Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zuma is misleading the ANC and South Africa on the land question.

EROSION OF ORGANISATIONAL DEMOCRACY IN THE ANC WILL LEAD TO ITS DEMISE: Proposal by President Zuma on land reform are hogwash and not in line with ANC policy.

Floyd Shivambu
On Tuesday, the 23rd of October 2012, a significant number of news reports pointed to a “new” land reform proposal posited by President Jacob Zuma during his address to the African Farmers Association of South Africa Congress. No one knows where these proposal come from but “It proposes that each district establishes a district land reform committee where all stakeholders are involved to be responsible for identifying 20% of the commercial agricultural land in the district and giving commercial farmers the option of assisting its transfer to black farmers". The President is reported to have further said that “In this way, land can be found without distorting markets”.

The gist of the proposal is contained in his assertion that the State will buy the land from its current owners at 50% of the market value, which is not very far from the market value. Paraphrased, this proposal says that the shortfall of the current land owner would be made up by cash or in-kind contributions from commercial farmers in the district who volunteer to participate. This sounds so profound from a President who since assumption of office as President of the ANC in 2007 and of the country in 2009 has never come up with a coherent and substantial policy proposal on how South Africa should respond to the developmental crises of poverty, unemployment and socio-economic inequalities.

President Jacob Zuma has never proposed anything coherent because more often than not, he misdiagnoses the real causes of South Africa’s challenges. In one instance he blamed high levels of crime on the abolition of death penalty and in another instance attributed unreasonable crime levels to a criminal justice system that guarantees accused citizens’ innocence before trial. When given an opportunity by the ANC to speak on what should be a broad political and ideological way forward amidst so many socio-economic crises confronting society, he feebly conceptualised the current conjecture as failure of the first transition and that the ANC needed a second transition, and provided no clear vision on the destination of the second transition. Obviously, the ANC rejected this hogwash and reminded him that the first transition towards attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives is not complete.

In the post Conference television interviews he did with the SABC after both the National General Council and Policy Conference in 2010 and 2012 respectively, President Zuma said the biggest challenge facing the ANC was ‘discipline’ of its youth, who just spoke many issues and disrespected the sitting leadership. He forgot the many socio-economic, ideological and political challenges confronting the movement, and focused on ill-discipline of the youth. Clearly ‘ill-discipline’ was never the biggest challenge facing the ANC because even after suspending and expelling these youth leaders, the crises of poverty and inequalities remained. The Marikana massacre happened even when the youth he identified as the biggest problem were not in Luthuli House. He never foresaw a crisis in the Mining sector despite the concerted calls by the ANC Youth League that the ANC should pay attention to the mining industry with the aim of extracting maximum benefit for the mining communities and workers.

Now President Zuma has come with a proposal on land reform, which is evidently not based on what the ANC said in the 52nd National Conference in 2007, National General Council in 2010 and National Policy Conference in 2012. President Zuma is making a significant detour from the 52nd National Conference’s observation which says “We have only succeeded in redistributing 4% of agricultural land since 1994, while more than 80% of agricultural land remains in the hands of fewer than 50,000 white farmers and agribusinesses. The willing-seller, willing-buyer approach to land acquisition has constrained the pace and efficacy of land reform. It is clear from our experience, that the market is unable to effectively alter the patterns of land ownership in favour of an equitable and efficient distribution of land”.

Re-affirming the essence of the observations of the ANC 52ND National Conference, the Policy Conference commission on land reform affirmed the following as pillars of consideration under willing-buyer, willing-seller; 1) Replace willing buyer willing seller with the “Just and equitable” principle in the Constitution immediately where the state is acquiring land for land reform purposes; 2) Expropriation without compensation on land acquired through unlawful means or used for illegal purposes having due regard to Section 25 of the Constitution, 3) Keep Nationalization as an option, and 4) Expedite the promulgation of the new Expropriation Act.

Now these resolutions are in the official report of the ANC to guide branches, delegates and leaders of the ANC to come with sustainable solutions to the land reform crises, which if wisely and decisively managed will be basis for thoroughgoing socio-economic transformation in South Africa. But the recent proposal by the President radically diverts from the essence of what the National Policy Conference said should guide how ANC deals with the willing-buyer, willing-seller phenomenon. The new recommendation by the President re-affirms the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle and even adds market value as a principle of determining the price of the land. The market-value principle is not even in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the Policy Conference resolution/recommendation to introduce Land Management Commission and Office of the Valuer General was meant to address this stumbling block to land reform. Clearly the President is not aware of the Policy Conference recommendations.

The practice of ANC leaders radically diverting from key policy proposals of the Movement is unacceptable and a real act of ill-discipline and directionlessness of the leadership. Why would the ANC spend lots of money, develop perspectives, convene its members and branches across the country in a rigorous process of participative democracy and policy making, which will be undermined by how a leader feels on a certain day. It can never be correct that branches of the ANC are being undermined in the manner that is happening, particularly on the important question of land reform. The land question is at the heart of the ANC’s reason to exist and the only practical immediate way to address the massive inequalities, poverty and unemployment crises confronting society.

It appears though that there is a new right-wing movement that seek to dishonour branches of the ANC and engage in some narrow, elite policy making processes that ignores the people on the ground. Minister Trevor Manuel, who is also a member of the ANC National Executive Committee, was recently quoted as saying the ANC way of policy making does not work. He said "Involving ANC branch members in detailed decision-making assumed that they had the information and knowledge they needed for participation”. He further said "The system as it is doesn’t work because it structures a relationship between people in the government and people in the ANC, but there is an asymmetry of information between them which is quite profound. For example, we will have people in government making proposals on nuclear energy and ordinary branch members (having) no idea what they are talking about”.

Minister Manuel’s remarks are not only sickening; they grossly undermine the members of the ANC who for some time now have tried to provide solutions on how the country should move forward. Minister Manuel should also be reminded that all elite-policy making outcomes like GEAR and Growth-Path have proven to be disaster with no durability and sustainability to improve people’s living conditions. The elite driven National Development Plan will also dismally fail to reach its own objectives and forever shift the goal posts and blaming all sorts of problems on why those goals cannot be reached. Why does Minister Manuel trust ANC members on voting him, Jacob Zuma and others into office if he cannot trust them with deciding the policy direction of this country? ANC branches have given a broad, but decisive framework on what is to be done and government people should be guided by those principles contained in the resolutions and recommendations of the National Conference and Policy Conference respectively.

If the ANC is to remain embedded, live forever and guided by what the people say, it should heed Amilcar Carbral’s clarion call that “We must practice revolutionary democracy in every aspect of our Party life. Every responsible member must have the courage of his responsibilities, exacting from others a proper respect for his work and properly respecting the work of others. Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories . ..”. Anything that dishonours this clarion call will lead to the ANC’s demise.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter and Member of the ANC Youth League and ANC in Moses Kotane Branch, Johannesburg Region, Gauteng Province.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Release the tapes Mr. Zuma


In light of the refusal of the Lawyers of President Jacob Zuma refusing to release the tapes that led to the charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering against him dropped, I decided to re-publish the perspective I wrote on why the private citizen Jacob Zuma should be held accountable for his actions.

The truth and honesty expressed here still holds water and our criminal justice system should be allowed to follow up on all issues before our Courts of Law.

Have your day in court, President Zuma


In December the ANC will have its 53rd national conference in Mangaung. Almost all the media are speculating about what the real issues of focus will be -- and those relating to leadership elections seem to be elevated above all other issues. There is, however, an elephant in the room.

No one is paying significant attention to it, either because they are oblivious or because they fear those with state power will suppress and isolate them if they speak about this issue. At the risk of being isolated and purged, I want to address the elephant in the room -- which is the reality that President Jacob Zuma is accused of corruption and has yet to have these allegations tested in court.

It is a matter of fact that the state, of which President Zuma is head, has a prima facie case to which he should answer in a court of law. In 2009 the charges against him were withdrawn on the basis of the gossiping and backchat of some senior National Prosecution Authority (NPA) officials about whether President Zuma should be arrested before or after the 52nd ANC national conference in Polokwane in 2007. 

These officials are not said to have concocted charges against President Zuma. They are said to have discussed when he should be arrested and brought before a court to respond to allegations that he illegally exchanged monies with a shady individual, Schabir Shaik, who was described by the prosecution as ­having a "generally corrupt relationship" with President Zuma. The high court's judgment was that Shaik was guilty.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has been deciding whether a high court review of the decision to drop charges could proceed. Whatever else can be said, the reality is that the then acting national director of public prosecutions, advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, shelved principle for political convenience in 2009 as a result of political dynamics in the country.
The ANC, its leagues and the alliance were unanimous that Jacob Zuma should become president of South Africa and a majority in society accepted that. For the sake of political convenience, which seemed to be a principled intervention at the time, advocate Mpshe decided to withdraw the charges -- not on the basis that President Zuma did not commit the crimes, but on the basis that those prosecuting him were gossiping about when to arrest him. It was the result of public pressure from members and supporters of the ANC, including the commitment to "die and take up arms to kill for Zuma" of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Now the people who were gossiping about when and how to bring President Zuma to account are no longer in the NPA. Yet the fact that the state has a case against him remains.

Equality before the law

The ANC fought for political freedom on the non-negotiable principle that all should be equal before the law. This found expression in the Freedom Charter: "There shall be equal status in the bodies of the state, in the courts and in the schools for all national groups and races."

The principle was reinforced in the Constitution of a democratic South Africa. Those who drafted the Constitution deliberately avoided "presidential immunity" because they had learned how that could make leaders refuse to step down from office and opt for "aloota continua", protected from prosecution.

As a test of our constitutional democracy, we should allow a court of law to determine whether President Zuma violated the law or not. He should voluntarily answer to the allegations. To protect the integrity of our democracy, the ANC leadership should be exemplary in all matters relating to the Constitution. 

If the ANC and its leadership undermine the Constitution for political convenience, South Africa's democracy is under serious threat. South Africa could degenerate into a banana republic in which state machinery is used to settle political scores and shift the balance of forces.

If the truth be told, any president facing the possibility of being arrested is dangerous to himself and the nation. Naturally, hoping to avoid arrest, such a president will surround himself with cronies and blind loyalists in key state security institutions. Such a president could even try to change the Constitution and the law to protect himself from prosecution, or find a way of undermining court decisions through political power. 

Now, the appeal court has passed judgment against President Zuma, saying that a high court review of the 2009 decision can proceed. 

Courts shouldn't resolve political squabbles
No one in their true political senses would ever agree with the Democratic Alliance's use of the courts to determine political battles and processes. The ANC Youth League rejected this view on various occasions and we remain firm on it. The DA is not representative of the people of South Africa and does not deserve an iota of respect from anyone.

The illusion that those in the ANC-led national liberation movement who defend the equality clause of the Constitution are "liberal democrats" should be dismissed with contempt. Some of us have, with no support from the leadership, been proponents of amending section 25 of the Constitution to realise real and genuine equality.

Since the beginning of allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering against President Zuma, most of us have been solid and vocal in defending him against conspiracies to prevent him from becoming president of South Africa. 

Our view, which we expressed openly, was that those who had control of the criminal justice system, or who acted on the pretext of protecting then-president Thabo Mbeki, used state institutions to prevent Jacob Zuma from assuming the highest political office in the land.

We stood firm against the abuse of state institutions for narrow political purposes. We never said or insinuated that we supported corrupt practices. We opposed, and continue to oppose, the abuse of state institutions for political purposes and we are firmly opposed to all crimes, particularly those such as corruption, which deprive the poor masses of resources that could liberate them from poverty and starvation.

The Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment says advocate Mpshe's 2009 decision to drop charges is reviewable. It can be reviewed because, in a democratic South Africa, all are equal before the law. 

No one can believably argue now that state institutions are being used to prevent Jacob Zuma becoming president -- he is the president of South Africa. 

There is a case to answer
In dropping the charges, advocate Mpshe did not claim there was no case to answer, but said that interference by some NPA and Scorpions officials suggested there were also ulterior motives for charging him -- it was not just a matter of justice. 

The conspiracies that led to this situation no longer exist. Those who had ulterior motives are no longer in the NPA or the Scorpions. Yet the state still has a prima facie case of corruption, money laundering and fraud that President Zuma must answer. 

The interference that happened then did not remove the possibility that he could have been involved in a corrupt relationship with those who have already been convicted in court.

If there is dissatisfaction with the involvement of some NPA prosecutors, the president's legal representatives have the right to raise this matter in court.

If it is true to its values and principles, the ANC should call on President Zuma not to appeal the judgment of the appeal court, but to allow all due processes to continue uninterrupted. In fact, President Zuma should welcome the possibility of going to court, because that is the only way he will clear the dark cloud over his head. 

It cannot be right that, for so many years, the ANC and South Africa as a whole have not been able to get to the bottom of these allegations. In allowing the law's processes to happen uninterrupted, President Zuma will retain his innocence until proven otherwise and will be treated like all innocent people. 

Kgalema sets an example
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe recently approached the public protector to investigate him over allegations of wrongdoing on his part. President Zuma should follow this noble example. 

He should avoid the temptation to try to stop the courts listening to his case by causing unnecessary delays. Further delays will bring doubt, even in the ranks of the ANC, that there is perhaps a possibility that he did indeed commit the crimes of which he is accused.

This approach will reaffirm the integrity of the ANC as a movement committed to the fight against corruption and all criminal acts, which the Polokwane conference said was a priority.

The criminal justice system will also lose integrity, and will be regarded as being open to manipulation in the future, if this case is not responded to in a proper and fair trial. The approach of allowing due process will further enhance and harness the state's fight against corruption.

The ANC and all its formations and allies should always stand firm on principles. We will never agree to be drawn into defending possibly corrupt individuals, because corruption is like a cancer eating away at the moral fibre of society. 

Whether we will be purged or persecuted for expressing this view does not matter. The truth must be told at all times, without fear or favour. Only factionalists and proponents of tribalism and corruption can stand opposed to the accountability of the leadership, and unfortunately I am not one. 

Floyd Shivambu is the spokesperson of the ANC Youth League. He writes in his personal capacity

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ziminspiration plausible and more can be done.


Floyd Shivambu 

On all occasions and instances when we visited the Republic of Zimbabwe and whenever we discuss Zimbabwe, we express the fair, honest, truthful and well thought observation that the ZANU-PF led Zimbabwe is an inspiration to the African Continent and how liberation movements should conduct themselves under difficult conditions and circumstances. Zimbabwe, more than any other post colonial territory in the African continent and world, has shown great level and deeper sense of resilience than any other post colonial territory in the post-modern world. This does not mean that all is well in Zimbabwe, but a great deal of recent political, ideological and economic developments are worthy of celebration and embracing by all revolutionary progressive forces across the continent and the world. Zimbabwe is indeed a hope and inspiration that should propel and ignite many African countries to reclaim their natural resources for the benefit of all people. It is and should be an inspiration to the darker races of mankind in Africa and Diaspora because the problem of the colour line identified by W.E. Dubois in 1903 as a problem of the 20th century is still the problem of the 21st century.

For those who do not know, it is perhaps necessary that we should take this opportunity to make candid reflections of what happened in Zimbabwe since political independence in the late 1970s and early 1980s and what happened in the 21st century Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's political liberation from colonial control came as a result of concerted political, ideological and armed struggles of the oppressed people of Zimbabwe against the British colonialists who had subjugated the African majority of that country to political and economic servitude for many decades, notably since 1890. Unlike their ‘armed-resistance’ friends further south of Africa who had pioneered liberation movements in Africa and armed-resistance in Southern Africa, and due to their relentless battles and no fear of blood and determination to militarily confront colonialism, the ZANLA and ZIPRA forces were able to push the colonial masters into a negotiation table quicker because the colonial masters had suffered massive defeat in the 2nd Chimurenga and never had any legitimacy to continue with the colonial oppression of the black majority.

Realizing that total freedom and victory can only be realized and consolidated through unity of the oppressed people, the Patriotic Front of ZANU and ZAPU armed forces, ZANLA and ZIPRA respectively defeated the colonial ideological weapon of divide and rule which colonisers had successfully used to divide the oppressed and conquered people in many parts of the African continent. The unity of ZAPU and ZANU to form ZANU-PF was watershed and should never be reversed by anything, including attempts of political opportunists who aim to revive a formation which already exists as part of the ruling party in Zimbabwe. There of course will time and again arise opportunist elements and utterances that seek to suggest that certain language groups within the revolutionary movement are being isolated and treated with disdain due to their places of origin and language dialects. It should never be so and cannot divide Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe should never be divided even by the incidents of the early 1980s which happened to necessarily avert insurrection, which was a real counter-revolutionary insurrection and had potential to play into the hands of apartheid South Africa. 

The majority-rule and decolonisation dispensation in Zimbabwe came as a result of the set of agreements and accords endorsed in Lancaster House Constitutional Conference, which happened from September to December 1979 and had somewhat assured certain transformative phenomena which were supposed to immediately accompany political liberation and inclusive democracy. Amongst these was transfer of land with compensation from the white minority to the black majority. The compensation was going to be subsumed by the former colonial master, Britain as a way of managing a bloodless transition. A knee-jerk response can easily dismiss Lancaster agreements as sell-out positions particularly when drawing lessons from the manner in which colonialism had conducted itself over the years. The Art of War says the greatest of victories are secured with as minimal bloodshed as possible, and it is evident that the leadership of ZANU and ZAPU had this in mind when securing this tactical route towards total transfer of political, economic and therefore social power from the Rhodesian white minorities to Zimbabwean black majority.

Under "Attack by Stratagem", the Art of War says "in the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them". For ZANU and ZAPU to agree on a peaceful, bloodless transfer of land and wealth was never a sell-out position as some would want us to believe. It was a necessary and correct war tactic and strategy for the liberation forces to negotiate a new Constitution and other reforms after fighting physical war on the ground, and said that let us take what belongs to us with no bloodshed. About this, the Art of War says, "to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting". This strategy and approach to Zimbabwe's transition was better, because even if this route fails, the liberation forces still had political power to effect changes that the enemy backtracks on. 

The agreements reached in the Lancaster were never met; actually the Labour Party led British government revoked their commitments and took an extra-ordinarily arrogant approach of dismissing the agreements reached with the Thatcher government. They did so under the veil of distancing themselves from decisions and agreements of the Conservative Party led British government under Margaret Thatcher, and under their own illusion that the political leadership of Zimbabwe won't do anything about it. This was not only undermining the people of Zimbabwe, but was undermining international laws and best practices that proscribe any annulment of strategic agreements and treaties between countries. The British government annulled this agreement with the narrow conviction and belief that nothing is going to happen and no one will do anything about it. 

The most decisive political action in the history of post colonial politics was for the ZANU-PF led government to reclaim land in the quickest possible time available for them to do so as a direct response to the annulment of the Lancaster agreements by the British government. Whatever form such took really does not matter because the history of radical political revolutions, which alter property relations and the nature of the development of the industrial capitalist are defined by events that are really not dissimilar to what happened in Zimbabwe. Whether the political developments, determination and focus deserve of the title of the “third Chimurenga” is a necessary discussion and debate which only history can judge.

In actual fact, the land dispossession of the African majority was 100 times more brutal than what happened in Zimbabwe when the people of Zimbabwe reclaimed what rightfully belongs to them. The change of the political guard in what later became USA in the 18th century, the wars of resistance in South Africa in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the change of guard in Russia in the late 1910s, in Cuba in the late 1950s, in the 'peaceful transition of South Africa’ in the early 1990s, in all political decolonisation politics of countries, and on various occasions had many casualties. In the case of Africa, an absolute majority of these casualties were the darker races of mankind. 

In reaction to these radical changes and land reform programme, neo-colonial, imperialist forces opportunistically exploited the fact that like all former colonies, Zimbabwe's economy was intricately linked and almost dependent on the established European and West economies. Like in all former colonial economies, Zimbabwe was the exporter of natural resources and importer of finished goods and services. What worsened the situation is the reality that the imperialist and neo-colonial forces had control over the supply of essential commodities to Zimbabwe, such as fuel, foreign currency, technology and paper to print money on. The imposition of sanctions altogether collapsed Zimbabwe's economy and caused hyper-inflation. The economic problems of Zimbabwe were imposed and worsened by the Western forces. 

Because in all societies, even those with high levels of political consciousness, what determines human beings consciousness is their material existence, an immediate impact of sanctions was felt amongst the people and they developed false consciousness to believe that their immediate socio-economic problems are caused by ZANU-PF. Political authorities are justifiably considered as providers of bread, fuel and salt, and not just ideas in many societies, and this explains why those who all of a sudden could not have guaranteed access to this, shifted political loyalty. This kind of dilemma is not new, and defined even the earliest form of political liberation wherein the biblical Israelites bemoaned being stuck in the desert and begun to undermine and speak bad of their liberators, and even went to the extent of creating parallel gods to praise and worship, and begun to say that they were better off in Egypt than being stuck in the dessert. Politics of liberation are never easy and it often gets difficult for the followers and those who are being liberated to distinguish between being betrayed by the leadership and having to endure necessary difficulties, which might lead to constructive and developmental consequences.

It is a fact that the denial of Zimbabwe and its business people to trade globally dealt a heavy blow on the sustainability of the economy. The international and global condemnation, with threats of even heavier sanctions from the United Nations portrayed placed Zimbabwe as a pariah State within the global community, with its leaders portrayed as murderous, gluttonous and despotic lot only obsessed with their self-gratification and enrichment against the will of the world. Notably, this is in sharp contrast to how Zimbabwe and its leaders were portrayed before the land reform programme. Zimbabwe and particularly President Robert Mugabe were praised as the best leaders in the African continent as long as they did not temper with the property relations, particularly the land, mines and properties the colonial masters.

All leaders in the African continent who continue to enjoy the support of British Royalty and American patronage are those who have not tempered with the resources of the imperialist and colonial masters. Take for instance, the President of Equatorial Guinea, he is portrayed as a good leader and enjoys warm welcome in the White House  and other symbols of imperialism, despite the fact that 33 years into power, he has dismally failed to economically liberate the 700 000 population of his country. Take for instance the government of South Africa which has presided over a massacre of protesting mineworkers and thereafter declare State of emergency with soldiers deployed for an extended period of time, and yet there is no imperialist condemnation of what is happening in South Africa.

There are/were United Nations sanctions against Zimbabwe on assumed and ‘proven’ involvement in the illicit trade of high value commodities, including diamond. The so called targeted sanctions forbade vital economic players in Zimbabwe including the Agricultural Developmental Bank of Zimbabwe from gaining access to developmental finance in the global money markets. Those who argue that sanctions were only targeted at individuals should be given benefit of the doubt, and not berated as opponents, but as ignorant.

The influx of Zimbabwean citizens into neighbouring countries is as a result of a strangled economy, which was never given space to breathe and create sustainable livelihoods for many Zimbabweans. The attempts to strangle the economy has however provided necessary and valuable lessons to the people of Zimbabwe on how to generate alternate means of survival amidst global condemnation and vulgarisation by forces that wield excessive military, political and propaganda power over society. More often, President Mugabe is portrayed in the imperialist media platforms as a dictator who wants to cling to political power at all cost, and some in society get infected with such propaganda.

The situation is however not doomed and gloom as portrayed in imperialist media platforms, because in Zimbabwe, the situation is different and amenable amidst difficulties. With only one University, Zimbabwe has produced so many capable graduates and professionals who are playing leading roles in various parts of the world. On the weekend of 12th October 2012, the University of Zimbabwe was producing more than 2500 graduates who will in the immediate and distant future contribute to the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy. Land is under ownership of indigenous people and some Mines are being controlled by indigenous people, with programmes to expand community participation and benefit out of mining activities. The involvement of China is in the interim necessary to provide the necessary relief of a strangled economy which was not allowed to thrive and sustain itself by the bigger powers. This however should not become a permanent feature of Zimbabwe wherein the Chinese will be seen as the new colonial masters and exploiters of natural resources.

Zimbabwe is currently undergoing the most radical and necessary economic transformation phase guided by the Economic Empowerment and Indigenisation Act, under the stewardship of Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. The Act prescribes that indigenous Zimbabweans should own and control a minimum of 51% of all Economic activities in Zimbabwe of amounts exceeding $500 000. This intervention will obviously be met with massive resistance as it seeks to alter property relations, but it one of the most necessary means and methods of economic transformation ever pursued by a post colonial government and society.

With all these achievements and many processes in place, Zimbabwe and its leadership should never be complacent. Earliest forms of wisdom teach us that complacency is for fools, and the biblical Solomon said, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them”. Zimbabwe should never slow down the pace of thoroughgoing socio-economic transformation. Zimbabwe and its leadership should be a beacon of hope to its own people, the African continent and all Africans in the Diaspora that as Africans, we can control our own economies successfully to benefit all the people. As an immediate focus, Zimbabwe should provide implants to the black farmers and ensure that the entire value adding food chain is controlled and directed by Zimbabweans. The food economy is the most essential tool of socio-economic liberation and Zimbabwe should maximally utilize this space as a means to liberate the people of Zimbabwe. 

Zimbabwe's natural resources endowments should position the country to develop a sustainable mineral resources beneficiation and industrialisation strategy and action plan. The friendship with China can be viewed from so many negative angles, but Zimbabwe should use the fact that China is amongst the biggest producers, but also the biggest consumers of goods and services due to its fast growing economy and population size. The relationship between Zimbabwe and China should be mutually beneficial and should necessarily lead to the industrialisation of the Zimbabwean economy. Through this, Zimbabwe can educate other African countries on how best to maximize the developmental impact of mineral and other resources.

With a growing population, Zimbabwe should either engage in massive expansion of University of Zimbabwe or build a new University so as to have adequate capacity to absolve the entirety of the Secondary school graduates. Education is after all the most important instrument for liberation of the oppressed people. The Zimbabwean education departments should introduce scholarships to take Zimbabwean students to the best Universities in the world and expose them to various knowledge systems and bases with the hope that they will in the future return to contribute to the growth and development of the Zimbabwean economy.

The foundation for Zimbabwe's thoroughgoing socio-economic transformation is laid and very solid. It now requires men and women of courage to build on it for a sustainable period of time. With the skills capacity of many Zimbabweans both inside Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora, the political leadership should rise above mediocrity and mobilize its products back into the country to come contribute in and play a leading role in the industrial development of the nation. The inspiration Zimbabwe has already impacted on many of us will exist forever, not only amongst this generation, but for many generations to come who will one day stand tall and say that despite the racist inspired attempts to strangle Zimbabwe, Africans stood united in its defence and built a rock solid foundation for the economic emancipation of the African continent. Amidst all these, the political leadership of Zimbabwe should not portray a picture that some amongst the leadership are inappropriately benefitting out of the radical reforms happening in Zimbabwe currently, because such will sow the seeds of divisions and counter-revolution.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter, Member of the ANC and ANC Youth League in South Africa and a youth activist.


Hi Floyd,
Your recent article on Zim interesting: challenges the dominant public discourse.
By the way note that Zimbabwe has more than one university.
University of Zimbabwe founded before 1980 and then the following ones established after 1980:
State Universities
  1. National University of Science and Technology (Bulawayo)
  2. Midlands State University (Gweru)
  3. Bindura State University (Bindura)
  4. Chinhoi State University (Chinhoi)
  5. Great Zimbabwe (Masvingo)
  6. Lupane University (Lupane, near Victoria Falls)
  7. Gwanda State University (Gwanda)
  8. Africa Women University (Harare)
Private Universities (run by churches)
  1. Africa University (Mutare)
  2. Solusi University (Bulawayo)
  3. Catholic University (Harare)
Note the population is less than 12 million.
Over 10 polytechnic and teachers colleges were built after 1980
Over 1000 students currently studying in SA university (Presidential Scholarship Programme)
Several Zimbabweans studying in other countries esp UK, USA, Australia. Ironically, the challenges in Zim from 2000 have proved to be a blessing in disguise.  
Currently literacy rate is 92% (highest in Africa...overtaken Tunisia)..see UNESCO
Pass mark at Advanced level is 50%! 
SA is well resourced and has great potential: Challenge South Africans not to declare a below 40% as a pass mark. Education is the best way a poor African child can improve their lives.
Kind regards,

PS: By the way the Zim Presidential Scholarship Programme started in 1995. Many are very grateful for having been educated in SA. Look at the Americans they send thousands of their students abroad to study...SA should consider scaling up programmes like this ...the students will get good exposure.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mangaung should not repeat Polokwane mistakes.


Floyd Shivambu 

More often than not, and recurrently during elections campaigns, we as activists of the ANC always re-assure the masses of our people that the ANC does not make mistakes, and it is instead individuals who make mistakes. This we often say when our vocabulary and thinking capacity falls short of providing convincing and adequate reasons on why and how the ANC has failed to meet its promises and aspirations of bettering people's lives in the face of conspicuous consumption and ostentatious values amongst its most senior of leaders. As activists of the ANC, we at all times carry the obligation to tell the truth, claim no easy victories and take the masses with us on everything we do and say. Not telling the truth is not only counter-revolutionary, but a recipe for disaster which will lead to the demise of the ANC as a fighting liberation movement.

Here we discuss in the most candid and truthful form, the crisis of leadership the ANC is confronting in the current conjecture due to narrow bonarpatist presidentialism. To understand this, we need to unravel the open secret of bonarpatist method of presidentialism which since formation has been characteristic of the ANC leadership. It is an open secret that whilst there have been attempts to deal with rabid presidentialism in various parts of history, the ANC has dismally failed to adequately deal with it. The phenomenon of presidentialism, of a supreme leader whose words, actions and mistakes are sacrosanct has somewhat become synonymous with leadership of liberation movements in the African continent wherein the elected President of a liberation movement is considered the Alfa and Omega of wisdom and knowledge of what is to be done. This is invariably influenced and grounded on the pre-colonial and indigenous forms of African leadership wherein those who led clans, tribes and other communities were considered as socially, intellectually and biologically of higher value than the rest of the led people.

Now due to this phenomenon, various individual leaders of the ANC have had profound influence on its direction, methods of engagement and forms of tactics adopted in various political battles in the war to create racial, social, gender, and economic equality amongst all South Africans. Each leader of the ANC had a massive impact and influence on how the ANC is viewed and understood in society. Here are some of the central hallmarks of ANC Presidents since its formation and what they are remembered for:

1st President John Dube was a religious leader and an educationist whose programmes were financed by white missionaries. This had impact on the ANC character on fighting for inclusion of the 'civilised' and educated few because the President believed that inclusion is the way to go. At some stage he left the ANC to form in iKhongolose yase Natal due to his insecurities and fears of the direction of the ANC. 2nd President Makgatho Sefako was progressive on the land question, and the ANC became vocal on the land question. 

3rd President Z.R. Mahabane was man of the cloth and sent petitions to the Queen, but came back in his second term to rebuild the ANC after it had collapsed under Pixley ka Isaka Seme. 4th President J.T. Gumede introduced progressive internationalism and said he saw a new Jerusalem when he returned from the Soviet Union, and altogether introduced the ANC to progressive internationalist movements and ideological telescope that held the movement together post 1960s banning of all political formations calling for dismantling of apartheid. 5th President Pixley ka Isaka Seme did not help the ANC, but sowed divisions, despite having played an important role at the formation of the ANC. His sense of entitlement and narrow tribalist vision muzzled the ANC and almost strangled it to death.

6th President Xuma did not agree with the radical programme of action and lost the support of the ANC Youth League, but was elementary in the revision and modernization of the ANC after a very difficult moment of divisions. 7th President James Moroka was initially radical, but distanced himself from the collective once the Movement was confronted with challenges. 8th President Albert Luthuli was the man of peace, presided over the ANC which adopted the Freedom Charter, and had to hold the ANC together when the Africanist faction broke away to form the PAC. 9th President O.R. Tambo led the ANC though difficult moments and kept it together until the realisation of political freedom. 10th President Nelson Mandela presided over transition from apartheid to democracy with military precision and inspired hope amongst the people of South Africa.

11th President re-affirmed the ANC’s leadership of the African continent and inspired hope amongst all Africans that we can do better as a continent. And the 12th President suppresses debates, expels the leadership of the ANC Youth League from the ANC, and betrays the African agenda by siding with Imperialists in the United Nations Security Council. The 12th President of the ANC presides over a massacre of workers in Marikana, and proudly defends the multi-million Rands construction of his personal private residence in Nkandla with public resources.

It is the Presidency of Pixley ka Isaka Seme that needs closer attention because it bears some degree of resemblance with what is currently happening in the ANC. Pixley Seme succeeded President Josiah Gumede in what is described as a very divisive model of leadership succession, due to the fact that traditional leaders who were not properly accredited were allowed to vote and participate as voting delegates. What transpired under Seme's leadership of the ANC was spiralling of tribalism and other forms of organisational mismanagement that reduced the integrity of the ANC in society. It took the Presidents Z.R Mahabane and A.B Xuma decided efforts to revitalize the ANC. Some of the weaknesses that characterized the Seme-led ANC were the inability to convene National Executive Committee meetings to co-ordinate organisational work country-wide and open promotion of Nguni-dominance by the questionably elected leadership.

During Seme's leadership of the ANC, the organisation was by apartheid laws precluded from participative and inclusive electoral processes which could have exposed its weaknesses through loss of electoral support. One thing apparent though is that the election of Seme was a huge mistake which almost splintered the ANC into tribal factions, which Seme had initially opposed during the formation of the ANC. It took great effort to revive such.

Many years later, the ANC made a huge blunder in electing Jacob Zuma as President of the ANC in December 2007. Ironically, the re-election of President Thabo Mbeki in the same Conference would have been a huge blunder, portraying an incapable ANC that cannot outgrow its individual leaders. This is an unfortunate part of politics where it happens that both sides of political options are disastrous. Now, Polokwane bred a disaster in Jacob Zuma who despite his literary incapabilities, has very low or non-existent moral standards, and obsessed with enrichment of his family members and household. An expectation was somewhat developed towards Polokwane that the election of Jacob Zuma will lead to discontinuation of rabid presidentialism and the ANC will be taken to the people. It was not to be so judging by the many individually inspired blunders committed by the sitting President both as ANC President and President of the Republic of South Africa.

Election of Jacob Zuma in the 53rd National Conference of the ANC will be the biggest blunder the ANC would have made in its history because it is going to lead to massive electoral support decline of the ANC. Majority of the people will loose confidence on the capacity of the ANC to create conditions for betterment of their lives and govern society effectively. The ANC should never elect Zuma, despite efforts to co-ordinate tribal support in KwaZulu Natal. Between January and August 2012, the membership of the ANC in KwaZulu Natal grew by more than 100 000, actually more than 36% growth, meaning that KZN delegates will have mandates from unseasoned members on what should be the direction of the ANC. The membership growth had nothing to do with organisational development and growth, but the tribal need to defend a fellow Zulu speaking individual who has failed to provide leadership to the ANC. 

What this means is that a tribal regiment has been mobilized as voting fodder to defend and protect President Zuma. Under real circumstances, there can never be a straight thinking individual without tribal prejudices, and without expectation to be defended from corrupt practices, and without legitimate expectation of being recipient of State and government patronage who will support the re-election of President Zuma as President of the ANC, and subsequently as President of South Africa until 2019. If in their wisdom, ANC members believe and think that the re-election of President Zuma is the right thing to do, then the ANC would have lost its moral compass and total wrong. It will mean that the people of South Africa will be justified to loose confidence in the ANC.

Jacob Zuma is a corrupt leader who encourages corruption of self-enrichment. We can all appreciate that the Courts of law have not yet decided on his impending guilty verdict, and it does not need rocket science to know and notice that any competitive and fair court of law will find him guilty of corruption. The biggest corruption however is that Jacob Zuma will cost the South African government more than R1 billion on his three official residences, many wives who are subsidized by the State, and now recently the expansion of his private residence in Nkandla and the roads leading towards there. A R1 billion can do a lot in the eradication of informal settlements and bettering of living conditions of many fronts. Zuma is a liability to the ANC, to the country and to the image of Africans the world over. He must be stopped sooner than later and held accountable for his corruption, fraud and money laundering.

The wisdom or lack of it on the President's side led to first, militarization of the Police, second, destabilization of its leadership through unexplainable release of Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, and appointment of an inexperienced and Security cluster novice police commissioner Riya Phiyega. The mishandling of the mass wage protests in Marikana in August this year, which led to the massacre was as a result of the directionlessness of the police and lack of experienced leadership. The Police Commissioner is on record of justifying the Marikana massacre claiming that the police were defending themselves, whilst they conspicuously resorted to cold-blooded killing of protestors after failing to arrest all of them for withdrawing their labour from the Mines.

The reason why the Mines protests happened in the first place is a reflection of lack of leadership at the highest level of the State and government. As a territory with mineral resources endowments, the leadership of South Africa have a permanent obligation to ensure that the people of South Africa, not Mine bosses, derive maximum benefits through salaries and decent human settlements from the extraction of Mineral resources. The Zuma led government does and has never even pretended to care about the well-being of the people and Mineworkers, the government has instead arrested thousands of mineworkers, injured and killed some of them and recurrently assured Mine bosses that they are safe and should not panic. President Zuma went to the extent of deploying the military to intimidate mineworkers and those who associate with them from pursuing a national protest action against Mine bosses. South Africa has degenerated into a Security State due to the insecurities of President Jacob Zuma.

Offered an opportunity to provide political and ideological leadership to the ANC, President Zuma dismally failed and instead gave a pathetic characterization of the ANC struggles as second transition, which in all intents and purposes deviates from the core values and mission of the ANC to achieve Freeedom Charter objectives. Members of the ANC had to re-educate President Zuma in the Policy Conference that our struggle cannot be characterized as second transition because the first transition towards attainment of Freedom Charter objectives has not been fulfilled. In the ANC, inability of a sitting President to provide political and ideological leadership is treacherous. There is not even a single new idea or intervention provided by President Zuma that has taken the country forward, and yet he still want re-election for another 5 years.

Re-election of Jacob Zuma will not only cause massive and irreparable divisions in the ANC, it will isolate a significant number of voters in the 2014 general elections, most of whom will stay away for fear of voting for a white dominated party and some who will guarantee the opposition increased majority and representation in the National Assembly and Provincial Legislations. This is an absolute fact and ANC structures and members should in a uniting fashion avoid repeating the mistakes made in the 52nd National Conference of electing a leader who is only concerned about his personal and private family’s upliftment, whilst not offering any durable, sound and sustainable solutions to South Africa’s crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. We cannot afford to repeat mistakes.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter.