In line with the resolution of the ANC’s 4th National General Council (NGC) of October 2015 that government review South Africa’s membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Cabinet has announced that South Africa has begun the formal process of withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

This is the culmination of a lengthy and extensive consultative process undertaken by the governing party within its structures, as well as engagement with the Assembly of Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute, as well as seeking a common position from the African Union.

It has become necessary to dispel from the outset the assertion that the decision to withdraw from the ICC is ‘sudden’, ‘random’ and lacks merit.

This decision does not come ‘out of the blue.’ Successive policy documents outline the ANC government’s reasons for pursuing this course of action.

As far back as the 4th National Policy Conference in June 2012 the ANC expressed concern at the actions of the ICC with regards to selective prosecutions, and expressed the view that the ICC has vastly strayed from the original purpose for which it was established.

As part of the ANC’s commitment to participatory democracy and public consultation, the policy documents were released for public comment ahead of the NGC of 2015.

Following the instructive decision taken by the NGC, the ANC referred the process of withdrawal to the Executive and Parliament to process, within their roles and responsibilities as outlined by the Constitution of the Republic.

The separation of powers as per our Constitution has been observed, and the Executive has begun the process in line with its obligations under Section 231 of the Constitution. The Parliamentary process of legislative review that will lead to the repealing of some laws and the amendment of others, will follow.

The process of withdrawal, which will take a period of twelve months.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Adv. Michael Masutha has written a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete notifying Parliament of the Cabinet decision, and requested an opportunity to explain the decision to Parliament.

Despite this very clear signal that South Africa intends to follow the necessary legal procedures of withdrawal, last week’s announcement was predictably greeted with the usual threats of litigation from the opposition.

This is in line with the DA’s custom of sacrificing the national interest at the altar of political expediency.

In their haste to rush to the courts to challenge any decision taken by the democratically elected government (within its constitutional mandate) the DA that wants to co-govern this country through the courts, is filing for direct access to the Constitutional Court: claiming that Cabinet’s notice was issued without a Parliamentary resolution and is thus invalid.

They further claim that a decision has been taken without Parliamentary and public consultation, thereby ‘breaching the country’s commitment to international justice and rights.’

The ANC reaffirms its support for the primacy of international law and role of international justice in stamping out impunity for mass atrocities.

It was also during the 2012 National Policy Conference of 2012 that the ANC expressly said it does not condone authoritarian and violent regimes.

We have furthermore repeatedly affirmed our commitment to multilateralism as a means to advance the aims and objectives of the UN Charter but equally, to the objectives upon which the African Union (AU) was founded.

The grim legacies of numerous wars and conflicts not just on the continent but across the globe have necessitated the establishment of collective mechanisms that protect the weak and vulnerable, and ensure that those accused of war crimes and other atrocities are brought to justice.

With that said, it is the prerogative of any sovereign state to regularly review and assess the implications of any treaty or agreement and make a decision based on whether the respective treaty or agreement is still relevant or suits the country’s national interest.

In doing so, chief among these considerations should be whether such a treaty is in accordance with our existing laws, or if it in fact seeks to supersede or replace them.

The reality that the political opposition perhaps seeks to deliberately avoid, is that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its current iteration falls far short of the noble objectives upon which it was founded.

Firstly, in its current form the ICC has morphed into an entity that empowers external actors and powerful interests to sit as judge, jury and executioner over signatory countries – and enforce sanction that they themselves will never be subject to, having wilfully chose not to ratify the Rome Statute.

Secondly, it cannot be disputed that the list of cases referred to and prosecuted by the ICC evidence a double standard (bordering on hypocrisy) at play, particularly in the wake of successive wars in the Middle East, as well as serious violations of international law by non-signatory countries.

Not only has the ICC failed to bring numerous cases that clearly would fall within its jurisdiction (allowing some to behave with impunity) it has also pursued headline grabbing cases that later had to be withdrawn for lack of evidence.

This has given rise to an unfortunate impression that international justice is being pursued with vigour against some countries (many of them in Africa) whilst other countries (most in developed countries) get off scot-free.

The result has been increased cynicism from African countries as to the court’s efficacy.

Thirdly, the claim therefore that some African countries are demanding a category of ‘exceptionalism’ to escape the reaches of international law is false and must be rejected. This also carries with it the false inference that victims of atrocities in Africa somehow do not ‘deserve’ protection under international law.

Like South Africa, there isn’t a single African country that holds the view that mass human rights violations should go unpunished.

It cannot be that withdrawal from the ICC should be equated with condoning human rights violations.
It also assumes that the domestic laws of African countries aren’t good enough to be used as a starting point to deal with human rights violations, and that we somehow cannot be trusted with setting up our own legal instrument to pursue justice.

The African Union has actively worked to enforce accountability through the strengthening of institutions such as the African Court on Human Rights; that was established by Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s rights, and adopted by the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1998. This protocol has so far been signed and ratified by 24 African countries.

Far from eroding South Africa’s standing in the international community (as the DA claims) our decision to withdraw from the ICC is in line with the Common Position by African countries on withdrawal from the Hague-based court.

There are those who would argue that instead of withdrawing from the ICC, we should work on strengthening the court and addressing systemic, structural and other weaknesses within the court.

We believe that we would rather work on strengthening the African instrument that is intended to serve the same purpose as the ICC.

The African Court on Human Rights is not a paper tiger, contrary to the perceptions of some. It has proven its ability and capacity by having just recently brought a successful prosecution against the former Chadian President for mass violations.

The ANC government remains committed to the principles of accountability, due process, and the rule of law.

It is a fact that there is growing cynicism around the role played by the ICC in Africa, and South Africa is not alone in holding this view.

If justice is seen as an ideal that only applies to some, faith in the rule of law is steadily eroded.

This is not even to consider the practicalities of remaining signatory to a treaty that at times comes into direct conflict with our country’s foreign policy.

The circumstances surrounding the court case over the arrest warrant for the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last year was indicative of the way in which signatories to the Rome Statute may find themselves between a rock and a hard place: choosing between carrying out their obligations in terms of the treaty – and taking a decision with far-reaching (and potentially disastrous) foreign policy implications.

South Africa was expected to manage two essentially contradictory situations: on the one hand its obligation to provide immunity to accredited delegations to the AU Summit (which we did and duly gazetted) and on the other hand its obligation as a signatory to the Rome Statute to arrest a sitting Head of State and turn him over to the ICC. The consequences of South Africa’s decision are by now well-known.

It is worth noting that since last year, efforts towards peace in the troubled Darfur region appear to be gaining momentum; the result of ongoing peace talks between the Khartoum government and ethnic minority rebels, facilitated by Qatar. A peace deal between the Sudanese government and a rebel faction was recently implemented.

In South Sudan, a transitional government of national unity has been formed.

Had South Africa arrested President al-Bashir, this would be a pipe dream: and that is not even to consider what may have happened to the South African peacekeepers stationed in Sudan at the time.

Ultimately, the ANC wants to emphasize that nations of the world should be able to conduct their international relations and foreign policies in accordance with their respective national interest – without fear that their territorial integrity and sovereignty can at any point be undermined and violated.

This does not render our commitment to the principle of international justice any less.





October month is important in the African National Congress (ANC) as it marks Oliver Tambo Month, a month of renewal and reflection on the values of our glorious movement, based on the life of this illustrious leader of our people.
On this day, 27th of October 2016, President Oliver Reginald Tambo would have turned 99 years old. This makes 2017 a crucial year for our movement as it marks the Centenary of OR, one of the most outstanding leaders to be produced by our country and continent.

We must therefore use the next twelve months leading to the centenary of OR Tambo to draw the best lessons from his life and to understand his rare qualities that compelled our icon and former President Nelson Mandela to describe him as “a great giant that strode the globe like a colossus.”
Deep and strategic reflections on the life of President Oliver Tambo will offer us the opportunity to confront and deal with the challenges facing both the ANC as a movement of the people and our beloved country, South Africa at this juncture.

This is because OR Tambo was a solution oriented leader who always sought to move forward on the basis of building consensus among all forces necessary for such a movement forward. This ability to bring together people with different views on both strategic and tactical questions and inculcating in them the appreciation of superior logic earned President Tambo great admiration from all his comrades and affirmed him as an impartial leader belonging rigidly to no particular group or strand of thinking within the movement.

Comrade OR, as he is affectionately known, gave everyone in our movement the confidence that they could engage him on any matter and they would receive a fair hearing without prejudice or predetermined attitudes. It is precisely owing to this that he is credited foremost among all leaders as the one who skilfully held our movement together during the darkest days in our history when all seemed hopeless.

The longest ever serving president of the African National Congress from 1969 to 1991, OR Tambo’s presidency firmly entrenched the broad church character of the ANC, where all comrades from various ideological persuasions felt at home in our movement, united by their commitment to realize the strategic objective to create a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. O.R. insisted through his words and conduct that there are no antagonistic contradictions between the ideological strands existent within the ANC and he possessed the rare ability to quell whatever tensions arising from nationalist anxieties and communist imaginations in particular.

He was the embodiment of our broad church character which he correctly understood as a necessity and precondition for the unity of all the motive forces of our National Democratic Revolution. It is for this reason that the tripartite alliance of the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party grew stronger under his leadership, based on a solid political programme and led by the ANC.

His tolerant, measured and cautious response to difficult situations allowed for the impatience and militancy characteristic of young people to find expression in the body politic of the ANC. President Tambo allowed for the development of young people and their growth through the ranks of our movement, whilst at the same time insisting on the observation of organizational discipline. He appreciated the energy of young people and sought to exploit it appropriately in order to propel the ANC onto a higher trajectory of struggle. President Tambo centrally determined the overarching political direction of a key generation that earned itself a reputation as the “young lions of Oliver Tambo.”

His connection with and understanding of young people in the ANC was indeed informed by the fact that decades before he became President, he had been part of the radical generation that founded the ANC Youth League and served as its very first Secretary. We all therefore have a responsibility to learn from OR how to better handle contradictions that arise between the young and the old comrades, operating within the same political space.

One of the things that set OR Tambo above many was his spirit of self-sacrifice. A few days after the Sharpeville Massacre in the then Transvaal in the autumn of 1960, the African National Congress dispatched him to go and galvanize international support for the revolutionary anti-apartheid struggle.

Without thought of it, OR obliged and placed himself wholly at the disposal of his movement. Unbeknown to him, he was to set foot on the land of his birth again only three decades later. Such was the sacrifice that this humble servant was willing to make for the liberation of South Africans.

He represents the calibre of cadreship envisioned in our Strategy & Tactics document when it says:

“Wherever they are to be found, ANC cadres should act as the custodians of the principles of fundamental social change; winning respect among their peers and society at large through exemplary conduct. They must be informed by values of honesty, hard work, humility, service to the people and respect for the laws of the land.”

President Tambo epitomized these and other age old values upon which our movement was founded more than 104 years ago.

In memory of this stalwart of our movement who made an unmatched contribution to the liberation struggle of the South African people, let us continue efforts to unite the ANC so that it can better serve the people of our country. Like OR Tambo, we must not be too inward looking when dealing with our challenges. We must always look at our challenges in the context of the broader implications they have on our people.
Our branches must use this OR Tambo month to deepen our reflection and intensify debate about the current political situation, domestically and globally, using the question “what would OR Tambo have done” as a stimulus to such a debate. Needless to say, such a debate would require that ordinary members of the ANC improve their knowledge of President Oliver Reginald Tambo.

For it was Comrade OR who warned prophetically in 1977 in Angola: “Comrades, you might think it is very difficult to wage a liberation struggle. Wait until you are in power. I might be dead by then. At that stage you will realize that it is actually more difficult to keep the power than to wage a liberation war. People will be expecting a lot of services from you. You will have to satisfy the various demands of the masses of our people. In the process, be prepared to learn from other people’s revolutions. Learn from the enemy also. The enemy is not necessarily doing everything wrongly. You may take his right tactics and use them to your advantage. At the same time, avoid repeating the enemy’s mistakes.”

As we recall the wisdom of this giant leader and unifier of our movement, we also call on our structures to hold public lectures aimed at educating society at large about this inimitable leader of our revolution after whom an important international airport in our country was named.

The celebration of President Tambo and his contribution to our struggle must mark the beginning of efforts to teach our people in earnest about all their heroes and heroines who made immense sacrifices for our liberation, more so to assist us address the pressing challenges facing both the African National Congress as the leader of our society and the society it continues to lead.





On this day 99 years ago, a liberator, fighter and protector of women’s rights was born.

We hail the blessed mother to Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo (OR), umama uJulia, who carried and nurtured an African man with a sensitive heart and fighting spirit for women’s emancipation.

The year 2016 marks the 98 Years of Women’s Struggles.

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) has been honoring those who have made significant contributions in the struggle for women emancipation. This cannot be complete until we take the journey from the era of President Oliver Reginald Tambo who took women issues to the center stage within the African National Congress (ANC) and provided leadership in society with regards to women empowerment.
It may not be a story that’s usually narrated but history tells us that back in 1941, one white person who was in charge of the kitchen at the then College of Fort Hare where Cde OR was a Sciences student, assaulted a black woman employee. As it was expected during the dark days of segregation, an enquiry into the matter exonerated the white man involved. It was none other than Tambo who influenced students to stage a boycott of classes in protest. Standing up for the rights of a black woman employee, amongst many of his leadership qualities, elevated Comrade OR’s into being unanimously elected chairperson of the Students’ Committee of his residence, Beda Hall in 1942.

As we honor the life and the legacy of President Tambo, we acknowledge his contribution towards women empowerment and gender equality and the impact thereof. His commitment in advocating for gender equality that began during his student days, continued. When Tambo was the head of the ANC’s Constitutional Commission in 1959, he recommended that more constitutional recognition be given to the ANCWL hence we are indeed humbled to be part of today’s celebration.

President Tambo further advanced the agenda of our liberation by forming a committee on women emancipation guided by the ANC on issues of gender equality and the struggle for women’s rights. This era also marked the endorsement of non-racialism and the Freedom Charter amongst others. The revised constitution came to be known as the Tambo Constitution to signify his commitment to political work within the ANC.

The banning of the ANC and the ANCWL in 1960 forced women to work underground in their pursuance for liberation. The women in exile organized themselves into the ANC Women’s Section. It was at the ANC Women’s Section Conference in Angola in the year 1981 that President Tambo affirmed his confidence in women leadership where he said,

“We invite the Women’s Section of the ANC and the black women of South Africa, more oppressed and more exploited than any section of the population, to take up this challenge and assume their proper role outside the kitchen among the fighting ranks of our movement and its command post.”

He believed that the Women’s Section was not an end in itself but a weapon of struggle to be correctly used against all forms and levels of oppression and inequality in the interests of a victorious struggle of the people. It was under his leadership that another gain was achieved for women where the ANC accepted the attribute of non-sexism into its constitution in its vision for a new South Africa.

Subsequently to the unbanning of political organizations the ANCWL was relaunched in 1990. In his message to the Women’s Conference in 1990 he said,

“It is the women of South Africa who have played a vital role in the mass mobilization, armed struggle, which together, made possible your meeting openly and legally today. The struggle must now be taken forward to ensure that the gains which have been made lead to further advancements.”

The words of President Tambo have remained a compass in all struggles for women. Therefore, it remains the duty of the current leadership to ensure that the agenda of women emancipation does not fall by the wayside, in particular, for the women who still require access to resources and are still at the bottom of the economic ladder.

As we celebrate this giant of our movement, let us acknowledge that the leadership of Cde OR has laid a formidable foundation for different generations of women. His legacy includes numerous gains for women in the negotiations for democracy and also ensured a high proportion of women in parliament, a gender sensitive Constitution and the establishment of State machinery to mainstream gender equality. He did not live long enough to witness democracy but his legacy is democracy, his legacy lives on!

As South African women we are greatly indebted to this selfless giant, a man of integrity, the embodiment of the National Democratic Revolution, the longest serving President of the ANC. Indeed, today, we are proud to stand on the broad shoulders of this unifying giant of the oldest liberation in the world.

Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo. We thank you.
Machi, uNomfe ayigotywa; igotywa ngethokazi.



In the month of October we remember President Oliver Tambo. The principal motivation for this remembrance is to immortalize his memory through time and to draw important political lessons from his life.

The electoral results of August 3 have emboldened the misguided idea that the ANC is experiencing challenges that are impossible to overcome. This is stated as part of an effort to convince many members of the ANC and society to desert the movement.

We, however, have to remind ourselves that even Comrade Oliver Tambo led the ANC during difficult times with many internal challenges that could have killed the movement. The banning of the ANC by the apartheid regime and the mass arrest of its senior leaders between 1961 and1964 meant that the ANC had to quickly rethink its political and organizational strategy. This included the transformation of its external mission to a complete exile situation with military, political and organizational dimensions that the ANC had not anticipated and prepared for systematically.

The death of President Luthuli effectively meant comrade Tambo had to assume overall leadership of the ANC, in exile and back at home, with all the complications that came with it, including serious internal divisions. However, Cde OR actively sought to allow dissent to express itself in a manner that didn’t compromise the unity of purpose that the movement is about. In his own thinking, the ANC represented something greater than a political party and its unity had to be defended at all cost.

He viewed the ANC as a decisive development in the birth of an African Nation out of the historical patterns of tribal nationalism. In his view, the formation of the ANC was part of a transformation of the old political institutions of the oppressed towards the creation of a single African identity, with the ANC serving as the platform upon which this new identity would be fashioned out. He made this point quite clearly on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the ANC, on 8 January 1972, when he said;

“After the festivities, activities and holidays marking the end of the year and the beginning of the next, the leaders of the African people converged in Bloemfontein on January 8, 1912, to found the African Nation, to become one people and to continue their centuries-old struggle against whites as one Black people that spoke and acted through the African National Congress which, established on that day, concretized the existence of this nation and gave it form and character.”

As part of his sociological theory of the ANC and its birthing of an African identity, Tambo insisted throughout his life that the movement had to forever strive for unity of purpose and be at the forefront of South Africa’s socio-political imagination. He believed that the movement had to try to always help society interpret historical moments and events in a progressive manner. Therefore, to Cde OR, the task of political communication was a non-negotiable aspect of the broad political strategy of the ANC in maximizing its hegemony in society.

In his mind the ANC had to provide convincing political perspectives to the people in order to condition the thinking and conduct of activists and communities in an effort to increase the tempo of struggle at every turn of history. For him the ANC had to constantly rise above the contested media terrain by seeking to always assert its own moral perspectives openly, defend its decisions and insist on engaging society in its own terms. Currently, the ANC is fully displaced as a leader of public imagination. We have arrived at a point where we derive our political perspectives from narratives developed and advanced by other voices, especially in media spaces.

We, as the ANC, have become reactive and thus conducting our political strategy as a response to a political agenda that is no longer set by us.
Whilst being open to public criticism, including media criticism, a revolutionary organization has to systematically filter what it receives from outside and assert its homegrown perspectives about the nature of internal problems.

The ANC must always have the rational capacity to determine the substance of critical thinking that serves its own agenda and reject what doesn’t positively reinforce the legitimacy of the movement. As part of the present situation we have to be serious about the need to defend and advance the legitimacy of the decisions of the ANC. There is a systematic attempt to divide the movement by always inviting individual members of the ANC to break rank, reject ANC decisions and thus advertise themselves as the only ones with sound moral values amongst us.

As part of this bid to have the ANC tear itself apart, for the past 10 years, the ANC has been placed in a corner in which it has to always field attempts to have it reject its own President. A troubling view has gained strength in which all problems of the ANC and the country are presented as the personal engineering of President Jacob Zuma. Thus, to resolve all of these challenges, the ANC is implored to condemn and remove its president.

This reductionist perspective is now being embraced by some sections of the movement. They are gaining unlimited access to media platforms in order to advance this unproductive and diverting view. Effectively the ANC now approaches matters of political leadership on the basis of this mood created about whether it will keep or reject its President. Every decision and view is interpreted within the framework of pro or anti-Zuma factional lenses.

This agenda is succeeding in so far as it keeps the ANC in a cycle of the same discussion and thus losing capacity to advance its own political programme of social transformation. The movement is trapped in this cycle of disunity and by extension lacks the required unity of purpose that can allow it to effectively discharge its strategic leadership of both the state and society.

All of this means that the ANC has drifted away from the teachings of President Oliver Tambo on the value of unity and coherent political leadership of the country’s social and political imagination. We have lost the political initiative of setting the national agenda. Cde OR’s experience as a founding member and leading thinker of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), informed his knowledge that sustainable organizational and political renewal depends on young people. He understood that the senior membership of the ANC has a duty to listen to its youth and to draw new ideas from these fresh sections of society on how best to improve the organization and the country.

Therefore, the ANCYL has to reclaim its role as the main driver of renewal in the ANC. To discharge this task, our thinking must go beyond obsession with leadership questions just for the sake of it. This includes the need to force the ANC to listen seriously to the cries of the youth about the structural problems that produce underdevelopment, unemployment and economic marginalization.

In this regard we must understand the current #FeesMustFall stalemate to be a launch pad for a broader critique of the legitimacy and responsiveness of the state. This is related to the ability of the ANC in government to effectively deal with social transformation in a manner that visibly transfers the wealth structures and institutions of social power in our country to the control of African people as the primary motive force for change.

Had the ANC implemented its conference resolution of free education by 2013, there would be no FeesMustFall stalemate in the country. Instead of expending our energies on internal cat and mouse chases, the ANC must collectively ground itself in the task of tackling practical matters of youth development as a means of building a stable future.

As OR Tambo warned, a nation that doesn’t take care of its youth does not deserve its future. A divided ANC loses its capacity to lead the development of a united, democratic and socially transformed African nation as imagined by the founding members of the ANC and Youth League. Close ranks and unite around the primary tasks of the national democratic revolution!


This is an abridged version of the ANCYL OR Tambo Memorial Lecture he delivered in Mpumalanga on 22 October, 2016.


Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

As a former businessperson, whenever I looked at where one can invest I often looked at four areas.

Firstly, whether the country where one would want to invest has good governance and whether that governance is stable and predictable.

Secondly, whether the country has good economic management policies and whether they are also stable and predictable.

Thirdly, I would look also at its labor market and ask myself whether there is stability as well as predictability.

Lastly, I would look at who else invested in that country and ask the question: Is the country connected to other interesting countries and partners?

Looking at South Africa the predominant question is whether South Africa is a stable country from the governance point of view – and whether it has embedded in it a peaceful current situation and a peaceful future.

After having emerged from a very conflict-ridden past, we have emerged as a peaceful country.

That our people feel the need to express themselves now and again through democratic means such as protests, is allowed, and commonplace all over the world.

Then there is our electoral system.

We just had elections recently.

We’ve had those elections since 1994. They have yielded the will of the people and recently the people of South Africa demonstrated their own will.

The people made their choice of who should lead local government. The ruling party suffered losses but it is important to emphasize that the ANC still emerged the dominant party throughout the country.

Even as the ANC suffered some losses, it accepted them. That is itself a key indicator when considering whether a country has political stability or not – and whether democracy rules or not.

The other important thing that one should look at is whether that country has durable institutions. South Africa does have durable institutions, which have been tried and tested since 1994.

Prior to 1994 we didn’t have any institutions to speak of.

Since 1994 we have built robust and durable institutions including an independent judiciary.

A number of other institutions, such as the office of the Auditor-General, audits the books of government from the Presidency right down to local municipalities.

They speak their mind without any interference.

We have a central bank that is independent, that looks after monetary policy and makes decisions without any interference from government.

That to me is a very important marker whether a country has good governance or not.

In our Constitution we have institutions for upholding democracy. There is the office of the Public Protector. The Public Protector is also robust and is there to protect the public and ordinary citizens of our country on issues of corruption and abuse of power by government institutions. That is deeply enshrined in our Constitution.

We also have the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that looks after the human rights of our people.

We have in addition a number of other civil society institutions that are there to guard the process of democracy.

In South Africa the rule of law is observed. Whomever is in power may not wake up one morning and determine new laws by diktat. Our laws are made by a representative and robust Parliament.

If I want to invest in a country I would look at whether all these institutions exist.

It is true that in South Africa we have our challenges.

In the main I would like to believe that I would tick a number of boxes positively and say this is the country that I can invest in.

When it comes to economic management I would look at whether there is stability there. Are there economic policies? Or is economic management just at the whim of those who are in government?

In South Africa we have economic policies that are turned into law. We have the National Development Plan (NDP) which seeks to determine where the country should be by 2030 and sets out a number of things that need to be done.

We also have Industrial Action Policy plans that also set out what the industrial policy of the country should be.

This is aimed at ensuring that those who want to invest in the country are able to pick up the policy that has been set out.

They will be able to pick up laws that have been set out and determine for themselves whether the country indeed is the type of country that would follow the type of policies that are set out or not – without having to resort to rumors and gossip. They will be able to look at the laws that are being passed.

I would also like to look at whether a country is able to respond to continuous challenges.

Sometimes economies go through highs, but sometimes they go into a slump.

I would like to see whether the country would be able to respond timeously to some of those challenges.

In South Africa we have the Nine-Point-Plan, that seeks to respond to the current challenges that the country is going through.

Many other countries in the world are going through similar periods of economic turmoil. China and several European countries are presently going through that period.

Because our economy is largely commodities-based, we’ve had our own challenges.

Initially we faced an energy challenge. Many countries in the world do face an energy challenge from time to time.

I remember California went through a number of blackouts. We also went through a number of blackouts and we had to respond as a government and as a country to stabilize our energy generation.

Now we are looking forward to a future where we will have abundance of energy.

As part of this plan we looked at a number of other areas that can be the pillars on which we build economic growth going forward.

One of them is the Oceans Economy.

South Africa is surrounded by 3,000km of ocean and we came to the conclusion that we have not really focused on exploiting this huge resource that could generate growth in our economy.

Recently President Jacob Zuma visited Malaysia. He learned that whenever they encountered certain challenges they embarked on a process called ‘Big Fast Results’ and established labs where stakeholders took a few weeks to find solutions.

We have adapted what we learned in Malaysia into our Blue Economy strategy. Out of the labs we established there were a number of innovative and interesting ideas.

We put together people from government, business, labor and a number of people who are interested in the Oceans Economy and we started focusing on areas such as Aquaculture, Marine Transportation, Ship-building and a number of other related sub- industries.

From doing that we are already seeing a lot of investment commitments from local and offshore countries.

Up to 7 billion dollars has been committed as investment actions or plans around the Oceans Economy.

We have seven ports in South Africa. Therein lies a number of opportunities that are proven. Some of them are investment opportunities that can yield quite a lot of benefits for any business-oriented enterprise.

In this regard, it shows that a government that is able to take interventions to respond to challenges that a country encounters is a government which I call smart.

The South African government has been able to do so.

The other area to address is to get rid of the bureaucratic clutter that prevents people from investing in our country.

A number of countries set out a number of regulations, institutions and laws that makes it difficult for business to invest in countries.

We realized that this was a barrier and we addressed it and decided that we are going to establish a One-Stop-Shop, which we call ‘Invest South Africa’, where business people can go to one place and be able to have all their issues addressed and solved.

This shows from the economic point of view that we are a government which is willing and prepared to have investors come to South Africa and invest without any barriers.

One of the things we also had to address as part of our Nine Point Plan is the management of our State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s).

South Africa has embarked on that journey and this journey is going to lead us to a situation where SOE’s will be better managed, better operated and they will be able to contribute to the developmental mandate and also a profit driven mandate.

I would look at whether a government is flexible enough, modern enough and smart enough through its economic policy to manage all these.

I would also look at whether it has an economic infrastructure that can attract investment.

The South African government has taken time and trouble and a lot of money to improve its infrastructure.

It has had to address two challenges. To address social infrastructure in the form of housing and education.

It also had to deal with economic infrastructure in the form of building roads and improving every type of infrastructure that can improve the economic performance in the country.

In the past 21 years, a great deal of government resources has gone into investing, to position South Africa as a very attractive investment destination.

Today, South Africa has become an attractive destination and a leading destination from the investment point of view on the African continent. Largely because of the economic infrastructure that the country has put in place.

It stands heads and shoulders above a number of other countries which are in our peer group.

The financial sector of our country is another area that I would look at and ask myself whether it has a financial sector that is stable, that can attract me to invest in that country.

Our financial services sector is one of the leading ones in the world.

We have an extremely well managed financial services sector and very stable, and it has been able to withstand the various shocks and a number of challenges that the financial services sector has gone through globally.

I would also look at whether the country has a good market for me to be able to sell my goods and services.

We’re a population of 55 million but we have access to a population of more than 200 million for the reason that we are inter-connected with a number of countries in the SADC region and the Southern African Customs Union and that enables us to have much greater reach as a market than as a population of 55 million.

With South Africa you are looking at a fairly big market.

These are the economic issues that I would look at if I were to invest in South Africa.

One needs to talk about the negatives as well. The negative is that we have not reached the same level as you have reached when it comes to savings.

Our savings capability is at a low level. This is something that is being addressed on an ongoing basis.

There are quite a number of challenges which we are addressing.

The labor market is another important area that I would look at if I was to invest in a country.

We have some 14 million people who are in employment.

[Of these] 6 million have been added in the past 21 years.

A lot of jobs have been created as we had good period of growth.

However, having said that, we’ve got a number of our people who are unemployed.

Our unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world and it is a huge challenge for the government of South Africa.

It’s a challenge that we are addressing on an ongoing basis.

The key challenge here is that the majority of these people who are unemployed are young people.

We are embarking on a number of initiatives in order to deal with issues of education and skills development

Through various partnerships we are focusing on how we can draw all these young people into the world of work and prepare them for future economic activities.

We’ve developed a good relationship with business and labor in the past few months to create up to one million jobs within the next three years to draw young people into internships.

We are able to do this through the relationships that we are building with various stakeholders.

The other issues with regard to the labor market is whether we’ve been able to establish good and enduring relationships with the key role players in the economy, particularly labor and business.

This we’ve done to good effect through institutionalizing the relationship that we have with labor, government and business through an institution called Nedlac.

This institution rose out of the past that we had as a country as we were moving towards democracy.

We’ve been able to sustain this as an institution that helps us deal with challenges and problems by drawing all stakeholders together.

A few years ago we started experiencing very violent and long strikes. The President identified this as an area that needed to be focused on and we have indeed through this institution.

We are now moving towards an agreement which is going to further stabilize the labor market.

If I were to invest in a country this is one area I would want to focus on to see whether the country is able to mediate the conflicts and the differences that occur in the labor space.

We are able now to move in that direction in a way that we are now going to reach an agreement that will be institutionalized into laws that are going to regulate the relationship between unions and employers.

We are also moving towards instituting a national minimum wage, which hopefully will lead to further stability in the labor market. It is a call which has been made by trade unions in our country for a very long time.

I need to remind everyone here that South Africa is one of those countries that has for many years had very militant trade union federations and we’ve been able to establish very good working relationships

To this end we can boast that our labor market is stabilizing more and more as time moves on.

What else would I look at if I wanted to invest in a country?

I would look at whether the country is well networked globally. Is it a country that has good friends; is it a country that behaves well in its neighborhood and in the global neighborhood?

In this regard South Africa is a well networked country and member of the UN. We are not a rogue country. We are a country that is a sought out partner in a number of institutions.

Despite its population of 55 million, we always regard ourselves as a country

that punches way above its weight.

We are well positioned as we relate to many countries. We are part of the BRICS countries with very big economies which have been willing to accommodate us as part of their club.

We also participate in meetings of the G20 and many countries around the world are very keen to welcome us.

Apart from the United States, we are the country with the most [diplomatic] missions. We are seen as a good friend: a trusted player who many countries can deal with politically, socially and economically.

We have a number of key companies in the world investing in our market. This has happened over many years of our democracy and some of them were in South Africa even prior to that.

Our reach as a country is quite expansive and we have a great deal to offer from a number of points of views as an investment destination.

In the African continent we are the leading country in as far as attracting investment is concerned.

It is for this reason that we say South Africa should be seen as a gateway in terms of investing on the African continent.

Our connectedness to various other markets on the African continent continues to grow and expand.

Through us a number of companies have been able to reach out to various markets on the continent and it’s for this reason that we say come and invest in South Africa.

We are a safe, trusted, dependable and predictable market that you can invest in.

We welcome you to South Africa.




Daniel Bradlow and Edward Webster

The South African government has moved a long way toward achieving fee-free higher education for many that are in need of assistance. However, the nationwide protests on our campuses make it clear that the pace has been too slow.

What is needed now is a timetable for a participatory process involving all stakeholders that leads to a clear plan for how fair and free access to higher education is to be progressively realised. This policy can then be incorporated into the next budget cycle.

The starting point for this process rests on four key principles:

Right of access to university education

Both our Constitution and international human rights law recognizes that every qualifying candidate has a right of access to university education.

This means that governments and universities have a responsibility to progressively realize this right, and ensure there is no impediment, including financial issues, that prevents any person who gains admission to university from being able to accept the offer of admission- and having a fair chance of succeeding at their studies.

It also means that the goal should be to ensure that every student has access to sufficient financing to pay for both the tuition and living expenses associated with their studies.

Universities must have the autonomy to perform their role as educators, producers of knowledge and contributors to solving social problems.

If universities cannot perform these functions, it will adversely affect the reputation of our universities, the quality of student degrees and, ultimately, the ability of universities to contribute to the development of our society.

This will ultimately harm all South Africans.

There is no such thing as free education. Ultimately, someone has to pay: and it is reasonable that all who benefit from it should contribute to the cost, provided they do so at a time when they are in fact able to pay for it.

The beneficiaries of university education are many.

There are the students and their families. Then there is both the public and private sectors that rely on employees with the skills that the students have acquired. And of course, there is South African society as a whole who benefits from a solid tertiary education system.

It follows, therefore, that all these stakeholders should be contributing to funding university education.

The system for financing university education must be sustainable: meaning that its demands on the government fiscus should at least be predictable and stable.

Because our students come from a broad range of family situations and economic backgrounds (and have varied career aspirations based on their areas of study, political views and personal situations) they need access to a diverse package of funding options, including grants, bursaries and loans with a variety of repayment options.

There are a range of financing models that can be used to fund university education that take into cognisance the diverse social backgrounds of the student population of South Africa.

Our proposed model, which we call a Sustainable Autonomy model meets the diverse needs of our universities and their students. Nevertheless, we anticipate it being only one of the group of funding options that universities can offer to their students.

Our Sustainable Autonomy model has three key components:

A Special Purpose Entity (SPE) Owned by Universities

This SPE will be responsible for raising the funding for student loans. It will do so by issuing a perpetual bond, which is a bond that only makes annual interest payments to its investors and does not repay any of the principal investment.

Our bond will however have a long term retirement option so that investors who eventually want to withdraw from the bond will be able to do so.

The bond will be offered for sale to individuals, graduates, companies, and charitable foundations and development financing institutions.

They will be offered an interest rate that is a real interest rate but one that is likely to be less than a fully commercial rate. In this way the bondholders, many of whom will benefit from our country producing enough well qualified graduates, will also contribute to the funding of our universities and its students.

We anticipate that government will participate in this bond, possibly both as an investor and by providing a guarantee in regard to some aspects of the bond transaction.

The SPE will also have some other responsibilities. It will distribute the proceeds of the bond to each university, collect interest payments from each university and disburse the annual interest payments to the bond-holders.

The operations of the SPE will be financed from the interest earned on the funds the universities invest in the SPE when they create it.

All students assured of full financing of their education: The universities will use the funds they receive from the SPE to offer students loan financing for their university education.

The universities will decide for themselves how they want to use these funds to finance their students’ education, provided that one of the major criteria for allocating funding is financial need.

That financial need is the most important criterion means that some students will get full funding of all their tuition and living expenses, whilst others will only get partial scholarships.

To ensure the funding model is consistent with the principle that no student should have to contribute towards the costs for their education before they are in a position to be able to do so, the students will not have to pay any money back on these loans before they graduate.

The universities, after a grace period, however will begin making annual interest payments to the SPE so that it can pay the interest owed to the bondholders.

Each graduating student will be given a choice on how they want to repay their loan:

Pay back through community/ public service:

The student commits to working in their chosen field of study in an area of the country where their skill is needed, for example a rural district or small municipality.

The employer agrees that they will pay the graduate’s salary in two parts. The first part will be a monthly wage that is only a portion of the normal salary for that position but is enough for the graduate to live on for a year. The second part will be paid by the employer to the university from which the employee graduated.

The central government will commit to top up this payment so that the payment that the university receives is equal to the full amount owing on 1 year of the employee’s university debt.

Thus, a graduate who has a 4-year degree can fully pay off the debt owing to the university by working for 4 years in this position.

At the end of the 4 years, the graduate will be debt free and have marketable experience that he/she can then use to get a job in government service, the private sector or civil society.

Pay back through annual debt service payments:

A graduate who has found a well paying permanent job can accept the position and begin paying the loan back as his/her salary exceeds a set amount.

In our model we have assumed that the minimum salary is R150 000 p.a. (which is about 5 times the current NSFAS minimum level)

Once the graduate’s salary exceeds this amount he/she will be required to allocate a set portion of their salary (for example 8-10%, which is comparable to current NSFAS requirements) to service their outstanding debt.

These payments will therefore increase as the graduate’s salary increase. The payments will continue for a fixed number of years so that the debt is fully repaid with interest. This is similar to the current arrangement for repaying NSFAS debts.

Our model has a number of advantages.

First, linking funding tuition to capacity to pay makes it possible to create a sustainable financing model in which all stakeholders in university education can participate.

Graduating students can thus make a contribution but so can companies, individuals, alumni and foundations.

In this regard, government plays an important role as investor and guarantor.

The participation of all these stakeholders mitigates the impact of university tuition on the government’s ability to meet other social demands – such as those of young people who did not qualify for university education. These young people are also entitled to an opportunity to get training and access to good jobs.

It is worth noting that 75% of learners who start in grade one each year will not make it to university.

By offering graduating students a choice of how to pay back their tuition, the model gives students more autonomy in developing their careers, and in meeting their repayment obligations – more so than is possible under the current funding arrangements.

It also allows them to use the knowledge and skills that they have acquired to contribute to resolving the serious problems that our country faces. In this sense our model includes an important nation-building opportunity.

Raising the funding through using a perpetual bond, which has usually been used to fund sovereign states, is attractive because it only requires the debtor to make annual interest payments.

Reducing the annual payment obligations should enhance the investors’ confidence in the debtor’s ability to service the bonds.

Importantly, it should create the space to offer students repayment terms that are responsive to their financial realities, while providing investors with a real, albeit most likely a less-than-market, rate of return.

Raising the funds for university education through a bond is new in SA.

As a result, there is not the historical record that investors need to assess the likelihood they will receive both principal and interest payments over the life of a fixed-term bond issued on purely commercial terms.

To further enhance confidence in the bonds and the public service option, we propose that the government acts as a guarantor of the interest payments on the bonds and on the obligation of the public service employer’s ability to pay the student’s debt for a year of education.

The fact that the government’s primary role in this regard is as the guarantor of the debt obligations means that its risk will diminish as the issuers of the bond gain knowledge about the repayment rates of student debts – and are able to use this information to refine the funding model.

This means that over time the government will be able to more effectively determine the limits on its commitments to this programme which will allow it to spend more money for other educational purposes and on other social needs.

Fourthly, using an SPE both minimizes the bureaucracy associated with funding university education and enhances university autonomy.

This option delegates to universities the responsibility to select the student loan recipients, work with them during their studies to enhance their chances of success and collect the repayments from the students.

This arrangement respects each university’s educational prerogatives and allows them to decide for themselves how they can best serve society.

It also encourages the universities to work with their students to help them succeed in their studies and gain employment after they graduate.

The model will also help universities strengthen their ties to their graduates – which can generate future benefits for the universities and their students.

Funding university education cannot be the sole prerogative of government and a few concerned businesses. We all need to contribute to this project.

Our model allows us to do so – on a basis that should become progressively more sustainable over time.

The authors have a more detailed concept paper discussing the sustainable autonomy model described in this article. It was submitted to the Heher Commission and is available on request from the authors.





Loyiso Masuku

It is a scathing indictment of a political party that lays claim to a commitment to non-sexism, that one of the most senior figures in the Democratic Alliance made shockingly inappropriate remarks about women in a leading newspaper. It was worse that these widely reported remarks were made during Women’s Month.

In an article published in The Star newspaper City of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba called women who work for the City ‘girlfriends’. He was quoted as saying “”the days when they [read ANC administration] allowed their girlfriends to run state institutions are over”.

Mashaba’s words carried in the article that was syndicated online – were appalling, sexist and demeaning: and an insult to liberation icons such as Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Suzman, Winnie Mandela, Sophia de Bruyn and even Bettie du Toit, among others.

That the DA has until this point not seen fit to distance itself from these derogatory comments infer that the party sanctions what Mashaba said. With one broad and sweeping stroke he condemned women in the ANC government, inferring that they are not capable of working their way up, but must have prostituted themselves to get there.

It has been encouraging however that civil society has taken a stand through the #SexismMustFall campaign. Some of the women who support the campaign include those who belong to professional organisations such as the Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF), Young Women for Business Network (YWBN), the Black Management Forum (BMF), as well as from the ANC Greater Johannesburg Region and the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL).

There can be no doubt that Mashaba’s comments have absolutely no place in our society that is committed to the values of non-sexism and non-discrimination as well as gender equality.

It is for this reason that a group of women have laid a formal complaint with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). We will not allow the ravings and ranting of one chauvinistic male to derail the gender equality project in our country.

South Africa has a long list of heroines who devoted their lives to taking a stand against the injustices of the apartheid regime, and to advance women’s development and empowerment. These remarkable women made history in their own right.

The outgoing Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, businesswoman Basetsana Khumalo and the Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, are just a few of today’s inspirational women.

They continue to serve as inspiration to many younger women who are climbing the leadership ladder.

Younger women are making a name for themselves, including in careers that were previously male dominated – and they are excelling in them, including in the City of Joburg.

Mashaba’s poisonous statements, which threaten to taint these respectable women’s public statue in our society, must be harshly condemned.

Women in business and government leadership have long been insulted in a democratic South Africa, and often by men who usually personally empower women who do them sexual favors and then assume that this is the status quo everywhere.

Not long ago, business executive Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, was told she slept with all politicians when she stood her ground in her field. Another business executive, Judy Dlamini was also tainted with allegations that she achieved her success because of her husband Sizwe Nxasana’s influence.

These are just a few successful women who clearly threaten the likes of Mashaba with their success.

Sexist and demeaning statements like those of Mashaba defeat the cause for gender equality in our nation and mislead young girls into believing that they need “boyfriends”, “sugar daddies” or “blessers” to empower them.

Mashaba is attempting to dilute the role of women in our society.

If men in leadership are allowed to just make statements that insinuate hardworking women slept their way into success, then what message are we sending to the next generation of our society?

How does Mashaba look at those executive women he found in the city when he has already insulted them before he had even launched his much publicized “skills audit” in the organization?

How does he expect them to continue commanding respect from their subordinates when he has already tainted their image with his sexist statements?

There is no woman in a position of leadership in the City of Joburg who was not interviewed and found to be qualified for her position, If Mashaba has evidence that there has been any instruction that a woman leader must be placed in a key position because they are so and so’s so-called girlfriend, let him provide the evidence.

It is not fair to any of those women executives in the city to be generalized and stereotyped as “girlfriend-appointments”.

The #SexismMustFall group of women filed the sexism complaint against Mashaba with the Commission for Gender Equality following a picket at the municipality’s head office, the Metro Centre in Braamfontein.

It was unfortunate that Mashaba was so arrogant that he did not come himself to collect the memorandum as per the scheduled time which was communicated to him in advance.

A memorandum was subsequently handed over to MMC for Health and Social Development, Mpho Phalatse.

We are demanding that Mashaba unreservedly withdraws his published sexist statements, apologize to South African women and commit himself to advancing gender equality in the city.

As concerned women, we have also noted that it is not possible that Mashaba was misquoted by the newspaper that published his sexist statements because there is no record of his complaint against the newspaper for it.

We hope that Mashaba responds to our demands within seven working days – ending on Monday, 24 October 2016, wherein he must also outline how he is going to advance women empowerment in the municipality that he leads.





This month marks sixty-seven years since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China – a country that would rise to become an important member of the international community and a beacon of hope for many other countries and people globally in a way that nobody could have imagined.

Whilst we speak of the incredible rise to the top of China, in so doing lifting millions of its people out of poverty, we should remember that the country has also in the process, contributed to a better world that we live in today.

When we cite statistics of how much progress the world has made to reduce poverty; to increase the levels of literacy and access to education; to increase life expectancy; and many other positive developments, we would probably not have a very good story to tell if we did not take into account the contribution made by China.

The People’s Republic of China and The Republic of South Africa’s relations are firmly premised on the strong historical ties between the African National Congress (ANC) and Chinese Communist Party which, dates back to the days of our liberation struggle. This foundation is important for our democracies, especially to strengthen our relations at all levels.

The People’s Republic of China is rich in culture and heritage and it is admirable that so much of it has been preserved over millennia.

Together, China and South Africa boast a total of 58 World Heritage Sites, as designated by UNESCO, which serve as tourist attractions to people across the globe.

On 24 September 2016 South Africa celebrated its National Heritage Day. We recognize, just as the Chinese do, the importance of preserving a nation’s culture and heritage for the benefit of its future generations and the entire global citizens.

Tourism between South Africa and China is on the rise.

Last year, it was recorded that 84 691 Chinese tourists visited South Africa. In addition to them experiencing the beauty of our country, these tourists contribute to our economy in a significant way.

These tourism flows strengthen the bonds that exist between our two countries. We know that we have excellent political and economic relations between our Governments and it is important that we expand it even further to include vibrant and strong people-to-people links.

South Africa and China are on the same page regarding this vision, as confirmed by the decision of Presidents Jacob Zuma and Xi Jinping to establish a High-Level People-to-People Mechanism Exchange between our two countries.

People-to-people diplomacy will deepen mutual understanding between the peoples of South Africa and China and create opportunities that would otherwise not have existed.

We know that although China has had remarkable success in addressing its pressing social and economic challenges, the work is not yet done.

China’s rise to the top of the global community is in many ways attributable to the importance it placed on educating its citizens.

As the Chinese saying goes, “If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people”. A lesson South Africa has taken to heart.

At the heart of the Sino-South African relations is the agreement between our two countries to cooperate on issues regarded as crucial to our own developmental needs and related to the National Development Plan (NDP).

In our quest for economic growth, China has demonstrated its commitment to assist South Africa in this regard through various large-scale investments. Trade between South Africa and China stood at R294 billion at the end of 2015.

During the forthcoming Bi-National Commission (BNC) in November this year to be hosted in South Africa, we wish to further enhance the political and economic relations between our countries.


We also wish to work towards operationalizing critical areas that have been identified in achieving South Africa’s economic objectives such as Operation Phakisa and the Re-Industrialisation programme.


During President Xi Jinping’s State Visit in December 2015, our two countries signed bilateral Agreements worth R94 billion. The subsequent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit also produced an incredible outcome, with President Xi announcing that US$60 billion would be made available to fund developmental projects in Africa. This would go a long way in addressing the challenges faced by African countries.


The announcement by President Xi was a genuine commitment which was backed up by follow-up actions such as the FOCAC Coordinators Meeting in Beijing in July this year which brought together relevant Chinese and African Ministers to assess progress thus far with regard to that commitment by President Xi.


Minister Nkoana-Mashabane represented South Africa and co-chaired that meeting. South Africa has since taken strides to finalise the identified FOCAC projects to meet the funding criteria of China.


As a result, progress on projects such as the Umzimvubu Water Project and the Moloto Rail Corridor, among others, has been made. These projects are very important to us and we appreciate the Chinese’ eagerness to partner with us in order to bring these projects to life.

China has recognized that its growth should not only benefit itself, but the entire world, particularly the developing countries.

China has swiftly increased its foreign aid, but more importantly has intensified its trade relations with developing countries, including the rest of our African continent.

South Africa as well as many other countries in our continent now have China as their number one trading partner.

The Chinese government should be congratulated on the successful hosting of the G20 Summit earlier this month in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

The Summit showcased China’s ability to steer the G20 Summit Agenda to focus on the world’s systemic economic and financial crises. President Zuma remarked at the 2nd Investing in Africa Forum that was held in Guangzhou, immediately after the G20 Summit that “Africa’s development was prioritized by the Chinese Presidency and this approach was adopted by the G20 Summit as reflected in the Hangzhou Consensus. Industrialization in the continent and least developed nations was put on the global agenda”.

China’s leadership role in the world can only produce positive outcomes and lead us to a path of prosperity. South Africa is, therefore, pleased to be associated with China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which has the potential to bring about much needed development across the globe through closer economic co-operation and enhanced trade flows among the countries on the Belt and Road routes.

President Zuma also announced during his attendance of the 2nd Investing in Africa Seminar that South Africa is in the process of establishing a Consulate-General in Guangdong Province. This development will further enhance the already strong ties between our countries, especially in the area of economic diplomacy.

President Xi remarked at the G20 Summit that the “The Silk Road Economic Belt is progressing rapidly and the Maritime Silk Road is well under way. But this is not China creating a sphere of influence, but rather a means of supporting the development of all countries. We are not building China’s backyard garden, but we are building a garden to be shared by all countries”.

This ‘garden’ that President Xi refers to needs to be watered and South Africa stands ready at all times to work with China, our valued Comprehensive Strategic Partner, to ensure that the garden produces the desired fruit.






Organizations are not different from other living organisms. They come into being, go through the processes of learning and growth, mature and adapt to changing material conditions, or stagnate and die.

Often the ability to adapt to the changing environment is the most critical element that determines whether species and other living organisms adapt or die.

Change is the only permanent constant in life. Out of the womb of the old the new gets born. Sometimes, the old must die for the new to be born. Yet in other occasions, the new itself is not ready to be born and the old refuses to die.

The genesis of the ANC bears testimony to this irrefutable law of nature. Throughout the 104 years of the ANC’s existence, there have been ebbs and flows, growth and stagnation.  Amongst many other factors that prevented the ANC from early death was its ability to adapt to new conditions and circumstances. Over time this critical element of survival was termed the ability to “self- correct.”

Denialism has never been a defining feature of the ANC. The ANC’s history has been the history of “problems identified and problems solved,” to paraphrase the late ANC stalwart and Isithwalandwe, Comrade Walter Sisulu.

The resilience of the ANC, amongst other things can be attributed to its ability to criticize itself openly and honestly, genuinely seek to understand the form and the content of the challenge, its cause and effect, essence and phenomena and locate it properly in time and space.

This has been made possible because of its umbilical cord, which is connected, to the people.

Consequently, an ANC that is not connected to the wishes and aspirations of the people, which are its lifeblood and nerve center, can never survive.

It is against this background that various ANC conferences in our recent past have made a clarion call for organizational renewal.

The recent local government elections outcome is the clearest indicator of a need for urgent surgery and renewal, before the ANC’s condition becomes terminal and incurable. Scientific and empirical evidence (declining electoral support over time) suggest that unless something extraordinarily drastic gets done soon, death is our inevitable end.

My perspective is informed and grounded on the raison d’être of a revolutionary and transformative movement for radical socio-economic change. Whilst losing political power does not necessarily lead to the immediate death of the ANC as an organization, however, the ANC’s historical mission as articulated in our strategy and tactics document and our perspective on the national democratic revolution, does not foresee an ANC that exist for its own sake. In other words, occupying opposition benches is simply not in our DNA. Hence the need to reclaim and regain lost ground.

The ANC is a revolutionary organization that has a clear mission of building a National Democratic Society. Hence the need to retain political power, with a full mandate from the majority of our people to continue with the radical socio-economic transformation project

It is in this context, that urgent steps need to be taken to prevent a scenario where we need to lose power first before we appreciate the need for urgent organizational renewal.

Extraordinary circumstances require extra ordinary measures. The scale and scope of renewal must cut across all levels of the ANC and all its component parts.

The first step required for a process of renewal to unfold is to admit without reservation, that doing nothing is not an option. The modalities of how this process must unfold and be managed are merely a tactical question and not a matter of principle. “There is no power that can stop an idea whose time has come,” said Victor Hugo.

At the center of this process of re-imagining a renewed ANC lays the function of leadership and conscious and active membership that appreciates the gravity of the challenges of our time, a collective that understands that we have arrived at our own “Morogoro moment.”

I have no doubt in my humble mind, that the ANC, that I came to know, love and respect over a period spanning over three decades, can rise to the occasion and effectively and decisively renew itself.

The words of that eminent prophet of liberation, Franz Fanon, reverberates on my head as I recall his profound challenge when he said in his seminal work in the (wretched of the earth), “every generation must emerge from its relative obscurity, identify its mission, fulfill it or betray it.”

Men and women of integrity, young and old, from urban and rural areas, black and white, rich and poor, are yearning for a renewed ANC that will restore the confidence of the overwhelming majority our people as a custodian of their wishes, aspirations and ideals as contained in the Freedom Charter.




History is littered with coincidences that ordinarily mean nothing at first glance. We sometimes find meaning to these coincidences only when we actively search for connecting substance.


It is the same thing that could be said about the month of September. In our country’s political calendar this month is recorded is the Heritage Month in which we celebrate and reflect on our diverse past – in search of the essence of our identity as a people. In so doing we promote the symbols of our culture that define the best of our values as we attempt to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist and people-centred democratic society.

It was also by historical coincidence that on 26 September 1936 in the remote village of eMbhongweni, eMbizana, Nomzamo Winfred Madikizela was born. Although she was born into a family of learned parents, it is not difficult to think that neither could they have thought that they had given birth to a child who would become one of the many shining and crucial symbols of South Africa’s political heritage.

Comrade Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the mother of our nation, represented defiance and courage against repression at moments of our struggle in which the power of the Apartheid regime appeared almost unbreakable. Her presence amongst the people of South Africa in our townships provided the glimmer of hope and inspiration that was important in keeping up the spirit of resistance and revolutionary protest. She remained this symbol of hope despite the attempts by the regime to break her spirit through solitary confinement away from her children and people, hoping to destroy any sense of commitment to the plight of the nation. None of this had the desired effect.

In the African National Congress’s revolutionary language and political metaphors we came to normalise the reference to women as Imbokodo- rocks- in honor of the courageous women of 1956 who marched to the doors of the Union Buildings in protest of the inhumane pass laws. These are women who defied the odds of aggression from the police in order to make their contribution to justice and freedom in our land.

It is this spirit of justice and freedom that remain a driving force behind the courage and resilience of comrade Winnie. She lived and continues to live her life as a testimony to the centrality of women to the struggle for justice and development throughout the history of humanity. This has always been her contribution against entrenched attitudes of backwardness that relegates women to secondary citizens of the world.

She affirmed her autonomy and political agency outside of the magnanimous shadow of her husband, the towering struggle icon President Nelson Mandela. By so doing she proved and taught to many doubting minds that women are legitimate political actors with their own moral motivations and not appendages to their husbands, fathers, brothers, boyfriends and colleagues.

It is in this act of defying the forces of Apartheid oppression that comrade Winnie Mandela together with other women, in the ANC and the entire liberation movement, were also producing values that must underpin a new society.


The distinctive contribution of women like comrade Winnie to the struggle against colonial oppression also served as an act of defying the entrenched culture of sexism and patriarchy even in revolutionary political movements.


It was a constant art of teaching male revolutionaries and younger generations that human agency resides in all of us regardless of gender and sex.

As we continue to deepen the National Democratic Revolution with its objectives of creating a new society driven by non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy; we have to look into the experiences of the past.


These experiences constitute the political heritage that we have to seek progressive values from; and use those to build a social consciousness that binds all of us to strive for an equitable society.

It is the lives of people like comrade Winnie Mandela, that were built in struggle, which must be looked into as living heritage from which lessons about the present and future can be extracted.


It is these lives that remain instructive symbols of hope that the human spirit can learn great lessons from courageous women. The struggle against patriarchy in all its manifestations- in domestic violence, rape, street harassment and catcalling- requires a resilient effort from all of us as women. We need to organize ourselves seriously as a clear voice to articulate the sort of anti-patriarchal social relations we want to enforce on this society. In her 80 years of life Comrade Winnie remains a great symbol of the values that we need to look up to in order to achieve greater strides against this.

Happy and Revolutionary Birthday Comrade Winnie Madikizela Mandela, MaMsuthu, Mother of the Nation. Nwele olude ntombi yama Ngutyana.