Tag Archives: Zuma

South Africa – does ANC need a change in leadership to prevent further losses?

BD Live

The ANC launches its manifesto for the August 3 municipal elections in which polls suggest it will struggle to hold several metros. Picture: SOWETAN

The ANC launches its manifesto for the August 3 municipal elections last month. Picture: SOWETAN

THE local government elections jolted us into considering what our political world might look like in the absence of ANC electoral dominance. As coalition governments take shape in our metros it is worth pausing to consider how the ANC’s decline mirrors the fate of dominant parties in other countries and what we can learn from those contexts.

The elections were remarkable. Across the country, though markedly more pointedly in urban metros, the ANC was offered an obvious rebuke from the electorate. Despite it still receiving a majority of the total vote, there is no doubt that its hold on the political landscape has slipped, having lost swathes of support in the country’s economic hub of Gauteng and the party’s own political home in the Eastern Cape. After decades of “business as usual” at election time, we now speak of coalition building and the next three years suddenly seem much less clearly defined. Yes, it was a remarkable election, but not surprising.

I say this not only because of the obvious leadership crisis within the ANC or the series of scandals that have so enraged voters. Rather a survey of dominant party democracies finds that the decline of the dominant party, as long as elections are largely free and fair, is ultimately inevitable. As we are all too aware in SA, a party that dominates electoral politics for long periods often becomes victim to its own success, growing increasingly lethargic, unresponsive and ultimately uninspiring.

Does this mean that the ANC is now on an inevitable path to a loss in a national election and declining support? Though this seems most likely in the current context, it is not inevitable nor is it likely to be permanent. Overlooked in discussions of dominant party decline is that those parties that do eventually lose often bounce back to electoral success very quickly.

The cases of the PRI in Mexico and the LDP in Japan are instructive. Two of the longest running dominant parties, both ultimately lost elections after painstaking party and coalition building by the opposition and widespread discontent with the incumbent. Despite the obvious differences in context, the road to their defeats has remarkable similarities with SA: a dominant party increasingly unable to deliver a better life for its people, and opposition parties capturing power at a local level and using their governance record as a path to broader support.

Yet, within a relatively short period in both cases, both parties were back in control of the country, having swept to impressive electoral victories. Why? There are two likely reasons. The first is that governing successfully is much harder than being a critical opposition. Whoever ultimately governs SA’s metros will find it difficult, and the lack of immediate transformation will jar against campaign promises. Being in power also means being subject to the real constraints of the international context and domestic structural obstacles; delivering change will take much more than being more efficient. An added complexity for opposition parties is that they will have to govern metros or town in provinces controlled by the ANC. The contest for resource allocation will be fierce and ordinary voters are likely to suffer.

The second and perhaps more interesting point is that it is not easy for opposition parties to break free from the ideological dominance of the dominant party. A case in point has been the DA’s apparent reliance on the ANC’s vision for SA, the argument being that only they can now deliver it. In the case of a revitalised ANC (apparently only possible with new leadership) and an increasingly stretched DA, there is no reason to think that voters will not entrust the ANC with delivering that vision again in future. Some will argue that the EFF differ here by providing a radically different vision for the country — yet there a lot hinges on leader Julius Malema’s political future, and it is not clear that this lies outside the ANC in the long term. Of course, the ability of “broad church” dominant parties to draw in potentially dangerous opposition has always been one of its key advantages.

Thus, despite this obvious setback, the ANC still holds an enviable position in our political landscape. The most immediate challenge facing it is to ensure that where it does become the opposition it doesn’t implode as it has in the Western Cape.

All of this speculation assumes a future where the democratic “rules of the game” are entrenched. We should not take this for granted. Although many within the ANC leadership have been gracious in conceding defeats in this election, there were worrying levels of political violence in the run up to the election, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, where 15 ANC supporters and candidates were murdered in political infighting. This is a window into the possibility of a descent into violent politics when the stakes are so high and access to political office is seen as so crucial.

In addition, President Jacob Zuma’s term has seen ever increasing power vested in the “securocrats”, an apparent increase in surveillance of activists, as well as the full power of the state being brought to bear on protesters. The ever present reference to foreign instigated regime change as a way to target civil society has shown that parts of the ANC may not respond well to further electoral losses. The intervening period now, including the formation of coalitions and new councils, will be a crucial test of this space. Whether the rule of law is supreme will be a litmus test for any future electoral changes.

What path is ultimately taken, and how the ANC responds to last week’s losses, likely ultimately rest on which faction is most harmed by the result. This has been the subject of many pages elsewhere. The ANC as a party still dominates South African politics in its ability to set the political agenda and opposition parties, despite inroads, still seem to struggle to capture the imagination of a wide enough group of South Africans. Despite this, if the ANC remains paralysed by the current listless and divisive leadership under Zuma, these local election losses will be the first of many. Further, without a change in leadership – it is unclear how the party can guard against these losses without turning to increasingly undemocratic tactics.

Marchant is a research associate at the Open Secrets project, linked to the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

South Africa – Lindela Tshwete says ANC no longer party of Mandela

BD Live

Lindela Tshwete. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Lindela Tshwete. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma is seeking to divide SA along racial lines and the ANC is no longer the party it used to be, according to three DA members who come from stalwart families.

Madoda Mbeki, cousin to former president Thabo Mbeki, Lindela Tshwete, the son of struggle veteran Steve Tshwete and Ghaleb Cachalia, the son of stalwarts Yusuf and Amina Cachalia, on Friday criticised Zuma and the ANC following comments about black people who vote for the DA in the run-up to the August 3 polls.

Earlier in July, Zuma said he did not understand black people who chose to vote for the DA.

“After we liberated ourselves they came together, this name DA, Democratic Alliance, it was an alliance between the Progressive Party and the National Party,” said Zuma.

“If you are a black person, you join that party really? Really? It’s worse when you lead it,” he said, referring to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Tshwete said this was no longer the ANC that his family, or Mbeki’s and Cachalia’s, had fought for.

All three have joined the DA and are standing as candidates in the municipal elections.

“The sad truth is that the ANC is no longer the party of Nelson Mandela, and no longer the party our parents and families brought us up in,” Tshwete said.

“Zuma has directly contradicted and undermined Nelson Mandela, who fought for the freedom for all South Africans to choose who they vote for. He should be ashamed of himself.”

Mbeki said the ANC no longer had the best interests of SA at heart.

“Leaving the party our families worked and struggled in was a very serious decision, but it was a decision we each made because the ANC cannot be trusted to take SA forward,” he said.

Cachalia said to call Maimane a “token” was the most “reprehensible” statement to make.

“It reminds me of people with certain Zionist elements in Israel calling people who criticise Zionism self-hating Jews.

“This sort of nonsense has to stop. Zuma should be ashamed of himself,” he said.

The three denied that it was a “cheap shot” to use their family names to drum up support for the DA.

When asked how their families felt about them supporting the DA, Tshwete became emotional and teary.

He described it as a very “sad time” for him, saying “it was not nice what I went through”.

However, he said in the end a number of family members came out and supported him, except his brother Mayihlome Tshwete and his stepmother Pamela Tshwete.

Tshwete said he was following his conscience and no one recruited him to join the DA, it was a decision he made on his own.

Mbeki reiterated that it was not an easy decision but for them and their families it was an important decision.

“Immediately after Polokwane, (and the) recalling of my brother (Thabo Mbeki), I started looking at the ANC differently, too many things happened and I believe getting into the DA was a wise decision … the home I feel comfortable in and it will be my political home forever,” he said.

South Africa – Mbeki says SA’s failure to stick to constitutional ideals the fault of its leaders

Mail and Guardian

Thabo Mbeki believes the responsibility for SA’s failure to achieve its constitutional ideals lies firmly at the feet of its leaders.

Former president Thabo Mbeki. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Former president Thabo Mbeki has pleaded with the current ANC leadership to go back to basics to ensure they carry out the mandate given to them by the electorate and improve the lives of millions of South Africans.

Speaking during a panel discussion at an event celebrating the adoption of the Constitution, Mbeki launched a veiled attack on President Jacob Zuma and other leaders of the governing ANC – accusing them of disregarding the Constitution.

“As South Africans, we signed a common contract to say this is the South Africa we want to build. It is an important day because it brought to an end a struggle that lasted centuries,” said Mbeki.

He said the ANC leadership, because of its struggle credentials in the fight for freedom, had greater responsibility to understand and respect the Constitution.

“This must be a daily document that helps us to act, it might save us from doing wrong things, including the president,” said the former president in a thinly veiled swipe at Zuma.

Last month,  the Constitutional Court found that Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution by failing to comply with the public protector’s remedial action to pay back a portion of the R246-million used for security upgrades at his rural Nkandla homestead.

Mbeki said if people understood the Constitution much better, they would demand the removal of government officials who have been found to have acted unconstitutionally.

“If society does more to understand the Constitution, then we will be able to reach the ‘ideal’ set out by it.”

Mbeki said the ANC leadership should stop lying to itself and face reality.

The former president quoted Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bheki Cele who, during a May Day rally in Port Elizabeth, said “the ANC can continue lying to people, but can no longer lie to itself”.

He said it was time for introspection because in every corner of the country “people were talking” and there was a lot of disaffection and restlessness about the current leadership. “If you’re a leader of the people, look at how you serve the people and your responses to your everyday needs,” said Mbeki.

He agreed with Cele that the rallies did not work anymore and that what was needed was to embark on a door-to-door campaign, an initiative which became popular during his time in office, to speak to the people.

“The problems of social cohesion, the problems of morality, the problems of the economy … the people are saying where is our country going?”

Mbeki called for a much-needed national dialogue instead of speaking in the corners, and applauded Zuma’s call for such a dialogue during his January 8 address.

“Let’s encourage openness, let’s give ordinary people the voice to say how they feel, in the media, in communities and everywhere” said Mbeki.

Constitutional founder chips in
Justice Zak Yacoob who was part of the group of people that wrote the Constitution, said South Africa would only achieve the society it envisioned in the Constitution if leaders acted honestly.

“The constitution imposes an obligation to everyone one of us to live for that society envisioned in it.”

Yacoob warned against a fallacy in the country that the Constitution has achieved the kind of society we desire; racism is still rife and women are still discriminated against.

“I was a racist and sexist when I was younger, I went through my own journey, it’s a difficult process to get rid of your own prejudice,” Said Justice Yacoob.

Justice Yacoob called on every citizen to read and live by the bill of rights.

“Everyone should try to read at least a part of the Bill of Rights before going to sleep, understand it and embrace it, and be sympathetic to those who were vulnerable because the Constitution meant that this country said ‘goodbye to the law of the jungle’ and therefore no women should be discriminated or [anyone] because of their race.”

South Africa – Suttner: In removing Zuma we need to ensure a democratic outcome

Daily Maverick

Photo of Raymond Suttner by Ivor Markman.

As South Africans call for Zuma to step down, we must be mindful of the errors of the past. There’s a range of fundamental problems with his leadership and these must be spelt out so that there is no ambiguity on what needs to be resolved, how it should be done and by whom. This will go a long way in ensuring that we “buy” the leadership we think we are buying. By RAYMOND SUTTNER.

This article first appeared on Creamer Media’s website: polity.org.za

The outpouring of anger and calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down, although occasioned by the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla, are in fact a result of rage that has been building up for many years. We need to try to understand the significance of this moment and how it will define the future.

We have been here before. One thinks of the rise of public opposition to former President Thabo Mbeki after the dismissal of Zuma as Deputy President in 2005. This led to people burning T-shirts bearing Mbeki’s image and a growing opposition to his rule. As we know, that opposition culminated in Zuma’s election as president of the ANC and the state.

Zuma’s supporters promoted his candidature with qualities that would remedy some of the ills attributed to the Mbeki era, in particular centralisation of decision-making, a lack of empathy for ordinary people on the ground, and an absence of popular influence on policies. His supporters said Zuma was humble, a “good listener” and an inclusive and democratic leader with deep commitment to nonracialism.

He was depicted as a leader who understood the specific left objections to the Mbeki era, in particular its macroeconomic policy known as GEAR. It was claimed that Zuma was the embodiment of the popular and even a potential leader of a socialist project. This was despite their knowing very well that Zuma, like Mbeki, had withdrawn from the SACP in 1990 and, while in government, had raised no objections to Mbeki’s policies. Both Cosatu and SACP leaders of the time advanced this leadership imagery.

Much was made of his humble origins. He was said also to be a model of advancement that would inspire others from similar poor backgrounds; a variant of the “American dream” where any person is supposed to be able to rise to the top.

Some activists, despite long political experience, spoke of the rise of Zuma setting South African democracy free. A new dawn was about to rise under Zuma. Even business, although cautious, was willing to give him a chance.

It is important to look back to that moment when Zuma was advanced as a candidate, for the terms on which he was advanced do not correspond to what he has in fact delivered as president of the ANC and the country. Some of the reasons why this could not be so were, as indicated, already known before he became president.

As South Africans call for Zuma to step down, we must be mindful of the errors of the past. We need to be clear that Zuma’s unsuitability for office does not arise only from the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla. There is a range of fundamental problems with his leadership and these must be spelt out so that there is no ambiguity on what needs to be resolved, how it should be done and by whom. This will go a long way to ensure that if we move towards choosing a new leadership, we “buy” what we think we are buying, not something different, as was the case with the disparity between claims for Zuma and the actual “product”, which currently creates havoc in South African public life.

In consequence, we need to ask what is the objective behind the calls for Zuma to step down. Expressions of righteous anger over Zuma’s actions and the call for him to resign must be coupled with clarity over the goal to which it is directed. How does it bear on the post-Zuma period? If the goal is to remove Zuma, what is envisaged to follow? If Zuma is to be removed in order to set the country on a democratic course, retrieving and even enhancing what has been undermined, we need to ensure that we have acommon understanding of the problems, the processes of addressing them and the outcome that is sought. That means identifying precisely what the defects of the present have been and what is needed to ensure that what is put in place after Zuma’s departure is a remedy and not a variant of the attacks on democracy that characterise current ANC-led political life. If there is not that clarity, what is currently experienced could well re-emerge under a different aegis.

That this question – “what follows Zuma”? – needs to be asked is warranted when we consider, in addition, that many of those who are associated with the call for Zuma to go had no objections to him becoming president. Some served under him in one or other capacity – or left in ignominy. Others served under Zuma and raised no objections to the character of his political activity prior to his elevation to the presidency. Yet others held no position, but saw the rise of Zuma as unproblematic. The object of this reference to the political history of some signatories or people who have provided testimony is not to vilify them but to seek clarity on the terms in which various actors are engaging with the removal of Zuma.

How one has related to the conduct of Zuma in the past is relevant to the present and the future. It is very important how one related to this political phenomenon, which needs now to be eradicated because of its fundamentally anti-democratic character. That some have to this day never accepted or argued over whether it is correct to characterise the Zuma period as anti-democratic is very relevant if these are people to whom some may turn for counsel or leadership in the post-Zuma era.

That these questions must be asked relates to the contention of this article that the flaws in Zuma’s political character and actions were not unknown before the Nkandla scandal. They were in fact features that threatened democratic life and constitutionalism long before he became president and were especially evident in the period immediately prior to his election as ANC and state president. I refer in particular to the 783 corruption and fraud charges that Zuma faced until the last moments before his inauguration (which may now have been reinstated) and his conduct during his rape trial. I refer also to the conduct of the ANC under his leadership during the 2009 elections, notably the political intolerance towards Cope, with violent interruption of meetings, preventing Cope from pursuing its right to free political activity.

In other words, the reasons for Zuma’s removal now do not constitute revelations about his fitness or otherwise to hold the office of president or to have a place in public life in a democratic South Africa. These patterns of conduct were fairly well known and certainly so to those who worked with him in the ANC of the 1990s and early 21st century. Some say many of these qualities were evident in exile.

If many of those calling for his removal were well aware of his flaws and have chosen now to focus almost exclusively on his being legally compromised over Nkandla, it raises questions about how those who call for his removal conceive the reasons for removing him. Does this not leave room for replacing Zuma with someone who may well bear some of the weaknesses and dangers that were part of Zuma’s make-up and have not been raised as objectionable? It certainly leaves opaque how those calling for Zuma’s removal conceive the question of patronage and even some further forms of corruption not addressed in the public protector’s report on Nkandla.

How do they view the use of violence and militarism, the deployment of static forms of culture and cultural chauvinism to stifle debate and limit the freedom of some citizens? How do they see displays of hyper patriarchy, high tolerance of sexism and finally the abuse of the symbols of the liberation struggle, its songs and meanings, to serve his personal interests, as at his rape trial?

To what extent are these statements and protests against Zuma understood as being part of a “cleansing” of the ANC, part of a return to “glorious values” attributed to the ANC?

The assumption in many of the protests and petitions is that there was an ANC of the past to whose traditions we must return. To what extent should we endorse the objective of many petitions to return the ANC to its former glory? Should we not in fact be interrogating the character of the ANC now and earlier, for it is the organisation that has made it possible for Jacob Zuma to emerge as its leader?

Those of us who have had a long history in the ANC need to ask whether we understood the organisation in all its manifestations, even if we were innocent of some of the abuses that are now known to have taken place? Should not all of us who have been involved in the ANC ask what part we played in creating an organisation that allowed the rise of a lawless president who is antagonistic to democratic life and emancipation?

Should the call for Zuma’s removal not be part of a broader plan to restore democratic rule under the Constitution? Should it not be part of the regeneration of democratic life to encourage the emergence of other political formations, whether or not they directly challenge the ANC? If that is the case, there is no guarantee that the ANC will continue to enjoy its previous pre-eminent status.

If we are reviving and enriching an ongoing process of emancipation, we cannot rely on a return to the ANC’s past. Nor can we exclude options beyond the ANC. Those who believe in liberatory and emancipatory values cannot exclude the ANC as a potential home, but we are entitled to scepticism and to explore all options that may enrich and consolidate our democratic life.DM

Photo of Raymond Suttner by Ivor Markman.

Raymond Suttner is a scholar and political analyst. Much of his life was spent in the struggle against apartheid and in building the new democratic order. He served lengthy periods as a political prisoner and under house arrest. Currently he is a professor attached to Rhodes University and Unisa and he has authored or co-authored Inside Apartheid’s Prison (2001), 30 Years of the Freedom Charter (1986) 50 Years of the Freedom Charter (2006), The ANC Underground (2008) and most recently Recovering Democracy in South Africa (Jacana and Lynne Rienner, 2015). He blogs at raymondsuttner.com and his twitter handle is @raymondsuttner

South Africa – ANC deeply split but the effects may take ages to work through

BD Live

ANC’s future on the line as rifts start to emerge










SOMETHING big may have begun in our politics last week. But it was not what most people are looking for, and will not be settled over a few weeks. We may be watching the beginning of a major split in the African National Congress (ANC) that will take shape in the coming months and years.

One reason coverage of politics here is often confusing is the echo chamber — the chorus of reporters, commentators, and some politicians who all say the same thing, whether or not there is evidence to back it.

Not long ago, it told us that President Jacob Zuma was all-powerful, behind everything that went wrong, and able to brush away any challenge. Now it says he is finished, headed for recall by the ANC. The reason it can contradict itself so easily is that neither of its messages had much to do with reality.

Zuma was never all-powerful, he was always a symptom of a factional politics within the ANC.

The toxic mix of private money and public power that dominates the news is not restricted to him and one family — it sustains the patronage wing of the ANC, in which resources buy support, government office is used to dump on the poor, and security operatives are available to offer support.

It is taking an increasingly authoritarian turn as foreigners are denied the right to trade in the North West and the SABC ends a flagship political programme because it planned to talk about “state capture”.

Uncomfortable questions are asked about why the premises of a nongovernmental organisation that takes the security cluster to court were broken into recently.

If this faction did not exist, Zuma might be on his way out. The reason he is not is that it remains strong and is not fussed by the disclosures of Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and others. What matters in patronage politics is who has power and who can be relied on to provide resources — those who wield power and rely on patronage to stave off poverty will remain loyal and continue to press, until next year’s ANC conference, for Zuma’s replacement by an ANC president sympathetic to them.

Zuma is also not all-powerful because this faction is not the only source of power in the ANC — there is also an urban faction peopled by those who know that the other faction’s politics cannot work for people who rely on the urban marketplace. The disclosures matter to them because they confirm everything they have been muttering under their breath. And the reason something big may be afoot is that Jonas, Mentor and others have prompted them to start saying it out loud: differences that have been hidden as the ANC publicly united are now in the open and will not be hidden again.

The South African Communist Party has moved from loyalty to Zuma to calling for his removal — possibly because it fears he may remove them. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe no longer denounces plots to achieve regime change, but warns of a “mafia state” and declares that the president is not “inviolable”.

Former ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola demonstrates outside the ANC national executive meeting to demand Zuma’s recall. And across the country, ANC activists rooted in the urban economy share criticism of Zuma and his faction that they suppressed before. A return to fake unity seems impossible. The patronage faction seems likely to increasingly force its opponents to disavow them as it becomes more open about what it really is — and it is even less likely to pretend to tolerate those who denounce the politics on which it relies.

None of this will happen quickly. Like most governing parties, the ANC can fudge its differences under stress.

The patronage faction will hide behind a well-resourced denial campaign; their opponents will test their strength and choose their issues. The war of attrition over the South African Revenue Service could become the norm as both sides jockey to choose the next ANC president. Even if the patronage faction loses ground, it may suit its opponents to weaken Zuma rather than remove him.

And so, despite the heavy breathing of the echo chamber, we may be in for the long haul in politics.

But a line was crossed last week — it makes far less sense to claim that the patronage politicians and their opponents belong in the same party.

The fight for the ANC’s future is coming to a head and the loser may have no option but to leave.

• Prof Friedman is director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy

South Africa – Zuma is in trouble and presses “radical land reform” button

Land reform is a vital. It is a very necessary part of redistribution resources taken from black South Africans. It needs to be done carefully, with the widest consultations and with a clear view of who wants land back, who just wants compensation and what the effects will be on the economy as a whole and on black farmworkers. So far, it  has not been high up the ANC or Zuma agenda-  until now. Zuma is in trouble, the ANC is angry with him over the Nkandla U-turn and the Finance Ministry fiasco. Is this a Mugabe style adoption of a radical policy to get out of a hole – the way that Mugabe used it to appease angry war veterans and outflank the MDC. Be disaster of Zuma tries adopts a rushed, populist and ill-judged reform programme purely out of political expediency. KS


City Press

Zuma questions ‘lopsided’ land reform law, calls for radical action

President Jacob Zuma has questioned the ANC government’s land reform law, saying that it was skewed against black South Africans.

The Restitution of Land Rights Act was passed in 1994 to allow people who had lost their land due to the racially discriminatory policies of the apartheid government to claim back their land.

The law was amended in 2014, extending the period to lodge land claims to June 2019.

This morning, Zuma suggested that the law was failing the majority of the people who were dispossessed.

“The very law that we have today to claim [land] is lopsided against black people,” he said.

“It’s very difficult for you to prove that this land belongs to your ancestors and it’s very easy for a land owner to say you can’t get the land. That’s how the law is,” he added.

Zuma was speaking at the annual opening of the national house of traditional leaders in Parliament.

He began his speech talking about the importance of traditional leadership and the role traditional leaders played in the fight against apartheid and colonialism.

He touched on government policies that were meant to address the needs of people living in rural areas, the economic struggles of the country and how everyone needed to pull together to improve the economy.

He also urged traditional leaders to join the government’s campaign against racism in their areas.

But he quickly switched to discuss the emotive issue of land and land reform. And he did not hold back.

In a series of rhetoric questions, Zuma suggested that radical action was needed to deal with land reform.

“Can we address poverty, inequality and unemployment without addressing the land question fundamentally? I don’t think we can.”

He added that most land was taken in the 1800s, and the land that was taken after the 1913 Natives Land Act was small and insignificant, yet the government was focusing on this land. Zuma suggested that the 1913 cut-off date for land claims should be pushed back.

“A general question arises in the process of us reclaiming land; what are we reclaiming?”

He repeated a call made in the same address in 2014 and 2015 that traditional leaders must get together and procure the services of a legal firm that will lodge land claims on behalf of “all of us”.

It was then that he mentioned that the current law dealing with land claims was “lopsided” against black people.

“We need to look at the facts; where do these people who are in informal settlements come from? Where is their land? Is it a lie that the land was taken?”

Zuma continued: “How do we deal with this question so that we can address poverty?”

He urged the traditional leaders to raise the issues around land: “No need to be shy about it. Whether you are keeping quiet, you are undermined; you are named and given names every day; whether you try to make yourself nice, you are not looked at as a nice person, you are looked at as stupid and as every other thing (sic).”

Zuma, who was in full song at this point, spoke about economic freedom in general.

“South Africa is said to be a rich country in minerals; but it has the poorest people in poverty who own absolutely nothing.

“The question that faces us today is: is freedom complete?”

He said there were three basic things that related to state power – political power, economic power and security power.

“Do we have these? We don’t. Can we then rest and say everything is done?”

He said the majority of citizens in countries like China, Brazil and others were in control of their economies.

“Are you in control of your economy? Not!”

He warned that if the majority of citizens were not in control of their economy, it meant they were not in control of their country.

The president who by now had the full attention of his audience, and was speaking off the cuff, returned to the script, joking that it he commented any more on the issue, people would think he was talking “Nkandla economy”.

South Africa – time for Zuma to watch his back

Mail and Guardian

The alliance turns on Jacob Zuma, answers to the Hawk’s 27 questions plus sex-crazed dragonflies and African film: what to expect in this week’s M&G.

This week's M&G.

The Mail & Guardian’s March 4 edition is on stands today. Here’s an idea of what to expect.

Watch your back, JZ
Leaders from the ANC-led alliance this week rallied behind President Jacob Zuma, who faced yet another motion of no confidence, tabled by the Democratic Alliance in Parliament.  But behind the scenes senior alliance leaders were quietly discussing his removal from office, and other former loyalists were said to be turning against him.

ANC Chief Whip: We told Zuma to pay back the money all along 
Outgoing ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani does a surprising about turn in an exclusive interview with the M&G and says the ANC parliamentary caucus, under his leadership, always wanted President Jacob Zuma to repay a portion of the millions of rands spent on security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead and had always supported the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, in that regard.

We answer the Hawk’s 27 questions to Pravin
The Hawk’s 27 questions to finance minister Pravin Gordhan ahead of this year’s crucial budget speech, linking him to an investigation into SARS, has sparked a storm within the country, with those sympathetic to Gordhan seeing it as an attempt to intimidate the minister. Long-time investigative journalist Sam Sole answers the 27 questions in the M&G. How much of it is legitimate – and how much is just plain ridiculous?

Sex-crazed dragonfly on ‘suicide mission’
New research shows that the Pantala flavescens, a type of dragonfly, flies up to 7 000km in a single journey. The record-smashing trip is all about sex. This wanderlust makes the Pantala different from their cousins — the average dragonfly struggles to leave the pond where they’re born. Maybe Pantala just don’t find each other that attractive.

White women trumping black people for transformation targets
White women are scoring top jobs at the University of Cape Town as a way to beat transformation targets, according to a group of black alumni. Out of eight dean appointments in the past three years at UCT, only two were black African men, one was a coloured woman and the rest were white people.

Mahikeng, Potch & Vaal: A tale of three campuses
In 2004 a historically black institution, formerly known as the University of Bophuthatswana, combined with the Afrikaans Potchefstroom and its extension campus in the Vaal. Last week protests highlighted how although there have been many efforts to unify the three campuses, according to the students, it will take more than just a name to bring that about.

Spy tapes: Get the lowdown on the 3-day hearing this week
To charge, or not to charge, President Jacob Zuma with corruption again will define how the public view the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), all those involved in the so-called spy-tapes saga agree. What they cannot agree on is whether putting Zuma in the dock will bolster democracy, or undermine it.

Barclays sale: what next?
It’s not often that a controlling stake in a high-quality bank comes on to the market, but hard times have hit the global banking sector and are forcing Barclays Plc to sell off its African business. But the news comes at an inopportune time for almost all likely buyers. Whatever happens it’s not going to be the usual suspects this time around.

Windpower: beating fossil fuels at their own game
Five years ago there were just eight wind turbines spinning in South Africa. Today there are at least 495 on 13 wind farms and they supply energy to more than half a million households. Meanwhile Eskom’s coal-fired power stations Medupi and Kusile remain many years behind schedule and many millions of rands over budget.

South African romcoms a hit with audiences
The recent local success of Happiness is a Four-Letter Word seems to herald a new box-office momentum for romantic comedies in South Africa. Thabang Moleya, the director of the movie, believes this success is related to the relief and escape from the “times that we are living in” offered by such films – and the fact that audiences can journey with “characters they can relate to”. Read more in tomorrow’s M&G.

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