Tag Archives: South Africa

South Africa – E Cape officials summonsed over misuse of Mandela funeral funds

City Press

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s office has subpoenaed senior Eastern Cape politicians and government officials as part of the investigation into the misuse of public funds relating to former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

The Daily Dispatch reported yesterday that Eastern Cape acting director-general Mahlubandile Qwase and Buffalo City Metro mayor Zukisa Ncitha did not voluntarily appear before investigators and have now been subpoenaed.

Other officials to be subpoenaed include human settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August, Buffalo City municipal manager Andile Fani, Buffalo City CFO Vincent Pillay, Buffalo City senior manager Ondela Mahlangu and PAC councillor Jerome Mdyolo.

According to the report, they are legally obliged to appear before investigators conducting the probe into the alleged misuse of funds budgeted for the funeral.

Madonsela announced last year that her office is investigating allegations of maladministration, corruption and misuse of public funds relating to the procurement of service providers for the former statesman’s memorial services and funeral.

Various Eastern Cape municipalities allegedly spent nearly R65m without following proper procurement procedures. A report in May last year revealed that R22m was used for T-shirts, food and transport. However, the ANC denied that government funds were misused.

Ncitha was arrested last June for alleged fraud.

Madonsela’s office hopes to have the investigation completed by the end of March, the Daily Dispatch reported.

– News24

South Africa – Zuma land reform plan and ban on foreign ownership


South Africa’s Zuma outlines land reform plans

President Zuma gives his State of the Nation speechMr Zuma’s government is under pressure to put more land in the hands of South Africa’s black majority

Foreigners will be banned from owning land in South Africa under new proposals outlined by President Jacob Zuma.

Locals will have limits set on the size of their farms under the proposals.

Mr Zuma first announced them in a state of the nation speech on Thursday overshadowed by violence in parliament.

Two decades after the end of apartheid, land is still concentrated in the hands of a largely white minority, and remains a sensitive issue.

The government is under growing pressure to put more land in the hands of the country’s black majority.

“Land has become one of the most critical factors in achieving redress for the wrongs of the past,” said Mr Zuma, elaborating on the plans on Saturday.

“In this regard, the regulation of land holdings bill will be submitted to parliament this year.”

In the future, foreigners will only be allowed to lease land, not to own it, he said, adding that local farmers would not be able to own more than 12,000 hectares.

That is presumably aimed at white farmers who still own much of the best farmland a generation after the end of racial apartheid, says the BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg.

There are many reasons for the slow pace of change in the country, says our correspondent, and these new proposals will face strong legal challenges from farmers who argue that smaller plots will not be commercially viable.

But the governing African National Congress is looking for votes, and is wary of being outflanked by more radical voices calling for white-owned land to be seized without compensation, he adds.

Parliamentary brawl

On Thursday, parliament descended into chaos as leftist MPs scuffled with security during Mr Zuma’s key annual speech.

Nomsa Maseko reports on the protests inside the chamber

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by Julius Malema, repeatedly interrupted Mr Zuma, demanding answers over a spending scandal.

The speaker of parliament then ordered their removal, prompting scuffles.

The EFF used President Zuma’s annual State of the Nation speech to question him about a state-funded, multi-million dollar upgrade to his private residence.

The party has shaken up South African politics with a series of populist proposals to redistribute wealth.

South Africa – Mbete says EFF “cockroaches” and tools of the west

Very unfortunate use of cockroaches – echoes of the Hutu dehumanisation of Tutsis. Hope this isn’t the start of a discourse of dehumanising abuse against opponents. Mbete is so wide of the mark about EFF and the West that it would be laughable if it wasn ‘t such a sad reflection of how crass the ANC is becoming. Does she realise that both EFF and Zuma are becoming laughing stocks around the world. KS

Mail and Guardian

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete attacked “cockroach” Julius Malema and the EFF when she addressed the North West provincial conference on Saturday.

Baleka Mbete called on ANC branches to prepare themselves to fight the EFF in provincial legislatures and municipalities.

ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete dug into the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) during her address to the party’s North West provincial congress on Saturday, accusing the opposition party of working with some western countries in their quest to take over South Africa.

She further called on ANC branches to prepare themselves to fight the EFF in provincial legislatures and municipalities, where she said the EFF planned to move on to next.

Mbete, who is also the Speaker of the National Assembly, delivered a keynote address to North West’s eighth provincial congress in her capacity as one of the ANC’s top six officials, but appeared to struggle to leave behind the drama that ensued under her watch at last Thursday’s state of the nation address (Sona), when EFF MPs were roughed up and forced out of Parliament by security personnel. This after EFF MPs demanded that President Jacob Zuma answer some questions, particularly on the upgrades at his private Nkandla home, before delivering the annual address.

That action, said Mbete, is part of EFF’s plan to unseat Zuma’s government. “They want to – in their words – collapse Parliament so they can force this country to an early election. They want to take this country so that they must take over the mines and share them with friends they were seen gallivanting with in Europe,” she said. “My question is where will we be when they do that? Who do they think they are?”

Mbete expressed delight at the manner in which EFF MPs were removed from the National Assembly. “The President finally delivered his address after we have had actually a beautiful opportunity to deal with those irritants”.

She also urged branches to get ready to face EFF head-on at local level, fuelling an excited response from delegates who said they were all set for action. “Don’t ever think what’s happening in Parliament has got nothing to do with you in branches. Those thugs there are going to come to provinces to run a similar campaign, not only in legislatures but also in municipalities,” she said. “You must teach our children not to be misled by those wearing red overalls. Those people (EFF) are not working with people of this country alone, they are pawns in a bigger scheme of things where some western governments are involved”.

She said western countries – that she did not name – had an issue with Zuma running the country because he was “a stubborn, rural man from Nkandla who is stubborn and committed to ANC policies. How can a rural man sit with them on international structures?” she asked.

She then accused the media of working with those who want Zuma to leave his job and sustaining the narrative that the ANC has done nothing since it began leading the government.

As part of her strategy to weaken EFF, Mbete said ANC deployees must work hard. “If we don’t work we will continue to have cockroaches like Malema roaming all over the place”.

Mbete told North West delegates that the ANC and its MPs “knew everything” EFF had planned for Thursday’s state of the nation address because they were tired of being caught by surprise. “We knew everything, including what the red overalls discussed. We knew who was going to stand first and what they were going to say”.

This could explain why Mbete had a readily available, brief, written question on Nkandla that she read out on Thursday night.

In her long speech to the North West congress Mbete also made time to speak against corruption, claiming in the process that she didn’t know anything about tenders. “There is something called tender. I don’t know how it works, but it has really brought out the worst in us”. The ANC was not being given enough credit, she said, for its corruption fighting efforts.

“It is not that the ANC arrived and introduced corruption. After 1994 it became clear that there was a culture of having a smart way of eating money. It’s the ANC that decided this corruption must be dealt with,” she said.

Mbete also called for younger ANC members to give the party’s veterans an opportunity to lead. “There’s a tendency of marginalising veterans in the ANC. Let us value the history that is vested in this group of people”.

The ANC in the North West will today nominate and probably elect additional members to serve on the provincial executive committee.

Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian’s political editor.
Read more from Mmanaledi Mataboge
Twitter: @MmanalediM


South Africa – 25 years since Mandela walked to freedom

School of Advanced Study, University of London

Twenty-five years ago:  Mandela finishes his long walk to freedom

Posted on February 11, 2015 by

Nelson Mandela and De Klerk

On 11 February 1990, the world’s most famous political prisoner was set free after 27 and a half years in captivity. Keith Somerville, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) who has been following South African politics for decades, discusses the event that heralded the end of white minority rule and launched a new era in a divided country.

The sight of Nelson Mandela hand-in-hand with wife Winnie, his other hand clenched and raised in a defiant salute to the crowd and cameras, is one of the dominant images of the late 20th century.

As he walked to freedom from Victor Verster prison on 11 February 1990, it was as though another Berlin Wall had come down, this time the brutal one of apartheid. It presaged an era of hope but also trepidation in South Africa, establishing Nelson Mandela as one of the century’s great statesmen, converting him from the liberation leader prepared to die for his beliefs into the man who led the ANC to power. He was the voice of reconciliation and builder of the rainbow nation.

That the excitement, expectations and the huge hopes of that day concealed the enormity of the task ahead of Mandela and the ANC is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that his election in 1994, his message of reconciliation and global role came to dominate reporting and analysis of his years in power, concealing the ANC’s failure to deal with many core problems in South African society and the economy.

His national and global standing boosted the feeling among, and within, the ANC that they had a right to rule, and that the Mandela magic could be used even after his death in 2013 to win elections and to justify their increasingly questionable behaviour.

But in looking with the hindsight of years at the events and hopes of 1990, one should not forget what a massive and seemingly sudden change this had been. The ANC (along with the South African Communist Party and the rival Pan-Africanist Congress) had been unbanned on 2 February in a speech by President F.W. de Klerk in the South African parliament, broadcast live on TV. De Klerk, who had succeeded the ailing and atavistic P.W. Botha the previous year, took many South Africans and the world by storm with his announcement of a new era in South African politics and the start of a process of negotiations that would lead to free elections in April 1994.

I was running the evening edition of the BBC World Service programme Newshour that evening and, luckily, had been following South African politics closely for years, first as a student, then as a member of the editorial board and a regular writer for Anti-Apartheid News, and finally as a journalist at the BBC. Those who had, like me, been following the minutiae of South African politics in the preceding six months were less surprised at De Klerk’s announcements than some, but I was still amazed at the extent of the changes.

For some time I had been aware of a shift in National Party policy and of the way that key groups like the Afrikaner Broederbond (Afrikaner Brotherhood), the military and the intelligence services, were beginning to say that apartheid was unsustainable. They wanted the National Party to start a process of change in which they could exert control and not be like Ian Smith in Zimbabwe ten years before, who tried to hold the line against a process he couldn’t stop and didn’t want.

I’d spoken to De Klerk a few months before and to Roelf Meyer, the man who would lead the National Party negotiating team. I’d also interviewed Walter Sisulu, Mandela’s long-time friend and co-leader of the ANC, just after his release from prison in October 1989, and Thabo Mbeki, the up and coming ANC mover and shaker in exile. They all said change was coming, but were all guarded about the speed and extent of the process.

Those two days in February 1990 made clear the all-encompassing nature of the process of change. The unbanning of the liberation movements, the release of Mandela and the return of ANC exiles and combatants began with a speed that indicated how much groundwork had been done before.

For four years, without prior approval from his close colleagues in prison and the ANC leadership in exile, Mandela had been talking to the National Party leadership – something that worried many ANC leaders when they became aware of it. But he refused to renounce armed struggle or make concessions in return for his release. Once he was released, he had a stronger hand because of that.

And, in a sign that he was taking control, Mandela did not leave the prison at the time appointed by the South African government. He kept the media waiting. He chose to have tea with members of his family and to ensure he was ready to come out on his terms. And we know what happened next.

Keith Somerville is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and editor of the Africa – News and Analysis website. He made documentaries in South Africa for the BBC World Service on the start of the negotiation process and led the World Service news team at the South African elections in 1994. His book on the history of post-independence Africa, Africa’s Long Road Since Independence: The Many Histories of a Continent is published by Hurst in May 2015.

South Africa – lack of knowledge of each other causes polarization


Lack of knowledge about SA polarises its citizens

2015-02-03 08:50

Max du Preez

Two decades after we became a democracy, South Africans still snipe at each other across racial divides, blindly defending their “own” at the slightest provocation.

To opportunistic politicians, this is grist to the mill – exploiting the baser instincts of fear and resentment is a tried and tested way of covering up political weaknesses and mobilising people.

And yet, on a personal level – in the office environment, the neighbourhoods, factory floors, sports stadia, music festivals and pubs – black and white get on remarkably well.

For people from different cultures and backgrounds to misunderstand each other on occasion is not unusual or unique to our society. But it becomes a huge problem when we know so little about each other’s stories of origin – of how we came to be here; of how this nation was formed.

This lack of understanding was demonstrated very clearly by the angry debates following President Jacob Zuma’s statement three weeks ago that Jan van Riebeek’s arrival at the Cape in 1652 was the beginning of all South Africa’s problems. Many whites experienced this as a gross insult.

If Zuma simply meant that the arrival of white people on the southern tip of Africa had disrupted the natural development of the indigenous societies and started three centuries of dispossession and oppression, he would of course have been entirely correct.

Things got complicated

But if his statement implied (as many whites interpreted it) resentment at the presence of white citizens in South Africa today – that they’re really unwanted colonialists – it is a different matter.

For all their evil deeds, the Dutch did not initially intend to colonise South Africa. They merely wanted to establish a halfway refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company’s ships travelling to the East and back. They released some Company employees to establish farms for themselves to increase production of meat and vegetables, and that’s where things got complicated.

These “free burghers”, joined in the last decades of the 17th century by French Huguenots and German and Scandinavian settlers, quickly came to resent the Dutch authorities and, after 1806, the British colonial masters.

These burghers started losing all emotional and other ties to their countries of origin and viewed themselves as locals. A number of them married slaves or former slaves, even Khoikhoi women.

In 1820, the British settled some four thousand of their citizens in the Eastern Cape – the ancestors of most of today’s white English-speaking South Africans. Most of them also soon lost their ties with Britain and identified more with their new home.

The prime force behind Afrikaner nationalism was not an anti-black feeling, but hatred of the British, especially after the South African War of 1899 – 1901.

The purpose of this shorthand history lesson is to explain that white South Africans cannot simply be called “settlers” or “colonialists”, not even “colonialists of a special kind” in old ANC-speak.

Too many black citizens seem to think that South African history is more or less the same as that of other African states colonised by European powers in the 19th century.

Too many black intellectuals simply rely on the writings of French-African writers on colonialism, Frantz Fanon and Aimé Césaire, to analyse our situation (the EFF says it believes in “Fanonism”).

No wonder so many black South Africans find it difficult to deal with the presence of whites with full citizenship in “liberated” South Africa.

White South Africans’ ignorance of history is as bad and dangerous. Many still believe in the old myths that the European settlers arrived on the southern tip at the same time as the black farming communities were moving into the country from further north; that these societies and the Khoisan were primitive tribes with no culture or spirituality; that the trauma of the Mfecane of the early 1800s left vast tracts of the interior unpopulated and thus available for occupation; and that most white farms were bought from or traded with traditional chiefs.

Too many whites still view the history of black South Africans through the lenses of racist and/or nationalist white historians. We brought you technology and advancement, they say, and what would you have been without that?

In denial

They are so blinded by these distortions and by the theme that Africa is a colossal failure on all fronts that they cannot fathom their black compatriots’ pride in their history and their African-ness. Afrikaners especially should have found it easier to understand how unsure and fragile emotions can be after a huge trauma and of generations of being told you’re inferior.

We Afrikaners still talk about the injustices of the British concentration camps of 115 years ago, but we want black people to stop talking about apartheid which ended 21 years ago?

Many whites are so in denial about the real nature and impact of white domination and apartheid over many generations that they struggle to comprehend black hurt and anger; they misunderstand Nelson Mandela’s grand reconciliation project to mean that the past should be buried and we should live as if South Africa had magically appeared from the skies in 1994; and that the imbalances and inequalities we experience now had no roots in the past.

This lack of knowledge and insight on both sides can only contribute to further alienation and polarisation during this time of political sturm und drang.

- Follow Max on Twitter.

South Africa – did last census miss 20 million South Africans?

Mail and Guardian

The last census estimated that there were 52-million people in SA. Recent reports cited claims by an academic that 20-million people weren’t counted.

Immigrants outside the Department of Home Affairs. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

How many people are there in South Africa? The country’s last census, conducted in 2011, estimated that there were 51.8-million people in the country. The latest population estimates put the number at 54-million. But could the population be as high as 70-million?

Eric Nealer, a professor of public administration and management at the University of South Africa (Unisa), certainly thinks so. The Afrikaans newspaper Beeld and website Netwerk24 recently published an article about his claims.

Nealer, they reported, believes Rand Water, a Gauteng province water utility, may not have the capacity to provide water for the uncounted millions. “There are possibly 70-million people in South Africa and not 51.8-million as shown in the 2011 census,” the report read.

Could there be an extra 20-million people in the country? We looked into the claim and compared the numbers.

What is the claim based on?
Nealer told Africa Check that there had been:

• A 20% undercount in the 2011 census, which would add another 10.5-million people

• Yearly population growth of 2%, which would add another 4-million people

• The “counted number of illegal immigrants”, which would add another 6-million people.

On this basis, Nealer concluded that there are an additional 20.5-million people in South Africa. This, according to his calculations, would bring the country’s total population to 72.5-million people.

He told Africa Check that it was necessary for him to “play devil’s advocate in warning our macro planners about the growing and now also seemingly unmonitored population of the country”. He did not provide evidence to support any of his claims.

Undercount: 10.5-million people
Nealer claims that there was an undercount of 20% in the last census. “Stats SA has acknowledged an undercount in each and every census they carried out … I cannot but think that we again had an undercount of at least 20% in the 2011 census,” Nealer wrote in an email.

He’s half right. Stats SA has reported undercounts in every census it has conducted. In 1996 a 10% undercount was reported and it jumped to 17.9% in 2001. But in 2011 the undercount was 14.6%, not 20% as Nealer claims. Undercounts this high aren’t good. Stats SA notes that the average undercount in African countries and globally is less than 5%.

Stats SA uses what is known as Post Enumeration Survey to determine the extent of an undercount or overcount. The survey is conducted immediately after the census to evaluate the quality of census data and provides a statistical basis for adjusting census data, such as population estimates.

Nealer did not provide any evidence to support this claim. But it appears that he has wrongly concluded that an undercount percentage was not used to adjust the census population estimates.

Angela Ngyende, the demography manager at Stats SA , told Africa Check that the population estimate of 51.8-million people had taken the 14.6% undercount into consideration.

While there was controversy surrounding the release of the 2011 census data, we were unable to find evidence to support Nealer’s claim.

Population growth: 4-million people
Nealer has also relied on a higher, unsubstantiated population growth estimate. “Taking into account the lack of effective counting of citizens in the country the current population growth figure … of 1.5% is also debatable”, said Nealer. He consequently based his calculations on his own annual population growth rate estimate of “approximately 2%”.

In 2014, Stats SA estimated that the population growth rate was 1.58% and that there were 54-million people in South Africa.

Dr Latifat Ibisomi, from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Department of Demography and Population Studies, told Africa Check that Nealer needed to back up his claim. “We rely on Stats SA’s number. They have calculated that figure and if anyone else has opinions or other estimates then they should prove them,” she said.

Illegal immigrants: 6-million people
Nealer told Africa Check that while official figures showed around 5-million illegal immigrants in South Africa, he believed this number was “debatable”. He estimated the number of illegal immigrants to be 6-million.

Professor Loren Landau, director of the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand, told Africa Check that “there’s no reason to believe that there are 6-million ‘illegals’ [living in South Africa]”.

“While the census figure is almost certainly an undercount, it corresponds to most of the other data points we’ve seen. Moreover, I’ve never seen any justification for a particular, higher figure,” he added. The 2011 census estimated that there were 2.3-million foreign born nationals living in South Africa.

The census counts both legal and illegal immigrants as noted by a Stats SA 2011 discussion document. Diego Iturralde, executive manager for demography at Stats SA, told Africa Check that “some undocumented migrants may have avoided the census enumerators for fear of their personal data being passed onto the authorities and hence the 2.3-million may be marginally higher”.

However, he said that this would have been compensated for by the Post Enumeration Survey.

The vast majority of immigrants – legal and illegal – would have been counted in the last census and were included in the 2011 population estimate.

Conclusion – The claim cannot be substantiated
Nealer’s claim that there are 72-million people in South Africa cannot be substantiated. The most recent census data suggests there are currently 54-million people in the country.

Nealer used questionable census undercount percentages, population growth rates and illegal immigrant numbers to support his claim. Although he said that he would provide evidence to support his claims, he did not do so.

Africa Check is a non-profit fact-checking website.
Visit the website on www.africacheck.org

Twitter: @AfricaCheck

Mandela Legacy Conference – 5th December 2014, Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Mandela conference

Friday 5 December 2014

9:15 – 19:00

Chancellor’s Hall

Senate House

Malet Street

London WC1E 7HU

To register and for further information

please contact: olga.jimenez@sas.ac.uk