Tuesday, December 15, 2015



Floyd Shivambu 

Many people in South Africa, including the country's Senior leaders in the ruling party, in government and private sector are still wondering as to why Nhlahla Nene was abruptly removed as Minister of Finance without any sound explanation by Mr. Jacob Zuma, who has foregone the right to be called President. 

Many people are left to speculate as to the real reasons why Nhlahla Nene was removed, yet no one can pinpoint the exact reasons as why the Minister of Finance was removed. This is shocking because all evidence is there for anyone to see. The reason Nhlahla Nene was removed was to open space for the looters, the Gupta led criminal syndicate, to loot State resources for private enrichment. 

The reality is that for sometime now, South Africa has been under the management of a criminal syndicate masquerading as genuine business people, headquartered in Saxonwold. The criminal greedy and ruthless syndicate is called Gupta family. The existence of Gupta family is not a fictional imagination, it is a reality that exists and has de facto colonized South Africa for sometime now, with Zuma being the Chief Colonial Administrator. 

The Guptas have established a solid network inside the ruling party, the ANC and have disproportionate, actually decisive influence on what happens in the ANC and the State it administers on their behalf.
The Guptas posses lots of cash and run South Africa's State machinery in a manner that seek to benefit them and the puppets they have in the State at national and provincial levels. In their network of influence, they have premiers of the Free State and North West provinces, ministers, chairpersons and CEOs of State Owned companies, and also have control over many critical decisions that will financially benefit them and the puppets they control. 

The first and last time anyone spoke about the disproportionate influence of the Guptas in the ANC was in the 2011 launch of the ANC Local Government elections manifesto, when then ANC Youth League President Julius Malema said, right in front of Mr. Zuma that South Africa's democracy is “not a democracy of families; this is a democracy of the people of the country. When families are exploiting the resources of this country and are enriching themselves in the name of freedom, when those in political office abuse their power to benefit friends, the youth must rise in defence of the ANC." That call is relevant today, and the call is to all South Africans to rise in Defence of South Africa.

From there on, the attitude of Mr. Zuma, the colonial administrator of the Gupta empire took a dramatic turn, such that he never addressed even one meeting of the ANC Youth League National Executive Committee under the leadership of President Julius Malema. As Youth League Leader, President Julius Malema was privy to the reality that the Guptas would call individual members of the ANC National Executive Committee to tell them which Ministerial position has been given to them prior to the official announcement by their puppet, the colonial administrator, Mr. Zuma. Fikile Mbalula was told by Atul Gupta that he is going to be Minister of Sports before Zuma announced the decision. We all know what happened to the leadership of the Youth League, and such is not a point to decry because that led to the dialectical and necessary formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters, which fearlessly fights against all forms of corruption.

Since the dissolution of the Youth League and replacement with a desk which has no sense of what is happening in South Africa, the Gupta family was left to operate freely with no real internal opposition. They took over the ruling party's real decisions, including bankrolling the re-election of Mr. Zuma as President in the 2012 National Conference. In that way, the Gupta empire tightened the screws on their control of the ANC, the State and intensified means defined by impunity and gross corruption.

In the Free State Province, the Guptas introduced programmes through Mosebenzi Zwane, which amount to millions of Rands, corrupted Ace Magashule, partnered his son on a business in a same way they did with Jacob Zuma's son. They took charge of the South African Airways, and even decided on basic things such as SAA Newspaper subscription so that their lousy Newspaper, the New Age is the most distributed and paid for newspaper in SAA platforms, including their check in counters, lounges and flights. They opened offshore accounts for their corruption beneficiaries, including that of the philandering Minister who thoughtlessly displays the fact that he has additional income from no additional work.

In 2010, the Guptas had managed to appropriate the mining Licence of Kumba Iron ore, effectively hijacking the mining rights of a company which was supposed to convert the Licence from old order mining rights to new order mining rights. Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), an entity which is partly owned by Duduzane Zuma, the son of the colonial administrator Zuma, and the Guptas tried to frustrate Kumba iron ore through a Court case, which they lost at the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2013. Of course the Guptas lost the court case because they have no respect of the law.

The decision to replace Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was taken in Saxonwold, and as a matter of fact, the presidential convoy was in Saxonwold the day before Zwane was announced as a Minister of Mineral Resources. Zwane is appointed as Minister of Mineral Resources in order to allow the Gupta empire to have control over mineral rights and policy in a manner which will benefit the family and puppets. In his previous role as MEC in the Free State, Zwane had excellently served Guptas interests through a dairy project which the provincial government paid millions for, and never materialized, and is subject of investigation by the Public Protector. Zwane is a also a political extension of Ace Magashule, the Premier of the Free State who accounts in Saxonwold, and has introduced his son to the Gupta family as partner of one of their businesses. 

The Guptas' entrance into the media space through The New Age, ANN7, and SABC is also an attempt to colonize the minds of all South Africans. The New Age and ANN7 are bankrolled by Government departments and entities, with the Free State government spending millions of Rands on Gupta media platforms. The SABC has been pushed into an unexplained cooperation with The New Age for a television breakfast show, which in terms of basic media business laws cannot be co-hosted with owners of a rival television station. The compromised and semi-literate SABC Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng even appears on the rival ANN7 Awards ceremonies alongside the colonial administrator because Saxonwold said they should be there. 

In a recent blog writing, Alec Hogg tells of a story of how Atul Gupta instructs Mr. Zuma around. Hogg says "While in Davos, I met an Indian newspaper editor who proudly informed me he had interviewed my country’s President. After smiling at my surprise, he told about recently accompanying an Indian Business delegation to SA. At one of the cocktail functions he made small talk with Atul Gupta, head of Sahara Computers, proprietor of the New Age newspaper and, via his shell ICT, attempted hijacker of the Sishen iron ore mine’s mineral rights.
The way my new acquaintance told the story, he mentioned to Gupta how he would love to interview Jacob Zuma (wouldn’t we all?). No problem, said the New Age bossman, and a few minutes later the surprised editor heard the South African President being instructed to make time for this interview. The astonished Indian newspaperman duly got his face time with Zuma. But wondered privately to me at the influence of Atul Gupta who was able to swing something so difficult with such ease". 
This is just one of the many illustrations of how influential and controlling the Guptas are on the President and everything he does. The Guptas are the only ones who recurrently transports the president in private cars to their compound to instruct government ministers and SOCs officials to take decisions in their favour.

Now, the reason why Minister Nhlahla Nene was removed and replaced with Des van Rooyen is because Saxonwold said so. Van Rooyen is not an elected leader of any organization, and a political extension of North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, who is as rapacious as Ace Magashule and Mr. Zuma and part of the colonial administration of the Guptas. Geographically, the paltry political contributions of Van Rooyen happened in Gauteng where he was a Mayor in Merafong, yet it was the Premier of the North West who went around justifying Des Van Rooyen after the disastrous decision to make him Finance Minister for 5 days by Mr. Zuma. The person who introduced Van Rooyen to Zuma is Supra Mahumapelo, the Premier of the North West, because like Ace Magashule with Mosebenzi Zwane, and David Mabuza with Intelligence Minister David Mahlobo; Mahumapelo also needed his political extension in a senior cabinet position. 

But why did the Gupta empire use their colonial administrator Zuma to take over National Treasury? There are three fundamental reasons and they are: 

1) Nuclear Deal: 

Mr. Zuma has since announced that the SA government intends to construct nuclear power station, which will cost the State more than R1 trillion to finalise. In September 2015, the Financial Mail reported that "
This week, Oakbay released its annual report, in which chairman Atul Gupta argued that nuclear energy is the way to go. A hike in nuclear demand would boost Oakbay, whose main asset is Shiva Uranium, 165km southwest of Johannesburg, which it bought in 2010 and revived.
Gupta said even though uranium isn’t well understood in SA, countries like China, Russia and Brazil are powering ahead with nuclear plans.
“Nuclear energy is the key to meeting the exponentially increasing [global] energy demand over the next 20 years with clean power,” he said.
Gupta said Oakbay was “in the ideal growth market and uranium is the place to be”.

The reality is that Minister Nhlahla Nene argued very correctly that South Africa cannot afford Nuclear power stations as such will cause a massive fiscal crisis. For that Nene was removed and replaced with a powerless Van Rooyen, whose role would be to ask how high whenever instructed to jump.

2) The R4 billon Jet.

Mr. Zuma wants to purchase a R4 billion jet, not because he wants to fly in an expensive and safe jet, but because the actual cost of the jet is less than R500 million and the supplier of the jet was going to be companies associated with the Guptas. They are already leasing jets to the Presidency like the one used by Mr. Ramaphosa in the recent past visit to Japan. When purchased for R4 billion, massive bribes were going to be reserved for the Gupta empire and puppets. 

National Treasury under Nhlahla Nene correctly illustrated that such a purchase is not necessary and will add to a fiscal crisis.

3) SAA

The Gupta family has interest in the South African Airways and their intentions go beyond the contracts they intend to have with the airways. The ultimate intention is to cause huge debt for the airways and ultimately buy it as a private Gupta airways. 

As part of National Treasury interventions in SAA, Nhlahla Nene and the ministry has set key targets for SAA to achieve as part of its recovery plans and an absolute majority of those were not reached. As a matter of fact, Treasury had drafted a cabinet memorandum in which change of leadership was recommended and this meant that Dudu Myeni would no longer continue to misguide SAA, and this was going to disrupt the looting intentions and aspirations of the Guptas and their puppets. 

These and many other private criminal syndicate intentions are the major causes of the financial crisis caused by Mr. Zuma. Any person with a brain knows beyond any doubt Mr. Zuma (Number 1) gave a go ahead for the Gupta plane to land at the Waterkloof airbase. That is why the person who was blamed for the landing was later promoted by Zuma to an ambassadorial post.

When Van Rooyen was made Minister, he immediately appointed Ministerial advisors, whom he had introduced to the senior management of National Treasury. It is a fact that majority of senior managers in National Treasury indicated that they will leave if such goes ahead, and that is the main reason why the decision to reappoint Pravin Gordham came about, because now Zuma was made to understand that if National Treasury senior management resign in huge numbers, the financial crisis was going to deepen to unmanageable levels. The bank executives who met Zuma feel like they influenced him to change the decision, but the fact is that the patriotic staff members in National Treasury coiled Zuma's evil intentions.

These are hardcore and open facts, and we challenge the Presidency and anyone who is mentioned here to factually dispute what we have said. The reality South Africa, is that our country has been hijacked by a criminal syndicate which works with Mr. Zuma to maximize private financial interests. The ruling party is incapable of resolving this crisis because most of their senior leaders are compromised and cannot do or say anything. We have to stand up and close down the Gupta colonialists, whose greed will bring about a massive crisis. All major banks in South Africa have been downgraded because they are holding accounts and monies generated through Gupta corrupt means.

South Africans must stand up against rapacious looting of state resources. Commentators and analysts who say Zuma is not a fool are fools themselves. How do you explain actions of a leader who cuts his nose to spite his fate expect to say such is foolishness. How do you explain someone who destroys his organization and trust amongst his senior colleagues on the altar of looting state money? South Africans must never equate con men and tricksters to intelligent people. 

We should never agree as this generation to be puppet mastered as if there are no rules and principles that governs this country. We call on all South Africans to stand up against the Gupta kleptocratic syndicate because we will soon be left with no country. Now that their National Treasury capture has failed, they will resort to other means of looting. They control the majority faction in the ANC, and they have already said who their person of the year is through some bogus awards ceremony. We should not be afraid, we should fight to decolonize South Africa from thieves. 

Floyd Shivambu is EFF Deputy President 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On Blade Nzimande and the crisis of Higher Education in South Africa! #ListenToTheKids

On Blade Nzimande and the crisis of Higher Education in South Africa! #FeesMustFall! #BladeMustGo and #ANCMustFall

Floyd Shivambu

With no intention to polarise the otherwise gallant struggles of all students mobilised under the #FeesMustFall movement, we should perhaps take a pause to reflect on the real objective and subjective politics behind the higher education funding crisis in South Africa. Those at the forefront of the students’ protests correctly proclaim that the #FeesMustFall movement is not a party political programme, but consolidated students’ action cutting across racial, political and class lines. Students with affiliations of different political parties are indeed at the forefront of the protests in many institutions of higher learning, and the demands are still centred on securing no fee increases for the academic year 2016, and variety of genuine workers’ demands.

Directing the protests to Parliament and demanding that Minister of Higher Education be held accountable is a commendable step because students are beginning to appreciate that the political ruling elite are the ones who are responsible for the higher education funding crisis in South Africa. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Higher Education under its inaugural and current Minister of Higher Education, the erstwhile Communist Blade Nzimande has dismally failed to provide clear direction on the question of higher education and students’ funding in particular. This is despite the so many calls and demands by successive students’ generations that the question of funding should be attended to. Thousands of campus based and nation-wide protests have been held to demand free education and against fees increase since 1994. Valuable infrastructure has been burnt into ashes, cars damaged, and libraries destroyed by students demanding free education and no to fees increase since 1994.

Let us take a pause to reflect. Of course I will share personal experiences because in my life I have been a branch Secretary, Chairperson of a student organisation (SASCO) and President of the Students’ Representative Council (Wits University), member of a Regional and National Executive Committees of a students’ organisation (SASCO). I also had the privilege to lead all SRCs students in the process that led to the formation of the South African Union of Students (SAUS), writing its inaugural Constitution and co-organising its founding conference. I was in the board of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme between 2008 and 2012, and also served in the Joint Task Team of the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition from 2006 to 2009 representing students and youth. Throughout my student and youth activism, I consistently fought for free quality education, and partook in many protests demanding free education.

Higher Education ministry’s leadership, or lack of it, on the higher education funding mechanism and system is the major cause of the #FeesMustFall protests, which will escalate into violence and instability if not managed correctly. Whilst institutional managers and Vice Chancellors play a role, the lack of guidance and decisive leadership by the ministry of higher education deepens the crisis. There are various objective and subjective challenges that causes this crisis and here we will candidly reflect on them, and sometimes revealing the privy information we have access to. For this purpose, we will attend to the following: a) National Students Financial Aid Scheme, b) Higher Education Funding in general, and c) institutional mechanisms to foster real higher education transformation.

a)      National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme

Instead of resolving the higher education and vocational training funding crisis, the Ministry of higher education and current government continuously mention South Africa’s biggest loan scheme, the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which is inconsistently and badly managed across institutions of higher learning. There is absolutely nothing that stopped Blade Nzimande from addressing the higher education funding crisis in relation to NSFAS because his predecessors in higher education established the NSFAS Review process, which was largely ignored when the Ministry of Higher Education was established in 2009.

Instead of following a professional review process, part of Blade Nzimande did as the inaugural Minister of Higher Education was to cause instability in the leadership of NSFAS, which despite historical challenges was beginning to find stability. I am aware of this because in 2008, before Blade Nzimande was in government, I was appointed into the board of NSFAS by then Education Minister Naledi Pandor, after being nominated by the students and youth movement. When he became Minister, Blade Nzimande instructed all Board Members, who were in the middle of the NSFAS Review process and implementation of a Turnaround strategy to resign from the NSFAS Board. This was spearheaded by South African Communist Party Central (SACP) Committee Member Gwebs Qonde, who was mysteriously and undeservedly appointed Director General of the department of Higher Education.

I was personally instructed in December 2010 to resign by the DG Gwebs Qonde through telling me lies that they, as the Communist Party, intend to introduce free education through NSFAS, and that they are going to appoint ‘experts’ into the board. I obviously refused to resign because I am driven by an individual philosophy of not quitting: No surrender! No retreat! I told Gwebs Qonde in the NSFAS Board meeting that he is hypocrite, and should not engage in factional and potentially corrupt activities on issues relating to NSFAS, because NSFAS could be used as a vehicle to liberate many poor students. In all the board meetings I attended, I recurrently raised the issue of converting the loan scheme into a bursary and highlighted the fact that the threshold of students eligible for NSFAS has not been changed in more than 10 years. I served until the end of my term in 2012, and obviously could not be reappointed because I did not fit into the category preferred by the Communist Party, a category of clueless board members whose aim was about themselves and not students.

I vividly remember when Board members handed in resignations and new members were appointed into the NSFAS Board, and a common thread of all the new members of the board is that they, in one way or another, had links to the South African Communist Party. The central faces in the new appointments were Collette Caine (Blade Nzimande’s personal financial advisor and SACP Fundraiser), and ZB Sogayise, an indifferent and less informed former school principal from the SACP in Cape Mero with close links to the Director General of Higher Education, Gwebs Qonde.

Now, due to ZB’s lack of understanding of high level financial management and control at Board level, Collet Caine took control of NSFAS, and literally relocated to Cape Town to be closer to the office so that she could micro-manage the internal affairs of NSFAS. The then Chief Executive Officer Ashley Seymour, who was appointed by the previous board, was unceremoniously fired, and replaced by Nathi Khena, who was also fired in less than six months by ZB Sogayise and Collette Caine. The Board was later coerced to agree to the firing of Nathi Khena, and I voted against such. Nathi Khena was replaced by Msulwa Daca, who had been the Chief Financial Officer.

Under Collette Caine’s control of NSFAS, new arrangements were introduced such as Board fees, which never existed before, and travelling on business class, victimisation of Union leaders in NSFAS Offices, and all forms of social gatherings which Collette Caine would have with NSFAS Staff members loyal to her. Without venturing into unfounded allegations, the reality is that if there can be a closer and forensic examination of the doings and transactions in NSFAS during the period of the SACP deployees, a lot of questionable linkages between NSFAS and SACP Benefactors will be revealed. Amidst these, NSFAS went into a crisis which Blade Nzimande admitted to when announcing the appointment of the new Chairperson.

Collette Caine and ZB Sogayise’s interference with NSFAS was reported in the Mail & Guardian in June 2011 when Ashley Seymour, the CEO they fired took NSFAS to Court for unfair dismissal. The M&G report said amongst other things that, “Sogayise and Caine became “operationally involved within the organisation” and there was “a dramatic change in the workplace” involving the “creation of a hostile and intolerable work environment”, Seymour says. “It became apparent that [there was] a witch hunt against me.” (M&G, June 2011). The circumstances around the firing of Seymour’s successor, Nathi Khena were also mysterious and orchestrated by the Communist Party deployees in the board. In one of the board meetings, Khena complained about Caine and Sogayise’s micro-management of NSFAS affairs.

NSFAS’ plans for establishment of a central applications office lost direction and the conversion of loans into bursary scheme did not happen in the manner initially envisaged. The most tragic development out of all these though was the Board’s refusal to minute and implement our proposal that NSFAS should take over the debts of all academically deserving students who have been financially excluded, whether inside or outside the allocation criteria. Such a takeover would give financially excluded students access to their qualifications or academic records to continue with their studies or find jobs. The reality is that there are qualified students in South Africa who do not have their certificates of qualifications because they owe Universities tuition fees. Additionally, NSFAS’ failure to centralise applications and administration of the fund in order to avoid inconsistent selection and loan allocations criteria by institutions of higher learning.     

Whilst they over celebrate the R9 billion availed as loans to students, the massive administrative and political challenges imposed on NSFAS by Minister Nzimande and the Communist faction are heavy and disables the institution from performing its functions properly. In August 2015, when announcing the appointment of the new NSFAS Board Chairperson Sizwe Nxasana, Minister Nzimande pointed to the challenges confronting NSFAS, and mentioned the following:
1.      Failure of leadership to put in place an effective strategy to collect all revenue due to NSFAS. (Loan recoveries from student debtors have decreased significantly to R261.2-million in the 2014-2015 financial year from R372.3-million in the 2013-2014 financial year.) 
2.      The inability of NSFAS to raise funds as per its mandate. 
3.      Limited human resource and requisite expertise, and the capacity of management and leadership to ensure that the entity meets its mandate in terms of the NSFAS Act. 
4.      The entity has not been able to ensure that adequate and skilled resources were employed and has put the operations of NSFAS at considerable risk. 
5.      Failure of leadership and management to effectively provide oversight and manage financial and performance reporting, compliance with relevant legislation, lack of internal controls and policies to govern its operations, which opens up the entity to fraud at the NSFAS and institutions. 
6.      The NSFAS has not developed supportive relationships with its stakeholders and donors, and measures to improve the administration of donor funding take significant time to bear fruit, to the detriment of eligible students.

What Minister Nzimande did not do is reveal that the administrative crisis and challenges in NSFAS were his and the DG’s own creation, of appointing cronies into the Board and failure to provide decisive direction on deliverables. Students have been compromised due to lack of adequate and proper political leadership. Here is a Minister of Higher Education who disregards skills and expertise and make nepotistic appointments, and raising suspicions due to what he always said before the ANC 52nd National Conference in Polokwane. Before Polokwane and his campaign for the SACP written Alliance pact with the ANC, Nzimande would always say that “it cannot be correct that we all go hunt for nogwaja (rabbit), and once we caught it, only ANC leaders are the ones who eat, whilst we only get bones”. Those who understand parables will know what this means, but it looks like NSFAS was being turned into nogwaja for Nzimande and the SACP.

b)     Higher Education Funding:

In December 2012, the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Derrick Swartz presented a report on the feasibility of free education and it still has not been released, despite the fact that the report said free higher education is feasible. This might seem improbable for a Minister who was mistaken for a revolutionary and champion of free education, but the reality is that a thorough study was conducted on provision of free education and Minister Blade Nzimande is hoarding the report. It is highly possible that Nzimande has not yet read the report because he rarely pays attention to details, does not attend to his ministerial responsibilities, except ones which bring him immediate private benefits. Why would a Minister deprive the higher education fraternity an opportunity to deliberate on introduction of free quality education, whilst the organisation that deployed him resolved to gradually introduce free education for the poor until undergraduate level in its 52nd National Conference?

In the 53rd National Conference of the ANC, a resolution was taken that “the policy for free higher education to all undergraduate level students will be finalised for adoption before the end of 2013”. This was after noting that “University education is costly and academically capable students from poor families should not be expected to pay up-front fees in order to access higher education”. All these resolutions have not been implemented, and there is a person whose role is to implement such resolutions. Again, it is possible that Minister Nzimande has not read these resolutions, because there is no immediate personal benefits for him or the Communist Party.

South Africa’s Constitution gives Ministers powers to table legislation in Parliament and the current budget allocation process demands that Ministers and their departments should present detailed plans on what their funding needs are in any given financial year. The final budget then becomes the product of what Parliament has approved from departments. Minister Blade Nzimande and his department have never asked for additional money to finance free higher education, except for the normal inflationary adjustments. There was never a time where additional funding to ease the burden on students were asked from Parliament. Asking for money from Parliament is a political function of Ministers and Nzimande has not done so.

Higher Education should be radically funded and existing institutions of higher learning expanded to absorb more students. When many students struggle to pass and attain their qualifications due to inadequate learning, teaching, and research support, there are many others who are waiting on the long queues trying to gain access to higher education, yet cannot because there are no sufficient spaces in institutions of higher learning. The highlight of what we previously presented to parliament reflects the following:
University of Stellenbosch
23 818
4 900
University of Cape Town
23 600
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
54 000
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
31 601
Durban University of Technology
79 000
Mangosuthu University of Technology
40 000
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
31 620
5 850
University of KwaZulu Natal
90 000
8 400
North West University
23 200
9 471
University of Zululand

This trend reflects in all institutions of higher learning, and Blade Nzimande’s leadership on this crisis is introduction of two new Universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape, which can only take up to 10 000 students in 10 years’ time, whilst only accepting less than 3000 students combined. When we criticise this, Nzimande resorts to his belittling retorts and even threatens violence as if he knows anything about violence. The question of where was he has still not been answered.

As a matter of fact, the cost to run all institutions of higher learning in a way which will provide free education is less than R50 billion, and through proper prioritisation, the current budget of the State can afford R50 billion for higher education. What this requires is political will and commitment to introduce free quality education for all, and it can be achieved. If government’s political will has directed it towards the Nuclear Build programme, which will possibly be completed when they are all no longer in government and at double or triple R1 trillion bill, the same will can be directed to provision of free quality education for all.

There should never be an assumption that provision of free quality education for all will happen at the expense of any other expenditure item, because education for any nation and country is a massive investment. Investing in education might lead to the development of innovative, productive and entrepreneurial population whose efforts and contribution will far outweigh the R50 billion initially invested. Also many other students will see the need to gain skills, expertise and education when such is fee free. Fees are a barrier to higher education and they must fall.

The Minister of Higher Education and entire ANC government has never tabled a proposal in parliament on how we should finance free quality education for all, despite that their own Conferences instructed them to do so. The crisis is therefore a political crisis caused by politicians who do not want to take responsibility and stay true to their own resolutions. If people fail to respect their own resolutions, it is difficult to expect them to respect other people’s resolutions. The ANC’s narcissistic belief and entitlement to political power in South Africa is the reason why they treat everyone with disdain. The disdainful and arrogant way individual Ministers approach key developmental issues, their incapacity and mediocrity have been institutionalised and currently defines the whole public sector, including government and parastatals. 

Every time the EFF raises the question of free quality higher education, Blade Nzimande consistently responds by saying that the Freedom Charter does not call for free higher education, taking advantage of the Freedom Charter sentence that says, “Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children; Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit”. There are various interpretations to this, but the commitment to provision of free quality higher education is an ideological and political commitment which has been resolved on many platforms.

If allocating money for free quality higher education from the current budget will lead into a fiscal crisis, the Minister of Education should mobilise the whole of society enactment of legislation which will allow for an education tax from all private corporations and individuals. Society is already mobilised behind the need to develop a funding model for education and with presentation of superior logic, society can be mobilised to support a special education tax, which will could be ring fenced specifically for the provision of free quality education for all. What this means is the corporates and individuals would take ownership of higher education funding. South Africa is however leaderless on the education front and such will not be considered.

c)      Institutional mechanisms to foster real higher education transformation

Because government is usually the biggest financial contributor to institutions of higher learning, it should put in place a mechanism on how institutions of higher learning should respond to the transformation objectives and goals. This of course should not undermine academic freedom, in the sense of what and how to teach. Academics and students should be allowed freedom of research and academic expression without dictates of wishes of the government of the day.

Nevertheless, there are specific issues that can be transformation goals and targets et between the department of higher education and institutions of higher learning on what is to be done. These could include concrete agreements on issues such as;
1)      Ending all forms of financial exclusions.
2)      Academic and research support programmes which will guarantee maximum success rates for students.
3)      Minimum standards on institutional infrastructure, food, and residences.
4)      Minimum standards on employment conditions and salaries of all workers employed by institutions of higher learning, which should ban outsourcing and labour brokering.
5)      Fair, balanced and responsive curriculum.
6)      Quantitative and qualitative expansion targets, goals and aspirations.
7)      Universities’ contribution to societal open education.

These and many others could play a significant role and could be established through deliberative means which involve all stake holders, inclusive of students, workers, parents, governments (local, provincial and national) and communities where the institutions of higher learning exist. This can be fostered through a properly structured dialogue, transformation charters and even legislation which binds institutions of higher learning to progressive developments.

This can only happen if South Africa is led by a responsible and responsive government. As a matter of fact, the country is politically on autopilot, and this is vividly evidenced by the ANC and Nzimande’s lacklustre attitude. It is a fat that Minister Blade Nzimande does not go to work, and is often in what qualifies to be social pleasure in hotels and other areas. Such conduct defines him and other members in cabinet who have no interests in the wellbeing of the people they committed to serve.


Well it’s somewhat polarising to say this now, but the reality is that the misguided belief that SASCO will turn things around because it is within the congress movement is illusionary. Generations after generations of students’ leadership and brilliant activists from SASCO have made exactly the same demands students are making today, and still there is very minimal changes in the higher education sector. The qualitative disparities between institutions of higher learning are still reflective of what the colonial-cum-apartheid past designed these institutions to be, fees are unregulated, exclusions happen every second day, and black students’ success is minimal.

The #FeesMustFall Movement should intensify the struggle to achieve 0% increase of fees in 2016 academic year, but all students should appreciate that even in the current rates, the fees are unaffordable even for working families. The message is simple: #ListenToTheKids! High fees also decimate the NSFAS Loans granted to students and often leave them with no residences, food, and books. Attaining a 0% increase will be a great achievement, but such should be escalated to demand for free quality education for all, illegalisation of financial exclusion, scrapping of all students’ debts and qualitative and quantitative expansion of institutions of higher learning.

As a matter of, Blade Nzimande and the current Higher Education Ministry as configured will not bring about the necessary revolutionary changes, and that is when all students will appreciate that #FeesMustFall should also be #BladeMustGo and the #ANCMustFall. Well, to his credit, Blade Nzimande is one of the 2 Cabinet Ministers with a Doctoral degree, yet he is an epitome of mediocrity, who specialises in shallow rhetoric. The #ANCMustFall because when they see students clad in SASCO and ANC T-shirts chanting slogans of #FeesMustFall, they think of all of those students as some wayward children who must be called to Luthuli House for some guidance. So #FeesMustFall, #BladeMustGo and #ANCMustFall. #ListenToTheKids!


Friday, September 18, 2015

We Are Not Sorry for Economic Freedom: #WeAreNotSorry

We are not sorry for the struggle for economic freedom:

Floyd Shivambu

The recent past Congress of the former ANC Youth League, which is now effectively the ANC Youth Desk confirmed the observations we made when we made the clarion call to Economic Freedom Fighters in June 2013. During that period, we made a correct observation that the expulsion, suspensions and what would later became dissolution of the ANC YL 24thNational Executive Committee was a right wing effort to illegally abort the struggle for economic freedom, which had been conceptualised by, canvassed for and gained solid ground in the former liberation movement by and due to the current leadership core of the Economic Freedom Fighters, notably its President and Deputy President.

It is an open secret that the ideological and political characterisation of the struggle as the struggle for economic freedom gained inspiration from various political streams, including the militant and fighting generation of founders of the ANC Youth League, the Cuban July 26 Movement, and notable African revolutionaries such as Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara and Amilcar Carbral. The political report to the ANC YL 24th Congress by President Julius Malema gave a clearer context. Perhaps we should do something uncharcatestic of revolutionaries, and state categorically that if it were not because of the current President and Deputy President of the EFF, the struggle for economic freedom would have not been conceptualised and gained momentum in and outside the ex-liberation movement in the manner and weight it has thus far

So when the imposed leadership of the ANC YL in KwaZulu Natal calls for Court action on the basis that the EFF plagiarised the struggle for economic freedom and the slogan of economic freedom in our lifetime, they should also state as to who of the individual members of the ANC YL conceptualised and came with the term economic freedom. It can never be correct that because we fought for economic freedom in the ANC YL, we cannot fight for it on other platforms, in the same way we fought for free education in COSAS and SASCO, and still fought for free education in all other organisations we led afterwards. In revolutionary practice, this is not referred to as plagiarism, but revolutionary consistency based on key principles, even on the face of adversity. The struggle for economic freedom is our idea and it is no possible to plagiarise our own ideas.

We still carry vivid memories of the meetings, congresses, platforms and even writing and electronic pads and computers where the struggle for economic freedom was conceptualisedand how it gained momentum. On the contrary, those who claim that we plagiarised have no political, organisational and ideological memory of where the struggle comes from. They waffle and spit self-contradictory slogans in the name of economic freedom with no recollection of where this comes from. It is understandable because some amongst them were flirting with the ideologically baseless and directionless Congress of the People (COPE), founded by a political elite which could not live with the otherwise electoral disaster of the 52nd ANC National Conference in Polokwane.

The struggle for economic freedom is so enormous a struggle to leave to ideologically shapeless and deformed organisations and self-seeking individuals, because it represents as turning point in the continued struggle for the total emancipation of the black majority and Africans in particular. The struggle for economic freedom and its original meaning is centred on the political determination of retention of the stolen land to the ownership of the people as a whole, without compensation. This pillar of the struggle for economic freedom was articulated with maximum clarity, even in the ANC, such that one of the charges on the then President of the ANC YL andCommander in Chief of the EFF Julius Malema was on the basis that he said whites are land thieves. During this period, there was no any form of ideological and political relationship with a section that later joined the EFF, and refers to itself as bearers of black consciousness and land activists.

Another important pillar in the struggle for economic freedom is Nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. This pillar was our rallying call in the ex-liberation movement, which gained maximum momentum and weight in the ANC. In its 3rd National General Council in 2010, part of the resolutions of the ANC was that there was greater consensus on nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. There is no sober individual who can doubt the fact that this resolution came about as a result of concerted ideological and political work of the current leadership core of the EFF. By the way, the Commission that established great consensus on nationalisation of Mines, also resolved in principle that Section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to empower the state to expropriate without compensation.

The other equally important pillars in the struggle for economic freedom include our commitment to fighting for free quality education for all, building state capacity, and massive protected industrial development. Claiming to be fighting for economic freedom and even asking for copyrights of the struggle without an unwavering commitment to the struggle for expropriation of land without compensation and nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy is a pathetic misrepresentation and deformation of the struggle for economic freedom. Those who uphold the struggle for economic freedom should accept that it comes with these non-negotiable pillars. 

The ideological basis of this struggle was inspired by Kwame Nkrumah and the founding fathers of Africa’s political liberation. During that period, we said, “Vestiges of apartheid and colonial economic patterns, ownership and control remain intact despite the attainment of political freedom by the ANC led liberation movement. Political freedom without economic emancipation is meaningless”. Indeed, political freedom with economic emancipation is meaningless, hence the necessity for the EFF as an organisational platform to fight for economic emancipation in light of the absence of any organisation fighting for total emancipation.

The ultimate isolation, suspensions and banishment of the ANC YL leadership was due to the fact that our generation wielded tremendous ideological and political influence over the ex-liberation movement, and of course to the discomfort of incumbents. Such isolation and banishments are not ahistorical because in political history, establishments always banish and sometimes even assassinate revolutionaries who carry cogent ideas, such as Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, Thomas Sankara, and Patrice Lumumba. We were also not shocked that such banishment will happen, because when he closed the 24th National Congress, then ANC YL President and EFF CiC said, “Me and you Floyd are not safe in the ANC”. Such reflected revolutionary foresight and deeper understanding that genuine pursuit of struggle can turn allies into enemies of progressive change. 

That we fought such struggle in a politically and ideologically autonomous, but organisationally dependent Youth League presented contradictory opportunities in light of an intolerant leadership of the mother body, the ANC. When they conceptualised the struggle as Freedom in Our Lifetime, involved the masses, and took up arms against apartheid, the founding generation of the ANC YL such as Nelson Mandela were allowed by the then leadership to exist, and were not heavily suppressed with banishments despite the fact that Freedom in Our Lifetime, Defiance Campaign and Armed struggle were not originally the political party positions of the ANC. The autonomy of the Youth League in that moment was elementary for all these to have a clearer direction.

Our unapologetic Youth League understood this and specifically stated that “the autonomy of the Youth League and generally young people in all revolutions is elementary to a revolution’s progress and success. Revolutions are by their very nature activities of young people, and marginalising young people merely into a preparatory arrangement within revolutionary movements stifles the political and ideological development of such movements. History proves that almost all if not all national liberation and revolutionary movements that do not have autonomous youth formations degenerate into insignificance with the passage of time”. This of course was never understood because the purpose of the liberation movement has been turned into defence of the economic elite and their appendages in political office and like on many other issues, history will absolve us.

When we debated the 2015 State of the Nation Address, we said that the conceptualisation of the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime came with us to the ANC, and we left with it after the banishment. We can rightfully state for the whole of South Africa, Africa and the world to know that the current leadership core of the EFF are the political and ideological leaders of the struggle for economic freedom under the clarion call for economic freedom in our lifetime.On a conceptual and political basis, the ex-liberation movement fought various struggles, but the struggle for economic freedom in the manner currently conceptualised is not one of those struggles.

The minions recently elected in the so called 25th Congress, which turned the once militant ANC Youth League into anANC Youth Desk carry no political, ideological and organisational capacity to give practical meaning to the struggle for economic freedom. This explains why the only significant memory and mark of the current crop of the ANC Youth Desk are commitments to expel those who disagree with them and raising of three fingers in the sky as an indication of retention of the status quo, because the status quo benefits white monopoly capital, and their rapacious political principals, the looters of provincial governments whose aim is to loot as much as they can at the expense of our people. The minions are nothing by a militia hired to defend greedy and corrupt ANC politicians who continue to drain South Africa of the much needed resources. 

The minions will be remembered for apologising on behalf of our generation of Youth Activists who fought for economic freedom inside the ex-liberation movement, and of course remembered for their vows to be submissive to Jacob Zuma, who is one of the most catastrophic electoral disasters in post-apartheid South Africa. We are not sorry for anything we did in pursuit of the struggle for economic freedom, and we will fight for the total economic emancipation of our people until victory. We are not slaves of old politicians who carry no vision and no plan for the economic emancipation of our people, we are torchbearers in the struggle for economic freedom and we will hand over the baton to coming generations who will inspire similar struggles in the entire African continent and the world. We remain unshaken and not sorry for the struggle for economic freedom! Victory is certain! #WeAreNotSorry!

Floyd Shivambu is Deputy President of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hashtag: #WhereWasNzimande?



When Blade Nzimande was reported to have said that the Economic Freedom Fighters should be killed, we promptly and correctly dismissed him as an opportunist intellectual dwarf who do not have any sensible ideological and political programme to confront the EFF. What we did not do was to politically expose the nature, character and content of Blade Nzimande, reveal who he truly is. As will be seen through the exact historic schematisation of his political life, it is evident that Nzimande is a blatant opportunist who staff rode the liberation movement with empty and often confusing rhetoric which lack substance.

Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande was born in 1958 to an African who had economically migrated from a country that was later called Mozambique, and like me he is a descendant of Tsonga/Shangaan speaking migrants from Mozambique, only that I am a descendant of migrants who relocated in the early 17th century to the political territory called South Africa from 1910 onwards. There is completely no trace of his political activism and involvement in the struggle against apartheid, despite the fact that when the youth rose in Soweto and all other parts of South Africa against apartheid, Nzimande was 18 years old.

The paternal and ancestral origins of Nzimande should be revoked because the socio-economic conditions that led to the brutal xenophobic attacks of mainly Mozambican migrants are a direct consequence of the incompetence of a government he praises, and deceitfully refer to as progressive. As a matter of fact, if there were adequate jobs, houses, sanitation, water, and access to education for all in South Africa, xenophobic attacks against our blood brothers from all parts of Africa would not happen.  

Now coming back to the mysterious political life of Nzimande, we should state the obvious reality that the conditions of apartheid repression and suppression of apartheid laws in the 1980s had ignited the consciousness and moral obligation of all progressive youth to confront the apartheid regime, because they had nothing to lose but their chains. A substantial majority of the youth who confronted the regime in 1976 and joined UmKhonto WeSizwe and African People’s Liberation Army (APLA) were between the ages of 12 and 17, and where was Nzimande?

Many activists from KwaZulu Natal and those in institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu Natal, including Steve Biko were at the height of their political activism in the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO). Where was Nzimande? Solomon Mahlangu is two years older than Nzimande, and never had the opportunity to attend post-secondary education, but understood more than Nzimande that the major struggle was against the repressive apartheid regime, and understood that public administration and industrial psychology in a sick society had to come after liberation or infused in the struggle against apartheid. Where was Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande?

In 1976, Nzimande was accepted at the University of Zululand to study Public Administration and it is patently evident that the public administration he was studying was to prepare him to administer the Bantustans, not a post-apartheid South Africa because in his consciousness and conscience, there was nothing wrong with the apartheid South African society and administration. What was the curriculum content of public administration in a Bantustan University, which saw nothing wrong with apartheid laws and order?

Post 1976, youth activism rose dramatically in South Africa as South Africa’s youth rendered the apartheid machinery unworkable and ungovernable. All townships and towns had their own Youth Congresses, such that the biggest affiliates of the United Democratic Front were youth formations. Where was Nzimande? The United Democratic Front (UDF) was officially launched and founded in 1983 when Nzimande was25 years old. Was Nzimande in Cape Town when civil society and all progressive formations said no to apartheid?

As a matter of fact, in 1986, there were more than 600 Youth Congresses across South Africa, which mobilised all youth behind the banner of people’s liberation and the Freedom Charter. In all these Youth Congresses, the question is where was Nzimande? The South African Youth Congress went to its National Conference in 1987 in a secret location to fight for the freedom of all South Africans. Where was the 29 year old Nzimande?

From 1976, particularly after the Soweto June 16 massacre of defenceless youth, thousands of the youth from all across South Africa left the country to go join UmKhonto WeSizwe and APLA. Was Blade Nzimande part of the June 16 Detachment? No! The youth of Nzimande’s generation sacrificed their lives, dropped out of school, left their parents and homes to fight against the regime, but where was he? For someone who was a student in a University, studying social sciences, there is completely no way that he was not aware of the political turmoil that defined South Africa during his times, yet he never was part of the struggle against apartheid.

Proper class analysis reveals the obvious fact that in any class war, there can never be neutrality. As a matter of fact, even remaining silent and uninterested represents assumption of aclass position, and because he was not part of the struggle against the oppressive and exploiting class, the logical conclusion is that he was a collaborator in the same way Bantustan leaders were. After all, it is a fair political observation to define and categorise as charlatans and staff riders all of the so called Freedom Fighters and so calledRevolutionaries born after 1950, yet were never arrested, exiled, banned, banished, tortured, and terrorised by the apartheid regime, which regarded children as young as 12 as their enemy.

To his credit, perhaps we should state that the only political activism recorded of Nzimande during that period was when he partook in a hunger strike in the University of Zululand, fighting for tastier food. He recurrently recalls this ‘revolutionary’ strike because he was part of those whoprotested against the leaders of the strike who announced that even the newly offered food, still did not taste good. In 2015, students in institutions of higher learning he is supposed to lead as Minister of Higher education are not fighting for tastier food, they are fighting for basic food because they go lectures with empty stomachs, and do not even have money to buy books.

Many activists younger than Nzimande, including EFF Commissars Mlungisi Rapodile and Phillip Mhlongo joined UmKhonto WeSizwe at very early stages of their lives because they understood that the enemy had to be fought by all means possible. The absence of Nzimande in the struggle against apartheid does not define him only, but almost the entire leadership of the SACP, such as Senzeni Zokwana (National Chairperson ), Thulas Nxesi (Deputy National Chairperson), Jeremy Cronin (Deputy General Secretary) and Joyce Moloi (Treasurer). This explains why the SACP Central Committee Leaders’ faces glow in admiration and fascinationwhen the its 2nd Deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila, a novice MK soldier who went to the camps in the late 1980s(when talks before talks for the dissolution of the MK and negotiated settlements were almost at the tail end), speaks about his less than three years military experience and how he was named Rush Phakisa.

When all signs were pointing to the end of apartheid, and possible political take over by the dominant African National Congress, Nzimande staff rode the liberation movement and acted as if he is a true revolutionary and communist. Staff riding is real in many liberation movements across the world.Nzimande joined the African National Congress in 1991 (after Mandela was released from prison), not because he was critical of its political and ideological posture, but because his consciousness and political awareness meant that he should be a member of another organisation, founded as a cultural organisation.  

The disastrous assimilation of Communist Party cadres into the neo-liberal project and agenda in the mid-1990s opened space for his election as General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, a calamity which has reduced the SACP into a faction inside the ANC fighting only to join the gravy train of the degenerating ANC. The differences between the ANC and SACP under Nzimande have never been on concrete and clear ideological and political questions, but onthe entryism formula which counts the number of quasi-communists that should be deployed to sites of power, meaning cabinet, mayoral and provincial executives’ positions.

This explains why after their Special National Conference, the major political issue on the agenda of the SACP is that the Economic Freedom Fighters, which is a Marxist-Leninist political movement, should be killed. How on earth can an organisation whose name suggests that it is in a class struggle suggest that a movement of the working class should be killed? We will never know, but those who fought against apartheid learned through experience the revolutionary skill and capability of identifying and characterising the enemy.Charlatans will never know, and almost always confuse political and ideological opponents as the real enemy.

Unfortunately, the SACP lacks the experience, the depth and revolutionary ideological capacity to identify, define and characterise the enemy. This fact we fearlessly articulated in the 2009 SACP Special Conference when exposing the ideological directionless of the Party under Nzimande. If they knew, they would know and understand that the enemy of progress in South Africa is white monopoly capital, which is using them (the governing Alliance) as nothing but an instrument to rule, exploit the class which a Communist Party is supposed to represent.

Of course, those dining under his table will rush to defend him and mention the fact that he was elected General Secretary of the SACP in 1998 and in all Conferences thereafter without contestation. Unfortunately, history always produces electoral disasters, and like Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and many others, Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande is an electoral disaster and history will prove us right. The EFF will never be killed by electoral disasters. It will live forever and will legitimately take over political power, capture the State and deliver economic freedom for all. The hashtag is #WhereWasNzimande?