Democracy under threat, by those who claim an illegitimate custodianship!

Pierre De Vos gets it wrong (The Star pg 10, Aug.2, 11)

 The Constitutional Court has ruled on the invalidity of the extension of the Chief Justice as applied for by the President. We all said democracy is alive for in South Africa, the constitutional court proved independent in its findings.

Whilst the Constitutional Court ruled and struck down the law which was functional until last Friday the debates are running wild on the successor of Chief Justice Ngcobo. We all are expressing our wish lists and it is rather exciting that we can be free to air the prism of our thinking as to who should get the nod.

In applying my mind to the findings and in concert with others who also observed this ruling, a fundamental observation began to crystallize that being; can we truthfully claim independence or conflict of interest when the Constitutional Court ruled the way it ruled when the very ones who participated in such adjudication are potential candidates, contesting by choice or default?

To understand this is to ask is there no case to argue a potential aspect for conflict of interest when Judges who are all potentially in the race for the top job can participate in such ruling and yet claim independence as a principle.

My premise for such contention vacillates on two levels If the principle of a potentially one judge being in the race be found proven, as a conflict of interest can we conclude that such case of conflict could also be material in the case of others.  Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke is definitely in the race, his experience, his personal ambitions as vocalized in the last Sunday Independent pg 4, where he is at pains to explain, that the CC can continue without a Ngcobo, serves as undeniable proof for such contestation. He is also the judge who presided and pronounced on such application.

Perhaps a more concerning issue for me is the emerging perception that democracy is best protected, defended with opposition parties as to the custodians of such.  I observe that South Africa must be the only country in a democracy where the opposition parties who lost the popular vote are granted the automatic inalienable right to such custodianship when the ruling party is considered counter-productive to such democracy.

This is advanced by a combination of jurists, intellectuals, analysts and untransformed constituencies who argue the relevance of such as necessary essential prove of our democracy being alive and intact.

To corroborate my assertion I shall refer to the Dr De Vos article “Fit and proper –and just” as carried by the Star of August 2, 2011 page 10. De Vos gives the President advice who to choose, he is clearly lobbying for Judge Bess Nkabinde, his premise for this he shares with us is her sincerity and on social justice and respect for the dignity of all people.  I am not going to challenge his assertion for that is his prerogative just as much as I want Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke not to get the nod, as advanced in an earlier note I penned.

What I find interesting about De Vos’ analysis cum advice is the fact that he states and I quote “However, the president would be ill-advised to appoint a controversial person as chief justice who is perceived to be a slavish and obsequious kow – tower to the government of the day and whose appointment is reasonably opposed by the JSC and all opposition parties”

He, later on, includes “will also want to make an appointment that will instil public confidence in the judiciary” 

This is a mouthful worth unpacking, the same we will not do here and now,

Firstly De Vos clearly is suffering from convenient selective amnesia, for the existing President’s record for appointing a chief justice has necessarily proven to be intact and well-advised as can be attested with the incumbent whom all now mourn his going except for one or two who believe the chief justice appointment is their birthright.

So the advice extended with public confidence in the judiciary has previously been met by the President, hence the advice in that regard is an overstating of truth. My premise for asserting such comes singularly informed by my solitary claim that such is necessarily an overstated untested assertion for SA in democratic narrative has no history of any appointment to the office that ever warranted or merited the advice advanced by De Vos.

Hence if we do not have such an unfortunate history exemplified in appointments to the highest court, why advice and advance such. It smacks of swart and rooi-gevaar draped in the armchair analysis.

Secondly, De Vos, for some reason like so many wants us to believe the trueness of our democracy is immanent in opposition parties. Whilst I believe our democracy enshrines a multi-party ethic, the reality is one party has consistently won the confidence of the SA voter, such voter in a popular ballot has returned the ANC as the party it trusts to lead the furtherance of the democratic unfolding pursuit.

De Vos and others want us to believe the democracy we have paid for is best protected in the custodianship of parties who necessarily were not trusted by the voters in the popular vote.

Such advanced notion, exemplified in need for opposition parties and the unilateral and singular prove of democracy paints the opposition parties as custodians and the legitimately ruling party who have consistently won the confidence of the masses as necessarily counter-productive to the praxis of democracy. This illogical argument is paraded in volumes and finds manifestation in sectors of our society, the same we necessarily need to challenge.

My third challenge with De Vos is the fact that he claims the obvious choice for the position is Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke; he cites cases of Van Heerden in which the Deputy Chief Justice on affirmative action ruled as one who embraces the transformative vision of the constitution.

De Vos cites these cases to underscore the issue of a transformative vision for the constitution. One is necessitated to ask, what transformation is being discussed by De Vos here. If the ruling was in favour of a ‘white’ application, who challenged the application of affirmative action, exemplified in the many cases Afri -Forum is winning, then it is safe to conclude we have a mountain to climb in getting to the ideal of equality as a transformed reality. It appears the courts have become the new place to contest ballots.

It reminded me of the time we laid a case at the HRC, on the disparity in equity distribution for ‘coloured people’, the then HRC  Commissioner Jody Kollapen, shared with us that the late Dr Van Zyl Slabbert and other Afrikaners at the time of our submission had instituted and equal case, in defence of the Afrikaner being sidelined.

I retorted the Afrikaner’s case remains on the table necessarily preventing others to bring their cases.  AFRICA’s case can never serve in the international embrace for there is always an Israel that needs to be focused on.

De Vos, in seeing these rulings of Moseneke as prove of transformation is telling us, when you rule for Afrikaner interest you prove transformed in your thinking and necessarily not as bad as the ugly ruling ANC hence you are therefore entitled to become Chief Justice, regardless to how controversial you are, for making politically loaded statements at a very critical period of our democracy such as his “obvious choice” Deputy Chief Justice has done on several instances.

What De Vos and others must tell us is who determines the meridian of what constitutes a transforming constitution? He must tell us why there is the insatiable need to argue that our democracy is necessarily the custodianship in birthright of opposition parties who failed to secure the confidence of the masses. He must share with us why the judiciary is used as a means to rule this country.

For in the absence of such we will have to conclude, there is today in South Africa a third force operative, such third force comes exemplified in the judiciary, media and opposition parties who have drunk from the cup of an agreement to challenge even obliterate democracy as that which is attained in legal electioneering.

The applications of FUL and others are necessarily aimed at retarding the gains made and to hold this country ransom in a hung parliament of the duality of governance informed by technical considerations in the name of defending democracy, and constitutionalism when the very champions for such so-called defence are truthfully the enemies of transformation.

These now have found willing partners across the colour divide to aim at unseating the ruling party in ruling from a lost ballot.

One dare assert the independence of the judiciary for some us is never to be assumed independence for we have seen under apartheid how the judiciary was used, and I am afraid we are still dealing with that mindset, cloaked in protection of democracy.

However, we shall not rest until we prove the myth of their contention. We dare not rest until we expose them for whom they are as those necessarily against the transformation agenda.

By Clyde N S Ramalaine on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, at 10:07pm




BLACK LIFE IS REALLY CHEAP IN SA – 17years in Democratic South Africa

By: Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Bees Le Roux murder case and Robert McBride drunk driving Case

I know I promised in our FB Group “The Thinking Masses” to be silent on political issues exemplified in  analysis or commentary, at least in this power-pack Rugby World-Cup season in which I thought we should take a break from the heavy political discussions, debates and postulating from Julius Malema to a Chief Justice  Mogoeng saga’s, that have defined discourse over the last eight weeks..

Yet my silence is forced open, in typical biblical Jeremiah manner, when I have to make sense of the Bees Le Roux and Robert McBride cases finalised almost simultaneously.

I have contended in my note last year, “Black life remains cheap 16 years  into our democracy”. It was incidentally a note I wrote when my wife asked me to write when she was visibly appalled by the murder of the metro police officer.

I then already argued that this case is never going to see Bees Le Roux spend a week in prison. The campaign to get Bees free started with the contention of his girlfriend as him being incapable of committing what he was accused; quickly some journalists began to paint a picture of their campaign of freeing the beloved Blue Bull player. The focus shifted to potential corruption on the part of the officers.

Well I hate to admit this now that the case is finalised, I can say boldly JUSTICE IS WHITE, I HAVE LOST ALL CONFIDENCE IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM.

It appears if you white you are freed on technicalities, pay your way out or get a very lenient sentence. The Friday news says Bees Le Roux got 5 years suspended for 5 years  and a fine of R750,000,00 on a bargained deal. Juxtapose this with Mc Bride, former Metro – Cop boss of the Johannesburg Eastrand, for some eternally the Magoo’s Bomber.

He gets 5 years  with no deal, no suspended sentence, for the judge pronounced he had shown no remorse. Mc Bride remains the hate of many who is white who never gave this death row inmate any chance of living in a democratic SA. He was haunted down, pursued as the lobby groups sought to afford him no space where he can work.

They opposed his appointments at every turn, reduced him to one who is insane as they classically conditioned us as to how dangerous Robert is. These finally found their justice for it appears McBride is heading to jail. The truth is he is really going to jail as the Magoo’s bomber and less as a drive and drunken incident in which no one was killed.

I have asserted in SA, Black Life is cheap – You can put black lives in laundromats, kill it, and get an unbalanced sentence. In the SA where we live, you can drag black life behind you pick up van (bakkie) until life is snuffed out of such person and claim you were angry and get a suspended sentence.

Yes, you can paint black life with white paint for petty theft, scar the eyes and pigmentation of such black life, and get a fine. You can feed black life for lions as Crossley did than on technicality as to whether black life was alive at the time of the feeding, you can sit for 2 years and be free. You can mistake black life in the rustle between bushes for a dog and shoot at it, kill it and walk if you white.

Juxtapose this with when one white college girl going missing, is raped, and killed (an issue we all necessarily condemn). For such the cream of police is dispatched to in record time ring-fence the criminal, try him before a court and solicit a life sentence. Yet one continues to claim there are grounds to continue pursuing more criminals that you believe were in aid of the perpetrator. Piet Byleveldt into his retirement held such of the Leigh Matthews case.

Now Bees Le Roux the teddy bear, who cannot injure a fly, brutally killed a black life, a metro police officer for that matter with his bare hands. He claims temporal insanity but remembers distinctly that he was asked for his ATM pin by the one he murdered.

I wonder how this murder of a police officer in climate of so many of them being killed must be interpreted. Perhaps the Bees Le Roux case says it is good if you kill our police officers, I cringe at such thought though.

It is not difficult to assume what the case who have been if it was the other way around.

I am not sure if this happens case by case as some may query and blame me for blanketing all these together what cannot be denied that judging the record of justice leaves me to conclude justice is white and in favour of those who money.  Notwithstanding the fact that some may argue one cannot see a causal link between these two cases.

These are cited and used here as maximum symbols to portray a view necessarily my observation on justice, its application and ideology that often proves pervasive in such.

This I used to argue would a black judge have found McBride guilty with a sentence such as that meted out? Equally would a black judge have conceded to a plea bargain deal for a Bees Le Roux? For it appears in the end, this has little to with justice but race and ideology.

Hence, my assertion I have lost all confidence in our justice system that includes the investigation capacities of our Police agencies, for evidence is always compromised in critical cases.

Whites simply do not forgive easy as McBride is learning, when the burden of forgiveness in typical Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) spirit is always shifted as the natural obligation of those who are black.

Maybe someone can explain this phenomenon to me for my 17 year old son  ask of my why it is that  black life appears so  cheap ?


Is Moseneke fit for top judicial Job of Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court ?

     By Bishop Clyde N S Ramalaine on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:09pm

               He has shown lack of judgment in the past

 The evolving developments around the extension of the term of service of the Judge President of the Constitutional Court, has been accruing in jolted commentary.

It is now self-evident that an error was committed in the advice extended to the President who had used his discretion informed by a statute which could not prove consistent with constitutional articulation. Such statute enabled the President to apply for the extension of a Judge’s service should such judge have come to the end of his usual term age designation.

At first, Chief Justice Ngcobo relented to the vote of confidence on the part of the President to extent such, but with the legal applications lodged with the Constitutional Court, the Judge surprised all when he announced this past Tuesday to withdraw his acceptance to extend his term for a further five years as requested by the President.

Political parties across the divide were quick of the mark to shower praise and heap honour on the nobility even selflessness of a Judge Ngcobo. They argued he placed the judiciary at the centre in respecting embrace of office. Some hold he did not detract such honour duly bestowed upon the judiciary in presiding over a case in which he was the contestation not for compromise or any violation any ethical code but necessarily to condone a flawed process.

As I pen this note the Constitutional Court’ 57page summation advocates it has ruled unanimously that the extension of the term of the chief justice was inconsistent with the constitution. We had expected such for the process proved flawed, not vindictively but arbitrarily.

The truth is South Africa is soon to have its fourth Chief Justice, for its first was Judge Arthur Chaskalson, followed by a Judge Pius Langa and off course Judge Sandile Ngcobo whose term will run out a fortnight from today. The search for such new Chief Justice had begun in all earnest and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe has committed that the President will meet the deadline of appointing a Chief Justice by the stipulated time of Judge Ngcobo vacating such lofty post.

There is consensus that Judge Ngcobo proved selfless with his volunteered withdrawal of an earlier accepted request for extension. Those who have made the fight for constitutional adherence and respect their duty namely FUL and CASAC are necessarily satisfied with the findings and respecting the findings. We must concede democracy in constitutional embrace is alive in South Africa today as it always had been for the last 17 years.

The race being an open one warrants questions to be raised as to whether the Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is not entitled to be given the green light. Social comment on Facebook has been running wild in emotional blackmail of the President to appoint Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke as necessary a sign of maturity on the President’s part.

Those who believe that Moseneke necessarily ought to get the nod, argue he has the experience for he had been serving under all three Chief Justices and with such experience, and expertise the Deputy Chief Justice’s appointment should necessarily be a forgone conclusion.

If I heard correctly, according to the Constitutional Law & Process expert Dr. Richard Calland, from UCT, the appointment of the Chief Justice can literally be anyone it need not be necessarily the any serving judge for such is purely the prerogative of the president, which he reaches in consultation with judiciary and the political parties, yet it remains his decision.

I am of the view that those who contend an assumption on the part of the Moseneke Lobby (not that the Deputy Justice has anything to with such lobby), for his appointment as a natural foregone conclusion is necessarily firstly a false attempt at dictating to the President the ambit and context of his jurisdiction. The same without being cognisant of such prerogative extended by section 173 and 174 of the Constitution, as a privilege of the Presidency.

Secondly it is also flawed for it seek to advance the notion if Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke don’t get the nod it would purely be due to his earlier uncalled for political utterances he made at a birthday party during a very troublesome epoch in our post apartheid democratic discourse. The remarks made by Judge Moseneke, the same I am assuming he must often have considered his proverbial Mt. Everest, needs contextualisation as vacillating on two platforms.

Firstly, Judge Moseneke I shall assert failed to read in legal astuteness the office he holds, this does not necessarily mean judges have no right to a political opinion, but it does mean that prudence for such opinion must dictate the meridian of expression.

Secondly the Judge allowed himself to be swayed by his deep convictions on a political matter he necessary had to distance himself from given the prevalence of such mired party political context and the his office’s venerated unbiased expectation.

We must not forget what the Judge said, we can never assume nor infer the state of the Judge when he vocalised his views, for it would be unfair to infer – yet we must understand the context of a birthday party connoting a justifiable assumed relaxed atmosphere.

Judge Moseneke said, “I chose this job carefully. I have another 10 to 12 years on the bench and I want to use my energy to help create an equal society. It’s not what the ANC wants or what the delegates want; it is about what is good for our people”

This necessarily constituted a political view expressed by the Deputy Chief Justice when such simply uncalled for and neither proficient if at all necessary given the office he holds.

This for the record was not the first time the deputy Chief Justice was found offside in failing to discern the requirements of the office he holds.

Thirdly the emotion contained in such opinion is further legitimate prove that there always exists the potentiality of the Deputy Chief Justice in the future prove expressive in an unfortunate sense. This emotional outburst of power, derived from the position when one fails to appreciate the actual context of this office is what I find troublesome.

Fourthly, a need to express one politically is another critical point, which may clout the judge’s interpretation of what is expected from him when he is appointed to serve.  The deputy chief justice is the only sitting Constitutional Judge in the history of constitutional democracy as experienced in South Africa to have warranted a need to express himself on a political matter. We appreciate that Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke comes from a political background as PAC leader, yet such political expression remains unwarranted. This does not mean judges have no right to political opinions but it does mean that prudence about such opinions must dictate the meridian of expression.

The tone and colloquial syntax in the expression of such unfortunate remarks must tell us that Judge Moseneke subtly violated the code of such office in pronouncing out of turn in a heated political context, bearing in mind that the case of Mbeki’s removal could have ultimately served at the Constitutional Court.

In such case would we have to assume the Judge would have proved honourable and unbiased in his participation when he already had shown stake by pronouncing on a political matter in which he cited the possible first respondent or ‘accused’.

We must not forget that Judge Moseneke was a politician and for that matter, he was not an ANC politician. Stating this here is to ask if the Judge has matured to appreciate the distinction between independence of mind/ thought and the interest of the office he holds as sacrosanct by injunction in tandem with the duty for which he was entrusted.  I am deliberately not focusing on experience, skills and expertise for that is not in contention here if he must be considered for the position.

Therefore, if President Zuma opts to give Judge Moseneke the nod, it would be because he has full confidence in the judge to hold the office of the highest court with the necessary dignity and honour such implicitly demands.

Equally, so should President Zuma prefer not to appoint Deputy Judge Moseneke it must not be seen as a punishment ad-in-finitum predicated on a grudge, it would or could be because the President exercised his prerogative.

In concluding it could have helped if the Deputy Justice who singularly in the last 17 years from all in Constitutional Court embrace found the need to express himself politically, had offered more than an explanation but an apology for such behaviour.

In the absence of such apology, which was never captured or covered one may surmise the Deputy Chief Justice as still holding such views, the same I shall contend proved very unfortunate to express oneself on, for it brought the office he holds somewhat in disrepute.

This appointment has little to do with entitlement on the part of the deputy chief justice, it also has little to with vindictiveness on the part of the President it has everything to with the highest office in judiciary being revered by both President and judge in which contestation is not the subject matter but confidence to serve with honour.

The critical issue, as summarized by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, is that the threat that pronouncements by prominent judges might render government ineffective is fast becoming a reality. All forces that seek to reverse transformation use the courts to effect this.

If judges preside over a case whose outcome is likely to benefit them, do they qualify to queue up for the benefit? Does it mean the principle of conflict of interest is selective?

Then again, what do I know? I am just a preacher and part of the thinking masses

Courtesy of  the published “Through the Prism of My Soul” an anthology of Political Analysis and Commentary

Is there a Crisis in Black Intellectual Praxis in Post Apartheid Context

  The Crises of the Black SA Intellectual?

By Bishop Clyde N S Ramalaine on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 12:25am

It is my contention that the most misplaced group of people in a post apartheid context is necessarily those who constitute by design or default what I shall call Native Intellectuals.  Black Intellectualism as a researched topic is not a new concept; the challenge of Intellectualism is the proximity of its nuanced historic affinity to the concept and subject of elitism.

Such challenge appears to hold for the African Intellectual, finds himself, no different to his American counterpart in a quandary, where his intellectual prowess is often a measured one in relation to and concomitant to what the prism of white intellectualism seem to portend.

Today we know Intellectualism manifests in paradigms of organic intellectuals and academic intellectuals. To make matters even more interesting there are those who talk of the public intellectual. I am not going to attempt to claim, I know the difference, for I think even those who advance this distinction have yet to define the term intellectual.

To understand the challenge I am chartering I shall use two significant figures in Black American History. These are respectively Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X.

The upbringing of these two, their economic status and family lives, their faith persuasions determined the picture we have of them in eternal grasp. James Cone, in his Book on these two giants, “Martin & Malcolm the dream and the Nightmare”, shows us how it made sense for King to dream of a day when all men will be equal, a day when children of former slaves and slave owners will sit together in the circle of brotherhood.

Yet X, could not see such dream for X believed until America accepted the  equality of  humanity of all races in which the Anglo-Saxon mind afforded others what it afforded himself, there could not be a dream but a nightmare.

To understand King and X we must ask who was King and who was X. King being raised  in a middle class family with access to a good education even in a time of oppression, him being the son of a Baptist preacher, when Preachers in black context were a venerated group of people associated with the educated. King’s dream therefore was to argue for an acceptance into an established white world.

Juxtapose this with X’s, upbringing him being robbed as a son from his father when he got brutally killed, the unstable almost dysfunctional upbringing of the young Malcolm Little, in which the teacher told him he will never amount to anything. King clearly was crafted to ascend when X was given no chance – hence the premise for a dream vs. a nightmare.

These left indelible prints on the black history of the USA for a particular epoch.  King represented the integrationist notion and X the nationalist notion. King could argue for an acceptance into such society for there was little that separated King from John Wilson who was white, accept that he could not sit on the swing benches of the parks, which were marked for whites only.

X was dealing with the fact that America rejected his right of existence such because he is black.  These two stood with an elongated and celebrated history manifested in Integrationist and Nationalistic Ideology of intellectual construct, each making their own contribution, each celebrated by their own constituencies. King went on to become a Nobel Peace laureate swayed by the Ghandian Philosophy of non – violence.

X mostly remembered for his vitriolic speeches in which he castigated whites pulling no punches on supporting the typical violence of a Nat Turner (the slave who killed more than sixty whites and executed in the early 20th Century).

Yet what cannot be contested these were both intellectuals, both with a perspective an America, both with a vision of an America, both talked about black people, both understood the experience of black though such came coloured by their personal class situations. Both conversed on the journey of being black in the USA, yet such conversations had distinct different paths but the same vision. 

I am saying this to postulate, Is intellectualism approximate to elitism, confirming an emphasis on class, and therefore can intellectualism not find meaning devoid of such class mellifluous confinement?

 Is this therefore not the crises of the Native Intellectual that even though we in South Africa are in transformative developmental state the reality is the Native Intellectual has either absconded into the hidden world of theory or calibrated himself to a class defined liberalist notion? Such calibrated position where that which is black, is conspicuously questionable defined in government, business, and political or civil society context.

These necessarily miss the opportunity of making a connection between our collective history exemplified in present and future.  I shall argue the Native Intellectual thinks a certain way of Black People, the Black experience, the Black future and the Black relations with others. It is my assertion that the Native intellectual has reinterpreted his personal black experience in an evanescent manner.

The Native intellectual in South African context is almost compelled to adopt a liberalist notion in praxis for such proves sanguine with true astuteness defined in intellectualism. The most radical of Black intellectuals have mellowed and integrated to the extent that it must be assumed, that being radical is not astute even uncouth.

The question is who determined or what informs the meridian of such accepted notion?  Is the liberal notion as indicative of astuteness not the replacement of the liberation mandate?  I shall ask again, What is the role of the Native intellectual in the distinguishing epoch we find ourselves. Can the Native Intellectual take of the proverbial singing diva ‘Mary Mary’ shackles of elitism in which his soul seems cast for life?

Can the liberalist ethos make way for the exacted liberation mandate to truly free the minds of those who had not been as privileged.  I ask these tough questions of all of us defined across the spectrum as organic intellectuals, public intellectual and academic intellectuals, even though we have not yet defined the meaning of such.

For today in South Africa the intellectuals are quiet, if they talk its from the vestiges of liberalist enclave, necessarily proving attacking our democratic narrative and discourse the  native Intellectual seems to have lost his voice, unless such voice is usurped to speak in congruence with those who advance the enslavement of a people that cries to be free. Why has it become necessary to castigate, to speak down from a calibrated and almost mendacious vantage point?

It appears the prism of the Native Intellectual’s thoughts imprisoned by the need to prove the opposite of that which is Post Apartheid. regardless at what price.

The Native intellectual proves less objective in his critique and analysis of the road we had traversed, in congruence with the individualism that informs western civilisation the native intellectual has lost the moral compass defined in communality. The Native Intellectual analyse from the bedrock of a liberalist-vested contention.

The Native intellectual fails to participate in the evolutionary process of the collective ideal of Freedom as a lived experienced less than a theorised one. He is straightjacketed into the conjoined denigrated role of affirming the construct of paradigms that he had no say in design. It is almost as if one picks up a sense of truculence in the silence of the Native intellectual.

The Native intellectual derives meaning from being the opposite in what we know our history embraced and defined as Ubuntu, the Native intellectual is endangered specie, and such endangerment is from within, which despite his success proves enslaved by not drawing a distinction between individualism and an independent mind.

I know my assertion as stated in this prologue of thinking, which I have no idea where it will end, accept for the desired hope to hear more intellectuals share with us their vision of this great nation. If we can hear them speak for their silence is audible and proves discomforting for they belong to this unfolding democratic narrative where the liberalist notion has hijacked the towers of reason as necessarily that which is the opposite of what we have been painstakingly building in this young democracy.

Again I shall ask what is the role of the Native Intellectual in our emerging democratic context, be such organic, public or academic.

Are we done in as a developing nation because no one wants to admit the CRISES OF THE NATIVE INTELLECTUAL, the same we desperately need to make a meaningful contribution?

Those who will see necessarily this as a simplistic cry for what they will call blank cheque Regime support – even suck up, in which we speak on behalf of the ruling party and defend such to the hilt, would have utterly missed my contention and necessarily dilute our debate. For the objective is to let the native intellectual speak, to let the Native intellectual engage, and critique  – but such must be cognisant of the greater good we seek to attain as collective. The challenge of the Native intellectual is unlike his Afrikaner counterpart, who has been able to write textbooks on every subject matter, that spans the panapleas of complex disciplines the black child, is yet to have calculus in Venda. The black child is yet to study geography in IsiXhosa.

Whilst there will be those who will use my latter stated examples as an indictment against the Native intellectual in contempt even as  blind-sided contention, the reality is the black child is robbed of experiencing subject matter in his mother tongue where it matters most, yet the native intellectual is alive but even proves silent there to.

This critique stands in the same tradition of a Harold Cruse, James Baldwin, and WD Wright where such argue the crises of the Negro Intellectual and Black Intellectual respectively.

According to Wright “Cruse was critical of Black intellectual for being integrationists and not nationalists, he said this made them susceptible as well as submissive to the thought of white intellectuals, especially Jewish intellectuals”( Wright (2007:3a)

One is not pretending yet to write a manifesto or sequel or a declaration on the factuality of such contention of assimilation to integrationist thinking on the part of the Native Intellectual in Post Apartheid context.

However, I shall admit that I appreciate the axis of Cruse’s contention to have a salient point the same, which may direct our problem, which is becoming what I choose to call the Crises of the South African Native Intellectual.

Yet I shall ask can we journey towards this desired outcome of balanced participation in this democratic process of nation building by firstly admitting the crisis in Native Intellectual role post apartheid. Let us review, argue, investigate and pronounce what should constitute the role of such native Intellectual for in the absence of such, we shall remain usurped to prove congruent with those who want to measure our astuteness against the meridian of elitism necessarily devoid of the masses and negating the truth that the masses are THINKING. Perhaps the only presence of the Native Intellectual in the public discourse is his absence.

Courtesy of Published “Through the Prism of my Soul – An anthology of Political Commentary in Post Apartheid Context”

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is officially on presidential campaign!

  By  Clyde N.S Ramalaine on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 10:56am

– The WITS Speech, standing ovation, Jewish Community endorsement –

 It is not long before 2012, a significant year for the ANC in centenary celebration but also in elections. Whilst lanky Barrack Obama, the coolest president ever, if its only for his typical swag, is growing grey and has begun to hit the campaign trip for a second term still not sure about who will square of against him in party or opposition context.

In South Africa, we are gently beginning to see the formation of presidential campaigning. Such comes embodied in diverse form by the candidacy of Kgalema Motlanthe and Tokyo Sexwale. Of the two Motlanthe has proven much more refined and less aggressive and has managed to maintain a visibility in silence. Sexwale’s latest almost endearment of  in my unequivocal opinion the True Mother of our Nation Winnie Mandela, is again prove of the diverse approach he has attempted at getting his feet into high office. I am in this note particularly focussing on true candidacy of Motlanthe.

To appreciate his candidacy objectively one must contextualise such in the internal ramblings of organisational embrace. He is perceived as neutral, the mind of sensibility, the one who is a reconciler and one who speaks authoritatively making him an uneasy opponent. It is also said of him that you cannot determine the scope of his next move for he plays his cards close to his chest. Perhaps the only, visible indication until this week was his affable response to whether he has aspirations in saying ” I will serve if the ANC so desire”.

Motlanthe has also virtually secured the vote of ANCYL, if Floyd Shivambo’s disrespect for the sitting president Jacob Zuma and pictures on facebook is anything to go by. Motlanthe was careful enough to broker a non-court deal with Masoga a youth league leader who felt strongly done in by a Malema constituency. It is my view that when he was called to arbitrate he did so, with one eye on the throne. Hence, his findings favoured Malema and necessarily sidelined the claim of a Masoga when he pronounced the ANC would not tolerate anyone from within dragging them to court. Motlanthe, proved iffy and almost shy.


I shall never forget when I spoke to Deputy President Motlanthe at the time of Zuma’s visit to China in the spring of 2010. The brief few minutes we shared at a community meeting in Claremont Johannesburg; I used to say to him, ‘Deputy President, “Why is no one protecting the sitting ANC president when hostility is made manifest from all sectors especially the Tripartite Alliance?’

I continued and said to him; remember your day will come when you will hold the same office. The deputy president received my message with dignity in his usual, nodding of the head without saying anything significant, though pensively reflecting, but an audible thank you.  Let us now understand Motlanthe’s speech at WITS

Firstly, Motlanthe chose WITS as his homecoming in a veiled sense declare his ambitions for high office. Somebody may ask why WITS, those who know tell us that if Stellenbosch represents the intellectual bastion of Afrikaner intelligentsia than WITS represents the same for the Jewish cohort. Some hold the ANC elects presidents, but such usually needs endorsing by a strong Jewish lobby and constituency who still invisibly define the contours of an SA future. Motlanthe therefore proved succinct for choosing this hallowed spot of Jewish enclave to confirm his candidacy.

Secondly, every campaign must have a theme for it has to resonate with a cross-cultural constituency. Motlanthe made his pick in the most common by default or design theme of CORRUPTION. He cited that second to racism this issue proves pervasive with an equally presence in conversation embrace. He cited this as a malady.

Thirdly, if a campaign must have a theme than such campaign must have core pillars that speaks to such theme in implementation embrace. Motlanthe made his tools known, when he articulated the need for moral regeneration as no more negotiable. Such he says must find addressing in educational context, where he postulates there is need to consider incorporating ethics as subject matter in basic education embrace.

In the fourth instance, any campaign that proves insensitive for the polarised context of SA, will necessarily fail. Motlanthe took us all into his confidence in advocating for this hegemony defined in an equality of rights for all. This suggests for Motlanthe in his future presidency he will necessarily embrace this as right, which he will guarantee.

He in the fifth instance defended the right for whites to criticise the government. This is significant in a context where it appears Government do not well with Criticism, Motlanthe reassured the minority and so called marginalised ‘important’ group. He went to WITS to say under my future presidency I shall guarantee and defend your right. This is purportedly significant and a clear break with a perceived an intolerant and at times aggressive government, at least as seen from some corners have been muttering since the days of Mbeki.

Motlanthe’s defence of the right of whites to criticise government, is a dubious double edged nuanced one, for he is clever enough to endear himself to this constituency at the expense of the serving government, setting him in thinking apart from the consensus.

One is not sure how much deputy presidents’ even presidents have leeway to share the prism of their thought construct outside the parameters of policy. He definitely stayed the course and used the constitutionalism of democracy as his coached blanket. It is also a clear break in post -1994 organisational stances. Under an Mbeki, it was believed such right to criticise was necessarily condemned. Under a Motlanthe first short stint, it never surfaced, under a Zuma presidency the organisation appears to be more prone to for attack than open for it. Yet now Motlanthe tells his WITS audience under my future presidency I will accept, tolerate and protect the right of whites to criticise. The objective is pragmatism.

Motlanthe, proved academically astute in his rendition of this speech. He has always had a tinge of such yet he came out crystal clear this time perhaps it is because it was WITS.  He certainly embraced scholarly, approach, by so doing giving those who believe in a post Mbeki era, such has left the presidency reason to believe the days for intellectual discourse and debate is re-welcomed as that his presidency will embrace.

Therefore, it appears whilst President Zuma  immured by those who want their preferred candidate for chief Justice to ne nominated, whilst Zuma is caught up in a disrespectful ANCYL, whilst Zuma is dealing with a public protector’s report that fingers key people and some shouting inaction.

Motlanthe continues his campaign in unabated fashion. They say history repeats itself, less we forget when a Mbeki was accused for being absent  in domestic context, obsessed with international Africa context in which as claimed he was proverbially boxing outside his division. Whilst, Mbeki accused for using state machinery to deal with his political enemies, Zuma campaigned unabated and garner his mass support, which led to the Polokwane of 2007 and ultimately the recalling of South Africa’s second democratic president.

Are we on the brink of seeing, Polokwane rein acted? All I dare assert is that no president ever after Mbeki will have an easy ride into a second term for the precedent for such was set.

Clyde N.S.  Ramalaine

Courtesy “ Through the Prism of My Soul”


A Presidency defined by Crises Management – Barrack H. Obama (October 2010)

Obama is a hands-on crises manager par excellence!!!

It is almost twenty one months ago since the United States of America; leading superpower of the world installed its first true African American President, Barrack Hussein Obama. There are those who will argue that he is not the first Black President since many hold William Jefferson Clinton known to all as Bill, was that first black president of the USA.

However as much as that may prove an interesting hypothesis it remains a topic for another day, since our objective is to understand what and how should this first half of the Obama presidency be defined. In the Biblical narrative as captured in Exodus, Moses is instructed by God to take His people to the promised land. Moses agonises as to his ineptness on finding the way to the promised land.

He then implores his brother in law (a man of dark skin), cush to accompany him for his take is...” cush you can be our eyes in the wilderness for you know the way… dwight mckissick out of Texas USA, once noted when the nation is in trouble, look for the “black man” he knows the way. Never did I thought McKissick would be proven that right as I seek to advance in this paper. I have mulled over what could define the Obama presidency if such must now for an uncalled reason come to an abrupt end.

They say that leadership is shown in crises situations and I shall contend that no President in modern history in American context had proven such more than this lanky former Harvard alumni, professor, attorney, community organiser, father and mean basketball player from Illinois Chicago.

One is tempted to begin to say this presidency can safely be defined as the presidency of crises management. If we retrace this presidency the notion would hold. These crises inculcates wars, economic meltdown, economic sector support interventions, extensive job losses, oil spills and leaks, fires in California and now  a somewhat crazy Pastor Jones who has gripped the attention of the world with his expression of how he was going to spend the anniversary of 9/11, burning Qurans.

 When the  aging icon of Black Education and modern history in the USA, Joseph Lowery gave his moving rendition with a typical husky voice on the significance of the moment of Obama’s installation at Barack’s installation as  the 44th  President of the USA, the country he was to lead was in major crises mode. We shall look at some of these crises and his leadership response to such.

The first identified crises which really became an ongoing crisis constitutes the two wars the USA still finds themselves in namely Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars may have been wars 8 years ago but have since then become a gross liability not just in financial terms but in every sphere possible. Obama stepped into this war situation his plan was in a sense not his for it had to be done. Such plan was to deal with the wars with decisive withdrawal dates.

The American citizenry had become fatigued by the impact of these dual wars, exemplified in the body bags that were sent home and the constant feeding of money and resource into what appears to be an abyss with no end. Obama had promised on his change agenda to end the wars as soon as possible the challenge was the full scope and extent of these dual wars as it appears were not made under the Bush administration.

Much as Obama wanted to respond earlier, he had to be advised on the dynamics and the challenges and for a while it appears he was indecisive especially when he was accused of being slow to send more troops in these war zone areas. His opponents had always warned of his lack of war experience and it appeared his promise of withdrawal sold to the voters was now challenged by the reality of the moment constituting a crises.

The second crises for this presidency  came packaged in the now infamous economic meltdown of 2008. Much as the generic definition of this crisis is afforded as a global one the truth is the essence of this meltdown was engineered in the USA and transported to the global economies. It would be unfair to say there were no tell-tale signs where the USA economy was heading months before the actual meltdown. The Economy of the USA was bleeding profusely and job-losses across sectors remained the order of the day.

The economic meltdown in the USA really became financial crises of extreme proportions. The dynamism of the crises itself was not as simple as we attempt to make it appear, key aspects of this economic meltdown that ultimately became a crises presents itself in  banking sector, motor manufacturing sector definition. Obama found himself not a purist as it relates to a president at strategic level only but he became operational in having to personally engage the leaders of Wall-street and motor industry sectors as these came cap in hand though flown in their private jets begging for assistance and intervention on his part.

Bail-outs of extensive proportions became the order of the day.  In no time the plans unveiled the aspect we thought we would never see in capitalist defined economies, namely nationalization. Adam Smith’s philosophy now needed redress, nationalization to stave of the death of an economy who was limping to its untimely grave.  Obama’s intervention was trillions of borrowed money from China amongst others to make these failing sectors work again.

One is clear he accepted that nationalization was the only out of it. Needless to sectors especially the banking sectors have in recent months shown revenue streams confirming strong recovery and government is beginning to pull out of these not that has been fixed as yet, but there is marked improvement. The financial sector has begun to show recovery in making profits again and government has been repaid by the likes of Bank of America and others. This would mean Obama’s crises management intervention worked.

The third crisis which really is an outflow of the economic crises this presidency had to contend with is the issue of major job shedding. Healthy economies are those who function in growth as exemplified in job creation. The facts speaks for themselves the American economy was bleeding incessantly and was shedding jobs at an alarming rate, some analysts have put it as high as a over 600000 on a monthly basis.

The problem of job shedding however does not  stand in a vacuum, it relates and interacts on a plethora of levels and spheres impacting other aspects of what makes  up society. The crises of job shedding proved a reality that Obama had to deal with. He had to find a way to inject money into the sectors that were bleeding to ensure unlocking of job creation. We can now report based on his intervention that the July figures for job creation indicates a growth of persistent growth identified as 178000 for the month to month designation. This may prove paltry but must go down as him having managed the crises successfully

The fourth crises this presidency had to square off constitute the issue of public health care reform. Though this would be considered not really crises in the crises definition, it does hold if we understand the dynamics of the public health care system that is failing a citizenry impacted by the economic meltdown job loss economies. The public health care reform of USA an elongated debate that almost forever has been a Democratic Party aspiration. One would recall Clinton tried very hard to push for reform but failed to get the bill through senate.

Hence when Hillary Clinton was squaring of against Obama she made this a key aspect of her campaign. Obama however despite opposition from a string of lobbying sectors in this industry managed to get the bill to serve and succeeded in getting it canvassed through all the necessary legislative processes. He endeared himself to many whilst he became the hate of many yet he managed these crises and came out on top of his game on this one. The reality is that Obama can claim he is the only president to have successfully propelled public healthcare reform in policy development and adoption format. The jury remains out as to how this in the praxis will work out, but it is fair to say the crises of public health care in policy formulation has been handled well my the specialist crises manager.

The Obama presidency faced other crises during 2010 when the area of the gulf was subjected to extensive oil leaks, at the hand of BP. This crises that had seen life loss and miles of sludge on the seashores of the gulf basin with the potential of plant life loss and a dastard impact on sea life appeared impossible to fix when BP first abdicated responsibility and later prove in sixes and sevens as to a solution with all the untested attempts it advanced and strategies it employed.

These crises perhaps cost Obama presidency much, the president was accused of not responding in time. The crises of the oil spill lasted for almost two months and the president only began to respond towards the end of the first month. Again when he did respond it was again the crises manager in action, he did not shy away from keeping BP accountable and insisted on the establishment of a fund now a $20 billion strong to deal with ensuing claims from this crises. It is fair to say the president the crises manager managed this one not as good as the other but he managed the crises nevertheless.

The issue of annual fires in the Californian hinterland constitutes other crises the Obama administration had to contend with. Every year for some reason fire erupts in certain areas of California such usually has devastating impact. The same happened last year this crises perhaps not huge in scope as it relates to the broader geographic USA, nevertheless constitutes another smaller crises Obama dealt with successfully as manifested by government intervention and support for the California state.

The last unfolding crises the president now faces comes on the eve of 9th  commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, when a singular pastor out of Gainesville Florida decided the let the world know how he was going to spend the commemoration aka the burning of Quran’s necessarily the holy book f Islam. It is unfair to see this in isolation since the preceding aspect revolve around the fact that a Muslim group had acquired a property close to ground zero, and intends a cultural centre and Mosque. This intention flared up much debate and panic amongst the USA citizenry. There are those who feel such Mosque would be an indictment on the deaths of the 9/11 victims, yet other argued that the right to build and practice religion in the USA is an inalienable one.

The crises built and the president was forced to be categorical in what constitutes the constitutional franchise of the USA, necessarily agreeing that no body can prohibit anyone else to built on land they own and to practice their faith when and where necessary. This is the context for Pastor Jones’ declared intent. His gripe is the removal of the planned Mosque for this known KKK based pastor’s mind sees such Mosque to add insult to injury on the deaths of those who died at the hand of what is called terrorist attack.  The week leading up to September 11, 2010 saw a campaign building when Jones made known his intent, anticipating the impact of such act on many good things and gains made by this administration saw the crises signals of this and responded, he even had his secretary of defense Bill gates extend a personal call to the Pastor Jones.

I guess this President dealt with crises upon crises and it seems it is far from over yet. If Obama’s presidency is defined understood and articulated it would be difficult to do so devoid of acknowledging his crises management skills for his was thus far a presidency informed by crises in which some of them he handled with reasonable ease and had great success yet others he equally proved vulnerable and proved late out of the starting blocks. One thing is clear; this president thinks on his feet and manages crises well. Hence is he the crises president of the USA of modern history?

Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Written October 2010

Courtesy of “Through the Prism of My Soul”  An anthology of Political Analysis and Commentary 2011

Political Discourse in SA, as set and controlled by our “analysts’ leaves much to be desired

August 16, 2011

Who guards the guardians?


Ashraf Garda on today’s afternoon talk on SAFM posed the question who is SA’s best political analyst. The thinking with the show was whom we often as South Africans consider objective in their analysis and political opinions. The reality as I indicated to Ashraf is this question is a misplaced one for before we can get to who is the best, we must first deal with the prevalent hurdles constituting political discourse as set by the known analysts.

I penned a note not so long ago analyzing the Native Intellectual for its visible absence in political discourse. I cited that if they have any presence, it is   fashionable in opposition politics formation.  This means when they analyse it is in the interest of what I termed “white thinking” which proves pervasive in post apartheid context.  My argument has matured to include all public intellectuals aka analysts. In South Africa today you are seen as lackey of Government if you share and attribute credit to the transformation paradigm manifested in the ANC led government, you are equally honoured and showered as an independent mind if you necessarily opposed to Post – 1994 political unfolding.

These and many other paradoxes leaves me wondering if we are not forced fed a diet concocted by ‘imbedded analysis’ where analysts drink from the same cup of brotherhood in which they articulate in academic astuteness and pronounce in political bed rocked an analysis which sets the discourse of what we deem politics in SA.   Have already postulated in my earlier note, – The Crises of the Native Intellectual – the challenge of Intellectualism is the proximity of its nuanced historic affinity to the concept and subject of elitism. This notion is visible in South Africa and purports to be at variance with what should inform our public experience of analysts in written and oral expression

I will raise a number of issues I find troublesome with what we call analysts or the public intellectual in SA, as we now have to contend.

  1. Firstly, my observation and experience of the analysts are that they necessarily formulate opinion heavily clouded by personal, political and race ideology. In the early 90’s there was an analyst Eugene Nyathi of Zimbabwean descent who had the country informed by an SABC – Media hanging on his lips. Nyathi prove essentially sanguine with a true analyst when he pronounced, postulated and argued his views exemplified in analysis. The truth is when Nyathi’s credentials were investigated it was found mendacious and embellished to say the least. Whilst very few could falter Nyathi on his analysis, he was sent into oblivion when the credentials did not match up.


That for me is my departure point, if there was nothing off in Nyathi’s analysis why was education or the lack thereof used as a tool to deal with him. Even more if his analysis proved consistent, well informed and resonating in political discourse embrace – which had stake to prove him offside on credentials? A last question is if his analysis came as raw information and truthfully dealt with the core issues separating in proverbial sense the wheat from the chaff, why was education informed by degrees made the basis of such adjudication I am not dealing in my argument here with the moral challenge of proving deceiving, that is acceptable as necessarily untoward and not correct, for which anyone must be exposed. The issue was did his analysis prove analysis devoid of education embrace?


  1. Out of this argument for education to be used as base to be an analyst I wish to contend it simply does not hold, nor is a good barometer for such analysis adjudication especially when we have today analysts in public domain who either have or don’t have the venerated academic credentials.  The SAFM show, as led by Ashraf proved that public opinion simply proves opposite to who and what is being emphasised in the media. When I say that I am saying the name of regular callers who often share their opinions were rather visible in comparison to the usual public intellectuals we are forced-fed. Secondly this debate confirms the fact that it is vacuous to claim, branded public intellectuals are necessarily the natural guardians of what informs discourse in our society.
  2. There appears to be no accountability on the part of analysts or public intellectuals to admit they were wrong when their analysis regardless to the initial claim of ‘research’ is proven wanton.  Terms like research are highly contested and less defined terms if it comes to political discourse. Whilst research can prove empirical evidence of a claim in substantive form, research is wide term and as we have seen in our chequered and post apartheid history a highly convoluted concept. Often the public intellectuals claim their research, proves a subject or not. Yet we as the general public are never given the research methodology applied, the degree of variable influence, the structure of such research and the assumptions made for such research and off course the actual empirical evidence by which such findings were concluded. In the absence of the above being generously shared with the public by the public intellectuals we are force-fed a diet of opinion informed by arm-chair dictate.
  3. Analysts appear to have an unwritten, unspoken code of ‘ethic’ in which they perpetuate the dictums of their collective conclusions, such ethic appears to embrace a written rule of never oppose each other.  There is a huge sense of aloofness in the conclusive views and opinions advanced. One can’t but see a proverbial herd mentality.
  4. Analysis in Post Apartheid context proves correct, acceptable, sensible, objective and necessarily academic if such is necessarily anti-establishment, critiquing the Government or opposing the transformation mandate. When I argue this here it is not seeking to be banal in arguing for a hero worshipping of Government or state, but necessarily for an objective understanding of themes put into public embrace as analysis.
  5. Analysts,  it appears also have sworn a secrecy code, in which the public may not know their personal voting patterns in democratic embrace, yet their opinions on such elections unfolding and concomitant effects are taken into analysis as people who don’t live in this epoch in a South Africa, in which a polarised context dictates the meridian of our analysis.  This means if an analyst identifies with a particular political stream informed by his persuasion of ideology, history, class or status they necessarily will speak from such or at least cannot escape the influence of such on their hermeneutics. I think it is high time we the public ask of analysts to share with us their paradigm of political party embrace for it is simply superfluous to perpetuate an idea that such do not inform their analysis. It is my view that we the public have a right to know who the public intellectual votes for and why? For these analysts necessarily sets the scope of political discourse in SA.
  6. Analysts often claim to speak and share the prism of the general grassroots public; they prove categorical in their claims as the custodians of such grassroots voice. Yet they equally fail to tell us by what exacted mandate they have earned this assumed right to speak on behalf of the masses.  It seems very illogical to advance the view that you speak as a public intellectual on behalf of the masses yet you cannot show us the dotted lines that leads to this grassroots powerbase from the so-called analysis made and advanced.
  7. Analysis as I argued in the Eugene Nyathi case appears to have little to do with academic celebration in a PHD as some want to advance, for there are those today  in public intellectual embrace who are necessarily academically qualified who have gone the full course of the normal process and crowned with such PHD, yet there are those who have made short-cuts to the same proverbial Mt. Everest Summit, assisted by their skills, previous research and who have proven active in discourse long before they had a basic qualification merited in degree exemplification.  Whilst we can cite some of them for it is time we know some of our public intellectuals are not as decorated academically as they are made out to be. Some don’t have a basic degree, honours, master’s degree, or even a doctorate. Others were fast-tracked as I indicated earlier, these know themselves.  I am deliberately stating this here to prove we the general public are less moved or persuaded by a degree to prove the public intellectual’s worth – we are necessarily interested in the actual analysis and how such was arrived at.
  8. Our analysts prove annoying when confronted with the challenge of being questioned.  Having interacted with a number of them, I have concluded it is almost a ‘mafia-clique’ that guards each other and simply do not do well with critique.
  9. Our analysts often adopts a arrogated right to be correct in their analysis, they have yet to challenge each other, and give us the prism of the thinking in a contested environment where the raw engagement of theory and praxis meet each other in political discourse embrace.
  10. Another critical issue in South Africa is the media, defined as SABC and others – Media profiles the public intellectual hence a programme manager and producer can unilaterally decide who they want to include in the debate on a critical aspect. Analysis then becomes clouded by preference instead of objectivity. Some analysts are profiled and it is not difficult to see where they stand ideologically for the institutions, agencies, private concerns and civil societies already gave us their hidden political ideologies. Hence our claim we know where they come from in the analysis for we see them association.
  11. The bigotry of transparency advanced by the public intellectuals manifested in seeing Government as an enemy of the public is the fallacy of what I choose to call “imbedded analysis” the same that parade in volumes across the pages of our newspapers. Yet the analyst expect of Government who legitimately have been trusted by the masses not to have their own communications channels for such would necessarily prove a propaganda machinery the same they argue is not welcome in democracy as a system.
  12. Analysts and public intellectuals write and pronounce from the vested interest of their personal economic welfare. Not so long ago when  Dr. Xolile Mangcu was challenged as to why he fails to prove objective on Min. Tokyo Sexwale (a public persona) the dotted lines led to a conclusion he benefitted in monetary terms from Sexwale to do research work informed by a proposal. What can be deduced from this is that the public intellectual may prove bias informed by who lines his/ her pocket. We in this country know the strength of for example business, or racial groups such as Afrikaner and Jewish lobby groups (please don’t deliberately misread this as racial slur – for that is not the debate – nor prove sensitive as me attacking any grouping) is it possible that our public intellectuals are being paid from these coffers of business embraced in ‘research’ informed by an ideology, yet draped in so called ‘scholarly’ analysis.


It is safe to conclude political discourse in the country is poor often one-sided and has been hijacked by elitist. It owes such poverty to the stated issues I have raised herein as my hypothesis.

I am contending there is a desperate need to vet all public intellectuals, and such vetting must make them necessarily accountable for their analysis for the general public prove too forgiving towards them when they get it horribly wrong. To cite such example, the issue of the appointment of the Chief Justice, was made yesterday, not a single public intellectual thought the name of the appointed individual will come up, not to mention even on the shortlist. Since the president’s choice of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng caught them all napping they will now start a discourse as the New Age “analysts’ Charles Molele already attests, in his article “Chief Justice an embarrassing “dark horse” to condemn the presidents choice as an incorrect one, such is less informed by evaluation but preference.


We need not go far to prove the unaccountability of the public intellectuals for their views and opinions are recorded on specific subject matters, the same can be pulled from file to prove how off they were. The same I will highlight much later in my academic paper POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN POST APARTHEID HIJACKED IN THE NAME OF THE MASSES.


When I state here analysis we must understand it remains their opinion yet such opinions are shared as ‘uncontested truth’ draped in hidden ‘research’ pronounced from ‘secured platforms’ and necessarily with an ‘agenda’ in which pockets have been lined for research proposals, that makes the  public intellectual gods unto themselves when they no different to a George Soros can speculate  playfully and threaten the livelihood of millions as they set the paradigm for discourse in the general public domain.

I have made it my duty to challenge this arrogated moral high ground of the public intellectuals and I have been surprised to find how iffy and annoying these analysts prove when pushed to corners.

It is high time the general public exact a claim of accountability against all public intellectuals, who have proven in a scholarly way a moribund group of untouchables, cloaked in elitist embrace and claiming to speak with a grassroots constituency.

Let us debate what constitutes  analysis, Let us ask what makes for a public intellectual, Let us debate why they can or should lay claim to speak on behalf of the masses or grassroots. Let us know from what  plateau they inherit the right to claim such moral high- ground, let us equally know their qualifications and fields of expertise, let us know who pay for their research, and let us know their political affiliation and their voting history.


Let them share liberally their research methodologies and findings before they pronounce in an almost Gospel fashion.


Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine

As published in “The Thinking Masses”

August 16, 2011