The DA ran a hollow campaign from start to finish!

 

In a few days we will be casting our votes for the parties of our choice a privilege and right we all share in democracy.

 

However, has anyone noticed the official opposition the DA aka Deceptive Alliance as some in social media circles have dubbed it ran a hollow campaign, a campaign with no manifesto, message or commitment. The DA engineered a campaign absent in core pillar-definition.

 

A campaign known for making the ANC president famous, because everything that the DA leader Maimane had said from before the start of this 2016 municipal elections campaign has been Zuma, Zuma, Zuma. Everything he says today in every meeting of white-less in attendance rally he hold is Zuma.

 

How does Maimane get it right to be the Donald Trump of our local politics, high on noise empty on content?

 

How does the DA get it right to be this hollow and deceive itself to think we can’t see through it, we can’t hear through this hollowness and we can’t feel this emptiness?

 

The DA ran a campaign clutching at straws and premised on a notion to rewrite SA political history in telling us Nelson Mandela was a DA member!

 

This hollow sophism and retort stands in the same tradition of Zille’s claim of Biko.

 

Yes Mandela serves a president of SA for one term but the DA in hollowness attempts airbrushing our history and claiming Madiba as politically androgynous in choice of party. They want us to believe they speak for Mandela, when Mandela from beyond the grave told us all what party he would join in the hereafter and committed if he finds none he will establish an ANC Branch in heaven.

 

Now the DA in hollowness of content, attempts telling us Mandela is ignorant maybe even stupid like all the millions who have until now trusted the ANC to lead.

 

I must admit if you compare Madame Zille’s campaigns to that of the Hollow Maimane you too will see this was a more hollow campaign, this is to a greater degree a hollow campaign.

 

I have yet to hear what the DA will do beyond claiming “change”. I have tried to understand its campaign but it tells us about an ANC guy who wears black, green and gold for his party colors who does the dab at 74 with ease.

 

Indeed an expensive hollow campaign. This hollowness resonates from Cape to Limpopo.

 

It’s much made of attempt to capture the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which started with their choice for their abrupt last elections as directed by foreign funders, produced Mr. Hollow!

 

This campaign has petered out into a loose shot at nothing with a further hollow Athol Trollip, who has become increasingly silent in hollowness.

 

It’s Western Cape incumbent mayor Patricia de Lille, the earliest black face case today visits the areas of squalor like Crossroads wearing a mask among the Western Cape black poor, because their poverty and diseases as a government neglect them is contagious yet she wears no mask among the white rich.

 

When you ask any DA leader or candidate in this 2016 municipal elections what they will do as I tried with one of its newest hollow recruit a Georgen Miggels rom somewhere in the Eastern Cape, you quickly find out two things.

 

The Deceptive Alliance is loud on ANC and Zuma but cannot tell you what they going to do if elected to office. A pervasive sense of complete hollowness echoes and re-echoes through its ranks.

 

Secondly more disturbing is the hollow notion that South African voters who vote for the ANC are uninformed and stupid. This hollow myth parades in volumes from the top leadership in the DA and reverberates through every nook and cranny of this Alliance.

 

It’s Gauteng mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba is vocal in hollowness of disagreeing with the party policies. This again attests a party obsessed with a black face to evidence them not as a white conservative, interest and hegemony sensitive alliance. It simply didn’t learn from cutting deals with black faces as the Zille and Ramphele kiss of betrayal in 2014 left more than a smudge.

 

This hollowness is endemic, and is heard in its Ekurhuleni choice for candidacy, Ghaleb Cachalia. Cachalia who earlier boldly claimed he didn’t leave the ANC the ANC left him, and was proven a liar. Since Cachalia never was an ANC member clearly has no political track record as he claimed and is publicly berated by his own blood as trying to score on the his family name. Hollowness resonates throughout the DA. In fact it has become the central life mark of the DA in this season.

 

Somewhere the SA voters have seen through this hollow attempt of a highly suspicious Barak Obama impersonation. A factory fault in production that produced a hollow item.

 

Across the length and breadth of this complex society voters are not as ignorant this hollow campaign assumes.

 

I dare categorically assert Mmusi Maimane will evidence the decline of the DA in numbers in every area it claimed success before.

 

You simply cannot get away with this type of claimed change rhetoric in which the content remains begging.

 

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

An ANC Voter

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Did outdated race consciousness kill Sterling, Castile and the five Dallas police officers?

‘I take it as given that at the beginning of the 21st century, any notion of ‘race’ as a ‘valid biological entity’ no longer warrants serious discussion’ these are the words of the erudite scholar Neville Alexander in arguably his last published work. The sensibility of this statement in an indisputable superior technologically advanced society should be common and thus find practical functionality to give content to the obsolete state of race, yet it does not.

 

Alexander reminds us in remonstrating yet “the invalidity of the concept of ‘race’ in the domain of human biology does not carry over into the domains of individual and social psychology”

 

A year ago I penned a note Dylann Roof killed Rachel Dolezal in church, America’s incessant race problem. This morning we awoke to the unwelcoming news of an unfolding shooting incident in downtown Dallas. The scene finds us treated to video coverage captured by a quick-thinking perhaps curious citizen who was alarmed by what appeared to be gunshots ringing out in automatic machine gun sound.

 

Perhaps this is not too uncommon for Chicago, Miami, South Central Los Angeles or even other parts of the USA where gang-violence often occurs.

 

Yet this image is different what makes it so different is not the fact that we cannot clearly identify the shooter, what makes it different is who the shooter targets. It became clear that the shooter was targeting police officers, yet if that was the end of it we may consider this another criminal attacking law enforcement seeking to desist arrest, however that is not the case either. What unfolds paints a picture of a shooter still not easily identifiable but very consciously shooting at police officers, which in the -land of the brave and the home of the free- share a denotation for their human agency as white.

 

It is here that it becomes important to ask. Why would anyone take aim at officers the guardians of peace and the custodians of safety? Why would anyone one raise a gun or weapon let alone an automatic attack machine gun against law enforcement officers clearly clad in their uniform as they chaperone a peaceful march?

 

The echo that retorts back regardless to how we may attempt to avoid, compels us to draw lines, where many in their diverse hardened political convictions in a 45th presidential race refuse to go.

 

This is not a single crazy person who decided to take aim at the police of Dallas, in particular white officers, this it appears a man on a mission. Micah Xavier Johnson’s unwelcoming choice for executing his plan is a peaceful demonstration of campaigners for “black lives matters”. Yet this peaceful campaign is not a solitary one but one that has a root in the most recent brutality of police officers in the slaying of two men who share a denotation of black for their human agency.

 

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile did not know each other in person; they lived in different cities and states in the United States of America. Yet, Sterling and Castile, fell prey to the common demon of racism exemplified in law enforcement. Their cases, upbringing and epistemologies may in case – law present divergent lives, yet their common identity of black renders them the natural target for a unique form of brutality that America in recent years have come to see exerting itself.

 

Cut back to these incidents, Sterling the hustler with a criminal record, Castile the teacher at primary school with no criminal record. Sterling we are told was on the street hustling when he was approached by law enforcement, we are told he had a gun, yet footage again captured by a bystander with his android cellular phone attests a picture no one can deny.

 

Sterling was wrestled to the ground whilst with one hand clutching bootleg DVD’s, his hustle, and the other we are told going for his pocket. What we saw is two police officers jumping him, pin him to the ground and one literally atop of him as he lays on his back, the other loosening his holster in pointing his gun at the head of Sterling. What next unfolds is not an arrest, as we ought to see in democratic society. Instead we then get treated to daylight murder in the streets of Louisiana. The officer atop of Sterling pumped 6 bullets into his upper body and Sterling dies with blood flowing from gashing wounds.

 

Cut forward, Castile was travelling in his car with his fiancée in the passenger seat and his 3-year-old baby girl in the backseat. We are told he was pulled over for a dysfunctional taillight. This in the normal every day life would earn you at least a warning at worsts a ticket. Yet on that fateful day, an officer as captured by his fiancée’s cell phone approaches Sterling, the officer shouted instructions and Castile tried to get his licence.

 

What next unfolds defies logic, sanity and humanity because in stark presence of his fiancée and baby girl the police pumps without hesitation four bullets into the upper body of Castile amidst his fiancée pleading as overcome in shock by this awfulness of this event cries for her dying man. Her cry ‘please officer tell me you didn’t do just that”. Castile slumps and his eyes rolls as he chokes to death on his own blood.

 

What will stay perhaps eternalized in our memories is not the agony of a fiancée, who screams and cries but a 3-year old baby girl who has to console her when she had just witnessed her dad died at the hand of a police officer. Police officers that this 3 years old is taught signals safety, protection and care, has just obliterated this child’s picture of what she was taught. This is America.

 

The twist in the tail is not that that Sterling and Castile was shot, the twist in the tail is not that they were killed the twist is they were killed on the same day by white officers.

 

When we therefore seek to understand the protest marches that unfolded even the one with tragic consequences for law enforcement in Dallas we must contextualize this with the aforementioned incidents, isolated for some but conjoined for others. How do we claim them conjoined, well the shooter in Dallas we are told by Chief Brown shouted his irate state of agony disgust and hate for white officers as those who killed Sterling and Castile without legitimate reason.

 

Close examination for an identity for the shooter in Dallas leads us to a black man, but not an ordinary black man but a military trained man, who had served in Iraq. It appears he had chosen to rationalize there is an enemy in the borders of the USA, the very USA he sought to protect from outside forces. He thus decides the enemy is so real that he will declare a war on what he considers the enemy, willing to lay down his life for the cause no different to being willing to die on foreign soil.

 

Martin Luther King junior in his speech delivered at Riverside Church in New York in the autumn of 1967 attempts to capture perhaps what the shooter, was dealing with the negro wants to know why he is called upon to fight a war in Vietnam for it liberation when the negro cant walk in Chicago.

 

So we must ask the tough question, what really killed the law officers in Dallas? The easy answer is the shooter of Micah Xavier Johnson, yet the more plausible answer I postulate is perhaps a race consciousness that has so often played out in stark inhumanity.

 

We can give him a litany of adjectives to describe him as the president and many others rightfully did. Yet stopping at calling him whatever does not deal with America’s race problem. Regardless to how we may attempt to reason against the coldness of facts that the nation is not polarized, America must wake up from its sleeping slumber because the beast of racism is eating it alive.

 

To postulate that the Dallas police officers were killed by more than the shooter is not to exonerate the one that pulled the trigger but to contextualise the subject of race and identity and how its is given legs in a society that prides itself in being a democracy for almost a quarter of a century. Blaming the shooter in isolation claim does not do justice to begin to engage the conversation Americans are compelled to have now more than ever before. The conversation on race and its seeming attending enclave of police enforcement as evidenced in a litany of cases in which black lives are lost attest a reality of an earlier season of the 1960’s.

 

A denial of this polarized context as the president attempts does not make it go away, I have elsewhere asked that America needs leadership now, it does not need scripted analysis borne from the central conviction of a rationality as if this is a case study. It demands leadership from the White House.

 

Perhaps we must first start to admit that Sterling and Castile were killed. Saying they were shot is an injustice by itself for it downplays the act and callous deed of murder.

 

The questions are many; the police officers that shot Sterling were not in contact with the officer that killed Castile. They did not attend a gathering of officers we must assume where the message was send go our there and find reason to kill black males. They were not part of a secret society hell-bent on destroying the rights enshrined in the USA declaration of independence, yet their acts both individual and collectively communicates a reality that more and more becomes indisputable.

 

We must ask what does police enforcement mean if it is perceived as feeding at the trough of racist ideological convictions, we must ask is enforcement not to be replaced with service? We must ask how content for that service is filled?

 

The conversation that America must have is how do white officers share the common psychology of a fear for black males. Equally we must ask how and why black parents are compelled to have the talk with black young men. Talks in which they black young lives have to be warned against a plausible reality of racist behaviour from the very police enforcement that that is to protect, only because they black.

 

How dare we assert America is not polarized when everyday a young black man in America leaves his parents home with the very real possibility of not returning home that same night. We must ask how police enforcement can be responsible for this fear, this black reality, from which those with darker melanin cannot escape.

 

Equally how can it be that white officers are afraid and brace themselves against plausible attack only because they white.

 

Finally, does the subject of race as evidenced in colour coding of black and white for a common human identity as articulated in formal discourse by the writings of Immanuel Kant in 1785 in his now infamous Rassen articles. We must ask how and why we remain loyal to the unscientific notion of race, we must ask how we remained trapped in this precarious hot air balloon that threatens at every turn to fall from the sky. Is it not time we free ourselves from the unsustainable identity construction and configuration for our collective common identity as humans.

 

Therefore I conclude, Sterling and Castile were killed by a race-constricted mind, I submit the police officers that died in Dallas were killed, were murdered by a race-trapped mind.

 

America as 240 year old democracy owe it itself to have the conversation of the costs of holding on to race constricted thinking with colour for its base.

 

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

SABC: facts, fiction and perhaps fixation!

 

 

In the aftermath of a pronouncement that the SABC will no longer show violent and property destruction protests, and on-going protests, opinion pieces and news coverage on the SABC we have consistently heard the central theme for displeasure as articulated is ‘censorship”.

 

The subject of censorship is shared with absolute certainty no different to what we were treated not so long ago in our public discourse on claims of state capture.

 

It is perhaps time we ask some questions in understanding what is known, what is being said, who says it and what is missing in our current SABC talk.

 

What is known?

 

  • As “censorship” is confirmed to be the epicentre of this storm, it appears personified as further as anchored in one individual the SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
  • Let us therefore start with Motsoeneng. The controversial personality of the SABC has at least two findings against him. The most pronounced one is that of the public protector which became the base for a court appeal to give effect to the cited findings of the PP.
  • What is important is that, we know by now Motsoeneng’s educational credentials in emptiness of a matric certificate has been proven beyond question. This is a serious subject and therefore the ethical implications for this, his actions warrants all and necessary due sanction. I am in concert with the desire to have to deal with this aspect expeditiously.

 

 

What is being said?

 

  • What the buzz and even noise carries is a central message, of a public broadcaster SABC as practicing censorship in denying the general public access to information in particular on protests regardless to how violent and destructive these may portend.
  • Those who argue against a decision on the part of the SABC to stop broadcasting violent and infrastructure destruction protests see this as a gross infringement on the constitutional diaphragm of a public broadcaster responsibilities informed by a right to know as guiding principle.
  • We hear about a single person (Hlaudi Motsoeneng) who rules and reigns with impunity and disdain at the SABC. An individual who appointed himself and is completely untouchable whose statements as reported from internal sources attests someone above the law. Ne who lacks the capacity to lead his office and the SABC as COO.
  • This picture receives further colour scheming when political dotted lines are drawn to the Minister of Communications and indirectly as usual to the President. It is my assumption that the latter aspect clouds issues instead of clearing them up.

 

  • On the other side of the spectrum we hear confusing voices from Communications Workers Union and a cohort of artists as led by Don Laka who have been campaigning for more local content for decades. These celebrate the decision of the SABC to shift to a biased 90-10% of local content. We know this has not been well received in many circles for the economic implications its hold. This group appears to be willing to die for the tyrant, the dictator and for them the hero.

 

  • We hear of how staff members are threatened by a dictator who parades the passages of the SABC offices and considers himself the claimed ‘alpha and omega’ in the SABC. Yes, we hear of a COO who has no regard and rules his kingdom by fear immanent in threats of he knows everything because he has people among the staff who report on them. Certainly this situation is untenable and warrants immediate address, for this is firstly a public broadcaster, and secondly its workers deserve a conducive environment for employment and what we hear is clearly not conducive.

 

 

Who said it?

  • It becomes important to ask who says what, because what is communicated is not distinct from who says it. We must contextualise the claimed journalists we hear who today speak in silence of crossed taped lips. We must ask who are represented what interest do the defend for it cannot be naively argued that their only and singular interest as that of the public.

 

  • These are journalists from both privately owned media formations and journalists from the SABC as well. We must not prove sophistic to assume we the protestors are a homogenous group devoid of self-interest although communicating in the mouth of a claimed public interest.

 

 

  • Among those who speak up today and had become for some a victim and hero is the recently resigned acting-CEO Jimi Matthews. Yet Matthews as Vuyo Mvoko in today’s Star front-page protests was part of the butchering of careers at SABC. I would imagine if others who worked with Vuyo Mvoko are asked on Mvoko they will equally be arguing how he ended the careers of others in his own way.

 

  • Staff members of the SABC are claiming victimization and have joined the protest at the SABC. I am citing this to show us the multi-layers of opinions emanating from the same space called the SABC.

 

  • Among the voices that speak out are also former SABC board members. SABC boards throughout at least the democratic era have always struggled to lead the SABC in clarity and business model operational success. One therefore simply do not know what these use as maximum symbol of Board leadership in the SABC history against which the current board can be measured.

 

 

  • I welcome the ANC policy statement as articulated, it is necessary as the leading party entrusted not to rule but to lead in democracy to engage the SABC in this season.

 

  • I do however think that often the side comments at these press conferences clouds the actual policy subject. I do not think it right for Jackson Mthembu to include “there is no one competent at the SABC to lead”. The questions from this statement are: Is this the ANC policy? How was this conclusion drawn? What process was followed to conclude on this in this fashion? Is this after Jimi Matthews left or should we assume Matthews was the last competent one? I am not sure if this is an off-the-cuff personal remark, like the one where he said he wants to go join the march with the journalists, when he was frankly pushed on why he is not joining the march he appeared in sixes-and-sevens. It is a challenge that the ANC now sees the need to have an urgent meeting with the Minister and her board, yet this nevertheless must be welcomed.

 

 

 

 

 

What is missing?

 

  • The definition of censorship in democracy is a very serious aspect, yet censorship as thrown around has not yet been defined, neither engaged or proven. We still awaiting the evidence of this censorship as policy praxis. Censorship is often lumped with press freedom, and often in our SABC- talks press freedom features as tenant of this censorship claim.

 

  • We are not told what the acting CEO’s role was in all of this. We still do not know what he did or did not do for the eighteen months he was paid to be the CEO. In my understanding the COO is answerable to the CEO. We don’t know what the entire executive management was doing, we hear censorship personified in the COO. The ‘apology’ and stated concessions from the departing acting – CEO is nowhere critically scrutinised, rather he is embraced as a victim who suffered at the hand of the easy to believe villain. Did the acting- CEO know prior to him accepting the job what the environment was and why did he accept the job, because by the time he came to be acting, the clouds around the COO were swelling in question of fitness.

 

  • In all of this what is glaringly missing is anybody keeping the Board of the SABC accountable for the state of dysfunction as communicated to the public. The SABC board stands in the same space as SABC boards before, boards who proved susceptible and lacked the ability to lead from the front in keeping management in check. I have elsewhere concluded perhaps the SABC board must shoulder the full and undeniable blame for the state the SABC finds itself in be it in perception or reality. For how does any executive management team have such latitude without the Board being a means of testing the impact of decisions.

 

  • Is there any success at the SABC if the recent financials are considered the yardstick? It seems there is truculence to either engage or acknowledge this on the part of the detractors, because and admitted concession to the good happening at the SABC will be accredited to the COO. We do not hear if the claimed success as business operation is challenged or questioned in veracity if operations mean business decisions to raise revenue, and paying of debt to lead to stability is the measuring tool.

 

In the end it seems we are lost in facts, fiction and fixation.

 

Facts because there are grounds for taking the COO to task as the public protector report had clear shown. There is a current ruling against the fitness of the COO and whilst he had appealed, perhaps the SABC board should have had the foresight to suspend the COO until such time as the case is resolved. This issue clouds the success that is indisputable at the SABC. The facts also attests that the SABC is a business success in this era, until the opposite can be proven we have to accept the most recent financial attests sound business strategy and outcomes.

 

A further fact is the SABC has embarked on a policy decision to have 90% local content, a decision to be celebrated from all corners of the SA public. However we know not everyone is happy with this, and there is an economic interest at play, because markets are beginning to be shifted be it in attempt or real.

 

The last fact is the SABC has taken a decision not to broadcast violent protests. We do not know if this decision is a policy decision or how it was arrived at.

 

This decision in an elections season spells more trouble for it will be lumped with claims of unfair treatment of smaller parties. On the other hand the proverbial jury is and remains out of if the SA public wants to be treated to the violence we have seen or not. Yet that is a subject for another day.

 

Amidst all this there is also some fiction doing the rounds, it becomes difficult to separate the facts from the fiction. Compromised individuals and groups make claims and counter claims, which fuels the notion of fiction. It is claimed the COO makes every decision. Fiction dictates that the SABC board is not present in the SABC decisions. Fiction further dictates that the actions of the COO are unilaterally accepted because he is explicitly carrying a mandate from somewhere in Tuynhuis. Regardless to how romantic and plausible these may sound we must regard it, as fiction for the evidence simply does not exist to corroborate such. Fiction because anything anyone says they heard being said without any testing is treated as the truth because we are less concerned about the facts in a contaminated environment where political agendas drive us.

 

Fixation, there appears to be an over emphasis on the COO. There is a plausible fixation with the man, the person the COO and thus everything that occurs at the SABC is read through the lens of this fixation. Never before has a COO received such attention, yet some are so fixated by this character that they are not prepared to be objective on anything in and on the SABC. It is my unsolicited view that our discourse loves a victim and villain, our discourse is too often premised on blaming someone for the problem hence we have Messiah complex running our society. Our search for a person to save us is so real that we have to find the villain. Have we not with this fixation of Motsoeneng missed the opportunity to engage in objectivity on what a functional SABC ought to look like. Have we not missed the opportunity to celebrate the hard work of all SABC staff and acknowledged the success despite? Have we not contributed to the State of the SABC perceptive or real when we chose to become fixated with an individual?

 

The SABC from an outsider’s perspective is not a failure, its not a nosiness failure, its not a production failure. It is attempting to transform the economic pie of production which for the greater part of its existence has been apartheid defined.

 

It remains my view that the SABC Board must shoulder the full state the public broadcaster finds itself in, good, bad and ugly. Exonerating the board is a grave wrong.

 

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Public Commentator