The Free State Province can be justifiably proud of the results of the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. We achieved an average pass rate of 93.2% excluding progressed learners.

When progressed learners are included, the Free State attained a pass rate of 88.5%, which is 15.7 percentage points higher than the national average.

This achievement, coupled with other strides made by the Free State in education, is a product of rigorous work, rather than a miracle.

Guided by the 2009 and 2014 ANC election manifestos, the Free State Provincial Government has made education its number one priority. In order to put into practice this mandate, the provincial government has consistently increased the allocation of human and capital resources on the broad areas of education.

Through its coordinated, holistic and universal service delivery model, Operation Hlasela, the Free State Executive Council has, since 2009, overhauled the entire education system in the province.

This overhaul of the education system has resulted in a continuous improvement of various education indicators. The matric pass rate, as the significant indicator that shows changes in the quality of education, has shown the highest increase.

From 2009 until 2016, the Free State matric pass rate has increased by almost 20 percentage points from 69.4% to the current 88.2%.

In the same period, the Free State has increased the percentage of bachelor and diploma passes from 20.2% in 2009 to 35.8% in 2016, an increase of more than 15 percentage points over the seven-year period. This demonstrates that the province has also realized an improvement in the quality of passes of the period under review.

The general improvement in the quality of education output is not accidental. It is a product of team work. It is an outcome of a conscious effort to use education towards the socio-economic transformation of our society.

After receiving the 2015 matric results, the Executive Council resolved to convene a Free State Provincial Government Education Indaba, with the purpose of developing a plan towards improving education output in 2016 and beyond.

The Education Indaba provided a platform for all crucial stakeholders, including but not limited to, Members of the Executive Council, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Executive Mayors and other leaders of municipalities, Heads of Departments, Municipal Managers, members of School Governing Bodies, leaders of labour unions and other interested parties to deliberate frankly on the state of education in the province.

At the Indaba it was resolved that the retention of the number one position by the Free State in the 2016 matric results was not optional, but compulsory. A clear plan of action was adopted which served as a directive for all sectors of our community towards a better education output. The Indaba also agreed that, for matric results to be improved, the focus should not be on matric alone, but on all grades of schooling, including early childhood development.

Emerging from this Indaba, all participants became education volunteers, all playing their part in the improvement of education output. Below are some of the highlights of the 2016 matric results, which indicate a solid improvement in the quality of passes in particular, and the education system in general;

Quality of passes


  • Of all those who wrote matric examinations in the Free State in 2016, 35.8% obtained bachelor passes. This represents an increase of 6 percentage points from 29.8% bachelor passes in 2015;
  • Compared with other provinces, the Free State is on the top spot on crucial subjects of Accounting, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Maths Literacy and Geography. The province has also jumped into second position on its overall performance on Mathematics. This represents a massive jump from fifth position in 2010.

Pro-poor education system


  • Thanks to its grossly pro-poor education spending and focus, the Free State has ensured that an ever increasing proportion of distinctions achieved are from township schools;
  • Ngakana Lawrence Salemane of Le Reng Secondary School, a Quintile 2 school based in Ladybrand, Mantsopa, emerged as the best learner in Mathematics (100%) and Physical Sciences (100%);
  • The best Accounting learners in the province, Thabiso Mike Letlala, Ntebaleng Elsie Letaoana and Refiloe Ntsoaki Makhongoana, who all obtained 100% in the subject, are from Kgolathuto Secondary School, a Quintile 3 school in Phuthaditjhaba, Maluti-a-Phofung;
  • An increasing number of township schools are not only improving their pass rates each year, but are also realizing improved quality passes.

From 1955, when the Congress of the People adopted the Freedom Charter, until today, the ANC’s position on education has not changed. Under President Jacob Zuma, the ANC government, through making education priority number one, continues to demonstrate its belief that education is a potent weapon to transform society and to create a conducive environment for a better life for all.

Cde Ace Magashule is the ANC Provincial Chairperson and Premier of the Free State Province.




At the Indaba it was resolved that the retention of the number one position by the Free State in the 2016 matric results was not optional, but compulsory. A clear plan of action was adopted which served as a directive for all sectors of our community towards a better education output. The Indaba also agreed that, for matric results to be improved, the focus should not be on matric alone, but on all grades of schooling, including early childhood development.


Emerging from this Indaba, all participants became education volunteers, all playing their part in the improvement of education output. Below are some of the highlights of the 2016 matric results, which indicate a solid improvement in the quality of passes in particular, and the education system in general;


Quality of passes


  • Of all those who wrote matric examinations in the Free State in 2016, 35.8% obtained bachelor passes. This represents an increase of 6 percentage points from 29.8% bachelor passes in 2015;
  • Compared with other provinces, the Free State is on the top spot on crucial subjects of Accounting, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Maths Literacy and Geography. The province has also jumped into second position on its overall performance on Mathematics. This represents a massive jump from fifth position in 2010.


Pro-poor education system


  • Thanks to its grossly pro-poor education spending and focus, the Free State has ensured that an ever increasing proportion of distinctions achieved are from township schools;
  • Ngakana Lawrence Salemane of Le Reng Secondary School, a Quintile 2 school based in Ladybrand, Mantsopa, emerged as the best learner in Mathematics (100%) and Physical Sciences (100%);
  • The best Accounting learners in the province, Thabiso Mike Letlala, Ntebaleng Elsie Letaoana and Refiloe Ntsoaki Makhongoana, who all obtained 100% in the subject, are from Kgolathuto Secondary School, a Quintile 3 school in Phuthaditjhaba, Maluti-a-Phofung;
  • An increasing number of township schools are not only improving their pass rates each year, but are also realizing improved quality passes.


From 1955, when the Congress of the People adopted the Freedom Charter, until today, the ANC’s position on education has not changed. Under President Jacob Zuma, the ANC government, through making education priority number one, continues to demonstrate its belief that education is a potent weapon to transform society and to create a conducive environment for a better life for all.


Cde Ace Magashule is the ANC Provincial Chairperson and Premier of the Free State Province.




Reports surrounding the African National Congress’ (ANC) 2016 municipal elections communications campaign is manufactured controversy at best.

Six months since the poll which saw the ANC attain 54% of the national vote (the majority) the never-ending stream of dubious content passing as news shows no signs of slowing down – as its proponents desperately try to drive their narrative of a party in hopeless and irreversible decline.

Just like the notorious ‘sources close to the ANC’ exposes upon which some of our political journalists have built their reputations, this is yet another example of the failure of journalistic rigor and ethics.

What is now being called the “Black Ops” saga is yet another attempt to discredit an organization that has won the popular vote nationally since democracy in 1994.

To paraphrase Warren Johnson’s famous maxim: truth is the first casualty of journalism.

It is an unfortunate indication of the depths to which some have sunk that the amateurish brainstorming of junior PR executives contracted to some company headed by some individual has been elevated to the level of “ANC strategy.”

A strategy, coincidentally, that was clearly spelled out in our 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto – telling the story of delivery over the past 23 years and placing before the electorate our vision to advance the NDR and transform society.

Furthermore, a request for proposals to run the ANC’s communications campaign was issued to a number of agencies, which further spelled out our communications requirements ahead of the election. The ANC subsequently appointed global agency Ogilvy to run the campaign, working together with organization’s Department of Information and Publicity (DIP).

Regrettably, an employee of the ANC has been implicated and the ANC is conducting an internal investigation into his involvement.  No evidence however has been forthcoming to prove that apparently whiteboard-level brainstorming by a communications agency formed part of any ANC strategy around the 2016 poll, or any other strategy for that matter.

This has not stopped the traditional and social media commentariat from delivering scathing indictments that the ANC was running a ‘black ops’ campaign.

This kind of language conjures up images of high espionage, clandestine activities and plots in dark corners, and torture chambers. It is a desperate headline in pursuit of an even more desperate narrative: luckily the citizenry won’t be duped.

The ANC has no need to resort to desperate and surreptitious tactics or play mind games with the electorate – unlike others, we have a far higher regard for the intelligence of this country’s citizens; and don’t assume their electoral preferences may be swayed by fake posters and favorable tweets.

We can pride ourselves on having run a positive, transparent and clean campaign that did not any point resort to the negative campaigning.

This is the trademark of other opposition parties who tend to locate their entire message in relation to those of the ANC, sometimes even resorting to the desperate measure of appropriating ANC figures like Nelson Mandela to whitewash their own dubious campaign messaging.

In spite of the constant baiting and in some cases outright lies being peddled by some opposition parties, our campaign was run in full compliance with the country’s electoral laws. It has become important to reiterate this in the face of the desperate attempts of the DA to run to the courts: again if there is evidence that the ANC broke any electoral laws, we would welcome seeing it.

Although the overwhelming majority of allegations made in this ‘black ops’ story are problematic, some are more than others.

Not least of all because they betray an astonishingly naïve view of the way in which political campaigns are run in the 21st century.

The very notion of “Paid Twitter” is laughable- if one considers that promoted tweets are an integral tool of modern public relations and have been so since Twitter first launched. Engaging social media ‘influencers’  to drive certain messages is also nothing new. This is a common facet of digital marketing and has been so for over a decade.

There isn’t a modern political party in the world that does not use web content (some of it paid for) and broadcasting platforms to drive political messaging and the ANC is no different. During the election campaign we utilized our own website and social media channels to great effect to engage with voters; this has never been done covertly or in an attempt to psychologically manipulate citizens.

The sub-text of this unfortunate ‘black ops’ fiction is the suggestion that the manner in which supporters of the ANC assist in driving the organization’s message in the media space should somehow be proscribed.

Just as it is the Constitutionally guaranteed right of every South African to support and vote for the political party of their choosing – so is it the prerogative of every individual of this country to show their support for the ANC, and to nail their colors to the mast in the media space.

It would be unfair however to expect the ANC to take responsibility for an ‘strategy’ the ANC never sanctioned at any point.

Luckily the millions of South Africans who continue to vote for the ANC and see it as their only political home won’t buy into the spin. They know our service delivery track record, and they know we and only we continue to espouse the ideals upon which our movement was founded.

The ‘black ops’ story is a convenient fiction. Worryingly, its entire basis is court papers filed by a disgruntled litigant with an agenda. There is no ‘smoking gun’. There is no contract to speak of.

These should all be red flags for journalists. It is questionable whether the alleged court action itself would be able to withstand legal scrutiny.

This attempt at an ‘expose’ is a story cobbled together with emails and WhatsApp messages. It is littered with contradictions, conjecture and hyperbole. It is a storm in a Twitter cup.










Twenty years ago, encountering obese children was rare – so was children with diabetes. Only ‘the old people’ got high blood pressure or diabetes (colloquially called ‘Sugar’), cancer was not that common – and we certainly were not a nation of fatties.

Today South Africans are the most obese people on the continent. Diabetes has doubled in 20 years, high blood pressure is very common and almost everyone knows someone with cancer. So common in fact that these diseases together are rivaling HIV.

So what happened? Did we all suddenly lose all self-discipline become a nation of gluttons and couch potatoes who cannot stop eating and never exercise?

No, we didn’t – although Big Food (and the drink companies) would have us to believe that getting fatter and fatter is all our own fault. The biggest thing that has changed over the past twenty years is our diets, and in particular the number of sugary drinks we consume.

Sugary drinks include fizzy and non-fizzy soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy and sports drinks, all sweetened milk and yoghurt drinks and fruit juices (yes, fruit juice).

Between 2001 and 2015, the sales of sugary drinks in South Africa grew by over 65%.

It is noteworthy that most of the spend by industry is not on the actual products being produced – but on relentless and aggressive marketing spend, to influence and shape our consumption habits.

Big Food (and the beverage companies) are deliberately targeting the lower living standards measurement (LSM) market, particularly in developing countries such as ours.

In other words, they are deliberately focusing their attentions on hooking the poor, to get them to consume more and more fizzy, sugary drinks with absolutely no nutritional value.

This should be of great concern to everyone, but in particular to lawmakers in this country who are responsible for ensuring that our health budget is spent efficiently and optimally.

At the same time that our sugary drink consumption has exploded, so have our waistlines. Between 1998 and 2012, obesity grew from 30% to almost 40% in women, and from 7.5% to 10.6% in men.

Obesity-related diseases such as diabetes are putting an immense strain on the public health system, a system that is already struggling to deal with the huge burden of HIV and tuberculosis.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that sugary drinks are one of the most significant contributors to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, liver and kidney diseases, certain cancers and tooth decay –all of which are entirely preventable.

Sugary drinks are also linked with under-nutrition. Often babies are given sugary drinks to wean them off breast milk, but these drinks have no nutritional value so these babies become under-nourished and some are even stunted. Stunted babies have a much greater risk of becoming obese and diabetic.

To put matters into perspective, we should consider that a loaf of bread and a two-litre fizzy drink is one of the commonest lunches in the country, despite the fact that although sugary drinks have so much sugar, they don’t make us feel full – so we do not eat less and our total energy intake increases.

There are so many sugary drinks being sold that the volume is equal to every one of us drinking more than a cup (260ml) of sugary drinks per day. This doesn’t count the extra sugar we might add to our tea or coffee, nor does it include the many teaspoons of “hidden” sugar in a lot of processed food, much of it marketed as “low fat”.

Most people are unaware that a standard 330ml can of fizzy drink contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar; important if one considers that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people have no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar a day.

What we eat and drink has much more influence on our weight than a lack of exercise. Yet between 2010 and 2015 the beverage giant Coca Cola spent $120-million on research aimed at undermining the link between sugary drinks and poor health.

The same company helped to set up organizations such as the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) that shifted the blame for obesity away from diet – to a lack of exercise.

Not all calories are the same though. Sugar in a liquid form is particularly bad as it exhausts the supply of insulin much faster than when the sugar is consumed as a solid.

This allowed the development of diabetes at much younger age. Many women over 50 consider their diabetes to be “normal”.

Successive resolutions of the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC) have promoted the need for the ANC and government to ‘embark on activities to promote healthy lifestyles through mobilization of individuals and communities to engage in physical activities, good dietary practices and reduction of harmful use of alcohol, tobacco and to control substance abuse.”

The 2012 National Policy Conference of the ANC for instance resolved “to accelerate regulations on diet and content of salt in foodstuffs,” amongst other things.

In a far-reaching and progressive move that should be lauded, Treasury has proposed a new tax on sugary beverages, at a tax level of 0.0229 Rand per gram of sugar – or 20%.

This 20% tax on sugary drinks could reduce obesity prevalence by 3.8% among men and 2.4% among women, according our economic modelling.

This means that a quarter of a million South Africans could be prevented from suffering from obesity-related sicknesses.

The proposed tax would also raise around R6.4 billion a year, and Treasury has promised that it will use much of this revenue to fund health initiatives.

A tax on sugary drinks will be to save many more lives among the poor, as was the case with the tobacco tax.

It is a reality that the most vulnerable in our society are more responsive to price increases and it is also they who generally suffer far more from obesity-related health problems than wealthier people, who can afford healthier food and better healthcare.

But a but a higher level of 0.0344 Rand per gram – 30% – would be even better to reversing the rising rates of obesity. It is a more realistic figure to reach the goals we have set ourselves in the National Development Plan (NDP) as well as the global Sustainable Development Goals. (SDG’s) adopted by the United Nations in December 2015.

Predictably there has been stiff opposition from Big Food and the beverage industry, which has been
employing scare tactics in an attempt to rattle government away from implementing the tax.

Their tactics are similar to those used by the tobacco industry, which in previous decades also paid scientists to underplay the dangers of smoking.

The Beverage Association of South Africa (BevSA), which represents Coca Cola and other sugary drink companies, has hired two companies to look at the economic impact of the sugary drinks tax.

The company is claiming that around 60 000 jobs will be lost as a result of the proposed tax.

It should be considered that currently the beverage industry only employs around 14 500 people.

Both Treasury and independent economists, including Dr Neva Makgetla, from the Trade and Industry Policy Strategies, an independent group), say that the job loss figure is hugely exaggerated.

When Mexico, and Berkeley, California in the USA, introduced taxes on sugary drinks, there were no job losses. In addition, the sales of healthier alternatives increased.

Globally, taxes have clearly worked. Mexico had the world’s highest intake of sugary drinks. After a year, sugary drink purchases amongst the poorest third of the Mexican population were reduced by around 15% and consumers started replacing sugary drinks with healthier beverages like water.

Clearly the sugary drinks tax is only the first step in our journey to manage the obesity crisis.

It needs to be followed by many other interventions, including a public education campaign about healthy diet, and supported by mandatory regulations to prohibit marketing to our children, as well as clear information on all products – so people know how much sugar they are drinking if they choose to do so.

What is clear is that we cannot afford to wait any more.

South Africa is becoming more obese by the day. In the 5 years since we did our research another quarter of a million people became obese.

This sugary beverage tax will save lives.

Critically, it will cut healthcare costs in both the public and private sector.

As we head towards National Health Insurance (NHI), the cost savings in healthcare will be key – and revenue from the tax can be used to fund healthy initiatives.

This is a historic decision that we should all support.


PRICELESS is research programme providing information on “Best Buys” for health in SA.  Analyses show how scarce resources, can be used effectively, efficiently and equitably to achieve better health  outcomes.

A medical graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand and trained as paediatrician, Karen served as Director of Policy and Planning at the US NIH, Fogarty International Center and was on faculty at Johns Hopkins. She has consulted for WHO /PAHO and is published widely in international journals.




 This month we mark the 105th birthday of the oldest liberation movement on this continent, the African National Congress.

 This tremendous achievement is the result of the dedication, sacrifice and hard work of millions of people – in South Africa and across the world – who acted in unity to ensure that we can live in a free South Africa.

 As we celebrate the 105th anniversary of our movement, we gather also to pay tribute to a hero of our people and a true son of this soil.

 Oliver Reginald Tambo, the longest-serving President of our movement, would have been 100 years old this year.

The National Executive Committee of the ANC has therefore decided to dedicate this year – his centenary – to him.

 This is the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo.

 This is the year in which we celebrate his extraordinary life and supreme contribution to our freedom.

 This is the year in which we honour his memory by pledging to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, to achieve his vision of a free, democratic and united society.

 This is the year in which we affirm the statement by former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela when he declared:

 “I say that Oliver Tambo has not died, because the ideals for which he sacrificed his life can never die…

 “I say that Oliver Tambo has not died because the ideals of freedom, human dignity and a colour-blind respect for every individual cannot perish.

 “While the ANC lives, Oliver Tambo cannot die!”

 Today we say that for as long as we keep alive the ideals for which Oliver Tambo lived and sacrificed, the ANC will not die.

 For Oliver Tambo, this son of Mbizana, the unity of our people and the integrity of our liberation movement was paramount.

 When the ANC sent him to establish the ANC in exile, he understood that he had been entrusted the task of ensuring that the movement survives the brutal onslaught unleashed by the apartheid regime on our people and on the members, leaders and structures of our movement.

 But more than that, he had been entrusted with the task of rebuilding a powerful instrument of national liberation.

 He understood that no matter the difficulties of the moment, he was to be the glue that would bind our glorious movement together.

 Addressing the people on 68th anniversary of the ANC in 1980, he spoke words that are just as true over 30 years later.

 He said:

 “The need for the unity of the patriotic and democratic forces of our country has never been greater than it is today.

 “Our unity has to be based on honesty among ourselves, the courage to face reality, adherence to what has been agreed upon, to principle.”

 Now, in 2017, in the circumstances of the present, we are bound to acknowledge that the need for the unity of the patriotic and democratic forces of our country has never been greater than it is today.

 For although we have made great progress since 1994 in improving the lives of our people, we have not yet overcome poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, illiteracy and inequality.

 We have improved the lives of millions of our people.

 But we have not yet achieved the objective of a better life for all.

 This January 8th, we are saying that we will not be able to build a better life for our people without a strong, united and capable ANC.

 This January 8th, we must have the courage to face the reality that our movement is currently under severe strain.

 We must be honest enough to recognise that disunity, mistrust, ideological incoherence and organisational weakness is undermining our ability to address the challenges that confront our people.

 Building the unity of the ANC and the Alliance is therefore the most important and urgent task of the moment.

 In the January 8th Statement, which the President presented to the nation last week, the ANC National Executive Committee notes that the organisation is confronted by divisive practices.

 At all levels of the organisation, in our leagues and even among some components of the Alliance, leadership contests are accompanied by practices such gatekeeping, vote buying, electoral fraud and even violence.

 We must face the reality that much of the factionalism in our movement is rooted in a competition for access to resources.

 We must acknowledge here that there are instances where internal ANC processes have been infiltrated by individuals and companies seeking preferential access to state business.

 Often, people are recruited to the ANC not to build the organisation, but to provide votes to one or another faction.

 Like Oliver Tambo did, the leaders of our movement must be disciplined and act at all times to promote unity.

 Many of the divisions that currently exist in our movement are divisions among leaders, not divisions among members.

 These are divisions not based on ideological or political differences.

 They are not based on disagreements over strategy or policy.

 These are divisions that are fuelled by a relentless competition for positions, influence and control over resources.

 This is the reality that we are determined to change.

 We are dedicating this year, 2017, to correcting the many mistakes that we have made, to ending the deviant practices that are slowly destroying our organisation.

 We need to make the act of joining the ANC a more meaningful and valued process.

 Members of the ANC must feel on their shoulders the burden of responsibility.

 Like Oliver Tambo, they must understand that they have been entrusted with the future of the movement and with the successful prosecution of the struggle of our people.

 Each one of us must understand ourselves to be the glue that holds this organisation together.

 The January 8th Statement provides us with a plan of action to unite and rebuild the movement.

 We need to insulate state procurement processes from political interference.

 We need to strengthen internal processes for managing potential conflicts of interest and alleged criminal conduct and ethical breaches.

 At the same time, we need to embrace the concept of revolutionary discipline as understood and practiced by Oliver Tambo.

 He did not understood discipline as primarily a matter of rules, regulations and sanction.

 For him, discipline was the product of a deliberate political decision by an individual to dedicate their capabilities, resources and energy to the achievement of the aims of the movement.

 For him, discipline was a consequence of the decision of an individual to join the African National Congress.

 Discipline does not earn praise. It does not bring personal reward.

 It is about working hard and placing the interests of the people above one’s own interests.

 It is about fighting factionalism, resisting corruption, safeguarding public resources.

 This is the year in which we must make decisive progress in the growth and transformation of our economy.

 We know that we will not create the jobs our people seek unless we grow the economy.

 That is why we are intensifying our industrial incentive programmes, establishing special economic zones and investing in infrastructure.

In the Eastern Cape, for example, these measures are contributing to the sustainability and expansion of the auto industry.

 They are resulting in significant new investments in the Coega Industrial Development Zone.

 In the next few years, significant investment in the region’s transport and water infrastructure will bring extensive economic benefits.

We know that we will not create the jobs our people seek unless weimprove the skills and capabilities of our youth.

 We wish to congratulate the Eastern Cape’s 2016 matriculants for having recorded a 2.5% improvement in the overall pass rate.

 While there has been progress, we must acknowledge that we are still falling far short of the province’s potential.

 We welcome the efforts of the Eastern Cape provincial government to prioritise assistance to struggling schools, improving school management, developing and maintaining school infrastructure, and addressing the shortage of teachers.

 In 2017, we need to dedicate resources and energy to the most challenged schools to ensure all learners in the province receive the quality education they deserve.

 This province is home to prestigious educational institutions like Lovedale College and the University of Fort Hare, institutions that played a leading role in shaping generations of African leaders.

 Today, the various higher education institutions in the province – including this one – are shaping a new generation of African leaders, academics, artisans and professionals.

 They are following in the footsteps of Oliver Tambo, a dedicated teacher and a lifelong champion of the value of education.

 In honouring his memory, we will work this year to expand access to quality higher education to more South Africans from poor communities.

 Through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, government will be funding more than 400,000 students at universities and TVET colleges this year.

 We will continue to engage with institutions, students and other stakeholders on how to address the funding challenges in higher education in a sustainable manner.

The January 8th Statement says that it is time to return the land to our people.

 Our land reform and land redistribution programmes have shown measurable success.

 However, too many of our people continue to suffer from the historic injustice of land dispossession.

This year, we will use the Expropriation of Land Act to pursue land reform and land redistribution with greater speed and urgency.

 We call on communities and traditional leaders to work together with government to speedily resolve land claims.

 We need to work together to ensure that land is ultimately used for the benefit of communities and to build local economies.

 This year, we will continue to work together to promote local economic development, particularly in centres like Mthatha where there is great potential for localisation and empowerment.

 We will continue to create opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme, with an emphasis on work experience and skills for women and young people.

 We will not be able to build a better life for our people unless we can mobilise society as a whole to tackle the challenges we face.

 Oliver Tambo was excellent at building alliances.

 It was thanks to his alliance-building efforts that the anti-apartheid movement led one of the largest and most effective global campaigns of the 20th century.

 Like him, we must work to mobilise different groupings around commonprogrammes for change and development.

 We must build alliances with formations across the length and breadth of South Africa in pursuit of our goal of radical economic transformation.

 We must build alliances within communities to advance development.

 We must build alliances with fraternal parties and social formations across Africa to pursue the growth and development of our continent.

 We must build alliances with other countries, with political parties, with international organisations and leading global figures in our effort to build a better, more just and more equitable world.

 In 2017, we must deepen our efforts to build a non-racial and non-sexist society.

 Throughout his life, Oliver Tambo fought to tear down the barriers of prejudice, ignorance and injustice.

 He was unreservedly committed to the emancipation of women.

 He challenged patriarchy in all its forms, both within society and within the liberation movement.

 He understood that the achievement of gender equality was a responsibility of both men and women.

 Tambo was determined that the ANC should be a truly non-racial organisation.

 He sought to create a country where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity.

 We must dedicate ourselves to tackling discrimination and oppression in whatever form it takes, whether in the home, in the workplace, in the institutions of state, or on social media.

 We need to ensure that we respect, uphold and restore the dignity of all our people.

 Let me conclude with the words that Madiba spoke as he said farewell to his life-long comrade, Oliver Tambo.

He said:

 “Go well, my brother and farewell, dear friend.

 As you instructed, we will bring peace to our tormented land.

 As you directed, we will bring freedom to the oppressed and liberation to the oppressor.

 As you strived, we will restore the dignity of the dehumanised.

 As you commanded, we will defend the option of a peaceful resolution of our problems.

 As you prayed, we will respond to the cries of the wretched of the earth.

 As you loved them, we will, always, stretch out a hand of endearment to those who are your flesh and blood.

 In all this, we will not fail you.”

 As we begin 2017, let us declare here that we will not fail OR Tambo.

 Let us declare that we will strive to build the free, just and prosperous society of which he dreamed.

 Let us declare that we will unite, restore and renew the glorious movement to which he dedicated his life.

 Let us work to ensure that ANC lives and the ANC leads.

Cde. Cyril Ramaphosa is ANC Deputy President.

-This is taken from an address given at the Eastern Cape ANC 105th anniversary celebrations in Mthatha




Speaking at the opening of the first conference of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa in 1963, the legendary Ghanaian statesman Kwame Nkrumah reminded representatives of the African postcolonial movements that attaining freedom was only the first step towards liberation.

Nkrumah noted:

“The struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence. Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs; to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist controls and interference.”

In the year that Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC) marks 105 years since its founding in Mangaung – his words ring true today as they did back then.

As the development of the country has not followed a straight, linear trajectory but has experienced peaks as well as troughs, so too has the ANC

The task before us as we enter another year as the leader of society is to reclaim lost ground following a number of challenges and setbacks – and in this regard, party unity will be paramount.

It is for this reason the ANC has chosen Unity in Action as one of the key themes of the party’s 105th birthday celebrations. The reality is that a weak, divided ANC is bad for the country, and a strong, united ANC bodes well for the future of South Africa.

Ever since the delivery of the very first January 8th statement was delivered by ANC President Oliver Reginald Tambo in 1972, the ANC has used the occasion to highlight progress in the quest for political, social and economic emancipation of our people. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to outline the ANC’s priorities for the year ahead.

This year’s celebrations are taking place following the 2016 municipal elections wherein the ANC won the majority of the vote nationally but experienced a number of electoral setbacks in certain key areas.

As an organization attuned to the concerns of the country’s citizens, we are acutely aware that dissatisfaction with the progress in the fight against crime, corruption and the creation of jobs undoubtedly played a role in the electoral outcome. We also did ourselves no favours when internal party battles played out in the public space on the eve of the polls. This dented citizens’ confidence in the ANC and it is imperative that we reclaim lost ground as a matter of urgency.

We are alive to the challenges we face, and do not make light of them. However, these need to be contextualized within a socio-political context where the governing party still faces an enormous uphill battle of undoing the legacy of centuries of dispossession and discrimination that relegated the majority of our people to the periphery of the country’s development.

As we mark the founding of the ANC, we have made a call for the rejuvenation of our movement and a return to the core values upon which the party was founded. It is only through returning to these founding values that we will be able to realize the aspirations of our people towards a South Africa that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous.

As Nkrumah noted however, ‘no sporadic act nor pious resolution can solve our present problems’, and we need to be ever vigilant that the pitfalls we are facing as a movement do not sink us, or cause us to fall prey to the malaise of political complacency.

To advance our programme of societal transformation we have to listen to the voices of the people, and act to resolve their concerns.

Only a united party can achieve this.

In this year ahead, the ANC commits itself to rebuilding the trust of the electorate, and re-asserting our place as the leader of all progressive forces who yearn for radical socio-economic change.

Saluting delegates to the Fourth Congress of Frelimo in Maputo in 1985, then ANC President OR Tambo said:

“You have had your difficulties, but also your triumphs in tackling the twin scourges of our continent, namely underdevelopment and neocolonialism.”

“You have embarked upon building a single nation, with a strong common patriotism and a vigorous cultural personality, out of a population formerly divided by racism, regionalism and tribalism. You have built up your Party and created new organs of People’s Power..”

The ANC too has had its difficulties, but let us not underestimate or neglect our triumphs.

The ANC, the party of Tambo, of Mandela, of Mbeki, of Sisulu, and of Zuma has also succeeded in building a single nation out of a divided population.

As we mark 105 years since the ANC’s founding, it is necessary to reflect on our challenges, yes, but at the same time let us never lose sight of just how far we have come.

Cde. Jessie Duarte is ANC Deputy Secretary-General.



As we celebrate the 105th anniversary of the African National Congress, the National Executive Committee, correctly declared 2017 as the year of Unity in Action.

During this year we will also celebrate the centenary of the birth of our revered leader, Oliver Reginald Tambo. He was the glue that kept the ANC as a united disciplined revolutionary movement under the most challenging times in the history of our struggle.

It is indeed in true African tradition and practice that in difficult times we summon the spirits of our ancestors to help us navigate through what might seem to be insurmountable problems haunting us as the living. In doing this we seek to emulate the best qualities bequeathed to us by those who led us through stormy weathers in their lifetime.

The combination of the clarion call for the 105th celebration of the birth of our movement and the centenary of the birth of Comrade OR affords us the opportunity for deep reflection and introspection.

We can’t escape posing the question as to whether we are still on cause in our stewardship of the National Democratic Revolution. We also have to honestly and frankly answer painful questions related to whether we still have the mantle to deliver on the aspirations and expectations of the embattled masses of our people?

We somehow in the decisions taken in the last NEC meeting mapped out activities which will help us begin to answer the question; what is to be done to act in unity to restore the glory of the ANC that OR handed over to us intact and pleaded with us to look after it.

The NEC correctly decided that we should organize an MKVA conference which should result in uniting ex MK combatants primarily to take care of the challenges they face and to contribute towards efforts to unite our movement.

The revitalization and strengthening of Veterans League as the reservoir of political and organizational experience to embolden our long stated goal of organizational renewal is welcomed.

The league can also contribute immensely towards political education of our membership on the history, traditions and values that made the ANC survive this long. The convening of a conference of the Veterans League is an important, strategic and timely development.

When the movement under the leadership of Comrade OR averted crises and consolidated efforts to intensify the struggle, we convened in Morogoro and Kabwe, closed ranks and charted the path that led to the freedom of our people.

Let the envisaged National Consultative Conference help us deal with organizational matters that will help us consolidate our unity of purpose as the entire revolutionary alliance led by the ANC.

History beacons on us to march in unison as a united political army to deliver on a policy conference that guarantees certainty on the future of our country. We have the tools and previous decisions and resolutions of policy conferences, NGCs and elective conferences to guide us to a successful elective conference in December.

Let us take leaf from the volumes of lessons from the life of this unifier, thinker, strategist, his exemplary revolutionary morality, personal conduct, diplomat, pan Africanist, internationalist and above all an inspirational fighter for freedom which every cadre of our movement must aspire to be.

Long live the undying spirit of Comrade President Oliver Tambo!!! Long live the revolutionary alliance led by the ANC!!!

Happy 105th anniversary of ANC!!!


Cde. Welile Nhlapo was formerly South Africa’s ambassador to the US. A career diplomat, he was the ANC’s Chief Representative in Botswana and Head of the Political Section in the ANC Secretary-General’s office.



The African National Congress lowers its revolutionary banner in mourning, having learnt of the passing of El Commandante en Jefe Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, a giant amongst revolutionaries, a friend of the African people, Leader of the Cuban Revolution and former President of the Republic of Cuba.

On behalf of all freedom loving peoples of South Africa, the ANC sends its deepest condolences to the people of the great Republic of Cuba.

The ANC collectively mourns with the countless revolutionary movements of the Global South, for whom the legendary leader was a tireless supporter, ally and friend.

It was the great Russian revolutionary Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov, widely regarded as the founder of Russian Marxism who said in his seminal essay “The Role of the individual in History” – “a great man is not great because his personal qualities give individual features to great historical events, but because he possesses qualities which make him most capable of serving the great social needs of his time”

A true internationalist, El Commandante Fidel Castro’s philosophy was premised on the radical idea that those whom Fanon called ‘the wretched of the earth’ had the right to eat regularly, have quality homes, be granted access to free quality education and quality medical care.

In essence, Castro believed that the poor had a right to lives of dignity. For these ideas and policies, he earned the unabashed hostility from the global neoliberal elites and self-appointed controllers of the world.

The imperialist Western nations, working together with reactionary and racist Cuban elites and their media propagandists correctly saw in him a formidable foe who wanted to end their greed, fragmentation, financial and moral corruption and bullying.

Castro had a true sense of service to his people. He did not outsource his historic responsibility to corporate profiteers. He understood the saying that rapacious capital is not in the business of nation building.

The importance of Castro in the history of the post-colonial world is monumental because he won the real battle of developing a small island against imperialist domination.

Comrade Fidel joins the global pantheon of revolutionary leaders who have passed from this life having left an indelible mark not on just their nation’s history, but the history of the world.

For everyone committed to the ideals of equality, of social justice, of freedom, of the universal brotherhood of man – today is the saddest of days.

We have lost a man who dedicated his life to the betterment of his fellow man, and stood firm in the face of oppression to lead his people to freedom. Under the leadership of Comrade Fidel the living standards of the Cuban people were vastly improved, millions of young Cubans were educated and skilled, illiteracy was eradicated, and not only was public health care improved, but it became the envy of developing countries worldwide. Despite healthcare spending per capita being 1/20th the size of the US, life expectancy at birth in Cuba is about the same as that of the US.

The Cuban revolution was an inspiration to all nations suffering under the anti-imperialist yoke, and under the leadership of Compañero Fidel, the Communist Party of Cuba and the Cuban people were among the strongest supporters of South Africa’s struggle for liberation; lending various forms of material and political support to the liberation forces during the dark days of apartheid.

The life of Compañero Fidel is illustrative of the qualities of exemplary leadership – of putting country before self. In pursuit of the common good, he was undaunted and unafraid in the face of huge forces of resistance. He knew, and said: “A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.

We who strive for another world will continue to defend Castro from oppressors of men. We will not forget his love the for downtrodden of his land and world over; his faith in humanity and its potential and hope for a better world which he began to build.

The ANC will not forget you El Commandante and we will keep the spirit of your ideas live, until we are all free. In his memory and honour, the African National Congress  today affirms our unwavering commitment to the struggle for our people’s emancipation, and to supporting the people of Cuba in retaining their right to self-determination at a time when the forces of globalization threaten to derail the gains of the Cuban revolution.

Comrade Castro was a symbol of revolutionary virtue and personal sacrifice and with his life gave full meaning to the spirit of internationalism. He will be sorely missed. We will forever salute this outstanding revolutionary, and make the call as did Che Guevara, Hasta La Victoria Siempre.





 Annually the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) and the ANC-led government, through the Department of Women, run a successful campaign in pursuit of curbing violence on women and children as espoused in the fundamental principles of the movement of a non-violent, non-sexist and a prosperous South Africa.

Since 1998, South Africa embarks on the 16 Days campaign against violence on women and children that commences today, the 25th of November and ends on the10th of December.

The 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence, which marks the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of violence against women, is the Human Rights Day. This period also includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day respectively. The campaign, therefore, remains an essential tool in creating awareness on the negative impacts of violence on women and children.

The ANCWL has noted that violence against women and children is still rife in South Africa.  This violence against women takes different forms, namely; physical violence in the form of domestic violence, terrible violent crimes such as murder, robbery, rape and assault in the survivor’s homes and in society and the rape culture in institutions of higher learning and schools against young women and girl children.

While the ANC-run government works tirelessly to eradicate inequality and poverty, we note that the terrible brunt on our democracy is the violence of poverty, starvation, humiliation and degradation, especially against women and children. Poverty, inequality and unemployment are conditions under which violence thrives.

According to the 2015/2016 crime statistics released the by Minister of Police, Comrade Nkosinathi Nhleko, earlier in the year, there is a decline in violent crimes but for us, one incident of crime is one too many. The victims of violence are human beings and at the most violence directly and indirectly affects women and children more than it does men.  For instance, violent crimes such as murder destabilises families since children are left as orphans with lifelong psychological scars.  Again, the majority of sexual offenses perpetrators are men than women.

As much as the ANCWL appreciates the gradual decrease in crime against women & children, it is our firm belief that more needs to be done in relation to sex crimes, which includes sexual assault and rape. On sexual violence, statistics indicates that Gauteng had 9510 cases, KZN 8947, Eastern Cape 8797, Western Cape 7130, Limpopo 4369, North-West 4164, Free-State 3928, Mpumalanga 3331 and Northern Cape 1719. In total there were 51895 reported cases. These are not just numbers but there are human being and especially vulnerable women and children behind each and every number.

When we take into consideration the fact that statistics are not an accurate reflection on the number of sexual violent instances because it is only based on reported cases and it is common knowledge that there are survivors who do not report rape and assault cases due to various reasons ranging from safety, economic reasons etc. we, in the ANCWL remain concerned because crime statistics tell us that while we conduct successful campaigns yearly, we need to intensify the fight in curbing the culture of violence against women and children.

As the ANCWL launched the campaign this week, the aim is to mobilise society into acknowledging that violence against women and children is not a government or a criminal justice system problem, but a societal problem, and that failure to view it as such, results in all efforts failing to eradicate this scourge in our communities.

Violence against women and children is one of the most egregious and persistent violations of human rights, affecting victims across race, gender and age. This societal ill is a symptom of gender inequalities which are pervasive socially, in politics and in the economic mainstream. Women perform 66% of the work worldwide and produce 60% of its food, yet they earn 10% of the income and own 1% world’s property.

The ANCWL is adamant that radical economic transformation of women will curb violence against women and children. Gender gaps in the economic mainstream need to be tackled with vigour and the urgency it deserves as economically disempowered women are vulnerable to gender based violence.  Women need to be economically empowered to gain their confidence and independence respectively.

As a country we need to focus our energies on strategies for empowering women economically to afford them greater autonomy in securing livelihoods through traditional employment and self-employment.  Women empowerment has proven to yield great results in families and society at large.

Women cannot stand in the side-lines and watch the gains of our democracy regress. We, being in majority in country’s population, will continue to take up our role to influence, mobilise and fight for economic emancipation of women thus curbing violent crimes against women and children. We must move together towards a violence free South Africa.

The ANCWL calls on men, young men and boys, in all their formations and in society at large to join the fight against violence on women and children. While the campaign is marked for only 16 days, the deeply entrenched scourge dictates that everyday becomes a day to make progress our fight to emancipate, first and foremost women economically and thereby curbing gender based violence perpetuated mainly by inequality and poverty.

It is the responsibility of all members of our society to ensure that the rights of women are respected as equal citizens. That responsibility cannot be relegated to women alone.





 Technological innovation is a key component of the 4th Industrial Revolution, as noted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in their analysis paper published earlier this year. The scale, scope and complexity of this technological revolution, as the WEF notes ‘is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres,’ and ‘will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.’

Successive policy conferences of the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), have affirmed the need to harness the power of technological innovation in anticipation of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It is a brave new digital world where billions of people are interconnected: making it possible for them to access information, goods and services like never before.

The delivery of content through this increased interconnectivity is inextricably linked to socio-economic development, increased living standards and financial growth.

And in an age where Knowledge is Power, that interconnectivity can be a key driver of a country’s development goes without saying: for with the ‘democratization’ of the digital space comes the ability for messages and programmes to be delivered to millions of people, whereas in the past it was only a select few.  The digital media experience, through Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is upon us.

Government’s Digital Migration Policy, the result of an extensive policy formulation process driven by the ANC’s led government is being implemented, and promises to fundamentally transform the local broadcasting landscape for the better, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of all South Africans.

DTT will enable all communities to access news and information. It will lead to a new reality where all communities have access to quality programming and exposure to a multiplicity and plurality of voices: and not just the fortunate few.

The ANC has consistently affirmed the need to bring all communities into the knowledge economy, to address a grim legacy of marginalization of whole communities, cultures and ethnic groups on the basis of exclusionary language policies.

In other instances certain cultures were elevated above others in the broadcasting spaces and held up as ‘civilized’ whilst others were either not reflected at all or portrayed through the ugly prism of stereotyping.

The advent of DTT will more than ever open a window into nooks and crannies of South Africa that we have never seen on our screens before: with compelling, localized content production ensuring that our nation is reflected in all its diversity.

Earlier this month we reached a significant milestone with the inaugural Television Broadcasting Analogue Switch-off (ASO).

The implementation of this project will allow us to unleash the endless potential of South Africa’s ICT infrastructure in support of the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP infrastructure development agenda calls for efficient information platforms that promote economic growth and greater inclusion. It further calls for stronger broadband and telecommunications networks that are affordable to all.

What is often overlooked is radio frequency spectrum.  In simple terms radio frequency spectrum is a limited natural resource available equally in every country to the benefit all of its citizens.

Radio spectrum availability contributes to the unassailable performance of television, internet connectivity, cellular phone and radio astronomy services and creates a conducive environment for competing frequencies to co-exist.

What we have achieved with our switch on is the dream of all countries across the globe “to achieve the broadcasting digital migration implementation process”.

This major step demonstrates the capability of the ANC government to deliver projects of international magnitude.

It is also laying the foundations for the successful implementation of a programme that will benefit communities and various sectors of the economy.

The advent of digital broadcasting will transform and reshape the dominant public narrative: as more people, including those in rural areas, have easy access to mainstream current affairs conversations.

The public broadcaster, the SABC will have scope to offer more informative channels that will expose the youth and women in particular to a range of content from skills acquisition to research and ICT literacy.

The ANC government views Digital Migration as a powerful tool to promote the usage and universal access to information and communication technologies even in rural areas.

The Broadcasting Digital Migration Warriors who have taken us to these heights of connecting households in the five towns in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) should be lauded for having aided in us reaching this milestone.

These five towns are proud beacons of new hope, and should rightly be viewed as the pioneers of this exciting new technology.

Many of these communities are already saying the switch-on has revolutionised their lives.

Through our collective efforts and wisdom, we are determined to ensure that the broadcasting digital migration rollout process becomes a success.

We are now moving to borderline provinces around the country and appeal to all our stakeholders to continue their valuable support.

We share a common vision: to rescue our country and our people from the quicksand of despair to the solid rock of Digital Migration in our lifetime.

We will be announcing the switch-off date for the entire country soon. #GoDigitalZA





Earlier this year, Cde Gwede Mantashe, our Secretary-General said:

In this march for unity, non-racialism and democracy, we stand on the shoulders of giants who over centuries of subjugation and oppression, committed their lives to the building of a South Africa that would be united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous in character. We reaffirm the clarion call made by our people at the Congress of the People in Kliptown in 1955 that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white” and that “our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities.”

Many freedom fighters, young and old, black and white, laid down their lives for the realisation of the vision where in South Africa no man or woman would be discriminated against on the basis of their race, gender or creed.

We live in a world which seems to be becoming more and more intolerant.

Instead of celebrating the fact that we are all different and unique human beings, instead of being united in our diversity as our Constitution champions, many in our country seem to focus on what divide us.

We seem to be a long way away from those proud days as a country where we were acknowledged by the rest of the world as the Rainbow Nation.

For example, the South African Human Rights Commission recently stated that 68% of equality complaints received by the Commission in the period 1st April 2015 to 29th February 2016 have been on the basis of race.

In the recent past we have seen an increasing number of incidents of racism, racial intolerance and attacks on foreign nationals. In June we read that protestors had torched a mosque in Giyani in Limpopo. We have seen a number of violent attacks on gay people and the so-called “corrective rape” of lesbians.

The ANC-led government has responded to many of these evils in a multi-faceted way – for example, we have established Equality Courts which hear, among others, discrimination cases, we have addressed attacks on foreign nationals at the highest level by creating various Inter-Ministerial Committees, as well as structures on the grounds to prevent attacks and assist foreign nationals. We have established a National Task Team which focuses on the prevention of violence and discrimination against at our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) persons.

But more needs to be done on the side of legislation, as our current laws do not seem adequate to address forms of hate that our country is now experiencing.

In the latest incident before our Constitutional Court, Jacobus Kruger, an employee of SARS, had racially insulted his manager Abel Mboweni . He said: “I don’t understand how kaffirs think. A kaffir must not tell me what to do.”  Kruger pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing and was given a final written warning and placed on suspension without pay. In 2007 this decision was reversed and he was dismissed. Kruger then challenged his dismissal at the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration and was reinstated. The matter went on to the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court and then ended up in the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court upheld SARS’ appeal‚ saying the seriousness of Kruger’s racist remarks cannot be overlooked by the courts in a country still fighting the scourge of racism. The Chief Justice said the use of the word “kaffir” had great historical significance in South Africa and was used previously to dehumanise black people. The Chief Justice says in paragraph 7 of the judgment that: “Calling an African a ‘kaffir’ thirteen years deep into our constitutional democracy, as happened here, does in itself make a compelling case for all of us to begin to engage in an earnest and ongoing dialogue in pursuit of strategies for a lasting solution to the bane of our peaceful co-existence that racism has continued to be. The duty to eradicate racism and its tendencies has become all the more apparent, essential and urgent now. For this reason, nothing that threatens to take us back to our racist past should be glossed over, accommodated or excused.”

President Zuma in his report at the ANC’s National General Council in October last year said:

“Informed by the Freedom Charter and the Constitution, the ANC has succeeded in building a nation which recognises the freedoms, equality and rights of all regardless of race, colour, creed or sexual orientation. Guided by the Constitution we continue to build a society that is totally free of racism. We should thus remain vigilant and fight any attempt to resurrect the demon of racism from the apartheid grave and to glorify a system of government that was declared a crime against humanity.”

A new Bill called the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill has been put out for public comment.   The Bill creates the offences of hate crimes and hate speech and seeks to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences.

The Bill initially excluded hate speech and the criminalisation of unfair discrimination from the ambit of the Bill because of the sensitivities and complexities involved, particularly in a multi-cultural country such as ours.  It was also argued that there is already a civil remedy for hate speech and unfair discrimination, as contained in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

However, the events we have been witnessing recently highlighted the need to include hate speech, as a criminal offence, in the Bill.  The Bill has thus been adapted to include hate speech.

But what, exactly, is a hate crime?

For example, a hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence, and the commission of that offence is motivated by unlawful bias, prejudice or intolerance – so if you throw a brick at a mosque you can be charged with malicious injury to property.  However if the State can prove that you threw the brick because you don’t like Muslims, it becomes a hate crime.

The prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime would be because of one or more of the following characteristics, or perceived characteristics, of the victim or the victim’s next of kin: Race, gender, sex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture, language, birth, HIV status, nationality, gender identity, intersex, albinism and occupation or trade.

Nationality, gender identity, HIV status, albinism, intersex and occupation or trade are not mentioned in section 9(3) of our Constitution – but it has been argued that they should be included in the Bill because of the hate crimes that have been committed on the basis of these grounds.

The Bill also criminalises any conduct which amounts to an attempt, incitement, instigation and conspiracy to commit a hate crime.

Clause 5 of the Bill creates an offence of hate speech.  Laws against hate speech serve a dual purpose. It protects the rights of the victim and the target group and also ensures that society is informed that hate speech is neither tolerated, nor sanctioned.

Some commentators have said that the Bill will infringe the right to freedom of speech.  The Bill is not intended to  stifle or suppress freedom of speech or expression.  However, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute and must be balanced, in the same way that all constitutional rights are balanced. No rights are unlimited.

The Bill provides that any person who – by any means whatsoever, in public – intentionally advocates hatred of any other person, or group of persons, based on the same grounds as listed in the Bill in a way that incites others to harm such person or group of persons, whether or not such person or group of persons is harmed, is guilty of the offence of hate speech.

Harm is defined to include damage to property – in other words, economic harm – in addition to physical harm.  It also includes “mental or psychological” harm.  The reference to harm is in line with section 16(2) of the Constitution.

Because of the sensitive and often complex nature of cases of this nature, clause 5 also requires the relevant Provincial Head of Prosecutions to authorise any prosecution in writing.

The opinion is held that the phrase “by any means whatsoever” will include all forms of communication, whether by statement, broadcast, advertisement, SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, photograph or Instagram, among others. This is particularly important since many of the hate speech incidents stem from social media.

The Bill was approved by Cabinet for public comment on 19 October 2016 and may be accessed on the departmental website:

We are hoping that all our structures, in the branches and the regions, will familiarize themselves with the Bill and let us have their views.

Inkosi Albert Luthuli, in 1961, said – “Our vision has always been that of a non-racial democratic South  Africa  which  upholds  the  rights  of  all  who live in our country to remain there as full citizens with equal rights and responsibilities with all others.”

We all have equal rights, regardless of our race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, culture and so forth. People ask me whether I believe that people who are racist or xenophobic or homophobic (or, for that matter, prejudicial in any other way) will now, all of a sudden, have a change of heart just because there is an anti-hate law on the statute book.

Perhaps some of these people will change, perhaps they will not. But at least government will have sent a message, loud and clear, that discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech will not be tolerated. A society based on hate is not the society we fought for.

Significant progress has been made over two decades of freedom – yet there is still much more to be done.  There are still, currently, challenges that we need to face. South African society remains divided. Many schools, suburbs and places of worship are integrated, but many are not.

This year we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of our Constitution. We must consider whether we have moved towards the goals of that Constitution or whether we are drifting away from it. We are confident that the new Bill will be advance the vision and ideals of our Constitution.