JACOB Zuma has finally said what his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki ought to have said a long time ago: You can’t blame the lack of services and facilities on apartheid some 16 years into democracy.
In an under-reported statement to his director generals on Friday, Zuma said: “After two decades we will not be able to make an excuse if we do not deliver faster change in the lives of our people.”
He went on to say: “We will not be able to blame apartheid if villages still have no water, no electricity, no roads. We will not be able to blame anyone else if children still study under trees, if houses and schools are falling apart.”
I happen to believe that apartheid must still shoulder the blame for creating a society so vastly unequal that even the proper use of resources over the last 16 years would not have levelled the playing field.
But that is not the point. The point is to take responsibility and that is what Zuma has done. Government must stand up and account for failures in delivery. And, he also said, strong action must be taken against those who undermine the state’s ability to deliver with inefficiency and corruption.
JACOB Zuma failed to pitch for the 20th anniversary celebrations outside the Groot Drakenstein prison where Nelson Mandela was released.
Zuma was scheduled to be the keynote speaker, but he did not pitch and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe stepped in to take his place.
This was supposed to be Zuma’s opportunity to link himself to the Mandela legacy. As I write this, Motlanthe appears to be winging it off the cuff … Somethings going down here, people.
TWENTY years ago today, Nelson Mandela walked through the gates of Victor Verster prison after 27 years in jail.
The story of how Mandela overcame the temptation of vengeance to craft a new South Africa which sought to accommodate all has defined this nation for 20 years. Of course the ANC played a vital role in formulating and then backing the policy of reconciliation on which this democracy was built.
But it took the personality, drive and dynamic leadership of Mandela to make it real. He understood the importance of symbolism. Here was a man who grasped the demobilising impact that having tea with the widow of Hendrik Verwoerd would have on the right wing.
He famously pulled on the the Springbok Number 6 jersey and strode onto Ellis Park before the kick-off of the Rugby World Cup Victory of 1995 because he knew the meaning of leadership.
Reconciliation bought him the space to sweep decades of Apartheid legislation on education, health, labour and welfare off the books, replacing it with a raft of laws designed to change the face of South Africa.
And, in the eyes of all but a few die-hard cynics, this country has changed for the better in a myriad of ways.
Today Mandela will be honoured as the nation revisits his walk to freedom and celebrates his contribution to democracy.
But the celebrations take place under a shadow. Twenty years on, Mandela’s struggle faces an enemy that is much more difficult to define than the system of apartheid. Many of the values embodied by Mandela are giving way as the new enemies of greed, corruption and cronyism set their hands about the throat of democracy.
The high office once occupied by Mandela is now in the hands of a serial philanderer who escaped corruption charges under controversial circumstances. We have come a long way, but the road ahead is much harder.
THE momentous events of early 1990 when FW de Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela have stirred many emotional memories among South Africans.
De Klerk wrote in this newspaper yesterday about how he came to the decision to take these bold initiatives which set South Africa on the path to democracy.
Only the most churlish observer blinded by prejudice would say that South Africa is not a better place today than it was in 1990.
But it has been a very challenging twenty years during which there have been dramatic advances and serious failures.
The ANC has undergone a dramatic transformation. In 1990 it was of necessity an exiled party that operated in secrecy led by a hierarchy that ran the party as “political machinery”.
The last twenty years have seen the ANC change into a party with a massive electoral majority and a strong record of transformation in government. The face of government, the law books and the tarred streets of Soweto all provide ample evidence of this dramatic transformation.
But the ANC has also become enmeshed in dramatic internal power struggles, jockeying for position and the rise of a tendency which promotes the acquisition of wealth and power over service to the poor.
The very real possibility exists that this tendency will dominate, turning a blind eye to corruption and implementing a second transformation – turning government into a crony state that is a vehicle for the enrichment of the political elite.
The shocking state of the books of most government departments and mounting corruption signal the need for a second struggle to return South Africa to the founding values of its democracy.
Statement on behalf of NEC member Tokyo Sexwale in response to today’s statement by the ANC on the NEC lekgotla and the report on the SACP congress
Mr Sexwale welcomes the statement issued by the ANC today, which clarifies the status of the report submitted to the NEC on the events at the SACP congress.
At the same time, the following must be very clearly stated:
Any suggestion that the report has “no status” in the ANC is both false and dubious – in fact, it is mischievous to attempt to disown this report.
Any suggestion that the report submitted by Mr Sexwale was “rejected” by the NEC is equally misleading and false. The document was tabled, and referred to the National Working Committee – a sub-structure of the NEC – for discussion. This was confirmed in the statement issued by the ANC today.
Any suggestion that the report was drafted without consultation is presumptuous and incorrect. Mr Sexwale discussed the drafting of his report with both ANC general-secretary Gwede Mantashe and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe during the ANC’s 98th birthday celebrations in Kimberley earlier this month. Its drafting was approved on the clear understanding that it would be circulated to members of the ANC NEC, by the Secretary-General, for discussion. This was confirmed in a discussion between Mr Sexwale and Mr Mantashe this morning.
Issued by: Chris Vick on behalf of Tokyo Sexwale
For those of you who didn’t read the fine print this morning, President Thabo Mbeki has been quietly shafted once more by President Jacob Zuma, this time as mediator in the Zimabwean peace process.
Mbeki was mediator while president and this continued afterwards. But yesterday it came to a dramatic end with an announcement by Zuma that stated: “President Jacob Zuma has constituted a three-person Facilitation support team to work on the Zimbabwean process. The President’s political adviser Charles Nqakula leads the team, working with Special Envoy Mac Maharaj and international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu.”
Mbeki was not among the three persons. AFP pressed Zuma’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya for an explanation. He offered this: “Former president Thabo Mbeki’s role was in the context of him being the head of state.”
Well, not quite. Zuma very warmly announced that Mbeki would continue with mediation despite the fact that he was no longer president.
So it was a shafting. A long-overdue shafting, actually. Read More…
THIS just in: Deputy Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula says innocent lives will be lost as police fight crime with lethal force and that’s just one of those things …
His exact words, as quoted on Sapa: “In the course of any duty the innocent will be victimised. In this particular situation where you are caught in combat with criminals, innocent people are going to die not deliberately but in the exchange of fire. They are going to be caught on the wrong side, not deliberately but unavoidably.”
More: “We cannot say to the police, retreat. We cannot say to South Africans, despair. Our job is to give people hope.”
And then that statement again: “Yes. Shoot the bastards. Hard-nut to crack, incorrigible bastards.”
From the Sapa story:
Mbalula said the promised amendments to section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act would be tabled in Parliament next year, but would not amount to an overhaul of the act.
In essence, lawmakers would change the act “in terms of emphasis on the word ’necessary’” to remove ambiguity in the law, the deputy minister said. He gave no further details.
Section 49 states that if someone suspected to have committed a serious or violent crime resists arrest, the police may “use such force as may in the circumstances be reasonably necessary to overcome the resistance or prevent the person concerned from fleeing”.