UNBRIDLED RACISM DISGUISED AS ARTISTIC LICENSE

26may2It is regrettable that 21 years into democracy: a democracy that thousands of people fought and died for, our hard won Constitutional freedoms are still being abused by sectors of white South Africa to justify apartheid-era, and even colonial era thinking.

It is further regrettable that despite the official end of a dehumanizing system that relegated black South Africans to sub-human status, such positions still hold sway among some white South Africans.

This has been starkly brought to the fore in recent times by the likes of KwaZulu-Natal estate agent, Penny Sparrow who on Facebook described black beach-goers as monkeys, garnering hundreds of ‘likes’ with her post.

And now the cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known popularly as Zapiro, has in a leading newspaper depicted the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams as a monkey dancing to the tune of an organ grinder.

Not that the cartoon is surprising: the cartoonist has a long history of portraying post-apartheid political figures in South Africa as either criminals (gang rapists), infantile (little children holding lollipops) and sub-human (either as monkeys or holding bananas). The one common denominator in these images is that those being portrayed are black.

It is no wonder then that it was one of his cartoons (depicting President Jacob Zuma) that was used by a Johannesburg school recently as part of an exam question ostensibly around who they would choose to vote for.

The answers of the students were telling: they associated the image with attributes like thievery, laziness and corruption. The teacher gave the pupil full marks and praise for their answer.

It seems Zapiro’s cartoons are now being used by racists in our country to glamorize their prejudice in popular culture.

It would seem that more and more white South Africans are openly venting their conservative views, once previously only relegated to the dinner table in the suburbs – on public platforms such as social media and newspapers. They nearly always attempt to justify themselves by claiming their comments need to be ‘contextualized.’

Likewise, Zapiro has attempted to explain himself by indicating that he had previously drawn apartheid-era leaders as monkeys. In time, no doubt, we will also hear of his role in the anti-apartheid struggle.

There is a phenomenon developing in society where our engagement as a society is increasingly vulgar and disrespectful. Ala Naomi Chomsky, the media lives up to its role of manufacturing consent in this instance establishing a paradigm that political figures do not enjoy the same right to dignity as the rest of the populace. Freedom of speech and artistic license is wantonly abused. The ultimate aim is the undermining of the democratically government.

Zapiro gleefully plays into this narrative then calls his cartoon ‘a mistake’. Of course this is questionable, notably because there is a long, painful and well-known history of this form of depiction by the colonial artists of Europe and the artists of the slavery-era in the US.

We see for instance these days the tens of thousands of euros in penalties given to European football clubs when their supporters mock black players from the stands by making monkey chants or throwing bananas onto the field.

Everyone knows, then, including Zapiro, that using a monkey to portray a black person is offensive and crude, and akin to the Sambo and Aunt Jemima cartoons of the slavery era.

The ANC notes that ‘Zapiro’ has attempted to justify the cartoon by calling it ‘a metaphor easily intelligible to readers across the board.’

Given the overwhelmingly negative reception to the image across several social media platforms since its publication, it is also questionable whether his claim of the cartoon being well received even holds water.

In justifying his cartoon, the artist appears not to have considered the affront to not just the dignity of the NDPP, but also the dignity of millions of black South Africans.

Yet again, as he did with his libelous ‘Lady Justice’ cartoon, this artist, under the guise of both freedom of speech and artistic license, resorts to offensive stereotypes in a bid to score a few laughs. It is a poor attempt at satire that fails dismally, not least of all owing to its lack of intellectual rigor.

That anyone then could make such a ‘mistake’ – beggars belief. The very fact that he calls it a mistake it is also a tacit admission that he has crossed the line and moved beyond the realm of freedom of speech. The system of co-regulation once again fails as minimal or no recourse is available to the offended.

Whilst the right to freedom of speech and expression is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the right to dignity holds equal value in the Constitution.

As the governing party that played a formative role in the drafting of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the ANC affirms its respect for the rights of all South Africans.

At the same time we urge those with access to public platforms such as newspapers, to exercise this right wisely, or accept their complicit and explicit role in the continued dehumanization of the black majority, regardless of the hand of reconciliation offered.

ZIZI KODWA IS THE ANC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON

25may2

IS SOUTH AFRICA A ‘CAPTURED STATE’? THE ANATOMY OF A CAPTURED STATE

25may2The state is the highest concentration of political power; hence state power is a fiercely contested phenomenon in any society.

In liberal democracies contestation for state power is done by both conventional and unconventional means.

The conventional way is through universal suffrage which gives rise to political representation. Central to the conventional way is fierce contestation for electoral support by various political parties with different ideological permutations.

Then there are the unconventional ways of contestation and acquisition of state power, which are not openly governed by any prescribed rules, systems or disciplines.

The unconventional acquisition of state power is a product of informal manoeuvrings by dominant interest groups in society, which enjoy an advantage of being in a close proximity to those in power.

This is what is disparagingly referred to as state capture, and is the primary focus of this article.

Recently there has been a rash of commentary in the public space alleging that South Africa is a captured state. One such is that by former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi, titled “UNEMBARGOED: The state has been captured (December 14, 2015) published following the removal of Cde. Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance in December 2015.

Judging from its popularity on social media channels (5017 Facebook likes, 838 dislikes and 3911 comments) it would appear many seemed to agree with the writer.

More recently, Lily Gosam in the Rand Daily Mail (March 07, 2016) posited that the removal of the former Finance Minister was “Zuma’s palace coup of government”.

Another article the Daily Maverick (March 10, 2016) titled “State capture: Did the Guptas offer Treasury’s top job to Deputy Minister Jonas?” in a similar vein alleged the Gupta family approached and offered the position of Minister of Finance to Deputy Minister Jonas before former Minister Nene was fired. The writer goes on to assert a number of claims made in the public space, such as that the then newly appointed Minister of Finance, Des van Rooyen, arrived at the National Treasury with unknown advisors who turned out to be Gupta associates.

In March this year the then Deputy Minister of Finance confirmed some of these allegations to in fact be true. The Gupta family however roundly denies the allegations and has claimed they are part of on-going factional battles in the ANC.

This subject continues to generate massive interest in the country. The graphic depictions of ‘state capture’ in the abovementioned articles has triggered a number of conversations, some of them passionate, on social media platforms.

At a more academic level, the South African Communist Party (SACP) in its discussion document Going to the Roots – towards a radical second phase of the NDR (2014) cautions the broader Alliance movement on the corporate capture of the state by individuals or individual corporations in competition for tenders.

The authors of the discussion document are of the view that the debate on state capture is on the political radar both within and outside the ANC.

Similarly, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in its 12th National Congress of 2015 pertinently warned about the interplay of ‘dirty money’ and political influence within the state.

COSATU further cautioned on the deleterious and debilitating impact this might have on the capacity of the state.

ANC policy documents do not make any specific reference to state capture per se.

However, the Strategy & Tactics of 2012 in identifying emergent challenges for the organisation warns about the adverse impact of corruption on both the stability of the ANC and the state.

The ANC’s January 8 statement of 2016 also issued a stern warning on the use of money as a means to influence the direction of the organisation both on policy and leadership matters.

A historical context to claims of state capture is necessary, considering that South Africa is not the first or last modern state to be confronted with such claims.

The latter half of the 20th century has seen a long list of states being characterized as ‘captured’ – many of them in developing countries.

The DRC under Mobuto SeseSeko, Nicaragua under Arnoldo Aloman, Peru under Alberto Fujimori, Nigeria under Sani Abacha, Indonesia under Suharto, Serbia under Slobodan Milosavic, Haiti under Jean-Claude Duvalier and the Philippines under Ferdinand Marcos are just some examples.

Naturally, whether they do in fact fit the definition of captured states is subjective. However, all these states had two common features.

Firstly, the immense growth in the wealth of dominant private interests (captors) and well-connected public officials.

Secondly, a pronounced disarticulation of the broader societal interest that resulted in widespread poverty and underdevelopment.

As always, definition is key. There is intense scholarly interest in the notion of the captured state across the globe, resulting in many definitions – with some of them being complex to a point of incomprehensibility.

To simplify this notion some writers embarked on empirical studies to investigate state capture by developing a ‘state capture index’ to measure the extent of capture of the state.

This resulted in a typology of three forms of captured states that is prominent in the literature – the occasionally captured state, the partially captured state and the fully captured state.

The occasionally captured state is when there are occasional deviations to benefit the private interest and public officials.

Partial capture is when there are high averages of corrupt contracts and activities but this is not the norm and the state is in the main focused on achieving its developmental objectives.

Full capture is when high levels of corruption directed by the dominant private interest represents the norm, and the developmental agenda is subordinated to corrupt exchanges.

This article is an attempt at working towards a ‘user friendly’ definition of state capture: namely a systemic political rot in which private interests significantly influence the state decision-making process to their own advantage through unusual and unconventional channels.

This influence is never overt, as the public officials are positioned as clandestine agents to their principals (captors).

This article aims to briefly highlight the anatomy of state capture, its impact on the nation-state and to respond to the question of whether South Africa is in fact a captured state.

I would argue that South Africa is not a captured state.

Primarily because the incomparable levels of commitment demonstrated by the ANC government to improve the socio-economic profiles of South Africans is an antithesis of the notion of a captured state.

I would also argue that state capture is not an event but an incremental process. As a result, revolutionary vigilance is of utmost importance, to detect state capture practices and to boldly confront subjective weaknesses that are catalysts to the capture of individual public officials or the state.

The motivation for writing this article clear: because any  perception of state capture in South Africa is fatally detrimental to the programme of building a National Democratic Society.

The fundamental question we are to confront is whether economies in transition, like South Africa, are the most susceptible to state capture.

Historically, one of the main challenges posed by the programme of transition from apartheid to a prosperous democratic society was to redefine how the state interacts with capital.

In the Strategy & Tactics this relationship is defined as one of “unity and struggle”.

Little attention was paid to the flip side of the relationship, which is how capital can influence the state: what the SACP terms the “interface between the capital and the state” and in particular, how capital exerts influence on and colludes with public officials to extract advantages.

Generally, scant attention is afforded to how capital exerts influence on the state in transitional state economies, and the way in which being a transitional economy makes it easy for the public officials to shape rules to the advantage of the captors – with considerable and devastating social cost.

Hellman and Kaufmann (2001) argue that the most pernicious and intractable problem of economies in transition is oligarchs manipulating state decisions to extract substantial economic advantages.

They developed a risk matrix of “low capture group” and “high capture group”.

They argue that the “high capture group” are states undertaking massive political and economic reforms such as the introduction of new political systems, building of new political institutions and liberalising their economies.

They further argue that state capture is lower in developed countries with systematically reformed economies and adequately developed institutions of accountability; this is what they classify as the “low capture group”.

The argument that states in transition have a high risk of capture is plausible in many respects.

Post-colonial states are politically and economically unbalanced and predisposed to inherent contradictions, not least of all the very artificiality of the post-colonial state rooted in the common sense of colonialism. The nature of transition undertaken in post-colonial states essentially entrenches this artificiality through a process of cosmetic changes that keeps the structure of the colonial state intact.

In many post-colonial countries these contradictions are mitigated through co-option of the political elites, who were once victims of the oppressive past, into the sewn-in colonial appendages of the post-colonial state.

For Nosko (2014/2015), state capture is another name for corruption. He argues that while corruption reflects moral failure of individuals, state capture is a systematic failure which occurs in a country without effective and functioning checks and balances.

In these countries capture of the state and important industries are a norm – because as deficiencies and loopholes in the law are utilised to ensure impunity for the benefit of the captor and its networks.

This amplifies the argument that economies in transition are “high capture groups” as most such states are undertaking institutional reforms and lacks adequately developed systems of checks and balances. Furthermore, in the process of undertaking massive institutional reforms there are many blind spots, which are opportunistically used by capital.

In summary, state capture is a real threat in two circumstances.

The first is in countries emerging from authoritarian regimes with fledging transitional governments that are undertaking massive economic liberalisation measures.

The instability and imbalances of post repressive years leads to skilful exploiters seizing control of state power.

Secondly, in countries with inadequate systems of checks and balances due to poorly developed political and administrative institutions.  The visible consequences of such deficiencies in systems of checks and balances are widespread corruption and unusual ways of exchange.

The next question to be asked is what the defining attributes of a captured state are.

Central to state capture is the strategic penetration of executive institutions (cabinet) by the dominant private interest, which results in a reallocation of budgeted funds and the milking of state enterprises.

Budgets mean little to a captured state, both in terms of fiscal discipline, allocation or expenditure. Budgets are always exceeded and when the ‘need’ arises, money is simply taken.

In Haiti for instance during the rule of Francois Duvalier, funds were routinely and casually transferred from one budget item to another according to whim. Development projects literally came to a halt.

The other avenue that captured states use to siphon off funds is state owned enterprises (SOE). Most lucrative is presumably when the SOEs are given monopoly privileges.

Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines created monopolies in sugar and coconuts that channelled funds directly to his captors. The Marcos era saw a proliferation of SOEs with some exempted from auditing control through presidential decrees. Similarly, in Guyana, Forbes Burnham nationalised a number of foreign-owned companies in the bauxite and sugar sector gaining control over more than two-thirds of the total export revenue of the country, which was used as payment to captors.

The ultimate outcome is disorientation of the state, which includes the subjugation of the developmental goals intended to improve the quality of life of the people.  The strategic penetration of the executive institutions can be a direct consequence of a number of factors, such as:

  • Capture of the public officials by the private interest: Leaders of political parties, particularly governing parties, have immense influence on the strategic direction of the state. In most instances the influence they yield on the state is unmediated as it happens through informal channels and there are no formal checks and balances. The state in South Africa is the largest procurer of goods and services and any influence on the direction of the state can be easily converted into monetary gains.
  • The ANC Strategy and Tactics succinctly reflects on this negative subjective development, which includes abuse of state resources and factionalism. These developments serve as an entry point that the captors use to gain illicit influence and advantage. Capture of individual public officials may result in occasional or partial capture of the state, which might serve as a beachhead for full capture of the state.
  • Capture of the governing party by the private interest: Capturing of the governing party is closely related to capturing of the public officials. However, this form of capture is distinct in that the entire organisational infrastructure and systems are captured by a private interest. The organisational activities are mobilised around defending the captor’s interests to the extent that the continued independent existence of the organisation and the captor’s interest are intractably interwoven.  The entire organisational machinery is designed and mobilised to secure the captor’s interests. A highly factionalised governing party is a highly susceptible capture, as factional activities are resource-driven. Capture of the governing party is likely to result is full capture of the state, as opposed to capture of individual public officials.

The penetration of the executive by a private interest results in disarticulation of the broader societal interest and dereliction of the developmental goals. The state becomes weak and indecisive, as captors must ratify the state action. Institutionalised grand corruption defines the conduct of the state as public procurement is directed at serving the captors through rent-extraction logic. This logic is rife as unusual techniques are systematically used to restrict broader access in order to recurrently benefit the captors.

The central feature of a captured state is disarticulation of the broader societal interest, which in post-independence states perpetuates the socio-economic prejudices of the colonial past.

When the state is captured by a private interest, it loses its autonomy to act in the public interest; as a result, people lose confidence in the state.

Out of disbelief, the people are left reeling as they try to make sense of what has happened. This results in collective national trauma, which can be described as an event or a series of events that significantly disrupts the normal routine of a nation-state.

As the nation tries to make sense of what took place episodes of anger, irritability, withdrawal, dislocation and other associated maladies take centre stage.

To improve the understanding of collective national traumas, my late mentor and friend, Professor Ridwan Laher, separated collective national traumas into two types.

The first type is an acute trauma and it is defined by its relatively short duration. One example would be the trauma that came with the passing of Comrade Nelson Mandela the father of the nation.

The South African nation was shocked in collective terms but as the weeks passed the pain subsided as people began to make sense of the loss and resolve to move on with their lives.

The second type of trauma is described as collective chronic trauma. This type of trauma, unlike the acute, is due to a permanent disruption of the socio-political and psychological life of a nation.  It is a collective trauma because it cannot be ignored and its consequences are shared across the nation. European colonialism in Africa can be described as chronic collective trauma that has permanently disrupted the normal routines of African people. State capture by political elites after decolonialisation in countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria perpetuated the collective chronic trauma.

The enduring nature of collective chronic trauma means that it cannot simply be swept under the carpet but requires remedial redress. Such redress requires a bold confrontation of any attempts to capture a state or perceptions of state capture. As failures to confront state capture or perceptions thereof result in disenchantment of citizens, lack of confidence in the state and spontaneous upheavals and mass protests that threatens the stability of the nation-state.

The trust deficit in the state further propels self-help mechanisms by citizens.

Vigilante groups are formed to swiftly deal with suspected criminals, as there is little trust in the captured criminal justice system.  Communities become restless and when there is, for example, a water blockage the community embarks on a protest, burns down the library, municipal offices or the roads because the community does not trust the captured public officials in the municipality to resolve the problem.

There is thus a high disregard of laws and cabinet directives, as the citizens perceive these as strategic manoeuvrings of a captured executive or parliament to benefit the private interest and its lineage in the public sector.

The impact of a captured state is collective chronic trauma that can shake the foundation of the rule of law and threaten both the political and economic stability of the state. The stability of the state is essential for any project aimed at building a developmental state and to ensure redistributive growth of the economy. Construction and reconstruction of successful developmental states in post-colonial societies is crucial as it is unreasonable to expect that independence will automatically foster a state where the concerns of the poor citizens would be in the mainstream of policy attention. State capture on the other hand traumatises the society as the broader societal interest is relegated to the back burner.

As mentioned above there are accusations being made that South Africa is a captured state.

To fairly engage with this accusation, it is important to first consider the defining attributes of a captured state.

This article argues that central to a captured state is a pronounced disarticulation of the broader societal interest. This raises the question of whether there is disarticulation of the broader societal interest in South Africa.

In responding to this question it is compelling to note that one of the key strategic objective of the ANC is building a democratic developmental state.

The ANC’s Strategy & Tactics restrictively highlights four attributes of such a state, namely:

  • Its strategic orientation is premised on people-centred and people-driven change.
  • It takes the lead in the defining and articulating the common national agenda.
  • The state’s organisational capacity to facilitate the realisation of the set agenda.
  • The state has technical capacity to translate broad objectives into programmes and projects and to ensure implementation.

The attributes of a developmental state as conceptualised by the ANC stand in stark contrast to a captured state.

A captured state is a paralysed state, with no real ambitions to embark on any significant developmental agenda, where the bureaucracy merely serves as a conveyor-belt for the captor’s interest and the political leaders of the state serve as clients of the captors.

In the past twenty-two years the ANC government has energetically and ambitiously embarked on extensive programmes of social transformation that has dramatically improved the socio-economic profiles of many citizens, particularly the poor.

In the past twenty-two years, growth and employment has improved, despite the setback of the 2008 global recession. The state has taken bold steps to diversify the economy and build an industrial base with greater emphasis on labour-absorbing employment.

Such achievements are an uncommon sight in a captured state and this renders far-fetched any argument that there is pronounced disarticulation of the broader societal interest by the state in South Africa.

The term of President Jacob Zuma has been subjected to worst and severe accusations of being a captured state.

It is during the same period that more than R 1 trillion was spent on social and economic infrastructure targeting poor and rural communities.

During the same period the economy gained more than 1 million jobs and employment in the country is now higher than it has ever been.

This contributed to the increased number of South Africans with access to banking services from 69% in 2009 to 75% in 2013. The amount of money available for student bursaries has been doubled thereby benefiting hundreds of thousands of deserving students in universities and FET colleges and resulting in twice as many young people in universities and twice as many graduating.

Of the 3.7 million subsidised houses 850 000 were built during the term of the current president, thereby eradicating about 500 informal settlements.

Over 7 million learners are in no-fee-paying schools and millions of children receive daily meals. The country is close to reaching 100% enrolment rate in basic education, a standard equal with developed countries. The average life expectancy increased significantly from 51 years in 2009 to 62 years in 2015 due to a robust and pragmatic approach to HIV/AIDS. All of these achievements have a real-life impact on ordinary people and strongly counter the argument that South Africa is a captured state with pronounced disarticulation of the interest of the poor. However, there are challenges that demand urgent attention.

The ANC Strategy & Tactics (2012) highlights that to identify weaknesses and correcting them, is part of the on-going programme of transformation of the state.

While the article argues that it is unreasonable to argue that South Africa is a captured state, it is important, however, to appreciate that there are certain objective and subjective challenges that can be exploited by the dominant private interest to capture the state.

The captors target these states and corrupt the whole value chain of state procurement and decision-making exploiting the weak institutions, governance systems and economic regulations. This negatively affects economic growth and service delivery as business with the state and SOEs is subjected to distorted prices.

The ANC Resolutions on Organisational Renewal highlights as the major subjective weakness the incapacity of the ANC structures to promptly and decisively respond to emerging challenges confronting the movement.

The strains on unity due to poor state of discipline, ideological degeneration, factionalism and bad political management of the party-state interface pose formidable challenges to the movement.

These challenges render the critical defence line of the ANC vulnerable to the ‘cheap-money’ politics of aspirant captors.

Drastic decline in disciple levels in the ANC bolstered by the work of institutionalised and emboldened factions expose the organisation to rampant capture. The degeneration erodes the revolutionary outlook of the ANC and has adverse impact on the capacity of the ANC to issue authoritative values in society and to mobilise a critical mass of South Africans behind the programme of social transformation.

Ideological degeneration also results in the marginalisation of organisational protocols on mandate derivation, which are meant to manage the party/state interface. Confusion that engulfs deployed cadres about where to derive political mandate on strategic matters compromises the role of the party as the strategic centre of power.

All these challenges must be boldly confronted within the ANC to avoid the capture of the party as a means to capture the state.

The most potent armoury in the hands of the people to confront and counter any attempts of state capture is a self-critical, solidly united and focused ANC.

CDE. ZAMANI SAUL IS ANC NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCIAL SECRETARY

25may

ANC GOVERNMENT STRENGTHENS INTRA-AFRICAN ECONOMIC & POLITICAL TIES

25mayOn the 10th of December 1961 the late ANC President Inkosi Albert Luthuli accepted the Nobel Peace Prize before an assembled audience at Oslo University.

It was a dark time. Apartheid was at its zenith. Men, women and children faced harassment, imprisonment, torture, and even death. The leadership of the liberation movement, if not imprisoned or killed, had been exiled.

Inkosi Luthuli, extremely humble, thanked the Nobel committee for its recognition of what he called his small contribution to the welfare of mankind.

He said: “I accept the award also as an honor, not only to South Africa, but to the whole continent of Africa, to all its people, whatever their race, colour or creed. It is an honor to the peace-loving people of the entire world, and an encouragement to us all to redouble our efforts in the struggle for peace and friendship.”

As evidenced in the words of the late Inkosi Luthuli – the ANC has throughout its history been rooted in the spirit of internationalism: an internationalism that has advanced unity for the peoples of the Global South.

Led by cadres who fully grasp their role as agents of change – the ANC has consistently affirmed its our commitment to the struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic and free world: in pursuit of a better Africa, and a better world.

For it is the whole of Africa that shares in the ANC’s victory of leading our people to liberation in 1994.

It was the liberation movements on the African continent who helped us in our darkest hour, and it was from their own liberation struggles that the ANC, then banned and its leaders banished, took both inspiration and succour.

It was brothers and sisters on the African continent who gave our leaders refuge and training, protected our fighters and took up the cudgels with us as we took the anti-apartheid cause to the world.

It was through them that we as the ANC were inducted into the pan-Africanist movement and came to know that no matter how bitter our struggle, that we would never stand alone.

In our collective journey to end the injustices of apartheid, the hands of friendship and fellowship extended to us by our fellow  African states gave us extra courage in our struggle for a united and democratic South Africa.

This was exemplified through international solidarity action such as the Harare Declaration – the Declaration of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Ad-hoc Committee on Southern Africa on the question of South Africa.

Zambia together with other neighbouring countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho would emerge as key allies in the ANC’s struggle to liberate South Africa.

The former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, was a vocal instrument of the anti-apartheid movement and in support of the liberation of the peoples of Africa opened his country to the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) to set up operations there.

Zambia was also the country where former ANC President Cde. Oliver Tambo would spend most of his 30-year exile.

Our movement for liberation would be supported across Africa, from Tanzania, to Ethiopia, to Madagascar.

Many of our fellow African nations paid a heavy price for their solidarity with us. The frontline states, which provided refuge to the ANC, were invaded and destabilized, and their economies blockaded by the apartheid regime.

It is thanks to this solidarity that the notion of African unity is no longer a pipe dream. The ANC government can say with confidence that the political and economic ties between South African and other African countries, continue to grow and deepen.

This year, Africa Month will be celebrated under the theme: “Building a Better Africa and a Better World: For Peace and Friendship.”

The ANC through its relations with fraternal organizations on the continent, and through the ANC government’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) continues to work towards advancing ties between our country and those on the continent.

This is because we know that our prosperity and success is inextricably tied to the success and prosperity of the whole of Africa.

The ANC government has and continues to work with Africa’s political architecture, with the African Union (AU) at the helm.  We continue to play our role working with other coordinating formations such as the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – in the process furthering the attainment of socio-economic growth for the continent.

We remain committed to the SADC and its noble objectives to “achieve development, peace and security, and economic growth, to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, built on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.”

For those who have unfortunately found themselves having to migrate in search of a better life because of such conflict, South Africa has been found to be a welcoming place, with progressive asylum policies.

The Freedom Charter emphasizes that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

Regardless of  nationality or status- all who live in South Africa, among them millions of nationals from the continent, enjoy some of the freedoms accorded our own citizens such as freedom of belief, association, assembly, trade, and access to the courts.

This Africa Month, we reaffirm our commitment to Patriotism, to Development, and to Internationalism.

They are the very foundations upon which our democratic society is built. They are the same foundations upon which our fellow African nations are built.

South Africa’s founding father, the late ANC President Cde. Nelson Mandela was

an ardent advocate of African unity. He understood too well the words of the celebrated writer and poet, Ngugi wa Thiong’o that the biggest weapon unleashed by the enemy on our forefathers was “not the Maxim gun. It was division among them.”

At a time when many countries on the continent are racked by evils such as tribalism, ethnic and religious conflict, instability and financial turmoil, the need for us to remain united amongst ourselves as Africans is all the more pressing. We are only able to build a better Africa if we strengthen existing ties and consolidate the work we have been doing over centuries to undo the damaging effects of colonial-era imposed divisions. The vision that gave rise to the fore-runner of the AU, the OAU was that of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. Both history and contemporary events have shown the great things that can be achieved if Africans work in a systematic and united fashion.

The ANC will continue to promote unity and solidarity among African states working with the AU and its various structures. To overcome our challenges, be they economic or political, it is vital that we work towards realizing the dream upon which the AU was founded.

CDE. EDNA MOLEWA IS CHAIRPERSON OF THE ANC NEC SUBCOMMITEE ON INTERNATIONAL  RELATIONS

COSMO CITY: A BEACON OF URBANIZATION

23mayRecently, the ANC government celebrated the incredible feat of delivering 4.3 million houses and subsidies.  This means more than 20 million people – more than a third of our country’s population – now have a house to live in.  And we celebrated this in a city we have built over the past 10 years in Johannesburg, Cosmo City. It is an amazing place, just one of many examples of what we are building all over the country.

What is remarkable about Cosmo City is its multiclass, multiracial and multinational character.  The city consists of 12 000 units, with mixed typologies that range from fully subsidized houses to bonded houses and rental units.  It is a thriving city with all the elements that our policy determines constitute a human settlement, complete with 12 schools, three shopping malls, health facilities, police stations, a community center with a hall, 43 parks and recreational areas, a library, a cemetery and several churches.

The city contains people who time forgot in places such as Sgodiphola in Soweto.  They are now fully fledged citizens – energetic, vibrant people, taking charge of their new lives.  A changed group of people who are no longer desperate and desolate.  They have been given an opportunity to live a meaningful existence.

We have ensured that this new model of development finds expression in policy documents. Our contribution in providing new thinking in development has gone unnoticed.  Last month, we hosted an international human settlement discourse and subsequent policy and practice.  The theme of the conference was Urbanization and Informal Settlements.  This was our choice as host country.  We chose to speak about the pressing challenge faced by many of our people still trapped in conditions of squalor in places such as Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Phillippi, Orange Farm, Polokwane, Mahikeng, Tshwane and Umlazi.

Indeed part of the deliberation focused on the global implications of this reality.  Central to the discussion was what needs to be done, given the fact that about 1 billion people in the world out of a population of 7.4 billion live in slums.  This is the unfortunate story of humanity in the 21st century, where wealth is accessed and reserved for only a few.

We cannot run away from addressing rapid urbanization, especially given that about 63.6% of our people live in urban areas.  Hosting the conference forced us to confront the questions around those who set the world’s agenda, and what role we should assume to influence it.  Our choice of topic was deliberate because our concern about the poor is not an accident.  It is central to our ideology and our orientation: to be pro-poor ad to be concerned about the most disadvantaged.

We approach this not out of sympathy, but out of an obligation borne of our experience of the all-consuming disadvantage of cultural, spiritual and material dislocation that apartheid bestowed on the majority of our people.  It is much a matter of commitment as it is of solidarity.  The choice of South Africa as host is also a mark of confidence that, because of our experience, we are in a better position to influence the global agenda.  We are pleased to be counted among the countries that have made significant contributions to improving the lives of those living in informal settlements, and will continue to do so.

Even when faced with a near-impossible task, we are hard at work.  For instance, a Stats SA survey released last month confirms that amid growing urbanization, the percentage of people living in informal settlements has dropped from 17% in 2002 to 11% in 2014.  That would technically mean that we are providing shelter faster than the rate of urbanization, which is 2.4%.  This is good news.  Having drawn from the lessons of the past, we have resolutely decided that, to speed up delivery, we have to change the way we do business.  The first step is to create a new model of development that will unshackle the construction sector from the bureaucratic entanglement that has held it back.  We need the industry to deliver faster.  In this model, the partnership that we experimented with at Cosmo City is instructive.  Here, government will provide the land and services, and the banks will focus on providing funding, as will our housing bank.

Contractors should focus on building hoses.  Our aim is to ensure that the private sector is stimulated to produce more.  We want to unlock the full potential that exists outside government to ensure that its burden of providing houses is shared by those who can help.  We are introducing a framework that allows government to play its part while encouraging the market to participate as full partners.  This system will also cut down on pseudo-entrepreneurs who try to use patronage to get into the construction business.  We will be investing up to R300 billion as we embark on implementing mega catalytic projects with the sole aim of providing new integrated human settlements that are aimed at improving the efficiencies of the space economy by ensuring that each settlement is socially, economically and spatially integrated.  These projects are expected to produce integrated mixed-use residential neighborhoods in areas that are closer to places of economic opportunities and social amenities.  These will be built on the same model as Cosmo City, Fleurhof and others.  So far, 46 such projects have been approved across various provinces.

Because the model is to sell units to government, we are hoping for better quality and a faster turnaround time.  Given the massive backlog in housing, the rapid increase of urbanization and the growing challenge of informal settlements, it is evident that the state cannot address this challenge alone.  It is a challenge that calls for partnerships between the state, the private sector and our communities.  In the same way that we became our own liberators, we can overcome the varied economic and social challenges that the condition of democracy continues to unfurl.  For us, failure is not an option. If all role players and policies come together, we should be able to deliver 6 million houses and subsidies by the end of the current administration.

CDE. LINDIWE SISULU IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC & MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

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FOOD PARCEL POLITICS’ CLAIMS AGAINST ANC UNSUBSTANTIATED AND INSULTING

viewpoint-jessieThis past weekend The Sunday Independent newspaper carried a splash of a headline ‘Abusing resources for Party Gain’ by Mcebisi Ndletyana, ostensibly about a recently released report by the Public Protector titled ‘State and Party, Blurred Lines’.

The report relates to a complaint lodged by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Social Development around two events. One in 2009 at Heinz Park and Phillipi in Cape Town – where food parcels were distributed to a needy community, and the other relating to Operation Hlasela in the Free State.

The Public Protector had to consider inter alia whether the said events were in fact organized by the state, and whether the state’s involvement in partnership with political parties amounted to improper conduct or maladministration.

We state that the Sunday Independent article was ostensibly about the findings of the Public Protector, because the sub-headline makes it clear who the author’s real target is. It reads “ANC vote-buying is a danger to our young democracy.’

It is unfortunate that the author clearly did not read the PP’s report properly. If he had he would have not mischievously left two of its critical findings: firstly that despite the claims of the DA, the said events and programmes were organized not by SASSA but by the ANCYL ‘in terms of its own internal resolution and using its own resources.’ (the Western Cape case) and in the case of the Free State, it was a private initiative. Even more critically, in the case of the Western Cape event, that the food parcels distributed at the event were donated by a private company, which in itself should indicate that no state resources were used or abused.

Regardless of this critical finding, the author in the Sunday Independent decries what he calls ‘an entrenched and common transactional practice in our politics’ which ‘the ANC does all the time during elections.’

It is that this point that his argument gets somewhat fuzzy. It is unclear what this common practice is that he is referring to. Is it the distribution of food parcels at government events? Is it the distribution of food parcels at ANC events? Is it both?

Or is the real problem with what he calls ‘frequent displays of collaboration between party and state’, leading to what he calls ‘vote-buying’ by the ANC?

The idea of the distribution of food parcels at events, be they government or party, being tantamount to ‘vote-buying’ is a deeply problematic assumption that should not go unchallenged.

Ndletyana’s ‘theory’ appears on the face of things to tally with recent widely-publicized public utterances by the Public Protector herself, where she in fact infers that SASSA is being used as a tool by the governing party to ‘buy votes’.

One such remark was reported in the Mail and Guardian, where she says: “When a Minister is in an event as a Minister, not as a party representative, he or she cannot endorse a particular political party.”

Earlier this year she also reportedly told a UNISA Youth Research Conference, “I have a big concern about food parcels. They are not supposed to be given at a political rally because only people of a particular political persuasion will come..”

She added: “If food parcels have to be given to alleviate poverty, they have to be given in an apolitical way, and not linked to any day of elections.”

Thanks to the progressive, pro-poor policies of the African National Congress (ANC), prides itself on having one of the most comprehensive, all-encompassing social safety nets in the world.

Every year, through the South African State Social Security Agency (SASSA), the Department of Social Development delivers a wide basket of social services to millions of South Africans, without which many would be condemned to lives of destitution. Year upon year, SASSA provides social grants to children, the elderly, people living with HIV/Aids, and the disabled.

In 2015/15 the Department through SASSA supported “3 181 959 old age grant beneficiaries, 12 042 973 child support beneficiaries, 223 grants to war veterans, 1 112 767 people with disabilities, grants to 142 180 people requiring care dependency, 490 538 people with foster care grants, and 104 232 people with general grant-in-aid individuals.”

This support is given to all qualifying and needy South Africans, regardless of race, sexual identity, gender or religion.

This assistance has never, nor will it ever in an ANC government, be dependent on the political affiliation of the qualifying beneficiary. Despite this fact, claims are regularly made, as does Ndletyana, that the ANC is buying votes with food/t-shirts.

This is clearly an attempt to sow doubt in the minds of the public, by implying the ANC is providing food at its events at the state’s expense. To do so would be alarming if one considers that not a shred of evidence exists to support such a claim.

Although it is necessary to unpack the assumption that government only hands out food parcels to supporters of a particular political party – what is far more problematic is a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) suggestion that food parcels shouldn’t be handed out at all at political party events – even if they were privately donated.

The public should be aware that unless state resources are involved, investigating what is or isn’t handed out at a party political event (or any private event for that matter) is not within the PP’s mandate.

We live in a country where despite the many gains since democracy, a large percentage of our people continue to face lives of extreme poverty.

It is not the ANC who is ‘reducing voting to the provision of material gains’. It is Ndletyana himself, who in suggesting that people only attend government or ANC events in hope of a food parcel or a free t-shirt, is insulting the voter.

He is also insulting the memories of those who died for this country’s freedom, and of the millions of South Africans who continue to regard the ANC as their political home, and the ANC government as the government of the people.

The people of South Africa continue to support us in successive elections not based on ‘the politics of the stomach’ but because we have delivered on our promise of A Better Life for All.

The ANC concurs that indeed, as Ntledyana says, that ‘abuse of state resources for electoral gain warrants legal prosecution.’

The ANC further encourages all who are able to do so, to furnish proof to back up claims that state resources (and government-bought food parcels in particular) are being misused to advance party political interests.

It is this evidence, and this evidence alone, that could possibly support such a blatantly misleading headline carried by the Sunday Independent.

In the absence thereof, we should be careful with making wild claims aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the governing party, which continues to lead this country, backed by an overwhelming public mandate.
JESSIE DUARTE IS THE DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ANC

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MOTHERS OF THE LIBERATION

viewpointThe heroism and unconditional selflessness of a mother has been a pivotal element in the liberation of South Africa from oppression during the apartheid era.   

Our history is abound with extraordinary women who have heeded the cries of a nation and its people, whose desperate bellows echoed for freedom and dignity.

It was these cries of liberation and the injustices brought about by an apartheid regime that birthed the emergence of women such as Albertina Sisulu — hailed as “the mother of nation” to advocate for the human rights.

The role of women in the greater context of the nation’s struggle for freedom has been spurring the ANC spirit of resistance since the early days of the governing party.

Owing to their resolute activism, a proliferation of women which included the likes of Sisulu, Lillian Masediba Matabane Ngoyi referred to as “Mma Ngoyi” and Charlotte Maxeke known as the “Mother of Black Freedom” and Adelaide “Mama” Tambo collectively became, the Mothers of South Africa’s liberation.

As a mother instinctively defends a child, these women became pioneers defending the principles of emancipation, not just of women but of an entire nation as well.

The progression of a mother’s enduring commitment to the struggle within the ANC was further embodied through Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who became the “Mother of the Nation” — a tribute to her unreserved and steadfast stance as well as her resilience against the atrocities perpetrated by an apartheid government on her, and her family.

The role of a mother in the modern context is exemplified in the governing party’s aims of creating a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.

Our mothers are the pillars of society and the nurturers of the nation. It is this matriarchal ideology — which drives the development of women into roles of authority and strength.

The consciousness of mothers continues to be at the epicentre of the ANC in full acknowledgement of the selflessness and service they provide to the greater community.

It is with this ideology that the ANC continues to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality and breaking the negative stereotypes, cultural and traditional practices in addressing the violence against our mothers and children in safeguarding a better life for our mothers.

Exemplified by the Ministry of Small Business Development in striving for the economic development of women in our country’s communities, many of whom are mothers; last year’s Women’s Imbizo in Bela Bela culminated in the engagement of about 250 women, representing women’s organisations and people with disabilities.

The focus of the Imbizo was on the economic empowerment of women, emphasising on the philosophies of our mothers playing the role of economic liberators, within our communities as opposed to being passive recipients of service delivery.

This gusto by our mothers today, to overcome their economic limitations mirrors the same passion exhibited by the women who fought for the liberation of South Africa.

To build a successful nation — successful homes must be established. Mothers will forever be homemakers — the foundation of every community.

Thus, it is integral that these nurturers pick up the baton handed to them by the heroines of the struggle in shaping communities through the foundations laid by the ANC’s policies which continue in the empowerment of our women.

The embodiment of mother is the full acknowledgment of her responsibility to her family and duty to her country.

Our struggle heroines were women with families yet were prompted to play an active role in the emancipation of our country — this is the cornerstone of responsible citizenship and speaks of advancing people’s power in every community.

Lindiwe Zulu: Minister of Small Business Development

THE INTENT OF THE FOUNDERS

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CDE. MAC MAHARAJ

Democracy has been driven from its inception by the idea of empowering the people to run their own lives and shape their future. In whatever form it takes, democracy is not a cure-all for the conflicts of interests and contradictions that are manifest in a society.

What it does is to provide a platform that enables these conflicts to be mediated, be it temporarily or otherwise. Perhaps a simpler analogy would be to describe it as laying out a playing field with all its markings and elaborating the rules in terms of which the mediation takes place.

The concept of representative government elected by the people, while advancing the notion of democracy, bears with it several implications.

By placing political power into a small group of elected persons it creates the space for the abuse of state power and the need for mechanisms of accountability. Another consequence is that increasing numbers of citizens feel marginalised, alienated and taken for granted. While all these tendencies are manifest in almost all democratic systems in the world today, at present most of the emphasis falls on issues of abuse of power and accountability.

This emphasis is correctly founded not in some theory but our actual experience of the last two decades.

However, almost by default, it is assumed that minimizing abuse of power and enhancing accountability attends to the matter of alienation.

This is a problematic assumption. The current US and the Philippines elections and the destructive tendencies present in some of the protests, or what questionably is described as protests, in our country provide us with an insight into the extent of this alienation and some regressive consequences that may arise.

I make these points, because, though I have been privileged to be part of the making of our constitution of which I am inordinately proud, I recognise that democracy is an evolving concept and because almost all democratic systems in the world are today under stress.

The common factors in this regard are the increasing numbers of citizens who feel marginalised, the manifestations of the abuse of power, the need for greater accountability, and concerns about the contradictions that arise between the right to privacy and the need for security, all of which need continuous attention in any democracy, including a constitutional democracy, if we are to meet the core challenge of empowerment of the people.

My next observation relates to the process that produced our constitutional democracy. The central feature of South Africa’s constitution-making process was that the Constitution emerged from a negotiation process aimed at resolving the on-going political conflict. It was quintessentially a political process.

There were three phases: The pre-negotiation phase from 1985 to December 1991. During phase two, 1991 to 1994, formal negotiations encompassed the holding of multi-party negotiations, the adoption of the Interim Constitution, the elections of April 1994 and the setting up of the Constitutional Assembly. The third phase, 1994 to 1996, was the drafting of the final Constitution, its certification and signing into law on 10 December 1996

While it is possible to limit consideration of constitution-making to the latter two phases when the Interim Constitution and the final Constitution were adopted, it is important not to lose sight of the pre-negotiation phase and the political processes that stretched across all three phases.

Failure to do so would limit our understanding of the nature of the architecture of our democracy and how its components came to be constructed.

It also would limit the scope of the lessons for conflict resolution and the centrality of constitution-making in societies grappling with civil war and seemingly unresolvable conflicts

Thirdly, none of the parties involved in the negotiations came to the table with some pre-conceived model of a constitutional democracy.

While there was a general understanding that the goal of the negotiations would be democracy, the meaning and content of democracy was highly contentious.

The particular position being advocated by a specific formation at a given time was driven by the interests of the social formation/s they believed they represented. Accordingly, they shaped their “democracy” to meet those interests

As the negotiations progressed, parties looked at the constitutions of different countries. However, the driving force of the process was the reconciling of positions around specific concrete challenges rather than a theory driving us to particular answers to those challenges.

During the pre-negotiation phase the National Party government and the ANC agreed to find a negotiated settlement.

By his 2 February 1990 statement and the subsequent release of Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk began the process of removing the obstacles that stood in the path of negotiations

It was during this period that a road map for negotiating South Africa from apartheid to a non-racial democracy was developed by the ANC.

Known as the Harare Declaration it was adopted by the Frontline States and the OAU and it received the support of the United Nations in 1989.

It set out nine general universally recognised principles which should be accepted by the parties to the conflict, the requirements that should be met in creating a climate for negotiations and guidelines for the negotiation process.

The Declaration became a road map which, together with the discussion document “Constitutional Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa” of 1989, the ANC used to strategically position itself with regard to process, procedure and the agenda for the negotiations

Arising out of meetings with the government from as far back as June 1986 Mandela set out the core challenge that would face the negotiators in notes he penned in early 1989.

“Two political issues,” he noted, “will have to be addressed at such a meeting; firstly, the demand for majority rule in a unitary state, secondly, the concern of white South Africa over this demand, as well as the insistence of whites on structural guarantees that majority rule will not mean domination of the white minority by blacks. The most crucial task which will face the government and the ANC will be to reconcile these two positions.”

He emphasized that “white South Africa simply has to accept that there will never be peace and stability in this country until the principle (of majority rule) is fully applied.” In other words, majority rule is the hallmark of a democracy based on universal adult suffrage

This was not only a useful compass during the twists and turns of the negotiations but it directly related to understanding that representative democracy is inseparably linked to the empowerment of the people. It was the litmus test for the ANC when evaluating progress at the negotiations and I would urge that it should continue to be used when we advocate changes in our constitutional democracy.

Much of the debates and tussles that took place at the negotiation table, at the bilateral meetings as well as in the streets, had their source in finding ways to reconcile the principle of majority rule and the demand of the white minority for structural guarantees against black domination.

Almost all the concepts that were marshalled both during the crafting of the Interim Constitution and the final Constitution – whether these revolved around a unitary, federal or confederal state, whether they raged over group rights, individual rights, socio-economic rights, the property clause, language and cultural rights, issues of the rights of employees (e.g. to strike) and of employers (e.g. to lock-out), self determination, the manner in which the cabinet of the GNU would be constituted and how it would take decisions, as well as the duration of the GNU, the majorities required to amend the Interim Constitution and for decisions of the Constitutional Assembly, the electoral system based on proportional representation, the formulation of the thirty-four principles that the final Constitution had to be in accord with, the nature and manner in which the Constitutional Court was to be constituted – all the conceptual battles that arose around these issues revolved around finding that balance that Mandela had crisply articulated.

We have thus been bequeathed a finely balanced Constitutional Democracy – a form of representative democracy with checks and balances based on the rule of law, the separation of powers and the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

The entire edifice stands or falls on its democratic credentials which derive from its elected institutions.

In fact, there is, and there should be, a permanent tension that holds together the three arms of government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary – as well as the Chapter Nine institutions. The dynamism of our constitution is in part a function of this tension.

When we look at the making of our Constitution in this way we get a deeper understanding of the intention of the founders of our Constitution.

We see it emerging in the heat of battles generated by centuries of conflict;

We see those who crafted it grappling with concrete issues as they affected our diverse communities, classes and social formations, in order that we attain a democratic system that empowers all, especially those who were denied a voice under colonial and apartheid rule and assures even those who monopolised power in the past a place in the sun like all other citizens..

Earlier I said that it is dangerous to assume that minimising abuse of power and enhancing accountability attends to the matter of alienation.

The past two decades have produced sufficient concrete manifestations of the extent and serious nature of all three harmful tendencies.

The issues of abuse, accountability and marginalization are inseparably linked to the challenge of empowerment of the people immanent in all forms of representative democracy.

Our Constitution does not limit the participation of the people to elections and hearings of the legislature.

People will feel relevant, less marginalised, if we institute practical measures to enhance their participation on a continuing basis, starting at the local levels.

We need to bring this aspect into the focus of our attention as a matter of urgency.

Participatory democracy has been talked about but there has been no real and serious effort to to develop it.

We need remind ourselves always that, in whatever debates we have and whatever changes we propose to our Constitution, democracy is about the empowerment of the people. The very legitimacy of our Constitution derives from this proposition.

Participatory democracy is the new frontier in the development of representative democracy in general and our Constitutional Democracy in particular. Our commitment to freedom should inspire us to take up this challenge with a sense of purpose that goes beyond an ad hoc response to an immediate problem.

CDE MAC MAHARAJ IS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC

 

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CRIMINALITY MASQUERADING AS LEGITIMATE PROTEST

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CDE. ZIZI KODWA

According to latest figures from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) it costs government a total of R30 million to reconstruct one school. Just one school.

And in less than a week in Vuwani in the Vhembe district in the Limpopo province, 24 schools have been burned to the ground. Of the total number of destroyed schools, 19 are damaged beyond repair, and will have to be rebuilt. And that is not taking into account the books, equipment, and furniture inside them.

So in just one week, characterized by lawlessness and anarchy, an estimated R 720 million in public money has gone down the drain – money that could have been used to improve the lives of the community, and better resource existing state facilities in the area. Most importantly, thousands of schoolchildren – many of whom will be in their matric year, will have no school to go to, and will have to sit at home until temporary facilities can be found for them. In time to come we will no doubt discover the true cost of these events on the education of these learners: as some may even drop out of school, or fail.

The ANC government does not trivialize the concerns of the people of Vuwani – and we have repeatedly indicated our willingness to engage with our people in a bid to resolve their grievances. The democratic state is not and can never be the enemy of the people.

The question we are faced with as a governing party, and indeed as a nation, is to what extent we are dealing with a legitimate form of protest by a community who claim their voices have gone unheard – or whether we are dealing with nothing less than sheer criminality: vandals and arsonists masquerading as concerned citizens.

It cannot be, it should never be that in a country where so many fought and died for our democratic freedoms – including access to the courts as a means to channel grievance – that we should be held ransom to thuggery that in both the long run and short run damages not just the communities involved, but future generations, and sets back the government’s service delivery programme by millions of rands, and decades of work.

The ANC notes that it has been widely reported in the media that the burning of schools was committed by people opposing a High Court decision in a demarcation matter involving the integration of the Vhembe District, where Vuwani and other villages are situated, into the Malamulele municipality.

The Municipal Demarcation Board is an independent authority legislatively asked with the determinations and re-determinations of municipal boundaries. In the execution of its mandate the Board considers, amongst others, the need for effective local governance and integrated development, financial viability and the provision of services to communities in an equitable and sustainable manner.

The ANC itself has often been dissatisfied with decisions of the Demarcation Board, as are community members in Vuwani. Such disaffection does not warrant wanton destruction of public or private property and the reversals of the gains that have been made to educate the African child.

Vuwani is among the areas of Limpopo that have a huge backlog in school infrastructure to the extent the latest reports have estimated that rebuilding schools that had been damaged by hailstorms in the recent past would costs government no less than R4 billion.

As the ANC we are indeed in mourning.

The losses suffered in Vuwani is the whole country’s loss.

And it is not the billions that went up in smoke – but the futures of the children of the poor.

It is theirs whose constitutional rights of access to education have been denied. It is theirs whose futures will be forever marred and prejudiced because they have been unable to attend school and graduate.

What is most tragic is that those who are apparently using our children as envelopes to send brutal messages to government are not the apartheid regime- but by our own people. But are they?

The question on everybody’s mind should be why people would resort to such acts of criminality and vandalism when they know that peaceful protests are protected by the Constitution of this country?

History would back us up on the fact that we do stand with our people in all peaceful protests until all issues are resolved.

The Malamulele matter, also in Limpopo, where the community had lost a case to the Demarcation Board after they fought not to be incorporated into Thulamela Municipality is just but one example of how we don’t just listen to our people when they approach us but we stand side by side with them.

It is unfortunate in Vuwani that those who call themselves Pro-Makhado or Concerned Citizens have decided to dissolve community structures – going underground and leaving behind a vacuum instead of approaching the negotiating table to express their s to us to find a peaceful solution.

Even though the Courts have ruled against the community of Vuwani, we believe as the ANC that there are other peaceful ways such as appealing the decision – taking it for review – that could be explored at this stage.

That government has already been called to provide temporary structures to be used as classrooms talk to the deeper issue of resources that have been wasted.

As the governing party, we regard education as the only way to eradicate poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Statistics confirm that the ANC government consistently spends a substantial amount of its budget on education. Hard and painful as it may be to divert funds that were to be utilized for other projects to improve the lives of our people – we will ensure that we stop at nothing to provide shelter for our children and that they resume their studies without any further delays.

We call on the country’s law-enforcement authorities to urgently look into these acts of criminality and more specifically, into the seemingly organized nature of these acts. We cannot build a country as long as elements of society assume it their right to commit arson and vandalism as a means of getting the government’s attention.

The ANC reaffirms our commitment to seeing a peaceful resolution to this situation that is in the best interests of all.

 

ZIZI KODWA IS NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON OF THE ANC

 

 

 

 

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A DEMOCRACY AT THE FOREFRONT OF INNOVATION

 

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CDE MALUSI GIGABA

 The South African government led by the ANC has remained steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that this democracy, albeit young, continues to strive for the everyday South African.

This has been exemplified in the momentous innovations that South African citizens have enjoyed since the end of oppression.

In ensuring that the country remains abreast with developments around the world, the ANC government has presented key technologies such as the Smart ID, set to replace the old green barcoded ID books. An innovation designed to assist in combating identity theft, fraudulent activities related to drivers licence, social grants, financial institutions as well as insurance.

In enabling South African citizens to access this key innovation, online platforms have been prepared. This has also been achieved through the partnership with major financial institutions signifying the realisation of business in supporting the governing party’s ultimate goal of spearheading, economic and social change.

More than this we are evolving our ability to bring service delivery to more South Africans than ever before. South Africans can now access ID applications online and through their banks, new bounds of service delivery never before seen in our country.

Over 4.1-million ID cards have been issued to date, with a further 2.2-million to be issued this year.

This trend of innovation has also spilled over to other aspects of society such as education, a pivotal cog in the development of a successful country.

In realising this notion, government has taken stringent measures towards improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools throughout the country in what can be described as a highly inspiring programme to equip learners with tablets and installing IT infrastructure in public schools in order to make full use of this innovation.

It has to be acknowledged that South Africa’s education system has been for many years immersed with both obvious and more subtle divisions in order to fully appreciate the significant strides made in this regard.

During apartheid, it was the more palpable partitions enforced by the Bantu Education Act, and post-apartheid, the struggle has been to overcome the more understated divisions of private and public education.

The e-learning programme is an instrument for breaking the barriers of education delivery and has aided in the provision of world-class education to all leaners of this country, emphasising government’s continued resolve in uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans.

Accentuating this is the recent online school registration system which government has introduced and earmarked to end the tedious process of physically registering learners. This is a further indication that government continues to vest in innovation that will improve service delivery for the people of this great nation.

CDE. MALUSI GIGABA IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC & MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS

 

ANC GOVERNMENT SIGNS PARIS AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

CDE. EDNA MOLEWA

 South Africa is one of the few countries around the globe where environmental rights are constitutionally protected – thanks to the policy instruments put in place by this government, led by the African National Congress (ANC).

 

To this end, policy instruments put in place by the ANC government address developmental challenges in a way that at the same time ensures sustainability, and builds resilience.

The ANC has in all its National Conference resolutions, repeatedly underscored the need for the country to contribute towards the global shift to a low-carbon development path. As a result, we have in place a National Climate Change Response Policy that charts the course for actions that are both developmental and transformational.

Last month South Africa became a proud signatory to the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change in New York. The signing of the Paris Agreement marks a new era of optimism and international cooperation as we strive to address one of the most pressing issues of our time.

A hundred and seventy five countries signed the agreement that in itself is historic: as it is the highest number of countries to sign an international accord in a single day.

It is further evidence of the political will of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and their demonstrable commitment to work together to tackle this problem that affects all our countries, but developing countries like South Africa in particular.

Owing to low levels of development, developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change, whose effects are being felt around the country. We have seen large-scale crop failure due to persistent and stubborn droughts, and declining agricultural output. We have seen once abundant water sources drying up, and heard people being forced to share water with animals.

South Africa has signed the Paris Agreement in recognition of the urgency to act, and address climate change in the face of exacerbated conditions that threaten economies, lives and livelihoods.

The Paris Agreement is the legal framework for guiding international efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and to enable the transition to climate resilient societies.

The National Development Plan (NDP) and the Nine-Point Plan speaks to the need to develop the South African economy along a low-carbon, inclusive, climate change resilient development pathway.

Bolstered by the Paris Agreement, South Africa is well on its in the implementation of this agreement, aided by a progressive climate change regime that includes our National Climate Change Response Policy, National Strategy for Sustainable Development, New Growth Path and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – which outlines our country’s energy mix, our Industrial Policy and Action Plan which recognizes that energy efficiency and less-carbon intensive production are central tenets of a green economy as well as Agenda 2063 of the African Union

As we know by now, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP) is held up as international best practice in the field of reducing the carbon intensity of the energy sector. To date, an investment of about R200b has been realized, creating economic opportunities and creating jobs.

A further innovation to transition South Africa along a low-carbon inclusive growth path has been the move towards adopting the Draft Carbon Tax Bill in November 2015.

Government (DEA) is currently working on assessing the socio-economic impacts of Carbon Budgets on companies and the economy. The Carbon Tax aims to price carbon by obliging the polluter to internalize the exernal costs of emitting carbon, and contribute towards addressing the harm caused by such pollution. “It aims to change the behaviour of companies, incentivizing them to shift towards cleaner technology when replacing/renewing machinery, technology or processes.

In the draft Carbon Tax Bill, the Government noted that this forms an integral part of the system for implementing our policy on Climate Change Response Policy.

We are also implementing energy efficiency Programmes, green transport, sustainable housing, sustainable infrastructure as pat of Adaptation and Green Cities Programmes and Climate Smart Agriculture. We are also implementing Public investment in new agricultural technologies that includes support services for small-scale and farmers, thus ensuring sustainable livelihoods and the development of resilient and environmentally sustainable strategies sustaining South Africa as an exporter of food products.

The Paris Agreement established includes a global goal for adaptation that is qualitative and will assist in framing global actions on Adaptation.. We are ever mindful that the lower the ambition on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the need for, and urgency of adaptation.

South Africa is currently developing its National Adaptation Plan, with emphasis on reducing vulnerability to drought, floods and slow onset climate impacts. We are also taking action to enhance adaptive capacity and strengthening resilience.

It should be a source of pride for all South Africans that in addition to doing our part for the global effort to reduce emissions, we have sound policies and systems in place at a national level to transition to a low-carbon economy, recognizing that our contribution to the global effort to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations (GhG) should be balanced with consideration of our status as a developing country.

Signing the Paris Agreement requires that countries will later need to ratify this agreement within their own legal systems. South Africa has commenced domestic ratification processes to enable the entry into force for implementation of the Paris Agreement in 2020. We will continue to implement the pre-2020 actions, with the necessary Means of Implementation

As we enter the implementation phase, the Paris Agreement will be an important tool for mobilizing finance, technological support and capacity building for countries such as ours.

With the necessary support, all countries will be able to achieve their desired objectives and meet their targets. In the spirit of collaboration, we look forward to working with our Partners in the private sector, the Civil Society and all other Partners at large in order to scale up our national efforts to build climate resilience.

CDE. EDNA MOLEWA IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC & MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS