Vol 12 No 42

26 october - 1 november 2012

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

100 YEARS OF SELFLESS STRUGGLE
A tireless worker in the pursuit of freedom

Oliver TamboIt is both difficult and impossible to capture the essence of such a life as that of President Tambo in any number of words and conceptualization. President Tambo remains a symbol of what a free and democratic South Africa should be like through his legacy of selflessness, humility and supreme love for this country and its people. >>> MORE

VIEWPOINT | BY PALLO JORDAN
Colonial regimes varied greatly, even within the same colonial system

Viewpoint by Pallo JordanA lengthy article in the "Sunday Independent" (Sunday, 7th October 2012) from the pen of Moeletsi Mbeki invites critical engagement. Mbeki charges that instead of radically restructuring their national economies and redesigning them to serve their own national interest, unlike their Asian counterparts, the post- colonial African political elites have chosen to adapt to the extractive economies the colonial powers created. >>> MORE

VIEWPOINT | BY ZWELI MKHIZE
The unity of the ANC is critical for the stability of the country

Viewpoint by Zweli MkhizeThe need for humility of the ANC leadership and delegation has been preached continuously to ensure that the province plays a constructive role in building unity and a stronger African National Congress. The KwaZulu-Natal delegation will engage robustly in debates in the conference in search of resolutions that will propel our country to a positive future and it will constitute a constructive force for reason to seek consensus in both policy debates and in the election of leadership. >>> MORE

100 YEARS OF SELFLESS STRUGGLE

A tireless worker in the pursuit of freedom

Oliver TamboPresident Tambo remains a symbol of what a free and democratic South Africa should be like through his legacy of selflessness, humility and supreme love for this country and its people. Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo was, still is and will always be the pride of the ANC.

President Tambo was born on 27 October 1917 in Mbizana, in eastern Mpondoland in what was then the Cape Province. He would be turning 95 years old on his birthday tomorrow, had we been graced with a few more years of his life. He was among the founding members of the ANC Youth League in 1944, and became its first National Secretary.

Together with Comrades Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Ashby Mda, Anton Lembede, Dr William Nkomo, Dr C.M. Majombozi and others - they were instrumental in the transformation of the ANC. They infused the organisation with new ideas and changed it to become a progressive and potent tool in the hands of our people in the struggle for liberation.

President Tambo bears the distinction of having been the longest serving President of the ANC. When Chief Luthuli died, he became acting President for a long period of time until he was formally elected to the position by the NEC at the time. He led the organisation during one of the most difficult and trying moments of the liberation struggle. The ANC had been banned and had gone underground.

As the Deputy President he had been asked to go and establish the external mission of the ANC, which had declared the armed struggle in 1961. MK cadres had to be trained in different countries and after training they had to come back into the country to perform sabotage actions against military installations.

The enemy dealt a heavy blow to our movement in 1963. Its core leaders were arrested and later sentenced to life imprisonment, among them the Rivonia Trialists. The then President-General, Chief Albert Luthuli, was confined to Groutville in KZN under terrible restrictions and banning orders. Provincial leadership as well as regional and small units of MK and underground structures were also dealt a heavy blow through detentions.

Things had to change. The external mission had to become the main centre of the movement. And indeed, that happened. President Tambo became the glue that held the many facets of the ANC together during that difficult period. If the ANC is a broad church, President Tambo became a capable pastor to all the strands.

And how was this possible? What exactly does Tambo represent to us?

It is both difficult and impossible to capture the essence of such a life as that of President Tambo in any number of words and conceptualization. However, some of the attributes that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of President Tambo are the following:

  • Discipline in thought and in action.
  • Highly principled.
  • Nationalism and internationalism.
  • Non-racialism and non-sexism.
  • Dedication to the freedom of all.
  • Fearlessness and foresight.
  • Humble servant, empowering leader and democrat.
  • Integrity
  • Persuader and diplomat par excellence
  • Pioneer - from the youth league to the mission in exile
  • The ability to give and also take advice and draw strength from others.
  • A dedicated husband to Mama Adelaide and a good father to the children.

These qualities were demonstrated in various ways as he built the movement and its cadres, thus contributing to some of its tried and tested traditions and character. It is more from him that we learned to operate as a collective. The discipline of the collective remains a fundamental trait of disciplined cadres of the ANC.

It was also under his leadership that the ANC developed a culture of taking its decisions through consensus. He was an also exceptionally good listener. Many of those who worked with him in exile can attest to this notion that OR had a capacity to listen to all points of views before he could take any critical decision. Hence the meetings of the National Executive Committee ran for a week.

He also believed passionately in building leadership and capacity within the ANC. Many of those who became leaders of the ANC in the post-liberation period were personally groomed and developed by him. It was his leadership style as well that made a success of the consultative Morogoro Conference of 1969, which symbolised the ANC`s ability to transcend divisive tendencies. The conference also symbolised the triumph of non-racialism as the key principle of the organisation and the Alliance.

It was also Tambo`s force of example which calmed tempers in the camps when disputes about basic necessities, discontent with some leaders and ill-advised eagerness to go back to South Africa to fight surfaced. The leadership that he provided to Umkhonto Wesizwe as commander in chief of the people`s army was inspiring to many young freedom fighters.

In early 1967, when the Revolutionary Council decided on the first military campaign to South Africa, the Wankie Campaign, Oliver Tambo accompanied the fighters right down to the Zambian bank of the Zambezi River, accompanied by Thomas Nkobi. This gesture demonstrated support and more profoundly that he was one of them.

At every stage of our Movement, his hand could be detected. Throughout all the critical decades from the 60s, 70s, 80s to our return home in 1990, President Tambo worked tirelessly in the pursuit of freedom. On 8 January 1985, he delivered his most dramatic speech calling on people to `Render South Africa Ungovernable`, following the July 1985 State of Emergency.

When the time came to engage the enemy, in President Tambo we were fortunate to have a leader who was able to chart the way forward towards a negotiated settlement. At that time, many were still finding it difficult to accept that there would be no dramatic seizure of power.

He understood at the time that the apartheid regime was irreversibly cornered by the forces of liberation led by the ANC. He had come to know this through his own political work and various reports he had received - from political, military, economic to intelligence - that the time was right for such an engagement.

A process had been unfolding under his direction of engaging the Afrikaner intelligentsia. Comrade Thabo Mbeki played an important role in this engagement process. From the time he sent former President Mbeki and I to initiate a dialogue with the oppressors to the onset of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, President Tambo`s leadership and counsel were invaluable.

From the release of President Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, the unbanning of political organisations to the watershed first democratic elections in 1994, President Tambo provided leadership.He also led us capably in key processes from the Harare Declaration to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

The people of South Africa are indeed highly indebted to President Oliver Reginald Tambo. Today South Africa is a new nation, a united people founded on the fundamental principles of human dignity, democracy and equal rights for all. We promote non-racialism and unity against the background that apart from President Mandela and President-General Luthuli, President Tambo remains the greatest symbol of our reconciliation policies.

He saw one people united in the quest of a free South Africa. We should note as well that President Tambo was very mindful of the rights of women. He commissioned a Code of Conduct that saw that women`s rights are respected and upheld by all in the organisation. He tried to ensure that the abuse of women was eradicated.

A key bequest from President Tambo to the South African nation was his internationalism. He convinced the peoples of the world, through the United Nations and other platforms that apartheid was an affront to all freedom loving nations, that it was indeed a crime against humanity.

Assisted by African governments, President Tambo was able to establish ANC missions in Egypt, Ghana, Morocco and in London. From these small beginnings, under his stewardship the ANC acquired missions in a total of 27 countries by 1990. The fact that the United Nations declared apartheid a crime against humanity, is mainly a result of his tireless diplomatic work.

The international campaign to release President Mandela and other political prisoners, the campaign for sanctions against apartheid South Africa and the creation of an understanding of South Africa under apartheid, were all skilfully executed under his leadership. Remarkably, by August 1982 a total of 2,000 mayors in 53 countries worldwide had signed a petition for President Mandela`s release.

More importantly, President Tambo commanded the respect of all leaders in the world. When he took the platform in international conferences, leaders and participants would stop the bilateral meetings they were busy with to come and listen. Scores of our friends in the then Frontline States and now SADC and other countries in the African continent stood firm in their belief that they could not be truly free until South Africa was free.

We also had good relations with the Non-Aligned Movement which galvanized the peoples of the South - from India and Indonesia to Cuba and Brazil - in their struggle for a just world order that is free from the domination of the North. The Soviet Union, China, India, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, the Nordic countries and many others.

His skilful diplomatic skills led to the recognition of the ANC by the Organisation for African Unity and the United Nations. Through President Tambo, the Anti-Apartheid Movement flourished and remains one of the greatest multi-class, multi-religious, international solidarity movements ever seen in history.

We are a united and democratic nation today whose vibrancy and unity in diversity are hailed around the world because President Tambo provided much-needed leadership to the collective when this was needed most. As we consolidate his memory, we know that President Tambo would not be satisfied merely with us having achieved freedom and democracy. He would urge us to rebuild that which apartheid and colonialism sought to destroy over many decades.

South Africa is in the process of transition and building a new nation, united in diversity. This is the fruition of President Tambo`s struggles and his dreams. It is the continuation of the mission of the organization.

What would he want us to do at this point in our history?

His instructions would first and foremost be directed to his organization itself. He would call on the ANC and on its members and supporters, to rise above petty squabbles internally and instead weld together a popular movement equal to the challenges of our times.

President Tambo would remind us not to confuse the nation and friends around the world through petty squabbles and factionalism. As a leader of society, the ANC must lead by example, displaying cohesion, clarity and respect for one another and for the nation as a whole. He would urge all of us to pursue the course of the greatest unity of democratic forces, especially the Revolutionary Alliance.

It is President Tambo who reminded us eloquently of the need for the unity of the Alliance. He said at the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the SACP more than 30 years ago:

"The relationship between the ANC and the SACP is not an accident of history, nor is it a natural and inevitable development. For, as we can see, similar relationships have not emerged in the course of liberation struggles in other parts of Africa…. Ours is not merely a paper Alliance, created at conference tables and formalised through the signing of documents and representing only an agreement of leaders.

"Our Alliance is a living organism that has grown out of struggle. We have built it out of our separate and common experiences".

He would remind us that the responsibility of the ANC membership and leadership is to keep our minds when all around us are losing theirs. Our responsibility is to give our people hope and direction during the most difficult periods such as what happened a month ago with the Marikana tragedy.

President Tambo would empathize with the suffering masses and even those who demand instant solutions to the country`s problems. Most importantly, he would require of us to be steadfast on principle and to display revolutionary discipline. He would urge us to continue on this mission of a fundamental transformation of our country and to work for economic freedom and the prosperity of all our people, especially the poor and the working class.

He would urge us to unite and build our glorious movement the ANC, and protect it from all sorts of negative tendencies, corruption and opportunism. Therefore, in his memory, we should at the upcoming 53rd national conference in Mangaung, take forward the renewal of the organisation. We must recommit ourselves to renew the ANC`s core values and principles such as unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, internal debates and mutual respect.

South Africa needs a united, cohesive and strong ANC to take forward the transformation programme. The finalisation of policies that were discussed at the June national policy conference should be the pre-occupation of delegates in December as we consolidate President Tambo`s legacy of building a better life for all. These should be policies that will truly take our people out of the prison of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

And what would we tell President Tambo as the ANC?

We would be able to report to President Tambo that over the past 18 years we have been working hard to destroy the legacy of apartheid. At a political level, we have succeeded to create a society premised on the principles outlined in the Freedom Charter.

We have a government based on the will of the people, elected every five years through a national democratic election. The three arms of the state - the judiciary, legislature and the executive work in equal partnership to transform society and deliver services in their realm of work. The country`s Constitution boasts a Bill of Rights that enshrines various freedoms and rights. We have a vibrant civil society, allowing space for many Non Governmental Organisations and community organisations to flourish.

The ANC government works closely with social partners such as business, labour and the community sector, believing in collective leadership and working together. These networks consolidate our participatory democracy. At the level of the delivery of basic services, water, electricity, roads, houses, clinics and other basic services have been extended to millions of people since 1994. However, more people are still waiting and our task is to extend these services to more people each year.

As the Minister of Finance pointed out, the economic situation globally looks bleak, but locally we are going to do our best to cushion the economy and survive with the resources that we have. And we have plans and policies to enable us to move forward, both in the short and long terms. Through the National Planning Commission, we have produced an over-arching National Development Plan which outlines our vision of dealing with inequalities, social injustice, and the developmental challenges our society, leading towards a prosperous society.

Our New Growth Path framework, the short-term economic development programme, focuses us on a growth and employment-creating path. Our intention is to boost job creation in six pillars - tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, mining and beneficiation and the green economy. Out of the six, we have this year singled out infrastructure development for an intensive focus. We will spend around eight hundred and forty four billion rand over the next three years building schools, refurbishing hospitals, ports, rail, roads, power stations and other projects around the country.

We have made progress in various other areas. On health care we have turned around one of our weakest points previously, the fight against HIV and AIDS. The rate of new infections has decreased from 1.4 percent to 0.8 percent in the 15-24 age group and we have put more people on treatment than ever before thus improving life expectancy. One of our greatest success stories is the remarkable 50 percent reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV from about 8 percent in 2008 to 3,5 percent in 2011.

All this work and more demonstrate that we have clear policies and plans.

We know what we are doing and we know where are going. We are moving towards prosperity and a better life for all. It will not always be easy. Things may not move as fast as we want them to, but we assure our people, especially the poor and the working class, that the commitment to improve the quality of life remains unwavering. Work is continuing in this regard.

We make a pledge to President Tambo that for as long as there are people who still live in shacks, children who being taught in mud schools, families with no access to quality health care and children who go to bed hungry, we cannot rest as the African National Congress. We have a duty to build the type of society that OR Tambo sacrificed so much for. We have a duty to build the type of society that so many comrades and friends around the world sacrificed so much for.

In celebrating the international solidarity that assisted us in the attainment of freedom, we will proudly confer one of our highest honours, the Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo, to some distinguished friends of the people of South Africa from abroad.

We recognise among these His Excellency former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Percival James Patterson, the Reverend Jesse Jackson a tireless friend of the people of South Africa, Enuga Reddy and Rajni Kumar from India and Toshio Akiniwa from Japan, and also Brian Filling, a champion of the Free Mandela campaign in Scotland and a friend in need in innumerable respects. We also honour Dr. Jorge Risquet Valdes Saldaña from Cuba who witnessed the naked face of apartheid aggression in Angola. We remain indebted to Cuba for the country`s strong statement that against apartheid`s regional tyranny at Cuito Cuinavale.

With the exception of Palestine or the Western Sahara, most of the world has been decolonised. We remain mindful of the economic blockade against Cuba, which denies the Cuban people of their economic freedom. President Tambo lived under constant pressure and stress, which at times affected his health. Given the demands of his position, he had little time to recuperate from illness. He suffered the first stroke in 1989. In April 1993 he passed on, so close to seeing his dream come to fruition, to see South Africans voting together to usher in democracy a few months later in April 1994.

At OR`s funeral in 1993, a distraught President Nelson Mandela stated; "Oliver Tambo has not died because the ideals of freedom, human dignity and a colour-blind respect for every individual cannot perish".

We may have one of our most important gateways, the OR Tambo International airport named after him, as do other host of institutions and localities. But President Tambo`s legacy lives beyond that. It is in the blood, the heart and soul of the ANC.

It is manifest in our daily endeavours to create a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa of which all of us can be proud. And for that legacy, we shall be eternally grateful to this outstanding son of the South African soil.

>> This is an edited extract of the Centenary Lecture delivered by President Jacob Zuma on the legacy of President Oliver Reginald Tambo


VIEWPOINT | BY Pallo Jordan

Colonial regimes varied greatly, even within the same colonial system

Viewpoint by Pallo JordanA lengthy article in the "Sunday Independent" (Sunday, 7th October 2012) from the pen of Moeletsi Mbeki invites critical engagement. Mbeki charges that instead of radically restructuring their national economies and redesigning them to serve their own national interest, unlike their Asian counterparts, the post- colonial African political elites have chosen to adapt to the extractive economies the colonial powers created. African elites have been content to siphon off a fraction of the wealth produced for self-enrichment and the pursuance of an ostentatious lifestyle.

In contrast, driven by fear of "Communism", Asian elites broke the mould of the extractive colonial economy, re-structured their national economies, invested heavily in education, in health, in the social upliftment of their populations and stimulated the emergence of a stratum of "native" entrepreneurs who have since flooded international markets with durable consumer goods ranging from cell-phones to automobiles.

Asia is the largest continent on earth, covering nearly 60% (sixty per cent) of the earth`s surface. There are 57 (fifty seven) states on that continent and its population accounts for more than 60% (sixty percent) of the world`s population. The land mass stretches from the island of Cyprus in the west, to the Kurile Islands in the east - not a continent one could easily generalise about. Mbeki tests our credulity when he conflates an impoverished Afghanistan with the first -world economy of Japan, both of which are in Asia. A China developing with breathtaking speed shares the continent with a stagnating Pakistan and Bangla Desh. It is wise to avoid generalisations that are so wide ranging.

When Frantz Fanon turned his attention to the bourgeoisie in the colonies he characterised it as a class with:

"Neither financiers, nor industrial magnates are to be found within this national middle class . The national bourgeoisie of under-developed countries is not engaged in production, nor in invention, nor building, nor labour; it is completely canalized into activities of the intermediary type. ... The psychology of the national bourgeoisie is that of the businessman, not that of a captain of industry ;..."

The broad strokes of Fanon`s brush conceal the reality that post-colonial elites are the product of specific historical circumstances and are consequently rarely alike. French colonialism in Algeria differed decidedly from French colonialism in Senegal. Even compared with neighbouring Tunisia, Algeria`s white settler regime made for an elite that differed radically.

Moeletsi Mbeki`s too wants to treat all colonial societies and all colonial regimes as the same. Yet, closer scrutiny reveals that colonial regimes varied greatly, even within the same colonial system; even on the same continent!

European colonialism in Asia usually did not dismantle previously existing modes of production.* European powers chose to graft their own extractive economies onto what they found. In Africa, outside North Africa, colonial regimes completely dismantled previously existing indigenous modes of production. In countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Algeria, to destroy the indigenous mode of production the colonising power seized the land from the colonised and parcelled it out amongst settlers from Europe.

In other parts of the continent, the colonial powers were content to impose taxes and other exactions to impress peasants into their service, but permitted sufficient peasant farming for elements of pre-colonial modes of production to linger on. This relationship, the subject of intense discourse, in which Moeletsi Mbeki was an enthusiastic participant, during the 1970s and `80s, was theorised as "The Articulation of Modes of Production".

In Asia the existing pre-colonial modes of production, adapted to the needs of colonial powers, also articulated with the dominant capitalist economy controlled by the metropole. In India the British authorities suppressed the emergent Indian manufacturing classes, even banning the spinning and weaving of cotton - an indigenous Indian crop - while they encouraged the landlordism of the princes. Gandhi`s adoption of the spinning wheel as the symbol of Indian nationalism has that significance!

Oddly, in discussing the post-colonial elites of two continents Mbeki rather than remarking on the active hostility emergent elites in the colonies encountered from those of the colonial power, concentrates his fire on the victim. British suppression of India`s textile industry in order to corner that market for the mills of Lancashire, has its equivalents in the Cape Colonial Ordinances debarring Africans from prospecting, owning mines or even dealing in minerals; in the Glen Grey Act; in the Natives Land Act of 1913 and other laws deliberately designed to destroy African propertied classes who were potential entrepreneurs.

Some propertied classes in the colonies arrived at independence with wealth accumulated prior to and during colonial domination, placing them in a position to make the transition from intermediary to captain of industry. In South Africa, African propertied classes had to be reinvented after democracy. The South African economy was controlled by capitalist classes drawn from the White minority.

When we get down to cases, the portrait of the Asian elites we have from Moeletsi Mbeki is disturbingly misleading. The `Asian post-colonial elites` he referred to are in fact the elites of about four authoritarian east Asian states. Proceeding from the examples he employs - resistance to Japanese imperialism - one can conclude the states concerned are in east Asia.

Interestingly, this region of Asia was the site of hard-fought wars during the mid 20th century.

As Moeletsi Mbeki correctly reminds us, inspired to take up arms against the axis powers by the Atlantic Charter, Communist- led resistance movements harassed and pinned down thousands of Japanese troops in Malaya; the Philippines; Korea; Vietnam; etc. But as Churchill made clear soon after Stalingrad, the undertakings in the Atlantic Charter applied to Europe only.

After they had fought courageously against the Japanese during World War II, the Communist-led anti-Japanese guerrillas in Malaya, Vietnam and the Philippines were sold out by the colonial powers. To realise the independence that the Atlantic Charter had promised, they transformed themselves into anti-colonialist liberation forces.

In Malaya and the Philippines these guerrilla movements were defeated after a few years of fighting. In Vietnam the guerrilla movement defeated first France`s attempt to restore the colonial order, then the US`s attempt to impose a neo-colonial regime on their country.

Korea, amongst the first victims of Japanese imperialism, in contrast to countries in occupied Europe, was treated like the aggressor after Japan`s surrender. Soviet forces occupied Korea north of the 38th parallel, US forces occupied it to the south. A Soviet sponsored regime, led by former anti-Japanese resistance fighters, was set up in the north. In the south the US sought out and built an administration led by former collaborators who had served Japan.

The elites in these east Asian countries, consequently, are very different.

The US-sponsored elite who drove the industrialisation of South Korea were inspired by both their fear of "Communism" and by their own ambitions. They purchased stability by constructing an authoritarian state very similar to that in the north. In return for palpable economic rewards, the elite surrendered many of its rights to an authoritarian state that took all the major macro-economic decisions.

The Malayan elite secured and has consolidated its power through the affirmative action policies that Mbeki, echoing the hypocrisies of chauvinist men who derided the second wave of feminism as "sexist", describes as "racially discriminatory". In South Korea and Malaysia, the civil liberties South Africans take for granted have long been compromised. Both the South Korean and Malaysian elites owe their power and success to the reverses suffered by the former Anti-Japanese resistance movements.

The other East Asian post-colonial elite, driven by fear of "Communism", is that of Indonesia. After close to a decade of cooperation with the largest Communist Party outside the socialist bloc, led by General Suharto, they orchestrated the massacre of more than a million people in a blood purge of an unprecedented scale. Unlike those of Kampuchea, the killing fields of Indonesia are hardly ever talked about, even in our own media!

The Indonesian elite erected an extremely authoritarian state after that act of repression.

The elite that emerged from successive resistance wars - first against the Japanese, then the French, then the Americans - in Vietnam, is qualitatively different from these others. In addition to their ardent nationalism, the Vietnamese have also nurtured the values of social equality and collectivism. Vietnam was virtually destroyed by US bombing sorties and is being painstakingly rebuilt.

To break out of the mould of the British-created extractive Mineral-Energy Complex the liberation movement adopted the nationalisation of the mines, monopoly industry and the banks amongst its strategic objectives. Inspired a by a vision of removing these vital sectors of the economy from the control of the capitalist classes, the movement wanted the democratic state to acquire control over the commanding heights of the economy in order to restructure it.

The ANC was put on notice by powerful external forces with the capacity to either thwart its objectives or to mobilise against it. A year prior to taking office, those who wield power in the west told Nelson Mandela in no uncertain terms that any actions that threatened property rights would invite their wrath. Translated that means, if the ANC interfered with the property rights of the White minority! After all, Africans had no property rights anywhere in South Africa prior to 1994! A chastened Mandela returned to South Africa from Davos ready to drop the nationalisation of the mines!

Coming to office in 1994, during a decade of capitalist triumphalism the ANC-led government was severely constrained. The economy it inherited was in a parlous state. There was a huge debt owed to international bankers and the economy was in transition from labour to capital intensive. To set it on a firmer footing the ANC-led government was compelled to institute structural adjustment programmes.

Fortunately, these were of its own making, and not imposed by the World Bank. Perhaps the ANC-led government should have taken the risks entailed in ignoring the warnings Mandela was given in Davos. Perhaps it should have hazarded taking on those who control the MEC. But would it have been able to sustain it? On other occasions Moeletsi Mbeki recognises that powerful international interests were involved in negotiating the transition to democracy. So he is very aware of the threats and finger-waqggings the ANC had to endure at a time when it was desperate to restore stability to a country that had been on the brink of war one year before.

Charging that the ANC leadership has learnt nothing from history while not mentioning all these very real constraints and the dangers reckless behaviour might have entailed is just mendacious Yes, the ANC government has thus far failed to sort out the education system. But not even Moeletsi Mbeki could argue that this is due to parsimony! Since 1994 the levels of spending on education have grown exponentially. The intractable character of the problems in education needs other explanations.

The extremely high levels of unemployment were previously disguised by the Native Urban Areas Act and the homelands policy. To keep the wolves from thousands of doors, the democratic state has installed a comprehensive social security system! [Those, like Moeletsi Mbeki, who decry such social grants conveniently forget that prior to 1994 an unemployed African received not a cent in relief, and the law required him/her to leave the urban areas where work could be found.]

Between 1990 and the first democratic elections, the ANC embarked on an intense internal policy debate culminating in the "Ready to Govern" conference. From that process the ANC emerged with two important documents - the first was the MERG Report; the second was the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Though, unlike other card-carrying members of the ANC, Moeletsi Mbeki abstained from participating in these movement processes, he is conversant with both documents. Yet he is silent about both and does not inform us of their fate.

So, has the ANC learnt from the experience of Africa? Perhaps not enough, but to suggest it has learnt nothing, is obvious hyperbole. Moeletsi Mbeki obviously has numerous creative policy suggestions for the ANC and for the country. But he has chosen the easy path of casting well aimed stones at weaknesses he sees in government and the ANC. Engaging constructively is much tougher, but in the end, more rewarding.

Moeletsi Mbeki has not made a case. To pretend that South Africa had no history that shaped and produced an African elite who controlled little other than acquired professional skills is dishonesty that insults our intelligence. No one pretends the ANC-led government could not have done more. But while Moeletsi Mbeki`s vitriol might add heat, it sheds little light on the issues.

Since it has become fashionable to score politicians, political parties and figures like teachers grading their students, perhaps I should join in.

Overall grade??

An incomplete! Stones breaking and shattering panes make a lot of noise. But you end up with a pile of glass shards and splinters. Not the best materials for reconstruction!

>> Pallo Jordan is an ANC NEC member

Ottoman (Turkish) imperialism was the other influential power shaping the elites of Asia. But it did not last beyond 1918 and need not detain us here. The other Asian imperialism was that of Japan. Apart from Korea and Taiwan, Japan did not in fact succeed in establishing an Asian empire.


VIEWPOINT | BY Zweli Mkhize

The unity of the ANC is critical for the stability of the country

Viewpoint by Zweli MkhizeAs expected during this season when the ANC as ruling party is approaching its 53rd conference, the general atmosphere is polluted by cynism, speculation conjecture and all manner of fabrications that are strong on sensation and thin on facts.

Freedom of expression is our defense. But it is an environment that will confuse many innocent readers who will wade through so many thousands of words in print, electronic and other media including Facebook, you tube and twitter.

INTEREST AND SUSPICIONS

We have seen a lot of interest in the size and views of various provincial structures of the ANC, including our province of KwaZulu-Natal. It seems for our sin, being the home province of the incumbent President, we are attracting the most adverse of commentaries.

Somehow there are some who believe anything done by ANC in this province is not part of the ANC as a national organisation, and begin attaching tribal connotations and discrediting our efforts and contribution. Others have attempted to underplay our significant strides and achievements to spread prejudice and unnecessary suspicions.

It is helpful to provide basic information that may help one understand KwaZulu-Natal approach to the conference.

ANC GROWTH IN KZN

The growth in the size of the ANC has been a steady process that reflects the stability in the province. When the ANC conference in 1942 took a decision to achieve a target of one million members during its Centenary year, all its members took it seriously. During the centenary celebrations President Zuma announced that this target had been reached.

Coming from a province that host 21% of the population of the country, a higher contribution was expected. The ANC has 1,2 million members of which 331 000 are from KwaZulu-Natal. The province of KwaZulu-Natal has come a long way and currently enjoys significant internal stability, huge strength and unity. The integration of different sections of the ANC from exile, prison and mass democratic structures in the early nineties did not pose any challenges in the province. What created tensions was the issue of how to approach political violence in the early nineties.

This was the era of ANC led Self Defence Units and IFP aligned Special Protection Units. While these units were in place and violence orchestrated by the apartheid Third Force elements, President Zuma as the leader in the Province initiated peace talks and signed accords with the leaders of the IFP. President Zuma was severely criticised by some who believed he was selling the party to the opponents. However, it did not take long for the leadership to embrace the approach and spread peace talks through out the province.

Once the matter was resolved and programme of reconciliation adopted with the Inkatha Freedom Party, everything stabilized. The growth of the ANC can thus be attributed largely to prevailing peaceful conditions that eliminated violence and intimidation and supported the freedom to choose. People became free to join the ANC.

PAST TENSION ELIMINATED

Another matter that took time to settle was the adjustment of leadership to the creation of one provincial structure of the African National Congress and the dissolution of all three powerful regions of Northern Natal, Southern Natal and Natal Midlands. Each of the three regions had a significant history and unique contribution in the ANC.

The integration brought in the challenge of different strong personalities with significant roles to play into a single structure. The most notable was the contest between the former deputy chair and transport MEC Ndebele and former treasurer and Health MEC Mkhize. This contest always ended with a difference of a few votes apart. This happened twice resulting in Ndebele as Chairperson and Mkhize as deputy in 1998 and 2002.

By 2005 provincial conference it had become imperative that there should be no contest and a stronger focus had to go into ensuring support to building the ANC as a party to govern KwaZulu-Natal. A united leadership offered more confidence and allayed fears of the unknown. That allowed people to give the ANC a chance.

VOTER SUPPORT INCREASE

The experience has given a lot of lessons to KwaZulu-Natal. The competition between the ANC and IFP meant that internal differences could not be allowed to preoccupy the attention of ANC leadership at the expense of addressing issues of societal interest.

During the same period the ANC increased its provincial voter support from 32% in 1994 to 48% in 2004 before jumping to 62% in 2009. On the other hand the IFP, which was the provincial ruling party, controlled 50% of Legislature seats in 1994 to the current 24%. The ANC has put emphasises on good governance, financial prudence, and focused very strongly on service delivery and intensified communication with the public and responding to the concerns of the communities.

An image of exemplary governance and efficient administration has been promoted. The strategy of hosting community of izimbizo, criticized by opposition as extravagant, has been an important factor in linking service delivery with community information. Partly this has resulted in avoiding massive public service delivery protests. KwaZulu-Natal has over the years accounted for 6% of all incidents of public protests according to surveys recently published. Regular evaluations are made to force all MEC`s and departments to lower the cost and keep a trend of balanced expenditure.

The ANC ensured the clarity of its programme and strong support was given to government to accelerate service delivery resulting in voter preference. Voters were able to discern the efficiency and effectiveness of ANC leadership when they compared the leadership of government by the first few MEC`s in the name of President Zuma as MEC for Economic Affairs then and Mkhize and Ndebele.

However, the profile of departments was greatly accelerated when MEC`s Mabuyakhulu and Makhaye were fired in Public Works and Agriculture, respectively. This provided a huge impetus and created huge wave of support for the ANC. This enabled the community to see that ANC leaders performed much better than those of the IFP - a fact serenely admitted by some of the IFP leaders.

ROLE AND IMPACT OF PRESIDENT ZUMA

President Zuma continues to play a leadership role as a father figure who relates equally with all provincial leaders including the opposition parties. The support that was generated by popularity of President Jacob Zuma at national level has had a more or less similar impact across all provinces due to his widespread appeal across different communities. The assertion that the last surge in voter support was as a result of President Zuma hailing from KwaZulu-Natal is not entirely accurate.

Voters are sophisticated enough to distinguish between the leaders at provincial and national levels as they cast their votes. If the provincial leadership can upset the voters, the national component of votes will be much higher and will show a disproportion in which the provincial aggregate will be shrunk, despite the popularity of the President.

Without underplaying the role played by the President, it must be realized that the electoral scenery is more complex.

ANCYL CHALLENGES

The tensions associated with the aggressive approach and ill discipline associated with the influence of the expelled and suspended leadership of the ANC Youth League is limited. The mere act of suspension of the provincial youth leadership was an indication that the approach by national ANCYL approach was rejected by KwaZulu-Natal youth. It is interesting that without that aggressive call of "generational change " the majority of regional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal elected of late comprises the youth leaders as the ANCYL who served since the mid nineties and some who currently qualify or still serve in ANCYL structures.

Several of them in their own right have been appointed to leading positions in local council on merit. Clearly they have benefitted from the programme of political development that the ANCYL is meant to provide to the younger generations of leaders and did not need a defiant approach to be recognized as suitable for election. This confirms that generational mix occurs naturally in the ranks without demanding and calling for mass mobilization.

TENSIONS IMPACT ON MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

Some critics who were referred to as sources that remain undisclosed asked a question why KwaZulu-Natal has grown so much. The correct question need only be asked if there were no growth in membership. With the experience it is easy to explain lapses in administrative machinery and difficulties in recruitment in situations where leadership effort is directed to resolving internal conflict.

One of our KZN regions that recorded less growth was plagued by the ill discipline in the ranks of the ANCYL leadership who were determined to take over and change leadership at all cost. Several of them were charged suspended or expelled for disruptive conduct not in keeping with the provisions of the ANC constitution and the culture of robust but respectful political engagement.

The ANC encourages members to speak out frankly and to express themselves especially if their views are different. Such differences strengthen the ANC as all decisions are explored frankly and all points of view are listened to before a decision is arrived at. There is a binding obligation to defend the decisions adopted at the conclusion of the matter as they reflect the majority decision and a binding position in the structure.

The recent conduct of members who will not raise an objection in a meeting but secretly leak often distorted details of confidential debates or air their opposing views as sources acting on anonymity, is not only despicable but is a betrayal of trust of members who elected the structure in question.

UNITTY IS FUNDAMENTAL

For the foreseeable the unity of the ANC will remain critical for the stability of KwaZulu-Natal and the country as a whole. It is impossible for a party that is divided to achieve unity of supporters and members of society n general if it is not itself united at its core. In the same vein, the exemplary conduct of ANC leaders is critical in ensuring social cohesion. This is the lesson that the provincial leadership has learnt.

The advantage has been that the long association and common experience in which `phuma singene` malady has not taken root have stabilized the provincial leadership. That risk remains a possibility if younger leadership grows up without institutional memory of the forbidden path of the debilitating impact of factional fights and the fundamental importance of unity.

NEGATIVE TENDENCIES EMERGE

Experience has taught us that differences based on divergent political views and leadership preferences can be easily mediated through dialogue unlike conflict based on competition for control of resources fueled by unbridled greed and personal interests. The ANC must embark on a ruthless campaign to uproot the infectious bug of rampant consumerism, crass materialism, the mad rush to swell the ANC structures by those who understand that the popular voter support to the party is a guarantee for high office and offers an opportunity to abuse power for personal benefit.

Often the cases of fraud and corruption identified in various levels of government arise from such manipulation of systems and institutions that must all be eradicated. Left on their own many individuals both in public and private sectors may easily be tempted into corruption, the deterrent is effective monitoring and tough punitive action when culpability is proven. Such tendencies are the basis of the conflict that have been identified and dealt with on regular basis and stamped out in the province.

The provincial leadership has been criticized for expressing confidence in colleagues who were charged in the case involving Intaka Company. This was based on the understanding of the basic facts around the matter while deferring to the justice system to ensure that the law takes its course without any interference. The withdrawal of the case has been a clear vindication of the stand of the provincial leadership which maintained that there was no need for both MEC and Speaker to be suspended from duty.

The efforts to create confusion in which political leadership were reported in the media to be using the charges to eliminate internal competition ahead of the provincial conference was exposed for the lie it was. It may trite to reiterate that the ANC provincial leadership was never involved in any aspect of the same case. Many more efforts by information peddlers that sought to divide not only the ANC but also the Tripartite Alliance were successfully averted.

PREVENTION OF TENSIONS

The destructive contest for local councils in 2011 resulted in close to fifty ANC members contesting as independent councilors. To deal with the ill- discipline and breach of ANC constitution more than fifty ANC members were expelled form the ranks thereafter. An earlier intervention was focused on resolving justifiable tension. Care had to be exercised to avoid community being alienated by leaders who are popular in the party while rejected by the community. This was now the first time that community of voters was brought into selection of party candidates ahead of the election.

The provincial leadership as a whole has for several years conducted fortnightly inspection visits to regional structures of the ANC. The focus of the visits is to monitor the life and performance of lower structures, the relationship between members and elected representatives, progress in service delivery and the relationship with civil society as well as the growth in membership and challenges they face.

The conclusion reached by the provincial leadership is that the ANC in the province has recovered from the tensions created by the contests for positions of municipal councilors. The relationship amongst members and most elected representatives and society in general remains reasonably good.

RECENT POLITICAL KILLINGS

We have been shocked and embarrassed by the sudden spate of deaths of ANC leaders in the hands of proven ANC members. This remains unacceptable and the ANC has taken a step to suspend or terminate membership of those implicated in the situation. Because the provincial leadership is fully aware of dynamics in most areas, it has been confidently concluded that the killings are the work of misguided criminal elements in our ranks who are driven by greed and self interest and their motives are limited and localized within a few plotters and has not permeated into the community of activists in each area.

Most killings so far reported did not follow the trend of known open conflict amongst the ANC members. The ANC can ill afford the development of the culture of the underworld, criminality and violent elimination of opponents. Neither can the ANC afford the association of political appointment to self-enrichment where ascendancy to office is not linked with capacity, competence and dedicated service to our people.

The ANC has intensified the awareness of all members and activists as well as communities in general to root out such hooligans and ensure that effective screening to boot out the rot before it such devious conduct is tolerated or accepted. Society needs to revolt against any such unacceptable misconduct for the impact no longer represent a matter of interest for any single party and there comes a point when the internal conduct of party members is offensive to public interest.

These deaths are condemned by the ANC in no uncertain terms. During the funeral of Chiliza and Malunga from Oshabeni branch, the ANC quite rightly apologized for the misconduct of individuals who are publicly identified as ANC members as much as such behavior is offensive to the African National Congress. The episodes do not represent a crisis but need to be rapidly stamped out. They also represent a tendency to disregard law and order and extreme greed.

MANGAUNG NOT POLOKWANE

The lessons for KwaZulu-Natal gleaned from the days of Polokwane have been the fact it is more effective to achieve unity in provinces if there is strong unity at national leadership level. Similarly KwaZulu-Natal learnt that the trauma of unmanaged contest involving the topmost leadership might result in trauma within all levels in the party with significant repercussions in the support base and society in general. This means that there is no one in KwaZulu-Natal who has the appetite of another Polokwane type battle in Mangaung. This is no time for brinkmanship. There must be no blood on the floor and the integrity of the ANC must be preserved.

However the situation of the 52nd conference is markedly different from the situation today. For one President Zuma has served one term and therefore is within an acceptable timeframes in office. The balance both negative and positive attributes will be assessed by he ANC structures and nominate him if here sufficient support. No leadership collective can preside over a term of office that will not attract both successes and failures or praise and criticism with equal measure.

It must count for something that the ANC has registered growth to reach the one million-member mark as a sign of successful leadership. The uniting nature of the Centenary celebrations hat invigorated the deep spirit of ANC and touched thousands of hearts that identify with the ANC. The whole program has been a reviving and inspiring experience. The fact that there remains a better relationship between the ANC and its Alliance despite huge challenges is credit to the leadership elected in 2007.

THE TASK AHEAD

To his credit, President Zuma`s government has been able to create a National Development Plan and associated multi departmental Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission. This unique initiative has produced a national plan around which the whole nation and country should rally to turn around the economy of the country. The plan caries with it a set of responsibilities amongst which are the focus in building our nation, building economy that create jobs and improves service delivery. The country has never had such a plan. This is a plan that must take us to the climax of our post apartheid achievement as a nation. It requires support from all South Africans.

It can be a blue print to turn around the fortunes of our country, achieving the exquisite economic growth rates, creating jobs and delivering a better life for all and usher in a national democratic society. This plan allows for integration and long term planning and is one of the most important developments in our budding democracy. The plan needs a strong push and a focused implementation programme. Thereafter South Africa will change for good.

THE ROLE OF KZN IN MANGAUNG

The need for humility of the ANC leadership and delegation has been preached continuously to ensure that the province plays a constructive role in building unity and a stronger African National Congress. The KwaZulu-Natal delegation will engage robustly in debates in the conference in search of resolutions that will propel our country to a positive future.

KwaZulu-Natal will constitute a constructive force for reason to seek consensus in both policy debates and in the election of leadership. While he nominations are in motion, KwaZulu-Natal is openly engaging in formal dialogues with several other provinces with like-minded or differing views.

KwaZulu-Natal will work tirelessly for unity of the ANC and work tirelessly to build a strong African National Congress. The ANC will emerge stronger from Mangaung.

Many media reports and the columnists have castigated the ANC in all manner of ways even to suggest that there is no governance till after the national conference. This is grossly inaccurate. We intend to confound the prophets of doom when the ANC rises from the 53rd conference.

>> Zweli Mkhize is the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Provincial Chairperson and Premier