END GENDER BASED VIOLENCE! SMASH PATRIARCHY!

By Thandi Moraka

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), the only credible voice of the downtrodden youth of South Africa and home to many young and vulnerable women, remains extremely worried by the unprecedented increase in Gender Based Violence (GBV), which in the recent past has manifested itself in the worst form through killing of young girls. It is reported that South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world and that domestic violence is the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. This cannot be read and understood without taking into consideration South Africa’s historical injustices that has confined many black women to poverty and unemployment with the inability to move out of oppressed situations. Every day, women are murdered, physically and sexually assaulted, threatened and humiliated by their partners, within their own homes. Organisations estimate that one out of every six women in South Africa is regularly assaulted by her partner. In at least 46 per cent of cases, the men involved also abuse the children living with the woman.

As an organization that has always stood as a voice against persecution of women in general and young women in particular, we are also deeply frustrated by the unfortunate reality that it is difficult to get reliable statistics on violence against women in South Africa. Although the number of reported cases is very high, many cases go unreported and society only finds out about them once they have exploded into horrific incidents like that of murder.  The recording system of the South African Police Services is also not helpful because it doesn’t keep separate statistics on assault cases perpetrated by husbands or boyfriends, than those of general assault.

The gendered nature of domestic violence sees a constant number of women being murdered by their intimate male partners. Lack of statistical information on this form of killing makes it very hard to measure the extent of the scourge but newspaper reports on this issue, leave little to one’s imagination. These killings demonstrate the culture of male violence against women and sexism that still pervades our society. Women have fought and succeeded in getting many basic rights yet in the private sphere of their homes, the inequality between men and women is still a battleground. The Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of every four South African women are survivors of domestic violence.

Men, women and people that transit genders in South Africa are impacted by violence in multiple and intersecting ways.  South Africa’s rate of rape, as a particular form of gender-based violence has been found to be one of the highest in the world. In a cross-sectional study in three South African districts in the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, researchers found that 27.6% of all men had raped a woman or girl, of all the men who were interviewed, almost half (42.4%) had been physically violent to an intimate partner.

A comparative study of rates of female homicide and intimate partner violence between 1999 and 2009 showed that although rates of female homicide per 100,000 had decreased from 24.7 to 12.9, this figure is still five times the global average, and rates of intimate partner femicide had not significantly decreased; researchers highlighted the urgency of these figures for policy-driven prevention

Definition and forms of gender based violence

The terms of GBV and violence against women are often used interchangeably, as most violence against women is gender-based, and most GBV is inflicted by men on women and girls. As the ANCYL, we have been thinking hard about the impact of this conceptualization and its impact in the fight against these crimes. In actual fact, a large section of our organization strongly feels that we must replace these term of Gender Based Violence with Men Slaughter of Women, because the recent past has proven that it is men that kill our young girls like sheep. The discussion continues though!

GBV is a structural problem that is deeply embedded in unequal power relationships between men and women. Such violence is perpetuated by harmful social and cultural expectations about gender roles typically associated with being a woman or being a man, a girl or a boy. It functions as a mechanism for enforcing and sustaining gender inequality. Women and girls who are subjected to violence receive the message that they are worth less than others and that they do not have control over their own lives and bodies. This has direct consequences with respect to their health, employment and participation in social and political life.

Gender versus Sex

Sex refers to the biological and physiological difference between men and women. With the development of technology, it has become increasingly difficult to define sex along the dichotomous lines of male-female only as is made evident by inter-sex individuals. Gender refers to socially constructed identities, this is to recognize that attributes and roles of women and men are products of societal social constructs. All social and cultural meaning attached to biological differences between women and men that results in hierarchical relationships between women and men and an unequal distribution of power and rights that favors men and disadvantages is not natural or divine it is a definite product of how society currently organizes itself.

Gender equality and gender based discrimination

Since its inception the ANCYL has been engaged in a struggle for equality and we understand it to imply the equality of women and men without discrimination on the basis of gender. Gender equality encompasses the equality of men and women both formally (before the law) as well as substantively. Gender-based discrimination can in general be understood as any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of socially constructed gender roles and norms which prevents a person from enjoying human rights.

International definitions of domestic violence and intimate partner violence

Domestic violence means “all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim. “The two main forms of domestic violence are intimate partner violence between current or former spouses or partners and inter-generation violence which typically occurs between parents”

Intimate partner violence is defined as behavior by an intimate partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviors. (It) covers violence by both current and former spouses and other intimate partners.

Political Economics of Gender Based Violence

No country can afford gender-based violence. In Bangladesh for example, the costs of gender-based violence are estimated at 2.1 percent of the country’s GDP. Each day, violence stops a girl from going to school and prevents a woman from taking a job, compromising their future and the economic and social development of their communities.

In 2014 a research paper by KPMG reported that gender-based violence (GBV) costs the South African economy a staggering R28.4-billion to R42.2-billion a year. The report said the cost could be as much as 0.9% to 1.3% of South Africa’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

Based on a prevalence rate of 20% – an assumption that one in five women experience an incident of gender-based violence each year – it puts the cost to the country at least R28.4-billion a year. This, the report notes, is enough to either provide wage subsidies for 100% of unemployed youth, build half a million RDP houses, or provide national healthcare to a quarter of the South African population.

Some of the most comprehensive studies, in developed and developing countries estimate the cost of violence to be between 1% and 2% of GDP, and these are widely accepted to be underestimates, given the conservatism of the methodology and the gross under-reporting of violence.

Gender based violence and HIV/AIDS

In the last two decades, women have become the face of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, as 61 percent of people living with the virus in the region are female. The highest rates of HIV/AIDS infections among 15-to-49-year-old women occur in southern Africa, particularly in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa.

According to UNAIDS, women who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who have not. Country statistics compiled by the United Nations show that younger women in Africa are more likely to experience physical or sexual violence than older women, generally from an intimate partner.

For example; 7 years ago, the South African HIV and sexual violence study observed that, among 15-to-19-year-olds, 28 percent of males and 27 percent of females believed that a girl did not have the right to refuse sex with her boyfriend. And, 55 percent of males and 54 percent of females thought that “sexual violence does not include forcing sex with someone you know.” Unfortunately not much has changed since, these mindsets have not shifted significantly.

Gender Based Violence Policy Mandates

South Africa has a arsenal of progressive laws on domestic violence and sexual assault. Within the South African Constitution: “Everyone has the right to freedom and security of person, that includes the right to be free from violence from either public and private sources.” The constitution also takes time to highlight that South Africa is based on “non-sexism” values.

As a generation of young activists, we are mindful of the teaching of Karl Marx, when he taught us that, “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”  and as result we do not give the above analysis to map a way forward in order for us to change the status quo. Amongst the many other struggles which must be waged daily in our lives, as the ANCYL we make the following recommendation as tools to assist us fight against Gender Based Violence:

Recommendations

In many surveys community members have suggested the following as recommendations to curbing domestic violence:

  • Improve visibility of social workers
  • Create jobs opportunities for women so that they do not stay in abusive situations because of their socio-economic status.
  • Encourage reporting of cases by ensuring protection of victims and informing them of their rights
  • Government must initiate more programmes geared specifically to teach young men on abuse
  • Foster good working relations between communities, civil society and government so as to curb gender based violence
  • Stop police corruption and collusions with perpetrators so as to restore faith of communities in the criminal justice system
  • Kill the stigma that surrounds gender based violence by improving and increasing advocacy on the subject matter in communities
  • Increased police presence in informal settlements
  • Increase safe houses for women, children, the elderly and people living with disability.
  • Wage a war against abuse of drugs and alcohol in our communities so as to increase the rate of gender based violence due to drug influence
  • Initiation of creative safety measures for women to use when in imminent danger

The implementation of these recommendations is what we must fight for side by side with all progressive forces.

End Gender Based Violence! Smash Patriarchy!

Cde Thandi Moraka is the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC Youth League

OUR VISION HAS ALWAYS BEEN OF A NON-RACIAL DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA: REMEMBERING CHIEF ALBERT MVUMBI LUTHULI

zumaBy Jacob Zuma 

Fifty years ago, our country lost one of its most illustrious sons and Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Chief Albert Luthuli, under mysterious circumstances. The official report, which remains unconvincing to this day, was that he was run over by a train.  Given the brutality of the racist apartheid regime and its attitude to the leadership of the mass democratic movement, Chief Albert Luthuli’s death continues to be shrouded in suspicion, but he left behind a legacy of peace, non-racialism, freedom, justice and a better life for all.

A man of the people, he played various roles in the community, a traditional leader, preacher, Christian, teacher, college choirmaster, sports, particularly soccer and cultural activist and a sugar cane farmer. He knew many people across these fields, which lent a unique understanding in running the ANC. Luthuli was able to reconcile Communists and Nationalists in the organisation and trusted them alike, and made everybody in his National Executive Committee (NEC) comfortable. He was forthright about the trustworthiness and candour of the Communists when asked in the treason trial.

Chief Luthuli was a unifier in the organisation, advising people across racial lines including those progressive white people of the time when they wanted to form the Progressive Party. The apartheid government sought to silence him through all means possible, including stripping him of the chieftaincy and imposing banning orders, but these attempts only hardened his resolve to end apartheid.

His commitment to Africa and African unity was borne out in his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize from the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 1960, which he accepted in 1961.

He stated with humility:

“This Award could not be for me alone, nor for just South Africa, but for Africa as a whole”.

He outlined the ANC’s belief in non-racialism, including how it was guiding the country towards this goal in spite of the difficulties. He stated that the racism problem in the country was acute compared to other parts of Africa, “asserted with greater vigour and determination and a sense of righteousness”’.

Such racism against black people, he added, would justify feelings of hatred and a desire for revenge against whites, but that the ANC had chosen the path of non-racialism for the country. He declared:

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. For the consummation of this ideal we have laboured unflinchingly. We shall continue to labour unflinchingly”.

As our country’s experiment with constitutional democracy continues, this is the one key lesson that we must take to heart from Chief Luthuli even during difficult moments when we feel the non-racial project is faltering. We all have a responsibility to build a non-racial society and to unite all our people, black and white. Chief Luthuli is a symbol of peace and unity and in his memory, we must recommit to the South Africa he envisaged.

He outlined this vision as follows in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture;

“In government we will not be satisfied with anything less than direct individual adult suffrage and the right to stand for and be elected to all organs of government. 

“In economic matters we will be satisfied with nothing less than equality of opportunity in every sphere, and the enjoyment by all of those heritages which form the resources of the country which up to now have been appropriated on a racial ‘whites only’ basis. In culture we will be satisfied with nothing less than the opening of all doors of learning to non-segregatory institutions on the sole criterion of ability. 

“In the social sphere we will be satisfied with nothing less than the abolition of all racial bars”.

Luthuli evinced an internationalist outlook of our struggle, and acknowledged the international contribution while also affirming the responsibility of South Africans to be their own liberators. He emphasised: “Whatever may be the future of our freedom efforts, our cause is the cause of the liberation of people who are denied freedom. Only on this basis can the peace of Africa and the world be firmly founded. Our cause is the cause of equality between nations and people”. 

Most importantly, he uttered the profound words of the need for courage that rises with danger. I have no doubt that despite the challenges of persisting poverty; he would equally be encouraged by the level of progress made since the dawn of democracy in 1994, that we have almost reached the universal primary education threshold, ahead of many other developing nations. He would also be happy that we have managed to expand our social safety net in terms of housing, grants, and provision of basic services to indigent families for free and that we have provided financial assistance to over 12 million students through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Chief Luthuli would without doubt appreciate our comprehensive HIV and AIDS antiretroviral national programme, without which millions would have died.  The rate of HIV infection remains unacceptably high with an estimated over 2 000 new infections a week. Young people aged 15 to 25 are the most vulnerable. In his memory we urge especially our young people to practice safe sex and to refrain from it where possible, until they are ready to settle and build strong families.

In Chief Luthuli we celebrate a contribution in the struggle against patriarchy. As Inkosi of the AmaKholwa people, he invited women in the village to participate in civil affairs and in the actual conflict resolution deliberations at the time when this was unusual.  By that time, women had just gained the right to become members of the ANC NEC. Lillian Ngoyi had been elected as the first woman to join the ANC NEC in 1956. His courageous views inspired his successor, Comrade Oliver Tambo to agitate without fail for women’s rights. It is thus fitting that we remember Luthuli, just like OR Tambo, as a staunch champion of gender equality. While we have made considerable progress on the gender equality front, Luthuli would have been deeply pained by the high levels of violent crime against women and children in our society today. We will continue to take positive measures and work closely with the communities to root out this scourge.

We commemorated the International Nelson Mandela Day this month. In this regard, and as Chief Luthuli would have implored us, the values of our Constitution that so many sacrificed for, should provide us with the moral and ethical foundation from which we can draw sustenance and a sense of purpose. These values have a universal appeal as they are premised on Ubuntu – the sense that our survival and wellbeing is interdependent – that I am, because we are. Chief Luthuli was a practical exponent of these values as exemplified in his quest for equality, especially gender equality, non-racialism, openness, respect and his fervent fight against all manifestation of tribalism. The values of respect, selflessness, openness and accountability all epitomise who Chief Luthuli was.

We are therefore duty-bound to learn from him and find ways in which his ideals and values can find a practical expression in our day to day lives.  Through the efforts of the   Luthuli family and the Luthuli Museum management, future generations will be able to find out more about this gentle giant of our struggle and icon of the African continent. Although we lost him under suspicious circumstances, his legacy lives for future generations to learn and build on: to make ours a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society.

Comrade Jacob Zuma is the President of the African National Congress and the President of the Republic of South Africa

GOVERNMENT’S ACTION PLAN IN RESPONSE TO THE RECESSION

By Malusi Gigaba

Earlier this month, we announced government’s action plan linked to the 9-Point Plan for Economic Growth as our response to the recession. It aims to accelerate progress, coordinate government efforts and act as a mechanism for accountability. The 14-point action plan, which has strong support from the President and Cabinet, has realistic, achievable objectives set against realistic and firm timelines.

Since assuming the Finance portfolio, we have engaged extensively with business stakeholders – across sectors, established and emerging – on our economic growth programme. The key message that has emerged from those engagements was that two broad sets of actions were required to revive business confidence: provide policy certainty in a range of areas where key decisions and legislations have been pending for years (mining, telecommunications spectrum, broadband rollout, land reform), and revitalizing key state owned companies (SOCs), especially Eskom and SAA, and stabilising their governance.

With respect to policy certainty, business has said to us, understandably, that for it to invest in these areas, it needs to know what the policy landscape is going to be. In the case of telecommunications spectrum, the state needs to exercise its licensing function to unlock economic activity.

As the department responsible for managing government guarantees of SOC debt, we are acutely aware of the need to ensure that our SOCs are well governed and managed, and have sustainable business plans. Further urgent reforms are required in the governance of our SOCs in order both to establish public confidence in them and to place them on a solid footing to make the socio-economic contribution we expect of them.

Our discussions with business reinforced our own analysis that much of what needs to be done to restore the confidence of economic actors to spend and invest has already been identified. The 9-Point Plan is our economic growth and reform agenda; we need to improve its implementation, not replace it.

This speaks to valid criticisms that have been levelled at government for years. Stakeholders have complained that we generally develop sound policies but are let down by slow decision-making and poor implementation, that departments work in silos and often at cross purposes, or that we too often come up with new programmes without implementing the ones we have. There is often lack of accountability for non-action. This has tended to put into question the leadership of the government and raised doubt as to strong government support for the economic reform programmes to be implemented.

These criticisms are valid to various degrees. We do have to work within the constraints of government, in accordance with legislation and regulations which are time-consuming to enact and amend. Still, government can and must work better to achieve our development objectives and there must be accountability for agreed programmes and set timelines.

In several intensive engagements with the President and fellow Ministers after the recession was confirmed, we spoke frankly about the concerns raised by business and other stakeholders. We all shared a sense of urgency to accelerate the pace of structural reforms, to lay the platform for higher growth. The President asked departments to commit to the shortest realistic timelines for the 14 key actions which were identified and made it clear that he expects these timelines to be met. They have been communicated to the public so that stakeholders can hold departments accountable for delivering on these. In this way, we can hold our feet to the fire.

What is important about the action plan is not whether the actions therein are new. Most are not and we make no pretense that they are. However, what is important is that it represents unity of purpose, an action-oriented approach, and enables accountability. It is an economic support package to enhance 9 point plan – mobilising public and private resources around common targeted objectives

We believe that by completing these structural reforms, we will lay a platform for higher growth, by improving business and consumer confidence, and removing binding constraints. It will not happen overnight. Government must do what it has to do to create an enabling environment for business to invest and thus drive growth and employment in the economy.

We have made progress in resolving the energy challenge, moving from scarcity to surplus, and improving labour relations. Economic capacity that was lost due to electricity constraints and workplace conflict will take time to reconstitute.

Our economy has significant advantages compared to our peers which we sometimes overlook. As we continue to remove binding constraints and promote key sectors, we are confident that growth will resume, and more sustainably so.

We have often said that improving business confidence is the cheapest economic stimulus that government can implement. A first step towards achieving this is for government to deliver on its to-do list. By the medium-term budget policy statement in October, we will be in a better position to look at our economic forecasts, and announce a further economic support package, building on this action plan.

To enhance implementation, an advisory council on economic growth comprising of government, labour, business and civil society chaired by the President is being considered. We know we have a long way ahead, but with concerted effort and coordinated action we can turn our economy around, help it grow faster, bigger, on a sustainable basis and in an inclusive manner. Despite our many challenges and sometimes differences, we must be able to act together towards a common direction, bearing in mind that below are the commitments the public and the masses of our people will hold us to account on our actions.

Malusi Gigaba is a member of the ANC National Executive Committee and Minister of Finance

 

 

Intervention
Responsible authority Timelines
Fiscal Policy
  • Finalise a sustainable wage agreement
Minister of DPSA February 2018
  • Finalise infrastructure budget facility
Minister of Finance October 2017
Financial sector and tax policy
  • Convene Financial Sector Summit to quantify transformation targets, including for low-income housing and transformational agriculture
Minister of Finance December 2017
  • Bring down banking costs by implementing Twin Peaks
Minister of Finance February 2018
  • Work with DTI on targeted debt relief for most vulnerable (e.g. in cases of reckless lending)
Minister of Finance February 2018
  • Introduce micro-insurance framework and review Cooperatives Bank framework
Minister of Finance February 2018
Leverage public procurement
  • Implement Preferential Procurement Regulations, which took effect on 1 April 2017.
Minister of Finance July 2017
  • Finalise Public Procurement Bill
Minister of Finance March 2018
  • Finalise complementary government fund aimed at financing SMMEs in start-up phase
Minister of Small Business
  • February 2018
Recapitalisation of SOEs and government guarantees
  • Continue engagements on framework for the disposal of non-core assets
Minister of Finance March 2018
  • Conduct detailed audit of non-strategic assets of SOEs aimed at strengthening SOE balance sheets
Minister of Finance March 2018
  • Finalise recapitalisation of South African Airways and South African Post Office
Minister of Finance August 2017
  • Reduce the issuance of government guarantees, especially for operational reasons
Cabinet October 2017
  • Determine the consequences of SOE non-adherence to the guarantee conditions
Cabinet October 2017
Broader State Owned Entity (SOE) reforms 
  • Implement private sector participation framework
Minister of Finance March 2018
  • Implement the remuneration framework
Minister of DPE March 2018
  • Finalise the board appointment framework
Minister of DPSA March 2018
  • Table draft Shareholder Bill
Minister of DPE March 2018
  • Implement a framework for the determination and costing of developmental mandates
Minister of Finance March 2018
  • Approve ToR for implementation of the Remuneration Standards oversight committee
Cabinet September 2017
Private Sector Participation (PSP) Framework
  • Engage other departments on PSP framework
Minister of Finance July 2017
  • Provide broader guidance on sectors or asset classes for PSP and decide whether sector specific PSP frameworks are needed
All Shareholder Ministries October 2017
  • Present potential projects for PSP to line departments, Technical Task Team and Inter-Ministerial Committee
All SOEs November 2017
  • Approve PSP projects as outlined in the governance framework proposed in the PSP framework
All Shareholder Ministries March 2018
  • Include PSP projects in Shareholder Compacts and Corporate Plan for subsequent implantation
All Shareholder Ministries March  2018
Costing Developmental Mandates
  • Consult other SOEs on costing of developmental mandate
Minister of Finance August 2017
  • Implement mechanisms to effect outcomes through Corporate Plans (e.g. Instruction notes)
Minister of Finance August 2017
  • Roll-out the template for inclusion in the 2018 corporate plans
Minister of Finance September 2017
  • Monitor implementation through quarterly reports, annual reports and corporate plans
Minister of Finance March 2018
Energy
  • Approach NERSA regarding Eskom hardship
Eskom July 2017
  • Develop the case for Eskom soft support until tariff adjustment in 2018 and submit to Treasury and Eskom Board
Eskom July 2017
  • Finalise lowest cost IEP and IRP, taking into account extensive comments received during public consultation
Minister of Energy February 2018
  • Review the pace and scale of rollout under the circumstances of Eskom hardship and overcapacity up to 2021
Minister of Energy August 2017
  • Review the level of participation by black industrialists and develop a strategy to increase it
Minister of Energy August 2017
South African Airways (SAA)
  • Finalise CEO Appointment
Minister of Finance July 2017
  • Finalise and implement 5 year Turnaround plan
Minister of Finance December 2019
  • Negotiate with lenders to extend debt to longer-term
Minister of Finance October 2017
Telecommunications
  • Conduct high level study on WOAN spectrum needs with a view to license the remainder to the industry
Minister of DTPS (CSIR) August 2017
  • Issue policy directive mandating ICASA to commence the licensing process
Minister of DTPS December 2017
  • Complete the spectrum licensing process
Minister of DTPS December 2018
  • Direct Competition Commission to investigate the data prices
Minister of DTPS/EDD July 2017
  • Commence rollout of phase 1 of SA Connect Broadband programme
Minister of DTPS August 2017
Postbank Licensing
  • Amendment of the enabling legislation for licensing of Postbank.
Minister of DTPS/Minister of Finance December 2017
Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment Bill
  • Finalise MPRDA Amendment Bill in a manner that reflects the inputs of civil society, labour and industry solicited through the public consultation process
Minister of Mineral Resources December 2017
Broad-based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry
  • Conduct further engagements with civil society, labour and industry
Minister of Mineral Resources Charter gazetted
The Regulation of Land Holdings Bill
  • Table Regulation of Land Holdings Bill in parliament (after processing by a multi-disciplinary Ministerial Think Tank, the NJSC and NEDLAC)
Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform October 2017

THE LGBTI STRUGGLE MS IKO MASH STOOD FOR REMAINS: FAREWELL DISCIPLINED AND HUMBLE DRAMA QUEEN

Nomvula Iko2By Nomvula Mokonyane

Yesterday, 27 July marked the commencement of the ANC’s mid-year lekgotla aimed at assessing progress made against the objectives set out by the January 8th Statement and the manifesto we were elected to implement in 2014. It was also the day set aside to pay homage to the beautiful life that was Iko Mash in a moving send off held at the Baseline in Newtown.

I was granted leave from the ANC meeting so I could honor my dearly held wish to say goodbye to Iko. I was honored to have been given this task as I have had the opportunity and pleasure to have worked with Iko over the years. As many will know, Iko was a special character whose confidence and liveliness made her a darling to all. A drama queen who equally, had it in her to be disciplined and humble when circumstances dictated.

She confronted the stereotypes that characterized our country with such resilience when as the ANC we sought to affirm the rights of the LGBTI sector.

She championed campaigns in our communities, especially our black townships, when it was taboo to be openly gay, lesbian or a trans-gender person. Her and a group of fellow activists used their circumstances to open the secrets of our communities and the denial which prevailed on the existences of LGBTI person within black communities.

The inescapable truth that we had to face when the ANC was involved in the CODESA negotiations was that inter alia sexual and gender diversity exists in South Africa and that the oppression of the LGBTIs must be addressed as part of the emancipation of the people of South Africa from apartheid.

While as black people we were discriminated on the basis of colour, the  oppression of LGBTI people has been deep rooted as it went beyond colour and was fueled by hatred shown toward them not only by the apartheid system but by their own neighbourhoods.

Statistics have without contradiction shown that between 5% and 10% of every race, every continent, every culture, every language, every religion has some measure of same-sex orientation. The LGBTI members are to be found in all classes of society, rich or poor and we need to live with that unavoidable truth.

The Human Dignity Trust in London has in its extensive work on LGBTIs found that LGBTis are not a homogenous group. Lesbians, as a sub-group, experience distinct and additional human rights violations compared to gay men. For lesbians, the “intersectionality” between discrimination against women and against gays and lesbians “creates a particularly lethal combination”.

As South Africans we should be proud that in 1994, we became the first country in the world to provide express protection on the ground of sexual orientation.

Our unique engagement with sexual orientation found expression in both our Interim and Final Constitutions. Our oppression by the apartheid regime made it easier for us as the ANC to accept that the oppression of LGBTI should be rejected equally with race, gender and other  forms of discrimination.

The 1993 interim Constitution which took effect on 27 April 1994 in its equality clause expressly provided protection from unfair discrimination on the grounds of “sexual orientation”. This was a world first.

The 1996 final Constitution in its equality clause preserved protection from unfair discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

In groundbreaking cases, our courts in particular the Constitutional Court has been instrumental in outlining the meaning and extent of the equality rights of LGBTIs equality.

Most importantly, the Constitutional Court has established that:

  • Gays and lesbians are a permanent minority in society who in the past have suffered from patterns of disadvantage.
  • The impact of discrimination on them has been severe, affecting their dignity, personhood and identity at many levels.
  • Permanent same-sex life partners are entitled to found their relationships in a manner that accords with their sexual orientation: such relationships should not be subject to unfair discrimination.
  • Gays and lesbians in same-sex life partnerships are ‘as capable as heterosexual spouses of expressing and sharing love in its manifold forms’. They are likewise ‘as capable of forming intimate, permanent, committed, monogamous, loyal and enduring relationships; of furnishing emotional and spiritual support; and of providing physical care, financial support and assistance in running the common household’. They ‘are individually able to adopt children and in the case of lesbians to bear them’
  • Finally, they are ‘capable of constituting a family, whether nuclear or extended, and of establishing, enjoying and benefiting from family life’ in a way that is ‘not distinguishable in any significant respect from that of heterosexual spouses’.

The achievements of the ANC government in protecting and highlighting the rights of LGBTI communities have not only found expression in the constitution but have seen a remarkable recognition of the LGBTis rights embodied in several body of  legislation passed by the national and provincial legislatures.

The beneficial impact of constitutional equality on LGBTI self-esteem, self-regard, inner dignity, social assertiveness has been immeasurable.

We have become a world leader and have had a positive influence on the  African Continent and the rights which our constitution conferred to the LGBTis have been a significant catalyst for other African LBGTI communities.

It was not surprising that based on our initiative as South Africans that  on 22 May 2014, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights did something wholly unprecedented. It committed an emphatically gay- and lesbian-friendly act. It adopted Resolution 275.

This condemned violence and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity. The historic importance of this resolution cannot be overstated. It is the first time that an Africa-wide body has taken a stand for LGBTI rights and protection.

Iko felt the brunt of discrimination, she challenged the stereotypes when few were bold enough to come and pronounce themselves as Gay or Lesbian. Today we are confronted with the brutal realities of corrective rape and murders in our country. Evidence that the struggle Iko stood for remains.

We must not lose sight of the total freedom that our LGBTI communities must enjoy within a democratic South Africa. We must fight for these right, we must entrench them in society and we must defend them where they are threatened.

Working together we must never tire in our efforts to rid our communities and society of such criminal acts. South Africa belongs to all who live in it, regardless of their sexual orientation and choices.

Le rona re batho! Nathi singabantu!

May Iko rest in everlasting peace. She will be sorely missed.

 

Nomvula Mokonyane is a member of the ANC National Executive Committee and National Working Committee

LEADING THE ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR METROPOLISES AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD GAUTENG AS  INCLUSIVE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE CITY REGION

2017-07-21-PHOTO-00000006By Mdu Mbada

Last month, Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, had the honour of being elected Co-President of the Association of Major Metropolises, representing the African Continent. The Association of Major Metropolises, otherwise known as the Metropolis, is a global body comprising of the world’s major cities and urban regions. Currently, 138 cities and metropolitan areas in Africa, the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, are members of the Metropolis.

The Gauteng Provincial Government, together with the metro municipalities have been members of the Metropolis since 2008. The province’s participation in the Metropolis will strengthen ongoing efforts to build a globally competitive Gauteng City Region – a decision the province took in 2004. This decision was in recognition of the reality that Gauteng is a highly urbanised and densely populated province with an increasingly integrated cluster of cities and towns and constellation of industries that constitute a single regional economy, and that the best way to govern the province was through the model of a City Region.

Gauteng’s participation in the Metropolis will also help the province to benchmark its performance among the best of its peers in the world with regard to managing urbanisation; building smart, green, inclusive and live-able cities, promoting social cohesion and inclusive economic growth as well as implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Premier Makhura’s ascendancy to the helm of this important global organisation – the Metropolis – comes at a time when major cities and city regions across the globe are increasingly becoming engines of economic growth, job creation, innovation, invention and ultimately all round prosperity. Cities, City Regions or Mega Cities are emerging as major and even dominant players in their respective national economies. As Global management consultancy firm AT Kearney puts it; the world today is more about cities than countries!

This emerging trend is in line with the findings of a 2015 Report by the United Nations Population Fund that: “The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. More than half of the world’s population (currently standing at 7.3 billion) now lives in towns and cities, and by 2030 this number will swell to about 5 billion”. The Report goes on to say; “History’s largest-ever urbanisation wave will continue for many years to come.” Much of this urbanisation will unfold in Africa and Asia. These two regions will, over the next forty years, account for 86% of the world’s urban population growth. By 2030, more than 50% of Africa’s population will be living in cities, while by 2050 this number will increase to 60%. Accordingly the state of cities, city regions and megacities will become a national matter as more citizens move into cities.

African mega Cities such as Lagos in Nigeria, Cairo in Egypt, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Nairobi in Kenya, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as our own City of Johannesburg are leading the charge towards changing Africa’s fortunes for the better – they are at the heart of our continent’s economic reconfiguration and are an integral part of unlocking its potential.

The Gauteng City Region in particular continues to be a magnet for all those in South Africa, in the African Continent and elsewhere in the world seeking opportunities to better their lives – annually more than 200 000 people migrate to Gauteng’s cities every year. For this reason Gauteng is South Africa’s most Afropolitan and cosmopolitan province; a melting pot of various cultures.  Gauteng’s Cities, especially the Metros, are among the top five most populous cities in South Africa, with the City of Joburg occupying a leading position as the home to about 9% of South Africa’s population.

In addition Gauteng’s Metros are the drivers not only of the economy of the Gauteng City Region, but also of the national economy and employment. For instance, the City of Johannesburg contributes about 17% to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and 46% to the Gauteng economy. The City of Johannesburg is the hub of financial and services industries. It also has a strong retail and pharmaceutical industries presence.

The City of Ekurhuleni, South Africa and SADC’s manufacturing hub, contributes 7.8% to national GDP and 19% to the provincial economy. The City of Tshwane, the nation’s administrative capital, contributes about 9% to SA’s GDP and 27% to the provincial economy. It is the hub of our burgeoning automotive sector and government services.

In pursuit of the goal of building Gauteng as a Global City Region, a decision was taken in 2014 to reconfigure Gauteng’s space and economy along five development Corridors, each with its own unique comparative and competitive advantages; the Northern Development Corridor anchored around the economy of the City of Tshwane, the Southern Development Corridor in Sedibeng, the Central Development Corridor in the City of Johannesburg, the Western Development Corridor in the West Rand and the Eastern Development Corridor in Ekurhuleni.

The provincial government opted for the corridor approach in line with its determination to ensure balanced and even economic growth and development, infrastructure investment, sustained employment creation and significant economic empowerment across the Gauteng City Region. The intention is to build an economy for all the citizens of Gauteng, regardless of where geographically they are located – no one must be left behind.

More significantly, the corridor approach is a direct response to one of the major challenges urban regions are grappling with – the challenge of building inclusive cities underpinned by inclusive economies; a necessary prerequisite in promoting social cohesion. For its part the Gauteng Provincial Government has always insisted that the Gauteng City Region must be economically and socially inclusive. Drawing lessons from its peers across the world, Gauteng should make considerable strides in promoting inclusion and building a globally competitive City Region for the benefit of all its citizens.

Premier Makhura’s Co-Presidency of the Metropolis places Gauteng and its cities at the cutting edge of finding innovative, sustainable solutions to challenges facing urban regions, including reducing urban imbalances as well as strengthening the position and role of city-regions and regional governments in advancing the human development effort. It also places the province at the centre stage of pursuing the SDG’s, NEPAD and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Urban Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Overall, participation in the Metropolis will definitely help Cities and City Regions and States at a subnational and sub-regional level to play their new envisaged role that of becoming key centres for social and economic inclusion. Gauteng citizens can only be better off from their government’s leadership role in the Metropolis – a better and more inclusive Gauteng is possible.

Comrade Mduduzi Mbada is the ANC Mzala Branch Chairperson in Ward 54, Joburg

THE MINING CHARTER: MARKET FORCES WILL NOT DELIVER ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

yonelaBy Yonela Diko

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE REMEMBER ONTIRETSE PILANE


Pule Mabe

AND today we remember Ontiretse Pilane

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember Ontiretse


At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter,We remember Ontiretse

At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring,We remember Ontiretse


At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember Ontiretse


At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn,We remember Ontiretse.

At the beginning of the year and when it ends,We remember Ontiretse


As long as we live, Ontiretse too will live; for she is now a part of us, as we remember her

When we are weary and in need of strength,We remember Ontiretse

When we are lost and sick at heart,We remember Ontiretse


When we have joys we yearn to share, We remember Ontiretse


When we have decisions that are difficult to make, We remember Ontiretse.

When we have achievements that are based on hers,We remember Ontiretse


As long as we live, Ontiretse too shall live, for she is a part of us, as we remember her

On Wednesday the 21st of June; we received the sad news that one of our own Comrade Ontiretse Pilane is no more; that she has ceased to be and to be counted amongst us. Our pain has been enforced by the inability to divorce any thinking about Ontiretse from her smile and that natural energy of the person we all came to know; a sister in deeds and comrade in arms. Ontiretse was herself; full of life; composure and drive. Ontiretse made comradeship another site of fulfillment; performing tasks apportioned to her with such great enthusiasm.

Those of us who crossed paths with her can attest to the amount of joys that came out of working with this wonderful soul. The Ontiretse I knew belonged to a generation of fearless and radical economic freedom fighters; she used her wit and intellect as a policy coordinator and researcher of our ANCYL 23rd and 24th NEC collective to punctuate our resolve; generate context and giving meaning to our clarion call on economic freedom in our life time. She belonged to a distinguished category of the rank and file never afraid to publicly associate with the pronouncements of our leadership collective regardless of their public standing.

She will be found defending these pronouncements as if she was a part of the deliberations that produced such resolves.

Unfortunately death; the harmful coward has decided against our collective desire to sustain our mortal relations with Ontiretse relocating her to an address in a village where only chosen angels like her could find survival.

As we did with Oniteretse in yester years; we too are still capable in her unapproved absence of unleashing our efforts in protest forming a mass in unison ­ displaying our big placards of affection and love screaming her name and calling for her return. As combatants that are known to her faith as fellow fighters we still have the resilient stamina of shouting for her release.

As discipline dictate we have decided to betray our misplaced conscious in this regard and submit to the obvious to humbly release Moya wa Setlogolo Sa Bakgatla Ba Kgafela; Kgoro ya Ramoselekatse ­ Ontiretse Pilane ­ with some resistance of course ­ we are left with no option but to expunge her from the records permanently as she will no longer help us to form a quorum; Lehu Ngwetsi Ya Malapa le re etetse.

Today we are going to show this abrupt guest called death that we are harmless and loving people and would appreciate a silent retreat from instance so that we too the people of Ontiretse could have some peace of mind and find some space to tell exciting tales about our encounters without any doubt of an untimely visit of the nameless guest.

Since we are comrades of values, pride and honor; consistent with our tradition of relentless struggles we are unshaken and won’t be deterred by this sudden pain from celebrating the credentials of our own. For as long as we live Ontiretse Pilane will never die. We have volunteered our time, we the graduates of Vuka’Imbambe, Masupatsela, the young lions to continue carrying her name like that of Anton Lembede, Robert Resha, Patrick Moloa, Nelson Mandela, Peter Mokaba and many others who have come to constitute our own heroes’ acre of courageous young lions.

In the words of Robert Bertschausen; ‘Grief can awaken us to new values and deeper appreciations. Grief can cause us to reprioritize things in our lives, to recognize what’s really important and put it first. Grief can heighten our gratitude as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted. Grief can give us the wisdom of being with death.

Grief can make death the companion on our left who guides us and gives us advice. None of this growth makes the loss good and worthwhile, but it is the good that comes out of the bad. The teachings of Anthony J D’Angelo about Treasuring Relationships beyond Possessions best personify the character that Ontiretse Pilane emulated. True to the lamentations of another humane Chinese Proverb that “Every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another”

Ontiretse saw greater value with a deep sense of sisterhood and camaraderie in relationships, a truly loving and honest individual, and an extreme extrovert displaying her attitude on situations without any diplomatic gesture. That’s Ontiretse for you: if its time to shout the match begins and if its time to laugh the beat goes on. This is the comrade in arms whose call or text I couldn’t afford missing as any attempt to miss such repeatedly will be followed by a well written protest SMS ­ She was just like that; called it by its real name and still laughed about it.

To relate with this kind of an individual always brought a great sense of relief as you easily knew without having to second guess her where you stood with each other. She exposed me to the growing trend of WhatsApp groups which have become effective tools of dialogue and engagement amongst comrades.  She would insist that I should participate in these groups; one such group was Madelakufa ­ which she was a passionate participant off. If there was something bothering her within the public discourse you could easily detect from the numerous posts coming from her end.

If anything, being a member of the African National Congress was the ultimate for her; attending the Annual January 8 festivities was religious; the ANC ran in her veins and most importantly taught her to be of service to others hence once she believed in something she hang onto it and would not be easily persuaded against her own beliefs.

She possessed all rare qualities we desperately need in cadres today, qualities of loyalty, selflessness, dedication, discipline and passion.

In the Words of Queen Elizabeth II ­ “Grief is the price we pay for love”. We are pledging the same for our selfless and peace loving patriot ­ who spend the years of her youth as an activist always at the service of her people advocating and advancing the National Democratic Revolution.

Ontiretse was a Patriot to the end; ever ready and available to be of service to her people; spoke her mind without fear; a gentle soul that never took kindly to being ignored. She always took efforts to assert her views and ultimately win the attention of all us on a matter we might not have paid too much attention on.

She was driven by passion and performed her work with noticeable diligence. The one solemn thing she subscribed to was impact: Ontiretse wanted to make sure that the tasks she performed in the organization had impact in the overall execution of our revolutionary duties.

Ontiretse always carried the courage of her convictions and understood what meant to be a cadre. Ontiretse possessed an admirable sense of humility and understood the value of relationships; a true volunteer ready to hit the ground running.

Ontiretse loved challenges and deemed challenging situations as learning curves. Her passion for research was also driven by the contribution she believed she could make in the service of our own movement the ANC. She understood the plight of mining communities and spoke vividly about such with some sense of sentimental attachment. It will be only during offline engagement that real issues will come up; these will often include a free lecture about her own village of Muruleng and the experiences of her people with the local mines. Her support for radical economic transformation was also driven by this homegrown experience and maintained at the time like of us that nationalization of mines accompanied by the expropriation of land without compensation was the most ideal route.

Ontiretse was a well grounded activist who viewed knowledge acquisition as a standard revolutionary duty; in her own world continuous learning and reading was supposed to be a basic way of life for all peace­loving revolutionaries.

Sadly, we are laying our own Ontiretse to rest during the week of commemorating 62 years of the Freedom Charter and on the eve of the much anticipated 5th National Policy Conference of the ANC.

In her name including countless others who selflessly took the long walk to freedom; fighting to attain the National Liberation Project; those of us who still enjoy the privilege of human existence should use the occasion of both the upcoming Policy Conference of the ANC and the 54th National Conference of the ANC to deepen the unity of our people and protect the future that Ontiretse believed in; one made possible by a strong, united and cohesive peoples movement.

This call to action demands of us to assimilate a different kind of unity which is the Unity of the Soul; suppress our individual interest and put people first as a noble gesture of salute to the countless courageous men and women who got incarcerated and surrendered their life’s for our own freedom.

If we believe in a future of possibilities like Comrade Ontiretse we should therefore do everything we can in our authority to make sure that the ANC continues on a rightful trajectory as leader of society. We must be part of shaping and affirming policies that will make South Africa an even much better place ­ we owe it our to people and we can do much better. The reason why Ontiretse like others agreed to run the race ­ our race ­ was because she too wanted to be counted as having contributed towards the good of her people.

Ontiretse was herself a political animal through and through; therefore each time we commemorate the Freedom Charter henceforth should also celebrate the 40 years of her life which we had the honor of sharing with her. The most befitting send off in her honor is to sustain a noble and courageous fight on the return of the land to the majority of our people.

True Radical Economic Transformation will only happen when our people earn their rightful ownership to the means of production and become part of the whole value­chain of the mainstream blue­chip economy; one which is currently in the hands of the minorities. Diversifying ownership patterns and introducing price floors and price ceilings on basic commodities is another form of radical economic transformation. There is no way that our people those on whose behalf Ontiretse stood can participate in the economy when they can’t afford basic necessities.

Our people ­ the people of Ontiretse ­ the rank and file ­ those who leave in squalor ­ look upon us to exercise to better their lives. The ownership of the mines and other monopoly establishments largely within the financial services sector must be diluted to reflect the demographics of communities where they operate to restore the pride of the people of Moruleng and Ontiretse the peace her soul dearly needs at this hour.

Ge ba ipoka ba Pilane A Malosa ba re:

Selo se mo kopong se mo ditlhothle
Ba ba dintlha Ba ntse ba segwaisa­gwaisa Se gwaisitse ke mamaragwana a Matabele Morula o o kutu­kgolo Bakgatla
Ngwana Sefatana sa Moruleng
Sedibelo sa fya sa Tuka
Ntja e jele ntjanyana tsa yona

Robala ka Kgotso Kgabo

Pule Mabe is a member of the ANC NEC and Former Treasurer General of the ANC Youth League

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). 

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.

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.