INSIDE THIS ISSUE
LETTER KAY SEXWALE
We too raised questions about the direction our country was going
Unlike in the US where elections are about voting for an individual candidate, here in South Africa we vote for political parties, not for their president or leader. So, are you not mistaken in conflating the incumbent president with the ANC? The question that faces the voter, including yourself, is not whether do you like this candidate or that candidate, but which political party is likely to take the country in the right direction. >>> MORE
VIEWPOINT | BY MXOLISI NKOSI
Is there a future for the ACP group?
A confluence of factors brought about by the unprecedented tectonic shifts in the global political and economic landscape as well as internal EU dynamics have conspired to bring to sharper focus the relevance of the ACP group. On the one hand the emerging powers of the South present a new frontier of engagement for the ACP group, while on the other they pose an unprecedented challenge to Europe's economic stranglehold over their former colonies. >>> MORE
Central to the ANC renewal is training and educating the member
We are already observing system and organisational challenges. These range from ill-discipline, wherein some members intimidate others for preferring this or that candidate; there is a use of state resources to campaign for this or that candidate even though the ANC has not agreed on the modus operandi for an electoral process which allows for individuals to openly campaign for themselves. >>> MORE
We too raised questions about the direction our country was going
Dear Ms Sexwale,
I was very moved by your letter. I am also pleased to see that the younger generation take politics seriously and are raising tough questions about the direction in which our country is moving. We too raised questions about the direction our country was going in our time, and we found the answers in the struggle for freedom. Then, as now, at the centre of that struggle was the African National Congress.
I want you to note well, I say the ANC, not Dr J.S. Moroka who was ANC president when I joined. I joined the ANC, not Dr Moroka! As you probably know, Dr Moroka left office in disgrace and later even repudiated the ANC. It is vitally important to separate leaders from the movement, because as you can see from the case of Dr Moroka, leaders, even presidents, come and go. But the movement lives on and outlasts them.
The media find it easier to reduce politics to personalities. We live in an era of celebrities, so politics too is reduced to personalities. Unlike in the US where elections are about voting for an individual candidate, here in South Africa we vote for political parties, not for their president or leader. So, are you not mistaken in conflating the incumbent president with the ANC? The question that faces the voter, including yourself, is not whether do you like this candidate or that candidate, but which political party is likely to take the country in the right direction.
In four successive elections the overwhelming majority of South African voters said that party is the ANC. After a 62% win in 1994, the ANC went to a 67% win in 1999, then close to a 68% win in 2004, finally coming down to 65% in 2009. And, despite what opinion makers and opposition parties claim, it has never abused the two thirds majority in had in 1999 and 2004! Whatever else anyone may say about it, the ANC is the legitimate government of South Africa and governs because the majority of voters want it to govern.
When we went to the polls in 1994, the ANC went to the South African electorate with a campaign slogan "A better life for all". It has elaborated on it in subsequent elections, but its slogans have been consistently inclusive. Can you say the same of the main opposition parties? In 1999 the Democratic Party (DP) went to the polls on the slogan "Fight Back!" Was there ever the slightest doubt who was being incited to "Fight back!"? and to fight back against whom?
During the 2009 elections the Democratic Alliance (DA) campaign called on voters to deny the ANC a two-thirds majority. What for? To advance the economic freedom struggle of our people, perhaps? I wonder.
How do you explain the inclusivity of ANC campaign slogans while other parties always appeal to only sections of the population? Perhaps you misunderstand what has taken place in this country over the past thirty years. Our people do not follow the ANC blindly, as they do religion. Our people support the ANC because of its track record of one hundred years of selfless struggle. But they don't follow blindly, the protests you find so uncomfortable should tell you that. But these protests are demands for attention, not calls to reject the ANC government.
You seem very upset that there are strikes, demonstrations, public protests and other manifestations of displeasure with various aspects of life. Well, that is what we actually fought for, were arrested for and spent twenty-seven years in jail for: The untrammelled right of the citizen to raise his/her issues publicly in the most effective manner. We fought precisely for the right to strike, to demonstrate, to march - in designer or just plain tackies - to voice your grievances as loudly as possible.
If you watch the television news regularly you would know that such public manifestations are a daily occurrence in virtually all the capitals of Europe, but especially Greece - the country that originally gave us the concept of democracy. For nearly six months last year demonstrators in the USA occupied Wall Street, the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange.
What such protests, in South Africa as elsewhere, indicate is that citizens are unhappy about one thing or another. In De Doorns today it is farm workers, protesting against their shockingly poor wages. Tomorrow it might be factory workers demanding better conditions. These are not symptoms of a democracy's ill health. On the contrary! These are signs of its vibrancy.
Let us remember, democracy does not promise a government that will bring heaven to earth. What it promises is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. A government citizens put in office; a government citizens can vote out of office; a government that citizens have the right and the power to challenge in the law courts, and on the streets.
Don't mourn the demonstrations, strikes and public protests. Celebrate them, as proof of a functioning democratic system. That is democracy in action. Regrettably the contentment of citizens is never reported, because they express it quietly in their homes or during the occasional opinion survey. Strikes and demonstrations can give the impression of massive discontent even when it is limited to a few places, among a few people.
We do not have a one party state! We do not have a one union country! COSATU is a federation of a number of trade unions, as is NACTU and FEDUSA. True, the unions in COSATU enjoy wider and deeper support amongst the workers than the unions in the other two federations. But that is support won through struggling for the rights of the workers. Before the mid-1970s the racist regime and all White employers did not recognise the right of African workers to form unions, let alone go on strike.
The unions in COSATU literally had to be organised from scratch, under the hostile eyes of the Security Police and employers' organisations - like the Chamber of Mines. The activists, who went about organising the workers were jailed, detained and tortured, not for alleged "terrorist activities" like me. They were persecuted purely for organising African workers! Comrade Neil Aggett was literally beaten to death for doing nothing more than that.
That tells you that every little right - including the elementary right to attend a meeting - that African workers have today, was purchased with their blood! Are you surprised that they defend those rights with such fervour?
Is COSATU ruining the country by making unreasonable wage demands? I do not want to debate what is reasonable and what is not, because that changes from day to day. But have you considered the success of South African businesses since democracy? They have flourished and made money hand over fist.
Marikana, which you rightly decry, and the current unrest in De Doorns offer some clues. The mining corporations have made millions, pay their directors and senior managers huge bonuses each year, yet these same companies expect African miners to be content with low wages! The fruit farmers of the Hex River valley export to Europe and to the East, where their products command high prices. Yet they expect their workers to live on R70.00 per day!
Who then is running the economy down? How will workers who can't put enough food on their tables purchase the goods turned out by South African industry? Who will buy all the fine things our factories produce if South Africa's workers earn too little to buy them? How will the South African economy grow if its goods can't be sold locally?
It is not the trade unions, least of all those in COSATU, that are running the country's economy down. It is White owned and controlled business, that developed and grew on the basis of a low wage economy, satisfied to meet only the needs of the White minority, who are doing this. The working people do not only deserve better wages, but that is the only way in which the South African economy will produce the consumer market here at home to grow the economy!
When you say the ANC is in trouble, you are right. But that too needs to be weighed carefully. A few years ago when we experienced those horrible attacks on African immigrants, there was only one party that went into the troubled areas and brought an end to that xenophobic violence. Why was it the ANC alone that regarded it as its duty to and which enjoyed the credibility to go into those areas to restore calm?
During my own years in the movement, there have been terrifying moments of despair, when one thought all was lost. After ostensibly leading the Defiance Campaign, Dr Moroka repudiated it in court. How do you think, we, the rank and file volunteers, felt at that moment? Can you imagine the battering our morale took during those first five years on Robben Island? Each year a new crop of political prisoners arrived, indicating that the structures we had built were being taken apart.
For those in exile it was even worse. Instead of giving up, Comrades like Chris Hani had the courage to stand up and demand change. The 1969 Morogoro conference, that set the ANC on the right path, was the result. So too, today when you feel that things have gone wrong, do not throw your hands up in despair. Do what Chris and others did. As one who was born into the ANC, I imagine you are a member of a branch. Demand and organise to bring about change.
The hard truth is that the other parties have neither the policies nor the will to solve South Africa's problems. Their non-response to the xenophobic incidents indicate that. We know IFP government from the former KwaZulu homeland and from KZN between 1994 and 2004. We had NP and NP/DP coalitions governing the Western Cape between 1994 and 2004.
There was a five year ANC inter-regnum, then back to the DA which now governs. Have they addressed the problems of the Western Cape? How are they doing with gangsterism in the Cape Flats? How are they doing with workers in the province? How are they doing with the African townships? How are they doing with employment equity? How about equitable procurement?
As for the new kid on the block, COPE? Well, I think its inability to convene even an inaugural conference speaks for itself! Alongside George Bush, Mr 'Terror' Lekota, bares the unique distinction of being president by court order!
Literally thousands of your people, including children as young as Hector Pieterson, died so that you will one day have the vote. Please don't mock their sacrifice by throwing it away on a whim. Despair helps no one and is the road to defeat.
It is only by exercising this hard won right that you choose South Africa and also help shape your own future!
Yours for a better life in a better South Africa.
Is there a future for the ACP group?
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves" - from Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare.
These words will echo in the minds of Heads of State and Government of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group of countries as they congregate in the idyllic city of Malabo, situated in the splendid island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea to kick-start a discussion which will culminate in a decision on the future of the group in 2014.
The ACP group comprises of 79 countries, 39 of which are the world's least developed countries and account for a total population of nearly 800 million people. Over the last three decades, the group has enjoyed a special relationship with the EU, whose architecture is based on the Cotonou Partnership Agreement that is set to expire in 2020.
A successor to the erstwhile Lomé Convention which had been the basis for ACP-EU development cooperation since 1975, the Cotonou agreement introduced a new dimension in the ACP-EC relations. According to the European Centre for Policy Development and Management (ECPDM), a Brussels-based think tank, "the Cotonou Agreement is much broader in scope than any previous arrangement has ever been. It is designed to last for a period of 20 years.
Unlike its predecessors, the Cotonou Agreement is not merely a pot of money. The signatories have assumed mutual obligations (e.g. respect for human rights) which will be monitored through continuing dialogue and evaluation". (Laporte, G. 2007. The Cotonou Partnership Agreement: what role in a changing world? Reflections on the future of ACP-EU relations. (Policy Management Report 13). Maastricht: ECDPM).
It is not surprising therefore that Cotonou is viewed by some as having fundamentally shifted the paradigm and model of EU-ACP relations from aid dependence to trade. This shift is now mirrored in the much assailed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), which will become the framework for future ACP-EU trade relations. From a privileged and some might say highly paternalistic relationship with the former European colonial powers, ACP countries face the grim prospect of loosing non-reciprocal trade preference with the implementation of a reciprocal trade framework in conformity with the injunctions of the WTO.
The EPAs will amongst others, see some countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, to mention but a few, loose duty and quota-free treatment into the EU market, while others such as Lesotho will continue to enjoy preferential treatment under a new trading regime. As a qualified member of the Cotonou Agreement, South Africa is not a party to the trade chapters of the Cotonou Agreement.
This is because South Africa already had an agreement with the EU in the form of the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA), at the time of signing the Cotonou agreement in June 2000. South Africa nevertheless joined the negotiations with the SADC EPA Group in February 2007 to be part of the collective effort that seeks a mutually beneficial outcome complimenting the regional economic integration process currently underway in the SADC region.
A confluence of factors brought about by the unprecedented tectonic shifts in the global political and economic landscape as well as internal EU dynamics have conspired to bring to sharper focus the relevance of the ACP group. On the one hand the emerging powers of the South present a new frontier of engagement for the ACP group, while on the other they pose an unprecedented challenge to Europe's economic stranglehold over their former colonies.
The ECPDM observes that "With the adoption of the new Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU has embarked on fundamental institutional reorganisation to strengthen its position as a global player. This includes a review of all existing EU partnership agreements on a geopolitical basis and along regional lines". (Potential Impact of the Lisbon Treaty on EU-ACP Relations, Brussels, 27 May 2010).
The ACP group is also undergoing spectacular metamorphosis with some states thankfully graduating from LDC status. The near homogeneity of the group is fast fading as some ACP countries, particularly in Africa are breaking out of the LDC mould courtesy of new discoveries of oil and mineral resources. This however should not make these newly-developing countries elope and thus reduce the ACP to a grouping of LDCs. The strength of the group lies in its numbers and its diversity.
One of the key elements in the EU's reappraisal of its relationship with ACP states, is development aid. For years this has been the bind, providing the much needed budget support to most ACP states. The EU is the single biggest source of development aid, contributing more than half of global official development assistance. However, new global realities, such as the graduation of some countries to upper middle income countries, the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis have necessitated major changes in EU development policy.
The shift in EU development policy from 'one size fits all' to differentiation was underscored by Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development when he stated, "We cannot work with India or Brazil in the same way we work with the Democratic Republic of Congo or Mali. Some countries can now afford to fight poverty themselves and, as a result, this will allow us to focus on places that need more of our help". (Meeting of the European Parliament's Development Committee, Brussels, January 2012).
As the EU mulls over its new development policy, many of the Union's member states are already sharply cutting back aid to developing countries. Figures released by the Paris-based grouping of the most industrialised nations, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that Greece - the recipient of two international bailouts - slashed its foreign aid by 39.3 percent in 2011. (OECD Annul Report, Paris, 2012,)
Spain, now in the midst of an unpredicted recession and under EU pressure to sharply reduce its budget deficit, made a 32.7 percent cut last year. Austria (-14.3%) and Belgium (-13.3%) also made significant cuts. Of the 15 richer EU member state that are part of the OECD's development assistance committee, only three - Germany, Sweden and Italy - increased their donations to poorer countries last year.
One can just hope that this aid austerity 'hair cut' does not result in the heads of countries needing development assistance most being shaved off! Vulnerable states, such as small island nations and poor land-locked states which are heavily dependent on preferential trading arrangements and aid from the EU will continue to constitute the critical mass of the ACP. On their own, the weight of these countries in relation to the EU is insignificant.
However, as a group that speaks with one voice they are able to secure vital concessions in their relations with the EU. From a bargaining perspective, the ACP is extremely important for these countries as it provides them with the platform from which to engage the EU on critical matters that concern their survival.
This point was driven home by none other than Pascal Lamy, the current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and former EU Trade Commissioner. At an ACP Trade Ministers in October 2012, he underscored the importance, and I might add the relevance of the ACP when he stated, "The group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) members is one of the more powerful and influential advocacy and negotiating arms in the WTO.
With your geographical reach and contributions of your membership, the ACP continues to play an instrumental role in moving forward the debate in Geneva. You have always been characterized by your ability to bridge your differences and coalesce around shared priorities and strategic positions". This is not jut a prosaic statement, but a sincere appraisal of the group, it's relevance and utility to world trade negotiations from someone who has dealt with ACP countries in two different but related platforms.
Inevitably, the post-2020 ACP-EU relations should be configured on a fundamentally different template. On the eve of the expiry of Cotonou, the ACP should press the 'reset' button - it certainly cannot be business as usual. ACP countries should diversify their economies and develop their productive capacities in order to take advantage of the opportunities in the global trading system. Whilst aid flows should not be simply curtailed, this should be de-emphasised, with more emphasis being placed on trade.
The group will have to reinvent and reposition itself taking into consideration new global dynamics. Whilst the ACP should continue its relationship with the EU, it should at the same time explore new horizontal partnerships with emerging groupings in the global economy. Without the group, many of the ACP countries will not only be outside of the periphery but they face the grim prospect of fading into obscurity. Talk of dissolving the group will be like a double-whammy for these countries as they also face an uncertain future from the vagaries of climate change.
While some may dismiss Malabo as a non-event, its proceedings will be closely watched by multitudes in least developed countries whose survival and those of their countries is dependent on the continued existence of the group, its unity and cohesion. The assembly in Malabo will thus not only be an occasion for reflection, but it promises to be a seminal moment for renewal, launching the group into a new epoch.
Those who will gather in Malabo in the next few weeks have a duty to charter a new bold vision for the ACP group post 2020 - the destiny of the group is in their hands!
Central to the ANC renewal is training and educating the member
The 52nd National Conference of our movement took a decision that the incoming NEC must, take steps to practically implement the target set by the 1942 Conference of 1 million members by the time of the centenary celebrations and this must be accompanied by intensive branch political education programmes to improve the quality of members.
The importance on the task of training the member is what has kept the Communist Party of China intact for a long time. Speaking at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Hu Jintao, said;
"Endeavours to strengthen the Party's governance capability and vanguard nature were intensified. Efforts to make theoretical innovations and arm Party members with the achievements proved successful. The campaign to educate Party members to preserve their vanguard nature yielded substantial results. Intra-Party democracy continued to expand. Major headway was made in strengthening the Party's leading bodies and the ranks of its cadres, and especially in educating and training cadres. Work in relation to talented personnel was strengthened. Efforts were stepped up to reform the cadre and personnel system and make innovations in the organisational system. Remarkable results were achieved in improving the Party's style of work, upholding integrity and combating corruption."
This is evident to the fact that the CPC has a systematic campaign to educate Party members to preserve its vanguard nature. It has also made efforts to innovate itself by continuously doing an objective analysis of the conditions in which it operates in today. When preparing for a congress and including recruiting members, at the centre is training and education of new, current and old members. This is recognition that learning is the basis of building a capable organisation.
We are already observing system and organisational challenges. These range from ill-discipline, wherein some members intimidate others for preferring this or that candidate; there is a use of state resources to campaign for this or that candidate even though the ANC has not agreed on the modus operandi for an electoral process which allows for individuals to openly campaign for themselves. There are also different messages from members of the top six, NWC and NEC on what needs to be done to restore the dignity and bring back decorum in our movement.
These failures are as a result of lack of training and development of members and more significantly lack of adherence to the constitution of the movement. There is no coherence. In the article, entitled, the Leadership and Membership must embrace change we did point to the fact that the administering of the oath is the beginning of a long journey of an ANC member. Therefore we must ask the question that those who will be in Mangaung have they gone through this process?
At the 52nd National Conference we reaffirmed the role of the branch in recruitment, in accordance with the relevant rule in the ANC constitution, in that the branch shall ensure that all members are inducted and go through basic political education and that new members are presented and introduced to the branch general meeting, give members tasks and monitor their participation, keep accurate membership records and remind members about renewal in time and to know branch members, their socio-economic profile and their participation.
In order for a branch to realise this task, the leadership of the branch must have gone through intense political education and training of which as we were recruiting to reach the 1million target, this was not done. In a supplement of the CHINAWATCH, 25 October 2012, Jian Xueng and Tang Yue, report that;
"The names of the 2,270 delegates who will vote in the 18th National Congress will of the Communist Party of China were announced in August, months before the exact date if the quinquennial leadership election was revealed. Before the election, the CPC Central Committee, which convenes the congress and decides the number of delegates who will attend, determined that the number of candidates in the elections should be at least 15percent more than the number of delegates, and the ratio of grassroots delegates, especially workers, should be increased. The report continues to state that, the delegates were elected in 40 electoral units across the country. The average age of the delegates is 52, while 64.8percent of them are under the age of 55. More than 93percent of the delegates have college degrees at least".
This is a reflection of how serious organisational work is taken by the Communist Party in China. As the ANC we have had many visits to China. The outcomes of the visit included the proposal on the idea of establishing a party school similar to that of China. Tang Yue from the CHINAWATCH, also reports that; "While the party school is famous in China as a must go pace for all senior officials preparing for leadership positions, the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China...is now an increasing popular destination for visiting foreign leaders".
Furthermore, Gong Li, Director of the school's Institute of International Strategic Studies, also said; "So many foreign leaders want to visit our school now. I'm afraid we have to give priority to high-ranking officials and top scholars because of the busy schedule…Foreign leaders are becoming increasingly aware that visiting the Central Party School is a very effective way of conveying their message and, hopefully, making an impact on Chinese officials". The Communist Party of China knows its members.
Learning from the experience of the Communist Party of China, in the past eighteen years, as the ANC we need to answer the question, where did we train our senior officials in the party and in government? This question must be responded to because, at the core of it, is what is the philosophical underpinnings of our movements political education and training? These are important questions, because, one of the precepts of political education, is building the unity of the movement, which encourage the culture of discipline, debate and democratic decision making in the movement.
This suggest that investing in the training and development of a member, building the capability of the movement and introducing new innovative ways to manage the affairs of the party, will ensure that we remain the organisation of the future! The immediate task of renewing the ANC is renewing organisational systems, which includes also the selection of cadres, based on merit and on their capabilities. In this regard the Communist Party of China indicates that it is in charge of the management of cadres.
Cadres are appointed based on their merits, and they must have both political integrity and professional competence. Cadres must win public recognition through their good performance; the selection and appointment of cadres must be open and fair, and the best must be chosen through competition.
We are not in charge of our political education and training because we are still to institutionalise cadreship development. Like the Communist Party of China, we must be innovative because, innovation is about sifting, refining and more critically implementing ideas. It is about convergent thinking (Gurteen, 1998). This is what the Communist of Party has been able to embrace systematically over years. There was a starting point and such was a turning point in the life of the party, because it shaped its outlook. The year of the centenary of the ANC is that turning point; we must not come from the 53rd National Conference of the ANC with the ANC in its current form.
One of the defining features of the Communist Party of China in preparing for congresses has always been to introduce innovative programmes that will enable the party to systematically introduce new leadership and prepares them for the future. This is important because democratic processes on their own will not produce cadreship that is capable to lead and advance the tasks of building a national democratic society. In this regard Professor Zhu Lijia, said, " Party official born in the 1950's had taken the most posts in the current provincial standing committees and Its in accordance with the Party's regulations of promoting younger leading cadres, and this trend is going to continue in the future".
Further the report states that the average age of the Party officials is 54.21 years, and 105 of them are younger than 50 years old. The Party's personnel and organisation departments in recent years, a decision aimed at breaking stereotypes and giving more opportunities to the Party's capable elites, has promoted more and more-young officials. The manner in which the CPC prepares for its congress is very systematic and scientific. However, with regards to our movement preparations for a conferences and promotion of leadership is not yet done in a more systematic and scientific way. We need to take a leaf from the CPC and continue to find or adopt new innovative and scientific ways of preparing congresses, appointing and promoting leaders into leadership positions.
This we must do and ensure that we move away from the appointment of cadres based on proximity to those who are in power, on which slate or faction a member is in. This must be done because as early, in 1997, at the 50th Conference of the ANC we adopted the Cadre Development and Development strategy, based on the outcomes of the 1985 Kabwe Conference. It was At Kabwe where the decision to establish a Political School was taken. Twenty-seven years later, we still do not have a fully fledge political school, except small initiatives yet significant in various parts of the country.
The Communist Party of China has over time developed a systematic and methodological way of providing training and development for its cadres. This is evident in that it is has invested in the training and development of its cadres and plans for its congresses as they play a major role in assessing whether China is achieving its goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and the state by 2020. In order for the ANC to achieve its goal of building a national democratic society and ensuring prosperity for all by 2030 and possible by the centenary of the Freedom Charter 2055, it must innovate and renew itself and in particular bring in new capabilities in order to remain the organisation of the future.
A key component of building organisational capability is enriching the individual learning of organisational members, because for organisational capability to grow, leaders must ensure that they are developing the skills knowledge, and abilities of next generation of leaders, McGovern (1998). This is important leaders will emerge from these processes if well managed. Therefore in order for the ANC to remain relevant and in particular to have a successful conference it must prepare and indeed be thorough in this regard. This must be done so that when we need to ask the question who is going to attend the 53rd National Conference of the ANC, because like the 52nd National Conference of the ANC we were indeed surprised by some of the behaviour of ANC members, we must give a definite response.
The centenary celebrations of the ANC can only be meaningful if we invest in building organisational capability and enriching the individual learning of members. This task should remain uppermost in our minds, if we are to realise our goal of building prosperity for all. It must indeed be uppermost because we have agreed that the task of recruiting new members must be accompanied by intensive branch political education programmes to improve the quality of members.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Final Info Bill talks delayed
The final meeting on the Protection of State Information Bill was postponed by at least a week after opposition parties failed to attend. Although the meeting still had a quorum, the ANC decided to postpone the deliberations than be accused of railroading the controversial bill. Raseriti Tau, the chairman of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Committee, accepted a proposal by the ANC members to schedule a meeting for the middle of next week. Tau said the Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People had presented their excuses, citing other obligations. The committee's latest deadline for reporting to the NCOP on the official state secrets draft law is November 30. It then has to be referred back to the National Assembly, which will be able to debate the changes to the measure only next year.
SA wines might get labour labels
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced that wine farmers may have to label their products to indicate they were produced under fair labour conditions. Davies said, "The government is continuously busy promoting our interests and products internationally, but at home we expect to see progress as far as issues like ethical trade practices are concerned." He said he would take the label issue further, and that it might amount to farmers being compelled to put labels on their products assuring consumers the wines were produced under humane labour conditions. Davies said he was not at all surprised by the protests by Western Cape farmworkers.
Lenasia demolitions remain on hold
The demolition of houses illegally erected in Lenasia has been halted until the matter is argued in the High Court in Johannesburg next week. Lawyers for the department, and those representing the department of local government and housing, told the court no houses would be demolished until court proceedings began on November 23. The bulldozing of the houses began last Thursday. The housing department said the land the houses were built on was meant for government housing. About 50 houses have been destroyed so far and another 113 have yet to be demolished. The plots on which the houses were built were apparently fraudulently sold for amounts ranging from R2500 to R95,000. The buyers were given forged deeds of sale with the department's logo. The department said it was acting in line with the law.
Telkom appoints two board members
Telkom has appointed two board members and an executive in its cellphone business. The parastatal appointed Jabulane Mabuza and Kholeka Mzondeki to the board this week. It also warned that earnings could drop by as much as 83 percent. Six board members, including CEO Nombulelo Moholi and board director Neo Phakama Dongwana, resigned earlier in November. The election of a new chairman may be contested by board members, especially those appointed by government. The parastatal also warned that headline earnings per share could drop by 83 percent. Its share price had fallen by 10 percent since Moholi's resignation. Communications Minister Dina Pule voted off four board members at Telkom's annual general meeting in October. The meeting was last chaired by Lazarus Zim, who announced his resignation as Telkom chairman in September. Moholi had rejected speculation that she intended resigning after Zim left.
SA mineral wealth close to R30 trillion
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu announced that South Africa's most valuable minerals are currently estimated to be worth about R29.6 trillion. Shabangu said the estimate was based on the country's 15 major minerals. Platinum remains at the top of the list, with the known mineral reserves estimated to be worth nearly R13.3 trillion. The value of coal reserves stands at R6.6 trillion, with palladium worth almost R3.3 trillion, and gold at R2.8 trillion. The unmined wealth of titanium is valued at R1.6 trillion. An estimation of other mineral reserves is:?" copper R680.9 billion; nickel R478.5 billion; zircon R302.8 billion; zinc R209.8 billion; vermiculite R98.3 billion; vanadium pentoxide R75.6 billion; uranium R54.6 billion; manganese R6.3 billion; lead R4.7 billion; and antimony R2.2 billion. South Africa has the world's fifth-largest mining sector. Earlier, estimates by US financial institution Citibank calculated South Africa's total mineral wealth to be around $2.5 trillion, or nearly R22.3 trillion.
De Doorns farmworkers strike
The farmworkers strike situation in De Doorns is reported to have subsided following a call by government and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) to suspend the strike for two weeks pending a review of a bargaining council agreement. Workers agreed to suspend the strike on condition that the sectoral determination for agriculture be looked at by the Employment Condition Commission next Wednesday. Protests about wages and living conditions started in De Doorns last week and had spread to 15 other towns in the Western Cape by Wednesday. The protests started with Table grape harvesters, who were calling for wages of R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day. The main road in Wolseley, Voortrekker Street, was the scene of violent protests. A stand-off between police and protesters resulted in the death of 28-year-old tractor driver Michael Daniels. The damages caused by protesting workers is estimated to be in the region of over R500,000.
China names new leaders
China's ruling Communist Party unveiled a new line-up that appears unlikely to take the drastic action needed to tackle pressing issues like social unrest, environmental degradation and corruption. New party chief Xi Jinping, premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang and vice-premier in charge of economic affairs Wang Qishan, all named as expected to the elite decision-making Politburo Standing Committee, are considered cautious reformers. The other four members have the reputation of being conservative. The line-up belied any hopes that Xi would usher in a leadership that would take bold steps to deal with slowing growth in the world's second-biggest economy, or begin to ease the Communist Party's iron grip on the most populous nation. North Korean-trained economist Zhang Dejiang is expected to head the largely rubber-stamp parliament, while Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng is likely to head parliament's advisory body, according to the order in which their names were announced. Tianjin party chief Zhang Gaoli and Liu Yunshan, a conservative who has kept domestic media on a tight leash, make up the rest of the group. Zhang should become executive vice premier. "Words from the new leadership will be reform-minded, but deeds would be very cautious at least in economic and financial restructuring," said Alberto Forchielli, managing partner at Mandarin Capital Partners in Shanghai. Advocates of reform are pressing Xi to cut back the privileges of state-owned firms, make it easier for rural migrants to settle in cities, fix a fiscal system that encourages local governments to live off land expropriations and, above all, tether the powers of a state that they say risks suffocating growth and fanning discontent. With growing public anger and unrest over everything from corruption to environmental degradation, there may also be cautious efforts to answer calls for more political reform, though nobody seriously expects a move towards full democracy. The party could introduce experimental measures to broaden inner-party democracy - in other words, encouraging greater debate within the party - but stability remains a top concern and one-party rule will be safeguarded. In contrast to the mounting excitement until the announcement of the standing committee at the Great Hall of the People, the unveiling barely caused a ripple in China's vast countryside.
Lanseria airport sold
A group of private investors who have owned and developed the Lanseria International Airport over the past 21 years have sold 100% of their shares in the airport to the owners of Pan African infrastructure development fund manager Harith. The other investors were a Black Economic Empowerment consortium which included the women's empowerment company Nozala; and the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). The transaction is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval. The airport management team and philosophy would remain unchanged. The airport offers general aviation and scheduled passenger services. The acquisition is seen as a landmark transaction for private sector infrastructure deals in South Africa. The airport is also a successful and strategic infrastructure asset in the highly-specialised and competitive aviation sector. Harith envisaged the continued development of the airport and the entrenchment of its role as a low cost alternative to OR Tambo International Airport. The deal gave Nozala an opportunity to invest in the country's only privately-run airport which offered a significant upside in the future. The long term infrastructural development opportunities emanating from the acquisition and expansion of the airport will create jobs and facilitate the expansion of critical infrastructure in Gauteng and thus contribute to the economic transformation endeavours of the country.
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Last apartheid President FW de Klerk announced that South African beaches would be opened to all people across the racial lines. The decision to open the beaches was made after a number of protest multiracial swim-ins by anti-apartheid activists. He further promised the scrapping of the Separate Amenities Act of 1953, which prevented the sharing of public facilities such as toilets, parks and buses. This meant that all South Africans, irrespective of race, would use the same amenities.
the Restitution of Land Rights Act, restoring the rights of those dispossessed by discriminatory land legislation dating back to the 1913 Land Act, was passed by Nelson Mandela, and signed into law. The Act provided for the establishment of a Land Claims Commission and a Land Claims Court to respectively probe and adjudicate claims of individuals and communities dispossessed on or after June 1913. The court was empowered to instruct the government to buy or expropriate land and return it to the claimants on condition that such action was just and equitable. The Act received strong opposition from the right-wing Freedom Front (FF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the South African Agricultural Union (SAAU).
Delegates at the multiparty Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) negotiation endorsed the Interim Constitution. This document was the final product of the amended draft issued in July 1993. The final draft included concessions to demands for a federal government by the Freedom Alliance of the Inkatha Freedom Party, the right wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) and the now defunct Conservative Party. They demanded that provinces should be given powers to draft their own constitutions. Although the majority of the negotiators endorsed the constitution the Freedom Alliance rejected it.
Griffiths Mxenge was killed by four Vlakplaas Askari members. Mxenge, a legal practitioner who had represented many ANC political activists, was brutally killed. He was abducted, stabbed and hammered to death. His mutilated body was found next to the Umlazi stadium.
The United Nations General Assembly passed resolutions condemning South Africa's relations with its Southern African neighbours. It condemned the armed incursions by SA into neighbouring states, which resulted in the execution of patriots and the capturing of freedom fighters. The body also demanded the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and also called for the abolition of apartheid, the unbanning of the ANC and other banned organisations, and the return of all political exiles.
PW Botha declared that he would never testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He also stated that he would never apologise for apartheid and he called the TRC "the fierce unforgiving assault" on the Afrikaner by the ANC led government. Botha claimed that he had never been associated with blatant murder but conceded that there might have been situations that his authority could have been stretched a little bit. His statement was a clear contradiction of what the TRC stood for.
Two members of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Keith McFadden and Zwelakhe Nyanda were shot dead by two gunmen at a house in Manzini during a cross border raid by the South African Defence Force. Eugene de Kock, former Vlakplaas commander, James van Zweel, Willem Schoon, Chris Rorich, Paul van Dyk, Frederick Pienaar and Almond Nofomela applied for amnesty for this incident at the TRC.
Source: South African History Online
The ANC statement on Balindlela`s joining the DA, 13 November 2012
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