Volume 7 No.3
1 April 1996
- News in Brief
- Provincial Briefs
- Mayibuye Study Series “Should SA try to be a Tiger”
- ANC to indict apartheid at Truth Commission
- ANC prepares for Truth Commission
- Chance for Peace in KwaZulu/Natal
- Growth for some,poverty for the rest
- SA Foundation growth report slammed
- ANCYL regain their roar
- New SA still needs militant youth
- Commission to protect human rights launched
- Which Commission is for me?
- ANC Archives open to Public
- A look inside the building-block budget
- RDP goals get greater priority
- Focus on jobs welcome
- Strategic approach to tax
- Mary Metclafe a teacher in government
- James Ngculu says “We want to win this election”
- ANC readiness to build a healthy nation
- Formation of a coloured party in the Western Cape
- More jobs,less crime
- Fundraising is an essential part of any political organisation
- What does the constitution say?
- Book Review
The decision by the government to ban the carrying and display in public of dangerous weapons is to be welcomed. Contrary to claims by the Inkatha Freedom Party, such a ban is not new. As early as 1880, the British colonial powers in Natal enacted the Natal Code which outlawed the carrying of dangerous weapons. When the KwaZulu bantustan was being established, a parallel code was written to cover those areas of Natal, which would be known as ‘KwaZulu’. This code, the KwaZulu Code, contained a similar ban on dangerous weapons.
It is important to note that it was none other than IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi who was chosen by the apartheid government to head this new bantustan. The KwaZulu Code was in force throughout the time that Buthelezi was chief minister, and there are no recorded objections by Inkatha to the provisions of the code.
It was only in 1990 that the IFP sought an amendment to this law to reverse the ban. They invented the argument that these dangerous weapons were cultural instruments which were integral to the survival of Zulu culture. The IFP must have sensed that South Africa was on a path of negotiations and reconciliation. They must have been unsure about how long they could continue to rely on the apartheid government for military, financial and political support.
So they persuaded National Party leader FW de Klerk to unban the weapons. De Klerk no doubt had reasons of his own. His government had begun its low-intensity war against the ANC and democratic movement, and the IFP was a central component of that war. Having armed and belligerent IFP supporters marching all over the place contributed greatly to the kind of confusion and mayhem that the NP wanted to create during the transition period.
The IFP’s insistence on carrying dangerous weapons has nothing to do with culture, and everything to do with politics and power. For it is through violence, and the threat of violence, that the IFP has managed to establish a place for itself in South Africa’s political life. Take that capacity for destruction away, and the IFP has very little.
Yet, even if the IFP’s reasons for hanging on to dangerous weapons is politically-motivated, the reasons behind the government’s moves are more sincere. In the last six years thousands of South Africans have died at the hands of so-called ‘cultural weapons’ like assegais, axes, knobkierries and sharpened metal rods. During the train violence on the reef, at the Boipatong massacre and at a number of violent flashpoints during the height of violence in the early 1990s, these weapons were used against defenceless citizens. The recent massacres at Shobashobane and Donnybrook also saw the use of these weapons.
So what does a government charged with the responsibility of protecting its citizens do in the face of such actions. How does a responsible democratic government save lives?
It tries to limit the potential for violence and deaths. If dangerous weapons of this sort are found to be used in violence and murder, then the government must do everything possible to curb the use of these weapons. The ban by the ministry of safety and security on the carrying and display of these weapons is a logical first step. The government is not trying to undermine the Zulu nation. It is merely doing what the majority of South Africans expect of it – to protect them.
On 28 March 1994, IFP supporters from around Johannesburg marched on the city centre and returned home. By the end of the day, over 60 people were dead – a large number of them killed by the ‘traditional weapons’ carried by the marchers.
On 28 March 1996, a large number of IFP supporters marched to the city centre again. Most of them heeded the government ban on lethal traditional weapons. There were incidents of harassment, assault, and there was at least one murder. But there was nothing approximating the mayhem of two year’s previously.
As ANC secretary general Cheryl Carolus noted, the IFP was able to hold its march peacefully, most marchers didn’t carry lethal weapons, “we’re still alive and Zulu culture is still intact”.
If the IFP marched proved a point, it was that the government’s ban had been a step in the right direction. It revealed as well the limits of the IFP’s arguments against the ban.
ANC can’t rest on laurels
That we have democratic government does not mean that the struggle has come to an end and we can sit on our laurels. The challenge we face is to educate our people that transformation of the state apparatus is a complex and time consuming exercise that has a bearing on delivery of the Reconstruction and Development Programme. Our responsibility therefore, is to defend our democratic government to advance our struggle for democracy, peace and development.
Ensuring the realisation of our objective in the current situation, we need to co-ordinate and direct our forces in a systematic fashion guided by strategy and tactics. A high level of organisation and discipline are prerequisite. We have to direct our forces where they are most needed, where we can most effectively counter crime, lawlessness and violence and frustrate instigators. Strong effective structures, therefore, become central to this effect.
Thousands of people have been drawn into the ANC since its unbanning in 1990, coming from many backgrounds and different political traditions. As a result our membership is characterised with unevenness in the understanding of our struggle. At the moment there is a limited understanding of many basic issues within our ranks. There is also an unequal development and differences in the way we see issues such as national democratic struggle, working class leadership, affirmative action, etc. It is unfortunate that there are fewer discussions around these many issues if there are any. Problems of discipline in our ranks, are partly based on uneven development of political understanding.
High level discipline will make political discussions possible and the development of a more uniform understanding of our struggle and where we are heading. Education and training within our ranks are a crucial part of developing discipline. It is important that political education is not confined to the leadership. political education therefore cannot be overemphasised. The ANC and alliances must make development of cadreship and leadership layers a number one priority.
White collar crime a worry
Crime in South Africa is on the increase. We are said to be the most violent Nation in the world. White collar crime is crippling the country. Management is the custodians of trust and yet there is a massive growth in corporate fraud. The areas being managerial and computer fraud.
Compact Business Services in its January newsletter said that the commercial branch reported fraud in the first six months of 1995 amounted to R1.7 billion (61 per cent of this in the Gauteng Region). Sixty-two per cent of frauds were managerial, with employees accounting for 14 per cent.
Every newspaper you read have reports on murder, hijacking etc. It is frightening and depressing. We have become so sophisticated in the killing field, that some murders are actually committed execution style.
Desperation is sometimes the driving force behind such acts. But have we as a nation lost all respect for human life and dignity? Do we taxpayers still foot the bill for criminals kept in jails? Are measures taken for them to earn their keep?
People are our best resource
In as much as south Africans are aware of poverty in our country, your article (MAYIBUYE, February 1996) on poverty and the ultra poor is greatly upsetting. However the president’s January 8 statement on the government of national unity concerning the provision of access to water, electricity, health and education, especially in the rural areas, is very encouraging.
Thus far the GNU has made inroads in providing basic needs such as water and electricity in many areas. The arrival of Cuban doctors to provide health care in rural areas shows the GNU’s commitment to the people of South Africa.
South Africans, educated or not, are very resourceful and creative. The GNU would do well to tap into these resources to achieve further inroads on the RDP and improving the quality of life for all South Africans.
Amnesty applications should start at night
The announcement that the amnesty forms will soon be available is most welcome. At last the wounds of the past can come into the open, dry off and heal. But the exercise is no easy street to the superhighway of revelations, and we should not underestimate the severity of the stress levels to which potential amnesty applicants are now subjected.
We should bear in mind that almost all human rights violations were committed with the assurance of total impunity and there was a firm belief that the moment of reckoning would never become an imminent reality.
It is one thing to commit a criminal deed under the cloak of darkness and, surely, something else to have to come out in daylight thereafter. Let alone having to walk to the distributing office in daylight to obtain the amnesty forms. Collecting the forms in this manner is likely to blow the whistle and the whole village or town might be abuzz with murmurs. Everyone tongue might be set wagging.
To avert the problem I think it would be easier for the potential applicants to collect the forms from a night watchperson on duty than from a day-clerk. A night watchperson would not mind issuing the forms to someone wearing a balaclava, sunglasses, gloves and an overcoat.
I do not imagine for a moment that a known politician would approach the local magistrate’s office, non-governmental organisation or church organisation to obtain the form. Distribution would be facilitated by placing the forms in a commonly-used room or foyer. I would have suggested the toilets, but the likelihood of misuse is obvious. As long as the forms are obtainable where no questions will be asked and where the likelihood of being seen is minimal, all is well.
I reckon that some VIPs might send their drivers to collect the forms while they themselves, with popping eyes, wait in their offices. Surely the lily-livered might even make for the toilet forthwith and peep through the window, while the driver fetches the amnesty forms.
I come from a province affected by the most enigmatic brand of politically-inspired violence, and wonder how many reams of amnesty forms will be needed here. What is the news from the Ulundi magisterial office? Has anybody returned a completed indemnity form yet? Any news from the Mahlabatini district?
KwaZulu/Natal adopts constitution
Members of the KwaZulu/Natal assembly concluded months of tough negotiations with a marathon overnight session last month to unanimously adopt the country’s first provincial constitution.
Members of the provincial legislature from the ANC, IFP and five smaller parties emerged bleary-eyed from 20 hours of negotiations, much of it with their principals over cellular telephones.
ANC KwaZulu/Natal chairperson Jacob Zuma said the vote proved once and for all that the IFP and ANC could cooperate.
The agreement in Pietermaritzburg, analysts said, was likely to bolster the latest peace initiative for the province and could pave the way for the IFP’s return to the constitution making process in Cape Town.
UN launch Africa development plan
Despite experiencing its worst financial crisis in history, the United Nations last month announced an ambitious US$25 billion 10-year development plan for Africa.
The system-wide initiative, the first of its kind, would mobilise all the UN’s agencies. The World Bank would lead the mobilisation of funds.
UN South African coordinator David Whaley said the efforts of existing UN development agencies had to be expanded and intensified in terms of the Special Initiative on Africa.
The project is result of a 1994 decision by UN secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali to mobilise the resources of UN agencies and the international community to help the only region in the world where poverty is set to worsen over the next decade.
The plan is based on development priorities drawn up by African leaders and will focus on improving health, education, employment opportunities and food and water supply. The programme will also try to create a climate conducive to sustaining development efforts.
KwaNdebele stays in Mpumalanga
The former KwaNdebele homeland, which some residents want incorporated in Gauteng, will remain part of Mpumalanga following a resolution to this effect at a special meeting headed by deputy president Thabo Mbeki.
Protesters from KwaNdebele blocked roads and burned buses last year to highlighted their demands for inclusion in Gauteng, where the majority of the area’s residents work.
The meeting in the former homeland’s capital KwaMhlanga was attended by Mbeki, Mpumalanga premier Matthew Phosa, senior ANC executive members from both Gauteng and Mpumalanga and ANC regional leader Siphosezwe Masango. Also present were members of the Pro-Gauteng Coordinating Committee.
The meeting agreed that the areas of Moutse and Moretele, which had been defined as affected areas by the interim constitution, would remain in Mpumalanga.
Those at the meeting said it had been decided to identify and, where possible, address the concerns of residents who were campaigning for inclusion in Gauteng.
Leaders at the meeting had stressed that the pro-Gauteng committee endorsed the decision and that there were no internal disputes within the ANC regarding provincial boundaries.
Job creation projects for Africa
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is to launch two projects aimed at ensuring that African economic policies cater for the creation of jobs and small enterprises.
The projects are tied in with the United Nation’s initiative for development in Africa, launched in New York, and the UN economic commission for Africa.
The ILO will fund the projects, aimed at improving the formulation of employment policies and creation of small and micro-enterprises.
The projects entail providing training and advisory services on policy formulation, development training and self-help schemes for youth, women and the unemployed. The cooperation of African governments, employer and worker organisations will be sought.
According to a recent ILO report, about 61 per cent of Africa’s labour force is employed in micro-enterprises of less than 20 workers. These businesses are expected to benefit most from these projects.
Inyandza to merge with ANC
The Inyandza National Movement, a political movement of the former KaNgwane homeland, has resolved to dissolve and merge with the African National Congress.
This was resolved at the organisation’s 17th annual congress held at Kanyamazane in Mpumalanga. Movement president Elias Ginindza said there was no need for the further existence of the movement since it shared the same ideologies with the ANC.
The movement’s central committee is still to meet so as to organise a merging ceremony and a rally to announce the merge to the public.
Mugabe declared winner
President Robert Mugabe was declared the winner of Zimbabwe’s presidential elections and affirmed in office for another six-year term as the country’s ruler.
His two reluctant opponents, Abel Muzorewa and Ndabaningi Sithole, withdrew from the elections, saying the electoral system was unfair. Electoral officials refused to accept their withdrawal as it had come too late.
The taste of Mugabe’s predictable victory was, however, spoiled by a major stay-away and the lowest voter turnout in national elections since he first came to power in 1980. He received 92 percent of the total votes cast in the two-day elections.
The voter turnout represented 31.7 percent of the total electorate of 4.9 million and is well below the 2.5 million who voted in the last presidential elections in 1990.
Mugabe’s critics said the turnout was a major embarrassment for the president, who had been expected to overwhelm his opponents.
Ban on weapons in public
Safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi announced a ban in 74 magisterial districts on the display and possession of dangerous weapons at public meetings.
He said magisterial districts, in which violent crimes involving dangerous weapons were most prevalent and in which dangerous weapons tended to be carried at public gatherings, had been identified with the assistance of provincial police commissioners.
The ban will apply to 17 magisterial districts in KwaZulu/Natal, 11 each in Gauteng and Eastern Cape, nine in Northern Cape, seven in Mpumalanga and the Northern Province, five in the Free State, four in the Western Cape and three in North West.
‘Dangerous weapons’ are defined as spears, assegais, knobkierries, pangas, swords, sabres and battle axes, among others.
The minister said the ban, published in the Government Gazette, would apply for three months after which it may be extended for further three-monthly periods.
Cubans, elections and awakenings
The Eastern Cape’s plenary session, which brought together the provincial executives of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu and Sanco, was held in Bisho in March.
The view of the alliance was that the province had to move away “as speedily as possible” from a consumption orientated budget towards a development and project oriented one, in order to create jobs in the province. The alliance felt that it was unacceptable that almost half of the province’s budget was consumed by salaries of civil servants, and that a substantial amount went to parastatals. The province will be holding a workshop which will examine ways of turning the budget around and orientate it towards development and job creation.
The province will be establishing a house of traditional leaders and it will be holding an awareness campaign on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The ANC in Mpumalanga has proposed the establishment of task team to ensure stability and delivery at a local government level. The team will deal with specific issues that are disrupting the normal work of councils.
The team will need some legal assistance in some cases and will therefore need a legal advisor as part of the team. In light of serious disruptions in some councils this proposal is being seen as a matter of urgency.
The ANC, alliance structures and organisations of the mass democratic movement held a warm reception for the Cuban doctors at the Galeshew Social centre in Kimberley on 14 March.
The ANC and alliance partners reiterated their unwavering support for the government initiative to import Cuban doctors to assist in government hospitals and clinics. The ANC thanked the Cuban doctors for having taken time to render this basic service to the South African people.
The Cuban doctors have committed themselves to bringing health services closer to the people and to contribute towards the socio-economic development of the people of South Africa.
In Pietersburg,the capital city of the Northern Province, the city council plans to introduce a municipal police force. This force will assist the South African Police Service, which is faced with dealing with serious crime. However, the manner in which the officials are going about this has been described as unacceptable, as they are trying to steamroller the plan through the council.
ANC councillors were caught by surprise when the matter appeared on the agenda of a recent sitting. Arrangements had already been made for two councillors – one from ANC and the other from NP – to go to Durban to investigate the city’s metropolitan police force.
The matter has been shelved, pending consultation with the MEC for Safety and Security whose sole prerogative it is to sanction the establishment of a municipal police force. Taking into account the poor record of the Pietersburg City Council’s Protection Services – who unleashed terror on a group of striking municipal workers and street vendors – the ANC councillors should be commended for having the idea put on hold.
The Provincial Election Team is due to announce the results of the ANC candidates for the proportional representation list in KwaZulu/Natal. The Local Election Teams (LET) for the transitional local councils and the metropolitan sub-structures have been formed and are fully operational.
The ANC is likely to contest elections in all areas expect Ulundi, Nongoma, Mpendle and at least two others. This is due to the lack of free political activity in those TLCs, as shown recently at Mpendle and Nongoma, where the IFP declared no-go areas. The IFP has denied the ANC the right to hold meetings in those areas, despite being given permission by the local chiefs.
The province has held a number of tremendous consultative meetings, rallies and forums. Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and Tokyo Sexwale have addressed the provincial LETs’ workshops, minorities and rural forums. KwaZulu/Natal launched its local government election campaign in Newcastle on Human Rights Day.
The ANC in the Gauteng province will be embarking upon a campaign called ‘Operation Vuka’ (awake) to revive and resuscitate the Gauteng membership. Membership in the province has declined drastically, as a result of the failure of members to renew their membership annually. The aim of the campaign is to awaken the members and to increase the membership tenfold through ongoing recruitment.
For the next six months, the province will work towards increasing the ANC’s membership in Gauteng from below 40 000 to 120 000, which was the figure in 1991 to 1993.
The campaign emphasises the urgency of carrying out consistent political work throughout the movement; of developing the cadres; and ensuring that have the organisational capacity to do this work. It also points to the need to have a strong organisation rooted among the people and capable of reaching all parts of the country and all sections of the population.
The province will therefore need to ensure that necessary steps to bring to an end the organisational instability that resulted from the deployment of many of the leading cadres to various structures of government.
In his own words
Every now and again people have an interesting knack of saying unintended truths about themselves. So it was in the middle of March when the high-flying but recently disgraced Eugene Nyati returned quietly to South Africa. Presumably, his hopes of finding greener pastures in the United States did not quite work out.
“My return to South Africa is a total non-event”, said Nyati. Let’s hope we taxpayers don’t have to pay for this non-event.
As everyone knows, controversy has been raging around the springbok as the national emblem of our rugby team. Now one sharp wit has suggested that our new multi-coloured nation should consider replacing its bird symbol.
Instead of the national bird being the blue crane, how about a Rainbow Chicken?
Press gang up on MPs
Members of parliament’s press gallery flexed their collective muscles last month, telling the country’s politicians that their time was no more precious than those of journalists.
Journalists waiting for a press briefing after the ANC’s weekly caucus meeting grew impatient when the MPs had not emerged from the caucus 10 minutes after the briefing was scheduled to start.
In a move of unity which is rare in the dog-eat-dog world of parliamentary journalism, the assembled correspondents decided to give the MPs five more minutes before going back to their computer screens.
Despite a message from the caucus that it was about to finish, the journalists kept their word, leaving just as the five minutes were up. Despite being offered an exclusive story by the ANC’s bewildered media liaison office, none was prepared to stay.
On hearing of the press’s stubbornness, the ANC MPs scheduled to speak at the briefing expressed relief. “Good,” they said, “we didn’t have much to say anyway.”
Which makes one wonder what these reasonably-paid-by-market-standards public representatives spend several hours discussing each week. How else can you explain their discussion on what President Nelson Mandela plans to do with all the gifts he has received since his release? Or the time the ANC caucus discussed the poor state of parliament’s catering.
With so many other matters of national interest to report on, I’m not surprised the parliamentary journalists were not going to hang around.
Transparency for the gifted
Speaking about hanging around, it has been revealed that Gauteng MEC for sports, art, recreation and culture Peter Skosana has no shortage of ties to wear to work.
In a document to the Gauteng legislature, premier Tokyo Sexwale provides a list of all gifts received by members of his executive council. While some MEC received a wide variety of gifts – like Sexwale, who received over 60 gifts, ranging from magazines to tracksuits to Ray Ban sunglasses – Skosana’s gift list was limited to ties, t-shirts and caps (18 ties, to be exact).
When asked the value of each gift, Skosana says that he is far too well-mannered to ask people how much their gifts cost.
Then there’s development planning MEC Sicelo Shiceka, who has only one gift listed – a bottle of R30 wine. When asked where his gift is currently being held, his reply is that the gift “no longer exists”. Perhaps the question that should be asked is: for how long did it exist?
Should South Africa try to be a Tiger?
In the last instalment of this series we looked at social democracy as a possible ‘model’ for our country. We argued that there are many positive lessons to be learnt from the recent history of social democracy, but that it was not a ‘model’ that we could simply import into our own situation. However, much more frequently than social democracy, it is the example of the so-called ‘Asian Tigers’ that is presented as the example we should follow here. So what are the Asian Tigers?
The Asian Tigers, also known as the Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs), are a number of Asian countries that have succeeded in the last 30 years in achieving very substantial levels of economic growth. The classical Asian Tigers are South Korea and Taiwan. Malaysia, and the port-city society Singapore are often also mentioned. Other countries, notably Indonesia, are sometimes seen as up-and-coming Tigers.
The reasons for the attractiveness of this ‘model’ are fairly obvious. With the exception of some socialist third world countries (for example, the People’s Republic of China or Cuba) few other third world countries have been able to escape the downward spiral of deepening underdevelopment in the last thirty years.
Countries like South Korea have built up a massive industrial base that is internationally competitive in a wide range of areas from computers through automobiles to ship-building.
The two most obvious features of the Asian Tiger growth path have been:
- the active and central role of the state in the economy;
- the export-oriented character of the growth strategy.
State command capitalism
Building partly on the earlier experience of state-driven capitalist development in Japan, the Tigers have used authoritarian state systems to drive through economic transformation. Some writers have referred to these countries as ‘capitalist command’ systems.
The ‘modernising’ state is used widely to:
- push through active land reform programmes – to break the back of the older land-owning elite, and to create a wider domestic market;
- plan and coordinate industrial development. In South Korea, for instance, the state Economic Planning Board issues, in a top down fashion, five year plans. Individual ministries then draw up sectoral plans in accordance with the overall plan. There is virtually no public debate of these plans;
- use the budget and other financial mechanisms to subsidise through soft loans and other means the strategic industrial sectors that are being fostered. In all of these countries the Reserve (or Central) Bank is typically treated not as an independent institution but as another arm of government policy. In times of economic downturn, the state has also been prepared to run up high budget deficits. However, the state has typically used borrowed money to invest into productive economic activity, and not for consumption.
- actively intervene into the market, through elaborate protectionist barriers and price controls, including price setting on many key commodities. As recently as 1986, in the midst of what was being billed as a major South Korean ‘trade liberalisation’ exercise, the US Embassy in Seoul was complaining that: “duties on the 104 items ‘liberalised at US request’, still averaged 33 percent, with none subject to duties of less than 20 percent”. The US Embassy was also complaining that there were many other non tariff barriers that were protecting South Korean products – like the law that allowed the import of foreign cosmetics, but which stipulated that only Korean cosmetic manufacturers could do the importing.
This kind of heavy state intervention into the economy has sometimes led these Asian Tiger states to be described as ‘developmental states’. The role of the state has been less as a consumer of resources in its own right, or as the provider of welfare services to the general population. Rather this highly interventionist state is used to leverage development, through active carrot and stick measures.
Although there has often been a real improvement of average living standards and education in these countries, the major focus of the economies has been outwards – for export. As late developers in backward third world countries, the ‘Asia Tigers’ did not focus on new inventions, but rather on copying and adapting existing products. The approach has been to produce more cheaply. In particular, great attention has been paid to reorganising production methods, in this way outcompeting the traditional capitalist centres on the international market.
A critical component of this path to economic growth has, again, been the use of an authoritarian state to suppress wages and worker organisation.
Are there any positive lessons we can learn from the Asian Tigers?
Perhaps the most important lesson is the one that is often not mentioned by those who are so keen to promote this example. What the Asian Tigers demonstrate is that without a state that is prepared to engage actively in the economy the prospects of breaking out of third world underdevelopment are minimal.
In South Africa certain big business circles like to promote the Asian Tiger model as if it were a shining example of free market capitalism, of a minimum state, of trade liberalisation, deregulation, privatisation, and low government deficits. As we have seen, especially in the critical lift-off period, nothing could be further from the truth.
Some of our local advocates of the Asian Tiger model also like to tell us how these governments were prepared to ‘tame’ the trade unions in the interests of international competitiveness. This is certainly the case. But the same advocates fail to mention that the state also acted heavily to discipline business.
In South Korea, for instance, legislation was passed in the 1960s stipulating that any illegal overseas transfer of $1 million or more was punishable with a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of death. Admittedly by the 1980s this legislation was not being enforced, but it gives a measure of the seriousness with which the state sought to discipline not just popular classes, but also the rich.
Should we copy the Tigers?
As with other international examples, South Africans should certainly learn what we usefully can from the economic development in these societies. However, there are three reasons why we should not simply attempt to copy these examples:
We have deliberately refused to pursue an authoritarian path to economic development. An economically active, developmental state does not have to be an authoritarian state. In our case, we hope to combine a strong but democratic state with the organised mass power of our democratic formations to drive through our RDP transformation.
When Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore began their export-led growth they had great politico-military significance for the United States. They all occupied key positions in the Cold War frontline – Taiwan in regard to mainland China, South Korea in regard to North Korea and Singapore in the context of the major communist insurgency in Malaysia. Not only did they benefit financially from the massive military presence of US troops in the region, but their particular global location ensured for them preferential access to US markets. They were not, in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s subjected to massive pressures to open up their own markets in return. This gave them important advantages which have not been available to other countries.
- the ‘Tigers’ opted for export-led growth at a time when most other countries were pursuing the opposite path – import substitution and industrialisation based on production for a protected local market. Today almost all third world countries are pursuing export-led growth strategies. More and more dogs are chasing fewer and fewer bones.
There are many useful lessons that can be learned from a close study of the Asian Tigers. But it would be a gross error to imagine that we should, or even that we could, simply copy this kind of example. A simple imitation is neither desirable, nor possible.
The ANC has renounced the temporary immunities granted during negotiations, ahead of its submissions to the truth commission, writes Steyn Speed.
The ANC last month applied to justice minister Dullah Omar to withdraw the temporary immunity from prosecution granted during negotiations to 73 ANC members.
The decision to renounce the temporary immunities, taken by the national executive committee, was part of the ANC’s preparations for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The move was an indication that the ANC did not want any special treatment by the commission, ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus said.
“It says the ANC is committed to the truth commission. The ANC will submit its record, leaders and members to the scrutiny of the truth commission. We are happy to go to the truth commission and speak about the war we conducted against apartheid,” she said.
“We are going to the Truth Commission to indict apartheid.”
ANC Mpumalanga provincial chairperson Matthew Phosa said the organisation was calling NP leader FW de Klerk’s bluff: “De Klerk is saying we’ve got immunities, but [former defence minister] Magnus Malan hasn’t.”
The ANC wanted to subject itself to the law of the land, Phosa said.
Carolus said the ANC was telling its people to come forward to the truth commission if they thought they had committed gross human rights violations.
“People who have committed gross human rights violations must know that if they don’t apply for amnesty, they’re making themselves open to prosecution,” she said.
No human rights violations were committed with the authority of, condoned or orchestrated by the ANC, Carolus said. The organisation was “totally committed” to deal with instances where there had been excesses.
Carolus criticised people who tried to equate the actions of the ANC’s army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, with the actions of the NP’s defence force: “There is no way that a soldier of Umkhonto we Sizwe can be compared to a soldier of apartheid.”
There can be no excuses for picking up a gun in defense of a system as evil as apartheid, Carolus said. All South Africans were morally obliged, on the other hand, to take up the struggle against apartheid. The armed struggle was a last resort. “It was never anyone’s desire to take up the armed struggle,” she said.
Responding to some families of murdered activists who said they would not accept the truth commission, Carolus said the ANC had never thought the process of reconciliation would be easy.
It required an almost “superhuman” quality in victims of apartheid crimes to be able to recognise those people responsible for their suffering, and then forgive them, Carolus said.
“It doesn’t help matters when the alleged perpetrators say they have nothing to be sorry for. Other political parties, including De Klerk and Buthulezi, have a major responsibility to come on board this process,” she said.
Part of the task of the ANC’s provincial structures was to engage with survivors and families of victims, Phosa said.
The ANC has established a special NEC sub-committee to oversee the organisation’s input into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This follows a decision by the ANC to make available to the commission all information at its disposal. The ANC would submit its record, leaders and members to the scrutiny of the truth commission, ANC deputy secretary general Cheryl Carolus said.
The 16-member sub-committee has established a truth commission desk based at ANC headquarters in Johannesburg.
The tasks of this desk would include:
- studying the truth commission law and processes, and explaining it to ANC members;
- mobilising ANC structures around the truth commission, which would include establishing ANC truth commission committees at provincial level;
- identify victims of human rights violations and have statements recorded;
- convene a meeting of the mass democratic movement to discuss the truth commission;
- interacting with other structures involved in human rights, including international human rights organisations;
- studying other countries with truth commission experiences;
- collecting and cataloguing information for submission to the commission.
Last month’s meeting to clear the way for an imbizo in KwaZulu/Natal was an important first step towards peace in the province, writes Khensani Makhubela.
Following a suggestion earlier this year by president Nelson Mandela for an imbizo of the Zulu nation to look at ways of resolving the violence in KwaZulu/Natal, a ‘pre-imbizo’ meeting of the amakhosi was held on 15 March to lay the basis for the gathering.
The meeting was attended by the province’s chiefs and some of their headmen. It was addressed by Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, Mandela and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
MAYIBUYE spoke to ANC NEC member Blade Nzimande and KwaZulu/Natal provincial executive member S’busiso Ndebele about the significance and achievements of the meeting:
MAYIBUYE: What is the importance of the pre-imbizo?
Blade Nzimande: The pre-imbizo is a major breakthrough for bringing peace in KwaZulu/Natal province. This meeting is a first of its kind to bring people from different parties together. The imbizo is very important for both the ANC and IFP. It is high time for both of us to acknowledge that we are guilty of violence in our province.
The significance of the pre-imbizo is that chiefs met and brought their problems together for the first time. It acknowledged that no individual from any party can claim to speak on behalf of the Zulu people. We should not have parties exploiting the culture and norms of Zulus in order to popularise their parties.
S’busiso Ndebele: The pre-imbizo is very important not only for the people in our province but for the whole country. The purpose of the imbizo is to bring peace in the province. There cannot be peace in KwaZulu/Natal before the masses can come together and talk about peace.
The significance of the imbizo was that the chiefs were there and they were ready to hear what King Goodwill Zwelithini, President Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi wanted to tell them.
It is very important that we close the chapter we were living in, it is time we start a new chapter. We don’t want to hear who started what, because that won’t help us, and it won’t get us any where. We want a way forward as to how we can resolve the problems in our province.
MAYIBUYE: What are the challenges of the imbizo?
BN: The imbizo has an impact on our people, and the most important thing is to make them bury the past and come together despite our political differences. We are all tired of bloodshed in the province, the killings must just stop. We cannot go on for ever like this.
SN: This imbizo is a political wave for our leaders. It is high time they realise that these killings cannot go on for ever. We have to come with a solution to bury our differences. The imbizo does not belong to one party but to everyone in the province.
MAYIBUYE: What are the obstacles?
BN: It is unfortunate that not all of us understand or do not want to understand what the gathering is all about. We should not allow ourselves to address party political grievances at the imbizo. Political grievances should be addressed through democratic structures.
The media is also destructive. They projected how IFP grievances should be resolved before, and went to the extent of saying that the pre-imbizo failed before it even took place.
SN: The IFP made a mistake right from the beginning: they brought hecklers to the meeting so that they could disturb the whole process of the meeting. The people interrupting the meeting were headman, not chiefs. They demanded for issues like international mediation to be addressed. But those issues are not for the king to resolve, they are political issues. The IFP should be demanding for issues on how peace can be achieved in the province.
MAYIBUYE: What was achieved in the pre-imbizo?
BN: The fact that the imbizo itself took place is a very great achievement. Three hundred chiefs met for a very long time at the pre-imbizo and they brought their problems together. The chiefs and the people of KwaZulu/Natal are longing and ready for peace and this will prepare us for the actual gathering.
SN: People had the king speaking to them for the first since they heard rumours that he was in exile, and it was important to know that the king is still there for his people. Again the meeting took place without having major interruptions. The fact that the chiefs came to the imbizo is very important, and that is our starting point.
MAYIBUYE: Are there any hopes for the next meeting?
BN: I am very optimistic a date for the next gathering will be reached soon. The ANC is calling on all parties to commit themselves to bringing peace in KwaZulu/Natal. We are tired of the killings in the province, the sooner we hold the next imbizo, the better.
SN: In the next meeting we are going to challenge and overcome all the obstacles which were raised in the pre-imbizo, and that makes me very optimistic about a date for the next imbizo. It is important that the date for the next meeting is set soon, because people are dying. It is up to the ANC and IFP to bring these killings to an end, and the next meeting will be a step forward to bringing peace in the province.
The South African Foundation’s ‘Growth for all’ report, if implemented, would only entrench apartheid economic inequalities, write Asghar Adelazadeh, Zunaid Moolla and Vella Pillay.
The South African Foundation’s report, entitled ‘Growth for all’, released last month, left some of us wondering how such an influential body could seek to undermine the national consensus on the economic development processes, in the form of the Reconstruction and Development Programme.
The RDP is a conceptual framework that looks at growth and development through reconstruction and redistribution. This is a necessary starting point in a country in which millions of its people live in abject poverty alongside a small, but wealthy and economically powerful minority – where 87 percent of the land is in the hands of 13 percent of the population and where there is massive inequality in incomes, education, health status and skills.
The RDP defines clear roles for the numerous interest groups in our economic and social landscape, while reserving a special role for the state, believing that for the first time in our history the state can become a major instrument through which the needs and interests of all the people can be addressed.
Economists have long been debating what determines economic growth and what the relationship is between distribution and economic growth. The role of the state in the economy has also been debated.
The SA Foundation’s is based on one school of thought in this debate. Its central tenets draw a picture of an economy that has a flexible labour market, minimal government participation in the economy, high savings rates, and is fully integrated into the global market. In such an economy, we are told, market forces, working through the private sector, will lead to high growth, create sufficient employment, provide an income distribution acceptable to the market and allocate resources for reconstruction wherever the market friendly signal and conditions are present.
Given this framework, the foundation’s major policy recommendations are to liberalise, deregulate, privatise and drastically reduce the role of the state in the economy. Some of its specific recommendations are to:
- reduce personal and company tax rates;
- reduce government spending;
quickly remove exchange controls on residents, allow for the depreciation of the rand, cut import tariffs faster and gear the economy to exports;
- establish a flexible, two-tiered labour market, avoid minimum wage regulations and maintain minimum standards;
- speed up the privatisation process and discard nationalisation of any sort as a policy option;
- promote higher savings.
Problems with the SAF report
We believe that the underlying framework and policy recommendations of this report are completely unsuitable for changing economic conditions in South Africa. The implementation of this framework will not lead to sustainable growth and the alleviation of poverty or high unemployment, but will entrench the dominant position which many corporations have enjoyed for the better part of this century.
The report should be rejected because it ignores the overwhelming historical evidence of the role of the state in growth and development in the modern world. The United States, Japan, Korea and most of western Europe at different times in this century, all provided examples of state intervention aimed at meeting the basic needs of the population, developing their internal markets and alleviating the impact of regular market failures.
The report ignores the experience of the 1980s, where the adoption of the proposed policies in the US, Canada and UK actually led to increases in their budget deficits without any reduction in unemployment and resulted instead in a rapid deterioration of social services. It would be a serious mistake for South Africa to copy such failed, trickle-down, supply side economics.
The foundation advocates major reductions in government deficits and drastic cuts in taxes. Implementation these two policies together would undermine the government’s ability to restructure the inherited apartheid economic social and physical infrastructure. These policies also weaken the government’s ability to use fiscal policy to help change the pattern of income distribution in the country.
The report relegates the development and expansion of the internal market to a peripheral issue, dependant on the success of export-led growth, when the opposite has been the pattern of development in all of the large and medium-sized industrial countries.
It advocates the creation of a dual labour market with different wage levels and conditions of work. This is economic apartheid which, if adopted as a strategy, will perpetuate the racial divide in our country with severe consequences for social and political stability.
The SA Foundation wants to pursue apartheid-style exploitative anti-labour policies, under the banner of achieving international competitiveness and increasing employment.
The report overemphasises the role of foreign trade in economic growth and creation of employment. Data from a diverse group of countries indicates that in the last 35 years, exports consistently constituted a small share of their GDP, and their non-export activities were much more effective in creating jobs.
It advocates double standards in its treatment of private sector deficit spending and government deficit spending. The emergence of the banking system in the history of capitalism allowed firms to finance their expansion beyond their internal sources of revenue and saving. The foundation report clearly advocates policies that enhance the private sector’s ability to raise funds domestically or internationally for its planned economic activity. The government should also be allowed to engage in deficit financing similar to the private sector.
The current debate on a suitable economic framework for growth and development in South Africa needs to be compatible with the principles of the RDP.
The appropriate growth framework for South Africa should not be based on an outdated, refuted ‘trickle-down’ theory. The framework adopted should look at the changing pattern of income distribution, the development of the domestic market and government expenditure to provide basic needs as growth and employment enhancing. In a country in which five percent of the population controls 80 percent of the wealth, no fundamental change will result from a framework that does not build into its operation mechanism the decentralisation of economic power and deconcentration of wealth.
The proposed SA Foundation framework is constructed to consolidate the existing pattern of income and wealth distribution and the property relations underlying that distribution. While adherence to the RDP’s principles will promote and ensure social and political stability, the SA Foundation framework is more likely to perpetuate economic apartheid and simply serve to exacerbate social and political instability in the country.
Dr Asghar Adelazadeh, Zunaid Moolla and Dr Vella Pillay are from the National Institute for Economic Policy.
The South African Foundation – of which several South African companies are members – recently released a proposed economic strategy for South Africa, called “Growth for all”.
The report has many critics, including the ANC, for its emphasis on growth to the exclusion of other development priorities, such as job creation, wealth redistribution and infrastructure development.
A statement by the ANC NEC sub-committee on economic transformation said the proposals seemed to be aimed at shifting economic policy to the right-wing, and would be a recipe for disaster if ever adopted.
The National Instituted for Economic Policy (NIEP) said the report sought to institutionalise the inequalities of apartheid (see main story). It ignored the national consensus that had been achieved on the principles and objectives of the RDP, it said.
The ANC Youth League’s recent conference has given the organisation new impetus in its struggle for youth development, writes David Adams.
The ANC Youth League took stock last month at its 19th National Congress in Durban of its role under the new dispensation, and has emerged with a number of bold resolutions to take the organisation forward.
The last few years have been difficult for the ANC Youth League. Before the congress there had been much media commentary which consigned the youth league to a slow, but early, death. However, with firm decisions taken at the congress, the direction of the league will change dramatically to play a much more meaningful role in our democratic society.
The league declared its loyalty to the ANC, and vowed to spare neither energy nor strength to build the mother body. The league further resolved to accelerate the establishment of bodies, like the national youth commission, that will ensure meaningful participation of young people in the building of a new South Africa. Not only did the youth league take firm decisions on policy formulation, but took time to congratulate the representatives of the South African people gathered in the Constitutional Assembly for the work being done in the finalisation of the new constitution.
Peace and stability
The congress resolved:
- to reinforce and compliment the work of the community police force by urging youth to work closely with the police and to also form youth crime-busting units in all areas;
- to inculcate in the youth a sense of social responsibility and respect for property and human life by engaging in mass education and advocacy;
- that the league support all peace initiatives aimed at genuinely resolving the violence in Natal-KwaZulu, which continues to affect young people. The league further urged the police to arrest the perpetrators of violence in that province irrespective of status or political affiliation;
- to urge its members to participate in forums to address taxi violence;
- to participate as an organization in the gun-free South Africa campaign;
- to educate its members on domestic violence, child abuse and rape.
The congress resolved to:
- continue the process of interaction with legislative processes and different government departments on issues of youth;
- ensure the league develops and implements a national programme on issues of youth development through projects and campaigns;
- lobby the ANC national and provincial caucuses, MECs and the ministry for an amendment to the Local Government Act to make provisions for youth governance structures at local levels;
- continue to lobby for a youth ministry as the most effective instrument of implementing government programmes on youth;
- ensure the participation and empowerment of young women in this process.
On education, the congress emphasised:
- the need for all stakeholders to be represented in school governing structures;
- that governing councils need to be monitored and given capacity;
- governance structures at tertiary level must be constituency based, particularly those dealing with policy-making processes;
- education should be linked to community projects;
- the government should put in place a system of funding to address the problems encountered by most young people;
- communities need to find ways of reinforcing government funding to schools;
- that tertiary funding should be based on national priorities;
- the need to participate in relevant structures on curriculum development,
- the need for the inclusion in legislation of broad transformation forums.
The youth league resolved:
- to urge the ANC’s National Executive Committee to initiate a campaign to promote a culture of tolerance among all South Africans for foreigners, and to cooperate with the authorities to ensure that illegal entry into the country is curbed;
- that the league play a more active role in influencing government foreign policy in pursuance of democracy, peace and development and the strengthening of South Africa’s foreign relations.
- to join forces with the cuba solidarity campaign to lobby for the lifting of the United States embargo on Cuba, and the right of Cuba to pursue social development policies of its choice;
- to mobilise the youth and the people of South Africa to raise the plight of the youth and the people of Sudan and to support their struggle for peace.
The congress resolved to:
- expedite the formation of a gender commission at all levels of the organisation;
- take up campaigns and develop programmes which focus on issues of young women, including sexual harassment and rape;
- participate in general processes in the country to ensure an improvement in the position of women, particularly with the Gender Equality Commission and the ANC Women’s League;
- participate in the celebrations of National Women’s Day, with the objective of raising gender awareness among young people.
The congress resolved to:
- investigate the possibility of a national youth archive;
- develop a national programme of action that involves government and all youth organisations in commemorating June 16 in an appropriate fashion.
Building the Youth League
On strengthening the league, the congress resolved to:
- implement a programme of revitalising and strengthening the league’s branches;
- convene provincial meetings of youth league branches and members on campuses to consolidate existing branches and launch new branches on campuses;
- revive the department of political education and implement a cadreship development programme aimed at all tiers of the organisation.
Some new lions in the national executive
The elections for the ANC Youth League’s national executive committee saw a mixture of new and old faces among the organisation’s national leadership. Malusi Gigaba of KwaZulu/Natal was elected national president. Andrew Dipela, National Soccer League spokesperson and a former Youth League arts and culture officer is deputy president. Febe Potgieter is Secretary General. While Temba Kinana and Pemmy Majodini are deputy secretary and treasurer respectively.
Other members of National Executive Committee are: Parks Mankahlana, Lassie Chiwayo, Andries Nel, Neville Naidoo, Dorothy Mahlangu, Nomfanelo Kota, Cassel Mathale, Steve Mbuyiswa, Nathi Mthethwa, Stitch Ngubane, Mcebisi Skwatsha, Thabo Masebe, Bheki Nkosi, Mbalula April, Nono Maloi, Ned Kekana, Dumisane Bengu and Songezo Mjongile.
The traditional militancy of South Africa’s youth can become a force for reconstruction and development, newly-elected ANC Youth League president Malusi Gigaba told Mziwakhe Hlangani.
MAYIBUYE: How can the ANC Youth League help build a stronger ANC?
Malusi Gigaba: The strength of the Youth League lies in its history. It is an organisation with a clear history in building the ANC, in struggling for the national liberation of our people and championing the interests of young people. And, that in itself is a capacity which has not been utilised much recently. But, now we need to exhaust that capacity quite effectively.
As an organisation that continuously learnt from its past, we need then to use that experience to surge forward.
Being a youth organisation of the ANC, understanding its role and position within the ANC and the broad struggle for national liberation and transformation – that is a rallying point for young people. With leadership structures at all levels, though with limited resources, we are able to use those resources on hand to continue building a strong ANC.
Emerging from a national congress, the league came out with three clear tasks and mandates: one of being supportive of all the ANC programmes; two, getting actively involved in the transformation process; and thirdly in championing the interests of young people.
MAYIBUYE: What are the major weakness of the Youth League at the moment?
MG: Among several weaknesses, the major one is lack of financial resources. It is something the new leadership is going to tackle head on.
The organisation lost a significant number of leaders nationally in the transformation processes. Most were deployed in parliament, provincial legislatures, local government and civil service. A significant number of our youth leadership also went in to fill the leadership positions in the ANC, created by the absorption of ANC leaders in the governance of the country.
This had constricted our leadership base, while we were unable to groom as many leaders as we should have in the last four years. We now have a situation where quite a significant of our leaders, at lower levels in particular, are new. Now that poses a challenge. We are compelled to engage in cadre development programmes, in political education programmes, in leadership development so that the organisation continues to serve as a reservoir of leadership.
Another weakness, is that over the last few years we have not had clear programmes. We have tended to be confused about the new political situation. And, quite serious confusion among the people we lead had sneaked in.
Quite a number of our branches have died out. Some are still working, but are weak as they lack a clear political vision and clear programmes to realise that vision. This has culminated in the ANCYL not taking up major national campaigns over the last the few years, besides June 16 and a few others.
I am talking about socio-economic and political campaigns which would make an impact in South Africa, that we should have taken up decisively. Among the few that we have taken up, we have won major victories. The recent crown of it has been the passing of the National Youth Commission Bill, which is a real credit and tribute to the role of young people in the liberation struggle.
MAYIBUYE: What is the way forward?
MG: Priority number one is creating an efficient and effective organisational machinery to be able to focus on those major programmes that are of interest to young people. Among these are education; the establishment of a functional youth coalition at national, provincial and local levels; youth programmes and establishment of youth development national policy; increasing the profile of the ANCYL among the broad masses; and making clear input into the political situation.
I have in mind issues like the constitution-making process. A meaningful impact is also needed in the peace process in KwaZulu/Natal and the local government elections in both KwaZulu/Natal and the Cape Town metropole. These become the central programmes of the league.
Talking about the organisational machinery at the same time involves immediate setting up a finance and fundraising commission within the youth organisation that is going to come out with a programme of fundraising, and which can efficiently manage the finances of the league.
MAYIBUYE: Has the league done enough to move beyond its traditional african membership?
MG: With regard to prevalent perceptions that the league has failed abysmally in its recruitment drive in formerly ‘non-black’ youth institutions, I can say we haven’t done enough. We managed though to establish branches in some institutions at tertiary level, mostly former white institutions. We are interacting with our provincial offices to accelerate that process.
That we have failed to reach out to the non-african youth and draw that youth into the fold and the ranks of our movement is a critical question. If we are to built this nation and make the reconstruction and development successful, we then certainly need to go out and reach out to the other national groups.
They should join the ranks of our organisation in realising that the transformation process is not against their interests. It is in the interest of everyone in this country. They must support our vision for transformation and realise that they also have a stake in the future that we are trying to build. We are calling on them to actively participate in building that future at whatever level they are involved in.
MAYIBUYE: What is the role played by the ANCYL in the governance of South Africa?
MG: Our attitude to the government is informed by the fact that the government of national unity is led by the ANC. We are a component of the ANC and therefore we need to play a supportive and cooperative role to the GNU.
Our involvement is twofold: on the one hand through the ANC structures in which we are represented we need to continuously make an input about how governance should go at all levels. But, on the other hand we need to strengthen the Youth Commission nationally and provincially – as well as local youth commissions – so that we are able to champion effectively the interests of the young people using the machinery of the state. As the youth league we are going to actively participate in the youth commission processes.
Now that a bill to establish the national youth commission has been passed, the onus is on young people to establish their own national youth extra-parliamentary [structures] involving youth organisations of every sector – whether politically, educationally or culturally – so that they are able to assist the youth commission in linking directly with the voices and interests of the young people.
MAYIBUYE: Can the Youth League’s historical militancy be channelled towards the objectives of reconstruction and development?
MG: Every revolutionary movement has always its most active and forward youth component. It is inevitable therefore that the youth, by its very nature is militant, energetic and brave.
Now that militancy is not something that should be looked at negatively. It should not be equated to emotional rowdiness. Our militancy as young people of South Africa has been very sober. It has brought about the transformation process we are in today.
Therefore, I am saying that in this period of reconstruction and development there is no way that we are going to say to young people ‘stop being militant’. Their militancy is for change and it will defend and protect our democracy and accelerate our transformation process.
We are saying to young people that militancy – that energy they used to destroy completely apartheid – must now be channelled towards reconstruction and development, transformation and to build a new nation. They must take their militancy to school and study hard. Take that militancy to industries and seek jobs. With their militancy they must engage in youth development projects, defend their communities against crime, against violence, as in KwaZulu/Natal – to bring peace and stability to our people.
Commission to protect human rights launched
In a country known around the world for gross human rights violations, the launch last month of the Human Rights Commission signalled a significant break with the past. Khensani Makhubela reports.
On 21 March 1960, 69 people were shot and killed by police at Sharpeville. The massacre sent shock waves around the world, and for the last three decades was a symbol of the gross violations of human rights which have characterised South Africa’s history.
Thirty-six years to the day after the Sharpeville massacre, a constitutionally-entrenched human rights body was launched in Johannesburg. The Human Right Commission (HRC) was signed into law by President Nelson Mandela in November 1994 and was established in 1995. On 21 March this year it was formally launched.
Speaking at the launch, deputy president Thabo Mbeki said the significance of the Human Rights Commission was further enhanced by the fact that, in commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre, the United Nations designated 21 March as the International Day for the elimination of racism and racial discrimination.
Mbeki said that by establishing the commission, South Africans were committing themselves to the creation of an “ever-expanding frontier of human dignity for all our people – the young and the old, men and women, black, white and disabled”. The attainment of human dignity could not be reduced to merely the attainment of civil and political rights, he said.
“We also know that we cannot speak of the dignity of the individual in a situation in which that individual is not free from hunger, want, ignorance and fear. The women who have to sell their bodies in order to make a living; and others who have to succumb to domestic violence because they cannot detach themselves and their children from the breadwinner [also need dignity],” he said.
Brian Burdenkin, an advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the HRC’s charter was almost unparalleled in the world, with only four other countries having similar bodies with the same extensive power.
The HRC is mandated to help develop a culture of human rights in South African society. It is to promote the observance of fundamental rights, to promote respect for fundamental rights and to promote protection of fundamental rights.
Its task is to inform South Africans of their human rights under the law; to ensure protection for all South Africans of their human rights and fundamental freedoms under the law; and to receive and investigate complaints of violations of human rights.
The commission has “awesome” powers of investigation, to subpoena witnesses and of search and seizure. Thought not a judicial body, its decisions can be made an order of the court. All government institutions at all levels are obliged, on pain of criminal penalty, to give the commission any assistance it may require to fulfil its functions
Nine commissioners were sworn in by Constitutional Court president Arthur Chaskalson at the inauguration. Barney Pityana is the commission chairperson of the commission and Shirley Mabusela is the deputy chairperson. The other commissioners are Max Coleman, Anne Christine Routier, Rhoda Kadalie, Pansy Tlakula, Brigalia Bam, Karthy Govender and Helen Suzman.
The Human Rights Commission is based in Johannesburg, but intends opening representation offices in each province, after consultation with provincial structures. Only one provincial office, in Cape Town, has been opened.
Any member of the public may approach the commission if they feel their human rights, as outlined in chapter three of the constitution, have been violated. A statement would be taken, an investigation undertaken and appropriate action taken.
Since the April 1994 democratic election a number of commissions have been established, or are in the process of being established, to promote the rights of the ordinary citizen. Below is a brief summary of each of their functions, and how they differ from each other.
Human Rights Commission
The Human Rights Commission has the responsibility of promoting and protecting the human rights of all citizens. These rights, enshrined in Chapter three of the constitution, include the right to equality, to life, to freedom of speech and movement, socio-political rights, administrative rights and rights under the law. It is empowered to investigate any allegations of human rights violations and making rulings which are enforceable by a court of law.
The Public Protector is concerned about administrative irregularities, corruption in the public service, inefficiencies, wastage in delivery and any complaints members of the public may have about their treatment. The Public Protector is required to address the question of administrative justice, not allegations of human rights violations.
The Gender Commission is concerned about the rights of women, matters of inequality and discrimination against women. It is concerned with the representation of women in public life, and the problems of violence and abuse against women. The commission has not yet been established.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Truth Commission has the task of investigating gross human rights violations which occurred between 1960 and 1994, and has the power to compensate victims and grant amnesty to perpetrators. It will only last for two years.
Commission on Restitution of Land Rights
The Land Rights Restitution Commission is concerned with land claims by those wrongfully dispossessed of their land during the period of white minority rule. The commission has the responsibility of providing for the restitution of land and land rights to such people.
Compiled with the assistance of the Human Rights Commission.
The opening to the public of the ANC’s archives will give South Africans an important view into the history of the struggle, writes Duncan Harford.
The official archives of the African National Congress – covering its 84 year history – have been made available to the public.
The archives, which are housed at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape, were formally opened by ANC deputy president Thabo Mbeki on Sunday 17 March.
“Without all that is recorded in this archive, South Africa could not be what it is today – and would never achieve the glory in future that is its due,” Mbeki said.
More than 3 000 people, including ANC veterans, ministers, ANC provincial leaders, diplomats, academics and officials of the tripartite alliance, attended the launch of the archives.
The archives consist mainly of material returned to South Africa from 34 of the ANC’s missions around the world. The first material to be made available to the public is from the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (Somafco) in Tanzania
According to NEC member Frene Ginwala, who chairs the ANC archives committee, the quantity of material is massive. It was brought back to the country in “containersful”, she said.
This material had to be processed, inventoried, boxed and shelved. Much of the material which had been was now available at Fort Hare to researchers and other interested people.
The archives are the single most complete record of the ANC, especially in the period since its banning in 1960. The archives include documents such as reports, minutes, circulars, memoranda, correspondence and diaries. There are also other printed items, such as brochures, posters and pamphlets. Other material includes audio and video tapes, pieces of graphic art, sculptures and paintings.
The archives would go a long way to redressing the deliberate exclusion of the majority of South Africans from the official history of South Africa.
They would help set the record straight on the resistance struggle, which had so far been treated only as a footnote in the history of South Africa, Ginwala said.
“As a liberation movement we had to carry our history with us because it never featured as part of the country’s history, certainly of the last 40 years,” she said.
The ANC was the only organisation in the world which had managed to maintain records of its history in such a way, Ginwala said.
The agreement whereby the University of Fort Hare would house the ANC archives was signed in October 1992 by ANC president Nelson Mandela and education minister Sibusiso Bengu, then rector of Fort Hare.
As the oldest University for africans in east, central and southern Africa, Fort Hare has played a significant role in nurturing the independence movement in the subcontinent. Leaders of the calibre of Oliver Tambo, Robert Mugabe, Robert Sobukwe, Seretse Khama and Mandela have all attended the university.
“The ANC encourages all South Africans to treat these archives as a national resource – something which will enrich our understanding of our past, and which can inform our approach to the future,” the ANC said in a statement.
A glimpse of history
The ANC archives research rooms at the University of Fort Hare will be open for inspection Monday to Friday from 08h30 to 13h00 and from 14h00 to 17h00 except for public holidays.
For more information contact the University of Fort Hare (0404) 22391 or 22091 or Narissa Ramdhani (011) 330-7391.
The budget is one of the main vehicles through which to transform the government’s priorities. Duncan Harford looks at this year’s priorities.
The budgets of the government of national unity were building blocks in the transition process from an apartheid era to full democracy, ANC NEC member Tito Mboweni said in the ANC’s response to the 1996/7 budget presented to parliament by finance minister Chris Liebenberg.
Mboweni, speaking as chairperson of the NEC’s economic transformation committee, said the ANC welcomed the major thrust of the budget. He urged the government to remain firmly focused throughout the year on RDP delivery.
Presenting the budget to parliament, finance minister Chris Liebenberg described it as an “excellent budget” which showed the country moving away from the “feared debt trap”. He said it would send out a signal of sound and sensible budgeting, as well as keeping South Africa on the fiscal straight and narrow.
“A fundamental objective of the government is to combine growth and development. Addressing poverty, unemployment and low living standards as speedily as possible, while also promoting growth and competitiveness, is key to achieving this objective,” Liebenberg said.
Liebenberg said job creation remained South Africa’s biggest challenge. It was therefore a key pillar of the government’s growth and development strategy. The government, he said, expected improved employment numbers for the latter part of 1995 and 1996, as unused capacity and fixed investment continued to improve.
Access to opportunities to earn wages took households out of poverty and afforded men and women a stake in the economy. This eased the pressure on the state to provide relief.
Among the poorest 40 percent of South African households, nearly 50 of those seeking work were unable to find employment. Race, gender, age and location were all factors which influenced the pattern of unemployment.
“We must address the reality that most of the unemployed are black, many are women, many are young, many are in the rural areas,” Liebenberg said.
Conventional economic growth was not enough by itself to address the structural problems in the economy which hampered job creation. A better understanding of the labour market and of the informal sector was needed, he said.
Pension tax fund
One of the key changes to the government’s means of collecting money was a 17 percent tax on the monthly gross interest and the net rental income received by all pension, provident and retirement annuity funds. Deputy finance minister Alec Erwin said the implementation of the new tax was not a “revenue grabbing exercise”, but had been arrived at as part of a strategic vision of an improved tax system.
Liebenberg said the new pensions’ tax should be seen as part of an attempt by the government to strike a balance between direct and indirect taxes.
There was no change to the rate of value added tax (VAT). Liebenberg said an increase in VAT at this time would have hurt the poor and the unemployed relatively more than other sectors of society.
A further R7,5 billion was allocated in the budget to the Reconstruction and Development Programme. This brings the total amount now allocated to the RDP to R15 billion. Liebenberg said the government was busy with a process which would elaborate, coordinate, review and ensure the RDP’s implementation “in a manner that generates growth and development capable of attaining our objectives”.
The RDP fund initiatives, which will take place over several years, include:
- 300 water supply projects that will reach 3,5 million people who previously had no access to clean water;
- municipal and bulk infrastructure projects to benefit more than three million people;
- the primary school nutrition programme, targeted at about five million school children;
- free health care programmes for pregnant women, mothers and children;
- land restitution, redistribution and reform programmes to low-income rural families;
- the creation of temporary jobs through almost 400 labour intensive projects;
- the improvement and renovation of almost 3 000 schools;
- a series of urban renewal programmes.
Safety and Security
The police budget increased by 4,6 percent from last year to almost R10 billion. This does not include improvements in conditions of service for all public servants, which police members will also benefit from. The ongoing reorientation in crime prevention was also reflected in the increase for community policing. Last year R3,5 billion was spent on community policing. This year R4,2 billion has been allocated.
The Department of Education will receive R5,5 billion, an increase of R1,2 billion from last year’s budget. In addition, R300 million has been allocated for the first phase of a national student financial assistance scheme to relieve the plight of financially disadvantaged students.
A further R150 million has been earmarked for universities and technikons for erecting new buildings.
The education budget also includes R160 million for the new RDP youth or community college project. One billion rand will be transferred from RDP funds to the provinces to address the backlog in school education. Adult basic and community education and training will increase from R1,6 million to R2,5 million.
The Department of Welfare will receive R79,8 million, an increase of R5,2 million from last year. The small increase is due to the fact that provinces are now responsible for most of the services provided by the department. Old age, war veterans, disability and maintenance grants would all be increased.
The Department of Housing had its budget cut by more than half to R1,5 billion. Because of allocations from other sources such as the RDP and the National Housing Funds, however, the total for the department will be R4 billion this year.
The defence budget was cut by five percent to R10,2 billion. The budget for the Department of Trade and Industry was cut by R268 million to R3,2 billion. This is largely due to the phasing out of the General Export Incentive Scheme, and other attempts to make South Africa more competitive internationally.
The Department of Constitutional Development’s budget was cut to one billion rand due largely to the decrease in funds given for the Commission on Provincial Government, the Volkstaat Council and the Council for Traditional Leaders.
Seventy-five billion rand has been allocated to the nine provinces. This amounts to 43 percent of the total expenditure and is an increase of R2,7 billion over last year. Backlogs, inequalities between provinces and revenue shortfalls were considered to arrive at equitable allocations, Liebenberg said.
Greater provincial and local autonomy imposed greater financial responsibilities on the provinces. The notion that provincial governments could rely on the national government for poor financial management and budgeting must come to an end, Liebenberg said.
The amounts allocated to each province, in billions of rands, are as follows:
- KwaZulu/Natal 14,5
- Eastern Cape 13,9
- Gauteng 11,1
- Northern Province 9,3
- Western Cape 8,3
- North West 6,4
- Free State 5,1
- Mpumalanga 4,6
- Northern Cape 1,7
Through reducing expenditure in “non-priority areas”, the 1996/7 budget was beginning to show signs of the much-needed shift towards the objectives of the Reconstruction and Development Programme, ANC NEC member Tito Mboweni said.
Presenting the ANC’s response to the budget, Mboweni said the ANC was “pleased to see that through reducing expenditure on non-priority areas such as nuclear energy, the defence special account, the General Export Incentive Scheme and administrative expenditure in the education department,” the government had been able to provide additional resources for education, state-aided training centres, community policing, health care, housing, water affairs, land redistribution and welfare.
The ANC welcomed the provision for the first time of full details on how the allocations to the RDP fund would be spent.
“The government needs to ensure that this time next year, we must not be lamenting about unspent funds. Funds allocated must be spent effectively and timeously,” Mboweni said.
The ANC welcomed the emphasis placed on the creation of jobs in the 1996/97 budget by finance minister Chris Liebenberg.
In its response to the budget, the ANC said it was extremely concerned that over the past year, very few jobs had been created in either the private or public sectors of the economy.
However, the budget should have a positive impact on economic development in the coming year: “Job creating measures should be enhanced and policies tightly coordinated so that we do not lose the momentum required for this gigantic task.”
The government would need to concentrate its efforts more effectively in the national public works programme as one of the job creating strategies, the organisation said. The government should consider a “more bold initiative” in this respect.
“This will contribute both towards poverty alleviation and development, particularly in areas of infrastructural development and upgrading,” the ANC said.
One of the main changes to the taxation system made in this year’s budget was the introduction of tax on the interest of pension, provident and retirement funds. This was part of a broader strategy to reform the tax system to become more efficient and equitable.
According to ANC economic transformation committee chair Tito Mboweni, the incorporation of the retirement industry into the tax system had been handled in a responsible and strategic manner.
“The ANC therefore calls on the industry to cooperate with the authorities in making these proposals a success. There is no cause in our view for any alarm on the part of members of retirement funds,” Mboweni said.
While the progress being made in the area of taxation policy had been noted, the work of the Katz Commission on taxation had to be completed as quickly as possible, so that there could be greater certainty on government tax policy.
Finance minister Chris Liebenberg had been correct not to raise the level of value added tax (VAT): “We are pleased that the minister was wise enough not to heed some of the more short-sighted and insensitive ‘free advice’ to raise the rate.”
The department of finance had set out a strategic approach to VAT, Mboweni said. Value added tax was an effective, yet regressive tax, which in the absence of a social security system, would place an undue burden on the poor, he said.
“We are encouraged by the progress being made with regard to personal taxes. We note that the middle and lower income earners will receive some relief,” he said.
Mboweni said the ANC supported the government’s policy to reduce the budget deficit in a gradual and systematic way.
An effective debt management strategy was critical: “The overall level of indebtedness is a serious problem which demands careful management. The current level of the debt as a percentage of gross domestic product imposes tremendous difficulties for fiscal policy.”
Politicians can’t always work in the field they are most experienced in. Khensani Makhubela spoke to one of the exceptions.
Mary Metcalfe, Gauteng MEC for education, counts herself lucky.
“I was very fortunate to be appointed to the portfolio I am in at this time. Normally in politics you just get dumped in any portfolio and get moved around. You are expected to match the expertise of any portfolio by the people who entrusted their votes to you,” Metcalfe says.
Metcalfe is an educationist. A former teacher, she taught at high school and university level. She has worked in education special aid, the former department of education and has done a lot of education policy work. She was involved with the National Education Coordinating Committee and worked on the development of the ANC’s education policy. With this background one understands why Metcalfe is handling her department well.
“It does not mean that when you are an educationist you are always fortunate to be given a portfolio on education, but for now it works for me. When I started in the education department it was chaotic. There was no department at all. I think it would have been hell for anyone who did not know anything about education,” Metcalfe says. “That’s why I have respect for people like Dr Aaron Motsoaledi [Northern Province education MEC]. He is a medical doctor by profession, but he is doing well in the education department.”
Metcalfe says the education department is very complicated at the moment – different schools have different crises. She says her major challenge is establishing a new department out of bits and pieces that were inherited from the old apartheid department. She also says that it is difficult to construct a new department and transform it, at the same time as having to deliver a new and better education to the province’s children.
“People’s expectations around education were very high after the elections. They wanted to know how schools were going to be settled, but this is quite a wide scope. When we transform the Gauteng education department, it has to be different from the old department. We can’t just say we are different because we behave differently,” Metcalfe says.
“It is sad and frustrating to have to deal with the shortage of resources and our budget is also tight. But it does not mean we are going to give up. Our imperative is to be able to demonstrate and defend that we are using resources in a equitable way. As long as I’m saying to this community ‘there is not enough money’ and there is that community that is still receiving preferential resources because the historical conditions haven’t changed, you have no right to say to this community that we can’t do it for you,” Metcalfe says.
“But when I can defend equity in how the money is spend when I can say that the resources of the nation are equitably distributed and people have an equal share,” she says.
Metcalfe says that not all dimensions of inequality can be done away with: “The fact that the school down the road has a library and a swimming pool does not mean the other [school] has to have one. It is unfortunate that we can’t move the swimming pool and the library, but as long as the teachers and the money are now equal you know you can defend your position,” she says.
Metcalfe has built a good relationship with student bodies and encourages their political debates. She has a good relation with teachers at the level of political debate, but it is a difficult situation at the level of employer-employee relationship.
She says that there is a lot of fragmentation due to politics: “We’ve got all these teachers associations and we’ve got to manage a good relationship with them. It is a problem because at the moment we can’t get the right teacher-student ratio and we have to reduce it to achieve equity,” Metcalfe says.
She says national government has basically agreed that there should be a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 35 at secondary level and 1 to 40 at primary level, and that has to be done over a period of five years.
“We are basically saying that this year if there is any secondary school that has a teacher-student ratio of more than 1:35, this must immediately come down to 1:35,” Metcalfe says.
Answering to media reports that Gauteng Government is going to retrench teachers, Metcalfe says retrenchment is not their first option. “We are not going to retrench teachers. All we are going to do is reducing and increasing the numbers of teachers in certain areas. Some schools are going to lose teachers and some are going to gain teachers. Meaning that we will be deploying teachers – that we will remove them from some schools to other schools, and that is not retrenching,” Metcalfe says.
IMPORTANCE OF BEING FLEXIBLE
Metcalfe recently learnt the importance of being flexible, when she was acting premier during Gauteng premier Tokyo Sexwale’s visit to Cuba and the United States. She says she was fortunate that during the premier’s absence things were relatively quiet, expect for the Thembisa evictions.
“During the premier’s absence my worst fear was not knowing how much should get involved if something went wrong. Tokyo has a particular style of leadership and it is very good to work with him. He is less involved in the portfolios of the MECs and he is helpful when you go to him with a problem. He has a high level of trust and confidence in his MECs. I think everything went well during his absence because I just had to be myself, not try to be him,” Metcalfe says.
Although Metcalfe has a lot on her plate with her education portfolio already, she is also involved in the restructuring of the ANC Gauteng provincial policy department. On top of that, she also has to have a personal life. With a working day that begins at seven in the morning and continues right up until twelve at night, Metcalfe has very little quality time for her two children, but fortunately has a husband who is always willing to help.
With just a few weeks before Cape Town residents go to the polls in local government elections, the Western Cape ANC is preparing for a difficult campaign. Sobantu Xayiya spoke to ANC provincial secretary James Ngculu about his expectations.
MAYIBUYE: Did the ANC expect such a victory in the Western Cape rural local government elections, or did it come as surprise?
James Ngculu:I don’t think the election victory came as a surprise. The results actually confirmed our strategic planning. As you are aware we were contesting 87 elections as the ANC. Out of those 87, we as the movement had earmarked 15 towns. And we won all of them, except Hermanus.
It was already clear by the time we went to the election [that] the potential to win was there. There was a strong swell of disillusionment against the National Party, as you will recall racism in these areas is still rife.
Afrikaner apartheid oppression is still practiced in the rural areas despite the April 1994 democratic election. Therefore people in these rural areas still identify their sufferings and harassment with the system of apartheid. It was clear that there was going to be a shift away from the NP towards the ANC. Even their racist campaigns could not bluff the people.
MAYIBUYE: When you were campaigning did the organisation detect an element of confidence on the part of the NP ?
JN: The NP had no strategy. They relied on their luck and confidence that the coloured vote is theirs. I think they got the shock of their lives.
MAYIBUYE: In their campaign the NP attempted to drive a wedge between african and coloured people. To what extent did that affect the organisation’s strategy ?
JN: It wouldn’t work. Our strategic approach was devised in such a way that our candidates were people who were attractive to their communities. In certain instances we deliberately ensured that even if a coloured candidate was number three in an area that was strategic to the organisation, we would put those candidates as number one in the list.
In that way we managed to undercut the NP. But if you look at the NP, most of their candidates were white and that was enough to drive the people away from the NP. They saw that the NP was using them for its own interest, white interests in particular.
MAYIBUYE: Now with just a few weeks before the Cape Town metro local government election do you think the organisation occupies the moral high ground over the NP?
JN: Absolutely. Firstly, the ANC is not using the coloured vote as a fodder. Its a vote that is part and parcel of the forces of change.
Secondly, the NP is in a state of terrible crisis. They are facing a haemorrhage of leadership. They are leaving the party in droves and the bulk of these people are coming from this province.
Presently they are trying to make amends in terms of the wounds they are suffering. While we on the other side are moving rough shod. This is cemented by the president’s opening speech [to parliament] recently. In particular his call for a new patriotism which I think has struck a right cord. The budget speech also showed how honest the government of national unity is in addressing the plight of the poor people. Indeed I think the organisation does occupy a moral high ground.
MAYIBUYE: What will be the ANC’s main areas of emphasis in your campaign this time ?
JN: I think our main emphasis is that we want to win this election. We want to continue reversing the gains of the NP. I think the potential to do so is great. As you’ll know we have six substructures. We are fairly convinced that we are going to win central Cape Town and the Tygerberg sub-structure. Of course its going to demand a lot of organisational and mobilisational work.
Our main opponent is the NP. We are mobilising our people against the NP. We are projecting the NP as a spent force. The crisis presently riddling the NP does attest to the fact that the NP is going to the doldrums.
In terms of how we deal with other opposing forces like the Democratic Party and Pan Africanist Congress, our view is that we don’t want to waste our energy fighting them. We rather focus on the NP, deprive it the majority.
MAYIBUYE: Nationally the ANC is the majority party, yet in this province the party is in the minority. How does your office relate to that contradictory situation?
JN: The government of the day is ANC. We must avoid the temptation of being federal in approach when we look at the question of provincial governments. Therefore, whereas we might be the minority in this province, we all know the president of South Africa is comrade Nelson Mandela.
The NP strategy is getting obsolete. People are beginning to see through their anti-central government approach – that this is an excuse for their inefficiency. There are problems when we want to implement programmes geared towards the upliftment of our people.
MAYIBUYE: The president, in his opening speech to parliament, called for the nation to embrace a new patriotism. Given the racial composition of this province, what is the significance of this call?
JN: Its absolutely a very important call. The president is calling on us to look at ourselves as South Africans. What he is saying is that the forces who preach racial or ethnic chauvinism have no place in South Africa.
You’ll recall that this is a call that the late ANC president Oliver Tambo made in the 1979 January 8th speech. The new patriotism of the president is a continuation of what president Oliver Tambo said. It is important in terms of ensuring that we build nationhood. The sporting fraternity is already giving meaning to this call.
MAYIBUYE: In the light of this call are we going to see the organisation in future placing less emphasis on the racial composition of its structures in the province ?
JN: No. There’s no need to have a racial spectacle when you look at the ANC. You’ll end up in a terrible vicious circle. If one moves from that premise one is bound to experience problems. What is important is to ask who are the most competent people to take up leadership positions. In doing so how do you ensure that the leadership assists you in the mobilisation of the people around ANC programmes.
MAYIBUYE: Do you think the organisation has reached a stage whereby the people can field an african premier in this province ?
JN: It would be wrong to approach it that way. I think when we look at the question of the premier, we’ll have to look for a person who is the best custodian of ANC policies – a person who is going to push forward programmes of reconstruction and development as pursued by the ANC. The complexion [of that person] will not be important. What is important is the abilities and capabilities of that particular person.
MAYIBUYE: To shift to a different question. The fishing and textile industries are dominant economic activities in the Western Cape. One would think if the organisation wanted to assert itself in the province it should have a sizeable influence in these sectors. What is the ANC’s position regarding the fishing and the textile industries ?
JN: Yes, its absolutely true. Presently the organisation has not asserted itself firmly in these two sectors. However, we are developing a lot of approaches to assert ourselves as an organisation. We have a fishing desk in the office, but we need to do a lot of revamping to recharge that department. There’s a lot of exploitation taking place in the fishing industry.
Together with SACTWU, a component of COSATU, we are developing strategies of addressing some of these problems, like the tariffs agreement, which in a way affects the job security of workers. This is a contradiction we, as the ANC, need to manage, because we want South Africa to be open to the international market.
MAYIBUYE: The NP has appointed Roelf Meyer as their first general secretary. Do you think this move will affect the ANC in the local government election ?
JN: Firstly, Roelf Meyer is not the first general secretary. Their first general secretary was Stoffel van der Merwe, and we don’t know what happened to him. Secondly, he claims to be a general secretary of a revamped NP. But is it really revamped ?
To the people its still the old NP with its baggage of racism. Presently they are rallying round General [Magnus] Malan and Adriaan Vlok. This move on its own undermines the programmes of Roelf Meyer, as they say he must be attractive to the black community.
Roelf Meyer is perceived by the conservative faction of the NP – the likes of Hernus Kriel in the Western Cape and Danie Schutte in KwaZulu\Natal – as an opponent. Both will undermine Roelf Meyer’s programmes.
Lastly he is appointed by an individual and not a product of popular participation of the people. He does not send shivers to us, but he’ll end up managing the problems of the NP.
A recent workshop explored the ANC’s readiness to build a healthy nation, writes Khensani Makhubela.
The ANC’s capacity to guide national health reform came under review at a recent workshop held by the ANC Policy Department. The main concern of the workshop was to finalise the national and provincial structures which would drive the ANC’s health programme.
These structures have as their objective the improvement of people’s lives, through the maintenance of people’s health and well being.
The health structures would evaluate and monitor the implementation of health policies, and measure them according to ANC principles. The structures would provide coordination between the health desk and the political structures at each level.
The work of the structures would allow for the participation of ANC membership in health policy formulation and development. They would recruit and strengthen ANC membership using health issues, and would mobilise and rally support around health issues.
The health structures provide a link between the structures of the organisation and ANC representatives in national and provincial government. They would serve as a political forum in the health sector that will defend the overall political gains achieved to date.
The structures would network with members of the tripartite alliance partners, allied organisations and sympathetic international agencies. The structures would facilitate the implementation of campaigns around health issues.
Health minister and NEC member Nkosazana Zuma reported in the workshop on the political economy of health in South Africa. She said there were major challenges in the department of health.
The national drug policy was launched in February, and there were areas of it which were identified as controversial, she said. The drug policy would affect doctors, pharmacists and manufacturers. Government could resort to parallel imports if the costs of drugs continued to rise. Steps were being taken to curb the theft of drugs from the public sector.
The private sector was bleeding the public sector of its human resources, and the situation was so bad that some hospitals in peripheral areas were run by nurses, Zuma said.
The report on the transformation and restructuring of health service, to ensure universal access to primary health care, was being finalised and would go to cabinet for approval soon, she said.
The quest for colour defect
The reasons given by some people for the formation of a coloured party in the Western Cape are fundamentally flawed, argues David Adams.
The ‘coloured question’ in the Western Cape is under the spotlight once again prior to the Cape Town metropolitan elections. This time some academics from the Western Cape are arguing that coloured people within the ANC need another political party. This view was expressed in a recent article published in the Cape Times by Trevor Oosterwyk, a history lecturer at UWC and former president in the Western Cape of the then South African Youth Congress.
Oosterwyk, a well-respected member of the ANC in the Western Cape, must be congratulated for the courage it must have taken to publicly argue for the formation of a Western Cape coloured party. However, there are some serious flaws in his arguments.
Coloureds have historically never really identified consistently with their fellow oppressed, nor has this identification been uniform. Support for the ANC within coloured communities has varied from province to province. However, the basis of the National Party victory in the Western Cape in the April 1994 election was laid even before the unbanning of the ANC and the start of negotiations. Since the late 1980s the Western Cape NP prepared itself to win the elections in the province, sowing fear, mistrust and prejudice.
In last year’s local government elections, held everywhere in the Western Cape except Cape Town, the ANC mobilised significant forces. The election results demonstrated growing support for the ANC in the non-metropolitan areas of the Cape. In former NP areas, the ANC gained tremendous ground.
Given this trend, the argument used by Oosterwyk that the ANC’s non-racial concept had failed to win over large scale support among coloureds should be re-examined. To limit his basis of analysis to what happened in the peninsula during the April 1994 elections is not very useful.
Oosterwyk further argued that the ANC didn’t take into consideration the specific needs of the coloured community and was therefore unable to sway the vote in its favour.
The ANC’s April 1994 election campaign was based on an understanding of the realities in all our different communities. Taking into account the complexity of our society, the ANC provided a vision which catered for the needs of all sections of the population.
It is not clear from the article what the needs of the coloured community are – or how they differ from the needs of the african community.
Although the coloured community has benefited from the previous government relative to their african counterparts, the needs which the ANC campaigned around were common needs. Would Oosterwyk argue that job creation was an african or a coloured need? Or housing, or education, or health care, or economic growth.
The ANC’s commitment to transforming South African society does not exclude the coloured community. On the contrary, the benefits of an ANC-led government and ANC local councillors are being felt as much by coloureds, as part of the oppressed, as they are by africans.
The attitude of africans towards coloureds, and vice versa, needs to be dealt with very carefully. Oosterwyk’s comments that there is an attitude towards coloureds in the province is questionable. As a coloured and having lived in the Western Cape, I have experienced racism on several occasions. It is a product of a society steeped in centuries of racial prejudice. As long as we accept that racism isn’t inherent, but that it is something that is taught, then we must acknowledge that it can be ‘untaught’.
Racism in the organisation, in whatever form, is a subject for frank discussion and political education – not an incentive for division and fragmentation.
Why has the african leadership always been at the forefront of struggle in the Western Cape? Because of their historical position, african participation in the struggle for liberation has been key. They have been the engines for change for years.
Coloured communities, in the Western Cape in particular, have by contrast taken a back-seat. In saying this I don’t wish to discredit the invaluable contribution made by coloured activists in the struggle for liberation since the early days.
Nor do I want to provide coloured activists with an excuse for abandoning the ANC. Rather it is the duty of people like Oosterwyk and other influential leaders in the Western Cape to become much more involved in the ANC.
The ANC has been a democratic organisation since its inception. The argument used by Oosterwyk that certain coloured people within the ANC are sidelined does not ring true. In any event, the ANC has sufficient democratic processes within the organisation, for people to air and address any grievances.
Formation of a Coloured Party
Is it necessary, or even desirable, to form a coloured party in the Western Cape? To form an organisation is no easy task. You need personpower, financial resources and much more. You also need a political objective and vision which is more than just a disenchantment with another organisation. Look what has happened to the PAC.
Oosterwyk argues for a coloured formation, but we have seen many of those formations come and go. The whole concept of mobilising people along ‘colour’ lines and identify themselves with coloureds is questionable. Why do we need a political party based on ethnic grounds?
It is my belief that people like Oosterwyk could play a much more meaningful role in the ANC. This article is not an attack on Oosterwyk, but a personal response to his views. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the ANC, nor does it pretend to be the last word on the matter. I would urge anyone to contribute to the constructive development of this debate.
Khensani Makhubela spoke to several people in Johannesburg about crime in South Africa, and found that most blamed unemployment.
South Africans are deeply concerned about the level of crime in the country, especially violent crime.
Ntabiseng Manamela, a shop assistant in the Johannesburg city centre, says that unemployment is the major cause of crime in the country. “People are tired of sitting at home doing nothing. They are told of qualifications and experience which they do not have. How does [one] survive without money or food?” she says.
“I don’t mean that people should resort to crime to solve their problems, but the government and private sectors should create jobs for their people in order to reduce the rate of crime. We all need peace and security.”
Manamela says police salaries need to be revisited: “Police earn very little, and this lead them to corruption because they end up accepting bribes to compensate for their salaries.”
“We need to improve the social and economic circumstances for the population. We should introduce courses on crime prevention in school curricula. We should strengthen the role of the family, and moral values within families and we should sustain an ongoing awareness campaign through public information and adult education programmes in order to overcome crime in our country,” she says.
Like Manamela, Nkosinathi Khumalo – also a shop assistant – says that crime is caused by unemployment, low standards of education and people who just don’t want to work.
“It is unfortunate that in some communities in our country people who are involved in crime are worshipped as heroes and they are seen as role models. Some people simply leave their jobs and join gangs, because gangs make fast cash,” Khumalo says.
He says the country needs tight security, and the people who can provide it are police personnel. Khumalo says police salaries need to be looked into so that they will stop working with gangsters. “Charges against perpetrators of crime should be very tight. They should never be granted bail,” he says.
Dumisani Ncube, a security guard, is afraid that his job has become one of the most dangerous in the country. “It is risky to be a security guard these days, so many of us are killed trying to stop crime. Unemployment has made our country very dangerous to live in. In order to survive people have resorted to stealing,” he says.
“The people involved in crime should be arrested and rehabilitated. The government should create a special project for them while they are still in jail so that they do not waste the taxpayers’ money, and when they are released they should continue with the project,” he says.
Nontobelo Shibane and Judith Ndlovu are both unemployed, but they are not involved in crime: “We are strong and very resistant characters, we have been looking for jobs for a long time but we cannot get any. This problem has led many people to gangsterism. If we were not strong, we will also be involved in crime,” says Ndlovu. “We all need to survive, and in order to do so employment should be created.”
Shibane agrees with Ndlovu: “this country has become ‘survival of the fittest’.”
“The SAPS requires more effective and mobile specialist units with the ability to apprehend criminals, investigate crime effectively and provide the prosecutor with evidence that will secure a conviction.”
Iggie and Lastborn (their nick names) blame crime on drug and alcohol abuse. “We need a clean society and it is high time that the police do something about it,” says Iggie. “Police should raid all the places which they suspect sell drugs.”
“There should be control limits for alcohol. Parents should stop sending their children to buy liquor for them. Bottle stores should also see that they do not sell liquor for people who are under age, they should put their selfish interests aside,” says Lastborn.
They say that the government should build more sports centres where youth will be kept busy and forget about alcohol and drugs, which lead them to crime.
Felicity Williams and Moira Landman feel that crime in this country has gone too far and something should be done about it. “Capital punishment should be brought back to reduce crime,” says Williams.
“Illegal Immigrants are worsening crime in our country. I think we should do like the Arab countries and cut the hands that steal from people, and the citizens in our country will live peacefully,” says Landman.
Williams and Landman say we can prevent and control crime by apprehending and dealing with criminals severely and the citizens should bury their political differences and come together and fight crime.
“Car hijackers should be dealt with accordingly. It is unfortunate that these people these days do not just take cars but they also kill the owners of the cars,” says Victor Majozi.
He adds: “It is dangerous to live with such people in our society. They should all be put behind bars and their sentences should depend on the crime they committed. They should never ever be granted bail, if possible they should be left to rot in jail doing hard labour.”
Fundraising is an essential part of any political programme. Nazly Dangor compiled some tips for ANC structures on raising money.
Every structure in the ANC needs funds in order to implement its programmes. The specific needs will differ from branch to regional to provincial and national levels. But at each level, the structure needs to find innovative ways to make money.
Fundraising can even be fun, and is also a good way of increasing political awareness in your area. People will often support you financially, but won’t give up time to get directly involved in your activities.
An organisation’s best resources are themselves. Find out what the structure wants and what its good at. Set yourself a target and budget how much you need in order to reach that target. Clearing up and sorting out money at the end is as important as the event you organise. This makes it easier to allocate tasks.
Budget income and expenditure, and organise publicity professionally and efficiently. The event you organise is very often all that the public will see of your group in action and the only time they will hear much about your organisation, except perhaps on television.
You need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What sort of event do you want?
- Where are you going to hold the event?
- Why are you holding the event?
- How are you going to organise the event?
- When will you hold the event?
Fundraising is a lot to do with luck. With good planning you can improve your chance of success. With timescales and planning you will be able to see at a glance how easy or difficult the ‘moneyspinner’ will be to organise.
Work out your preparation time – the minimum and maximum amount of time required to organise the event.
Establish how many volunteers you need. These are the minimum number of people required to ensure that the event can run smoothly.
Decide which form of publicity will be best for you purposes. These include leaflets, posters, press releases, invitations and word-of-mouth.
For some events special equipment or machinery will be necessary. Find out where you can buy or hire this equipment, and how much it will cost.
Official permission may be needed to carry out a particular event. Check with the relevant authority.
For some events you may need someone in your group with particular skills or experience. See if there is someone with such skills, or see if you need to get someone from outside to assist you.
The timing of the event is crucial, so is choosing the venue. The time needs to be convenient for most people, and the venue needs to be accessible and suited to your needs.
Tasks must be clearly allocated to various members. People know what they can achieve. Divide jobs so that boring ones can be done by as many people as possible. Don’t bully people into doing jobs they don’t want to do. Don’t forget that clearing up and thanking people is a very important part of the work.
Include all expenditure and overheads in the budget. It is usually better to have one person in overall charge of the particular event. Try and stick to the budget drawn up. You need to be competitive and realistic and still make a profit.
Research for any event is essential. Generally you should try and get everything done for free. Many local groups have become very organised and professional about getting help for free from local organisations and companies.
Start small by using the resources that the organisation has to offer. You can build up simple fundraisers that will enhance the credibility of the group and start you off on the right track. Research similar fundraising events with other organisations. Above all make it fun and give it your best shot.
A compilation of extracts from ‘Fundraising is Fun’ by Bernadette Vallely, published in 1987 by the Anti-apartheid Movement.
Who decides what’s constitutional and what’s not? Khensani Makhubela explains the various powers of the courts.
There are three branches of government: the executive, legislature and judiciary. The executive includes the president, cabinet and government departments. The legislature consists of the national assembly and senate, who make the laws. The judiciary consists of the courts, who are empowered to uphold the law.
The courts are independent and impartial. They are subject only to the constitution and the law, which they must apply without fear, favour or prejudice. No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the courts.
Organs of government, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the courts; to ensure their independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness. A decision of a court binds all the people and institutions to which the decision applies.
The South African courts are the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Magistrates Court and the Small Claim Court.
The Constitutional Court consists of a president, a deputy president and nine other judges. It is the highest court in constitutional matters, and its decisions bind all other courts. It can decide disputes in constitutional matters between national, provincial and local levels of government. The Constitutional Court may declare as unconstitutional an act of parliament, a provincial act or any conduct of the president. It can decide on the constitutionality of any parliamentary or provincial bill, but may do so only when the bill is referred to it. The Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction other than that granted in the constitution.
Any person may bring a matter directly to the Constitutional Court.
The Supreme Court and the Appeal Court have jurisdiction in all constitutional matters except other than those on which Constitutional Court has sole jurisdiction.
In any constitutional matter, the relevant court must declare invalid law or conduct that is inconsistent with the constitution. It may make any order that is just and equitable. It may order that an invalid law is to operate retrospectively. This means that any actions taken under that law might have to be reversed, or any damage done corrected.
The Supreme Court may not declare an act or action invalid on constitutional grounds, but may grant a temporary interdict or other temporary relief to a party. Any person or organ of government with a sufficient interest may appeal against the decision, or apply to the Constitutional Court to confirm or reverse a finding of unconstitutionality by the Supreme Court.
Any appropriately qualified person who is a South African citizen may be appointed as a judicial officer. The state president, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission, appoints the president and deputy president of the Constitutional Court and the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice. The other judges of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the president, after consulting the president of the Constitutional Court.
At all times, at least four members of the Constitutional Court must be people who were judges at the time they were appointed to the Constitutional Court. The president must appoint the judges of all other courts on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. Before judicial officers begin to perform their functions, they must take an oath that they will uphold and protect the constitution.
Constitutional Court judges are appointed for non-renewable terms of up to nine years. Other judges hold office until they are discharged from active service. A judge may be removed from office only if the Judicial Service Commission finds that the judge suffers from an incapacity, is incompetent or is guilty of gross miscount and if the National Assembly and Senate at a joint sitting adopt with a two-thirds majority a resolution calling for that judge to be removed.
One women’s experience tells a story about heroism
In telling the story of one women’s rape, this novel reveals much about oppression and heroism, writes June Madingwane.
This award-winning novel takes the reader through a roller coaster of emotions. It was set in Mauritius and is written in the style of a myth. The narrator is a man who relates issues of women and describes their emotions as if he were one. He also admires their courage and their strength as they fight against their oppressors and those who enslave them.
Colonisation and other forms of oppression are regarded as the rape of the human race. this where Sita comes in. She is a strong woman who is also brave. She acquired these qualities from her mother who also taught her to know no fear. The narrator describes these characters clearly and one aspect or member of the family leads to the other. He does this for a while before going back to where he started or why he had brought up the name of a certain character. Sita is an activist who not only encourages women to stand against their oppressors but also educates them in other aspects. The events in this book are inter-linked and this makes the reader become anxious to know about what takes place in the next page or the next chapter. The main character is the source of strength to other women and they also look up to her for companionship.
The victory of women with the help of Sita has turned her into a hero. Men respect her and the others envy her. Among all these people there was one man who adored her. He also wanted to destroy her. This he managed to do by only one thing.
It was towards the end of April when Sita had to attend a conference. Her mentor and teacher warned her not to go to a place called Reunion. Unfortunately, she had to attend a conference and her presence was required because she addressed the masses. Unwilling to spend the night in a hotel, she called a family friend called Rowan.
He and his family were the only people she knew. This man was alone at his flat and had separated from his wife. For some reason, he looked odd. When they came back to the flat after having supper in a restaurant, he stared at her and that made her feel uncomfortable.
For the first time in her life she felt trapped and she remained in that cage for a long time. It was late at night and she could not book into a hotel. She was at the mercy of this man. When he finally offered to make coffee, she felt a flow of relief in her. She then took out a book of TS Elliot’s poems and began to read. She was engrossed in the reading in such a way that when he attacked her, she was confused. Her mind told her she was attacked by a thief.
As she recovered from the blow, she noticed that her host was the one who had attacked her and was going to do more than just slapping her. As she realised that she was about to be raped, a lot went through her mind. She could kill her attacker but she knew she would get a life sentence. He was also physically stronger than she was. On the other hand, the narrator tells of how the rapist was panicking. He feared her yet he wanted to destroy her.
After the rape, the man slept peacefully and she could not run away from that place because she did not know anyone. On the following day, the rapist made coffee for her and was cool as if nothing had happened. He also drove her to the airport and watched her board the plane. That made him sure that she would not report the crime.
Back with her husband, she wanted to tell him what had happened to her, but the words did not come out of her mouth. As the leader she was required to make a speech at the launching of the Women’s Front. The day after her rape was the most important one and she could not spoil everything by telling anyone about her ordeal.
Seeing that she had been unable to prevent her own rape, she set off to support the victims of rape. Sita’s support for other rape victims helped her to shut off her terrible experience. It is said that she managed to talk about her rape only after eight years and nine months.
One women who Sita tried to support had been raped went she went to the police station to report a crime. Four policemen raped her. the jury in court cross questioned her as if she was the one on the wrong side. That was taken as the second rape. Her third was when the four policeman won the case against her. They went back to their duties and life continued.
This showed how vulnerable women are. The incident at the police station showed people who are supposed to uphold the law break them with the full knowledge that the system would protect them.
The rape of Sita is will-written and thought-provoking. It also requires the reader’s undivided attention. The author wanted to modernise mythical story-telling, and has achieved that.
Although there is more emphasis on the experiences of women, the book is useful and can be read by both men and women.
Title: Rape of Sita
Author: Lindsey Collen