Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Malemas are shredding and tearing apart the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his comrades

"As a government, the ANC will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede, the awesome task of reconstruction and development of our battered society. "...... This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise." - Nelson Mandela in May 1994.

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

Seventeen years ago on May 9 1994 when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the new democratic president of the country, he not only committed his new government to creating peace and reconciliation, but he also made it abundantly clear that new policies would be introduced to bring about bring about socio-economic changes for the majority.
Among other things, he said: "As a government, the ANC will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede, the awesome task of reconstruction and development of our battered society.
"...... This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise."
Since then Mandela has repeatedly, until his retirement five years later, stated that the ANC Government and its leaders and members will first and foremost work to improve the quality of life of the masses - the poor, marginalised and the disadvantaged.
One of the measures the ruling ANC introduced was called BEE or Black Economic Empowerment. This measure gave preference to the majority black people in so far as government contracts at the national, provincial and local government was concerned.
As a result over the past decade or so, many thousands have empowered themselves economically but sadly many of the people who capitalised and became beneficiaries of BEE belong to the political elite, their families, friends and hangers-on.
It's in this context that the political leader, Julius Malema, who claims he's working to uplift the poor and the disadvantaged, currently finds himself.
Cutting out all the frills, Malema, who is also the president of the ANC Youth League and who has aspirations of one day occupying the president's seat, is alleged to be using his political clout to amass tens of millions of unbegotten wealth as exposed by the City Press and other newspapers at the weekend.
The devastating reports about his lavish life were published despite his attempts to block the publication of the reports through an application to the Guateng High Court.
It's alleged he has used his political position to obtain government contracts for his friends and business associates and inturn he has been paid huge amounts, which he has channelled into his trust account, Ratanang Family Trust, of which he is the sole trustee.
This, many role players is nothing but CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION AND CORRUPTION.
Malema it seems cannot account for his millions as, in his own words, he earns "above R20 000" a month from the ANC.
Questions have already been asked how could he afford a R3,6-million house in Sandown which he has now broken down to build a R16-million mansion; a R1-million house in Polokwane; and a farm in Limpopo, for which he has paid R800 000 in cash.
He also drives around in luxury cars, some of them valued at more than R1-million; sports watches that are worth more than R250 000; wears designer clothes valued at tens of thousands of rand; eats at super luxury restaurants and drinks the most expensive wines.
Malema, in his usual boorish attitude, has tried to rubbish questions about his wealth by adopting a defensive attitude. He told journalists last week: "It's none of your business... you must mind your own business."
Malema, who wants to nationalise mines and confiscate land from whites, further astonished South Africans when he said: "One of the things I have learnt in my short life in politics is the ability to live in the conditions of capitalism while fighting it and defeating it."
The tragedy of the Malema drama is that he's not the only political leader to use his position and staus to further his financial interests. It's reported that scores, if not hundreds, of political leaders at all levels in almost every corner of the country have used and are continuing to use their positions to rake in millions in cash or are funnelling into bank accounts of families, extended family members and friends.
In this mad rush to gain from capitalism while at the same time "fighting it and defeating it", the millions of the poor and the ordinary people, that Malema claims on whose behalf he has entered politics, continue to wallow in increasing poverty, unemployment and joblessness.
The Malemas have not only tarnished the heritage of Nelson Mandela and the Oliver Tambos, Walter Sisulus, Govan Mbekis, Monty Naickers and Yusuf Dadoos but have also shredded and ripped apart their legacy.
For this travesty the Malemas must be called to account and pay. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nelson Mandela - a "humble servant" that many ANC leaders find difficult to emulate

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

While all of us are caught up in the euphoria of South Africa's first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, celebrating his 93 birthday on Monday, July 18, I want to take you back to the memorable day on February 11, 1990 when he was released from 27 years in prison.
Nine days earlier, the last white president of South Africa, Mr F W de Klerk, astounded South Africans and the world at large when on February 2, 1990 he made some amazing pronouncements. He first announced that the ANC, PAC and scores of other organisations would be unbanned with immediate effect and then went onto announce that the symbol of the freedom struggle, Nelson Mandela, would be released from prison unconditionally on February 11, 1990.
Hundreds of foreign and local journalists, including this correspondent, descended on Cape Town a few days earlier to witness the historic event. Scores of political activists, members of the United Democratic Front, the Release Mandela Committee and the Welcome Home Mandela Committee, headed by Cyril Ramaphosa, were also present to receive the political icon.
Soon after he was released from Victor Verster Prison, he was met by his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, other leaders and a sea of television crews, photographers and journalists.
He was debriefed by Ramaphosa and his committee members and immediately driven to the Grand Parade in the centre of Cape Town where more than 30 000 wildly-cheering people awaited him.
He was greeted by shouts of "Viva Mandela,Viva" and the singing of freedom songs. When Mandela climbed the platform with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the huge crowd erupted into spontaneous singing, dancing and some even shedding tears of joy.
When Mandela began to address the highly-jubilant and happy crowd, he immediately adopted a conciliatory tone that was to be his political message for the rest of his political life until his retirement in 1999.
He started off by paying tribute to the people for making his release possible.
He said: "I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices has made it possible for me to be here today. I, therefore, place my remaining years of my life in your hands."
He then surprised many people in the huge crowd when he described Mr De Klerk, the white leader who made his release possible, as a "man of integrity". There were many in the huge crowd who showed their displeasure by hissing and making unkind remarks against De Klerk.
But Mandela went on.
"Mr De Klerk," the newly-released Mandela said, "has gone further than any other National Party president in taking real steps to normalise the situation".
"It must be added that Mr De Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honouring his undertaking."
At the same time, however, he called on the people not to let their guard down and to continue the political struggles until South Africa was free. But he made it clear that South Africa was a non-racial country and that the new South Africa should be free of racism and offer equal opportunities for all people.
In this regard, he had this message for the people: "In conclusion, I wish to go to my own words during my trial in 1964. They are as true today as they were then. I quote 'I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die'."
Soon after delivering what most observors considered to be a conciliatory and all-embracing message, Mr Mandela was whisked away to the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu where he addressed the media.
In his address to the local and foreign journalists, he not only thanked the media for always promoting his release and freedom but also re-iterated that he wanted to see the creation of a new South Africa where all citizens would be treated equally without any discrimination whatsoever, where race discrmination and domination would be a thing of the past.
Mandela, thereafter, pursued the unity theme throughout the negotiations process from 1990 to 1994, and for the next five years after he was installed as the country's first democratic president after the first democratic elections on April 27, 1994.
On the day of his inauguration as president on May 9, 1994, he said:
"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another. We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world."
And when he addressed the newly-elected democratic parliament in Cape Town on May 25, 1994, he once again emphasised the importance of building a new South Africa where all people would feel at home.
He told the new parliamentarians: "Our single most important challenge is, therefore, to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual. We must construct that people-centred society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political liberties and the human rights of all our citizens."
And when he formed his first democratic Government, Mandela was all-inclusive. He ensured that all the communities were represented in his Cabinet. He travelled the length and breadth of South Africa, speaking to different cultural and religious groups, re-assuring them that group and individual rights were protected in the new non-racial and democratic South Africa.
In one address in Durban in November 1994, Mandela gave an assurance that no cultural group or individual should feel insecure and that they should become part of the mainstream.
"Let us all join together regardless of the colour of our skin, the language we speak at home and the religion we confess and together do what our country and all its children cry out for to build one nation, inspired by a common patriotism and love for the rich diversity of cultures which is our common heritage."
Nelson Mandela, despite being imprisoned for 27 years and being hounded, banned and made to feel a "criminal" in the 67 years of his service to the struggles for freedom and liberty, has never wavered from this devotion to non-racialism, equality and democracy. His life has been an inspiration to all South Africans and the world at large. They are values that he had passed onto to Thabo Mbeki after only serving five years and stepping down from office in 1999.
But, unfortunately, 21 years after his release and 17 years after the ANC has been in power, many people within the ANC appear to have forgotten the ideals, values and principles that Mandela had struggled and sacrificed 67 years of his life for.
Today, it appears, it's more about how some of the people could use the organs of power to enrich themselves. They have no interest in Mr Mandela's propogation of a non-racial and democratic South Africa where all people could live in peace and harmony.
It seems Mr Mandela is a "hard act" to follow.
After his release and during his five years in office as President Mr Mandela has visited India, among other countries, on several occasions. During his visit to India in 1995, he was feted as a "Mahatma" and compared to Mahatma Gandhi because he brought freedom to South Africa just as Gandhi unchained the people of India from British colonialism.
On his 93rd birthday, it, therefore, seems appropriate that because of his role in South Africa he should be honoured by being referred to as Mahatma Mandela or "Saint" Mandela.
This is our tribute to him. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Greater co-operation with police is needed to tackle the high crime rate

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

Violent crime in South Africa has taken its toll on many families and communities over the past two decades. Almost every other family has been affected in some way or the other by brutal murders, car hijackings, house robberies, business hold-ups, cash-in-transit heists and other violent crimes.

In many instances, the killers and violent robbers have escaped scot free and victims have not been informed of whether those responsible for the dire deeds have been brought to book or not.

The new non-racial and democratic Government had at first been somewhat lax in tackling the run-away crime. But over the past decade or so, the new Government has set up a number of measures in an attempt to make residential areas and CBDs a much safer place.

One of the measures introduced was the establishment of Community Police Forums and sub structures as a means of promoting co-operation between the Police and communities to tackle the crime situation. In Tongaat, the Tongaat Community Policing Forum(TCPF) was set up together with a number of local police forums in the different residential areas.

While for some time there has been a cordial and effective working relationship between the Police and the TCPF, this harmonious relationship has now degenerated where certain officials of the TCPF and one or two so-called community leaders have embarked on a campaign to vilify and criticise the local police officers for allegedly "not doing their jobs properly".

Just last week, some of the TCPF officials and "community leaders" went on an offensive, attacking and criticising the police at a South Sector Police Forum meeting.

This estranged relationship follows the sacking of two officials on March 29 after it was found that their election on March 14 was unconstitutional. The police found that they could not serve on the TCPF because of previous "criminal convictions".

The two officials were replaced on April 4 by two other officials.

The sacked officials served a notice on the April 5 that they should be re-instated or a High Court Order would be sought. The two officials even attended a monthly meeting of the TCPF and took along with them about 60 supporters. The meeting had to be closed abruptly after the 60 supporters became disruptive.

The two officials subsequently went to the High Court which ruled that the officials should be re-instated in their positions. However, the High Court did not rule on the constitutionality of their election.

The police are still insisting that the election of the two officials are unconstitutional and, therefore, they merely want the constitution to be upheld.

This impasse has led to the local Tongaat police being vilified at every turn. The police have an unenviable task to ensure that the communities are safe from the violent criminals who roam our CBDs and the residential areas. At the moment the violent criminals are not only a threat to communities but also to the police. Since January this year alone, 48 police officers were brutally gunned down by violent criminals. Every year more than 150 police officers are killed in the line of duty.

This means that everytime the police respond to calls from members of the public they are also placing their lives at risk.

It's, therefore, imperative that there's an amicable relationship between the police and the TCPF so that the interests of the communities will be served without any fear or favour. We should not have a situation where the safety and security of tax-paying residents are compromised in any way. - Subry Govender, Editor.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rising unemployment - a ticking time-bomb?

By Marimuuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

About a week ago while walking towards our offices in Gopalal Hurbans Road, I was stopped by two young ladies who asked: "Sir, can you offer us some jobs?"
The young ladies were polite, well-spoken and bright. They also appeared to be young women who have passed their matriculation. Wanting to know more about them I asked where they were from and what kind of jobs they were interested in.
"We are from upper Tongaat and are looking for anything to do. Most of our family members are unemployed and we are having a tough time," they responded.
"We don't know what to do because wherever we go people say they don't have any vacancies."
On another occasion recently, while I was visiting the Windsor Park golf course in Durban I was approached by a middle-aged man who is employed as a supervisor at the golf course.
"Boss, boss, I wonder if you can please help me," said the man who lives in KwaMashu.
"My son finished matric in 2009 and he can't find a job. You have a lot of connections, please try to see whether you can find him a job. He will do anything. He has been looking for a job for sometime but wherever he goes people say they have no jobs.
"I don't know what to do. I am worried that he may join the wrong people."
These interactions in Tongaat and at Windsor Park serves to highlight the seriousness of unemployment in our region, province and the country in general.
Recently we had incidents in Tongaat and Verulam where local residents took to the streets to protest against contractors carrying out government jobs. They accused the contractors of not employing local labour in terms of their agreements with the government. They demanded that they should be employed and the contractors should not bring in their own people.
The situation is so acute that people looking for jobs are clearly visible almost everywhere - in town and city centres, street corners, at robots, shopping complexes, business centres and industrial bases. At most places they are faced with signs that read: "No Vacancies" or "Awukho Ntsebensi"
According to recent statistics released by Statistics South Africa, it's estimated that nearly 25 percent of people of working age or about 4,5-million are unemployed and most of the jobless are the youth.
President Jacob Zuma and his government have realised that they are sitting on a ticking "time bomb" and recently announced measures in an attempt to create jobs. President Zuma and the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, have proposed a R9-bn package dedicated to employment creation and R20-bn in incentives to manufacturing firms to create jobs.
While President Zuma and his government are trying to tackle the high unemployment rate and poverty, there seems to be a lack of consensus among role players - the government, private businesses, trade unions and the society at large - about the best way to reign in unemployment and poverty.
The incentives for manufacturing firms is a step in the right direction, but it seems that many people have lost the entrepreneurial spirit because of the labour laws that places severe restrictions on would be employers. In addition, the talk of nationalisation of mines and banks and the confiscation of land, all add to "murder" the entrepreneurial spirit among those currently in business and those who would like to pursue a career as business people.
It's clear that the government needs to encourage the entrepreneurial culture among all people instead of being held to ransom by organisations and individuals who have no idea whatsoever of how to be productive or to create jobs.
The Government needs to assist the new aspiring entrepreneurs and not the tenderpreneurs who have no vision whatsoever to create jobs, except to accumulate unbegotten wealth without expending any sweat or using their brain.
Failure to create the right conditions and climate for young and new business people to prosper and flourish and for millions of jobs to be created will be disastrous for our new non-racial democracy. The millions of jobless will not just continue to sit on the roadsides and twiddle their thumbs without becoming frustrated. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor