Apartheid never existed !

Apartheid never existed! – All those who defended it is dead, we only have Comrades against Apartheid left in SA

Just where are those who defended Apartheid? Almost two decades after apartheid the legacies of it remains glaring as it violently protests demise. Yet everyone who voted for Apartheid claim a liberation struggle role and credential that speaks to their non- involvement in this UN declared satanic system that have perhaps eternalized the polarized state of this country.

It is becoming sickening that there is no one who can boldly say I believed in apartheid as a system, I voted every time for its upkeep, I benefitted from it and have been afforded much because of it. Discourse in South Africa today is also skew because of this aspect, apartheid is dead killed by the democratic vote of 1994, and all those who voted for it also died so we are led to believe. Every time you talk or hear our fellow “white” brothers and sisters speak it is the same story, of how they fought against apartheid, how they opposed it, how they played this or that role.

It left me asking the question who then kept apartheid alive, who underwrote the draconian system with capital, who paid for its lunch if I may ask in such proverbial sense?

Listening and reading one is confronted with views from, there was never an apartheid only a separation of people informed by cultural preferences. Others contend apartheid is long dead and ought not to be blamed for the mess of South Africa anymore. Whilst I can agree that there are some serious blunders made in the post-Apartheid context for example the Arms deal, that an ANC led government must own up to.

Yet I cannot accept that apartheid’s legacies are obsolete, I cannot accept that apartheid’s influence on every visible and invisible aspect of our collective soul and being was almost in magic wand fashion waved away, when Nelson Mandela walked through the gates of Victor Verster Prison (now Drakenstein) in 1990. Nor when we voted the first time or when we crystallized a constitution later.

To argue it is obsolete its legacies in education, in land, in the economy and every facet of our society does not exist is to prove deceptive even mendacious. I have observed our “white” counterparts have their blood boiled when one seeks to blame apartheid, yet they claim they never defended it. I guess it’s glaringly cynical to argue apartheid is dead and all its legacies obsolete yet simultaneously argue that you fought against it when you have been a benefactor. I guess those who claim they did not defend apartheid, voted for it, but fought against it must tell us why their bloods boil when an enemy of theirs is blamed today later.

Perhaps if we admit and prove honest as to who kept the system afloat, then true healing may come.

So apartheid never existed it must be reduced to one of the African mythology stories equal to the story of the “Lost City”, Sol Kerzner’s invention. Apartheid never existed because no one in South Africa defended it, no one in South Africa ever voted for its parties and systems. No one ever benefitted economically from it that they still wealthy because of it.

I guess we truly fought, all 48 million of us against apartheid. I just want to know who then was the enemy who send our leaders to a banished life on Robben Island. Just, who arrested us, who locked us up to rot in jail?

Who smacked and kicked us when Kallie “die Bek van Boomstraat” Knoetze or Gerrie “pap handjies” Coetzee lost against a Big John Tate from Tennessee. Who doomed us to a race defined, infested, classified and driven education system. Who forcefully removed us from our District 6, SophiaTown, and all other places and dumped us in a Kaapse Vlakte?

Who invented the inhumane system that made all houses in Soweto owned only on  a 99 year lease scheme designated by numbers instead of street names? Who designed the roads of Mitchell’s Plain with 5 inlets of reinforced roadworks to ensure whenever there is an uprise the entire township is sealed off with militarized caspirs and nyala war equipment? Who ran the special branch police, who led Koevoet?

From where the budget for a Wouter Basson chemical warfare artillery? Who denied others to have access to the economy, who designed the public health system that we now struggle to fix? Who through the creation of economic arms like Spoornet, Telkom etc, ensured job reservation for one sector of our society?

Who killed Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mahlauli? Who manhandled our African sisters, aunts, goggo’s and nieces? Who tortured us and who kept us locked up under section 29 law?

I guess all the aforementioned is the figment of our collective erroneous imagination in typical Harry Potter fictional embrace, for apartheid never existed because we can’t find anyone who is willing to say I voted for it.

We only have comrades in Post-Apartheid sense. So we are lied to and deceived yet those who claim they never defended it equally get angry if we say we are dealing with apartheid’s legacy they remonstrate we must stop blaming “beloved” apartheid when they fought against it.

Yet the Jews keep telling us of a Auswich and gas chambers, and the death of 6 million Jews at the hand of a Nazi system led by an insane  and possesed Adolph Hitler who had Germans supporting him. In South Africa we are told shut up, stop complaining about apartheid, by the very ones who claim to have been diametrically opposed to apartheid yet they want us to forget. To them we retort  today, tomorrow and forever we refuse to forget, we shall not be brow beaten to belief apartheid never existed and that it was not supported by “white” South- Africans the same who today claim they opposed it and have struggle credentials. The same who all of a sudden know exactly how democracy works and want to dictate the meridian of such in constitutional sense.

Does it have to do with the invention and reinvention of self so as to always benefit?  For today in sunny South Africa, if newspaper comments are  interpreted one may know that apartheid’s defenders live today with a constitutional right and voice, and apartheid is locked up in two mundane low rank officers Eugene De Kock  and Ferdi Barnard, whilst the others tell us they were comrades, and equally become annoyed when one blame our history of apartheid to have a visible legacy, the same we are still trying to undo.

 Clyde N. Ramalaine

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Unity in our Diversity: We must work for and defend a South Africa nationhood!

– Is the ideal of a South African nation a to be Celebrated one? – We are necessitated to embrace and work for this nationalism –

The ideal of our constitution depicts and challenges us in democratic embrace to be a people that will live together united in diversity. Our cherished history conflated and obscure at times chronicles a path we had trudged that ensembles a hope to rise above decadence and moribund race classification that have kept us enslaved for a epoch too long.

Such denying us to be a nation that proves willing to share a philosophy of being that stubbornly refuse to have us divided and sacrificed on the mundane altars of race, language, ethnicity, class, even tribalism or the new concept of crass materialism.

The ideal of nationalism, defined as “love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it”, is what we have to grapple with, not in a mellisonant manner nor in a toxic acidic forgetfulness that denies our history, but a consciousness that we are joined together to the hip and we have no other place to call home.

These musings led me to read again what other Africans concluded about their nations. One may argue or remonstrate yet we have to deal with their contentions as that which holds sway at least in their understanding and experience.

The Yoruba Leader Obafeni Awolowo in 1947 would say the following on his country as it relates to it being a nation and the ideals of nationalism. “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no “Nigerians” in the same sense as there are “English”, “Welsh”, or ” French”. The word Nigerian is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not”.

His countryman Abubakar Tafawa Balewa a year later in 1948 would conclude: “Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite… Nigerian unity is only a British invention”

Reading these two Nigerians interpret and articulate their conclusive and published views on the nationhood of Nigeria as a fallacy the questions arising is it correct for them to conclude in such unequivocal sense on the subject of deception of a Nigerian Identity or nationhood?

For if we today comfortably accept that Nigeria constitutes one of three leading countries in Africa considered the triangle of hope for an Africa arise in our collective future how do we engage with the views of these fellow Africans?.

Yet without advancing an opinion in the naked sense of right or wrong on these views it leaves me sobered to think that we the last country to go free in Africa aspires to a nationhood when those before have almost resigned themselves to a state of non-nationhood as depicted by these two African brothers.

When I thought it was only a Nigerian assumption and therefore easily dismissible I have to grapple with the words of Ferhat Abbas who in 1936, summed up his views of an Algerian Nationalism in the following way “if I had discovered an Algerian nation, I would be a nationalist and I would not blush for it as though it were a crime. Men who die for a patriotic ideal are daily honoured and regarded. My life is worth no more than theirs. Yet I will not die for the Algerian homeland, because such homeland does not exist. I have not found it. I have questioned history, I have asked the living and the dead, I have visited the cemeteries; no one has told me of it….One does not build on the wind”

These thoughts expressed have kept me immured in asking is the ideal of a South African nationhood not perhaps utopia or a definite possibility? Are we to conclude that if the oldest “nations” in African freedom, struggle with the conceptuality of such, will the youngest in freedom go pass grappling with it and consummate this nationhood in which we all are clothed with a sense of nationalism.

Or is Awolowo correct that as in the case of Nigeria, South Africa is just a designated place, of geographical description, there are no true South Africans, but is only a distinctive appellation to distinguish people who are diversely wrought to live in the confines of the Borders defined as a South Africa? Should we take Ferhat Abbas the political activist and writer serious when he melancholically retorts “if I had discovered an Algerian nation, I would be a nationalist….. Yet I will not die for the Algerian homeland because such a homeland does not exist, I have not found it”? Should we ask what is a South African nationalism that would prove people willing to die for such?

When I ask this here I am deliberately drawing a distinction between the liberation struggle against Apartheid, which saw a people fight for such freedom from oppression constructed on the false axis of difference magnum, for it seems that the freedom attained has left us in a cul-de-sac of indifference where we today may doubt if we once again will rise to protect such this time in the bond of nationhood where nationalism is the premise?

In fact asking these question spirals out to an even bigger question, can we ask of Mother-Africa to have such African nationalism and share such nationalistic passion when her very proverbial internal organs and limbs (countries in Africa) struggle to define the very essence of this nationhood in the confines of their fluctuating borders. For our very geographical boundaries were described as terra incognita informed by straight lines on the map, less conscious of a collage of traditional monarchies, chiefdoms and other African societies that existed on the ground.

What makes for a nation? What informs a sense of national pride? What are our core values that must violently militate against any attack of such nationalism? Is it strictly confined to our periodic sport events constricted to such arenas or should this not be the very fibre of our society where we live, breathe and let live.

Is nationalism even a welcomed concept in our post apartheid experience? If it is not why – equally if it is why? It is out of this very quest that Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Mphilo Tutu argued for a Rainbow Nation of identity, we may not agree with it, but we must respect the quest.

I dare challenge Ferhat Abbas and say.. “yes today in South Africa there are those who have found such South African homeland, there are those who researched history, and the graves of Khoi-San warriors of the first freedom quest, there are those who scaled the Matoppo Hills, and came back with a conviction such homeland and nation exist and therefore necessitates a willingness to prove sardonic the opposite of such hopelessness, for such nationalism courses through our blood. Yes such from crenellated spaces unequivocally argues we are willing to die for this nation.

I am compelled to say to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, as diverse as our religious beliefs may depict, as contoured in dissent our cultures may protest, as historically in diasporic expression our backgrounds may contend, there is a truculence on our part to stymie a pervasive non- willingness to unite. That we in a mother instinct would defy the challenge against our nationhood.

I wish I could conclude and say to Abbas, I have found in the South Land such homeland, that confirms our building of this democracy is not a building on the wind, building blocks into Africa’s national restoration, no matter what the cost. For the obligation to be a nation is not an ideal but a reality one is willing to work for and if needs be to die for, for we refuse the be constrained even shackled by our diversities we have found a unity in our diversity that keeps us hopeful, inspired and intoxicated with a nationalism that says we are who we are united in our diversity.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent Commentator

This publication appears Courtesy of “Tradewinds are Blowing” Political Musings and Analysis

What do we make of the Legal Advice Julius Malema and other ANCYL Leaders had? 



–      Was this case base on proper legal advice or a hunch  – ?

 

Is it not fair to ask was the Youth League not ill-advised in legal embrace?

 

Sitting and listening one after the other appeals rejected accompanied by words such as “naïve”, “absurd”, “a misreading of ANC constitution” the question in my mind who is no jurist but saw through the weakness of the defence’s case from the start.

 

I am not sure how legal advisors Advocates Dali Mpofu and Clifford Motsepe could have led such a clearly emotionally charged, less thought through, empty of anchor themes defence.

 

To cite one example, the utter misunderstanding of what it means to be a structure of an organisation such as the ANC and what such means in constitutional context as autonomous.

 

The NDCA had to remind the appellants and their defence that if a conflict ever may arise between an interpretation of Mother Body constitution and Structures constitution, that the ANC constitution holds as predominant. I would have thought that Mpofu who is also a member of the ANC, would have known that.

 

The issue of recusal and mitigation, which I used as a cornerstone of my contention: Why NDCA will uphold the NDC findings (published on January 25, 2012), naturally I smiled in seeing that a non-jurist could be this correct in analysing the case’s outcome.  On the recusal, could the legal advice not gave foreseen that what they were asking for was an annihilation of the freedom of expression of ANC members, a principle that the 100 year old organization has always upheld.

 

Mitigation is not premised on the case but premised on sentence, suggesting the case was made and stands and is acknowledged by the respondents and defendants hence the defendants as or pray for opportunity to mitigate against such sentence exacted. Today we still hear the likes of  Professor Shadrack Ghutto, Messrs. Aubrey Matsiqi and Ebrahim Fakier argue the case’s merits when such is history as confirmed by the NDCA and equally implicitly accepted by the appellants, for which they plead in appeal that they were not offered sufficient opportunity to mitigate against sentence and not the case.

 

The critical question for me is what informed the defence counsel to have “prepared” a case less on reason but informed by sentiment?  It appears the legal counsel build a case on the abstract concept of political motif. Anyone who knows anything would argue the NDCA will never entertain such for such cannot be proven.

 

 

Should Malema not ask his legal fees back, for prudent legal advice was scarce in the case of the defence.

 

I think the Appellants have been grossly ill-advised and must be out of pocket on top of that for the case brought to the NDC and subsequently the NDCA was a weak in legal prudence one, perhaps it was a charade of personality and stardom.

 

Is it therefore not funny that the very visible Dali Mpofu when he halfway  through received the NDCA ruling began to make his way to Mom Winnie to seek motherly love and care, the same who do not even know they were coming to see her.

 

Perhaps as Mpofu was driving his sports green metallic soft-top version Jaguar XJ towards Soweto, he must have felt more a looser than Malema and company for he as a visible jurist should have known better. 

My advice to Malema and Company ask for your money back because the legal advice proffered was in sixes and sevens and short sighted.

Cases are won and loss in preparation is what the late Justice Fikile Bam told me many times, I guess Bra Fiks you were right again, for the defence in the NDCA hearing like in the NDC hearing  was ill prepared, and sought to build a case on  a wing and a prayer less in prudence of law.

 

Then again what do I know !

 

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine –

Author of soon to be published “Tradewinds are Blowing” Contemporary Political Musings and Discourse in Post Apartheid context

 

Can the case be made that our judiciary wants to have and eat its cake ?


– Making sense of Retired Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson’s rebuke  – 

George Orwell’s portrayal of a society that had been subjected to a revolution in which some ultimately claim a right above others is often one-sidedly advanced and used against politicians and political parties as a correct assessment.

Orwell said “…some are more equal than others”. It is my premise that the judiciary in Post- Apartheid South Africa claim a right above others, to reprimand and advocate without ever owning up.

Having followed and read the opinion pieces of former judges of particularly the Constitutional Court such as Kate O’Regan and the most recent piece from Arthur Chaskalson one can’t but conclude that judges do claim a right above others.  Yet we cannot deny our judges their views for such right we fought for.

To make matters worse as a precursor for the well publicized Arthur Chaskalson rebuke, we read of Judges berating the Justice ministry for arguing there is a need to subject judges and the judiciary to what Vavi call an asset audit and ownership audit. In simple terms a full disclosure of assets and business interests.  Justice Ngoepe and others considered the call by the minister as an “irrational intrusion” of their privacy.

To crown all of this Retired Judge Pius Langa in chairing the Commission on Press Freedom and a Media Tribunal as mooted by the ANC as one of the 2007 Polokwane policy developments, found himself clearly exposed if not proven bias as perpetuating the false theory of government as the enemy of the people or in the words of Mantashe “one of the threats in our society is allergy to parliament, that everything must be independent of the government and parliament”

This acidic concoction of judiciary expressions that advocates, warns, berates and comfortably dictates to government and politicians the parameters of what the constitution demands and how this protection of people is truly against the damned, vicious, politician or ruling party who really is the elected official or party warrants assessment.

Kate O’Regan like a Arthur Chaskalson both retired justices from the Constitutional Court took the liberty in media embrace to share their personal clearly strongly held and somewhat political opinions when they from the comfort of retirement makes their analysis, findings and views on the claim of judiciary encroachment on the executive as non existent ominously the pelting of those who lost in court and now seeks to find common fault with the judiciary. In both instances the politicians or ruling party is made out to be the ones who have  a propensity to complain when rulings were made against them. I must however admit between the pieces of O’Regan and Chaskalson I think O’Regan proved more circumspect, Chaskalson seems to act as the class master, then again he was the first CC Chief Justice, or can the case be made that testostorone sometimes gets the better of the male ego.

Our learned and esteemed judges makes the blunder of assuming the fault can and only is by nature on the part of the politicians who need I remind the judiciary have been entrusted by the masses in a democratic ballot when our judges are appointed by the very politicians.

Chaskalson was at pains to argue that to argue for an untransformed judiciary of apartheid making in post apartheid context is to be less considerate of  and he goes on and quote a litany if judges on all benches deemed black as the rebuttal for such for such claimed untransformed judiciary.

As much as we seek to grant Chaskalson this simplistic logic of an argument it must be said again to Chaskalson and others you cannot regard you nor a black judge as the barometer of transformation for black judges like white judges hold their own political persuasions and opines from such liberally. The error that Chaskalson makes is to say because the judiciary is 64% black it is transformed and cannot think from a class or elitist mindset prevalent in this society.

Just when I want to give Chaskalson credit for giving us in typical chilled instructive tone the proverbial “eureka” moment  for sharing with us what we apparently did not know, I have to contend with the views of an esteemed retired Justice Pius Langa who regardless to his claimed “blackness”, at this press freedom and looming tribunal, exposed his liberalist thoughts and fears of government as an enemy of the people. Langa exposed his open bias when he questioned the oversight envisaged by the ANC  would qualify the tribunal as independent. He went as far as asking if it was a good idea to suggest that parliament, in which the ANC held a majority should oversee the tribunal. One cannot but help seeing an obsession on the part of many judiciary members with the ANC majority, it almost as if this is an untenable situation for our esteemed judiciary.  The judiciary has implictly arrogated itself a right to act as balance of political power as a neutraliser for such ‘dreadful’ majority of ANC.  Perhaps its time to ask from where this obsession and in whose interest is the need to see the ruling party as a enemy of the people?  Maybe the judiciary must tell us for what team they bat and field  in the  proverbial IPL cricket tournament and at what price?

As if that was not enough the SA public has to hear an esteemed Justice Ngoepe remonstrate about an “irrational invasion” of their privacy, in a society where we have accepted corruption is becoming endemic. One had hoped that our judges would seize the moment and prove mature and open to claim a moral high ground to say we set the tone. It is clear for the esteemed judges that audits and disclosure is for everyone else such as politicians and civil servants, yet definitely not for the more equal than others elite group of society, namely our judiciary. For these are above reproach, immune to corruption, less tempted in the entrapments of mammon and even less open for political gerrymandering and lobbying, at least according to the esteemed judiciary.

As I pen this note in Spain a judge is currently facing the might of the law for having acted very unlawfully as is claimed. In South Africa we hear of magistrates being bought, sitting around braaivleis stands and finalising cases in-between a t- bone steak and who knows what in a briefcase. To Chaskalson and others we shall remind that during apartheid judges ruled on cases informed by politics and found legal premise for their findings no different to how a Dr. A. P Treurnicht’s doctoral thesis on Apartheid as Biblically defensible system advocated.  To act as if our judges in post apartheid context have undergone a cathartic of experience which absolves them from erring or proving politically bias, held hostage by political persuasions, cant be bought by money is to be sophistic in the least.

When one argues for a caution of the judiciary encroachment on the powers and roles of the executive as warned by a President Zuma, the secretary general of the ANC Gwede Mantashe and a Advocate Ngoako Ramathlodi and many others of which I am one, it is not out of fear  neither out of a deliberate misunderstanding of delineation of borders of separation and mutual accountability it’s out of an abundance of caution.

Nor is it out of having lost a case but out of seeing pervasive trends emerging wherein the courts including the court of courts are preemptively and even political used by some to run this country as we have said before from a lost ballot.

Your berating your veiled castigation your clear warning against politicians or parties justifiably though is only one half of the full truth. The other half is a judiciary that has claimed a hallowed spot from where they advance a dictum that the executive ought not to be trusted, should be watched as the imminent and by- design enemy of the people. The same people who adopted a constitution that empowers the judiciary as ultimate custodians of freedoms and rights.

A judiciary who amidst the establishment of a Civil Society driven “Corruption Watch” can arrogantly and selfishly protest “irrational invasion” in privacy. (One wonders who will rule in court embrace on such a dichotomy). A judiciary who comprise of people who opines their political views on a ruling party in a party atmosphere. A judiciary who consist of judges who had to rule on the extension or not of a Chief Justice Ngcobo extension when they themselves were contending for the post. A judiciary who like so many of our academics are held hostage in proving their worth as that which must be considered opposite to the establishment and anti ANC for when they rule in such manner they have attained independence, have earned the repute of prudence of thought and is respected by their white counterparts.

This was the challenge that American Harold Cruse raised in 1967 when he published THE CRISES OF THE NEGRO INTELLECTUAL’. Cruse proved scathing in his critique of the black intellectual as integrationists rather than nationalist. He said “This made them susceptible as well as submissive to the thought of white intellectuals especially Jewish intellectuals” (Wright 2007:3a)

Yes a judiciary who like Retired Justice Langa, errs when he clearly exposes the liberalist thought and misgivings of a government and parliament in oversight role to act as watchdog of a media who claims an inalienable right of self – regulation as an uncontested birthright and claims a right to attack anything or question as to the capacity of this self regulation as a claimed attack on press freedom.

It would help Chaskalson to understand our society better as society that is not just race based, colour coded but also class controlled where the elitists and their liberalist nuances even convictions attempts to prove larger than their assigned claimed spot be it in academic or judiciary context.

So Chaskalson your warning is to be heeded if you admit the context of our judiciary and not to make it a simple when it suits you black and white, politicians crying because they lost in court issue. For I dare assert any denial of the polarized context of society be it race, colour, class and opportunity defined is shortsighted and a claim of a right more equal than others is not afforded nor the inalienable right of a judiciary who may prove very soluble in political context.

I guess our judiciary regardless of colour do want their cake and it eat at the same time, and expect no one to question them for it is only correct to assume they are the only custodians of a Constitution for the people.

Respectfully submitted

Clyde N. Ramalaine, is a member of The Thinking Masses