on the 16th of June 1976 they were demanding an end to the legacy of the colonial type education system necessitated by the deep conditions that we have defined. However as Karl Marx argued in the Theses on Feuerbach (1845) that, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it” The current generation needs not to only to draw inspiration from the youth of 1976, but needs to take the baton and continue moving forward with the struggle against capitalism that many of us today have inherited from the colonial order.

As we have seen that the youth of 1976 threw stones against the brutal and racist armed forces, the youth of 2017 need to take the stones and play a significant role in the process to rebuild Carthage, as African city that symbolises the wealth of knowledge of African people and their developed civilization. The process to rebuild Carthage will be meaningless without the authentic struggle towards economic emancipation of many young people, therefore it is important that the current student leaders and progressive youth formations wage a revolution for the following demands in order to appropriately honour the youth of 1976:

  • Call for increased access of education and skills; this requires closing the gap between Universities and the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector by improving infrastructure in TVET, introduction of education tax, and by building more institutions of higher learning.
  • Increased youth wage subsidy; such is important to create jobs, because the captains of the markets will receive incentives, but this does not mean that the jobs of young people must not be protected through labour laws.
  • Increased public works programs and job transition through the state; the state needs to employ university and TVET graduates (especially those that received NSFAS and or any other bursaries from the state). In this way the state will be professionalised and be able to attract the best young minds that get consumed by the private sector.
  • Increased funding on initiatives that promote entrepreneurship skills and opportunities for young people.
  • Curriculum change and review; history, political sciences and international relations must be introduced to high school students. This will play a huge role in the process to produce ideologically and politically matured young people and most of all create cadres that love and know their country.
  • Refurbishment of closed light industries in the townships and upon renovations be transferred to the ownership of young people.

Young people remain the most important motive forces in any revolution, therefore they need to unite, define their generational mission and wage a revolution! Most of all young as the progressive motive forces, young people need to be at the forefront in the struggle for economic emancipation of the African people, especially the working class and the poor. This will mean that young people will play a significant role in implementing the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) as a progressive ideological guidance towards the fulfilment of the full liberation of the African people, and towards attaining our generational mission. This also means that young people must lead the African National Congress, defend it, keep it alive with new revolutionary ideas and keep it relevant in the hearts and minds of the South Africans.

Collen Malatji is a former President of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and a former member of the National Executive Committee of the South African Students Congress (SASCO). 

Lwazi Somya

CHANGING GLOBAL POLITICAL TIDES, AND THE DEATH OF THE OLD GUARD

Lwazi SomyaLwazi Somya

German sociologist Robert Michel devised a concept called the “Iron Law of the Oligarchy” to which he claimed that political organisations and trade unions in general no matter how democratic they are, or claim to be develop oligarchic tendencies for technical or tactical means. The conceptual basis of this notion is underpinned by “leadership class” or party political elite being the nexus of power in organisations. These tendencies have manifested themselves in our current global political system, and backlash from the global youth, swinging either to rightwing conservative politics or to a leftist paradigm, leaving establishment (oligarchic) politics in the backburners of global political history. As the African National Congress (ANC) heads towards its policy conference from the 30th of June – 5th of July, and eventual national elective conference in December, it should take into cognisant not only national balances of forces, but also international trends that have manifested in different democratic dispensations globally – paying close attention to the underlying trends that have become the new political reality. If the ANC fails to take note this could result in the same fate as their African liberation movement counterparts, who have not only lost their electoral dominance, but also social dominance.

The election of US President Donald Trump, a large insurgency of right wing politics across the globe has begun to manifest itself through the rise of France’s Marine Le Pen, and Brexit. However, the election of Emmanuel Macron and more recently the Jeremy Corbyn’s elections surprise in Britain has seen a fight back from the global left in recapturing the minds and aspirations of global citizens.

What is a common thread throughout these elections is the subsequent death of the old guard and centralist establishment politics. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders represented the rejection of establishment politics, and the rise non-mainstream politics. In the Bernie Sanders situation, it was the Democratic National Committee’s collusion to push through Hillary Clinton as their candidate, while polls clearly showed that Bernie Sanders would clearly win against Donald Trump had they gone head to head.

In France, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen both outside contenders became the leading contenders for the Presidential race, ousting French establishment political parties such as the Socialist Party and Le Republicans. However, the rejection of Marine Le Pen itself was a watershed moment as Emmanuel Macron’s newly formed party El Marche won an overwhelming majority in the French Parliamentary Elections, giving President Macron an overwhelming mandate from the people of France to charter new grounds in the French body politic.

In Britain, Theresa May bolstered by approval ratings arrogantly went ahead (unnecessarily so) with a snap elections to flex her political muscle. As we now know, she lost the outright majority, and has compromised her bulldozer strategy towards Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn who is regarded by the British media as “unelectable”, and subverted by 80% of his own political party leveraged this underdog status to pull off what is arguably the greatest political comeback by the Labour Party, and blunder by the Conservative Party of Theresa May in British political history, and not languishes with a hung parliament and reduced majority. Instead of the overwhelming mandate that Theresa May and the Conservative Party sought in the beginning with the snap elected, has resulted in a mere coalition minority government with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Oligarchic arrogance underestimated the political shifting political reality that the youth presented establishment politicians, with Jeremy Corbyn proving to be the biggest winner when the dust has settled.

The lessons we as South Africans can take from these global events is that politics of establishment centralist politics has come to end. The youth can either make or break your political party, and if the ANC is unable to move away from the current neo-liberal trajectory that does not tackle the triple challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment we could see similar results heading into 2019. The political balances of forces have changed, and the voter demographics have also changed. It is about time that the ANC also change, and shift away from exile mentality of politics, and establish modern political practice in line with the changing voter demographics of South Africa.

The youth of South Africa does not hold nostalgic allegiances towards the glorious liberation movement, it is policies and delivery of those policies that shall be the crowning or dethroning moment of the ANC come 2019. It is about time that the ANC through the policy conference begin a journey to chart a new trajectory of neither populist nor conservative establishment politics, but politics that speaks to the fundamental issues poverty, unemployment and inequality that our people are subjected to on a daily basis. Oligarchic tendencies either through over bureaucratisation or elite protectionism shall be the stumbling block that our glorious movement shall stumble upon in the near future.

Lwazi Somya is the former Vice President of the UCT Student Representative Council (SASCO Deployee) and former member of the ANCYL WC Communications Subcommittee.
yonela

THE STATE OF AFRICA: ANC MUST RENEW ITS COMMITMENT TO AFRICA

yonelaYonela Diko

Today we can safely say battles and large-scale wars in Africa are on the decline, as they have been for quite some time. This is the conclusion of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project 2017.
However, what has happened is that in their place are multiple, co-existing agents who engage in a variety of strategies to secure their place within the political landscape: local militias, pro-government militias, political militias working at the behest of politicians and political parties, civil society organisations forming protest movements, external groups seeking local partners (such as ISIS), and more occasionally, rebel groups seeking to overtake the government. These groups may use similar forms of violence — including attacking civilians, bombing, clashing with security forces, rioting — but they are distinct in their goals,” (ACLED Project 2017).
As I have stated before, peace and stability, which goes hand in hand with conflict resolution is the number one priority for Africa because without peace and stability, there can be no development. Countries that remain of great concern to us Africans with regards to conflict are Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. These are today the continent’s major crisis areas, with significantly more recorded instances of violence and fatalities than anywhere else, accounting for 33% of all violent conflict in Africa last year. While there were approximately 740 armed, organised events in Libya, Nigeria and South Sudan, there were three times that number in Somalia. “In effect, Somalia’s violence is equal to the combined violence of Libya, South Sudan and Nigeria,” ACLED report found.
Elsewhere, the absence of full-blown civil war or large-scale insurgencies masks disturbing levels of violence. “Despite lesser media coverage, a number of countries across the continent witnessed lower yet sustained rates of armed conflict, as state and non-state actors continue to use violence to influence political dynamics or consolidate their position vis-à-vis other competitors. The political nature of these low-level conflicts is such that, unless a political solution to the crises is found, violence is likely to persist or to escalate in the near future. This situation is common in several African states, but particularly intense in Burundi and Mozambique, the report has found.
The report also found that there was a 4.8% increase last year in the number of events involving rioters and protesters. The increase is mostly attributed to Chad, Tunisia and Ethiopia, but suprisingly South Africa remains the continent’s undisputed protest capital – and, as ACLED notes, the police seem to be doing their best to keep it that way: “Police often resorted to violent means in the attempt of curbing protests, but this repression ended up feeding more disorder. With new general elections scheduled in 2019 and growing in-fighting within the ruling party, violence is likely to feature prominently over the coming months in South Africa.”
ACLED’s data is perhaps most useful when it is used to examine continent-wide trends. For example, some 34% of incidents in 2016 involved state forces, which is high compared to recent years, suggesting that governments are adopting a more forceful approach to maintaining power. This is complemented by another trend, which is the increase in violence committed by political militias, which accounted for 30% of incidents. These are defined as groups that seek to shape and influence the existing political system, but do not seek to overthrow national regimes (the best example of these is the Imbonerakure in Burundi, a “youth organisation” which functions as enforcers for the ruling party).
Where does the DRC measure up on the important question of conflict resolution and its importance to development? According to the report, The country received some good news shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve (2016) when Catholic bishops announced that a deal had been reached to resolve the country’s political crisis. President Joseph Kabila had not yet signed on to the agreement, which required him to step down after elections are held, sometime before the end of 2017. Despite high levels of mistrust between the parties, the deal mediated by the Congolese Catholic Church remains the best chance for a path forward. The overarching challenge now is to prepare for elections and a peaceful transition in short order, for which solid international backing is essential.
Kabila’s determination to cling to power beyond his second term, in defiance of the Congolese Constitution, met with significant opposition and volatile street protests throughout 2016 — and threatens more widespread violence to come. Congo’s endemic corruption and winner-takes-all politics mean Kabila’s entourage has much to lose, so they may not let go easily. African and Western powers need to coordinate efforts to pull Congo back from the brink and prevent further regional instability. MONUSCO, the U.N.’s largest peacekeeping mission, does not have the capacity to deal with such challenges and would be more effective with a narrower mandate, moving away from institution building and toward good offices and human rights monitoring.
Last September, at least 53 people were killed, mostly by security forces, when demonstrations against Kabila’s rule beyond the end of his mandate turned violent. Clashes between security forces and protesters in several cities around the end of his term, on Dec. 19 and 20, reportedly killed at least 40 people. Violence is likely to continue if the elections are again postponed. The main opposition coalition, the Rassemblement, will be prepared to harness the power of the street to try to force Kabila out. The political tension in Kinshasa is also contributing to increased violence in pockets throughout the country, including the conflict-ridden east.
Then there is the new nation, South Sudan, worlds youngest nation at 5 years old and already holding the mantle as the most violent country on the continent. After three years of civil war, Sudan is still bedeviled by multiple conflicts. Grievances with the central government and cycles of ethnic violence fuel fighting that has internally displaced 1.8 million people and forced around 1.2 million to flee the country. There has been mounting international concern over reports of mass atrocities and the lack of progress toward implementing the 2015 peace agreement. In December, President Salva Kiir called for a renewed cease-fire and national dialogue to promote peace and reconciliation. Whether or not these efforts succeed depends on the transitional government’s willingness to negotiate fairly with individual armed groups and engage with disaffected communities at the grassroots level.
The internationally backed peace agreement was derailed in July 2016 when fighting flared in Juba between government forces and former rebels. Opposition leader and erstwhile Vice President Riek Machar, who had only recently returned to Juba under the terms of the deal, fled the country. Kiir has since strengthened his position in the capital and the region as a whole, which creates an opportunity to promote negotiations with elements of the armed opposition, including groups currently outside the transitional government.
The security situation in Juba has improved in recent months, although fighting and ethnic violence continue elsewhere. International diplomatic efforts are focused on the deployment of a 4,000-strong regional protection force — a distraction that would do little to quell an outbreak of major violence and pulls energy away from the deeper political engagement needed to consolidate peace. The existing U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, needs urgent reform — which is especially clear following its failure to protect civilians during last July’s spasm of violence in Juba. A glimmer of hope in the country’s tragedy is the delicate rapprochement underway among South Sudan, Uganda, and Sudan that might one day help guarantee greater stability.
There is no end in sight to violence in Libya, with the interim government ill-equipped to take on Islamic State and the patchwork of militias that hold power in the country. A long-awaited referendum on a new constitution could be held in 2017.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim to have “crushed” Boko Haram appears optimistic. Deadly attacks and defiant statements from the Islamist terror group indicate that the eight-year battle will grind on.
Conflict in the Central African Republic continues despite several ceasefire deals. International donors have pledged $2.2 billion to support a government peace plan.
There has equally been a rise in positive sentiment across the continent due to some shifts in both the political economic landscape bringing fresh hope about Africa being the last frontier of development. The former security guard who defeated a 22-year incumbent in Gambia’s presidential election. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is to step down after 37 years, although his party will likely stay in power. Africa’s first elected female president — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia — will also leave office, and could be replaced by soccer legend George Weah.
On the economic front, Africa has largely been on a positive trajectory. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is likely to be the most spectacular megaproject to be unveiled — a $5 billion, 6,000-megawatt monster that will become the largest dam and hydropower plant in Africa.
The Kenyan government is confident the much-anticipated $4 billion Standard Gauge Railway project will also be completed, connecting the capital Nairobi with the port of Mombasa and dozens of shiny new stations in between.
The world’s largest concentrated solar plant will be expanded in Morocco, while Nigeria embarks on a major overhaul of its transport and manufacturing infrastructure.
Among the companies were expected to be making headlines in 2017, Nigeria’s largest e-commerce firm was one of the safer bets: Konga has grown rapidly since its launch in 2012, raising over $100 million in funding, and will scale up further this year through a new network of warehouses and development of its payment platform Kongapay. Another company with abundant potential is Kenya’s SteamaCo, which is applying smart technology to the challenge of rural electrification through the creation of microgrids, offering a low-cost solution for unconnected households. With just 19% of Kenyans connected to the grid the potential market is vast.
Rwanda is targeting horticulture as an engine of growth in 2017, boosted by the new Gishari Flower Park in Rwamagana, and the state-owned Bella Flowers company will lead the charge. Mobile recruitment website Giraffe won the prestigious Seedstars competition for start-ups last year, and will use the boost in funding to tackle South Africa’s unemployment crisis.
Forward thinking African governments continue to thrive and move away from resource dependency.
In this regard, the ANC has confirmed the centrality of Africa in our foreign policy, our commitment to the African Agenda, and the realization of a peaceful and prosperous continent, as envisaged by Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
The realization of a prosperous, stable, secure and peaceful Africa is an important objective of the ANC’s International Relations Policy.
ANC has already done much work for Africa’s peace and developments but our efforts need to be doubled.
South Africa will never truly proper whilatest Africa languishes behind.
ANC Policy Conference must make strong resolutions on Africa.
Yonela Diko is the Media Liaison Officer of ANC Western Cape.
IMG_5369

RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION HAS ITS ROOTS IN THE FREEDOM CHARTER

IMG_5369Cyril Ramaphosa

The ANC’s programme of radical economic transformation has its roots in the Freedom Charter, which was adopted at the Congress of the People in Kliptown 62 years ago this week.

The Freedom Charter captures perfectly the intent and, to some extent, the content of radical economic transformation. It was at the Congress of the People that representatives of the people of this country gathered to declare that: “The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth.”

Given the extent of dispossession, discrimination, exploitation and exclusion, this call in the Freedom Charter was a call for radical and fundamental economic transformation.

Over the intervening six decades, the principles of redress, redistribution, social justice and equality have been at the centre of ANC economic policy. These principles have underpinned the ANC’s policies in government, notably in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and the National Development Plan (NDP).

At the ANC’s Mangaung Conference in 2012, the organisation adopted the NDP as an overarching framework for the second phase of our democratic transition – the pursuit of socio-economic freedom. The Mangaung Conference recognised that in the nearly two decades since the advent of democracy, political freedom had largely been achieved. The priority now was to pursue economic freedom.

The term ‘radical economic transformation’ was first used in the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, which was adopted by government in 2014 to guide the work of this current administration. The MTSF 2014-2019, which is derived from the NDP, introduced the term to signal an intensification and acceleration of the economic transformation process.

Radical economic transformation is therefore not a break with existing policy. It does not represent a new, uncertain path. Radical economic transformation indicates a new phase of accelerated implementation of the long-standing economic policy positions of the ANC and government.

Among the most profound statements to come out of the Congress of the People was that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. That statement was far more than an assertion of the right of residence in this country.

It was a declaration that all South Africans, regardless of race, have a right to an equal share of the country’s natural resources. They must share in ownership of, and access to, the means of production.

The ‘economic clause’ of the Freedom Charter expands on this sentiment: “The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people; the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; all other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people; all people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.”

The Freedom Charter envisages a mixed economy with both public and private ownership. It envisages a developmental state that plays a leading role in ensuring economic access to those previously denied economic opportunity. It envisages a state with sufficient legal authority and economic means to ensure decent working conditions and to take steps to improve the lives of the poor and marginalised.

If we are to realise the vision of the Freedom Charter, we need an unrelenting focus on the economy. It must be placed at the centre of all our efforts.

Radical economic transformation is, in essence, about building a more equal society through sustained inclusive growth. We need to fundamentally alter the racial and gender composition of the ownership, control and management of our economy. We need a South African economy that truly reflects the composition, diversity and interests of the South African people.

This necessarily requires that we address the concentration of ownership in the economy. Many significant economic sectors are dominated by just a few companies. Not only does this make transformation more difficult by limiting the scope for new entrants, but it also stifles competition, keeps prices high and encourages inefficiency. If we are to truly unleash our country’s potential, we need to tackle this concentration of ownership, control and market dominance.

We also need to diversify our economy, specifically through the development of our industrial capacity. South Africa has abundant mineral and agricultural resources, but is not extracting the true economic value of these resources before exporting them. In reality, South Africa’s natural resources are creating millions of jobs in other countries. By beneficiating our minerals, by processing our agricultural produce, we will be able to realise their full potential value.

Radical economic transformation will not be achieved without a massive increase in the number of South Africans who are employed. Job creation remains the most effective driver of inclusive growth, the most direct route out of poverty, and the best way to address inequality. That is why government, business, labour and other social partners have identified job creation as the most important and pressing economic task of the moment. Everything we do must be aimed towards job creation.

But jobs will not be created in any significant quantity unless the economy grows at a much faster rate. And the economy will not grow unless there is significant investment in productive activity. It must therefore be a matter of great concern that the country is in recession, that business confidence has declined and that our sovereign credit rating has been downgraded. These developments severely undermine our efforts to fundamentally transform our economy.

Yet, although we find ourselves in difficult economic circumstances, we cannot afford to be despondent. Now, more than ever, we need to work together on practical measures to turn around the South African economy.

Among the areas where progress has been made, and where work is ongoing, is in the promotion of investment in industry. This includes through the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment, the expansion of industrial incentives, the establishment of special economic zones and streamlining investment approval processes.

Another important area is to leverage public infrastructure investment far more effectively and deliberately. Even under the current fiscal constraints, government continues to dedicate significant resources to its infrastructure build and maintenance programme. We need to use this investment to develop our own manufacturing capabilities and local suppliers. We need also to bear in mind that investment in infrastructure on the African continent as a whole will only grow in the coming decades. As South Africa, we need to ready ourselves to be among the leading suppliers for Africa’s infrastructure revolution.

For radical economic transformation to be successful, the process of black economic empowerment needs to be integral to our efforts to grow the economy. Empowerment and growth should be mutually reinforcing. By bringing more black South Africans into the economy – as owners, managers, financiers, industrialists and employees – we are expanding the capacity of our economy. We are improving the potential for growth and development.

We need to use the levers of state procurement more effectively to affirm black-owned companies. We have been successful to some extent, but we need to do more to ensure that government’s substantial procurement budget opens up opportunities for emerging black businesses. We need to challenge the view that preferential procurement measures encourage fraud and corruption. Where there is corruption, nepotism or fronting, it must be dealt with decisively and those responsible must face the full might of the law.

Government’s black industrialists programme is part of a broader development in the evolution of black economic empowerment. Until now, much of the empowerment activity has been around the acquisition of black partners of minority stakes in established businesses. While this has enabled many to build up a capital base and acquire skills and capabilities, it has not brought about the broad-based empowerment that the country needs.

There is now a growing determination for black business people to establish their own companies or to become majority shareholders in existing businesses. There is a greater push, using mechanisms like the black industrialists programme and the revised BEE codes, for black people to establish, own, finance and control businesses in their own right.

Central to the success of radical economic transformation – central to the growth of our economy and the prosperity of our people – is the development of our people’s skills. If we can succeed in undoing the damage that apartheid education did, we will have succeeded in changing our country’s economy and our society beyond recognition.

If we can provide all our children with quality basic education, if we can make higher education accessible to all, and if we can equip our young people with skills appropriate to the workplace of tomorrow, then we will have laid the firmest foundation for economic growth and inclusion.

If these efforts are to succeed – if we are to transform our economy – we need to have certain fundamentals in place. We need a capable developmental state that is able to effectively direct resources towards where they have the greatest economic and social benefit. That means it needs to have an advanced planning and monitoring capability.

It needs to ensure that the country’s resources – from its minerals to its oceans to its broadband spectrum – are used to advance the interests of the people, particularly the poor. We need to have state owned enterprises that fulfil a clear developmental function, that are governed effectively, that manage their finances responsibly and that are led by capable, honest and accountable people. We need to root out corruption both in the public and private sectors. We need to eliminate mismanagement and wastage.

Fundamentally, radical economic transformation requires a supportive macroeconomic policy. We need to preserve our economic sovereignty so that we, the people of South Africa, may determine for ourselves the economic model, policies and programmes that best serve our national interest. That means we need to avoid a debt trap, which would scupper our transformation efforts and leave future generations saddled with the burden of our irresponsibility.

We must adhere to the current fiscal framework. We need to be spending our public resources on infrastructure, education, health and the needs of the poor – not servicing debt.

Above all, for radical economic transformation to succeed, we need to build a new national consensus on a programme for inclusive growth. We need to mobilise all sections of society in support of that programme.

The Freedom Charter provides a vision of an economy that is fundamentally different from what we inherited. It calls for radical economic transformation. It is our responsibility to effect this change.

Cyril Ramaphosa is the Deputy President of the African National Congress.

GEYA_MASHITILE_BYTE_28_MID_0

THE ANC NEEDS A LEADERSHIP COLLECTIVE THAT WILL WIN THE CONFIDENCE OF THE PEOPLE

Paul MashatileGEYA_MASHITILE_BYTE_28_MID_0

We should emerge from the National Policy Conference with policies that will help reimagine the future of the ANC and our country writes ANC Gauteng Chairperson, Cde Paul Mashatile.

Over past weekend (23 – 25 June) the ANC Gauteng Province had a robust conversation about policy proposals that, as a province, we believe are appropriate in propelling our movement to a higher revolutionary trajectory. We did so against the backdrop of our organization, the ANC and the broader alliance facing unprecedented challenges as leaders of society.

Our discussions took place inspired by the knowledge that the challenges that our movement is facing are not insurmountable. We remain alive to the fact that our organization has faced daunting challenges in the past. One is reminded of situations that preceded the Lobatse, Morogoro and Kabwe Conferences. It was tough and the challenges at the time were so complex that they even threatened to tear the movement apart. However, we were able to surmount those obstacles, thanks to the visionary leadership of the caliber of Cde President Oliver Tambo and other leaders of the time.

The ANC survived not only to wage the struggle that culminated into the democratic breakthrough of 1994 but also to develop and implement some of the most progressive policies that have changed and continue to change the lives of our people for the better. We survived because we listened. We survived because we were not in denial and we survived because women and men of the time put the interest of our organization above their own. We also survived because we adhered to time-tested values of humility, selflessness, moral uprightness and service to the people. These are the values that have ensured that we become the Parliament of the People and leaders of society.

These are the values that Cde Tambo cherised and lived for. They informed his leadership and ensured that the ANC survive trial and tribulations of repression, banishment, detention, imprisonment and exile.

The ANC is more than 105 years because it adhered to these values with its leadership unshaken in utilizing them as their guide. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Tambo, it is incumbent upon us that we return to these values as part of paying tribute to the sacrifice he made in pursuance of a vision of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society. Our return to these values will be a fitting tribute to him and the thousands of our patriots who sacrificed life and limb during the fight against apartheid and for freedom and democracy.

There is no denying that our movement is in trouble! Things are not well with the ANC having lost key municipalities in the last local government elections and our people expressing their unhappiness with the way we do things. We therefore need to determine what needs to be done to save our movement so as it can reclaim its standing as leader of society and parliament of the people.

As we engage in discussions during the eminent National Policy Conference on 30 June to 05 July, we need to honestly examine what led us to be where we are and how do we emerge from this deep hole more stronger and united. Without unity, the future looks bleak. It is, however, important that the unity we forge is not based on the shifting sands of illusion. We need to confront all the ills that afflict and weaken our movement and be principled about it.

Hence, the announcement by the President to establish a judicial commission of enquiry into state capture is welcomed as this will go a long way in ensuring that comrades who are accused of malfeasances are afforded an opportunity to clear their names and we put this ugly saga behind us.

In our efforts to rescue our movement, we also need to stop being inward looking. Our people are crying out and the ANC need to address their needs and concerns if we are to rescue the ANC from the morass is trapped in.

As we do this we need to be guided by what President Tambo said when opening the 48th National Conference of the ANC and I quote:

“Even as we provided leadership, we were always conscious of the fact that the ANC was the people`s parliament. The widespread circulation of Constitutional Guidelines was a further assertion of the sovereignty of the people. The unity in action of our people has remained the guiding beacon throughout the days of illegality. To reach our goal of a united, democratic, nonracial and nonsexist South Africa, sooner rather than later, then we must not deviate from this course. In this context, we considered it important that decisions of the ANC were to be shaped by popular mass endorsement at all times. Even if such decisions were acceptable within the Movement, they would have come to naught unless they enjoyed popular support beyond the bounds of the ANC itself. Whilst our policies were in terms of our beliefs and convictions, they also reflected and served the people`s interests. Above all, we sought to make the people part and parcel of our decisions.”

Society yearns for leadership and we cannot provide it unless we not only listen to our people but also respond to their cries. Gone are the days when the ANC would assume that what they agree upon within its structures will resonate with the people. We have to be constantly in touch and in sync with the nation’s pulse. It is against this backdrop therefore that as we embark on the exercise of reviewing our policies, we have to determine whether the issue is the policies themselves or it is lack of implementation thereof given the fact that most if not all our policies are progressive and forward looking.

My take is that the issue is less about policies per se but more about their implementation. It would therefore be prudent that we cast our focus more on how best to implement our policies if we are to remain relevant. Hence we should ask ourselves how best we will be tackling the scourge of crime, especially against women and children. As a societal issue, our strategies should be comprehensive including attending to both economic and social matters.

We must strengthen our Community Policing Fora (CPFs) and street committees so as they work with law-enforcement agencies to fight crime. We also urge our courts to impose harsher sentences on perpetrators of crime.

Our radical economic transformation agenda has to be brought under the spotlight. The ANC has to escalate its efforts to bring our people into the mainstream of the economy so as they also play an active role to ensure that economic benefits accrue to them. Various plans have to be rigorously implemented and this include escalating efforts in building township economy as this will address poverty and joblessness.

We also need to strengthen efforts to support small businesses to create jobs for millions of the unemployed especially the youth. Youth unemployment in Gauteng is estimated at 2, 7 million young people with some who have graduated from FET and VET colleges and universities. In this regard, we welcome the intervention of the Gauteng Provincial Government through its programme of Tshepo 1 Million. This programme is already providing opportunities for young people with internships, skills and financial support to run their own businesses etc. We also commend the private sector for partnering with government on this programme. We are confident that by 2019 this programme would have benefitted more than 1 million young people in Gauteng.

It is common course that without the requisite skills our economy will not be able to compete in a globalized world. Hence, we need to also strengthen efforts to improve our education system so as our people are skilled appropriately in order that they contribute to growing our economy. The need for skills development can therefore not be overemphasized. Education should therefore remain our apex priority. Government must forge ahead in ensuring that all children has access to education and that children from poor families should also access higher education.

Although we lost two Metros and two local municipalities in Gauteng, we however, won the majority of the wards. We need to utilize this strength to intervene out there in communities. We must not sit back like a traditional opposition party but should continue to take up issues affecting our communities. The Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) is currently finalizing a document that looks at how we can ensure to be effective in opposition.

We have made strides in creating a better life for all our people. Unfortunately, things have gone horribly wrong lately with the ANC being perceived as arrogant, self-serving and embracing corruption and mediocrity. Our people are even turning against their own movement as the crisis we are facing seem to be deepening by the day. One of the issues that has come into sharp focus as having contributed or is contributing to the crisis our movement is in is leadership or lack thereof. As we kick-start the National Policy Conference this week and Elective Conference later this year, it will be important to confront this matter and begin to define our approach to leadership and succession. As an organization, we seem to be approaching this question in a piecemeal manner and this is not assisting in ensuring that this issue does not become divisive every time there are elections. It is about time that we approach this matter strategically as the growth or even survival of any organization depends in no small measure on how leadership and succession are managed.

Given that the succession debate is now officially opened by the NEC, ANC members must seize this opportunity to define leadership and how we manage it within our structures. Rather than we be obsessed with names, we should define the characteristics that a leader of the ANC must possess, the criteria for qualification and how we manage succession. This exercise should be informed by “Through the eye of the needle” document as it contains useful guidelines and also brings objectivity to the equation. It is prudent that we adopt a strategic approach to ensure that the best amongst us are elected to lead.

It is against this backdrop that when we go to Conference, we must elect a leadership that will win the confidence of South Africans beyond just members of the ANC. We should also elect a leadership collective that is composed of different generations (generational mix) including the fearless former exiles, the Class of June 16 and the Indomitable Young Lions. This leadership must be composed of women and men (young and old) of integrity, who will be able to address the challenges facing our organization. They must be leaders who are selfless and lead with humility but brave enough to protect the gains of our revolution. In short, they must lead without fear or favour!

The leadership collective that we must elect must protect the state from various forms of state capture, fight corruption and ensure good governance. This also means that the leadership collective that we elect must not be motivated by self-enrichment but service to our people.

For the sake of our movement and our future, we should avoid factions and slates when we choose leadership. We should rather strive for consensus. In the period leading up to September when nominations will be officially opened, it is important that as comrades we engage each other with the view to influence or be influenced by others. We should not strive for winner-take-all. We should rather strive for a win-win situation as a winner-take-all approach can lead to the destruction of the ANC and this also poses a danger of us losing the 2019 general elections. It is therefore incumbent upon all ANC members to do everything in our power to emerge from that Conference with the leadership that is united behind a common vision and is able to lead our people to the national democratic society. The Gauteng PEC has already started a discussion on the leadership question and will soon share its proposal with the branches.

The challenges that we are facing notwithstanding, the ANC needs to adopt a comprehensive policy on leadership and succession with enforcement measures built in.

We will be failing in our duties if the upcoming conferences are not utilized to change course especially in regard to the leadership question.

When we deal with organizational renewal, we should also restructure and strengthen the Head Office of the ANC so that it becomes a truly strategic centre of power. In that regard there are proposals that other provinces are considering to add more full-time Head of Departments at Luthuli House. Some of these proposals under discussion include the following: position of the 2nd Deputy President and two additional DSGs. These proposals are currently being refined. We should also continue to reform our electoral processes within the ANC. The way we elect our members to be public representatives have in the past created animosity within our ranks. Let us therefore support the proposal to establish a revolutionary electoral college.

The current situation also calls for fresh, innovative responses. We should agree that the ANC cannot hope to respond to the challenges that the country is facing on its own or only with its traditional allies. Now is the time for a concerted effort to reach out to other progressive forces. We have to lead efforts to build a broad front of progressive forces that we share a common transformative vision with. This front should include religious formations, civil society organizations and other social formations. Such a broad front should also welcome other political parties and trade unions that share common principles and agenda with us, especially those who subscribe to the vision as enshrined in the Freedom Charter. This noble initiative will go a long way in mobilising the broad sections of our society behind our historic mission of creating a better life for all our people since these stakeholders have an interest in propelling our country to a higher development trajectory.

This is a moment of reflection on the political situation obtaining in our country. We should do this with the view to not just lament but decisively deal with the ills that afflict our movement.

We should also approach the National Policy Conference (NPC) with the view to continue contributing to saving our movement as the NPC provides all our structures with a perfect platform to not only examine the policy propositions as contained in the draft policy documents but also to chart a concrete way forward. We should ensure that the ANC emerges from the NPC with clear, concise and relevant policies that will reimagine the future of the ANC and our country if we are to remain the leader of society and parliament of the people.

As we engage during the conference, let the interest of our people be our preoccupation. We should be robust, frank and honest in our conversations so as we emerge out of this conference with clear policy proposals that will contribute to bringing the vision of a better life for all to reality. The time is now! Seize the moment!

Paul Mashatile is the Chairperson of the African National Congress in Gauteng.

Sihle+Zikalala

NO PROGRESS WITHOUT A STRONG AND UNITED ANC

Sihle+ZikalalaSihle Zikalala

The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal has recently concluded a very successful Provincial General Council.  The Council was honoured by the presence of the President of our movement , other NEC members, branch delegates, the ANC Leagues, the Alliance and other invited guests.  Musa Dladla Region in our Province was a commendable host of the PGC and  worked hard to make it visible to all that the ANC was gathering there.

I have no doubt in my mind that as we rise from the PGC, we can all agree that we are more wiser than we were when we met two days ago and therefore ready to advance our policy positions as we go to the National Policy Conference.

Emerging from the Provincial General Council is a contingent of cadres and activists prepared to confront perennial challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. As was asserted by the President, the enemy continues to live and fighting irrespective of whether or not we recognized its permanent presence.

We want to state without any hesitation that, today in our country there is a convergence of forces who share a common short goal which is to remove President Jacob Zuma and ANC, but do not share a common objective on what happens in the aftermath.

That’s what makes these forces to be even more dangerous, illogical and unreliable. Placing any trust on them is very serious risk for future of the people and that of generations to come. Therefore, being a member and a cadre of the movement requires people who are constantly engaged in a study of the revolution, factors that influence it and the role of revolutionaries to shape it in the best interests of our revolutionary cause.

Therefore, the journey does not end here as we rise from the PGC.  We need to pay sufficient attention to the state of the organisation and avoid temptation of allowing our individual conduct and desire to tarnish the image and standing of the ANC.

As we said at the start of the PGC, the ANC is a movement and the parliament of the people.  It exists solely to serve and service the people. It continued existence is dependent on the trust that people continue to bestow on it. As Moses Kotane once said, “the revolution is about the people and the people can be stolen”. Therefore, we must at all times refuse to project the people’s movement, through our conduct and articulations, as a movement that is self-serving.

We should also never fall prey into a fallacy of thinking that the ANC is immune from natural processes that characterizes any society.  All societies do not consist of things, but of processes that brings things into and out of being. This is a dialectical relationship between the cause and effects in society.

The ANC came into being as a result of struggles of the people.  If, because of our conduct, people come to the determination, wittingly or unwittingly, that their struggles can best be pursued outside the ANC, the ANC will become irrelevant and eventually cease to exist.  When the ANC ceases to exist, the gains of the revolution will be reversed and future generations will, correctly, put the entire blame on our shoulders. At that point people will be stolen.

The motive forces of the National Democratic Revolution remains the working class, rural poor, middle strata who stands to benefit from the continuing struggle to build a National Democratic Society. These forces are characterized as Africans in particular and Blacks in general. As a consequence, all our actions must be directed to the liberation of this important segment of society.

As we continue to navigate through the difficult times facing our movement and the revolution, we must never lose hope even in the face complex circumstances and difficult moments. The ANC President, on the first day of the PGC, took us into the memory lane about what it means to be a cadre of the movement.

The articulation by the President is in line with the teachings of Chairman Mao Zendong that “what is correct inevitably develops in the course of struggle with what is wrong.  The true, the good and the beautiful always exists by contrast with the false, the evil and the ugly, and grow in struggle with them.  As soon as something erroneous is rejected and a particular truth accepted by mankind, new truths begin to struggle with the new errors.  Such struggle will never end.”

As we prosecute the people’s struggle under the ever-changing conditions, we must continue to sharpen our tools of analyses so that we are able to distinguish the trees from woods, weed from flagrant flowers and avoid accrediting the relative with the features of the absolute. This we will do and succeed in doing, if we keep the African National Congress deeply rooted among the masses of our people. There must be no difference between the ANC and the masses of our people, both in thinking and articulation of our aspirations.

As we surge forward with a struggle for radical economic transformation, we must fully appreciate the fact that we pursue a struggle under the conditions characterized by antagonistic contradictions at play.

As observed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the communist manifesto “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles…the oppressor and oppressed stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

While appreciating this fundamental reality, in South African the national question became the primary contradiction to be resolved to attain a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous society. This has always been understood not as the postponement of the class struggle but interconnectedness of the class struggle and the resolution of the national question.

Twenty three years into democracy the uninterrupted battle between the contending classes in South Africa is now an open fight.  The oppressor is uncomfortable with the project of radical economic transformation which is an immediate agenda and plight for the oppressed class – as represented by the ANC. This is a permanent war which President Jacob Zuma aptly referred to during his address to this Provincial General Council.

Because of this unending and uninterrupted battle, an economic warfare has been unleashed against the ANC and its government – hence our economy has been put into junk status by the rating agencies.  We understand this to be an economic warfare because the decisions to downgrade the economy of our country were taken not on the basis of soundness of our economic policies but on political considerations after the President exercised his constitutional prerogative to re-constitute the cabinet.

We are raising these points so that as revolutionaries we are able to distinguish the challenges of our own making and those brought to us by the objective environment, even if they coincide with our own internal subjective dynamics negatively impacting upon the pace of change.

How are we then expected to understand the sudden desire by some in the congress movement to cooperate with the counter-revolution?  As revolution teaches us, a conscious of a person is not determined by a function of a mind but by his/her surrounding objective conditions.

Indeed because of the successes of our revolution, there are some in the movement who have recorded rapid growth in life either as a result of policies of the democratic government or were deliberately and purposely co-opted by the White Monopoly Capital so that it appears to be concerned with African people, while the intention is to serve its agenda.  It is these comrades who today have sponsored bravery to tell us that there is no white monopoly capital and that the agenda for radical economic transformation is a reckless agenda that will upset the private capital.

The crippling danger of conformism need to be confronted. Clearly, they are those who see nothing wrong with the current economic status quo and they have pick-bagged on subjective challenges to further their own ambitions. For them any change in the structure of the economy represents adventurism or recklessness. In this context, the pursuit of radical economic transformation should simultaneously include fighting corruption. Both resisting Radical Economic Transformation need to be confronted and uprooted from the movement and all spheres of government.

We have decided to labour on this point so that we all have common understanding of the real challenge we are facing and not fall prey to the agenda sold to us by the enemy.

As we move to the policy conference to be held later this week, we must buttress the project of radical economic transformation with decisiveness and policy positions that will wrestle the economy from the hands of the few white males.  We need to move with speed to economically empower the majority of our country – the Africans in particular.

Our Political Overview lifted up some key policy proposals that we need to advance and some those have become the resolutions of this Provincial General Council. Among others, the PGC has agreed on the followings:

We are unanimous in our view that there can be no progress without a strong and united African National Congress,

We are firm and unanimous on the importance of land redistribution without compensation,

We are firm and unanimous on the necessity to advance the Radical Economic Transformation,

We are firm on our view that free and quality education up to the first degree is the correct way to lead the skill revolution and build human capital needed for a developmental state,

We are firm on our position that the renewal of the National Liberation Movement is not an option, but a revolutionary imperative for continued survival of the movement,

We are firm and unanimous that as part of strengthening the Head Quarters, the we will advocate, in addition to other NEC members to be fulltime, for an amendment of the constitution to accommodate the existence of two Deputy Secretaries General, one responsible for Monitoring, Evaluation and Research and another one for Organization Building and Campaigns,

We are committing ourselves to rise above parochial provincial interests if any of them compromises the unity of the ANC,

As the PGC, we are unanimous on the principles that should inform the selection and election of leadership. Revolutionaries are not born but constructed by the struggles of our people, not by positions they hold in the revolution. As KwaZulu-Natal we do not subscribe to the notion the election of a Deputy President implies that that comrade is automatically ordained to be a successor to the incumbent. If it was so they would be no need for elections.

 

In addition to such an unwritten tradition, the leadership election should be driven by the strategic tasks of that moment and the quality of the available pool of leadership, rather than a supposedly natural selection due to the current leadership position. The assertion that a deputy is an inherent successor to the incumbent is devoid of scientific analysis of the tasks of the current phase of NDR and suitability of leadership quality and character to lead the movement in that phase of the struggle.

If this must be a principle position in the movement then it has to be universally applicable rather self-serving and convenience because of conferences. The leadership must be chosen on the strength of its quality and not the position they hold.

I would like to express our revolutionary gratitude to the ANC Branch delegates, RECs, Leagues and Alliance partners for making the Provincial General Council a resounding success. All of us made a profound statement that the unity of the African National Congress is sacrosanct. I know that all of us are committed to ensure that this undertaking does not become an empty statement.

 

On our collective shoulders lies a heavy obligation to ensure that future generations do not pass a judgement on us as a contingent of activists who betrayed the undertaking we signed upon joining the ANC.  Once again, history and reality impose duty on all of us a revolutionary duty to maintain a dynamic contact with the masses of our people. In this, the Year of Oliver Tambo, let us as KwaZulu-Natal deepen the unity of the movement.

The struggle continues!!!

Sihle Zikalala is the Chairperson of the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal. 

IMG_5370

THROUGH THE GARAGE DOOR, BLINDLY CHOOSING FROM THE PRE-SELECTED

IMG_5370Bayanda Mzoneli

The African National Congress (ANC) will, later this year, hold its 54th National Conference, which among others, will elect the national leadership of the organization for a five-year term, assuming that part of the ANC Constitution will not change.

Fortunately, the nominations for the leaders that will be elected are not yet open, so this text (and its author) is unlikely to be misperceived as punting one leader or the other. However, discussing the principles around leadership is encouraged in preparation for nomination time.

In a media statement following the  January 2017 Lekgotla, the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) said,

“Branches will hold their BGMs/BAGMs during September and October 2017. In line with the 2016 NGC Resolution that the branch is the basic unit of the ANC, that slates must be outlawed and that serious action must be taken to prevent and deal with the practice of slate, the NEC resolved [to] do away with the practice of consolidating nominations for leadership at a regional and provincial level. Branches must be given the right to nominate. Consolidation at other levels tampers with the authority of the branches to nominate. All nominations for leadership from branches will be consolidated nationally by the Electoral Commission.”

This is a noble and very necessary intervention by the NEC. It will probably be followed by clear guidelines on how the nomination process should unfold. Until then, it seems practically unworkable, desirable as it may be.

Using the current constitution, a branch would have to nominate six national officials plus 80 additional members of the NEC, based on its own wisdom and knowledge of the 86 leaders. Keeping in mind the outlawed slates and that the leaders are unlikely to individually campaign for themselves, it would be interesting to see how a single branch, without consolidating at a zonal/regional or any level, would compile its nomination. As suggested earlier, the nomination guidelines will probably clear this, when they are issued.

The ANC National Conferences are preceded by the National Policy Conferences where there are in-depth discussions on policy priorities for the organization and draft resolutions for the National Conferences to consider, plus discuss further, for final resolution.

As such it is never considered necessary that leaders express their own priorities, outside of agreed resolutions, in order to be nominated for national leadership. It is assumed that the elected national collective will implement the resolutions agreed by the National Conference.

Given the irrelevance of stating a preferred leader’s priorities, lobbyists of various leaders have, in the past, relied on that leader’s past and resultant accumulated character traits to suggest why branches should nominate the said preferred leader.

Often times, lobbyists have ascribed various priorities to their preferred leaders as part of campaigning for their election. Oddly, the said leaders usually do not explicitly own up to whatever their lobbyist ascribes to them. As such, those leaders, once elected, may not be held accountable for the commitments made by their lobbyists on their behalf or in their name. Failures, where identified, are owned collectively.

Evidence since 1994 suggests that each elected national collective implements Conference resolutions with varying focus. This is probably due to a combination of subjective and objective factors which result in some resolutions being implemented faster than others, and some resolutions left unimplemented, or the speed of implementation thereof is extremely slow.

The struggle credentials and the service delivery record of potential leaders may no longer be sufficient to suggest that a leader will deliver on the immediate interest the ANC branches, and society in general, may have.

In this regard, the ANC 5th National Policy Conference Discussion Document on Organisational Renewal (PCDDOR) proposes that;

“The ANC nominations and election processes must be reviewed to allow for open contestation with provisions for the membership to engage the candidates.”

However, the PCDDOR advances this proposal more to address the challenges of divisive factionalism, rather than accountability, which is the point that this author is arguing.

Preceding this proposal, the PCDDOR acknowledges thus;

“This reality has resulted into the manipulation of branch processes to be geared towards achieving pre-determined outcome in terms of the elections of leadership in various conferences. (sic)”

This is evidently contrary to popular rhetoric, which all factions advance, that the 2001 NWC Discussion Document titled “Through the Eye of the Needle” is the filter with which leadership is chosen.

Rather than “Through the Eye of the Needle”, the branches are presented with pre-selected lists from which they have to blindly choose, as there is never a clear distinction in the delivery priorities or policy approaches of either list. Thus, through the garage door, branches blindly choose from the pre-selected.

It is common knowledge that the national leadership is elected for a 5-year term. Hence the candidates, once nominations open, should present convincing arguments on what they will do in their 5 year term, with clear timelines upon which they would be held accountable by the ANC NEC and the ANC branches through the ANC (mid-term) National General Council.

The intended delivery, and timelines should be clear enough to make it possible to tell achievement of the targets from the failure to achieve those targets.

The revolutionary sounding rhetoric of radical economic transformation, and the brilliance of pointing out challenges, causes and magnitude of unemployment, inequality and poverty are grossly insufficient as reasons to be elected. Equally inadequate is the enthusiasm in identifying opponents of the National Democratic Revolution, and/or their allies, either internally, domestically or internationally.

The commitments candidates make should, as far as possible, include how they are going to achieve those commitments. It should not longer be enough for any prospective leader to promise free education, without clarifying how that would be achieved within the prevailing fiscal constraints. The ANC members should refuse to be led by leaders who do not have the foresight to know that their commitments are unachievable.

It is common knowledge that the global balance of forces are likely to worsen and the global economic growth will remain stagnant. A candidate should not make unreasonable commitments with the hope to blame rating agencies, or other external factors, for the failure to achieve those commitments.

Our 23 years in governance ought to be evident in how practical are the commitments the candidates make. Relying on collective ownership of failures may no longer be enough to convince the voters that we have appreciation of the trust they entrust us through their hard-won vote.

ANC members, and volunteers, would have the conviction to later go on a door to door campaign to explain the commitments, convinced on how those commitments would be achieved.

This is not a proposal for a departure from collective leadership or from ignoring policy decisions adopted by Conference. It is a suggestion that candidates should state the priorities they will focus on in their 5 year term, together with their collective, so that the Conference do not just blindly choose based on the struggle credentials or CV alone. They have to know that the program resonates with the branches and communities which they represent at the Conference.

The proposal made in the PCDDOR for candidates to be engaged by the membership is not entirely new to the ANC. It is already happening with the ANC nominees for local government candidature in each ward. It is only fair and sensible that a level as important as the President, and the entire national collective, should not be left to chance.

Bayanda Mzoneli is a member of the ANC King Nyabela Mahlangu Branch (Ward 5) in Tshwane Region.

KM2

REMEMBERING HERMAN ANDIMBA TOIVO YA TOIVO

KM2
Kgalema Motlanthe

It is an immense honour to share brief remarks on the life of a man who ranks among the pantheon of this generation’s most venerated leaders. The life of Comrade Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo exemplifies the oft-quoted ideal that asks that we ‘lead by example’.

In reflecting on this remarkable life, I am reminded of another such leader who made an indelible impact on history.

In August of 1958, Martin Luther King Junior preached a sermon meditating on the question ‘what is man?’, which he believed to be “one of the most important questions confronting any generation”.

From these reflections stemmed forth one of King’s most iconic quotes, stating that:

‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’.

Indeed, the character of Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo’s life was defined by where he stood ‘at times of challenge and controversy’: always choosing the side of the oppressed and refusing complicity with the morally degenerate system of apartheid.

We are poorer for this immense loss, felt not only in Namibia, but in South Africa and across the continent of Africa. Such is the effect of the life of one who extended his activist humanity across the lines of the borders constructed between us.

On days like these, a complex cocktail of emotions overtakes our hearts and minds. As we collectively grieve the passing of a beloved friend, family member, comrade and struggle icon, we are invited to take measure of his remarkable life.

Such an inducement requires us to recall the thematic arc that shaped his days on earth and is simultaneously a motivation to continue the journey that defined his activism and just ethos.

While we are immensely saddened by the passing of Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo, we celebrate his life and longevity: encouraged by the lessons we take forward in continuing his legacy.

The lauded English author, Terry Pratchett, once stated:

‘‘No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…’

What Pratchett reveals, is the indelible imprint left by those whose lives become emblematic of the highest characteristics of the human condition.

There are indeed monuments that bear his name: the MV Ya Toivo ship; Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Senior Secondary School and the dining hall at the St Mary’s Mission School. These physical structures ensure that his name stays in our consciousness. But there is more to memory than name alone, and it requires monuments beyond brick, steel and stone.

Our lives too, can serve as living memorials of Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo’s legacy, as we ensure that the ripples of his life swell the souls of those who have devoted their life to affecting change that is dedicated to social justice, and emboldened by a humanist consciousness.

In our attempts to do so, we are required to recall the vision and ideals that inspired his commitment to improving both the human condition and the material lives of the oppressed.

Ovamboland’s son trained as a carpenter in his early years. In reflecting on this, a metaphoric angle appears between his interest in such a trade and the activism that would overtake his daily life.

Some people are gifted with the ability to both see the reality in front of them, and imagine the transformed shape that it could take in future.

For Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo, a piece of wood was a potential table or chair, in the same way that an oppressive reality held within it the possibility of liberation from its shackles.

A commitment to such a visionary existence requires remarkable fidelity to an alternate vision for the future.

While there are  less obstacles that lie in the way of changing the condition of a piece of wood as opposed to the material conditions of an oppressive society, they both require the acknowledgement that such change is both possible and that your own hand has a role to play in its achievement.

Such a society awaited Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo when he reached South Africa in 1951. However, rather than shying away from the commitments necessary to alter its conditions, he quickly joined a trade union and political movements, including the Modern Youth Society (MYS) and the African National Congress, belonging to the same branch as luminaries such as Denis Goldberg, Albie Sachs and Sandi Sijake.

Due to South Africa’s Mandate from the League of Nations following the defeat of Namibia’s colonising power, Germany, in the First World War, this Mandate, which was given to South Africa to help Namibia prepare for its independence, was betrayed as South Africa reneged on this undertaking as it sought to enhance its power through perpetual overlordship of Namibia. In this way black Namibians came under South Africa’s political oppression and thus shared similar political experience with oppressed South Africans.
In this way, comrade Toivo Ya Toivo was one of us: dedicated to the interconnected struggles for liberation in both his native Namibia, and on our soil. He exemplifies the profoundly humanist act of understanding our connection to our nations’ journeys across borders.

The actions that accompany such an understanding would lead to his imprisonment on Robben Island for sixteen years – becoming Namibia’s longest serving political prisoner, under Apartheid.

In ‘The State vs Tuhadeleni and 36 others’, Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo, accused No. 21.’, was convicted of treason under the Terrorism Act and the Suppression of Communism Act – which were retrospectively amended to try the Namibians under the depraved South African legal system.

Held incommunicado under section 6 of the Terrorism Act which allowed for 180 days of detention without trial, Toivo Ya Toivo and his 36 fellow detainees were subjected to the severest torture imaginable by the security police who were guaranteed immunity as well as unfettered and unchecked powers.

Upon entering prison, Toivo Ya Toivo is quoted as saying “the struggle will be long and bitter,” but “I also know that my people will wage that struggle, whatever the cost.”  He intimately knew what we now retrospectively discern: while the cost might be great, the rewards of following the most honourable path are even greater.

There are many words that have been used to describe him: steadfast, resolute, and iconic.  Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo possessed an incisive mind, sharp tongue and unshakable spirit. When speaking of him, his fellow prisoners often attest to his unfaltering character.

Even when incarcerated and facing the brutal conditions on Robben Island, Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo refused to participate in the prison classification system – despite the fact that it might have mitigated the severity of his experience.

 

He chose, instead, to continue on the path he set out on when he spoke from within the courthouse that imprisoned him – rebutting that the South African government had legitimacy over him and his fellow Namibians through his defiant actions on the island.

Participation in a rotten system based on moral bankruptcy was inconceivable for a man who built his life and character on the highest of ethical principles.

Fellow prisoner, Former President Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying:

“He didn’t care to be promoted and he wouldn’t co-operate with the authorities at all in almost everything…He was quite militant”.

 

These contemporaries, Nelson Mandela and Toivo Ya Toivo, were united not only in their shared prison days on Robben Island, but also in their resolute commitment to the ideals that they were willing to die for.

They stand elevated in our consciousness, forever held in high regard amongst those who refuse to accept the status quo and are willing to break their backs and risk their lives to see a new dawn – even when to others it simply appears to be an ever-receding horizon; a mirage; an impossibility.

 

Part of doing justice to the memory of men and women of this order, however, is allowing their humanity to include a requisite complexity in the narratives that we build in their honour.

While worthy of veneration, during their time on earth they asked that we not commit them to the ranks of saints, nor view them above the fallibility of our human condition.

Like Mandela, Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo noted that the difference is in our commitment to working on our faults and amending our flaws. He is quoted as saying:

“Progress is something we shall have to struggle and work for. And I believe that the only way in which we shall be able and fit to secure that progress is to learn from our own experience and mistakes.”

Indeed, he reached the pinnacle of such progress, in political terms. The founder and Secretary General of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) saw his dream of liberation from South African rule realised in 1990. Incidentally the dawn of Namibian freedom was on the 21 of March 1990, exactly 30 years after the Sharpeville Massacre!

 

In these troubled times, where unity of the African people is of prime importance yet, ironically, xenophobia continues to be a scourge blighting our connection to each other, it is critical to remember that our fellow Africans both lived under apartheid’s policies, ruled by its oppressive prescripts and suffering similar human rights violations, and were committed to our struggle for liberation.

These are the times of which we are reminded of Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo’s pan-Africanist ethos, which requires that we consider both what shape unity will take on our continent, and what it demands from us in embarking on a shared vision for Africa’s future.

Our destinies have long being indivisible. This future is unmistakably a shared one which will take a concerted effort to attain.

The peoples of South Africa and Namibia are thus irrevocably connected. As the great Oliver Tambo once remarked, speaking to SWAPO:

“by your actions you have forged bonds of unity between yourselves and us, the people of Namibia and the people of South Africa – bonds of brotherhood and comradeship, forged in blood, and for that reason indissoluble. This was also demonstrated by the incarceration together of the leaders of our Revolution amongst them Herman Toivo Ya Toivo.”

Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo will be remembered as a freedom fighter who was committed to achieving better conditions for his fellow Namibians and South Africans: a man not obsessed with achieving rank in society, but on improving society such that the experience of equality and freedom is afforded to all, regardless of position.

His life was lived with a servant-leadership ethos that permeated through every space and political office that he occupied.

In the general conduct of the struggle for human freedom there are generally two categories of fighters; those who stay the course and those who betray the course. Toivo Ya Toivo fell in the category of freedom fighters who were steeled by the struggle. His life is better captured by the following memorable passage from the novel Steel and Slag by the Russian writer Popov:

‘In the heat of struggle, men become men of steel or disintegrate into cowards and traitors to end on the slag heap’.

My deepest condolences go to the family of Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo; to his comrades; and the Namibian nation. Please know that today, your loss is ours.

Across two countries, Toivo Ya Toivo proved that no condition is ever stagnant. No reality is too overwhelming to imagine change. Even posthumously, he reminds us that above all things, there is always possibility for change.

It is meaningful that his name translates as “hope of hope” in its Finnish origin. While we mourn today we are uplifted by the knowledge that, as comrade Toivo Ya Toivo himself showed, the role of leaders is to define reality and give hope.

Kgalema Motlanthe is the Former President of the Republic of South Africa and Former Deputy President of the African National Congress

Oscar Mabuyane

ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE! “Organisational Redesign: Placing members at the centre of the ANC 

Oscar MabuyaneOscar Mabuyane

The African National Congress is heading towards its 5th National Policy Conference scheduled for the 30 June – 5 July 2017. The principal purpose of a Policy Conference is to review policies and to assess their adequacy in realising our political and socio-economic goals.

Informed by our liberation character and the fact that the ANC represents an instrument of struggle in the hands of the people, the ANC consciously makes its policy documents public in order for them to be scrutinised by all. As the ANC, we further engage on an extensive consultation of society, so that we arrive at policy decisions, which are most informed, widely supported and most astute to move South Africa forward.

Despite some contestation, one cannot dispute the fact that the majority of South Africans continue to identify with and desire a united, credible, coherent and decisive African National Congress. Consequently, the basis of our membership, as individuals to this Congress movement provides us with an individual and collective obligation to be true servants of the people.

It, therefore, goes without saying that the credibility deficit, in particular, the credibility and trustworthiness leadership of the ANC is proving to be the core threat to the movement and the revolution. Today it has become rather common for the people not to trust or believe what the ANC leader is saying and this is a danger.

In all our engagements, South Africans do acknowledge that the political breakthrough has directly produced a substantially better society with material opportunities for a better life for all. However, despite massive progress in transforming society, vast sections of our society are still considerably dissatisfied with their unchanging conditions. The triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality remains a key feature of our society which must be progressively addressed.

It is for this reason among many that the ANC must act with the necessary courage and decisiveness to put forward strategies to redeem the credibility and integrity of the movement. In simple terms we say, the ANC must aspire to inspire before it expires.

Principally, in the history of the ANC, one of the defining features of the movement for its survival and continued relevance over past 105 years of struggle – it has been its ability to transform moments of crisis to opportunities of deeper scrutiny and renewal of its machinery, approach and practices.

We argue that even today, we must internalise these lessons and act in accordance. In the main, these proposals are meant to strengthen organisational systems to ensure confidence, integrity and credibility of our decision making as being truly based on the will of the people.

What is emerging strongly is that while the majority of South Africans are content with ANC policies, however, the matter of leadership and/or the manner of selecting such leadership is becoming a defining aspect.

In this regard, the movement has taken bold strides towards deepening democracy and public participation in decision-making, with particular reference to the election of public representatives. As an expression of this, the ANC correctly decided to consciously involve communities in nominating prospective Councillors towards Local Government Elections last year. Indeed, the participation of communities in the selection of public representatives produced its own set of challenges in implementation.  However, the significance of this decision far outweighs its challenges, as the people now directly decide on who must represent them.

The 2017 discussion document on Strategy and Tactics identifies four areas in which the integrity of the ANC, as an organisation, needs to be enhanced and central amongst these is the question of leadership integrity. The document argues that the criteria and processes of selecting ANC leaders should be enhanced to ensure the integrity of the outcomes of the ANC’s leadership selection processes. The 2017 policy discussion document on Organisational Renewal takes this discussion further by stating that “There is apparent manipulation of branch processes to be geared towards achieving a pre-determined outcome in terms of the elections of leadership in various conferences”.

The discussion document on Organisational Renewal in this regard proposes the establishment of a Revolutionary Electoral Commission to run the ANC electoral process as a semi-autonomous electoral agency of the ANC. In line with this proposal, there is a radical proposal that all the members of the ANC in good standing must directly elect their preferred leaders at all levels of ANC structures, rather than for this task to be delegated to few representatives of the branch in conferences.

The ANC Constitution in defining the character of the ANC states that “Its policies are determined by the membership, and its leadership is accountable to the membership in terms of the procedures laid down in this Constitution”; The Constitution further gives each member a right to: “Take a full and active part in the discussion, formulation and implementation of the policies of the ANC” and a right to “Take part in elections and be elected or appointed to any committee, structure, commission or delegation of the ANC”. All these clauses in the Constitution inter alia define the character of the ANC as mass organisation with members located directly the centre of ANC programmes and processes.

The Through the Eye of a Needle’ document, which is the political basis for the movement’s approach to electing leadership declares this responsibility as a function of members. Thus it asserts that: “The selection and election of leaders should reside firmly in the hands of the membership. This can only happen if there is an open and frank discussion on these issues in formal structures of the movement. Quiet and secret lobbying opens the movement to opportunism and even infiltration by forces hostile to the ANC’s objectives”. The document goes on to describe a ‘delegate’ as someone who “understands and pursues the principles and objectives of the ANC and is capable of “weighing various arguments and act in the best interest of the movement”.

Indeed it is fair to say if things happened in the manner in which the document describes them, then the ANC would not be dealing with a credibility crisis. Moreover, if the ANC is the property of its members, then it follows that its members must determine its course. It must also be said that whether the ANC elects to remain in the path of realising its historical mission or betray it – this must be within the full determination of its members rather than to become a self-preserving shifting of blame.

In the ANC, the leadership of the organisation resides with its members both in form and content; it is the members who decide the programme of action and which leaders to elect. In modern society, the conditions of struggle have improved, and systems and technology have also vastly improved. In the past maybe the practicality of each member voting compelled the ANC to opt for the indirect voting system but the systems available today can permit for every member of the ANC to vote directly. This proposal will amongst other things guarantee the centrality of members in determining the leadership of the ANC so that the ANC can remain rooted within its members for decision-making.

Our rallying call has always been “All power to the people”, and now that it is practical to give members all the power, there appears to be no compelling reason as to why ANC members cannot, in their entirety, determine their leadership. This may, of course, attract more people to be active members of the ANC, as they would be aware that they are effectively deciding the future of the country and therefore checks and balances can be introduced by making use of audits among other instruments. However, the baseline for winning elections on the basis of people’s choice is politically highly attractive.

Further justification of this proposal is that the current political environment, characterised by heightening ‘factionalism’, ‘slate politics’ coupled with what we consider as the ‘sins of incumbency’, has created conditions that are degenerative and act to undermine the integrity of the movement. As such defeating factionalism has become an urgent task if the authority of the organisation has to be re–affirmed, otherwise it is a cancer which will capture and paralyse the organisation to its eternal death.

 

In conclusion, the 2017 discussion document on Strategy and Tactics states that “The fundamental issue is that, without a decisive programme to correct the debilitating [internal] weaknesses, the ANC faces the danger of losing the core attributes that afforded it the responsibility and privilege to act as leader of society”. We note that it is also true that the implementation of these progressive proposals will not necessarily be an all-round remedy for the challenges facing the movement. We, however, believe that they will express a decisive and progressive departure from the past while retaining our strategic political vision of transforming society. Lastly, the 2017 discussion document on Strategy and Tactics encourages us that “To implement strategic interventions of re-engineering, renewal and regeneration – consistently and without fear or favour – extraordinary courage and determination are required.

Indeed let all ANC members practically say Amandla Ngawethu!

Oscar Mabuyane is the ANC Provincial Secretary in Eastern Cape 

sediko2

“CONSCIENCE” VOTE SMACKS OF REVISED FLOOR CROSSING 

sediko2Sediko Rakolote

Floor crossing is a system where a parliamentarians votes against their party mandate or moves to another party without losing their seats in parliament. It is a Westminster system has its origin from British House of Commons and was also adopted in various countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and even South Africa.

Some authors who are pro-floor crossing asserts that unlike developing democracies, mature and stable democracies are more tolerant of floor crossing because there is no need to restrict it for the sake of political stability. They argue that matured democracies appreciates freedom of parliamentarians as a matter of democratic principle where parliamentarians derives mandate from the people not political parties. However, those who are against the system argues that it is a betrayal to the voters and reduces the capacity of a political party to advance its policy positions and thus leading to loss of public confidence in political parties. The system has a potential to disrupt effective and efficient political party practices which will ultimately weaken the overall democratic system in the country and negatively affect the democratic stability of the country. The anti-floor crossing views the system as an enabler to patron clientelism in politics where political parties with resources lures members from small parties with promise of lucrative positions.

In 2002, South African Parliament passed the ‘floor-crossing act’, Act No. 22 of 2002. The Act amongst others, allowed members of a political party to leave the party under which they were elected in the previous elections, and either form a new party or join an existing party, without forfeiting their seats. In addition, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Fourth Amendment Bill, 2002, passed into law in February 2003, permitted members of the National Assembly and the provincial legislatures to change their commitment from one party to another, regardless of the fact that the members would have been elected on political party lists.  Various political parties were against the system arguing that members of Parliament (MP) are elected by proportional representation, and are nominated by political parties on a closed party list before a general election. Voters thus vote for a political party rather not for an individual MP. There is no independent candidate in Parliament.

Some leaders of various political parties in South Africa labelled floor crossing as “an absolute mockery of parliamentary democracy and results in deception, suspicion, accusation and cheque-book politics”. Those who crossed the floor to other parties at some stage were labelled “crosstitutes”. United Democratic Movement (UDM) was a resolute campaigner against floor crossing system. The UDM unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of floor crossing system. Around April 2003 after 4 UDM MP’s used their conscience and crossed the floor, the leader of the party said “he felt betrayed by the defections of his senior leadership. The decision to challenge the floor-crossing legislation had been almost unanimous in his caucus.” On 15 January 2006 IFP leader Buthelezi said: “Floor-crossing is like the HI virus because it robs the political system of all honour, holding political parties hostage by rendering them unable to discipline their own members. It allows the emergence of careerists, self-serving politicians, which are a very strange breed because they do not honour the sanctity of the vote cast in the ballot box”.  I submit that this argument also meant that MP’s cannot be voted through a political party in parliament and decides on their own what to do in parliament and not take mandate from their political parties. In case they decide to abandon their party mandate as part of their conscience they must forfeit their seats.

Floor-crossing is physical abandoning of the Party that brought the MP to parliament and joining another Party but not returning the votes back to the Party. The MP that crossed the flow continue to enjoy parliament perks but not carrying a mandate of the Party that brought him / her to Parliament. It was abolished after the ANC 2007 conference resolved against floor crossing and President Kgalema Motlanthe assented to the constitutional amendment on 6 January 2009.

Is the call for MP’s not to be dictated by party mandate when voting not a revised floor-crossing system? Are the current MP’s not in parliament as per political party list therefore deriving their mandates from their political parties?  It is my submission that abandoning party mandate when voting in parliament as an MP is a temporary floor crossing which was labelled a mockery of our democracy by those who were opposing floor crossing and is a system practice by crosstitutes.  A call for voting by conscience might be a call to a revised floor-crossing system that was campaigned against by UDM and other political parties.

Sediko Rakolote

Member of ANC and SACP

(Writing in personal capacity)