Wednesday, December 26, 2012

South Africans express their concerns about the health of freedom icon Nelson Mandela



Dec 26 2012

By Subry Govender

"He's done great things for our country and to see him suffering like this it's hurting."

 

 

During the dark days of the struggle against apartheid and white minority rule, South Africans used to sing vigorously, loudly and without any fear for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

Now 22 years after his release and after leading South Africans to political freedom in 1994, the people are praying that the 94-year-old freedom icon will leave a Pretoria hospital bed in a fully recovered condition. Since December 8, 2012 he has been receiving treatment for a chronic lung infection and after he had surgery to have gallstones removed.

He was not even allowed to leave hospital to spend Christmas and the rest of the festive season with his family.

"It's very sad that he's been in hospital so many times," said Ms Gabu Khuzwayo, a young woman working at a supermarket in Durban.

"We would like him to be out very soon because we really love him and adore him a lot. He's done great things for our country and to see him suffering like this it's hurting."

Ms Khuzwayo is one of several people I spoke to about Mandela's hospitalisation.

A bank employee, Mr Krishna Kuppusamy of Phoenix, said: "Nelson Mandela has been our hero and the father of the country. We are really sad that he's in hospital at the moment and we wish him the best of luck and the speediest of recovery as early as possible."

A businessman in Umhlanga, Mr Owen Davids, said Mandela made his contribution to South Africa and people worshipped him.

"We hope that Dada gets better soon and returns home to his family," he said.

"He's definitely a leader that everybody looks up to, no matter and irrespective of what colour, race or culture."

This is the second time in 2012 that Mandela has been admitted to hospital. Early in February, he was admitted to a hospital in Johannesburg for abdominal pain and lung infection.

Previously he has received treatment for an enlarged prostrate gland, tuberculosis, and an eye infection.

Since his latest hospitalisation, Mandela has been visited at least three times by President Jacob Zuma, his grand-son Mandla Mandela, his wife Mrs Graca Machel and other close members of his family.

Zuma and the Government have called on South Africans to pray for his recovery and the latest communication is that Mandela has now made some recovery.

Presidential spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, has been keeping South Africa and the world informed of Mandela's condition over the past three weeks.

"The doctors are happy with the progress that former President Mandela is making. He's been in hospital you know since the 8th of December. He's in good spirits and the doctors are quite comfortable with the way things are developing, " said Maharaj.

Asked when it was likely that the former President would be discharged from hospital, Maharaj said it was up to the doctors to make the decision.

"This is a question that is entirely in the hands of the doctors and what they have said to us is that they want to be sure that he has made sufficient progress in his recovery before they consider his discharge from hospital. I think it's something we all wish for him. We'd like him to be with his family but at the same time we would like him to recover as well as possible."

The Zuma Government has over the past three weeks been severely criticised by the media and a great many people in general for not disclosing all the details about Mandela's hospitalisation. But the Government has made it repeatedly clear that it wants to protect the former President so that he could make a full recovery without the interference of the media and other people.

The local and international media have been camping at two hospitals in Pretoria since his latest hospitalisation.

Zuma's repeated calls on South Africans to pray for Mandela's recovery has heightened fears about whether the former freedom icon will make a full recovery. Mandela still inspires South Africans and one hopes that freedom icon and first democratic president will leave hospital soon fully recovered.

LATEST UPDATE ON SOUTHSIDE FM RADIO - THE ISSUE OF A FREQUENCY CAUSING DELAYS



It has been a long, arduous, and at times frustrating year for officials and supporters of Southside FM Radio who were struggling to obtain a frequency in the Durban area to launch our cultural radio station.
Since our glorious and successful fund-raising function at the Merebank Tamil School Society Hall in Durban in February, we have made various representations, through social, business and political leaders, to ICASA for a frequency.
The untimely passing away of Minister Roy Padaychie early in 2012 also hindered our efforts to obtain a frequency.

We had to make fresh representations to the political comrades to help us in obtaining a frequency.
The situation reached such a stage that we had to take up the issue with the Communications Committee in Parliament and towards the end of the year we had been arranging to hold consultations with the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Mr Eric Kholwane, either in Durban or Cape Town. But these efforts did not prove successfull because of the non-availability of Mr Kholwane.
However, arrangements for us to meet Mr Kholwane at Manguang during the ANC conference in December also did not take place because of time constraints. The conference was too tiring and time consuming and any attempt to meet Mr Kholwane just couldn't take place.
Arrangements have now been made to hold talks with Mr Kholwane in the third week of January, 2013.
We have also made arrangements to talk to KZN Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, who I met at the Manguang conference. A comrade in his cabinet will make the arrangements for us.
In order to fully inform Mr Kholwane of our efforts, we have submitted the following Memorandum to his office:



SOUTHSIDE FM RADIO

(NPO No: 089 - 426)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


P.O. Box 486 Verulam 4340 Tel: 031 - 568 1309/082 376 9053

email: subrygovender@gmail.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

MEMORANDUM ON THE NEED FOR THE ALLOCATION OF A FREQUENCY TO OPERATE A Community Radio Station

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

INTRODUCTION

-----------------------------

The move for the establishment of a radio station for the descendants of indentured labourers was started in 2009 at a time when preparations were made to commemmorate the arrival of our forefathers and mothers 152 years ago.
The main proponents were Mr Swaminathan Gounden, a former struggle and political activist; Mr Balan Gounden, a cultural leader; and Mr Subry Govender (aka Marimuthu Subramoney), veteran struggle journalist and political activist.
They spoke to a wide range of people and organisations about the establishment of such a station.
The unanimous response was: "It's long overdue."

Although we have provided full details in our application for a community radio licence and in numerous communications with ICASA, we wish to make the following submissions:

1). Southside FM Radio represents South Africans whose mother tongues are Tamil and Telugu.

2). We make up nearly 55 percent of the more than 1,4-million South Africans of Indian origin.

3). We are mainly descendants of indentured labourers who worked almost as slaves on the sugar plantations of then Natal Colony since the 1860s.

4). The leaders emanating from this community over the past 152 years have played very important roles in the social, educational, business, sporting and political development of South Africa.

Some of the leaders who have emerged from this community include:

Dr Monty Naicker, who worked with leaders of the calibre of Dr Albert Luthuli; Mr Billy Nair, who spent more than 20 years on Robben Island with leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu; political activists Swaminathan Gounden, R D Naidoo, Advocate M D Naidoo, Mrs Phyllis Naidoo; and Mr M N Pather, R K Naidoo and Mr Morgan Naidoo, who played leading roles in isolating apartheid sport and promoting the freedom struggles during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s; MR Jay Naidoo, who played a leading role in our anti-apartheid struggles and the establishment of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Mr Ronnie Govender and Mr Subry Govender - journalists who played important roles in promoting the freedom struggles through their work; and the late Cabinet Minister, Mr Roy Padaychie, who died in early 2012.

 

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

------------------------------------------

After having contributed to the liberation struggles, some of the leaders - including the late Mr Padaychie, Mr Balan Gounder, Mr Swaminathan Gounden and Mr Subry Govender, who retired from the SABC in 2009 after joining in 1994, got together and discussed what we should do to, not only to promote the rich cultures, languages and traditions of this community, but also to inculcate the values and principles of being full South Africans. One of these values is the promotion of the IsiZulu and other languages among this community.

At a meeting in October 2009, it was decided that we should establish a radio station in order to promote these values.

Southside FM Radio was thus initiated.

 

COMMITTEE

------------------------


A committee, under the chairpersonship of Mr Subry Govender, was elected at a meeting held at the David Landau Community Centre in Asherville, Durban, in October 2009.
Since the meeting, Mr Govender, Mr Gounder, Mr Gounden, Ms Keresha Govender(treasurer) and Mrs Thirupurasundrie Govender (secretary) got down to applying for a NPO registration number, a community radio licence and a frequency.


NPO

-----------

This was granted early in 2011 by the Department of Social Welfare.
The number is 089 - 426.



COMMUNITY RADIO LICENCE

------------------------------------------------------

After extensive communication with ICASA for nearly two years and after the submission of seven volumes of documents, we were granted a five-year community radio licence by ICASA in September 2011. The late Minister Roy Padaychie played an important role in promoting the expectation of a dedicated cultural and educational radio service to the historically-underserved and underserviced segment of the Indian-origin Community. As a matter of interest and pertinent to our appeal , the South Indian-origin Community represents the largest sector of the broader Indian-origin community by far. We estimate this to be approximately 68 percent.

The establishment of such a service is long overdue and we submit that the award of a ‘FREQUENCY’ should now be a top priority. It is administratively unjust to both neglect the needs of our community and then AWARD a LICENCE and frustrate the process by NOT making a 'frequency' available .

 

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

=======================


CULTURAL EVENING

------------------------------------

In view of the tremendous interest shown by the community for the establishment of a radio station, we organised a cultural evening and fund-raising dinner at the MTSS in Merebank, Durban, on Saturday, February 25, 2012.
The function was a big success with more than 500 supporters, donors and sponsors supporting the scheduled launch of the radio station.
Nearly R1-million was raised on the evening for the establishment of the radio station.



FREQUENCY

-----------------------

In our communications with ICASA and Sentech, we have repeatedly and regularly pointed out in writing that our primary and main target market is situated:

* in and around the Cty of Durban - Chatsworth, Phoenix, and Pinetown.

* the North Coast - Verulam, Tongaat, Stanger, Richards Bay.

* the South Coast - Port Shepstone, Umzinto, Umkomaas, Amanzimtoti.

* Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith, Dundee and Newcastle.

* Johannesburg - Midrand and Randburg/Fourways/Bryanstan

* Pretoria - Laudium/Benoni

* Cape Town, and

* Port Elizabeth-East London.

 

We made it clear that initially we wanted to start broadcasting to the primary target area of Durban and then extend to the other regions. This is a logical approach as the CRITICAL MASS is available in the urban precincts and makes the radio station self-sustainable .

Prior to the granting of the community radio licence in September 2011, we had been given a number of co-ordinates by ICASA and SENTECH. Two frequencies were allocated but not confirmed viz., 94.4 and 93.6 MHz.

We were advised on many occasions thereafter that the frequencies were clashing with one another or that they were in use by other radio stations.


We found that at least two frequencies used by community radio stations that had operated from Durban had not been broadcasting for more than two years. One of the community radio stations has since started to operate again through the assistance of the authorities.

But one of the community radio stations, (Durban Youth Radio) (as far as we are aware) is still out of operation for more than two years.

We have repeatedly pointed out that our main and initial target market is situated in the Durban area, north coast, south coast and the Pietermaritzburg region. But unfortunately we have been told that Durban area is congested and that there are no frequencies. If this is the case then we request that a review of existing allocated and utilised 'radio frequencies' take place with a view to its equitable distribution .

Instead we were told to apply for frequencies in the Pietermaritzburg area, Newcastle-Ladysmith, and Port Shepstone.

Subsequently we were told that Pietermaritzburg was not feasible and was only granted a frequency in the Port Shepstone area from Port Edward to Umkomaas.

After we received this frequency we consulted with our supporters and donors. We found that most people felt that our main target market is in and around Durban, north coast, south coast and Pietermaritzburg and it would not be financially feasible to broadcast only in the Port Shepstone region.

Our committee felt that we must point this out to ICASA and this was done when we held a meeting with ICASA in Johannesburg on June 19. We were informed at this meeting that we would also be granted a frequency in Pietermaritzburg, in addition to Port Shepstone.

We believe that:

1. It will not be financial feasible to broadcast only in the Port Shepstone area because most of our target market is in the Durban area and in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region.

2. ICASA must find a solution for us because our supporters and donors are looking forward to the launch of our radio station as soon as possible.

 

MEETING WITH ICASA

----------------------------------------

In light of the problems encountered in obtaining a frequency we held a meeting with two ICASA officials in Johannesburg on June 19, 2012. Our delegation was made up of Mr Subry Govender(Secretary); Ms Poomanie Naidoo, chairperson of the South African Tamil Federation; Mr Micky Chetty, former chairperson of the SATF and current chairperson of the International Organisation for the Promotion of Tamil; Mr T Chetty, Public Relations Officer of the SATF and Mr Savesh Pather, an MK veteran.

We gave the ICASA officials a detailed account of Southside FM Radio and repeated most of the information we had supplied in our application for a community radio licence.

After listening to our presentations, the two officials asked us to provide them with details of the premises in Durban, together with the co-ordinates, from where we would broadcast from.

They told the Southside delegation that once this was done they would select the premises with the maximum coverage and provide us with the frequency.

They also told us that we were granted frequencies in Pietermaritzburg and Port Shepstone regions.

As soon as we returned to Durban, we submitted details of seven premises together with the co-ordinates to ICASA. We completed the application forms with the assistance of Sentech.

Towards the end of July, one of the officials telephoned Mr Subry Govender and informed him that they might have some "good news" for us. He said they had identified a frequency and he would inform us soon of the latest development.

The official, at the request of Mr Govender, submitted this information to Southside. He pointed out that he still had to clear this with Sentech.

A few days later the ICASA official came back to Mr Govender to inform him through another letter that the frequency, 103.4 MHz, would clash with another radio station in Eshowe and, therefore, for the time being there was no frequency for us.

We wrote back to ICASA informing the communications agency that we were deeply disappointed and wanted to know what has happened to information we had supplied about the premises where we had hoped to broadcast from.

We also requested a response from ICASA as to what more must we do to be granted a frequency. We also requested another meeting with ICASA to discuss the situation.

 


HURDLE

----------------


We continue to have problems and would like your urgent intervention so that we could make speedy progress in the launch of our Southside FM Radio station which is eargerly awaited by the community
The late Minister, Roy Padaychie, told our cultural evening that "it's not right that you have been granted a community licence but a frequency has not yet been finalised".


CONCLUSION

----------------------------

In conclusion, we submit :

Southside FM Radio will be a progressive voice - not only promoting the cultures, languages, and traditions of people of South Indian origin but will also promote the full South African-ness of our target market.
We are South Africans and will promote this fully.


We are being supported in our project not only by the community in general but also by cultural, linguistic, musical, social, and business leaders but also by prominent leaders who played significant roles in our struggles for our new, non-racial democracy.

Our target market is not only in the Durban, north coast, south coast, Pietermaritzburg region but also in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region; Cape Town; Port Elizabeth-East London; Newcastle-Ladysmith and Richard Bay.

In terms of the National Communications Policy(NCP) of the ruling ANC and the Government, it is the policy of the Government to promote cultural and community radio stations of the communities that make up our non-racial and multi-cultural society.

We are puzzled as to why we cannot be accommodated when other religious and linguistic groups have been granted frequencies to promote their cultures, traditions, languages and music.

We are a progressive force and as such we should have no difficulty whatsoever of being, not only encouraged, but also assisted in our campaign to launch a cultural radio station for South Africans who are of South Indian origin.

 

 



Subry Govender
Secretary

----------------------------------

Thursday, December 20, 2012

INTEGRITY COMMITTEE TO ROOT OUT CORRUPT LEADERS AND MEMBERS WITHIN THE ANC

"The issue is to throw hammer blows until we have tackled this problem of conduct (corruption) that harms the image of the party."



The elective conference of the ruling ANC in South Africa has taken a major decision to root out corruption within its ranks and government by establishing an Integrity Committee.

The Committee will bring to book those leaders and members involved in corruption and who besmirch the image of the 100-year-old party. This was one of several top policy decisions announced when the conference ended on Thursday evening.

The more than 4 500 delegates who attended the 53rd elective conference in Manguang were not only involved in electing President Jacob Zuma and other leaders into office, but had also participated in serious discussions about socio-economic transformation of the country.

Among other things, they adopted the National Development Plan of Planning Minister, Trevor Manuel, as a long-term vision for the economic development of the country. They - however - dismissed wholescale nationalisation of mines and instead decided to impose greater tax on mining companies and also to establish a state bank.

But one of the major decisions to come out of the conference is the establishment of an Integrity Committee to monitor and bring to book those leaders and members who are using their positions to enrich themselves through corruption. Even those who hold the highest offices, including President Jacob Zuma, will be monitored by the Integrity Committee.

It's estimated that more than 30-billion rand or three-and-half billion US Dollars are wasted and squandered every year by government officials and other ANC members who become caught up in corruption.



David Makhura, a senior member of the ANC who was involved in promoting the adoption of the Integrity Committee, said in an interview it would consist of veteran leaders of the ANC and would come into operation within three months.

"This committee," he said, "which we call the Integrity Committee to ensure that all ANC leaders and public representatives live up to the expectation of ethical leadership".

"The issue is to throw hammer blows until we have tackled this problem of conduct (corruption) that harms the image of the party."

Makhura said they would only deploy into office and public life those members who were well-equipped, professional and possessed outstanding moral qualities.

Some delegates I spoke to fully supported the establishment of the Integrity Committee because they would like to be represented by leaders who are corrupt-free.

Said one delegate from KwaZulu-Natal: "This particular of an Integrity Committee shows to the whole world that we take issue with corruption and that we don't currupt people to lead Government or even the ANC itself."

A woman delegate from Mpumulanga said: "The ANC is joined by members and has members who are human beings and if then there is an element of corruption, the ANC needs to dig deep into that to get rid of that corruption. I am confident that the Integrity Commission will do its work to clean up the ANC."

But not all people believe that the new Integrity Committee will be able to root out corruption perpetrated by ANC members.

Political analyst, Lesiba Tefo, said the ANC had many documents that listed out the code of conduct but the organisation had failed to bring corrupt leaders to book.

He was not optimistic that the Integrity Committee would be effective:

"I would say no. Yes indeed it's a good idea but what it needs is political will and objective and consistent application of the rules."

Professor Tinuleko Malulekho of the University of South Africa was another analyst who had been monitoring the conference for the past week at Manguang.

He said that South Africans were tired of new terms such as Integrity Committee, Second Phase, and Continuity.

"These things are not edible. You know people would want something being done and not bombarded with new notions and new committees. "

Whether the ANC Integrity Committee would really tackle corrupt leaders, councillors and members would be of worth watching. The Government had introduced a number of measures to tackle corruption in Government and at one time relied on the Scorpions. But sadly this police unit was abolished after Zuma was charged with corruption. The corruption were withdrawn just before Zuma assumed the presidency after the last elections in 2009.


Another major talking point at the conference has been the future of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe - who lost out to President Jacob Zuma for the top position. While some people have predicted that he would step down as deputy president of the country - ANC leaders have stated that there was no plan to push him out of office. He would be allowed to stay in office until 2014 when the next general elections take place.

President Zuma announced in his closing speech that Motlanthe would head the ANC's Political Education Programme in order to educate new members of the history and policies of the ANC.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA'S ELECTION IS SEEN AS POSITIVE NEWS FOR SOUTH AFRICA

"There is virtually no other potential candidate to lead the country like Cyril Ramaphosa with the kind of pedigree that he has."

 

 

 

 

The election of one of the richest businessmen in South Africa to the second highest position in the ruling ANC has been widely welcomed by, among others, the business sector and the international community.

Sixty-year-old Cyril Ramaphosa , a former struggle stalwart, secretary general of the ANC and a leader who played a major role in the drawing up of the new constitution, had to wait nearly 20 years to be elected as Deputy President after he stepped down from politics in 1994.
The comeback of Cyril Ramaphosa, former right-hand man of Nelson Mandela to a top leadership position in the ruling ANC after nearly 20 years appears to be the most positive development that many South Africans, including the business sector, have experienced for some time.

"There is virtually no other potential candidate to lead the country like Cyril Ramaphosa with the kind of pedigree that he has," said Azhar Jarmine, a Johannesburg economic analyst.

"He's a leader who did not take up political position as a means of gaining wealth. I think all that puts him in a better position than virtually anyone else that I can think of to straddle all the interest groups in the country and to lead the country."

Jarmine summed up the reactions of most people, including the private sector, about Ramaphosa's return to active politics.

Ramaphosa slipped out of the political scene and entered the business world in 1994 after Thabo Mbeki was elected one of the Deputy Presidents with F W de Klerk in Nelson Mandela's first democratic
government two decades ago.
He formed the Shanduka Group and today
is one of the wealthiest South Africans with his personal wealth reported to total more than four Billion Rand, that's about 500-million US dollars.
Business leaders attending the ANC conference told me that Ramaphosa's election would be a major boost for the growth of the country's economy.
Martin Mafokeng is a senior official in UB Bank:

"Cyril has been in the trade unions for a while and he's currently in business. So from a business perspective we believe we will share the same aspirations as ordinary business in South Africa. His experience in business will reflect in Government."

Another businessman, George Heyns is the CEO of a manufacturing company:

"We are in the private sector and it is important that we deal with people who understand business but also understand policies that are made in Govenrment. I think Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has maybe seen the gap since he is in the mining industry
that there's need for better policies, there's need for better services and I think he can play a role there."
Most delegates here say they are confident that Ramaphosa will use his business and political acumen to lead the country.

"Cyril is a tried and tested cadre and is well respected and has done well in business," said one delegate from the Gauteng Province.

He added: "So if you can manage business like that and became a billionaire then you will be a good leader."

Another delegate from the Free State province said: "The people of SA and the continent are quite impressed and happy that finally he has come out to lead. So we are are looking up to him to take over the country because I think he is bringing back the confidence of business into the ANC."

But there are some concerns as well about Ramaphosa's suitability for the post of
ANC deputy president.

A political analyst, Professor Zakhele Bhusilanga, said in an interview that
Ramaphosa's actions during the recent Lonmin Marikana strike and the
killing of 34 miners by police had not placed him in good stead. When the strike deteriorated and took on violent overtones, Ramaphosa had reportedly sent several emails to contacts in Government and the police - calling for action to be taken against "criminal elements".
"Ramaphosa would have a lot of explaining to do now that he was a top leader within the ANC" said Bhusilanga.

"I think the Marikana issue got him into a bit of a tangle. This involved the money to pay for the funerals, the so-called emails that he sent around and of course many people have associated him with that so he got to speak out on that thing."





Veteran Communist Party member and a Deputy Minister, Yunus Carrim, acknowledged in an interview that there were people who were critical of Ramaphosa but pointed out that he would not be operating alone.
"Obviously," he said, "there's a sense of unease that a person who is just not a business person but a very wealthy person is in that position and could possibly be future president".


"There is some unease but there is a recoginition even from the left that he is going to add value. He is part of a team and by no means dominated by the private sector."
Many people would like to see Ramaphosa assume the top post when Zuma steps down, and they are hoping that this could be as early as 2014 when the next general elections take place.




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ZUMA CALLS FOR UNITY AFTER BEING ELECTED FOR SECOND TERM






 

"I don't think we should say something that will make other comrades uncomfortable."

 

 

South African President, Jacob Zuma, has called for unity within the ANC after he and his team, including business tycoon, Cyril Ramaphosa, won the leadership contest of the party by an overwhelming margin at the ruling party's 53rd elective conference in Manguang on Tuesday, December 18.

Zuma, Ramaphosa(deputy president), Ms Baleka Mbeta (national vice-chairperson), Gwede Mantashe (secretary general), Ms Jesse Duarte (asst secretary general) and KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, trounced Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, and his team for the top six positions.

Zuma and his team's victory was welcomed with supporters bursting into wild and thunderous shouts of "Mholozi, Mholozi" - the clan name of Zuma. Some of the supporters also made derogatory remarks against some of the leaders who lost the battle. These leaders imcluded Tokyo Sexwale, Minister of Human Settlement; Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport, and former treasurer, Mathew Phosa.

Addressing the delegates after his victory, Zuma extended an olive branch to his opponents and called for unity within the ANC. At the same time he reprimanded those who had used an unwelcome language against those who had lost the elections.

"From now," he said, "we must realise that the national
conference has spoken and all of us are part of that decision".

"I don't think we should say something that will make other comrades uncomfortable. If you elect leaders to lead, then they must lead a united organisation, not a divided one."
The delegates I spoke to seemed confident that Zuma along with his new deputy, business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa, are the best leaders to head the ANC
over the next decade.

A woman delegate from Pongola in northern KZN said:

"I think it is the best thing ever that has happened to
the African National Congress. As a women's league member, I am just happy because I was just thinking he's the best man to take this country forward."

Another delegate from Eastern Cape said he had absolute faith that Zuma and Ramaphosa would work together to overcome the triple evils of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

"The two combination of President Jacob Zuma and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is a very great force
and I wish they will support Ramaphosa when he eventually takes over from Zuma as president of the country," said the delegate.

Ronald Lamola of the ANC Youth League is a supporter of defeated candidate, Kgalema Motlanthe, and his team. He accepts the election result but warns that the new top six leaders must ensure that
mediocrity does not creep into the organisation.

He said they would convince the conference to tackle the serious economic issues affecting the people.

"For us now it is a moment to go into the commissions
to discuss our policies on economic freedom, strategic nationalisation of certain assets and also the expropriation of land without compensation and to speak on issues of youth unemployment, education
and also issues of youth development in the country."


One of the senior members of the ANC, Trevor Manuel, is a former comrade friend of this correspondent. He told me in an interview after the election of Zuma and his team that he was confident that the Zuma-Ramaphosa leadership team would continue with
socio-economic transformation policies.

Asked whether he was hopeful that the
election of Zuma and Ramaphosa will send a positive message to the outside world, he replied:
"I hope so, but I think the elections have passed
and passed peacefully and we are on the platform to do the next wave of things."

The next "wave of things" would be improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the majority through the creation of "jobs, jobs, jobs".

Unfortunately, Manuel, who has been credited with the development of the National Development Plan, will not be in the ANC national executive. He has announced that he wanted to give younger members of the organisation the opportunity to play a greater role in the ruling party.


I also spoke to Mr Ravi Pillay, the KZN MEC for Human Settlement, who attended the conmference as a delegate.

He told me that election of Zuma and Ramaphosa was not a surprise because they had been keeping a watch on the development in the branches and regions in the run-up to the conference.

"You must understand that this is not a one man show. It is a collective and I am confident that the new leadership is fully equipped to take the organisation forward."


The vice-rector of Johannesburg University and Political Analyst, Professor Adam Habib, told me that it was because of the slate system that Zuma and his team was elected by such a large overwhelming majority.

"This was not a surprise but what must be remembered is that the ANC is a divided organisation. I am not too sure that the Zuma-Ramaphosa leadership will be able to overcome the social and ecomic issues because many of the leaders are not showing the way."

Although some people have stated that the election of Zuma for a second term will not be good for the country, there's no doubt that the election of Ramahosa will send a positive message to the business sector and the outside world. This was already noticed on Tuesday afternoon(Dec 18) when the price of the rand increased over the US Dollar.




Monday, December 17, 2012

JACOB ZUMA POISED TO LEAD ANC FOR ANOTHER FIVE YEARS





The elective conference of the ruling ANC in South Africa is continuing in the town of Manguang under very strict security, extra security personnel, hundreds of police and security cameras. This follows the arrest of about seven right-wingers who the police allege had planned to blow up the main tent and disrupt the conference. But despite the security concerns, the more than 4 500 delegates are in a excited and spirited mood. They will vote in the top six leaders of the ruling party and also draft and adopt policies to promote peace and prosperity for all South Africans.

The nominations for the top six positions were concluded on Monday and judging from the reaction of most delegates it appears President Jacob Zuma will trounce his Deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, for the president's position. When the election officer announced the name of Motlanthe for the top position, there was a muted response but when he announced the name of Zuma there was a thunderous applause from the delegates. This was a clear demonstratation that Zuma will have no hassles against Motlanthe.

There was a similar response when the election officer announced the names of the candidates for the deputy president's position. Business tycoon and former secretary general of the party, Cyril Ramaphosa, attracted the loudest applause when his name was announced along with Tokyo Sexwale, Mathew Phosa and Motlanthe.

Motlanthe withdrew his name from the floor for this post after judging the reaction of the delegates.

Gwede Mantashe also received a loud applause when his name was announced for the position of secretary general along with Fikile Mbalula.

Former ANC spokesperson, Jesse Duarte, will become the new assistant secretary general after Thandi Modise withdrew her name for the position.

The treasurer general's position will go to KZN Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, after Tokyo Sexwale announced that "I don't know how to count money and, therefore, I want to step down".

The other top six position of national chairperson will be fought by incumbent Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise. It seems that Mbete will also be returned to her position judging from the applause she received when her name was announced.

Most of the delegates, supporting Zuma and Ramaphosa, say they believe the two leaders would introduce economic and other policies that would overcome the acute unemployment problem and create a better life for the people.

"The ANC where it is now it has been in a position to acknowledge some kind of challenges in terms of our economic policies," said one delegate from Gauteng.

"But of course we want to see the ANC come of out of this conference united on the question of policies".

A delegate from Limpopo who also asked not to be named said: "There has to be economic transformation and there is the process and there is a way the ANC would like it to see it going."

One delegate from KwaZulu-Natal, who said he was a firm supporter of Zuma, said: "We have long taken a resolution in the ANC around issues of nationalisation but not specifically on mines there are so many things that need to be nationalised. What we are saying is that let's find each other, let it be a process and there are no effects and after effects after that."

Most of the delegates who have gathered here say they support Zuma in his promise to get 30 percent of the land transfered to the black majority within the next few years.

The next few days will demonstrate whether the delegates will take the decisions to correct the socio-economic imbalances facing the country.

 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ZUMA CALLS FOR ERADICATION OF CORRUPTION AT MANGUANG

President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to work with the Government to tackle corruption, crime, and other social evils affecting the full socio-economic development of the new South Africa.

He made the call when delivering his political report at the 53rd elective conference of the ANC at the University of the Free State in Manguang on Sunday, Devember 16.

He delivered his call to more than 6 500 people, including 4 500 delegates and invited diplomats, business personalities and other VIPPs.

The conference theme, "Unity in Action towards Socio-Economic Freedom" was aimed at radically transforming society.

In a speech that lasted for nearly two hours , Zuma tackled all the issues affecting the much-needed economic transformation required to tackle the issues of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

He also outlined the achivements of the ANC in delivering services and the "improvements" in health and education.

Although he has been repeatedly alleged to have been corrupted by business leaders, Zuma issued a warning that corruption must be rooted out and that South Africans must work with all the police agencies to overcome this evil.

He said: "The campaign against corruption continues. Our country is one of the most transparent societies when it comes to the fight against corruption, it is
talked about often in the public domain as there is a unified effort by all in society to build a corruption-free South Africa.

"Government has established institutions that probe corruption, including the Special Investigating Unit, and units within the SA Police Service, Treasury and other departments.

"We urge the public to continue assisting these units with information so that we can stop corruption in its tracks.

"One area of vulnerability in government is the tender system. Conference may wish to deliberate on tendering which is often open to abuse currently."

Another issue of concern to most South Africans is the high and violent crime wave. To this Zuma said that crime statistics showed a decrease in most crimes, including armed robberies, housebreakings and contact crimes.

But, he said: "We must work harder to reduce and ultimately eliminate crimes against women and children, which have not abated."

Zuma also referred to the rhino poaching and said this was an outrage.

"Another matter that is currently generating outrage in the country is the loss of 618 rhinos to rhino poaching in 2012, with 257 people having been arrested in relation to rhino poaching.
"The swift action of the numerous law enforcement agencies is commendable as are the strict sentences imposed on those involved in rhino poaching and
related crimes. Just last month, a stiff 40-year sentence was handed down to a Thai national.
"The SA National Defence Force has also returned to the 350km of national border in Kruger National Park and other country borders.
"We urge the communities living near borders and nature reserves to assist the campaign against rhino poaching. Let us save our rhino population from
these ruthless poachers and criminals."

Referring to the triple evils of poverty, unemployment and inequality, Zuma said the ANC Government had developed a number of policies, including the National Development Plan, to create more jobs and improve the lives of the people.

"The ANC Government," "adopted five priorities, which were education, health, rural development and land reform, the fight against crime and creating
decent work".
"These include tackling the problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment, infrastructure, education and skills development, small
business development, education and the national health insurance.

"We now have a plan that has been welcomed by all sectors of society and not just government and the ruling party alone. When we took the decision on national developmental planning, we were very
conscious of the fact that, firstly, the transition to a national democratic society will face complex challenges which cannot be addressed
on an ad-hoc fashion or solely left to the forces of the market.
"Thirdly, we must accept that the process of overcoming unemployment, poverty and inequality, of building a national democratic society will be
long and hard.

"We look to the NDP and economic programmes to help us resolve the impact of inequality which remains is deep and glaring as revealed in Census 2011 income levels.

"W will not delve into the reasons for dowgrading but we want to dismiss the pereptions that our country is falling apart because of the downgrades. We continue to do our development work, we continue to plan for a recovery.

"The destination we are heading towards is a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth."

He added: "These are agriculture, infrastructure, agro-processing and rural development, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.

"We launched an ambitious infrastructure programme, which is gathering momentum every day. Large public investments in energy, ports, railway
lines and roads will help alleviate supply bottlenecks in the economy.

"This is why we have said that economic transformation is at the heart of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic
society. We need to accelerate growth and intensify our programme of structural change.
"We know that our most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty is the creation of decent work, and creating work requires faster and more
inclusive economic growth.

"Accelerating growth, and ensuring a more inclusive economy, requires a radical improvement in the outcomes generated from the use of public
resources. As we accelerate growth along the path of change, we should draw in investors, both international and South African, to support our programme in the certainty that we will succeed in creating prosperity for all.

"We will work with Business, labour, the community sector and other sectors to make these plans succeed. With single-minded determination, let us commit ourselves to transform our economy and society so that all our people can benefit from the fruits of a growing economy."
Zuma said South Africa was working with the rest of Africa to esnure that economic growth was taking place from Cape to Cairo.

"Major investments have also taken place in industrial and business activities on the continent, by South Africans in the public and private sectors," he said.

"Our focus is now on further industrialisation of the continent, to expand growth drivers beyond mining, oil and agriculture. The massive growth in
African consumption provides a source of demand for African factories."
When tackling the issue of education, he emphasised that education was the most important factor in building the youth of the country. He, therefore, issued a warning to teachers that they must do their jobs or face the consequences.

"In this regard, let me repeat the call to all our teachers, that they should be in school, in class, on time, teaching for seven hours every school day next year."

On the volatile issue of land re-distribution, Zuma said the ANC government had developed a green paper on land reform and proposals were made by the policy conference.

"This conference should produce a resolution that will take us forward in addressing the land question faster and within the ambit of the law."
formations and right wing organizations to lead.

Zuma also tackled "alien tendencies" in his own organisation that saw members in the run-up to the Manguang Conference being involved in violence and other negative actions.

"Other alien tendencies to be eliminated from the movement as part of renewal is the negative lobbying for positions which includes smear campaigns in the media as well as gossip and rumour-mongering about one another.

"Also common are the disrespectful public spats as well as hurling insults at other comrades or members of the public, thereby bringing the ANC into disrepute.

"More seriously, we have experienced the shocking occurrences where armed comrades disrupt ANC meetings. We condemn the use of violence, and strongly condemn the killings of ANC leaders, including the ANC Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary in North West, Comrade Obuti Chika. We condemn the killing of other comrades in other provinces as well, earlier in the year."

"Comrades, " he said, "we must also frown upon other alien practices such as the use of money to buy the support of ANC members. We should not allow a situation where those who have money turn members of the ANC into commodities."

Zuma used the occasion to pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who he said was currently in hospital in Pretoria.

"He is receiving good care from a competent and caring medical team. We wish him and family all the best during this time."

He ended his speech profoundly.

"The future of our revolution and of our country is in our hands, and we must carry forward the work needed for the social and economic emancipation
of our people.
"We need to prepare ourselves for this journey, starting today, towards socio-economic freedom for all our people."

The elective conference continues until Thursday by when it would be known who will be leader of the ANC. Talking to delegates, it seems most of them would like to give Zuma another term because they believe he would be able to deliver on the socio-economic transformation of the masses.

As far as Kgalema Motlanthe is concerned, most say that he's a good leader but he must wait his turn. It also seems certain that Cyril Ramaphosa will be elected the new Deputy President of the ANC because of the mandate that most delegates have been given by their branches.






PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA CALLS FOR ERADICATION OF CORRUPTION AT MANGUANG

By Subry Govender

President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to work with the Government to tackle corruption, crime, and other social evils affecting the full socio-economic development of the new South Africa.

He made the call when delivering his political report at the 53rd elective conference of the ANC at the University of the Free State in Manguang on Sunday, Devember 16.

He delivered his call to more than 6 500 people, including 4 500 delegates and invited diplomats, business personalities and other VIPPs.

The conference theme, "Unity in Action towards Socio-Economic Freedom" was aimed at radically transforming society.

In a speech that lasted for nearly two hours , Zuma tackled all the issues affecting the much-needed economic transformation required to tackle the issues of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

He also outlined the achivements of the ANC in delivering services and the "improvements" in health and education.

Although he has been repeatedly alleged to have been corrupted by business leaders, Zuma issued a warning that corruption must be rooted out and that South Africans must work with all the police agencies to overcome this evil.

He said: "The campaign against corruption continues. Our country is one of the most transparent societies when it comes to the fight against corruption, it is
talked about often in the public domain as there is a unified effort by all in society to build a corruption-free South Africa.

"Government has established institutions that probe corruption, including the Special Investigating Unit, and units within the SA Police Service, Treasury and other departments.

"We urge the public to continue assisting these units with information so that we can stop corruption in its tracks.

"One area of vulnerability in government is the tender system. Conference may wish to deliberate on tendering which is often open to abuse currently."

Another issue of concern to most South Africans is the high and violent crime wave. To this Zuma said that crime statistics showed a decrease in most crimes, including armed robberies, housebreakings and contact crimes.

But, he said: "We must work harder to reduce and ultimately eliminate crimes against women and children, which have not abated."

Zuma also referred to the rhino poaching and said this was an outrage.

"Another matter that is currently generating outrage in the country is the loss of 618 rhinos to rhino poaching in 2012, with 257 people having been arrested in relation to rhino poaching.
"The swift action of the numerous law enforcement agencies is commendable as are the strict sentences imposed on those involved in rhino poaching and
related crimes. Just last month, a stiff 40-year sentence was handed down to a Thai national.
"The SA National Defence Force has also returned to the 350km of national border in Kruger National Park and other country borders.
"We urge the communities living near borders and nature reserves to assist the campaign against rhino poaching. Let us save our rhino population from
these ruthless poachers and criminals."

Referring to the triple evils of poverty, unemployment and inequality, Zuma said the ANC Government had developed a number of policies, including the National Development Plan, to create more jobs and improve the lives of the people.

"The ANC Government," "adopted five priorities, which were education, health, rural development and land reform, the fight against crime and creating
decent work".
"These include tackling the problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment, infrastructure, education and skills development, small
business development, education and the national health insurance.

"We now have a plan that has been welcomed by all sectors of society and not just government and the ruling party alone. When we took the decision on national developmental planning, we were very
conscious of the fact that, firstly, the transition to a national democratic society will face complex challenges which cannot be addressed
on an ad-hoc fashion or solely left to the forces of the market.
"Thirdly, we must accept that the process of overcoming unemployment, poverty and inequality, of building a national democratic society will be
long and hard.

"We look to the NDP and economic programmes to help us resolve the impact of inequality which remains is deep and glaring as revealed in Census 2011 income levels.

"W will not delve into the reasons for dowgrading but we want to dismiss the pereptions that our country is falling apart because of the downgrades. We continue to do our development work, we continue to plan for a recovery.

"The destination we are heading towards is a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth."

He added: "These are agriculture, infrastructure, agro-processing and rural development, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.

"We launched an ambitious infrastructure programme, which is gathering momentum every day. Large public investments in energy, ports, railway
lines and roads will help alleviate supply bottlenecks in the economy.

"This is why we have said that economic transformation is at the heart of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic
society. We need to accelerate growth and intensify our programme of structural change.
"We know that our most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty is the creation of decent work, and creating work requires faster and more
inclusive economic growth.

"Accelerating growth, and ensuring a more inclusive economy, requires a radical improvement in the outcomes generated from the use of public
resources. As we accelerate growth along the path of change, we should draw in investors, both international and South African, to support our programme in the certainty that we will succeed in creating prosperity for all.

"We will work with Business, labour, the community sector and other sectors to make these plans succeed. With single-minded determination, let us commit ourselves to transform our economy and society so that all our people can benefit from the fruits of a growing economy."
Zuma said South Africa was working with the rest of Africa to esnure that economic growth was taking place from Cape to Cairo.

"Major investments have also taken place in industrial and business activities on the continent, by South Africans in the public and private sectors," he said.

"Our focus is now on further industrialisation of the continent, to expand growth drivers beyond mining, oil and agriculture. The massive growth in
African consumption provides a source of demand for African factories."
When tackling the issue of education, he emphasised that education was the most important factor in building the youth of the country. He, therefore, issued a warning to teachers that they must do their jobs or face the consequences.

"In this regard, let me repeat the call to all our teachers, that they should be in school, in class, on time, teaching for seven hours every school day next year."

On the volatile issue of land re-distribution, Zuma said the ANC government had developed a green paper on land reform and proposals were made by the policy conference.

"This conference should produce a resolution that will take us forward in addressing the land question faster and within the ambit of the law."
formations and right wing organizations to lead.

Zuma also tackled "alien tendencies" in his own organisation that saw members in the run-up to the Manguang Conference being involved in violence and other negative actions.

"Other alien tendencies to be eliminated from the movement as part of renewal is the negative lobbying for positions which includes smear campaigns in the media as well as gossip and rumour-mongering about one another.

"Also common are the disrespectful public spats as well as hurling insults at other comrades or members of the public, thereby bringing the ANC into disrepute.

"More seriously, we have experienced the shocking occurrences where armed comrades disrupt ANC meetings. We condemn the use of violence, and strongly condemn the killings of ANC leaders, including the ANC Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary in North West, Comrade Obuti Chika. We condemn the killing of other comrades in other provinces as well, earlier in the year."

"Comrades, " he said, "we must also frown upon other alien practices such as the use of money to buy the support of ANC members. We should not allow a situation where those who have money turn members of the ANC into commodities."

Zuma used the occasion to pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who he said was currently in hospital in Pretoria.

"He is receiving good care from a competent and caring medical team. We wish him and family all the best during this time."

He ended his speech profoundly.

"The future of our revolution and of our country is in our hands, and we must carry forward the work needed for the social and economic emancipation
of our people.
"We need to prepare ourselves for this journey, starting today, towards socio-economic freedom for all our people."

The elective conference continues until Thursday by when it would be known who will be leader of the ANC. Talking to delegates, it seems most of them would like to give Zuma another term because they believe he would be able to deliver on the socio-economic transformation of the masses.

As far as Kgalema Motlanthe is concerned, most say that he's a good leader but he must wait his turn. It also seems certain that Cyril Ramaphosa will be elected the new Deputy President of the ANC because of the mandate that most delegates have been given by their branches.






Friday, December 14, 2012

ANC YOUTH LEAGUES RE-ITERATES NATIONALISATION AND CONFISCATION OF LAND WITHOUT COMPENSATION FOR MANGUANG


By Subry Govender

The ANC Youth League, which has come out in open support of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to oust President Jacob Zuma as leader of the party, wants the party's one-week elective conference at Manguang starting on Sunday to adopt radical economic policies that would lead to the "economic freedom in our lifetime".

The Youth League has made its views crystal clear in a statement issued on Friday, Dec 14, only two days before the start of the conference.

Confiscate land without compensation

Some of the radical policies it will demand be adopted at the conference include:

* Expropriation of land without compensation for equitable redistribution and the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to give effect to this imperative.

* Nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors for Industrialisation.

Other policies it will demand are:

* Inclusive and Decentralised Economic Growth and Development.

* Land Restitution and agrarian reform.

* Building of a Strong Developmental State and Public Service.

* Massive investment in the development of the African economy.

* Provision of quality education, skills and expertise to the people.

The Youth League, even without its pompous leader Julius Malema, appears to be adopting a stance that would create a great deal of debate at the conference. It says that Manguang should put into practice a very important pillar of the Freedom Charter that calls for "economic transformation".

The demand states: "The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people; the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; all other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people; all people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions."

As far as that nationalisation of the mines, the Youth League says that it will call for "a definitive input on the minerals to be strategically nationalised by basing this decision on firstly the economic importance of the mineral or sector concerned and secondly the risk associated with the supply thereof to safeguard our economic and political sovereignty".

Platinum, iron ore and magnesium

"To this end, we shall be proposing nationalisation of the following minerals: iron ore, magnesium, platinum group minerals, vanadium, manganese, coal and zinc. We will further call for the renationalisation of SASOL, Acelor Mittal And Kumba Irone ore as strategic assets that should be under the stewardship of the state for the broader benefit of all south South Africans.

"The African National Congress must further place greater emphasis on youth development to liberate young people from the structural legacy
of apartheid and its triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.


"Compulsory Youth Service for the purposes of vocational training, job creation and social cohesion as well as the implementation of the Job Stipend are proposals that we shall be advancing to enlarge the security net for youth whilst providing them the necessary skills and support to play a meaningful role in the economy.

"The 53rd National Conference must, of necessity, represent a break with the past 18 years and an ushering of new ways of doing things.
"The Conference must also set in motion the process to review the micro economic policy framework and set a redistribution strategy that will redistribute the wealth of the country for the benefit of all South
Africans.


Stakeholders must comply

"Interested stakeholders, including the recently vocal banking and business sectors would do well to engage these policy proposals to define how they will be implemented rather than whether they will be implemented."
The ANC Youth League's latest call for nationalisation and land re-distribution without compensation is bound to raise the level of debate at the conference. Many ANC leaders, who have gone into business, would find the call difficult to swallow while those with a social tendency would be attracted to some of the policy suggestions.


It seems that the ANC leaders would have to come up with a middle ground policy to save the country from continuing social and service delivery protests.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ANC ELECTION COMMISSION REVEALS NOTHING NEW

By Subry Govender
 

The ANC Election Commission had failed to give any new information on the candidates contesting the leadership positions when it addressed a packed media briefing at the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday morning.

Most of the journalists at the conference expected the Commission members to announce the names of the candidates, especially whether Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, had accepted his nomination to oppose President Jacob Zuma for the top president's position of the ANC.

But instead the spokespersons, including veteran struggle stalwart Dr Frene Ginwala, could only say that the names of the candidates would be released on the day of the election at the conference in Manguang next week.

"We cannot reveal the names of the candidates before the branches are informed," said Dr Ginwala.

She said the ANC electiopns process was designed to give ANC members and branches the ultimate voice in the election of their leadership.

"The ANC's 53rd National Conference is a watershed conference as it marks the end of a century of a fighting People's Movemnet and the beginning of yet another crucial period of struggle."

She also noted the appetite of the media to predict the outcome of the elections.

"As the EC we do not make predetermined decisions or predictions about the outcome of the elections. We do not view the outcome of any of the phases mentioned above as constituting the success or failure of any candidate in the elections process.

"The ultimate determination of the success in the elections is the voting that will take place at our conference in Manguang. Only after delegates have voted will the votes be counted and the successful candidates announced."

After the journalists persisted with their questions about the candidates, another  spokesperson pointed out that the ANC did not have any qualms about those who have been nominated to disclose to the media whether they have accepted their nominations or not.

The only news worthy item to emerge from the conference was when a journalist asked whether the ANC elective conference would be postponed if the health situation of former President Nelson Mandela deteriorated.

Responding, one of the spokespersons said it was very sad and impolite for such a question to be posed. Nevertheless, he said the ANC National Executive Committee was the only body that would pronounce on such issues.

Only hours after the media briefing ended, the spokesperson for Motlanthe confirmed that the Deputy President had accepted nominations for three positions - President, Deputy President and senior official.

The Motlanthe announcement now means that there would be two groups contesting the leadership of the ANC. The one slate is headed by President Jacob Zuma and the other by Motlanthe.

Although Zuma has the support of six of the nine provinces, it's not a given that he will emerge victorious to retain his position. Motlanthe has a lot of hidden support even in the provinces where Zuma has been nominated and this may be the surprise factor at the conference.

In the final analysis, the leaders who are successful must adopt policy decisions that will tackle the serious unemployment situation, poverty, inequality, runaway corruption, and the deterioration of the public health and education services.

The ANC prides itself in claiming that it's the only political movement that promotes the interests of all South Africans - irrespective of race, colour, creeed, or ethnicity.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RULING ANC FACING LEADERSHIP AND CREDIBILITY CRISIS AT THE TIME OF 2012 ELECTIVE CONFERENCE


By Subry Govender

The ruling African National Congress, which is the oldest political movement on the African continent, is facing another leadership and credibility crisis in five years. This as the party - which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year - gears up for its week-long elective conference in the town of Manguang starting this Sunday.

The party is currently plagued by - among other things - deep factional infighting, uncertainity over economic policies to overcome the acute unemployment situation and allegations of widespread corruption and moral decay.

The 4 500 delegates - who will be attending the conference - are reported to be deeply divided as to whether or not to retain President Jacob Zuma or elect Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as leader of the party. They are also undecided about whether to adopt policies that will allow for state intervention in the economy to overcome the acute unemployment, spiralling poverty and deep social and economic divide between the haves and the have nots.

Thabo Mbeki

Zuma finds himself in the same situation as his predecessor - Thabo Mbeki - who faced a backlash when he was deposed during the last elective conference five years ago in the town of Polokwane.

Religious, business, civil society, and non-government organisations claim there is growing resentment against the current moral decay and corruption plaguing the ruling ANC and they want definite decisions to be taken against these anti-social developments at the conference.

MORAL DECAY

One of the leaders who has set the cat among the pigeons is Bishop Joe Seoka, who as president of the South African Council of Churches, has called for lesders of credibility to be elected at the conference - implying that there are some leaders who do not deserve to be elected at Manguang.

This is what he had to say in an interview this week:

"I am highly concerned that Manguang may actually be a disaster in that it will maintain the status quo because people are not electing leaders of integrity but are looking at what benefits will come their way if they maintain who is there already."

He went onto declare that the people were fed up as demonstrated by the recent upheavels in the platinum, coal, diamond and gold mines; the strikes on the vineyards in the Western Cape and the general discontent among other workers and the people in general.

"It's real," he said, "that there is an upsurge of new movement that is taking place and we can only educate people to vote people into power who will serve them, not people who are serving themselves".

ANC MUS ACT WITH URGENCY TO WORK WITH PRIVATE SECTOR

Political analysts are also concerned at the failure of the ruling ANC to tackle the serious social and economic issues affecting the masses who have been left behind following the advent of our new democracy in 1994.

Zakhele Ndlovu is a senior political lecturer and analyst at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. He warned that the ANC conference must come out with positive policies that would promote the well-being of the unemployed, the poor, distadvantaged and the marginalised.

"There are serious and fundamental economic and social equity things," he said, "that have to be resolved now and they have to be resolved with a greater sense of urgency."

The CEO Business Unity South Africa, Ms Nomacebe Mogjwene, was also blunt that the ANC conference must come up with clear economic policies and greater economic clarity so that the private sector could work with the Government to overcome the unemployment and poverty problems facing the country.

"We really hope that the conference of the ANC, " she said, "will look into that and would emerge with powerful signals that the government will work with the private sector in order to get our country back on track."

Similar sentiments have been expressed by other economic anlysts.

ZUMA HEADING FOR SECOND TERM

Despite the concerns of non-government role players, Zuma has been predicted to retain his position as he has already mustered the support of six of the nine provinces. He hopes to remain in power along with secretary general, Gwede Mantashe; national chairperson, Ms Baleka Mbete; new assistant secretary general, Ms Jesse Duarte; and another newcomer to the top six, KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Zweli Mkhize, as national treasurer. He has not indicated whether he would accept the position to replace current national treasurer, Mathew Phosa.

Phosa has been very critical of Zuma and whether he would be included in Zuma's top six appears to be slim at this stage.

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, has now on Wednesday, December 12, confirmed that he would oppose Zuma. Phosa has also indicated that he would stand in the Motlanthe top six as his Deputy President.
Now that Motlanthe has made his intentions known, business magnate and former ANC secretary general, Cyril Ramaphosa, will make himself available to stand for the Deputy President's position in Zuma's top six.
The latest developments clearly demonstrate that there will be a serious fight for the top six at Manguang. Whichever faction emerges victorious will not resolve the deep divisions within the party.
It's hoped that the ANC leaders will demonstrate statesmanship and accept the results without any animosity and recriminations.
But one thing is clear:  Zuma, who appears to have the lost the support of many members of the general public, NGOs, and other role players, will not have all his way at the conference. He will be watched with keen interest by all concerned.







Many people believe that Zuma's possible re-election may be in the interests of himself, his hangers-on and supporters - but it will definitely not be in the greater good of the country.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ANOTHER PEACE PILLAR BY ISHWAR RAMLUTCHMAN



 

 
By Subry Govender

The Sivananda World Peace Foundation, headed by Durban businessman, philanthropist and humanitarian, Ishwar Ramlutchman, will unveil its eighth Peace Pillar at Nongqayi, Eshowe on December 4.

Peace Pillars, initiated by Ramlutchman, in KwaZulu-Natal have already been unveiled in Tongaat, Richards Bay, Phoenix, Esikhawini, Ladysmith, Pietermaritzburg, and Greytown.

The Nongqayi Peace Pillar, built of four-ton granite, will be 3,5metres high and be inscribed with prayers from the world’s major religions.

Dignitaries, including the World General Secretary of the Divine Life Society, His Holiness Sri Swami Padmanabhananda; KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize; Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini; IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and other leading political and community leaders will be in attendance at the historic ceremony in Eshowe.

Mr Ramlutchman said in a statement on Wednesday, November 28 that the monument was supported by the provincial heritage agency, AMAFA.

"The site where the Pillar will be erected is a National Heritage Site. Fort Nongqayi is a place of historical significance in the history of Kwazulu-Natal," he said.

Mr Ramlutchman said Peace Pillars would also be erected in Cape Town, East London, Kwa Dukuza and Mpumalanga. Another two would also be built in the neighbouring countries of Swaziland and Mozambique.

"The Sivananda Peace Pillars are a beacon of unity in diversity," he said.
"They are a source of inspiration and a reminder that peace and love should transcend our human limitations. They are a tribute to Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society Worldwide and his disciple Swami Sahajananda.
"The Sivananda Peace Pillar is a source of inspiration. In the run-up to our government elections in the near future, peace and unity is crucial. Political and social stability are a sign of a united province and we must work hard at preserving the peace among all our citizens. The Eshowe launch is especially significant given the region’s troubled political past in the 1980s. It is a time for peace."

He said Dr Nelson Mandela and Dr Ian Player were the patrons of the Foundation having been honoured early this year.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, praised Mr Ramlutchman for this noble initiative and gave his unconditional support for the project.

Mr Ramlutchman made a commitment to the late Swami Sahajananda to undertake the installation of at least eight Sivananda Peace Pillars across South Africa but had surpassed this figure.



 

 

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nayakan - one of Time Magazine's top100 films

The Tamil movie, Nayakan, which was produced 25 years ago, has just been selected by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 films. Here below the main actor, Kamal Hassan, writes about the making of the movie. The article, published in The Hindu newspaper of Chennai, has been made available by Ms Nirupuma Subramanian, a senior editor who is a friend of mine.




By Kamal Hassan

Exactly 25 years ago, the groundbreaking Nayakan was released. It has since been voted one of Time magazine’s top 100 films, but all that the people working on it then wanted was ‘to be different’.

Whether it’s the story of Caesar or Gandhi or the Rotary Club, it starts off as something very small, without the respect it deserves. Nayakan was no exception. We never thought it would be selected as one of Time magazine’s 100 greatest films of all time, or that people will remember it after 25 years. We just wanted to be different.

Perhaps due to my insecurity about dropping out of school, I’ve always surrounded myself with writers and thinkers, and one such person I met was Subramaniam, whom friends called Subbu and who eventually became Mani Ratnam. He was introduced to me by Kitty (Raja Krishnamurthy). Kitty was the manager at Chola Sheraton. We used to call him "Chola" Krishnamurthy. Mani, then as now, was a quiet man, and Kitty used to explain Mani’s ideas. Slowly I started liking the silent man more— not that I liked Kitty less, but I thought this guy was deep. Only after he signed up for Nayakan did I realise that he was the son of ‘Venus’ Ratnam Iyer, with a deep-rooted connection to Tamil cinema. I knew he was GV’s (the financier G. Venkateswaran) brother, but the Venus connection never struck me and he never threw this fact at my face.

This was the time I was writing Raajapaarvai, which came out in 1980. Mani wanted to know about the nuances of screenwriting. He used to love a Joseph Hayes novel called The Long Dark Night. He said he wanted to write something like that. We kept discussing various stories. We were all fans of Francis Ford Coppola and The Godfather. We kept saying how long could Tamil cinema keep showing the underworld as people with checked shirts and a kerchief knotted around the neck and laughing like the old villain P.S. Veerappa.

Then Mani said he was doing his first film in Kannada, Pallavi Anupallavi. I was busy with Raajapaarvai, and I was also getting into Hindi films, so I couldn’t do this film. But we kept meeting and talking. After making Vikram, in 1986, I realised I should have asked Mani to direct it. It was his cup of tea. He asked me what had happened, because the story was so different from what I’d told him. I told him that this was bound to happen. I said, "The intelligence of (the writer) Sujatha and Kamal Haasan was bound to be diluted by Kodambakkam. It will happen to you too."

A little later, the producer-director Muktha Srinivasan, with whom I’d made films like Simla Special, said he wanted to make another film with me. I suggested Mani Ratnam’s name. He was amused because the hero usually suggests the name of the heroine in the film, and here I was recommending a director.

Mani told me two stories. One was a gangster story. He said it was based in Bombay. I said that was the way to go, because the film, then, would have a national reach. Muktha Films had a reputation for being tight-fisted. When Mr. Srinivasan heard that we wanted to shoot in Bombay, he wasn’t happy. He just wanted us to make a film — any film — that would net him a profit of Rs. 5 lakh. That is how he was used to working. Films were a business. He wasn’t interested in films as art.

But we said we’d shoot only part of the film in Bombay, and he half-heartedly agreed. Then, we wanted an international look for the action scenes. Unlike Tamil films of the time, Mani had marked out a separate budget for the action, around Rs. 12 lakh. We flew down Jim Allen, the action director and cinematographer, from England. He’d worked out the stunts for films like Sholay. But Mr. Srinivasan packed him off after three days, saying he couldn’t afford him. "We can’t keep spending like this," he told me. "I think Hindi films have spoilt you."

But in the three days he was here, he gave Mani and P.C. Sreeram (the cinematographer) many ideas. As he spoke, they actually took down notes about how to topple a car and how to show a bullet leaving a head and how you can shift focus and make a stunt look more effective. When Jim left, I was totally down. Mani doesn’t show his emotions. But I decided to use the props I’d got for other films, like polystyrene bottles that I could bring down and break on Inspector Kelkar’s head. We had gone into such details.

There was no budget for makeup, so I spoke to my guru, Michael Westmore. I’ve trained under him, and we worked together for the first time on Oru Kaidhiyin Diary. I learnt how to apply old-age makeup myself in front of a magnifying mirror, with just an assistant standing by with a fan to dry layer after layer of wrinkled-latex on my face. There was no budget for the costumes, so Sarika moved in.

At some point, I decided that to get into the character, I need ittar (floral perfume). I think I may have been getting ahead of myself. Sarika couldn’t find ittar, and I was getting angry because I was multitasking on this movie — doing makeup for myself, for others, getting props, even cutting the hair of the extras — and I was upset that she couldn’t find something as simple as ittar. Finally, she concocted something and made me believe it was ittar. I was very satisfied. I felt like the character and I knew I could perform well.

Mani had seen me play an old man in Kadal Meengal, Sagara Sangamam and Swathi Muthyam. He said he didn’t want me to look like that, with a wig. I said that, in that case, we’d have to shoot the film in sequence, and I’d have to pluck out my hair towards the end. Simply shaving off the hair wasn’t enough, as the shadow would show. It wouldn’t look like a real bald spot. We decided to make the character prognathic, so I brought in the dentist who’d fashioned my teeth for my role in Kalyanaraman. He made a piece to make my jaw bigger.

All of this was happening without fanfare. We could sense that we were hot on the trail of something good. We — Mani, myself, Sreeram, Thotta Tharrani (the art director whom I’d introduced in Raajapaarvai) — were all collaborating as a team. This wasn’t about showing up only as per the call sheet. As we weren’t allowed to shoot to the extent we wanted in Bombay, Tharrani built the Dharavi set in Madras. When we went to Bombay finally, we shot a few scenes in the real Dharavi — cutaways like me chasing the inspector.

The film was shaping up very well and I was very happy. I was bragging to everyone about what a good film we were making. One day, I was ready to play the scene where Velu Nayakan reacts to his son’s death. We rehearsed the scene. I told Mani I wanted some build up. I thought the junior artists should react to the death first, which would help the funeral pallor to set in. And by the time I came to the corpse, the grief would have seeped into me. I would be in gear to play the scene.

But when the time came, Mani was standing there glumly, and Sreeram was sitting with his head in his hands. I thought there was a technical glitch. I said, "What is the problem? I’m ready. Let’s go." He showed me a small note from the producer saying that the day’s quota of film stock had been used up, and they had to wait till he sanctioned new stock. This was the producer’s way of making sure we shot responsibly, without going overboard with takes. I was livid. I called my office and asked them to bring the film stock they had in 20 minutes, and in those 20 minutes I was ready to cry. I really felt like my child was dying that day. So the producer probably helped my performance in the film.

He was also indirectly responsible for the scene where the man is garrotted in the car, which is just like The Godfather. I was helping out with the action scenes, and I had written this scenario that I later used in my Thevar Magan, where a truck, with a cargo of steel rods jutting out, reverses and rams into this car and kills him. But Mr. Srinivasan wouldn’t allow a car to be demolished; so we were forced to use the scene from The Godfather. He wasn’t a bad man. He was just from an older school. And he did help at times. I must give him his due. The scene where Velu’s future wife studies for her exams in the brothel was suggested by him.

Mani was not happy with the climax. I was not happy with it. By the time, I was tired. I wanted to get this film done. When we were in Bombay, we spoke to Varada Bhai (Varadaraja Mudaliar on whose life the film is based), and Mani had the audacity to ask him, "How do you foresee your death?" He said he would either die peacefully in a hospital (which is what happened) but left to the police, who couldn’t prove anything against him, they would bring him out of court and someone would slap him. This would cause a riot and they would then shoot him. This sparked the climax in Mani’s head.

The way Kelkar’s death was filmed (and later, the death of Velu Nayakan’s son), I knew Mani was making a really good movie. And also the kind of movie that we all dreamt of making. During the Holi sequence, I told Mani that Velu Nayakan should not dance. And Mani agreed. No director at that time would have agreed to this. Earlier in my career, I told Bharathiraja that the psychopathic killer in Sigappu Rojakkal should not be singing and dancing. But he deflected my objections saying that the song (Ninaivo oru paravai) was a dream song, shot from the heroine’s point of view. At least that made sense. But other times, people simply wouldn’t listen to me, and here Mani simply said, "Of course Velu Nayakan doesn’t dance."

We stumbled a lot while making this film. But Mani just got up and dusted himself off and went on to the next thing. He kept his cool. He was tethered throughout the shoot. He withstood storms. And he was not afraid to surround himself with strong contributors like the writer Balakumaran, whose ease with the local syntax and dialect helped to compensate for Mani’s urbanity. There were no egos on the set. Mani would shoot down ideas. He would also accept ideas. When Velu is taken to a brothel in a song sequence, I expressed my exasperation by rolling my eyes. Mani told me that this was a very Western thing, and asked if I could give a more Indian expression. That was a very happy day for me. Suddenly I had someone who noticed these small things that make up a performance.

Nayakan was one of the films — along with the films I’ve done with Balu Mahendra, K. Vishwanath and, of course, my guru K. Balachander — that made me decide that I should not be doing short-lived masala movies anymore. Except nostalgia, they added nothing to my career. I was fed up. I was nearing middle-age. I thought, "If I don’t do this now, then when will I do it?" After wrapping the film, I was so happy that I took Sarika and went for a walk around the empty set. I remember just sitting there with a satisfied sigh.

There was a screening of the film at Savera hotel. One of the viewers was so moved that he fell at the producer’s feet. I urged Mani to go and talk to people but he just walked away saying that there was no glory in this. He was right. I told the producer that he was going to get awards. He said he hadn’t made the film to get awards, merely to make profits. And he was nervous about the film’s dark lighting and so on. He complained that I had spoilt his chances of making a profit, which is when I offered to buy the film from him. Later, GV bought the film. And after the film came out, what the producer feared became a fashion. Every Tamil film began to have under lit sequences. And the heroes began to gel their hair.

When it was time for the film’s silver-jubilee celebrations, Mr. Srinivasan’s brother passed away.We cancelled our celebration after all had gathered at the venue. The entire crew took garlands and went to his home and paid homage to the departed soul. So there was no rancour with Mr. Srinivasan. We were all like family. There was just frustration.

Had the producer been more cooperative and had he had more vision, Mani would have ensured that the film came out better. He would have also been a healthier man. His heart attack might have happened at a later stage. Mani was worn out by all the extracurricular activities, which are not part of filmmaking. I am always asked when Mani and I will work together again. I don’t know if we can summon up that same feeling of doing a film for the pleasure. Now there’s too much pressure. And I don’t blame Mani. He’s been so tormented by producers that now he wants to make films exactly the way he wants. And if I would be an impediment, he would be right in removing me.