Where is God in our SA quest for Economic Redress?

Where is God in our SA quest for economic freedom?

–          Those who suffer economically are the Object of His love and the Subject of His redemption (deliverance)  –

This note was birthed in conversation with a facebook friend who asked the question “where is God in all of this?” Let me then begin to qualify or entertain this worthy question.  Throughout the known and less known histories of men, there has always been a need to ask for the relevance, presence or even opinion of God in specific epochs. Humanity and those who believe in a God have always felt that there must be an opinion that God holds on issues be such war, social injustice, rape, abuse, death and dictatorship or oppression.

In man’s search for such we for always seek to make sense of our prevailing context through the lens of our faith. That means we process our experiences good, bad or ugly through the contemplation of our souls. This means it is natural to ask for God or about God in times of plight.

In South Africa today no different to in London UK, New York USA  or the Arab league nation the questions are the same, the issues are congruent, youth are feeling marginalised, disenfranchised robbed and hard done by political and economic systems that have proven less humane  and rather heartless to the plight of the poor, unemployed and the disenfranchised.

The Arab Spring have sprung and many despots that we all thought would never vacate their seats have been ejected in this season as young people begin the proverbially in Biblical sense “walk around the walls of Jericho”- claiming the end of oppressive regimes and systems.

Is it not amazing that the proverbial globe is in jolts of discomfort exemplified in discontent and articulated up rise.  Yes, the entire globe is in convulsions of what could be deemed “insubordination“, whether it is Swaziland or Syria.

To consider these activities prevalent as pockets of dissatisfaction informed by misleading by those who can lead the masses in rhetorical  confusion, is not to understand the context of this world phenomenon where the majority of the people remain in shackles of poverty doomed to no future and a life of struggle ad-infinitum. 

The UNCHR figures tell us that the only true majority in our society today across the globe are young people or those defined as YOUTH. It then is understood that these would also endure the most of such inequality of rights, privileges and opportunities. It also would literally mean these are the most prone to prove vulnerable to suffer the most under a crumbling world economy informed by suffocating capitalism. 

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister missed this reality when he mid-September with the London up rise defined this as hooliganism. Herman Cain current Republic Party frontrunner in the USA 2012 presidential race, made the same blunder when he called the protesters of Wall Street as uninformed blaming themselves for their plight of joblessness.

In South Africa, there are those who consider the ANCYL call for protests in the name of economic redress as shortsighted and a narrative of seduction in which the poor are misled by a young man called Julius Malema who has been shown to have an appetite for the accoutrements of what wealth projects. These argue that the poor are stupid and allow this cum – capitalist to blind them to think the issue of economic redress is a necessity when another agenda holds sway. These advocate in public intellectual embrace as Professor Jonathan Jansen said months ago, “an attempt at enriching a few, to steal more from the state coffers in the name of economic redress”. That being the case for our views and opinions in a democratic SA are indeed welcomed and must be respected. I have sketched the context of the questions we are dealing with today to attempt an answer at a weighty question where is God.

Our only point of departure if we claim to be believers in God has to be the Bible. For it is in such that the identity, thought construct, heart and opinions of an unseen God is made known, and liberally shared. It is also important to in the beginning make it clear for me such Holy Writ is inerrant, infallible, uncontested and stands in a epoch of times yet applicable in a multiplicity of epochs without loosing its identity as truth, unchallenged in context, perfect for correction, reproof and rebuke. It is for us who believe the Word of God, in which we encounter a speaking God who refuses to be quiet regardless to situation, circumstance or prevailing context.

One if the not the central themes of the Biblical discourse constitutes a God who seeks to liberate his people. The entire redemption episode of salvation as a golden theme that weaves through the Old Testament Genesis right up to the New Testament Revelation, which for us also constitute the Canon, is the theme of liberation. The theme of a God who is actively engaging in initiating such liberation be it from an oppressive Pharaoh or non-God fearing Sons of Eli.

The second pertinent to God being a speaking God is to know that God chooses sides. There are those who advocate that fairness is to be an attribute of God, I hold a different view, I think instead of wanting to see God as fair we must  Him for His consistency. The text says, “God is angry with wickedness all day long”. The fact that God preferred the offering of an Abel to that of a Cain has held many scholars in debate and contention to understand why He did such.

Yet regardless to our opinions and the litany of commentaries on the subject matter, none of us can today exclusively and authoritatively declare beyond question and advance a reason for such preference for one and a rejection of the other.  He is the God who prefers a younger Jacob (deceiver) to an Esau (firstborn). He is the God who instructs His prophet Nathaniel to go to the house of Jesse and anoint Him a new king and such is David, who is the youngest and most feeble, one who later will sin gravely in adultery, conspiracy and murder.

He is the God who prefers a Gideon who is weak in his faith, scared of the fight but preferred as God’s mighty man of valour as the angel greets him.  Yes, He is the God who prefers a Joseph the last born of a Jacob to all the sons of Jacob. I am saying this to advance the argument God is not neutral He does not stand indifferently. He consciously chooses sides and had long time chosen against abuse or oppression, if it concerns the object of his love and the subject of his redemption.

This side choosing of God is made manifest when he designates himself a role as the defender of the downtrodden, the protector of those  in danger, the Father to the Fatherless and the Husband to the widows. He is the one who defends the cause of those who suffer injustice regardless to what. He is the one who exacts and calls and end to the mayhem and suffering regardless for how long that may have been perpetuated. He is the God whom Habakkuk one of the minor (only in volume as recorded) prophets ask “How long shall injustice rule over the justice”.

The God we proclaim and love is a God who chooses sides. In fact, when it comes to injustice he has chosen sides along time ago.

Irrespective how much we credit our political heroes for our political freedom, these cannot claim the victory over the demon of Apartheid as theirs outside of  an active  omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God who holds the earth in His hand and measured the heights of the mountains and the depths of the oceans. The God who contains men in the capsule of time, in which we must sleep, eat and visit a bathroom.

The same God who affords humankind an intellect to let an Airbus 380 fly across the expanse of the earth as controlled by computers designed by a man, the object of his love, and the subject of his deliverance or liberation. This God is not neutral when the object of His love and the subject of his liberation finds themselves denied, disenfranchised or abused by systems of humans. His anger arose at those who oppress others; His discomfort is shown when he says “this day Pharaoh will know that I am God”. The God who is actively initiating the redemption of humanity by dispatching Himself when the recompense of sin demanded a perfect sacrifice is the God who in the 21st Century proves relevant on the issues of the 21st Century if the object of His love and the subject of His deliverance are involved.

He is the God who could not allow apartheid to be go on forever, He is the God who heard the cry of His people, who witnessed the blood of the first Khoi- San who was butchered when avarice and greedy Europeans sought to deny this nomad to traverse a land in expanse he has always known. He is the God who is nauseated with the death of a Ashley Kriel, Solomon Mahlangu, Steve Biko, Fort Calata, and Matthew Goniwe. He is the God who detests oppression whether it is Jews over Palestinians or Iranians declaring Jews no human beings, or employers over employees. He is the God who is stirred in wrath when a husband abuses his wife or an uncle rapes his niece or nephew. He is the God who cannot rest when injustice is perpetrated. He might prove slow but decisive when he answers the call of His people for freedom. He is the God whose intestines is in knots when fathers abdicate their responsibility in contrast to nature and abandon what they produce. He is the God is angry when hijackers kill innocent people, when communities are robbed of their land and mineral wealth by unscrupulous “business people” who take advantage of the ignorance of others. He is the God who established how long presidents and parties will rule in contrast to what these may think.

Hence, where is God now in this economic redress debate? Someone once noted for which he was castigated by those who denied him the full stretching of his thoughts, “God is dead”, this he said to make the point the way we live we have killed Him.

To understand God’s presence in our world is to understand his absence yet such absence is neither an absence in purpose nor an absence of destiny but an absence that we have requested by our rejection of Him – yet he is actively engaged in our society today.

It is Him who 17 years into democracy has risen in the minds of us to call for a CODESA 3 one with an ECONOMIC REDRESS as a non-negotiable. It is Him who is abhorred by capitalism in which the masses remain abused by a few who are overtaken by greed incomparable manifested in salaries of R20million for a CEO when, the average worker must organise to get a living wage. It is the God who asks ho can 86% of South Africa remained supported by a Constitutional democracy now, not offend the masses?

How can mines He provided be only good to enrich a handful be they white black or whatever colour they choose to define them for he never defined them in such myopic and cynicism of black and white. They remain the object of His love and the subject of His deliverance.  He is the God who cries wrong, that the economy of South Africa in the name of democracy is defended exclusively owned by whites. He is the God who asks whose wealth is this, whose minerals are these.  

He is the God who will rise and condemn those who call themselves black when such seek to oppress others who call themselves white. He is the God who will return the land of the Khoi-San or due repayment for such atrocity. He is never neutral, He may be slow, but He is an on time God.

This God has in these times now chosen to make known the consciousness of such grave economic disparity glaringly visible no dissimilar to the political freedom struggle we lived through in another epoch.

In conclusion He is the God who chooses people to lead His cause that often we don’t qualify for we know too much of their clay feet. I hold if Moses was such an example than Malema is duly qualified to lead this economic struggle notwithstanding all his known and unknown shortcomings. It must attest to something that the intellect and hugeness of presidents and leaders could not see the need for this redress that a child for whatever reasons was able to identify.  

In my books Moses was less qualified to lead the 3 million people who constituted the object of His love and the subject of His redemption. Moses was a stutterer, Moses was raised in a foreign country with a foreign language and dialect (the House of Pharaoh), and he was raised in the house of Pharaoh. He lied and had killed a man.  I bet if the Israelites had to choose the captain of there deliverance they would never have preferred Moses.

No different with us today, we are blinded by the shortcomings of a Malema. We are held hostage by his appetite for breitling watches, Gucci suits as if we do not share such appetite. We are judging him for trying to manipulate the systems to fast track his own economic welfare. Need I say categorically here and now no different to many apartheid and democracy billionaires have done when these became wealthy by political connections and not by organic entrepreneurship, the same who today holds the moral code for what must inform a morality in wealth creation.

I shall conclude God has propelled this cry for economic redress and the instrument(s) He uses must not be seen as the reason for this redress. He as God is not silent, He as God is saying enough is enough my people are abused and this must stop. Hence, just like the first marches against Apartheid signalled the end of the evil inhumane and unjust system so this first march organised by the ANCYL and the YOUTH constitutes the first signal that economic redress is ordered by the heavens and nothing shall prevail against it.

Perhaps the Biblical meaning “a child shall lead them” is proving as a hermeneutic key for this epoch an interesting angle at this our call for economic redress.

Hence,  thank you Michelle Jacobs for asking this tough question today, it compelled me to think and attempt an articulation of what I believe God is doing and saying in this epoch.

Respectfully submitted.

Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine

Independent Observer, Founder of the Thinking Masses and author of “Through the Prism of My Soul” and anthology of Contemporary Political Commentary and Analysis.


“We want everything that whites have”! – The Summary of the ANCYL led march.

“We want everything that whites have!”  – Is it a fair claim, I think it is-

These are some of the words, a tired and physically strained Julius Malema shared in a clearly scorched voice. He said   “if they ask you what we want, tell them, we want everything that whites have”. This for me as colloquial even rhetorical it may sound summarize in stark clarity the essence of the non-dying economic struggle discourse. For some had hoped a Malema court case or hearing will end the debate.

If we talk in 2011 of an economic CODESA or a discourse manifested in true action exemplified in redress, it is the grave acknowledgment that the gap between those who have and don’t have is real and cannot be dealt with unless serious intervention is the order of the day.

Not only is this a simplistic case of those who have and those who don’t have, but such is vehemently informed by a race definition of such disparity.

If we talk of economic redress in this season it’s not because we all of a sudden had a revelation of the disparity of a race based economic description. It is not that we were somewhere on vacation and came to the realization that South Africa is a divided nation immanent in economic expression. Regardless to whether a Patrice Motsepe, Cyril Ramaphosa and a few others as blacks are wealthy and on the famous Forbes list, such is no true reflection but an indictment of the true economic reality of SA in democratic embrace. The youth as led by the ANCYL marched this week, they visited the mining homes, financial powerhouses and ultimately the political authority manifested in Union Buildings.

Their message is clear, the economic struggle is our struggle, the economic struggle is our reality, the economic struggle is one we must bring to the fore. For in the absence of such the sickness of this unequal society who rally temporarily to support the “Bokke” and “Bafana Bafana” is a divided economic context that is gnawing at the fibre of a society that is desperate at defining themselves as one.

The youth says we are challenged to deal with the economic struggle for all nations in Africa who have gone free politically first almost never attain the economic freedom.

When the Youth says we want everything what whites have, it must beg the question what do whites have?

1. Whites have and own our land. This land that no settler came with on ships, boats or aircraft for it would not fit in such, is today legally owned all 86% of it controlled and owned by a mere 12% of the population. Such originally illegitimate ownership is now supported by a constitutional democracy that advances market prices and defends the individual rights of them who own, guaranteeing them the right to free market based pricing.

Such land which cannot as yet be expropriated without compensation as such would be a violation of the SA constitution. The youth is saying we cannot afford to delay the legitimate claim of those who rightfully must own this land by pussyfooting around technicalities when the wealth of whites as owners of this land is enforced and the gap between the have and have not’s in racial definition is accepted as standard and normal.

2. To say we want everything that whites have, is to say we want our rights to mines as a God given right to own returned to the original people starting with the Khoi- San. When mining irrespective how remains the enclave and control of whites who siphon out of this country legally wealth for the mining companies are listed on London stock exchanges and only uses this country to explore, dig up and take it out to other nations where their wealth is protected.

3. When the Youth says we want what whites have, is to recognize that the current SOE’s (state owned enterprises) like Eskom and many others have life time contracts worth billions that entrench white control uninterrupted and less perturbed.

These SOE’s have in the last 10 years not attained even 5% of empowerment for blacks and have found creative ways to perpetuate these gross imbalances manifested in white economic empowerment.

4. When the youth says we want everything that whites have is to acknowledge that the banks of South Africa and the financial homes is the enclave of white supremacy in which a few blacks may be called CEO’s but that simply does not translate to the disparity of this race infested and directed controlled economy that all want us to believe is normal.

6. When the youth says we want all that whites have, is to admit that the access to opportunity in job creation is not simply the role of government alone but the existential role of corporate SA who have benefitted immensely and continuous to benefit from this economy in which human capital essentially black is having to contest for a living wage when the owners of the means of production’s only claim of wealth came at the hand of the very poor who are black. It is to recognize that the issue of equality is not a negotiable commodity up for the highest bidder but a reality that if not addressed with meaning will threaten all of what is currently known to be the SA economy.

7. When the youth says we want what whites have, is to say the right to education at all levels is a Freedom Charter right in which a democratic government is compelled to ensure that education at all levels is free. That these mines who take the wealth must be held accountable in community definition to build and develop these communities and ensure first class schools are build in every town it has an operation.

That the type of education that defines the meridian of a Waterkloof High” is that which is shared nationally for such is the benefit of whites exclusively except for a few blacks who have qualifier economically to have the children share the space with whites who rains 100 years ahead in benefit.

It is to argue those who advance the notion that affirmative action and the true empowerment for blacks must have expiry dates for all children born post-1994 are equal. Such advancement negates the truth that such cut off  visible in a proposed 1994 takes no cognizance of the inherent, synaptical  context of this economic disparity in which whites have always and even now benefit more than any other group.

8. When the youth says we want all that whites have, is to admit all BEE deals in Corporate SA came truly as a benefit to those who owned the companies and projects that black people bought into. Pound for pound these whites have benefitted more than those who bought into these deals as attested by the many deals that ended up in paper wealth for blacks as shareholders.

9. When the youth today says we want what whites have, is to acknowledge that whites are a respected people because they have shaped this economy to be respected and have entrenched their future for the average white child in SA can afford to spend a year in England which is covered for by parents who have the means to afford that, for they know how important it is to afford the white child an opportunity to develop his epistemology (world view) as a means of development and maturity.

10. When the youth says we want everything that whites have is to argue white children are guaranteed an annual family vacation where they see sides of South Africa that the average black child will never see or experience. Simply because the living wage of a black parent will never afford to give his/her child such opportunity of knowing his country in carefree embrace.

11. When the Youth cries today we want everything whites have is to say whites pound for pound are the highest earners per capita. That means the true beneficiaries of this economy are whites which gives them buying power second to none.

I suppose I may continue and give more reasons why the cry of the Youth is to be taken serious, but let me close by saying the young people says we want EVERYTHING that whites have. This means do not rob is of anything that made them. Kenny Kunene the controversially claimed “sushi- king” who also marched is on record for saying his wealth came because whites made it possible.

This means in order for the youth to get their stake it will have to come from whites. Such means we will have to revisit what some consider sacrosanct but for us a work in progress. The constitution of SA must be made welcoming and embracing of this  the cry for an equality of economic context. To therefore argue for it’s revalidation is by no means proving a precarious and banana republic nature but to call that it works for those whose blood underwrote  this constitution.

We therefore echo the claim ” WE WANT ALL THAT WHITES HAVE’  and we say Halala the Youth, halala economic freedom in my lifetime, halala we want all that whites have and we want it now!

Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine is an independent observer and the author of “Through the Prism of My Soul”- An Anthology of contemporary political commentary and analysis

Winnie Mandela: Misunderstood less appreciated, yet forever loyal in Youth Celebration!

Winnie Mandela: Misunderstood and less appreciated in youthful celebration!

This week we were told Mrs. Winnie Madikizela- Mandela testified in defence of Julius Malema as his disciplinary hearing draws to a swift closure.

I have chosen to call her this one-time Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, since in my assessment she remains Winnie Mandela, for she gave meaning to that surname when nobody could, keeping it alive. She defined the scope and everlasting stature of that now common surname. I am not disowning a Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela from such in a myopic contestation context but to give a perspective informed by history.

If I know of a Nelson Mandela it is because my late father, shared with me how he and others were arrested, yet if I in my youth and politically forming years came to understand that surname, it is because there was a Winnie Mandela, who was serving her people, a Winnie Mandela who was arrested, a Winnie Mandela who was banished to Brandfort in the Free State. A Winnie Mandela who became the object of apartheid abuse and vilification. A Winnie Mandela who was manhandled by six-foot size Boers who after this would go and show affection to their wives and daughters nieces and aunts and mothers.

If I in the 80’s as a youth knew of that surname it’s because of the unselfish and daring nature of a Winnie Mandela, who defied apartheid bosses and crisscrossed the expanse of SA traveling long distances to address crowds amidst and invasive apartheid machinery operative giving her no rest.

It was a Winnie Mandela more than a celebrated Desmond Tutu, the younger Allan Boesak or Frank Chikane and others that became the face of our liberation struggle always willing to defend the cause of the downtrodden, those who are abused be it a woman in Umlazi who have lost her husband to a mysterious murder or the community of a Paballelo and Blikkiesdorp in Upington. It is Winnie Mandela who fed the poor and defended the cause of justice not withstanding her own personal pain.

This latest hearing of a Youth leader and the presence of a Winnie Mandela testifies to the perpetual role and purpose she fulfils. It gave me time to consider perhaps in my understanding the most misunderstood yet prominent woman of South African politics and society. I shall assert unequivocally and irrevocably in the beginning she remains the only true “Mother of the Nation” and remains fully worthy of such, if our liberation struggle and political history is the yardstick for assessment. I also shall dare to say, many used her and her name when it worked for them in political aspiration, yet she remains larger than all who used her and ditched her later on.


I thought there may be some who will either quietly castigate or admire her for being willing in ripe age to once more defend the youth. In attempting to make sense of Winnie Mandela and her consistent actions long before the claimed heroes of our liberation were released, returned some from exile, others from a long vacation in Europe and the USA, she served the liberation struggle and us who remained behind by choice and who could not leave with distinction as the paragon of unselfishness.

I dare assert the now called “inziles” often gets less credit in a narrative that celebrates prison and exile as the maximum symbols for struggle participation and contribution, for having kept the fires of freedom alive. The prisoners were locked up but safe eating every day three meals regardless to what that meal may have been, the exiles were scattered in camps across Africa and some in luxury necessarily far from the anguish of pain, abuse and mayhem that those of us suffered through the distinct epochs of liberation history. If the inziles have an identity it was in no person or identity better understood or exemplified but in Winnie Mandela.

Throughout the known and less known history of liberation struggle if such can be talked about from essentially the mid 50’s and the name of ‘Nelson’ Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela came to be associated with our liberation struggle the name of Winnie Nomzamo Mandela, from Bizana too became associated with such freedom struggle by both default and design. By-default for she was the legal wife of the Mandela who was not at that time any icon but a member of the emerging leadership manifest in youth revolt in ANC context. By design for she from the onset was her own person who had her own mind, heart and role to fulfil as a thinking young woman, as an activist constituting a part of those who suffered a three-layered discrimination of apartheid seen through black oppression, Bantu oppression and gender oppression.

As the apartheid machinery began to clamp down on an African leadership by arresting and charging our leaders she suffered like many who lost her husband to the ugliness of the demonic apartheid incarceration.

By the time Rolihlahla Mandela appears in 1963 along with others in Apartheid’s court rooms she had long lost the opportunity of having a love manifested in a present husband, lover and father of her two girls. As a consequence of such arrests of a radical Mandela the “black pimpernel” the struggle shifted from African men to African women, interesting enough almost a decade earlier the Defiance Campaign originally a PAC organized event was led by four women, interesting enough as some of us who claim a spirituality would see the divine hand of God to have four women racially classified as African (Lillian Ngoyi), Coloured (Sophie Williams), Indian (Rahima Moosa) and White (Helen Joseph) and representing a divided SA to lead this campaign.

Winnie Mandela stands and must be understood in the shoes and on the shoulders of this Defiance Campaign mass action leadership. For these women were thrust into such leadership less by their personal choice or preference but by the demand of the hour. Theirs was not an optional choice of careers in politics but a vacuum that needed to be filled.

I shall argue today here and now to see Winnie Mandela being called to speak on behalf of Malema is not to be seen as her being anti-establishment nor is it a sign of her seeking to do any grandstanding but necessarily her doing what she has always done throughout our liberation struggle.

To see Mom Winnie at the hearing is to understand that at the last NGC of the ANC held in September 2010 when Malema then was cutting a lonely figure and many abandoned him, it was Winnie Mandela who lend that shoulder to cry on, it was Mama Winnie who dared to stand and hug him and share thoughts of encouragement, regardless to the political consequences for herself.

Yet when that is questioned it must be understood that it was a Winnie Mandela who stood with the former leaders of ANCYL if the late Peter Mokaba is such leader of youth embrace. Winnie no different back then chose to defend the cause of the youth, she compelled by her motherly instincts and heart for the underdog always proved willing to go the extra mile in defense of the youth. When Mokaba landed in hot water for singing “kill the boer, the farmer” and many read him the riot act it was the same Winnie who came to his rescue advocating a relent and an appreciation for the radical context of being youth.

I shall never forget when she served as a member of parliament and had been away for an elongated period it was Peter Mokaba and I who picked her up from her Cape Town home and took her to Parliament the first day of her return. To hear the thunderous applause by which she was received was a moment forever etched in my memory. I had until then never met Winnie Mandela, yet upon her meeting me she afforded me the same motherly love, hug, kiss and attention as she gave to a Peter Mokaba, needless to say it was a complete honor to spend the time with her. I say that to say Winnie Mandela cannot be disassociated or separated from the youth regardless to what epoch such youth manifests.


Even the most painful and controversial part of her life shown in what came to be defined by the less tasteful actions of what was known as the Mandela Football club and the unfortunate death of a Stompie Sepei, attests in the greater scheme of things to her role as one who love the youth unreservedly less conditionally. She has always been closely associated with youth affairs. One gets the sense she remained a youth at heart irrespective to time, epoch or cause. This social worker, understand the essence of sociology made manifest in groups and group identity she understands that her calling was always to be the social worker, in which her personal life suffers whilst she is pregnant helping others to straighten out their lives. The Youth of Soweto back then knew whose door to knock on and who to call in the middle of the night. For unlike others who opted to exchange sprawling Soweto for Dainfern she opted to stay amongst her people.


It’s the same Winnie who defended the likes of Tony Yengeni when he firstly was judged like her as a populist and later when he landed in trouble and ultimately jail. It is Winnie Mandela who is called upon to speak to the SA youth to calm them and to remind them of the history of youth revolt. It is Winnie Mandela who runs to the rescue of a Caster Semenya when this young girl and gold medal Olympic middle-distance runner is made a political football in a storm of controversial abuse.

If you ask me was she, always right? Did she always make the right choices? The answer is definitely no, but that by itself is not unique to her and her alone but the agony of all of us who often easily lift a proverbial stone to cast. Yes, Winnie Mandela made a ton of mistakes, yes, she proved less discerning at crucial times, yes, she was angry at some time with those who sought use her to get elected and once they are elected abandon her even reject her. Yet as a woman she knows, to have heart to accommodate even those who abuse, for they too have less understood the lesson of life “do unto others that you have them do unto you”

I think it is clear that you cannot separate Winnie Mandela from youth issues, you could not do it in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s into the 21st century and now even the second decade of the 21st century.

Her support of a Malema is a natural response, it is a natural reaction for no woman has endeared herself more to the cause of the Youth be that in political and now economic struggle. So those who want to necessarily see her defence of Malema as a sign and attack on a sitting leadership have necessarily missed the opportunity to understand this great ‘Gogo’ who have remained youth eternally. For when she says Malema reminds her of a Mandela who are we to question or adjudicate such?

She will go down as the most misunderstood struggle hero of South African politics only because some proved less earnest to read the long history of youth participation and support exemplified in the life and times of Winnie Mandela.

Perhaps Winnie Mandela lives her youth through others for she was denied like so many of us who were forced at young age to grow up and wave such very youthfulness manifested in a carefree-ness and less responsibility farewell. This the right of every young person before life begins to happen and we become beset by challenges, responsibilities, economic realities demands and roles that confirmed such youthful era is over.

So halala Winnie Mandela mother of the nation uncontested, halala the youth, halala the economic revolution!



Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine,

(Independent observer, Author of “Through the Prism of My Soul”- An Anthology of Contemporary Political Commentary and Analysis

Jacob Zuma haters refuse to see his leadership?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 9:11am

President Jacob Zuma haters will not see his leadership, no matter what he does. There is an age old saying that goes ” there are none as blind as those who refuse to see” Just as expected, those who hate will never afford this president the respect they have given to others who prove less decisive in their serving terms. It is a question of you damned if you do and you equally damned if you don’t, this as the latest decisive leadership of the incumbent president shows.

On this past Monday Zuma surprised many who in typical referee stance want to instruct this president how he must govern and lead. By now having lived through almost 3 years of a Zuma presidency, one must ask what agenda informs these unsubstantiated claims of a president who can’t show leadership. Monday does not stand in a vacuum if leadership is the guiding philosophy of assessment for a Zuma presidency.

Those who want to applaud him as a solitary move of leadership shown are simply not conscious or prove economical with history. If Monday showed a president who can decide and lead than it is to said the claim of him being puppet controlled by unseen hands simply proves vacuous and the imagination of the mentally weak.

Let us therefore make sense of this latest show of leadership on the part of the president, which is a consistent theme if the critical issues of former kairos moments can attest.

You will recall that the president was said to be soft on Julius Malema early in 2010 when Malema was making wild statements, the president and the Secretary general brushed off the gaffes of Malema as that of a growing young man that must be allowed to grow into a cadre of quality. Those who know in SA body politik manifested in public intellectual embrace, who contended Zuma is checkmated for a Malema made him and he cannot even attempt at correcting Malema filled our ears with this what I call “bathroom analysis”. The truth is Malema landed before a DC which exacted a guilty finding with a sentence on him, the same which perhaps now constitutes the most damning aspect of the latest disciplinary charges and may become the undoing of Malema in this epoch.

Zuma during the worst public sector strike ever in post apartheid paradigm was threatened by Tri- Partite alliance leaders such as COSATU and it’s vocal Vavi. We all know how the bespectacled Vavi showed wide eyes as he threatened to bring this country to a standstill.

That threat had little to do with the country but was necessary a salvo of attacks against the leadership of the Zuma presidency, for the interviews and claims by the organized labour leaders shared sentiments of betrayal, lack of leadership on the part of the Zuma administration and abuse of alliance partners the same who claimed they made him as president.

For weeks on end the alliance was said to be in disarray and it was mooted COSATU would establish it’s much awaited Workerist party. The truth is the president left for China on an important trade trip, amidst the emotional blackmail of the likes of organized labor leadership castigation. When he returned as I stated in my 2010 article he instructed both parties into the chamber to trash out a deal. In the end the Zuma leadership won the public strike when organized labour came out the complete looser with Vavi sounding like contesting for Themba Maseko (former Government spokesman) job in defending the government’s final offer- which became the final deal.

This led to the much publicised and speculated ANC NGC which those who claim to know told us was his second leg of rubicon. The likes of Mondli Makhanya and Adam Habib read Zuma’s premature obituary as one who will be buried alive at the NGC. Zuma opted not to go the UN meeting, for which haters condemned him too, yet he delivered a political report that attested to one being in control of organization and country.

The political report made it clear that the Tripartite Alliance is not an agreement between friends informed by equality and votes served in appeasement but one which is led by the ANC, in which such leadership is not up for negotiation. He equally told alliance members they have been behaving like opposition party members.

This political report cut the proverbial powerwings of a Malema when Zuma read the youth the riot act in typical authoritative manner. Malema as we know then cut a lonely figure at the NGC save for the support of the true Mother of the Nation, Winnie Mandela who has always supported the case of the underdog.

The next so called challenge or measure of leadership shown came with the president’s first major cabinet reshuffle. All that know will attest this was the first of such in democratic SA context. Again the pundits saw in Siphiwe Nyanda the minister of communications a nemesis and the litmus test as commentary ran wild that he can challenge a Zuma leadership if Zuma should try and offload him. The truth is Zuma fired Nyanda with no fear or subsequent ramifications which attests to his Zuma leadership and Nyanda’s pragmatism as loyal ANC member. This cabinet reshuffle proved again Zuma leads his way and is his own man.

This reshuffle, historic proved so different to what Mbeki stood for. Mbeki would be accused for proving loyal to those he elected as a reflection of himself and chose never to act against anyone even when ministers failed and proved dysfunctional. The solitary time he acted was in June 2005 when he chose to fire Zuma as deputy president, a move now better understood as was politically informed.

Zuma showed leadership on the appointment of his preferred candidate for the Constitutional Court amidst threats of court cases, the new found way to attempt at ruling from a lost ballot. Notwithstanding the fact that many tried to emotionally blackmail him and the personal contestation showed in a deputy chief justice emotional and childish behavior during the interview of a Mogoeng Mogoeng. He stuck to his guns even when the DA threatened legal action. In the end his candidate is serving endorsed by the Judicial Service Commission. I shall venture to say he showed leadership in a consistent manner.

The ANC under Zuma as president was forced to act against a Malema for the actions and utterances of the ANCYL leadership following it’s 24th Elective conference. Many said again he lacked the “balls” to act against Malema, yet the disciplinary charges were instituted and despite a drawn out process Malema is not out of the woods regardless to whether some who have their ambitious eye on the throne proved opposing in choosing sides in opposition to a Zuma instituted disciplinary hearing against Malema. Not kow- towing but allowing political power ambition driven agendas to show themselves the president stuck to his guns regardless to whether some said he won’t get a second term. Not held immured by the threats he stuck with his decision and said those who seek a political solution for this conundrum of youth league hearing, must speak up and not in the corridors.

Zuma reopened the much publicized and pet subject of corruption informed armsdeal. The reasons advance by those who claim to know centers on a claimed political agenda on the part of Zuma. They say he was compelled to make such decision for fear of being instructed by the Constitutional Court as lodged by Terry Crawford-Browne. Be that as it may, the president took a decision to re-open the armsdeal a very thorny and difficult aspect by appointing a legal commission of enquiry to be led by Justice W. Seriti. Yet now the pundits have shifted again as the always do the goalposts by saying the detail of this enquiry is immanent in the term of reference it is predicated upon.

Having given a adumbrated history of leadership as a context for the Monday firing of the cabinet ministers Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, Sicelo Shiceka and the suspension of General Bheki Cele must serve as clear prove of his leadership for in the face of much volatile political context he made his decisions without fear or reprise.

He proved to those who saw him as being made by others that he is his own man. To have made these decisions tells us much more of the prism of Zuma leadership as a leadership that fears not friend or foe. It’s a leadership that will not be held imprisoned by friendship but informed by principle, in the which the overarching theme has to be the greater good of the society.

Lameduck presidency is what newscasters speculated, for these refuse to be honest to admit such adjective is common for all presidents who serve the final 2 years of their term. Yet they tell us Zuma is a lameduck president and will prove a puppet, just than he throws down the gauntlet on them and makes known his decisions which defies their very untested assertions.

Decisions carefully arrived at, decisions compliant with the legal requirements and conscious of DUE PROCESS embrace, a subject less understood by those who demand of Zuma to act as if this country is led by a buffoon in banana republic embrace. For these want us to believe that the office or reports of the public protector stands innately as divine truth, not to be contested, challenged or tested but embraced as existentially right. That such reports warrants a denial of due process and legitimate procedures.

Yet despite this prove of consistent leadership the haters will always find some mellifluous theory and even mendacious reason to keep telling SA, this nation is led by someone who is not his own man. They will continue selling us their bias hateful dissent draped in an myopic analysis oblivious to the truth that we the masses are capable to see and think for ourselves.

They will continue telling us this president is controlled by some yet they cannot tell us who the proverbial puppet string masters are  when neither the youth league, alliance partners, fellow NEC members who have presidential ambitions to rule, those with money in and outside the ANC, even fellow top six leaders qualify to be the unseen masters behind Zuma leadership for these have chosen sides and such is not for Zuma.

I guess the case can be made that the president takes his time but proves decisive when he acts even if such surprise his haters leaving them in sixes and sevens as the latest Moeletsi Mbeki diatribe attests.

I wish to contradict Eric Naki firstly for misreading the role of the public protector and not appreciating the office and function that embraces an ethic that demands of such to investigate and recommend. It therefore cannot be argued that her recommendations being strong action forced the president to fire and suspend alike. This type of reading proves hollow if the aforementioned incidents of leadership on the part of Zuma is taken into an account .

Naki like some seeks to give the office of the public protector a personality in political authority definition which in my assessment does more of a disservice to the public protector role. Secondly he like so many before has been sold the obituary and eulogy reporting of a Mangaung burial of Zuma, the nimble comeback kid of political definition.

I shall dare to assert Zuma will get a second term at Mangaung for the road to Mangaung is still a meandering path in which the chess game of organisational politics will shift and re-shift again. It is my contention that Zuma’s grasp on political formation, his capacity to be less intimidated by the haters manifested in all spheres, his organizational context, his reading on the plateau combined with a few ace cards up his sleeve will see him return to power and continue leading SA slow for some but decisive when it is seen.

Until then the haters and those who are ‘objective’ ( for who in this murky world of sides are objective) will be kept guessing and churn out analysis after analysis and never concede Zuma is a decisive leader in his own unparalleled stature.

If you ask me, it’s time to finish my book “Jacob Zuma’ I did it my way” due in December 2011.

Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine, founder of The Thinking Masses is an Independent observer and author of “Through the Prism of My Soul”- and Anthology of political commentary and analysis.

Assessing the Obama Presidency- The unquestionable evidence for a justified 2nd Term

Assessing the Obama Presidency   

The unquestionable evidence for his justified second term

(January 2009 – October 2011)


Recent commentary on the relevance and veracity of an Obama second term, has been met with a sense of mixed emotions and responses. These vary from opposition party political embrace, claimed constituencies such as the black public intellectuals, unemployed dissatisfied workers and a whole host of declared and undeclared interest holders. The truth is whilst the Obama presidency may be critiqued no different to any former or sitting president, it appears the criticisms and blackmail is primarily informed by conjecture more than fact. To this extend I had sought to argue for his second term in citing 14 fundamental issues that this presidency had to contend with, became shaped by and will be judged for in history exemplification. My views are necessarily mine and as a South African is observed from such context.

Barack Hussein Obama the first black president of the United States of America, I hold disserves this his second term for the following reasons

  1. The president showed leadership in excruciating circumstances, from day one he had to deal with a litany of crises’ that threatened in manifold design the fabric of the American nationhood. In my note, Obama a Crises Manager par excellence I share some of these crises, from oil spills, wars, economic meltdowns, bailouts, temporal nationalization, ground zero land arguments, annual wild fires in California, and a crazy pastor out of Gainesvillle Florida who on the eve of the  9th anniversary of 911 bellowed threats of setting 200 Quran’s alight.  The aspect of crises is one that often rears its head without warning, yet the ones I cited here, have constituted the greater part the essence of such crises, and the USA as we speak in October 2011, is less in crises now than when these unfolded. This must go down as a victory in crises management as Obama stepped up to the plate and delivered the goods.
  2. The president had to deal with the lifelong dream of National Health Insurance promulgation, and legislation that every democrat had dreamt about but could not attain.  He managed to let the legislation passed through a hostile senate and lobby and though such is open for contestation in the definition of State embrace, no one can argue he did not deal with issue at least from a legislation point of view. The jury remains out as to how in reality it may be applied and pan out similar to the South African NHI in praxis but the legislation is in law. The Supreme Court judges may have to rule on this in more detail as the 11th District of Atlanta has filed a case for the abolition of such. Yet on the scorecard as it stands now Obama has the edge and can safely count this as a victory for him.
  3. The Obama presidency did what the Bush Presidency would have dreamt to do, that being to be accredited for locating and smoking out the claimed USA terrorist number One, namely the late Osama Bin Laden. The morning of May 2, 2011 will go down forever as a historic occasion, be it for symbolism or truth it remains another feather Obama may legitimately claim as in his hat. The magnitude of this is often less understood, yet with the voice of Osama no longer surprised all and sunder with threats and mobilization the president can consider this a task handled and can tick his box that he brought to book the enemy number one of  the USA. We must also not forget the fact that this invasion of Pakistan condemned by many proved a thorny and very calculated yet very risky decision on the part of the President. It was a tough decision that he took and it paid off, having to deal with the gerrymandering and accusations of invasion he opted to take it on the proverbial chin.
  4. The president handled the ‘birthers’ claim the right way, when many asked of him to come clean and prove he is a legitimate USA citizen born in Hawaii, he kept them guessing in typical political deathblow moment embrace. As the chorus begin to gain momentum and even pulpits of Southern Bible Belt began to pronounce on the fallacy the president remain silent. The birthers found an ever-willing partner in self-proclaimed billionaire Donald Trump, who became the most public face of this ill-informed campaign.Needless to say the moment came when Obama determined it was his opportunity to share his birth certificate, the same he did not as forced but his prerogative. He did this to the expense of Trump and publically played the fool with a Trump candidacy quipping if Trump ever get to go to the white house he would turn it into a casino, Trump who later on withdrew his much publicized candidacy, could never get an answer for Obama, as he walked away with this one too as the winner. The birthers campaign had to contend with truth and in my books as I always say ‘Truth never straddles, it is never ambivalent for it detests ambiguity – Truth is necessarily one-sided and it is loyal to what the sun captured and the moon attests” (cnsr). I remember the subject of Obama’s  birth even being shared  by the former wife of a very prominent Pastor who had returned to SA after a stint of 10 years in the USA, she tried to convince me that Obama was not a USA citizen and I explained to her the fact that Obama is not  responding  to these much publicised claims is not to be read in as a legitimate claim. For as Obama then said, “ we have much more serious work to take care of than getting my birth certificate to prove anything”
  5. The President, had to contend with the control of the House as lost by the Democrats off course not the first time ever. This scenario as controlled by  the Republican majority added new dynamics and twists to the Obama Presidency. Such often  manifested in progress of his plans, and programmes being stifled by unnecessary scrutiny and delaying tactics. Yet the President proved prudent to pick up the phone and called on both parties in the house to put America first at all times. He had to wade through much contestation and remained focused on that which he committed to do in coming into the White House. This is not a simplistic matter, for he did not always get it his way and often had to threaten with his presidential veto to get things done.
  6. Obama, went to the wire on the credit extension subject, where it became apparent how small the likes of Boehner became when they reduced the entire country to  and nation to the threat of defaulting for the first time ever after the great depression. As the days mounted and a deal refuse to be found the likes of Boehner proved what this real issue was all about. It was always about unseating this president by any means even if it meant let the nation and country suffer. Reporters carried the news that Obama lost his cool and stormed out of meeting clearly annoyed by the intransigence of the likes of Boehner who thought they could use this looming default as a premise to get this president removed from white house.  In the end, a deal was struck and Americans became aware just how nasty such can become. He walked away with this one too, for the American people clearly saw the agendas of those who are anti-CHANGE.
  7. The president, notwithstanding being accused of doing little for African Americans or the Black constituency as vocalized by the public intellectuals namely Dr. Cornel West and Mr. Tavis Smiley and a litany of many more, have stayed clear from getting involved in a blame game which would polarized this group. He chose to ignore the views and perhaps it rendered such voices no credence the same his response would have afforded. For the record Obama never ran a campaign on a black ticket, so those who emotionally wants to blackmail him for being responsible for not uplifting blacks must necessarily prove honest and come clean and acknowledge that he never ran any campaign from a black perspective. One almost get the sense that Obama’s unstated view is, those who want me to be black at the expense of my whiteness are no different to those who want me be white at the expense of my blackness.
  8. The president, took charge early on in his presidency to hold Wall Street accountable, in personally getting involved in the  negotiations with captains of industry. These flew in their private jets seeking relief and bailout opportunities for their respective industries. The president held these captains of industry personally accountable for the recovery of the money lent to save their industries. It was not too long before the banking sector begin to show dividends and these repaid the loans the American people granted. This decision of bailout packages started under the auspices of his predecessor, George W Bush, he had to continue with and he managed to get the banking sector to recover though with much tighter control over lending procedures. It is now common knowledge that the mess of economic challenge came propelled by irresponsible lending on the part of the banking sector. Last August figures shows economic growth and a slight growth in employment, though such cannot be seen as major given the challenge, yet it must be celebrated in some way or another.
  9. Obama on the subject of the Libyan question initially proved prudent, in desisting the temptation to get involved and asking Europe to lead this their battle. I thought he proved clever and sensitive to the fact that he too has become known as a war president, when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is still far from concluded though he has promised to close Guantanamo Bay, and withdraw troops from the two wars, he had to informed by advice increase the USA presence when others in Europe grew tired of the ongoing wars. The president clearly the flavour of the town in Davos and other G20 gatherings judged by even Sarkozy worshipping him no dissimilar to what a Blair did with Bush, fell for the accolades and big brother mantra when he stepped into the ring of a Libyan contestation. As we speak the anger of many if social media pages are anything to go by is singling him out as the culprit for the imbalanced Libyan attack when Syria equally and even worse is allowed warning upon warning by the state secretary Clinton.  I think the president must have some regrets that he as a Democrat is now duly considered and accused of being a war president, with literally 3 wars.  The president certainly lost the African contingent of respect, not that Obama seems to be too concerned with Africa, for he is yet to visit South Africa and could be cheesed off from being snubbed when he was visiting SA last and was not afforded the respect he perhaps felt an Mbeki Presidency should have had the foresight to read what was going to play out. Obama has perhaps another issue with South Africa for South Africa voted in favour of the UN Resolution 1973 and switched up on its implementation. Whatever the reasons for Obama not officially visiting South Africa may be, it is clear he has not considered the need for such visit yet.
  10. This president who set records with his first election in campaign fundraising continues now in the second attempt to set the bar for raising money to run his presidential campaign. If the raising of money in a depressing economy is anything to judge a candidate on, than Obama it can be said has mass appeal and confidence at least by those who support him financially for the dream of Change as his campaign mantra.
  11. Obama’s presidency confirmed again a dignity of presidential office, which must admired. Whilst many presidents have been caught out and proving short in the issues of morality this president, notwithstanding all scrutiny came out tops and squeaky clean as a moral leader, setting the tone and standard to argue for presidential office as a office moral standard. Obama standing in the ilk of William Jefferson Clinton as a popular Democratic candidate gifted in intellect, articulate, independent in mind, not immured by guilt to make tough and unpopular decisions and one with a larger than life epistemological perspective, adds another dynamic to this White House that of being a morally sound president.
  12. The Obama presidency restored the values of family and marriage to the USA Presidential office and the White House. Scandal upon scandal have visited upon the White House from the days of John F Kennedy and many subsequent to him, not forgetting the William Jefferson Clinton impeachment scandal informed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It has almost in a subliminal way become acceptable for presidents to have a type of cosmetic family hood. This presidency restored the sense of marriage and family both sacred values for American societies. Whether some may claim it is early days to be this conclusive on this subject, I shall venture to say Obama restored the dignity of marriage and family defined in Presidential office and White House context.
  13. Whilst the current Republican Party front runners for its party candidacy finds themselves having to deal with many questions on their insensitivities to the voter constituencies. Herman Cain for his unfortunate remarks on the Wall Street protestors in which he blame them for their own plight, followed this up with another ill conceived and ill  timed statement on border security and immigration issues. He is quoted for having said “ built a 18 feet wall, place on top of that an electric fence and post a sign close by that reads this can kill” When he was pushed to explain this he first called it a joke in the very serious presidential campaign, and later appeared to be defending his early stance leaving us all to wonder which truth is the truth. Mitch Romney on the other hand, this week goes to Nevada the State known in the USA as the highest in percentage for foreclosures and argues, “Let the mortgage thing runs its course”. Al Sharpton says, Romney does this whilst he lives in a $12million dollar home. These unfortunate remarks by both frontrunners for the Republican Party nomination share a side of insensitivity on their part towards the voters. Yet Obama keeps his message of grassroots embrace simple, and clear. His message clearly is aimed at and targets a grassroots connection in which he seeks to connect with the voters by informing them what he has done with an earlier mandate. In a season of hard economic times, double digit unemployment figures in some States, a jobless slow growth economy, threats of revisitation of recession, it makes sense to give leadership that embraces a sense of the average American matters, his vote counts, they not to blame for the mess the USA finds themselves in and needs a champion for their cause. He does this making them aware their plight is his plight. This message unfortunately has not reached the Republican Party frontrunners yet , regardless to if they black or white.
  14. Gaddafi’s death as reported on a multiplicity of media carriers, regardless to how wrong Obama could have been to eventually become the face of this Libyan regime change mandate which emanated from a European context and was endorsed by  UN Resolution 1973, he is today accredited to claim under his presidency the tyranny of a Gaddafi elongated leadership was brought to an end.  Though  Resolution 1973 was stretched to its hilt to justify the involvement of NATO in the African Country, it is fair to say that wont matter now, that Gaddafi is history. The truth is the welcomed and unwelcomed death of Muammar Gaddafi as experienced by some depending on whom you talk to, goes down as another Obama victory. Gaddafi who shared a on and off relationship with the USA, and often became the ire of the international political world. Be that as it may, Big Brother is dead.Gaddafi who was in power for over 42 years, and had lived through the reign of many USA presidents, particularly proved a bad spot for the Clinton Administration is now dead, and the original aim of freeing the Libyan people as advanced by Cameron, Sarkozy and later Obama is hallowed and celebrated in Libyan and international contexts. Obama therefore can claim this as major victory and this like all the ones I have raised here guarantees, him his second term in USA Presidential embrace.
  15. Finally, the announcement by the Presidency on the December return date for all serving USA troops in Iraq, bodes well as a Christmas gift for many American families who will see their loved ones return. Nothing could be more important in this globally depressing economy to have loved ones manifested in mothers, fathers, aunts uncles, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and neighbors back from a war situation. I hold this too will count for Obama as him having kept his promise to those who entrusted him with their vote.
In conclusion it is my view that Obama’s presidency for his first term should be understood as a Domestic President for it is here that he proved most successful and such must be used as the yardstick to have him re-elected. Yet I equally hold, this president does not do that well in  foreign relations and diplomacy and his interpretation of such is necessarily informed by a dying Europe instead of an emerging Eastern and Development world consciousness. Obama has unlike a William Jefferson Clinton, failed to win the hearts and minds of a globe on his role as a world leader by opting to focus on the historical relations of Europe – UK and his personal Irish ancestry as base, when he in my books have cared less for Africa, the Eastern world and the Latin American context. He has become a war president in the eyes of the oppressed. He equally has proved less balanced in the case of Libya vs Syrian contexts. The president have except for one trip to Africa, shown an exhibited an attitude of ill regard for the African Union, except to advance views in a SABC (Sherwin Bryce Pearse) interview the corrupt context of a Africa. The President has not endeared himself to the Arab league context, and relations with China, Russia  and India have not it seems been prioritised.  Perhaps in defense of the President it could be argued the USA had seldom been subjected to such crises and such warranted a domestic president, who selfishly guards the interest of the USA as the recent withdrawal of USA Funds to UNESCO attests. The same which took the presidency’s international endearment to an all time low.

Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine, an independent political observer and commentator the Published Author of

1. “Preach a Storm, Live a Tornado” – The Preacher: A Theology of Preaching 

2. “Through the Prism of My Soul”  – An Anthology of Contemporary Political Analysis and Commentary

***Prepared for the LA Focus on the Word, Political Perspectives on  the USA Presidential Campaign 2012

Unemployment SA’s Ticking Timebomb!!

Unemployment the Ticking Timebomb!              Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 9:16am

                                                                                                               The “mobs” are rising

When the Arab spring began and it’s wave sought to mount across nations, some of us argued we need not fool ourselves to think we are light-years and miles apart from such impending threat.

It is my contention there is only one thing that can bring a true challenge to the ANC led government. Contrary to what some postulated recently, granting the Dalai Lama a visa or not has absolute no bearing on this country’s future or not. The only true challenge to stability in this young democracy is the alarming high unemployment rate of South Africans I call this our ticking timebomb. Unemployment it is argued is averaging for this tiny nation of 50 million people at an alarming 29% across board.

Unemployment in SA context was never not a concern from the dark days of Apartheid when job reservation informed by race definition was the order of the day. Unemployment for the oppressed black cohort was always high, and reflected a grave disparity. Back then it was a justified argument to contend a racist Apartheid government had no interest in creating jobs for the oppressed.

The reality is we live in a democratic era, in which people have exercised their democratic franchise to vote for a “better life for all”as the ANC slogan remonstrates. The expressed hope of such vote inculcates the dream of dignity being restored to the masses of South African populace.

The truth is 17 years into democracy that dignity defined in a home and a job for all is looking like a mirage forever appearing to evaporate into the imagination of an abysmal utopia. Next to a home nothing gives anyone more credence of dignity than a job. For it is usually the job that enables one to own a home.

In China and other Eastern world countries it’s a blatant insult not to have a job. It is said people sob when they come to retirement age for it would mean their lives and therefore their dignity would become eroded. In many of these societies, a job defines ones being.

I thought of the contradiction, whilst in China people would at retirement age plead for more years to work, in SA there are millions of young people who after earning a National Senior Certificate is yet to find a job. For some these have been so long out of a job, that it’s fair to argue, they are going into retirement age and never had worked in a meaningful sense.

The street corner intersection Main and Murray streets in a place called Meredale right next to Southgate in Johannesburg is a gathering place and pick up spot for cheap day-labour. This corner is not unique in Johannesburg or any city, town or township in SA.

What troubles me is the fact and truth that many faces have been here for more than 10 years. I know them for as a local church we initiated programs of feeding and educational training targeting the very unemployed where many of these familiar faces were a part of that program of over 12 years ago.

In the USA the current Republican front runner for now  a “black” wealthy male Herman Cain, whom I am convinced will be ejected by the very Republicans sooner rather than later, accuses those who engage in the Wall Street protests as stupid, shifting the blame, and necessarily not owning up to their role for not having a job. Cain with his famous 9-9-9 tax reform plan, says this of people who constitute middle class job insecure protestors.

Maybe there are many Herman Cain’s amongst us in SA, regardless to their colour definition who equally simply blame the unemployed for their own dilemma. It is my unequivocal contention that this view can never be justified in a SA context. It is my contention that if we sit today with 8million people unemployed, we must ask why:

I would imagine there can be a multiplicity of reasons advanced for or in clarification of such, however that some of these reasons emanate from a political platform is undeniable. I shall venture to share the prism of my thinking on the role players for such job creation mandate. I have identified three groups namely government, corporate South Africa and organized labour as the main culprits.

Government Role

This means the government of the day whilst not to create jobs existentially yet implicitly and by design necessarily must  lead politically in creating the environment for the creation of such jobs.

Government must have the foresight to engender and lead economically by providing a blue print of economic model that would necessarily result in the creation of jobs as an undeniable, irrevocable and non – negotiable subject. Governments are to legislate and promulgate laws that proves sensitive and congruent with such job creation. Governments cannot afford to be held hamstrung by an androgynous economic model in which Tripartite Alliance members contradict the economic macro plan of a future SA.

Governments ought to incentivise and equally exact penalties where role players in job creation succeed or fail to adhere to the context of such job creation. Governments must lead in singular vision of flagship context in which tough choices are made for its campaign and implementation of a definitive job creation as a non negotiable.

Corporate SA – Private sector role

Corporate SA supported by a free market based economy is supposed to create jobs. This means the entrepreneurial flair and grit of those who can see and create opportunities in a conducive climate or environment as created by the political role players proves an imperative cog in the development of job creation.

If legislation defined in all aspects proves conducive the entrepreneurs will arise and prove useful in such context. SA is known to have produced entrepreneurs that gave birth to the likes of a Shoprite, Pick & Pay, Jumbo Cash & Carry to mention a few.

Yet job creation must not be unsustainable job creation where greed and a lust for profits determine the type and quality of jobs created. Where human capital in an irresponsible manner can be used to enrich oneself at the very expense of the poor. It must be the obligation of corporate SA to work for a sustainable decent job creation model realizable I’m praxis.

Corporate SA owes it to the poor to play a meaningful role for often if not always it’s existence is owed to the very poor defined as workers. A sense of responsible wealth creation is advocated in which the workers benefit meaningfully firstly in wages, development and opportunities for co- ownership.

Organised Labour Role

The role of organized labour is to work for the basic conditions of employment that advocates a sense of responsible labour context in which human capital is respected, not abused and benefits from the true meaning of job creation. Such organized labour role is to act as watchdog over the implementation of legislation that speaks to fair an equitable labour practices supported by opportunities for development of such human capital through skilling and retraining.

Having attempted to set out the roles of the role players in the loop of job creation the question is where did we go wrong that we sit with a jobless growth economy? What detours did we take that we have as a collective failed the SA Youth that more and more comes to be defined as a lost cause, forced to shebeens, drug homes and medicated orca pipes? How be it that we arrived at this ticking timebomb, that is becoming a growing pandemic that threatened to spill over into protest with grave ramifications.

It is my contention that all role players are to blame for our prevalent and precarious jobless context.

Firstly government as led by the ANC failed to lead in a singular model of economic development. The arguments around what can and should work for SA to alleviate the crises of joblessness, has not received the priority in policy definition and articulation such as is aggressively required.

The president upon beginning to serve as president of SA had the nerve as misled by advisors to say they would create during the calendar year 2009-2010, 5 million jobs. At the end of that term, these figures were grossly adjusted to a 300000 outlook. Yet even than much of this simply could not be considered as sustainable job creation for it appears much of this found meaning in part time or short term jobs embrace.

I am of the view if such grave unproven claims of job creation can be advanced by such high office in such erroneous fashion it must point to the lack of research, attention, and effort given by government to the subject where it cannot cohesively lead us in seeing our way through the proverbial land-mine field of explosive context. Government regardless to all programms such as EPWP, ASGISA etc failed to make this a priority because the government is yet to unequivocally pronounce on the economic model for SA.

It appears the ANC, SACP and COSATU alliance have not found the common road that puts SA first but often gets lost in the rhetoric of political ideology when the SA  Youth are asking “where are the jobs”.

Herein lies the challenge, the leaders and officials who earn 7 figure salary incomes assigned to lead this process are a part of those who live in the gated communities, who drive the luxury German sedans, their children attend the exclusive private schools, they shop at Woolworths and their wives have business dealings hence they see not and do not feel the unemployed’s cry for they are ensconced in a cocoon of so called safety, which affords them the luxury of theorizing when others scratch in dustbins for a meal. We must not be surprised if in Nigerian experience the new black elites’ children are taken hostage by the very unemployed in a quest for ransom.

These may not know but soon this unemployed masses will rise up and take them hostage for they mirror the enemy instead of the brother and sister from another mother.

Whilst organized labour forever excuses themselves from a conjoined role of being equally responsible for this lack of job creation in the SA plateau it cannot deny it must shoulder blame for this jobless economy. The same which has become acceptable for the disparity of unemployed is defied by the shiny luxurious German sedans that liberally fills our SA roads.

Organized labour’s claim of power will soon be tested by those who are unemployed who will expose the hypocrisy of organized labour bosses who claim they work in the interest of the poor but have long become partners in the economic butchering of the poor. These are shareholders by way of their investment arms and have calibrated sanguinely to the pace of capitalistic abuse.

Organised labour simply does not have the SA unemployed interest at heart when it can condone the abuse at our schools by the likes of it’s affiliates, where educators dont teach but are involved and engaged in political formation and mobilisation during the school teaching time. Organized labour shall soon hear the poor call them sellouts, they will hear the unemployed say you have make getting a job 10 times worse for us. They will hear the unemployed say you do not represent us but your vested interest. Organized labour leaders may soon fall victim to being held hostage no different to captains of industry.

Corporate SA with it’s intransigence stance manifested in a almost hard nosed “I don’t care attitude of self interest” will soon see the masses at the gates of their plush offices, with a threat to burn these to the ground. SA Inc, with it’s shades of black and white business who are held hostage in a chess game of who controls what for what political expediency will soon collectively fall victim in more than one way to the gathering wave action of dissent that will not discriminate between black or white vernacular or english.

I was in downtown Los Angeles yesterday and I overheard in the PCS cellphone shop I was, a man remark to the owner, the “mobs” are on 7th and Flower Streets heading this way. I found out the term “mob” is the name given to those who protest the Wall Street abuse. I thought how erroneous that those who legitimately have grown tired of abuse at the hands of heartless capitalists are now called “mobs” be it as it may, perhaps I must say to the collective role-players of non job creation in SA today, the “mobs” are coming, the “mobs” are rising yes the “mobs” are sick and tired of your political games and chivas regal and expensive cigar puffing, and Che Guavarian theorising when your very action and attitudes insult the revolution Guavara stood, lived and died for.

This nation teeters on implosion if true solutions for job creation are not found and found expeditiously. We run the risk of ” mob” governance which could lead to anarchy, but this timebomb is ticking swiftly to a potential tragic end. For those who think this is a prophetic necessarily gloom prediction, just wait and see.

Bishop Clyde N. Ramalaine

Corruption the convenient SA political football!!

 – Used by all when we can’t say what we really want to say –   Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 12:20am 

I read in the Citypress of today Rev. Frank Chikane’s plea for the “Rainbow Nation” to be saved from the most famous and abused word in SA politics namely corruption. Firstly it is my unequivocal and irrevocable contention that this word is conveniently used by anyone for their own political reasons when it suits them.

This plea whilst to be commended must like all things in the SA body politik be contextualised. When Rev. Chikane pleads today for such saving of the Rainbow Nation it must first be asked what rainbow nation? For the description of a rainbow nation is not the people’s making but the creation of the almost iconic but highly controversial Archbishop Tutu.

I am just not sure if we as the people ever claimed such rainbow status for if it is our claim than we should echo it as Rev. Chikane calls us to. Yet I argue if we can ever claim the fallacy of rainbow nation as ours.

Secondly when Rev. Chikane pontificates for such saving one is compelled to read into such a sense of “this corruption did not happen under our watch, when we or the Mbeki presidency was in power”. He goes on to attempt a corroboration for such contention by sharing a solitary case of solicitation on the part of business.

It is right here that I struggle with Rev. Chikane, for none of us  can explicitly confirm the exact date space and time our famous quoted pet subject “corruption” became a part of us in democratic narrative. It is a given that under apartheid, corruption was a reality and I am one of those who believe our infamous sojourner has been always with us, not that such is any justification for it’s existence, for it is in the least my attempt to defend the indefensible, corruption must be condemned day or night anywhere and everywhere.

Yet it is political spin of the worst kind to attempt to advocate against such conveniently as a means to attack the existing leadership in the name of an exacted and arrogated morality that argues in a veiled sense that such corruption is new and necessarily to be associated in particular with the Post Polokwane context.

Rev. Chikane appears to absolve himself and the Mbeki – Administration from the presence of corruption by his sighting of the salacious temptation(s) advanced. It’s the same argument some new billionaires who became billionaires under the Mbeki administration advance when they don’t tell us how they made their money devoid of their usage of political connections for many of them are not organic business people or entrepreneurs. Yet these now hog media in advocating the meridian of morality on moneymaking.

There are civil servants who it is claimed had shares in mines in foreign countries whilst serving as civil servants under an Mbeki administration. This off course is no reflection to be inferred as directly condoned by the Mbeki administration but it attests to corruption as existing in that epoch no different as to a Mandela era and a brief Motlanthe and now Zuma era. If there is any truth to the claim of a much publicised arms deal mega-corruption than it becomes difficult to disown the existence of our infamous ‘partner’ throughout the discourse of the Post Apartheid paradigm.

The challenge here for me is not to argue, prognosticate or condemn corruption, but the need to categorize such as a part of this epoch distinctly, that for me is the sophistic erroneous and somewhat politically crafted context that I seek to expose and lay bare. The protagonists against corruption often are blinded by the advocate of media who shares such disproportionate outlook of this the genesis of such corruption.

I am on record for saying corruption was not born in 2007 corruption in government context was inherited from the Apartheid regime and it lived through the epochs of unfolding democratic embrace. Rev. Chikane is correct to argue against such corruption but he is wrong for in a veiled sense advocating that such is a post-Polokwane phenomenon. He is incorrect to pretend that such corruption as the proverbial monkey did not hitchhike a ride for the length and breadth of the 17 years.

If we say today that provinces such as the Eastern Cape are corrupt in an endemic sense than we must concede it has it’s roots long before there was a Polokwane of December 2007.

Lastly it appears to me that corruption has become the pet subject of all conveniently when it suits them when these want to denigrate this government. It has certainly become the flavour of political ambition, draped in moral dictate.

It also appears to me that corruption is a very appropriate theme to propel ones new career out of a forced retirement. It is used by the bosses of organized labour when they want to threaten ANC leadership to expose such.

It is used by former government leaders and civil servants when they want to redeem themselves from a conjoined role in it’s origin. Corruption is even used by ANCYL leadership and members when they want to cast aspersions and communicate their misgivings with the sitting president for political expediency.

It is used by opposition parties, notwithstanding the fact that they too are not immune to the prevalence of such, let us not forget the premise for the limping – court cased COPE which subsequent became the very tarnished claim of corruption aired by its surrogate mothers and leadership.

It is used by the Media, when they glaringly expose others, when they equally have shown proclivities for such.

It is used by public intellectuals when they set discourse from a vantage point of ‘innocence’ when they equally fail to explain to us who lines their pockets and for what agendas.

It is used by private sector when they want to expose fellow private sector and public sector unpleasantries, yet it stands naked in the relationship of corruptor and corruptee, for there is no real corruption unless private sector defined in business is a part of such.

I guess corruption is the proverbial convenient football that all like to use against others when we claim moral high ground in defense of our legacies and our disregard for others who do not fit the proverbial “ticket” of our endorsement. There is no question that we have to as  a nation contend with the issue yet we must be honest in such contention. If we seek to deal with the subject can we start honestly by first acknowledging it was there all the time.

Can we desist from the politicking of the theme for it is not helping anyone to try and accuse others when fingers can be shown at oneself, one never knows who knows what about the other.

Corruption must necessarily be stymied, it must be condemn and rid from our society. It must be sent packing from all corners of SA yet the fight against it does not start by throwing stones from political ideology embrace.

We must condemn, expose and eradicate it from the South African populace. My plea let us leave the so called convenient ‘rainbow nation status” of the retired Archbishop aside for we the masses never endorsed the rainbow definition of us as a people in which black remains conspicuously absent in benefit.

Respectfully submitted,

Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine