Tagged: ANC

New light on the Dulcie September mystery

LAST year was the 25th anniversary of the murders of Dulcie September and Chris Hani. The publication of an in-depth investigation, revealing arms trade links and nuclear secrets, appears to have been under the radar, perhaps because of language issues and the fact the article was only published widely in the Netherlands.

With ongoing public interest because of the parole application of Clive Derby-Lewis and the renewed importance of Dulcie September as a struggle icon, Medialternatives publishes extracts of the article on Youth day, June 16, 2014.

Evelyn Groenink, the investigative journalist responsible for the latest round of speculation on the murders says:

“ANC representative Dulcie September was killed in Paris in 1988, when talks about future arms contracts between France and the ANC were on the agenda; SWAPO- man Anton Lubowski, ditto, in front of his Windhoek home in 1989, shortly after befriending an arms- and diamonds dealer; and the ANC’s beloved Chris Hani was murdered in 1993(one year before the first democratic elections in South Africa), in the midst of massive bribe-offering by arms dealers to key people in the ANC military.”

“In all three cases, I was told by people close to the victims that they had been ‘obstacles’. Dulcie September had been “fighting with important people.” Lubowski “had not wanted to do what [certain businessmen] wanted.” Hani “would not allow the corruption of the ANC’s guerrilla army,MK” In the late eighties and early nineties, when South Africa and neighbouring Namibia transitioned from apartheid rule to democracy and sanctions were lifted, dozens of international businessmen had flocked to the impending new ANC and SWAPO governments to buy up resources and sell arms.”

Read more: Dulcie, Hani, Lubowski – A story that could not be told

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DA kiss which went too far

THERE has been quite a bit of commentary online about the kiss which went too far, namely the failed merger between Agang and the DA. With Cape Times columnist Max du Preez uncharacteristically calling it the “kiss of death” — the criticism, mostly from men, of the moment when it looked as if South Africa’s opposition was about to be lead by a women’s coalition comprising Helen Zille, Mamphela Ramphele, Lindwe Mazibuko and Patricia de Lille — has been rather irksome.

Even more tiring is the predictable riposte from Zille, reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s response to Labour complaining about the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor had grown under Tory rule. Thatcher famously retaliated that Labour wanted nothing less than policies that would make the poor, poorer, “provided the rich were less rich.”

South Africa’s own iron lady, Helen Zille has thus reduced the Agang proposal for a merger, to an inappropriate request to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor. Yes, the entire party funding circus, in which the DA shifted blame for its own ineptitude on Agang, only to be caught by a rejoinder from the ANC, is really a bit like kissing a bride, and then making out with the best man, who happens to be the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek.

Hayek who has some interesting ideas about what motivates the market, may have gotten some elements of economic theory right, but he sure as hell never understood the ‘animal spirits’ and love affairs of John Maynard Keynes.

It may well be that funders pressed the two parties into a premature election arrangement, and it might also be the case that such funding would be more efficient for two pro-market parties — if they both shared resources — but this leaves out an important difference and point of departure while deflecting attention from the issue of foreign donors.

Agang, unlike the DA, favours an inclusive citizenship, in other words, a social welfare state backed up by a market economy. Agang thus would have brought an important addition to the DA rhetoric of service delivery. The DA under Zille’s leadership however, wanted nothing to do with such “socialistic” tendencies, choosing instead to back unbridled capitalism and unhindered market forces.

The party thus jettisoned any hope of the necessary corrective that Mamphela Ramphele’s social welfare “builders democracy” would bring, while reducing the Zille-Ramphela kiss to a kneejerk kick in the crotch.  All really a childhood misdemeanor with serious consequences for the electorate?

The DA has increasingly seen itself at odds with the centrist-left ANC over issues such as National Health Insurance. Most recently the problem of Patient and Patent Rights with regard to generic medication has raised eyebrows. At one point, back in noughties, (what ever do we call the past decade?) the DA actually supported a liberal proposal for a Basic Income Grant.

With progressives at its centre, the party was even hammering the ANC and its red faction on its slow roll-out of ARVs, but these progressive policies now appear to have been abandoned, or at least they are now firmly on the back-burner, as conservatives within the party appear to have gained the upper hand to the detriment of social welfare.

If another centre-left opposition coalition attempt fails, the DA may yet enter the evangelical Christian right-wing collective. In order to do so, it would have to first abandon woman’s rights such as Choice in Termination of Pregnancy and other traditional progressive policies such as the teaching of Evolution in Schools.

The right-wing coalition that has South African women worried

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FF+ leader, Pieter Mulder favours creationism in schools

IT WAS bound to happen. With the collapse of the DA/Agang coalition, a new opposition coalition has stepped into the breach. This time it looks decidedly misogynistic and woman unfriendly. The Collective for Democracy (CFD) which formed in December last year has been under the radar until now. With the breakup of the much feted Zille/Ramphele relationship, a new political swing formation has been quick to capitalise on dissent.

CFD may have all the allure of a progressive movement but in reality it is nothing more than an evangelical Christian Coalition comprising the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (COPE), the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)  and the United Christian Democratic Party.

CFD policies on the table include a hodge-podge amalgam of anti-abortion rhetoric, the end of abortion on demand, the teaching of creationism in schools, protection of white and black ethnic identity and if the EFF has its way, land redistribution and nationalisation.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its firebrand leader Julius Malema could enter the coalition if the party gains seats in Parliament.  The unproven red fascist party has entered a no-contest pact and partnership with the IFP.

IFP have attempted to distance themselves from CFD, but the rumours of an all out alliance if the ANC loses its majority in the election, persist.

Whether or not CFD, with so varied a political platform, will ever find the means to implement any of its policies, or broker the necessary political will and electoral expediency to get both the IFP and EFF on board, remains to be seen.

For starters, there are major contradictions within the collective and its partners.

For example, the COPE party manifesto promises the end of gender discrimination, but the party is governed by men such as Mosiuoa “Terror” Lekota, Lakota is a Roman Catholic, and while he may no longer be against the use of condoms for the prevention of HIV transmission, he most certainly is not in favour of abortion on demand.

The IFP on the other hand has tended to support those who oppose discrimination on the basis of religion, although the party favours Zulu traditionalism, it  is not averse to siding with the evangelical agenda.

The EFF’s Julius Malema recently went on a pilgrimage to visit Nigeria’s foremost charismatic preacher, TB Joshua where he received blessings and elecution tips on how to approach the situation at Marikana. His oratory has much improved and he now claims to have found God.

EFF has been punting an essentially black supremacist outlook, but recently have taken to the same tactics as the DA in the quest for electoral power. The  “rent-a-white” publicity stunts involving Wiekus Kotze have been all over social media. That a right-wing Afrikaner party such as the Freedom Front Plus could end up in a coalition with the EFF goes to show just how strange and fluid South African politics has become.

Arguably, EFF are the black version of the Freedom Front, and both party’s extreme quasi-socialist policies are really no different from each other. FF+ however, come from a tradition in which national socialism in the form of job reservation for whites, was in the exclusive domain of the Afrikaner minority.

Will South Africa’s opposition risk another attempt at cobbling together a gender-friendly coalition?

Or will we see women’s rights disappear after the election, the repeal of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 along with abolition of pink rights such as the right to sexual orientation, contained in our constitution ?

Will we see a return to theocracy and the end of the separation of Church and State? Only a reasonable turnout at the ballot box will solve this one.

https://medialternatives.com/2014/01/23/south-africas-emerging-coalition-paradigm/

https://medialternatives.com/2014/01/20/eff-are-not-the-solution/

Tony Leon talks about the DA ‘short-circuit”

All about that Mamphela Kiss

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Kissing changes everything, or does it?

THERE is so much that can be read into a kiss. In politics kisses can signal anything from rapprochement with an enemy, to the birth of a party.

The historic kiss between Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance and Mamphela Aletta Ramphele, affectionately known by her acronym MAR, which coincidentally, also sounds a lot like mother, is going to plague political analysts for years to come.

When the Democratic Alliance announced on national television that the life-partner of slain black consciousness leader Steven Bantu Biko was now their presidential candidate hopeful, the general public were stunned.

A real ‘ game-changing moment for South Africa” as Helen Zille put it, however not everyone was pleased, least of all some members of AGANG, the political movement and party that MAR had spent the better part of a year creating.

The press were quick to discount the kiss as a woman’s betrayal of her own movement, thus informing public opinion on the nature of such kisses before there was any time to reach consensus on what exactly was occurring so far as ‘kiss and tell’ was concerned. MAR has a unique brand of political lipstick that encompasses identity politics, gender relations and the active role of the citizen, and thus most Agang members were phoning into hotlines on South African radio wanting to give the woman the benefit of the doubt — a chance to explain herself — but her critics were having none of it, a literal field day, with the ANC characterising Ramphele as a “rent-a-black” and worse still, a “rent-a-face”.

Former members of Congress of the People (COPE) who had had experienced their own party’s long-winded leadership crisis and who had then returned to the ruling party in disgust, rushed out opinion pieces, as an unappreciative press weighed in on the significance of the kiss. Was it contagious, did the result end up in a black and white political party with coloured offspring, and so it goes.

Conflicting reports are now emerging, it would appear that the Gauteng branch of Agang has made plans to elect a new leader and ‘go it alone in the election’, while at national level, Agang social media is still inviting its members to attend regional meetings in which MAR will avail herself of the opportunity to outline her reasons for the decision and to place a roadmap on the table, which includes a programme of action based upon citizen benefits and the rooting out of government corruption. See who leads Agang?

The Democratic Alliance may thus have jumped the gun in rolling out plans for an operational merger and integration of members, and there have been no discussions at grassroots level as to how such an integration or merger will occur if at all.

Thus the kissing question remains, can MAR take the New Democratic Alliance into a coalition with her own movement, AGANG with a simple kiss, or is she now largely a ceremonial figure who has been co-opted by Helen Zille, who in reality has no plans to relinquish leadership of her own party? Will we see more such kissing opportunities with Patricia de Lille, and the black business lobby? Where does one line up, if all one wants in politics these days, is a bit of a peck?

The former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and past director at the World Bank has a lot of explaining to do, but may still pull a rabbit out of a hat instead of removing it from Nelson Mandela’s ear. Indeed, she may not have to do all that much in terms of persuasion, since the AGANG party platform is not all that different from the Democratic Alliance manifesto, give or take a monopoly or two.

Mamphela Aletta Ramphele could yet become South Africa’s Corazon Aquino, the woman who became the Philippines 11th President. South Africa may yet have its first woman president.

UPDATE: Agang has affirmed that MAR is still the leader of the party, which has yet to merge with the DA. She is not a member of the DA but rather, the presidential candidate of an emerging coalition.

SEE: Dr Mamphela Ramphele and DA leader Helen Zille are close in their policy thinking

South Africa’s Labour Czar

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THE principal author of South Africa’s Labour Relations Act, Michael Halton Cheadle is more than simply a professor at law.

Cheadle, who began his career defending workers from the machinations of the apartheid system, metastasized from being a practitioner of labour law to a global economic player and international labour broker, with a directorship and shareholding in a human resources empire and financial services firm that literally sold workers rights down the river.

From a notable career which began with support for workers unions such as the African Textile Workers Industrial Union (A-TWIU) and National Union of Textile Workers (NUTW) where he held an executive position, to labour fund management, and the establishment of the General Factory Workers Benefit Fund (GFWBF), Cheadle effectively ended up redefining human labour in purely monetary terms, first as a rands and cents equation, then as a simple cost to company, as labour was finally repackaged as a new form of capital.

Between 1992 and 1994 Cheadle was an “Independent Legal Expert with National Manpower Communications” positioning himself at the centre of political intrigue with his appointment to “various commissions of enquiry and government delegations such as the ad hoc committee on the Bill of Rights”.

Because of his close ties to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, Cheadle, who signs his legal opinions H Cheadle, was appointed as the special advisor to the Minister of Labour and soon found himself the “principal architect of the 1995 Labour Relations Act” according to an online biography.

In March 1999 Cheadle was involved in establishing the Resolve Group, which until 2012 provided ”a suite of human resources and labour relations services.” In the process he created a total solution in workforce management. The Resolve Group included Resolve Workplace Solutions, Resolve Encounter Consulting, Tokiso Dispute Management, Converse Consulting, Mediaworks, Resolve Career Transition, CCI Growthcon and Resolution Logic, all involved in the employment, placement and management of workers and professionals.

Services offered by the Resolve group included: Labour performance management, training programmes and services, private dispute resolution, recruitment and outsourcing, adult education and training, career transition and outplacement, psychometric testing and operational performance improvement.

The CCI Growthcon website proudly proclaims, without a hint of irony: “By performance improvement we mean revenue growth, service delivery, cost reduction/ deferral and/or capital reduction/deferral.”

Resolution Logic on the other hand, perversely offers its clients “dynamic financial modelling and people strategies for your employee segmentation, human capital and workforce planning needs.”

Directors of the company included ANC heavyweight Max Sisulu, the current speaker of the House of Assembly, who is nearing retirement, and CEO David Storey, a man with strong ties to the Discovery Group and other financial services companies.

Cheadle remained an executive director at the company alongside David Storey and juggled his time spent seeing to the affairs at Resolve with a professorship and lecturing position at the ivy league University of Cape Town. Cheadle was thus a Professor of Labour Law at the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty at the same time that he was a major shareholder in a number of business ventures and financial operations including law firm Cheadle Haysom and the Resolve Group.

In 2012 the Resolve Group appears to have been bought out by Ernst & Young Advisory Financial Services. A press release issued by the company states: “We are pleased to announce that Ernst & Young has acquired the consulting interests of The Resolve Group, a Johannesburg-based Human Capital advisory firm.” It is unclear as to the resulting share structure, but the move came amidst controversy. 

The shift followed extensive criticism of Cheadle because of his failure to disclose information pertinent to the proceedings in a labour matter under his direct supervision, in which both his firms held a material interest in the outcome of events.* His flagrant disregard for fairness and impartiality in not recusing himself resulted in correspondence with the disciplinary committee of the Cape Law Society. He is now listed as Professor of Public Law at UCT.

Cheadle’s political career might have easily seen his entering politics as an activist and his ascendency to parliament as a party representative of the ruling ANC, instead his chose to become an extra-parliamentary backbencher. His appearance on the bench as acting judge of the Labour Court was thus bound to raise eyebrows, the least of which is the conflict of interest that goes with having been the principal author of the document which would have needed to be interpreted during proceedings at the court.

Instead of focusing on his professional duties, Cheadle sought out a more lucrative, but nevertheless parallel career path, one which would invariably present itself with all the difficulties and contradictions encountered by his possessing a directorship in a firm engaged in free enterprise at the same time that he held the directorship of a well-known law firm.

Not satisfied with simply being an academic, or a party activist representing labour at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Cheadle is now also listed on the website of the World Economic Forum, begging the question: Who is Michael Halton Cheadle?

What is clear is that South Africa’s Labour Czar has leveraged his privileged position, one in which he declaims on such pressing and urgent topics as the need to change labour legislation, with the uncanny ability to also broker the negotiation and sale of the surplus output of labour and capital by government and corporate enterprise, both locally and internationally.

Is it any surprise that following the events of Marikana, Cheadle also represents the interests of the state union federation COSATU as well as the World Economic Forum?

Cheadle’s position at the World Economic Forum and the International Labour Organisation, including one committee tasked with making recommendations on the application of international conventions has seriously compromised his ability to serve either the Labour Court of South Africa or the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court. The business of drafting legislation should not be confused with the interpretation of statute, and both represent problems when it comes to the nitty gritty of business**. That Cheadle was involved in the outsourcing and management of workers at the same time that he was tasked with protecting workers interests at the Labour Court of South Africa, strikes one as beneath contempt.

* NOTE: The author of this article has laid a complaint of judicial misconduct with the Judicial Services Commission. A complaint regarding the adjudication of a matter before the Labour Court of South Africa has been referred to the South African Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector. Proceedings for the impeachment of Michael Halton Cheadle are underway.

** In 1919 Jewish businessman Arnold Rothstein was accused of fixing the Baseball World Cup Series. He appeared before a grand jury. Although the state failed to a secure a conviction, the players involved were banned from the sport for life. Similarly, South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje was accused of match-fixing in 2000. He received a life-time ban but was not convicted of any crime.

UPDATE: A corruption and forging of documents docket has been opened at the SAPS commercial fraud unit. The National Prosecution Authority is also in receipt of documentation and has opened a case for investigation. The case has also been forwarded to the Public Protector.

South Africa’s emerging coalition paradigm

THIS year marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic election. The upcoming  general election to be held on a date still to be announced during the April–July 2014 period could signal a see-change in politics.

The ruling ANC party has faced an enormous amount of criticism and pressure from the electorate under the Zuma administration. The last election was held on 22 April 2009. Currently the ANC has 264 seats with the leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance holding 67. Since South Africa’s proportional representation system favours small parties, runner-up  Congress of the People (COPE) 30 and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 18 also play an important role.

Here are three scenarios that could play out in the ensuing months.

1. ANC retains power with a decreased majority

If the Tlokwe bi-election is anything to go by, the ANC could see its majority in parliament reduced to 53%. The ruling party barely squeezed past the post to win the ward in 2013 with a reduced majority down from 90% in 2011. In this scenario, a weakened ruling party will continue to govern but face enormous pressure in the House of Assembly when it comes to passing legislation. It will thus still need support of smaller opposition parties in order to govern.  The only caveat on this scenario is the potential post-Mandela gain from the party’s association with Madiba. With Long Walk to Freedom a box office hit in South Africa, the ANC may yet confound its critics. The post-Independence Congress Party of India managed to stay in power for 25 years.  With a Gandhi-like father figure in Mandela, the ANC is likely to do the same.

2. ANC enters a centre-left coalition

Newcomer on the block Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) look set to benefit from the ANC purge of the ultra-leftist Julius Malema from his controversial leadership of the ANCYL. The shrude and politically astute politician has run a bruising Post-Marikana campaign that could see the EFF garner a massive bounty of seats currently occupied by ANC leftist stalwarts. Conservative estimates are that the party will fair as well, if not better than the previous newcomer, COPE. However in the labour unrest climate of today, anything could happen. A protest vote by workers against a range of ANC scandals including Nkandla, Guptagate and a groundswell reaction by voters against the excesses of the Zuma administration could leave the EFF in a position to be the deal-brokers in a centre-left coalition that results in the ANC sharing power with other left-leaning parties. One of the obvious concerns from an economic stand-point is how such a coalition will resolve differences in economic policy. The EFF currently favours bringing an end to market capitalism and the creation of a command economy under a centralised state.

3. ANC enters a social democratic coalition. 

If the EFF are not the joker in the pack, then this emerging social democratic coalition could really upset the ruling party at election time. Newly formed Agang  which means “build” in Sesotho, promise renewal and a return to the homespun values of black consciousness leader Steve Biko and with Mamphela Ramphele at the helm of a political formation that may result in a women president, if not in this election, at least by the next general election in 2019, South Africa could see 50% of the electorate placing their crosses next to their choice in gender. In fact a female president could be within reach in 2014, and she may well be a surprise candidate. With the Democratic Alliance triumvirate of Helen Zille, Patricia de Lille and Lindiwe Mazibuko threatening to overturn the current emphasis on masculinity under Jacob Zuma, (the president has a millstone around his neck in the form of fallout from a failed rape-trial)  the upset result could mean the DA and Agang carry the seats needed to form a social democratic coalition with smaller parties such as COPE and IFP. A social democratic coalition that retains elements of the market economy while offering welfare benefits to citizens may well gobble up what remains of the ANC centre when floor-crossing and jobs are on the line.

Whichever of the above scenarios play out, it is important to note that South Africa’s fledgling democracy has withstood many tests of its political will. Backed by a Constitution and Bill of Rights, the country is one of the few nations with a “We the People” Constitution. The post-Nelson Mandela era has ushered in the possibility that the rapidly developing country could join the ranks of the developed world in less than a decade. With growth on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange averaging 18% pa, South Africa’s thriving market economy may yet save the nation from the fate of its neighbours.

2009 results by PMG

Cronin’s crocodile tears fail the democratic revolution

Wildcat strikes were the key fighting strategy during the May 1968 protests in France, as too they were during the defiance campaign against apartheid of the 1980s, and early 90s. While the state may have changed, workers still find themselves trapped in the cycle of super-exploitation of labour, the result is Marikana.

Jeremy Cronin, in his most recent missive in Umsebenzi Online defending the SACP track record with regard to the Marikana Massacre, attempts to explain away all the faults of the current system by blaming everything on the past, in so doing he painfully ignores the role of the state and his own party in unleashing violence and aggression upon our own people, in particular the working class of this country.

The problem with Cronin’s mode of South African Marxist analysis is the way that persons deploying such polemic immediately assume some form of kinship with those on the receiving end of capitalist exploitation, while at the same time neglecting to widen their framework of analysis to accommodate changed economic and political circumstances. Instead of updating his analysis, Cronin accomplishes nothing less than a skillful deflection of the corporate brutality which has characterised the present regime and which will undoubtedly continue to impact upon our future and that of our children.

Brushing aside the democratic massacre of 34 mine workers by a deeply unpopular government takes some doing, yet Cronin effects this form of intellectual slaughter by failing to adequately criticise his own government, ( lest he be subject to the kind of routine abuse meted out by proponents of state capitalism). Jumping into an historical precis of the material conditions which underpinned the legacy of the apartheid regime and which continue to impact on us all today, Cronin refuses to answer the most obvious of questions:- Why is it that more than 18 years after our first democratic election, this self-same extractive economy, based as he readily admits, upon super-exploitation of labour and capitalist accumulation by a corporate elite, is still with us?

In examining the work of Harold Wolpe, the role of the Bantustans, the subordinated role of workers, the boss-boy system, the deliberate “tribalisation of labour” and the patriarchy of the informal settlements – the tragedy of state brutality which is once again playing out on our television screens – one can be forgiven for thinking that all that is needed is meaningful debate on the historical conditions. Cronin’s text book analysis of the situation however,  bears no resemblance to the new reality of a Tahr square moment — a profound revolt by the people against super-exploitation of labour by the ANC-sponsored corporate elite who, having been tasked with ending labour apartheid, merely perpetuated the crime in order to reap the rewards of the free market.

Blame for the massacre needs to be firmly placed at the door of the ruling alliance, and every party which has stood by while workers have seen the greatest erosion of fundamental human rights and freedoms since 1922 when General Jan Smuts bombed South African mine workers into submission. The right to strike, to withhold ones labour without fear of penalty, is not merely an idea, a quaint political slogan put there by a few well-meaning individuals, but a fundamental freedom underpinning our democracy.

The wildcat strike action at Marikana – whichever way one construes the apparent lack of authorisation by a registered trade union – needs to be seen in the context of the manner in which our democracy is predicated, not simply upon the dictates of the few, but the collective will of each and every citizen to engage in direct action. This revolutionary freedom is not  about gaining access to the ballot box once every five years, but rather about meaningful economic change — liberty and freedom for each and every individual, without which our democratic revolution would be nothing but a pipe dream.

The mine workers of Marikana have chosen to vote with their feet against appalling conditions, putting down their tools and engaging in collective strike action – one needs to examine why it is that the SACP and South Africa’s union bosses have failed to register these votes? Is it because the large union structures such as NUM and COSATU continue to take their orders from Pretoria while supporting super-exploitation?

Is it because the Labour Relations Act has been buried, for all intents and purposes, by a corrupt labour legal system in which the labour brokers have in turn become the judges? Is it because the nation’s political structures no longer reach to the ground, as the logic of patriarchy, and oligarchy of the Zuma administration, and successive ANC governments draws to its logical conclusion?

It is abundantly clear where Cronin pins his parties support – not upon the masses who desire freedom, but rather upon the dictates of centralisation, bureaucracy, authoritarianism and the command economy in a corrupt state which blames workers for their own deaths, which labels unwanted strike action as “illegal” and which paints the spectre of “demagoguery” merely in order to deflect public opinion from enormous and insurmountable failings. All this while excoriating the press for the many problems associated with the growth of a new “labour aristocracy”, one which has effected control of our nation’s boardrooms and which continues to hold the economy in an iron grip.