Monday, April 29, 2013

The NDP Article and perspective:

The NDP has completely missed the point and it was foolhardy for the ANC to adopt it as a strategic mission.


The outcomes of the ANC 53rd National Conference ideologically and politically not the most helpful on various fronts, yet some sense of unity was proclaimed as its primary outcome, due to a slate of leadership preferences being elected and those who opposed it excluded from the leadership of the ANC. This is however not the biggest anomaly committed by the 53rd National Conference, which was supposed to be a 'watershed' Conference as prematurely pronounced by the ANC leadership even before Conference begun. 

"Watershed" moments and Conferences should necessarily be declared after their occurrence, due to hindsight analysis of the impact those moments and Conferences could have caused ideologically and politically in my conjecture. Judging by the inconsistencies and contradictions of the ANC Conference pronouncements on vital policy and economic transformation aspects, the 53rd National Conference does not fall into the "watershed" category such as the ANC's founding conference in 1912; the 1949 Conference in Bloemfontein that adopted the Programme of Action to confront the apartheid regime, after years of peaceful resistance; the 1956 Conference that adopted the Freedom Charter and led to the breakaway Africanist faction to form the Pan Africanist Congress; the 1969 National Consultative Conference in Morogoro, Tanzania which adopted the Strategy & Tactics,  the 1991 Conference that elected Nelson Mandela as President of the ANC and set a new path towards negotiation, and the 1997 Nationational Conference in Mafikeng which signaled the ANC's embrace of neoliberal policy direction. 

The biggest anomaly out of the ANC 53rd National Conference was its adoption of an elite 'development' set of ideas called the National Development Plan prior to a thorough interrogation by its own structures and Mass Democratic Movement formations. The ANC 53rd National Conference said that "the ANC welcomes and ambraces Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan as a critical basis for united action by all south africans to build a truly united,non racial,non sexist,democratic prosperous society. In many respects, the NDP accords with the objectives of the ANC and its own elaboration of the second phase of the transition to a National Democratic Society". This is despite the fact the 2007 adopted ANC Strategy & Tactics says the overall objective of the ANC is to build a National Democratic Society, which was understood as a Freedom Charter inspired society. Within this new formulation, it is evident that the NDP also seeks to achieve not only a National Democratic Society, but what the Mass Democratic Movement said are aims of the National Democratic Revolution. 

The NDP is further adopted by the ANC despite the Conference aesthetic re-affirmation of the Freedom Charter's clarion call that the wealth should be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole. The NDP is adopted by the ANC Conference despite the Strategy & Tactics nostalgically saying, "In broad terms,our approach is informed by the ideals contained in the Freedom Charter, adopted in the congress of the people in 1955. The practical measures towards a national democratic society are contained in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) adopted by the ANC, the tripartite alliance and the broad mass movement in the run up to the 1st democratic elections". Clearly there is confusion in the Strategy & Tactics appended foreword over the question of whether it is the RDP or NDP or the Freedom Charter which the NDP and NDS seeks to implement and achieve because it will be foolhardy of anyone to argue that the three are the same. In the Liberation Movement, the Freedom Charter is the correct version of a deliberate political and ideological Programme to transfer political and economic power to the people as a whole, and this is not articulated in the National Development Plan.   
Despite their broad and possibly elastic principles, the Freedom Charter and RDP are not similar to the NDP and there seems to be laxity on how the ANC deals with this vital difference. The Freedom Charter decidedly speaks about discontinuation of private ownership of banks, mineral resources and monopoly industries, RDP's central theme is growth through redistribution, whilst the NDP waffles all over, yet certainly hanging on the notion of pursuit of economic growth and the rest shall follow doctrine. How the ANC adopted a NDP, which is not a product of its own internal process, instead a product of elite round table deliberations (excluding the youth) escapes one's imagination. The NDP is not a product of robust internal deliberations of the ANC, but it is the biggest winner out of the Conference, even gaining a mention in the appended Foreword of the Strategy & Tactics. In adopting this neoliberal framework, the Freedom Charter is thrown into the equation as if the Freedom Charter speaks of the same things as the NDP. It does not.  
The Freedom Charter is not the NDP and should never be dragged into neoliberal strategies, with the aim of hood winking the people in the same manner the overtly neoliberal Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) was was imposed on the ANC. Freedom Charter says the national wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industry and banks shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole, and further says that all other trade and industry shall be controlled (regulated) for the benefit of the people as a whole. The NDP does not say this, it instead misdiagnoses the structural challenges to SA economy and claims that, "the fragility of South Africa's economy lies in the distorted pattern of ownership and economic exclusion created by apartheid policies. The effects of decades of racial exclusion are still evident in both employment levels and income differentials. The fault lines of this differentials are principally racially defined but also include skill levels,gender and location". The NDP completely misses the point for obvious ideological reasons. 
The racial aspects obviously do not define the fragility of the South African economy and any Policymaker worth his salt have to know that South Africa's structural economic problems are deeper and broader than its racial outlook. Whilst vividly important, racial dynamics do not constitute South Africa's primary economic problems leading to high levels of poverty, unemployment, and inequalities, but because of class prejudices and interests, some policymakers will believe such is the case because the immediate policy solution is de-racialisation (BEE) of the existing economy. De-racialisation of the existent economic structure will never address the massive poverty, unemployment and inequalities that define the neo-colonial economy of South Africa. South Africa can replace all white owners of the means of production in one month with black business owners, but the structural incapacity of the economy to absolve the entirety of its workforce will remain intact,poverty  unchanged, and inequalities will not be eroded. 
The 2nd phase of the transition in the ANC was supposed to have conceptually provided a solution by defining this phase as the phase to decolonize the South African economy, due to relative, but not durable success in political decolonization that happened in the 1st decade. Decolonization of the South African economy will amongst other things include the following; 1)Discontinuation of private ownership of the key means of production as called for in the Freedom Charter, 2) Radical land and agricultural reforms, 3) massive labour-absorptive industrialization and import substitution, 4) addressing the space economic issues though building of new economic and trade zones, 5) radical skills, training and education programmed at post secondary levels, 6) investments in the African continent, and 7) building State capacity to perform its own functions. These have to be pursued and implemented concurrently, and not choosing one over the other because such will be a disaster that the NDP. 
Any developmental and industrialisation plan that should succeed in South Africa needs to be buttressed by accessible, mainly State ownership and control of key natural resources. The recently updated industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) will, for instance, not succeed if the State is not in ownership and control of key industrial inputs like metals, iron ore, steel and various other minerals. Whilst this can happen through Nationalisation (de-privatisation) of the actual production and processing of these natural resources, it can alternatively happen through State ownership of larger components of these sectors, while the Private sector continues to play a role. 

The resource-rents or maximum taxes proposed by the State Intervention in the Minerals Sector (SIMS) is also not a solution because it assumes that South Africa's economic developmental challenges will be addresssed through additional money on the State generated taxes, without substantively addressing the job-creation conundrum. Too much money for the state is not the only solution and could widen and make more sophisticated instances of corruption, with corrupt State administrators and corporations reliant on state contracts overpricing the services they provide to the State. With higher taxes, mining corporations will, like Anglo platinum threatened recently, close Mines and cause massive job losses and instability in the Mining sector. This can only be averted when the State has adequate capacity to extract, beneficiate and industrialise mineral resources. It currently does not have such capacity and on the mercy of privately owned transnational corporations, which do not have and will not be bound to South Africa's developmental missions. 
A coherent policy framework that speaks to these vital aspects did not happen and might not happen because the ANC has just proved to itself, the country and the world in its 53rd National Conference that it does not know what it wants, and is instead going nowhere slowly. The NDP does not propose anything new and does not say anything innovative to address unemployment, poverty, and inequalities. It claims to adhere to a non-linear conception of progress, yet harps on the growth first, development later drivel that led to the displacement of the RDP by GEAR. We all know the massive socio-economic problems brought by GEAR, yet society is being bullied into supporting another GEAR until 2030 called NDP. Because the NDP is now the actual replacement of the NDR, RDP, and Freedom Charter; and because the ANC is going to truly embrace and welcome it as Vision 2030, then be rest assured that South African society is headed for a developmental disaster. 
South African society will be headed for a developmental disaster because the NDP will not lead to reduction of the crisis levels of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. Instead, the rapacious political elite will continue to use its political capital to generate economic capital, and continue with self-enrichment and gratification through State tenders and looting of State Owned Enterprises. The NDP is not a solution to South Africa's developmental problems, it is instead a way of raising false hopes amongst the people that development will come in or before 2030. The ANC has fallen into a trap and will gradually loose integrity because of promises it cannot fulfill. The claim by the Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission(now Deputy President of the ANC) that most Ministers have read and understand the NDP is even more worrying because it means that they are knowingly leading society to a deeper developmental crisis. There will never be any successful developmental strategy and plan in South Africa that does not demolish the foundations of apartheid capitalist relations and ownership patterns. 
South Africa's developmental challenges are tremendous, and the self-worshipping and praises the ANC government gives to itself is meaningless because without addressing the fundamental economic structures and therefore giving people real economic opportunities and solutions, no amount of houses, grants, food parcels, and so on will be satisfactory. Development in the 21st century is after all about improving the wellbeing of individuals through provision of sustainable income generating opportunities and such is possible in South Africa. Development practice in the post World War II and most vividly in the 21st century has proven that it is only sustainable through provision of sustainable economic activities, and the NDP is not pursuing such.  It is also odd that that the ANC wants to lead society towards neoliberal orthodoxy that the NDP is despite the fact that in its own Strategy & Tactics appended Foreword, the is an acknowledgement that, "there's a growing appreciation among variouse sectors of society that the current configaration of the country's political economy is unsustainable". Why is the Movement leading society towards an unsustainable future? 
Floyd Shivambu. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Notes for the Solomon Mahlangu Lecture at the University of Johannesburg in April 2010


·         We would like to congratulate the University of Johannesburg Branch of the ANC Youth League for changing the name of the branch to Solomon Mahlangu branch.

·         Solomon Mahlangu deserves the honour because he is youth who like this generation of youth was fearless.

·         Let’s now talk about Solomon Mahlangu and who he is the struggle for liberation.

·         Up until 1976, Solomon Mahlangu was a student, living under the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

·         On June 16 the school-children of Soweto, protesting the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in their schools, took to the streets in a massive, peaceful demonstration.

·         The violence precipitated a spontaneous uprising led by the students that spread rapidly to all parts of the country. By the end of the year "an official (and doubtless underestimated) figure was given of 575 dead and 2, 389 wounded in the conflict." (Worden, 1994. p.119.) A wave of detentions and bannings were used by the state in an attempt to crush the revolt. 21, 000 people were prosecuted for offenses related to the uprising. (Marx, 1990. p. 68.)

·         Thousands left the country in the face of this repression. They left to carry on the struggle from outside the country.

·         Nineteen year-old Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu was among them. He left his home in the night, not telling even his mother where he was going or if he would ever return.

·         Determined to fight for change, he sought training as a soldier. A year later, he returned home as a cadre of the of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the Spear of the Nation.

·         Solomon returned to South Africa in 1977, on a mission to join student protests commemorating the Soweto massacre. He never made it to the protests. He and his team, Monty Motloung and George "Lucky" Mahlangu were accosted by police in Johannesburg, and in the gunfight that followed, two white civilians were killed.

·         George Mahlangu escaped. Solomon and Monty Motloung were captured. Monty was so brutally beaten during the course of his capture that he suffered severe brain damage leaving him unfit to stand trial. Solomon had not fired a shot, but was left to face the murder charges alone. The trial was started without his lawyers' knowledge (SECHABA, 1979), and it was inevitable that he was found guilty of murder.

·         On March 2, 1977, Solomon was sentenced to death by hanging. When he heard his sentence, he shouted "Amandla!”.

·         For two years the international democratic community campaigned against his execution and called for the recognition of all South African freedom fighters as prisoners of war.

·         But, despite international pressure, the Apartheid government was not swayed. On April 6, 1979, 23 year old Solomon Mahlangu faced the gallows, raised his hand in the ANC salute, and met his death at the hands of a racist regime.
His final words are reputed to have been:
"My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.
Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight."
Solomon's people did continue the fight. In honour of his courage and dedication to the cause of freedom, the ANC named a new school after him: The Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SOMAFCO).
·         The courage of Solomon Mahlangu to fight and demolish the apartheid regime demonstrates the militancy and radicalism, which have defined and shaped the struggles of young people in South Africa.

·         The founding generation of the ANC YL, which included Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Anton Lambede, Mxolisi Majombozi, Robert Resha and others completely redefined methods of struggle and gave the ANC new energy through methods which were at times uncomfortable with the ANC leadership.

·         In SA, there was growing militancy of the Trade Union Movement and the Communist Party of South Africa.

·         The Youth in the ANC felt the need to form a militant youth league of the ANC.

·         The youth thereby chose to take a stance opposite to that of their parent organisation, which they increasingly viewed as pacifist and liberal.

·         Lionel Mxolisi Majombozi, a medical student at Wits University, was the first to moot the idea of forming the ANC Youth League arguing that it be presented to the to the ANC old guard as move to recruit young people and thus hiding its real intentions, viz. Of transforming a moribund organisation into a militant agent of political change.

·         During the ANC Annual Conference in 1942, the emergence of militancy amongst the African youth groups was noted, and the conference instructed the ANC National Executive Committee to form the Youth League of the ANC. 

·         The ANC YL former President Patrick Molaoa led a dedicated contingent which fought in the Spolile Campaign in 1968, and lost his life fighting for the emancipation of the people of South Africa.

·         The young Chris Hani mobilised young revolutions with intentions to revitalise and giving new energy to liberation fighters in a process which led to the 1969 Morogoro Conference.

·         The 1976 generation led a very militant struggle against the nonsensical and brutal apartheid regime in a manner and bravery which remains unparalleled to this day.


·         The National Liberation Movement instructed comrades to organize learners into a students’ congress to fight for students’ rights, freedom and the Freedom Charter.

·         An instruction was also give to bring the Congress character into the student movement at post secondary level, which included SASO and NUSAS.

·         The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) was formed in 1979 as a result of the banning of organisations that realized the uprising of 1976. COSAS’ formation was inspired by the bravery of young learners who raised their fists against apartheid repression.

·         The young lions’ generation under the leadership of Peter Mokaba ran South Africa ungovernable and incubated energy to the struggle for liberation thus leaving the apartheid regime with no option but to negotiate.

·         During negotiations, the ANC YL and youth in South Africa gave the additional energy and zest to the negotiation process, in a manner which illustrated to the apartheid regime that young people are ready to continue the fight for liberation and total independence of South Africa.

·         Post democratic dispensation, the ANC YL has been the only organisation at the forefront of instituting youth development into mainstream work of government, civil society and the private sector. The betterment of South Africa’s youth has and continues to be our primary pre-occupation.

·         It is this historical mission which the current generation of the ANC YL has to complete and intensify. We have a responsibility to go out in our numbers to vote for the ANC. The ANC YL at all levels of its existence has been at the forefront of elections work.

·         Without shifting the goal posts, it is our strong conviction now that as a generation, our mission is not yet complete.

·         Our emphasis however is centred on our strong conviction that all communities should be mobilised to play a developmental role in the communities. We will continue to fight for better education and health, adopt a school campaign, and various programmes which will seek to better the living conditions of our people.


·         When we went to the first leg of the ANC YL 23rd National Congress in Mangaung, the theme of the leadership that was ultimately given the mandate to lead the Youth League was GENERATIONAL CHANGE, and like all GENERATIONAL CHANGES, the outcomes of the Youth League Congress in Mangaung and subsequently NASREC was not an easy one.

·         It appears from the character of the Youth league politics now that the GENERATIONAL CHANGE we called for in Mangaung was not a mechanical generational change, where we had to merely replace one older generation with another one.

·         The political and ideological character of the ANC YL post Mangaung and NASREC is very revolutionary, working class biased and committed to retaining the Left character of the ANC.

·         In all our communications and outlook since the Conferences, we have always assumed a revolutionary, working class biased character and re-affirmed the principles of the Freedom Charter. We will never allow space for super-revolutionaries to undermine our struggles and try to associate everything we do with corruption.

·         Or mission is total attainment of the Freedom Charter aims and objectives and we will do everything in our power to ensure that such becomes a reality.

·         Our approach to workers and community struggles has always been progressive, and dismissed the third force mentality taken by previous generations.

·         We have joined into workers’ and community struggles, not through media statements, but through practical action on the ground.

·         We have practically revived our political education programme meant at reproducing revolutionary ideas and agitate young people for clearly guided engagement with the current democratic conjecture.



·         Our call for nationalisation of Mines (has radically reshaped the ideological landscape not only in the ANC YL, but entire liberation movement.

·         NATIONALISATION OF MINES WILL HAPPEN and this is because of the current leadership focus and dedication.

2010 Political Programme

  • The year 2010 is the 98th Anniversary of the ANC. The ANC’s 98th anniversary coincides with the 55th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, which for the past 55 years has been the beacon of hope for the people of South Africa. In celebrating the 98th, 99th and 100th anniversaries of the ANC, the ANC YL will do everything in its power to ensure that all aims and objectives of the Freedom Charter are realised.

  • The ANC YL will, reminiscent of our founding generation such as Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Mxolisi Majombozi, Ashby Mda, Anton Lembede, mobilise and intensively lobby for the realisation and practicalisation of all Freedom Charter objectives.

  • The great moments in the history of the African National Congress have always been represented by its ability to take giant leaps and decisive action in a manner that adequately adapted to existent material conditions.

  • Our strong conviction as this generation of the ANC Youth League is that the period towards the centenary of the ANC in 2012 should prepare the African National Congress to adopt a radical, progressive and decisive programme which will ensure that the wealth of South Africa is returned to the ownership and benefit of the people as a whole.

  • The democratic dispensation has given the ANC sufficient political power to change society for the better, and it is high time that we utilise that power to redress the legacy of apartheid in all spheres of society.

  • The ANC should begin to understand that in the process of radical change, not everyone will be happy and not everyone will support the revolution and that mistakes are bound to happen. The ANC YL will in celebrating the years towards the centenary prepare the ANC, the alliance and South African society for the necessary and long overdue change in economic and social transformation.

  • In the process of change, the African National Congress should never be hijacked by any of its class components for a narrow programme. The broad-church composition of the ANC and its determination to achieve the Freedom Charter should be defended. We call on all loyal members of the ANC to rise in defence of the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS.