Vol 13 No 02

25 - 31 January 2013

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Letter from the President
Promoting unity in action for socio-economic freedom

Letter from the PresidentThe ANC has gone through untold trials and tribulations during its 101 years of existence, and fighting the Land Act was only just the beginning. The ANC has also scored enormous successes. This has largely been through its ability to unite the democratic forces in our country around the objective of freeing our country and its people from the yoke of oppression. >>> MORE

VIEWPOINT | BY ZWELI MKHIZE
Building of democracy also means the strengthening of political parties

Viewpoint by Zweli MkhizeThe ANC President's remarks at a fundraising dinner of the ANC to the effect that it is in the interest of business to support the ANC are nothing new. As it is clear from the context, the statement was merely aimed at encouraging business to support the ANC, and thereby invest in the future of our country. >>> MORE

VIEWPOINT | BY ANDRIES NEL
Rick Turner: The present as history

Viewpoint by Andries NelThirty-five years ago, on 8 January 1978, Rick Turner was gunned down in his Durban home, dying in the arms of his 13-year old daughter, Jann, a few weeks before the expiry of a five-year banning order. No one has ever been prosecuted for his death nor has anyone accounted for it. Few doubt the involvement of the Apartheid security apparatus. >>> MORE

Letter from the President

Promoting unity in action for socio-economic freedom

Letter from the President On the 8th of January this year we entered into a critical milestone in our national democratic revolution, the 101st year of the African National Congress.

The ANC was established to unite the people of our country who were at that time facing an onslaught from colonial settlers. After only a few months after the ANC was formed, the Native Land Act was enacted, turning our ancestors into wanderers and pariahs in the motherland.

The first President of the ANC, John Langalibalele Dube wrote to the government of the day on the 14th of February 1914 on the impact of the Land Act.

He said;

"We have seen our people driven from the places dear to them as the inheritance of generations, to become wanderers on the face of the earth. We have seen rents raised to the point of desperation. We have seen many of our people who by their frugality have laid by a little money in the hope of buying a small piece of land where they might make a home for their families and leave something for their children now told that their hopes are in vain..''

The ANC has gone through untold trials and tribulations during its 101 years of existence, and fighting the Land Act was only just the beginning. The ANC has also scored enormous successes. This has largely been through its ability to unite the democratic forces in our country around the objective of freeing our country and its people from the yoke of oppression.

It also survived through the type of cadreship it has had over the years. Our movement had activists who were prepared to die if need be, to bring about freedom. The ANC was able to provide hope and direction to scores of activists in the country and across the world under extremely difficult conditions and possible death. Its hegemony was accepted by all. It has also always been a leader of South African society.

The ANC continues to command a tremendous amount of support in the country and is growing. It has more than doubled its membership. It had about 600 000 members at its 52nd national conference in Polokwane, and this had gone to more than 1,2million at the 53rd national conference at the movement's birthplace, Mangaung. Thus, as organisations battle to thrive and grow, and while others hide their membership figures, we proudly release ours.

This growth comes with responsibility. It means the ANC must play its role as the leader of society by trying as much as possible to unite all the democratic forces in the country behind one vision.

The ANC is fully aware of the fact that it must be united so that it can be able to unite the country. That has been our pre-occupation since 2008 when we came back from Polokwane. We will continue with the process of uniting all our members and also by solving problems in all structures of the movement, and enable members of the ANC to focus on the programmes of the movement instead of being diverted by internal conflicts.

We also need every cadre to be in active service to implement the Mangaung resolutions. Thus, the main issues in the next five years will be unity, organisational renewal and building the organisation. We also begin the work on the development of the new cadre, which is our programme for the next 10 years, the Decade of the Cadre. So we should all be thinking profoundly about what this means and how we should implement this resolution.

Our members in all structures and Leagues must also reach out to all sectors - the faith-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, traditional leaders, stokvels, youth formations, women's groups, traditional healers and indeed every social formation in which our people organise themselves. They must enrich the African National Congress with their expertise, wisdom, passion and dedication.

We also need to continue with our Imvuselelo campaign and recruit more and more members into our glorious movement. In provinces such as the Western Cape, we must work vociferously to build the ANC and provide a progressive and sober alternative to our people.

ANC members should always remember that the ANC is the only organisation that is capable of uniting our people around one common vision, of building a National Democratic Society, a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. We must therefore take our responsibilities seriously and build this movement.

Our former President, Comrade Pixley ka Isaka Seme, made a powerful clarion call for unity in his article the Native Union in October 1911, arguing for the formation of the ANC. He said;

"The demon of racialism, the aberrations of the Xosa-Fingo feud, the animosity that exists between the Zulus and the Tongaas, between the Basutos and every other Native must be buried and forgotten; it has shed among us sufficient blood! We are one people".

That message remains as relevant today as it was in 1911. Petty divisions will not build the ANC. Let us unite all our people behind the ANC, as we march towards socio-economic freedom in our lifetime.

Jacob Zuma


VIEWPOINT | BY ZWELI MKHIZE

Building of democracy also means the strengthening of political parties

Viewpoint by Zweli MkhizeMuch has been made by the Democratic Alliance and the Inkatha Freedom Party as well as some commentators about the remarks made by the ANC President regarding its relationship with business.

The ANC would not ordinarily respond to what seems like cheap political point scoring by a desperate opposition following a very successful 53rd National Conference and a January 8th Rally marking the 101 birthday celebrations of our organization. However, given our commitment to the fight against corruption, we would like to dispel any notion of an ANC that promotes cronyism and patronage.

The ANC President's remarks at a fundraising dinner of the ANC to the effect that it is in the interest of business to support the ANC are nothing new. As it is clear from the context, the statement was merely aimed at encouraging business to support the ANC, and thereby invest in the future of our country.

We are unapologetic that a united and strong ANC is good for the economy of South Africa, and is ultimately good for business, in as much as it is good for all the sectors of the society. The ANC is a party that led the struggle for liberation that led a peaceful transition from apartheid, opened up the democratic space for civil society and political parties to participate in political processes, turned around a declining economy to a thriving one that is now part of the leading developing countries, and that continues to champion both growth and redistribution.

That statement by ANC President was nothing new and was never intended to change or announce any policy. Its elevation into a controversy that signals corruption must be dismissed as a red herring. It is unfortunate that some who were not even part of the ANC festivities chose to take a statement made in jest to suggest that the ANC is corrupt.

Those who were invited to the dinner, understand that their businesses will not, literally 'double in size' because they support the ANC - but it was clear that they were invited to that dinner to listen to the programmes of the ANC as well as understand how they can continue to support it financially to achieve its mission, and in turn their business would benefit like they benefit from our peaceful and stable transition as the ANC is the only party stands and fights for a better life for all.

The highly respected guests at the ANC birthday gala dinner understood that they need to contribute to South Africa' democracy by supporting a political party, the ANC. Those who make the loudest noise in scorn of this universal practice are leading parties that enjoy financial support disproportionally large in view of their size from many across this society.

It is clear that the undue noise on this issue feeds the narrative of a corrupt ANC that would pursue things that are not prudent and proper where financial resources are concerned. It is therefore clear that there are those who would look for evidence - even where it hardly exists, to feed this narrative.

The truth is that the ANC has always made it clear that those who contribute to it do so and donate to the ANC, with no strings attached nor expectation of any untoward 'quid pro quo' from the movement. To suggest otherwise is simple a fabrication once again aimed at ensuring that the ANC is needlessly tainted by a practice of business donations practiced by all parties the world over.

The ANC was the first party to place on the national agenda, the question of the funding of political parties. That is the constructive debate we must have rather than remarks made at a fundraising dinner obviously meant to raise funds from those gathered. Politically party funding is woefully inadequate and needs to be revisited as a matter of urgency - this way rules that place parties on an equitable footing in developing and sustaining the political programmes can be adopted by all and will avoid this needless nit picking each time a matter not even remotely relevant to the question of patronage by political parties is raised.

The ANC prides itself for being exceptionally transparent when it comes to how it raises its funding even in the absence of a law that forces us to be so. The existence, for many years now, of the Progressive Business Forum (PBF) is one such example of transparency. Business people sympathetic to the agenda of the ANC participate in its activities and mobilise financial resources for its continued existence.

This is something for which as a ruling party we cannot be made to apologise for and these business people who have stood by us in the darkest days must not be intimidated from continuing with their support. It is crucial that there is no confusion about the intertwined linked between the private sector and the public sector. The ANC will continue to be a source of positive developments and creating an environment for business to thrive through our progressive policies.

On the other hand, through our integrity commission that our 53rd national conference approved, party fundraising should be done in a manner that enhances good governance. This is a matter that will be at the top of the agenda of such a commission, always ensuring that integrity in all our dealings with business is maintained at all times. The ANC is committed to this and will continue to demonstrate it in our current and future dealings with business.

Governments the world over need business to also plough its resources into the development agenda. Such an agenda cannot ignore that the building of democracy also means the strengthening of political parties. Ironically - political parties that are well funded will land themselves scantily to the blurring of lines and the fermenting of corrupt practices.

It is clear from this red herring that is being raised that we are yet to have a serious debate about what model of funding will suit our political conditions in South Africa. Until that happens we are likely to continue speaking past one another in this crucial issue for our democracy.

>> Dr Zweli Mkhize is the ANC Treasurer General


VIEWPOINT | BY ANDRIES NEL

Rick Turner: The present as history

Viewpoint by Andries NelThirty-five years ago, on 8 January 1978, Rick Turner was gunned down in his Durban home, dying in the arms of his 13-year old daughter, Jann, a few weeks before the expiry of a five-year banning order.

No one has ever been prosecuted for his death nor has anyone accounted for it. Few doubt the involvement of the Apartheid security apparatus.

Turner - a philosopher, lectured in political science at the University of Natal, Durban. He was actively involved in re-establishing the trade union movement that led to the 1973 Durban strikes, forty years ago.

He had a close relationship with Bantu Stephen Biko, whose violent death at the hands of the Apartheid police in 1977 preceded his own by only a few months.

I first heard of Rick Turner in 1985 as a first year student activist at the University of Cape Town, after a National Union of South African Students (Nusas) political education workshop.

The workshop dealt with theory of organization, the concept of participatory democracy and the conviction that the way we organize should reflect the society we are organizing for.

A more experienced activist came to me afterwards and whispered, in conspiratorial tones, that I should read The Eye of the Needle by Rick Turner.

The book's full title is, The Eye of the Needle: Toward Participatory Democracy in South Africa.

"It is banned!" I was warned - probably as an incentive to ensure that I read it.

I tried my luck in the restricted literature section of a library where, with permission, it might be accessed. As a tribute to my incipient skills in clandestine activity, I emerged with a surreptitiously made photocopy.

Years later I acquired the copy that remains within reach on my bookshelf - published by Orbis Books in New York in 1978. A small box of text on the back cover explains the cost of its authorship.

Rick Turner dwelled in my thoughts while I was listening to President Jacob Zuma deliver the ANC January 8 statement in Durban, thoughts prompted by more than coincidences of time and place, birth and death.

Whilst his work is rooted in its own space and time, many of Turner's insights remain timeless, fresh and challenging.

Turner argued that in order to understand society it is necessary both to describe it as well as to theorize it, and that a necessary step to theorizing it is, "to grasp the present as history" - to understand that the existence of something, including that of a social system, is no guarantee that it will continue to exist.

Hearing President Zuma announce how the ANC, as it enters the second phase of our transition, was committing itself to speed up the elimination of a racist legacy which resulted in poverty, inequality and unemployment, I recalled Turner's deep understanding of the dialectic of race and class in a society shaped by colonialism and apartheid:

"In South Africa the major cause of conflict is the unequal distribution of wealth. This unequal distribution coincides almost exactly with color or race differences, and somewhat more roughly, with cultural differences.

"Neither cultural nor racial differences are in themselves inherently causes of social conflict, although they can, through ignorance and prejudice, become causes of conflict.

"In South Africa, this basic cause of social conflict and tension is overlaid by race and cultural prejudice in a potent mixture. Prejudice can be cured by education. Contradiction of interest cannot.

"However, if the wealth gap is done away with, there will no longer be any inherent reason for conflict. Cultural or racial groups can and do co-exist when they are not also divided by different economic interests.

"The maintenance of their cultural identity by white South Africans is a reasonable wish, but it is not dependent on their maintenance of economic privilege, and should not be confused with this."

And …

"The whites are, in an important sense, themselves victims of the very system that they fight to preserve. For in becoming racialists and exploiters they become closed off to important areas of human experience.

"We have already discussed in general terms what is meant by the injunction "love your neighbor as yourself." To be yourself, you must love your neighbor. The question is, what do you become if you fear and hate your neighbor?

"The essential thing that white South Africans lose is openness to the future and to other people."

As Cyril Ramaphosa, newly elected Deputy President of the ANC, announced that the ANC's 101year birthday cake would not be eaten at the stadium but would be divided in two, one half going to an orphanage and the other to an old age home, I also recalled Turner's exhortation that:

"We must attack racism, but we must also attack the unquestioned acceptance of material values underlying racism. We must try to show to all those who accept the dominant values how much they lose in this society and how much they could gain in a good society. "Self-interest" and "material interest" are not the same. In fact, they are often incompatible."

>> Andries Nel is the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development