ANC: Unsolicited Caution to my beloved Movement in an Election Season!

ANC: Caution, my beloved Movement caution!

                                                                                               – We can never justify and prove accepting in personal in attack as means of rationality –  

I was born in Essex Street Woodstock Cape Town in 1966, I grew up in what was considered Coloured townships across the length and breadth of South Africa and have been exposed to gang fights. In these historic gang fights where the switchblade or as we know it the okapi, was the supreme weapon, often dustbin lids (the old metal ones), bricks, bottlenecks, belts- with heavy buckles and anything made for weaponry. When I was in hiding ( refusing to go the camps)  in the mid 80’s on the East rand in a place called Reiger Park I again saw this phenomenon in which anything was a weapon in fights between the then gangs  ‘Serpents’ and ‘Family Boys’. I thought of this when I looked at our most recent captured material on for example the DA march on Luthuli House and other incidents such as our response to opposition parties.  

 

One of the tests of ANC cadres in this season is to desist the inviting and salacious temptation to grovel in the politics of non-substance that often lends itself to name calling people bashing, opposition thrashing etc. It has become too easy to denigrate. As wrong, as it was for the EFF leader to refer to Blade Nzimande in description of ‘skuurpot face’ so wrong and low is our reference to Helen Zille’s botox experiments etc. The politics of our hour lends itself to below the belt, and rotten loins manifest. It is in this context and season that we must needs caution ourselves to prove leading in the moral high ground of what is called the politics of democracy. We dare not prove this bankrupt in thinking that utter hate prevails and manifests in our utterances.

 

Let us not forget what makes the ANC, and what makes for a cadre, it was always about the issue not people-denigration. I am concerned that the ANC more and more is hoodwinked to resort to the politics of the street, in which anything goes. We can never justify the man with a claw hammer clad in in ANC t-shirt running in Downtown towards  the  group of DA blue t –shirts, it cannot be justified for the politics of the ANC was never politics of the claw- hammer and the dustbin lid, it was always rational engagement, even with the fiercest of enemies. When Umkhonto we Sizwe was born it was not natural, but in response to a repressive system that had access to machinery and weaponry the same they used to maim, kill and destroy African lives with. The ANC from its inception is and was a thinking organisation in which the engaging of minds opposite at many times remained engaged in pursuance of the most equitable means to attain the same outcome.

I think this past weekend was a watershed moment when ANC leadership had to resort to bashing  Julius Malema  of the EFF instead of motivating the just cause and true work this great movement of 102 years old ( ANC) has engaged in in transforming our society. On the other hand the usually politically – deviant Malema appeared much more sanguine and solid in his utopian wish list for he desisted the temptation to bash the ANC leadership. It is my unsolicited view that the ANC made the EFF look good because we were lured into street politics and gutter politics of people bashing. I have to salute Malema for either appreciating counsel or maturing to accept that that name-calling, insulting and hallucinating in character assassination is not the way to go. I am not saying he will not revert back to his old ways, but for the launch of the EFF manifesto he remained cool even in his interviews, For Fikile Mbalula to be seen spitting fire against his protégé who outsmarted him and in drawing 50000 people in relation to the ANC’s 15000, says much of the moment of our politics.

I wish I could say this phenomenon of personality focus is only prevalent in one place but we see the same in the Western Cape where the obsession has become Helen Zille and not the just cause. We must desist this developing phenomenon because it so easily can become sub-culture. The Western-Cape ANC leadership have enough to show the DA as not fit to lead the poor thus these must be raised in the atmosphere of electioneering but it cannot be purely about electioneering in which the wrong, nakedness of others is our only obsession when we fail to tell what it is we intend doing when we have secured political power in the vote come May 8,. 2014.  We can never condone the poo-protesters for their lack of what makes for a just protest.

 

The strategic plan for change for the Western Cape a document I had laid my eyes on and have engaged, is clear and must be made central, yet we are not hearing any of that, all we hear and see is the very reversed obsession that the  DA has shown with the ANC President.

Now it may be a tactic that helps frustrating Helen Zille who is particularly vulnerable for these tactics, yet I hold the ANC Western Cape leadership, can, and must ensure it wins the hearts and mind of the voters on its plan. A plan rear-guarded by a national good ANC story of governance. Off course we in a silly season but we are never allowed to become this silly that we lose our scruples and get down dirty in what looks like a fight between the  Cape Flats gangs  ‘Mongrels’ and the ‘Americans’ before there were guns. .

The ANC has enough to stand on its track record is more than glorious if we can in humility accept this reality we need not stand back for any political entity or party.

However if we  opt to engage in gutter politics and street politics in which people bashing is our signpost we will soon find out we are not trusted because we failed to lead when we needed to lead even there.

Let us afford all opposition formations the space they deserve in a democracy we ushered. Let us equally respect all those who the voters have and will trust no different to how we are and desired to be trusted.

The excellence of cadreship in the ANC has always been to hear the next person speak, to respect the other even if they were to hold a view diametrically opposed to yours and to calmly disagree factually in engaging with intellect.

The ANC is not a street movement, in which hammers, and pangas and dustbin lids is the defense against those who disagree with us. The movement has distinguished itself always as issue based, people-sensitive and a just cause driven. Anything else or less is an insult to be an ANC movement supporter.

So let us celebrate the mosaic of political canvas we have in shifting dimensions informed by weather and mood it is the democracy we delivered. Let us smile when some leave our fold because they have reached a place they do not need or nurture and parenting no more, it is their right. Let us for a moment step back and look beyond the emotion and cheap attack at  Julius Sello Malema and say if he sounds like he did in the EFF manifesto its because we have raised him, though he is canvassing against us.

However, for us we must jealously guard the roots of this Movement and respect it, as a conscious movement that simply do not engage in  gutter politics and equally is not a street party, armed with  claw hammers and clubs.

 

I guess I am pleading for a sense of humility, a sense of dignity in separating ourselves from the emerging tendencies of intolerance and disregard that so often becomes normal. The apartheid regime never could strip us of our dignity in our struggle, can we therefore allow freedom (that we delivered) to rob us from our dignity when we disrespect what we fought for in moments of blindness of rage and clouded minds of intolerance that afford mouths of emptiness to gush forth in vitriol, concocted cheap hate in which all things go and rationality has evaporated?   Let us in the abundance of caution remind ourselves that humility is not  a  sign of weakness but the exact evidence of greatness,

 

Clyde N.S.Ramalaine

Independent Observer

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What is in the DA claim of ‘real jobs’?

What is in the claim of ‘real jobs’?

  – The DA has conveniently not marched to the  head-offices of private sector entities –

Perhaps it is only correct to start by expressing an opinion on the DA march to Luthuli House and the ANC’s response. The ANC at times can prove very small, thus not respecting who it really is. There was absolutely no need to attempt blocking the march in court appeal. We all knew the court would rule against the ANC.  Furthermore there was absolutely no need to rally ANC supporters en-masse to come and form a human chain around Luthuli House. All the ANC leadership had to do was to welcome the DA march, and direct them to know that the address for the DA grievance  in regards ‘real jobs’ is not Sauer Street but Pretoria. The ANC unnecessarily gave the DA the upper hand in proving reactionary and almost scared for a very normal activity in SA. The approach from the ANC to this march proved emotional and lacking in tactical wit. Hence, they lost this one in my assessment.

Back to my topic of what is a real job, I am trying to wrap my small mind around what is deemed by the DA as “real jobs.” The DA has organised a march to the ANC- Chief Luthuli House in Sauer Street downtown Jozi to register their concern on the subject of real jobs for they challenge the ANC 2014 Manifesto that has set a commitment to create 6 million jobs.

It is a given that the promised 6 million jobs will have an EPWP temporal setting for periodic employment definition. Yet this claim of “real jobs” the subject of the DA march today is not without scrutiny. What is a real job in our changing world of employment? 

My simple logic is a job is the result of someone selling his/her labour or skills to those who require and need it for an agreed rate with specified agreeable terms. Now I am not dealing with the historical imbalances of job creation of apartheid etc., and all that because I think that is not the subject here and now.

On the other side of the spectrum of demands for ‘real jobs’ sits organised labour, who equally echoes the DA’s calls for real jobs though not for the same obvious reasons. Organised labour has kept the ANC led government carceral to an almost inordinate control insisting that it cannot move forward on for example the youth subsidy model as a means of alleviating an ever-increasing job seeking population.

Organised labour has stake in what they deem permanent jobs because organised labour can easier manage and harvest subsidies from permanent work force. The claim of a higher prevalence of temporal workers who will not necessarily subscribe to the idea or concept of associating with labour federations’ drives the misnomer those temporal jobs threatens permanent jobs.

Well back to the question of ‘what is a real job’? We know that the definition of jobs can hardly be so narrowly defined and scripted in someone clocking in at 8 and leaving at 5pm, with a bonus or 13th cheque, a lunchtime hour, pension/provident fund, medical aid and housing subsidy. There are hundreds of thousands of people who daily ply their trade in SA, outside the narrow description of a job as organised labour has defined. It is thus cheap and untruthful to act as if a job defined by organised labour is the full story of what a job entails.

Therefore, if a job is understood as labour or resource, based on the selling of time and skill to another for an agreed rate, in which one may work for 30 days, 120 days or 1825 (5years) as most contracted stuff be it directors or staff stand. What is the difference between being employed for 1825 days (5years) and 180 days (6 months)? In the naked sense, there is no difference except for a number of days. Hence which of the two would constitute a real job and if so why? Off course, there will be those who will argue it is not that simple, yet I think it is not that complicated.

The DA’s call for ‘real jobs’ rings hollow, on four levels the same I shall herewith attempt elaborating:

  • Firstly, the lack of job growth is a global phenomenon in developing and developed economies, which means it is not something unique to SA. This does not mean we should not review and make the necessary changes to accommodate a better growth cycle informed by enabling environment. Yet to act that as if this unique for us is to play precarious political games with an election in the offing.
  • Secondly, it also fails to appreciate the fact that the year on year last quarter (2012-2013) statistics for job creation shows a marked change with a positive 645000 created for the said period of comparison. This is the first growth seen in a period of 7 consecutive declines and job losses that started in 2009. This may not be all worth applauding if the immense challenge of job creation is considered yet one cannot act as if there has been no job creation in this administration.
  • Thirdly, the DA has no alternative and workable plan, to the current world SA specific challenges of lack of job creation. The DA governs the Western Cape and therefore implements policies in line with their exacted mandate, which the voters extended, yet we have not seen remarkable job creation in disparity of claim as is advanced in comparison to ANC led provinces. Can the DA release the statistics for the last 5 years for their ‘real jobs’ created by its governance.
  • Lastly, the DA has not staged any march to the owners of the means of production immanent in private sector. If we accept that the private sector remains essentially responsible for the creation of jobs, why have we not seen the same energy and verve on the part of the DA to march on the private sector in claim of ‘real jobs’? We see right through this transparent move and cannot but see the DA for what it is and always will be, a party interested in protecting a certain sector of our society at any cost.

Ultimately, governments do not create jobs; governments must ensure an enabling environment in which jobs can be created by those who best know how to do it. Equally, job hunters must be afforded the right to sell their labour and skill at a rate agreeable no different to formal employer and employee, not hamstrung by an organised labour that controls a percentage of what is the labour force. We know that the majority of the employed are not attached to organised labour structures.

In the final analysis the subject of a ‘real job’ is and remains a myth.  It is more an expedient political claim often advanced as a means to sweep up emotions when we prove less honest to admit we have firstly to acknowledge that jobs are jobs and has little do with a being ‘real’ or ‘permanent’ as advanced by the DA and Organised labour. There is no difference between a 5-year contract and a 1-year temporal contract.

Therefore, who is being deceived in this convoluted claim of real jobs and permanent jobs, can we accept people in SA are at work, perhaps not in the ‘formal’ and ‘permanent’ setting of what we wrongly have for too long with scrutiny accepted as  a job.

Then again what do I know; after all, I am jobless according to those who talk of permanent, formal, and real jobs.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent observer

‘Service delivery’ protests perhaps an untested claim !

‘Service delivery’ protests perhaps an untested  claim !

South Africa is a protest friendly country. Protests are not new and from an apartheid context were always used as a means of defiance when people were denied the democratic franchise of a vote.

“Service delivery protests” or orchestrated  opportunistic campaigns mirrored in actions of showing a country ungovernable. Maybe the question we increasingly will have to deal with is what is permissible from parties in  political-engagement if an election is in the offing? Can potential underhand tactics of revolutionary claim stand the test of scrutiny?

We are bombarded by those who count these claimed protests in almost deified name of “service delivery” we are informed we have on any given day 32 protests. A few natural and seldom uncontested assumptions are drawn by those who feed the dictum of an emerging revolution as gleaned from what they have consciously termed ‘service delivery’ protest.

They claim the proverbial Arab Spring has sprung in SA. They claim a sweltering summer of discontent  immanent in a natural revolutionary unfolding. The revolution for those who claim its presence these are led by a uniformed group of backers from a crossbreed of political shades of colour and persuasions. It is also naturally assumed that the revolution as in most instances in the history of nations comes targeted at the establishment.

As romantic, as this may sound the claim is not devoid of rightful challenge. The authenticity of this less tested or explained hegemonic unitary claims of revolution proves less scientific and in wanton in corroboration. It can even be argued that the claim is vacuous particularly since the usage of ‘service delivery’ as a description of the protest is never duly entertained.

This trend is becoming very common in SA. It reminded me of the Northern Cape schools impasse I was blessed to participate in attempt of resolving during the last quarter of 2012. The levelled claims in all media forms even in mass meetings always advanced this claim of service delivery absence.

Yet closer examination attests that this claim of service delivery was immanent in a 130km stretch of road demanded to be built before the schools would be allowed normalization in the Kuruman area.. In the Olifantshoek area, the issues ventilated from the community had twists of corruption claims, and the removal of the now late Mayor Maria Danitsa. In our walkabouts and door-to-door visits to the people of Olifantshoek, we were introduced to claims of “bishop we also want to eat – our children will go back to school when we also can eat like they eat.”

Having spent much time in visiting Olifantshoek the centre of gravity for the schools impasse, we became convinced that the claims altered as the wind blew, but the  borrowed robes of ‘service delivery’ protest as conceptualised by  some, and fuelled by a lusty media remained the  blanket of escape.

We watched the library and all key places that resemble community infrastructure destroyed by those who claim they engaged in ‘service delivery’ protests. We observed a community gripped in fear of itself as petrol bombs flared on the homes of those wrongly considered sell-outs.

On my maiden trip to Olifantshoek (the costs  carried by myself), we through the facilitation of Evangelist Barend Van Wyk were able to bring together 37 church leaders, challenging them to lead in the absence of political leadership. Our first encounter proved fruitful for  the clergy repented and agreed on a plan of action to have the schools reopened soonest. On the eve of my return visit, I received funny phone calls of intimidation and warnings from some who felt the religious intervention will scupper their cause. I told them I was not scared for apartheid and its ungodly underhand tactics and will not in this season in defence of our children’s right to education prove perturbed to trudge that road again. The next SMS I received attempted an instruction that I must contact Julius Malema to which I rightfully responded let Mr. Julius Malema call me, he should have my number.

We went ahead and ended up engaging the five young men accredited for  leading the Olifantshoek ‘service – delivery’ protests. When we engaged with them in the place of their restricted confines, we found that service delivery had nothing to do with as my recorded discussion attest. The axis for the protest was internal organisational party politics. (The experience of this episode is now being written under the heading “Lest we fail the African child – Memoirs of a Religious Intervention Experience).

A careful assessment will confirm that the schools impasse started around June of 2012 that saw the children never return from mid-year break. It in a sense almost ran parallel with the much publicised Marikana tragedy. The latter incidently also had nothing to do with service delivery but organised labour politics and personality agendas. It was interesting to see how the Marikana tragedy was capitalised on by some who saw fertile soil in this our collective tragedy.

I am saying all of this to argue the claim of service delivery protest is an easier used construct and seldom engaged in scrutiny of the claim.

Whilst the protests may be true, what is yet to be proven is that that these constitute in a justifiable and scientific sense a true service delivery protest. My understanding is that most recognised research reports attest that contrary to the claims of non-deliverance SA in 20 years have delivered, in all spheres, which energises a claim of service delivery. I deliberately will not bore you with the reports from credible institutions on SA’s overall performance thus far. Suffice to say if we have failed it is in the creation of jobs, yet this claim is also not a uniquely South African one. The efforts afoot confirm the seriousness of a current ANC leadership in dealing with this elusive for the entire democratic journey aspect of job creation. This is exacerbated by the global context and dynamics  evidenced in Europe and all leading world countries remaining confronted with the same demon of unemployment particularly for the youth.

Is it not time we ask again what a protest is and what governs a protest in democracy. Democracy innately welcomes the right to protest as a means of registering dissatisfaction with a situation or condition even a circumstance.

As late as yesterday the last weekend of official registration we received reports of people intimidated and denied to participate in the final registration process a constitutional prerogative of all in SA.

Can we really claim the recent service delivery protests in North West where water was cut off by a farmer, a non –delivery issue? Yes the tragedy of death remains that which any normal and civil society must bemoan, but we cannot afford obfuscating the reasons for the protest in the results of the protest. Can we honestly advocate services are not delivered to the most vulnerable in the supply of water, electricity, health, education, social welfare, housing, and other basic amenities? If we claim the aforementioned, what are the statistics and what is the benchmark that confirmed this claim of service delivery failure?

The numbers of protests registered in claim of ‘service delivery’ are extremely high, yet they do not naturally and necessarily stand exempted from necessary scrutiny. Given these numbers, it is easy to generate from these a conviction that the country is outraged with what is deemed an unwanted ANC government. It therefore makes political sense for opposition parties to quote these protests as an exact science in prove of evidence that the ANC is under siege.

Perhaps what really is behind the Bekkersdal intimidation is not a lack of service delivery, but party political interest in destabilising the country in the up-run to an election where the very right of ballot and power will be affirmed. It cannot be easily passed off as the community; the community unfortunately has a multiplicity of description and definition in political conviction sense.

The right to protest is a democratic right but not a right in the superlative to violate other’s rights to engage in what the same democracy affords all.

I shall ask again can parties handsomely benefit in claims of rights to protest and equally be exempted from responsibility in rendering government ungovernable and denying others their equal rights when the elections is a guaranteed occurrence.

Perhaps the  real threat to our burgeoning democracy is often seen from the wrong side, when we trust those the voters never trusted as natural custodians of our democracy.

These who today strive to mislead us in believing these are ‘service delivery’ protests assume we the thinking masses of South Africa are not thinking.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent Observer