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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZIZI2

Media and the new science of ‘Stadiumology’

ZIZI2As the governing party, the ANC is well accustomed to having its every move, utterance, action (or inaction), statement (or silence) held up to the microscope of public opinion.

When you are the governing party, strident criticism is also to be expected, and is par for the course. No ruling party can afford to be insensitive to reading the temperature of public opinion.

So it was to be expected that the droves of journalists who descended on Nelson Mandela Bay Metro earlier this month to attend the launch of the ANC’s 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto would be far less interested in the contents of the Manifesto itself, which they would ‘unpack’ in a tiny graphic tucked into their newspapers a week later.

As the old journalistic adage goes, they were after “Man Bites Dog” stories; who was sidling up to who in the bars downtown, sound-bites of sideswipes being taken at the leadership, who was wearing what (and the cost thereof), and of course, the number of empty seats at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the day of the launch.

At a time when the ANC has itself repeatedly acknowledged that this will be one of the most tightly contested elections since democracy; it was to be expected that the turnout at the rally would be called into question by elements of the media: given the seeming obsession in certain media quarters with calling rallies ‘the barometer of public sentiment’ against the governing party.

What has however unexpected was just now much the issue of empty seats at the stadium would become an issue – dominating the news agenda for days.

Commentator after commentator was wheeled out onto national television to extrapolate on what these no-shows meant for the future of the governing party.

In column after column the words of ANC officials explaining the reasons for the low-turnout were dissected, taken apart, and rubbished. The ANC is long accustomed to the commentariat and intelligentsia in South Africa greeting anything the ANC says or does with scorn, cynicism and mockery.

This preoccupation with stadium seat-counting at ANC events, and using this to extrapolate on the perceived decline of the organisation has been going on since 1994.

It is the new science of ‘stadiumology.

We also saw it at play during the DA’s rally last weekend, as journalist crowed about how full the medium-sized Rand Stadium was: again seemingly extrapolating these numbers into an indication of support nationally. It is expected the same will be done at the EFF’s rally this weekend. Whether this will translate to numbers at the polls remains to be seen.

Stadiumology says far more about its proponents, than about the ANC, which continues to enjoy the support of the majority of South Africans who have elected us to govern in successive elections since democracy.

Since the ANC came to power with an overwhelming public mandate, commentators have been applying Stadiumology to our rallies. And history has shown that stadiumologists have a knack for getting things horribly wrong.

After all, it was many of them who confidently ‘predicted’ that the ANC would lose several metros in the last municipal election. After all, it is many of them who have been ‘confidently predicting’ that President Jacob Zuma would be soon forced to vacate the Presidency virtually every week since he took office.

Stadiumology took a bizarre turn earlier this week, on Freedom Day.

This was of course the day that the newly formed People’s Assembly would mobilise the masses to rise up against the ANC. Upon its formation, it was similarly “confidently predicted” that this so-called grassroots mobilisation campaign enjoyed the support of hundreds of thousands of South Africans fed up with the ANC and its President.

The only problem is the marches scheduled at various locations didn’t materialise. This confidently predicted groundswell of dissent didn’t show itself.

Coincidentally this was on the same day that President Zuma addressed capacity crowds at a stadium in Giyani in Limpopo, which was reported on, but interestingly, no turnout numbers cited in the reporting.

The journalists who showed up to cover the ‘People’s marches’ had clearly instructed their camera crews to do long, slow panning shots to bulk up the handful of people gathered.

This avalanche of a People’s Assembly only managed to draw in a couple of hundred people at all its locations on Freedom Day. There was no hashtag and with it no chance of trending.

This in itself is nothing extraordinary, given that it is a relatively new movement. What was striking however is that the disciples of stadiumology couldn’t be found on our television screens that night to dissect and pick apart the reasons for the spectacular failure of the People’s Assembly marches.

Without even a hint of irony, some march organisers told broadcast journalists the low turnout could be attributed to, inter alia, that “people support us, but they’re just lazy.” Another suggested that their invisible army of supporters had gone braaing instead. Yet another tried to blame it on the police ‘ordering them to disperse’ though no evidence was produced of this. And of course, one organiser blamed it on “poor logistics.”

Contrast this with the open mockery the ANC was subjected to after the Manifesto Launch, as stadiumologists decried what they called ill discipline in ANC ranks, suggesting that our members chose the beaches of Port Elizabeth over the rally.

If media conducted any interviews with ANC officials who explained our logistical challenges, it was only so they could ridicule the ANC.

The derision with which the ANC was treated in the public space after the Election Manifesto Rally, in contrast with the kid gloves accorded other opposition parties and anti-ANC movements exposes the bankruptcy of public discourse in South Africa.

With few exceptions, most media devoted scant space to unpacking the actual Manifesto: which outlines our plans ahead of the August poll.

Stadiumologists won over real analysts. Stadiumology triumphed over dispassionate, fact-based reporting.

Luckily the South African public can see that despite their best efforts to secure preferential treatment by the media, these so-called People’s movements appear to be a form of astroturfing.

They may claim to represent the masses of our people, but it seems they are anonymous, mainly white, and it appears, as their own organisers say, they are too “lazy” to attend their own marches.

These campaigns which pop up from time to time, make a number of claims; chiefly among them that they are grounded in a wave of popular discontent directed at the ANC and in particular, its leadership.

Though this claim is untested, given the amount of space accorded these campaigns in media, it would be easy to assume, incorrectly, that we are witnessing a phenomenon that will soon engulf the country.

But if the number of lacklustre marches convened in the backyards of a number of cities is anything to go by, the campaign has yet to harness mass-based support.

That said, the likes of the People’s Assembly will not be denied their right to free speech and to assembly. It is of course thanks to the ANC that they enjoy such freedoms.

The French writer Amin Maalouf writes of ‘intelligent dissent’ in his book “In the name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong, and offers an insight into why some criticism is accepted by those whom it is directed against, and others fail to find fertile ground.

“In general,” he writes, “if you treat another with hostility and contempt, your slightest adverse remark, whether justified or not, will be seen as a sign of aggression, much more likely to make him unapproachable than to persuade him to change for the better.”

“Conversely, if you show someone friendship, sympathy and consideration, not merely superficially but in a manner that is sincere and felt to be so, then you may allow yourself to criticise with some hope of being heard.”

Countries are not built shouting from the sidelines. And they are certainly not built milling around Company Gardens in Cape Town on a public holiday, soft drinks in hand, waiting for someone to tell you to shout “Zuma Must Fall” so you can finally go home and braai.

The African National Congress (ANC) owes its position to an overwhelming public mandate – and we are not intimidated by stadiumology and its warped reasoning.

In due course, the polls will be the decider: and we will see whether the number of people attending a rally really do point to a decline in the massive support we enjoy as the governing party.

We encourage all South Africans to engage with us publicly and rationally, instead of slapping up billboards in city centers under the cover of darkness.

CDE. ZIZI KODWA IS ANC SPOKESPERSON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– ‘

 

 

 

jessie-viewpoint

#SishodaNgawe – a call for unity by the ANC

jessie-viewpointThe right to vote is only the “seed” of our democracy, and a means to an end.

To sustain our hard won freedom by building our democracy, building block by building block, is perhaps a greater struggle than the hard-won freedom and liberation itself.

The announcement of local government elections on 3 August are a call from the African National Congress (ANC) government to citizens to play an active part in our communities in the place we feel the impact most … in our homes, in our communities and in the places we work and live every day.

South Africa has one of the most celebrated Constitutions in the world. It is up to us to ensure that we are actively involved in voting and electing leaders who are chosen by the people and are for the people.

Local government is where the Constitutionally guaranteed right to vote translates to action at a grassroots and community level.

For 22-years the ANC has delivered and protected the right of every South African to vote. This has been achieved through ensuring successive free and fair elections managed by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Further, in the past 22-years the ANC government has scaled up service delivery to ensure that all communities have access to basic services and an improved quality of life.

To emphasize the role and participation of every South African in forming part of the local government and in building greater communities for all, the ANC has developed the ‘Sishoda Ngawe’ hashtag to drive the key message that the actions of each and every South African count.

“Sishoda Ngawe” is a call to South Africans from the ANC to exercise the very founding principles that have continued drive the country forward.

Last weekend’s voter registration drive was a spectacular success. According to IEC figures approximately three million South Africans visited voter registration centers around the country during the first voter registration drive for 2016.  This was double the number recorded in a similar drive in 2011 and set a new record. What was particularly heartening was that there were 693 000 new registrations, and of this, approximately 79 per cent were under the age of 30. The final figures for last week’s voter registration drive are due to be released later this week.

In coming out in their numbers, South Africans, and young South Africans in particular, are reaffirming their confidence in the ballot as a means to create the type of society they envisage. They are rejecting the narrative of a ‘dissafected electorate’ that does not care how the country is run.

Today’s youth have shown they are prepared to take an active role in safeguarding democracy in South Africa: following in the footsteps of the youth of 1976 who took to the streets of Soweto to protest against unjust laws.

The sacrifices of the pioneers of 1976 paved the way for a democratic dispensation wherein all the country’s citizens enjoy freedom.

The current generation, especially young people who were born after 1994 and are able to cast their votes for the fist time in this election: hold this democracy in trust for future generations. It is encumbent on them to exercize responsible citizenship: mindful of the reality that to effect real change, they need to take an active part in the way this country is being run on their behalf.

By turning up in their numbers to voter registration stations, South Africans are showing that they have not lost faith in the integrity of the electoral process. And more importantly, that they see the power of their vote to effect change.

In the weeks leading up to voter registration weekend, the ANC adopted the phrase “Sishoda Ngawe” to remind all South Africans that their vote counts: and that we need each and every South African to help us make South Africa a better place.

“Sishoda Ngawe” is also a call to South Africans to join us as the governing party in being instruments for change.

As we launch the party’s Election Manifesto at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium today, we have moved to the hashtag “NdimLo” – a call to action for all South Africans to join us.

The ANC is the only political home for South Africans committed to social justice, and the constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination and is open to all South Africans who accept its principles, policies and programmes geared to alleviating political and economic oppression.

At a time when the South African economy and the global economy in general has come under increasing strain, we are faced with the task of building a better South Africa all the while dealing with significant challenges of poverty, inequality, unemployment and skewed development.

The ANC government is mindful of the great responsibility we shoulder as the governing party to ensure the delivery of services for our people. We are able to make our country better if we work with all South Africans who are prepared to do their part.

It is also imperative to remember that South Africa’s democracy was not only paved in blood and sacrifice but also on the pillars of forgiveness and reconciliation. As such the ANC continues to be a political home for South Africans committed to social justice, and the constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination.

With the municipal elections slated for August this year, we as the ANC call on all like-minded South Africans to work with government in realizing a Better Life for All.

CDE JESSIE DUARTE IS ANC DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL

lindiwe-viewpoint

ANC 2016 Manifesto puts communities at the heart of development

lindiwe-viewpointIn the successive national, provincial and municipal elections held since the birth of democracy; the African National Congress (ANC) has steadfastly committed to the principle of participatory democracy. In ensuring that mobilization through participatory democracy translates into success at the ballot: the organization’s election manifesto plays a central role in uniting citizens around a common vision. This is of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

The ANC’s 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto is a combination of a ‘balance sheet’ and a visionary blueprint. It is borne out of extensive consultation with our people and our abiding commitment to transparency and accountability. It outlines the achievements of the governing party in terms of service delivery at a municipal level; but at the same time engages and galvanizes the nation around the ANC’s vision to achieve socio-economic transformation through the upliftment of the lives of millions of South Africans.

Being mindful of the immense challenges we still face as a country with regards to socio-economic transformation should not prejudice or blind us to the need to give credit where credit is due. The reality is that the programmes and policies of the ANC were and remain the primary vehicle through which government both national and local- has been able to deliver on its mandate.

The 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto affirms the principle of accountability. The ANC has repeatedly said that public representatives as well as officials and managers in local government must and will be held accountable for the delivery of municipal services or the failure to do so.

Service delivery at a municipal level is the arm of government that most impacts our citizens. It is at this level that decisions are made that directly impact the living standards of communities and our people.

The social compact between the ANC as the governing party, and the electorate- rests firmly on our ability to translate words into actions and deliverables. Which is why this manifesto is only as good insofar as it translates into actual delivery.

The ANC since 1994 has been delivering on its mandate- to create a united, non-racial society where ideals of political, social and economic change are carried on the shoulders of democracy from the ashes of apartheid.

In support of democracy the ANC as the governing party continues to hold transparency and accountability to be key attributes of successful governance. It is not enough that we produce balance sheets outlining what we have achieved: we need to go back to our communities and engage with them: and not just around election time. And in instances where we are found wanting- we should be prepared to take the necessary remedial action. The ANC has not hesitated in removing officials or managers for non-performance or corruption and we will continue to do so.

This manifesto is a document that is a tangible translation of ANC policy into direct action at a community level. For it to have maximum impact, it must give voice to the aspirations of our people.

Also aligning with the principle of accountability the ANC strives to improve public participation in municipal government: and makes particular mention of the accountability of councillors in the manifesto.

Furthermore the governing party is committed to intensifying the fight against fraud and corruption in local government in pursuit of our vision of achieving a transparent government that not only ensures service delivery, but also commits to sustainable service delivery.

Later this month on April 27 South Africa will observe Freedom Day — signifying the first day of a free and democratic South Africa.  This was a day where South Africans across the colour spectrum could stand together united under a government determined to bring liberation to all South Africans but Africans in general, from political and economic bondage.

These ideals of the ANC must continue to resonate with the nation as we work to ensure successful and efficient service delivery. Our manifesto is a call to action to engage with communities: with the aim of achieving realistic and achievable results.

Working together with communities, the ANC has established the foundations for a strong, accountable, transparent and resilient system of local government where communities are involved in all developmental initiatives in their respective localities. It now remains up to is to build on these foundations and strengthen them.

In delivering this manifesto the ANC sets out to empower the nation by ensuring that building confidence that local government is indeed in the hands of all South Africans.

As South African citizens we can be confident that we have within our grasp the means to bolster local government to make it a stronger, more resilient vehicle for service delivery and socio-economic transformation.

Whether in electrifying households throughout the country both in urban, peri-urban and rural areas,  increasing the percentage of households that are connected to electricity supply (from 69.7% in 2001 to 86% in 2014) or providing access to basic sanitation services that (from 62.3% to 79.5% between 2002 and 2014) the ANC is the home of every citizen working to build a greater South Africa.

We encourage all South Africans to engage with the 2016 Local Government Election Manifesto; communities are the cornerstone of development. If we want to realize the vision of our Constitution- all of us as South Africans need to be part of the building team. If our communities are empowered: the nation is empowered. If our communities prosper: our nation prospers.

CDE LINDIWE ZULU IS A MEMBER OF THE ANC NEC