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Archive for July, 2012

MANDELA’s 94th

Today Dr Nelson Mandela turns 94 years, six years short of his political home, the African National Congress which this year celebrates its centenary of unbroken revolutionary struggle. Madiba, as Mandela is fondly called, has become larger than life – with his shadow loming larger than his ANC, South Africa, Africa and the world.

No wonder the United Nations has declared his 18 July birth date an International Day to be celebrated and honoured by the whole world. The day marks Nelson Mandela’s contribution to peace through his active involvement in resolving conflicts , promoting human rights, international democracy and reconciliation, and in addressing racial issues.

This year’s theme is : “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day Mandela Day.”

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LIMPOPO NELSON MANDELA LECTURE, 10 JULY 2012

President Jacob Zuma delivers the Lecture

Departure for Vhembe
A colleague and I left Polokwane some two hours before midday to beat the scheduled midday deadline for accreditation. We were in good spirits and spoke in animated tones all the way to Thohoyandou in the Vhembe district of the Limpopo province.

There was no way we couldn’t be excited. This was the day President Jacob Zuma was to deliver the Centinnial Commemorative Lecture on Nelson Mandela. Only 4,000 places were available at the venue of the lecture, Worship House Church Centre in the Shayandima Township, Thohoyandou. My colleague and I fell among the luck 4,000 – hence our uncontrollable excitement.

The Media was equally excited, and had for almost a month hedged bets that President Jacob Zuma would not enter his no go area of Limpopo. The ANC Youth League in the province added fuel to these rumours of possible annarchy by hosting their expelled president Julius Malema and making beligerent statements against President Zuma.

Accreditation

On arrival in Thohoyandou, we reported to the Accreditation Centre for screening and issuance of the tags and the wristbands coloured to suit your category of guests. Without both the tag and the band entry to the venue of the lecture would be denied.

Security was tight at the centre too. Our accreditation as special guests went smoothly. Two hours remained before the lecture. We resorted to go for a bite before leaving for the lecture.

At The Venue

At the venue security was even tighter with the police, MK veterans and ANC Marshalls complementing one another to ensure that guests are safe and secure. There was lso a razor-wire belt around the church centre.

Thanks to our tags, arm-bands and early arrival, our entrance was with ease and without incident. We were ushered to prime seats not far from the exquisitely decorated stage. This gave me a good vantage point to take photographs as I had brought along a  to immortalise the day.
Confrontation

Over time the massive arena-like hall started to fill up as guests started to arrive. There was however concern that accreditation was slow and would see many still being processed when the lecture starts.

Whilst waiting for President Jacob Zuma and other leaders, the Church Choir and Band kept us entertained.

It was in the midst of the musical interludes that the ANC Youth League provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo walked in with his provincial chairperson Rudzani Ludere and Jossi Butane. They arrogantly made the rolling hands gesture of change in leadership. Lebogo was joined by Ludere and Bhutane in these provocative gestures. Their dance and song didn’t go very far as the Umkhonto-we-Sizwe Veterans Association (MKVA) were soon on them boots and all.

In this melee pepper spray was released, throwing everyone  within inhaling distance to cough and have itchy eyes.

Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture

It was after an hour that the President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa took to the podium to deliver a moving lecture that put the icon of the country’s struggle for freedom, Nelson Mandela, into the context of the struggle for liberation in the country and elsewhere in the world.

I was mightily enriched and motivated when I left the venue at the end of the lecture.

SACP 13th NATIONAL CONGRESS

On Wednesday, 11 July 2012, the South African Communist Party will be meeting for its 13th National Congress in Pietermarizburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The central focus of delegates to this congress will be the SACP draft political programme: THE SOUTH AFRICAN ROAD TO SOCIALISM. Themed: “Advance and Deepen Working Class Power and Hegemony in all key sites of the struggle.

The draft political programme once polished and adopted by the congress will guide the Party until 2017 when it convenes its next congress.

The draft programme details the SACP pronouncements in the following areas:
– Why Socialism?
– Colonialism of a Special Type
– The National Democratic: The South African Road to Socialism
– The SACP and State Power
– The SACP and South African Economy
– The SACP and the Workplace
– The SACP and our Communities
– The Battle of Ideas
– Strengthening the organisational capacity of the SACP as a vanguard of socialism.

The party has during the period under review grown in terms of membership and influence. It remains one of the congress’ mandates to take build on the gains of the past five years. This becomes increasingly important as the battle for the soul of the ANC intensifies.

ANC POLICY CONFERENCE – Yesterday, Today and Mangaung

The ANC National Policy Conference is now behind us. Its legacy for the country are recommendaions which will become the crux of the party’s 53rd national conference scheduled for Mangaung, Free State province, at the end of the year.

Ahead of the policy conference the ANC released about eleven discussion documents for consumption within and without its ranks ahead of its festival of ideas.

These discussion documents were in the following areas:
– International Relations
– Peace and Stability
– Communications
– Legislature and Governance
– Economic Transformation
– Gender
– Education and Health
– Social Transfromation
– Second Transition
– State Intervention in the Mineral Sector
– State Owned Entities and Development Finance Institutions

These discussion documents were to form the basis of the policy conference as the ANC change gears towards a thorough-going economic transformation.

The media and commentators in a factional and opposition bias reduced the policy conference into the “build-up to Mangaung” with the focus solely on the Draft Strategy and Tactics Document – Building a National Democratic Society and the Balance of Forces in 2012.

According to the media and commentators, the Second Transition discussion document was President Jacob Zuma’s ticket to a second term as president of the ANC and of the country. Those who opposed Zuma’s bid for another bite at the cherry would be violently opposed to the document.

The media also fed the unwary public the lie that the national policy conference will be a dress rehearsal of the ugliness of the Mangaung national conference proper.

Contrary to these prophecies of doom and gloom by the media and commentators, the policy conference transacted its weeklong business without any disaster.

It is now all systems go to refine the recommendations ahead of Mangaung.

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