Monday, November 7, 2011

Ultimately the Brown Stuff Will Hit the Fan

RW Johnson says govt is spending itself into dependency on foreign lenders and investors

“In Pravin Gordhan's Medium Term Financial Statement (MTFS) the key message was that South Africa's savings ratio, at 16.1%, is far too low, and that meanwhile government expenditure has been favouring consumption. The result is a dramatically reduced rate of capital formation. The reasons for this are various. First, the ANC has invented an enormous new form of consumption expenditure in social grants, currently costing R89 billion a year. Given the poor shape of the economy in 2009 many thought that the government could not possibly honour the Polokwane promise of child support grants being increased both in amounts and in coverage, yet this is exactly what happened in 2010 with 15-16 year olds included and by 2012 17-18 year olds will be added too.”
“But there are two other points of great significance. First, between 2006 and 2009 the number of income and corporate tax payers fell by 422,000 - undoubtedly due to continuing white emigration and, one fears, a general reluctance on the part of the new elite to become taxpayers at all. Whatever the reasons, this 10% shrinkage of the tax base is deeply serious.”
Let’s look at what’s happened in Greece. They are up to their noses in brown stuff. Their leaders realize that “austerity measures” are required and there’s a move to introduce such austerity measures. What happens? Revolt. The people got used to spending more than they earned and now they don’t want to go back to what it was before.
I ask myself the question, how long does the ANC government intend keeping up the social grants, forever? What will happen when they stop, or when they fail to increase the monthly grant?
I tell you what will happen; they started it, kids are having babies in order to get a social grant because there is no work, it is a problem for the future. One day the ANC will drown in its own excreta and the next government will deal with the problems created by this one.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

ANC has white-anted the Constitution

Anthea Jeffery writes: “Already the ANC has white-anted the Constitution in various ways …”

This is what the ANC does. It uses its hegemonic position to force its will, actually the will of the power group at the top of the heap, down on all South Africans. It uses the democratic institutions under its control e.g. parliament, to do this. Where these democratic institutions and processes get in the way, the party undermines the system through cadre deployment and the deliberate blurring of the boundary between political party and state. The ANC is white-anting our democracy, not just the constitution.

Also read my posts "The concepts "African" and "democracy" are mutually exclusive" and "While the ANC Plays Big Man". In fact, the ANC is in a hole from which it cannot extricate itself. The ANC has white-anted our democracy, and the infrastructure they inherited. We had an education system, roads, a health system, judiciary and an energy system that worked after a fashion. Instead of taking these and expanding/modifying them to serve all South Africans, the ANC chose to systematically deploy incompetence to the point that these things no longer work or will soon be not working. Do we have to go the way of Egypt, Lybia, Syria ... ? I guess, because the ANC Big Man is not going to give up what it has without a fight.

Read the article at:

Here is an excerpt:

Anthea Jeffery
01 September 2011

Anthea Jeffery says govt proposals on land will oust jurisdiction of courts in key areas

‘Green monster' could wreck both property rights and the rule of law
The green paper on land reform, finally made public on 31st August 2011, is part of a new assault on the Constitution and the rule of law.
On the same day as the green paper was released, the deputy minister of correctional services, Mr Ngoako Ramatlhodi, let the cat out of the bag when he said the African National Congress (ANC) had made ‘fatal concessions' at the time of the political transition (see full article here). Given the balance of forces at the time (including the collapse of the Soviet Union), it had accepted a Constitution which ‘emptied the legislature and executive of real political power' and ‘immigrated (sic) the little power left [to them] to civil society and the Judiciary'. [The Times 1 September 2010]
Mr Ramatlhodi seems to forget that the 1996 Constitution was drafted by an elected constituent assembly dominated by the ANC. In addition, it reflects a very wide-ranging consensus that the new South Africa should be a constitutional democracy in which Parliament and the Cabinet would have to act in accordance with constitutional principles and provisions, failing which both law and executive action could be set aside by a Constitutional Court charged with the task of upholding the Constitution at all times.
Already the ANC has white-anted the Constitution in various ways, and particularly via its strategy of cadre deployment. The green paper on land reform goes much further, for it seeks to oust the jurisdiction of the courts in two key spheres

Monday, August 22, 2011

The concepts "African" and "democracy" are mutually exclusive

I post an excerpt from an article by Vince Musewe: “…African democracies are littered with unmet expectations …”

It is because African democracies are not democracies at all. They are systematic use of the name democracy by Chiefs who rule with Big Man tactics for the sake of power and self-enrichment. The strategies are too centralist, the constituencies too big and the elections too far apart, with every “democratic” institution, the judiciary, the press, the opposition, the constitution, the parliament manipulated and twisted to suit the Big Man.

Read “South Africa: The Solution” by Kendall. It is a political model based on the Swiss Canton system, a system that has made Switzerland the most prosperous and peaceful country ever. They have the same as us, a hugely diverse population with many dialects and language differences. Instead of forcing down a one-size-fits-all from a central position run by a Big Man induna, they respect differences, limit power of the central government and have yearly elections to get rid of non-performance, corruption and all the other things so prevalent in Big Man run democracies.

Here's the excerpt:

The majority can be wrong
Vince Musewe
23 August 2011

Vince Musewe says African democracies are littered with unmet expectations

The masses have demonstrated a short memory and it has become evident that their views and opinions are shaped by what happens during the election campaign period
Have you ever imagined that a majority can be wrong? That despite democracy and the right to vote for millions of formerly disenfranchised masses, they can still be wrong in their judgment of what needs to be in place in order for them to escape poverty and lead a better quality life. History has shown that some leaders who get into power are not necessarily good for those that clamour for their rise to power.
Our African democracies, if you want to call them that, are littered with unmet expectations and the deteriorating economic conditions of the poor and a political leadership continually seeking a new mandate to rule from the masses despite their failure to meet past promises. Clearly something is wrong with our democracies.
The winner rules voting system is not delivering the economic development we seek but creating African political elite who have become career politicians. This in turn has resulted in what I call developmental paralysis because being in power has become an end in itself and not a means to an end.
Read the complete article at:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

While the ANC Plays Big Man

R. W. Johnson coins the phrase “Big Man” politics in his article “
”The future of the liberal tradition in SA.” He suggests the downfall of the ANC will come ultimately, as a consequence of its disregard for the law which is the hallmark of its Big Man politics: “The prospect is thus of Big Man government throwing its weight about to less and less effect, a sort of Nigerianisation of South African life, and the threatening collapse not just of ANC government but of government altogether. Such a collapse has already occurred in many parts of the country. Municipal government disappeared years ago in towns like iDutywa and Butterworth. East London City Council has not met for two years now.
Pietermartitzburg, which has had continuous municipal government since 1854, went bankrupt in 2009 and the council has been wound up. Many other councils are on the brink…”

Watch this space … Here is an excerpt from his lecture on the subject. I found the article at

The future of the liberal tradition in SA
RW Johnson
18 August 2011

RW Johnson says the task is to stand firm against the final wave of racial nationalism

R.W. Johnson, 43rd Hoernlé lecture of the South African Institute of Race Relations, Johannesburg, August 17 2011:
The Future of the Liberal Tradition in South Africa
“…many features of the new political landscape constitute great difficulties for liberals. First, our rulers have a cavalier attitude to the rule of law. This is apparent in a host of ways: in the way that Mbeki tried to use the law to bring down Zuma, replete with such improprieties as the NPA, on the eve of the Polokwane conference, briefing the media about impending charges against Zuma; in the corresponding way that Zuma and his backers treated legal proceedings as merely a complex game which had to be kept stalled long enough for Zuma to ascend the presidency, after which all charges against him would be conveniently forgotten.
In such hands, the law became merely a set of moves in a game of political Monopoly. If Mbeki wins, Selebi remains as police chief and Zuma goes straight to jail. If Zuma wins, he gets a Get Out of Jail Free card, Mbeki can't even appear on SABC and Selebi goes straight to jail.
But the disregard for the law goes much deeper: it is visible in the machinations of the Judicial Services Commission, in the low calibre of many of those appointed as judges, in diminishing confidence in the integrity of the courts and in the increasingly sleazy and dysfunctional conditions in which the law is actually administered. Since respect for the rule of law is one of the most sacred liberal canons, this inevitably leaves liberals in a state of anger, despair and protest.
Second, liberals look to a rational form of political authority, disciplined by accountability. They do not feel comfortable with African "big man" politics, nor with the intense factionalism which it inevitably breeds as rival would-be big men jostle for control and patronage. But that is, of course, exactly what they have got.
Mbeki was a classic African philosopher-king type, comparable with others of this genre who have done so much harm to Africa, insistent on their own genius and also, effectively, on their own right to rule beyond any normal set of constitutional safeguards. Despite the fact that he was guilty of one genocide against his own HIV sufferers and that he supported other African genocidaires in Zimbabwe, Sudan and elsewhere, he had many courtiers and praise-singers, including several absurdly obsequious biographers. The normal checks and balances of constitutional government were not enough to contain him and in the end he was brought down by his own arrogance and by another big man.
Zuma's South Africa is almost resplendent in its celebration of the big man. At its apex sits Zuma himself, now quite openly a traditional Zulu patriarch with many wives and fiancees, a special fiefdom of Nkandla which attracts all manner of state investment, and a spreading network of crony business deals among his extended family. There is a sad irony in watching the likes of Jeremy Cronin and Ben Turok lending their ideological support to this phenomenon, for Zuma is quite clearly the Zulu peasant living his dream of becoming the Zulu king.
More than anything he resembles Sixpens, the populist black leader in Arthur Keppel-Jones's When Smuts Goes (Gollancz, 1947). Almost equally striking is Blade Nzimande, flagrantly denying the rule that the SACP leader should not be a Minister, so that he too can have the big car, the big salary, and the big expense account that make a Big Man. The model is clearly that of the Zulu chieftaincy, which is what makes the SACP rationalizations for this behaviour so comic.
Other Big Men abound. Think of Khaya Ngqula as head of SAA who had a major interest in a company which supplied the airline with jet fuel, its biggest single cost item, who spent millions of Rands on sports stars of his choosing, who had himself helicoptered between Jo'burg and Pretoria, and who gave away endless free air tickets to friends. Even now Ngqula refuses to pay back any of the R50 million he irregularly spent.
Or think of Bheki Cele, the national Police Commissioner, compromising the Dewani trial by referring to the accused as "a monkey" and presuming his guilt. One is reminded of how his predecessor, Jackie Selebi, stormed into a police station and referred to a black policewoman as a chimpanzee because she didn't recognise him. For the great cry of the Big Man, also found in the mouth of Julius Malema, is "Don't you know who I am ?!"
What have Selebi and Cele got in common apart from ready recourse to monkey talk? Well, mainly the fact that neither had the slightest police or legal experience before becoming national Police Commissioner; that both were given this job simply because the Big Man on top thought he could trust them - and so both of them became Big Men too, throwing their weight around. Moreover, a Big Man is expected to distribute patronage and spoils to his extended family and client network which, in liberal terms, is corruption pure and simple.
This "Big Man" phenomenon is very widely witnessed. It was only because the head of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Chuene, was caught out in public lies over the Caster Semenya affair that he was deposed but it immediately emerged that Mr Chuene had run athletics as his own private fiefdom. After a forensic audit it was reported that he could face criminal charges for poor corporate governance, alleged misappropriation of funds and tax evasion. Perhaps the choicest item was that ASA had bought him a wonderful big Mercedes - and then sold it to him for R1, though ASA continued to pay for the car's maintenance and insurance of course.
Similarly Mr Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, helped himself and his family to extremely luxurious travel privileges, secretly appropriated large bonus running into millions of Rands, when discovered repaid some of these but throughout the ensuing fracas resisted all calls for an independent inquiry and managed to expel those who called for one. In the end Standard Bank resigned its sponsorship rather than be associated with such skullduggery but Mr Majola continues to preside lucratively over South African cricket. The fact that he has had the South African cricket schools week renamed after his own brother, Khaya Majola, is an authentic Big Man touch.
In politics the Big Man style is particularly noticeable in the way ministers spend millions on their cars, always travel first class and stay in the most expensive hotels, for it is understood that these are the essential trappings of a Big Man. To suggest that any Minister should forego any of these perks is to suggest that he is not really a Big Man after all. Yet under Seretse Khama in Botswana not only did cabinet ministers travel tourist class but so did the President himself. Similarly, when David Cameron came to power in the UK he immediately instructed that all ministers should travel only tourist class to show that they took the financial crisis seriously. Such an instruction is simply not thinkable in South Africa. And, of course the empowerment of women as interpreted at cabinet level means that any woman minister is also a Big Man.
Liberals feel a revulsion at such behaviour which is clearly derived ultimately from an African chiefly model of authority. Truth to tell, liberals have always felt a bit queasy, even under Mandela, about such chiefly trappings as praise-singers, though these could easily be dismissed as merely folklorique. For liberals look naturally towards a modern democratic polity. They would feel equally uncomfortable if they had to share political space with a feudal prince - and for the same reason, that the prince, like the chiefly model of authority, is pre-modern.
Inevitably and indeed quite typically, we have seen liberals react against such displays of Big Man political style, most notably in Helen Zille's campaign against so-called "blue-light bullies", the ANC big men who push ordinary motorists off the roads as they hurtle along, ignoring speed limits.
Similarly, ANC leaders since the 1950s - Luthuli, Mandela, Tambo and Mbeki - all carefully presented an educated, modern and monogamous image and most liberals feel a mixture of laughter and dismay at the speedy reversion to an uneducated, thuggish and polygamous Africa represented by Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema: again, what jars is the pre-modern.
It is important to say that many within the ANC are fully conscious of the importance of the rule of law and that by no means all Africans in authority affect a "Big Man" style. Nonetheless, liberals find themselves in the situation of having endlessly to fight for the rule of law against all attempts to ignore and suborn it; to oppose corruption root and branch - which, very often, means corruption committed by Africans; and to oppose the Big Man style which is almost wholly African.
So, while Helen Zille can dress up in African shirts, make speeches in isiXhosa and toyi-toyi all she likes, at the end of the day she will be denounced an unAfrican or even anti-African. There is no way out of this for liberals and the only consolation is that many Africans will quietly agree with them.
It must be remembered, after all, that Albert Luthuli was a liberal through and through who always lived a modest life. Although a real chief he never attempted to insist on chiefly authority. So there are excellent African exemplars of liberal principle. In the long run standing up for these liberal values will have the same significance in post-apartheid South Africa that standing up for merit, not race, had in apartheid South Africa.
It will take courage to stand up for liberal values in the situation now developing for we are in a position where the cumulative blunders of the ANC will interact with its own increasing corruption and factionalism to produce more and more situations which are beyond the government's control.
Put crudely, ANC government in its first decade and more was able to rely on the gradually wasting asset of systems, infrastructure and institutions inherited from the previous era. But the impact of ANC rule was to white-ant all these things so that they are now all ceasing to work. At the same time the country is running up against resource constraints in many directions, including water, electricity and food.
Only good management will see us through - and good management is the thing in shortest supply. At the same time the internal struggles within the ANC over position, power and money are becoming rougher. Death-threats are now the ordinary currency of politics. We have had eleven assassinations over such issues in Mpumalanga province, several more in KwaZulu-Natal and probably more than we realise elsewhere. It is purely a matter of time before we have another major political assassination.
The prospect is thus of Big Man government throwing its weight about to less and less effect, a sort of Nigerianisation of South African life, and the threatening collapse not just of ANC government but of government altogether. Such a collapse has already occurred in many parts of the country. Municipal government disappeared years ago in towns like iDutywa and Butterworth. East London City Council has not met for two years now.
Pietermartitzburg, which has had continuous municipal government since 1854, went bankrupt in 2009 and the council has been wound up. Many other councils are on the brink, in the Free State, the North West and elsewhere. Inevitably, as local governance collapses, so does the rule of law in many cases and there is already a visible ratepayers' revolt, often with the setting up of de facto alternative local authorities. In a situation of this kind authority will tend to gravitate to whoever can provide direction and efficacy.
This gives a heightened significance to the DA's attempt to prove itself superior at the running of provincial and municipal government. Already the contrast between Cape Town and the Western Cape on the one hand and the rest of the country on the other has taken on the proportions one normally sees only in the contrast between one country and another.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SA Democracy is an Illusion

I refer to the following article:
Mogoeng Mogoeng nominated as next Chief Justice - Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma
16 August 2011

President says judge has demonstrated keen interest in transforming judiciary

Media Statement by President Zuma on the nomination of candidate for position of Chief Justice of the Republic, August 16 2011

In this article Zuma makes the following comment:

“He has demonstrated his expertise and keen interest in the transformation of the judiciary and the promotion of access to justice for all, by being part of, and also leading programmes and activities designed to promote court efficiency and transformation.”

The president has also said, words to the effect that the judiciary is interfering with the executive. In my opinion Jacob Zuma wants things his way, total power. And we know what happens with absolute power—Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Or is it total power corrupts totally, I forget?

I believe that “…promotion of access to justice for all…” and “…promote court efficiency …” is a thin camouflage for the real motive, “…transformation.” It will not surprise me if the motive behind the surprise selection of Mogoeng is that Jacob Zuma is working towards transforming the judiciary so that it can no longer interfere with the executive aka the will of a select few within the ANC. In the words of Atholl Trollip, “…Zuma is changing the constitution by stealth…”

You may call what we have now a democracy, but I believe it is that in name only and soon it will exist as a democracy only in the imagination of those who blindly, fanatically and unthinkingly support the ANC.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The ANC Follows the Biggest Losers

I want to quote Plutarch. I don't know her real name, but here's the comment: "A short history of losers--Africans and other members of the modern equivalent of the flat earth society show their inherent losing characteristics by their constant repetition of the same experiment in the vain hope of achieving a different outcome."

On the one hand there is the demagogic implementation of socialistic, communistic ideology with proven failures--Cuba, Russia. On the other hand there are known successes like Switzerland, the world's most peaceful and prosperous country. Guess which of these examples is feverishly followed by the ANC and which is methodically ignored by the ANC.

I have posted excerpts below, one by Frances Kendall on the Swiss system and one by Irina Filatova on the history of the ANC and the Soviets. When you read the Kendall article you wonder why the ANC so ignores a winning game. And when you read the Filatova words you see why--they are stuck in what brought them success as a revolutionary organization. The ANC will become extinct like any organism or organization that is unable to adapt to reality.

By the way, Kendall has had 3 Nobel nominations and co-authored South Africa: The Solution. It is a book well worth reading. It focuses on the similarities between Switzerland and SA. It may be somewhat idealistic, but it is a work that South African politicians, including the ANC, ignore at their peril and at the expense of the ordinary people in our land.

And also by the way, while the Kendall and Filatova articles appear different, they are actually saying very similar things; Kendall suggests following a winning game while Filatova warns against following a losing game: "This fixation with ideology at the expense of reality was one of the most important factors that killed the Soviet economy. Yet in South Africa the core of the Soviet legacy stands."

Here are the excerpts:

– A Model Democracy –

by Frances Kendall

In this, the first of the "ISIL Solutions" series, we examine the "Swiss model" of government – a highly-decentralized system which Swiss economist Robert Nef more accurately describes as an "ongoing experiment" than a "model."

The concepts of devolution of power, local autonomy, and participatory democracy have produced the world's most peaceful and prosperous country. Of course, Switzerland, with its compulsory military service, state controlled monetary system, railroad and telephone services, and taxation, is not a pure libertarian society – but for those interested in reining in out-of-control governments in other parts of the world, there are large parts of the Swiss cantonal system that are worthy of emulation.

Read the full article at

About the author: Frances Kendall, a member of ISIL's Advisory Board, was formally nominated along with her husband, Leon Louw, for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988, 1989, and 1991 for their work to end Apartheid and defuse racial conflict in South Africa. She is the author of "Heart of the Nation", "Super Parents, Super Children", and "The SeX-Y Factor". She is co-author, with Leon Louw, of "South Africa: The Solution" and "Let the People Govern," which studied the Swiss system. She is a former member of the Johannesburg City Council.


And now the other excerpt:

The ANC and the Soviets
Irina Filatova
10 August 2011

Irina Filatova on the lasting legacy of the USSR's support for the liberation movement

The lasting legacy: The ANC's Soviet connection

If the close relations that existed between the ANC and the Soviet Union during the decades of the struggle against apartheid are mentioned now, it mostly happens at appropriate official occasions: embassy receptions or national holidays or speeches during state visits.

It was very different back then. Garth Strachan, a communist and an MK veteran said in one his interviews: "Although it has become popular not to admit this now, at the time-at least in the circles where I moved and up to the mid or late 1980s-the reality was that in ANC... there was a kind of pro-Soviet hysteria". [1]

"Hysteria" may be too strong a word, but there is hardly any doubt that there was a lot of admiration for the Soviet Union - its achievements, its ideology and its policy - both among the ANC leadership and the rank and file cadres in exile. Songs were sung and poetry composed about the Soviet people.

The debate about the NDR in South Africa has centred not on whether this ideology is correct, or, indeed, needed for fast development and job creation - both these notions are accepted as indisputable truths by the ANC and its allies - but rather on the pace of its implementation and on its concrete contents at every stage. These aspects of the NDR may be differently understood and interpreted by different groups within the ANC and among its partners - but its ultimate goals are as alluring as ever.

And whatever the arguments about details, it is ideology, not economic reality, that dictates much of the ANC's thinking and policy. This fixation with ideology at the expense of reality was one of the most important factors that killed the Soviet economy. Yet in South Africa the core of the Soviet legacy stands.

Read the full article at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It is time to change a losing game

I’ve included here an old article by Moeletsi Mbeki. It was written two years ago and what he said then is relevant still today, and in some instances even more relevant. What I find particularly interesting is a comment made 10 months ago by Thuso Ramaloko: “The house start with foundation, but BBBEE is like starting a house with Roofing(This is impossible). cause before 1994 an African was living a dignified life in rural areas where most African were turning soil into living and creating wealth. But now everybody abandoned the God given talent due to false prophecy by ANC. THIS IS BAD.”

The ANC is stuck in an ideology that is unworkable. The ordinary people can see the truth. The thinking people can see the truth. But those in power, probably because they have created wealth for themselves and live comfortably, cannot see the results of their efforts as a failure, a failure that is deepening as the leaders try to evade and silence their critics.

It is time to change a losing game.

Moeletsi Mbeki: Black empowerment has failed
South Africa should scrap its drive to give black people a slice of the white-dominated economy because it stifles growth and spurs corruption, the brother of the country's former president said on Friday.

Political commentator, entrepreneur, journalist and critic of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Moeletsi Mbeki believes the affirmative action policies championed by his brother Thabo have entrenched the rich-poor divide in Africa's biggest economy and could lead to an explosion of violence.

"If you made me president of South Africa, the first thing I would do would be to scrap everything to do with black economic empowerment [BEE]," Mbeki told Reuters in an interview following the publication of his book on economic policy in Africa, Architects of Poverty.

"If we keep going with these policies, the question is what will collapse first, BEE or the economy, or the country?"

As part of a push to right the wrongs of apartheid and give blacks a stake of the economy, South Africa requires firms to meet quotas on black ownership, employment and procurement.

The government argues its policy offsets the racism of the past and stimulates the economy by creating a black middle class hungry for its own homes, cars and designer clothes.

But the cracks are beginning to show. Several black empowerment deals have collapsed as the global crisis has caused the value of shares used as collateral to fall, and critics argue the drive has enriched a small black elite while doing nothing to boost South Africa's economy.

Mbeki (63) goes further. He says the policy entrenches the country's shocking economic inequalities by creating a culture of cronyism and entitlement that discourages black entrepreneurship and education, keeping millions in poverty.

"BEE tells blacks -- 'you don't have to build your own business, you don't have to take risk, the whites will give you a job and shares in their company'," he said.

"I blame the ANC for buying into this story that instead of blacks working hard ... they should be given a free ride."

Mbeki, who worked as a journalist and trade unionist before starting his own construction, media and agriculture firms, also argues that black empowerment has encouraged corruption, with lawmakers reportedly rigging tenders to benefit associates.

He says white "business oligarchs" are complicit because they use the policy to keep a few members of the black elite happy while still dominating the economy 15 years after the fall of apartheid.

South Africa's new president, Jacob Zuma, himself the target of a corruption case until it was dropped on a technicality just before the election that brought him to power in April, has vowed to tackle graft but has no plans to ditch empowerment.

Mbeki argues that unless South Africa axes the policy in favour of a broader skills development drive, South Africa's underclass, crammed into vast settlements of rickety shacks with no water or electricity, will balloon and eventually turn on the elite.

Rampant levels of crime and last year's attacks on foreigners in the townships are warning signs, he said.

Asked if he discussed black empowerment with Thabo before he was ousted as president by the ANC last year, Mbeki laughed: "No, he was the driver of these policies," he said. "My brother knows I have been opposing this for some time, but this is what he decided to do." -- Reuters

Monday, July 25, 2011

The ANC Carpet gets Lumpier with each Non-investigation.

I note with interest the News24 article below. Despite calls for an investigation into Malema’s affairs from just about every quarter except Malema himself and some conspicuously silent elements of the executive, I predict that this will be yet another investigation that will somehow morph into a non-investigation with the person in question walking, yet again, with unresolved matters joining the growing heap under the carpet. It will join the hundreds of corruption charges against the president, the travel claims fraud saga, the SAPS leases fiasco and accompanying intimidation, the weapons deal, the numerous officials who did not declare business interests, the child deaths in hospitals …
I want to suggest that South Africa’s problem is no longer crime and corruption but cover up of buddy-crime and cadre-corruption/incompetence—cover ups perpetrated by the very officials and bodies who are paid to protect us.

Net tightens round Malema
2011-07-24 22:35
Johannesburg - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Sunday called for an investigation into the financial affairs of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

"We call for an investigation by the ANC's committee on ethics and members' interests, the SA Revenue Service [Sars] and the special investigations unit into the allegations," spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

This came after AfriForum opened a corruption case against Malema on Sunday, after it was reported that he had a trust fund for deposits from business people.

SARS should investigate possible tax evasion and do a lifestyle audit to "discover the truth" about Malema's financial affairs, Craven said.

A complaint was laid against Malema in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004, AfriForum's CEO Kallie Kriel told reporters outside the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria on Sunday.

The act deals with corrupt activities relating to receiving or offering of unauthorised gratification.

"If a person's lifestyle is disappropriate to a known income, then it warrants an investigation. We want police to have a look at it," he said.

"We can't have people that use political contacts to enrich themselves at the cost of the poor."

He denied that the organisation had a grudge against him.

Justice should prevail

"If this is seen to be a grudge, so be it...This is in the public interest. Justice should prevail," he said.

The City Press reported on Sunday that Malema was the sole trustee of a secret family trust, registered in the name of his five-year-old son, which he allegedly uses to finance his lavish lifestyle.

According to the newspaper, the Ratanang Family Trust was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria in 2008, just weeks after Malema was first elected president of the youth league.

Citing two “independent, well-placed sources with knowledge of Malema's financial dealings”, City Press says the trust is being used “by the youth leader and his benefactors” to fund his lifestyle.

“Thousands of rands” are deposited into the account on a regular basis, says the report, quoting the sources.

“Frequent deposits are being made from different banks, especially in Limpopo.”

City Press said Malema had denied that the trust was being used to launder illicit funds, but “declined to divulge its purpose or bank balance”.

The youth league's spokesperson Floyd Shivambu was not immediately available to comment.

Damage reputation

The ANC's Brian Sokutu reiterated that Malema's "private life remains private".

"If he had broken the law, we would certainly be concerned. He is neither a member of parliament nor a government official and it is therefore not unethical for him to be involved in any form of business."

"He must be held criminally accountable in a court of law if these allegations are true," said Kriel.

"It would be scandalous if someone like Malema - who boasts that he represents the poor people - is found guilty of looting the treasury to enrich himself at the expense of service delivery to poor people."

The allegation that a businessman made a vehicle valued at R1, 2m available to Malema and did him a number of other favours, also forms part of AfriForum's complaint.

On Saturday, Malema sought an urgent court interdict to stop City Press publishing a report on the trust, but this was dismissed by Judge Colin Lamont in the Johannesburg High Court.

Lamont ruled that Malema was a public figure and that publishing the story was in the public interest. Further, he had found the evidence contained in the City Press story to be “credible”.

Malema's legal team reportedly argued that his public image could be seriously damaged if details of the trust fund were published.

The City Press had opposed the application.

Nobody’s business

Earlier this week, Malema said that it was "nobody's business" where he got his money from.

He called the media briefing at the time to respond to a Sunday Independent report last weekend that he was building himself a R16m house in Johannesburg's posh Sandown suburb.

Opposition political parties have called on the SA Revenue Services to investigate his wealth, claiming it is not compatible with his reported R25 000 a month salary.

On Sunday, the Democratic Alliance said it would write to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, requesting her to investigate the latest allegations levelled against Malema.

"It most certainly is in the public interest to know whether political leaders are involved in corrupt, self-serving practices that promote the interests of a privileged few while the greater majority of South Africans continue to live in poverty, said the party's Dianne Kohler Barnard.

Meanwhile, AfriForum said it will monitor the police investigation to ensure that nothing is "swept under the carpet".

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The ANC Magicians

The ANC continues to define change as “progress, but much remains to be done.” There has been change, but the numbers show that many things have gotten worse and if we continue there will be much "more that remains to be done" next year. The ANC is a party borne out of revolution and have not adapted to a party of good governance. It is still in revolution mode even though the revolution has been won. It is now waging a revolution against the catastrophic consequences of its own actions of the last 15 odd years, but continues to blame colonialism and apartheid.

There are thousands of competent non-cadres sitting unemployed, watching the deepening mess as SA follows Zimbabwe into poverty and misery.

The following article by R W Johnson says it all, but the ANC will not read it, or they will read it and put it aside as colonial/apartheid/white/capitalist rubbish—let’s rather create jobs, stomp out corruption and poverty, give everyone houses—this will be a chieved by magic and by making promises from the podium and repeating the same incompetent and corrupt actions we have been doing ever since we won the revolution.

The denialism of the NDR
RW Johnson
19 July 2011

RW Johnson on why ANC alliance members remain so attached to an outmoded Soviet concept

In the mid-1990s the SACP, with Joe Slovo much to the fore, became enamoured of the Human Development Index (HDI) pioneered by the UN Development Programme because instead of ranking countries by GDP per capita the UNDP was interested in a broader measure of welfare which would include the quality of life in that country, life expectancy, child and maternal mortality rates, social equality, achievements in education and health, gender equality and so on.
The UNDP measure had two immensely appealing features for the SACP. First, it promised to rank countries like Cuba a lot higher than usual because they enjoyed equal poverty, a goodish health system and more gender equality. So this would be a better measure for what the SACP was planning to achieve in South Africa. Accordingly, the SACP paid enormous and positive attention to each successive Human Development Report (HDR) of the UNDP and emphasized that what the government was most keenly interested in was human development.
Thus in 1997 Jay Naidoo, then heading the RDP secretariat, declared that "The challenge is to meet the basic needs of our people and at the same time strengthen economic growth. These challenges are vital but the real issue that needs attention most is human development." (Emphasis added.)
Secondly, the UNDP was a very weak agency, highly dependent on local buy-in from the client's end - which meant, in practise, that it would be easy for the SACP to take over the local operation in South Africa. This duly occurred. I remember attending one UNDP report presentation in Pretoria where those thanked included a long list of SACP figures and where the speech given was a standard Party rant. It was somewhat weird to imagine that these fiery declarations denouncing Gear and "the 1996 class project" were somehow meant to emanate from the UNDP.
The intention was clearly that the SACP, leading the Alliance, would be able to show the effect of the RDP in gradually transforming South Africa for the better with a rising HDI number which would reward all the ideological initiatives of greater empowerment, gender equality, better preventative health care and so on. Helpfully, the UNDP had calculated its indices retrospectively and these showed South Africa improving from a score of 0.66 in1975 to a score of 0.741 in 1995. If improvement like that could be achieved in the last twenty years of National Party rule, surely the figure would race ahead under ANC rule?
Well, no actually. The 2001 UNDP Report showed that South Africa had slumped to 0.604 due its high Aids rate and lower per capita income due to the (then) weak Rand. The fact that South Africa under ANC rule had slumped even behind its 1975 figure was so much the opposite of what the SACP (and ANC) wanted to hear that they promptly lost all interest in the HDR. After 2001 each successive new HDR was largely ignored.
In fact they were objective measurements all right and by 2010 the HDR showed that South Africa's score had fallen again to 0.597, placing the country 110th out of 172 countries surveyed. (Zimbabwe was in 172nd place.) Had South Africa maintained its 1995 score it would have been 59th. That is, under ANC rule South Africa has fallen 51 places, a fair measure of the catastrophic failures this period has seen.
And this is not just due to Aids. Poverty, inequality, unemployment the health services and education have all got worse and even the Aids figures would have been a lot better but for Mbeki's Aids denialism which the ANC did not in any way counter or contradict. The straightforward fact is that ANC rule has been an awful failure not just in terms of this measure, the HDI index, which the ANC previously embraced, but when judged on any objective terms at all.
Yet this is not acknowledged by the ANC. Instead the standard line is that the ANC has achieved an enormous amount but that much remains to be done. To the extent that things are not as they should be, this is due to the inheritance of apartheid. Yet the HDI figures mock this view for they show beyond dispute that South Africa's HDI figure was far higher in 1995, after nearly 50 years of apartheid, than it was in 2010 after 16 years of ANC rule. Moreover, the trend continues to be downward. Yet few members of the black ANC elite are willing to face this fact.
A little while ago I watched a BBC "Debate" about the state of South Africa. The cast involved all the obvious suspects and included Bridgette Radebe, the multi-millionaire mining tycoon married to Jeff Radebe. The BBC compère introduced the subject with some of the same sorts of data I have used above and said, right, so it's not working. What exactly has gone wrong?
Ms Radebe jumped in, speaking with great anger and conviction. It was she said, wholly impermissible to frame the question that way. That discussion simply could not be had. The fact was that all that was wrong was the inheritance not only of apartheid but of hundreds of years of colonialism. The ANC was struggling against this terrible inheritance and it was far, far too soon for anyone to judge it.
So vehement was she that not only the compère but everyone else was clearly shaken and so instead the "debate" was abandoned by tacit agreement. Instead the participants had the usual vacuous sort of discussion about what needs to be done and how it was "urgent" to do something about the usual long list of subjects.
A tougher-minded compère might have asked Ms Radebe whether her keenness to prevent debate was related to her position as one of Africa's richest women or her being the wife of a minister who has served continuously since 1994. Liberation has certainly worked very well for her, after all, if not for most.
This sort of social denialism is just as pernicious as Thabo Mbeki's Aids denialism. But the real point, of course, is that what is true of Bridgette Radebe is true of much of the state-sponsored black elite - of everyone who has got a civil service job since 1994, or got rich through their political connections or through BEE.
For all these happy folk it's a case of never having had it so good. Unfortunately, their good luck is the other side of the immiseration of the majority and the worsening inequality figures are in large measure due to the determination of this new elite not just to be prosperous but, if at all possible, to accumulate what the French call la richesse insultante - extravagant wealth ostentatiously displayed.
If you want to see people driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis, it's no good looking at the old white monied class. These are almost exclusively the toys of the new black super-rich. They behave like playboys, dress like gangsters. In purely economic terms it's tragic for they don't invest their wealth, they just waste it.
Now, such characters have their own stern critics within the Alliance and none sterner than Zwelinzima Vavi, the head of Cosatu. However, Mr Vavi has his own form of denialism, the National Democratic Revolution. Virtually all sections of the Alliance pay lip-service, at least, to the NDR, a Soviet-era concept whose own inventors within the Soviet Communist Party have long since disowned, saying the whole concept was a lot of rubbish. But within the ANC and particularly within the SACP and Cosatu, people continue to believe in the NDR.
Functionally, it appears to be a substitute for socialism. When the NDR arrives the government will enact sweeping land reform and return the land to those who work it (without compensation) and something similar will happen with the mines, banks and "monopoly capital" of any kind. The result will be a massive redistribution towards the People and with it there will be a wondrous banishing of inequality, poverty and unemployment. We are not, you will understand, quite at the NDR yet but we have to work towards it, to build it - and lo! - it will occur.
Now, anyone who is seriously interested in doing something about poverty, inequality and unemployment will quickly understand that the prescriptions of the NDR would quickly result in the Zimbabwe-ization of South Africa. And do just remember that Zimbabwe was plumb bottom of the entire UNDP list, making even places like North Korea seem desirable. That is, it would result in mass starvation, industrial decline, debt default and enormous immiseration as well as torrential social unrest.
It would be a short cut to the country's complete destruction, nothing less. And this is what is so odd about Blade Nzimande, Jeremy Cronin, Zwelinzima Vavi and those others who continue to assert their belief in the NDR. They are not fools. They do not, one assumes, believe in Father Christmas or that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden. Yet there is something indubitably magical about their theory.
The land is given to the masses who do not know how to do commercial farming. The mines, banks and various other industries are taken over by government which has proved quite incapable of running public corporations of any kind. And yet - hey presto! - there is a magical moment of transformation and we all come out happy, equal and employed. The mechanisms by which these happy results are achieved remain unexplained, nay unexplored. They are just magic and no one should enquire further into that unless they want to be turned into a frog. Personally, I would find it a whole lot easier to believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden.
It may be objected that this is an unfair and unduly satirical description of NDR, but listen to Mr Vavi. Last week he spoke of the significance of 2014:
"This will be 20 years after freedom and at that time people will no longer care about history. There will be a new generation of voters who know nothing about Chris Hani's blood flowing in the streets. By that time we should have dramatically narrowed the gap of inequality in the country, created jobs and removed poverty."Vavi adds "There will be no better life for all unless we change the economic structure of our country."
There you have it. If the political leadership is simply determined enough to install the NDR - and there's no doubt this is what Mr Vavi is thinking of - they can magically cut inequality, create jobs and, yes, "remove poverty". Mr Vavi's belief that this can be achieved within three years can only be ascribed to a belief in magic, for it can be ascribed to nothing else.
Belief in the magical formula of the NDR is a critical form of denialism, for it means the Left can simply ignore the merely sensible. For example, any number of educationists have emphasized that progress in education cannot be achieved unless the power of the teachers' union, Sadtu, is broken in much the same way that Mrs Thatcher crushed the miners'. This can be gaily ignored by Vavi and others because Sadtu is a highly "progressive" union (it votes the Left ticket) and is thus a key building block of NDR which will, by the way, solve educational problems as well as others.
The key point is this: if you give up the millenarian dream of the NDR, what are you left with? You are left with a middle income country which is achieving results worse in many spheres than those of many of the least developed countries. It is doing this largely because its governance is so exceptionally bad. What is shows, in a nutshell, is that African nationalism is incapable of governing a country as complex as South Africa and that it requires help from the other racial minorities to do so.
This is quite unwelcome enough but one could go much further. One could, for example read a study by J.P. Landman, Haroon Bhorat, Carl Van Aardt and Servaas van der Berg, Breaking the Grip of Poverty and Inequality in South Africa (2003) in which they typify South African society at that time as a 55/45 one - 55% being well enough off and 45% in poverty. The full extent of their not inconsiderable ambition was to make that into a 70/30 society by 2014.
They point out that to achieve that there will have to be 3 million extra jobs and that to generate those there will have to be a sharp and continuous improvement in labour productivity, without which the economy will not be internationally competitive, and that that will also require steady 4% growth for ten years and thus an economy which is 48% bigger by 2014.
As an empirical study this is as favourable as Mr Vavi can possibly hope for (Landman et al. also welcome a degree of redistribution) but it will immediately seen how entirely unacceptable this is. This prescription would insist that South Africa has to be internationally competitive (Cosatu's hackles rise) and, worse, that it must sharply increase productivity (major Cosatu heart attack), and all this to achieve a situation where 30% of the population still live in poverty (Vavi expires).
This, it must be emphasized, is the very gentlest and most politically correct of studies available of the real economy. Yet even this is unacceptable if you have bought into NDR. Another way of putting it is that the best reason to buy into NDR is so that you don't have to face the facts. Once you buy into the NDR all sorts of magic is possible.
If you want to live without magic you accept that South Africa is appallingly badly governed, that there needs to be a substantial white input into government if the system is to work, that the economy can be made to work to produce greater equity, higher unemployment and less poverty but that to achieve that Cosatu has to accept it or play dead, and that the improvement of health and education requires the emasculation of the teaching and health unions. We will arrive at this point one day but immediately you can understand the appeal of denialism.
This article was published with the assistance of the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF). The views presented in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FNF.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

SA Government in trouble, in a Hole, but Still Digging Furiously

This is my opinion:

Our government has failed in just about every instance except clinging to power through demagogy based on racist and tribal polarizing. But it keeps plugging away at holding on to power and digging the hole it’s in deeper, yelling for a bigger spade instead, while many of those in power positions enrich themselves.

We once had systems that, while not serving all, were working. One option the government had in 1994 was to surround itself with smart people and say, help us build on the systems we have and expand them so we can serve everyone. Instead the government chose to throw the baby out with the bathwater, chase thousands of competent people out the country, restaff existing systems with loyal cadres irrespective of level of competence and integrity and fail miserably in the process of service, succeeding only in holding on to power. The recent election showed that even the holding on to power is a less brilliant performance than the president claims it is.

Trevor Manuel chose the smart people option. The one area in our land that can be singled out as a shining example of this approach is Finance.

How is it so difficult for people who consider themselves competent in running the country to see the warnings? It is common knowledge that sharp people see the problems years before they bubble to the top. Why can our leaders not heed the words of Vavi, Jack Bloom, Moletsi Mbeki, Rhoda Kadalie, Trevor Manual to name but a few smart people with good ideas? Change a losing game, please.

No, our leaders choose to follow losing game tactics presented by radicals. It sounds so good from the podiums. It polarizes. It keeps them in power with demagogy. But it fails miserably where the rubber meets the road, in its implementation. Our leaders refuse to investigate failures and fix them. They do not hold people accountable. People at the very top are left unaffected, even given bonuses and other rewards, despite gross acts of incompetence, dishonesty and worse. Our leaders continue to try and cover up, muzzle criticism, while furiously strategizing to get control of new areas that they have not yet messed up.

I’ve written to the presidency about our failing systems--received no reply. I’ve written to the president—received no reply. I’ve tweeted and emailed people in the press and opposition parties—I received many replies and confirmations of the crisis our land is in, but our leader fiddles.

The rainbow nation has become an empty concept. Our leaders want to continue polarizing the people of our nation, forgetting that despite our many differences we have this in common: a right to live our lives to the best we can and we have a right to be supported towards this goal by those in power. Rather than wanting to unite us in this, our leaders want separateness. The further we move away from our common-ness, the desire to live our lives to the best we can, the emptier “rainbow nation” will sound.

I’ve included the whole article by Jack Bloom here.

So you think you can run the mines?
Jack Bloom
27 June 2011

Jack Bloom says Julius Malema should visit a govt laundry in Gauteng

ANC Youth League President Julius Malema is a great champion of nationalization. I suggest he visits one of the five state laundries that serve public hospitals in Gauteng. They are inefficient beyond belief. Only 93 of the 195 laundry machines are running.
The 13 boilers are more than thirty years old and work at about half capacity. Eight of the 9 tunnel washers run at 38% efficiency level, and the other one barely functions at 11% efficiency.
Other machines are equally decrepit. The budget for repairs and maintenance is largely unspent because this falls under another department. Getting the public works section to respond takes incredible effort.
So machines are often down for days or weeks at a time, with workers doing nothing. The overtime bill, however, is enormous because they work late hours or on weekends to catch up. State hospitals are affected badly by the unreliable laundry service.
Sometimes operations are cancelled because of no clean linen, or patients have to bring their own sheets or bed clothes. During the civil service strike last year the laundries shut down and volunteers had to assist, including Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
It's quite crazy that we have these state laundries when there are plenty of private laundries that can do a better job at lower cost. The Pretoria laundry services hospitals as far away as Johannesburg and the West Rand.
It would be far better if hospital managers could choose the laundry that provides the most cost-effective quality service. The state laundries should be sold off or given to a worker consortium to compete with private laundries. This would enable the Health Department to focus on its core mission, which is to provide a decent health service. Why be hassled with laundries? The same goes for other non-core services that can be outsourced.
Security is already provided by private companies, so why not cleaners and catering as well? The Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban is the model as it outsources virtually everything, including porters.
Trade unions don't like this, but its efficiency enables a better health service for the poor. Julius Malema, of course, would opt only for the best private health care. It would actually be better if private health providers were contracted to serve the poor as well.
Poor patients are often treated badly in state hospitals because staff know they have no other option. State hospitals, like state laundries, won't go out of business if they provide bad service. We need to find the right mix of state and private health provision, with productive partnerships between the two.
Nationalization of private businesses has been shown to be such a disaster that it is amazing that any sane person can still advocate it. In the case of mines, we already have state-owned Alexkor that loses money and jobs. It employed 691 employees in 2000 but has just 105 employees today. But the Malema types don't care about this as they seek lucrative positions in state enterprises.
They are political parasites as they don't have real skills that add value in society. Our future depends on whether or not the poor see through their self-interested rabble-rousing.
This article by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Leader in the Gauteng Legislature, first appeared in The Citizen.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Lesson the ANCYL Must Still Learn

Here is something I copied from Hazelden. When I read "demand redress from fate" I thought about the theory that Malema is selling. It sound reasonable that we can redistribute wealth. Unfortunately, as Martin Luther King said once, you end up redistributing poverty. Unfortunately too, many disadvantaged ordinary people in our land are being sucked into Malema's theory. They too have to learn the lesson that liffe gives you a chance, not a handout.

"Life guarantees a chance - not a fair shake--Bernie Y.

"Life is not fair. Most of us know that, but few of us accept it. Something in us often clings to the idea that ultimately, the gifts will all be evenly divided. Mostly we want to be paid back for the injustices of the past. Many of us expect - no, demand - redress from fate. We think life should "make it up" to us somehow. That's why it's so hard for us to go on discovering, again and again, what we already know: Life is not fair.

"The good job that should have been ours, the accident that crippled a loved one, unwanted childlessness - these things are not fair. But life is like soil, not like seed. The chance of a harvest is there, but only if we plant the seed. And even then we may not get the harvest we expected or wished for - not on our own timetable. It is an act of faith, and of great courage, to keep on sowing seeds when we don't know what we're going to get. But it's the only chance we have. We need to stop expecting the soil to provide the seed.

"Today, I will be grateful to be alive. This day offers a chance for a fuller life, and I will accept what comes of my efforts."

It seems Helen Zille has learned the lesson well. She and her party are going ahead and planting. We are seeing the harvest already. Unlike the Malema promise, the ordinary people are already benefitting; What's even more fortunate is that the ordinary people who are chanting dancing in the hope of the ANCYL idea and mistaken belief that the gifts will be evenly divided, will also benefit from the DA seed planting. That's the good news. Again it is not fair, getting the benefit having not done the work, but it's still good news.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Toothless Trevor

The following is an excerpt from a DA report,

“The DA will be advocating for these reforms during the period of public consultation that will follow the presentation made to Parliament yesterday by the political head of the National Planning Commission, Minister Trevor Manuel. Having identified the “unintended negative consequences” of existing labour legislation, the DA hopes that the NPC will now consider in earnest ways to address this state of affairs. Given the political influence wielded by COSATU, who oppose such reforms despite the negative implications for employment creation, this will be an important litmus test of the NPC’s power, and the Zuma administration’s commitment to placing the needs of our people above internal alliance politics.”

I predict that the NPC proposals will morph to nothing or near nothing. I have for a while suspected that Trevor Manuel has been purposely sidelined by putting him at the head of planning. Unfortunately the ANC is interested primarily in power and Trevor’s plan will put strain on COSATU support. His plan will get a thumbs down. Not explicitly, but in the usual ANC way, postponements, further investigations, a dragging out till it morphs into nothing, like the arms deal investigation.

My recommendation to the ordinary people in SA who want to be the best they can be: get used to what we have now, the poverty, restrictions, corruption and incompetence. It will be there for as long as the ANC has a majority. When the power is more balanced, when there is a real government with coalitions things will improve. Else we are in for a 40 year Libya-like rule till the ordinary people have had enough and go over to revolution. It is the way of Africans, e.g. Ivory Coast, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda…

Right-wing demagogy the greatest threat - SACP

Here are some excerpts from an SACP article

Right-wing demagogy the greatest threat - SACP
Malesela Maleka
12 June 2011

Central Committee warns against dangerous tendency within ANC alliance

Right-wing demagogy within the ranks of the broader movement - the greatest threat to the national democratic revolution
There are many lessons that need to be derived from the May 18th election campaign - but the greatest of all is that factionalism led by a dangerous right-wing demagogy within our broader movement is costing us dearly. This demagogy constitutes the greatest threat, not just to our electoral performance, but also to our hard-won democratic achievements as a country in general.
We are dealing with an anti-worker, anti-left, anti-communist, pseudo-militant demagogy that betrays all of our long-held ANC-alliance traditions of internal organizational democracy, mutual respect for comrades, non-racialism, and service to our people. It has created substantial space for an anti-majoritarian, conservative reactive groundswell that seeks to tarnish the whole movement, portraying us all as anti-constitutionalist and as narrow nationalist chauvinists.
The SACP calls on our Alliance partners to unite, to close ranks and to deal decisively with this grave threat. Closing ranks does not mean that various other debates and differences amongst us should be suppressed - but it does mean that within and across our Alliance we must not open up a dozen fronts of fractious public dispute, as if all differences and debates were of equal significance.
So how do we unite to confront the demagogic challenge? There is one fundamental response - across the Alliance we need to take up with renewed vigour the programme of action that we have agreed upon at the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference and in subsequent Alliance summits. The programme of action embraces five key pillars - jobs, education and training, health, rural development and the fight against crime and corruption. It is a programme of action that must combine the determined exercise of state power and active mobilization of popular forces.
In the midst of media-supported diversions we often lose sight of very important gains made in these key areas of transformation. Popular mobilization and a change in government policy have seen, for instance, a very significant reduction of mother-to-child HIV/Aids transmission - saving an estimated 67,000 children. There have been important gains in funding students through a reinvigorated mandate for NSFAS. National Treasury has announced very important corruption-busting measures that name and shame fronting and other tenderpreneuring activities and prevent those involved in doing business with government. All of these measures have been won as a result of popular struggles and a more determined and strategic use of state power.
But these advances must be replicated across the board, and particularly in areas of burning concern - notably the crisis of unemployment (especially youth unemployment) and rural development - including the critical questions of accelerated land reform and sustainable rural livelihoods. The CC supports the Department of Land Affairs and Rural Development's intention to bring to cabinet the proposal of reopening the land restitution program. The SACP has resolved to pursue our cooperatives campaign linking this much more actively to prescribed state procurement policies. The SACP will also be closely studying the important Indian rural work-guarantee programme, we believe it has important potential application to SA when addressing rural development and youth unemployment.
Statement issued by the SACP, June 12 2011

I agree with some of what the SACP say, e.g. “…take up with renewed vigour the programme of action that we have agreed upon at the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference and in subsequent Alliance summits. The programme of action embraces five key pillars - jobs, education and training, health, rural development and the fight against crime and corruption.” And especially the statement: “We are dealing with an anti-worker, anti-left, anti-communist, pseudo-militant demagogy that betrays all of our long-held ANC-alliance traditions of internal organizational democracy, mutual respect for comrades, non-racialism, and service to our people. It has created substantial space for an anti-majoritarian, conservative reactive groundswell that seeks to tarnish the whole movement, portraying us all as anti-constitutionalist and as narrow nationalist chauvinists.”

However, I get the feeling that the SACP want these changes in order to regain the lost support and power. They seem to view loss of power as the problem, not corruption, incompetence, demagogy. One gets the feeling that if it had not been for the swing indicated by the election results, there would be no problem. The fact that our democracy is threatened by the demagogic approach of the ANC does not seem to be of major importance. That the ordinary people in our land are suffering due to the fact that education, infrastructure in general, health, judiciary, energy, financial management of municipalities, just about every aspect of public service except finance could have been much advanced had it not been for corruption and incompetence. Cadre deployment is not mentioned, although in my opinion, it is the fundamental error underlying all these shortcomings. It is the loss of power that seems at the heart of SACP concern.

I would be more concerned about the obsession with power at any cost. Let us remember “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And judging by the level of corruption, it seems the ANC is very powerful indeed.
In a true democracy based on values, not demagogy, challenge, balances, criticism and a balance of power is welcomed, not resisted. It still seems to me that the underlying idea in the SACP article is the need to retain power, not the values that would support a real democracy. I suppose in our patchwork democracy it is a necessary phase. But I’m happy that the process of moving towards serving the people and evolving to a democracy based on shared values has at least begun. We have a long way to go.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Warning About the Ticking SA Bomb

In the last while several Black leaders/commentators have used the "time bomb" analogy in the context of where SA is headed under ANC leadership. Zwelenzima Vavi referred to a "ticking bomb" Moeletsi Mbeki says the ANC is like kids playing with a grenade--sooner or later one of them will figure a way of pulling out the pin and then there will be loss of life. Now Rhoda Kadalie has also used the bomb analogy: "we are sitting on a time bomb," she wrote.

Moderate Blacks are realizing where we will end up under the current leadership, or lack of it rather. This is hugely encouraging. We need to spread the word. I don't think the current power mongers in the ANC will heed the call--it is hard to change your ways when you perceive it as successful and the ANC believe they are successful. So this, like their process of getting rid of apartheid, is going to be a bottom up struggle by the youth and by those who value progress rather than power.

We are tired of the excesses of those in power at the cost of the poor and those who want to be the best they can be.

Here is her article. Thank you Rhoda for speaking out and waking us up to the possibilities that the ANC has completely lost sight of.

The dumbing down of our youth
Rhoda Kadalie
08 June 2011

Rhoda Kadalie says the ANC's gravest error was to mistake change for progress

The ANC has failed South Africa's youth.

Its Youth League is more concerned about the conspicuous consumption and instant wealth of its leader, Julius Malema, than pressurising government to address the needs of the youth. A month ago I spoke at a university graduation. The comment that received the most applause was my advice to students not to let "Julius Malema derail them from achieving their dreams."

The fear that he will become president one day is deep, and thousands of young people are tired of having him thrust down their throats. The sooner the ANC refrains from using its youth leaders as pawns in their political games, the better for all of us.

It should, instead, invest energy and resources in the holistic development of young people to prepare them for a better future. In the meantime, our white counterparts are continuing on an upward trajectory, getting on with life, educating their children, creating platforms for them to excel in sports and the arts, and sending them abroad when there is no work for them here.

I see how they excel in the orchestras, the eisteddfods, at public speaking, classical music and maths and science competitions.

Black SA, on the other hand, is on the decline. And Parliament, as the body that represents us, is itself a display of mental vacuity. The inanity of public discourse seems almost deliberate and the youth has become a casualty of the national "dumbing down" process.

The South African Institute of Race Relations' Fast Facts (May 2011) reveals a picture that is grim and bears repeating. Teenage pregnancies are rife and resulted in some 50 000 of school girls dropping out of school in 2007 - a 151% increase since 2005.

Equally alarming is the result of a survey conducted in KwaZulu Natal of 14 - 22 year-olds which revealed that 54% of young men left school because of fathering a child. "Girls aged 17 - 19 account for 93% of pregnancies among 15 - 19 year olds and research cited by LoveLife has suggested that teen pregnancy is much more likely to occur after school drop out." "... Abortions among under-18 year olds rose by 124% from 4 432 in 2001 to 9 895 in 2006."

Poor education results add fuel to the fire. Of the one million students who enrolled in grade 10 in 2007, 51% wrote the matriculation exams. Of those 31% passed grade 12 in 2009, and only 10% shockingly gained matriculation exemptions.

On average 17% of 16-18 year olds were not in school in 2006. University throughput rates are no better. Of 138 000 students who enrolled at university in 2002, 52% gave up while 15% were still studying after five years.

SA's dysfunctional school system and poor university throughput rates explain the high unemployment rates amongst the youth. In 2009 48% of SA's of 15 - 24 year olds were unemployed; by 2010 unemployment in that group increased to 51%. Some 3.3 million are not in employment, education, or training.

This bleak scenario coexists with high rates of HIV, sexual assault, rape and crime, and dysfunctional families, where fathers are mostly absent and mothers and grandmothers bear the brunt of child rearing. With 36% of the entire prison population aged 25 and under, the future looks bleak indeed.

The ANC's magnificent victory over apartheid paved the way for it to undo the carnage that the group areas act, forced removals, relocation and resettlement wreaked on black families. Dominated by an educated black male leadership, the Party was uniquely placed to create role models for young black men by adopting policies and programmes to heal family dysfunction caused by the past.

Had they roped in religious and civil society organisations to help them rebuild families, nurture parental responsibility and build social capital amongst communities, at the inception of our democracy, SA today would have been a better place. Safe sex campaigns should have accompanied campaigns about safe relationships, mutual respect, love and compassion.

Instead, the ANC's gravest error was to mistake change for progress. It has reneged on one of its most important functions - nation-building. We are sitting on a time bomb and unless we act fast, society will unravel. To quote John Kerry: " is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families."

This article first appeared in Die Burger.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another Black Moderate Speaks Out Against ANC Racism

We know that Zille was against racism and against apartheid long before 1994 and she was not quiet. But I agree with Mike Mathabela, she can speak out more. I know she has recently condemned the ANC for their racist campaign and she has called for a democracy based on values rather than division. I'm glad that there are more and more moderate blacks speaking out too.

Zille owes us a courageous speech on race
Mike Mathabela

07 June 2011 Article rating:-->
Mike Mathabela says the DA leader needs to chide white racists to mend their wicked ways
Zille Owes Nation Race Speech
A day before the recent Local Government Elections, a racial incident occurred which almost derailed my resolve to, for the first time, vote for the DA. I was almost run down by a burly White male who proceeded to hurl demeaning expletives including the K-word at me after I had run to safety.
I was crossing the road at a marked pedestrian crossing in Sasolburg when he charged down at me in his Land Rover vehicle.
During that emotional moment, I resolved to resort to my old ways of voting for the ANC the next day. How could I, a middle-aged Black man, betray my conscience and painful experience to vote for a party like the DA as embodied by this reprehensible low life who almost ran me over?
Later I sobered up and reasoned that I must be sufficiently matured to still vote for the DA. My objective to help dislodge the ANC's firm grip and monopoly of the South African political space was far more overwhelming than the racist attitude of this burly low life.
The ANC's corruption streak as well as its stifling of the democratic space had to be weakened through empowering the Opposition politics; whether one was persuaded by its logic or not. The ANC's stranglehold had to be slackened. We need change!
That said and done, Helen Zille owes this country a courageous speech on race. She must atone for the painful, continuing racist attitudes of a significant number of Whites towards their fellow Black citizens.
If she must be taken seriously by the Black voters, she has to chide these racists to mend their crooked ways else they have no room in the DA, indeed in the New South Africa. She must tell the farmer to stop underpaying and ill-treating his farm workers, as if they were sub-human. She must tell the Madams to treat their helpers with respect and dignity. She must tell her White supporters to fully embrace a South African identity.
She must ask them to come out in droves to attend National events and celebrations. She must tell them to come out to her township rallies, to sing, to toyi-toyi together with their Black counterparts.
She has to cajole the business community to open up the economic space to Blacks and vigorously advance employment equity, BEE, etc. Helen Zille must lead the effort to align the national confidence levels: down scale the unrealistically high, arrogant confidence levels of many Whites riding the wave of economic success and upscale the low confidence levels of the many Blacks disadvantaged in the economic space.
The superiority complex and hoarding of resources by many Whites, must give way to a new order of mutual respect, treating others with dignity and a shared South African nationhood.
Barack Obama mustered this courage to deliver a speech on race during his previous campaign. Does Helen Zille have the courage to do the same? That will define her greatness or otherwise as a leader.
Mike Mathabela is the Chairperson of the Sasolburg Black Professionals Advancement Forum (SBPAF). He writes in his personal capacity.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vavi Speaks Out Against Where the ANC is Heading

Another black leader speaks out against the ruling party and the dangers created by impractical strategies and extreme attitudes held by some. There is hope. But like Mbeki, he is warning about a "ticking" bomb. Moderate South Africans need to take action now. Here's a SAPA article on Vavi's views:

"Unless drastic action is taken to reduce unemployment, South Africa risks facing another 1976 uprising, Cosatu general secretary" Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

"I have already over and over again pointed out the danger of a ticking bomb, that unless we can do something drastic about the crisis of unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, we risk another 1976 uprising," he said in a speech delivered in Johannesburg.He was speaking at a discussion themed "Critical conversations on prospects for a non-racial future in SA".There could be no "genuine reconciliation" if the status quo was maintained."Our argument is that we need a new growth path that can address all the structural fault lines of the colonial economy."Such a path meant breaking up the concentration of power and production."Shouting neoliberal slogans such as saying that there must be economic growth and everything will then fall into place is not only reckless but narrow and irresponsible."Vavi said affirmative action was still essential to achieve reconciliation."But it will not work if it simply means condemning more people from the minorities to unemployment and poverty, while enriching a tiny number of people from the majority.
"True reconciliation and true reconstruction will happen when whites accept that the current inequities are not sustainable, politically, in the long run."Equally, reconstruction and reconciliation will happen the day the black majority accept that equity is of critical importance, but that precisely because of our past the white minority has better education."He said it was up to the black majority to extend the hand of reconciliation."After all the only ones with a better chance to achieve national reconciliation are the victims of the past racial segregation." -- Sapa

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When you're in a hole, stop digging

I'm posting here an article by Moeletsi Mbeki. It is this kind of thinking and comment that I hope will find resonance amongst our ordinary people and hopefully move us to real leadership, real freedom and real democracy before, as he puts it, "the bomb explodes" In fact, I'm not hoping, it's already happening. The ANC leadership has a choice, continue digging the hole they find themselves in--in which case they will go down, or heed the words of Mbeki. Either choice is fine with me, because it relieves the ordinary people of what's going on presently.

South Africa: Only a matter of time before the bomb explodes

by Moeletsi Mbeki: Author, political commentator and entrepreneur.

I can predict when SA’s "Tunisia Day" will arrive. Tunisia Day is when the masses rise against the powers that be, as happened recently in Tunisia. The year will be 2020, give or take a couple of years. The year 2020 is when China estimates that its current minerals-intensive industrialisation phase will be concluded. For SA, this will mean the African National Congress (ANC) government will have to cut back on social grants, which it uses to placate the black poor and to get their votes. China’s current industrialisation phase has forced up the prices of SA’s minerals, which has enabled the government to finance social welfare programmes. The ANC inherited a flawed, complex society it barely understood; its tinkerings with it are turning it into an explosive cocktail. The ANC leaders are like a group of children playing with a hand grenade. One day one of them will figure out how to pull out the pin and everyone will be killed. A famous African liberation movement, the National Liberation Front of Algeria, after tinkering for 30 years, pulled the grenade pin by cancelling an election in 1991 that was won by the opposition Islamic Salvation Front. In the civil war that ensued, 200 000 people were killed. The former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, once commented that whoever thought that the ANC could rule SA was living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Why was Thatcher right? In the 16 years of ANC rule, all the symptoms of a government out of its depth have grown worse.

? Life expectancy has declined from 65 years to 53 years since the ANC came to power;
? In 2007, SA became a net food importer for the first time in its history;
? The elimination of agricultural subsidies by the government led to the loss of 600 000 farm workers’ jobs and the eviction from the commercial farming sector of about 2,4-million people between 1997 and 2007; and
? The ANC stopped controlling the borders, leading to a flood of poor people into SA, which has led to conflicts between SA’s poor and foreign African migrants.

What should the ANC have done, or be doing?The answer is quite straightforward. When they took control of the government in 1994, ANC leaders should have: identified what SA’s strengths were; identified what SA’s weaknesses were; and decided how to use the strengths to minimise and/or rectify the weaknesses. A wise government would have persuaded the skilled white and Indian population to devote some of their time — even an hour a week — to train the black and coloured population to raise their skill levels. What the ANC did instead when it came to power was to identify what its leaders and supporters wanted. It then used SA’s strengths to satisfy the short-term consumption demands of its supporters. In essence, this is what is called black economic empowerment (BEE). BEE promotes a number of extremely negative socioeconomic trends in our country. It promotes a class of politicians dependent on big business and therefore promotes big business’s interests in the upper echelons of government. Second, BEE promotes an anti-entrepreneurial culture among the black middle class by legitimising an environment of entitlement. Third, affirmative action, a subset of BEE, promotes incompetence and corruption in the public sector by using ruling party allegiance and connections as the criteria for entry and promotion in the public service, instead of having tough public service entry examinations. Let’s see where BEE, as we know it today, actually comes from. I first came across the concept of BEE from a company, which no longer exists, called Sankor. Sankor was the industrial division of Sanlam and it invented the concept of BEE. The first purpose of BEE was to create a buffer group among the black political class that would become an ally of big business in SA. This buffer group would use its newfound power as controllers of the government to protect the assets of big business. The buffer group would also protect the modus operandi of big business and thereby maintain the status quo in which South African business operates. That was the design of the big conglomerates. Sanlam was soon followed by Anglo American. Sanlam established BEE vehicle Nail; Anglo established Real Africa, Johnnic and so forth. The conglomerates took their marginal assets, and gave them to politically influential black people, with the purpose, in my view, not to transform the economy but to create a black political class that is in alliance with the conglomerates and therefore wants to maintain the status quo of our economy and the way in which it operates. But what is wrong with protecting SA’s conglomerates?Well, there are many things wrong with how conglomerates operate and how they have structured our economy.

? The economy has a strong built-in dependence on cheap labour;
? It has a strong built-in dependence on the exploitation of primary resources;
? It is strongly unfavourable to the development of skills in our general population;
? It has a strong bias towards importing technology and economic solutions; and
? It promotes inequality between citizens by creating a large, marginalised underclass.

Conglomerates are a vehicle, not for creating development in SA but for exploiting natural resources without creating in-depth, inclusive social and economic development, which is what SA needs. That is what is wrong with protecting conglomerates. The second problem with the formula of BEE is that it does not create entrepreneurs. You are taking political leaders and politically connected people and giving them assets which, in the first instance, they don’t know how to manage. So you are not adding value. You are faced with the threat of undermining value by taking assets from people who were managing them and giving them to people who cannot manage them. BEE thus creates a class of idle rich ANC politicos. My quarrel with BEE is that what the conglomerates are doing is developing a new culture in SA — not a culture of entrepreneurship, but an entitlement culture, whereby black people who want to go into business think that they should acquire assets free, and that somebody is there to make them rich, rather than that they should build enterprises from the ground. But we cannot build black companies if what black entrepreneurs look forward to is the distribution of already existing assets from the conglomerates in return for becoming lobbyists for the conglomerates. The third worrying trend is that the ANC-controlled state has now internalised the BEE model. We are now seeing the state trying to implement the same model that the conglomerates developed. What is the state distributing? It is distributing jobs to party faithful and social welfare to the poor. This is a recipe for incompetence and corruption, both of which are endemic in SA. This is what explains the service delivery upheavals that are becoming a normal part of our environment. So what is the correct road SA should be travelling?We all accept that a socialist model, along the lines of the Soviet Union, is not workable for SA today. The creation of a state-owned economy is not a formula that is an option for SA or for many parts of the world. Therefore, if we want to develop SA instead of shuffling pre-existing wealth, we have to create new entrepreneurs, and we need to support existing entrepreneurs to diversify into new economic sectors. Mbeki is the author of Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing. This article forms part of a series on transformation supplied by the Centre for Development and Enterprise

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Malema Disgrace--The Hofmeyer Disgrace

I have been thinking about what I wrote in my previous post. Malema has a right to sing about killing "ibunu", but I would ask, how does this serve the best interests of reconciliation and how does it best serve the concept of nation building?

For Steve Hofmeyer to sing about "kaffers" is also his right, but I will ask him the same question.

Who will stop the process of deepening division? How does either action compare to Nelson Mandela's open and energetic support for a rugby team consisting of 14 white players?

Compare that to the silence, and in instances the open support of extremist behavior, that our leaders are showing. It is a disgrace to moderate South Africa and it is a disgrace to the common principles of democracy--I'm talking here about the silence. Our leaders, to warrant the name "leader" need to show leadership and speak out for the values of democracy by acknowledging the right of Malema and Hofmeyer but by openly distancing themselves from the behavior.

Current events around these incidents are serving to polarize our nation further into a democracy based on group support and separation. Democracy based on values, the right of individuals, the right of minority groups, human dignity, equality under the law and above all the right of individuals to strive towards being the best they can be should be our aim. We can all, black, white, no matter what our religious conviction, associate with these values. The impracticality of a democracy based on division and maintaining political power is clearly reflected in our past. Do we want to now allow the pendulum to swing too far the other way? How do we stop the spiral of domination/revolution? Who has the guts to stop perpetuating this?

I call on our leaders to come out of the spiral and to stand up for real democracy. Here are some real democracy values:

Common Good: Working together for the welfare of the community or the benefit of all.

Justice: All people should be treated fairly in both the benefits and the obligations of society. No individual or group should be favored over another person or group.

Equality: Everyone has the right to Political, Legal, Social and Economic Equality. Everyone has the right to the same treatment regardless of race, sex, religion, heritage, or economic status.

Diversity: The differences in culture, dress, language, heritage and religion are not just tolerated, but celebrated as a strength.

Truth: They should expect and demand that the government not lie to them and the government should disclose information to the people. The government and its people should not lie.

Our leaders prefer to uphold what works best in the context of their political power. Today Zuma spoke out against NATO for trying to uphold the above principles in Libya, but he does little to distance himself from Malema's disgraceful behavior. Consider the statement made by F W de Klerk and reported in Die Burger on June 2, 2011: “Dit is onverstaanbaar dat die regering Malema se reg verdedig om ’n liedjie te sing waarin hy vra dat mense doodgeskiet word. Die historiese konteks is irrelevant. Dit sal net so onaanvaarbaar wees as Afrikaners liedjies uit die Anglo-Boereoorlog begin sing wat vra dat Engelse geskiet word.
“Dit is ook onaanvaarbaar vir Malema om wittes misdadigers te noem.
“Dit is selfs meer onaanvaarbaar vir pres. Jacob Zuma om glimlaggend op dieselfde verhoog te sit terwyl Malema, ’n vername ANC-ampsdraer, sulke rassistiese opmerkings maak. Malema se gedrag is onversoenbaar met die Grondwet wat Zuma ’n eed gesweer het om te bevorder.” De Klerk is critical about Malema, but he, like me considers the president's reaction even more unacceptable than Malema's utterings.

Democracy is not giving every person a vote and then polarizing them so you can remain in power to do as you please. Stop hiding behind, "it takes a long time." If our current leaders don't have the guts, then I call on Mandela and Tutu, old as they may be, to re-initiate a march to real freedom and real democracy. The question is not, what do you do when it gets too much, the question is what do you do before it gets worse, what do you do now?