Tag Archives: Thabo Mbeki

Address by the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki to the students of Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Chairperson of the SRC,
Chairperson of SASCO,
Vice Chancellor, leaders, staff, students and workers of Stellenbosch University,
Ladies and gentlemen:

I would like to thank you for inviting me to return to this important centre of learning to reflect on what is obviously an important and relevant topic.

In its invitation letter to me the SRC said the Council had “identified as some of (its) goals to stimulate dialogue, encourage critical thinking and reach for a more transformed campus.”

I would like to commend the SRC and the student body as a whole for setting these important goals. I hope that indeed that you have given yourselves time critically to assess the historic events in North Africa to come to some conclusions about what they mean for Africa and for the African Students.

What can we say about these events, restricting ourselves, for now, to Egypt and Tunisia?

We will return later to the case of Libya.

With regard to everything we will say, please remember that the youth constitute the overwhelming majority of the population in all the countries we are discussing. In Egypt, for instance, two-thirds of the population is under 30, while youth unemployment stands at least at 25%.

Given the topic you have asked us to address, I hope you will agree that necessarily we will have to spend some time reflecting on the events in North Africa so that together we are better able to assess the potential role of the African students in this regard.

There is no doubt that what we saw in Egypt and Tunisia were genuinely popular and peaceful Uprisings aimed at the democratic transformation of these two African countries, starting with the overthrow of the ruling groups.

Accordingly, the Uprisings aimed to achieve the fundamental transformation of their societies, and not only their political systems.

It is also clear that in both instances the youth and students exercised leadership by being the first to take to the streets and by their persistence until the first objective of the Uprising, the overthrow of the ruling groups, was achieved.

It is also important to understand that this objective was achieved because the people as a whole joined the youth and students, transforming the rebellion of the youth and students into a National Uprising, which more or less guaranteed its success.

Equally we have to understand that what also facilitated this success was that the Armed Forces in both countries refused to suppress the Uprising and therefore to protect the governments of the day. On their own, the Police and other security organs could not defeat the Uprisings, regardless of the amount of force they used.

It is also clear that the Uprisings were an indigenous affair, carried out without any significant interference by foreign powers to help direct what were authentic African endeavours.

It is also significant that the governments of both Tunisia and Egypt collapsed within a very short time after the start of the Uprisings, marked in particular by the resignation of the Heads of State, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak respectively.

This could only mean that such was the degree of social rot over which these Heads of State presided, and such was the isolation of their governments from the masses of the people that it would not take too much pressure to topple them, as actually happened.

The April 6 Movement was one of the most prominent of the youth and student formations which played a critical role in the Egyptian Uprising, which incidentally named itself after a brutally suppressed workers’ strike which had started on April 6, 2008.

In a Statement this Movement issued on February 6, 2011, and reflecting the extent to which the Mubarak regime had lost the confidence of the people, it said:

“We will complete what we started on the 25th of January. We the Egyptian youth will not be deceived by Mubarak’s talk, which aimed to manipulate the emotions of the Egyptian people and under-estimated their intelligence as he has become accustomed to doing for thirty years in speeches, false promises, and mock election programs that were never meant to be implemented. Mubarak resorted to this misleading talk, thinking that Egyptian people could be deceived yet again.”

The youth and students and the people of Tunisia took exactly the same position with regard to their then President, Abidine Ben Ali.

By the time he was forced to leave office, Ben Ali had served as President of Tunisia for just over 23 years. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt had served in the same position for 29 years.

Again as all of you know, both of them held onto these positions through what were described as democratic elections.

The reality, however, is that these elections were not democratic by any stretch of the imagination, and therefore that both Presidents and the groups they led clung to power depending not on the will of the people, but resort to other means which deliberately sought to frustrate the will of the people.

These were fraudulent elections and the maintenance of an extensive machinery of repression. Many in the Arab world claim that Tunisia had the most repressive state machinery of all countries in the region, making it what is correctly described as a police state.

In addition to the monopolisation of political power by a few, this meant that this tiny minority, as in Egypt, had every possibility to abuse its illegitimate power to enrich itself by corrupt means.

In a January 28 article this year, The Washington Post reported that:

“The Ben Ali and Trabelsi families, (Leila Trabelsi being his wife), controlled a vast number of companies and real estate, sometimes taken by force. Even distant relatives seemed above the law. Tunisia was their personal treasure chest.”

It is said that the Ben Ali and Trabelsi families controlled between 30% and 40% of the Tunisian economy.

One commentator, Professor Juan Cole, said “the U.S. leaked cables from WikiLeaks suggest that 50 percent of the economic elite of (Tunisia) was related in one way or another to the president or to the first lady, Leila Ben Ali, and her Trabelsi clan.”

We must expect that in time credible information will also come out which will also demonstrate that the Mubarak family and its associates also accumulated a great deal of wealth by corrupt means.

At the same time as the ruling groups in Egypt and Tunisia were enriching themselves, millions among their people faced challenging socio-economic conditions, characterised by high rates of poverty, unemployment, and an unaffordable cost of living.

This meant that not only were millions languishing in poverty, but also that the situation was made worse by glaring disparities in standards of living between the rich at the top and the poor at the bottom of the proverbial pyramid.

But what about the students and the intelligentsia?

In an article headed, “Students Spark Tunisian Uprising”, and published on January 18, Toufik Bougaada wrote:

“After four weeks of street protests in Tunisia, triggered by angry unemployed university graduates, Tunisians have ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled for nearly a quarter of a century.

“The protests started on 18 December 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed university graduate working as a street vendor, committed self-immolation in protest after police confiscated his stock of fruits and vegetables.

“This sent ripples through society, with many academics decrying day-to-day life, which is rife with corruption, unemployment and hikes in food prices…

“Unemployment is even higher amongst university graduates, with almost 25% of graduates failing to find work…Despite having a better education system than its North African neighbours, the high rate of graduate unemployment in Tunisia means many young people shun third-level (tertiary) education.”

As you know, and as we have just mentioned, the Tunisian Uprising was sparked by the disturbing event when an unemployed graduate, who made a living by selling fruit and vegetables as a street hawker, burnt himself to death.

In this context we should also note that even in Egypt, in part the Uprising was sparked by the death of yet another university graduate, Khaled Said, who was killed by the police in Alexandria.

Early last month, in an article entitled “Brains unused”, Rania Khallaf of Al Ahram reported on a sit-in by university graduates at the Academy of Scientific Research in Cairo. These were unemployed graduates who were demanding to be taken on as lecturers in the Egyptian universities, with some of them, including PhD’s, having been unemployed for seven years after they had graduated.

So acute is the problem that Khallaf’s article concluded with the words; “What is needed is an in-depth review of the problems facing higher education in Egyptian universities and an ambitious plan to make use of Egypt’s brainpower. Again, if there are not enough job vacancies in Egyptian universities, it is high time for the government to find ways to benefit from this brilliant, highly promising manpower.”

Responding to this situation, a February 4 Communiqué of the January 25th Youth (Movement), named after the day the Uprising began, said:
“Egypt’s youth went out on the 25th of January with a strength, courage, boldness and heroism that had been unprecedented for the people of Egypt and completely unexpected;
“So that there would be no difference between the graduates of professional schools and those with lesser degrees;
“To confront the unemployment that has destroyed the lives of Egyptian youth;
“So that 472 youth no longer drown weekly in the Mediterranean Sea, their only crime (being) that they seek work and food to lessen the burden their families bear;
“We came out to protest the lines for (even) propane (gas) bottles and bread;
“We came out to demand an education that allows us to compete among the nations of the world, not an education that allows the world to mock us;
“We came out for the sake of the 52% of our people that are illiterate;
“We came out for the sake of national goals that unite all of us and would allow us to dispense with idling our time in cafes…”

I hope that what I have said so far is sufficient to indicate, among others, the principal objectives of the Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, including issues relating to the students and the intelligentsia.

As I said earlier, it is clear that these Uprisings had as their fundamental objective the victory of the democratic revolution in both countries. However, as the people who constituted the heart of the Uprisings admit every day, the democratic revolutions have not as yet emerged victorious.

It was therefore always a misnomer to describe the Uprisings as Revolutions.

To indicate the challenges facing the democratic forces in Egypt, concerning the fundamental changes for which they fought and are fighting, I will present to you observations made by some Egyptians, which comments speak for themselves.

What I will present to you henceforth will include relatively extensive quotations by various individuals and institutions. I must confess that I chose to rely on these citations to avoid the accusation that I have sought only to convey my partisan views.

In an article published at the beginning of this month, entitled “Time to get serious”,

Salama A. Salama of Egypt says:

“The brief honeymoon that followed the 25 January Revolution, when the army and the people were said to be “one hand,” has ended in mistrust and misunderstanding that the recent reshuffle of the Essam Sharaf government failed to address…

“As it turned out, Sharaf is now catching flak from all sides, with people blaming him for slowing down the revolution, failing to address security, or failing to speed up the trials of former officials…

“Turning to the revolutionaries, we have to admit that they are still a motley crew of well-intentioned but disunited groups and alliances, hard to enumerate or figure out. They have no leadership to negotiate on their behalf or a set of suggested policies to follow. But what this country needs right now is policies that take domestic as well as external considerations into account. We need a government that knows how to tend to economic and social demands while keeping at bay those powers, Arab and non-Arab, that do not wish to see democracy take root in Egypt.”

Towards the end of May this year, Khalil El-Anani published an article entitled “Egyptian Revolution Reconsidered”. He said:

“Although the Egyptian revolution succeeded in ousting the Mubarak regime, it has not yet managed to uproot the ills of its culture, value system and prevailing modes of behaviour. In this sense, therefore, it remains “half a revolution”, or more precisely, a “revolutionary act” that still needs follow-through towards completion…The “heart”, or foundation, of (the Egyptian) state remains unchanged…Change at both levels – the political system and society – is a prerequisite for the completion of any revolution.

“Of course, there is no denying that the Egyptian revolutionary act was sudden and very powerful. However, its major thrust emanated from and remained largely restricted to a particular stratum of society, namely the middle to upper- middle class. It has yet to spread to other strata of society, which remain essentially the same as they were before the revolution. This phenomenon is not peculiar to Egypt. Other countries have experienced similar popular uprisings that succeeded in overturning regimes but did not go as far as to engender radical change in the prevailing values, culture and structures of society…

“The Egyptian revolution can, therefore, be described so far as a minimal revolution – it achieved the minimal level of the dream of the majority of Egyptians, which was the overthrow of the old regime and the prosecution of its leaders and most prominent figures. However, it remains a considerable way off from the upper level, which involves the transformation of social and institutional structures and value and behavioural systems so as to enable society to regain its health and proceed towards the realisation of human development and prosperity…

“Not every outburst of collective anger and frustration is a revolution. Not every defiance and overthrow of an old regime and its legal edifice is proof of a successful revolutionary act. The sole guarantor of the success of a revolution is society itself. Herein lies the crux of the dilemma: the performer of the revolutionary act (the agent) needs a revolution so that the act and the agent can be brought into harmony, and so that the results are consistent with the beginnings.”

Let me conclude these quotations with one from Fatma Khafagy, a women’s rights activist and a board member of the Alliance for Arab Women, extracted from a February article headed “Now for the Gender Revolution”.

She wrote: “I want to see the opposite of what has always happened after revolutions take place, now in Egypt. History tells us that women stand side by side with men, fight with men, get killed defending themselves and others along with men, and then nurse the wounded, lament the dead, chant and dance when the struggle is victorious and help to manage the aftermath when it is not. However, history also indicates that after the success of a political struggle, women are too often forced to go back to their traditional gender roles and do not benefit from the harvest of revolution.

“I am sure the Egyptian revolution will not allow this to happen…

“The Egyptian revolution, as I witnessed every day and night in Tahrir Square, was not only about getting rid of a political system. It was also about creating another more beautiful and just Egypt that would guarantee human rights to all its citizens. I saw young women discussing with young men what kind of life they wanted to achieve for Egypt. I feel sure that the gender equality that was witnessed in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt will now prevail because we need it to create a better Egypt.”

I am certain that the observations made by the three Egyptian commentators I have just quoted would apply in similar manner to Tunisia.

Libya was and is of course a completely different kettle of fish.

In this case, it is obvious that the major Western powers decide to intervene to advance their selfish interests, using the instrumentality of the UN Security Council.

I am certain that many of us here will at least have heard of the independent non-governmental organisation, headquartered in Brussels, the International Crisis Group, the ICG, which focuses on conflict resolution.

Its current President and CEO is the Canadian Judge Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former UN Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

I mention all this to make the point that neither the ICG nor its President and CEO were, or are, or can justly be accused of being in any way sympathetic to the Libyan Gaddafi regime.

But yet, in a Report on Libya issued on June 6 this year, the ICG said:

“Much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the (Libyan) regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no real security challenge. This version would appear to ignore evidence that the protest movement exhibited a violent aspect from very early on…

“Likewise, there are grounds for questioning the more sensational reports that the regime was using its air force to slaughter demonstrators, let alone engaging in anything remotely warranting use of the term “genocide”. That said, the repression was real enough, – and I would, as an aside, add, as was the case in Tunisia and Egypt – and its brutality shocked even Libyans. It may also have backfired, prompting a growing number of people to take to the streets.”

Similar observations had been made earlier by Alan K. Kuperman on April 14, writing in the US newspaper, The Boston Globe. In an article headed “False pretense for war in Libya”, he wrote:

“Evidence is now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath’’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold…

“Obama insisted that prospects were grim without intervention… Thus, the president concluded, “preventing genocide’’ justified US military action.

“But intervention did not prevent genocide, because no such bloodbath was in the offing. To the contrary, by emboldening rebellion, US interference has prolonged Libya’s civil war and the resultant suffering of innocents…”

Later in its Report, the ICG said:

“The prospect for Libya, but also North Africa as a whole, is increasingly ominous, unless some way can be found to induce the two sides in the armed conflict to negotiate a compromise allowing for an orderly transition to a post-Qaddafi, post-Jamahiriya state that has legitimacy in the eyes of the Libyan people. A political breakthrough is by far the best way out of the costly situation created by the military impasse…

“Instead of stubbornly maintaining the present policy and running the risk that its consequence will be dangerous chaos, (the international community) should act now to facilitate a negotiated end to the civil war and a new beginning for Libya’s political life…

“To insist that, ultimately, (Qaddafi) can have no role in the post-Jamahiriya political order is one thing, and almost certainly reflects the opinion of a majority of Libyans as well as of the outside world.

“But to insist that he must go now, as the precondition for any negotiation, including that of a ceasefire, is to render a ceasefire all but impossible and so to maximise the prospect of continued armed conflict.

“To insist that he both leave the country and face trial in the International Criminal Court is virtually to ensure that he will stay in Libya to the bitter end and go down fighting.”

Bitter facts on the ground, showing the loss of African lives and the destruction of property in Libya, demonstrate that the ICG was absolutely correct.

The naked reality is not that the Western powers did not hear what the ICG said. Rather, they heard but did not want to listen to anything informed by the objective to address the real interests of the African people of Libya.

They were and are bent on regime-change in Libya, regardless of the cost to this African country, intent to produce a political outcome which would serve their interests.

Earlier this year, on March 2, a senior journalist on the London Guardian newspaper, Seumas Milne, said:

“The “responsibility to protect” invoked by those demanding intervention in Libya is applied so selectively that the word hypocrisy doesn’t do it justice. And the idea that states which are themselves responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in illegal wars, occupations and interventions in the last decade, along with mass imprisonment without trial, torture and kidnapping, should be authorised by international institutions to prevent killings in other countries is simply preposterous…

“The reality is that the Western powers which have backed authoritarian kleptocrats across the Middle East for decades now face a loss of power in the most strategically sensitive region of the world as a result of the Arab uprisings and the prospect of representative governments. They are evidently determined to appropriate the revolutionary process wherever possible, limiting it to cosmetic change that allows continued control of the region…

“(Foreign) military intervention wouldn’t just be a threat to Libya and its people, but to the ownership of what has been until now an entirely organic, homegrown democratic movement across the region…

“The Arab revolution will be made by Arabs, or it won’t be a revolution at all.”

Later, on March 23, he wrote: “As in Iraq and Afghanistan, (with regard to Libya, the Western powers) insist humanitarian motives are crucial. And as in both previous interventions, the media are baying for the blood of a pantomime villain leader, while regime change is quickly starting to displace the stated mission. Only a Western solipsism that regards it as normal to be routinely invading other people’s countries in the name of human rights protects NATO governments from serious challenge…

“For the Western powers, knocked off balance by the revolutionary Arab tide, intervention in the Libyan conflict offers both the chance to put themselves on the “right side of history” and to secure their oil interests in a deeply uncertain environment.”

Seumas Milne’s colleague in the same newspaper, Simon Jenkins, wrote only three days ago, on August 23:

“If (British Prime Minister) Cameron wants to take credit for the removal of Gaddafi, then he cannot avoid responsibility for the aftermath. Yet that responsibility strips a new regime of homegrown legitimacy and strength. This is the classic paradox of liberal interventionism…

“Britain remains enmeshed in the Muslim world. It made a mess of Iraq and is trapped in Afghanistan. It hardly needs another costly and embarrassing client state to look after in this surge of neo-imperial do-goodery. We may applaud the chance of freedom about to be granted to a lucky group of oppressed people, but that doesn’t justify the means by which it is achieved, in another fury of great-power aggression. The truth is that Gaddafi’s downfall, like his earlier propping up, will have been Britain’s doing. A new Libyan regime will be less legitimate and less secure as a result.”

In this regard, four days ago, on August 22, the veteran Guardian correspondent, Jonathan Steele, had said: “Thanks to its crucial role in tipping the military scales in Libya, Nato and the rebels are inextricably linked. Gaddafi had few supporters in the Arab world but there is a justified perception on the Arab street that the rebels are over-reliant on Western support and that the overriding Western motive is access to Libya’s oil…

“The best revolutions are homegrown as they were in Tunisia and Egypt. Those who took to the streets in Tunis and Cairo’s Tahrir Square wanted to regain their country’s national dignity after decades of seeing their rulers doing the bidding of France and the United States…

“The new rulers in Libya face a long road ahead in establishing their legitimacy on the Arab and African stage.”

And indeed they do!

At the end of everything I have said, relating to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, what should the African students do, including you, students at Stellenbosch University!

I am certain that the totality of my comments will have confirmed the reality of which you are aware, that the recent and contemporary processes in North Africa are indeed truly complex.

The first suggestion I would therefore like to convey to you is that in order for you to play a meaningful role in this regard, and indeed in the context of all other significant developments in Africa, you must make the effort to study and understand these developments.

You have the unique advantage that you are students. As a former university student, I know that your principal task is to study. If you do not do this, it would be incorrect to describe, respect and honour you as students!

Further, as my second suggestion, I would like to believe that you will seek to understand African reality not for the pleasure merely of knowing, but because you would want to do what you can to help change our Continent for the better.

In this regard you would, of course, be inspired by what your peers have done in Tunisia and Egypt, who took the lead in the popular Uprisings in their countries, which have served to advance the African democratic revolution.

At the same time you will have been motivated to follow the heroic example set by your South Africans predecessors, such as those who participated in the 1976 Soweto Uprising, and others of our students, before and since.

Quite correctly, you see yourselves as part of the greater family of the millions of students in Africa, determined to act together with your colleagues to reshape our Continent into the kind of homeland you wish to inherit.

In this context, and as my third suggestion, I would like to propose that you make a determined effort to study various documents which constitute all-Africa policy by virtue of having been adopted by the OAU, the Organisation of African Unity, and its successor, the African Union, the AU.

In the context of the topic the SRC asked me to address this afternoon, I would suggest that you give yourselves time to study and debate, among others:

• the Constitutive Act of the African Union;
• the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
• the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa;
• the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption;
• the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union;
• the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;
• the African Youth Charter;
• the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance;
• the various documents on Human Resources, Science and Technology;
• the NEPAD Founding Document (2001); and,
• the African Peer Review Mechanism.

I mention these particular documents, all of which have been adopted by all the African governments, because they address directly the many political, economic, security and social issues which have arisen in the context of the North African struggles we have convened to discuss, and which, if implemented, would have addressed the concerns of our North African brothers and sisters.

As you study and debate these documents, as my fourth proposal, I would suggest that you ask yourselves and strive to answer two important questions:

• what should be done to position the African Union so that it has the ability to help ensure that all our Member States actually respect the objectives defined in these documents; and,

• what should the African student movement do to help achieve this outcome?

The fifth suggestion I would like to make relates to what has happened in Côte d’Ivoire and what is happening in Libya.

Specifically, in this regard, you should debate what Africa should do, and what Africa’s students should contribute in this regard, to defend and advance our right as Africans truly to determine our destiny, as a sovereign people.

I have been told that some of the intellectuals at our Universities reject the claim we make regularly – to find African solutions to African problems!

The only way I can explain this very strange posture is that these are Africans who have lost respect for and confidence in themselves, as Africans, and who therefore feel obliged to adopt positions which question ours and their right and capacity to solve our problems.

Certainly I have never come across any Europeans or Americans or Asians who would even so much as find it odd that they should assert that they have every right to find solutions to their problems!

I am also convinced, and as I said earlier, that the Stellenbosch University SRC was correct to set as one of its tasks the achievement of what it called “a more transformed campus”.

As a member of the Convocation of this University, I know that certainly under the leadership of our Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Russell Botman, you have been discussing what this means.

Placed within the larger African context, this must surely mean that we strive to ensure that this University does its best not to produce the “Unused brains” to which an Egyptian commentator referred, and that our country, as well, “finds ways to benefit from (the) brilliant (and) highly promising human power” of those who graduate from Stellenbosch University.

Thus should you, the students, together with the rest of the University community, which is my sixth suggestion, continue to engage the critically important issue of how the University should persist in the effort to transform itself so that as an African centre of learning, teaching and research, it also serves as a vital intellectual centre for the progressive fundamental transformation of our Continent, and therefore its renaissance.

I am also very pleased that as students here at Stellenbosch you see yourselves as having shared obligations towards our Continent with the larger collective of other African students.

As my seventh suggestion, I would therefore like to suggest that through formations such as SASCO and other societies, and indeed through the SRC, you should do everything you can to strengthen your links with your African peers, including through a strengthened and more active and correctly focused All-Africa Students Union.

The recent and current events in North Africa have confirmed that Africa’s students remain one of the most vital and courageous forces for the progressive transformation of our Continent, which entirely healthy reality we also know from our own history.

To conclude, and as my eighth proposal, I would like to appeal to you always to remember that you have an obligation to take advantage of the opportunity you have as university students, and therefore Africa’s nascent intelligentsia:

• to empower yourselves to become the quality intelligentsia our Continent needs, by diligently applying yourselves to the exciting task of studying;

• to act to ensure that as you inherit the future as leaders of the peoples of Africa, you will have done your best to help build a better Continent;

• always to honour the truth, to respect ‘the great unwashed’ who are our mothers and fathers, and to have the courage fearlessly to stand up for what is right and just, ready to present reasoned arguments in this regard;

• always to question and challenge even what is conveyed to you by all and sundry as established truths, including what I have said today, acting both as young people and as students who have the opportunity to re-discover anew all truths about the human and material worlds we inhabit;

• never to abuse the fact of your greater access to knowledge to position yourselves as a corrupt and parasitic segment of African society; and,

• never to be tempted to use your learning to sugar-coat a deadly virus of false knowledge you can impart to the Africans, in what our Nigerian fellow Africans would describe as giving poisoned kola nuts you offer to friends, pretending that these were but the traditional African gifts of friendship.

The eminent Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, once said – Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children!

By their actions, your peers, comrades and friends, the youth and students of North Africa, have challenged this provocative observation.

Through your own bold and principled actions, please continue to challenge it!

Thank you.


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THABO MBEKI LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE  – Investing in Thought Leaders for Africa’s Renewal

Dr Thabo Mbeki (South Africa’s former Head of State)

Ten years ago, in the year 2000 marking the close of the 20th century, the World Bank published a Report provocatively entitled – Can Africa Claim the 21st Century?

Seeking to answer this question, the Report said:

The question of whether Sub-Saharan Africa can claim the 21st century is complex and

Provocative…Our central message is: Yes, Africa can claim the new century. But this is a

qualified yes, conditional on Africa’s ability – aided by its development partners – to overcome the development traps that kept it confined to a vicious cycle of underdevelopment, conflict, and untold human suffering for most of the 20th century.”

In their Preface the authors said: This report proposes strategies for ushering in self reinforcing processes of economic, political, and social development. Progress is crucial on four fronts:

– Improving governance and resolving conflict.

– Investing in people.

– Increasing competitiveness and diversifying economies.

– Reducing aid dependence and strengthening partnerships

They went on to say:

“Claiming the future involves enormous challenges not least of which is resolving the problems of the past. Much of Africa’s recent economic history can be seen as a process of marginalisation first of people, then of governments. Reversing this process requires better accountability, balanced by economic empowerment of civic society including women and the poor and firms relative to governments, and of aid recipients relative to donors. Without this shift in power and accountability, it will be difficult to offer the incentives Africa needs to accelerate development and break free of poverty.”

It is probably true that all these World Bank observations are in themselves correct and unexceptionable. However, notable by its absence in these observations is an element I consider to be of vital importance if Africa is to Claim the 21st Century. The need for Africa to recapture the intellectual space to define its future, and therefore the imperative to develop its intellectual capital!

This is the first point I would like to make concerning what we need to do to ensure that we claim the 21st Century.

The Lecture Series we begin today as the Vice Chancellor has just said, sponsored by the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute, a joint initiative by the University of South Africa and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, is dedicated to the African Renaissance and also serves to celebrate Africa Day.

The tasks we continue to confront in this regard were identified even as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was established in 1963. In this context, this is what Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia said when he opened the Conference which established the OAU:

“We stand today on the stage of world affairs, before the audience of world opinion. We have come together to assert our role in the direction of world affairs and to discharge our duty to the great continent whose two hundred and fifty million people we lead. The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa will not wait. We must act, to shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they pass into history.

And he said:

“We seek, at this meeting, to determine whither we are going and to chart the course of our destiny. It is no less important that we know whence we came. An awareness of our past is essential to the establishment of our personality and our identity as Africans”

He further said:

“Thousands of years ago, civilisations flourished in Africa which suffer not at all by comparison with those of other continents. In those centuries, Africans were politically free and economically independent. Their social patterns were their own and their cultures truly indigenous.

“The obscurity which enshrouds the centuries which elapsed between those earliest days and the rediscovery of Africa are being gradually dispersed. What is certain is that during those long years Africans were born, lived and died. Men on other parts of this earth occupied themselves with their own concerns and, in their conceit, proclaimed that the world began and ended at their horizons. All unknown to them, Africa developed in its own pattern, growing in its own life and, in the Nineteenth Century, finally re-emerged into the world’s consciousness.”

Reading these words today, there can be no doubt about the answer those who had gathered in Addis Ababa in 1963 would have given if they had been asked the question – Can Africa Claim the 21st Century?

The critical importance of the awareness of our past and its relevance to the establishment of our personality and our identity as Africans was identified by the very earliest among our own modern intelligentsia, a hundred years before Haile Selassie addressed the African political leaders assembled in Addis Ababa in 1963.

In August 1862, the Rev Tiyo Soga, educated at the Lovedale Institution in the Eastern Cape and the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where he trained in theology, started publishing what I believe was the first African newspaper in our country, managed and edited by Africans, called Indaba (News).

In his editorial comment in the first edition of the paper, Tiyo Soga wrote:

“I see this newspaper as a secure container that will preserve our history, our stories, our

wisdom. The deeds of the nation are worth more than our cattle herds, money and even

food. Let the elderly pour their knowledge into this container. Let all our stories, folk and fairy tales, traditional views, and everything that was ever seen, heard, done, and all customs, let them be reported and kept in the national container.

“Did we not form nations in the past? Did we not have our traditional leaders? What has

happened to the wisdom of these leaders? Did we not have poets? Where is their poetry?

Was there no witchcraft in the past? Did we not fight wars? Who were the heroes? Where is the distinctive regalia of the royal regiment?

“Did we not hunt? Why was the meat of the chest of the rhino and the buffalo reserved for royalty? Where are the people to teach us our history, our knowledge and our wisdom? Let even the spirit of the departed return to bless us with the great gift of our heritage, which we must preserve!”

Tiyo Soga wrote these words sixteen years before the end of the last colonial war to subjugate the indigenous people in the Cape Province. He had seen that despite the continuing fierce resistance of the Africans, colonialism was bound to emerge victorious. To guarantee its victory it had started and was determined to wipe out the history, the customs, the self-worth, the identity and dignity of the African oppressed.

Soga knew that if this was allowed to happen, it would break the will of the colonised to continue the struggle to achieve their liberation, hence his call:

“Let even the spirit of the departed return to bless us with the great gift of our heritage, which we must preserve!”

Confirming that what he had in mind was the ultimate liberation of Africa, in a May 11, 1865 article in the King William’s Town Gazette and Kaffrarian Banner, entitled “What Is the Destiny of the Kaffir Race”, Tiyo Soga wrote:

“Africa was of God given to the race of Ham. I find the Negro from the days of the old

Assyrians downwards, keeping his ‘individuality’ and ‘distinctiveness’, amid the wreck of

empires, and the revolution of ages. . . I find him enslaved…I find him in this condition for many a day – in the West Indian Islands, in Northern and Southern America, and in the South American Colonies of Spain and Portugal. Until the Negro is doomed against all history and experience – until his God’s given inheritance of Africa has been taken finally from him, I shall never believe in the total extinction of his brethren along the southern limits of the land of Ham.”

Important contemporary members of the African intelligentsia have also understood the challenges Tiyo Soga posed and their responsibility in this regard. For example the Ghanaian novelist and thinker, Ayi Kwei Armah, has said:

“We need to regain knowledge of ourselves, the something that we are. To do that we have first of all to end the addiction to the poisons that put us to sleep. Secondly, we need to cultivate healing values that will help us remake ourselves and then remake the universe…

“What is our history?’(Cheik Anta Diop) spent a lot of time answering the question because…there was a time, not long ago, when the idea itself of Africans having a history was considered unsound, academically wrong. Now his answer was, ‘Not only do we have a history, we are the root of humanity; we were there at the beginning. That is to say that all human beings are kin to us, whether they recognise that or not…

“He also said that we are at the root of civilisation. This is another area from which we had been pushed…He learned to read the records of ancient Egypt before he was able to assert: ‘No, you people are lying’…

“Now for centuries, we have been organised according to principles that are completely alien to us; principles of profit and advantage. The greatest African values are principles of justice, balance, reciprocity, which the ancient Egyptians called Maat. You will not find these principles at work in the great institutions of the modern world…

“We are people who have suffered from the search for profit. People have come to Africa to buy people, human beings. There are certain resources that should never be sold. If African values were on top of our existence, we would never sell land, we would never sell water, we wouldn’t sell the air, the sun, and we wouldn’t sell human beings. But we did, and in order to recover our values we have to go back and know what they are and find ways of affirming them against all the power of the destroyers”.

Another celebrated African intellectual, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, drew attention to the responsibility of the African intelligentsia to play its role in ‘the making of Africa’.

When he spoke in 2003 at a conference to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of CODESRIA, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, he said:

“Despite her vast natural and human resources, indeed despite the fact that Africa has always provided, albeit unwillingly, resources that have fuelled capitalist modernity to its current stage of globalization, Africa gets the rawest deal. This is obvious in the areas of economic and political power. But this is also reflected in the production and consumption of information and knowledge. As in the political and economic fields, Africa has been a player in the production of knowledge.

“The increase in universities and research centres, though with often shrinking resources,

have produced great African producers of knowledge in all fields such that brilliant sons and daughters of Africa are to be found in all the universities in the world…

“CODESRIA is reflective of the vitality of intellectual production in Africa and by Africans all over the world.

“Has this vitality resulted in the enhancement of a scientific and democratic intellectual culture? Are African intellectuals and their production really connected to the continent?

Even from a cursory glance at the situation it is clear that there is a discrepancy between the quality and quantity of this production of knowledge and the quality and quantity of its consumption by the general populace. Ours has been a case of trickle-down knowledge, a variation of the theory of trickle-down economics, a character of capitalist modernity, reflected more particularly in its colonial manifestation, which of course is the root base of modern education in Africa. And here I am talking of social production and consumption of knowledge and information in the whole realm of thought, from the literary to the scientific. Since our very mandate as African producers of knowledge is to connect with the continent, it behoves us to continually re-examine our entire colonial heritage, which includes the theory and practice of trickle-down knowledge. This means in effect our having to continually examine our relationship to European memory in the organisation of knowledge.”

Thus did Ngugi, as did Armah, and Tiyo Soga before them, challenge the African intelligentsia to understand that their very mandate as African producers of knowledge is to connect with the continent, precisely to act as a motive force for the renaissance of Africa.

From this surely it must follow that one of the tasks of this renaissance, which would enable us to give a positive reply to the question – Can Africa Claim the 21st Century? – must be the cultivation and nurturing of an African intelligentsia which understands its mandate in the same way that Ngugi understands the mandate of the African producers of knowledge.

I believe that in this regard the African intelligentsia has to understand that it has to carry out a veritable revolution along the entirety of what we might call the knowledge value chain. It must therefore address in a revolutionary manner the integrated continuum described by:

– Analysis of African reality and the global context within which our Continent exists and

pursues its objectives;

– The policies relevant to the renaissance of Africa that would seek to transform the reality

discovered through analysis;

– The politics Africa that needs to translate these policies into the required transformative

programmes; and,

– The institutions that must be put in place to drive the process towards the renaissance of


I am certain that when it proceeds in this manner, seeking both to understand our reality and to change it, our intelligentsia will rediscover its mission as a vital agent of change, obliged critically to re-examine the plethora of ideas emanating from elsewhere about our condition and our future, including what have become standard prescriptions about such matters as the democratic construct, the role of the state and civil society, good governance, the market economy, and Africa’s relations with the rest of the world.

Thus should we depend on our intelligentsia as our educators and no longer mere conveyor belts of knowledge generated by others outside our Continent about ourselves and what we need to do to change our reality.

One of the urgent contemporary tasks that confronts these African producers of knowledge is to understand the meaning of the global economic crisis to the African continent and what the continent needs to do ‘to overcome the development traps that kept it confined to a vicious cycle of underdevelopment, conflict, and untold human suffering for most of the 20th century’, as the World Bank had said in 2000.

The second major point I would like to make with regard to Africa’s challenge to claim the 21st Century is that the Continent has to take the necessary steps to ensure that it occupies its rightful place within the global community of nations, bearing in mind the ineluctable process of globalisation. This means that Africa must, practically, regain its right to determine its destiny and use this right to achieve the objective of the all-round upliftment of the African masses.

In June 2000 we attended the meeting of the European Council, the EU Summit Meeting, held in Feira in Portugal. The central objective of our mission at this meeting was to mobilise the EU to support what ultimately became the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD.

Immediately prior to our interaction with the EU Heads of State and Government we held discussions with the leadership of the European Commission.

These leaders of the EU Commission surprised us with an unexpected message about the attitude of the EU towards Africa.

In essence they warned us that the EU did not have any strategic perspective relating to Africa, as it did with other areas of the world such as East and Central Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

In short, in their view the EU did not consider Africa to be of such importance to its future that it was compelled to place the continent within a conscious and deliberate strategic framework.

The EU knew that willy-nilly, i.e. whether it liked this or otherwise, Africa would continue to provide Europe with raw materials and serve as a market for its products. Beyond this, the continent had no possibility to act in a manner that would threaten Europe’s interests.

We therefore understood that in terms of the advice we received, the prevalent view among important sections of the European leadership, even sub-consciously, was that contrary to the situation with regard to other regions in the world, the relationship between Africa and Europe did not merit any purposeful strategic reflection on the part of the EU.

This communicated the very stark message to us that for Africa to assume its rightful place among the community of nations, especially in relationship to the developed countries, she had to demonstrate in theory and practice that she was a strategic player in the ordering of human affairs, globally.

Thus would we defeat the pernicious view that Africa was but a hapless appendage to the rest of humanity, condemned to survival as an object of pity and benevolent charity, and contempt, and the actions that derive from this perspective.

We took this important advice into account when we engaged the EU Heads of State and

Government, determined to convince them that we had not come to them as supplicants but as partners they needed in their own interest.

In the result, the Final Communique of the European Council said:

“The European Council, agreeing that the challenges facing the African continent require

extraordinary and sustained efforts by the countries of Africa helped by strong international engagement and cooperation, reaffirmed its willingness to continue to support measures aimed at rapid economic growth and sustainable development. This will only be possible in a proper environment of peace, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

Understanding the strategic imperative facing the EU, the then President of the European

Commission, Romano Prodi, said in 2003:

“The Africans are not asking Europe or the US for charity. What I hear from my African

colleagues is a clear appeal to the rich countries to put policies in place that will allow Africa’s peoples to take their destiny in their own hands.”

In this regard, in a March 31, 2001 Address at the Third African Renaissance Festival in Durban, I said:

“(The) response (of the EU) to the imperatives Africa faces as part of the global hinterland, are driven by considerations of conscience and guilt rather than fundamental necessities to which it must respond, in its own strategic interest.”

I then said that to respond to this:

“It is necessary that the peoples of Africa gain the conviction that they are not, and must not be wards of benevolent guardians, but instruments of their own sustained upliftment.

“Critical to this is the knowledge by these peoples that they have a unique and valuable

contribution to make to the advancement of human civilisation, that…Africa has a strategic place in the global community.”

In this regard, the founding Framework Document of NEPAD said:

“Africa’s place in the global community is defined by the fact that the continent is an indispensable resource base that has served all humanity for so many centuries. These resources can be broken down into the following components:

Component I: The rich complex of mineral, oil and gas deposits, the flora and fauna, and the wide unspoiled natural habitat, which provide the basis for mining, agriculture, tourism and industrial development;

Component II: The ecological lung provided by the continent’s rainforests, and the minimal presence of emissions and effluents that are harmful to the environment, a global public good that benefits all humankind;

Component III: The paleontological and archaeological sites containing evidence of the origins of the earth, life and the human race, and the natural habitats containing a wide variety of flora and fauna, unique animal species and the open uninhabited spaces that are a feature of the continent; and

Component IV: The richness of Africa’s culture and its contribution to the variety of the cultures of the global community.

“The first component is the one with which the world is most familiar. The second component has only come to the fore recently, as humanity came to understand the critical importance of environmental issues. The third component is also now coming into its own, emerging as a matter of concern not only to a narrow field of science or of interest only to museums and their curators. The fourth component represents the creativity of African people, which in many important ways remains underexploited and underdeveloped.

There are at least two other elements we can add to the four components mentioned by NEPAD.

One of these is that over the years Africa has exported significant numbers of qualified professionals to the developed world, who have and are contributing in important ways to the further socioeconomic development of these countries.

The second relates to what certainly the Europeans consider to be a threat . illegal migration from Africa and elsewhere. The fact of the matter is that as long as our Continent remains mired in poverty, so long will many of our people leave and try to enter and stay in Europe regardless of steps that might be taken to stop this human flow.

This makes the point that even if some Europeans sustain the view that they do not need a strategic perspective relating to Africa, the illegal African migration they consider to be a threat obliges them to treat Africa as a partner of one kind or another.

For half-a-millennium Africa had been treated especially by many in the white world as part of their patrimony which they could exploit and dispose of as they wished. Even during the period after the independence of the majority of African countries, the Continent has had to live with the reality of the system of neo-colonialism which perpetuated Africa’s dependence.

Inter alia, it was this history which made it possible for some Europeans to convince themselves that they had no need to define a strategic relationship between themselves and our Continent.

The end of the Cold War created the possibility for our Continent finally to reclaim its right to determine its destiny and, among other things, define its relations with the rest of the world.

NEPAD was adopted at the last Assembly of OAU Heads of State and Government which was held in Lusaka, Zambia in 2001.

The partnerships we visualised as we worked on NEPAD were:

-A mutually beneficial partnership among ourselves as Africans; and,

-A mutually beneficial partnership between Africa and the rest of the world.

I am convinced that one of the greatest achievements of the African continent and its organisations, the OAU and the AU, during the first decade of the 21st century, was the acceptance of NEPAD and its partner African Peer Review Mechanism, the APRM, by the rest of the world as the defining programme which should inform the relations of the Continent with the rest of the international community.

In this regard:

In September and December 2002, speaking for the world community of nations, the UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration and Resolution which said respectively:

“We affirm that international support for the implementation of the New Partnership for

Africa’s Development is essential…(We urge) the international community and the United Nations system to organise support for African countries in accordance with the principles, objectives and priorities of the New Partnership in the new spirit of partnership.”

The Declaration adopted at the first Africa-EU Summit Meeting after the birth of NEPAD, held in Lisbon in 2007, said:

“In recognition of our ambitions, and of all that we share today and have shared in the past, we are resolved to build a new (EU]Africa) strategic political partnership for the future, overcoming the traditional donor]recipient relationship and building on common values and goals in our pursuit of peace and stability, democracy and rule of law, progress and development. We will develop this partnership of equals, based on the effective engagement of our societies…”

Earlier, in 2002, in their Africa Action Plan the G8 had said:

“We, the Heads of State and Government of eight major industrialised democracies and the Representatives of the European Union, meeting with African Leaders at Kananaskis, welcome the initiative taken by African States in adopting the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)…. We accept the invitation from African Leaders, extended first at Genoa last July and reaffirmed in the NEPAD, to build a new partnership between the countries of Africa and our own, based on mutual responsibility and respect.”

Addressing the Summit Meeting of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao said:

“China values its friendship with Africa. To strengthen unity and cooperation with Africa is a key principle guiding China’s foreign policy. China will continue to support Africa in implementing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and in its effort to strengthen itself through unity, achieve peace and stability and economic revitalisation in the region and raise its international standing.”

When he spoke in our country on January 9, 2001, the then Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshiro Mori, conveyed his clear understanding of Africa’s strategic place in the world when he said:

“In this age of globalisation, as the world becomes increasingly unified, it would be

unthinkable to talk about “the world of tomorrow” without considering sub-Saharan Africa…If it can overcome the difficulties it faces and open the way toward a bright future, Africa will probably become the driving force behind vibrant development of human society in the 21st Century…

“On the other hand, if the problems of Africa are neglected and one fourth of the world’s nations remain alienated, there is no reason that the world community should be able to prosper and maintain stability. Indeed, there will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st Century unless the problems of Africa are resolved.”

I believe that we should agree with Yoshiro Mori that “there will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st Century unless the problems of Africa are resolved.”

The current global economic and financial crisis has thrown into very sharp relief the important question-how should the international community act to respond to the challenge posed by Yoshiro Mori! In this context it had seemed to be self]evident that because they are poor, Africans would be among those who would suffer most from the effects of this crisis, and therefore that any meaningful response to the crisis would pay particular attention to Africa.

Our hopes were raised when the April 2, 2009 London G20 Summit Meeting Communique said:

“We recognise that the current crisis has a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable in the poorest countries and recognise our collective responsibility to mitigate the social impact of the crisis to minimise long-lasting damage to global potential.”

Earlier we spoke about the adoption by the G8 of the Africa Action Plan in 2002, which constituted a detailed response to support the objectives contained in the NEPAD programme.

The reality is that the G8 Africa Action Plan constitutes the only extant and comprehensive framework defining an equitable partnership between Africa and the developed world.

The tragedy is that in practical terms this Action Plan has fallen by the wayside. The G20 has now replaced the G8, which, despite its obvious limitations, signifies an important step forward towards the democratisation of the system of global economic governance.

Despite taking some welcome measures to assist Africa and the developing world to mitigate the effects of the global economic crisis, the G20 has not adopted the Africa Action Plan. It therefore does not have an integrated programme to respond to Africa’s development challenges.

As recently as last month, on April 23, in their Communique issued after their meeting in Washington D.C., the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors said:

“We will ask the World Bank to advise us on progress in promoting development and poverty reduction as part of rebalancing of global growth.”

What all this means is that in its programmes relating to the global economic crisis the developed world has not treated the response to the challenges of Africa’s development as one of its strategic tasks.

In a March 2009 paper on “Africa and the Global Financial Crisis” the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa discussed the importance of the stimulus packages put in place by the developed countries to mediate the impact of the crisis by increasing aggregate demand. In this regard it said:

“How does Africa feature in the discussion on the global increase in aggregate demand? The answer is that Africa has not featured in this discussion except in asides that refer to the limited ability of emerging and developing countries to undertake fiscal stimulus


The reality is that once more Africa has drifted to the periphery, contrary to what we sought to achieve, i.e. to place the challenge of Africa’s development at the centre of the global agenda arguing, as Yoshiro Mori did, that “there will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st Century unless the problems of Africa are resolved.”

This situation emphasises the vitally important imperative that among other things, we must reenergise our programmes focussed on:

– Relying on our resources to achieve Africa’s development, inspired by the objective to encourage self-reliance;

– Promoting our regional and continental integration, including by building trans-boundary infrastructure; and,

– Building the international solidarity movement to help ensure the necessary resource transfers and access to markets which Africa needs to achieve her development.

In this context, the question that remains to be answered is – what is to be done! In this regard I would like to propose Six (6) Steps Forward.

First of all we should recall what Haile Selassie said 47 years ago, that –

“The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa will not wait. We must act, to shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they pass into history. We seek … to determine whither we are going and to chart the course of our destiny.”

During the 47 years since the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, our continent has taken many collective decisions which answer the question – whither are we going? – and therefore chart the course of our destiny.

Accordingly and fortunately, we are not faced with the task to elaborate the fundamental policies that will result in the renaissance of Africa. This work has been done.

The work that has been done has taken into account our many painful experiences since we freed ourselves from the shackles of imperialism, colonialism and apartheid. This includes the lessons from our journey to achieve Africa’s rebirth in a situation in which we were constrained by a global political geometry defined by the Cold War and institutions dominated by Africa’s erstwhile colonial masters, by violent conflicts among ourselves, including the horrendous Genocide in Rwanda, constrained by domination by leaders who were nothing less than rapacious monsters, by failures to implement such far-sighted programmes as the Lagos Plan of Action for the socio-economic transformation of Africa, by the prevalence among our ruling elites of a culture of self-enrichment through theft and corruption, and by the demobilisation of the masses of the people, turning them away from the task to engage in continuing struggle as their own liberators.

The challenge we confront is to answer the question practically – what shall we do to translate the policies and programmes our Continent has adopted to achieve Africa’s renewal into reality!

As we celebrate Africa Day we must therefore identify the practical steps we must take to achieve this objective.

1. One of these is to build and nurture the native intellectual cadre committed to the

transformation of Africa as visualised by leading African patriots and thinkers for 150 years, from Tiyo Soga, to Uhadi waseluhlangeni, and Haile Selassie, and onward to Cheik Anta Diop, Ayi Kwei Armah and Ngugi wa Thiong’o, among others.

An urgent task in this regard is to rebuild and sustain our universities and other centres of learning, attract back to Africa the intelligentsia that has migrated to the developed North, build strong links with the intelligentsia in the African Diaspora, and give the space to these the time and space they need to help determine the future of the Africans.

2. Another is to develop the capacity in our state, government, business and civil society

institutions to implement the already agreed Continental programmes, which visualise a renewed Africa of peace, democracy, development, unity and pride in its place as “the driving force behind vibrant development of human society in the 21st Century”, of which Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori spoke.

3. What this surely means, among other things, is that we should resurrect the African Renaissance Movement which many African patriots in many African countries launched at the beginning of the 21st Century, which sought to mobilise and unite the African masses so that, once more, as we did in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid, we act as our own liberators.

When I spoke at an occasion in August 1998 to launch of the South African chapter of this Movement, I said that

“To be a true African is to be a rebel in the cause of the African Renaissance, whose success in the new century and millennium is one of the great historic challenges of our time.”

Further, we quoted the Senegalese, Cheik Anta Diop when he said:

“The African who has understood us is the one who, after reading our works, would have felt a birth in himself, of another person, impelled by an historical conscience, a true creator, a Promethean carrier of a new civilisation and perfectly aware of what the whole earth owes to his ancestral genius in all the domains of science, culture and religion.”

The African Renaissance Movement of which I speak should indeed seek to inspire the millions of the African masses to ‘feel a birth in themselves, of another person, a true creator, a Promethean carrier of a new civilisation’. Together we must be the organisers of this Movement.

4. Yet another practical step we must take is to increase the momentum in terms of which the development and transformation of Africa came to take its rightful and prominent place in the global agenda, binding the rest of the world to interact with our Continent according to principles, objectives and programmes Africa itself has set, which include the critically important objective of the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment.

In this context our international partners agreed to join us in creating the necessary institutional mechanisms to give practical effect to the kind of partnership spelt out in NEPAD, and effectively address the challenge of “mutual accountability”.

In this regard we must engage in struggle to ensure that the global agenda addresses such

imperatives as capital and other resource transfers to Africa, the conclusion of the Doha

Development Round, as a development round, and the democratisation of the international system of governance, which must not be delayed any further.

5. Another matter on which we must act is to achieve African cohesion in terms both of what the Continent says to itself and what it says to the rest of the world.

The objective to achieve the unity of our Continent, perhaps as a federation or confederation of states, will take time to achieve. However this does not mean that Africa cannot speak with one voice on matters of common interest.

Of critical importance in this regard is that we should do everything possible to strengthen both the regional organisations, the Regional Economic Communities, such as SADC and ECOWAS, and the African Union and its institutions, including the Pan African Parliament and others.

There is no gainsaying the fact that all these institutions are relatively weak, which militates against the capacity of our Continent to act collectively to advance the interests of the African masses as a whole, and which is a fundamental condition for the success of each of our countries, as was the unity of the oppressed in our country with regard to the struggle for our liberation.

6. The last point we would like to make in the context of what we need to do to help ensure that Africa claims the 21st Century relates to what Tiyo Soga said almost 150 years ago – that we must develop the media and the means to communicate correctly about who we are, what we are, what we are doing to change our condition, and where we seek to be tomorrow and the day after.

Thus should we, on both the objective and the subjective planes, act to determine our destiny – to ‘keep our ‘individuality’ and ‘distinctiveness’, amid the wreck of empires, and the revolution of ages’, as Tiyo Soga put it.

A fortnight hence the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup will kick off. From the beginning we had intended that this important tournament should help Africa to determine her destiny and take its rightful place in the world community of nations.

In this regard, when we presented our Bid to the FIFA Executive Committee in 2004 I said: “(The millions of Africans) have embarked on an exciting human journey. This is an African journey of hope – hope that, in time, we will arrive at a future when our continent will be free of wars, refugees and displaced people, free of tyranny, of racial, ethnic and religious divisions and conflicts, of hunger, and the accumulated weight of centuries of the denial of our human dignity…

“(Through the decision to afford Africa the privilege to host the Soccer World Cup, FIFA has) conveyed the message to all Africans, both on the continent and the African Diaspora, that you are ready and willing to accompany us on our journey of hope, and give us the strength and stamina we need to traverse the difficult terrain that separates us from Africa’s renaissance.”

Accordingly as we wish our national team, Bafana Bafana, and the tournament success, we must, at the same time, use the occasion of the Soccer World Cup to inspire ourselves to persist on our journey of hope, supporting the decisions taken by the African Union which make this decade the African Women’s Decade and this year, the Year of Promoting Peace through Sports.

Earlier in this Lecture I spoke of Tiyo Soga’s newspaper, Indaba. Unfortunately, during its third year it ceased publication. However, it was replaced by Isigidimi samaXhosa, which became a platform for vigorous debate among the emerging African intelligentsia.

One of its most active contributors was one Jonas Ntsiko, who also wrote under the pen-name, Uhadi waseluhlangeni, “The Harp of the Nation”.

In 1883 Uhadi wrote an article which sought to alert all Africans about the threat posed to all of them by the system of imperialism and colonialism, regardless of their specific nationality. Specifically the article mentioned how the kings of the baSotho and amaXhosa and the communities they led had fallen victim to colonialism, having engaged in separate struggles to oppose this eventuality.

Uhadi therefore urged that the Africans should start an open debate among themselves to determine how they should respond to this threat, suggesting that only their unity would guarantee their independence.

This sentiment was repeated 30 years later when the African National Congress was established in 1912, with the task, among others, “to bury the demon of tribalism”.

Uhadi wrote:

“Therefore create in the newspaper the arena for those who have this view or the other, to

talk about those things that serve the welfare of the black people and theirs, so that we come to know what should be done. On that arena will appear orators, and poets who will sing our praises, and others who will hail the Other. What harm will it do if a MoSotho who speaks in what you consider a contrary voice says:

Vukani bantwana

Bentab’ eBosiko,

Seyikhal’ ingcuka

Ingcuk’ emhlophe,

Ibawel’ amathambo

‘Mathambo kaMshweshwe,

Mshweshw’ onobuthongo

Phezul’ entabeni.

Siyarhol’ isisu

Ngamathamb’ enkosi,

Ubomv’ umlomo

Kuxhap’ uSandile

Arise offspring

Of Thaba Bosui,

The wild dog howls

The white wild dog,

Hungry for the bones

The bones of Moshoeshoe

Moshoeshoe who sleeps

On the mountain top.

Weighed down by its bloated stomach

Bulging with the bones of kings,

Its mouth is bright red

Red with the blood of Sandile…

We have met here to reiterate our commitment to the renaissance of Africa and to celebrate Africa Day.

In the article we have just cited, Uhadi said:

“It would seem to me that during these days, when the nation has been subjugated, when it is victim to protracted wars and short periods of peace, the patriots call on their leaders both to give them the time and space they need to determine the future of the nation, and to give due importance to the history the oppressed are making.”

As we disperse and go our various ways, we would do well to remember that as Uhadi said almost 130 years ago . ‘Arise offspring of Thaba Bosui; the wild dog howls, still, hungry for the bones of the children of Africa.’

In this situation we should give ourselves the time and the space the African masses need to determine the future of our Continent, at all times conscious of the glorious history that Africans have made through the ages, and the history they continue to make to this day as they strive to claim the 21st Century.

Thank you.


Filed under Uncategorized


Dear Cde Mbeki


The events that came to pass in our country in the last week have left me very little

option, but to address you directly on the matters at hand.


I am certain that you are painfully aware that the release of the transcripts of the

conversations between Ngcuka and McCarthy, not only sent shockwaves through the

nation, but through our movement. The NPA briefing finally bought closure to a

painful episode of your reign both as President of the Republic and of the ANC. An

episode one hopes will never come to pass ever again in the history of our movement.


It is a sad reality that the phenomenon we are dealing with today is a result of your

actions of conniving, manipulating people and advancing politics of patronage.

Despite the fact that you were a democratically elected President, you chose to run

both the organisation and the country with a cabal which sought to commandeer

everyone along your thinking and vision, which at times ran contrary to what the

ANC stood for.


Mandela led the ANC with distinction, and acknowledged at all times that he will

always be subject to its authority and directives, even after he left the office of ANC

President. His leadership at the helm of the ANC continues to inspire our forward

momentum and his wisdom will remain a point of reference for generations to come.


Mandela’s wise words, an icon of our liberation struggle, an embodiment of the

ANC’s values, continue to reverberate to this day. At the time of your acceptance of

your election as President of the ANC at the Mafikeng Conference in 1997, Madiba

said, “…here are the reigns of the movement – protect and guard its precious legacy;

defend its unity and integrity as committed disciples of change; pursue its popular

objectives like true revolutionaries who seek only to serve the nation… As an ordinary

member of the ANC I suppose that I will also have many privileges that I have been

deprived of over the years: to be as critical as I can be; to challenge any signs of

‘autocracy from Shell House’; and to lobby for my preferred candidates from the

branch level upwards… I look forward to that period when I will be able to wake up

with the sun; to walk the hills and valleys of Qunu in peace and tranquillity. And I am

confident that this will certainly be the case because, as I do so, and see the smiles on

the faces of children which reflect the sunshine in their hearts, I will know, comrade

Thabo and your team, that you are on the right track; you are succeeding. ”


Having reflected on Mandela’s words, I am certain that you either did not hear his

wise words, or you deliberately elected not to take heed of them. His challenge to

you to defend the unity and integrity of the ANC was central to his message and

should have been a beacon in your leadership of the ANC. The smiles on the faces of

the children are yet to reflect the sunshine in their hearts, because that moment is yet

to come.


Mandela handed you a vibrant and united ANC, yet at the twilight of your Presidency,

you chose to betray everything that Mandela and those that came before him stood

for, struggled for, and laid down their lives for. In a moment of intoxication with power, you forgot Madiba’s wise counsel and allowed our glorious movement to stumble on the edge of an abyss.


When your cabal was finally defeated in Polokwane because of its actions and underhanded tactics at securing a third term for you as a President of the ANC, they went into an elaborate conspiratorial mode, famously dubbed “the fightback strategy,” which clearly carried your blessing. It is one’s considered view that it was the failure of this strategy that led you and your lieutenants to spawn the so-called Congress of the People as a vehicle to fight the ANC and undermine its hegemony and legacy.


It is a sad day in our nation that one has to allude that your legacy, at its pinnacle, has only brought us shame and disgrace, overshadowing what would have otherwise been a commendable political career. It is not my place to pass judgement, but am convinced that history will judge you very harshly for what you have come to represent in the latter day.


I find it rather instructive that in your reaction to the release of the Ngcuka/McCarthy transcripts you chose to pose the question as to how did the tapes come to be in the possession of the ANC President’s lawyers. The more fundamental issue which I would have expected would be your primary preoccupation would be how did you fail the nation so badly such that the chain of events over the last nine years landed us in the position we find ourselves in today. How did the state apparatus become so embroiled in partisan politics that sought to rip our movement apart such that not even the highest office in the land had the political will to put brakes on the rot that was settling in?


While the movement may take collective responsibility for the actions of our government as a ruling party, however, my heart bleeds that the relationship of trust the ANC conferred on you in Mafikeng was broken. The mantra of your Presidency, “the rule of law” was betrayed in the most vulgar way possible.


  • When spy allegations were levelled at Bulelani Ngcuka, then National Director of Public Prosecutions, you were swift in your appointment of the Heffer Commission to probe those allegations as an attempt to protect him;
  • When the infamous off-the-record briefings conducted by Bulelani Ngcuka came to light, where Ngcuka is alleged to have made libellous remarks about Jacob Zuma, who was the Deputy President of the Republic at the time, you conveniently turned a blind eye and failed to act;
  • When Bulelani Ngcuka, flanked by then Minister of Justice, Pennuel Maduna addressed a media briefing wherein he suggested that Cde Zuma had a case to answer, but he will not prosecute him, you once again conveniently failed to act on what was a blatant violation of Cde Zuma’s rights;
  • You then proceeded to appoint Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as Deputy President of the Republic as a reward to the loyalty of the Ngcukas;
  • When the Public Protector pronounced on the violation of Cde Zuma’s rights, his findings were met with scorn, and again, no action was forthcoming on your part;
  • When the National Intelligence Agency expressed alarm about the unlawful activities of the Scorpions, once again you did nothing;
  • When the Browse Mole report came to light, which was produced by the Scorpions, you were quick to dismiss it as work of counter-revolutionary forces, and proceeded to ignore the recommendations of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. In an interesting twist or irony, McCarthy, who was the head of the DSO at the time was rewarded with a
  • handsome golden handshake and a recommendation for a high ranking job with the World Bank, at a time when he and those who were responsible for the Browse Mole report should have been under investigation;
  • You did not hesitate to destroy a relationship that spanned decades between yourself and Billy Masetlha when he raised concerns about the allegedly hoax emails that were making rounds, and you defined your relationship with him as irretrievable.
  • You continued to protect Jackie Selebi, the National Police Commissioner and did not hesitate to suspend Vusi Pikoli, the National Director of Public Prosecutions when he sought to arrest Selebi, for reasons known only to yourself;
  • You dismissed Cde Zuma, then Deputy President of the Republic, on the basis of inferences in the Shabir Shaik trial. Interestingly, you were quick to cry foul when Justice Nicholson made far reaching findings in his judgements and drew inferences on your perceived interference with due processes of law;
  • You failed to take the nation into confidence and confirm that you were the author of the now famous letter to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) on the arms deal, a letter which was a central piece of evidence at the Shaik trial;
  • You conducted briefings to ANC structures, religious community, opposition parties (particularly the DA) on how corrupt Cde Zuma was, in an attempt to garner public support and sympathy, and whereby you arrogated yourself the role of being a judge in Cde Zuma’s persecution;
  • You were highly implicated as a central player in the compilation of a dossier which sought to defame Cde Zuma in the run-up to Polokwane, which was distributed among ANC delegates at conference;
  • You failed to engage the leadership of the ANC in a face to face engagement, and you reduced your relationship with Cde Zuma to an exchange of letters, whose contents you leaked to Terror Lekota;
  • You flatly refused to campaign for the ANC, despite your assertion that you remain a loyal member of the ANC, and demanded that a letter be written to you in this regard. It was the first time ever that a cadre of the ANC had to be written a letter in order for them to campaign for the ANC. Not even Mandela ever made such a demand on the ANC. Such practice is foreign to the tried and tested traditions of the ANC and can best be described as anti-ANC;


It is therefore my considered view that you left the state apparatus in absolute disarray and the state machinery completely paralysed.


It is equally interesting that you believe the Inspector-General will save the day in what has become public humiliation of Ngcuka and McCarthy. The fundamental question that must preoccupy the Inspector-General is not how the tapes found their way to the ANC President’s lawyers, but rather how deep did this conspiracy ran and to ensure that relevant organs of state act swiftly to bring the perpetrators to book.


What happened to the values of the ANC, which at some point in your political career embodies and taught others? What happened to the ethos that says the ANC is bigger than all of us, we are but humble servants of this revolutionary movement? What happened to the pursuit of the founding ideals of the ANC, which the giants of our revolution who include Cdes Langalibalele Dube, Sol Plaatjie, Walter Sisulu, Moses Kotane, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and many others personified?


There remains little doubt that the establishment of COPE has your blessings and you continue to encourage them to swear by your name because you do not believe that the ANC can advance the age of hope under the stewardship of Cde Zuma, and that it will survive without you.


I doubt if today you were president, this conspiracy that has come to light would have been uncovered.


Fikile Mbalula



Writing in his personal capacity


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Let’s talk about the tapes that got JZ off the hook

Brief background

Our airports have become the centre of criminal activities which amounts between 200 million 300 million a year this is just at OR Tambo airport alone. In 2001 Paul O’Sullivan was appointed as Group Executive – Aviation Security, Employed by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) his role was to ensure such criminal activities as above are non-existent or at least kept as low as possible.

When Paul joined ACSA a company by the name of Khuselani security was in charge of securities headed back then by CEO Noel Ngwenya. A few days after Paul joined ACSA two serious robberies within days apart took place at OR Tambo international Airport (possibly by the same syndicate), this obviously was a wake-up call for him that his job was a very serious one. He exercised his powers and fired Khuselani Securities (a good decision but not a great move considering the toes he was stepping on) for contract details: http://www.acsa.co.za/home.asp?pid=94&toolid=2&ItemID=3369). On who’s toes he stepped on and how this was a good business decision but bad one for his life read this article http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=13&set_id=1&art_id=vn20061108014727730C487630

Now back to the subject, the former NDPP Boss Leonard McCarthy had the responsibility to probe the allegations against Jack Selebi mentioned on this link which I already referred you to it above http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=13&set_id=1&art_id=vn20061108014727730C487630 this later translated to Jack Selebi facing charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice and it was all leaked by Paul O’Sullivan to certain newspapers as well as NPA strategically. In 2006 the Scorpions were now seriously investigating Selebi, certain information was leaked to media such as Selebi’s links to Agliotti, Andrew Philips, Gavin Varejes and Steven Ferrer as well as information on insurance fraud by Nassif this also included information on Brett Kebble.

In his (Jackie Selebi) attempt to prevent NPA from prosecuting him he started searching background information on McCarthy (who was heading the investigation?) looking for something that he could use against him in order to prevent him from further pursuing the charges against him.

The tapes

Certain allegations were framed and labeled against McCarthy in order for the SAPS to tap his phone , this was part of the search to find information that can be used against McCarthy as well as to monitor developments on the Selebi case such as conversations with possible witnesses who might then be warned, threatened etc not to testify against the gangster in uniform. The tapping of the phone haapned just before and after ANC Polokwane conference.

A few days before ANC Polokwane conference NPA was ready to make a move on Selebi as well as Jacob Zuma.

Mbeki’s role

The NPA informed the Mbeki that they were ready to make a move (arrest)on the two (Selebi and Zuma). However because of the political situation just before ANC Polokwane conference Mbeki advised NPA to wait until after the conference in the interest of the country. This I think was also to prevent JZ from getting sympathy votes or losing votes from Selebi die hards.

more assumptions

These tapes I believe have been in the possession of SAPS (Selebi) since the, probably waiting for the right time to release them. Why (SAPS) or Selebi decided to pass them on Zuma’s lawyers is another good question which doesn’t need a genious to answer (Selebi’s future at SAPS depends on him being on the right team) whether JZ will yield to this strategic move for favours remains to be seen only time will tell.

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The Jacob Zuma saga continues

Firstly I have to applaud the ANC (African National Congress) for once they didn’t give names to Judges, as we all know what they’ve been saying in the past whenever a court ruled against them. This time around they gave the judges the respect that they deserve and ‘accepted’ the ruling; I wish I could say the same for Jacob Zuma who might be contesting the outcome.


Based on SCA ruling which I find to be pretty professional leaving no room for questions as the judges focussed squarely on their job and not the SA politics therefore leaving no room for accusations and less room for grounds to appeal the ruling.


Firstly the 5 Judges made clear (through the mouth of Judge Harms) their displeasure at the political comments made by Judge Nicholson when he delivered his ruling which went against the NPA for charging Jacob Zuma without affording him an opportunity to make representations. The judges made it clear that the matter that was brought before Judge Nicholson did not require political nosiness, “he (Judge Nicholson) took his eyes off the ball and red carded not only the players but the spectators” as well. Judge Harms further added that “Judgement by Ambush is not permitted” that is, findings based on “unconfirmed newspaper speculations” in the process overstepping the limits of the “court below” therefore “transgressing the proper boundaries” between executive and judiciary. These matters are not matters of law. They are purely political questions. “Whether or not one agrees with the judges sentiments is of no consequence, …the point is that those personal sentiments … were unwarranted.”


Secondly their ruling on Thabo Mbeki’s request to be part of the case (The application to join as an Amicus Curiae) was “refused”.


The judges made it clear that the ruling had nothing to do with whether Jacob Zuma is guilty or not but has to do with a procedure that is, did Zuma have a right to make representations before being charged. In this matter the judges ruled in the NPA’s favour thereby clearing the way for NPA to continue with its charges against Jacob Zuma.


There’s a perception that NPA is expected to recharge Jacob Zuma, this is not right because the case against Jacob Zuma was not withdrawn but set aside, this means that Jacob Zuma is still charged and that automatically the parties should be setting a date to meet, where they will be discussing a mutual date to got to court (subject to Jacob Zuma not appealing the 5 Judges’ ruling).


What are the options for Jacob Zuma?


Firstly he can appeal the ruling at Constitutional court, however at this point I don’t think the court will rule otherwise (but I’m not legal expert).


Secondly he may negotiate a settlement with NPA; this I believe will include a jail sentence considering that the NPA also wants to prove a point.


A very long short will be to win the elections with a 2/3 majority and change the constitution to not allow a seating president to be prosecuted.


As for the option of a permanent stay in prosecution a friend had this to say,

I don’t think a permanent stay of prosecution is the answer. You need to understand that we have a Constitution to protect here. South Africa is country that prides itself on the values as enshrined in the Constitution. We cannot let Zuma go simply because we are afraid of what his supporters will do. If we are going to let Zuma go we will be sending a wrong information not only to other people accused of crime but to the world and that will do wonders for our economy. We cannot be intimidated by a bunch of people who think they can run a country like they run their households. You may say this is not realistic but just think of the effect this will have on us. The eyes are on us, everyone is waiting to see the outcome of this thing. They can fight and even kill people, it will still not change the fact that Zuma (must be brought to book). We cannot have people thinking they are above the law. If the prosecution is stayed, then this [is] exactly what will be happening. Read the full 155 page judgement click here

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ANC is its own worst enemy

As much as the ANC managed to pull a historic landmark, where a seating president was defeated, this is a very rare phenomenon any where in the world, because cadres tend to be very afraid of state presidents, due to obvious reasons a case in point is Zimbabwe. However instead of the ANC consolidating its victories, it started creating its own problems, concerning bargaining deals it made prior and post Polokwane conference.
The following issues and many other critical issues have led to the demise of the movement. This document looks at those critical issues which are a challenge to the organisation under the following subheadings:

1. The composition of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and NWC.
2. Provincial, Regional conferences and branch meetings.


3. The Mangaung conference, Julius and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
4. The Recalling of former President Thabo Mbeki as Head of State.
5. Western Cape.

6. Lastly.


More than 50% of its NEC members are new to the NEC or any structure of this nature, thus closing any room for continuity and transition; again most of them are juniors (post 1994 politicians) to the movement.



Yes we do agree change was obligatory but this is not an excuse for flooding its highest decision making body with political infants thus compromising and crippling vital and constructive nation building decisions. The majority of these characters were just parachuted to this committee without any research or consultation; others were rewarded with these high profile positions for the mere reason of lobbing certain constituencies.


Now the NEC has turned into a mere dialogue + – 20 individuals, and once again collective leadership has been compromised.

Lately provincial and regional conferences have turned into absolute war zones, where instead of marshals, armed policeman and soldiers must be deployed to guard it against its own members. Meeting doors are locked and gates are constantly patrolled and inside those premises it’s absolute turmoil and anarchism is the order of the day. There’s a growing trend of 2 lists for contestation of leadership positions, meaning the members go to every congress as a wounded and a divided organisation.



Lately factionalism has even manifested itself into its grassroots branch structures, ordinary rank and file members belong to certain factions, in actual fact a branch of + – 120 members has a “Zuma and a Mbeki camp, What is that?. Factions, cliques and cabals are surfacing ubiquitously. The organisation is forcing its members to defect to the opposition parties a case in point is Sello Moloto.  The accusations that the members are labeling against each other such as traitors awaiting to defect to COPE is playing right into COPE’s hands or rather strategy.  


The ANC leadership that is the top 3 NEC posts incumbents are confusing the public sending too many contradictory messages, competing for publicity trying to look good to the public (thanks to their future aspirations) instead of communicating with media through appropriate structures. These leaders are playing right into some media traps to make the organisation look like a circus. One wonders, what was the point of employing Jessie Duarte and her entourage of media people if the ANC is not going to use them. 
This is a crisis and it needs burning attention, leadership and direction.



We are not going to dwell too much on this one due to the following 3 reasons.
• The sensitivity of this issue
• Lack of research on our side
• Our huge respect for Comrade Jacob Zuma and Comrade Thabo Mbeki.

This was one of the most drastic decisions of the movement since 1912, and it will go down into history as the move that tremendously dented the once famous liberation movement. “O.R.”, ZK MATHEWS, Inkosi u JOHN LANGALIBALELE DUBE and other liberation stalwarts must be turning in their graves, let alone Iisithwalandwe UTATA UMANDELA.



What a mess! Procedural and behavioural flaws let alone the premature election of Julius Malema, who has been parachuted all the way from Cosas to the Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and lastly to its national structures.



The whole conference was in tatters, from dodgy branches to self deployed power hungry cadres with no branch mandates. Commissions were hijacked and all plenary sessions were ruled by anarchy. Sasco comrades were marginalised and branded as campus comrades and once again the vacuum of political education was evident. It’s not surprising that this circus was suspended.


Fair enough another event was scheduled but in order to maintain a status quo cadres resorted to yester year soccer tactics, where if a game was suspended in the 86th minute due to whatever reason, we schedule another date and play the remaining 4 minutes. The conference continued as if it were still in Bloemfontein. The issue of the flawed election was not even entertained, as for other blunders they were all swept under the carpet.



Crisis, Crisis, Crisis. JZ calls it an interesting Province, we disagree this is the ANC’s worst problematic, difficult and hostile province. The ANC has allowed this beautiful province to be managed in a Taxi association style.


Factions, cliques and cabals have manifested themselves in such a way that its members can’t even say one word in an ordinary branch meeting without being aligned with a certain faction. The organisation is being run by individuals, unfortunately ordinary masses align themselves with the organisation, not individuals, and in the absence of leadership and direction, they will easily vote for the opposition and the ANC’s loyal traditional followers would rather stay at home on election day.


Should the ANC lose this province, it will have no one to blame but itself. Considering the current developments it’s actually hand delivering the province to the opposition. A clear example is its recent blunder of failing to submit its candidates on time to the IEC for the upcoming by-elections.


The movement should clean its house quickly, before it turns what was once the greatest Liberation movement in Africa into a petty political party. History has thought us that, organisations and individuals who were once the nation’s greatest heroes and patriots can turn into our greatest villains for example Angola, DRC and most recently Zimbabwe. The ANC should not allow this to happen in its organisation.
It’s time it revisits the principles of its NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION (NDR) and not just preach them, practice them, review the strategy and tactics document and its fundamental guidelines.



It has also turned a blind eye into bread and butter issues such as macro economic policies, development finance, the Reconstruction and Development Program and other pro-poor policies that use to be the blueprint of the organisation.


Next year’s elections might look far way when in fact they are too close considering the current challenges the organisation is facing.


Co-authored by:

  1. Sipho January, Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Schools Media Outreach Projects Coordinator and,
  2. Sikelela Zumana – Sasco’s former Education and transformation chair as well as fomer ANCYL’s Phahamang branch chairperson.


Both wrote this in their personal capacities.


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When ANC wins elections, who’ll be the official opposition party?

A lot of focus has been thinking about how Shikota party (break-away party) will dent ANC’s election victory and less about who will be the official opposition party.

The way I see it, it’s either the ANC will get a significant win or will be dented by the break-away party. In the case where the ANC wins elections which we all know it will. Amongst the alternative parties (and there’re more than 102 political parties registered with IEC), who will be the official opposition?

Could it be the Shikota, DA, UDM or other? Could it be that the DA will grow or should they have embraced or offered a home for the Mbeki’tes through offering senior positions for the disappointed i.e. Lekota or Shilowa, of cause DA would have had to sacrifice some of their senior members’ positions to do this. Currently I’m still confused about how their parliamentarian job offers http://www.thetimes.co.za/Careers/Article.aspx?id=860230 will work for them? but let’s hope it has something up its sleeve.

The test for the possible new party will be this weekend, to see if whether it has what it takes to further dent the ruling party, it is certainly milking the ruling party off its intellectual capacity slowly but surely.
So far the UDM has gained from the defects and it remains to be seen how many more will leave their paid jobs for Shikota or UDM.

My prediction so far is that ANC will win elections by just above 50% or by a huge margin, depending on who will people sympathise with next year;  Zuma, Mbeki or Shikota). We have to face it that there are a lot more people who will vote for any of the sides that Mbeki chooses to vote for in the name of sympathy with the way he was recalled. Mbeki has a lot of people watching him closely waiting for his next move so they can ‘follow’. 

As for opposition party this will be a hot contested terrain between DA and Shikota…my pen will be waiting for the victor and of cause for the loser too. It will be a sad day when the results come out.

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