Friday, November 25, 2011

Southside FM Radio - Cultural Evening Sat February 25 2012

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The new community radio station, Southside FM Radio, will broadcast from the premises of the Merebank Tamil School Society(MTSS) sometime early in the new year.
A senior official of Southside FM, Mr Balan Gounder, who is also chairperson of the MTSS, said in a statement that the MTSS had decided to make the premises available because Southside FM was seen as an important and vital cultural vehicle for the south Indian-origin community.
"We are currently in the process of sealing off a large office for the construction of the studio and other facilities," said Mr Gounder.
He said in preparation for the launch of the radio station, the Southside Management Committee would hold a major cultural evening at the MTSS on Saturday, February 25 next year.
"At the function we will inform our supporters, sponsors and donors about our progress and the launch plans.
"Important stakeholders have come on board and we are planning the launch to coincide with the Tamil and Telugu New Years in April next year if everything goes according to plan.
"We have been working very hard over the past two years and were granted our radio licence recently. We are happy to report that all our efforts are finally paying off," said Mr Gounder.
He said although Southside FM Radio was a Non-Profit Organisation it would be operated strictly on business lines.
"We would strive to be self-sufficient."
He added: "In addition to providing a channel for the promotion of the social, cultural, traditional, and lingustic needs of the community, the radio station will also act as a beacon and moral voice.
"It will be a progressive voice that will promote morals, values and principles that are sorely lacking generally in South African society today."
He said they were currently in final negotiations with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa(ICASA) about the frequency that they would use. The coverage would include areas in and around Durban, up to Stanger on the north coast, Park Rynie on the south and Pietermaritzburg in the West.
ICASA had granted Southside FM a community licence for five years a few months ago.
"After we launch we will apply to extend our service to Port Shepstone, Ladysmith-Newcastle-Dundee region, Johannesburg-Pretoria area, Cape Town and finally Port Elizabeth-East London."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Indians or not" in South Africa

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The position of South Africans of Indian origin came up once again recently when Julius Malema as leader of the ANC Youth League made a derogatory remark against the community while addressing a meeting near Lenasia in Johannesburg.
It's not known what his exact words were when he addressed some residents of Tembalihle but he was reported as saying that their children should also go to school with the children of the "amakulas".
The "amakula" term is generally seen as a swear word in the same vein as "kaffir" and "coolie". These were terms used during the days of apartheid to describe African and Indian people in a disparaging manner.
Malema has since been suspended for five years by an ANC Disciplinary Committee for bringing the ANC into disrepute on issues completely different to the "slur" against people of Indian origin.
He has apologised for making the "amakula" remark and has also held a private discussion with the South African Minority Equality Movement in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, November 15. He issued another apology during this meeting.
The SAMEM had laid a charge against Malema and the two groups had met in an attempt to resolve the matter.
The Malema "slur" follows in the wake of a statement by Chief Government spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, that "Indian" people work their way to the top through what he implied "bribery and other malpractices".
The latest development around Malema also comes at a time when many young people of Indian origin have complained of being marginalised in semi-state industrial institutions such as Escom and Transnet. Many of them have stated that because of the policy of "affirmative action" and demographics they are being discriminated and robbed of being selected for jobs in government departments and semi-state institutions.
The tragedy of the debate around Malema now is that the print and electronic media, especially radio, have reported about the controversy without really identifying who are South Africans and who are "Indians".
The national radio station, SAFM, for instance repeatedly used the word "Indians" in its reports and then in what was seen as a rectification, on a few occasions on Wednesday, November 16 referred to the community as "people of Indian origin". But sadly the news reader in later bulletins once again used the term "Indians".
The first reaction of those who participated in the struggles against apartheid and oppression is that it seems that certain members of the media have failed to play a developmental and educational role even 17 years after the advent of our new non-racial democracy. There seems to be very little political awareness among some journalists and news readers of the political background and the new non-racial situation.
It must be pointed out that more than 150 years after the arrival of Indian indentured labourers to South Africa in 1860, their descendants are now an integral part of the new South Africa and are not "Indians". While they strongly and proudly practice and promote their cultures, traditions, languages and religions, they are South Africans first and foremost who should be described as people of "Indian origin".
They are not "Indians". Indians are in India and those Indians who are in South Africa are Indian nationals who are here on business or contracted to work on special visas. They came to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 and after India and South Africa formally established diplomatic links in the aftermath of the election of our new non-racial government.
After contributing and sacrificing significantly to the creation of our new non-racial and democratic South Africa, no community, let alone people of "Indian origin", should be made to feel that they are "outsiders".
Statements by the likes of the Malemas and the Jimmy Manyis were responsible for genocides in many countries around the world, including Rwanda, where more than a million people were slaughtered in the civil war between the Hutus and the Tsutsis.
There was also turmoil in Uganda where Idi Amin conducted a war of terror against "Indians" and was responsible for the flight of Ugandan "Indians" to England, Canada, United States and other parts of the world.
The likes of the Malemas and Jimmy Manyis must understand (they say that they are politically mature and aware) that people of "Indian" origin, like other citizens, are full South Africans and should be accorded, according to our new non-racial and democratic constitution, full rights without any special privileges.
They are not "Indians". Indians are in India. ends -
(Marimuthu Subramoney (aka Subry Govender) is a retired radio and print journalist who is now spearheading the launch of the community radio station, Southside FM Radio.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cleaning our streets and suburbs must be our contribution in averting climate change catastrophe

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

Durban is being spruced up once again. This time it is to ensure that the city and its surrounding areas look neat and tidy when delegates from around the world descend for the Cop17 Climate conference in three weeks time.

Municipal workers and contractors are busy along the coast - especially in and around the city, along the M4 towards Umhlanga, Umdloti, Umhlali, Ballito and other areas on the North Coast. A similar situation prevails on the south coast.

What a pleasing scene to see our highways, coastal roads and suburbs like Umhlanga Rocks clean and tidy?

But what about areas like Tongaat, Verulam, Phoenix, Ottawa, Waterloo, Hambanathi, Gwala's Farm, Umbhayi, Sea Tides, and La Mercy. Municipal workers are seen picking up litter and other garbage but whether they do their jobs properly is another matter altogether.

And the tragedy that has become part of our daily lives is that the residents of our different suburbs and those who descend on towns like Tongaat, Verulam and Shakaskraal don't have or have very little pride in the environment. We tend to throw our rubbish everywhere without any concern whatsoever.

Passengers in motor vehicles and taxis also throw beer cans, coke tins, alcohol containers, empty chips packets and other wrappings into the streets and on the roads. They too have very little appreciation of the environment.

Then we have huge industries that pollute our atmosphere. The people of the south Durban region will attest to the dangers of this pollution to the environment.

We also have people who visit our beaches for a day out also throwing their left overs without any thought of the environmental damage they cause.

Organisations such as the Keep Tongaat Beautiful Association and its Verulam equivalent try to promote the protection of the environment but it seems they are fighting a losing battle.

It's hoped that all the tamasha during the Cop 17 climate conference will generate some interest in us to clean and protect our environment.

The Minister of International Relations, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in preparing for the Durban conference has told role players around the world that protecting the environment was one of the ways in which climatic change could be tackled.

It's hoped that the Minister and her Government have put in place plans to educate and mobilise our people about the catastrophic impacts of climate change and why it's necessary for us to ensure that our suburbs, streets, CBDs and roads are free of litter, rubbish and other thrash.

It's only through educational measures that we will be able to protect our environment and avert the certain climate change catastrophe.

If we want to save Tomorrow for our children then we must start Today.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



INTRO : November 2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the arrival of our forefathers from India to work on the sugar plantations of the then Natal. They were recruited as indentured labourers and had to work as semi-slaves in order to make a home for themselves and their children in South Africa.
Most of the arrivals were from South India - especially Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Despite their hardships, they kept alive their rich cultures, languages and traditions.
Today, the descendants of these indentured labourers make up more than 54 percent of the more than 1,3-million people of Indian origin in South Africa.

PROGRESS : Most of the descendants of indentured labourers have through their own fortitude and determination made tremendous strides over the past 150 years. They have migrated from the sugar plantations to urban centres of towns and cities all over the country.
Many people have become professionals, business people and are in all types of trades.

SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT : The descendants of indentured labourers have also made significant contributions to the social, sporting, economic, educational and political struggles over the past 150 years.
The names of Dr Monty Naicker, Dr Kesaval Goonum, Billy Nair and countless others spring to mind.
And when in 1994 South Africa attained its political freedom, Indian-origin South Africans also celebrated the establishment of the new non-racial democracy.

POST 1994 : While the Government has done a lot to allow the country's cultural groups to promote their cultures and languages, we in the south Indian-origin community have not taken advantage of this.
In this regard we have relied too much on Lotus FM but this station treats the south Indian-origin community with contempt. They believe that they are doing us a favour by playing Tamil and Telugu music and songs.

NEED FOR A SOUTH INDIAN RADIO STATION: Sixteen years into our new South Africa, there's a dire need for a South Indian Radio station, especially at a time when we have observed the 150th anniversary of the arrival of our forefathers and mothers from India as indentured labourers.
There are more than 550 000 people who could trace their ancestory to South India. Although a good number of people have converted to Christianity, their home language or mother tongue nevertheless still remains Tamil or Telugu.
This is a big population that a South Indian radio station could serve.

PROPOSAL : The South Indian radio station could eventually be national in character to serve people especially in KZN, Gauteng, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

The headquarters of the station could be Durban. The Merebank Tamil School Society(MTSS) in Durban has agreed to provide us with premises to braodcast from.

FUNDING : We have registered as a non-profit organisation to be responsible for the Radio Station. Role players within the Tamil and Telugu communities, societies, business people and individuals have already started contributing to the launch of the radio station. The South African Tamil Federation has already made a donation of R55 000. The SATF has promised us more money as we progress.

PROGRAMMES : The South Indian Radio station will be a fully fledged radio station - providing music, news, current affairs and talk shows with special emphasis to developments within the South Indian-origin community - Tamil and Telugu.

PERSONNEL : The station will be run by a manager and staff - who will be made up mainly of free-lance presenters and cadet reporters. The station will be run by a Management Committee. This committee currently comprises: Mr Subry Govender (chairperson); Mrs Thirupurasundrie Govender (secretary); Ms Keresha Govender (treasurer); Mr Balan Gounder, Mr Swaminathan Gounden, Mr Richard Naidoo, Mr Bala Naidoo (KZN Tamil Federation); Mr Morgan Nadasen (Tamil Business Forum); Mr Micky Chetty (SATF). Others Mr Sagie Naidoo and Mr Richard Govender.

INITIATOR : Subry Govender, who retired from the SABC two years ago, has worked very hard along with his Management Committee members over the past two years to register Southside FM Radio as a NPO (089 - 426) and to obtain the radio licence. We are currently negotiating to finalise our frequency.


Business Name : Southside FM Non-Profit Organisation

NPO Number : 080 - 774

Physical Address : MTSS
---------------------------- Durban

Postal Address : P.O. Box 486
------------------------- Verulam 4340

Tel : 031 - 568 1309

Cell : 082 376 9053

Email :

Name of Members

1. Mr Marimuthu Subramoney
Address : 49 Bellamont Gardens, 91 Bellamont Road, Umdloti, 4350

Identity Number : 461215 5020 08 2
Tel : (031 - 568 1309)
Cell : 082 376 9053
Initiator of Project and Chairman
Veteran Journalist

2. Mr Swaminathan Gounden
Address : 58 Pastoral Road Asherville Durban 4091
Identity Number : 2712165074087
Tel : 031 - 2080292
Cell :
Former Anti-apartheid activist

3. Mr Balan Govender
Address : 107 Hawaan View
88 Lagoon Drive
Umhlanga Rocks 4319
Idenity Number : 3104295048083
Tel : 031 - 5612696
Cell : 083 532 5126
Cultural leader
Chairman of the Merebank Tamil School Society

4. Mrs Thirupurisundri Govender
Address : 46 Dickens Road, Bellair, Queensburgh, Durban.
Identity Number : 7102170120080
Tel :
Cell : 084 449 1033
Tamil School teacher and Secretary

5. Ms Kalaivani Keresha Govender
Address: 74 Watsonia Drive
ID No : 8104240186082
Tel : 032 - 9444023
Cell : 079 493 0603
email :
Cultural leader and Talent Acquisition Practitioner

6. Venketas Adiah Naidoo
aka Richard Naidoo
Address : 62 Tyger Avenue
Greenwood Park
Durban 4051
ID No : 480608 5027 080
Tel : 031 - 573 2758
Cell : 082 554 0530
email :
Council member of the Andhra Maha Sabha of South Africa
Community and Cultural leader

7. Mr Bala Naidoo
Deputy President
KZN Tamil Federation

8. Mr Morgan Nadasen
Tamil Business Forum

9. Mr Micky Chetty
SA Tamil Federation

The members of Southside FM Radio Non-Profit Organisation(NPO) decided to
establish a radio station in order to promote the cultural,
traditional, linguistic, social, and religious needs of those South
Africans whose mother tongues are Tamil and Telugu.
We also felt that since 2010 will be the 150th anniversary of the arrival of
our indentures forefathers and mothers from India we have to do
something to recoginise their struggles. Our forefathers were treated
like slaves even though they were brought down to work on the
sugar plantations as indentured labourers.
We strongly believe the Southside FM Radio will be a huge success
because there's a dire need for a radio station to serve the cultural,
linguistic, traditional, social and religious needs of the South
Indian-origin community. According to research, of the more than
1,4-million people of Indian-origin in South Africa, more than
650 000 people have their mother tongues as Tamil and Telugu.
In the course of our interaction with the community regarding
the establishment of such a radio station, we have found that the people
are very very enthusiastic and looking forward to such a station.
The response all over the country has been: "It's long overdue."

Southside FM, when granted a community radio licence, will broadcast music, talk shows, dramas, news, and current affairs. The station will operate from 6am to 9pm on weekdays; 6am to 12 mid-night on Saturday; and 6am to 9pm on Sunday. We will be providing a unique product to the target audience - comprising mainly more than 650 000 people who have Tamil and Telugu as their mother tongues.

The radio station will comprise:
i). Editor/Manager
ii). Secretary/Financial Controller
iii). 6 presenters working three hour shifts from 6am to 9pm on weekday.
7 presenters working three hour shifts from 6am to 12 mid-night on
6 presenters on Sunday from 6am to 9pm
iv. Advertising Representative

We will be using the following equipment for our broadcast pruposes:

i. MIXING DESK - 12 channels(eight of them stereo channels). We could get a RM 100 which costs about R120 000.
ii). TWO good quality mikes. About R2 000 each (R4 000).
iii). FOUR headphones. About R500 each (R2 000)
iv). TWO SPEAKERS OR MONITORS in the studio. About R2000 each (R4000).
v). THREE CD Players (R6 000)
vi). COMPUTER FOR playing music (R6 000) - Compurt
vii). Two office computers (R5 000 each - R10 000)
OR ISDN LINES and UNIT (R40 000).

The initiator of this project, Mr Marimuthu Subramoney, has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years. During the dark days of apartheid, Mr Subramoney, who is also known as Subry Govender, kept the outside world informed about the struggles of the people through his reports to BBC, Radio Nederlands, Radio Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, American Public Radio, Pacifica National News in Washington, WHUR News in Washington, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Zimbabwean Broadcastin Corporation, Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He joined the SABC in June 1994 and retired after 15 years in October 2009. He has tremendous knowledge of the workings of a radio station and will use his immense experience and knowledge to run the station.He will train presenters and reporters. He will also train marketing people and advertisement representatives to make the station a success.

Our target audience is all people within the South Indian-origin community and others who care to listen. According to various research and analysis, there are more than 650 000 people in South Africa who can trace their mother tongues to Tamil and Telugu. This is a huge market.
A significant percentage of the people have become professionals and business entrepreneurs. We believe that we will be able to tap on this market for advertisements to make our radio station self-sufficient.

Southside FM Radio, being a community radio, will employ a sales representative who will sell advertisements to any prospective business or business person seeking the market we are going to cater for.
We will make the advertising price competitive so that we will be able to retain the advertisers over a long term period.

Southside FM Radio, based in Durban, will cover the Durban Metro region, the north coast, south coast, Pietermaritzburg region and the northern Natal area of KwaZulu-Natal. The initiators of the station also have plans to broadcast to the Johannesburg-Pretoria region; the Port Elizabeth area; and Cape Town.
The initiators hope to reach a significant percentage of the more than 650 000 people who have Tamil and Telugu as their mother tongue.

1. Manager/Editor
2. Telephonist/Secretary
3. Assistant/Financial Controller
4. Advertising Representative
5. Weekday 5 Free-lance
presenters - 6am to 9am
9am to 12pm
12pm to 3pm
3pm to 6pm
6pm to 9pm

4. Saturday 6 Free-Lance
presenters - 6am to 9am
9am to 12pm
12pm to 3pm
3pm to 6pm
6pm to 9pm
9pm to 12

5. Sunday 5 Free-lance
presenters - 6am to 9am
9am to 12pm
12pm to 3pm
3pm to 6pm
6pm to 9pm

The following equipment is needed for broadcast purposes:
1. MIXING DESK - 12 channels(eight of them stereo channels). We could get a RM 100 which costs about R120 000.
2. TWO good quality mikes. About R2 000 each (R4 000).
3. FOUR headphones. About R500 each (R2 000)
4. TWO SPEAKERS OR MONITORS in the studio. About R2000 each (R4000).
5. THREE CD Players (R6 000)
6. COMPUTER FOR playing music (R6 000) - Compurt
7. Two office computers (R5 000 each - R10 000)

ISDN LINES and UNIT (R40 000).

Approx Total R190 000
Licence Registration 10 000
R2000 - 00

1. Rental R2 000 - 00 (pm)
2. Telephone R10 000 - 00 (pm)
3. Office Expenses R 3 000 - 00(pm)
4. Electricity R 5 000 - 00(pm)
5. Office Secretary
Retainer R1 000 - 00(pm)
6. Assistant/Accountant R1 000 - 00(pm)
7. Free-lance
Presenters Subsistence
allowance 5 weekday R5 000 - 00(pm)
8. Saturday - 6 Retainers 600 - 00(pm)
9. Sunday - 5 retainers 500 - 00(pm)
10. Fuel Allowance R5 000 - 00(pm)
11. ICASA Licence Fee 10 000 - 00(pm)
Total R63 500 - 00
PLUS incidental expenses 36 500 - 00
R100 000 - 00

The advertising representative will work on a commission basis. The percentage will have to mutually agreed upon with the person we appoint.

1. Equipment R 200 000
2. Office Furniture R 5 300

Total R325 300

The expenses, therefore, will be:
1. Initial expenses R335 000
2. Monthly expenses 100 000
3. Advertising
and promotional
expenses 50 000-00
R485 000-00

In addition to the funding we will raise ourselves, we will apply to the Development Media Agency for funding to meet our costs. This can only be done once we are established as a NPO.

The contents and programmes of the radio station must be devised after consultations with all role players from the Telugu and Tamil communities. For example - the programme content could include in addition to music, news and current affairs - talks shows on issues of interest and value to the community; Telugu and Tamil language classes; Telugu and Tamil serials; the values and morals of the two communities; tolerance for fellow humans irrespective of race, class, creed, language, or culture; service to humanity; and a list of other social, cultural and moral issues.


Fixed costs: Amount
Premises rental
R2 000
20 000
5 000
2 000
Advertising and promotion
Loan repayments
Electricity/ Water
R1 000
Other R20 000
R50 000


Income Cash in Expenses Cash out
Advertising sales R60 000 Fixed costs R50 000
Credit sales Variable costs
Total income R60 000 Total expenses R50 000
Profit / loss R10 000

The Southside FM Radio, although a Non-Profit Organisation, will aim to be self-sufficient through the sales of advertisement.
In addition to providing a channel for the promotion of the social, cultural, traditional, lingustic and religious needs of the community, the radio station will act as a BEACON and MORAL VOICE.
It will be a progressive force and promote morals, values and principles that are sorely lacking generally in South African society today.

Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)
Chairperson, Southside FM Radio Project

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Racism should not be part of the new non-racial democracy

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The claims of racism and discrimination at the Verulam Testing Ground are of serious concern.
We have highlighted the claims because we firmly believe that in the new non-racial and democratic South Africa no person should be discriminated or abused because of his or her skin colour or because of language, culture, religious and other differences.
Verulam, Tongaat and the North Coast region in general have always been in the forefront of the struggles against racism and apartheid. We were blessed with leaders of the calibre of Billy Nair, Mewa Ramgobin, Ms Ela Gandhi, George Sewpersadh, I C Meer, and scores of others who had contributed in no small measures and sacrificed their families and lives in the struggles for a racist-free society.
They never for one moment would have envisioned a situation where, only 17 years after the attainment of our freedom, that some officials would take it upon themselves to sew seeds of division and hate by displaying racist attitudes and discriminating against their fellow citizens - whatever their colour and their cultural backgrounds.
The sad situation at the Verulam Testing Ground comes at a time when racism has also become the rallying cry for some people who hold responsible positions in public life.
In one of his most recent outbursts, the leader of the ANC Youth League referred to people of Indian origin by the derogatory term "amakula". He subsequently apologised through his spokespersons but this is of no help as the climate of racial hatred has already been ignited.
In another instance, a Durban lawyer, Judge Isaac Madondo, expressed the view that an Indian-origin judge should not be considered for the the KwaZulu-Natal judge president's position because "... we still have things to address: imbalances, all kinds of things which need more insight, which a person who is not (a black) African cannot be privy to".
All the racist talk - from whatever source - is directly in contradiction with our Constitution and principles and values of great leaders such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Dr Monty Naicker and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
In all his many speeches after his release from prison in February 1990, Mandela had always maintained that our new South Africa should be a society where all people were treated equally and with respect and dignity.
In one speech after his election as President in 1994, Mandela said:
"The struggle for democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought to see this day arrive, we honour the best sons and daughters of all our people. We can count among them Africans, Coloureds, Whites, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews - all of them united by a common vision of a better life for the people of this country."
The great leader went onto say that in the new political order there shall be no discrimination whatsoever.
Mandela added: "To raise our country and its people from the morass of racism and apartheid will require determination and effort. 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.
"We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.
"This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise."
In the early days after our new dispensation many people of colour complained that they were being marginalised and treated with contempt. They complained that "in the days of apartheid we were not white enough, now we are not black enough". Many people did not take them seriously but it now seems that this is becoming the new order of the day.
It's hoped that officials in public service and those who call themselves leaders will learn from the lives of the Mandelas and not to sow seeds of division and polarise South Africans any further. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Census 2011 must be used to promote equality and not to further divide and polarise South African society

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The Census 2011 that is underway is of paramount and vital importance for the continued socio-economic development of our new non-racial and democratic South Africa.
The Census 2011, it is hoped, will provide accurate statistics about population figures, the unemployment situation, the housing backlog, and the state of our health, education and security services.
The Government needs the information so that it could plan for the next 10 years.
But, while this is a necessity and all of us must co-operate fully, there has been some disquieting developments regarding the Census in our areas.
Some residents have reported that they have been visited by Census enumerators who appear not to have been trained properly to carry out their work. These enumerators, mostly very young teenage boys and girls, fail to introduce themselves in a suitable or correct manner and merely ask the householders to fill in the forms. When they face negative responses from the people, the enumerators respond by saying they will leave the forms with the residents and return to collect them another day.
The question that residents are asking is who must fill in the forms - the enumerators or the residents?
We have been informed that enumerators are responsible for asking the questions and filling the forms.
Another point of concern raised by residents is the huge number of questions - 75 in all - that the people must respond to. In many instances - the questions appear to be unnecessary and irrelevant. It's understood that some of the questions are about your personal health and your "bank balance". Of what relevance is this?
Another question is about "race". It's not clear for what reason this question has been included but it seems that race has become an important factor for the post-apartheid Government in our national affairs. It seems that the Government wants to ensure demographic representativity in all areas of life, including government departments, private work places, educational institutions, and the economy.
While it is absolutely necessary to right the wrongs of the past and to promote equality, it's hoped that the obsession with race will not lead to further polarisation and racial discrimination of a different kind. Already many people who consider themselves to be part of the former oppressed allege deliberate marginalisation and discrimination in their work places, especially in parastatals such as Transnet, Escom, SABC and SAA.
Our quest for a prospersous and peaceful non-racial society should not be sacrificed because of our preoccupation with race.
Despite the shortcomings, we need reliable statistics to ensure that our national debate on key national and local issues are conducted in an informed manner.
The new Census must help to build the new South Africa that former President Nelson Mandela talked about in his inaugural speech on May 10 1994.
He said: "We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
"We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.
"We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the 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. "
Taking into account what former President Mandela had said, it's, therefore, incumbent on all of us to co-operate with Census enumerators so that in the end the Government will be able to use the statistics to promote the well-being of all South Africans - and not to further divide and polarise the country. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor