South African’s National Liberation Movement

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Volume 6 No.1

1 May 1995


  • Mayibuye Returns
  • News in Brief
  • A Step Closer To Lasting Democracy
  • Towards a People’s Constitution
  • How Does Constitution-Making Work?
  • Talking to Vula – The story of the secret underground communications network of Operation Vula
  • Uniting The World’s Workers
  • Waiting For The Cultural Spring
  • Government Looking At Communications Strategy
  • Who’s Afraid Of Democracy? – The International Mediation Issue
  • New Bill A Breakthrough For Labour – The new Labour Relations Bill
  • Letters
  • A Day in the Life of a Member of the Provincial Legislature
  • Cosatu Celebrates Democracy’s First May Day
  • Interview with Thabo Mbeki
  • Media Watch
  • NECC Calls It A Day
  • There’s Still Time To Register
  • Book Review
  • Stormy Olympic Row Appears Resolved – For now
  • Provincial Briefs
  • The person behind the new voice of the ANC
  • Contributions to RDP Fund
  • Communication central to RDP success
  • A Measure Of Success – Progress in the implementation of the RDP
  • A Guide to the Presidential Projects
  • SACP 9th Congress
  • Building A Sense Of Ownership
  • Skills Development – Organising to register voters
  • Interview with Zola Skweyiya
  • Struggle For Campus Change
  • Was World Development Summit Worth It? – the UN Social Development Summit
  • ‘We Either Rise Together As Humanity, Or Together Fall’ – Extracts of the address by President Nelson Mandela to the UN World Summit for Social Development
  • Towards a People’s Constitution

Mayibuye Returns

After an absence of almost a year, Mayibuye is back on the streets. Like many other organisational components of the ANC, Mayibuye fell by the wayside as the democratic movement struggled to adjust to the challenges of being in government. Now, after a year in government and following the success of the 49th National Conference in December, the ANC has begun to consolidate its organisation at all levels. For the success of our new democracy – and the implementation of the RDP – rests on the ANC’s capacity to build strong and active branches; to develop a cadre of activists who can provide leadership at a community level; and to strengthen lines of communication and accountability between all structures of the organisation. That is why Mayibuye is back.

First Year of Democracy

This edition of Mayibuye focuses on the first year of democracy in South Africa – our successes and our shortcomings. Although 12 months is perhaps too brief a period to analyse whether the RDP is in fact going to achieve what we expect of it, it is long enough for us to commit mistakes – and pay for them. As we celebrate this month one year as the leading party in government, we need to learn from these mistakes. We need to soberly assess the performance of the movement over the last twelve months. We need to critically establish where the gaps are – and we need to develop programmes and methods to fill those gaps.

One of our main mistakes has been to focus on the new – and daunting – task of governance at the expense of the branches, regions and provinces of our organisation. It is true that the move into government has drained the organisation’s structures of some of its most active leadership. It is true that we didn’t prepare a new layer of leadership to take their place, and it is true that we didn’t undergo a thorough process of deciding where individual people could be best deployed. Those were, perhaps, mistakes.

We now face a twin challenge – that of improving and focusing our performance in government; while at the same time building our structures into vibrant and powerful vehicles of change. Over the past year, these challenges have been considered mutually exclusive – one either focuses on government, or one focuses on the organisation.

If we are to succeed at either, we need to see them as equally important elements of a single objective, the fundamental transformation of South African society. Without strong branches and well-developed cadres, our capacity to have a meaningful impact in government is severely limited. Without effective, clean and accountable government we will be unable to implement the policies which are developed by our membership and for which we have received an overwhelming mandate.

By the time we celebrate our second year of democracy, let us be able to say that we have built strong branches that are leading the transformation at a community level. Let us be able to say that there is a dynamic relationship between our membership and our representatives in government. Let us be able to say that we have an established political education programme and that we have capable and committed leadership at all levels of the organisation. And one year from now let us be able to say that MAYIBUYE has played a central role in achieving these objectives.

News in Brief

Remission for prisoners

A reduction in sentences for certain categories of prisoners was announced on Freedom Day – 27 April – by President Nelson Mandela. He said there would be a reduction of one-quarter of all prisoners’ sentences, up to a maximum of six years. Prisoners sentenced for child abuse were among those who wouldn’t be granted remission.

Mandela also announced a remission of sentence for prisoners convicted before 6 December 1993 solely for possession of arms, ammunition and explosives associated with political conflict.

The president told a large crowd at the Union Buildings that a message was being sent to prisoners that they should “mend their ways and make a fresh start”.

He said democracy and freedom would be meaningless if crime and violence were not dealt with firmly. More resources would be allocated for training of police officers, improving facilities previously ignored under apartheid and setting up police community forums.

IFP Leaves CA

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) confirmed an earlier decision to suspend its participation in the Constitutional Assembly to protest the lack of progress on the issue of international mediation.

The IFP initially walked-out of Parliament on 21 February after the president’s opening address to parliament. It returned to parliament after its special General Conference in early March, giving the government one month – or thereabouts – to resolve the issue.

The IFP is demanding that international mediation commence immediately to resolve issues which it says are contained in the Consolidated Terms of Reference discussed prior to last year’s elections. It is insisting that the Constitutional Assembly’s work on the final constitution be subject to the outcome of international mediation.

While the National Executive Committee of the ANC agreed at its recent meeting to meet the IFP over the issue of international mediation, it said that the terms of reference for such mediation was not clear, as the Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace reached prior to last year’s election referred only to outstanding issues in respect of the 1993 Constitution.

Winnie Mandela Dismissed

President Nelson Mandela dismissed Winnie Mandela as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology on Good Friday, after the legality of an earlier dismissal had been challenged. President Mandela said he was taking such a step in the interests of good government. He appointed Bridgitte Mabandla as the new deputy minister.

The president’s action was supported by the joint leadership of the ANC, the SACP, Cosatu and Sanco, which said President Mandela had acted responsibly and within his mandate.

“Particularly when the ANC-led movement is calling on ordinary people in our country to participate with discipline in the process of transformation, it is unacceptable for leadership personalities to behave in a manner not befitting their status as elected public representatives,” a joint statement said.

Police Pay Dispute

A go-slow by police detectives protesting over-time pay was one indication of simmering discontent over the working conditions and pay of police. Addressing police men and women at various meetings during the month of April, Police Commissioner George Fivaz said the government was doing what it could to improve conditions for the police, but expected the police to show their commitment to upholding the law.

Negotiations began on 18 April in the Public Service Bargaining Council’s central chamber to consider a wage and salary improvement proposal by a task team set up in December to avert threatened strikes.

Meanwhile President Nelson Mandela called police salaries “a disgrace”, and said he had asked Safety and Security Minister Sydney Mufamadi and Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg to look at ways of improving their salaries and working conditions.

A Step Closer To Lasting Democracy

The proposals of the ANC’s recent constitutional conference represent significant progress towards a democratic and lasting constitution, writes Steyn Speed.

The ANC is one step closer to finalising the constitutional framework which should govern the functioning of South Africa for many years to come. The decisions of the ANC National Constitutional Policy Conference, which was held at the World Trade Centre at the beginning of April, restated the basic constitutional vision of the ANC, and made significant progress towards finalising the details of a democratic constitution.

The conference was attended by over 750 delegates from ANC provinces, COSATU, SANCO, the SACP and other sectors of the Mass Democratic Movement.

In his opening address, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki said: “We are assembled here with a purpose of giving reality to the central objective envisaged in the Freedom Charter.”

He said the constitution needed to “overhaul and redress socio-economic distortions and imbalances” in South African society.

He said that the Constitutional Assembly – elected on the basis of the will of the people – was the only legitimate body capable of writing such a constitution.

The proposals which were discussed by the conference were based on the need to build a united and democratic nation. These proposals had a number of elements:

  • A Bill of Human Rights, which outlined the rights which the constitution should guarantee, and the instances in which these rights could be limited or deviated from.
  • Structures of government, which described the various structures, functions and powers of government at national, provincial and local level.
  • Systems of justice, which provided the basic framework for the legal system and the courts.
  • Elements of governance, which looked at institutions – such as the public service, the defence force and the police service – which were necessary to implement government policy and safeguard the constitution.

There were some major differences between provisions of the Interim Constitution and the conference’s proposals.

The ANC proposals do away with the present system of forced coalition. The conference recognised that the Government of National Unity was only a temporary arrangement, and that in the final constitution the majority party should form the government – as is the accepted democratic norm.

The conference also proposed a mixture of constituency-based and proportional representation in the national assembly, which would give South Africa the benefits of both systems.

The conference endorsed a model of “co-operative governance” which promotes coordinated national and provincial governance for the benefit of all, instead of a situation where provinces compete with each other and the national government for power and resources.

This model gives greater power to the Senate – as the voice of the provinces – in national laws. In this way provinces will be encouraged to consider the interests of the nation as a whole, rather than selfishly guarding their own interests at the expense of others.

Rather than opting for a centrist or federal model, the conference resolved that powers should be divided between national and provincial government on the basis of accountability, effectivity and efficiency – while considering the need to build an undivided nation.

The conference stressed the need for the proposals to be discussed further in the democratic movement and within society more broadly. It noted also the need for urgency and hard work, given that the first draft of the constitution needs to be ready by July this year.

ANC Secretary General Cyril Ramaphosa underlined this point: “It is with a sense of history and a sense of moral responsibility, therefore, that we must pledge ourselves – sparing neither strength nor courage – to develop a policy which is democratic and practical and which will bring an end to oppression, exploitation and discrimination.”

Towards a People’s Constitution

The Constitutional Assembly has taken great pains to involve the general public in writing the new constitution.

The response to the Constitutional Assembly’s Public Participation Programme has been “very, very good indeed”, according to Edward Shalala, the Head of the assembly’s Community Liaison Department.

The Public Participation Programme (PPP) was initiated by the Constitutional Assembly (CA) to involve members of the public in making submissions to the CA, discussing their ideas for the constitution and debating the draft constitution. The programme is aimed particularly at rural and disadvantaged communities.

The Public Particpation Programme has two phases. The first is the ‘pre- draft phase’, which will last until 30 June. During this phase submissions are invited from individuals, organisations and communities for consideration for the draft constitution.

The ‘post-draft’ phase will begin in about October, when the draft constitution is made available to the public, and will continue until the final constitution has been adopted. The exact form of this phase has yet to be devised, but is likely to include elements of the present phase of the programme.

An important aspect of the present phase is a large-scale media campaign, publicising the constitution-making process, and calling for submissions. The Constitutional Assembly has at times been receiving over 200 submissions a day.

“We have had submissions from people from all kinds of backgrounds. Preconceived ideas that the public aren’t interested have proved wrong,” Shalala said.

The CA Theme Committees have been holding public hearings to solicit the views of various sectors and communities.

A third aspect of this phase of the programme is where representatives of each of the theme committees attend community meetings throughout the country. Various structures and individuals have the opportunity through these meetings to make oral or written submissions to the CA. These meetings are recorded and transcribed, and the submissions forwarded to the relevant Theme Committee. The pilot phase of these public meetings has involved about 4,000 people.

The Constitutional Education Programme, scheduled to start in May, is intended to empower people to participate in the constitution process. It will focus on preparing communities for public meetings, explaining the importance of the constitutional process and how to get involved in it.

How Does Constitution-Making Work?

The constitution under which South Africa is presently governed is an interim constitution. The final constitution of South Africa will be written by the Constitutional Assembly (CA) – elected in last year’s national election.

The Constitutional Assembly (CA) consists of 490 members – all the members of the National Assembly and the Senate. The CA will debate and finally adopt the new constitutional text. The CA’s chairperson is Cyril Ramaphosa and the deputy chairperson is the NP’s Leon Wessels. The CA has established a number of sub-structures.

Constitutional Committee

The 46 member Constitutional Committee coordinates the process on behalf of the CA. It has a mandate to undertake some level of negotiation and decision-making. The Constitutional Committee reports directly to the CA and is responsible for preparing reports and agendas for the CA to consider.

Management Committee

The 12 person Management Committee deals with matters of process – not substantive issues. It also prepares agendas and reports for the Constitutional Committee and deals with the day-to-day management of CA structures.

Theme Committees

Six theme committees have been established to each deal with specific aspects of the new constitution. The committees are responsible for processing submissions from each of the parties – as well as other organisations and individuals. Theme committees do not have decision- making powers. They merely identify contentious and non-contentious issues and make recommendations to the Constitutional Committee. The theme committees are:

  • Character of the State
  • Structures of government
  • Relationships between levels of government
  • Fundamental rights
  • Judiciary and the legal system
  • Specialised structures of government

Theme Committee Six has broken up into four sub-committees: Public service and administration; Transformation and monitoring; Security apparatus; and Financial institutions.

Talking to Vula

The story of the secret underground communications network of Operation Vula, by Tim Jenkin

Part 1 – The importance of good communications

In the mid-eighties there was a great deal of soul-searching taking place in the ANC. While there had been some spectacular armed attacks against the apartheid regime, the underground struggle had not really taken off. Hundreds of activists were in jail and tons of precious weaponry had been lost.

True, mass resistance had reached unprecedented levels and much of this was attributed to the courageous work of ANC activists who had been infiltrated back into the country. Nonetheless, there was no real ANC presence inside the country and the ANC could not legitimately claim to be the leading force behind the mass struggles taking place.

Underground work up to that point had largely been ‘hit-and-run’ operations. Cadres were trained outside the country, briefed, equipped and sent into South Africa on missions. They carried out their tasks and, if not captured by the enemy, returned to the sanctuary of one of the frontline states. A number of groups had tried to engage in more prolonged activity but the attrition rate was extremely high.

These were the ‘armed propaganda’ years and the imperative was to concentrate on actions to keep alive the notion that the ANC was present and active in South Africa. There could be no stopping, as a hiatus would be interpreted as defeat. Little attention was thus given to setting up internal structures that would have made the war self-sustaining.

Those sent into the country were the ANC’s soldiers. The generals remained at base. The soldiers had their orders, so could not become autonomous agents who could plan their own actions. If they had been able to, that would have made them the generals. In any case, their logistical supplies came from outside the country and, because it was so difficult to get anything in, the scope of their operations was extremely limited.

This was the crux of the problem. A rudderless army with nowhere to hide and with no contact with its leaders. This meant that actions were limited to solitary operations. There was no way this could develop into a sustained onslaught against the enemy. Only the number of actions could increase but, because there were no generals on the spot, these could never be coordinated to achieve any strategic objective.

It was only after the Kabwe Conference in 1985 that many came to acknowledge that there was something seriously wrong and that there had to be a radical change in tactics.

Everyone agreed that the underground was ineffectual because there were no proper underground structures and there were no structures because there were no leadership figures based in the country. ‘Armed propaganda’ could not turn into ‘people’s war’ because the groundwork had not been laid for rooting the ‘liberation army’ among the people.

Key leadership figures had not been sent into the country because it had always been deemed too dangerous to do so. There was a kind of vicious circle in operation: leaders could not go in because there were no underground structures in place to guarantee their safety; the underground structures could not develop because there were no key leaders in the country.

Sending leaders into the country, however, was only part of the solution. Even if leaders had been sent in, the resources for carrying out the armed struggle would still have had to come from outside the country. And how would the leaders have coordinated their actions and issued their orders to the soldiers in the field? The problem was not so much a political one about who was where and doing what, but a practical one about an almost complete lack of decent communications. Without good communications the battle is lost, even if your side has an overwhelming advantage in physical and human terms.

The side that lacks sophistication in communication will not be able to issue commands to its soldiers and they, in turn, will not be able to coordinate their activities as they will not know what their compatriots are doing and where they should concentrate their efforts. In other words, the fighters will not receive their orders and be left to face their enemy without leadership.

Poor communications had determined the shape of our struggle. It was because our fighters and cadres could not communicate with their leaders and between themselves that the underground never developed and ‘People’s War’ never became a reality.

It is hard to explain how our leadership failed to grasp the importance of good communications, especially as they were trying to lead a struggle by remote control. Perhaps it was that they were too used to seeing all problems and solutions to problems in political terms that they were unable to see that the problem was to a large extent a technical one. Perhaps they had a fear of technical things, a suspicion of things they did not fully understand.

When this is put to comrades who were involved in underground work they all confirm that the lack of proper communications was the main hindrance to their work. They felt cut off and their activities could never develop into anything meaningful. The absence of proper communications meant there was a lack of political leadership. This reduced most activities to anarchic actions as they were seldom part of a planned strategy. Many comrades lost faith in the organisation as the lack of contact made them feel that they had been forgotten. Many became so disillusioned that they engaged in actions which often did the cause more harm than good. Others simply gave up because their discipline would not allow them to do their own thing.

My own experience as an underground operative in the mid-seventies confirms this. Our little two-man propaganda cell could never develop beyond the mandate given to us simply because we could not communicate properly with our ‘handlers’. The use of cumbersome book codes and complicated secret inks made us view communications as a tedious activity that was best avoided. Contact was so infrequent and irregular that most of the time we felt that we were operating in a vacuum. There were instructions but no leadership, acknowledgements but no encouragement.

There is no doubt that our poor communications contributed to our arrest, as was the case for countless others. We were aware of surveillance but could do nothing, for our communications were too slow to be used as a tool for seeking guidance.

After escaping from prison in 1979 I ended up in London and one of my tasks as an ANC activist with underground experience was to train people in the skills and techniques of underground work. As their trainer I became the person responsible for handling their communications. Over the years I trained dozens of people but one thing I soon noticed was that there were always fewer messages than people. It was always the same pattern: comrades would go back home feeling enthusiastic and begin by sending a series of messages. They soon came to realise that it was a futile activity as it took so much effort to say so very little and the responses, as few and far between as they were, contained little encouragement and advice. There were only instructions which usually lacked any connection with the reality they were experiencing.

A lot of effort went into training these people but it soon became apparent that there was extremely little return on the investment, simply because the communications were so poor.

I was determined to do something about this. So I set out to revamp the communications methods being used from London. The first to go were the awful book codes we had always used. In their place I substituted proper numerical ciphers. Next to go were the complicated invisible inks. In their place I substituted ultra-violet invisible ink, marker pens and a whole variety of concealment methods including microfilms, secret compartments and audio cassettes.

All of this made little difference, as it was the manual encryption that still took the time. A short message of a few hundred characters would take all evening to encipher. I tried various schemes to streamline the process but made little headway because it remained a boring, manual process. There was no help from our leaders either for they were not concerned with the methods of secret communications. They were only interested in the clear messages that came out of and went into the communications. How the messages were transferred was none of their business. That was the concern of the ‘comms officers’ like me.

It was at this time, the early eighties, that personal computers were becoming affordable. In them I saw our salvation. A computer, I read, was eminently suitable for boring, repetitive tasks – and that’s what we had on our hands. The purchase of our first computer led to a revolution in our communications that ultimately made possible operations such as Vula.

Next issue: Developing an electronic communications system for Operation Vula.

What was Operation Vula?

Operation Vula began in the late 1980’s under the strictest secrecy. It was a long-term operation which started setting up a network of arms caches and underground personnel inside South Africa. Vula was aimed at bringing military operations and underground political work closer together in order to ensure that military and political operations could be planned in conjunction with, and hence strengthen, each other. If this could be achieved it would mean that the ANC’s ability to build the struggle into a people’s war would be much greater.

It had become obvious to the ANC leadership in exile, particularly with the declaration of a national state of emergency in 1986, that the struggle had reached a point where the long lines of communication involved in directing the struggle from Lusaka had become an obstacle. This meant that the ANC had to send high level leaders into the country so that decisions could be made on a daily basis.

Mac Maharaj, Siphiwe Nyanda and Ronnie Kasrils were aming the leaders sent into the country to begin the implementation of Operation Vula.

This integrated approach appeared to be showing signs of success almost immediately. In 1988, MK mounted 281 acts of armed activity – its largest number of actions in any given year. At the same time reported security force captures of ANC combatants decreased from a total of 227 in 1987 to 205 in 1988. In 1989 the trend continued. The total number of reported armed incidents was again above 200, yet there was a further dramatic reduction in the reported killing or capturing of MK soldiers to 75.

State security services only became aware of the existence of Operation Vula and the fact that high ranking ANC leaders had been inside the country after the unbanning of the ANC in 1990.

Uniting The World’s Workers

Cosatu’s recent International Policy Conference provided a global perspective on workers, writes a correspondent.

Having been a recipient of much international solidarity over the last decade, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) held an International Policy Conference in Johannesburg from 21-23 April, to reintegrate itself into the international community.

Cosatu is taking advantage of the crumbling of historical boundaries by developing stronger relations with those organisational formations that supported the ANC and the now-defunct South African Congress of Trade Unions.

At its conference, Cosatu looked at issues like the imposition of an investment code which sets socially-accepted standards for trade and investment, and an approach to international worker unity. The federation resolved to put pressure on various governments to support the need for political, economic and social change.

COSATU president John Gomomo said many nations and movements – who themselves faced immense economic hardships and political repression – tirelessly struggled together with the South African people.

“Some of these, particularly our neighbours, received no immediate benefit from helping us. Indeed, their solidarity only brought them sacrifice and devastation,” he said.

“While it is the duty of the international community to wipe apartheid from the face of this earth. It is our responsibility to fight against mass poverty, exploitation and abuse of human rights wherever it occurs. The federation is indebted to those suffering from the global apartheid continuing to divide rich from poor, North from South.”

Cosatu’s strategic international vision sought to develop a regional trade union strategy for southern Africa and Africa; an approach to South-South relations in the developing world; relationships with trade union allies in the advanced capitalist countries; and to deal with the new world economic order, especially international trade and financial investment in South Africa.

The conference identified a short-term priority of developing a strong trade union movement in the southern African region and in Africa, and the formulation of an effective economic development strategy for the region.

It said that without a strong trade union movement in southern Africa, all the country’s hard-won gains would soon be meaningless – employers would attempt to turn South Africa’s neighbouring countries into their own cheap labour “bantustans”.

On the question of migrants workers, Gomomo said that xenophobia had been used across the world to divide workers, to exploit migrants and to undermine trade union unity: “If we give in one inch on this, we are signing our death warrant as a trade union movement.”

He accused mine employers of trying to destroy the National Union of Mineworkers by using ethnicity to fan conflict between local and migrant workers. “It is a new frontier of counter-revolution being spearheaded by reactionary forces of the old order,” he said.

Gomomo said the RDP would never succeed if it was implemented in South Africa alone: “The dream of South Africa being an island of prosperity, while surrounded by a sea of poverty, will turn it into a nightmare.”

The conference noted that with the collapse of most of the countries of the socialist bloc, even national governments had lost the right to determine their own economic and social policies. Their sovereignty had been replaced by institutions such as the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund which dictated to developing nations through their control of international trade and financial systems. The effect of all this is to place the developing world in total servitude to policies which create misery for their people.

The conference resolved that only a united approach by all the workers of the world would be effective in countering this process.

Waiting For The Cultural Spring

There are signs of a thaw in the wintery world of arts and culture, writes culture activist Mtutezeli Matshoba.

It has been cold out here in arts and culture – without adequate money, and without much government support. We have inherited an imbalanced system, where the Performing Arts Councils received R117 million last year from the national government, while the rest of the arts projects in the society received about R5 million.

This R5 million went to programmes previously supported by the Culture Directorate of the House of Assembly National Education Department – organisations like the Land Service Movement, the FAK and the Voortrekker Monument. They gave talks on wildlife to former white schools, and produced etiquette and cooking books.

It was only after much pressure that the Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology last December gave R750,000 as emergency funding to community arts projects.

The prospect of a similar imbalance in the 1995/96 budget led to an outcry by cultural workers. It now appears that the Performing Arts Councils will give up to 15 percent of their previous budget for “redress”, and will only receive the 85 percent allotted to them if they adhere to an ongoing programme of restructuring, transparency and transformation. Arts and culture, like so many other departments, will receive an “historical budget” in 95/96. It is still cold out here, but we may be feeling a warm breeze.

Most countries spend about one percent of their annual budget on arts. In the old South Africa, the figure was closer to 0.02 percent of the national budget. This money for the arts supported “eurocentric” culture practiced within the white community – opera, ballet and drama, in that order.

The Ministry is expected to redistribute the 0.02 percent that arts and culture receives in the national budget. But even if the government gave out every cent to starving community based arts projects, there would still be a long way left to travel.

Minister Ben Ngubane, though he seems to be well-intentioned, comes from a science and technology background. He is still learning of the country’s arts and culture needs.

New political forces at the top still have to work through the old civil service – a service which, in the case of arts and culture, comes from the former House of Assembly Education Department.

These people managed the information Dr Ngubane received, the people he met and the strategies his department developed. These were the same people who handed the Performing Arts Councils their budgets year after year.

Dr Ngubane responded to popular demand by providing “hand-outs”. He gave out a million rand of government money to the Arts and Culture Trust, who were expected to distribute it to deserving cultural structures. He had not taken into account that the trust only intended to distribute interest on that money in a year’s time. He did ensure that the tag end of last year’s budget – a quarter of a million rand – went as emergency funding to community arts.

He recently gave R3 million to Johannesburg’s Market Theatre, a worthwhile project which needs money desperately. Ngubane has suggested community arts groups should again ask for funds from foreign donors, culture’s mainstay in the past.

Dr Ngubane also put into place the Arts and Culture Task Group (Actag), which is a consultative body to develop arts policy nationally and provincially. Actag has worked with the provincial MECs of culture to establish provincial committees. Now people in the Northern Transvaal and Eastern Cape, who have never been asked what they needed for culture, are being consulted.

People are beginning to talk about funds for community culture centres and the processes to involve people in identifying monuments in every community.

Actag has problems – time is short and the resources needed are slow in coming. The only question is whether the government will really listen to us.

Dr Roger Jardine has been appointed as the new Director-General in Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Though Jardine, as a scientist, has no thorough grounding in arts and culture, he is a democrat and believes in consultation. The impression of the arts community is that he listens and acts promptly.

It also remains to be seen if cultural workers can keep up with their end of the performance. We are being consulted through the Actag. It is our responsibility to ensure that our voices are heard. It is we who must demand redress, transformation to bring a cultural blossoming that will become a centrepiece for our new nation.

Government Looking At Communications Strategy

The government has held discussions with the SABC in which it requested to be allowed thirty minutes a week of broadcast time in order to explain to the country what the Government of National Unity was doing.

Joel Netshitenzhe, communications director in President Mandela’s office, said the government had an obligation to communicate what it was doing and that in this regard several options were being explored. Netshitenzhe said the South African Communications Service was studying a few international experiences, in particular that of the Netherlands, to see how other governments performed their communications tasks. He went on to say that a formal proposal would be prepared for the cabinet to consider.

A new tombstone – to replace the one which was damaged by vandals – was unveiled at the grave of slain SACP leader Chris Hani at a ceremony on 15 April. Hani was assassinated outside his Dawn park home on Easter Saturday in 1993.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by the leadership of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu and Sanco, along with guests of the Hani family.

ANC president Nelson Mandela, Gauteng premier Tokyo Sexwale and SACP general secretary Charles Nqakula paid tribute to the memory of Chris Hani, and recalled his contribution to making democracy possible in South Africa.

Who’s Afraid Of Democracy?

The international mediation issue is merely the latest trick in the IFP’s strategy to prevent South Africa adopting a democratic constitution, writes a correspondent.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) wants the final constitution to be written by international mediators – and not by the democratically-elected Constitutional Assembly (CA).

It is asking for an effective veto power over the final constitution.

This is clear in the manner that it has been pursuing its demand for international mediation. It has linked the question of international mediation to the CA process, arguing that the CA should be bound by the agreement entered into between the IFP, ANC and NP on 19 April 1994.

In November last year the IFP demanded that the work programme of the Constitutional Assembly reflect the ‘need’ to hold international mediation. Later that month, the state legal advisors said the Constitutional Assembly and its structures were under no legal obligation to provide for international mediation.

On 21 February this year the IFP walked out of Parliament and the Constitutional Assembly “to seek a fresh mandate from its constituency” at a special General Conference. The conference decided to withdraw from the CA process if its demands had not been met within a month. At the end of April, the IFP suspended its participation in the CA.

By using the constitution-making process as the focus of its protest, the IFP is touching on the central area of dispute in the mediation issue. The IFP would have the nation believe that the Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace centred around issues to be included in the final constitution presently being written by the CA. The ANC, by contrast, maintains that the agreement refers only to outstanding issues in respect of the 1993 Constitution. The ANC further maintains that it is not clear what these outstanding issues are.

Clause four of the agreement states: “Any outstanding issues in respect of the King of the Zulus and the 1993 Constitution as amended will be addressed by way of international mediation which will commence as soon as possible after the elections.”

While only the 1993 Constitution is mentioned, the IFP is seeking to have the terms of reference extend to the final constitution. In doing so it is trying to pursue an agenda which is as old as the negotiations process itself.

The IFP were initially reluctant to have negotiations take place at multi- party level, preferring a summit of the NP, IFP and ANC. Then they insisted that the new constitution be written by a multi-party forum rather than an elected Constituent Assembly. Essentially they were demanding veto rights on the new constitution without having to test their support at the polls.

Little has changed. Only now, the IFP has tested its electoral support, and has found it to be too small to dictate the terms of the new constitution. So it is reverting back to its old anti-democratic practices to obtain a constitutional model which suits its own interests.

The implications of the IFP demands – if they are agreed to – would prove devastating for the country. It would set the entire negotiations process back several years, making the elections for the Constitutional Assembly meaningless and destroying a carefully developed compromise which is the basis of our new nation.

Referring the terms of the final constitution to international mediation would effectively exclude the South African people from any say in the future shape of their country. When the people voted last year for the party of their choice, they were giving a mandate to those parties – including the IFP – to write a final constitution for the country based on the procedures outlined in the Interim Constitution. To abandon those procedures would be to disregard that mandate, and would submit the final constitution to a crisis of legitimacy which would plague the country for generations to come.

The ANC has been accused from several quarters of not honouring the Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace. Yet it is the IFP which has not honoured the agreement. It has sought to read into the agreement far more than what was agreed upon by the parties last April. It has tried to use a solemn agreement made in good faith and with the best intentions, to further its anti-democratic agenda.

The ANC has always maintained that it considers itself bound by the terms of the agreement, but that international mediation can only take place once there is clarity on what the terms of reference for that mediation are. Contrary to what the IFP maintains, there is no common agreement on what the “outstanding issues” refer to.

ANC Gauteng MPL Firoz Cachalia commented in a recent article in The Star that the IFP cannot be allowed to use international mediation to undermine the constitution-making process.

“We have for the first time in our history, a representative body which expresses the equal worth of each citizen as valued members of a national political community. We ought to think carefully before undermining its authority,” he said.

New Bill A Breakthrough For Labour

The new Labour Relations Bill is a major step in the right direction, writes Duncan Harford. But it will be a struggle to make it law.

If the Labour Relations Bill published in February by Labour Minister Tito Mboweni becomes law in its current form, it will be one of the most significant pieces of labour legislation ever produced in this country.

Even if the act differs from the bill, this will be the first time that the majority of South African workers will have had a say in shaping the legislation that governs their working lives.

The bill will be considered by the Standing Committee on Labour and then debated by parliament as a whole. The parliamentary process is expected to be completed in September. The new Act should take effect from early 1996.

The new bill applies to all workers and employers, except for those in the National Defence Force, the South African Police Service and the National Intelligence Service. These services will have separate labour laws and regulations. The bill applies to employees who were previously excluded from the Labour Relations Act (LRA), such as domestic workers.

The new Labour Relations Bill is bound by the Interim Constitution, which confers on every South African citizen the right to freedom of association. The bill therefore recognises the right of employees to form, join and hold office in trade unions. This right is protected from any interference by the state, trade unions or employers.

Collective bargaining rights, however, are accorded only to registered trade unions. These include the right to:

  • gain access to the workplace,
  • hold meetings in the workplace,
  • conduct ballots,
  • deduct union subscriptions from wages,
  • have information disclosed by employers,
  • time off for union activities,
  • elect union representatives.

The National Economic, Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) would need to determine what the statutory thresholds should be for a union to be considered representative.

Membership of bargaining councils – formerly industrial councils – is restricted to registered unions and employers. Every application for the registration of a bargaining council must be considered by Nedlac. The bill encourages bargaining councils to improve their dispute resolution capacity through developing mediation and arbitration procedures.

The Bill allows a majority union in any workplace which employs more than 100 people to initiate the establishment of a workplace forum. These workplace forums are an innovation in the South African workplace, and are designed to give workers more effective say in matters like production organisation and workplace restructuring (see box).

Unfair Dismissal

The bill lists a number of reasons for dismissal which are invalid. These include:

  • participation in union activities,
  • any form of unfair discrimination,
  • participation in a procedural strike or protest action,
  • pregnancy,
  • refusal to perform a striker’s job.

The bill promotes the reinstatement or re-employment of dismissed workers as the primary remedy for dismissed workers.

Although employees may not be dismissed because of their participation in a procedural strike, strikers may be dismissed because of the economic consequences of a strike.

Industrial Action Workers have the right to strike if there has been mediation over the dispute or thirty days have elapsed, and if forty-eight hours written notice is given of the strike. These rules also apply to employers implementing lock-out.

Holding a ballot is no longer a requirement for a procedural strike.

An employee may not be expelled or disciplined by a trade union for refusing to take part in a strike unless a majority of members have voted for the strike. Where workers or employers embark on unprocedural industrial action, the other party is not obliged to follow agreed or statutory procedures before calling a lock-out or strike.

Registered trade unions will have the right to stage peaceful pickets on public property outside an employer’s premises. Pickets may only be held on an employer’s property with the employer’s consent.

Strikes are prohibited, however, if the issues giving rise to the strike are regulated or prohibited by a collective agreement or wage determination, or if they can be referred to arbitration or the labour courts. This means that strikes over dismissals will not be permitted.

Strikes are also prohibited in essential services, “the interruption of which threatens the health, safety or life of the population or a part thereof”. Strikes may also not occur in “maintenance services”. These are services requiring continuous maintenance to prevent the “material physical destruction of any working area, plant or machinery”.

A Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration will replace the Industrial Court and the Department of Labour’s conciliation services. The commission will have a governing body with equal numbers of representatives from the state, employers and unions. Its functions are to promote collective bargaining, prevent and resolve disputes and improve labour relations.

The commission may also, at the request of parties, advise or give assistance in disputes, give training and conduct research.

A national Labour Court will be established, and will be the only court that can grant an order compelling compliance with any provision of the bill. The Labour Court will deal with any breach of the bill’s procedures and may make an award of damages or compensation. The court will hear all dismissal cases involving unprocedural strikes, dismissal for an invalid reason and for economic or technological reasons.

The judges of the Labour Court will be appointed by the president in consultation with Nedlac. Their decisions will not be subject to the Supreme Court except where they involve constitutional issues – in which case the Constitutional Court will have the final say.

Registration of trade unions will not be compulsory and unregistered trade unions will be allowed to operate although they will not have many of the benefits of the the bill.

Trade unions will have the right to register if:

  • its constitution complies with the Bill,
  • it does not discriminate unfairly on grounds of race or gender,
  • its name is not the same or too similar to that of another trade union,
  • it is independent.

Similar provisions exist for the registration of employer’s organisations.

The draft bill is a progressive piece of legislation that attempts to deal with many of the difficulties and criticisms that have been raised by unions over the years. The bill places a large amount of faith in Nedlac’s ability to reach consensus between labour and capital before the bill becomes law. Undoubtedly there will be disagreement and tensions between the various parties in Nedlac. However, the very fact that there is now a forum in which disputes which affect such large segments of South African society can be dealt with, is in itself a significant step forward in the field of labour relations.

A major advance in the workplace

The provision for workplace forums in the new Labour Relations Bill has been hailed as a major advance for effective worker participation in decisions affecting the workplace.

The bill allows a majority union in any workplace which employs more than 100 people to initiate the establishment of a workplace forum. The forum would represent all employees below the level of senior management.

The function of the forum is to:

  • consult with employers on workplace and production issues with a view to reaching consensus;
  • provide for worker participation in the workplace;
  • to pursue efficienct forms of production.

A workplace forum may only be initiated by a majority trade union or a group of trade unions who together represent more than half the workers in any given workplace. These forums can therefore not be used as a way of avoiding unionisation at a non-union workplace.

Representatives to the proposed workplace forums will be elected by the whole of the workforce and not only by those belonging to trade unions.

Negotiations on employment conditions and wages will not take place in workplace forums. Workplace forums will have right of consultation on some issues and joint decision-making over others. Workplace forums will have extensive rights to information.

Workplace Forums could provide unions with some of the tools necessary to improve the quality of working life and prevent management from unilaterally restructuring the work environment.


Breaking The Cycle Of Dependence And Exploitation

I just read a disturbing article in the American Spectator titled: “Africa Goes South”. While some of the accusations regarding misery, mayhem, and disease in Africa are justified some evils in Africa were exaggerated.

Those who have the economic power promote conflict among the weaker nations. Africans who are economically weak continue to be exploited in terms of labour and their natural resources while they waste their time on issues of ethnicity. The media which is controlled by those who benefit from tribalism in South Africa use many tricks to make sure it works for their divide and conquer strategy. In the workplace sometimes employers use tribalism to manage their workforce. By keeping people separate and instilling hate in them helps to control and to exploit the workers.

Tribalism with all its evil consequences need to be reduced in order to avoid the situation of Rwanda. I suspect that even promoters of federalism wherever they are, have tribalism in mind. The hidden intention of this principle is to protect the privileged classes’ rights while making no changes at all. Let us not repeat this horrible history that intends to take us back to the dark ages.

Sometimes I find it disturbing to hear people waiting for the goods to be delivered by the new government. The support of the government is crucial but what is more important is for citizens to realise that equality will come with our own contributions. Therefore, what we do as individuals to improve our circumstances as well as to uplift our race is necessary.

Those who are waiting for miracles in virtually everything they need to remember that we are all capable of enhancing change. It will be through our own efforts and hardwork that we shall hasten the change process for the better. Do not wait for others to do things for you, become part of change by attempting something. Even small things when done with the good intentions count a million.

Zandile Nkabinde

View of ANC naive and insulting

The Editor,

I wish to take issue with the leader page article titled “Ramaphosa making run for ANC leadership in 1999” which appeared in both The Star and Sowetan on Thursday 30 March. The article reflects a lack of understanding of the ANC, its structures, processes and forces at play within the organisation.

The writer maintains that the ANC is divided into two camps – those who support Thabo Mbeki and those who support Cyril Ramaphosa. Everyone in the ANC, he suggests – including President Nelson Mandela – is a supporter of either Mbeki or Ramaphosa.

The writers suggestion is that anything which happens in the ANC strengthens either the hand of the Mbeki or Ramaphosa factions – whether it is the appointment of Bridgette Mabandla as a Deputy Minister, the election of Cheryl Carolus as ANC Deputy Secretary General or the election of Baleka Kgositsile as chairperson of Caucus.

“These developments must surely strengthen Ramaphosa’s hand in the ANC and enhance his chances of making a late bid for the organisation’s – and, by extension, South Africa’s – presidency,” the writer claims.

The writer maintains that the single determining force behind every development in the ANC is a struggle for the presidency of South Africa. It is naive, inaccurate and insulting.

The writer take it as given that the ANC is a deeply divided organisation, riddled with factionalism and competing constituencies.

The ANC is not such an organisation. The ANC remains one, with a single collective leadership. It is a democracy.

To suggest that the election or appointment of individuals is a demonstration of power-play between Ramaphosa and Mbeki is to undermine the integrity, intelligence and leadership of the individuals concerned. We reject this approach. The comrades have assumed those positions on the basis of their capabilities.

The ANC has often expressed its confidence in the leadership qualities of both Ramaphosa and Mbeki. We have no evidence of manipulation of democratic processes through the use of cliques or factions by either of the two leaders. Their role is complementary and has always been within the broad framework of ANC policies. Neither Cyril nor Thabo have fought over the years for glory or distinction but at all times have fought for the national liberation of our people. And it is the people who will decide where to put them.

Ronnie Mamoepa
ANC Member of Gauteng Legislature

Justice needed in prisons

The Editor,

We as South Africans ought to strengthen our resolve such that our quest for justice and fairness overwhelm those who neither have the will nor desire for justice.

Under the very nose of the Justice Ministry one finds Correctional Services being terribly neglected.

This is manifested in the campaign of nourishing gangsterism by prison administration, whether by overt or covert means. In Leeuwkop Maximum those who attempt to distance themselves from gangsterism have their privileges, like exercise, curtailed and a lot of pressure is applied to push them back into gangsterism.

According to Presidential order, all juveniles in prisons were to be separated from adult prisoners and involved in education until suitable accommodation was available. However attempts at education have been scuttled here in Leeuwkop Maximum and life made unbearable for the juveniles.

Central to correctional services is the concept of rehabilitation – whose pivot is education. Ideas of creating school sections are rejected because they can easily be mobilised against any retrogressive tendencies. Even those trying to find sanctuary in single cells for educational purposes are subjected to perpetual harassment.

As much as we understand the weakness of SAPHOR, for the sake of justice, organised activities are called for.

Ephraim Nkosi, Bheki Masuku, Mfanafuthi Ngwenya, Isaac Nyembe, Jacob Moremi

Leeuwkop Maximum Prison

Build strong sub-regional structures

The Editor,

I hereby submit these proposals which attempt to address the issue and challenge of building strong ANC structures at the sub-regional level.

These proposals are intended to stimulate discussion and debate within the ranks of the ANC, and among the readers of Mayibuye.

  • The main objective of these proposals is to give constitutional powers to the sub-regional structures:
  • To coordinate the work and activities of all branches in the sub-region.
  • To maintain effective links with all its constituent branches.
  • To ensure that the zonal and branch structures of the ANC in the sub- region function democratically, effectively and efficiently.
  • To obtain feedback from its constituent branches.

Any comment and constructive criticism of these proposals will be welcomed.

Jerome Nzimande

A Day in the Life of Joe Bokaba

A Member of the Provincial Legislature

Khensani Makhubela spent a day in the life of Joe Bokaba, a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

It’s around nine in the morning when I enter the Gauteng the Provincial Legislature in Johannesburg. The offices are busy as I make my way to the top of the building, where I have an appointment with Joe Bokaba, an ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL).

Bokaba is busy, so I have to wait a while. Finally he is ready to see me. His office is not very big, nor very fancy. There are three chairs, a table and a cupboard full of files, documents and books.

The man behind the desk is a well known organiser in the unions, private sectors and ANC. He starts telling me about his life, his passion for organising and representing people.

In 1969 Bokaba joined Siemens Limited in Pretoria as an operator. He was soon involved in worker’s struggles – at a time when the rights of workers were not recognised and they were relatively powerless.

“When I was a shopsteward at Siemens my approach to workers and management was very simple: I made sure it brought good results. My colleagues and I did not make decisions overnight, we made sure that our decisions were fruitful and could benefit us as workers and our employers as well,” says Bokaba.

Bokaba was three times elected as chairperson of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) in the Northern Transvaal Region. He was the first chairperson of Medical Provident Fund of NUMSA and he was a national negotiator at the Industrial Council. He also represented NUMSA at the Industrial Council and Technical Forum.

In 1988 Bokaba was invited to a training conference by steel workers in America and Germany. In 1989 he represented Numsa at the International Federation of Chemical Energy Workers (IFCEW) in Zimbabwe.

“These conferences led to my nine days detention,” says Bokaba, “I was suspected to be receiving military training outside South Africa.”

Besides being an ANC Mamelodi Branch chairperson what does he do as an MP? He sighs before he answers and the phone rings – not for the first time since the interview began. He is constantly reminded of meetings to attend, reports to be written and drafts to be read.

“This is my life now. The telephone never stops ringing, be it day or night. My work begins in the morning when I am still at home and it hardly ends,” Bokaba says.

He recalls that at his farewell party at Siemens his employer told him he would never read a newspaper again, only the headlines. “I thought he was joking but now I know what he was talking about,” says Bokaba.

Since his appointment Bokaba has worked in a number of committees and sub-committees.

“My first assignment with the government was with the Public Safety and Security Legislative Programme. During the period of my engagement in the committee we used to go out on tours, checking the state of police stations and prisons. We influenced changes of conduct in the police stations which is vital for the prisoners and police themselves,” Bokaba says.

Bokaba says the Public Transport Committee is challenging: “We are dealing mostly with the taxi industry, and their infra-structure is bad. There is also violence in the taxi industry. We have started addressing taxi drivers and taxi owners on subsidies and changes that will be taking place in the Public Transport Ministry.”

This is Bokaba’s life in the legislature. He has a lot on his hands, which leaves little time for his family.

“This does not bother me. I have always worked for the people and I believe a leader should not be an impressionist but should equip the masses for future,” he says with his familiar smile and determination.

Cosatu Celebrates Democracy’s First May Day

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) celebrated its tenth anniversary on Workers Day on 1 May with rallies throughout the country. The rallies included culture, sporting and musical activities in line with the call for the day to be a celebration.

Workers throughout the South Africa celebrated the first year of democracy in South Africa, as well the victories and achievements from the last decade of struggle under the banner of Cosatu.

The highlight of the day was a rally held at the Umlazi Stadium in Durban which was addressed by President Mandela, John Gomomo and Jacob Zuma among others. The ANC’s highest honour, the Isithwalandwe-Seaparankoe, was presented to the family of the late Housing Minister Joe Slovo.

Speakers throughout the country emphasised the challenges now facing workers, such as international solidarity, building solidarity with workers in other regions and the need for workers to play a major role in consolidating democracy in South Africa.

May Day also presented the first opportunity for speakers to talk to workers en masse about the proposed Labour Relations Bill. The move by the government to appoint a task team to draft the bill so soon after the election was welcomed, as well as the main thrust of the bill – to give workers their rights, minimise conflict on the shopfloor and resolve disputes speedily. However, the bill was criticised by some speakers for not banning scab labour, saying that most violence which occurred around strikes was caused by the presence of scabs.

Workplace forums also came in for criticism from some speakers who said that workers had for years been calling for workplace democracy, consultation, involvement in decision-making and the sharing of information – all of which had consistently been ignored by employers. Because of this, the bill proposed the separation of the union shopstewards committee and the workplace forum. Workers were urged by some speakers to resist this and demand instead that the shopstewards committees should become the workplace forums.

Inkatha’s walk out of the Constitutional Assembly was roundly condemned by speakers throughout the country. Cosatu’s support for the speedy drafting of a new constitution which should protect worker’s rights was emphasised.

Interview with Thabo Mbeki

During a brief lull in his heavy schedule as South Africa’s deputy president, Thabo Mbeki gave MAYIBUYE a detailed assessment of the ANC’s first year in government.

On whether, after last year’s non-racial election, the country has managed to achieve genuine reconciliation: The issue of reconciliation becomes very crucial, since we are coming from a very divided society. We are divided on racial lines and all other sorts of things. Indeed, to have stability and development, we need reconciliation.

But the most important thing about reconciliation is that we cannot have it without a sound relationship among communities. For instance, in order to have reconciliation among different racial groups, we need to end racism in South African society. The objective of achieving a non-racial society becomes fundamental to the achievement of reconciliation.

We need first to address maldistribution of wealth, gross disparities on the basis of colour – where the whites are rich and blacks are poor. Again, we must address redistribution of the wealth of the country, economic opportunities, economic management and so on, so that the economy itself – in terms of its management – extends the benefits to the people.

That economy must impact on South African society in a non-racial manner, otherwise we cannot achieve that reconciliation.

If we take the question of languages, for instance, how does Afrikaans reconcile itself to the other languages in the country? It can’t reconcile itself by seeking a position of domination over other languages. We have to achieve equality among all the languages to get reconciliation.

In the end, to have a society that is reconciled with itself, racial and gender imbalances, the imbalances between rural and urban areas, must be removed.

Of course, we have a fortunate situation in terms of the political process in the country. I am referring particularly to the government of national unity. What made it possible to achieve reconciliation among political forces that were at each other’s throat, like the ANC and National Party? The only basis for reconciliation so that those parties should serve in the same government was the transformation of the political system.

We decided to establish a non-racial democracy. Then it became possible that these two parties could sit together in the government as an act of reconciliation. It is necessary to maintain that political settlement until the end of 1999.

To achieve true reconciliation, transformation of the society in its entirety is needed – and not only by addressing political disenfranchisement. If not, conditions for true reconciliation can never be created. Fortunately, we are where we are because of the political transformation.

Among other things to be done as part of that process of political reconciliation is the Truth Commission, which is to be dealt with this year. It will be important that this matter is handled sensitively, not for the purpose of seeking restitution, but for the purpose of cleansing of society and for strengthening political reconciliation.

On the ANC’s position both inside and outside government: One of the important things is that the basic framework of government policy emanated from the positions that the ANC had elaborated. Although some changes might have occurred, the basic framework [of government policy] originated from within the ANC and its allies as a broad democratic movement. Government policy, therefore, like the legislation that is being approved and programmes that are being implemented fall within the context of that policy framework.

All these ideas about the government of national unity; about how to approach and how to handle the South African transition; about how all the social forces in the country relate to transition, all of these basically come from the broad democratic movement and that is what is now being implemented.

From the point of view of policy and the point of view of programme, clearly the policy positions of the broad democratic movement remain dominant. And that’s where the country is going.

With regard to popular support I am certain the voice of the ANC remains the leading political voice in the country. The message put out to the people by the ANC would be listened to by more people than one put out by the Democratic Party.

The ANC continues to lead the country. There have been problems of adjustment, since comrades had to be redeployed in parliament, provincially and nationally; to the government; and now to the interim local government structures; and civil service. This had an adverse effect on the functions of movement. But this is being redressed.

On the manner in which the ANC and other parties are developing legislation that will transform the country, socially and economically, into a fully democratic state:

With regard to parliamentary circles, one of the important things that have happened is that the process of formulation of policy and legislation has been thrown wide open. We are getting a much more consultative process with people engaged broadly in terms of saying what should come out of parliament. That’s an important change indeed.

Parliamentarians have played an important role in ensuring that interaction with society in general exists. There are problems, of course, since the overwhelming majority of the parliamentarians are very new to parliament. They have had to learn many things about the parliamentary processes and so on. For instance, as parliamentarians we need to do a lot more in presenting to the people a report of the work of parliament, canvass their views on main elements of the act being discussed – like the new labour relations act.

The reporting back process needs to be reinforced. It means time management has to be dealt with properly because the MPs are carrying a double burden as members of parliament. They must discuss draft legislation and hold hearings. At the same time they are members of the Constitutional Assembly and have to attend to matters of constitution- making. It is necessary that we achieve a proper balance between those issues and attending to constituencies.

With the experience that people have had so far it will be possible to improve on performance, particularly with regard to interacting effectively with the public. Given this experience, I am sure we would be able to impact in a creative and effective manner.

On the ANC’s role as a defender of the democratic government: The manner in which the legislative process has been opened up to the public is very important. I think the ANC has played its proper role in defending democracy. We are now introducing the whole civil society into the budgetary process so that people can make an input in raising public revenues. In all, the transformation we see taking place is geared towards strengthening democracy. There is no example in the political history of the last 12 months that would see us move away from the democratic order.

On the new government encountering opposition to reconstruction and development:

Our vision about the reconstruction and development of South African society impacts on everything we do. But we need to have a practical programme in order to realise that vision – very detailed policy work has had to be done.

For example, we can say we want one million houses in five years – that is a vision. But you have to say: Where are those houses going to be built? Where is the money? Has the building industry the capacity to meet those demands and what is to be required in the legislation?

It happened that a fair amount of time had to be spent working out the actual programme for reconstruction and development.

If you take the establishment of the South African Police Service which is part of the reconstruction and development of the country, details of the new police legislation had to be worked out. The practical course of action had to be done in order to transform the police service.

The implementation of the actual Reconstruction and Development Programme had slowed down because of that detailed planning.

It is too early to raise the issue of resistance. After having elaborated policy positions and implemented them – that is when we will see whether there is going to be resistance or not.

On previous governments acquiring a reputation for corruption, and the dangers it poses for the ANC:

There are a number of things that have happened in regard to this. All the ministers are instructed to watch out for this. Within the ANC we have the Code of Conduct, to deal with, among other things, corruption and to make sure there is no corruption within the ranks of the ANC.

An assessment of the level of crime levels and effective policing in the country:

Crime levels are high, but I think they have maintained that level for some time. Because of the improved relations between communities and the police, there has been better reporting of crime than in the past.

People are under the illusion that crime has increased from zero to whatever higher percentage level. That’s a wrong perception. The very fact that we have community police forums show that people’s confidence in police have increased. In areas where community police forums have started to be visible, a radical drop in crimes like car hijacking, housing breaking and other crimes has been reported. With cooperation between people and police, there is a movement towards reduction of crime.

Part of the problem in effective policing, has always been linked to the working and pay conditions of police, and the availability of vehicles to move from area to area. I think those need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Media Watch

By Steyn Speed

Clear As Mud

If the main function of any newspaper worth its salt is to present the reader with information in a clear, precise and unambiguous manner, someone is not doing their job properly.

Take the coverage of last month’s ANC Constitutional Policy Conference. Discussion at the conference was based largely on a draft discussion document called “Building a United Nation”. Among the proposals contained in that document was one on national and provincial government, termed “cooperative governance”, which increased the collective legislative power of the provinces and their individual executive powers, while reducing the capacity for conflict and competition among provinces.

This model – which was endorsed by the conference – was designed to meet the needs of the country as a whole while allowing for differing conditions in different provinces.

If some newspapers reflected the substance and spirit of these proposals accurately, they were in the minority. For the most part, the journalists, editors and commentators read these proposals as a sleight of hand by the ANC to entrench the power of central government by emasculating the provincial governments. Several correspondents suggested that the proposals were a vindictive attempt to clip the wings of our own provincial governments. One correspondent called it “Ramaphosa’s revenge”.

They suggested that the ANC did not seriously believe these proposals would finally be written into the constitution – that they were merely a “ridiculously unrealistic” opening bid to set out maximum demands.

They implied that the ANC had no right to meddle with the Interim Constitution. They suggested that the ANC was reneging on some implicit agreement that the provisions of the Interim Constitution should remain largely intact in the final constitution. The Star called it the “give now, take back later” constitutional principle.

Not only did these reports indicate a profound misunderstanding among the media of the nature of the proposals, but they also suggest a willingness among some journalists to conveniently gloss over the facts in order to pursue their own agendas and prove right their own hypotheses.

In doing so, they are doing their readers – and their country – a profound disservice.

Selling News in the New SA

Recent changes in the ownership of media in South Africa, signals an attempt to deflect criticism without ending the monopoly on information, writes Susan Manhando.

Early in 1994 it was announced that Argus Holdings had sold a significant sector of its media interests to Tony O’Reilly, an Irish entrepreneur. The deal is the latest of several concluded by Argus since the transition to democracy began in South Africa. Taken together they represent a significant departure from previous ownership arrangements, and illustrate the relationship between economic and political arrangements in the media sphere.

The structure of ownership in South African media – particularly the commercial print media – limits access to, and participation, in the public sphere.

Strategic movements in mining capital, initiated by Anglo American Corporation (AAC) and Johannesburg Consolidated Investments (JCI) in defense of their interests, represent a significant economic motivation for these media deals. The Argus deals reveal the ways in which the actions of large capital formations are undertaken to sustain control over economic and cultural resources in the public sphere.

The media in South Africa are dominated by five media conglomerates: the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Argus Holdings Limited, Times Media Limited (TML), Perskor and Nasionale Pers Beperk. Of these the most powerful press monopoly is Argus Holdings Limited, which controls significant sectors of both the print and electronic media. Argus controls more major newspapers, electronic media and other communication assets than any other conglomerate, and dominates South Africa’s information flow in four of its major five cities.

The first phase in the unbundling process came with Argus Holdings’ sale of 52 percent of The Sowetan, the largest daily newspaper in the country, to a black-owned consortium, headed by Dr Ntatho Motlana. However, Argus still owns a 20 percent share in New Africa Publishers, a 42 percent interest in the newspaper title, as well as printing, advertising and management contracts for the paper. Argus, therefore, still has effective control.

The second phase in the restructuring process was the acquisition of 31 percent of Argus Newspapers from Argus Holdings Ltd by O’Reilly’s Independent Newspapers. Other important allocative controllers of Argus Newspapers include Old Mutual with 13 percent and Argus Pension Fund with eight percent of the shares.

The third phase in the restructuring of press ownership was the erasure of TML and Argus’ joint holdings, except for those in distribution and printing. For R61 million, Argus newspapers bought out TML’s 30 percent interests in Natal Newspapers and the Cape Joint Operating Agreement, its 45 percent share in Pretoria News and the title of the Cape Times. Whereas previously Argus exercised management functions, while TML exercised editorial control, Argus now has full control of both daily Cape Town papers.

The effect of the restructuring deals is that there are now two distinct groups in the English press: O’Reilly’s Argus and Anglo-JCI’s Times Media Limited.

The press monopoly still exists, and has possibly been further strengthened. Independent Newspapers (INP) controls nearly 40 percent of English weekend newspaper circulation. O’Reilly completely dominates the print media markets in Cape Town and Durban, and is by far the market leader in the Gauteng province.

The Anglo American Corporation has for many years dominated markets in nearly every sector of the economy. In order to counter criticisms that Anglo exercises monopoly control of the media market, the notion of “unbundling” became increasingly popular. Originally, this term referred to an international business trend in favour of leaner and more efficient corporate organisation, but in South Africa it has been deployed by AAC as a way of appearing to address the over-concentration of resources in the SA economy. The in-house task force created by Argus to consider the unbundling of its newspaper holdings is clearly an attempt to use changes in ownership and control of the media to answer political charges levelled as much against Anglo American-JCI as against Argus itself.

Susan Manhando is a PhD student in the Centre for Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Natal-Durban.

NECC Calls It A Day

The National Education Co-ordinating Committee (NECC) last month announced that it was closing down with immediate effect. Over the past decade, the NECC and its afilliates – Sasco, Cosas and Sadtu – have played a leading role in the struggle against apartheid education.

The NECC was formed in 1985 by parents, teachers, students, workers and communities who were bearing the brunt of intense state repression of education organisations. The purpose of this alliance was to counter the devestating effects of apartheid education. This the NECC did by striving for a single education department in a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.

According to a statement released by the NECC head office, the decision to close down came about “shortly after the creation of a single national department of education with unified dispensing provincial departments, designed to rid us of the ethnic and racist divisions of the past”.

“These achievements represent the realisation of NECC’s major goal – a single, non-discriminatory education department in a united, democratic South Africa. The NECC has also taken note of the increasing independence of the sectoral affiliates of the organisation since last year’s elections, forcing us to rethink our coordinating role and function,” the NECC said.

The organisation said its decision to close was prompted also by dramatic changes in the local and international funding environment. The NECC was “finding it increasingly difficult of late to raise sufficient resources to implement its programmes”.

In addition to coordinating the struggle against apartheid education, the NECC spent considerable resources on establishing and generating progressive developmental alternatives. This includes the establishment of the Education Development Trust which provided deprived communities with aid; the establishment of five Education Policy Units at different universities, to develop alternative education policy; and the National Education Policy Investigation (NEPI) reports and policy process, which provided the foundation for what is now government policy in education.

The NECC is determined for the gains that it has made to built upon and the struggles it has waged intensified: “The mission of the NECC – people’s education for people’s power – is still as valid today as it was when the NECC was established… The NECC calls upon the broad alliance to ensure these objectives are not sacrificed on the altar of expediency.”

There’s Still Time To Register

Minister of Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development Roelf Meyer announced on 22 April the extension of the deadline for voter registration to 5 June 1995.

This means that anyone who will be 18 years or older on 1 November has until 5 June to register as a voter. Only people who have registered – and whose names appear on the voters roll – may vote in the 1 November local government elections. To register people need to fill in a registration form – providing your name, your address and your ID number. These forms are available from municipal offices, libraries, big shopping centres, clinics and ANC offices.

Once all the forms have been collected – by 5 June – a voters roll will be drawn up for each local council and ward. Voters will be told which voting station to vote at on 1 November, and they will only be able to vote if their name appears on the voters roll for that station.

Book Review

Images of the new SA

Images of Change, published by Nolwazi Educational Publishers on 4 May, is a celebration of change in this country. It is a photographic essay depicting the weeks leading up to the historic general election of April 1994, the election itself, the opening of the new Parliament and the inauguration of South Africa’s first democratically elected President.

Award-winning photographer George Hallett captures the images we all remember. His photographs evoke the composure, dignity and humanity of South Africa’s people even under the most trying of circumstances. Most of all they capture the joy and jubilation of ordinary people as well as their political leaders at participating in the momentous changes taking place in South Africa. Edited by Rashid Lombard and with a foreword by Dr Z Pallo Jordan, Minister of Post, Telecommunications and Broadcasting, Images of Change will remind us all of that buoyant mood of optimism which enveloped the country this time last year.

George Hallett was born in Cape Town in 1942. During his early career, his photographs were exhibited and published in numerous magazines, most notably Drum. In 1970 he began 25 years in exile, living and working in England, France, Zimbabwe, the US, and Holland before settling in France. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe and in the US, Botswana and Zimbabwe. He has published two previous collections of photographs and produced two documentary films.

He was commissioned in January 1994 to chronicle South Africa’s first democratic elections. The artistic sensibility he brought to bear to this commission led to his winning a World Press Photo Foundation Golden Eye Award, which he will collect in Armsterdam on 25 April. Six of his prize- winning photos are reproduced in Images of Change.

Stormy Olympic Row Appears Resolved – For Now

Calm has returned to the Cape of Storms after a bitter battle for control of the city’s Olympic bid, writes Mziwakhe Hlangani.

An acrimonious power struggle for control of South Africa’s bid to host the 2004 Olympic games in Cape Town appears to have ended amicably.

At a sports summit convened early in April to defuse a crisis caused by the resignation of Pick ‘n Pay chief Raymond Ackerman from the bid committee it was resolved that Ackerman retain temporary control of the Olympic bid until a new chief executive officer was appointed.

The controversy emerged when the National Olympic Committee of SA (Nocsa) refused to sign the bid contract with Ackerman because he didn’t have authority from the city of Cape Town to act on its behalf.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulations require that the application to organise the Olympic Games must be made to the IOC by the official authority of the city concerned with the approval of the national olympic committee, said Nocsa president Sam Ramsamy.

After much public mud-slinging among the parties involved, a meeting held in March between Steve Tshwete, Ramsamy and Ackerman agreed to a joint press statement acknowledging that the contract must be signed between Nocsa and the Cape Town City Council or its delegated authority.

However, at an impromptu press conference Ackerman rejected the joint statement and announced his immediate resignation. He indicated he would come back only if his “conditions were met”.

While Nocsa has received the support of many organisations on its stance – including the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa – Ackerman’s suitability to lead the bid has been called into question from a number of quarters.

Ackerman has been criticised for his style of leadership. According to a Weekly Mail and Guardian report on April’s summit, Ackerman was told he couldn’t run the bid committee “as though it was Pick ‘n Pay”.

The 150 delegates to the summit in April agreed that Ackerman should remain Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an interim committee charged with establishing a non-profit company to run Cape Town’s bid, and to train a replacement CEO within the next few months.

Ramsamy is adamant that his organisation has no intention of taking over the bid: “If Nocsa had such intention, it would have easily done this on the first day it announced that Cape Town had been chosen as its candidate to bid for the 2004 Olympics.”

“We believe that the people of Cape Town should play a major role in driving the bid. However, Nocsa will discharge its duties as is the international norm to ensure that the bid is favourably presented overseas,” Ramsamy said.

Provincial Briefs

Compiled by Khensani Makhubela

Provinces tackle voter registration

ANC Provincial Structures have been at the forefront of the campaign to register voters. This month MAYIBUYE provides an overview of the main elements of this campaign.

Eastern Transvaal

The Eastern Transvaal is emphasising the importance of media in the local election campaign. Their strategies include radio phone-in-programmes, 20 public meetings per week, posters, radio announcements and pamphlets. They are producing a newspaper called “The Congress”, and have organised for national speakers to visit the province. They have established an “excellent” distribution network through the Organising Department.

Northern Cape

The Norther Cape is developing an election strategy which fits into the national campaign, but is specifically designed for local conditions. Voter registration in the province began to gain momentum as the apathy experienced at the start of the registration process was slowly reversed.

Eastern Cape

The National Election Strategy Workshop held in Johannesburg in mid- February provided the necessary impetus to begin the Eastern Cape’s registration campaign. The campaign was launched in the Alice and Bizana areas with a high media profile. A provincial newsletter will be started in due course.

Free State

Human Rights Day on 21 March was utilised by the Free State to encourage voters to register, coupled with a membership drive. A campaign dubbed “Rolling Mass Voter Registration” was kick-started on the same day to ensure that all the ANC activities encompass voter registration.

The most successful event was held at President Steyn Mine in Welkom, where five thousand people listened to Free State Premier Terror Lekota.

Western Cape

President Nelson Mandela’s visit to Khayalistsha in March, where he registered as a voter, formed an important part of the Western Cape’s registration campaign. March 21 celebrations were used to promote the campaign. The Province has seen the need to work closely with the media and specifically individual journalists. A function to “get-to-know-the- ANC” was held in April, and was attended by editors, journalists and local ANC leaders.


Registration figures increased dramatically after the KwaZulu/Natal ANC launched their registration campaign on 24 February, when Provincial Chairperson Jacob Zuma registered at the Durban City Hall. The province is holding People’s Forum and meetings, and are aiming at penetrating rural areas. Ten thousand ANC supporters attended a local elections rally in Durban on 4 March, and the following day a similar number of rural people attended a rally at kwaXimba, near Hammarsdale.

Northern Transvaal

The province launched its Voter Registration Campaign in February in the face of an extremely slow voter registration process. Northern Transvaal Premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi registered on 22 February and addressed residents on local government matters and the importance of voter registration. The province also plans to call on clergy of all churches in the province to support the voter registration campaign.

North West

The North West Province ANC decided at a bosberaad that the local government elections are a necessary part of our strategic objective of transferring power to the country’s masses. It adopted a programme of action which includes mass door-to-door campaigning and the production and distribution of media.


The Gauteng ANC has mandated branches to organise at least 300 volunteers who will go door-to-door in all areas to drop no less than five registration forms per household. Churches, mosques and all other places of worship have also been identified as points of distribution.

The province is calling on teachers and students to assist during their vacation in door-to-door registration.

The person behind the new voice of the ANC

Mziwakhe Hlangani spoke to the new ANC national spokesperson about her memories, her hopes and life in the new South Africa.

The ANC has a new voice. Pumla Mtyeku a former journalist and long-time ANC activist has been appointed as the ANC’s national spokesperson.

At 36, Pumla is as accomplished as she is travelled. She studied for a Master’s Degree in Journalism and was editor of a Swedish-sponsored news bulletin in Windhoek.

She has no illusions about the hard work that her new job will require and the challenges she, and the ANC, now face.

“Given the ongoing political changes, the ANC needs to fortify its position and entrench itself,” she says.

She maintains that the movement’s priority is to be in touch with the masses constantly – to inform people of what the government is doing in order to allay prevailing fears.

Because the ANC is the major partner in the new government, the ANC is constantly in the spotlight of the media. The expectations of the ANC’s ability to deal with the legacy of the apartheid regime remain high, she says.

“Members, supporters and the greater South African community are looking forward to a better life for all, as promised before the April 27 elections.”

Pumla believes the organisation’s image is still as dynamic as it was before it was elected into the government: “The ANC worked very hard to achieve this organisational discipline, but it is the time to work harder and reinforce ourselves to maintain our position. It is the time for us to be more critical of ourselves in order build to our organisation.”

Pumla was born in East London and raised in Soweto. She left the country in 1979, at the age of 20, to join the ANC in Tanzania, where she completed her matric. She furthered her studies at Sophia University in Bulgaria before coming to Harare to work for the Southern African Political and Economic Series research institute.

Her memories of her years in exile are mixed. She remembers fondly the communal spirit she found in the ANC school in Tanzania.: “We lived as one big family. There were very rare occasions that one would feel nostalgic about being far away from home. The evidence of those moments is still reflected by the pride in the eyes of our comrades when we meet and greet each other in corridors of the ANC building and in public places.”

Exile in Europe created opportunities for her that would otherwise not have been possible.

“Apart from my studies, I learnt more socially, especially on the cultural artistic side. When I look back I cherish those moments of listening to classical music, going to the theatre and reading books. They were among the most affordable activities open to us.”

Pumla had a great deal of respect for those abroad who actively supported the struggle in South Africa.

“It was impressive and emotional to notice international personalities and governments rallying behind the ANC campaigns. More important was to be involved and participate in these activities as an individual,” she says.

There were moments of pain too. She talks of the “torture” of not being able to communicate with people she was close too. Listening to news of attacks by the regime on relatives, she says it was often difficult to find out what happened to her family or friends.

Her return to the country last year, also, had its mixture of bitter and sweet moments. She was particularly shocked by the breakdown of family and cultural values which had long been the pillars of society.

Pumla has not quite recovered from the culture shock, but is confident that her new role will give her the opportunity to be part of building a new and better nation.

The voice may be new. But the words and sentences reflect a commitment to democracy, transparency and accountability that is as old as the African National Congress.

Contributions to RDP Fund

A Reserve Bank account has been opened for people who wish to make financial contributions to the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) to deposit funds.

Individuals or companies who wish to make contributions can specify which RDP project they would like their contributions to go towards. If there is no special request, then the various RDP managers will allocate the money according to need.

The administration of the account will be handled by the Department of Government Expenditure in order to prevent any misappropriation of funds.

Contributions can be made at any commercial bank countrywide to: Reserve Bank Account Number 803-01-754.

For further details call Christiaan Saaiman at (012) 328-4708.

Communication Central to RDP Success

Frustration at the pace of RDP delivery – as witnessed by land invasions, occupation of empty flats and disputes over rates and tariffs – points to, amonmg other things, shortcomings in the government’s communication strategy.

Jay Naidoo, the minister in charge of the RDP, recently cited four main areas where the enormity of the RDP process has not been adequately conveyed to those who most needed to reap the benefits of the RDP. He said the government had failed to:

  • transcend the popular perception that “the RDP is charity”;
  • “develop a partnership with the people based on responsibility”;
  • explain to the people that the RDP is not “a set of ad hoc projects”;
  • adequately explain that they were developing a comprehensive business plan which required detailed planning.

The “Masakhane – Building Together Now” campaign, which was launched in February by President Mandela, is begining to have a positive impact on people’s perception of the RDP. The campaign is aimed at accelerating delivery of basic services and housing; promoting the resumption of payments of rent; service charges and bond instalments; creating sustainable and efficient local governance; and stimulating local economic development.

“Masakhane” stresses that unless the perception that the RDP is a form of charity is overcome, there can be no delivery of essential services.

Much remains to be done to set RDP projects in place. Jay Naidoo confirmed to parliament in April that only R1.135 billion had been paid out to RDP projects out of the R2.06 billion expected to have been disbursed during the 1994/95 financial year.

Until people on the ground can begin seeing the physical effects of RDP projects, the government will have to rely largely on their communication strategy to keep people informed of developments – and thereby empower them to particpate more actively in the RDP.

A Measure of Success

Progress in the implementation of the RDP is one of the key indicators of the effectiveness of the government’s first year in office, writes a MAYIBUYE correspondent.

At the centre of the entire process of governance over the past year has been the setting up of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). It is a programme aimed at changing the focus of the work of government – and redirecting its resources.

The RDP has many components, most notably the re-organisation of the Budget and the building of capacity within government departments. The RDP envisages a budget geared towards building infrastructure, meeting basic needs, developing human resources and creating employment. The minister responsible for overseeing the RDP, Jay Naidoo, says the 1995/96 Budget does not adequately reflect these objectives, largely because the budget process began before the new government was elected.

Central to achieving these objectives will be the rationalisation of the public service, the re-organisation of departments around RDP objectives and the training of public service personnel to enable them to implement the RDP.

While these steps necessary if the RDP is going to work, it is proving a time-consuming process – the effects of which are unlikely to be felt by the broader public for some time to come.

The Presidential Lead Projects, by contrast, are an aspect of the RDP which is already having an impact on communities across the country. These ‘special’ projects were established last year to kick-start the implementation of the RDP by meeting basic needs, while building the economy and transforming government. These 22 projects were also to provide a learning experience for future RDP projects.

The projects have provided as many examples of success as they have lessons. Among the successes is the Primary School Nutrition Programme – a joint project of the departments of Health and Education. The programme had reached 5.5 million children by the end of January 1995.

The programme’s primary aim has been to establish a well-coordinated network that is able to reach all malnourished primary school children. The scheme is currently supplying to all the children it reaches 25 percent of their daily nutritional requirements. It is estimated that 95 percent of the children targeted by the scheme have been reached, and that over 10,000 primary schools are currently being served by the programme.

The effects of this programme on school attendance has been marked. The government has, in addition, set aside R100 million for its “Culture of Learning” programme, which will be used for school building renovation, improving attendance and involving parents, students and the community in the management of schools.

Another project involves the provision of clean water, especially in rural areas. The Department of Water Affairs has set the goal of providing, within the next five years, 25 litres of clean water a day to every South African. Twelve projects have been identified – five of which have been begun. In each of the project areas, agreement has been reached with provincial authorities regarding payment for the implementation, connection and maintenance of the scheme. Each area has appointed its own steering committee which will represent its community.

Another key project is the provision of free health care for children under six years and pregnant women, at a cost to the state of R485 million.

Last year, R25 million was allocated to building 170 health care centres throughout the country. A further R65 million has been divided among the nine provinces for the upgrading of existing clinics and the building of new facilities.

The RDP ministry reports that over 378,000 houses have been electrified since the start of the programme. In addition, over 500 schools and thousands of small businesses have also been connected to electricity.

The RDP depends to a large extent on the success of the recently launched Masakhane campaign, which, among things, is trying to encourage a culture of payment for services. Early indications are that it is achieving a measure of success. Eskom recently reported that payment of electricity tariffs in Soweto had increased from 20 percent to 65 percent in only four months.

If there is an end to the rent, service and bond boycotts in the townships there will be capital available for investment in housing and urban renewal programmes.

There are other very encouraging aspects to the progress of the RDP. All government departments have identified RDP programmes which will be funded by their own resources or by national departmental grants. At the provincial level it is up to the provinces to assess how they are spending the money they already have.

The effect of the first RDP projects on the economy is encouraging. The Reserve Bank has estimated that the economy grew by over 6.4 percent for the last quarter of 1994. Economists predict that current growth could continue into 1996 and beyond.

After one year of democracy, the RDP has had a promising start. Nevertheless, the bulk of its work remains to be done.

The RDP represents an integrated approach to changing government processes and structures to meet the pressing needs of the country. But more than that, the RDP provides for an entirely new approach to how ordinary people determine the priorities and direction of government.

A Guide to the Presidential Projects

The Presidential Projects – also known as ‘Lead Projects’ – were announced last year by the president to begin the process of social renewal and provision of basic services. They are also providing a valuable learning experience for the government for future projects. Here is a guide to the essential features of some of the projects.

Primary School Nutrition Scheme

To improve the learning capacity of school pupils, school attendance and general health development by providing an early daily snack to children at needy schools. Approximately 5.5 million children had been reached by the end of January 1995.

Rural Water Provision

The provision of water and sanitation to rural areas – particularly in former ‘homelands’. Twelve projects have been identified for supply, extension of services, small project support and fostering rural economic activity. Five projects have already begun.

Land Restitution

Support the restitution of land to communities with claims to state land, support settlement planning and infrastructure development in 10 communities in KwaZulu/Natal, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Transvaal and North West Province.

Planning Urban Infrastructure

This fund assists the development of urban infrastructure investment plans, provides technical support to local investment planning teams and facilitates funding for local plans.

National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency

The NURCHA promotes the development of small and medium scale enterprise in relation to housing and urban development by providing seed capital.

National Literacy Programme

The programme aims to launch a National Adult Basic Education and Training Programme through government departments and non- governmental organisations (NGOs). The programme operates mainly through existing capacity and is donor funded until 1997.

Small-scale Farmer Development

To address need for small-scale agricultural production training and support, which includes building the capacity of existing institutions to train trainers to serve this sector. It is being implemented in consultation with MECs and provincial departments.

Free Health Care

To provide free health care for children under six years of age and pregnant women at all state hospitals, clinics and health care centres.

AIDS Awareness and Prevention Campaign

Campaign to promote safer sexual behaviour, condoms and control of sexually-transmitted diseases, through counselling care and social support.

Provincial Projects

This is a discretionary allocation to provinces to be used for – primarily community – projects conforming to the criteria established by the cabinet.

Extension of Municipal Services

To ensure a visible improvement in the provision of municipal services, extend municipal infrastructure and facilities and facilitate local government transition.

Township Rebuilding Programme

The provision of infrastructure, housing, community facilities, job creation, environment and recreation facilities in violence-torn communities and communities in crisis. Seven urban areas have been identified for lead projects, including the East Rand, areas of KwaZulu/Natal and townships in the Eastern Cape.

SACP 9th Congress

Advance, Deepen and Defend

The recent SACP Congress committed itself to pursue with renewed vigour the aims of the National Democratic Revolution, writes a correspondent.

The Ninth Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP), held in Johannesburg from 6-8 April, took political stock of the implications of the new South Africa and the new world order, and recommitted the party to the path of the National Democratic Revolution.

Over 500 voting delegates represented the party’s 75,603 members. Participating observers included delegations from the ANC, Cosatu and other MDM structures.

A special feature of the Congress was the 69 international guests from Communist and Left parties in Vietnam, Cuba, China, Italy, the United States, Iran, France, Germany, Argentina, Israel, Zambia, Sudan and many other countries.

Speaking on behalf of the ANC, President Nelson Mandela told the congress: “It is not given to a leader of one political organisation in a country to sing praises to the virtues of another. Yet that is what I intend to do today.”

President Mandela said the ANC’s alliance with the SACP “has detractors in abundance”. It was an alliance, he said, “that has its prolific obituary scribes. But it is a relationship that always disappoints these experts. Because it was tempered in struggle… And today, it is reinforced by hard- won victory”.

SACP General Secretary Charles Nqakula made a similar point in the course of his opening address: “If anything, the elections have further cemented this alliance. There are more than 50 SACP members serving as ANC MPs in the National Assembly, there are two SACP members who are ANC cabinet ministers, and three who are deputy ministers.”

Nqakula said that all of these elected representatives were in their positions, first and foremost, as ANC members: “We are very clear and very insistent on this point.”

The congress pledged the full support of the party to ensure a massive ANC victory in the 1 November local government elections.

In the course of his opening address, Nqakula launched a hard-hitting attack against populist demagogues in the liberation movement. “Demagogy is an attempt to stir up popular emotions in order to secure a bigger slice of the action for an elite,” he said.

“Let me be perfectly clear,” Nqakula went on, “to voice the concerns of the poorest of the poor is not demagogy. To help marginalised communities organise themselves for transformation is not demagogy. To speak the truth, however awkward or unwelcome, is not demagogy.

“Demagogy, by contrast, is to lie to the people about what is possible and what is not. Demagogy is to foster dependency through patronage. Demagogy refuses collective responsibility and collective discipline. Sometimes demagogy masquerades as left militancy, but it is always, through and through, reactionary.”

A major focus of the congress was an SACP Central Committee “Strategy and Tactics” document. The document reaffirmed the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) perspective. But it also opened up a discussion on the new world challenges to the NDR path.

In the words of the document: “The existence, within the world system, of a socialist bloc that could, to some extent, counter imperialism militarily, politically and economically was central to the strategic calculations and programmes of progressive, third world liberation movements. Through non-alignment, or through active alignment with the socialist bloc, many progressive movements… achieved some breathing space.”

In assessing whether NDR was still valid in the 1990s, the SACP Congress affirmed the view that progressive forces in SA needed to avoid two illusions:

that SA can simply “go it alone”. The globalisation of the world economy is rooted in real trends in production, which have reduced possibilities of go-it-alone development.

  • that we should simply accept the world as a given, unchanging reality.
  • The Congress pointed out that despite major world changes, new possibilities existed. These included:
  • growing world-wide opposition to IMF and World Bank “growth at all costs” policies;
  • the progressive challenge of UN institutions, attempting to place development issues back on the map;
  • a growing numbers of South-South initiatives.
  • The SACP Congress affirmed the view that an ongoing NDR to overcome the legacy of three centuries of colonialism and decades of apartheid remained the correct path. In this situation the key tasks of progressive forces in our country, in the view of the SACP Congress, were to “Advance, deepen and defend the April 1994 breakthrough”.

Building A Sense Of Ownership

Communities need to take responsibility for the effectiveness of their own local governments, argues the Media Department of the SA National Civics Organisation.

The South African National Civics Organisation (Sanco) finds itself in transition where its constituency is growing rapidly, and there are an increasing number of tasks that Sanco must face in pursuit of community reconstruction and development.

Of these tasks, none outweighs the responsibility of ensuring that transitional local government is successful. To achieve this Sanco must bring to an effective end all community boycotts that were targeted at local government, and in their place, encourage a sense of community ownership of local government, where service and rate payments are seen as making local government function for the well-being of the community.

There is irony in this position, as Sanco, for most of its existence, has paralysed local government by pursuing extremely effective programmes of withholding rents, refusing to pay for services and stopping payment on bonds. These boycotts were a powerful weapon in the people’s struggle for justice and democracy. In their time they sent a strong message to the apartheid government, forcing them to negotiate the existing transitional local government.

Successful local government is of extreme importance to South Africa’s prime task of community reconstruction and development. As the first level of government, it interfaces with every single grassroots community in the country. No budget, policy or accord – whether for housing, services or transportation – can be successfully addressed to a community without the involvement of local government. It is in every community’s direct interest to ensure that local government functions well. The first step in this is to pay all legitimate rates and service charges.

Transitional local government will continue from this year, but in a form where communities will have directly elected their own local government leaders. In this way valid community representation will ensure that all local government functions, not least of which is service delivery, are community determined.

Clearly there is not a present need for an adversarial relationship between local government and the community. What remains, however, is for Sanco to convince all communities of this and to eradicate the last vestiges of boycotts and the withholding of payments – what some would call “the culture of boycotts”.

This is proving to be no easy task. Many different local agreements, including flat rates, have come into existence in different communities. Clearly, a common and equal tariff payment solution for everyone is desirable.

In the Gauteng Province the MEC for Local Government and Housing has proposed an inter-governmental structure for local and provincial government which would coordinate and exchange information between all Transitional Local Councils (TLCs) and Transitional Metropolitan Councils (TMCs) in the province. Also, the Gauteng provincial government is likely to impose an interim tariff structure on all TLCs and TMCs as a kick-start to a common, negotiated long term tariff structure guided by the principles of cross-subsidisation and affordability.

These types of actions will elevate tariff structure, guided by the principle of negotiations, to the provincial level where equality and commonality could be more easily achieved. If this is achieved, communities would have greater incentive to pay and Sanco’s campaign for ending boycotts would be made easier.


Skills Development

Organising to register voters

Local government is the level of government closest to the people. The election on Wednesday 1 November 1995 will be the first time local people can choose their representatives for local government. It is responsible for basic services like water, lights, clinics, creches, parks, transport and refuse removal. These elections are our chance to build strong local government which can implement the RDP and build a better life, with the full involvement of the community.


These elections will be a greater challenge than the national elections because:

  • This time we will fight about 700 separate elections all over the country.
  • We need a strategy for each election because each one will have different voters with different problems.
  • All voters must be registered on the right voter’s roll for the ward/voting station.
  • We need popular candidates in the wards or we could lose those seats.
  • We need strict guidelines so that the best candidates are chosen. In some wards, we may have to make tactical alliances with popular independent candidates.
  • Because these elections will be fought locally, we need one united structure for each election. The structure will be made up of all the branches and alliance organisations in that area and must be strong and well organised.
  • Voters will judge us on our record after 18 months in government and on our commitment to deal with local issues. We will also be judged on our performance now in the transitional councils.

Campaign aims

The main aim is to win convincingly in both the proportional representation and ward elections. We must make sure that:

  • All our voters are registered;
  • voters know how to vote and where to vote;
  • voters are given convincing reasons to vote for the ANC;
  • we have high quality candidates;
  • we have strong local election teams that can bring out the vote on election day.

Voter registration and the voters roll

The voters roll is a list of all the voters in a council area. The list is split into separate lists for every ward.

To get on the roll, voters have to fill in a form and send it to the council – this is called VOTER REGISTRATION.

The voters roll is drawn up long before the election so that there is time to check that all the people on the roll qualify to be voters. The roll will have your surname, names, address and ID number written on it.

On election day you have to go to the closest voting station in your area and show your ID. If your name is on the voters roll you will be allowed to vote there. The officials will draw a line through your name so that you cannot vote again in that election. Your name will only be on the roll at one voting station in the council area – one close to where you stay.

Registering as a voter

In each council area, the Transitional Local Council (TLC) or transitional Metropolitan Substructure (MSS) will appoint a voters roll officer to register voters.

To register as a voter you must fill in a form with your name, address and ID number. The forms will be available at all council offices and any party or organisation can take as many as they want. After filling in the form, you can post it or take it to the council office in your area.

If you do not have an ID number you can use any of the documents that you could use in the April Elections last year.

If you do not have a proper address, ask the voters roll officer to help you. You do not have to sign the form in front of anyone.

Every Transitional Council office must have forms available for voters to register. Parties can get extra forms to distribute to supporters. The Voters Roll Officer at the TLC must make sure that the forms are printed and available. He or she must set up boxes at all council buildings so that voters van drop off their forms. The Voters Roll Officer must make sure that all the forms are entered on a computer and that the voters roll is properly drawn up.

Ideas for voter registration

Any organisation can help voters to register. It is important that political parties, community organisations, churches and groups like teachers, NGOs and health workers get involved in registering and educating voters. Ideas for a voter registration campaign include:

  • Get forms from your local council;
  • select members of your organisation to be responsible for a specific group of voters;
  • use meetings, information tables or door-to-door work to reach the voters. It’s best to reach voters where they are, rather than to call them to meetings;
  • help them to fill in the forms;
  • keep a list of the registration forms you collect;
  • take the registration form to the council office;
  • show them your list and ask them to stamp or sign it as proof that you handed in all those voters’ registration forms;
  • when the draft roll is published, take your lists and check that all your voters are on the voters’ roll.

Steps for Drawing up a Voters Roll

  • End January – 28 April 1995
    All voters must register by filling in the forms.
  • End April – 12 May
    Draft roll is prepared.
  • 12 May – 9 June
    Draft roll open for inspection till 2 June. Corrections and objections must be made by 9 June.
  • 10 June – 30 June
    A list of corrections and objections are prepared and opened for inspection by the public till 23 June. Objections must be made by 30 June.
  • 8 July – 14 July
  • Revision Court hears objections to voters on the roll.
  • 21 July
    Revision Court signs the final roll.
  • Until elections
    No new names may be added to the roll.
  • Once the ward and voting station borders are decided
    The roll is broken up into separate rolls for each ward and then for each voting station.
  • Election Day 1 November
    As voters arrive at the voting station, their names are crossed off the roll.

Interview with Zola Skweyiya

The transformation of the public service is crucial to the transformation of the country as a whole. MAYIBUYE spoke to Minister of Public Service and Administration Zola Skweyiya on progress within his department.

MAYIBUYE: Have there been any new appointments in the Ministry of Public Service and Administration?

ZOLA SKWEYIYA: My Ministry has had several appointments specifically aimed at creating and enhancing representativeness within the public services. Since my ministry is central to the stability of the public service as a whole, it meant that the five-member Public Service Commission had to reflect the composition of the people of South Africa. This was achieved through the appointment of three new Commissioners from the majority population.

The transformation of this particular office has just begun with the filling of all the posts advertised in June 1994. It is hoped that these new opportunities will be seized by the under-represented population groups, particularly women.

MAYIBUYE: Why are the old bureaucrats of the apartheid regime still keeping their jobs?

ZS: It should be remembered that when the Interim Constitution was negotiated, a provision was arrived at which guaranteed all public servants their jobs. This meant that all public servants in the employ of the previous administrations could not be dismissed for any reasons other than a breach of regulations governing the public service. Public servants can still be moved around within the public service and be relocated to other functions.

It must further be noted that once departments have been restructured and rationalised, some personnel will become redundant. There is no obligation on the part of the state to keep such personnel. They will have to be retrenched in terms of the Public Service Act of 1994.

MAYIBUYE: What is the government doing to empower blacks?

ZS: It is the obligation of the ANC in government to create conditions that allow black people to compete for job opportunities in the public service.

This involves creating centres of training to equip our people with the necessary skills and education. It makes no sense, in my opinion, to remove all barriers to employment opportunities while the majority of black people are not sufficiently equipped to seize the best opportunities.

MAYIBUYE: What are you doing about the perception that in some instances public servants are still carrying out the dictates of the past apartheid regime?

ZS: Currently, the old apartheid bureaucrats may have accepted the democratic process. However, there has not been significant institutional support to assist them to adapt and cope with change. This is exactly the purpose of the Public Service Training Institute. The Institute must transform the culture, values, perceptions and behaviour of government officials in such a manner as to be of service to society rather than being a burden and source of frustration.

MAYIBUYE: Is your Ministry contributing to transparency in government? ZS: Transparency is central to good governance and administration. Therefore, my ministry is committed to promoting transparency at all levels. Already my ministry has engaged the trade unions and employee associations in codetermination issues as a mechanism of ensuring equal access to information relevant for collective bargaining.

It is hoped that when the “Freedom of Information” laws come into existence, they will further entrench the importance of transparency as a mechanism for democratic accountability of government and its officials.


Struggle For Campus Change

Behind the protests, racial violence and damage to property on campuses are a range of problems that will take several years and much effort to resolve, writes Steyn Speed.

The conflict that has plagued tertiary institutions in recent months may have died down for the moment, but the underlying crisis in tertiary education remains.

A summit of the ANC-led ‘Education Alliance’ in March outlined a process to ensure the effective intervention of the democratic movement in the transformation of the tertiary sector. The summit recognised the need to explain transformation to the public and involve society broadly in the debates surrounding it.

The funding of tertiary institutions is central to the future of this sector – and lies at the heart of much of the recent conflict on campuses. In this funding, there is a substantial legacy of discrimination and racial bias.

The approach of the democratic movement is that a revision of the state subsidy formula needs to combine an element of redress with a consideration of the development priorities of the country. While the subsidy system needs to prioritise disadvantaged institutions and communities, it shouldn’t do so at the expense of the country’s socio- economic needs. The intention is not to emasculate privileged institutions, but to transform them to serve the broad interests of society.

The present system of student financing perpetuates the past inequalities around access to higher education. The availability of finance to individual students should increase the intake of needy students, particularly black students, to tertiary institutions. It could link the financial contribution of society to the performance of a community service by a student either during or after their studies.

The National Loan and Bursary Scheme, which is due to be established next year, will dramatically improve the access of disadvantaged students to tertiary institutions. A number of other mechanisms will need to be pursued, however, to ensure that the population in universities, technikons and colleges reflects the demographics of South Africa. The education alliance believes that such access will require, among other things, the eradication of the inequalities in primary and secondary education. It will also require greater expenditure and focus on academic development and other support services within institutions so that the demographics of people who graduate from these institutions reflect also the South African population.

Another area of transformation is the system of governance at a tertiary level. Most governing bodies of institutions are dominated by white men and don’t represent the broad range of interests that exist within the institution. Furthermore, the processes of governance are generally undemocratic.

The democratic movement has called for a higher education system which is governed democratically – not only in keeping with the values of the new society, but to reduce conflict on campuses and ensure that these institutions can reach their full potential. Not only should existing governing structures become democratic, but new structures and mechanisms should be established to enable the participation of all sectors in the running of the institution.

South African Students Congress (Sasco) president David Makhuru says the protection of the autonomy of tertiary institutions cannot be separated from how they operate: “An institution which warrants that autonomy is an institution that has got democratic, accountable and transparent structures of governance.”

At the same time, he says, institutions need to redefine the focus of their activities to meet the social development needs of their province, and the country as a whole.

“There is simply no way they [tertiary institutions] can define their role outside of the broad context of building the South African economy as an aspect of the RDP,” says Makhuru.

The summit in March identified the need to input – as a democratic movement – into the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE), which was established in November last year by the Minister of Education. The commission is tasked with investigating, among other things, the identity of the higher education system, it demography, structure, funding, governance and developmental role.

The NCHE is likely to be a heavily contested terrain, and the democratic movement will need to develop its capacity to make well-developed policy submissions to the commission. It will also need to campaign in society broadly for its vision of transformation at tertiary level.

The alliance has also identified the need for the establishment of Broad Transformation Forums at all institutions. These forums would bring together all the stakeholders in an institution to develop a vision around the role and structure of their institution. These forums would be looking at similar issues to those being considered by the NCHE at a national level, but would also be looking at issues specific to that campus – issues like curricula, examinations and budget development.

Among the greatest challenges for the democratic movement, however, is to reach agreement on what is achievable in the short to medium term. This will help the movement to focus its campaign more effectively, and will reduce the potential for conflict over unrealistic expectations.


Was World Development Summit Worth It?

The UN Social Development Summit indicated a desire to change global priorities and strategies, writes a correspondent.

There has been much debate over the value of the United Nations World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen, Denmark early in March.

Following the Summit from South Africa was not easy. There was a concerted attempt in much of the Western media to portray the summit as “a lot of hot air”.

Many of the local newspapers simply repeated this view, taking their reports straight off the Reuters wires, or directly from conservative London newspapers. On our local TV channels, the British-based Sky News was allowed a monopoly of coverage on the conference. “A monumental waste of time” was its message – perhaps not surprisingly, as John Major was the one signficant head of state who chose not to attend.

From among the local media, only SABC radio bothered to send a correspondent to Copenhagen. She, at least, managed to present a much more balanced picture.

The Conference was divided into two parallel processes, a gathering of non-governmental organisations and a separate inter-governmental conference. Two major South African delegations attended these conferences. Leading the South African government delegation was President Mandela.

So what was the Copenhagen summit all about? Did it have any value? The Social Development Summit was one of a series of UN organised international summits, including the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the 1994 Cairo Population Summit. Later this year a Women’s Summit takes place in Beijing. These summits represent a concerted attempt, led by the UN, to redefine world priorities and strategies.

They mark an important challenge to other agendas. Through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, non-representative institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have dominated the world agenda. Concepts like ‘export oriented growth’, ‘structural adjustment’, ‘liberalisation’ and ‘debt repayment’ – and the practice thereof – have reigned supreme. Development, social needs and sustainability were all sidelined.

The Copenhagen Summit was an attempt to prioritise people and development once more. The three core themes of the summit were:

attacking poverty;

creating jobs;

addressing “social disintegration”.

It is interesting to note how closely these themes resemble the major priorities of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).

The Summit underlined just how critical all of these problems are. On world-wide poverty it noted: “Amid unprecedented material progress, human misery has reached almost unimaginable proportions. Poverty, in tandem with prosperity, has become globalised.”

According to UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali: “Absolute poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy are the lot of one fifth of the world’s population.”

The job crisis is no better. Some 30 percent of the world’s labour force is not productively employed. “Today workers are confronted with a vanishing job market. Even the world’s foremost economies are suffering the ill effects of so-called jobless growth,” the summit noted.

Social disintegration has become a marked world reality. Features of this problem include rising levels of lawlessness, ethnic conflicts, chauvinistic intolerance, generational conflicts – often rooted in mass youth unemployment – and the mass movement of refugees within and across international borders. We need to be able, said Boutros-Ghali, “to accomodate different and divergent individual and group aspirations within a flexible framework of shared basic values and common interests.”

Our immediate South African concerns closely resemble those of the summit. We obviously have something to offer the world, and also much to learn and gain from an international focus on these burning questions.

Opinions differ on how well our delegations performed in Copenhagen. “President Mandela’s presence was highly valued, but we were very ill- prepared”, said an ANC MP delegate. It is certainly true that there was very little internal preparation and discussion before the summit.

Another leading South African government delegate said that most of the delegation was very new to the UN conference scene and had to learn about procedures. This, he conceded, influenced their capacity to make effective inputs.

Whatever the shortcomings of our interventions, the unfolding South African RDP is widely seen as an important concrete example of the kind of approach that is now required globally.

So was the Summit all hot air? International conferences of this kind involve a great deal of rhetoric and posturing.

It would be a grave error, however, to underestimate the struggle to place development based on social needs at the top of the world agenda. That is certainly the programme of the ANC-led government and the ANC-led mass movement in our country. We need to support the resolutions from the summit, and we need to deepen our involvement in this emerging global agenda if we want the talk to translate into significant progress.


‘We Either Rise Together As Humanity, Or Together Fall’

Extracts of the address by President Nelson Mandela to the UN World Summit for Social Development.

We are gathered here to interrogate one question: how does humanity co- operate to build a better life for all. That age-old question confronts us today under conditions which require of us an abiding consensus.

Technological advance has narrowed the plains and oceans dividing nations. The era, in inter-state relations, in which military considerations were placed above pertinent socio-economic imperatives, has come to an end. Our common habitat is in danger.

We either rise together as humanity, or together fall.

We in South Africa have learnt through bitter experience that security for a few is in fact insecurity for all. These simple facts reflect the present untenable division of power and wealth, within and among nations.

The South is well within its right to cite history and current international practices as the cause of our woes. However, our efforts to build open democracies and respect human rights, to improve efficiency and implement sustainable policies, will be a resounding voice which compels the North to listen.

On the other hand, it is to perpetuate difficulties of the South, for the North to relate to us as consumers of arms and finished goods, as passive recipients of project assistance without transfer of skills and technology, as hapless victims to dictate to regarding loans and employment of aid.

And in our inexperience, we are perhaps better-placed, and even duty- bound, to ask the question: how do we emerge from here inspired not merely to attend future summits, but under the aegis of the UN, to implement programmes that the world and its inhabitants demand and deserve.


Towards a People’s Constitution

The Constitutional Assembly has taken great pains to involve the general public in writing the new constitution.

The response to the Constitutional Assembly’s Public Participation Programme has been “very, very good indeed”, according to Edward Shalala, the Head of the Community Liaison Department of the CA.

The Public Participation Programme (PPP) was initiated by the Constitutional Assembly (CA) to ensure that the process of writing the country’s final constitution was inclusive. The function of the PPP is to involve members of the public in making submissions to the CA, discussing their ideas for the constitution and debating the draft constitution which is to be available later in the year.

In order to reach those who haven’t traditionally had access to the political process the PPP is aimed particularly at rural and disadvantaged communities.

The Public Particpation Programme has two phases. The first – which is presently underway – is the “pre-draft phase” and will last until 30 June. The purpose of this phase is to solicit submissions from individuals, organisations and communities which can be fed into the CA’s six specialised theme committees for consideration in the draft constitution.

The “post-draft” phase will begin in about October 1995, when the draft constitution is made available to the public, and will continue until the final constitution has been adopted. The exact form of this phase has yet to be devised, but is likely to include elements of the present phase of the programme.

An important aspect of the present phase is a large-scale media campaign, including advertisements in newspapers, posters and pamphlets and a special CA publication, Constitution Talk. The media campaign has publicised the constitution-making process, and has called for submissions on various constitutional issues.

There has been a significant response to the media campaign. The Constitutional Assembly has at times been receiving over 200 submissions a day.

“We have had submissions from people from all kinds of backgrounds. Preconceived ideas that the public aren’t interested have proved wrong,” Shalala said.

The CA Theme Committees – focussing on different aspects of the constitution – have been holding public hearings to solicit the views of various sectors and communities. These hearings are still underway.

A third aspect of this phase of the Public Particpation Programme is Constitutional Public Meetings, where representatives of each of the Theme Committees attend community meetings throughout the country. Various structures and individuals have the opportunity through these meetings to make oral or written submissions to the CA. These meetings are recorded and transcribed, and the submissions forwarded to the relevant Theme Committee. The pilot phase of these public meetings has involved about 4,000 people.

The Constitutional Education Programme, scheduled to start in May, is intended to empower people to participate in the constitution process. It will focus on preparing communities for public meetings, explaining the importance of the constitutional process and how to get involved in it.