Tag Archives: South Africa

Lesotho – South Africa condemns apparent coup

News 24

Pretoria – The South African government said on Saturday Lesotho’s army appeared to have staged a coup d’etat, and added that an unconstitutional change of government would not be tolerated by the region.

“By all accounts the actions of the Lesotho defence force bear the hallmarks of a coup d’etat,” international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela told reporters.

Monyela said no individual or body had claimed to have taken over the government. “The situation is still unfolding,” he said, adding South Africa urged the coalition leaders to settle their differences peacefully.

The Commonwealth, most of whose member states are former British colonies, also condemned the reported coup.

“There is zero tolerance in the Commonwealth of any unconstitutional overthrow of an elected government,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said in a statement sent to Reuters.

- Reuters news 24y

Zuma’s hypocrisy is just astounding! How can he say this in public given his record. He is totally shameless. KS

City Press

Be a selfless leader like Mandela was – Jacob Zuma

@City_Press 18 July 2014 18:53

 

President Jacob Zuma sings the national anthem on Mandela Day.

Picture: Robert Nisbet/Twitter

President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans to emulate the late former president Nelson Mandela through selfless leadership.

He was speaking at the Mvezo great place in the Eastern Cape this afternoon.

Zuma spent his 67 minutes to mark International Mandela Day cleaning at the Mandela School of Science and Technology in Mvezo.

The school is named after Madiba’s grandfather, Prince Mandela, the son of king Ngubengcuka of the Thembu nation.

Zuma unveiled a giant statue of Prince Mandela at the Mandela school.

The president also opened the Mvezo Komkhulu Museum in Mvezo Great Place before unveiling a life-sized statue of Madiba.

Zuma called on South Africans to make every day a Mandela Day by doing good.

“Madiba did all he could. It is in our hands now. Let us emulate Madiba’s exemplary life because he was a man of action. No one will ever be like him. If we don’t emulate him by doing what is good for others, we would have neglected Madiba’s ideals and what he fought for,” Zuma said.

The president paid tribute to Madiba on the first commemoration of the icon’s birthday after his death in December last year.

“He had so much dignity. He stood for peace and unity and even as he is gone. We will never forget him. He provided hope in hopelessness.

“He was [the] epitome of unity, selflessness, courage and nobility. He will never be forgotten. Just the thought of his memory inspires us to do better and good to others. He was among us but above us,” Zuma said.

This year’s Mandela Day theme was “operation clean-up for Mandela”, which the president said was designed to encourage cooperation, to enhance nation building and cohesion while also creating awareness about the importance of a clean environment.

Zuma decried violent crime and lawlessness and told traditional and religious leaders that citizens needed to be taught about love, peace and ubuntu.

“As a nation we must work together, treat each other with care and respect and live in harmony where there is peace. In this way we would have honoured Madiba,” Zuma said.

He said it was up to those left behind to fight poverty as Madiba had fought for freedom and delivered it.

“We still have a very long walk to walk. Let us unite and build our nation,” Zuma said.

Mandla Mandela, grandson of the late former president and chief of Mvezo, said his famous grandfather had taught them as a family that he did not belong to them but to the rest of the world.

He said the museum had been a dream of the family and the people of AbaThembu so that they could document their culture and heritage.

“We are very proud to have done cleaning this Mandela Day and hope that such actions are not one-day events. This museum will also help us as Thembus to tell our tradition and we will also learn of other nations’ cultures in this museum,” he said.  City Press

Was South Africa colonised by the bantustans?

Mail and Guardian

The dynamics of power established under apartheid, especially in the ‘homelands’, still play a major role in rural government.

President Diederichs in 1975 with homelands leaders Buthelezi (KwaZulu), Mphephu (Venda), Sebe (Ciskei), Matanzima (Transkei), Mangope (Bophuthatswana), Phatudi (Lebowa), Mota (QwaQwa) and a Gazankulu delegate. (BurgerArchive)

There is a joke in public service circles that goes something like this: “Have you heard what happened to South Africa after 1994? It was colonised by its Bantustans.”

The story is usually accompanied by wry laughs about South Africa’s new “colonialism of a special type”.

The story is funny precisely because it contains a kernel of truth. The Bantustans were far more substantial entities than simply “puppet regimes”, and one of the major features of post-apartheid South Africa is the degree to which the spatial and institutional legacies of Bantustans live on in contemporary South Africa.

The Bantustans, or “homelands”, as they were renamed in the attempt to foist ethnic nationalities on black South Africans, formally ceased to exist with the first democratic elections of 1994. Rooted in the 1913 native reserves, after the coming to power of the National Party in 1948 the Bantustans became one of the cornerstones of apartheid ideology and policy.

The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951   which was fiercely resisted by rural communities from Zeerust to Sekhukhuneland and Mpondoland   brought the remnants of the 19th-century independent African chieftaincies under the apartheid state’s administrative control.

Over the decades, these ethnically defined territories were granted self-governing and “independent” status by Pretoria, in effect stripping black South Africans of their citizenship. Economically dependent on Pretoria’s hand-outs and foreign loans, the Bantustans were large-scale projects of apartheid social engineering enforced by mass forced removals and resettlements.

The Bantustans were shunned by the mainstream of apartheid opposition domestically and internationally. They were regarded as illegitimate tribal governments and their leaders were rejected as puppets of the apartheid regime.

But after the 1994 electoral victory   and during the earlier negotiations period   the ANC and its allies were faced with the reality of having to reincorporate and accommodate the former Bantustans in the new democratic state. Hence their legacy remains inscribed in South Africa’s cultural, political, economic and physical landscape, though their historical importance has not been fully appreciated.

The homelands fostered the development of a black middle class and a black elite that had its base in traditional authorities. They expanded over the years to include an emerging bourgeoisie of farmers, businesspeople, teachers and, perhaps most importantly, bureaucrats. In many ways, it was a precursor of contemporary processes of class formation and capital accumulation in the broader context of a free-market capitalist economy, and there are significant continuities with post-1994 socioeconomic transformations.

The development corporations, set up to attract white South African and foreign businesses to the Bantustans in a bid to make them economically viable, played a significant role in developing this middle class.

Another pillar of the strategy was the handing over of white business to local black residents. In the former Transkei, where, prior to the granting of self-government in 1963, the nonagrarian economy had been driven by white traders and hotel owners, the Transkei Development Corporation stated its commitment to buying up white businesses and selling them, at a reduced price, to “Transkeians”.

In this sense, the Bantustans were incubators of black economic empowerment before its time.

But this was far from being a transparent process. Who businesses went to, and at what price, was usually determined by political connections and the patronage network of the Matanzima brothers, who ruled the Transkei.

By the end of the 1980s, a small but powerful black middle class had been built in the Bantustans. They had a large constituency of businesspeople, who often had ambivalent relationships with the Bantustan governments, but they were nonetheless their beneficiaries.

It is here that the origins of contemporary lifestyles of conspicuous consumption lie, rather than simply being the product of a new political regime of freedom that lifted apartheid’s restrictions on black consumption and acquisition.

The reconfiguration of homeland geographies after 1994, and their bureaucracies, also presented a public administration challenge to the new democratic state. The public service inherited by the post-apartheid state consisted of Bantustan officials on the one hand and white Afrikaans-speaking administrators loyal to the National Party on the other. Incorporating these administrations was a complicated task.

By the end of apartheid there were 10 Bantustans, with 14 legislatures, 151 departments and about 650 000 homeland officials. The houses of the tricameral parliament, the president’s council and the black and white local authorities all had to be merged with these Bantustan institutions to transform the state into a unitary set of administrations for the post-1994 national and provincial governments.

The difficulty of merging was most apparent at provincial level where, for example, in Limpopo, the provincial structures had to be overlaid on those of the old Venda, Gazankulu and Lebowa Bantustans and parts of the formerly white northern Transvaal.

From a capacity point of view, to run the country the ANC needed both black and white civil servants, but it also had to win their loyalty. Bureaucrats were a key component of the support base of Bantustan regimes and were influential in shaping the negotiations in the early 1990s   they demanded the protection of their jobs and pension packages. Their incorporation into the new administration at times carried with it a nontransformative element vis-à-vis the ANC’s mandate to achieve more democratic representation in the civil service after 1994, and often produced tensions.

Furthermore, Bantustan civil servants were the product of patrimonial institutions often embedded in clientelist relations that were able to morph and survive into the present.

As research by the Public Affairs Research Institute is beginning to show, more histories of the public service and its institutions need to be written in order to understand how these networks have shifted in the post-1994 period. Timothy Gibbs’s new book (See “A powerful elite traces its roots to bonds formed at mission schools”) offers one way into this complex set of issues.

As Gibbs argues, traditional leaders were a key part of these networks of power and authority in the Bantustans. Through these networks they were able to position themselves as regional brokers for the channelling of state resources to localities. This largely continues today, most evidently in the new ream of bills and laws dealing with traditional authorities, such as the contested (and for now buried) Traditional Courts Bill.

These have entrenched the institution of traditional leadership even deeper in rural landscapes, sometimes in conflict with the democratic rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Researchers at the Centre for Law, Race and Gender at the University of Cape Town have referred to this as the “reBantustanisation” or Balkanisation of rural society: the boundaries of the old homelands are being reinscribed. Increased powers are being given to traditional leaders, for instance by customary law provisions, which risk creating parallel legal systems for rural communities living under their jurisdiction and strengthening patriarchy while exacerbating gender inequalities.

New dynamics have emerged as to how traditional leaders engage with struggles for control over local economic resources, especially where mining rights are involved. In many cases, this has led to the revival of the ethnic affiliations that colonialism and apartheid sought to promote, which manifest themselves through renewed chieftaincy disputes and competing claims over land by different traditional communities.

We need concentrated and deep historical research to uncover the precursors to contemporary South Africa in a more systematic way. Only with these insights will we be able to understand our current state, the uneven performance of institutions, and how to move beyond the consequences of our complicated past.

This article arose from a workshop of the Public Affairs Research Institute, where Laura Phillips is a researcher, Arianna Lissoni is a postdoctoral fellow and Ivor Chipkin is the executive director  M&G

South Africa – why are South Africa’s youths no interested in politics?

Mail and Guardian

As the country marks Youth Day, concerns are being raised that young South Africans are no longer as involved in politics as their 1976 counterparts.

South Africa's population is one of the youngest in the world with an average of 24.9 years, yet high levels of unemployment and inadequate education affected youth the most. (David Harrison, M&G)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will address national Youth Day commemorations at Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley on Monday amid concerns that young people are no longer as involved as their counterparts of 1976.

In 1976, mostly high school students took on the apartheid government to fight bantu education. This launched June 16 into a day that dominated international headlines and a public holiday marked annually in democratic South Africa to commemorate those who died.

This year’s theme of Youth Moving South Africa Forward has sought to get young people to play a role in advancing the country.

ANC Youth League spokesperson Bandile Masuku told the Mail & Guardian that young people were not disengaging but rather focusing on “the task of economic emancipation”, which he said was more critical at present.

“We want to have skills, we want degrees and careers. The focus is now on a different trajectory compared to 1976,” said Masuku.

A doctor by profession, Masuku said educating young people would lead to an improved South Africa.

“Our skills must help contribute to the betterment of society. The reality is that we face different challenges in whatever sector we are involved in, including a lack of transformation.”

Voice of the youth
Masuku did regret that the “voice” of the youth is as “not as well organised” as it should be. “The disintegration of the unity of young people is the one that is a challenge,” he said.

He added the time had come for the country’s leadership to realise that the population was getting younger. South Africa’s population is one of the youngest in the world with an average of 24.9 years, yet high levels of unemployment and inadequate education affected youth the most. The recent Census confirmed that most of the nearly 52-million people living in South Africa were under the age of 39.

“Our leaders still remain pretty much old, as if we are not a country dominated by young people. We must make sure that in the next 10 years we integrate ourselves well in leadership positions right up to municipalities.”

Masuku said for that to happen “there must be a conscious effort to prioritise education”.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, a former ANC Youth League leader, said public agencies responsible for co-operatives and small enterprise development would be required to develop special programmes targeting youth.

“While there are small enterprises of young people and co-operatives in existence, the major stumbling block has always been access to markets,” Mthethwa wrote in the ANC Today newsletter.

Accessing opportunities
He urged the country to buy “70% of goods and services from South African producers as this will go a long way in opening markets even for young people”.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) praised the progress made in South Africa in creating opportunities for young people.

“Today students are not only taught in their indigenous languages, they also have access to opportunities to better themselves and their communities that did not exist before 1994,” the trade union federation said in a statement.

“Initiatives such as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme have gone a long way to address the imbalances of the past by funding education of the historically disadvantaged individuals. In higher education, 12% of the population now hold a postgraduate qualification up from 7% at the dawn of democracy.”

This year marks the 38th anniversary since the 1976 Soweto Uprising, where young South Africans demonstrated against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools.


South Africa – AMCU says talks with Lonmin went well

Reuters

JOHANNESBURG Wed Jun 4, 2014

Lonmin workers on strike listen to President of South Africa's Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (AMCU) Joseph Mathunjwa (not in picture) as he delivers his speech at the Wonderkop stadium in Nkaneng township outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg May 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Lonmin workers on strike listen to President of South Africa’s Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (AMCU) Joseph Mathunjwa (not in picture) as he delivers his speech at the Wonderkop stadium in Nkaneng township outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg May 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

(Reuters) – The latest round of talks aimed at ending a five-month strike in South Africa’s platinum mines “went well”, the president of the striking AMCU union said on Wednesday.

“The meeting went well. The talks are ongoing,” AMCU leader Joseph Mathunjwa told Reuters. A government team tasked with resolving the strike met AMCU’s leadership on Tuesday and is due to sit down with the management of the three major platinum firms today. Reuters

 

South Africa – AMCU considering government offer over strike

Reuters

Striking South African mine union considers government wage proposal

JOHANNESBURG

Lonmin workers on strike react as they listen to President of South Africa's Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (AMCU) Joseph Mathunjwa's (not in picture) speech at the Wonderkop stadium in Nkaneng township outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg May 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Lonmin workers on strike react as they listen to President of South Africa’s Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (AMCU) Joseph Mathunjwa’s (not in picture) speech at the Wonderkop stadium in Nkaneng township outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg May 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

(Reuters) – South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is considering a government proposal to resolve a five-month platinum strike and will put it to its members this week, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Tuesday.

“We have responded to the minister’s proposal,” Mathunjwa told Reuters. He did not give details of the recommendations put forward last week by new mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, or AMCU’s response.

However, he said he was encouraged by Ramatlhodi stepping in during his first week in office between AMCU and the three main platinum houses – Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin.

“For the first time we have someone who is willing to help,” Mathunjwa said. “On his first day in office he set aside everything and dealt with this matter. We are encouraged by this.”

Numerous rounds of talks to end what is already the most costly strike in South African mining history have collapsed.

The labour court is currently mediating and Ramatlhodi, who was sworn in as a minister a week ago, has assembled a dedicated government team to negotiate a solution.

“I am encouraged by the progress we have made on this matter, and the cooperation of all parties involved,” the minister said in a statement after the day’s talks.

Shares of platinum producers closed higher in Johannesburg as investors hoped the latest round of talks may finally offer hope that the strike will come to an end.

Amplats closed up 3.4 percent, and Implats had gained 1.8 percent.

 

South Africa – Ramaphosa deputy president in new cabinet with few surprises

Mail and Guardian

President Jacob Zuma announced his new executive, with a few surprises.

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

 

As expected, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is the country’s new deputy president.

The other members of the Cabinet are:

  • Minister in the Presidency: Jeff Radebe;
  • Minister of Women in the Presidency: Susan Shabangu;
  • Minister of Justice and Correctional Services: Michael Masutha;
  • Minister of Public Service and Administration: Collins Chabane;
  • Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula;
  • Minister of Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba;
  • Minister of Environmental Affairs: Edna Molewa;
  • Minister of State Security: David Mahlobo;
  • Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Service: Siyabonga Cwele;
  • Minister of Police: Nkosinathi Nhleko;
  • Minister of Trade and Industry: Rob Davies;
  • Minister of Finance: Nhlanhla Nene;
  • Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Senzeni Zokwana;
  • Minister of Water and Sanitation: Nomvula Mokonyane;
  • Minister of Basic Education: Angie Motshekga;
  • Minister of Health: Aaron Motsoaledi;
  • Minister of International Relations and Co-operation: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane;
  • Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: Gugile Nkwinti;
  • Minister of Higher Education and Training: Blade Nzimande;
  • Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel;
  • Minister of Transport: Dipuo Peters;
  • Minister of Mineral Resources: Ngoako Ramathlodi;
  • Minister of Social Development: Bathabile Dlamini;
  • Minister of Public Enterprises: Lynne Brown;
  • Minister of Sport and Recreation: Fikile Mbalula;
  • Minister of Labour: Mildred Oliphant;
  • Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa;
  • Minister of Public Works: Thulas Nxesi;
  • Minister of Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu;
  • Minister of Energy: Tina Joemat-Pettersson;
  • Minister of Science and Technology: Naledi Pandor;
  • Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Pravin Gordhan;
  • Minister of Communications: Faith Muthambi;
  • Minister of Human Settlements: Lindiwe Sisulu;
  • Minister of Tourism: Derek Hanekom.

New ministries
Zuma also reconfigured his cabinet, announcing several new ministries.

“We have established a ministry of telecommunications and postal services,” Zuma said while making his Cabinet announcement.

“Our country has a fast growing telecommunications sector which in 2012 was estimated at being worth R180-billion.”

The aim of the new ministry was to get more value out of the telecommunications sector, he said.

The communications department had been reconfigured to include more functions.

“We have established a new communications ministry which will be responsible for overarching communication policy and strategy, information dissemination and publicity, as well as the branding of the country abroad,” Zuma announced.

“This ministry will be formed out of the following components: the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, the SA Broadcasting Corporation, Government Communication and Information Systems, Brand SA and the Media Development and Diversity Agency.”

The National Planning Commission and the ministry of performance, monitoring and evaluation will be merged.

“This ministry will also continue to be responsible for youth development.”

Susan Shabangu will head a brand-new department, within the presidency, dedicated to women.

Lulu Xingwana previously headed the ministry for women, children, and people with disabilities. She lost out on a position in Zuma’s latest Cabinet. Shabangu has been in charge of mineral resources since May 2009. –Sapa M&G