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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.

Thabo Made Us Do It

September 7, 2009 2 comments
Former President Thabo Mbeki

Former President Thabo Mbeki

For the functionaries of the new regime under President Jacob Zuma, everything that goes wrong in the country gets blamed on former President Thabo Mbeki.

It all started with  Mbeki being written out of history by those who took control of the party machinery after the watershed ANC national conference held in 2007 in polokwane, Limpopo province.

After his election as President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma neglected to mention Mbeki in his acceptance speech. It was only at his inaugration as the fourth President of the Republic of South Africa that Zuma acknowldged and spoke in glowing terms of Mbeki.

In this address Zuma had the following to say about Mbeki:

“In June 1999, former President Thabo Mbeki came to this podium to take the oath of office, as the second President of the Republic. He took the country forward as true statesman.

“He made a remarkable contribution towards strengthening democracy, and laid a firm foundation for economic growth and development.

“He made our contry an integral part of the continent and worked tirelessly for an African rebirth. Through his leadership, South Africa`s stature grew in the continet and globally.

President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma

In his last address as Head of State in September last year, he demonstrated his patriotism, and put the interests of the country above his personal interests.

Thank you Zizi for demonstrating a charecter that the ANC had always embodied since 1912.”

Of late former President Mbeki has once more come under heavy attack from the organisation that he has served with unmatched distinction over many years.

The first salvo in recent times was fired by Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, who blamed the recent spate of service delivery riots on the past administration of Mbeki.

Then there was little Julius Malema himself. In his most recent public outburst, Malema said Mbeki had taught young people bad manners and should therefore be taken to court for having violated the rights of women.

The ANC has conveniently remained quite about these attacks like it did in the past. This is obviously a cause for real concern when an organisation such as the ANC can allow one of its own to be violated such as former President Mbeki has been.

Opposition Chart Wayfoward

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

The leadership of three of South Africa`s opposition parties is due to meet today in a further endevour to consolidate unity efforts ahead of  elections in 2011 (municipal) and 2014 (national and provincial).

Today`s meeting of the leadership of COPE, ID and UDM is a sequel to previous unity efforts by the opposition. Neither will this meeting be the last until unity is attained.

The clamour for unity among opposition parties comes after COPE`s entry into the political lanscape had shaken both the ANC and other opposition parties out of their comfort zones. As the result of the founding of COPE the ANC shed support in all but one province during the recent general elections. Opposition parties other than the DA were also not spared loss of support as they were reduced to the pale shadows of their former selves.

With no immediate prospects of an end to ANC political hegemony and arrogance, sobriety dawned on the opposition to make them realised that they had more in common than to can explore a common electoral platform.

As would have been expected ANC apologists and rented commentators heaped scorn on this untiy initiatives with some dismissing it as a constelation of lightweights which will never amount to a heavyweight in the mould of their ANC.

In a belaboured statement COSATU accused those who are for the unity of opposition parties as people who want:

” …to deregulate the labour market, repeal laws that workers from abuse by employers, and limit workers` rights. They want to make it easier to fire workers and do away with centralised bargaining, and push us  back  to the apartheid days when employers could do whatever  they wanted with their workers.”

This and other malicious distortions have been the stock responses to the challenge COPE offered to the ANC arrogance and intolerance. In the build up to the April 22 general elections thousands of rands were laid to waste by COSATU in the production and distribution of an anti-COPE propaganda booklet : Defend our Movement! Adavance the gains of Limpopo! Expose and Isolate the Black DA!

Such is the desperation of the DA and its fellow-travellers.

It is now up to the combined opposition to rise to the challenge of defending South Africa`s fledgeling democracy.

Categories: COPE, OPPOSITION Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy Birthday Ahmed Kathrada

August 21, 2009 Leave a comment
Ahmed Kathrada

Ahmed Kathrada

One of the two surving treason trialists Ahmed Kathrada turned 80 today, the other being Dr Nelson Mandela who celebrated his 91st birthday recently.

Through out his life Kathrada served the people of South Africa with distinction, more especially during the difficult days of the struggle for liberation. His name will always have a place of pride in the hearts of his country men and women.

After Mandela had been elected president of South Africa he appointed Kathrada as his parliamentary counsellor in recognition and celebration of  his immense contribution to the leberation of the country and its people.

It is sad that many who bore the brunt of apartheid repression during the era of Kathrada are no more and with them went a part of the institutional memory of our struggle.

Let us celebrate by learning as much as we can from  stalwarts like Kathrada while they are still alive for tomorrow they will no longer with us.

ANC Brooks No Dissent

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

manuelmhThere is little publicised fact about the ruling African National Congress – intolerance of dissenting voices which throws the party in the same league of the National party of our apartheid days.

This little publicised fact came back to mind when I read of the party reporting the City Press and Sunday Times newspapers to the Press Ombudsman for “publishing articles that illustrate the abuse of press freedom.’

The crimes of the two newspapers being to dare highlight the troubles playing themselves out within the leading organs of the ruling party – this  really has nothing to do at all with a journalism that reports truthfully, accurately and fairly.

What has today become the ANC`s defining charecter of intolerance goes as far back as the founding of Robert Sobukwe`s Pan Africanist Congress.

During its earlier days the PAC gave big brother ANC a run for its money by upstaging it at any given opportunity starting with Sharpeville and Langa.

In exile the ANC did all it could to project itself as the sole and authentic voice of the South African struggle for liberation. So successful was the ANC in this regard that the gullible international community came to equate the party with the freedom struggle. Neither did Steve Biko`s Black Conciousness Movement escape the mighty wrath and intolerance of the ANC who cast the former as agents of Western imperialism.

Internal struggle initiatives such as June 16, UDF, COSATU, and SADTU were passed as the grand work of the then exiled ANC. This arrogance and intolerance carried the ANC through the negotiations that gifted us 1994.

During Thabo Mbeki`s tenure as president dissent, internal and external was not tolerated. Whatever little room for healthy dissent which survived then disappeared in the wake of the watershed 2007 Polokwane conference which also passed a resolution declaring the ANC`s intention to form a media appeals tribunal to obviously manage and manipulate media content.

Then came president Jacob Zuma`s world famous lawsuits against the media.

It now remains to be seen what awaits the country beyond the ANC leadership`s sabre-rattling, lawsuits and complaints to the Ombudsman.

Happy 100 Days Mr President!

August 17, 2009 4 comments
President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma

Today marks Jacob Zuma`s first 100 days since his inaugration as the fourth post-apartheid president. From what I could gather from our provincial movers and shakers the president will spend the best part of today in the village of Muyexe outside the town of Giyani in the province of Limpopo.

President Zuma will be presiding over the official launch of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. This is an intiative to ensure that rural development takes place at the required depth and scope.

What this will mean on his first 100 days and his first term on the hot seat will only be laid bare in the fullness of time.

As for the first 100 first hundred days, it is said to be an American media concept meant to give a new leader time to show the nation what stuff he is made of. Our Jacob Zuma is also subjected to this ritual.

How has he fared?

Me thinks that beyond the appointment of cabinet and many other appointments, there hasn`t been much to write home about his first 100 days in government. Moreso when he has been conspicous in his absence as a leader when the country was crying out for his leadership to show the way.

The least we can be grateful for is that the heavens haven`t fallen over us! We can no look forward to some serious business of government to take the nation out of its current confusion.

Running with Horses – Dr Allan Boesak

August 13, 2009 Leave a comment
The Book

The Book

The much awaited book by Dr Allan Boesak, Running with Hoerses – reflections of an accidental politicians, has finally been released.

Some of us have been waiting for the book out of curiosity since Dr Boesak, obviously out of bitterness and frustration, had threatened to reveal names of those who benefited from aid money which saw him do time in prison.

Dr Boesak whom his detractors will always see as a fraudster and a thief went to prison proclaiming innocence from charges of fraud and theft against him. He maintains this plea of innocence up to this day.

He feels betrayed by his former organisation, the ANC, whose leadership maintained an undignified silence through out his ordeal.

The books makes for interesting reading and is an eye-opener on the past third years that covers his life as an activist in the church and in public life. No holy cows are spared in Dr Boesak`s relentless pursuit of justice.

During these thirty years Dr Boesak was in the thick of things which among others included:

– the international isolation campaign of apartheid South Africa

– internal resistance which included the formation of the United Democratic Front

– the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of formations such as the ANC

– the dawn of democracy and freedom.

– his marginalisation at the hands of ANC leaders

UDF Logo

UDF Logo

The influnce of Dr Boesak by the philosophy of Black Conciousness and the readings of Black Theology are also dealt with in much detail in the book.

Of interest to many will obviously be how he deals with his conviction for fraud and theft charges which saw him spending time in prison. On this subject he puts aside a full chapter to deal at length with how donor funds were accounted for informed by political circumstances of the time which demanded that very little information be given away.

What however remains unanswered in the book, is who were the beneficiaries of donor funds which found their way into the coffers of Dr Boesak`s Foundation for Peace and Justice. What get is:

Assistance ranged from legal aid to emergency aid to continued funding for the new campaigns needed to combat the new oppresive situation caused by the state of mergency. Among those assisted were trade unions and community organisations, families and individuals.”

Still on this subject Dr Boesak goes on to write:

In order to persuade the court, had I testified, I would have had to call Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, Beyers Naude’ and Frank Chikane and many members of parliament who had administered or received monies for whatever reason in those dark and difficult days.”

Dr Allan Boesak

Dr Allan Boesak

Dr Boesak`s anger and bitterness is with the ANC which he feels let him him down by not speaking out in his defence even the party was privy how funds by the Foundation for Peace and Justice had been spent.

He is however grateful to former president Thabo Mbeki who granted him a pardon which saw his criminal slate being wiped clean.

Running with Horse is welcome addition to the body of literature on  South Africa`s struggle for liberation and deserves a place of honour and pride in every family`s bookshelf.