Thursday, April 27, 2017


WHAT FREEDOM - ASK YOUNG PEOPLE? South Africans today celebrated 23 years of freedom when they went to the polls on 27th April 1994 to move away from white minority rule and apartheid and vote for a non-racial and democratic future. But as South Africans observed this historical day – thousands of people had taken part in a rally to regain this freedom because they claimed President Jacob Zuma has allowed the country to be captured by some of his business friends. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has indirectly accused Zuma of this state capture by calling for a judicial commission of inquiry into this claim and for those responsible to account for their actions. Ramaphosa’s bold call has thrown open once again the poisonous struggle for leadership within the ruling ANC and the country as a whole on this the 23rd year of South Africa’s freedom and democracy. Subry Govender writes that many South Africans say the factionalism in the ruling ANC are not in the interested of the marginalised and disadvantaged. On Freedom Day, South Africans have come out in the open to say they have had enough of corrupt and unscrupulous politicians. They were referring to the deep divisions with the ruling ANC elite and the protest marches against President Jacob Zuma. I spoke to young South Africans at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and asked them about 23 years of Freedom and what they thought about the scramble for power within the ruling ANC.
(Pumelelo Tshalala and his friend, Jabulo Ndima) Pumelelo Tshabalala, a 23-year-old social science student, said he had expected a great deal in the new South Africa but politicians had not lived up to their commitments. “The leaders we have today are just here for money purposes, promoting their own interests,” he said. His colleague, 23-year-old Jabulo Ndima, was just as disillusioned. Hailing from a working class background, he wanted political leaders to work in the interests of the poor and marginalised and not just to promote their own pockets. “It seems we have to concentrate on our studies and obtain a decent qualification in order to improve the lives of our family and ourselves,” he said.
(Ms Thobile Mkhize (left), Ms Andile Dimande (Centre) and Ms Snekuke Zungu) A 24-year-old psychology student, Ms Thobile Mkhize, and her two friends, Ms Andile Dimande, 19, a law student, and Ms Snekuke Zungu, 27, were all pessimistic whether the ruling elite would bring about changes to improve the lives of the masses. Said Ms Mkhize: “We still struggling a lot and we still fighting for what our parents had fought for. I don’t trust anyone and to be honest I don’t vote. I am not for anyone because they all work around the same strategies.” Ms Zungu, who is a political science student, said 23 years of freedom was only for the rich. “You know the ANC and the regeneration of power, that’s how it operates. When it’s about election time, they regroup, they group into smaller little clans and they scramble against each other for power.” Andile Ndimande said factions within the ruling party is not in the interests of the country. “If there’s factions in the party that is going to leave us in a compromising position as a nation. Things are bad already and nothing is going to change, still the same things,” she said.
(Xolani Radebe) Xolani Radebe, 36, has obtained two degrees in sociology and is now studying for his masters. He says he has found it difficult to obtain a job and earns a living by selling all kinds of goods. He said politicians only wanted to enrich themselves. He said: “When you look at Africa you find out that the ruling elites always get big with their families. For instance, the Zuma family was not known before he became a president. But now suddenly his family are multi-millionaires. The one leader that will win at the end of this year come will inherit what President Thabo Mbeki and President Zuma did. And I think there are other external forces of which our government is subjected to.”
(Kuhlekako Umtatuli) A young woman activist who is the president of the SRC, – Kuhlekako Umtatuli, said leaders must fulfil the promise of restoring land to the people and ensuring that the masses become fully involved in the radical transformation of the economy. “I believe that South Africans are angry and we need to start directing our anger to the direct channels. Is it really the state? Because who is the state captured by, it’s captured by white business, the minority. The main concern I am having in politics overall, starting from communities and institutions and all other power struggle structures is the level of corruption and we are not finding enough leaders speaking out against corruoption.”
(Political analyst, Zakele Ndlovu) Political analyst, Zakele Ndlovu, said the anti-Zuma protest demonstration on Freedom Day and the deep divisions within the ruling ANC would cause serious problems for the ANC to retain political power after 2019. Since Zuma emerged as leader in 2009, the ANC has seen two major ruptures with disgruntled leaders establishing breakaway parties such as the Congress of the People under the command of a former Minister of Defence, Mosioua Lekota, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, under the leadership of former ANC youth league strongman, Julius Maleman. Ndlovu said the ANC had become deeply fractured over the past 10 years. “I think what you have seen in the last decade or so is that the ANC is really struggling to manage this factionalism which is tearing the ANC apart. “They may not lose power in 2019 but their support is going to decline significantly. Right now they are sitting at 62.4 percent if I am not mistaken. Come 2019 I can see the support coming down to low 50s if not below 50,” he said. On the 23rd anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day, Z the people in general should be looking to a brighter future for all. But from all accounts, it seems that the political wrangles within the ruling ANC between the pro and anti-Zuma factions will have serious implications for the masses struggling to overcome massive poverty, rising unemployment and growing inequality between the rich and poor on a daily basis. Whether Cyril Ramaphosa or Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be able to unite the factions and bring about the socio-economic changes necessary for the stable development of the country – will be keenly watched over the next few months in the run-up to the election of the next ANC leader in December. The political divide will continue even though Ramaphosa shared a Freedom Day platform with Zuma at the main government function in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Ends –

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


By Subry Govender
Senior ANC leader and the immediate former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, had a clear message for the rowdy and abusive ANC Youth League members who had repeatedly disrupted his speech at the memorial service for freedom icon, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, at the Sastri College hall in Durban last Sunday. “Young people,” he said, “must have the proper training, young people must get business opportunities, and young people must ensure that they grow into the economy of this country”. “And if we don’t work together, we are not going to be able to accomplish what Kathrada and his generation and indeed subsequent generations as well have wanted for our country.” Gordhan, who like the ANC Treasurer General, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has come in for perverted criticism from the KZN Youth League and others over the past two weeks since his dismissal as Finance Minister, was responding to the repeated shouts of “radical economic transformation” by the Youth League members during the course of his speech. He said Kathrada and his generation and “the generation like ours” also wanted radical economic transformation. But, he warned, “be careful”.
“Radical economic transformation can’t be for a handful of people. It must be for all of us. Radical economic transformation must mean that our families, particularly African families, don’t pass poverty from father to child. They must start passing wealth from father to child. We want to create a country and an economy for all people. “Radical economic transformation must mean that there must be land for all our people, jobs for all of our people and that we must ensure that everybody in 20 years’ time or less has some asset that can be passed onto future generations, and in that sense we need a very different kind of economy from the one we have today. And the appeal to all of us who have some wealth, some property, and some assets is, let us find out how we can help others who don’t have that, how do we include small businesses in the townships in our businesses.” Gordhan also reminded the audience about the true values and principles of non-racialism, democracy, peace, and socio-economic development for all propagated by leaders of the calibre of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Kathrada and others who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom South Africans enjoyed today. It was clear that he disagreed with the uncouth antics of the youth league members. In this regard he told them that they should promote the disciplined values and unity of the ANC. “Comrades let’s hear each other, it’s my turn to talk. It’s a free country, it’s a free country but let’s not disrespect. Everybody here talks about unity in the ANC, where is the unity in the ANC? “Everybody said we will respect each other and sort out our differences in our structures. Let us live that principle, let us go to the structures.”
He also said Kathrada would have called on members to resolve their differences without resorting to unpleasantries and calling members names. “Ahmed Kathrada would say to us that despite differences among us, we must ask ourselves what are our differences based on, what is that we are arguing about? We agree on the kind of South Africa we want. We agree that we need a different kind of economy. We agree that all of our people must have a much better life than we have today.” The youth league members and others persisted with their unrepentant stances towards Gordhan and Dr Mkhize despite the leader of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, and the ANC Youth League official, Sanduxolo Sabela, making several pleas to their members to act with restraint and to show all leaders due respect. But in their speeches, they emphasised that they fully supported the cabinet re-shuffle and Zuma as President of the ANC and the country. Sabela told the memorial service that the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal wanted to unequivocally emphasise that it fully supported the recent cabinet re-shuffle carried out by Zuma. He said: “We also wish to re-affirm the continued leadership and stewardship of President Jacob Zuma of this country and we are saying as the youth league, we believe President Zuma must stay as president of the ANC till December and president of the country till 2019.”
Most of the people who attended the memorial service were taken aback at the lack of respect that the youth league members displayed towards Gordhan and Dr Mkhize.
Dr Mkhize issued a statement on Monday calling for “political education to teach our youth tolerance of different views and respect for the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom”. Dr Mkhize apologised on behalf of the ANC to those who attended the memorial service for the embarrassment and inconvenience caused. “The memorial service was a beautiful representation of the non-racial and non-sexist credentials of the ANC from the youth to senior citizens, many of whom have known struggle credentials,” he said. “The behaviour remains unacceptable now as it has always been when it happened to other leaders in the organsation as it erodes on the respect for the ANC. It is a challenge leadership has to address. “There is need for leadership to dismantle factions which are tearing apart the organisation and urgently work to rebuild unity and deal with differences which play out in the open. We call on all comrades to avoid using such solemn occasions to exacerbate tensions and embarrass the ANC,” he said.
After the memorial service, Zikalala announced that they would investigate the behaviour of the Youth League members concerned and bring to book those responsible for the disruptions.
But it seems that the KZN Youth League members would continue to show their support for Zuma by utilising all forms of protest in view of the fact that Zuma will be facing more protests marches and continued calls for him to step down from office. There will be another protest march in Pretoria today (Wednesday) and he will face another vote of no confidence in Parliament on April 18. Some political parties are also calling for a secret vote in the hope that members of the ANC who are disillusioned with Zuma will also cast their ballot against him. But at this stage it appears there’s little chance of anti-Zuma ANC MPs casting their ballots for his removal. Ends – CLIPS OF PRAVIN GORDHAN 1



Sunday, April 9, 2017


Despite appeals by KwaZulu-Natal ANC leaders, members of the ANC Youth League shouted down senior leader, Zweli Mkhize, and disrupted the closing stages of the memorial service held for struggle icon, Ahmed Kathrada, in Durban on Sunday (April 9). The memorial was organised by the Active Citizens Movement(ACM), which had obtained a court order to prevent the youth league members from disrupting the memorial service. The service was held at the historical Sastri College, near Durban’s former home of non-racial football, Currie’s Fountain. The Youth League members, wearing pro-Zuma t-shirts and carrying placards in support of Zuma, shouted and booed Dr Mkhize, who is the National Treasurer of the ruling ANC.
They also sang and danced and made it impossible for Dr Mkhize to deliver his address.
Earlier, former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, had to cut short his address after he was also repeatedly disrupted by the Youth League members who made it clear that they supported the recent cabinet re-shuffle and Zuma. Gordhan, who was fired by Zuma recently, tried to instil the values and principles for which leaders like Kathrada had sacrificed their lives. He also tried to inform those present that it was vitally necessary to fight all forms of corruption so that South Africans, especially the youth, could have a better future. He also said that without unity the ANC will face serious problems in 2019 general elections. But it seemed that the Zuma factionalists in the audience were not prepared to listen to Gordhan and on several occasions shouted and showed Gordhan the finger.
The Youth League members were repeatedly urged by ANC KwaZulu-Natal leader, Sihle Zikalala, and the Youth League provincial secretary, Sanduxolo Sabela, to display the true values of unity of the ANC by allowing all leaders to deliver their speeches without any disturbances.
But from the time they entered the hall, they made it clear through their actions and songs that they were there just to promote Zuma and not to listen to leaders they considered to be anti-Zuma. At one stage the police entered the hall when some members of the audience disagreed with the disruptive actions of the youth league members. The youth league members became aggressive and Mr Zikalala had to appeal to the police to leave the hall so that they could resolve the problems themselves.
Zikalala spoke both in IsiZulu and English to call on the youth league members to be tolerant to opposing views and not to become aggressive. The youth league members had lined up to take their seats in the hall about three hours before the start of the service. However, their entry was delayed for some time while the police carried out stringent security checks and ensured that it was safe for Gorhan, Dr Mkhize and other leaders to speak at the service. In their addresses, both Zikalala and Sabela, while urging the youth league members to maintain discipline and not to disrupt the speakers, they also made it clear that they supported the recent cabinet re-shuffle and also they supported Zuma as president of the ANC and the country.
When they were waiting outside the school premises, the youth league members also sang and shouted slogans in support of Zuma and made it vociferously clear that they would not tolerate any criticism of their leader.
The actions of the youth league members inside the hall was condemned by most of the people who said they could not understand that there was so much lack of respect for senior ANC leaders who sacrificed their lives for the freedom that South Africans enjoy today. “It seems these people have no time for non-racialism, peace, democracy, equality and economic and social development that leaders like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, and others had fought for and gave their lives,” said one of the people who attended the service.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


On June 9 last year (2016) our dear Appa, Thatha, brother, and cousin, Poobal Govender, left this world to join all the relatives who departed before him. His passing has been a traumatic experience for all those who were close to him – especially his widow, Baby; children; and other family members. We know that where-ever he is today, he is enjoying peace and tranquillity. In order to remember this wonderful soul, this radio documentary has been compiled as a tribute to him. Sit back and listen to the story of this respected human soul.
But before we listen to the Special documentary, please read this message prepared by his widow, Baby: “Love, one year has gone by and I can still feel your presence. My tears must have faded but the pain inside me will not. “This is the worst pain that anyone can feel. In 45 years of our marriage, I have such beautiful memories of us being together. But now my life will never ever be the same. “LOVE, I miss your footsteps and presence around our home. “I miss you coming up the stairs from a long day of work with a broad smile. “I miss you walking beside me. “I miss our long conversations and good laughs that we had together. “What I miss the most, is on a Saturday morning when you awake, your question to me would be: ‘LOVE what are our plans for today.’ But now it’s no more. “I know you are in a better place but for me your call was too sudden. “LOVE, you are clearly missed by your wife, three children, two daughters-in-law, son-in-law, four grand-children and a host of family and friends. “Rest in peace, we LOVE you. “AND I have a strong message for all those out there who still have their loved one. Love and cherish each moment with them, as life will never ever be the same once they are gone.” WHAT a beautiful message.
Now I would like to pass on to you what the warrior of the early times, Alexander The Great, had to say on his death bed. Alexander the Great was from the area of Macedonia in Ancient Greece who had conquered most of ancient Egypt, Persia or Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and certain parts of India. He summoned his generals and asked them to carry out three of his wishes: 1. The best doctors should carry his coffin; 2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones…) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery, and 3. His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see!! One of his general who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain. Here is what Alexander the Great had to say: 1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal; 2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth... 3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME 4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth, although our good deeds can be our travellers’ checks. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. 5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life! 6. So dear family and friends, the best present that you can give to your family and friends, including me, is your TIME. May God grant you plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away so that you can LIVE! Family members and friends, boys and girls, let us now listen to the documentary specially prepared to honour Poobal at this one-year memorial service:


By Subry Govender Only a few days after struggle great, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, was released from life imprisonment in October 1989, I had the privilege of interviewing him at the home of one of his family members in Lenasia, Johannesburg. He was released along with Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Raymond Mahlaba, Elias Motsoledi, and Denis Goldberg. They were all sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela in 1964 after they were found guilty of High Treason in the famous Rivonia Trial. I was working for the Press Trust of India (PTI) as a correspondent during this troubled times. I was asked to urgently talk to Kathrada because of his Indian roots. His parents had come down to South Africa from their village in the state of Gujerat in North India in the late 1920s. The interviews, listed below, have also been edited and broadcast on radio in three parts. 1). KATHRADA PART ONE INTERVIEW