Tag Archives: Zuma

South Africa – why ANC still rules the roost

Mail and Guardian

The DA is completely out of touch with black voters, who are more likely to opt for the ANC or the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Loyal: Many people support the ANC because they believe it is the only political party that can rescue them from poverty. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

With the recent controversy that hit the finance ministry, the deplorable reaction to the #FeesMustFall movement by government, load-shedding, water shortages, alarming matric results and what appears to be general ongoing dissatisfaction among South Africans of all races, it is difficult not to wonder why the ANC still has such a strong support base.

The question “Why do people still vote for the ANC when they are so unhappy?” crops up often enough to send anyone, myself included, into a trance in an attempt to find answers.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Marikana and greater Rustenburg because that’s the part of the country I call home. Although there has been a decline in the ANC’s support in the area, the party can still count on the support of many of the people who live there.

Considering the Marikana massacre of August 2012, one would assume that support for the governing party there would have dwindled – but that’s not the case and many people there still look to the ANC to rescue them from dire poverty.

My grandmother lives in Bethanie near Brits in the North West, a village that suffers from dirty tap water and other service delivery problems. When I asked her why she still supports the ANC, she said: “You could have easily become a domestic worker like me, but you went to school and you have a better life because of them.”

This reasoning is shared by many other South Africans. The ANC is the most acknowledged liberation movement in South Africa – and many South Africans, such as my grandmother and the people of Marikana, still see it as their saviour.

Attributing the end of apartheid to the ANC is the dominant narrative in post-apartheid discourse for many working- and middle-class black people, says activist and writer Simamkele Dlakavu – a narrative that ignores and erases the contribution of other liberation movements to the fall of apartheid.

This strategy, she says, played out when Nompendulo Mkatshwa, president of the students’ representative council at the University of the Witwatersrand, graced the cover of Destiny magazine in an ANC head wrap. #FeesMustFall is a challenge to the political and economic status quo administered by the ANC. Mkatshwa’s constructed image as the face of #FeesMustFall soothes and depoliticises a movement that is a direct challenge to ANC power and policy choices.

Representation matters because that is how power is exercised through different means of communication, and also how it is solidified and naturalised through repetition.

But even in the midst of what seems to be blind loyalty from ANC members, dissent does exist.

“We remain … disciplined members of the ANC but we will also raise our concerns, Bosa Ledwaba, an ANC member in Rustenburg, told me. “We love the ANC and we want it to be representative of us. Calling out the bad things in the party does not mean we are factionalists.”

Writer Simon Williamson says: “Half the problem with criticising [President Jacob] Zuma is the people that get in bed with your argument.” This statement extends to criticism of the ANC as well. There is a forceful anti-black and racist rhetoric that seems to rear its head every time people open their mouths about Zuma, the ANC and, in many cases, black people in general.

In response to the #ZumaMustFall campaign that began after the president fired Nhlanhla Nene as the finance minister, columnist and scholar Kelly-Jo Bluen wrote in Business Day: “White enthusiasm for #ZumaMustFall aligns with white South Africans’ love for uniting around causes that serve our narrow interests, while absolving ourselves of responsibility for SA’s sociopolitical and economic malaise.”

Our country is at a racial boiling point; it is impossible to imagine politics beyond race – and that is why the nonracial approach of the Democratic Alliance does not please many. With one racist incident after another, it would be silly to think that race is not a factor in how people vote – from Helen Zille’s ignorant tweets about black women’s hair and cultural appropriation to DA leader Mmusi Maimane always finding new ways to embarrass himself and the party by blaming everything under the sun on the ANC and Zuma.

The DA is completely out of touch with black voters, who are more likely to opt for the ANC or the Economic Freedom Fighters, which has gathered lots of support with its militant and radical approach.

Though race plays a pivotal role in voting patterns, gender politics will soon enter the mix. Will South Africans vote for a party whose women’s league has consistently maintained patriarchy by marching and defending their leader’s foibles instead of supporting the hundreds of women who are violated in this country every day? If the answer is no, then what is the alternative?

South Africa – SAA pulled back from the brink by Gordhan

Mail and Guardian

Gordhan shoots down plan for local lease in favour of original swap arrangement. South African Airways retains financial stability.

South African Airways CEO Dudu Myeni, here with President Jacob Zuma. (Siyabulela Duda)

It came right down to the wire, but finance minister Pravin Gordhan appears to have won his   battle against the chair of the SAA board having secured the Airbus swap deal and saving SAA from an estimated R1-billion in impairments.

Late on Monday night the National Treasury announced, through a statement, that the South African Airways board had approved the execution of a swap transaction with Airbus – in which a deal to purchase ten A320 aircraft will be swapped for a lease of five A330-300 aircraft – and that “a process is underway to conclude it within the next few days”.

This arrangement, Treasury said, will save the financially distressed SAA from an estimated R1-billion in impairments and will also result in $100-million cash refund for the national carrier.

There was a great deal of urgency to conclude this process, as the deadline extended by Airbus was Monday 21 December – by when either an new deal was approved, or pre-delivery payments of $40-billion to the aircraft manufacturer became due.

Treasury indicated that an extension has been granted. “Airbus has indicated that they are amenable to the implementation of the transaction and have required that all legal documentation be in place by 28 December 2015,” the statement said. “The National Treasury will work closely with Airbus and SAA to finalise the swap transaction.”

The timing of the shock removal of Nhlanhla Nene from his post as finance minister two weeks ago was widely speculated to have been linked to the 21 December Airbus deadline.

Nene and the SAA board chair Dudu Myeni failed to agree on the structure of the new transaction. Myeni has close ties to President Jacob Zuma, who two weeks ago unilaterally made the decision to remove Nene and replace him with parliamentary back-bencher David van Rooyen.

Markets quickly whipped into a frenzy and the rand plummeted sharply past R15 to the US Dollar. So severe was the reaction that, four days later, Zuma announced that Van Rooyen would no longer head up Treasury and instead would be replaced by the fiscally-frugal Pravin Gordhan.

Because of the looming deadline, Gordhan’s first matter at hand was addressing the structure of the new Airbus deal – and getting Myeni to sign off on it.

As Mail & Guardian reported last week SAA documents explained how, in 2017, the airline had been due to take delivery of ten A320 narrow-body aircraft from Airbus, part of a legacy contract dating back to 2002. SAA had to make payments to Airbus in advance of the delivery.

More than a decade later, the terms had become onerous. Price escalations meant SAA was being forced to buy the planes at higher than market rates, fast eroding its already weak balance sheet, according to other SAA documents.

As SAA ran out of cash this year, it could not afford to make the payments to Airbus, some of which were already overdue. And for every month it was overdue Airbus could set back the delivery date and charge interest. The contract was one of the key factors driving the airline to bankruptcy, sources had told the M&G.

In April this year the Board of SAA applied for approval from Nene to cancel the purchase of ten A320 aircraft and instead enter into an operating lease on five A330-300 aircraft with Airbus. During July 2015 he approved this request.

But in November, SAA applied for permission to amend the transaction to allow SAA to purchase the A330-300 aircraft and enter into a sale and lease back deal with one or many local lessors. SAA argued that one of the benefits of this transaction structure would be a mitigation of the airline’s exposure to exchange rate fluctuations.

On 3 December 2015 Nene rejected the fresh amendments to the swap transaction structure. “Whist acknowledging that SAA might have benefited from entering into the local leasing arrangement, Minister Nene highlighted that the terms of the local leasing transaction remained speculative and there was considerable risk that the local leasing arrangement would not be in place by the time the A330 purchase contract was concluded with Airbus, at which point SAA would be required to pay $100-million in pre-delivery payments,” Treasury explained.

It was likely that the airline would not have the cash resources available to make such a payment, resulting in it defaulting on its obligations, triggering cross-defaults on other leasing arrangements and SAA’s government guaranteed debt obligations, resulting in “severe negative consequences for SAA and for the country as a whole”, Treasury said.

Immediately after his appointment Gordhan gave SAA an opportunity to make further representation, following which he decided that the airline must go ahead with executing the A320/A330 swap as had been approved in July 2015.

“The implementation of the transaction will therefore improve the airline’s financial position by alleviating the cash flow pressure and improving its profitability,” Treasury said. “Further measures will be taken next year to stabilise the airline.”

South Africa – Gordhan tells people in power to stop using public institutions as their personal toys


Genevieve Quintal, News24

Pravin Gordhan

Johannesburg – It is time for people to stop using public institutions as their personal toys.

That was the message from newly-appointed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday.

“We’re really serious when we say good governance is non-negotiable,” he told reporters in Pretoria less than 24 hours after his re-appointment as finance minister.

“It’s time that individuals or groups of individuals stop playing with state entities, whether they are SOCs [state-owned companies] or other government components as if it’s a personal toy from which you can extract money when you feel like.”

The prime responsibility of public institutions was to either contribute to the economy, contribute to providing a service or contribute to revenue for government, Gordhan said.

“Some of them are quite central to efficiency in our economy as well and that’s the focus we expect.

“We do require a bit of national reflection… amongst South Africans as to how do we want to manage state resources.”

Four days after removing Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister and replacing him with David van Rooyen, President Jacob Zuma announced another reshuffle of the key portfolio.

He re-appointed Gordhan as finance minister and shifted Van Rooyen to co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

Explaining the reason for another move Zuma, in a statement on Sunday night, said, “I have received many representations to reconsider my decision. As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views.”

Gordhan’s appointment has been welcomed by business bodies and political parties.

The announcement also saw the rand start to recover after it plummeted when Nene was removed.

However, many still feel lasting damage to the South African economy has already been done.

The SA Institute of Professional Accountants (Saipa) said the fallout of the recent “catastrophic shuffle” would have long-lasting effects on the country’s economy.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said it was a relief to have Gordhan back in the job of finance minister, however, the question remained how much damage had been done.

“Whichever way we look at it, the world will see three ministers of finance in a week as a clear indication of a nation that does not know where it is going or how to get there,” she said in a statement.”

Business Leadership South Africa said the country had turned a corner with the reappointment of Gordhan.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions was less enthusiastic, saying Gordhan was “not a friend of the working class”.

“We will only throw our full support behind him… if he signs in to an honest progressive agenda,” spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.

“This economy has for a long time failed to serve the interest of working class.”

The ANC welcomed Gordhan’s return.

The decision was made due to public concern and the need for someone with the experience to champion the country’s fiscal policy, and who could reassure the markets, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

The Democratic Alliance has again called for a motion of no confidence in Zuma to be debated in Parliament.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he had written to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and said the matter should be debated at the first opportunity in 2016.

Gordhan told reporters on Monday he was approached over the weekend.

He acknowledged that the Nene and Van Rooyen debacle had caused serious harm to the economy and it would take time to restore normality.

Gordhan assured the nation that sound fiscal management would be a priority for him and his department.

“We will stay the course of sound fiscal management. Our expenditure ceiling is sacrosanct. We can have extra expenditure only if we raise extra revenue. We will unreservedly continue our fiscal consolidation process and we will stabilise our debt in the medium term,” he said.

“If needs be, we will accelerate this by either cutting spending or making selective changes to tax policy. Similarly, any revenue raising opportunity will be considered very carefully to ensure that it does not damage growth or affect the poor negatively.”

Taking over from Nene, Gordhan will be faced with two major challenges – the South African Airways Airbus deal and the nuclear deal. On the issue of SAA, he said the decisions made by Nene would stand.

Gordhan said his team would start dealing with the SAA board in the new year after the holiday.

He said he was also going to be speaking to SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni by telephone either later on Thursday or Friday

“What I have set out in the statement applies to expenditure within government and as we clearly point out to the state owned companies as well [is] that anything anybody wants to do has to happen within a sustainable, fiscal framework.

“We are not going to make reckless decisions. We are going to ensure that the kind of discipline that government has demonstrated since 1994  is the kind of discipline that will continue and nobody needs to fear that we will move in any other direction,” Gordhan said.

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South Africa – is the country losing Mandela’s legacy?

City Press


Is Nelson Mandela’s legacy under threat?
Three prominent South Africans speak about Madiba’s legacy on the second anniversary of his death.
FW de Klerk
1. Where is SA now?
South Africa is losing its way: we are undermining the values on which our Constitution is based; we are adopting ideologies that threaten our democratic institutions and we are embarking on dangerous policies that threaten race relations, undermine national unity and inhibit investment. Everywhere people from across the spectrum seem to be motivated by their own short term advantage rather than by the common good.
2. Is his legacy under threat?
For all the above mentioned reasons Nelson Mandela’s legacy is being put under threat. Populists openly attack his commitment to reconciliation and constitutional values. However, I believe that these attacks will in the longer run strengthen his legacy. 
3. Why is it important to hold on to his values?
Nelson Mandela symbolised integrity and unwavering support for our constitutional values. The future peace, progress and prosperity of South Africa depends directly on our ability as a people to honour these values.
Patricia de Lille
“During the five years of Tata Madiba’s presidency as well as President Thabo Mbeki’s terms we were moving forward. Now we are slipping backwards. It’s time to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and soldier on towards what Mandela sacrificed for.
It’s important to hold onto his values because although his journey has ended, we have the responsibility to continue on the path he set us on.”
Denis Goldberg
I believe South Africa is on the road to build a democracy. People are making use of the democracy to state their rights and objectives. There is no doubt that life is better now for millions of South Africans than it was before.
The values of the Mandela generation was a collective effort to make something new for us, not just a privileged few across the colour and social spectrum to genuinely transform our country.

South Africa – Jacob Zuma in all his glory


Max du Preez

On Sunday the emperor whipped off the G-string that covered the last of his shame.

And there Jacob Geleyihlekisa Zuma stands in all his naked glory: many of us suspected it, but now we know for sure that he doesn’t see himself as your and my president in the first place, but as the boss of the ANC.

Democracy or not, this is a very big deal. The party is more important than the state, the people.

With that Zuma also implied that if he had to choose between our Constitution and the interests of his party, the Constitution would come second. And there we were, thinking all the time he simply didn’t understand what a constitutional democracy meant.

If you’re not a loyal ANC cadre, you’re a second-class citizen. Using the 2014 election results, that means about four out of 10 South Africans. Comrades come first. Okay, we suspected that, but now it’s official.

Zuma and his lapdogs have now destroyed any argument that disrespecting Zuma was tantamount to disrespecting the highest office in the land. He is, after all, a party politician before he is president.

A call to intolerance

Those who lobby for a withholding or avoidance of tax now have a little bit more legitimacy. We taxpayers will apparently soon have to fork out something like R4bn for a new jet for the ANC leader, they will say, or point out that the ANC leader’s wives cost the taxpayer about R16m per year.

In 50 years’ time, historians will refer to Zuma’s statement on Saturday when they attempt to analyse his term as president.

However outrageous Zuma’s statement was, it wasn’t the most dangerous thing he said at the ANC’s KZN conference. He also declared: “ANC branches must make it impossible for any counter-revolutionary grouping to mobilise our people and lead them astray.”

This is Zuma speaking, and in KZN, so no, he couldn’t have been asking branches to market the party more efficiently. This was a call to intolerance, and we shouldn’t be surprised if some in his audience understood it as a call to strong-arm tactics against opposition parties.

Zuma’s vicious and personal attacks on respected ANC stalwarts Kgalema Motlanthe (Zuma’s predecessor as president, remember?) and Frank Chikane were also a call to intolerance. “Don’t provoke us too far. Don’t,” he warned. “No one is bigger than the ANC. They are cowards. Just an unnecessary irritation. And we may not tolerate this for too long.”

Clearly Zuma is on the warpath. He feels under siege. It means we will see the Real Zuma in the months ahead: the ruthless one that had sharpened his talents as head of the ANC-in-exile’s feared intelligence machinery.

Luthuli House, the domain of secretary general Gwede Mantashe, at first reacted in a respectful and conciliatory statement to Motlanthe’s criticisms of the ANC.

“The ANC wants to affirm Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe as a leader and voice of reason who has always been on the forefront of raising pertinent and thought-provoking questions within the structures of the ANC. He remains a critical opinion maker on how we as the ANC should confront internal challenges on matters that, if unattended, could materialise as future problems. The ANC embraces his forthrightness and willingness to provide leadership beyond formal structures of the organisation.”

Number One used the sjambok

Cosatu, whom Motlanthe had criticised directly, issued a sober statement saying it didn’t agree with him, but added: “The federation still holds the former ANC Deputy President in high regard and we always appreciate his views and opinions. He is one of the sharpest minds and principled leaders to be produced by our revolutionary alliance.”

Then, three days later, Mantashe surfaced with an opinion piece in his own name, directly questioning Motlanthe’s bona fides. “On the one hand you position yourself as an insider-turned-outsider, but at the same time you want to leverage former relationships for personal, political or other gain.”

There can be only one explanation for the radical change of mind within three days: Number One used the sjambok. There was no way that Mantashe didn’t approve that first statement.

Zuma’s new belligerence can mean that he will silence all dissenting voices, neutralise his opponents and ruthlessly govern until 2019.

But it could also be that he is underestimating the resentment in his own party towards him and overestimating his own power, which could mean he will not last longer than the ANC’s elective conference in 2017.

If that happens, hopefully we’ll then get someone that all of us can call our president.

– Follow Max on Twitter.

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South Africa – Gigaba defends Zuma’s “ANC comes first” statement


2015-11-10 18:07

(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has jumped to President Jacob Zuma’s defence over his “African National Congress comes first” comments at the weekend.

Trying to explain the context, Gigaba told members of Parliament on Tuesday that when Zuma addressed an ANC conference, he was addressing them as the ANC president, not the leader of the country.

“The African National Congress is a liberation movement first and a parliamentary party second.”

Speaking during a parliamentary sitting on Tuesday, Gigaba said Zuma was not wrong in his comments as he was speaking as the president of the ruling party at the time, “a leader of a liberation movement”.

 Zuma told the ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference on Saturday that the ruling party came before the country.

“I argued… with someone [once] who said the country comes first and I said as much… that I think my organisation, the ANC, comes first,” he told the conference.

South Africa – Zuma third term comments and idd ANC reaction


ANC clarifies Zuma third term reports

President Jacob Zuma says delegates at the ANC NGC are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue. 

President Jacob Zuma says delegates at the ANC NGC are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue. (SABC)


GautengMidrandANC NGCJacob Zuma. Mail and GuardianZizi KodwaANCNkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The African National Congress (ANC) has clarified the “no third term” comment attributed to President Jacob Zuma. The Mail and Guardian earlier quoted the president as saying he would not stand for a third term as ANC leader, even if members begged him to do so. The newspaper approached him on the sidelines of the ANC’s National General Council (NGC) in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.
However, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says the report is mischievous, “ The president was right, nobody can raise that question here. Nobody can confirm or deny his availability at the NGC. That is not a matter of the NGC. The president was saying if anybody was to ask the question here, he will give the answer that he gave. So it is not breaking news. The president was answering in a context that no issues of leadership and succession are dealt with at the NGC.”  
Delegates are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue

Earlier, whilst talking to journalists Zuma said was not worried about the ANC’s succession plans.
In what was intended to be a meet-and-greet, Zuma took a few questions from local and international journalists. And when probed, the president said South Africa is a democratic country where anyone can be elected to become President.
He says there is nothing to worry about as “democracy is all about competition.” 
Zuma also says there is no succession discussion at the conference. In the build-up to this gathering, some party structures including the Women’s League was vocal in its call for a woman president with the MK Military Veterans Association having Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its preferred candidate for president in 2017.
President Zuma says delegates are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue.  
“There is no worrying debate of succession. We are a democratic party in a democratic country. Democracy means there is competition, it means people have got free choice, they can point at anyone to say this we think is better and the other one might have a different view it is allowed. I don’t know why people get scared when people say we think so and so is better than so and so that’s part of our democratic culture and that’s not an issue in this conference this conference is evaluating how have we fared in terms of implementing our policies and everything. I don’t think that we have heard any delegate talking about succession but we are a democratic country we can debate anything under the sun,” says Zuma.
Zuma is serving his second term as head of the ANC and as President.