yonela

BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION: WHICH PUBLIC MUST SHE PROTECT?

yonelaYonela Diko
Thuli Madonsela’s record as a Public Protector speaks for itself. She performed her task with great precision and detail. However, the limits of both human and financial resources meant that she had to make hard choices about which cases to take and which ones to prosecute. It is this choice that has brought much criticism on her and for some odd reason, has become a blank screen from which to project the work of the current public protector.
 
I personally questioned Thuli Madonsela’s choices, particularly her excessive attention to the President against many other cases that were important. Ultimately I knew that on one hand, the work and behaviour of a State President is very consequential to the country so a particular focus on him is necessary and critical, on the other hand it also opened room for the vanity of a ”Thuli vs a State President”, particularly as an appointed person jumping scale and bringing down empires, something that historically has a certan vanity to it that no other cased has. As a result Thuli left 16 397 unfinished investigations whilst pursuing “the empire”.
 
One particular case I thought Thuli could have acted sooner on which I mentioned previously is the Bapo Ba Mogale community crisis which was spilling blood of brother against brother, over a matter Thuli could have resolved back in 2012 when a request was put to her office to investigate. The Bapo Ba Mogale Community made allegations of systematic looting of the collective resources of the community, including funds held in the ‘D Account’ – into which companies paid royalties to communities whose ancestral land they mine. 5 years later, Thuli had not concluded the investigations and on the eve of her departure the community was heartbroken.
 
When Mkhwebane stated as her vision that she was to focus on the little guy and pursue the interests of the ordinary people, I was excited because I thought it is the most vulnerable that require a public protector, communities who are failed on the very basics like service delivery, SASSA, hospitals, clinics, basic needs of ordinary people denied by local governments compared to more self reliant sections of communities.
 
Would Mkhwebane be celebrated for staying away from the big politics and stick to the small guy, I wondered. Last week, in a combination of little and and big guy findings, the little guy was passed over without a slightest notice by the country’s selfish upper class.
 
The public protector in the last 8 months has released 11 investigative reports. She has also concluded 10 787 investigations despite being on the road for stakeholder engagements. Most of these reports involve service delivery failures which will definitely greatly assist communities who are being short changed by their local municipalities.
 
On Monday, the public protector released 4 reports, taking her reports tally to 15. In the stakeholder engagements, the public protector received 1700 service delivery complaints. Complaints varied from Farm evictions and oppressive living conditions in farms, to disagreements between chiefs and municipalities, she has found against Transnet and other government departments for unfair dismissals and abuse of staff.
 
Her 4 reports on monday were on the Department of Arts & Cculture vs SARA, Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Government vs SAPS and others, North West Provincial Government vs Bapo Ba Mogale and then the CIEX report.
 
Whilst the PP was busy delivering her reports, the SABC was busy running a DA headline which said that the DA wants PP to release the Gupta Family report. This is similar to the call for CIEX report from Thuli whilst she was busy with other reports.
 
On the CIEX report, the Public Protector is faced with a failure of the South African government which spent 600 000 pounds to commission a report to CIEX whose outcome they never acted on, a waste of public resources which could have been used to help the public. Then there is the failure of the Reserve Bank to take money meant for public use and use it to save a private company and its shareholders.
 
What options does the public protector have when government fails to hold the Reserve Bank accountable to the public, when the Reserve Bank has no responsibility to the public besides its inflation target obsession? Amending the Constitution to ensure that the Reserve Bank takes up its obligation to the public as a constitutional mandate is a logical step.
 
The Public Protector can protect the public by issuing instructions to the executive, to Parliament, to the Constitutional Court if she feels they have failed to protect the public, and if the Constitution falls short in protecting the public she can issue a directive on that as well. Otherwise the public is open to abuse from those institutions. In fact Thuli was effectively asking for constitutional waiver when she said because the President is implicated, that his constitutional prerogative to appoint a judge for commission can be bypassed. The public protector can make any recommendations in the interest of the public. If you don’t like it, take it for review. We are not slaves to the Constitution, we wrote it, it’s as imperfect as we are, Public Protector can speak on that.
 
The Public Protector has recommended that Section 224 of the Constitution be amended to include within the mandate of the Reserve Bank the responsibility to ensure that the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizens are protected, in addition to its mandate of protecting the currency and ensuring price stability.
 
This flows directly from its failure to protect the public by allowing funds meant for the public to be used by a private company for its vanities. The Constitution must make it a requirement for such acts never to happen again and when they do, that those responsible be declared to have violated the highest law of the land.
 
Of course the ANC resolution in Mangaung on SARB, on Economic section of the Economic Transformation Resolution of the 53rd National Conference of the ANC in 2012 said:
 
“South Africa requires a flexible monetary policy regime, aligned with the objectives of the second phase of transition. Without sacrificing price stability, monetary policy should also take into account other objectives such as employment creation and economic growth. In this regard, government should engage with the new wisdom of developing on macroeconomic policy around the world in response to past failures and the global crisis.”
 
The Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane possesses amazing clarity and on the question of which public to protect, she has everyone covered.
Yonela Diko is the Media Liaison Officer (MLO) for ANC Western Cape.
 
25may2

SOUTH AFRICA LOOKS TO INTELLECTUAL WORK OF ANC TO RESCUE IT FROM PRESENT DAY DIFFICULTIES AND TRIBULATIONS

25may2Zamani Saul

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Northern Cape recently concluded its Special Provincial General Council (PGC) in the town of Kimberly, Northern Cape.

Taking place as it did during Youth Month, the PGC began by paying homage to the youth of 1976- whose sacrifices are the cornerstone for the freedom that we enjoy today.

The special PGC took place during a very significant year, when we celebrate the centenary of the birth OR Tambo. OR was a great giant of our struggle, who never betrayed or compromised the course of struggle. He stands out in the world as one of the finest leaders of revolutionary movements that spearheaded the liberation of oppressed masses. What are the attributes and skills that made OR distinct? OR’s capacity to manage contradiction in the movement sustained his leadership. He had deep and incisive understanding on how best to manage contradictions both inside and outside the movement.

Just in six months from now, we will be holding our 54th National Conference in Gauteng. The Special PGC therefore had a responsibility to discuss and finalise policy matters that will be put before the 54th national conference. Those are policies that will take the country forward towards achieving our strategic objective of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

On behalf of the PEC I want to thank the Policy Sub-committee and the Political Education Team for developing our provincial perspective and for conducting training for the ANC branches on the discussion documents.

It is also important to mention that the Special PGC also took place at the backdrop of our 08th Provincial Conference that took place in Colesberg. It goes without saying that the conference was an overwhelming success and a watershed conference of the ANC in the Northern Cape. It had the highest number of participating branches and the highest number of voting delegates. This alone reflects that the ANC is a growing organisation. We are in a post-conference dispensation now, and each and everyone’s effort should be directed at building the movement.

Over the past two weeks the PEC convened Special Regional Conferences in all five regions. The Special RGCs were successful and the newly elected PEC was warmly welcomed by all ANC structures in the province. However, we picked up some post-conference tendencies, which are based on the response of comrades to the 08th Provincial conference. I think it will be important to reflect on these tendencies, as this was the first PGC after the 08th Provincial Conference.

The first tendency is derived from comrades I generally categorise as mourners. Mourners are comrades who decided to engage in perpetual mourning after the 08th Provincial Conference. The mourners derive their strengths from a false belief that some post-conference miracle will happen that will lead to the nullification of the 08th Provincial Conference, and consequently the dissolution of this PEC. Based on this false belief they want to weaken this PEC and the ANC in the province.

The second tendency is derived from comrades I generally categorise as triumphalists. The triumphalists are over-excited about the conference outcome and thereby seek to marginalise and undermine those who had a different leadership preference. These comrades make it their business to always remind those who had a different leadership preference towards the conference of the outcomes of the conference and to rub it in their faces that their preference did not emerge. In a politically shallow and disconcerting manner, the triumphalists expects this PEC to embark on a vicious programme of factional cleansing, which involves targeting and hunting down everyone that did not support the leadership perspective that produced this PEC.

The third tendency is derived from comrades I generally categorise as builders. This tendency is from comrades who strongly feel that the 08th Provincial Conference came and it is gone.  Disregarding their own personal views, these comrades accept that there is leadership collective that was produced by the conference, the conference is over and the work of building the movement must commence. The comrades that fall in this category serve as a nucleus of our work to build the movement.

As the PEC we have a message to each of these categories of comrades. To the mourners, we want to say that the time for mourning is over, we must pick up the pieces and start the work of building our movement. But for those who feel that they want to fight and discredit this PEC, we welcome that invitation. This PEC has adequate capacity to defend itself and the ANC in the province. To the triumphalists, we want to say that the time for self-adulation and over-excitement is over, the work of building the movement have started. To the builders, we want to say that you are our partners and you constitute the foundation and cornerstone of our work to build a strong, vibrant and dynamic movement in the province. So comrades, we call on everyone inside here to be builders, let us stop mourning and let us stop being over-excited.

We also had an opportunity to engage with all ANC MPLs in the ANC caucus. The PEC want to apologise to the people of the Northern Cape, our members and our comrades that were affected by the reshuffling and the reversal thereof, comrades Sandra Beukes, Gail Parker, Bongiwe Mbinqo, Ntsikelelo Mac Jack, Pauline Williams and Mxolisi Sokatsha. This adventurist mishandling of the deployment process was the worst embarrassing episode in the post-1994 politics of the ANC in the province. We hope and commit to never again expose our province to such an embarrassment.

We used both the RGCs and the ANC Legislature Caucus to communicate both our objectives and processes. We did this, because we value organisational stability. There should be no uncertainty about what this PEC stands for, and there should be no poor management of the organisation from our side.

The objectives of this current PEC, flowing from the 08th Provincial Conference can be generally summarised as THREE DANGERS AND FOUR IMPERATIVES. The THREE DANGERS AND FOUR IMPERATIVES are the beacons that will guide our work for the next four years. The THREE DANGERS are things that we must avoid in both our conduct and articulation. If we fail to avoid them, the organisation will become a political wasteland and will be punished in the 2019 General Elections. These are:

  • THE FIRST DANGER IS DISUNITY: in whatever we do, we must avoid disunity within our ranks. To address the current challenges confronting the movement we need an organisation that is characterised by internal cohesion. Disunity will polarise our movement, and nobody will benefit from such an outcome.
  • THE SECOND DANGER IS THE HAMMERING OF THE ANC IMAGE: in whatever we do at all times as members and leaders of the ANC, we must ensure that we protect the pristine image of our movement and fight the abuse of the ANC brand. As we convene this Special PGC, our movement is guttered in scandals, and our primary responsibility is to mitigate the impact thereof and not worsen the crisis.
  • THE THIRD DANGER IS THE VAST SOCIO-ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES IN THE PROVINCE: in whatever we do, we need to introduce focused programmes to eradicate socio-economic inequalities in the province. We have about 43 percent unemployment in the province, this figure includes the discouraged jobseekers. Effectively meaning that every second person we meet in the streets is unemployed. 40 percent of households in the province are poor. So we need to avoid poor planning that disadvantages the poor.

The FOUR IMPERATIVES are things that we need to urgently do to ensure that we move the province forward, we build a strong, vibrant and dynamic movement. The four imperatives are:

  • THE FIRST IMPERATIVE IS BUILDING UNITY: unity of the movement is sacrosanct and cannot be compromised. We must dedicate all our energies and creativeness to building unity in the province. Without unity the movement will die in our hands. Our call for unity must not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness in the current PEC. As part of building unity within our ranks this PEC will fight post-conference purging and dishing of patronage. We will fight targeting of comrades because of the views they held towards the 08th Provincial Conference. The tendency of targeting comrades because of their leadership preferences before the 08th Provincial Conference is showing its ugly head, I want to make it clear to this Special PGC that we will fight dispensing of patronage and targeting of comrades with everything that we have. This is a fight we are not going to retreat on.
  • THE SECOND IMPERATIVE IS THE STRENGTHENING OF THE INTERFACE: with regard to this matter we had a bad start and there is much greater need to focus our energies to strengthening the interface between the ANC and government. The interface is managed through two processes. The first process is through political guidance and support by the ANC to comrades that are deployed to strategic positions. The second process is management of political mandate. The process of giving political mandates tends to be the most abused. Political mandates on strategic matters are derived from Amaqhawe House and directed to strategically deployed comrades. Any other so-called ‘mandate’ that does not originate from Amaqhawe House is a trading-off. We know about this new tendency were comrades deployed are expected to extend favours to each other, in some departments its even called ‘exchange programmes’. This is crude abuse of the process of deployment and as the PEC we will expose and fight this tendency.
  • THE THIRD INMPERATIVE IS CADRE DEVELOPMENT: cadres are the most advanced elements of the revolution and are the backbone of our movement. These are members of the movement with ideological and administrative discipline, who knows and practices democratic centralism and collective leadership. The 53rd National Conference resolved to dedicate 2012 – 2022 as a ‘Decade of a Cadre’. We must urgently build on this programme as there is only five years left.
  • THE FOURTH IMPERATIVE IS FIGHTING CORRUPTION: corruption robs the poor and as the PEC we openly declare our commitment to fight corruption in all its manifestation.

We hope that all our members and structures will commit themselves to these objectives.

As a prelude to the engagements by the Special PGC on the draft policy documents, let me start by raising the argument that the ANC is a ‘collective intellectual organ’. This argument follows Antonio Gramsci’s assertion that political parties play an intellectual role in society. He argues that parties as institutions produce knowledge, as the party is composed of intellectuals who act collectively to define the kind of society that the party intends to build and craft appropriate strategies on how to build that society.

The ANC led movement has over the past 105 years played intellectual role in defining the kind of society that we envisioned as a ‘national democratic society’ (NDS).  The NDS is the destination. The intellectual role also includes the ANC defining the kind of vehicle that we will use to reach that destination, which is the ‘national democratic revolution’ (NDR). The immediate impact of the NDR is to reverse the three interrelated contradiction (race, class and gender) of ‘colonialism of a special type’ (CST).

The intellectual work by the ANC has often provided hope for something different. This was especially significant in periods when the organisation was going through difficult times as was the case at the time of the Act of the Union and when major leadership figures of the broader alliance where sentenced to the Robben Island.

What South Africans expect now is that the intellectual work in the ANC must be able to rescue the ANC from the present day difficulties and tribulations that confront the us. In all the nine discussion documents there is sincere acknowledgement that the ANC is on a brink of a precipice. The movement has lost its moral compass and has receded moral leadership of our country to forces, which are hostile to our historic mission. So comrades we should be multidimensional, truthful and honest about our challenges. If we do so, the tragedy of the state of our organisation will bring new opportunities.

In May this year, the South African Council Churches (SACC), which is our historic ally, in their report on the state of South Africa, rightly or wrongly argues that South Africa is gravitating towards a mafia state. As if that was not enough, a group of erstwhile academics, develop a case and argue that the there is a shadow state in South Africa. And more recently the so called Guptaleaks puts a heavy strain on the battered image of the ANC, as almost every week there are leaks that implicates senior leaders of the ANC in the parasitic capitalist network of the Gupta family.

At the face of such an assault on our movement, there can be no self-respecting member or leader of the ANC that can assume a position of neutrality. We are called upon to take a stand to defend our movement and leaders from capture. When we execute our collective intellectual role today, we have to pose difficult questions on how to rescue our movement from degeneration and the tentacles of capture?

We have to further ask ourselves whether the current organisational structure of the ANC is adequate to strengthen its capacity?  As the Northern Cape we must be a vessel of fresh and sometimes very controversial ideas on how to prosecute the revolution under the current political environment.

The 53rd National Conference resolved that the organisational structure of the ANC must be in line with the five pillars of struggle.  We should therefore interrogate the current structure. This will entail questions on whether the structure of the NEC (top six and 80 members) and the Xuma-styled National Working Committee are appropriate for greater effective functioning of the party. The Xuma-styled working committee is of no great assistance in the functioning of the NEC, its just an unnecessary appendage and a mini-NEC constituted by NEC members with no specific tasks. With the current challenges confronting the movement we need to consider restructuring the working committee into a Revolutionary Council with task-assigned members.

The Revolutionary Council must be directly elected by the National Conference and be constituted by the President, two Deputy Presidents, Secretary General, three Deputy Secretary Generals, National Chairperson and Treasurer General.

The two Deputy Presidents will be tasked-assigned one for National Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and one for International Relations. The three Deputy Secretary Generals will also be task-assigned as follows:  one for campaigns and membership, one for cadre development and discipline inspection and one for battle of ideas. This structure will ensure that all five pillars of struggle are embedded in the Revolutionary Council. Members of the Revolutionary Council will be required to report on their work to the NEC on quarterly basis.

The proposal to do away with the current form of the NWC will sound laughable and odd to those who developed rigid attitudes to existing structures and systems. Taking into cognisance the challenges that the organisation is confronted with, renewal of the ANC requires odd thinking. The reason why we can’t conclude the debate on provincial governments is because of our rigid attitudes that makes us comfortable with existing structures and systems. The reality of the situation is that provincial governments are fiscus guzzlers and go against our historic mission of a unitary state. I argue that the best model for South Africa is to have provinces as administrative centres, this is the position which the ANC presented during the CODESA negotiation in 1993. The establishment of provincial governments was a compromise, and we must revisit this matter.

The 2012 Strategy and Tactics characterises the current conjecture as the second phase of the revolution. The 2012 Strategy and Tactics asserts that central to the second phase of the transition is radical socio-economic transformation. The ANC did not stumble on the notion of radical socio-economic transformation with the advent of the Gupta scandals. Economic transformation is a political imperative in the country. This includes fighting monopoly capital as it stifles competition and growth in the economy. Whether it is black, white or yellow monopoly capital, it remains monopoly capital and has the same economic impact in society. So as the province we must not fall victims to the quicksand of ideological confusion planted by Bell Pottinger, the Gupta Public Relations Consultant. Our historic enemy is monopoly capital, whether white, black or yellow.

The ANC strategic posture to capital is that of unity and struggle (cooperation and contestation). We need capital to grow a vibrant, modern and dynamic economy that creates jobs, at the same time we must fight the excesses of capital, such as inequitable distribution of income, environmental degradation, exploitation, collusion on prices etc.

There are myriad of issues that the nine policy documents are dealing with, and this is just a brief reflection. In the commissions we expect delegates to this Special PGC to robustly engage with those issues and consolidate the position of the province. As we discuss our policy proposals and prepare for the National Policy Conference and the 54th National Conference in December, we should not lose sight of the fact that maintaining the unity of the ANC is paramount. Unity is the rock upon which the ANC was founded.

Let the festival of ideas begin and flourish!!!

Amandla!!!

Zamani Saul is the Provincial Chairperson of the ANC in the Northern Cape

mavivi

TRIBUTE TO TATA HERMAN ANDIMBA TOIVO YA TOIVO

maviviH.E. Mavivi Myakayaka- Manzini

Comrade Tata Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo our legendary icon; is  no more with us, having passed away on 9 June at his home in Windhoek at the age of 93.

His passing is a loss to his family; but also to the people of Namibia – the Land of the Brave, to the people of South Africa and for the Southern African region.

Our departed comrade was born on the 22nd of August 1924 in Omangundu in the Oshikoto Region, in  the Northern part of Namibia- known as Ovamboland during the apartheid colonial occupation.  This area produced many leaders of the Namibian struggle such as the Founding Father of the Namibian Nation President Dr Nujoma , President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Pendukeni Ivula Ithana, Netumbo Nandi – Ndaitwah and many others.

Comrade Toivo as he affectionately known, belonged to the illustrious league of freedom fighters of the generation of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Dennis Goldberg, Andrew Mlangeni, Motswaoledi, Govan Mbeki and Wilton Mkwayi.

A veteran of the First World War, he was sentenced to Robben Island for 20 years for which he served 16 years with South African leaders in the isolation section after being charged and sentenced under the notorious Terrorism Act. He spent most of his time in prison with our leaders, which is why we as South Africans claim him as our own.

Tata Toivo was one of the 37 Namibians who stood trial in Pretoria from August 1967 to 1968. They were tortured for months and not allowed any legal representation during their interrogation.

It was only late in their detention that they were allowed legal representation.   In prison he remained committed to his convictions and beliefs which can be summarised in the statement he made in the Pretoria court when he was sentenced.

“We are Namibians and not South African. We do not  now, and will not in the future recognise your right to govern us; to make laws for us in which we have no say; to treat our country as if it were your property and us as if you were our masters”.

He refused to receive visitors or to obey any of the prison orders as he felt he was illegally imprisoned in South Africa under illegal laws as the racist colonial regime was occupying Namibia illegally.

Cde. Toivo cut his political teeth in Namibia working as a farm worker under the racist contact work system and was subjected to harassment when he terminated his contract.

Since he terminated his contract he could not be employed in Namibia and was thus was forced to Johannesburg in the late 1940’s . In 1952 he moved to Cape Town with the aim of pursuing studying as a lawyer.  When this dream could not be released, he ended up working as railway policeman.

In Cape Town he interacted with many Namibians working or studying there.  He also interacted with South Africans who were in the Communist Party, the African National Congress, the Congress of Democrats and the Trade Union Movement.  They came together as Namibians to launch the Ovamboland People’s Congress (OPC) 1957.

The OPC played a crucial role in linking with those who remained in the country to send petitions to the United Nations to highlight the plight of the people of Namibia.

Their activities against the apartheid regime led to Cde. Toivo being expelled from South Africa in 1959 back to Namibia whereupon he settled in Windhoek.  This is where he met with fighters like Cde Sam Nujoma  and formed the organisation which was later named the South West People’s Organisation (SWAPO) and Nujoma was elected as the leader.

He later moved to Ondangwa where he opened a shop using his brother’s name and continued to mobilise for SWAPO.  Cde Toivo was again identified as a troublemaker by the apartheid regime and kept under arrest at the chief’s kraal. In 1967 he was detained and sent to Pretoria.  SWAPO launched the People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) in 1966.

On his release from Robben Island he was sent to the Windhoek prison in 1985 where he was ultimately set free from prison.  Upon his release he left for exile to join SWAPO in Zambia and became the Secretary General of SWAPO.  His presence re-invigorated SWAPO and other liberation movements like us and our struggle was intensified and taken to new heights.  He returned home in 1989 with the SWAPO delegation to engage in talks with the regime based on the UN Resolution 435.  As Secretary General he played an important role in the mobilisation of the people for writing the democratic constitution and for the elections which gave SWAPO an overwhelming majority.

At independence he was appointed Minister of Minerals and Energy, later Minister of Labour and thereafter Minister of Prisons.  He retired from government in 2005.  Cde Toivo continued as an active member of SWAPO, serving in the politburo and central committee, until his passing.  He also served in many other NGO’s like the Red Cross and as patron of many organisations such as the Namibian-Cuba Friendship Association.  His last public engagement was on Tuesday the 6th at the 5th Continental Africa Conference in Solidarity with Cuba hosted by the Namibian Government, which he addressed.

His loss contributes to the closing of that activism of the selfless and dedicated leaders, revolutionaries and freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of our continent and countries.

We shall ever remain indebted to these men and women who influenced many generations to join the struggle for national liberation and social emancipation.   Their legacy will live long.

Comrade Toivo was a rare breed in the political struggles in Southern Africa.  He is one of those world leaders honoured in our country as Companions of President Oliver Tambo.  The legacy comrade Toivo ya Toivo leaves is that of integrity, selflessness, internationalist, dignity, bravery, humility, loyalty, sacrifice, dedication and unifier.  Indeed he ran and finished his race.

Long live the spirit of no surrender of comrade Toivo ya Toivo!

Long live the legacy of Tata Toivo ya Toivo!

Hamba kahle Tata Toivo ya Toivo!

May your revolutionary soul rest in peace!

Long live SWAPO!

Comrade Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini is South Africa’s High Commissioner to Namibia

 

 

RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION IS ABOUT BUILDING A MORE EQUAL SOCIETY

By Cyril Ramaphosa

This is a critical moment in the development of our young democracy. Our economy is currently under great strain, affected by both global and domestic pressures and by the lasting structural constraints of the apartheid economy.

Our political life is fractious, with public sentiment appearing to be more polarised and public discourse more charged – and more shrill – than at any other time since 1994. There is discord within the democratic movement itself, with different formations adopting opposing positions on key issues of the day.

We must be honest enough to admit the depth of the political, economic and social challenges our country faces. And we must be courageous enough to recognise the domestic and global conditions that give rise to these challenges. But courage also resides in acknowledging the subjective factors – issues that are a consequence of our own action or inaction – that aggravate the situation.

Yet, even amid the great difficulties we now confront, there is progress, there is development and there is hope. Even as we struggle with a low growth rate and come to terms with the impact of recent ratings downgrades, work is being undertaken across the economy to boost investment, expand our productive capacity, improve our skills levels and develop our economic infrastructure.

At the same time, we are witnessing greater collaboration and cooperation between social partners on critical economic issues. There is a growing acceptance among all social partners that it is only through collaboration that we will achieve sustainable growth that increases employment and improves livelihoods.

This has been evident over the course of the last year in the Presidential CEO Initiative. This partnership between government, labour and the country’s leading CEOs arises from a recognition that we need to mobilise the skills, capabilities, energy and, importantly, resources of all sectors of society.

The agreement that was recently reached between social partners on a national minimum wage and labour stability signalled the determination of the social partners to work together to address even the most difficult challenges in our society. From these initiatives, and from several others, we see emerging the seeds of a social compact for inclusive growth.

For more than two decades, South Africans from all walks of life have been working to build a united, equal and caring society from the ruins of racial oppression. But our long walk to freedom is far from over. More than two decades into democracy, the face of poverty remains black and, in particular, African. Many of our people still experience social marginalisation and economic exclusion.

They desire training opportunities and want to work. They want access to land and the means productively to farm it. They want to own factories and start enterprises to employ others. To fail them would be a betrayal of their confidence and a dereliction of our responsibility towards the Constitution.

The call for radical economic transformation seeks to address these fundamental issues. Even as some people may want to deploy the concept to pursue selfish personal objectives – or simply to cast aspersions on the revolutionary credentials of others – radical economic transformation has substance, meaning and relevance. It is a response to the needs of the people.

Radical economic transformation is fundamentally about inclusive growth and building a more equal society. It is about drawing into meaningful economic activity the one-third of working age South Africans who currently languish on the outside of the economic mainstream. It is about a massive skills development drive that prepares young South Africans for the workplace of the future.

Inclusive growth requires fundamentally changing the ownership patterns of the economy, at a faster rate and in a more meaningful manner than at present. It requires that we redistribute agricultural land on a far larger scale and at a far quicker pace, and that we properly equip the new owners of that land to farm it productively and sustainably.

The National Development Plan identified agriculture and agro-processing as significant potential drivers of growth and jobs. With a few key interventions – such as the expansion of irrigated land, higher levels of commercial production and improved support for small-scale agriculture – it estimated that this sector could create up to a million new jobs by 2030.

Radical economic transformation requires also that we leverage our massive infrastructure investment more strategically and more deliberately to build local manufacturing capacity. This should be part of a broader effort to benefit from the massive infrastructure programmes that will take place across the African continent for several decades to come.

It also requires that we create a new generation of black industrialists. Government, through its development finance institutions and other agencies, is putting significant resources into this effort. To date, the Department of Trade and Industry has approved over R1 billion in grant finance to 36 projects undertaken by black-owned and managed businesses.

This programme, once it reaches scale, will both contribute to the reindustrialisation of our economy and help redefine our approach to black economic empowerment. Black business people will no longer be mere minority shareholders in established business. They will be producers and financiers who start their own businesses and run them.

If we are to change ownership patterns, we need to create opportunities for new black entrants into sectors of the economy currently dominated by a few players. We need to use our competition law more directly to lower barriers to entry and prevent anti-competitive behaviour. As we pursue a more inclusive economy, we need also to ensure that communities and employees have a stake through mechanisms like employee share ownership schemes and profit sharing.

We are also working to address the significant challenge of youth unemployment, one of the greatest obstacles to inclusive growth. This includes massively increasing access by young people to vocational training and apprenticeship programmes.

Deracialising the economy means leveraging the procurement spend of the state – and of the private sector – in a fair and transparent manner to promote black and women-owned businesses. Priority must be given to ensuring black ownership in emerging sectors of the economy, such as in natural gas and the ocean’s economy.

Underpinning all these measures is a concerted effort to significantly increase the level of investment in the economy. We need to improve investor confidence by continuing to contain our national debt, preventing further investment downgrades, improving the governance and financial position of state owned enterprises, and maintaining international norms and standards in the regulation of the financial sector.

In truth, the work of radical economic transformation is already underway. What is urgently needed is systematic action by government, in partnership with other social partners, to increase the scale and pace of our interventions. In those areas where we have encountered problems we must move with speed to find innovative ways of resolving them. We need more focus and collaboration. We need to mobilise more resources, use the resources we do have more effectively, and eliminate all forms of wastage and rent-seeking.

We invite all South Africans, including civil society and business, to work with all political leaders to address fundamental differences in a manner that is constructive and that builds a united nation. This is a time to prioritise the cries of the marginalised and the poor through policies and actions that promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, effective redistributive measures and ethical management of public resources.

On 26 June 1955, the representatives of the people of this country adopted the Freedom Charter, declaring: “We pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.” Today, more than half a century later, we must pledge ourselves that we will not compromise on the vision of the Freedom Charter.

We will not compromise on the restoration of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole, on equitable land ownership, on social justice and the pursuit of equality. We will not compromise on our commitment to the values of our Constitution and to the advancement of equal human rights for all. Nor on the goal of gender equality, genuinely infused into everything we do across society.

We will not compromise in our fight against corruption, patronage and rent-seeking. We will not allow the institutions of our state to be captured by families and individuals intent on narrow self-enrichment. Nor will we allow the formations of the democratic movement, our symbols, our history or our policies to be appropriated in pursuit of factional interests or in attempts to hoodwink the public through revolutionary-sounding slogans.

We will continue to work together to build a South Africa which belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and to ensure that the people share in the country’s wealth. In brief, we will continue to pursue a programme of radical economic transformation for shared and inclusive growth.

** Cyril Ramaphosa is the Deputy President of the African National Congress. This is an edited version of an address delivered to the Black Business Council

edna

PUSH FOR SECRET BALLOT A CYNICAL POLITICAL PLOY

ednaEdna Molewa

It is not without significance that neither the Constitution nor the rules of the National Assembly provide for a vote of no confidence against a sitting Head of State to be conducted by means of a secret ballot.

Although Section 19 of the Constitution states that citizens have the right to vote by secret ballot, and Section 86 provides for a secret ballot for the appointment of the President (with the procedures therefore elaborately spelled out) it is clear that the lawmakers intended not to be prescriptive with regards to passing a motion of no confidence in the same President.

Considering that any member of the National Assembly has the right to request for such a motion of no confidence to be debated and voted for, it is clear that this was no oversight.

In not being prescriptive, the drafters of our Constitution had due regard to a number of factors.

Firstly, of the gravity of the consequences of such a motion.

Secondly, of the principle of separation of powers.

Thirdly, of the ramifications of conducting such a vote on such an extreme form of censure under a veil of secrecy.

Taking all of the above into consideration, we have a situation where the onus is on the legislature to determine how such a motion will be conducted.

In considering the arguments for and against the use of a secret ballot to pass a vote of no confidence in a President, important questions should be asked about whether such a move is really in the interests of the public, or to serve narrow and short-sighted political ends.

It is paradoxical that those pushing for secret ballot to remove the President in the same breath hold themselves up as advocates of a more transparent and open system of governance.

As some have pointed out, there has perhaps not been proper consideration given to the consequences of ‘letting the genie out of the bottle’.

Today it may be that a secret ballot will be used for the removal of public officials elected by the people.

Tomorrow it may be to pass unsavoury and constitutionally questionable motions under the cloak of darkness.

This is not even to consider the potential for the entry of the nefarious system of cheque-book politics, where the votes of MPs’ can be bought and sold.

It is daunting to consider the resulting paralysis that would ensue as every single one of these secret ballots would be subject to legal scrutiny and end up in the courts.

What we are witnessing its not unprecedented.

Elsewhere, political parties who find themselves on the back-foot have been known to press for secret ballots simply to rid themselves of political opponents.

In pushing for this motion, the political opposition may be unwittingly (one hopes unwittingly) advocating for parliamentarians to be able to conduct their business away from the prying eyes of the public that elected them.

This is a slippery slope towards closed government, and the public should not be fooled.

Persons elected to Parliament are there at the behest of the constituencies they serve, and we should not allow a situation to prevail where MP’s operate in secret.

In the famous words of Louis Brandeis: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”

It is highly problematic that the opposition parties involved in the court action are cloaking their shrewd political move in the language of benevolent concern for ANC MP’s.

It is grossly insulting to the men and women representing the African National Congress in Parliament that they should be regarded as mere voting cattle who need the political opposition to ‘protect them’ from censure.

The ANC owes its position to an overwhelming public mandate given to the organization by the electorate, and it would be alarming to say the least if the benches are stacked with representatives with not a backbone amongst them.

In any event, the notion that parliamentarians should somehow be ‘protected’ against voting along party lines is questionable.

South Africa is a multiparty democracy. We don’t vote for individuals in national and municipal elections, but for parties.

It is parties who nominate their candidates and who compile party lists. Our Parliament is representative and comprises the political parties who were voted for by the people.

MP’s are not ‘free agents’ but owe their position to being called to serve their parties.

The ANC has made it clear through our Secretary General that its MP’s will not support this motion of no confidence in the President, so it cannot be that MP’s should be cherry-picking party decisions.

Influential political theorists like John Stuart Mill have held that voting in secret should be an exception rather than a rule, expressing the same concerns echoed by the ANC today: namely that voting is a trust, not a right – and that legislators are carrying out a public duty, not acting in their own personal interests.

Just like they carry out other duties publicly, so they should deliberate and vote publicly.

Mill argued that because of the weight accorded to voting on behalf of the public and in the public interest – secret ballots are problematic because they infer that legislators are acting independently and can thus vote as they are so inclined.

If the public good is the consideration, secrecy undermines accountability to that same public.

Mill wrote in “Considerations of Representative Government”:  “His vote is not a thing in which he has an option; it has no more to do with his personal wishes than the verdict of a juryman.”

If one presumes that the voter is duty bound to the public, and not beholden to his own personal beliefs and interests, there should be no problem in this vote being conducted in public.

Otherwise as Mill notes: “if it belongs to the voter for his own sake, on what ground can we blame him for selling it, or using it to recommend himself to anyone whom it is in his interests to please?”

The ANC has been voted into power in all the successive elections since democracy because the people of this country see it as the only party capable of delivering on its electoral mandate to realize a better life for all.

It follows then that those called upon to serve the ANC and their country in parliament should respect the decisions of the party that put them there.

Not only does it make absolutely no sense that the opposition expects parliamentarians of the ANC to vote against the positions of their own party – it is also duplicitous and hypocritical.

The very ‘conscience’ the opposition seeks from ANC MP’s is a luxury they deny their own public representatives in Parliament.

The EFF, DA and UDM should make public what their own respective constitutions say about ‘renegade’ MP’s.

The DA’s constitution is clear.

“ Section 3.5.1:  A member ceases to be a member of the party when he or she, being a public representative of the party in a legislative body, in any meeting of that legislative body, votes in a manner other than in accordance with a party caucus decision which is consistent with party policy, in that legislative body, or being a single public representative in a caucus votes in a manner inconsistent with the instructions of higher party structures or party policy: save in the case where the party allows a free vote on the issue being voted on, or the caucus has given permission for that member to vote in a particular manner.”

Not only should the DA explain to the public how many of its MP’s have been expelled for not voting along party lines, they should (in the interests of transparency) make public the record of instances where they have held secret ballots on internal party matters.

For all its talk of free political agency, the EFF’s track record on dealing with dissent within its ranks is well-established, with the expulsion of MP’s for speaking out against party leadership widely publicized.

The EFF constitution is even clearer than that of the DA – noting the following: that ‘the individual is subordinate to the organization, that the minority is subordinate to the majority, that the lower level is subordinate to the higher level..”

Most importantly: that ‘the decisions of the upper structures are binding on the lower structures.”

The EFF should also in the interests of transparency make its Code of Conduct for party members public, especially the parts about the consequences for breaking party ranks in voting – and on whether the party even allows secret ballots at all.

Clearly then, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

They want the ANC to be civil democrats (which it is) whereas they are Stalinists themselves.

It is regrettable that political parties in South Africa continue to abuse this crucial constitution entitlement aimed at safeguarding our democracy, to score political points.

If one considers just how many of these motions of no confidence have been attempted by the DA, one may conclude it points to an increasing desperation on the part of the political opposition.

Far from being the exception or ‘last resort’ they claim it to be, tabling motions of no confidence has long been the first resort whenever things are not going their way in Parliament.

It points to a paucity of ideas and lack of rigour to deal maturely with the cut and thrust of being in a modern political state.

Having failed in these endless bids, they are now trying to enlist the services of the judiciary as their political hatchet men and women; hopefully the Bench will see through this obvious ruse.

The business of Parliament is not child’s play. It needs men and women of ordinary courage who are able to take forward the aim of advancing South Africa and its people.

We face a huge number of challenges with regards to the delivery of a better life for our people, and it is the expectation of the public that we spend our days, hours and months on the benches acting in their interest.

That MP’s should spend precious hours debating endless motions of no confidence that never succeed, instead of dealing with the real business of Parliament, is a sideshow and distraction. It also conveniently side-steps the critical question of whether our opposition parties have actually delivered on their promises to their constituents.

This application to have a motion of no confidence passed in secret is an attempt to justify cowardice and underhanded behaviour by MP’s. Worse still, the courts are being asked to endorse this duplicity.

It is one of the greatest travesties of modern South Africa that our courts appear increasingly eager to entertain vexatious litigation.

All South Africans who expect (demand, in fact) transparency and accountability of their government should sit up and take notice when attempts are made to justify the intrusion of antidemocratic practices into Parliament, and the use of our courts as a political ping pong ball. Especially – when it is being done so in their name.

EDNA MOLEWA IS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) OF THE ANC.

luzuko

REVIVE OUR ORGANISATION: URGENTLY RETURN THE EXILES!

luzukoBy Luzuko Buku

The ANC has enough human capital for the complete resolution of its challenges and all it needs is its full utilisation. Interestingly, ever since the letter by Reverend Frank Chikane in 2015 titled ‘Saving the Soul of the ANC’ and the input by Sipho Pityana at the funeral of Mfundisi Makhenkesi Stofile in 2016, there has been a linear view that only veterans and stalwarts can assist in saving the ANC. The subsequent 101 veterans campaign and the Mkhonto WeSizwe ‘Council’ took tune from these organisational renewal propositions and thus cornered themselves into this believe of a singular view for the resolution of our challenges.

During the dawn of democracy many of our comrades who were educated in various countries abroad were employed in the public service, NGOCs, parastatals, business and corporate. Subsequent generations of young black professionals, academics and social activists produced after apartheid also deliberately joined, and or were sent to, these ranks. The logic was that these comrades are occupying these positions in order to contribute to the vision of transforming South Africa and thus creating a better life for all. Some of them were deliberately removed from parliamentary lists and channelled into different career paths.

The ANC’s policy guidelines, Ready to Govern (1992) were more clear on the role that these individuals will have to play on our programme of radically altering the apartheid fault lines. It stated the following about the deployment and role of skilled South Africans:

“Special attention will have to be given to intensive training and the opening up of careers and advancement for those held back by past discrimination. Management in both the public and private sectors will have to be de-racialised so that rapidly and progressively it comes to reflect the skills of the entire population. Equity ownership will also have to be extended so that people from all sections of the population have a stake in the economy and the power to influence economic decisions.”

The guidelines called on the civil service to be opened up so that it becomes truly South African and ‘not an administrative arm of a racial minority.’ The plan was to transform the Judiciary, one of the key symbols of apartheid oppression and repression, into a well a functioning system for the administration of justice for all in the land. The vision was that:

“The bench will be transformed in such a way as to consist of men and women drawn from all sections of South African society. This will be done without interfering with its independence and with a view to ensuring that justice is manifestly seen to be done in a non-racial and non-sexist way and that the wisdom, experience and competent judicial skills of all South Africans are represented” (Ready to Govern, 1992).

A great majority of educated South Africans then openly associated with the vision and programme of the ANC and were not scared of associating themselves with the organisation. Whilst this is still the case, there is now less vigour and enthusiasm from these individuals about our movement. The main motivation for getting a job or starting a business was not only money. These individuals got their zeitgeist from the fact that they were contributing to the overall transformation of South Africa.

They were inadvertently responding to the vision contained in Ready to Govern and the challenges expressed by President Mandela in the Political Report to the 49th Conference of the ANC in 1994 where he said;

Ours was not a planned entry into government. Except for the highest
echelons, we did not have a plan for the deployment of cadres. We were disorganised, and behaved in a manner that could have endangered the revolution.

…Over this period we intensified the task of building a pool of skilled cadres at the same time as we prepared for governance…Many of the cadres who were upgraded in this period are today to be found at various levels in the state. But compared to the actual demand, this programme was woefully inadequate. The challenge therefore remains.

The understanding was that all progressive professionals were to play a key role in the reconstruction of South Africa and academics were also required to be an engine for this success. This is why in the 50th Conference of the ANC in 1997 President Mandela asserted that:

…More generally, we must ensure the growth and development of a modern and  properly prepared intelligentsia to guarantee the success of our historic
objective of the fundamental social transformation of our country and its
reconstruction and development.

The above reflections from the policy guidelines and reflections by the then President indicate that the movement had envisaged a situation where there will be different service streams in the transformation of South Africa; the political, legal, business, civil service, NGOs etc. Whilst the ANC preferred that all areas where its people served be non-partisan, it did not assume that the comrades being deployed in them would eventually be non-active members, except for those institutions where the constitution was explicit.

The need to serve a higher purpose under the ANC as an anchor organisation was basically the understanding even to those cadres who were now not supposed to openly associate with the organisation. Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of this was that these cadres were dumped, forgotten and as time proceeded the political space was closed for them. Whilst this was not a carefully planned exiling of our comrades, our classical organisational structure birthed it and it is important we deeply reflect on it.

The Unintended Consequences of our Structure

Classical progressive organisational theory has the basic assumption that people first have a grievance or an objective as individuals and when trying to express such in public they realise that other individuals share such views. It is this realisation of the commonality of problems that they decide to form an organisational platform whose main task will be to define the scattered grievances into concrete political objectives and then become a vehicle for their obtainment. These objectives are divided into strategic and tactical tasks with the former being long term and the latter being active steps towards the achievement of the end goal. The ANC was formed and it continues to operate within this theoretical understanding albeit with various transformations but little modernisation.

The branches are structured as basic units which galvanise people to express their needs for resolution at the local space and or decision making by higher organs within the organisation’s organogram. This organisational construction assumes a seamless system where information and decision flows accordance with the principle of democratic centralism; maximum participation in discussions, coupled with discipline and unity in implementing the arrived at decisions. The principle of supremacy of the majority view and the decision of higher structures guides the ANC’s day to day operations.

The structure illustrated above is very correct and it was ideal for the liberation movement to prescriptively apply it. Both history and the prevailing reality in the movement demonstrate that this organisational structure and decision process flow can be easily manipulated and relegated to nothingness by those at the higher echelons of an organisation. The slogan of branches being the epicentre of representative internal organisational democracy is soon becoming a shadow of reality and the rallying cry of ‘power to the people’ is consistently being disproved. The reality is that branches choose from a pool of leaders that have already been carefully selected by lobby groups and conferencepreneurs.

The poverty of our people in townships and rural areas has been exploited by those higher up and their right to choose leaders has thus been invalidated. To put it differently, a great majority of our branches are populated by unemployed people whose affiliation is sometimes paid by their councillors or local leaders thus committing themselves in a Faustian Pact which permanently suspends their membership rights. Patronage has engulfed the fundamental democratic traits of our organisation and now members in branches are told who to elect. The ‘raise this to the branch’ refrain which is consistently given to those seeking to question or correct the misdemeanours prevailing is often given with an understanding that the branches are already assembled to close space for particular views.

The Banishing of Comrades

Many of the comrades who were deployed in the bureaucracy, business and parastatals were easily chased away using this organisational structure. As years progressed they became increasingly alienated from their organisation and this correlated with the growing arrogance of the comrades who took the political stream. They were thus exiled in corporate and the movement was robbed of the wealth of knowledge that they possess.

Their re-entry was always prescribed and it mostly happened when they were going to be used for this or that grand scheme of corruption in a municipality, government department or state entity. The entire organisation was thus left as a preserve of the politicians and all other activists who were in government, business, churches and NGOs were made outsiders. The activists tap was closed and whenever people wanted to speak they were referred to the branch, even though all knew the shortcomings of such an organ.

The exiling of comrades continues till this day and one of its manifestations are the do-or-die conferences where if a person fails to be elected they are totally removed from political life and forced into exile. What usually follow is an overt blacklisting of a comrade when seeking employment or when trying to do business. It also makes it easy for comrades to wish all manner of bad things for their organisation as it has been used for his or her banishment.

The reality is that the exiling of these comrades does not take away their ideas or their activist inclinations and that is why they are sometimes targeted by oppositional forces. These are mostly first generational black middle-class individuals who have experienced oppression and as such they are not easily lured into such advances by the opposition.  They have however produced an offspring during their bureaucratic exile years. It is this second generational middle-class youth which is proving to be the base for the opposition and general dissent against the movement. It is this generation, birthed by our comrades, which has been captured by the dinner table discussions of liberals and right wingers, who are understandably, mostly white.

It is important that this thesis is not misinterpreted to mean an existence of angels (the exiled) and demons (the politicians). Whilst the lines are blurred, there exists a clear crop of committed comrades who are still serving in political structures in the organisation and in the government. Similarly, there exists a number of comrades who were sent to business who have returned with riches only to fuel and fund all the wrong ills that have come to characterise our internal organisational body politic. So if you were to use the analogy of angels and demons both will exist on each side of the equation.

The Likely Remedies

It is high time that the movement return these exiles through a radical organisational overhaul which will put content at the centre of decision making. This means that the decision making process flow should be decisively relooked. Clearly the reforms that have been applied over the years with the main being ‘Through the Eye of the Needle’ have not produced the best of results. Whilst the ANC is a voluntary organisation, it needs to be however deliberate in its programme of calling back the exiles into their branches and it should properly open space for these comrades to properly participate in its activities.

The ANC needs to further restructure the branch in a manner that responds to the prevalence of patronage politics. It might be important for the organisation to, for instance, have quotas for a broad representation in its branches and overall structures. The representation of workers, church, professionals, NGOs, the unemployed etc. should be included as a provision in the same way that gender is recognised. That this wide arena of groups should be represented should not be only treated as a principle but it should be constitutionalised.   This should additionally include the creation of provisions for geographic spread and representation of different national groups.

The usual rebuttal of the above proposal will be that it is undemocratic and too prescriptive. The reality however is that we have been able to achieve this in the implementation of the gender requirements and members thus express their democratic wishes knowing that 50 percent or more of a structure should be female comrades.  The second rebutting point would be that this proposal alone will not eliminate the patronage networks as factional groups can carefully select people to be elected in this broadly representative form. It is important to understand that whilst this is likely to be the case, the life of an organisational structure will be more fluid and dynamic with this broad representation. This will therefore be a necessary addition to other broad measures that the organisation will have to undertake.

Luzuko Buku is a former SASCO General Secretary and ANC Member

lmaile

YOUTH OF TODAY MUST BE SCRIPTWRITERS OF THEIR OWN DESTINY!

lmaileLebogang Maile

June 16, signalled a decisive epoch in struggle history and captured the unique role played by our youth in the struggle for national liberation and re-building of a new South Africa. It is now an accepted ritual that every year on June 16, various social forces or groupings pay tribute to the class of 1976, either by visiting the iconic graveyard of Hector Peterson in Soweto, to bemoan the current state of the youth or by holding commemorative events, to reminisce and recount the tragic events of June 16, 1976.

What has not been repeatedly told is the fact that those who are scholars of history or engaged in research work, have consistently argued that the Soweto Students’ Uprising of June 16, owes it roots or origins to the 1973 Durban Strike. By highlighting this, one is not trying to misappropriate history, but merely discerning and rummaging through the historical facts in order to connect the dots. One of the principal leaders of the Durban Strike was celebrated trade unionist and Communist martyr Johannes Nkosi. This heroic strike mainly by black African workers led to the re-birth of progressive, radical and militant trade union activism in South Africa, which in turn influenced the heroic youth of 1976. The bravery of the youth of 1976, led to the swelling of the ranks of the liberation movements in exile, bringing fresh vigour and adding extra tempo to our historical struggle for national liberation and people’s power.

It is not a coincidence of history that the student-worker axis in the early ‘80’s rejuvenated progressive politics and brought a breath of fresh air, which led to the formation of worker’s trade union centre, Cosatu, and the United Democratic Front (UDF). It was through this organic axis and power from below, that our struggle was renewed and the world paid attention to the struggle being waged by the people of South Africa for a new order. The images of the then jailed leader Nelson Mandela and decorated symbols of black, green and gold of the ANC, where increasingly profiled and those involved in activism associated themselves openly with the liberation movement, as led by the ANC. This worker-student axis was a vital cog in rendering SA ‘ungovernable’ as a response to a call made by the then exiled leader of the ANC, President Oliver Tambo.

As a fight back strategy and because of the unwillingness by PW Botha’s regime to relinquish power to the majority, a State of Emergency, was declared. A significant number of activists were detained without trial; police brutality escalated; others disappeared without being tracked by their families; others were killed and buried in unmarked graves. But the resilience and steadfastness of the youth brought hope to the oppressed people of South Africa.

It is not surprising that the heroic victory of MPLA/MK joint forces against the then Apartheid SA Defense Force, at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, marked a watershed moment, which heightened the revolutionary seizure of power by the ANC in 1994. Not de-linked from this historical fact, the dastardly assassination of Chris Hani, forced the regime to concede defeat, even though his tragic killing was meant to plunge the country into a civil war. From Boipatong (Sedibeng) to eMbumbulu (South of Durban), the youth was armed and ready to avenge Hani’s death. He occupied a special place of pride, commanded respect and was an exemplary figure amongst the vast majority of the working class and poor youth.

The fighting youth of our country still has some deep scars and unhealed wounds, since it was at the receiving end of political violence that marred our country in the late 1990’s, during the negotiation period, towards the transition to a new and democratic South Africa. A number of youth activists and promising jewels for a new order lost their lives in violent skirmishes between pro-ANC/IFP and anti-ANC/IFP groupings, notably in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. At some point, certain areas were regarded as “no-go” areas due to bloodied political rivalry that existed at the time between the ANC and IFP.

Since the advent of our negotiated political settlement of 1994, the nascent democratic state, as led by the African National Congress (ANC), declared June 16 to be a paid-public holiday, in honour and remembrance of those who perished on the day, and subsequently to recognise different generations of youth who have left an indelible mark in history books and played an heroic role in the struggle for a new South Africa.

Of particular significance, since 1994, there has been a growing layer of youth drawn from sections of a rapidly upwardly mobile black middle class and an emerging section of the black capitalist class. Unlike the 1976 youth, that was united to fight the oppressive and old system of Apartheid, the new democratic conditions, have brought various aspirations and interests for the youth of today. These aspirations and interests find expression in social and economic standing; those youth from a middle class or capitalist background have greater opportunities, such as a better life; access to quality education, health and they are easily absorbed in the job market, whereas, the youth from a working class and poor background are confronted by harsh realities, as a result of inferior education; a collapsing public health-care system; poverty and underdevelopment.

In South Africa today, 48% of the youth between the ages of 15-34, are unemployed, amidst the persisting challenges of racialised poverty, deepening inequality and an escalating unemployment rate. What is more concerning, since the economic meltdown or financial crisis of 2008 up to 2015; the number of youth that are too discouraged to search for employment has increased by a staggering 8%. Accompanying this ugly reality is an economy that is shedding massive jobs in the mining and manufacturing sectors. Equally, those lucky to be employed, are seized with the socio-economic burden having a responsibility to feed and take care of the large army that is ravaged by hunger and poverty, mainly in working class and poor households.

Even though significant advances have been made by our democratic state to improve the lives of young people and accord them a better future, our stubborn economy’s inability to create much needed jobs for the youth continues to be a big challenge. It is within this context that the youth of today, must heed our icon President Nelson Mandela’s words when he said “to the youth of today, I have a wish to make: Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as stars that showed the way towards a brighter future”. This calls on the youth of today not only to be “script writers of their destiny”, but they must also be engaged in struggles for the attainment of the goals of the Freedom Charter, as a “way towards a brighter future”.

It is an undeniable fact that the future of our country’s youth lies in the implementation of the Freedom Charter by our democratic state. As dictated in the Freedom Charter, the breaking down of monopoly industries in strategic sectors in order to allow greater participation and ownership by the black majority; provision of free higher education; and redistribution of land, can significantly lead towards creation of decent jobs and an end to economic exclusion and marginalisation of the youth. This requires the youth to organise itself, as a critical and leading voice in society, and forcefully push for a policy shift and introduction of progressive reforms that advance the key demands of the Freedom Charter.

As one astute thinker and revolutionary figure Frantz Fanon once wrote; “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it”. Just like the generation of 1976 which had rightfully “discovered its mission”, and fought gallantly against a system that was declared a crime against humanity – Apartheid, the current generation has a revolutionary obligation and duty to “discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it”. History is on the side of the youth!

• Lebogang Maile is the MEC of Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development (Gauteng); ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) member in Gauteng. He writes in his personal capacity.

jduarte

STATE INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE CONTINUES TO BOLSTER THE ECONOMY

jduarteDespite tough economic conditions at home and abroad, government has invested over R1 trillion in critical infrastructure projects that are changing the landscape of this country, writes JESSIE DUARTE

MORE South Africans today have access to running water, electricity, homes, access to public schools, state-run clinics and hospitals than ever before. Much has been accomplished for a broader section of our population during the past two decades and the government is fully aware that much more still needs to be done to ensure that, especially the poorest of the poor, have an improved quality of life.

The South African government through various programmes and initiatives, whether in the short-, medium- or long-term, will continue to push through its mandate of a developmental state by spending money to uplift its people. According to the South African Reserve Bank, government spending increased to R632bn in the first quarter of 2016, up from R631bn in the fourth quarter of 2015. Further data also revealed that government spending averaged R304bn from 1960 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of R632bn in the first quarter of 2016 and a record low of R66bn in the first quarter of 1960. Also, government and public agencies invested more than R1 trillion in infrastructure between 2009 and 2014.

The investments were in energy, road, rail, ports, public transport, bulk water and sanitation, hospitals, basic and higher education infrastructure and projects such as the Square Kilometre Array and Meerkat telescopes.

Some clear successes through the government’s strategic integrated projects since 2012 included:

  • Broadband Infraco invested in an international undersea cable, western Africa cable system linking South Africa and Europe and providing the state with the ability to provide broadband infrastructure to national projects such as the Square Kilometre Array.
  • The partial impoundment for the De Hoop Dam which supplies water for domestic and mining use in the Greater Sekhukhune, Waterberg and Capricorn district municipalities. A total of 2.3 million people in the domestic sector will benefit from this project.
  • The Dwarsloop-Acornhoek steel pipeline which supplies water to nine rural communities in the Bushbuckridge local municipality.
  • The 675km of electricity transmission lines that were laid in 2013 is the most in more than 20 years.

It has been pointed out in the budget this year that all our metropolitan municipalities are undertaking a portfolio of catalytic, integrated urban development projects that will lead the way in reshaping our cities:

  • In eThekwini, the Cornubia mixed development node will yield 25000 housing units, while more than R13bn in private sector investment in the nearby Dube Trade Port has been identified. A R30bn inner city regeneration programme is under way.
  • In Ekurhuleni, development along the corridor linking Tembisa to Kempton Park has been prioritised.
  • Cape Town has adopted a transit-orientated development strategy including mixed-use development of the Bellville transport interchange, upgrade of the Phillipi East station precinct and the redevelopment of the Athlone power station.
  • In Mangaung, the airport development node is under construction and 8 500 affordable housing units will be built in and around the inner city of Bloemfontein.
  • In Johannesburg, there is further progress with the corridors of freedom linking Soweto, Alexandra, Sandton and the CBD. This includes the new bridges that can be seen on the M1. We have also seen substantial investment in township precincts in response to the neighbourhood development partnership grant where 190 projects have been completed and a further 55 are in construction.
  • In the Joubertina/Alabama hub in Matlosana, for example, an NDP investment in transport and health facilities has been accompanied by commercial investment commitments of about R155m.
  • In the Solomon Mahlangu node in Tshwane, which serves more than 500000 people, a R1bn public investment in roads, parks and trading facilities is expected to leverage R4bn in private investment. While it has been documented, it is well worth reminding ourselves of these projects.

As mentioned earlier, much still needs to be done and the South African government continues to take a long-term view, underpinned by the development goals as set out in the National Development Plan which, among others, seeks to transform the economy. It is perhaps necessary to remind ourselves that tough economic times, at home and abroad bring their own challenges and opportunities so growth forecasts and government spending are adjusted accordingly.

As was reflected in the past few years’ budgets, the government will seek to address public sector infrastructure bottlenecks through reform and capacity building, with capital expenditure by the public sector projected at just over R865bn in the next three years. The government recognises and has never been averse to the reality that it cannot address South Africa’s economic and development challenges alone. The government intends to and indeed has in the recent past, markedly increased its engagement and collaboration with business, labour and civil society to bolster the resilience of the economy.

The government will continue to drive its partnership with the private sector to co-invest in infrastructure and skills development. After all, the government’s primary objective is the well-being of its citizenry. Investments in additional power-generating capacity and independent power producers will increase electricity supply and improve reliability. The government will always use the people’s satisfaction or otherwise as a true yardstick of how far we have come.

Duarte is Deputy Secretary General of the ANC

This article first appeared in Real Politik www.realpolitik.org.za

dmakhura

WELCOME REMARKS BY GAUTENG PREMIER DAVID MAKHURA AT THE FUNERAL SERVICE OF COMRADE AHMED KATHRADA

dmakhura29 March 2017, West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg

Programme Director, Minister Derek Hanekom;
Comrade Barbara Hogan and the Kathrada Family;
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa;
President Thabo Mbeki and President Kgalema Motlanthe;
Stalwarts and Veterans of our Liberation Struggle;
The Leadership of the African National Congress and the Alliance;
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers:
Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
MECs and Executive Mayors;
Leaders of all Political Parties here present;
Religious Leaders and Representatives of Civil Society;
Comrades and Compatriots;
Fellow Mourners:

I would like to welcome you all to the Heroes’ Acre at West Park Cemetery and to our province, on behalf of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the people and government of Gauteng province.

We have gathered here today to bid our fond and final farewell to Comrade Ahmed Kathrada, a man whose activism has been a consistent feature of the struggle for liberation and fundamental transformation of South Africa over the past seventy five years.

Uncle Kathy was essentially part of the team that shaped the ANC’s political strategy and tactics for every epoch of our struggle since the late 1940s. He was both a deep thinker and a man of action.

He came from a generation described by Anton Lembede (in the 1940s) as “young men and women of high moral stamina and integrity; of courage, vision and stoical discipline”.

Comrade Kathy was part of that special generation of South Africans who devoted their lives stoically, faithfully and single-mindedly to one mission: freedom in their lifetime.

Comrades and Compatriots, we are here to celebrate Uncle Kathy’s rich life of purpose and selfless service to humanity. We celebrate the life and legacy of a man who deployed his humility, intellectual wit and disarming sense of humor effectively to marshal people behind the vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and prosperous society.

We are here today to pay our last respects to a man who inspired our nation by force of example; a true revolutionary who lived a life underpinned by compassion, humility, justice, equality and respect for human dignity.

As we celebrate his life, we cannot hide the fact that we are grief-stricken. We grieve not because of the tragedy of death itself. We know that death is part of life.

We grieve because his powerful but gentle presence on earth enriched so many of our own personal and political lives.

We grieve because his humility and accessibility helped to bridge the gap between different generations in the movement and in society.

We grieve because his work in promoting non-racialism was unfolding at a time when our country needs a more consistent and determined effort to build social cohesion and nation-building on the basis of genuine equality and social justice.

We grieve because his departure leaves our national life much poorer without him. Although death has tried to silence his voice, we know he still speaks loud and clear about what he stands for and what he rejects.

As we grieve, we celebrate the fact that throughout his entire life, Uncle Kathy was never silent on matters of national importance. Even as he lies here today in his coffin, he refuses to be silent.

As Martin Luther King Jr opined, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal” and that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent on things that matter”.

I want to give a special word of warm welcome to the veterans and stalwarts of South Africa’s liberation struggle – the voice of reason; the consciences of our movement; the guardians of our non-racial and non-sexist traditions; the moral compasses of our nation.

I wish to thank all the stalwarts and veterans who are here and those at home. We salute you. We honour you for your life of selfless service and the sterling sacrifices you made so that South Africa can free and democratic society. You must continue to speak out and draw our attention to the mistakes we are committing in the course of our work.

As leaders, we must have the humility to listen to the voice of the stalwarts and veterans. We must be angered by anyone who insults our stalwarts and veterans. They represent the monumental honour, dignity and integrity of the liberation struggle, the priceless pride of our people and the conscience of our nation.

I urge the veterans and stalwarts to continue make their voices heard on the problems of our nation and our continent and be bold in what to do about them. They cannot be silent.

As we bid farewell to Cde Kathy, let’s rededicate ourselves to the vision espoused in the Freedom Charter and in the Constitution of our democratic Republic and conduct ourselves in accordance with the values and principles thereof.

Farewell Cde Kathy! The struggle continues!

kmotlanthe

EULOGY BY FORMER PRESIDENT KGALEMA MOTLANTHE DURING THE FUNERAL SERVICE OF COMRADE AHMED MOHAMED KATHRADA

kmotlanthe29 March 2017, Westpark Cemetery, Johannesburg

Programme Director;
Comrade Barbara Hogan and the Kathrada Family;
The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation;
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa;
The Premier of Gauteng David Makhura;
The National Executive Committee of the ANC;
The Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC;
The Central Committee of the SACP;
Alliance Partners of the ANC;
Members of Parliament;
Distinguished Guests;
Comrades and Friends;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Fellow South Africans:

On a day like this we should not mince words. We should say it like it is. We are pained, saddened and sorrowful. We are a nation in mourning. Isithwalandwe Seaparankwe, Ahmed Kathrada, one of our most revered national leaders, has shuffled off this mortal coil.

Therefore let me express our deepest condolences to comrade Barbara Hogan and the Kathrada family, as well as his comrades and friends.

Today is the day on which we close the eyes of comrade Ahmed Kathrada, permanently; because during his lifetime he opened ours for ever and saved us from the blindness of the heart.

Along with countless men and women of a higher order of consciousness with whom he cast his lot in pursuance of deep ideals, comrade Kathy helped unleash human possibilities.

Warts and all, post-apartheid South Africa is an attestation of such human possibility comrade Kathy and his generation and those before him dared to imagine.

In this subversive act of opening our eyes he made us believe in our inherent ability to create a totally new social reality.

Driven by these ideals derived from human fellowship, his subversive cast of mind succeeded in heralding a vision for a state of being that would redefine human imagination not only on the southern tip of the continent of Africa but on a global scale.

The anti-apartheid struggle redefined the very notion of being human, challenging the idea of racial hierarchy historically steeped in the ethos of European Enlightenment.

Against the excesses of European self-consciousness that defined itself normatively and the rest as the other comrade Kathy and a legion of his comrades refused to conform to this imposed norm and therefore canonised the historical period in which they lived.

On a scale of history this was indeed re-imagining human possibilities…

Comrade Kathy never doubted for a moment even during his twenty six years behind bars that this shared historical imagination would generate a new order of being for the downtrodden masses reeling under a racist yoke.

His frame of vision, which invested his being with elevated meaning, may very well have been articulated by the poet Henry van Dyke’s imperishable words that:

‘There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind (sic) a little higher.’

After snatching Nelson Mandela and many others of his generation before him, the unaccountable hand of mortality has struck once again, snuffing out the life of one of our own and in the process leaving us all poorer for it.

When mortality asserts itself, it does so without due regard to human emotion.

Those wedded to the African metaphysics would be forgiven for attributing comrade Kathy’s departure to otherworldly conspiracy among those of his comrades who have pre-deceased him and for whom existence in the other dimension could not continue without him among their number.

Those revolutionaries who have transitioned to the ages include Abdullah Abdurahman, Sol Plaatje, Lillian Ngoyi, Bram Fischer, Helen Joseph, Dullar Omar, Nelson Mandela, Kader Asmal, Walter Sisulu, Harold Wolpe, Oliver Tambo, Elias Motsoaledi, Arthur Goldreich, Joe Slovo, Moses Kotane, Monty Naicker, Moses Mabhida, Amina Cachalia, Ruth First, Ahmed Timol, Raymond Mhlaba, JB Marks, Govan Mbeki, Yusuf Dadoo, Solomon Mahlangu and many more.

All these revolutionaries shared a common vision with him; a vision steeped in a transcendent notion of human possibility.

It may very well be that they felt incomplete without his diligence, his contagious banter, his humility, and his ability to exude human fellowship.

After eighty seven years of exemplary life, comrade Ahmed Kathrada has succumbed to mortality, as did all these comrades before him, as will all of us, when our hour strikes.

And so it is that during moments like this, the fragility of the human condition whips up feelings of hurt, sorrow, grief and pain in all of us whom he leaves behind.

Yet we may choose to look at things on the bright side. If we did, we would realise that such a life as that of comrade Kathy is worth celebrating.

A sense of fortitude would council to offset the pain of his mortality with the immortality of his legacy. What he and his political organisation, the ANC, stood for, has for ever enriched human experience.

I would say we should take comfort from the immortality of the idea that defined his social existence, the idea of freedom.

While in one fell swoop mortality has blown off his life, his vision will always remain etched in historical memory.

Each day of the enjoyment of freedom for all of us is the ultimate expression of gratitude to comrade Kathy and all those who like him fought to a standstill against human oppression articulated in the discourse of racialization.

His legacy finds voluble expression in the centrality of the idea that his life radiated; the idea that we have the ability to create a new form of life.

A new form of life anchored on unity, democracy, non-racialism, non-sexism and justice.

These principles, which comrade Kathy lived for all his life, were not just hollow statements.

They are foundational to a new form of life.

It would be disingenuous to pay tribute to the life of comrade Ahmed Kathrada and pretend that he was not deeply disturbed by the current post-apartheid failure of politics.

In this regard we need not put words into his mouth post facto or post-humously; since, true to his consistent principles, he penned a public letter to the President of our country in which he gave vent to his views about the state in which our nation finds itself.

In parts his letter reads:

‘I have always maintained a position of not speaking out publicly about any difference I may harbour against my leaders and my organisation, the ANC. I would only have done so when I thought that some important organisational matters compel me to raise my concerns.

Today I have decided to break with that tradition. The position of President is one that must at all times unite this country behind a vision and programme that seeks to make tomorrow a better day than today for all South Africans. It is a position that requires the respect of all South Africans, which of course must be earned at all time.’

Comrade Kathy continues:

‘And bluntly, if not arrogantly, in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down’.

Three hundred and fifty-four days ago today, comrade Kathrada wrote this letter to which a reply had not been forthcoming. As you are aware his letter went without any formal reply.

I have quoted comrade Kathy at length in this regard to make the point that for better or for worse what he stood for never changed according to the fluidities of history.

He held on to the immutable laws of history in so far as they were prescriptive of what is most desirable for human life.

Comrade Kathy took exception to the current culture of feeding frenzy, moral corruption, societal depravity, political dissolution, the gross and sleaze enveloping human mind that would put to shame even some of the vilest political orders known to human history.

He found current South African political leadership wanting on many fronts that he mentions in his letter and could not hesitate to call for the resignation of the President of the country with whom the buck stops.

Once again, here is to the human possibility! Just when a dispassionate observer could have thought the ravages of age have deprived him of his trademark intellectual vitality, comrade Kathy let rip in his vintage moral mode.

Yet he remained for ever measured, a towering moral icon who would not compromise with anything outside the framework of superior human values.

In this connection, he was once again reaffirming the courage, humility, selflessness and generosity of freedom fighters within the cultural framework of self-reflection.

Indeed a measure of self-reflection is needed if human civilisation is to endure. The ANC itself may disappear off the face of the earth if it fails to embrace the culture of self-reflection from time to time concerning its character and inner soul as a governing party.

Comrade Kathy himself deemed a critique of current democratic government a pre-condition to the sustenance of our democracy.

For him the mainsprings of a cultured politics is the practice of truth-telling; being honest, expressive and unambiguous in public discourse.

Self-reflection means a process of subjective becoming by consciously grappling with objective reality. The process of self-reflection makes and remakes our subjectivity.

Self-reflection amounts to questioning the very basis of the underlying postulates that frame the way we do things.

Without self-reflection human beings degenerate into a depersonalised state of parrotry, conformity and robotics.

In equal measure comrade Kathy was troubled by the noxious climate of racism consuming the soul of our nation.

He established the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation with the central tenet of fighting the monster of racism, driven by the understanding that the onset of April 1994 did not mark the social end of racist practices.

It worth noting that comrade Ahmed Kathrada remained politically engaged with the challenges of his time to the very last minute of his life. He never tired, nor let the fragility of old age stand in his way. He was a redoubtable, diligent and passionate activist for social change and justice; the very metaphor for human agency!

How then do we conclude a requiem to a life well-lived? Perhaps Horatius, the officer of the Roman empire, expressed our current historical experience better when he penned this ode:

‘Happy is the man, and happy he alone, he, who can call today his own, He who, secure within, can say, tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today!’

I thank you