Monday, April 21, 2014

South Africa's Zuma obsession vs. the reality

No Fear No favour No Zuma........

Stephen Grootes South Africa 21 April 2014 10:52 (SOUTH AFRICA)

As a nation, it would seem hard to deny that we have become quite obsessed with President Jacob Zuma. He dominates all the non-Oscar headlines we have. Nkandla is now a word with special power in our politics; sometimes it seems he’s portrayed as the devil-incarnate, the person single-handedly responsible for the decline of our country, and of the ANC. But the other night, I was asked: “How different would these elections be if Zuma weren’t head of the ANC?” It’s a question that makes you think about the image of the ANC, President Jacob Zuma, and the difference between temporary electioneering antics and the longer term issues. It also makes you wonder if perhaps we are too obsessed with Number One. By STEPHEN GROOTES.

In South Africa, as in most democracies, symbols and personalities matter. The person who leads a party really matters. There is plenty of evidence that seems to show that even in constituency democracies like the UK, people tend to make their decisions not based on the person who would be the voter’s Member of Parliament, but on who the leader of the party is. So it’s obvious that Zuma matters to the ANC. If your symbol were not Zuma, who would it be?
If you try to place the ANC’s Number Two in the top spot, you would be going, as Dali Mpofu once put it, “from Nkandla man to Marikana man”. Most symbols, being human, have their issues, their political baggage. (Which could strengthen the case that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been deployed to the African Union to keep those issues to a minimum later on.)
But if, for arguments sake, we place a cipher in the position of leader of the ANC, where would that leave us? Would things be very different for the party?
No matter who was the leader, corruption would still be a major election issue. It was Kgalema Motlanthe, in his out-going speech as Secretary General of the ANC at Polokwane in 2007, who spoke about how corruption was eating the ANC. Even before then, he’d given an interview in which he’d spoken about how projects in municipalities were conceived around who would get the tender, rather than whether the project was needed. Corruption would be a defining issue no matter who was in charge of the ANC right now.
Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that Zuma, Nkandla, and Number One’s strange path to power (the corruption charges that disappeared, his focus on putting only allies without strong constituencies of their own in charge of the security cluster of ministries, etc.) made this issue all the more challenging for the ANC. A party can’t claim to fight corruption when its leader is one of the highest-profile accused in the court of public opinion - especially when he has appeared to deliberately weaken the National Prosecuting Authority with the appointment of advocate Menzi Simelane.
Yet this is part of a much bigger political dynamic. The last few months have seen the country’s biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, starting publicly to criticise Zuma in the strongest terms. This appears to mean that, even within the Alliance, Number One is a liability. There are, however, also other underlying tensions. Zuma is part of this dynamic in that he is the symbol of the ANC; and it is the ANC, and particularly its economic policies, that NUMSA is campaigning against. On one reading, the split within Cosatu has really been coming since 1996. It was then that Trevor Manuel, with what was surely the explicit support of Thabo Mbeki, presented his Gear Budget. And the economic policies, labelled as “neo-liberal” and the “1996 Class Project” have been the biggest bone of contention within the Alliance ever since.
It could even be argued here that it’s actually because of Zuma, and the way he has kept Blade Nzimande and the SACP on-side, that the Alliance is not splitting any further, and it’s only Cosatu that is facing this kind of turmoil. That is, the split within Cosatu would probably be happening no matter who was leader of the ANC, and Zuma may have been able to delay it longer than someone else.
Zuma’s detractors could argue, apparently convincingly, that one of the biggest threats the ANC faces in these elections is the Economic Freedom Fighters and the former young lion, Julius. Certainly, Zuma was the person in charge of the ANC when Malema was expelled, but no leader of the ANC would have been able to tolerate the open dissent that he fostered – and it was an ANC process that saw Malema leaving, not a Zuma process. The disciplinary committees that presided over it were technically independent, even though it was a party political process. Either way, Malema would have been thrown out. It could be argued that Zuma had a hand in creating Malema in the first place, but even that would be overdone. Malema broke the mould when he was produced, and Zuma acted against him when he could.
So the EFF and the threat it poses (which I think is still overdone) can’t really be put at Zuma’s door.
Then there is the apparent growth in support for the DA. This is a harder question for Zuma’s supporters to tackle, the threat to the urban, black, middle-class vote. It is of course true that the DA has won more support over the last five years, and will do better in these elections than it did in 2009. It is surely also true that the party has grown organically, its ranks are not stuffed with former ANC members angry at Zuma. The real question is whether its support has grown more quickly because of Zuma.
The answer to this could well be a qualified “yes”. Minorities had started to become politically apathetic during the Mbeki years, and then the 2011 Local Government Elections saw them coming out to vote. That surely helped the DA, and that could have been the result of its “Stop Zuma” campaign. As a message, it had about has much finesse as “Fight Back”, but it clearly worked. Nkandla, the NPA (and Mdluli and Guptas, etc etc.) will possibly push these voters to vote again this year. So Zuma may have to carry some of the can here.
Having said all of that, you have to ask if whoever was leading the ANC would have the campaigning attributes that Zuma has. The party’s grown in KZN dramatically over the last ten years, partly because of the IFP’s policy of being led by Mangosotho Bhutulezi until Jesus comes[Stephen, we realised you thought that was funny the last time you used it. It doesn’t mean you can run the same joke twice! – Ed] but also because of Zuma. On the trail, he is unbeatable, and should receive the credit for what he’s done for the party there. That means, then, that any loss of votes in urban areas to the DA could be balanced out by what Zuma brings in KwaZulu-Natal and in other rural areas. There are very few people who could keep a morning radio host in stitches for an hour while also being president, as Zuma did on Umhlobo Wenene FM last week.
No matter what your views on the South African president, whether you think he is a corrupt liability to the country and the future of your children, or whether you think he is the living embodiment of every man’s struggle to be human and have a place in the sun, there is one aspect of Zuma that simply cannot be denied. He does polarise opinion - pretty much all the time. In a divided country, that’s not surprising.
But perhaps we should step back a little and wonder if we should give more attention to the longer-term dynamics, rather just the easy headlines he produces. DM
Photo: South African school girls walk beneath an election poster for the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) in Cape Town, South Africa 28 March 2014.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA.






ANC Youth League marks Madiba speech with call to vote

No Fear No Favour No Communist prayers at Easter.......


The ANCYL has used the 50th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's Rivonia Trial speech to say that not voting in coming elections would be blasphemous.

"The calls for citizens to spoil their votes are blasphemous to the [cause] Madiba and other true struggle stalwarts stood for," the youth league said in a statement on Sunday.
"We call on young people to defend the democratic breakthrough of 1994 and safeguard the rule of South Africa by its majority citizens by voting ANC on May 7 2014."
It rejected former ANC activist and government minister Ronnie Kasrils' call to not vote for the ANC.
"To us as young people of the ANC, the Rivonia trial speech by Madiba is so powerful and does reflect the high-value our freedom and democracy cost our fore-fathers," said league spokesperson Bandile Masuku.
It recalled that on April 20 1964, Mandela, facing a possible death sentence with his co-defendents delivered his famous speech in which he said: "I have fought against white domination. I have fought against black domination.
"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Lawyer and friend George Bizos said Mandela heeded his advice and added the words. "But if needs be", to this part of his speech.
The league felt that Mandela's use of the singular form when addressing the judge, indicated the value of self-sacrifice.
Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi were convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory said Mandela signed the speech and dated it April 1964 and gave it to Sylvia Neame, a political activist and the partner, at the time, of Kathrada.
She was arrested in August 1964 and put on trial with advocate Bram Fischer and 10 others.
In April 1965 they were convicted and sentenced. Neame was sentenced to four years (two years to run concurrently). She was released from prison in 1967 and went into exile.
After he was released from prison she gave the signed copy of the speech to Kathrada who donated it to the centre.
Mandela died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. – Sapa

Mail and Guardian

'Threats' led to huge Sassa security bill

2014-04-20 12:32

Johannesburg - Death threats and intimidation are some of the reasons behind why multimillions have been spent for security protection services for top personnel at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), the social development department said on Sunday.
"This aggressive attitude to fraud and corruption by the Minister and the CEO has led to the numerous incidents of death threats, intimidation and threats against them and their families and other staff," said departmental spokesperson Lumka Oliphant in a statement.
Oliphant was responding to a report in the Sunday Times about more than R10m spent on bodyguards for top personnel - with questions raised on how the contracts were awarded.
The newspaper reported that R2,9m was spent on "close protection services" for Sassa CEO Virginia Petersen and Renay Ogle, the agency's fraud management and compliance general manager.
An arrest was made in a case in which Petersen received death threats. Oliphant said Petersen was under threat as she had been focused on tackling corruption within the grant system and had ensured already more than 7 000 fraud cases had been uncovered.
According to the Sunday Times, a further R1.1m "for close protection services" for Oliphant and her family was also spent.
The newspaper reported that the contracts for protection were given to Vuco Security Solutions, based in KwaMashu in Durban and its report suggested that most of the contracts appeared to have bypassed normal procurement rules.

Investigation extended
In response, Oliphant said close protection services were only used "if an official is reportedly threatened".
She said that the department or Sassa would then investigate.
"This is followed by the use of an emergency delegation to procure the urgent service. Thereafter a bidding procurement process is used if the situation requires close protection for a longer period. The cost is from the CEO's budget as she is required to manage this responsibility."
The Sunday Times reported that Vuco had charged for a number of services and items which reportedly included R45 000 for erecting a fence, R17 000 for building a toilet as well as charges for buying rifles, pistols and night-vision binoculars.
Oliphant said that Sassa was extending its investigation into services procurements for the past financial year.
"This ranges from procurement of office accommodation, office upgrading to services."
She said Vuco was one of four companies who had been providing close protection since 2012.
Oliphant listed a number of personnel receiving security protection, apart from the CEO, including two head office managers, two provincial heads, one security head, four office heads and three families.





The ANC is capable of using "Dead Votes" during next months elections?
Especially is they use Mandela's MYTH to further Zuma's corrupt plight!

Friday, April 18, 2014

SA signs anti-poaching deal with Mozambique

No fear No Favour No Rhino or Elephant poaching.........

AFP | 18 April, 2014 08:26

                                                            Image by: Reuben Goldberg

(C) Billy Cox


(C) Ludwig Flowers


             (c) Billy Cox

South Africa signed an anti-poaching agreement with Mozambique, a major transit route for rhino horn trafficked to Asia.

Mozambique is a prime source of illegal hunters hired and armed by transnational crime syndicates to cross the border into South Africa to kill the huge beasts.
South Africa's Kruger National Park shares a long border with Mozambique and has borne the brunt of rhino poaching in recent years.
So far this year a total 293 rhino have been killed in South Africa with nearly half of the attacks in the Kruger Park, despite the deployment of troops to protect them.
The agreement "entails us working together with Mozambique to eradicate rhino poaching... so that Mozambique is not used as a transit country," Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told AFP.
The two countries agreed to share intelligence and jointly develop anti-poaching technology and education programmes.
Rhino horns are prized as a status symbol in Asia and mistakenly thought to possess medicinal properties to cure cancers and hangovers, even though they are composed of the same material as fingernails.
The poachers kill the rhinos with semi-automatic rifles, hack off the horns for shipment to Asia and cross back into Mozambique, leaving the bodies to rot.
Mozambique early this month approved a law that will impose heavy penalties of up to 12 years on anybody convicted of rhino poaching.
"Previous laws did not penalise poaching, but we think this law will discourage Mozambicans who are involved in poaching," Mozambique's Tourism Minister Carvalho Muaria said at a ceremony to sign the agreement inside the Kruger National Park.
At least 46 Mozambicans, five of them policemen, have been arrested inside their native country this year alone for poaching.
Mozambique has also started relocating 1,250 families that were housed inside the Limpopo game park, which borders Kruger, and erected hundreds of kilometres of fence between the two areas.
South Africa is home to around 80 percent of the world's rhino population, estimated at more than 25,000.
Most live in the vast Kruger Park, which is roughly the size of Israel.
In 2007 only 13 rhinos were reported poached in South Africa, but since then the numbers have increased exponentially every year.
South Africa has hinted it is now considering legalising the rhino horn trade in an attempt to limit illegal demand, allowing the sale of horns from rhino that have died of natural causes.
"Experts are working on structure to look at the stockpiles that we have and not benefitting anybody, yet people are killing rhino for these horns that we have elsewhere," said Molewa.
It is a "proposal moving towards possible trade," she said, adding it could be one of the solutions to end the rhino slaughter.
"We do think that it could... just taking it from the lessons we have learnt from ivory. We did an ivory once-off sale" and elephant poaching has not been a problem since.
"We hope we'll be able to win this war," said Molewa.



WILL any agreement with Mozambique protect the extinction of our RHINO'S?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Vote: A mission to nowhere for apathetic ANC voters

NO fear No Favour No Kidding.............................

Ranjeni Munusami SOUTH AFRICA 15 APRIL 2014   09:40 (SOUTH AFRICA)

The defiance vote was always going to be the wild card in the 2014 elections. The question was how would it manifest itself. The post-Mangaung ANC and the performance of the Zuma administration have caused unprecedented turbulence and disenchantment within the ruling party. The Economic Freedom Fighters has become a channel for some of the anger against the ANC, but many respected, staunch members are at a loss about what to do with their vote. Now a handful of veterans, academics and activists have come up with a “Vote No” campaign as a stopgap measure until a better alternative comes along. Desperate times, desperate measures. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Had the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no” campaign started a year ago, taking on board the losing faction from the ANC national conference in Mangaung, those fed up with the monocracy in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the disgruntled sections of Cosatu, it might have grown into a significant force. It might have had the impact it seeks to achieve and created a bloc mounting a rebellion within the ANC. After all the purpose of it is not really to impact the election result but to send a message to the ANC in the hope that it would self-correct.
The group, led by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, is running a shotgun defiance campaign to marshal the disillusionment within the ANC. They are calling for traditional ANC voters who can no longer vote for the party in good conscience to either spoil their ballots or to vote for a minority party. The tipping point was the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla’s residence, but a number of factors have apparently pushed them into the campaign including the Marikana massacre.
The problem is that none of the people running the campaign are active in the ANC and have not been for some time. Kasrils was intelligence minister at the time of the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. Legend has it that he had assured former president Thabo Mbeki that the balance of support at the conference tilted in his favour and that he would retain the presidency of the ANC. This was obviously not true and power changed hands to the Zuma faction.
When Mbeki was recalled as state president in September 2008, Kasrils was among the Cabinet ministers who resigned in protest against the ANC decision. His anger against the ANC therefore has been brewing for several years. Kasrils has become a vocal critic of the ANC since his retirement, particularly after the Marikana massacre.
His outrage over Nkandla was not unexpected but his move to stage a protest campaign against the ANC is certainly a dramatic move given his formidable history in the liberation movement. Had Kasrils defected to another party, it would probably have been less stunning than campaigning for people to spoil their ballots or vote for any minority party.
The co-founder of the campaign, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, has also been absent from active politics since her dismissal as Deputy Health Minister in August 2007. She too has a notable history in the ANC and SACP. Madlala-Routledge was fired because she clashed with then-Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang over Aids denialism and alternate forms of treatment for HIV. She had no spat with the Zuma faction in the ANC, however, and was elected onto the ANC national executive committee at Polokwane.
But Madlala-Routledge says she also become disenchanted with the ANC and has not been to a branch meeting since 2009. Like Kasrils, her involvement in the “Vote No” campaign will not make significant ripples in the ANC as they have surrendered their constituencies and cannot command action in ANC structures.
What the move does do, however, is put the issue of disillusionment within the ANC firmly on the agenda. Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge are well aware that the handful of people speaking out against the state of decline in the ANC are by no means the only ones who feel ashamed and disaffected. The outcome of the Mangaung conference with the overwhelming victory of the Zuma camp shut the door on debate within ANC structures. The leadership is unchallenged in the controversial positions it has taken, particularly on the many scandals that have dogged the ANC government.
The result is that significant numbers of ANC members – there’s no telling how many – from veterans to activists to former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) combatants have pulled away from the ANC, but their attachment to the party means they cannot find a political home elsewhere. Had the Congress of the People not turned on itself and wilted, it probably could have drawn the vote of some of these disaffected ANC members. But as things stand, the only real option for ANC people who cannot vote ANC is to vest their support for Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
The EFF itself is possibly the boldest form of defiance against the ANC. For those wanting to punish the ANC and show their absolute revulsion for the Zuma-led government, putting Malema in an opposition bench in Parliament to hound the president and the ANC seems like the best answer. The EFF is also born out of the ANC, so it is the closest thing to the ANC itself. But Malema is untested in parliamentary politics and there is no telling how he will perform. Besides, many respected ANC members might find difficulty in supporting the firebrand leader who is facing corruption charges and is in trouble for tax evasion.
Mamphela Ramphele, the leader of Agang, could have also tapped into this disgruntled constituency in the ANC had she not sidled up to the Democratic Alliance (DA). She is probably the best articulator of all the problems the ANC has but her political somersaulting made her out to be the DA’s black duplicate. As much as the DA has transformed itself over the past few years, ANC stalwarts and long-serving members across factions still find it difficult to vote for Helen Zille’s party. Even with heavy cosmetic surgery to the DA’s top leadership, people who come from the ranks of MK, the United Democratic Front and who belonged to the pre-liberation ANC still view the DA as a white party.
Other smaller parties could hold appeal for individual disgruntled ANC members but there is no one party that can draw the entire bloc. What Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge have provided is a temporary remedy for chronic disappointment with the ANC. While they claim that spoiling ballots is still an expression of democracy, it does not translate into representation in Parliament after the election. So while the number of spoilt ballot might increase, or support for minority parties who might not make it to Parliament might increase, the ANC’s majority is not tampered with.
In the 2009 elections, the number of spoilt ballots was 239,237. This was higher than what the Independent Democrats, the United Democratic Movement and the African Christian Democratic Party all polled. Many of these could have been mistakes, but a portion of the spoilt ballots would have been by voters who did not want to vote for any party. The “Vote No” campaign now wants to push this number significantly higher.
The campaign certainly has received widespread attention. The ANC has condemned the move by its former members and resorted by demonising and trashing them. Several ANC veterans have also voiced their concern and pointed out that it is hardly a solution to the problems besetting the ANC. Even Zuma, who is mostly unresponsive to current developments, has spoken out against the campaign. While the campaign does not seem to be drawing more high-profile support, it certainly has received a lot of media attention over the past few days and has occupied the national discourse.
The question is whether a higher than usual percentage of spoilt ballots in next month’s election will jolt the ANC. The ANC is notorious for dismissing criticism as simply “anti-ANC” – even from its own. When it comes to subliminal messaging, the ANC has grown blind to it. Sixteen months later, hardly anyone in the ANC can explain what it is Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was trying to do in Manguang by contesting the ANC presidency but not campaigning for it.
Kasrils and company are hoping their campaign resonates and catches fire, and perhaps will translate into something else after the election. As things stand, the obvious trajectory for this disgruntled bloc in the ANC is to coalesce with forces on the left, most notably the metalworkers’ union Numsa, to form a new workers’ party.
For now, however, it appears to be nothing more than a group of tormented people, adopting a tough love approach in the hope that the ANC will admit its faults and go into political rehab.
But the ANC will not do so. The ANC is concerned with the preservation of its electoral dominance, not with notes on the margin. The only way to get its attention is if defiance within the ANC builds to such an extent that it causes a significant downward slide to its numbers.
To do that, the “Vote No” campaign is too little, too late. DM
Photo: Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils attends the launch of the "Sidikiwe Vukani! Vote No" campaign at Wits University in Johannesburg, Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA


pokesperson Jackson Mthembu
Photo: ANC
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu

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A call by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils for voters to either not vote for the African National Congress (ANC) or spoil their ballots is "reactionary", the ruling party said on Tuesday.
"The ANC regards this call espoused by the Vote No Campaign as disruptive, reckless and counter-revolutionary," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"Reactionary statements therefore that call for such careless behaviour as spoiling ballot papers is tantamount to undermining the long struggles and the sacrifices of our people."
Kasrils and other African National Congress stalwarts have been criticised by the party for their "Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote Campaign".
Earlier on Tuesday, the group said it was not a "no vote" campaign – they were calling on people to go to the polls on May 7 and not vote for the ANC.
Former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who was part of the campaign, said citizens could send a strong message by either voting for a minority party, which would take away from the dominant political parties, or people could spoil their ballots.
Mthembu said the ANC was confident Kasrils's call would have no impact on the party or the elections.
"On the contrary, we believe that it will galvanise more of our people to go out on the 7th May to show Kasrils and ilk that the right to vote is sacrosanct."
The Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp) said the campaign was not a solution to anger with the ANC.
"We... appreciate their desire to do something about it," Wasp said in a statement.
"But we disagree with the campaign's founding statement because it does not offer a clear alternative to the ANC or the other capitalist parties."
With three weeks to go until the election, it seemed unlikely that the campaign would build momentum.



Has Ronnie Kasrils managed to rattle Zuma's "Tiger Cage" in NKANDLA?

Or this another stunt like Mac Maharaj with his "OPERATION VULA?"