Vol 12 No 44

9 - 15 november 2012


A committed cadre, comrade and leader and son of the ANC

100 years of selfless struggleA selfless cadre, President Mbeki served the ANC in Swaziland as head of the machinery undertaking underground work and later in Nigeria as chief representative of the ANC. His record as an exceptional and distinguished cadre and leader of the ANC remains deeply etched in our history. What defined him most as a loyal cadre of the organization and true patriot was his conduct during the difficult and devastating period of his recall from office. >>> MORE

Open letter to Adriaan Basson

Viewpoint by Jessie DuarteWhat you have done is to compile a number of articles, court records, named the names of minor children without the permission of their parents despite the Bill of Rights enshrining the rights of children and you insult various members of the NEC of the ANC. Seems you were hoping this diatribe would influence the delegates at the Mangaung conference. >>> MORE

Defend our democratic achievements

Readers ForumWe call all South Africans to swell the ranks and defend our democratically elected President against the imperialist sponsored motion of no confidence. We call them to defend our democracy and its institutions in the same zeal the heroic people of Cuba defended their motherland against the US sponsored invasion during the battle of Playa Giron and the heroic people of Venezuela defended their President in 2002. >>> MORE

100 years of selfless struggle

A committed cadre, comrade and leader and son of the ANC

100 years of selfless struggleWe have come almost to the end of our centenary series on ANC presidents, undertaken as part of marking the rich legacy of our glorious movement in its 100 years of existence. The road that the ANC has travelled in 100 years, in the quest for freedom, justice, equality and human rights has been complex, daunting but also very successful, as demonstrated in the reflection on the contribution of all previous Presidents.

Today we reflect on the legacy of our 11th President, Comrade Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, a committed cadre, comrade and leader and son of the ANC. He succeeded President Nelson Mandela as ANC President in December 1997 and in June 1999 President Mbeki was inaugurated as the second President of the democratic South Africa after a landslide ANC electoral victory. He was elected for a second term as President of the Republic in 2004.

President Mbeki has distinguished himself in the ANC. He played a critical role in the organisation`s life in particular during the periods 1961 to 1990, the era of armed resistance, exile and mass mobilisation. He also contributed immensely during the period from 1990, from negotiations to the democratic transition and transformation.

President Mbeki was born in Idutywa in the former Transkei in June 1942, the second child of late Comrade Govan Mbeki and his wife Epainette. Both his parents were cadres of the national liberation struggle. His early life has been well-documented and appreciated. In 1962 President Mbeki left South Africa for a life in exile, in which he contributed immensely to the political work of the organisation and its effectiveness.

Our fight against the brutal and racist apartheid was informed by our four strategic pillars of struggle. The period required a rigorous application and continued development of new information and knowledge for us to undertake the struggle in all areas including the battle of ideas. President Mbeki thus became one of the leading cadres of the movement who epitomised the ANC`s belief in generating ideas and an ongoing dialogue in the spirit of Mao Tse Tung`s call to Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thoughts to contend, the theme of this lecture.

He was one of the cadres entrusted by the leadership collective of President OR Tambo to express the various theses emerging from the hundred schools of thoughts on ANC strands of thinking. President Mbeki left South Africa and passed through Botswana, then Rhodesia and later Tanzania and accompanied President Kenneth Kaunda to London, where he stayed and worked with President Tambo and Dr Yusuf Dadoo.

He studied at Sussex University for his bachelor`s and later master`s degree in economics. He became actively involved in student politics in London, leading to brushes with the law at times. This is also the period during which he developed his legendary love of Shakespeare and the poet Yeats among others! After completing his master`s degree he was granted permission to go to Moscow in the then Soviet Union for his military training, in 1969.

In 1971 he left London with President Tambo for Lusaka, where he was to serve in many critical roles in the organisation. He joined the secretariat of the Revolutionary Council. During that period he visited Botswana many times to link the ANC with structures inside the country. Later the ANC established the Politico-Military Council which combined the military and political machinery. This was a product of the recommendation which was made by a special commission set up by the NEC to address how we could change the structure of the revolutionary council to reflect the approach that politics was to give leadership to all aspects of our struggle.

President Tambo chaired this special commission. Other members were Moses Mabhida, Joe Modise, Joe Slovo and Thabo Mbeki. It was formed in 1978, following an ANC visit to Vietnam. In these structures, President Mbeki continued to play a role of pushing the boundaries of our intellectual understanding and knowledge of the political world of struggle. His trustworthy position in the ANC President`s Office, allowed him to become not only an administrator in the day to day running of the office, it also provided an opportunity for him to advise on certain matters sent to him by the President.

He drafted speeches for President Tambo as well as policy documents and other content material for the organisation. As Comrade Mbeki continued to exhibit his capabilities to the ANC leadership, he was entrusted with other positions such as that of director of international affairs. He ran an effective international campaign, bringing the attention of the world to the historical injustices faced by black South Africans and those fighting for economic, political and social justice.

President Mbeki was also given the task of nurturing internal resistance and liaison with internal structures. He served as an emissary on behalf of the ANC in especially our movement`s relationship with the Inkatha movement. He was also instrumental in recruiting many black consciousness movement adherents into the ANC before and after the June 16, 1976 uprisings.

A selfless cadre, President Mbeki served the ANC in Swaziland as head of the machinery undertaking underground work and later in Nigeria as chief representative of the ANC. When he became head of information and publicity in 1985, he played a key role in promoting ANC strategies and tactics and profiling the ANC internationally. He created greater acceptance of the ANC as an organisation abroad. He also became a focal point for the interface between the ANC and Afrikaner intelligentsia and other interest groups in South Africa, which served to demystify the organisation amongst whites inside the country.

Between 1987 and 1990, Comrades Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Aziz Pahad, and later joined by Joe Nhlanhla, were assigned by President Tambo to begin exploratory talks with the apartheid regime, in England and Switzerland. Around the same time, President Mandela and Kobie Coetzee were also holding secret talks inside the country while Madiba was still in prison. President Mbeki also played a key role in the drafting of the Harare Declaration, working closely with President Tambo.

After the unbanning of organisations and the release of President Mandela and other stalwarts from prison, the ANC began re-organising itself as a legal organisation inside the country. The movement held its first elective conference inside the country after unbanning in 1991, at which President Mandela was elected ANC President, Oliver Tambo elected as national chairperson. When President Tambo passed away, comrade Mbeki took over as national chairperson of the ANC.

At the national conference of the ANC in 1994, comrade Mbeki was elected the Deputy President of the ANC. After the first national general elections in 1994, President Mandela appointed him the Deputy President of the country. Towards the end of his term, President Mandela began handing over many tasks of shaping government to then Deputy President Mbeki. By the time he took office in June 1999 as President of the Republic, President Mbeki was ready to take forward the national reconciliation project with a focus on expanding the economy and deepening democratic transformation through policies including black economic empowerment.

He was also to drive better performance on the part of the state. The democratically elected administrations led by Presidents Mandela and later Mbeki focused on addressing historical injustices and creating new institutions to facilitate the building of a democratic society based on the principles of non-racialism and non-sexism. Substantial progress was made in the areas of accountability, political stability, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, building the integrity and legitimacy of the state, and the rule of law.

A progressive Constitution was adopted, which included a Bill of rights and Chapter 9 institutions to strengthen and protect constitutional democracy and human rights. Concrete steps were taken to overhaul the legislative framework upon which institutionalised racial discrimination was based. During the first ten years of democracy, 789 laws or amendments aimed at reconfiguring South African society were approved by Parliament. The dismantling of the legal framework of apartheid and the transformation of many state institutions led to the visible improvement of the socio-economic conditions of millions of people.

Under President Mbeki`s leadership, the ANC government managed competing interests within the economy to ensure economic growth and macro-economic stability on the one hand, while developing a systematic expansion of social protection for vulnerable citizens on the other. The success of the ANC government`s comprehensive social protection programme is undeniable. It includes extensive income support programmes such as social grants, access to free education and primary health care for the poorest and the provision of free basic services to indigent members of our society. The foundation of a caring state was thus built.

Under the leadership of President Mbeki, the ANC and its government also put in place new institutional arrangements and structures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. One of the achievements was the introduction of a new regulatory environment to enable the private sector to reverse the legacy of racial discrimination. As a result, ANC government policies such as black economic empowerment and affirmative action have contributed to the growth of South Africa`s black middle class, which numbered around 2.6 million by 2007. In addition, small business support was streamlined and expanded.

President Mbeki championed black economic empowerment and the rise of the black professional class and intelligentsia, which was and remains necessary as part of transforming South African society. The achievements scored by the ANC during the past 18 years are undeniable. Our 2009 election manifesto eloquently outlined the strides our country had made in governance under the capable leadership of Presidents Mandela and Mbeki.

It was fifteen years of nation building, reconciliation and democratisation. We built the foundation of a new society by enshrining the basic human and democratic rights of all in the country`s constitution; building the institutions of our democracy and ensured citizen`s participation in decision-making processes that affected their lives. It was 15 years of advancing worker rights. The workers have benefited from the passing of progressive labour legislation and introduction of social security benefits.

It was 15 years of struggle for gender-equality. Thirty percent of all our parliamentarians, provincial legislature members and councillors were women and 43% were in Cabinet by 2009 when President Mbeki left office. Opportunities for women to access basic services and social, economic and political opportunities were actively promoted.

It was 15 years of peace and stability, which brought to an end to the decades of political violence under apartheid. It was 15 years of re-building the economy; pushing back the frontiers of poverty; and improving the quality of life for millions. The country became more cohesive and we collectively celebrated achievements in sport, arts and culture. South Africa was awarded rights to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We became the Rugby World Champions twice, African Soccer Champions in 1996, the Angling World Champions and world class Paralympians in 2008.

Our international responsibilities and recognition grew. The ANC government strengthened the country`s role in peace, reconstruction, development and integration, especially in Southern Africa and the African continent. Our membership of the United Nations Security Council provided opportunities to promote peace. Strategic partnerships with major countries of the South (China, India and Brazil) were strengthened.

President Mbeki`s involvement in the ANC`s international affairs and his work in many African countries had opened his eyes to the ugly legacy of colonialism, of poverty, underdevelopment and poor governance. It is not surprising therefore that the African Renaissance became the central tenet of the country`s foreign policy outlook under his leadership, with a focus on ending poverty and underdevelopment in the continent. He resisted attempts to cast South Africa as hegemonic in this continent and positioning it as one among the sovereign equals.

The better Africa and a better world that we now speak of is a cumulative input on the foundation laid by President Thabo Mbeki. Through the African Union, the New Africa Initiative and later the New Partnership for Africa`s Development, President Mbeki and his counterparts such as former President Obasanjo of Nigeria, President Bouteflika of Algeria, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Abdulaye Wade of Senegal led a concerted process of reviving institutions of governance and accountability in this continent.

The leaders became an important core of the OAU and later the AU. Much more important is the fact that President Mbeki is still involved in the continent, and played a very important role in the birth of the Africa`s 53rd state, the South Sudan. On behalf of the entire nation I would like to congratulate President Thabo Mbeki for being named "African of the Year" for his "persistent and consistent" efforts to avert war between Sudan and South Sudan. The award, was announced at the fifth annual meeting of the African Media Leaders Forum in Dakar yesterday.

Perhaps President Mbeki`s primary contribution, in the realm of promoting the blooming of a hundred flowers and schools of thought, is his speech, I am an African, in the mould of Pixley ka Seme`s 1906 masterpiece "The Regeneration of Africa". Both celebrate our African identity and postulate a new beginning for Africa, calling for a total psychological liberation for the African masses in the continent and everywhere.

The ANC in 2009 sought to continue and improve on its record of the previous 15 years, using the resolutions taken at its 52nd national conference in Polokwane as a baseline. The fight against poverty, inequality and unemployment was to continue, with the creation of decent work being the centre of our economic policies. The Mid-Term Review of 2012 that assessed performance against the 12 priority Outcomes of government and the more recent results of Census 2011 indicate where our efforts have yielded results and where we still confront challenges.

The results continue to be encouraging. Just over a week ago, Census 2011 revealed a significant increase in the proportion of households which have access to piped water, with the percentage increasing from 60.7% in 1996 to 62.3% in 2001 and 73.4% in 2011. Households that use electricity for lighting increased from 70.2% in 2001 to 84.7% in 2011, while households that use electricity for cooking increased from 52,2% - just over half - to 73.9% or nearly three-quarters over the same period.

A Mid-Term review also indicated progress in many areas. Among dramatic progress is in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The review indicated that the number of people living with HIV had stabilized. There has been a 50 percent reduction in mother-to-child transmission from 8% in 2008 to 3.5% in 2011, thus protecting more than 30 000 babies per annum from infection. About 20 million people have tested for HIV since voluntary testing was launched in 2010, while 1.7 million are on antiretroviral therapy.

The life expectancy of our people has increased dramatically as a result of all these interventions that were launched in 2009. More importantly, we have achieved a strong societal partnership against AIDS, embodied in the South African National AIDS Council. These organisations outside of government have an equal claim to the success we have scored in the fight against AIDS.

The ANC government continues to prioritise good governance. In 1994, we took over from an unpopular, corrupt, unaccountable, secretive and alienated administration. We could not use the apartheid administration as a benchmark. Thus we developed ethical standards and practices that subsequently became entrenched in our Constitution, in the operational plans of government and, lately, in the framework of performance monitoring and evaluation that we introduced in 2009.

Under President Mbeki`s leadership government introduced new instruments to promote sound financial management in government, including the Public Finance Management Act. In addition the fight against corruption was institutionalized by the ANC government through the creation of instruments such as the Special Investigating Unit and various anti-corruption agencies in government departments.

In addition, our own insistence on ethical, clean and efficient government dovetails with the existing oversight mechanisms by Parliament, the judiciary, Chapter 9 institutions, the non-governmental sector and society in general. Thanks to the ANC, the fight against corruption has become a buzzword in the country, bringing together society as a whole against this scourge.

Taking forward the legacy of President Mandela and President Mbeki, we want to change the landscape of the country. We are spending eight hundred and forty four billion rand on infrastructure projects countrywide over the next three years. Already hospitals are being refurbished, mud schools are being replaced by modern schools. Coordination in all three spheres of government will enable a seamless management of both longstanding and new infrastructure projects. All these developments are powerful indicators of a simple but often unstated or understated truth.

That is: fundamentally, South Africa has become a better place in which to live or invest with each passing day and year since April 27, 1994. We say this not in arrogance, but out of respect for the millions of South Africans from all walks of life who are contributing each day to making this a better society and more productive economy. We admit that our challenges are many and persistent, but they do not overshadow the fact that each new day brings forward possibilities of a better South Africa.

We admit as well that the performance of the State must be improved further. Simple projects such as delivering textbooks on time have been a problem for this administration for more than a decade and we need to get it right. In the State of the Nation Address of 1999, President Mandela spoke out strongly about this gross inefficiency. He said; "Last year, we made the observation that it was inexcusable that text-books were not supplied within seven days of the beginning of the school-term: Many areas did meet this target.

"However, many did not. We hope that this year the planning and funding will be settled earlier in the year.

"For, if this does not happen after the pressured experiences of last year; if our administrations are unable to carry out such a straight-forward project; then in the coming year, ordinary citizens like myself, will feel justified in calling, so to speak, for heads to roll!``

In August 2008 President Mbeki launched the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy. Such institutions should assist us in improving the performance of the public service. We believe that the institution of the performance monitoring and evaluation mechanism is a step forward in that regard. Another innovative measure is the National Development Plan Vision 2030, which for the first time enables long-term planning for the country.

In paying tribute to our very internationalist 11th President, we will also continue our contribution in strengthening the African Union and all its organs, and take forward the programs promoting economic growth and development in the continent. We will continue ensuring that Africa continues to have a strong voice in international forums such as the G20, World Economic Forum and many others.

We will continue speaking out about the transformation of the United Nations Security Council, the international financial institutions and all bodies that control the world economy and politics without the participation of Africa. We will also continue the ANC`s focus as anti-imperialist organization, supporting the people of Western Sahara and also the people of Cuba as they fight to end the economic blockade against their country.

As we move closer to ending the centenary year we also acknowledge all sectors of society that support us in our work. The ANC is wiser due to working with the faith-based sector, business, labour, women, youth, the country`s intelligentsia and traditional leaders and many other formations in the quest for a better life. Regardless of the circumstances of his departure from office, President Thabo Mbeki`s record as an exceptional and distinguished cadre and leader of the ANC remains deeply etched in our history.

What defined him most as a loyal cadre of the organization and true patriot was his conduct during the difficult and devastating period of his recall from office. He accepted the decision of the ANC NEC. Like a true statesman, he put the country first above personal considerations. He stepped aside in a dignified manner, allowing a smooth transition to take place in government to the presidency of Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe.

He said; "I have been a loyal member of the African National Congress for 52 years. I remain a member of the ANC and therefore respect its decisions.

"It is for this reason that I have taken the decision to resign as President of the Republic, following the decision of the National Executive Committee of the ANC.

"I would like sincerely to thank the nation and the ANC for having given me the opportunity to serve in public office during the last 14 years as the Deputy President and President of South Africa".?In closing, allow me to revisit - with a true sense of achievement of our glorious movement in 100 years, the closing stanza of President Mbeki`s I Am An African address.

He said;

"Whoever we may be, whatever our immediate interest, however much we carry baggage from our past, however much we have been caught by the fashion of cynicism and loss of faith in the capacity of the people, let us err today and say - nothing can stop us now!".

>> This is an edited extract of the Thabo Mbeki Centenary Lecture delivered by President Jacob Zuma

VIEWPOINT | BY Jessie Duarte

Open letter to Adriaan Basson

Viewpoint by Jessie DuarteDear Mr. Basson,

A friend who thought I might need to get a copy of the book and read what you had written informed me about your book.

I made a request to your editor at the City Press and she initially thought she could make an advance copy available to me. You see my reason for making this request is that the book is about the ANC and its leaders and in the main the President of the ANC and his family.

Unfortunately, it would appear that you were not very happy to provide me with an advance copy and whilst I can live with that, it seemed childish to say the least. I now have a copy bought at the princely sum of R300.00.

I have corrected my friend and told her that she may have thought of you as having written a book. What you have done is to compile a number of articles, court records, named the names of minor children without the permission of their parents despite the Bill of Rights enshrining the rights of children and you insult various members of the NEC of the ANC.

It seems you were hoping this diatribe would influence the delegates at the Mangaung conference. I am still reading the book, its not a good read, because it is nuanced opinions that have been regurgitated a number of times.

May I point out one matter to you that it seems the affable Mr. Jonathan Ball your publisher overlooked? In the introduction of the book you make a completely factually incorrect statement. I won`t bother you much, but perhaps you should reflect a little on the following fact:

President Jacob Zuma joined the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), which had been formed in 1955, in 1959. He was active in SACTU and attended the SACTU night school, which taught him and other members about trade unionism. Among some of his teachers was Moses Mabhida who was a SACTU leader then, and later the Secretary General of the South African Communist Party.

After serving ten years in Robben Island he came back and joined the trade union movement in the early 1970`s soon after the 1972/72 Durban Strikes, which revived trade unionism in the early 1970`s.

There is not much else to say about this book, but I am sure that you will enjoy its cut and paste technique. It is interesting writing style where the notion of balance is completely absent. Ah but then you are a new author and there is this matter of poetic licence. Not everything you say has to be perfect or perfectly correct.

May you live long and prosper.

>> Jessie Duarte
NEC member of the ANC

Readers Forum

Defend our democratic achievements

Readers ForumIn the year 1961 just after the triumph of the victorious revolution led by the rebel army, the US through its trained mercenaries invaded the Republic of Cuba at Playa Giron (also known as the Bay of Pigs). The attack took place just a day after the Commander-in-Chief, Comrade Fidel Castro, proclaimed the socialist character of the Cuban revolution.

The strategic objective of the invasion from the point of view of the US was to overthrow the popular revolutionary government led by Fidel and restore the autocratic government of the US backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. On the same historic day of the occasion of the proclamation of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution, the Commander-in-Chief of the revolution had to say the following; "The Cuban people have created a revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble. And for this revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble, we are ready to give our lives."

The heroic battle of Playa Giron and the subsequent declaration of the socialist character of the Cuban revolution was a culmination of a political process that liberated Cuba from the ignominy of the world imperialist domination. The determination of the people to emancipate themselves from the hands of the dictator eventually placed the destiny of the heroic island into their own hands. In the words envisaged by the Cuban national hero Jose Marti; "Cuba was a society with all and for all".

The heroism and victory of the people of Cuba at the battle of Playa Giron was indeed a glorious victory against a motion of no confidence sponsored by the US led imperialism against a revolutionary government built on the foundations of the popular will of the people. Playa Giron will forever signify and decorate the memories of the history of the struggles of the working class as a giant leap forward, as a mother of all battles during the era of humanity that represent the first military defeat of the US imperialism in the Latin America.

The same year on the African continent the world witnessed yet another US imperialist sponsored motion of no confidence extirpate the life of one of the extraordinary revolutionary leader of our mother continent Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. The revolutionary leader of the Congolese independence struggles volunteered his life for the advancement of the noble cause for liberation of humanity. The blood of this hero and the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the republic of Congo nourished the tree for the liberation of the people of our continent.

On the occasion of the independence day Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba had to say the following profound words" no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that it was by fighting that it has been won, a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood. We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and a just struggle, and indispensable struggle to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force."

"We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.... We have known ironies, insults, blows that we endured morning, noon and night, because we are Africans ... We have seen our lands seized in the name of allegedly legal laws, which in fact recognized only that might be right.... We will never forget the massacres where so many perished, the cells into which those who refused to submit to a regime of oppression and exploitation were thrown."

After independence the Congo basin became the battleground for the control of its vast rich resources by the forces of imperialism. It became apparent that super powers such as Belgium, France, Britain, and the USA were not ready to forfeit their large investments in the area. These circumstances led to brutal assassination of this rare but the most revolutionary leader of our African continent Patrice Lumumba.

The assassination of Patrice Lumumba will always remind us of the words by the Fidel Castro at the United Nations when he said;

"The achievement of political independence is only a first step of national liberation, because there remains the struggle for economic independence in the face of imperialist economic domination. History has taught us that the access to independence by the people who have freed themselves from the subjugation of the colonial powers is, at the same time, the last act in a long struggle and the first in a new and difficult battle. This is because the independence, sovereignty and freedom of our peoples who are apparently free are continually threatened by foreign control of their natural resources, by the financial imposition of official international organizations and by the precarious situation of their economies which they are determine to diminish their full sovereignty."

Later in 1975 just after the Portuguese imperialism conceded independence to its former colony of Angola, on the eve of the day on which the leader of the revolutionary MPLA President Agostinho Neto was to declare the independence of the newly liberated democratic republic, the world saw yet again another motion of no confidence sponsored by the US imperialism which escalated an insurrection that embroiled the Republic of Angola in a bloody civil war for many years to come.

One of the major contributory factors that led to the US imperialism to thwart the independence of the humane people of Angola was the Marxist ideological orientation of the MPLA as a liberation movement. From the point of view of the cold war political dynamics the victory of the MPLA in Angola constituted a serious thread to the colonial interests of the apartheid regime in the southern tip of the continent.

Through a combined military campaign the newly MPLA led government of Angola with the assistance of the revolutionary government of Cuba, defeated the insurgence from UNITA, FNLA and the south African security forces. This was once again a glorious defeat by the heroic people of Angola against a motion of no confidence sponsored by the forces of imperialism against the government built on the foundations of the will of the people.

On yet another episode of a motion of no confidence sponsored by the US led imperialism, on the 11 April 2002, the world witnessed an attempted coup against the democratically elected President of the republic of Venezuela and the leader of the Bolivarian revolution Hugo Chavez. He was forcefully taken prisoner for 47 hours when the imperialist mercenaries could not succeed to dethrone him from his position as the head of state. Through popular demonstrations by the masses of the working class, the popular leader of the Bolivarian revolution was released from the shackles of the prison walls.

The masses of the people of Venezuela as they open the prison walls to rescue their leader from the hands of the Yankee, sung the courageous words of inspiration as they remember the heroism of the father of the Latin America Simon Boliver when he said as we repeat "we are the children of storm, we are men and women of difficulties, those even when they face adversity, they fight, fight, and fight until it obeys them".

The attempted coup was a response to the progressive policies spearheaded by the revolutionary government led by Chavez. The US imperialism was against the popular radical reforms introduced by the government such as the adoption of a democratic constitution which at its heart protected the rights of the previously marginalized indigenous people of Venezuela, the establishment of democratic committees for the defense of the revolution, decisive interventions that led to the improvement of the education and health sector, nationalization of the key sectors of the economy, introduction of cooperative movement driven by the state sector and reduction of poverty and inequalities in society.

The most outstanding leader the world has ever produced in this century, the leader of the first communist state of the Soviet Union Cde Vladimir Lenin once said; "The fundamental law of revolution, which has been confirmed by all revolutions and especially by all the three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century, is as follows, for a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited oppressed masses to realize the impossibility of living the old way, and demand changes, for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. It is only when the lower classes do not want to live in the old way and the upper classes cannot carry on the old way that the revolution can triumph."

He further said; "The immediate objective of the class-conscious vanguard of the international working-class movement, i.e. the Communist parties, groups and trends, is to be able to lead the broad masses to their new position, or, rather, to be able to lead, not only their own party but also these masses in their advance and transition to the new position. While the first historical objective could not have been reached without a complete ideological and political victory over opportunism and social-chauvinism, the second and immediate objective, which consists in being able to lead the masses to a new position ensuring the victory of the vanguard in the revolution, cannot be reached without the liquidation of Left and Rightwing doctrinarism, and without a full elimination of its errors."

During the occasion of the second anniversary of the Cuban revolution the Commander in Chief Cde Fidel Castro had to say; "A revolution is the most complex and the most convulsive of all historical events. It is an infallible law of all revolutions, and history teaches that no true revolution can ever fail to be an extraordinarily convulsive process. If it is not, it is not a revolution. Even the foundations of a society are affected, and only a revolution can affect the foundations, and the pillars upon which a social order rest are shaken, and only a revolution can shake them. If these foundations are not affected, the revolution could not take place, because a revolution is something like the raising of an old building in order to put up a new one. The new building cannot be built on the foundations of the old. Thus, the revolution in its process must destroy in order to build."

Imperialism institutionalized its policy of colonialism as an anchor of its foreign policy during the meeting attended by fourteen member states of the European countries and the USA in 1884 at the private residence of the imperial chancellor and the architect of the German empire, Otto van Bismarck. In was at the meeting that he presided at his private residence in Berlin where the colonial powers superimposed their sphere of influence by deciding to partition the African continent and our present politico-geographical map without consulting the African people.

The colonial powers superimposed their sphere of influence on the African continent. The main focus of the agenda of the meeting was how to exploit the rich natural resources of the continent and her people. Even today over fifty years after most of the African countries gained their independence, we are still faced by the similar thread, of the exploitation of the resources of our continent by the neo-colonial forces.

The establishment of the union of South Africa in 1910 was another motion of no confidence sponsored by the British imperialism in collaboration with the international monopoly capital, that saw the black people in general in our country and the Africans in particular excluded from becoming active participants and architects of their own future. The participants at the peace treaty of Vereeniging outrageously rejected the possibility of the participation and involvement of the black people from the political process towards the formation of the union of South Africa.

The exclusion and segregation of the black people from becoming active participants within the political mainstream of the country resulted in the formation of the South African Native National Congress in 1912. The movement became a platform to advance the wishes and aspirations of the black people of our country. For over a period of 90 years the ANC led protracted struggles as an outlawed political formation for the creation of conducive conditions for a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

The racist apartheid regime as a way of a motion of no confidence confined millions of the overwhelming majority of the black people of our country to the most barren areas of the black reserves. They had to endure the pain of hard socio economic conditions and atrocities of the cruelest system of apartheid colonialism. They lived an unbearable life without access to the provision of essential services to improve their living conditions.

It is therefore important that we proceed from the events on the calendar of our history as we invoke our tools of analysis to locate the balance of forces and the direction and posture of our national democratic revolution. The attempts by the opposition parties to table a motion of no confidence sponsored by the Democratic Alliance and international monopoly capital against the President of the ANC and our state Cde Jacob Zuma need to be understood from this historical perspective.

We need to understand the motion of no confidence against the President of the ANC and our republic from the point of view that despite the tremendous achievements we have made to improve the living conditions of our people, the remnants of the apartheid racist regime in collaboration with monopoly capital will never have confidence in our movement and its leadership. Historical facts prove that they never had confidence that the South African working class is capable of determining its own future. Their utmost fear is the determination of the ANC led government to change the colonial economic development patterns of our country.

For every revolution to succeed it must have the capacity to expose the highest form of opportunism of those who want to defeat its end, of those who have declared themselves to be its perpetual enemy and those who vacillate between the revolution and its opponents. The masses of our people are not ready to live in the old way and are determine to shake the foundations of the old order to build the new into our future.

It is ridiculous and an insult to our people that the Democratic Alliance together with its puppets in parliament will want to compare the socio economic living conditions of our people in the current period of our democratic conjuncture to be worse than those during the apartheid era. Our departure point is to resolve the contradictions of underdevelopment, disease and poverty perpetuated by centuries of apartheid policies imposed on the majority of the people of our country.

The posture of imperialism to its former colonies is appearing in a new form of a system of its extension of neo colonialism. Therefore the motion of no confidence against our President and our movement seek to sustain the resolutions taken in 1884 by the world superpowers at the private residence of Otto van Bismarck in Berlin. The motion is in protest against the tremendous achievements of our national democratic revolution has gained to reverse the legacy of apartheid colonialism.

Imperialism has sponsored this motion in pretext that under the leadership of our President the justice system has been politicized and weakened as if during apartheid our country had any reputable judicial system. The DA is abusing the arena of our judicial system to fight its own political battles. It is abusing our courts of law to temper with our efforts of the reconstruction and development of our country.

The ANC led government unlike the apartheid racist regime has financial systems in place to account on the expenditures of the taxpayers` money. It is a shame that apartheid regime is the only form of government in the world that couldn`t account in how it has been using the coffers of the state. During apartheid there was no a single agency known to the citizens of the country assigned with the task of combating crime and corruption.

We call all South Africans to swell the ranks and defend our democratically elected President against the imperialist sponsored motion of no confidence. We call them to defend our democracy and its institutions in the same zeal the heroic people of Cuba defended their motherland against the US sponsored invasion during the battle of Playa Giron. We call them to defend their government at the oomph as the way the heroic people of Venezuela defended their own President in 2002.

We have to defend our democracy and our future in memory of our outstanding revolutionary and the assassinated leader of the Congolese people Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. We have to defend our democracy in memory of the millions of the people of Angola and the continent who lost their lives during the most difficult times of the US sponsored invasion of their republic, we have to defend our democracy in solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their Bolivarian revolution, and we have to defend our democracy in celebration of the centenary anniversary of our national liberation movement.

It is only through the unity of our movement that the unity of our people and the whole nation can be achieved, and it is only through the unity of our people and whole nation that the enemy of our national democratic revolution can be defeated. We have a revolutionary task to prove that we are men and women who have dedicated not only their free afternoons to their revolution but their entire lives. We have to defend our democracy for the future of our generations to come.

>> Phatse Justice Piitso is the Provincial Secretary of the SACP in Limpopo and a former South African Ambassador to Cuba