Tag Archives: South Africa

Siuth Africa – Zuma tries in vain to attract Coloured voters at Cape rally

Mail and Guardian

Don’t be afraid of ‘swart gevaar’ tactics, says Zuma

President Jacob Zuma was in Cape Town targeting the elusive and crucial coloured voters.

President Jacob Zuma. (Madelene Cronje)

Zuma addressed a crowd of about 3 000 people at Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone, a coloured area in the Cape Flats in Cape Town. Historically, Athlone was the home of the ANC in Cape Town.

The area produced some of the ANC’s top leaders including late stalwarts such as Dullah Omar, Dulcie September, the MK’s Ashley Kriel and former ANC secretary general, Cheryl Carolus. It also hosted a number of ANC rallies and meetings in the 1990s and early 2000s at the famous Athlone Stadium, less than a kilometre away from today’s venue.

As recently as 10 years ago, the ANC would attract up to 40 000 people to the Athlone Stadium, but on Saturday it attracted about 3 000 people, half of them children, from the nearby Vygieskraal Stadium. Zuma, who controversially told a crowd in Gugulethu two weeks ago that he wold not be paying for any of the upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, because he did not ask for them, was singing a different tune on Saturday.

He spoke to the issues that affect the coloured people of the Western Cape, who make up the majority of the voters in the province. On several occasions in his 23-minute address, Zuma invoked the name of the late statesman, Nelson Mandela, who remains popular with South Africans of all races and backgrounds. “There can be no better place to be in on my birthday than the Cape Flats, a very vibrant area indeed to see the support for the ANC makes me happy it is a wonderful birthday present for me.

“Madiba who loved the ANC until the end of his days must be smiling today in his resting place,” Zuma begun his address. The president was celebrating his 72nd birthday on Saturday. “The ANC is your home, you don’t need to be afraid. Some are using swart gevaar tactics and are distorting government policies and programmes as they are desperate for your support,” said Zuma.

Winning coloured votes

In a report to the ANC’s national general council in Durban, 2010, the ANC admitted that the coloured community felt marginalised from the party especially following the dismissal of former Premier Ebrahim Rasool. The ANC has been trying to win the coloured voters over. Coloured people make up 48% of the Western Cape population.

“You must listen to the truth, Coloureds just like Africans must also get jobs. The ANC is very much aware of that and is committed to ensuring that all those who were disadvantaged during the apartheid era get jobs and all opportunities that were denied to them. Affirmative action is designed to protect and promote Coloureds as well, and not just Africans, we will make sure more coloured are promoted especially in this province.

“I am happy that you have brought your problems to our leadership in the province. You have alerted us to all the problems that the provincial government here in the Western Cape is not prepared to solve,” said Zuma.

Last week, in an unprecedented move, the provincial ANC opposed some of the regulations proposed by ANC national labour minister Mildred Oliphant, specifically a clause that will require companies with more than 150 employees to apply national economically active population demographics for top employment levels – such as top management and professionally qualified posts, which a number of political parties, businesses and other organisations have objected to.

The Western Cape ANC said with only national demographics being applied to the top three echelons of management, it may result in members of the coloured population in the province being prejudiced given the unique demographic profile of this province. The Mail & Guardian understands that the clause will be amended before the May 7 general elections.

Minstrels

Zuma also spoke to the issue of minstrels, who have over the past few years had disagreements with the DA-led City of Cape Town.

“This provincial government failed to support the minstrels, Klopse and Malay choirs and is refusing to agree to their historical right to march. The history of the minstrels speaks directly to the history of the people of the Western Cape,” said Zuma. The Tweede Nuwe Jaar [a march on January 2] was the only day of the year that slaves were allowed to be free for a day.

“The majority of the participants of the minstrel festival are coloureds. We must recognise and respect their culture, their heritage and their history because it is our culture, our heritage and history as South Africans,” said Zuma to loud cheers from the crowd. “We are concerned that in the recent past, when you wanted to organise the Tweede Nuwe Jaar, some challenges were experienced in this province. It is for this reason that the Minstrels Association has asked the national government to intervened to declare the minstrel route as a heritage route,” he said.

Zuma said the minstrels were one of the biggest development platforms in the Western Cape and they were now spreading to the Boland area.

Education

He also called on the coloured communities to “continue to take education seriously. We want you to ensure that your children benefit from the many skills development programmes of the government. “You fought hard to keep 27 schools open and as a community, now you must make use of government support such as no-fee schools.”

Zuma also spoke to the issue of drug and gangsterism, which is rife on the Cape Flats, promising that given a chance his party would deal decisively with the issue. Zuma’s address was followed with a rendition of Happy Birthday, but the crowd went wild when the group of singers on stage, with Zuma, performed a Tina Turner hit Simply the Best.


South Africa – Madonsela report on Nkandla a triumph of constitutional democracy

Institute for Security Studies

Thuli Madonsela: a triumph for constitutional democracy
20 March 2014

Yesterday, all Africans had a reason to be proud of the brave and principled leadership that exists on this continent in the form of South African Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela. In a sober and considered manner, she read out the findings of the long-awaited Nkandla report – her investigations into the ‘unconscionable’ amount of R246 million of taxpayers’ money spent on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private residence to no public benefit.

In spite of attempts by the security ministers to interfere with her investigation and recent attacks on her character by the president’s supporters, she was not swayed from her constitutional duty to act in the interest of members of the public. The slander she experienced was not surprising given how far ethical and accountable governance has deteriorated under the current dispensation. The investigation found that the president breached the executive members’ code of ethics, giving licence to the widespread breakdown of adherence to constitutional principles, laws and procedures.

There appears to be a perception that the public protector’s sole role is to investigate high-ranking government and political officials. This perception is driven by the unfounded claims that the public protector is driving a political agenda simply because the earliest she could release the Nkandla report – after all the interference – was shortly before the elections.

These claims could not be further from the truth. The Nkandla investigation is only one of thousands of investigations that the office of the public protector conducts each year. Those who accuse her of harbouring some motive to influence the outcome of the 2014 elections have not adduced a shred of evidence to prove this claim.

“The Nkandla investigation is only one of thousands of investigations”

It is important that the public understands the role of the office of the public protector in South Africa’s constitutional democracy. As stated in Chapter 9 of the Constitution, this office is but one of several state institutions that are meant to ‘strengthen constitutional democracy in the Republic’. Others include the South African Human Rights Commission and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Specifically, the public protector has the power to ‘investigate any conduct in state affairs, or in the public administration in any sphere of government, that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice’. All Chapter 9 institutions, as they are called, have a constitutional obligation to carry out their duties in an impartial manner and without ‘fear, favour or prejudice’. The Constitution further states that ‘no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of these institutions’.

The public protector’s investigation into the excessive spending on Nkandla has been an important moment in South Africa’s constitutional democracy. It sends a clear signal that where there are allegations of impropriety in public administration, all individuals – regardless of political or socio-economic standing – will be investigated. The purpose is to ensure that every endeavour will be made to protect the interests of the public.

The office of the public protector depends on funding that is appropriated via the budget vote of the justice and constitutional development ministry. In his 2013 budget vote speech, Minister of Justice and Consitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, indicated that R199 million would be transferred to the office of the public protector to meet its 2013/2014 needs.

“Rather than attacking the public protector, the ANC should push for her office to have adequate resources”

When she appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development in 2013, Advocate Madonsela noted that inadequate resources posed the biggest challenge facing her office, considering the sheer magnitude of the work she is expected to do. Indeed, the annual amount allocated to this public interest institution is far less than what was spent on Zuma’s private homestead.

In the 2012/13 financial year, the public protector received 37 770 cases – an increase of 108% compared to 2010/11. This demonstrates growing public trust. However, the capacity of the office of public protector has not increased sufficiently to finalise all the cases they receive. In 2012/13 they were able to finalise 22 400 (59%) of the cases received. According to the Public Protector’s Annual Report, their workload is added to by the increasing use of lawyers by government officials – at taxpayers’ expense – to respond to queries. This resulted in ‘unnecessary delays in the resolution of complaints’.

In the current financial year, her budget was deployed to, among other things, investigate the alleged shortage of workbooks supplied to Eastern Cape schools; allegations of misconduct relating to former Minister of Communications, Dina Pule; allegations of maladministration, governance deficiencies, abuse of power and the irregular appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC); and the allegations of corruption and maladministration at the IEC in the procurement of its Riverside head offices.

If it were not for the public protector, much of this breakdown in good governance would remain hidden and would therefore continue.

These are just some of the high-profile cases; there are thousands of other cases concerning fraud and corruption at different tiers of government. Indeed, when unethical government officials are not held accountable for their actions and allowed to siphon public money into their pockets, it is the people of South Africa, particularly the poor, who ultimately suffer.

So, rather than attacking the public protector, honest members of the African National Congress (ANC) should be pushing for her office to be equipped with adequate resources. In addition, action should be taken against those who fail to cooperate with her investigations. If the ANC is genuinely committed to fighting the scourge of corruption, it should ensure that the recommendations of the public protector are implemented as a matter of priority. It should also rise to defend her office when it is attacked by those whose selfish interests threaten the future of this country.

Hamadziripi Tamukamoyo, Researcher, and Gareth Newham, Head, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS Pretoria

South Africa – Buthelezi launches IFP manifesto with emphasis on corruption

Mail and Guardian

From dealing with corruption to providing quality education, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has launched the party’s election manifesto.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (Gallo)
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (Gallo)

Thousands of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters converged on Durban’s King Zwelithini Stadium at the launch of the party’s 2014 election manifesto on Sunday.

Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi received a rapturous welcome when he entered the stadium in Umlazi.

Streets outside the stadium were filled with busses and taxis bearing IFP colours and Buthelezi’s portrait.

Speaking at the launch of the election manifesto, Buthelezi said special courts to deal with corruption would be established under an IFP government.

“We plan to investigate all cases of corruption and prosecute the offenders in a specially-mandated corruption court,” he said.

While he gave few details of how this court would work, much of his speech dealt with the eradication of corruption.

Injured Buthelezi He said that were the party elected into government, it would guarantee that the auditor general, the public protector, the National Prosecuting Authority as well as the Special Investigating Unit would have the required resources to fight corruption.

“We plan to prosecute those accused of corruption and make sure the guilty serve their full sentences,” he said.

When Buthelezi arrived at the stadium, he had to be helped up the stairs to the stage and when he delivered his speech he sat on a chair that was provided for him.

IFP spokesperson Liezl van der Merwe said he had injured himself last week as he left his offices in Cape Town.

“Prince Buthelezi missed a step in the parliamentary buildings and slipped. It was discovered the following day, when he returned to Durban, that he had sustained a knee injury,” she said.

Buthelezi had ruptured his quadriceps tendon, the connective tissue that binds the muscles of the thigh to the kneecap, said Van der Merwe.

Quality education Buthelezi said the country’s education system did not need to churn out grade 12 pupils, but needed to create a system that delivered quality education.

He said the country’s health system was in a crisis.

“We need hospitals and clinics that are staffed by competent professionals who are properly rewarded for their performance.”

He said that much of the ANC’s good story to tell was based on the efforts of the IFP.

He said it was the KwaZulu-Natal government, then led by an IFP government, that challenged the national government over the roll out of an anti-retroviral programme to combat the spread of HIV.

“It was so effective in saving the lives of newborn babies that we were able to challenge national government to do the same.  We didn’t balk at going to the Constitutional Court on that occasion either, and the Constitutional Court ordered government to do as the IFP was doing.”

On crime Speaking on crime, Buthelezi said that an IFP-led government would ensure that the police service became more decentralised in its management and that the current police training curriculum would “emphasise human rights, empathy, investigative skills and forensic analysis”.

He said officers would be promoted on their ability and skills, while their past performance would be continually appraised.

He said that the issue of land reform needed to be urgently addressed. This included a full scale land audit.

White commercial farmers needed to be recognised as citizens with rights and obligations to their land, with farm attacks addressed.

At the same time, the rights of farmworkers needed to be protected. – Sapa  M&G

South Africa – NUMSA preparing to launch socialist working class party

Mail and Guardian
Numsa says it is getting ready to launch the United Front and Movement for Socialism, a political party aimed at uniting the working class.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is busy with preparations to launch a political party, it said on Sunday.

The party, to be called the United Front and Movement for Socialism, would be aimed at uniting the working class and mobilising around issues affecting workers.

“We need a movement for socialism,” general secretary Irvin Jim told reporters in Johannesburg.

He said work was well underway to mobilise the working class in all its formations, for the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter, the ANC’s document of goals and aspirations for the country, and against neoliberalism.

Jim said the leadership of the national liberation movement as a whole had failed to lead a consistent radical democratic process to resolve national, gender, and class questions post-1994 – the year of South Africa’s first democratically elected government.

He said the leadership was predominantly drawn from the black and African capitalist class, which “kowtows” to the dictates of white monopoly capitalist and imperialist interests.

“It is half-hearted and extremely inconsistent in the pursuit of a radical democratic programme and has completely abandoned the Freedom Charter,” he said.

‘Contest the elections’
Jim said it was those circumstances, combined with the worsening situation of the South African working class as a whole post-1994, which has made Numsa rethink and revisit its relationship with the ANC and its alliance.

“We need to organise ourselves as a class, which is why we need a movement that will contest the elections at the appropriate time,” said Jim.

In order to reach out far and wide, Numsa would convene provincial and national consultative meetings to share the content of its resolutions on the United Front and Movement for Socialism.

He said during Numsa’s January Marxist-Leninist Political School, meetings were held with the leaders of some of the social movements and community structures, to begin the process of mapping out how they could work together.

With more than 340 000 members, Numsa is the biggest trade union in the country.

Abandon capitalism
Earlier on Sunday, Numsa called for capitalism to be abandoned saying it had failed South Africans.

“We at Numsa have no illusion that only a total destruction of capitalism and all it represents, can save the earth and give birth to a new civilisation,” Jim told reporters in Johannesburg.

Jim said capitalism was imported by colonialism.

“The South African capitalist state did not emerge as a result of an internal popular anti-feudal revolution.”

He said capitalism had depended heavily on imperialist centres.

Jim said 20 years after the democratic transition, the colonial status of the black majority had remained in place.

Out of the 26-million South Africans who live in abject poverty, 25-million were Africans and this was proof enough that capitalism had failed, he said.

“All economic policies since 1994 have been incapable of defeating colonialism of a special type and the effects of apartheid capitalism, which condemned the South African black working class to a life of misery and hardship,” said Jim. – Sapa

. .

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http://mg.co.za/article/2014-03-02-numsa-readying-to-launch-political-party

South Africa – why did Zuma pull out of the London memorial for Mandela?

Business Day Live
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s sudden and still unexplained decision to withdraw from a unique memorial service for the late Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey in London next Monday has not, sadly for him, gone unnoticed.

Madiba will be the first non-British citizen ever honoured in any way in the abbey — the cathedral next to the Houses of Parliament in central London.

Nearly 3,000 guests will be there at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Commonwealth.

She will not be there. Her grandson, Harry, will do the honours for Buckingham Palace. But she would have been, had Mr Zuma been able to accept the initial date for the service — February 11. As this clashed with his preparations for his state of the nation address on February 13, the British were asked to conduct the service at a later date.

Both sides agreed on Monday March 3. As recently as last Friday, a post-Cabinet statement confirmed Mr Zuma would be in London. Within days, that had changed and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, was attending instead.

The president’s “diary is always subject to change. This is a very, very busy period,” said his spokesman, Mac Maharaj, an explanation so feeble we will, out of sheer pity, not hold him to it.

Clearly, something is up with Mr Zuma. He was ready to lead the South African delegation to Davos last month when he suddenly pulled out. He has missed a number of scheduled appointments on the campaign trail since calling a general election for May 7.

Is he not well? Or are his public appearances perhaps deliberately being limited, for fear of audiences considered unreliable?

Besides the Mandela memorial in London, meetings had been set up for him to talk to potential political party donors from the former anti-apartheid movement.

In all, it is a typically pathetic display. But all is not lost. Recently, when he bailed out of campaigning for a weekend to “rest”, he was spotted at the birthday party of a rich friend in Durban. On Thursday night he addressed a function to “celebrate”, as the state information service reported, “the return of the largest print media group in South Africa, to South African ownership”.

Perhaps Mr Zuma lives in a parallel universe. Thursday night’s function was hosted by Independent News & Media South Africa. This is a company run, with public service pension funds, by a government crony capitalist, Iqbal Survé, and, as this week’s Audit Bureau of Circulation figures again show, is very much not the biggest print media group in South Africa.

But don’t tell the president.

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http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/editorials/2014/02/28/editorial-dont-tell-the-president

South Africa – Hani’s murderer Derby-Lewis attacked in prison

Mail and Guardian
Chris Hani’s murderer, Clive Derby-Lewis, and his co-conspirator Janusz Waluś have been attacked in prison.

Chris Hani’s murderer, Clive Derby-Lewis, was attacked in Pretoria Central Prison on Wednesday, the department of correctional services has confirmed.

Derby-Lewis is currently serving a prison sentence of 25 years for his role in the murder of the South African Communist Party general secretary, Chris Hani, in 1993.

The Mail & Guardian understands that Derby-Lewis and his co-conspirator in the Hani murder, Janusz Waluś​, were stabbed several times by an inmate on Wednesday. They were then struck on the head with locks.

The department of correctional service’s spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said the two have been treated for the wounds in prison, and the attacker was locked in a cell.

Derby-Lewis was denied medical parole in 2011, and again in 2013. The 77-year-old is reportedly suffering from cancer and gangrene.

Derby-Lewis, a former Conservative Party politician, loaned Waluś​ the gun he used to assassinate Hani on April 10 1993. Hani was shot four times and died outside his Johannesburg home, amid sensitive negotiations between the ANC and the National Party.

Mandela speech
Waluś​, a Polish immigrant with right-wing links, was arrested within 15 minutes of shooting Hani.

Fears of retaliation from the ANC or a race war rang throughout the country, prompting Nelson Mandela to address the nation on live television and deliver his famous speech in which he called for calm.

“This killing must stop. We are a nation in mourning … yet we must not permit ourselves to be provoked by those who seek to deny the freedoms that Chris Hani gave his life for,” said Mandela.

Violence erupted across the country in the days that followed, in which at least 70 people were killed.

Derby-Lewis and Waluś​​ were sentenced to death but were later remitted to life sentences.

Sarah Evans is a Mail & Guardian news reporter.
Read more from Sarah Evans

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http://mg.co.za/article/2014-02-26-derby-lewis-attacked-in-prison

South Africa – the great rupture and crony capitalism

Politicsweb

SA politics: The great rupture

Moeletsi Mbeki
17 February 2014

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Moeletsi Mbeki on the black working class’ turn away from the ANC

Leadership in South Africa in the age of neo-colonialism

The death of Nelson Mandela has rightly been described as signalling the end of an era, the era of nationalism which had dominated South African politics for more than 100 years.

Afrikaner nationalism had died a painless death in its sleep sometime in the 1990s, about the time African nationalism seemed at last to have triumphed. But alas this triumph turned out to be short lived.

A key ambition of African nationalism besides universal suffrage, according to Mandela, was the creation of an African capitalist class. Explaining the nationalisation clause of the Freedom Charter in 1956 Mandela wrote:

“It is true that in demanding the nationalisation of the banks, the gold mines and the land the Charter strikes a fatal blow at the financial and gold-mining monopolies and farming interests that have for centuries plundered the country and condemned its people to servitude. But such a step is absolutely imperative and necessary because the realisation of the Charter is inconceivable, in fact impossible, unless and until these monopolies are first smashed up and the national wealth of the country turned over to the people. The breaking up and democratisation of these monopolies will open up fresh fields for the development of a prosperous Non-European bourgeois class. For the first time in the history of this country the Non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own in their own name and right mills and factories, and trade and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before.”

By the time Mandela died his political heirs had abandoned this central project of African nationalism and instead had replaced it with Black Economic Empowerment. BEE was not a project to create an African bourgeoisie; it was a project to create a class of black crony capitalists who would be junior partners to existing white South African companies and to Western multinational corporations operating in the country. These junior partners would use their political connections to assist established business to maintain the economic status quo inherited from the age of white domination.

A day after Mandela was buried in the green, rolling hills of the Eastern Cape where he was born and grew up, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, Numsa, announced the birth of a new era, an era where the advancement of working class interests would dominate the country’s economics and politics.

In the past South Africa’s the black masses had accepted that they were to be led by people who knew better than themselves – the black mission school educated classes. Not anymore. Today black workers want their own organisations. In particular they want their trade unions to establish their own political parties to lead them and to lead the country.

What had happened for the black working class to change its mind about who should lead them and the country? There is no one answer to this question. What it does reflect however is the increasing self-confidence of South Africa’s working class in its ability to find its own solutions to its challenges.

During the 20 years of ANC rule the working class had looked on helplessly as the ANC government adopted policies that devastated the country’s agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries resulting in drastic fall in employment in these sectors as well as in growing casualization of employees.

According to one estimate government policies adopted in 1996 resulted in 600 000 farm workers losing their jobs between 1997and 2007. Assuming each farmworker had a family of four, this meant 2,4million people were evicted from their homes on commercial farms during those 10 years. It should therefore come as no surprise that informal settlements are mushrooming in urban areas.

It was therefore a matter of time before trade unions would wake up to the reality that there was a link between the country’s de-industrialisation and growing unemployment with crony capitalism, government policies that pamper big business especially finance capital and the growth of a new black middle and upper class. It was a matter of time before trade unions at the receiving end of these policies would withdraw support from the ANC.

An alternative would have been the fragmentation of the unions themselves between unionists favouring continued support for the ANC and those against. This was what happened to the National Union of Mineworkers where the less pro-ANC workers split off to form the Association of Mine & Construction Workers Union, Amcu. A similar fate later befell the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Cosatu.

Conquest and subjugation

Modern day South African society was created over centuries of violence, dispossession and subjugation by European conquerors. South Africa belongs to a group of countries that were created during the 16th and 17th centuries as a result of global maritime explorations from the Iberian Peninsula. Those explorations led to emergence of what came to be known as the New World.

The New World was made up of countries carved out of the America’s by European powers of the time – Spain, Portugal, Britain, France and the Netherlands. These countries were characterised by extreme exploitation and oppression of the indigenous American populations who were literally worked to death by European conquerors in the process of their extracting precious metals. Over time the native populations were replaced with slaves imported from Africa who were used to cultivate crops – tobacco, sugar cane, cotton etc., – destined for European markets.

In Africa only two countries could be classified as New World countries. These are South Africa and Mauritius. Both countries imported slaves during the colonial period from the rest of Africa and from Asia who were exploited in the plantations established by colonising powers.

During the long drawn out process of military conquest, the aristocracy from which the leadership of the indigenous peoples came was decimated. At the end of conquest African communities were in a state of shock, they did not know to who to turn to especially as many members of their aristocracies that survived the wars of resistance to conquest started collaborating with European victors.

In this period of bewilderment two groups emerged that were sympathetic to the defeated communities. These initially were the European missionaries who had been critical of the oppressive and exploitative policies towards the indigenous peoples of the colonial government and of the colonists.

Black Nationalism

However from the middle of the 19th century a new class of African and Coloured mission school educated individuals started to emerge. By the last quarter of the 19th century this group had become sufficiently established as a propertied class to start founding African language newspapers and thus participating in the politics of the Cape and Natal Colonies. Among the former slaves Imams played a similar leadership role while passage Indians – merchants and professionals – provided similar leadership amongst Indian indentured workers.

For example by the end of the 19th century, Africans in Natal (excluding Zululand) owned 68 000 acres in freehold; 34 000 acres in quitrent i.e. long leases; while 217 000 acres of Crown lands had been sold to Africans, “under long terms of payment similar to European purchasers”. In 1904 Natal had 150 missionary schools attended by 11 000 pupils. In the same year the Cape had 60 000 African pupils taught by 200 teachers.

These three groups constituted the black elite that provided leadership in the struggles against racial discrimination and racial oppression throughout the 20th century which culminated in the democratic elections in 1994 and in the democratic constitution of 1996.

In these struggles of nearly a century and a half, the black working class and the black masses in general played a supportive role. They did not set the agenda. The agenda of black nationalism was set by the black elite that inherited the leadership mantle from the defeated African aristocracy. The black working class followed.

Over the decades during the 20th century the black elite guarded its leadership position so jealously that in the 1940s it established the ANC Youth League to ensure that the leadership of the black working class did not fall into the hands of communists. This was the main argument that persuaded then ANC president Dr AB Xuma, to approve the establishment of the ANC Youth League in 1944.

In its founding documents the Youth League wrote:

“the African people in South Africa are oppressed as a group with a particular colour. They suffer national oppression in common with thousands and millions of oppressed colonial people’s in other parts of the world.

“African nationalism”, said the Youth League,” is the dynamic national liberatory creed of the oppressed people…Africans must build a powerful liberation movement, and in order that the National movement should have inner strength and solidarity it should adopt the National liberators creed – African nationalism, and it should be led by Africans themselves.”

Nelson Mandela, never one to mince words wrote:

“There are certain groups which seek to impose on our struggle cut and dried formulae, which so far from clarifying the issues only serve to obscure the fundamental issue that we are oppressed not as a class, but as a people, as a nation. Such wholesale importation of methods and tactics which might have succeeded in other countries, like Europe, where conditions are different, might harm the cause of our people’s freedom, unless we are quick in building a militant mass liberation movement.”

The journal of the Transvaal Youth League, African Lodestar, writing in 1950 said:

“Since the workers in the country are oppressed primarily because they are Africans and only secondarily because they are workers, it is clear that the exotic plant of Communism cannot flourish on African soil; this plant will not take kindly to the soil thus it is bound to wither and die out. If it remains it is likely to ruin the soil without any benefit to itself as it is now happening.”

The initiative of establishing the ANC Youth League proved a success in that it marginalised the Communist Party which had started to make headway among the urban black masses in the 1940s especially after the Soviet Union joined the war against the Nazis in 1941. In the post Second World War national liberation struggles the communists as well as the working class played a followership role. The communists went further and became the praise singers of African nationalism for which they were permitted to be an authorised lobby.

The communists popularised the notion of the National Democratic Revolution according to which the working class should accept nationalist leadership’s rapprochement with the Minerals Energy Complex, finance capital and the Western multinational corporations that dominate South Africa’s stultified capitalist system. In return the black poor would get social welfare, electricity, piped water etc, and leaders of black trade unions and of the Communist Party would get high paying government jobs and maybe even shares and seats in company boards of directors.

From national liberation to class struggle

While the African nationalists were able to subdue their communist opponents, they however failed to prevail over their more powerful adversaries – the mining magnates, white workers and Afrikaner nationalists. Eventually African nationalists had to settle for a compromise that preserved intact the economic and social interests of their main adversaries in return for universal franchise and a multiparty constitutional democracy.

The much vaunted Black Economic Empowerment, BEE and Affirmative Action policies that have become the corner stone of the new thinking of the new African rulers do not modernise South Africa’s old economic system, they merely add new beneficiaries – BEE tycoons, political, trade union and other civil society leaders, senior civil servants and parastatal executives.

The African bourgeoisie reached its peak towards the end of the 19th century. For most of the 20th century it has been in steady decline bartered by attacks from three fronts; the mine owners, white workers and Afrikaner nationalists. While the much weakened African elite of the 20th century retained the ideology of their more powerful 19th century predecessors, they lacked their capabilities.

The last major undertakings of the 19th century African bourgeoisie were the founding of several newspapers – Imvo Zabantsundu founded by John Tengo Jabavu in 1884; Ilanga laseNatal founded by John Dube in 1904. Other newspapers established during the same period were Koranta ea Becoana founded by Sol Plaatje and Indian Opinion founded by Mahatma Gandhi.

The second undertaking was the establishment of Fort Hare University, an initiative pioneered by Walter Rubusana, a member of the Cape parliament, in 1908. The institution which was built with contribution by Africans opened its doors in 1916.

The last most important undertaking by the 19th century African bourgeoisie was the founding in 1912 of the African National Congress. Other important black political parties established during this period were the Natal Indian Congress founded in 1894 and the African People’s Organisation founded in 1904.

The African elite in the late 20th century thus entered into negotiations from a position of great weakness. As an illustration of how low the fortunes of the African elite had sunk by the second half of the 20th century, it took leading African businessman Sam Motsuenyane a decade to raise a million rands from the African community in the 1960s to 1970s to capitalise the African Bank. Not surprisingly the African elite came out of the negotiations with very little.

Its main achievement was the right to manage the state and to live off government revenues. It could not however change South Africa’s economic model that is founded on the exploitation and export of the country’s vast mineral resources through the harnessing of cheap black labour. All that the new regime could do was therefore to promote household consumption among the blacks through redistribution via state revenues.

This consumption revolution has been disastrous for South Africa’s productive economy. Firstly it transfers resources through taxation from the production sector to government and to private household consumption thereby starving the production sector of resources to invest. As can be expected the result has been to drive up unemployment while creating the illusion of economic growth which in reality was driven by rises in commodity prices. Secondly low levels of investment inevitably led to higher levels of imports and the attendant balance of payment problems.

At a broader social and political level, growing inequality drives increasing conflict on the shop floor as well as in poor communities. The massacre of 34 miners by the police on 16th August 2012 was hardly unexpected. South Africa is therefore increasingly becoming a battleground between the ANC government and the black working class and the black poor.

Mode of consumption

After 20 years of being managed by the ANC how is South Africa’s capitalist system fairing? What does its future look like? The answer to both questions is that things are not looking good for South Africa’s capitalism.

Under normal circumstances capitalism is described as a mode of production. In the hands of the ANC, it can more appropriately be described as a mode of consumption. During the last two decades South Africa’s productive industries have been in a nose dive. Manufacturing, probably more than any other sector of the economy, has been shrinking fast. Its production equipment is aging, and in some industries, is ancient.

Most of South Africa’s cement manufacturing equipment is on average 30 years and older, not surprisingly it could not cope when it had to supply cement to construction companies to build new stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. So we imported cement from China. The same applies to our footwear industry. In 1991 we made 80 million pairs of shoes, by 2007, local production had halved and instead we imported 160 million pairs of shoes, again mostly from Asia. Even with chicken, we are unable to produce enough to meet domestic demand, so we import, from Brazil, Argentina, European Union.

The mining industry which is at the heart of the South African economy is also shrinking not because we have run out of minerals, but because our economy is consuming instead of investing. We ran out of electricity in 2008 because the ANC government which controls South Africa’s generation industry was not bothered to build new power stations to meet growing demand.

Again instead of producing, we are consuming lavishly especially by the upper classes of all races. The poor have also been roped in into the consumer binge through welfare programmes in return for which they must vote for the ANC.

Increasingly, South Africa is consuming imports be they motor vehicles, milk, chicken, beef, shoes, clothes, cement, computers to name but a few products. We pay for all this by selling our minerals mostly in a raw state, to foreigners and by borrowing from our banks and also from foreigners. This is why I call the ANC’s capitalism a mode of consumption rather than a mode of production.

Such a system is not sustainable as its consequences are high levels of unemployment, large scale poverty and extensive inequality. South Africa tops the world league tables on all three counts. Sooner or later debt runs away with the whole economic system and if the people do not rebel first, the system crushes. The Greeks – and Zimbabweans before them – are living through this nightmare scenario.

Modes of production

Since its establishment in 1652, South African capitalism has gone through five distinctive periods – the Dutch East India Company period; two British periods; the Afrikaner nationalist period; and now the African nationalist period. Each period was driven by its own dominant political elite to achieve those elite’s economic, political and social objectives.

The Dutch East India Company’s (DEIC) objective was to create a half way station that would supply its ships with fresh foods. The Dutch therefore brought new crops to South Africa especially wheat and grapes as well as new workers, the slaves, to grow the crops. They also brought several technologies such as the wheel, the horse, guns, textiles and harness that did not exist in South Africa at the time. The DEIC system which lasted until the British took over in 1795, was a production driven system par excellence. It was very cruel to its workers, the slaves, and was founded on genocide against the San and Khoi, the indigenous peoples of the Western Cape.

The British continued with the Dutch system until 1834 when they abolished slavery. From the 1830s until the 1890s the British developed an African peasant based economy in the Eastern Cape and later in Natal by introducing freehold land ownership and most importantly by promoting the use of animal drawn agricultural implements among the African peasants. This was the first British production system which promoted prosperity among African peasants through a more productive agricultural system than one which was based on indigenous hand tools especially the hoe.

With the discovery of diamonds and gold during the last quarter of the 19th century, British mining investors turned against the peasant agriculture promotion system and demanded it be dismantled to release African males from peasant agriculture to go and work in the mines. The mining magnates also demanded the dismantling of the two Boer republics and the Zulu Kingdom. The British government acceded to all these demands.  This resulted in the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer wars as well as the imposition of many taxes on African men in territories under British control in order to force African men to earn cash by working in the mines.

All these measures led to the creation of the second British production system. This has come to be known as the Minerals-Energy Complex – a massive production system that has lasted to this day. It is driven by African migrant labour; is built on the ruins of South Africa’s collapsed peasant agriculture; and is still funded to a significant extent by the City of London, the United Kingdom’s international financial district.

The fourth and last production system was that created by Afrikaner nationalists during the 84 years they controlled the state from 1910 to 1994.

The Afrikaner elite that controlled the Orange Free State and the Transvaal republics expropriated land from the indigenous peoples during several wars in the second half of the 19th century. However, they did not build a modern agricultural system, they were essentially pastoralists. The Afrikaner nationalists only started to build modern agricultural system after the British handed them the South African state in 1910. One of the first actions of the Louis Botha government, who was himself a land owner from Natal, was the creation of the Land Bank in 1910 to provide cheap credit to commercial farmers.

This system went on to mobilise and organize cheap black labour as well as to establish a cheap, effective and extensive transport and communication infrastructure to serve commercial farmers. In the process, other infrastructure related industries were established, such as iron and steel, fertilizers, oil from coal, and armaments. Lastly, the system developed an extensive education system to train farmers, their children and their managers in agricultural and veterinary sciences and other skills in food marketing, processing and storage.

The driving motive in all these developments was to enrich commercial farmers through enabling them to supply the growing industrial and mining towns sprouting all over South Africa in the 20th century with food especially maize as well as agricultural raw materials and to export to British and world markets, so South Africa could buy the technology it needed to grow its agriculture and other industries.

In the many analyses of South Africa’s 360 years of its capitalist system, focus has rightly been on the suffering inflicted on the black population in the process of building the production capabilities of the capitalist system. Today a new story is unfolding however, the story of the dismantling of South Africa’s production capacity. This time it is in the name of humanising South Africa’s capitalism by transforming it from a production system into a consumption system.

As South Africa switches from a production to a consumption system, there are already signs of more suffering to be inflicted on the masses of South Africa by the new black political elite who are the primary beneficiaries of the new consumption driven model. Many signs of preparations for the coming repression are already apparent. These include:-

  • the re-militarisation of the police
  • suppression of the freedom of the mass media
  • manipulation of judicial processes and personnel
  • refusal to introduce a constituency based electoral system which could make members of parliament more accountable to the electorate.

 

Solution

South Africa is now entering a new phase in the long struggle to develop and consolidate democracy and to build an economy that is both sustainable and serves the needs of its entire people instead of the selfish interests of small elites as has been the case over the past 360 years.

The challenge facing South Africa and Southern Africa is to complete the partial industrialisation of Southern Africa begun by the British in the late 19th century. The new industrialisation cannot however be of the same character as that initiated by the British. That earlier industrialisation was designed to exploit South Africa’s natural resources and export them as raw material to feed manufacturing industries in Britain and other developed countries.

South Africa’s new industrialisation must be driven by entrepreneurs who must create downstream manufacturing industries so more jobs can be created to absorb the huge pool of unemployed people in the country.

* Moeletsi Mbeki is author of Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changingpoliticsweb

South Africa – EFF and ANCYL events in Tembisa in danger of lading to violence

Mail and Guardian
The ANCYL and EFF have organised competing political events in Tembisa, sparking fears of more violent clashes that have dogged the two parties.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are set to go head to head with the ANC Youth League at competing events a few kilometres apart on Saturday in Tembisa.

The EFF began a media campaign about the manifesto launch a few weeks ago, which will take place at Mehlareng Stadium in Tembisa on Saturday morning.

The party promised to outline how it aimed to finance its plans once in government.

“We will indicate where the financing of such priorities will come from,” said Malema in an interview last week.

Meanwhile, the youth league decided to also organise a “youth vote festival” about 3km away at the Makhulong Stadium, youth league convener Mzwandile Masina told the Mail & Guardian.

The event will feature Malema’s predecessors in the league, Malusi Gigaba and his former supporter Fikile Mbalula.

“It’s about elections, and encouraging young people to vote. It’s our contribution as youth league leaders,” said Masina.

He insisted the timing was not a provocation to the EFF. “That’s another party, they are in another stadium, we are in another stadium. We planned it a long time ago, as part of our election campaigning, it has nothing to do with the EFF.”

No information
The youth league’s event has been less well-publicised, with no information on their website, and Masina was defensive when asked about it.

“We are campaigning in Tembisa because it’s part of South Africa, why are you asking?” he responded when first asked for details about the rumoured event.

The EFF did not appear to know about the competing event when interviewed last week, and were not available to comment on Monday regarding the league’s event.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told the M&G last week that the party had chosen Tembisa as a venue because it had one of the highest EFF membership figures in Gauteng.

“We’re expecting tens of thousands,” he said at the time.

A spokesperson for Tembisa police station would not reveal which party had alerted them about their event first, saying it was confidential information. But another senior police officer said clashes between the two parties were expected.

“There will be police available in both venues to monitor both situations.”

Past clashes
Supporters between the two parties have already clashed several times, often violently.

ANC members threw stones at EFF supporters in January when the EFF tried to hand over a house they had built near President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence. ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa later condemned the violence and police took quick action at the time.

In a more serious incident, two school pupils were shot during clashes between the parties in Zenzele informal settlement in November last year. It was unclear which party started the violence or was responsible for the shooting.

EFF has also accused the ANC of disrupting its meetings and even poisoning a poet linked to the party, Bigg Dogg, and dumping him in a river. The ANC has denied the claims.

Malema was expelled from the ANC and his position as youth league leader in April 2012 after a lengthy disciplinary process, following his falling-out with the party’s top brass after mobilising for the removal of Zuma. He was found guilty of sowing divisions within the ANC.

Malema went on to form the EFF with other ousted members of the youth league on a radical policy platform, and the party is the first credible threat to the ANC from the left, analysts have said.

The youth league had all its structures effectively dissolved and is being run by a task team that is trying to rebuild the organisation, though it has its own financial battles with a provisional liquidation and a lack of political clout with leaders, like Masina, who are unelected.

Organising meetings close to those of political competitors is a disruptive technique that has made an appearance in South Africa before. Malema, in his time as youth league leader, was accused of using the tactic, particularly by members of the Congress of the People ahead of the 2009 elections.

Verashni Pillay is an associate editor at the Mail & Guardian.
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http://mg.co.za/article/2014-02-18-eff-and-ancyl-to-face-off-in-tembisa

South Africa – opposition claims Mandela funeral funds used to print ANC T-shirts

Mail and Guardian
Opposition parties have demanded a probe into allegations that some of the funds for Nelson Mandela’s memorial services were misspent.

South Africa’s opposition parties on Saturday demanded a probe into how taxpayers’ money released for Nelson Mandela’s memorial services had been used, after allegations that some of the funds had been misappropriated.

An Eastern Cape provincial paper on Saturday alleged that a senior official of the ruling ANC party had embezzled part of the money released by Buffalo City Metropolitan municipality.

Citing its own research, the newspaper said R5.9-million rand was paid to a local transport company linked to the ANC official.

The company then transferred some of the money to other firms, some of which had nothing to do with transportation, even though the money was meant to be spent on driving mourners to the anti-apartheid icon’s memorial services.

Instead, the newspaper claimed that the money went into the printing of ANC T-shirts.

Fraudulent documentation
“We want a forensic investigation into this. It’s a scandal,” Jerome Mdyolo, a municipal councillor for the opposition Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), said on Saturday.

A councillor with the opposition Democratic Alliance said even the address that appeared on the transport company’s invoice was apparently false.

“Now imagine you get a slip for R5.9-million and the address on the invoice is incorrect and fraudulent. It raises your eyebrows,” said councillor Terence Fritz. “So we are asking for an investigation into that.”

A formal request for a probe is to be tabled during a routine council meeting on Friday.

Neither the ANC nor municipal officials could be reached for comment on Saturday.

Fritz said his party was not against the release of the funds “because we couldn’t put any monetary value to [Mandela's] legacy and what he did and what he meant for us”, but it will not tolerate the abuse of public funds.

Tough polls
The ANC is facing tough polls in the upcoming elections, with voters increasingly disillusioned by allegations of corruption plaguing the party.

President Jacob Zuma this month kicked off his party’s election campaign with a slew of promises to crack down on rampant graft and poverty.

But his unpopularity was on show during Mandela’s memorial service in December, when angry South Africans booed him at the event that was broadcast live throughout the world. – Sapa-AFP

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http://mg.co.za/article/2014-01-25-madibas-funeral-funds-misappropriated

South Africa – Maharaj says Zuma did not say he wanted to change constitution

Mail and Guardian
The presidency has denied media reports stating that President Jacob Zuma said he wants to change the Constitution.

The presidency told the Mail & Guardian on Friday that President Jacob Zuma “did not use the word ‘constitution’” earlier this week, with spokesperson Mac Maharaj saying “he did not say he wants to change the Constitution.”

On Wednesday, several media outlets reported that Zuma told hundreds of ANC supporters in KaNyamazane, near Nelspruit, to vote ANC to ensure the party gets a two-thirds majority in order to make changes to South Africa’s most prominent piece of legislation.

However, he did not specify how he wants to change it.

“We want a huge majority this time because we want to change certain things that couldn’t be changed with a small majority so that we move forward because there are certain hurdles. People talk about a constitution they have never seen. We saw that constitution,” he said.

‘Forever and ever’
He later said the ANC would govern “forever and forever”.

The presidency also released a statement on Friday saying the Constitution is “not static” and is a “transformative document”.

Maharaj said there was “nothing untoward” about “wishes to amend any part of the Constitution”.

“There is nothing inappropriate about amending the Constitution provided it’s done within the law and the Constitutional Court is there to oversee the procedure,” he told the M&G.

According to the statement, the Constitution has been amended 18 times, as recent as November 2012.

Zuma was in Nelspruit ahead of the ANC’s January 8 statement and to launch its election manifesto at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

Read more from Amanda Strydom
Twitter: @A_Strydom http://mg.co.za/article/2014-01-10-presidency-denies-zumas-comments-about-the-constitution

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