South African’s National Liberation Movement

Close this search box.


Volume 6 No.5

1 September 1995



  • No Governance in KwaZulu/Natal
  • Gaining Ground – Land Reform
  • Way Forward for KwaNdebele
  • Constitutional Proposals Refined
  • Abortion – Democratic Right to Choose
  • SA Unites Against Crime
  • The Role of Local Government
  • Policy Making Still a Priority in the ANC
  • SA Soccer Takes Off
  • Let’s Make it Happen Where We Live – Local Elections
  • Coming Up for Air – Community Radio
  • What do You Expect from Local Councils
  • Struggle for Olympic Gold
  • Music for the Zebra Nation

Regular Features

  • This Month…
  • Provincial Briefs
  • Editorial
  • Opinion
  • Letters
  • Media Watch
  • A Day in the Life of…
  • Umrabalo
  • Talking to Vula – Underground Communications Network
  • Mayibuye Study Series
  • Campaign Communications

This month….

A look at events which made the news in August

Demarcation I

The dispute over the division of Greater Johannesburg into metropolitan sub-structures was resolved by a special electoral court, which ruled that the city would be divided into four sub-structures – the model proposed by the ANC.

The court found that four sub-structures made more sense than three or seven structures, as proposed by other parties. The ANC welcomed the decision as an opportunity to rid the city of apartheid urban planning and to enable more equitable social development.

Demarcation II

The demarcation row in the Cape Town metropole was, by the end of August, before the Constitutional Court – and a decision was expected in the first week of September. The application by Western Cape premier Hernus Kriel and local government MEC Piet Marais to have two key proclamations by President Nelson Mandela on local government overturned, was earlier rejected by the Cape Town Supreme Court.

The proclamations, signed in June this year, overturned Marais’ two appointments to the provincial committee for local government – as well as its decisions to reject a delimitation board decision on the demarcation of Cape Town.

SADC summit in SA

The Southern African Development Community held its 15th annual summit in Johannesburg last month, strengthening its role in post-apartheid regional cooperation and coordination. The SADC leaders signed a Protocol on Shared Watercourse Systems; reached agreement on a southern African power pool; approved Mauritius’ application as a member; but failed to agree on the Association of Southern African States, a sector intended to deal with conflict resolution and peace-keeping in the region.

Education report proposes positive change

The Hunter Committee – established by education minister Sibusiso Bengu to review the organisation, governance and funding of schools – released its report last month to a barrage of emotive reaction. The report’s recommendations included that:

  • there only be two types of school, public and private, and that model C schools’ assets be returned to the state;
  • compulsory school fees be introduced, on a sliding scale determined by parent’s income;
  • new pupil:teacher ratios be phased in over five years;
  • there be a substantial increase in state spending on education.

Bengu said he hoped the government would formulate a new policy on the schools system in October, and that legislation would come before parliament early next year.

Madiba on the rally trail

ANC president Nelson Mandela took to the rally trail last month, with rallies in Alexandra, Brits and Welkom. Addressing communities’ concerns about crime, unemployment, illegal immigration, land and reconciliation, Mandela received enthusiastic welcomes wherever he went.

Not content with visiting his traditional constituencies, the president also paid a courtesy visit to Orania, a private whites-only settlement in the Northern Cape. Mandela had tea with Betsie Verwoerd, widow of the arch apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd, as gesture of reconciliation. Verwoerd said she was grateful to Mandela for his visit, and asked him to consider the volkstaat ideal with sympathy and wisdom.

SA women go to Beijing

A delegation of about 88 women left for the Fourth World Conference on Women being held in Beijing, China. Addressing them at the airport, President Nelson Mandela said the conference would make an important contribution towards ending male-dominated society.

Health minister Nkosazana Zuma was appointed by cabinet to head the official South African delegation, and deputy welfare minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi was appointed her deputy.

The conference was to run from 4 to 15 September, with a non-governmental forum running from 30 August to 8 September.

Bold new TV plan released

A bold new plan for the transformation of broadcasting in South Africa, which called for limits on cross-media ownership and an end to the SABC’s monopoly of the airwaves, was tabled in parliament last month.

The report, prepared by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), also recommended minimum requirements for local content to be phased in over three years; the closure of one of the SABC’s television channels; the sale of seven of its regional radio stations; and the upgrading of its nine african language radio stations.

Among the criticisms of the proposals were that they offered the SABC too long a period of ‘protectionism’ – private broadcasting licences would not be granted before 1997.

Economy growing

The government had already succeeded in some of its goals for higher economic growth, finance minister Chris Liebenberg told parliament this month. There had been significant foreign capital inflows, amounting to about R17 billion, he said. A growth rate of three percent was expected for this year.

Aids figures increase

Over eight percent of women aged between 20 and 24 at antenatal clinics in South Africa last year tested HIV positive. This was an increase from 6,06 percent in 1993, health minister Nkosazana Zuma said in parliament this month. The figure for women aged between 25 and 29 increased from 5,22 percent to 8,63 during the same period.

MPs fined for absence

The ANC stood to make about R10 000 from a single day in parliament, by fining all ANC MPs who didn’t attend the second reading Budget debate R100 each. The money would be deducted from the salaries of those MPs who had been absent without a legitimate excuse. Of the 252 ANC MPs, 119 had failed to attend the session.

No governance in KwaZulu/Natal

Dogged by hitsquad allegations and resistance to its secessionist constitution, the IFP’s provincial government is coming under increasing pressure to do its job, writes Steyn Speed.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s failure to govern KwaZulu/Natal effectively came under the spotlight this month – with ANC secretary general Cyril Ramaphosa calling on the people of the region to remove the IFP from power and the ANC provincial leadership calling for early elections in the province.

Speaking at the funeral of assassinated ANC leader Joseph Nduli, Ramaphosa said there was no governance in KwaZulu/Natal. He called on the people of the province to use their democratic prerogative to remove premier Frank Mdlalose and his party from power in the provincial government. Ramaphosa said Mdlalose had been unsuccessful in combatting crime and violence and hadn’t addressed unemployment and poverty in the province. While the IFP claimed to be the majority party in KwaZulu/Natal, it was responsible for destabilising both the province and its government, he said.

Secessionist constitution

In addition to growing criticism of its effectiveness in the provincial government, the IFP failed to gain sufficient support for its constitutional principles. The IFP’s attempts to steamroll a secessionist constitution through the provincial legislature were met with resistance from other parties in the constitutional committee. The ANC refused to participate in a vote in the committee on the constitutional principles, effectively preventing the IFP from gaining the support it needed to take the process forward. Commentators have suggested that the IFP’s ‘hardball’ strategy lost it the support of some of its potential allies.

The IFP tried last month also to bolster their constitutional principles by convening an ‘imbizo’, where IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi called for a ‘covenant’ of social solidarity in support of a Zulu kingdom. The ‘imbizo’ was criticised from a number of quarters – including the Zulu royal house – as being nothing more than an IFP rally, parading as a meeting of the Zulu nation.

Overshadowing the IFP’s call for divine intervention in the province, was a controversy over the failure of KwaZulu/Natal attorney general Tim McNally to act against senior IFP leaders implicated in hitsquad activity against the ANC. In passing sentence on three men convicted of hitsquad activities, Justice Nick van der Reyden called for a probe into allegations that IFP officials and KwaZulu/Natal police members were involved in the hitsquads.

Despite allegations during the trial that they were party to hitsquad activities, McNally declined to subpoena the officials to testify. The implicated officials included KwaZulu/Natal safety and security MEC Celani Mtetwa, social welfare MEC Prince Gideon Zulu and national MP Lindiwe Mbuyazi. Also implicated were acting KZP commissioner Petros Mzimela, former acting KZP commissioner Sipho Mathe and provincial legislative secretary Robert Mzimela.

Van der Reyden said that if a probe wasn’t launched, he would ensure the court transcripts reached the ministers of justice and safety and security, so a full investigation could be conducted. The three convicted killers claimed throughout the trial that their Esikhaweni hitsquad had been formed by prominent IFP leaders, politicians, community leaders and police officers, who had issued order for the assassination of ANC members.

The IFP has also been defending McNally against criticism from a number of other quarters, including the KwaZulu/Natal ANC, parliament and legal organisations. More than 70 lawyers, representing the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, Legal Resources Centre, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Black Lawyers Association and the Durban Community Law Centre, indicated they were preparing formal submissions of their concerns over McNally’s failure to prosecute hitsquad leaders and other criminals.

Meanwhile, an argument was developing in parliament over justice committee chairperson Johnny de Lange’s request to the country’s attorney generals to appear before the committee to account for specific prosecution decisions. The IFP’s Koos van der Merwe called on justice minister Dullah Omar to protect McNally from “accusations against his integrity”.

Tackling violence

The national government, however, has not been idle around the escalating level of violence in the province. In line with the national community safety plan, additional police and defence force personnel were deployed in the province, and four temporary base camps were set up in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and northern and southern KwaZulu/Natal. By the end of August, 600 police people and 400 SANDF troops had begun arriving in the province. Extra intelligence personnel and detectives would soon join them in an attempt to address the backlog of unsolved cases.

National police commissioner George Fivaz said he was sure this operation would succeed in curbing violence and crime. He said the deployments would ensure more police men and women were free to perform normal policing duties, which were being neglected because of political violence in the province.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in KwaZulu/Natal said it would launch a programme of mass action in September if action hadn’t been taken to stop the violence. Cosatu called on the government to speed up legislation enabling the police and the SANDF to confiscate dangerous weapons issued by the former KwaZulu bantustan government. Cosatu said it would support any central government initiatives aimed at reducing violence. It said it was concerned about the reluctance of investors to come to KwaZulu/Natal, especially in view of the province’s high illiteracy and unemployment.

Gaining Ground

Land reform is picking up pace with long term policy and pilot reform programmes going on side-by-side. Steyn Speed reports.

The government has “attacked land reform with vigour”, because the land question is at the heart of political liberation, land minister Derek Hanekom told MAYIBUYE recently.

He said the government had acted with determination on a sensitive issue, and should take credit for the progress that had been made. While people who owned land felt threatened by the government’s plans, landless people were “desperate”. It was clear the government had to act in the interests of the weak, he said.

“The resolution of the land question is central to reconciliation in this country,” Hanekom said.

A sensible land reform policy should enable land to perform all the functions people demanded of it: “For some people, it [land] provides a place they can call home. For others, it is a place which enables them to sustain themselves, producing their basic needs. For yet others, it is a means of producing goods, creating wealth and generating jobs.”

“There is no quick fix solution to the land problem, nor a uniform solution. Rather, we need a variety of policies which are designed to deal with specific aspects of the problem, while being mutually reinforcing,” he said.

The Department of Land Affairs has made much progress in addressing land reform. Pursuing a twin strategy of developing policy while starting to implement change has meant that the department has been able to use practical experience to influence its longer term policy. The provincial land pilot schemes are providing valuable lessons to be used when planning more widespread land reform.

The department has also been conscious to consult broadly in the development of policy, as demonstrated by the national land policy conference held in Johannesburg at the end of August. The conference, attended by about 800 representatives of rural communities countrywide, was convened to consider draft land policy principles which would form the basis of a land reform white paper. Hanekom said a green paper would be drafted out of the conference and, after further inputs, a white paper would be presented to cabinet early next year.

The extent of consultation reflects the intention of the department for its land reform programme to be demand-drive – for the priorities and processes of land reform to be determined by the people who need to benefit from land reform. Speaking at the land policy conference Hanekom said: “The people know best what they need. The tasks of government are to formulate policy, create a supportive legal framework and institutions, act as facilitator, act as part financier by providing grants and access to credit and to monitor the process and make appropriate adjustments.”

Communities had to organise themselves to identify and articulate their needs and demonstrate they could manage their land. In this non-governmental organisations played an important role, Hanekom said.

The land reform programme has three basic elements: restitution, redistribution and tenure reform.


The restitution of land to those who had their land taken away from them under apartheid has been the focus of much public attention. Hanekom said restitution was an issue of deep political significance: “It is not a coincidence that of all the injuries done by apartheid, it is only forced removals which the constitution explicitly requires the government to remedy.”

The interim constitution establishes a framework for the restitution of land rights in urban and rural land, instructing parliament to provide redress for victims dispossessed after 1913. The Restitution of Land Rights Act created a Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights and a Land Claims Court.

Despite a slow start to the restitution process, the Land Claims Court and the commission are now in place and some communities have already returned to their land. The Act gives communities three years to lodge claims, the court five years to finalise them and 10 years for the implementation of court orders.

According to the draft land policy principles document discussed at the policy conference, the costs of restitution are not yet known. It says the restitution commission is already facing an immense and time-consuming task of registering, prioritising and investigating claims made so far. It says the success of the programme depends on the cooperation of other government departments and provincial and local governments, “who could assist in conflict mediation, and the provision of services and the formulation of viable alternatives in some cases”.

The document says the department is committed to providing alternative solutions for people who fall outside the provisions of the act. It says such people could include people dispossessed before 19 June 1913, farm workers, labour tenants, landless tribes, people affected by betterment schemes and cases where provisos in title needs were cancelled.


The land redistribution programme operates from the premise that government has a responsibility to facilitate access to land for poor, landless and disadvantage people, according to the policy discussion document.

The redistribution programme recognises that different areas and different sorts of land may need different approaches. For this reason, pilot programmes have been launched in each of the provinces. While the parameters of the programme have been determined nationally, the implementation is being decided upon by the local people concerned, Hanekom said. Each area selected for the pilot programme contains a mix of land ownership patterns, he said.

He said such decentralisation would have a number of advantages: “Major decisions will be made by the people in the best position to make them – those directly affected. Solutions will be sensitive to the widely varying local conditions. And we will be able to learn a variety of lessons from different approaches taken by the different pilot areas. These will inform future land reform activities.”

The redistribution programme will make use of land available in the market, but will not rely on the market to deliver land. According to the conference discussion document the main participants in the programme will be people who have been denied access to land and decent living conditions, especially the landless poor and women.

“The government will not simply give away land. It will provide grants or subsidies to those in need to enable them to acquire state or privately-owned land. It will open up access to credit for those who are in a position to borrow,” Hanekom said.

There are presently about 1,7 million households in South Africa which want land, according to Michael Aliber of the Land and Agriculture Policy Centre. He told MAYIBUYE that on average these people felt they needed a little less than 3 hectares. This would mean that to service the present need, about seven percent of the total land mass would be needed, at a cost of between four and five billion rand. Over five years this would cost the central government about two to three percent of its total expenditure, according to Aliber.

The government plans to provide a settlement and land acquisition grant – similar to the urban-centred housing subsidy – for those involved in land purchases for agricultural or other forms of production, as well as people wishing to upgrade homesteads. It is proposed that the grant should be no more than R15 000, and that no household which receives the grant can’t qualify for a separate housing subsidy.

“Throughout this process, an underlying theme is to open up the land market, and to make it work. It is only when people have access to rural finance, access to markets and a fair share of state support services that one can talk of a market system at all,” Hanekom said.

Tenure reform

The aim of the tenure reform programme, which is closely linked to redistribution, is to recognise equally the variety of tenure systems that exist in South Africa. “Tenure reform will enable citizens to hold and enjoy the benefits of their land, their homes and other property without fear of arbitrary action by the state, private individuals or other institutions,” according to the land policy discussion document.

“It is common knowledge that security of tenure is a key to effective land reform and productive use of land. Where people are insecure, they will not invest their efforts or their material resources in the land. One of the consequences of apartheid was that it placed almost all black people in the position where they occupied someone else’s land… People were insecure and at risk of arbitrary dispossession, which only too often materialised,” Hanekom said.

While working on a new tenure policy, the government has proposed legislation – such as the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Bill – which will give people security while the reform process is developing. The government is proposing legislation to create a legal institution to make it possible for people to hold land communally in a way “which is democratic, non-discriminatory and secure”.

Derek Hanekom is determined for the land reform process to go ahead despite resistance from sectors like organised white agriculture: “An effective land reform programme will bring stability to one of the most disputed areas of our national life, enable land to perform its many functions and promote economic growth which brings benefits to all of us.”

Way forward for KwaNdebele

ANC and community leaders from Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaNdebele resolved last month to ask the Gauteng government to take over the administration of a number of functions in KwaNdebele currently under control of the Mpumalanga provincial government.

The decision was the result of calls by some KwaNdebele residents to be incorporated into Gauteng, which had been causing tension in the area. ANC NEC member Valli Moosa said the various representatives were unanimous that people living in that area had been disadvantaged regarding the administration of services like health, since a lot of KwaNdebele residents travelled to Gauteng each day to work.

Moosa said the proposed steps would answer people’s needs without having to change the constitution, which would require the cooperation of other parties. The two provinces would need to agree on how the administrative responsibilities would be transferred.

Gauteng ANC chairperson Tokyo Sexwale said whether the people of KwaNdebele became part of Gauteng or not, was not a material question. “The problems depend on how we address people’s basic needs,” he said.

Moosa said the ANC was obliged to find a solution which would work for the people of the area. “Our election promise of a better life for all must not be prejudiced by administrative arrangements,” he said

Constitutional proposals refined

The ANC National Executive met on 2-3 September to refine and develop the ANC’s positions on the final constitution of South Africa.

Among decisions taken by the NEC were that:

  • Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, which can be sung in Nguni, Sotho, Afrikaans and English versions, should be the national anthem.

  • The future electoral dispensation should combine both proportional representation and constituency-based representation.

  • There should be a president with both ceremonial and executive powers, and a deputy president.

  • The president would not hold office for more than two terms.

The NEC adopted the proposal to increase the collective powers of provincial legislatures in national law-making through a revised senate, or Council of Provinces.

The NEC decided that at a national level there should be a house of traditional leaders with the necessary power regarding matters of traditional authorities and customary law, without undermining the principles of democracy and human rights.

The NEC also agreed the constitution should provide for a national attorney-general.

Democratic right to choose

A number of organisations came out last month in support of a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Steyn Speed reports.

The ANC, Cosatu, SACP and four other organisations spoke out last month in support of a woman’s right to choose an abortion. In a joint media briefing the organisations gave their “unqualified support” to the recommendations of parliament’s ad hoc select committee on abortion and sterilisation.

The select committee recommended that abortion be made available to women on request up to 14 weeks after conception, and between 14 and 24 weeks under certain conditions. The committee also said abortion shouldn’t depend on the consent of a partner, or in the case of a minor on the consent of a parent.

The organisations, which included the Young Women’s Network, National Progressive Primary Health Care Network, Women’s Health Project and Planned Parenthood Association, said the committee’s recommendations reflected a humane, practical and reasoned approach to abortion.

“We are not proclaiming ourselves to be anti-life. Rather it is our deep-seated commitment to ensuring a better quality of life and dignity for all South Africans that motivates our position,” they said.

The organisations criticised people who opposed the right to choose, saying they represented a conservative minority. ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus said people who were ‘pro-life’ had been silent on other human rights issues, like violence against women or child abuse.

Carolus said all the ANC was asking was that the principles of democracy apply. “The ANC has decided that it is the right of all people to make their own decisions, and to live with their own conscience,” she said.

They said the proposed legislation would be an important part of uplifting the social conditions of all South Africans. Over 200 000 illegal abortions are performed in South Africa each year, with at least 420 of these women dying as the result of unsafe abortions.

“Unsafe abortion and the complications of sepsis, blocked tubes, excessive bleeding and death needs to be redressed within a framework of public health, not one of criminality and morality,” said Judi Fortuin from the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network (NPPHCN).

The cost in South Africa of treating unsafe abortions each year is over R18 million, about four times the cost of providing safe, legal abortions. “The most costly result [of unsafe abortions] is death,” said Fortuin, “which no country can afford.”

Carolus said abortion should be located in a preventative health care approach, whose objective was a reduction in the number of abortions performed. She said abortions hadn’t been illegal in the past, but the abortion laws had effectively restricted legal abortions to relatively affluent, mainly white, women.

“Of the 1 000 [legal] abortions performed each year, the majority were performed on white middle class women,” according to the Women’s Health Project.

The committee’s recommendations, which were only likely to come before parliament in the form of legislation next year, also highlighted the importance of making abortion accessible to the majority of South African women. The committee said a wider range of health personnel should be trained and authorised to perform abortions. It said additional health facilities should be provided and existing ones improved.

New Abortion Act

What the committee suggests

In order to inform the debate around abortion legislation, here are the recommendations of the ad hoc select committee on abortion and sterilisation for the main contents on a new abortion Act:

  • The Act should provide for abortion, on request of the woman, up to 14 weeks gestational age, and between 14 and 24 weeks under certain broadly specified conditions.
  • The current cumbersome, time-consuming and discriminatory procedures should be simplified. The requirement that two doctors should be consulted, should be removed. A wider range of health personnel should be trained and authorised to perform abortions, additional health facilities should be provided and existing one should be improved in order to increase access to women in areas where there are fewer doctors, if any.
  • Counselling should be available to all women requesting an abortion, but it should be non-directive. It should be non-mandatory, except in the case of minors.
  • The consent of the woman’s partner or husband should not be mandatory. In the case of a minor, she should be advised to consult parents or responsible family members or friends, but abortion should not be denied if she does not choose to consult.
  • Statistics should be collected by a central authority. The name and identity of the woman should not be passed on to the central statistics collection point.
  • Any doctor or health worker who has conscientious objections to taking part in the abortion procedure, should be free to recuse himself or herself. They must, however, refer the woman to others who are willing to take part in the procedure.
  • The issues of abortion and sterilisation should be clearly separated and should therefore not be dealt with in the same act.


SA unites against crime

The government’s community safety plan is uniting all sectors of society in fighting crime, and, significantly, is having some positive results, a correspondent reports.

Government, business and communities have united to curb crime and violence in South Africa, with the government’s community safety plan being widely welcomed. Already the plan has notched up a numbers of successes in some of the country’s crime hot spots.

The plan was given a significant boost in mid-August when the safety and security ministry announced plans to “immediately and substantially” increase the strength of the security forces operating in crime-ridden parts of the country. The decision was taken at a meeting of safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi, defence minister Joe Modise, police commissioner George Fivaz and defence force chief george Meiring. A statement from Mufamadi’s ministry said violent crimes were continuing in parts of KwaZulu/Natal, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng “with unacceptable frequency and gravity”.

The plans were welcomed by the ANC, among others, which described the plans as another demonstration of the government’s unwavering commitment to create a crime-free country.

“The high incidence of crime and violence remains the main obstacle to the implementation of the reconstruction and development programme, creating negative perceptions about the stability of our democracy and harming the positive image of our country abroad,” ANC spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said. Only firm and decisive action as demonstrated in the community safety plan could create a climate in which all citizens could enjoy their rights without fear of harassment by criminals, he said.

Gauteng safety and security MEC Jessie Duarte ascribed much of the success of the community safety plan to the higher visibility of the police: “Through the community safety plan, which has led to the arrest of more than 10 000 people in the space of a month, police [were] deployed where people could see them. Through road-blocks and house-to-house searches we made them visible, because visibility acts as a deterrent.” Duarte said the strategy had been successful and the results of the police’s efforts could be seen.

The campaign against crime would not end with the community safety plan, however. Briefing the national assembly committee on safety and security about proposals for a National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), ministry advisor Peter Gastrow said the government needed to get hard and tough, and not use ad hoc measures to combat crime in the long term. The objective of the NCPS, which is still being developed, is to mobilise and focus resources in all relevant national, provincial and local government departments, within NGOs, the private sector and in all communities to generally reduce the levels of crime and violence.

The private sector has also joined the fight against crime. More than 400 people attended in mid-August a one-day seminar on the Business Initiative against Corruption and Crime, which considered strategies to involve business in combatting crime, including ‘white-collar’ crime, and corruption. Addressing the seminar, President Nelson Mandela said crime could only be effectively dealt with in the context of successful socio-economic programmes. “But economic growth and programmes which will banish poverty are themselves subverted by crime and corruption,” he said.

Mandela said economic growth, sound governance and crime prevention were interdependent priorities, requiring concerted and simultaneous action. In this regard, he said, business could make an immense contribution to the prevention of crime.

How government works

The role of local government

With local elections less than two months away, Khensani Makhubela looks at the importance of local government and how it works.

Building democratic local government goes far beyond casting votes in an election or paying for services received. If local government is to be truly democratic and effective at meeting the needs of communities, then the communities themselves must get involved in local government affairs.

Local government is the level of government which people experience daily. It is the government structure which directly affect the daily lives of people. It provides for representation at local level for local communities and it is the most accessible tier of government for most voters.

As the third level of government, local government is comprised of democratically-elected representatives of the residents of a defined geographical area. It is vested with prescribed governmental authority which it may exercise relatively independently from the other two levels of government, but within policy frameworks established by national and provincial government.

Local government should be democratically elected, dynamic and autonomous; and have powers to decide on the day-to-day running of affairs. It must be financially viable in order to facilitate development and deliver effective and efficient services which will ensure an improvement in the quality of life of the people it governs.

The main functions of local government are delivery of essential services like water, sanitation, rubbish collection, cleansing, street lighting, fire protection, roads, electricity and clinics. There are other functions of local government that are less well known like physical planning, management of urbanisation and local economic development. In some countries even education is a local government function.

The South African interim constitution makes provision for three types of local government structures: metropolitan, urban and rural. Metropolitan areas include large cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. There are two types of structures in metro areas – Metropolitan Councils (TMCs) and local councils, known as metropolitan sub-structures (MSSs).

The task of the metro council is to coordinate planning and development, redistribute resources across the metropolitan area and deliver bulk services. The task of the local councils is to deliver services to the people in their respective areas.

Non-metropolitan cities like Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, East London, and hundreds of smaller towns throughout the country, will be run by local councils alone.

Rural areas in South Africa either had no local government structures or have been serviced inadequately by regional services councils. The ANC and non-governmental organisations working in rural areas have been promoting a two-tier model of local government in rural areas: district councils and local councils.

Provinces have different numbers of district councils, whose function will be to coordinate development and redistribute resources. For this election rural local councils will be established where possible. Provinces could also establish temporary structures called transitional representative councils. All these structures will be represented in the district council.

Local government should be elected democratically every four to five years. The electoral system includes both proportional and ward representation. On most of the above structures 40 percent of seats are for proportional representation and 60 percent for ward representation. Part of the compromise in the negotiations was an agreement that half of the ward seats will be allocated to historically african areas and half to historically non-african areas.

Local government also works with other levels of government to provide housing, education, welfare, health and safety and security. Many RDP programmes will be managed at a local government level. Fundamental changes in local government are therefore crucial for the reconstruction of South Africa.

Because the RDP depends on democracy and social stability in local communities, the management of institutional change and the delivery of municipal services must occur simultaneously. Restoring and upgrading services where they have collapsed and extending services to new areas are vital preconditions for the continued legitimising of the new local authorities.

The Masakhane Campaign is designed to create conditions for the RDP to be implemented at local level. The principle of payment for services is fundamental to the successful implementation of the RDP.

Apartheid left the new democratic government a total mess at the local level. The changes that are being undertaken now must create the conditions for local programmes to be implemented to improve living conditions. The active involvement of communities and their organisations is vital for these changes to be successful.

Provincial Briefs

Tackling voter education


Local government in elections are going ahead in Mpumalanga, formerly the Eastern Transvaal. The provincial government has assumed much of the responsibility for voter education. It has put aside R2 million for a communication and voter education task team to educate voters. The amount will be used by non-governmental organisations to run voter education workshops throughout the province.

The objectives of the communication plan are to encourage voters to check the voters roll; to inform them where voting station are; to explain the different tiers of government; to inform people of the structure of local government in the area; and to ensure that voters understand the election day procedure.

Independent organisations will train in all local council areas and community structures. Workshops will also be held in the industry and mining sectors. A communications company has been contracted to do road shows and street theatre about voter education.

Free State

The Voter Education and Election Training Unit (Veetu) in the Free State held its first voter education workshop, at Vista University in Welkom on 13 August. Each ANC branch was represented by five delegates. It is expected that those five people should in turn form voter education and canvassing task teams in their respective areas. So far 400 people have been trained to conduct voter education. Another voter education workshop was held in late August to accommodate branches that did not attend the first workshop.

Northern Cape

Two separate voter education workshops in the Northern Cape province, organised by Veetu, were held in August. More than 700 delegates attended the workshops. The objectives of these workshops were to sensitise comrades around the significance of the local government elections and entrust them with the task of imparting this knowledge to the branches. A pamphlet encouraging people to vote was issued last month.

The Provincial Election Team has drafted an intensive two week programme for voter education. This includes people’s forums, door-to-door visits, house meetings, blitzes and a massive pamphlet drive. The ANC provincial leadership, MPs and MECs are also deployed to do voter education and campaigning for the local government elections. This will culminate with the launching of our provincial elections campaign in September.

The Northern Cape is also working on a strategy to ensure that they get access to farm workers. Farmers are still very arrogant and refuse to permit people to do voter education on their farms.


The IFP in KwaZulu/Natal is dragging its heels in allowing local government elections to take place in areas perceived as ANC strongholds. The ANC has managed to establish 22 local election teams out of 59 local councils.

The uncertainty of holding elections in the province in November is largely due to IFP’s alliance with the National Party and PAC, which is delaying the demarcation of the Durban metropolitan sub-structures; the incorporation of areas in certain TLCs; and the delimitation of wards.

The ANC in the province has managed to hold two provincial workshops. A programme has been drawn to hold workshops in each local council area. Some of the branches have started voter education programmes. People’s Forums have been held in particular rural areas.

North West

Two hundred and eighty nine activists in the North West were trained to do branch voter education. They will concentrate on teaching people in villages and those who have little access to radio, television or newspapers.

The people trained are expected to do voter education and canvassing in their areas – especially in the rural areas where many people still don’t understand why they should vote.

Western Cape

The Western Cape has deployed full time activists to do public voter education. They are concentrating on reaching and teaching farmers and rural people. They have also trained about 180 activists, who are waiting to be deployed.

Veetu has held a number of workshops. A programme has been drawn up to hold workshops in each local council area.


Gauteng has started to do mass voter education. They have deployed activists to work full time to reach rural and informal settlements. The province’s campaign will include people’s forums, door-to-door visits, house meetings and blitzes.

The province will be working with non-governmental organisations, churches and all community organisations. They are planning to reach millions of voters through canvassing, mock elections and workshops.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape has trained more than one thousand voter educators and supplied them with voting materials. The provincial election task team has agreed to also employ five hundred voter educators full time to do non-partisan voter education.

The province will be working hand in hand with NGOs, churches and community organisations.

Northern Province

The Northern province has trained about four hundred activists to do voter education. The team has been supplied with ballot papers and pamphlets. The province has managed to hold some workshops.

Some branches have started voter education programmes by setting up tables. The provincial leadership, MPs and MECs are also deployed to do voter education and campaigning.

Policy making still a priority in ANC

The ANC’s policy department is still central to the development and implementation of ANC policy. Khensani Makhubela reports.

The development of ANC policy is an ongoing process. The RDP/Policy Department, situated at ANC headquarters, was established in September last year to facilitate the development and coordinate the implementation of ANC policy.

It is the responsibility of the department to maintain strong links with ANC structures in the provinces, parliament and in government. This involves bringing together people deployed in various areas into forums where ANC approaches to particular issues can be developed.

The department is divided into various sections: policy; human development and social needs; economics; and RDP. The policy section is charged with the ongoing development of ANC policy; monitoring emerging policy positions outside the organisation; monitoring the implementation of the RDP; investigating the translation of policy into programmes and priorities for implementation by government; and linking up with ANC constitutional structures.

The human development and social needs section is involved in monitoring policy in the areas of education, health, human resource development, arts and culture, welfare, land, food, security and housing. It links with appropriate policy and academic institutions.

The section also services the policy needs of ANC MPs and cabinet ministers; contracts outside research work to appropriate institutions; ensures that ANC departments receive all relevant papers and information developed in the policy process; and links up with policy work being done in MDM formations.

The economics unit covers macro economics; trade and industry policy; small, medium and micro enterprises; provincial economic development; international economic trends; minerals and energy; job creation and public finance.

The RDP section works closely with the ANC organising department to ensure the active participation of ANC and MDM structures in the RDP process. This entails convening the MDM coordinating committee and the RDP Councils; provide input into government structures dealing with the RDP; refining ANC perspectives on development and implementation strategies; monitoring government implementation of the RDP and developing appropriate responses; and linking other sections in the department to the overall processes around the RDP.

One of the challenges facing the department is that it is scattered across different sectors and it is therefore difficult to ensure proper coordination. One of the functions of the department is to ensure that the ANC speaks with one voice on matters of policy – that people in government and the organisation do not contradict each other.

SA soccer takes off

As South Africa prepares to host the Africa Cup of Nations soccer competition next year, the development of the sport in the country is gaining momentum. David Adams reports.

South African soccer is the sport of the people, and has been since the game was introduced to the country during the late nineteenth century. Today it is the country’s single most popular sport. It has always enjoyed a following considerably wider than any other popular sport in the country.

Because much of this support resided among members of black communities, however, soccer never achieved the development input or status it deserved from national or provincial sports administrators. This was particularly so during the apartheid years, when the game was segregated along racial lines. Soccer was one of the first sporting codes which become fully integrated. It was unified in 1992, when the disparate bodies of the apartheid era were affiliated under the South African Football Association (Safa) banner. The association – and South African soccer – has come a long way in a few years. Who would have thought that our teams would be holding their own and beating sides of international repute such as Argentina, Leeds United or Benefica?

The South African Football Association represents 25 provincial associations and two professional leagues, the National Soccer League (NSL) and the Professional Soccer League (PSL). Safa is funded through sponsorships and five percent of all soccer gate takings. Sixty percent of these takings is ploughed back into its member associations and clubs. Besides administering the game in accordance with the statutes of Fifa, the international football body, one of the greatest challenges Safa faces is the development of the game among millions of players at grassroots level. This entails a well developed and executed development programme.

“Such a programme should and must be aimed at developing our players to their fullest potential. We are developing short and long term plans that will lift the level of our soccer to great international heights. There is a wealth of untapped talent in South Africa that needs to be unearthed through effective planning, organisation and leadership,” says Safa executive president Solomon ‘Stix’ Morewa.

The Safa development strategy encompasses a youth development programme, school coaching schemes, international youth camps and adult training. They have established a department of coaching and training and have recently appointed Ted Dumitru as national coaching director. The second phase of an ambitious soccer coaching development programme, which is being sponsored by Sasol, was launched in earnest in July. Morewa says that the development programme is designed to reach and benefit all players from grassroots level upwards.

“In order to achieve our aims we have to get our coaching right and we have set about revolutionising South African soccer through a three year ‘coaching the coaches’ programme. This programme, which is also being sponsored by Sasol for R2 million, will involve all 24 provincial coaching associations and [will] establish a cohesive coaching structure that will eventually reach all 25 000 clubs in the country. It which will be completed by 1997 through accreditation of all coaches.

Besides its development programme Safa has achieved a great deal for soccer since 1992. It has negotiated sponsorships for each of the Fifa recognised age groups and the senior National team. Other sponsors who have invested in specific leagues and events include Castle, Caltex, Smirnoff, Sparletta, BobSave, The Maize Board and Transnet. Since soccer was integrated under SAFA, the NSL has grown to be the largest sport organisation in southern Africa.

Through its 500 professional and club affiliates the NSL controls over 10 000 professional soccer players. These clubs are organised into three divisions in order to enhance competition and facilitate the efficient administration of the game. NSL games attract five million spectators on average every season, with over 400 000 watching the games on TV each week. Despite the progress made in the development of the game there is still a glaring shortage of quality soccer facilities in predominantly black areas. There are over 500 000 registered players in South Africa, of which 85 percent are black.

Morewa says that “in term of development, soccer is fast becoming a role model for the other sports in the country. Now that we have rejoined the international community, the aspirations of our youth have been heightened by the huge opportunities that a successful career in soccer holds”.

“The immediate future for soccer is exciting and Safa is extremely proud and honoured to be hosting the 20th edition of the African Cup of Nations. We have made remarkable progress since Africa’s father, Nelson Mandela’s release from jail enabled both Fifa and CAF to readmit us to the world family of football in 1992 after a sad period of 27 years in the cold. Since our return to international football, South Africa has played 25 matches – winning 10, drawing eight and losing seven. Not a bad record when one considers that South Africa has only been back in the fold for less than three years. We are confident that South Africa can go all the way next year, both on and off the field.

“Both Africa and the rest of the world will be watching, and I am confident that by successfully hosting the Rugby World Cup and the African Cup of Nations within seven months of each other, we will convince the world that South Africa is ready to host bigger things in the form of the soccer world cup and the olympics. Our infrastructure, facilities and modern telecommunications systems mean we are able to provide the best service to players, the media and fans,” says Morewa.

The four host stadiums – FNB Stadium (Johannesburg),which will host the opening ceremony and the final, Boet Erasmus Stadium (Port Elizabeth), Kings Park Stadium (Durban) and the Free State Rugby Stadium (Bloemfontein) – rate among the finest in the world.

“Safa not only wants to host the finest Africa Cup of Nations ever, we want to send a strong message to Fifa that Africa is well on its way to confidently bid for future world cup finals. We are determined that South Africa will be the proud African nation to host the first finals on African soil. What a day that will be for our beloved Africa,” says Morewa.

Let’s make it happen where we live

The ANC launched its local elections campaign last month, urging cooperation between ANC councillors and communities in bringing about a better life. Steyn Speed reports.

The African National Congress (ANC) launched its local government elections manifesto in Alexandra last month, with a clear message to communities across South Africa: together we can make the RDP work at a local level.

In front of a large banner bearing the ANC election message – A better life: Let’s make it happen where we live – ANC president Nelson Mandela officially launched the national ANC election campaign.

Mandela said the ANC had been working hard since the elections of April 1994 to introduce the changes people voted for. He said the ANC had brought about more change in 15 months than the National Party had in 45 years.

Mandela said the ANC-led government of national unity had introduced free health care for pregnant women and young children; established school feeding schemes; brought water and electricity to communities that previously did not have any; and had begun finding ways of getting land for rural communities. He said that the country had “at last” got a single education system: “We are phasing in free education and our children are back in their classrooms”. For the first time in years there was real economic growth, he said.

“We are proud of our achievements. But the ANC is honest enough to acknowledge that more could have been done. The local government elections give us the chance to put this right,” Mandela said.

Mandela said the ANC would work together with communities for change. “The ANC recognises that communities are ready to take control over their own lives, and share with government the responsibility for bringing about change and managing their daily lives. ANC councillors will be your partners in change,” he said.

The ANC manifesto said that through democratic local councils, communities would be able to make their areas better places to live in. “Through them [democratic local councils] we will decide on delivery of water to our houses; where new electricity supplies and sanitation will be put in; where streets will be laid; where schools, clinics and houses will be built; and how rubbish will be removed from streets and public areas.

“They [democratic local councils] will make sure that there is a system of fair rents and services for everyone. Together we can break down the barriers that have kept us apart for so long and build truly South African communities in the cities, towns and villages,” the manifesto said.

The manifesto also stressed what the ANC could achieve through local government in rural areas. It said that dealing with rural people’s basic needs would be done with sensitivity for local traditions and structures.

“With ANC representatives they [rural communities] will play a critical role in programmes to supply water and electricity, to avail land for farming, to create jobs and run community based development programmes,” it said.

The manifesto also said that rural women, “silent workers for decades and the back-bone of their communities”, would for the first time gain the rightful place as local government representatives.

“The ANC’s history of grassroots community involvement, our track record of bringing people together and working with them, and our vision of a better life for all, will be our guiding principles as we work in local government,” the manifesto said.

The manifesto also stressed the quality of ANC local government candidates: “ANC candidates are people from you area, who have always worked and sacrificed for a better life for the people in your community… Our candidates are representatives of the people. They come from all walks of life and bring a wide range of skills and experience to local government. We have more women candidates than any other party, because we recognise that women are important in building a better community.”

ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus said that in the selection of its candidates, the ANC once more led the country. “We made sure that we elected people our communities could trust. People who understand the complexities of our communities. We chose people who understand non-racialism and democracy,” she said.

Carolus said the ANC would be fielding about 12 000 candidates in over 700 local government elections. “You will give communities direct access to the process of government,” she told the candidates.

Most of SA will vote on 1 November

Elections will go ahead on 1 November for most local councils in South Africa. The rest of the elections will have to be held before the end of March 1996, according to a cabinet decision. Councils which felt unable to hold elections on 1 November, had to apply by the end of August for a postponement.

Speaking at the launch of the ANC manifesto, ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus stressed the importance of local government. She said the absence of democratic local government was the major obstacle in the delivery of the RDP: “Every day we don’t have democratic local government, we’re holding services back from our people.”

She said the local government elections would “reaffirm and consolidate the democracy we’ve fought so hard for”. She said the real part of democracy was now being launched.

With the exception of KwaZulu/Natal and the Western Cape, local authorities around the country were sticking to deadlines in preparation for the election, according to the Institute for a Democratic South Africa (Idasa).

The postponement of the election in the greater Johannesburg metropolitan area was averted when a demarcation dispute was referred to a special electoral court. The court ruled in favour of the demarcation model proposed by the ANC.

“The ANC has always maintained that the demarcation model chosen by the court is the most suitable one for ensuring effective government and representation, while at the same time addressing the legacy of apartheid urban development,” the ANC said in response to the ruling.

Demarcation disputes in the Cape Town and Durban metropolitan areas continued, however, ruling out the possibility of elections being held there on time. The Cape Town dispute was by late August before the constitutional court, where the Western Cape government was challenging the constitutionality of the president’s power to issue certain proclamations on local government.

It appeared by the end of August, however, that the Cape Town dispute would not prevent elections from going ahead in the other council areas in the Western Cape. There was still no clarity by the end of August how many local councils in KwaZulu/Natal would be able to hold elections.

Carolus urged politicians in the Western Cape and KwaZulu/Natal to let the elections happen as soon as possible: “We can’t let petty political fights stand in the way of people who don’t have roofs over their heads.”

But five million still need to register

The over five million eligible voters who have not yet registered, can still register between 11 and 25 September. The special two week period will allow all people who aren’t the voters roll in their area, the chance to register as voters. Only if they are registered will they be able to vote in the local government elections on 1 November.

At the moment only 75 percent of the estimated 23 million eligible voters have registered. If the elections are going to be successful – and local government legitimate – these figures need to be a lot high.

Certain areas in the country have registration figures far below the national average. The low registration figures in these areas could have a decisive impact on the results in those areas. Provinces that have low figures are KwaZulu/Natal, with 66 percent, and Mpumalanga – formerly Eastern Transvaal – with 67 percent. All other provinces are over 70 percent. The Western Cape, Northern Province and Northern Cape are all over 80 percent.

Yet even some of the better provinces, there are key councils where registration levels are particularly worrying. Places like Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and East London show poor voter registration, particularly among black voters. Unless voter registration improves in these areas, the local councils could remain unrepresentative and illegitimate.

The ANC will therefore be going on a concerted campaign to get people in these areas to vote during the special two week period in September.

Mayibuye Editorial – Vol.6 No.5 September 1995

Fighting talk

With less than two months to the local government elections, the amount of mud- slinging and back-biting between political parties and candidates is likely to increase. Anyone who reads a newspaper, listens to the radio or watches television would probably argue that the acrimonious war of words have continued largely uninterrupted since the last election. It is in the nature of politics to criticise one’s opponents as often as possible, or necessary.

Yet there has been, in recent weeks, a marked increase in the number of attacks on parties by other parties. Almost every time a National Party leader stands up to speak, he – for it is almost certainly always a ‘he’ – has a long list of accusations to throw at the ANC. And it is not only the NP who target the ANC. Most other parties regard the ANC as fair game, not necessarily because they ANC deserves criticism, but because the ANC is the leading force in the government of national unity. And, we should add, the only party doing anything constructive in government.

The accusations levelled against the ANC are numerous. Yet behind each of these criticisms lie many of the prejudices and fears which were uppermost among the concerns of all-white politics. The same fears which were expressed in the old South Africa about majority rule and black empowerment are being reformulated for the new South Africa.

One of the favourite NP lines is that the programme of affirmative action being pursued by the ANC is harmful to coloureds, indians and whites. We can’t say for sure which affirmative action programme the NP is talking about.

Affirmative action

The only affirmative action programme which the ANC has embarked on is the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which through various means aims to uplift the sections of society which have been exposed to apartheid deprivation. The level of ‘assistance’ is directly proportional to the level of deprivation suffered, so that all South Africans can interact on an equal footing. The claims that coloureds and indians – as part of the historically oppressed community – are losing out because of the RDP, ring hollow. They are little more than attempts by the NP to convince minority communities that the liberation of the african majority spells doom for everyone else. The NP is inciting racial fear in order to get votes.

RDP delivery

The NP’s election manifesto accuses the ANC of failing to deliver on the RDP. Now the NP promises to make ‘turn the RDP tap on’. This comes from the same people who, at the last election, told us that the RDP was unrealistic and unworkable. Now that the RDP has begun to show some results, they have adopted it as their plan.

Yet the RDP remains the people’s plan. And its the ANC, elected by the people, who have made a substantial start in implementing the RDP. Only the ANC have the political will, the capacity and the people to make the RDP work together with local communities.


Many opposition parties are trying to present the ANC as obsessed with accumulating power. It was a tactic they tried in the last election, and it is a tactic they are using in the constitutional debate. It was the same argument they used during multi-party negotiations to try prevent majority rule – that you can’t allow one person-one vote, because then the ANC will become the majority. In the constitutional debate they are saying that you can’t allow the national government to have any power because the ANC will be the national government. And they are likely to use the same argument in local elections: ‘Don’t vote for the ANC, because then they’ll be the majority in local government too’.

These parties are ignoring the fundamental principles of democracy – that people have a right to choose the party which they believe will secure the best future for them and their community. If they choose the ANC, then they have not contributed to the demise of multi-party democracy – as some people would have us believe – rather they have chosen the organisation with the best plan for making the vision of a better life a reality in each and every community in South Africa.


We need a fresh provincial poll

KwaZulu/Natal badly needs a new election, says ANC MPL Dumisani Makhaye.

Political parties that fraudulently assume political office, and therefore govern people who did not vote them into office in the first place have no moral obligation to be the servants of the people. They misgovern as they govern and they govern as they misgovern. To obscure their failure to govern, such parties create crises and blame them on others.

This is the case with the IFP in KwaZulu/Natal. Before April 27 the people in all other bantustans had settled their scores with their bantustan dictators. The IFP is the only bantustan party that did not only survive the anti-bantustan people’s onslaught but actually emerged in last year’s elections as the ruling party of KwaZulu/Natal.

As the tale of the NP government dirty tricks campaign against the ANC is being told, it emerges that the IFP had long ago ceased to be an independent political party. It had become an extension of the apartheid covert security forces. To dislodge the IFP you had first to dislodge the apartheid security forces.

From the very beginning it became clear that the IFP had no intention to deliver to the people of KwaZulu/Natal. The IFP saw the KZN government not as an instrument to deliver to the people but as a bridgehead to “rise and resist” the Government of National Unity. To do this it had to find a problem to every solution. The ANC in KwaZulu/Natal took a conscious and yet painful decision not to challenge in court the results of the elections even though it had a mass of evidence, including the report of the IEC in Northern Natal, in its favour.

The IFP, in allocating cabinet portfolios among itself, the ANC and the NP, first consulted these parties. But with the intervention of Chief Buthelezi the portfolios given to the ANC were unilaterally withdrawn by Premier Mdlalose. The IFP did agree to rediscuss the location of cabinet portfolios and that question was settled.

There was a question of the capital of KwaZulu/Natal. Both the ANC and the IFP agreed that they should not politicise this question. They agreed on the appointment of a commission, which after receiving evidence from various sections of the community would recommend the interim seat of parliament. It was also agreed that the final decision of the location of the capital would be taken by the people themselves in a referendum. It was Chief Buthelezi, who despite the IFP/ANC agreement, continued to politicise and emotionalise this question by demanding that Ulundi be the capital.

Only a party that did not want stability in its province would have violently prevented the State President from attending the King Shaka Day Celebrations in September last year. Seeing that Buthelezi had whipped up emotions on this question, King Zwelithini summoned President Mandela, Chief Buthelezi and Premier Mdlalose with his cabinet to the Royal House of Enyokeni. These were the only people invited by the King. Instead, the IFP bussed school children, its provincial caucus members and amabutho to Enyokeni. Both the president’s helicopter and the royal palace were attacked in front of Chief Buthelezi. To save the situation, President Mandela decided not to attend the celebrations last year. The IFP, in defiance of the king, gathered around the grave of King Shaka. In term of Zulu protocol and custom only wizards can be found around the grave in the absence of the descendants of the deceased.

At a national level the IFP – as the party that for almost twenty years religiously refused to boycott apartheid structures – decided to boycott the democratically elected Constitutional Assembly. From where is it going to argue for its federal of confederal positions?

The KZN government is being effectively replaced by the House of Traditional Leaders, of which Buthelezi is the chairperson, and Iso Le Sizwe, an association of members of the former KwaZulu bantustan parliament. They can take executive decisions such as calling izimbizo (gatherings) at the expense of all the taxpayers without the sanction of the KZN government.

All of a sudden Premier Mdlalose unilaterally came up with a mysterious letterhead with the words “The Government of the Kingdom of Kwa-Zulu Natal”. Mdlalose has thus effectively changed the name of the province. By so doing Mdlalose has undermined the work of the provincial constitutional affairs committee and legislature which are both dominated by the IFP. Mdlalose then unilaterally withdrew from the inter-governmental forum. In these forums hard bargaining on matters like budgets and extra funding for provinces and their various departments takes place. KwaZulu/Natal is no longer represented.

KwaZulu/Natal is the only province that has two ministers of local government and elections. Mr Peter Miller is responsible for local government in the former white areas and some surrounding black spots. Chief Nyanga Ngubane is responsible, outside the constitution, for the ‘bantu own affairs’. As a result there have been delay after delay in implementing decisions necessary to have free and fair local government elections.

Not even the Conservative Party nor the AWB saw it fit that on Freedom Day they would organise rallies to mourn the death of apartheid as the IFP did. There is the question of provincial powers as they appear in the Interim Constitution. The IFP complains that provinces have not yet received all the powers. This is not true. On day one of freedom all provinces had all powers that are in the constitution. For proper governance, laws of the former apartheid government and various bantustans became the property of the GNU. Necessary laws were then assigned to the provinces and KZN has been assigned more laws than any other province. So far, more that 90 provinces of those laws have been assigned to provinces to give effect to their powers. Yet KZN is failing to use even the laws already assigned to it.

There is the problem of international mediation. The ball is in the KZN legislature’s court to produce a provincial constitution and the outstanding issues emanating from there must be addressed by way of international mediation. That constitution is not forthcoming. It took the IFP six months to produce a parliamentary resolution to form the Constitutional Affairs Committee and thereafter about four months to provide the name of its technical adviser. The IFP is already complaining about the panel of advisers, including its own choice.

Surely, the people of KwaZulu/Natal still have to settle their score with their former bantustan dictators to achieve peace, development and good governance. The KZN ANC leadership’s initiative concerning the fresh provincial polls is the only peaceful way of achieving progress. It may be costly but the cost of the provincial polls must be weighed against the damage that will be caused by the IFP mismanagement of the province in the next four years.


We are losing support

I am writing this letter under pressure. Firstly, I am living in a rural area. During the 1994 general elections I was among the African National Congress activists campaigning for the ANC. I was a hundred percent sure the ANC was going to win the election. This optimism emanated from the understanding of ANC policies and its manifesto.

Now the people in my area are pressurising us and want to see all what we have said. In the Buhlomyanga area, there is no clinic. no running water, no high school and the roads are still bad. The students of this area travel 25 kilometres from this area to reach high schools. A student travels 50km a day.

The people of this area have lost confidence in the ANC. Now we are left with few members of the organisation, and we are the area that formed the Dawukeni branch of the ANC. The offices are here at Buhlomyanga, and we, the members of the executive, used to visit other locations which are part of the branch. People there ask questions like: “Where are the clinics, water, good roads?”. Then we fail to answer because we have had no report from the government.

At this time of the year we thought that people would see some of these things. In this area it is true that we as the ANC are losing support.

Wonga Ndimithi,

Coming up for air

Community radio is on the air. But, writes David Adams, the community radio sector has a long way to go.

Although many community radio stations are on the air legally for the first time, the process has not been easy – nor are all the problems ironed out. Much of the progress made so far is due to the work of the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF). And it is the NCRF which will have to take a lead in taking community radio further.


The changes in South African broadcasting law has largely been the result of pressure initiated and sustained by the democratic movement. The ‘Jabulani – Freedom of the Airwaves’ conference held in Amsterdam in August 1991, helped consolidate the position of democratic organisations in the country. The Jabulani conference was followed by a number of similar conferences held in South Africa during the early 90s. A technical committee was established during multi-party negotiations, which led to the formation of the Independent Media Commission, the Independent Broadcasting Act of October 1993 and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

The IBA was charged with regulating broadcasting activities in the public interest and to promote the development of public, private and community broadcasting services responsive to the needs of the public. Hence broadcasting in South Africa is to be regulated for diversity in a three tier system. Community broadcasting is regarded as equally as important as public and private broadcasting.

The IBA has issued about 79 temporary community radio licences. Sixteen have been given to affiliates of the NCRF, and a large number to either white community stations or religious or Afrikaner stations. With the NCRF negotiating on behalf of its affiliates for community radio stations, it has also been playing a leading role in drawing up the regulations concerning the issuing of temporary community broadcasting licences. The NCRF has also been vocal in emphasising the interests of communities over commercial interests.

Weaknesses of the IBA

Although at the forefront of democratising our airwaves, the IBA has a number of weaknesses:

  • The ‘open’ definition of a community station creates confusion as to whether stations are in fact owned and controlled by the community, participatory and run by the community. This has led to a number of licences being issued to what media activists would refer to as ‘pseudo-community radio stations’.
  • A large number of religious community licences have been issued at the expense of the broader community needs and different perspectives.
  • A large number of ethnic-based stations have been issued with licences – in a society which is recovering from racial division and trying to build a united nation.
  • Nothing binds the IBA to ensure the viability of community radio stations, other than just merely supporting their development. This will lead to a number of licensed community radio stations dying a ‘natural death’ due to the lack of supportive means and structures to ensure their viability.

State of community radio stations

The South African broadcasting industry has grown substantially, with a number of new broadcasters. These are the community broadcasters, which aim to be the ‘voice of the voiceless’. The NCRF represents radio stations from historically disadvantaged communities in rural areas, townships and some towns. These stations are aimed at producing development oriented programmes and to contribute to popular participation in the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

They are negotiating with different NGOs to run programmes produced by these organisations. Community radio can become the most accessible means of communicating in a society like ours, with such a high rate of illiteracy. It is also relatively cheap for the consumer, as opposed, for example, to buying a newspaper on a daily basis.

The NCRF is negotiating with the South African Communication Service to use community radio to communicate government activities, without interfering with the editorial policies of the stations. This is aimed at ensuring that grassroots communities are aware of the implementation of the RDP, and can participate in driving the process.

These community radio stations have also struck a deal with the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMO) to get some discounts in paying for music rights. This will enable stations to contribute to the development of local music, which has for so long has been ‘dominated’ by foreign music. Community radio stations have committed themselves to local content and have made submissions to the IBA for regulation of local content.

Apart from stations that are geographically situated, there are also stations defined through communities of interest, like the Rural Women’s Radio Station in Moutse (Eastern Transvaal), Takalani Youth radio (Aliwal North), Radio CDC (a workers interest radio station), Durban Youth Radio, Channel Med (Medunsa University), TNT (student radio in Soshanguve) and Turf radio (University of the North). Geographically based stations include Soweto Community Radio, Alexandra Community Radio, Bush Radio (Western Cape), Radio Zibonele (Khayelitsha) and Radiocom (KwaZulu/Natal).

The NCRF has been involved in running training programmes, lobbying the state and the IBA and fundraising for community radio stations. At present there are four Australian Community Radio workers who are deployed by the NCRF at Moutse, Soweto, Khayelitsha and Soshanguve to assist these projects.

Licensed Radio Stations

Alex FM – 89.1 FM
Radio Atlantis – 107.9 FM
Radio BBT – 104.1 MHz
Bush Radio – 89.5 FM
Channelmed – 97.0 FM
Durban Youth Radio
Radio Maritzburg – 107.6 FM
Soshanguve Community Radio – 93.0 FM
Soweto Community Radio – 105.8 FM
Radio Turf – 103.8 FM
Radio Zibonele – 98.0 FM
Radio stations licences not allocated yet

Wintersveldt Community Radio
Radio Teemang
Radio Mafisa
Radio stations applications under consideration

Audiowaves former Radio Freedom
Audwax Radio
Baberton Community Radio
Bushbuckridge Radio
East Rand Story FM
Grahamstown Radio
Radio Karoo
Radio Limpopo
Nuts Radio
Pentech Radio
Sechaba Community Radio
Takalani Community Radio
Radio TNT
Unitra Radio
Umlazi Peace Radio
UWC Radio
Rural Women’s Movement
West Rand Community Radio

Media Watch

What’s news?

Each day, journalists and editors need to make decisions about what headlines to use, what to put in the first paragraph, what to put on the front page, etc. We are told these decisions are made according to a standard known as ‘newsworthiness’. A particular story’s newsworthiness determines the prominence it receives in a newspaper or broadcast. The most newsworthy part of that story is then used for the introduction and the headline.

It seems that a rule of thumb in South African media about what makes a story about the ANC newsworthy is the extent to which it displays the organisation in a bad light.

Take for example, the coverage of the launch of the ANC manifesto. The New Nation story on the ANC local election manifesto had the headline, “ANC manifesto admits failure to deliver”. The actually story reflected a more balanced view of what the key features of the manifesto were. Yet some sub-editor, obviously deciding that the admission of the failure to deliver was more newsworthy, missed the main news point of the story – that the ANC envisaged a partnership between communities and its candidates in making the RDP work. Not only did the headline miss the point, but it was inaccurate. The ANC manifesto said that progress was slow in some areas; it did not say there had been a failure to deliver.

SABC TV news similarly missed the point. Their coverage started off saying that the ANC’s election manifesto was not much different from last year’s promises – the implication being that no progress had been made in the interim. The TV report failed to comprehend the essential differences between national and local elections. It failed to portray how the ANC local manifesto was consistent with the national manifesto, and how the ANC viewed local government elections as an essential component in achieving some of the things outlined in the national manifesto.

It seems that the ANC-led government’s success in delivering is not nearly as newsworthy as the government’s failure to deliver. The SABC coverage of President Nelson Mandela’s visit to Alexandra is another example of this. SABC TV interviewed one young person who said, even before the president spoke, that the president would only be making empty promises. At the end of the news item the same young person said that Mandela’s visit had not brought any houses, clinics, good roads, etc. This was the news point of the story.

Yet their reasons for using a single person to represent the residents of Alexandra is highly questionable. There was no attempt to ascertain whether the person’s views reflected those of Alex residents or not. In fact, the reception which the president got in Alex would indicate that the SABC got the news point all wrong.

In their attempt to promote what they consider ‘newsworthy’ about the ANC, the media are failing to reflect the organisation or events in the country in a balanced light.

On the frontline

A day in the life of Audrey Motlhamme

“DIP good day, good morning may I help you?” That is Audrey Motlhamme, the receptionist on the frontline of the ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity (DIP). Motlhamme’s work is very important to a department which is one of the most important and sensitive in the organisation. She is the person on the front desk; the first person to be seen by visitors; and the first person to talk to on the phone.

The DIP has the function of disseminating information within the organisation, as well as reaching out to the wider community. The ANC outside government needs to maintain a distinct organisational profile – which is why Audrey is kept so busy. People from all walks of life are able to get in touch with the ANC through this department and find out what the ANC thinks on issues and events.

The department’s reception is very busy – our interview was constantly disturbed by phone calls and visitors. But that did not stop Motlhamme from telling me about her work.

“I like working with people. I like to listen to their questions and problems and I always make sure that everybody that phones or visits our department is helped by the relevant people. I am very happy to be in this department because I meet people from all over the world and I deal with very important information of the organisation,” Motlhamme says.

The Department of Information and Publicity consists of different units, ranging from media production and training through to research and media liaison. Motlhamme has to be in touch with all of them.

The production unit is responsible for ANC publications, posters, pamphlets and booklets. It is the unit which produces MAYIBUYE, the organisation’s mouthpiece. The media liaison unit is the public voice of ANC. It organises press conferences, interviews and the organisation’s other media activities. The organisation’s spokesperson provides comment to the media on various issues.The DIP library provides an essential resource base for all ANC departments, provincial structures and MPs.

“Being a receptionist is very challenging, I have to know everything about the organisation and my department. I make sure I read almost all the daily newspapers because my job involves answering all questions directed to the organisation. I deal with all the departments queries,” Motlhamme says.

“I feel I am in the right place because this department affects the image of the ANC. I feel I have learnt to a lot from this department and I have also learnt a lot since 1993 when I joined the Information and Publicity department.” Motlhamme work does not only involve visitors and phone calls – she types important documents and also does the department’s filing.

Motlhamme has an ever-smiling face, which helps her to be at the front desk. “It is not easy to be in this position, one should be very patient and friendly all the time. I sometimes meet up with angry callers or visitors but I always make sure I don’t lose my temper. After all when you work with people you can not afford to be angry,” says Motlhamme.

Apart from her challenging nine-to-five job, what else does Motlhamme do? “I am a people’s person. I do community work with the Chinese Embassy. I identify areas where disadvantaged people live and send their names to the Embassy so that they can send them clothes, blankets and food,” she says.

Motlhamme has a message for people interested in becoming receptionists: “Be confident, friendly, patient, calm, always take your messages properly, never be rude, never sigh, never leave the reception alone and always be helpful.” That’s how she has survived on the frontline.


Free choice

Nicky Oppenheimer, son of multimillionaire Harry Oppenheimer, was asked by Martin Creamer’s Engineering News what his personal best achievement was. Oppenheimer junior had an honest reply: “Choosing my parents very well.”

Of course, Nicky Oppenheimer was not quite accurate. Legalised racism might have disappeared from South Africa, but the accident of birth still counts. You can be born rich. Or, as is statistically most probable, you can be born dirt poor. None of us, not even Nicky Oppenheimer, has a democratic choice in that.

Who are the real terrorists?

Remember the bad old days when ANC freedom fighters were referred to as “terrorists”? One of the very first ‘terrorists” is now our widely respected State President.

So you probably thought that the bad old days were over? Well, think again. A recent article in Business Day, covering the Eugene de Kock Vlakplaas trial, begins like this: “An ANC-trained terrorist, kidnapped by the SA police from Swaziland, who later helped his captors to hunt for other terrorists, received a retirement package of more than R260,000 when the Vlakplaas C10 unit was disbanded.”

Maybe the journalist (Stephane Bothma) could have been forgiven for this lapse if it was some other story. But we are dealing here with the notorious Vlakplaas death squads.

The story should have read: “An SAP-trained assassin, kidnapped by apartheid criminals, later helped these terrorists to hunt for freedom fighters, and was bribed more than R260 000 to keep his mouth shut.”

The past lives on

Talking about the bad old days, hundreds of thousands of education college students in our country are still being taught out of the most backward textbooks. Among the most widely prescribed is a series edited by a certain PA Duminy.

What is more, Duminy must be making tens of thousands of rands out of this. Education for the Student Teacher 3, for instance, was first published in 1992 and by 1994 it had already been reprinted six times.

This 6th edition, now being taught in colleges, tells us about the “various black population groups” in South Africa, “their areas of residence, states and languages”. It is full of the most unmitigated racist garbage about ‘traditional African life’.

The textbook also has a mind boggling section on “Communism and education”. Did you know that: “The communist child is viewed and treated as a being without an individual personality”? (I thought that”s how the Chamber of Mines viewed its workers.)

And did you know that in communist schools: “Pupils have to know the rules and obey unquestioningly”? That sounds more like the old DET system to me.

Human error

Cosatu assistant general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi must be commended for his steadfast commitment to using gender neutral language. But perhaps he needs to brush up on his knowledge of human biology.

Addressing a media briefing on abortion, Vavi said that to protect a women’s human rights, no-one could prevent “him or her” from choosing an abortion. Amid sniggers from the assembled journalists, ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus was quick to remind him that in such cases, its usually a ‘her’.

Who’s the boss I?

With the reports one gets from KwaZulu/Natal, one can’t be blamed for not knowing what’s going on from one day to the next. And it doesn’t help when the SA Press Association puts out reports that start like this: “KwaZulu-Natal Premier Mangosuthu Buthelezi had yet to reply to a request for particulars of laws…”

Now I know there was talk that Buthelezi and his ‘hardliners’ were upset that the real premier, Frank Mdlalose, hadn’t done enough in the way of making the province more autonomous. But I didn’t think the former chief bantustan minister would usurp Mdlalose so quickly.

Still the remarkable thing is that Sapa didn’t send out a correction, as it usually does when a mistake has been made. Maybe they know something the rest of the world doesn’t.

Who’s the boss II?

Job satisfaction being what it is at MAYIBUYE, I am a regular reader of the Mail & Guardian’s ’employment offered’ column. So imagine my bemusement when I saw an advert which said that a “Gatsha Buthelezi lookalike” was urgently needed for TV. What anyone would want to do with a Buthelezi lookalike, I can’t imagine.

Since the advert referred to him as Gatsha – which he apparently doesn’t like anymore – instead of the preferred Mangosuthu, one can only assume that they want to use his double for some less than flattering purpose.

Perhaps they want to re-enact the SABC Durban studio scuffle – where Buthelezi stormed into a live interview with Prince Sifiso Zulu – for a documentary series called “Assaults on Press Freedom”.

Another option is that they want someone to read Buthelezi record-breaking speech to the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly for a programme entitled: “Great Speeches of the 20th Century”. Or perhaps the people who placed the advert read the Sapa report mentioned above and felt that while Buthelezi was off being KwaZulu/Natal premier, someone needed to fill his seat in parliament and at cabinet meetings.

Viva capital accumulation

Do you remember when ‘capitalism’ was a dirty word in the democratic movement? Well it seems that April 27 1994 not only liberated us from the shackles of apartheid; it also liberated – at least some of us – from the narrow pecuniary confines of left-wing ideology. And one of the great liberators is our very own Peter Mokaba.

In an interview with New Nation, Mokaba said he welcomed the ANC’s code of conduct for MPs from an ethical point of view. “But,” he added, “if this arrangement is used as an attempt to say members of parliament who have not been in the previous government cannot accumulate wealth, I will not agree with it at all.”

Mokaba is obviously a firm believer in the saying that, as with all positive social change, black economic empowerment starts at home.

Quote of the month

The quote of the month comes from Minister of Justice Dullah Omar: “Before the 1994 elections we talked about steering the ship of state. Now that we are in government, we have found the ship is so full of holes, we spend all our time throwing out water. We haven’t had a chance to steer.”

People’s Forum

What do you expect from local councils?

Khensani Makhubela spoke to some people in Ivory Park, and discovered that while they expected a lot from democratic local government, they were prepared to do their bit.

Absolo Mahlawuli of Ivory Park, an informal settlement near Johannesburg, is optimistic about his business and the coming elections. A hairdresser and the owner of Chick Hair Salon in Ivory Park, Mahlawuli says: “If the councillors of the local government can improve our area by building better houses, putting in electricity, putting taps outside our houses and bringing proper sanitation, then my business can compete with the ones in town.”

“It is not easy to perm, relax and style people’s hair without electricity and enough water. I will be very happy if the people that we put our trust in deliver the goods after the November elections, and we will all have better lives in South Africa,” Mahlawuli says.

Solinda Malinda says that the first task of local government councillors should be the building of better houses for the people of South Africa.

“We are tired of living in a place where there are no toilets and where we fetch water far from our houses. When I came to Gauteng from Bushbuckridge five years ago I thought I would get a job and support my children. But this does not seem easy. I hope that the new local government will create jobs for us,” Malinda says.

“The local government should build new roads for us. We live in dusty streets and this makes it difficult for our laundry to get clean. I will also appeal to the government to make us human beings and get physical and postal addresses for us,” she says.

Thabisile Yothwana says that she is going to take the people that she is going to vote for to task: “They must get me a job. I am a qualified teacher but I am not working. When I came from Transkei I thought I would get a job in the ‘City of Gold’, but it is the same old story of no experience, no job. Where do these people expect me to get experience while they do not want to employ me?” The local government must make sure that people are employed and the rate of crime will go down, she says.

“They must build affordable houses for us. We are sick and tired of living in plastic houses. We are prepared to pay for our services – we know that there is nothing for free. As long as the local government can live up to their promises, we will also live up to ours. Although they have put taps in the area, it does not help because nobody is responsible and anyone can break them. And it takes long for them to be fixed because they are for the masses. If only we could have taps in our homes which we would be responsible for,” Yothwana says.

Nkele Setshedi, Violet Mathebula, Emma Tsweni and Roselyn Mutimeli agree Ivory Park could be a better place if only it could be improved.

“Water is important we need water in our houses, we need flushing toilets,” says Setshedi. “We are sick of carrying buckets of water on our heads to and fro every day.”

Mathebula adds: “We need better jobs. We cannot spend the rest of our lives selling chickens’ feet and at the end of the day there is no profit.”

Tsweni agrees: “We should have telephones to enable us to communicate with people outside Ivory Park, and we are prepared to pay for all the rates they will render to us.”

Mutimeli says she cannot carry brooms on her head anymore. She’s been carrying them since she was young: “The local government should bring a better life to our doorsteps.”

An electrician, Joseph Mahlangu, says he lives in an area where there is no electricity but he knows his job. He would like the local government to create better jobs and have more firms so that the rate of crime can go down.

He says he is happy with the way things are coming up in Ivory Park: “There have been some arrests recently and [the number of] criminals have been reduced in our area. It is just a matter of time. Otherwise the national government is dealing with crime accordingly.”

“Ivory Park is a very good place – all it needs is a good infrastructure,” he says.

Theresa Shiburi lives by selling vegetables and fruits. She says she appeals to the local government to build better houses for them which they can rent. She says the plastic houses they live in can be blown away by wind any time and these houses cannot be homes for them.

“Working around here is not easy and is unhealthy. There is no water or toilets, and when it’s the rainy season there is no business because I cannot work out in the rain. The local government should just come and improve our lives and it should build better roads where our public transport can move smoothly,” she says.

Linah Makhubela says that the conditions in Ivory Park are very unhealthy. She is the owner of Tanani Shop and Butchery. She says she needs a better place to live and for her business.

“Water and electricity make our lives very difficult. The meat that I sell sometimes goes bad because I don’t have a fridge. The local government should help us to help people. By selling around this area we are helping people because they do not have to move to Thembisa or town to buy meat,” says Makhubela.

Life for Phenious Moshoba in Thembisa is not any better from the life in Ivory Park – although there is electricity, water in the yard and flushing toilets.

“The landlord charges us a lot of money for rent and rates and he does not even stay in his house. We want the local government to build us better and cheaper houses. We are many families in one house, and there is no privacy,” he says.

Polina Mujela says her parents have been living in their four-roomed house since 1959, when Thembisa was built. She says she would like the local government to renovate the houses they live in because they are “threatening to fall”.

“Our houses are old, but rent and rates are expensive. If the houses can be rebuilt we will be prepared to pay without complaints. I also expect them to provide us with jobs in order to pay for the houses and rates,” Mujela says.

All Rosina Mohohoma wants is a job. “The local government should create job opportunities for the South African people. I will also be happy with a better house than this one, because our houses are already old.

The roads should be tarred. Our townships are dusty and it makes it difficult for children to play outside. The garbage should be collected regularly in the streets and the streets should be cleaned regularly,” she says.

Pensioner Keetsi Phenius has also lived in the four-roomed house since 1959 and he would like to see changes from the local government of his choice.

“Us pensioners are not supposed to pay rent anymore. We have paid enough. Actually the money we are paying now we are just giving it free to the state. I feel they are stealing from us. My house is now paid up because I have been paying for the past twenty-six-years,” say Keetsi.

He adds: “The pension money for old citizens should all be on the same level. Our white counterparts still get more than we get and the local government should take this into consideration.

“In spite of other problems, I am pleased with our government because it has started building schools for our children – and the process still goes on.”

Talking to Vula

Part 5 – Vula moves into top gear

The Story of the Secret Underground Communications Network of Operation Vula, by Tim Jenkin.

Mac Maharaj’s respite abroad gave him the opportunity to recover from the stress of the previous year’s work. The washed-out look with which he arrived was explained as the effects of waiting for a kidney transplant in a Soviet sanatorium. The Mac who went back to South Africa a few weeks later looked much healthier, though he had to pretend that appearances were deceptive. A new kidney was expected any time now and that was why he had to scurry back to the Soviet Union.

During Mac’s time in London we discussed the future communication needs of Vula. It was clear that the existing system using acoustic modems and tape recorders had more or less reached its limits. Its life had been extended by employing other comrades to handle the communications but it had severe drawbacks that could not be overcome by any improvements to the system. Chief among these were the inability to send formatted documents and the length limitations imposed by using public telephones.

The current system could only send plain text documents, and files had to be broken up into small parcels for transmission. The adoption of a system that could transmit error-free with no time and, hence, length limitations would greatly improve its usefulness. This would permit fully formatted documents – such as laid out publications – to be prepared outside and sent into the country for immediate publication. Vula also needed the ability to communicate internally and this was just not possible with the current system.

We discussed the various options and Mac agreed that we should work towards implementing a scheme such as the one being used with our ‘secret agent’ sent in a few months earlier. This involved using a regular electronic-mail service. Since it was being operated by a person with no history of political activism it drew no attention from the authorities. Although Vula did not have anyone in this position, Mac was going to do his utmost to find such a person.

In the meantime the ‘old’ system would continue and we were to continue investigating all alternatives. The situation in South Africa was in a state of flux and it was clear that the apartheid regime was going to have to release ANC leaders from prison. This signalled that they were contemplating a major shift in policy, as they could not have Nelson Mandela freely moving around the place preaching the gospel of a banned organisation.

Protecting Vula

Ronnie and I had long been investigating various communications options. Every day new products were coming on the market and we had to be ever watchful of new developments in the computer and communications fields. We attended countless exhibitions and subscribed to a range of magazines and journals.

As it was difficult to pursue our technical investigations and speak to business people in the name of the ANC, we decided to set up false identities for ourselves. By speaking to some sympathetic business people and lawyers we were able to establish a ‘front company’ through an outfit that provided businesses ‘off-the-shelf’. It surprised us to find out that we could literally purchase a brand new company over the counter. All we had to do was give some indication of the nature of our business – ‘computer consultants’ – and pay some money. For a price they prepared the contracts, the books and provided all the paraphernalia required by a business, right down to letterheads and an embossing stamp. Even the name for our business could be chosen from a list they provided.

Our two working class heroes were now members of the capitalist class: new suits, ties and tidy haircuts completed the picture. Before, sales people shunned two anorak-clad scruffs; now they were sickeningly helpful. At exhibitions we could flash our business cards and make calls on our cell phones.

To go with our new company we opened a bank account and acquired a post office address. The absence of a ‘secretary’ who could answer our calls worried us but even that could be arranged through a secretarial services company that would answer our calls and advise overzealous salesmen that we were ‘in a meeting’ or ‘out of town’.

I had set up a mail address in Johannesburg through a local secretarial service company. This we linked to our new company in London so that mailed answers to information requests made in South Africa could reach us quite anonymously.

In addition to our company we managed to acquire a number of other safe mail addresses all over London. These proved useful for acquiring information about specialised equipment that would have attracted attention from the local police. We had no doubt that the British secret services were also keeping an eye on us and there was no reason for us to believe that they were not working hand in glove with the apartheid authorities. Some months earlier a right-wing MP stood up in parliament and claimed that I was working with the IRA to make bombs that were sent into South Africa to blow up innocent civilians. This later turned out to be a cover-up for the fact that the South African regime was supplying weapons to Ulster extremists.

To protect Operation Vula’s information we acquired a safe box in the underground vault of a security company just off London’s exclusive Bond Street. In the vault we stored encrypted copies of all Vula’s communications as well as copies of the source code of our encryption programmes.

The next step was to make it even harder for potential eavesdroppers to bug our phone lines. Already there were three regular lines coming into my flat and two cellular phone links. The latter operated through a marine antenna on top of the roof to give the very best reception for computer communications. In Holland I acquired a cordless phone unit with a range of 15 kilometres. A sympathetic Briton a few kilometres away had a phone line installed and to this I connected the main unit of the cordless phone. At home the handset was connected to another antenna on the roof. This radio phone provided a secure line that worked perfectly with our computers.

Yet another two antennas beamed radio signals between Ronnie’s flat and mine. Every morning Ronnie and I would make contact by radio to discuss what had to be done that day. A set of code words and regular frequency changes made it difficult for anyone to follow what was going on.

New Systems

Ronnie and I experimented with various new systems as time went on. Many of these could not have been contemplated at an earlier stage because the technology simply was not available.

Towards the end of 1989 the first pocket computers appeared in the shops. These could be used with regular modems which now too were appearing in miniaturised form. One system we developed used a pocket computer that could dial into a remote computer and send and receive messages error-free in the normal way. Since these computers were so small they could be taken into a phone booth and be used in much the same way as our tape recorder system. Instead of an answering machine at the other end there was now a computer operating as a simple bulletin board. A programme was developed to do everything: it dialled in, made the connection, sent the message, picked up any messages that were waiting and logged off. All the user had to do was press a button to set the thing in motion.

This system would have been adopted, but events on the ground changed so rapidly after the unbanning of the ANC in February 1990 that it became unnecessary.

Another system was designed for urban communications. This used miniaturised pocket radio TNCs (radio modems) with bulletin boards built into them. Two users could exchange messages in absolute secrecy. At an agreed time the ‘passive’ user would simply have to be within range of the ‘active’ user. The former would have a walkie talkie radio attached to one of these TNCs. This could all be secreted inside a plastic shopping bag and the user could even be walking around in the street. The active user also had a walkie talkie and TNC unit but required a keyboard to operate the equipment. Connection between the TNCs was made and messages could be exchanged. The passive user then returned home, connected the TNC to their computer and transferred the received message. We even tested this system from a moving vehicle and it worked perfectly. This too never got adopted because of the developing political situation.

The final system

It took another six months after Mac returned to South Africa before a new communications system came into operation. This was around the time of the unbanning of the ANC early in 1990. It took so long to move over to a new system because of the problems of finding and training the correct people to operate it. Inertia too played its part in keeping the old system in place.

Eventually one of the Vula operatives and not an ‘outsider’ was selected as the chief ‘communications officer’. This was Janet Love, now an MP, who had in fact been in the country from well before the start of Vula. She had made contact with Mac several months earlier and was by the end of 1989 one of the key operatives in the Johannesburg area. Her disguise was so deep that it was decided that she would be a suitable candidate to run Vula’s communications.

Janet managed to leave South Africa in the latter part of 1989 and during this period we trained her in the new system. There was nothing extraordinary about the way we planned to do things. We would be using regular electronic mail through a commercial provider. Connections would be made from known business addresses – no more telephone booths and phone cards. The new system would allow files of any length to be sent, and, as it was error-free, all kinds of files could be sent.

The special encryption programme that we developed to work with this system had four levels of security. This offered the maximum security and, to dispel any doubt, really confidential memos could be re-enciphered over and over.

The new system moved Vula’s communications into a different league. It allowed operatives in different part of the country to communicate with each other in confidence. It also meant that there were no restrictions on what could be sent in from the outside.

Immediately the demands on London increased many fold. There were now three of us working full time at that end. Using desktop publishing programmes, we were able to prepare fully-formatted publications and send these in. The comrades in South Africa reproduced and distributed these in their thousands.

For years I had been assisting groups in London to post movement literature into South Africa. This continued right to the end and I couldn’t help chuckling to myself every time I helped stuff envelopes: ‘If only these people knew that this very same publication is already in the country and being distributed by the thousands’. But the exigencies of Vula did not permit me to utter a word.

Vula now moved into top gear. Even though the ANC had been unbanned, the high point had not been reached. Several new operatives secretly entered the country, including Ronnie Kasrils, now Deputy Minister of Defence. He entered with all the skills required to operate Vula’s communications channels. Although he was my teacher in the mid-seventies, he was not my best pupil. Nonetheless he took in with him some valuable new skills.

The link with Lusaka was also refurbished to cope with the increased flow of data. The old answering machine system was thrown out and replaced with a computer that served as a host for Lusaka. Messages from London were deposited on this machine and picked up from Lusaka. Messages from Lusaka were deposited directly on it and then transferred to the electronic mailbox for South Africa.

A trip to Zimbabwe extended the network to Harare. Further trips to Botswana and Swaziland were planned but never took place due to the rapidly unfolding events in South Africa.

Separate electronic mailboxes for each Vula ‘region’ allowed comrades to communicate with each other in complete secrecy. Dial-in was made through local nodes so even though the mailboxes were located on foreign computers there was no need to dial overseas.

Vast amounts of encrypted data flowed along the wires. Publications, press statements, manuals, discussion documents, etc. were sent into the country and passed from region to region. Every item confirmed that Vula’s greatest strength was its ability to communicate.

Next month: Vula winds up

Struggle for olympic gold

The policy for the selection of the SA olympic team has come in for much criticism. But, as David Adams writes, the policy will enrich olympic sport in this country, rather than detract from it.

The announcement recently of the selection policy of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (Nocsa) for next year’s Atlanta Olympic Games has caused considerable public debate. The Star published an article entitled ‘Merit versus opportunity’ in which it said: “this [Nocsa selection policy] is a formula to bring the very essence of competitive sport… the quest for excellence into disdain.”

Nocsa’s selection policy is based on the two-tier system followed by most successful Olympic nations, which means including potential winners for the current games and those who could win medals at the next olympics. Nocsa believes the ‘second’ or ‘development’ tier will redress the imbalances of the past and bring universality to the South African team. They are also looking to develop athletes who will get medals down the road – particularly in the Sydney olympics in 2000.

Nocsa’s attempts at affirmative action are strengthened by the strong developmental principles of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC is particularly concerned with bringing universality to the olympics and this has a special meaning for South Africa. The IOC, working with the international federations, was forced to establish strict qualifications criteria for each sport on the olympic programme.

However, the national olympic committees from the developing countries argued that such criteria would seriously restrict the entry of participants from their respective countries. In effect, the qualification criteria would disqualify most developing countries from entering the olympic games. It was said that many of these countries would be forced to send only their flag-bearer to take part in the opening and closing ceremony. Qualification for the olympic games is determined through established standard measurements which include times, distances, heights, ranking and elimination tournaments. These measurements are effected at world-wide and continental elimination competitions for IOC members and nations. South Africa, being a member of the African continent, has the opportunity to qualify through the general international qualification events such as the World Championships, and has a second bite at the cherry through continental events in Africa where numerous sports are still at the development stage. This poses a dilemma for Nocsa.

Nocsa’s situation

South African olympic sport is highly developed because of the inequalities of the past. Many of these sports are consequently dominated by whites. If NOCSA were to succumb to prescribed actions laid down by the mainstream media, our olympic teams would continue to remain largely white for a long time to come. It would be easy to exploit the olympic qualification system and dominate continental representation but this would be cynical and would go against the IOC’s policy of universality. It would mean that one section of our population would dominate our national olympic team on the dubious basis of ‘merit’. The national team would be compromised mainly of athletes from exclusive sporting codes.

Chris Day, publicity secretary of Nocsa, said they respect the IOC policy with regard to universality and widespread participation: “We would rather encourage those exclusive sporting codes to broaden their base into all communities and so qualify through Africa – not on their exclusivity, but on their universality.”

The new policy will not in any way restrict high-level competition. The best, irrespective of colour, will still emerge as finalists and even medalists.

Day said it was time that sporting people in the country removed the cloak of hypocrisy and addressed the issue honestly. He added that most newspapers were extending the use of black faces in both editorial and advertorial content. If this was intended to reflect the make-up of our society, why was there so much resistance to the policy of wanting to achieve exactly this, he asked, especially “as we have gone out of our way to guarantee the inclusion of any possible medal hope in our team”.

Olympic hopes

Nocsa believes there are only 12 South African medal hopefuls for Atlanta, and of these, perhaps only two of three will come home successful. Nocsa argues that they have to build for the future, and include those athletes who can win in Sydney in 2000: “The goal of Olympism is to place everywhere sport at the service of the harmonious development of man with a view to encouraging the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

A case study

There is a warm human story which has unfolded in South African athletics lore which illustrates the differences among ‘development’ athletes and how pro-active and sensitive action can play a vital role. Riaan Dempers from Gauteng is one of our brightest young stars and comes from a secure background. He has his father, Johan, as his coach. On their travels on the junior circuit, they came up against a raw young athlete from the rural townships, Moses Mabaso. Moses comes from a deprived background, as was his coach. Riaan and Moses became arch rivals – and firm friends. Riaan’s father spent many hours with Moses and his coach helping them on the finer points of specialising in the 400 metre sprint. An extraordinary duel developed between Riaan and Moses, swopping victories and national records. This eventually led to Moses being taken under South Africa’s athletics development wing and given a bursary to Hoerskool Waterkloof in Pretoria.

Both Riaan and Moses are development athletes, and, hopefully, both will be candidates in Sydney. One, however, just needed more help than the other at a critical time. Nocsa believes that they will choose athletes that have the ability to become the fastest, and help them get there – with the aim that those athletes come from all of our communities.

Mayibuye study series no. 3 – The South African transition in a world context

Towards low intensity democracy?

In the previous instalment of this series we looked at how, in many ways, the South African transition resembles other democratic transitions. There has been something of a world-wide trend in this direction over the last fifteen years.

We also looked at some of the causes behind this trend – including the stagnation and later collapse of the Soviet bloc; major changes in the world capitalist economy; the domination of international financial institutions; and the growth of human rights movements.

Democratic transition theory

The global trend towards democratic transitions has given rise to a huge number of books, comparative studies and influential think-tanks. A whole body of theory has emerged, not just to explain what has been happening, but also to advise politicians on “how to conduct democratic transitions”.

This body of theory (often called the ‘democratic transitions’ theory) contains many useful insights. It also helps draw our attention to many other countries – from Chile and Nicaragua to the Philippines – undergoing transitions like our own. But this theory is often more than just description. There is often an agenda at work.

Indeed, versions of this theory played an important part in guiding the strategy and tactics of FW De Klerk and his key advisers over the last five years. The American writer Samuel Huntington, for instance, who visited SA in the 1980s and 1990s, was a central inspiration to the old National Intelligence Service (NIS) think-tanks that were advising De Klerk.

Managing change (without changing the management)

Writers like Huntington draw ‘universal’ conclusions about how transitions, if they are to be ‘successful’, must happen. But at the back of their theories is an agenda to provide a reform strategy to pro-imperialist forces. The agenda is to pre-empt thoroughgoing democratic change. In other words, implementing top-down reform before it becomes bottom-up transformation.

According to this approach, democratic transitions are ‘threatened’ from two sides:

  • From left or popular forces, as reforms create rising (and ‘unreal’) expectations. One reform raises hopes for others. The ‘danger’ is that reforms will create too much space for popular forces to mobilise, and that ‘reforms will be too little, and too late’.
    Because of these supposed dangers, political leaders in democratic transitions are supposed to ‘dampen’ popular expectations.
  • On the other hand, democratic transitions are always threatened from the right as well. This is the threat posed by those in the old ruling bloc who are unwilling to give up any of their former privileges, who lack sufficient strategic insight on the need for change in order to avoid real change.

To successfully ‘manage change’, this school of thinking advocates a whole series of tactics:

  • Marginalise ‘radicals’ on ‘both sides of the spectrum’, partly by playing them off against each other (“Don’t ask for too much otherwise you will provoke the right”). This goes so far as trying to create an ‘equivalence’ between progressive forces and reactionary forces (“hawks on both sides”; “Chris Hani = Eugene Terreblanche”; “the apartheid security forces and the national liberation movement both committed the same kinds of excesses”; etc).
  • Build a centrist bloc through elite bargaining and pacts. These theorists speak a lot about “the chemistry of personal interaction” between leaders whose job is to ‘deliver’ different constituencies.
  • Demobilise and demoralise popular forces, by keeping the transition process complicated, prolonged and obscure. Sow demoralisation about the pace of change.
  • Combine reform with effective repression, including ‘where necessary’, low intensity conflict tactics.

Many of these strategies are very familiar to us in South Africa. And they continue to be deployed by our strategic opponents, who, having failed to block an overwhelming ANC election victory, now focus on undermining our capacity to rule effectively.

Low intensity democracy

This whole approach might have some important insights into the tactics of negotiated transitions. But, at the end of the day, it tends to focus on politics at the top. It looks at tactics for leadership elites.

For this reason, it sees the ‘democracy’ to which we are supposed to be heading in very, very limited terms. Democracy is reduced to little more than regular multi-party elections. Broader questions around socio-economic rights and democratic empowerment are dismissed.

A good example of this is the attitude of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to democracy. These institutions have played a role (as we have seen in the last instalment) in encouraging some degree of democratisation. They have increasingly made ‘democratisation’ a condition for new loans to developing countries. But this ‘democratisation’ tends to refer very narrowly to multi-party electoral procedures. Human rights abuses, cut-backs on education and health spending, extremely backward labour relations practices, environmental destruction – these kinds of concerns are seen as irrelevant, or, at best, secondary. Some of these measures are even encouraged by the World Bank and IMF. Human and social rights issues are seen as matters that can be postponed in the name of first securing macro-economic stability and growth.

The NDR alternative?

This low intensity democracy approach is very different from the conception of a National Democratic Revolution, which for many decades has been at the core of ANC strategy. The ANC’s fundamental perspectives, going back at least to the Freedom Charter, have seen democracy in broad terms.

One-person one-vote multi-party election procedures are certainly very important. But within the NDR perspective, formal political democracy is fairly hollow without thoroughgoing social, economic and broader political transformation.

But how valid today is our traditional NDR perspective? That will the topic of further instalments.

Effective campaign speaking

Last month we looked at the first in a series on campaign communications. This month David Adams looks at effective public speaking.

Public speaking is the mainstay of election campaigning. It is the basic way candidates personally communicate with voters. Public speaking is also the most feared thing people are called on to do.

Political speaking is different from other forms of public speaking. If you speak publicly as part of your profession, you may have experience speaking before an audience. As a political speaker and candidate you have only one purpose: to persuade voters to support you and your organisation in the election.

The audience is of paramount importance in political speaking. Its concerns should be the central focus of the speaker. As a candidate, you need to convince your audience that you care about the same things they care about and are uniquely qualified to make a difference. You should express yourself in terms that show you understand how things directly affect you audience.

Here is an example of how a persuasive, political speech could be structured:

  1. Establish a rapport with your audience by demonstrating a shared concern.
  2. State the problem in terms of how it directly affects your audience.
  3. Support your position with evidence.
  4. Offer a solution to the problem and show how it directly benefits the audience.
  5. Conclude the speech by offering a vision for the future. Encourage your audience to participate in this vision.

A speech built in this format causes ‘movement” in an audience’s opinions. It can neutralise a hostile audience; turn a lukewarm audience into supporters; and make supporters fully-fledged volunteers. Any issue, concern or subject you wish to discuss can be expressed in terms of a problem and a solution. Many candidates are unsuccessful because they only speak about problems.

Every candidate has their own speaking style. Most candidates are better speakers at the end of the campaign than at the beginning, simply because they had a lot of practice during the campaign. If you are not used to speaking, practise in front of a mirror or among family and friends. Well-known speakers often practise an hour out loud for every five minutes that they speak.

You must be very familiar with your speech. As the candidate, it is your credibility on the line and you’re the one that has to perform. No one is better equipped to prepare a speech for you than yourself.

Know your audience

The audience is the most important component in the political speaking situation. You must know who you’re speaking to before you can prepare a persuasive speech. It is more important to research the audience than it is to research facts about your topic.

Learn as much as you can about the audience before you speak. Find out exactly who will be attending the speech, what their concerns are and what they expect from you. Know if you are speaking to a hostile, neutral or friendly crowd.

For example, if you’re speaking to a club, find out their recent projects. If you’re going to a neighbourhood, find out their major concerns. Find out facts about your audience and use them in your speech. Often it’s wise to attend any events immediately preceding your speech, such as a reception before a dinner speech, so you can mingle with the crowd you will be addressing. During this mingling, ask members of the audience about the problem you’ll address.

Be mindful of your ‘universal audience’ – the people affected by your speech who aren’t part of your immediate audience. If your speech receives media coverage, portions may be broadcast. Also, expect your opponent to learn the points you make in major speeches. No candidate can deliver all speeches as isolated incidents. You must be aware that the statements you make can be heard by others not in your audience. Keep track of what you say to whom and don’t contradict yourself during the campaign.

Know your topic

Pick a topic that you can use to persuade your audience to support you. Don’t make the mistake of picking an abstract topic in which the audience has no interest. Often the most obvious and simple topic is the best one. Don’t try to discuss too many issues at once. Pick one or two issues or one overriding theme to discuss. Set the agenda in your speech. Concentrate more on how you can motivate your audience to support you rather than details of a specific issue.

Organise the speech so there are transitions from one part to the next, so that your audience can easily follow. Never contradict yourself within your speech. And don’t make a statement that you can’t support with facts and reasoning.

Be prepared to speak on the topic you have told the event organisers you plan to address. Many times the topic for a speech will be publicised in advance and you have the obligation to discuss it. Don’t tell the organiser one thing and speak on something entirely different.

Know the format

Find out in advance the context of your speech. Will you be speaking in a large or small room? Will you be speaking alone or with others? How many people are expected to attend? Is the setting formal or informal? How long should you speak? Where are you supposed to sit?

Adapt your speech to suit the particular people, place and event. Work in advance to control the situation. Ask people you know to sit at the back of the room and be attentive, so you’ll have someone friendly at whom to look. Arrange the setting so you can be in close proximity to the audience.

Prepare your speech to be heard, not to be read. Be sure to speak in terms people can understand and emphasise the basic human values you share with your audience. Speak in a relaxed, personal tone as though you were having a conversation with your neighbour.

Only use humour if you know you can use it effectively. If a joke hits the mark, it can win over your audience, but if it falls on deaf ears, you may never be able to recover.

Know your best delivery style

Be aware that you are projecting an image to your audience by how you look when you speak. You want to present a positive ‘package’. Create and project a positive self-image through appropriate dress and a strong posture. Use your delivery style to build on your credibility. Speak about yourself in positive terms.

Physically, you want to use your body to communicate your self-confidence. Don’t hide behind the podium. Connect with your audience on an emotional level through eye contact, facial expressions, posture and gestures.

Use your voice as a tool in your speech. Enunciate your words, express pleasure or displeasure through your pronunciation of words and vary your pitch and timing. Don’t speak in a monotone or at the same intensity. A whisper can captivate a crowd as often as a shout.

Deliver your speech, don’t read it. A quick way to put your audience to sleep is to bury your face in a written text. Work from an outline of key points rather than a written speech text. If you must work from a written text, highlight major points and only use the text as a reference. Avoid speaking ‘off the cuff’ – you may ramble, forget important parts of their speech and speak too long or too briefly. Practise your speech so you appear spontaneous.

Be creative in your language choice. Develop a style that’s appropriate to your audience, consistent with your purpose and expresses your points vividly. Strive to use the language that states your points clearly.

Work on developing your own delivery style. Practice ways you can motivate your audience by using your voice, gestures, facial expressions and general body movements. Remember, the larger the audience the more exaggerated your movement must be to be noticed.

Know your time commitment

Keep the comfort of your audience in mind when you are speaking. Always keep to your allocated time limit – never go overtime. The mind can only absorb what the seat will endure. Ten minutes is long enough to speak in most cases and 20 minutes should be the limit of what people can endure.

The best time to speak to an audience is when they are most alert, which is usually mid-morning or early evening, and definitely before a meal has been served. The worst time to speak is after lunch when the mid-afternoon doldrums set in. If you are one of many speakers an audience must endure for hours on end, you may suggest a short break before you speak. If worst comes to worst, ask your audience to stand and stretch before you speak, if this is appropriate.

As a candidate, you should ask to speak before a meal is served or after all plates have been cleared to lessen your competition for your attention.

Music for the zebra nation

The Soweto String Quartet were the stars of the recent South African Music Awards. Bongani Madondo spoke to cellist Reuben Khemese about the group’s influences and their debut album.

Like raindrops descending on a dry land after years of drought – leaving a fresh, nostalgic, earthly fragrance in the air and water drops on sky high trees – the Soweto String Quartet graced the stage to receive not one, but three awards, at the South African Music Awards.

Brimming with wide smiles, showing contentment at their years of toiling and vision’, they embraced their historical feat in the re-invented, FNB-sponsored South African Music Awards at the Midrand Theatre in early August.

“Welcome on stage… the Soweto String Quartet” one of the awards presenters bellowed. Hands went ‘clap clap’ – much to the delight of Makhosini Mguni and the Khemese brothers, Reuben, Sandile, Thami – as they received their award for the best pop band.

That was not the last the presenter saw of the foursome, for they went on to rewrite the country’s musical history by stealing the night’s glory. There were warm and thunderous applause from some of South Africa’s most popular names as the quartet won awards for best newcomers, best instrumental and best pop album.

The Soweto String Quartet provides music lovers with a combination of Euroclassic sounds and technique and local township-inspired African music. But are the originality, tradition and concept of classical music not sacrificed by this musical fusion?

“Sure we don’t want to be willing participants in the debate because we are musicians rather than public opinion shapers,” said the unassuming Reuben, the cellist. He said that their’s is a new age music that draws its wealth of inspiration from both the African pot and the studiously European classics.

Reuben, who with brother Sandile, is a product of Manchester’s Royal College of Music and Darington College of Arts in England, asserted that much as their basic training was within the western classics, their ‘African-ness’ and upbringing offers invaluable insight to them as artists – fusing two supposedly repelling idioms into an entertainment tapestry.

“Through our music we are trying to accommodate varying music lovers into our concept without sacrificing our ocean deep artistry,” Reuben said.

The articulate cello player highlighted the significance of capturing the true South African perspective in music “for future generations”. About the state of music in the country, he said that local music had a potential to blossom and flower in future, “if only our younger musicians could cut their Americanisation out of their music”.

The foursome show a deep allegiance to their musical training: “With the risk of sounding elitist, I wish to stress that our musicians must get musical training. They must be able to read and write music, get familiar with score-sheets to be able to rise through their obstacles.”

And what about the black and white image the group prides itself in? Reuben chuckled like a maiden when proposed to by a young lad. “This may seem opportunist, but the contrast is true,” he said. “We recorded our debut album Zebra Crossing on the eve of the country’s first democratic elections and envisaged that the country will turn out to be just that – a truly black and white nation.”

“That being the matter, we have fallen in love with our new image and have no intentions of changing our colour, not for a anything in this world. Hey, is there anyone disputing the beauty, elegance and graciousness of the zebra?” he said.

Is there anyone out there who, after listening to the joyous, river-flowing album, can dispute that South Africa is indeed blessed to have produced such inspirational, innovative artists who are true to their art form?

“More is to come, brother,” reassured Reuben, who said their follow-up music plate will be served early next year. Ride on brothers, ride on.