SA feminists a political enclave of convenient sisterhood!

– not challenging a sexist EFF leader confirms agreement-

Cheris Kramarae reminds us ‘feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings’. This fundamental claim is perhaps lost, as it appears the SA feminists in a growing sense attest an enclave of convenient sisterhood. The oxford dictionary defines ‘a feminist’ simply as ‘an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women’. Yet we also know that the term ‘feminist’ remains contentious. Those who know argue such contention on an axis of two critical aspects for it partly connotes a militancy of an ‘anti-men’ stance and also its association with elite groups of women.

Recently the EFF leader Julius Malema proved bold to go public with a salacious claim of Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water and Sanitation, as controlled by a younger male, colloquially referred in claim of a Ben 10, with whom she shares an intimate relationship. The claims levelled are that the chairperson of the Central Energy Fund controls the department in its expenditure and therefore corruption is rampant. The gist of Malema’s untested allegation is Mokonyane is a philandering corrupt minister. It is here that her identity in sisterhood is conveniently sacrificed at the altar of her political association.

I have previously noted in SA there is a general reluctance to call the EFF leader Julius Malema to order on the part of opposition parties, vocal religious leaders, public intellectuals, progressive civil society formations, foundations and individuals of so called standing in society. To this group one must now add the feminists both public and private. 

We not sure if the tactics of personal attack employed by Malema intimidates the vocal feminists. Perhaps on another level their collective hate for the political leadership of the ANC in agreement with Malema renders them compromised to condemn his misogynist attacks.

What our feminists heard?

Our feminists it appears only heard the word corruption; they heard a government minister in an ANC led government in corruption. They heard a so-called Jacob Zuma defender as our daily scripted narrative leads, caught in corruption. They heard a member of the ANCWL that irritating body is caught.

What did our feminists not hear?

What our feminists failed to hear was the claim that a man controls a woman. They failed to hear a matured woman who has held several political and administrative offices among others the Gauteng Province premiership, as incompetent to lead because she in this season is gullible and led by a man her junior. The feminists failed to hear the stereotyping of a sister who with this claim is rendered incapable to lead because she arrived in her current stand in society by favours to a worshipped male organ.

Is it therefore strange that not one of the usually vocal feminists across the apartheid race classification and identify configuration rose to publicly and directly condemn the attack on Nomvula Mokonyane in identity of sisterhood?

 

Perhaps the feminists forgot the poignant words of Simone de Beauvoir as she unequivocally declares, “I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself.”

It appears that it is more important to constrict Nomvula Mokonyane, to the narrow one-dimensional political persona for the totality of her humanity. Her identity as human being is therefore made subservient to her being an assumed political enemy by implication a corrupt foe.

Interpreting the pervasive silence of the feminists leads one to conclude, Mokonyane deserves every insult, assault, and denigration on her character as meted out by a clear chauvinist. She is denied her identity of sisterhood. –An identity obliterated because the elites have carte blanche on denying those it disagree with on a political level. The agreed silence not to reprimand and call out this convenient sexist attack on a fellow sister is a loud amen to the attackers vitriol.

Our feminists remained neutral when Elie Wiesel, reminded us “We must take sides, Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

The feminists usually decipher attacks on a common sisterhood, until you bring the dynamic reality of our scripted party and pseudo party politics into consideration. They therefore appear exposed not to discern a naked attack on a fellow sister by a male chauvinist-politician who leads the EFF.

I do not see our feminists writing opinion pieces or attempting to engage objectively in analysis on the EFF leader as he abuses fellow sisters in the ilk of Mokonyane and Mbete at the hand of his maleness. They won’t defend Nomvula’s identity as a sister because their hate for the party, “camp” faction she represents blinds them not to see this vicious attack on her character.

I thought the women who protested at the announcement of the August 2016 Municipal election results in the name of the late Fezekile ‘Kwesi Kuzwayo would equally have their placards on display in expressing their displeasure at the abuse of a fellow older sister. I expected them to say unequivocally to the EFF leader, not in our name. Certainly Kwesi cannot be used to condemn one politician in celebration of another who is leads this attack on a fellow sister.

This duality of interpretation of the emancipation of women lends itself to a convenient expression in South Africa as shaded by nothing but politics.

Perhaps it is time to question why we take the vocal feminists serious. My discovery of the feminists leads me to conclude:

The vocal feminists often speak as if mandated by the masses of women of South Africa. From their class disposition they assume a natural custodianship for the cause of women. This attitude confirms the assumption that it is the elites that know the cause, understand the plight, and have the solutions for the cause.

Many of them are feminists in sheer hate of males. This male hate laced analysis often results in feminists proving intolerant of fellow feminists from the male side.

Some are quick to cry foul in victimhood and seldom are willing to engage as equals. Others theorize on the complexities of the feminist cause, and prove only willing to go to some level to realise the aims of the cause, but out of their economic comfort never embrace the totality of the cause for which many had laid down their lives.

I still hold the emancipation of women warrants the active participation of man as counterparts as we together give content to a non-sexist society.

The convenient silence of feminists in not addressing the misogyny of a Julius Malema is therefore a direct indictment to our constitution that recognises South Africa as a country that works for a non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic paradigm.

We may therefore conclude that South African feminists are perhaps draped in convenient kaftans of choice as to when to make the cause of a common sisterhood count.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator

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“Xenophobic violence” : The debate we refuse to have!

 

– They say …. ‘THEY TAKE from us’…

 

Amidst the mounting tension that threatens another wave of xenophobic violence, scheduled Anti-Illegal immigrants march as we see in Tshwane and counter threats from from those who claim they are victims.

Like many I  received this toxic text message, which I include in verbatim as “We’ve just received Intel the Nigerians r planning to plant bombs in mall thru the whle country from Friday 24/02/17. In response to the Xenephobia attack, its rough. For now stay away from malls guy” the message is dovetailed with disclaimer ‘ not sure how true is this is but be careful out there’. This clearly depicts a polarised context, that is pregnant with violence.

Let me therefore in the beginning be unambiguous and categoric, I along with my family, our church family, and friends circle vehemently condemn the attacks on fellow Africans in this season as we have done so in previous seasons. Our prayers are with the victims of these attacks.

As the tensions mount in pockets of SA in this season, we are forced to pause to ask have we ever truly engaged the subject of what is meant with xenophobia, or xenophobic violence or as some call it afrophobia in its periodic manifestations if and when it occurs.

The historic reality of the usage of this term speaks of a violence meted out to the collective experiences of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, and on another platform as immanent in Europe for example with the Roma (Gypsies).

The upfront question I seek to introduce into the debate is can we comfortably claim xenophobia or xenophobic violence meted out to people because they are of a certain description i.e. Somali, etc, as was the case with the Jews?

It appears we are all constrained to engage the subject matter because it is believed from some quarters when you raise issues around it you are on the side of violence and criminal behaviour.

I am deliberately not going to entertain this shady and suspect prism of an either or, particularly since we have yet to establish by what arrogated powers are we forced into silence with this claim of either or paradigm? Why are we as leaders finding ourselves brow- beaten to toe a line of condemning only and not engaging in analysing in this season, in which our only relevance is reduced to a march for the victims.

 

It is my contention that the debate on xenophobia or what I shall call ‘xenophobic violence’ remains a shallow one. Is it than surprising that this is repeating itself hardly nine years later at least for the fourth time now if the curent 2017 threats are included.

In some quarters, we even hear some remonstrate there should not be any debate for this is purely criminal. Political parties no different to most constituencies making up our society fuel this shallow debate, and lacks the wherewithal to help SA engage this nettle.

Yes, our approach to this subject suggests a haphazard response because we argue in simplicity of a real crisis, as an event, with the only desire to get it off our radar as the proverbial fly that disturbs us. 

We consciously refuse to engage the mumbled articulation of those directly affected by issues at hand. We easily prove dismissive in ease of their claim. We should know being dismissive does not take away the issues some may advance at least as seen and experienced by those who choose to rise and attack. Today we all jump and condemn the attacks (rightfully so) but unfortunately that is but only a first step if we are serious to deal with the issue of xenophobia / afrophobia. 

Condemning the perpetrators is the easy part; dealing with the intertwined challenges, which ultimately manifests in xenophobic violence and attacks is what we cannot escape. We may continue to have afrophobia – xenophobia attacks if we continue to be dismissive of the claims of those who today attacks fellow Africans.

Equally, we may continue to have xenophobic attacks if we continue to be dismissive of the need to provide an orderly framework within the legitimate entrepreneurial desires of all involved may be expressed.

To argue those who persist in their mumbled and increasingly more vocal contention as mere hooligans / criminals because we are embarrassed of their wanton behaviour, is to fail to appreciate that the issues raised by those who in this season have taken it upon themselves to attack fellow Africans warrants engagement.

These issues often finds claim in a mumbled articulation be it the Cape Town, Eastrand, Soweto, Kwa Zulu Natal and today in Atterideville. The central theme as it is heard in the media adopts the notion of ‘they take our jobs, our business, our women, our children and our RDP homes’.

When we hear them say, THEY TAKE the above we prove dismissive in claims of South Africans are lazy, wanting governnent to do everything for them.  These responses as categoric as they are made, recorded, and articulated consciously refuse to hear the two critical words – THEY TAKE…

It is here that I wish to postulate ‘xenophobic violence’ does not manifests in the spaces where the ruling class lives, transact and play, for here the borders and boundaries have been set informed by ownership of means or a sharing therein as the ruling class permits. There is no question that many of our fellow African brothers and sisters in semblance of pockets are also present here and are not affected by this afrophobia.

Xenophobia does not play out in manifestation in a middle class setting; it does not make its way to suburbia SA where the order of a middle class insulates those of this class definition. Again, there is no question that our fellow African brothers and sister are represented in this group too and live comfortably in contribution to a functional SA in all manifestations of its lived experience.

Xenophobia violence finds traction among the poorest of the poor. It finds and a livelihood meaning where there is a contestation for resources, services, and access however defined. It is here where the subject of – THEY TAKE – is most prominent and finds meaning. Please do not misread me to argue the poor are naturally prone to behave in a xenophobic manner, but hear the context rather than a conclusive view on the poor.

It operates in a space and place where the most vulnerable struggles to eke out an existence in the midst of a rightfully or wrongly claimed persistent taking from them.

It operates in the midst of those for whom a historic, present, and future disenfranchisement, regardless the beauty of a constitutional democracy, is more than tangible. Yes those who have not shared in this South African dream of a collective future of equal opportunity.

When the poor, those trapped in a space of contestation for basic resources, claims being left behind (rightfully or in error of claim) as  forgotten and sees another (foreign) enter their space and derive an economic benefit, claim a right of equality from the very context of their poverty they see it again as – They take-

It is not an exact science but a lived experience in which the margins of advancement are contested in a township. Let us also not forget those who come to the township from the deep rural villages come to share in its economy and equally find a place to eke out an existence for their personal and family’s survival.

 

The interesting reality is as earlier advanced the absence of xenophobic violence in certain social spaces confirms that a regulated context is possible. Meaning we have a working model. The question becomes why we are showing a reluctance to extend the same to the poor. Our democratic project does not afford us the luxury to leave the poor to fend for themselves.

A further noteworthy point is the responses the elite and middle class exhibit, it appears they enter in response to xenophobic violence less with the victims, the poor in mind, but themselves as the epicentre for their articulation of solutions. In fact, it says more about our elite and middle class pervasive embarrassment than the real concerns for the victims of those unacceptable inhumane attacks.

We therefore must desist to prove dismissive of the claims of those who participate in these inhumane attacks. It is not because there exist no case for experiencing of ‘they take’.

Perhaps if we are less crisis driven, less event-focussed and more conscious of generating a dialogue of equals on the subject matter of this -they take – as an experiential reality, we may grasp the nettle of the periodic unacceptable attacks on our fellow Africans in understanding the context better. Ours dare not be to simply be dismissive in labelling fellow South Africans mere hooligans; this is the easy way out and a focus on the peripheral aspects. It is a given that in all unrests there are components of hooliganism, and political parties, civil society and structures of community will tell you their genuine causes often remain hijacked by a handful of hooligans. We do not have the luxury of reducing a cause to mere hooliganism when we in our own marches and civil unrest have seen this phenomenon time after time.

 

When political leadership huddles in claims of being dismissive we fail to acknowledge the reality because leadership often is insulated as part of the ruling elite and from that presence may truly be out of touch with the notion of they take, in fact it cannot make sense given where the ruling and middle class finds themselves.

 

When our minister of Internal Affairs rises to respond to the subject, it cannot be in absence of the acknowledgement of admittance that the true record of foreigners in SA is non-existent sketchy and very precarious.

 

It cannot be devoid of admittance that our borders as a sovereign independent state prove porous, soluble and open for abuse on a daily basis.

It cannot be devoid of admittance that the framework in which the entrepreneurial energy of the poor is supposed to be harnessed is not functioning well hence the periodic outbursts of violence.

The xenophobic attacks with a genesis in recorded history since 2008, warrants us to ask some serious tough questions.  It is in our collective interest to open our minds to ask the tough questions:

 

  1. What is our true policy on migration and how is that policy experienced  as a lived reality ?

 

  1. What is the real contestation of the poor ( defined by some as shameless hooligans) all about?

 

  1. Where does this ‘xenophobic violence’ find resonance and traction for it to be so easy to manifest given our commitment to the undersigning of the UN conventions of asylum seekers and refugees coupled with our own SA laws of human rights base laws for citizenry and foreigner protections of rights?

 

Perhaps the biggest problem in our long overdue debate is the fact that the ruling elite have determined xenophobia a non-debate. The ruling elites aided by a middle class have decided this criminal manifestation and therefore not to be entertained in plausibility of what we can learn.

 

Therefore in the absence of a truly engaged strategy I am afraid in a country where inequality, poverty, and unemployment remains the true challenges with an ever increasing  growing percentage reality,  the challenge of ‘xenophobic violence’  as a response to the claim – they take – may occur with ease from time to time.

We must needs find another analysis of this phenomenon, if we in any sense serious to eradicate the demon of xenophobia as a future reality. In the absence of such we will remain, reactionary, trapped in state of public relations exercise  of damage control in which we are refusing to engage the phenomenon in the fullness of its manifestation.

 

I am afraid this can no longer just be about the elites being embarrased, this can no longer be about public relations stints, neither can we in armchair convenience prove dismissive of what is happening. It is time we truly attempt objectivity and face the reality that a part of the SA identity is coloured by the reality of xenophobic violence. Until we are willing to engage this subject honestly we should expect regular waves.

 

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

The EFF unstuck on JZ removal!

Einstein, defined “insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I thought of this common adage when the EFF attempted not for the first, second or third time to stop the President from speaking this time at the most recent SONA.

The EFF’s latest stance to rather wholeheartedly boycott the president if and when he attends parliament is perhaps the more mature thing to do given its many failed attempts to deny South Africans their right to hear the president in annual reporting.

They took SA into confidence after what is termed the worst of a democratic parliament incidents of violence they initiated if video footage is used as base for analysis.  They informed SA they now changing tact, their new plan is a complete boycott of parliamentary sittings where the president is to speak. On this score I felt like saying bravo’ that is a mature way of registering your displeasure if you do not suffer of constitutional delinquency as a democrat.

As part of its decision not to participate they intend approaching the Constitutional Court to rule on whether the National Assembly failed to keep the president accountable. In a nutshell the EFF wants the Constitutional Court in legal sense to direct the National Assembly as to how to keep the executive accountable.

It is difficult to see how this new tactic of the EFF will deliver its overarching goal (the removal of Jacob Zuma) particularly when one revisits the CC ruling on the Nkandla case. In such if one may paraphrase the CJ acknowledges that in as much as they are the highest court the political sphere is not controlled or dictated by the court. The Constitutional Court recognises the National Assembly’s right to decide as to how it would keep the executive accountable. If the CC accedes to the new tactic of the EFF it would mean the judiciary as one of three arms of the State encroaches on the legislative and executive arms.

The idea for the EFF to resort to the Constitutional Court may be premised on the following reasons. It may be bad legal counsel built on the frame of previous successful cases in other courts on other issues. It can also mean it is a desperate last resort to get Zuma removed. Therefore the chances of the EFF succeeding in this court case may be very slim.

THE EFF EXISTS TO REMOVE ZUMA

It is important to understand why the removal of the president is so crucial for the EFF. I am on record for having said the EFF exists in two personalities namely Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema. The day one of the two for whatever reason leaves the political scene the EFF would be irrelevant and obsolete. The genesis of the EFF from is the removal of Zuma in revenge for a Malema’s expulsion from the ANC. This is the fundamental reason for the existence of the EFF; we know this because it has hitherto dismally failed to table a coherent and distinguished alternative for leading SA, particularly in claim of economic freedom. It thus remains trapped in that ontology and cannot shed its proverbially skin.

The aim therefore was always to remove Zuma and this is to be attained by any means. They would frame themselves in economic freedom claim, the recognized soft belly of the ANC. They would target the masses of unemployed young people since according to the expanded definition; the unemployment rate for the youth (younger than 25) is at an incredible 63.1%.

Having understood the original reason for the EFF as sketched leads us to attempt making sense of its most recent tactics.

WHAT ARE THESE NEW TACTICS CONFIRMING?

With these new tactics the EFF finally concedes it has failed to remove Jacob Zuma by political means.

It inadvertently admits every personal attack and insult, abuse hurled with claimed leaked information has failed.

It is conceding that every tactic employed so far with the help of some ANC leaders and members has failed to deliver their desired outcome. It is conceding its tactics of attempting to divide the ANC through leaked stories and personal claims that seeks to pit leaders against one another has failed. It is simply not making news headlines anymore as even a lusty media is losing interest in their waning strategy.

The EFF with this last resort of a Constitutional Court attempt appears to admit all its efforts in parliament anchored in making the house ungovernable hitherto failed to deny the president to speak.

It is conceding it cannot stop the delivery of any SONA. Regardless of the claims of illegitimacy and its absolute disdain it cannot stop the SA president from speaking at a gathering he called.

It is admitting at best its dramatics would delay the SONA address by an hour, which usually results in them being expelled from the house, and the business of the day continues uninterrupted, meaning the president in SONA or other address is heard.

Is it possible they realized their behaviour in claim of campaigning in parliament is not as beneficial to them as it first appeared? The EFF in parliament claims a right to be more important than all others, it shows this believe in its actions to override officers and infringing on the rights of fellow parliamentarians who equally sit in the National Assembly as elected by South Africans to represent their constituencies.

They possibly realized their behaviour in parliament is not endearing them to the South African masses that increasingly are growing tired of these tactics of disenfranchising them their constitutional right to hear a report on the State on issues that concerns South Africa.

Much is made of the August 2016 municipal elections in claim of how the ANC lost when, no municipality was won by the EFF. It finds itself questioned in ideology stance for its expedient political deals with the DA, an old hand in political affairs and vat-en-sit marriages if tthe ID and Agang is taken as yardstick. A relatiomship which for all intends and purposes renders them a junior partner. We see this in the struggle they have to convince the DA to support them to control Metsimaholo municipality in Sasolburg.

When you raised this there are those who protest and say the EFF is only 3/4 years old. The counter argument can be made that the EFF attained its 6% at a time when the ANC was at its weakest.

So we may conclude the EFF has become unstuck on a Zuma removal from high office. We may conclude the EFF had its best run in August 2016, Municipal Elections. The logic for such reasoning is the fact that the EFF attained a 6% percentage at the accepted weakest time of the ANC, what will they attain when the ANC is slightly stronger with a different leader who was not the reason for the EFF’s existence. Remember COPE too had in its first run attained 7% and today is simply not coping and reduced to an irrelevant voice often competing with the EFF and UDM to eke out a relevance from the bedrock of a Zuma removal.

It appears in between sore bodies and numerous defeats the realization dawned that its best decision to protest is to not attend.

At another level its non-attendance in key sittings may also sent the wrong message to its constituency meaning they are not represented.

We will have to wait and see how this pans out but for now the EFF with its latest tactics, communicates a definitive and undeniable message of defeat. Not being able to remove an ANC president from office spells the EFF has failed at the fundamental reason for its existence.

Any organisation that fails to attain the primary reason for its existence is perhaps dying whilst claiming its alive.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Did Mbeki’s famed speech, declare a Khoisan identity perished, therefore obsolete today?

 The case for a Khoisan Identity in 2017!

“..I owe my being to the Khoi and San whose desolate souls haunt the great expanses of the beautiful Cape- they who fell victim to the most merciless genocide our native land has ever seen, they who were the first to lose their lives in the struggle to defend our freedom and independence and who as a people perished in the result…” Thabo M. Mbeki

The Khoisan Cause has perhaps reached a place of new dimension, if not a crossroads. The challenge before them is a choice between engaging a democratic state with the expressed hope of finding a political settlement, informed by a case that can stand legal scrutiny. Or a choice for not engaging and thus continuing a form of subliminal self – isolation crowned with a claim of sovereignty and therefore falsely insulated in its struggle because they plausibly do not trust the major role players in the constitutional democratic society evidenced in the state, political parties and those who are of political formation claim.

Permit me to put my disclaimer upfront, I am not a historian, neither a cultural specialist, and I am equally not a constitutional law expert. I gladly sit at the feet of the respective thought leaders for these disciplines and willingly drink from their fountains to be educated.

I am at best a theologian and a social scientist that attempts to analyse the many conflictual aspects that make for a society in transition. My academic or seminal interest spans black theology, identity, race, and non-racialism themes. From this bedrock I opine and engage less in a mind that I have the answers but to influence the discourse and to assist the charting of a way forward.

It is against that backdrop that I have taken the liberty to articulate my convictions for a need to engage as a means to find a way forward as next step. I take the liberty to make arguments for the engagement. This is the first of four planned installments where the overarching case for engaging of the Constitutional Democracy and its attending role players is made. This first installment concerns itself with a KHOISAN IDENTITY CASE

A HISTORY OF RESISTANCE

It is important to pause and pay homage to all known and unknown Khoisan men and women who have from before a documented known history of combat since the late 1500’s fought gallantly  it’s cause and right to exist in ownership of nomadic life expression for identity, land and ultimately its existence as First Nation in the Southland. A struggle that evidences immense casualties easily argued a genocide, its true record only the sun, moon, the vast expanse and an arid land truly knows.

I therefore stand on the shoulders of a group of great leaders from an Autsomoah to a Dawid Kruiper who equally sacrificed, everything for a cause immanent in true Khoisan emancipation.

This justified cause of resistance meanders through having experienced the first European (Portuguese) attempt to steal land from us, the subsequent treacherous Dutch 1652 invasion, the dastard act of a promulgated law that declared the Khoisan ‘vermin’ therefore the object of hunting. Whilst this demonic law was repealed in 1828, yet by that time the British settlers of 1820 too had made their unwelcomed arrival. Our cause lived through the commissions of the Segregated / Colonial state that resulted in the conflicting 1913 Native Land Act, a shackle till today that defines our land claims frame.

When the Khoisan thought this was it, after having participated in two world wars in which some of its forebears were used to fight wars for others and never recognized for their formidable role come 1948. Yes, that dreadful advent of the Apartheid State, a State that would in a sense be the most brutal for its then already outdated eugenics race anthropology for a common humanity and its core focus to identify its respective client as confirmed in Act 30 of 1950 Section C, we went from vermin to Coloured. An identity the apartheid state accorded us it as it sought to describe us as their target.

More than 500 years later a half-century that coincides with the European reformation we seem to stand on the precipice  of history where finally our case can stand. We are told every five hundred years the world is redefined. Can the case be made that we have reached that point of the fulcrum of a Southland identity of aboriginal and First Nation status as UNDRIP ages ago had declared?  Is this the time for Tsiloab’, the Khoisan G-d to  finally  smile in letting us be the centre of the discussion?

REASON FOR THE MUSING

I will in this musing attempt to make the argument for a Khoisan People to engage a constitutional democracy and its manifold role players in particular the accepted political leader of the democratic society immanent in the African National Congress and its formations.

The ontology for this musing and now a case for engaging is a public debate the Khoisan on an IFNASA platform raised as a means for solutions for the more than five-century-old Khoisan Cause.

I will attempt to build this case on the four fundamental pillars that constitute and axis of an Identity case, a Political case, a Land case, and an Economic case.

It is my conviction that the case for engaging the constitutional democracy and its role players to varying degrees is framed against the backdrop of a 1992-1994 political settlement and a subsequent 1996 Constitution.

OURS IS AN IDENTITY CASE

When we raise the identity case here as the first leg of the argument it may be considered as rhetorical yet close examination suggests the 1996 Constitution attests a silence on the Khoisan (identity) be that in acknowledged historical reality of aboriginal claim or in claim of apartheid victims definition embrace.

This is an important point to make since for all practical purposes the 1996 Constitution is silent and that silence is pervasive. The question that can thus be asked is why is there such silence?

The prevailing logic from the ruling elites would dictate that there exists a generally accepted belief that the Khoisan is a historical society, meaning it was obliterated and everything that defines it renders it a historic society and identity. Their intrinsic existence for an identity and blood watered the tree of Freedom which grew and failed provide shade for the very Khoisan children. They argue the Khoisan’s  manifested humanity remains to this day reduced to the ash heap of a yesterday. Its bones not to be disturbed.

I have in recent years gained a much deeper appreciation for the centrality of Mbeki in identity politics in democracy. That appreciation is not in simplistic admiration but perhaps a cold and stoic observation that cuts to the heart of all our critical debates on race, identity, racism, and economic empowerment. No ANC politicians in democracy has shaped or influenced more the epistemology and understanding of identity than this son from Idutywa, Transkei by way of Sussex London. He has introduced us to what we have as identity configuration for a democratic state and society.

It is Mbeki who took the latitude to first define the African identity albeit in poetic rendition not even in his own reign but during that of Madiba.

It is Mbeki who introduced us to the two nations analysis in South Africa, defined in ‘white’ economic wealth and a ‘black’ poverty.

It is Mbeki, who introduces legislation to seek redress for his analysis of a two-nations country.

It is Mbeki that  used that very race prism for a means for redress. It can be argued a doctrine of race that has it’s roots in Kant and Linnaeus, known for giving us the first formal definition of race.

It is Mbeki and others who lead the ANC into a National Question framed in intellectual hegemony that articulates the ANC exists to liberate …blacks in general and the African in particular… Though that African identity is derived and extrapolated from the narrow apartheid frame of degrees of exacted suffering as I have lamented. (for my critique on the National Question please view The Thinker edition 71, January 2017 – “Quest for Non Racial South African Society – The Case for remythologising identity construction.

It is Mbeki that in his 2016 SAHRC speech proffer solutions for racism at the hand of asking as to why we have not made such progress from colonialism and apartheid.

My most recent article penned for the Thinker edition 72, due in April 2017, engages Mbeki on his solutions for racism at the hand of his 2016 SAHRC Speech. I have argued Mbeki fails to problematize race for its relevance or irrelevance in our democratic sojourn.  I attempted to  make the case that race is the product of a racist mind. If we therefore  seek to annihilate racism we will need to eradicate race, and discard the thinking  of race as a benign construct that can exist in innocence outside racism.

To underscore the importance of Mbeki in our democratic sojourn for a means of understanding South African identities, race, racism and economic empowerment I am compelled to look at his most hallowed speech delivered as deputy president at the acceptance of the constitution.

Perhaps nowhere do we hear this obliterated society and identity immanent in Khoisan more in his I am an African speech:

‘I owe my being to the Khoi and San whose desolate souls haunt the great expanses of the beautiful Cape- they who fell victim to the most merciless genocide our native land has ever seen, they who were the first to lose their lives in the struggle to defend our freedom and independence and who as a people perished in the result

The choice of words beyond the beauty of a soliloquy is whose desolate soul haunts the great expanse, but more poignantly who as a people perished in the result.

Need I remind us again this speech of Mbeki was not delivered during his tenure, but it was delivered during Mandela’s reign. Is it than coincidental that this speech in articulation on the Khoisan identity  as perished people and haunted souls for identity description and the concomitant silence of the 1996 constitution share a causal and decisive link?

I will not here engage the centrality of Mbeki in our identity configuration, that is worthy of unpacking in another musing, suffice to say its more than coincidental that Mbeki’s speech can be this categorical in declaring the Khoisan a historic perished community, obliterated and whose souls haunts the great expanse.

I will equally later in the third installment under the heading THE LAND CASE  use again Mbeki where he in the same speech appears to assign the Khoisan land as that of a Cape.

Can the case now be made at a practical level that when Mbeki declared the Khoisan dead in his famed speech at this significant moment of the constitution adoption at a practical level Mbeki then showed the death of the Khoisan when in the Western Cape he opted for a Ebrahim Rasool instead of Allan Aubrey Boesak.

With this Mbeki in a poetic sense extends life to the notion of a dead Khoisan society. Meaning there cannot be any Khoisan in 2017.

Yet despite this conviction of Mbeki as vocalized in a speech that stands in a class of its own, there are today in South Africa thousands if not a million who claim an identity directly extrapolated from the reality of a Khoisan claim and I am one of them.

Does Mbeki’s most famed speech hold a key as to the truculence of the democratic state to engage honestly on a Khoisan identity? Is Mbeki’s articulation the bedrock from which all ANC leaderships in post-apartheid context came to engage the Khoisan identity?  

To those who advocated the death of Khoisan identity in perished state, we must say the identity of the Khoisan was NEVER perishable. It could never have succumb in equal staleness of milk or cheese that perishes.

This brings us to two fundamental questions: What are the ramifications for making the claim of a perished people? What are the implications for the silence of the 1996 Constitution on this identity that many of us today boldly claim?

At one level we may argue, you reading too much into this poetic expression. On another level I would remonstrate and say, it is crystal clear. We can safely conclude Mbeki either consciously or unwittingly have drawn a line through our claim for such identity by reducing it to a historical society. To argue it unwittingly may mean he merely wanted to complete a mosaic picture of how terrible the assault on the Khoisan was.

I however struggle to see it only as that for these thoughts from one man is the prevailing  panaplea of an ongoing ANC identity appreciation in 2017. 

On another level the silence of the constitution in not acknowledging the presence of the Khoisan equally by implication follows Mbeki in that reducing of our common identity into the museums of history.

We must still ascertain who is leading, is it the silence of the constitution or Mbeki with his death declaration of a Khoisan identity veiled in beauty of poetic license.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

  • Our rightful claim to a Khoisan identity must be cognizant and hurdle the reality of this prism of an obliterated society that is reduced to the annals of history and dead in every sphere.
  • Our claim of a Khoisan Identity must secondly make sense and hurdle the reality that this Constitution has chosen in finite sense to exact us an identity from the archaic Act 30 of 1950 section C, that made us Coloureds for an apartheid State
  • Our claim must ask why the constitution is deliberate in traditional community context, a space the haunted souls and perished people in identity configuration must find expression in duplicity of tribal setting, but not as aboriginals where a case can be made for their rights to be enfranchised.

In the interest of brevity I am not here entertaining the aspects of identity that is encapsulated in culture, language and values and practices, suffice to say on that front massive strides have been made to bring back to life and in the mouth of common society the Khoisan language and its varied dialects.

The Khoisan identity lives, its dialects live when we greet each other daily as Gaitse’s. It’s traditions and values are being taught, the children of the Khoisan protest not being reduced to Riemvasmaak where they in democracy are part of the  BIG 6 of Southern Africa with cameras that click from tourist from both local and international world.

PANSALB as far as I know has a project on the reviving of the Khoisan languages. This has been ongoing for the last 4-5 years.

On many fronts local communities are beginning to celebrate their special days and this oft in regalia and decorum of celebration of that very dead Khoisan identity.

Recently  South Africa at an 2016 IJR event discovered the true aliveness of the Khoisan when they showed up at the Castle draped in their accoutrements with proud expression of their heritage.

The Khoisan live and we will not afford anyone the right to declare us dead. It is out of that alive state of the Khoisan that we seek to engage anyone to inform, educate and advocate our space and place in South Africa, who hitherto have struggled to recognise this state of our aliveness.

WHY WE MUST ENGAGE?

  • Engaging is not negotiating: Generally those who hear us make the case for engaging confuse engaging as a natural negotiation. I don’t think we can ever afford anyone the right to have us negotiate our identity. I am consciously against anyone seeking to negotiate on my identity. It’s a promise I made to my late father who indulged me in conversation at 16 on a topic of self-definition for which I had no appetite or appreciation for. His words were simple, “I wont tell you who you are, all I ask when you do find out who you are, permit no one to ever define you again”. I committed myself to this and have made self-definition not an option but the only base for my identity configuration.
  • Engaging from my vantage point assumes both overt and covert means. The struggle for emancipation warrants distinct tactics and our engagement must have strategy that imbibes tactics that engage the State and it’s attending formations in dialogue but also in confrontation in picketing. Nowhere in my understanding of engaging is the tactic of covert sacrificed for overt and vice versa.

WHO AND WHAT MUST WE ENGAGE?

  • Engaging the Constitution is to ask what does the Constitution say about the Khoisan, it’s to question its silence. Engaging the ANC is to engage the ruling elites whose frame and prism of thinking on identity is articulated in a controversial national question of …blacks in general and Africans in particular…  I have elsewhere contended we  must engage what I have termed, apartheid-accrued-identity-benefit of  the African in the National Question.
  • Engaging the ANC therefore is an engaging of Mbeki, no ANC politician has had a bigger hand in our prism of identity configuration than Thabo Mbeki. He and the likes of Joel Nethshitenzhe is by extension the accepted custodians if not proverbial surrogate womb for the articulation of a National question identity configuration. Engaging means to seek opportunity to engage in public debate, in written reply, and in leading coherent articulation at both academic and public context level.
  • The obligation is for us to tell those whom we engage how we understand their identity configuration of an obliterated Khoisan identity, to serve notice that the Khoisan is not dead because you have chosen in convenience to draw a line thorough his ongoing existence.
  • Our Message: The Khoisan is not dead because you as Democratic State have chosen to uncritically adopt apartheid configured outdated eugenics race anthropology and identity markers for our democratic dispensation.
  • We must serve notice on them the Khoisan identity cannot die, it is not reduced to haunted souls status, but it lives in a people who are willing to work for the inalienable right of self-definition.
  • We dare not engage in emotional rhetoric a trademark of our struggle in democracy, we must make our case for the existence in 2017 of Khoisan identity.
  • We must object to the new forms of institutionalized and structural racism that seeks to decide our identity in Colouredness of description as if the state assumes it has the capacity to distinguish between ‘African’, ‘Coloured’, ‘Indian’ and ‘white’ for markers for identities.
  • We must protest the completing of legal forms and write in cancellation empty spaces emphatically Khoisan not other, not black, not coloured.
  • Our engaging must be sober, principled and resolute educating, analytical, informing rather than shouting expletives and insults we must make the case for our identity not in a form of cheap exceptionalism or separateness where act as police for who can claim the Khoisan identity but in thoroughness of coherent argument and solidness of praxis.

CONCLUSION

I have with this article ONLY attempted to make the case for us engaging the democratic state and its role players, on the premise of one of the four fundamentals namely (OUR IDENTITY CASE) that define for me our Cause. It is impossible to make all four cornerstones stand in one article because it would be too long to read.

I therefore have committed to pen these each in its own article and over the cause of the next few days. I would pray that that I have not overstated truth, but captured in simplicity the core arguments for our claim on identity that for many is a historical and perished people.

Please feel free to engage the content, and tear it apart it’s a discussion document, but my firm convictions.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

SONA 2017, Radical Economic Transformation in perspective !

 

February 9, 2017 marks the State Of the Nation Address (SONA), delivered by a president in democracy, and much is made of the plausible disruptions anticipated by the kindergarten of parliamentary opposition who by now have made it their key campaigning grounds for a claim of relevance. In recent time these side shows have taken precedence at the expense of the fundamental aspects of a SONA as the President taking South African citizenry and broader Africa as well as the globe into confidence on what the State is doing, embarked on and is rolling out as core initiatives, programmes and projects of importance.

Radical economic transformation is widely anticipated as the critical aspect for this SONA. There exists no doubt that if there is one area the ANC led State is comfortably accused of and remains failing until now it is giving meaning to the aspect of economic transformation.

Radical Economic Transformation as advocated by an ANC statement imbibes a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions, and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female. This mouthful of definition as articulated by the recent Lekgotla vocalises the ANC’s mind and vision for what it deems radical economic transformation.

We may argue with the definition and end up in a proverbial cul-de-sac of thinking of rhetoric in claims and thoughts, or we may attempt unpacking this to make sense of this in a practical sense. I will attempt to use the ANC Lekgotla’s definition as a background as I attempt advancing questions for a definition, meaning and outflow in land return claim self-evident in radical economic transformation that benefits the poor. The ANC outlines 12 core aspects as that which constitutes the axis of a notion of radical transformation that informs economic change. I will attempt to engage the proposed definition and ask questions as to how some of these would be realised against the backdrop of an accepted constitutional premise.

ANC’S JANUARY 8 STATEMENT AND SONA A SYNCHRONIZED REALITY

If the January 8 Statement of the ANC encapsulates the NEC’ statement, the SONA is the State’s report and vision casting. Therefore at one level the ANC defines the State in policy and programmes when it at another level appeals to the State to attend to its desires and dreams for a South Africa. Thus the boundaries between State and Party must be clear. Nevertheless the SONA is heavily influenced and defined by the policies, programmes and core aspects of the ANC’s manifesto which is what the January 8 Statement is all about. These two must therefore be synchronized if the hope of change is realised beyond a day –dream.

 

THE TRUST DEFICIT A HURDLE TO OVERCOME

Needless to note, the ANC  as organisation faces many challenges yet none counts more in this epoch as its first challenge that vehemently protests a claim for a radical economic transformation that benefits the poor. That first challenge for the  ANC is its current credibility, some define this as a trust deficit and that deficit is laid bare in a litany of scandals of which the most recent is the tragic and heart wrenching Esidimeni Life project of Gauteng Health Department with its 94 and counting deaths of the most vulnerable of our society. This is arguably the biggest hurdle for the ANC.

The SONA is thus delivered against this backdrop that protests a testimony of a non-caring ANC for what is deemed the most vulnerable in the SA society. The hurdle therefore is not solved in merely claiming a radical economic transformation posture, it is compounded because the original natural trust that existed from liberation movement context is eroded, and mere words cannot bring back this trust. The credibility of the ANC led State is therefore a central point of consideration. It would appear the hurdle of trust and confidence must be crossed before the ANC can assume the SA citizenry to afford them their ears.

 

THE CONTEXT FOR RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

 

Some may ask why now this urgency for a radical economic transformation? What did the ANC and its State do for the greater part of the 23 years of its functional existence? This question perhaps goes to the heart of the negotiated settlement. We often gloat about how great the dawn of democracy was and we easily take credit for the essentially bloodless transition from an apartheid state to a democratic state. The world over SA particularly with Nelson Mandela as its face was considered a miracle of reconciliation an example for all who seek to effect change at the hand of reconciliation.

What was never dealt with or engaged honestly was what this settlement meant in economic sense. In the first few years of our democracy we were all intoxicated with our newfound freedom, euphoric in our description of what it means, though some of us cautioned that we have not dealt with what really undergirded colonialism and apartheid. These two systems were defined in an economy that is owned not by the masses but by those who claimed a white identity for their common humanity. That claim of white identity defined others as black and therefore excluded the black masses.

It then would make sense that after a while questions would resurface as to what economic reality we as South Africans find ourselves in. The abnormal of colonial and apartheid rule nowhere manifested more in democracy then in our economic ownership, definition, and meaning.

It is therefore not strange that the ANC no different to other liberation movements like Zanu PF finds itself, today 23 years later admitting the negotiated settlement in economic realty simply does not work. This is despite the fact that some liberation and ANC leaders benefitted from the abnormal deal and became a super wealthy thus a buffer-zone for colonial and apartheid benefactors to argue an equality of economic being. The truth is the economy of South Africa remains in the hands of colonial and apartheid benefactors.

The abnormal ownership of the economy for the greater part of our democracy became normal and that new normal simply does not work for the masses of SA. On another level, this is also a concession that the ANC as entrusted to lead SA is compromised to not have taken transformation of the economy serious as anon negotiable.

 

RADICAL TRANSFORMATION AN ALMOST 4-YEAR-OLD CLAIM

The subject of radical economic transformation as coined by the ANC has been with us now for 3-4 years yet in the eyes of the general public very little of the content in programme reality for implementation is felt or experienced. Hitherto very little if anything evidences the implementation reality for this radical economic change. It appears it’s easier to talk about this much needed change, then to make it happen. So the question becomes what is meant with radical economic transformation?

In order to appreciate a definition for radical economic transformation, I will refer to Minister Rob Davies who in 2014 in his parliamentary response after the SONA attempts a definition when he asserts, “What then is radical economic transformation? I think we can do worse. We can do worse than looking at the Oxford English dictionary definition of radical. It tells us that radical relates, or affects, the fundamental nature of something. It is about far–reaching and thorough actions, characterised by a departure from tradition, innovative or progressive. That’s what radical is about.”

Davies goes further after making the case for radical in explaining economic transformation this way, “Now I think that radical economic transformation in SA must mean radical transformation on a number of levels. It must mean radical transformation of the productive structures of our economy. It must mean radical transformation of production relations, less conflictual, characterised by more equitable benefit-sharing and by less inequality. It must mean placing job creation at the heart of work programmes and promoting a more inclusive job –rich pattern of growth

In my assessment this high level definition of what constitutes radical economic transformation must find legs and feet to walk in the proverbial dust of our everyday sojourn as made self-evident in direct benefit to the poor however defined. Equally the multiplicity of levels Davies alludes to in practical sense proves contesting for the same space and confirms the dualism of conflict, yet nevertheless it in my assessment stands as courageous an attempt despite the layered complexities to define radical economic transformation.

The ANC in its pursuit for radical economic transformation and its overarching benefit has reiterated its fundamental axis of its primary beneficiary constituency as articulated in its National Question namely that it exists for: …the liberation of the blacks and in general and the African in particular.

Having listened to Davies’ attempt at a definition for Radical economic transformation, we must now engage in questions as to what this mean for the current legislative and policy and programmes platforms.

IS RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION TRANSLATING TO LEGISLATIVE  AND POLICY TRANSFORMATION

 

When Minister Davies talks of far – reaching and thorough actions for a definition of radical as it relates to economic transformation, the natural question is, far-reaching imminent in legislation / policy review? Is the called for action connoting political leadership or does it suggest a hybrid of triplets evident in new legislation, close monitoring of existing policy implementation and decisive political leadership?

Is it possible to talk about, or even hope for and ultimately commit to action the notion of radical economic transformation without engaging the subject matter of legislative and policy transformation framework necessary to make possible the components for economic transformation? What then is the policy architecture that would realise this much bandied and needed economic transformation?

Indeed the case can be made if the economy remained what it always was under both colonial and apartheid states as perpetuated for 23 years under a democratic state there must be a legislative framework that supports this abnormal situation.

South Africa is and remains a constitutional democracy that means any new legislation and concomitant action is tested against the backdrop of that constitutional reality.

In order to appreciate Davies: “It must mean radical transformation of the productive structures of our economy. It must mean radical transformation of production relations, less conflictual, characterised by more equitable benefit-sharing and by less inequality. It must mean placing job creation at the heart of work programmes and promoting a more inclusive job –rich pattern of growth”.

We must therefore ask what is the current SA economic policy that defines these productive structures, what are these productive structures and how does the current policy evidence these productive structures?

It appears for any radical change we must engage the current policy for economy description which will enable us to argue a case as to what within the current policy proves the stumblingblocks to realise radical economic transformation.

It would further appear more than beyond of generating a list of items for change claim, lays the responsibility to ask what aspects of our current economic policy denies the reality of economic transformation for the masses.

Linked to that is the undeniable reality of how these intersect within or against the backdrop of the constitutional framework of South Africa and how these are made to stand? We know that every change generate its own direct and indirect casualties and therefore the State can expect to be dragged to court for what it intends doing to attain this radical economic transformation dream. Can a change to that policy in newness of radicality be challenged in a constitutional context? How does that find meaning?

South Africa with its very well funded new civil society formations, and its no gratifying appetite to defend a constitution it claims under threat, for the benefit and defence of a specific group interest will not hesitate to take whatever new laws the State may introduce to court. Am I unnecessary pessimistic to see a retarding of the effort through lengthy court cases, that ultimately renders the State fatigued.

As earlier alluded I will not engage all 12 items that the ANC lists as their appeal to the State, but I will for this musing only focus on one namely land. I am not seeking to making conclusive arguments on land, I am merely asking questions to assist the discourse on land return its challenges, and how this understood.

RETURN THE LAND TO THE PEOPLE USING CONSTITUTIONAL MEANS!

On the subject of land, which is the only one I will attempt to engage in this musing, I raise this to argue how plausible is this returning of land back to the people by constitutional means?

The question of land remains a highly emotive one and fundamental for the redress aspect, yet according to some research the State owns but a mere 20% of the land. Therefore the returning of land back to the people innately suggests land currently owned by more than what the State owns. Let me hasten to add land expropriation is catered for in the constitution yet its not a simple exercise.

We hear this need to abide by and maintain respect for the constitution of South Africa as a non-negotiable when the ANC calls for the return of the land to the people by constitutional means. This can be juxtaposed to what the EFF encourages people to violate the constitution in occupation of land. Clearly the ANC had high regard for the constitution of SA regardless to what is peddled by mainstream media, some civil society formations and a cohort of public faces who seek to portray the ANC as anti-constitutional the natural threat to our democracy and therefore the not the legitimate custodian of protecting the constitution. These do not exact half the energy to question the EFF for its clearly unconstitutional stance and inciting of constitutional breach in land invasion.

Notice the choice of words ‘return the land back’. This return connotes it being a rightful deed of restitution to its original owners. It implies land was taken away from its rightful owners, and in this season the call is for that land to be returned.

How then does that commitment to return land find its practical implementation? Is this informed by a land claims paradigm beyond the scope of what was the cut of period of 1913, which has been adjusted under the Zuma presidency? Is the giving of land back to the people a speeding up of these claims, or what does this mean?

Are we talking of the 20% State owned land, if it is not State owned land is it private held land and how does that claim for land intersect with the constitutional reality of a South Africa?

At another level how does this returning of land back to the people intersect and engage the rising fundamental claim of the aboriginals / Khoisan when they argue the land belongs to them as their first encounters in the 1490’s attest where the first resistance to land invasion from the Portuguese is registered?

If the operative word is “the people” than it appears the ANC in this season hunkers back to the 1955 Magna Carta of a Freedom Charter, which saw the gathering of almost extinct native, coloured and Indian congress members along with others. These when they articulate the Freedom Charter used the term WE THE PEOPLE.

The Freedom Charter is perhaps a good place to start, whilst it doe not help us to engage the chronicled history of land invasion for a South Africa that started at least 200 years before Jan Van Riebeek arrived.

 

It appears then the ANC and the SONA must ask for the first invasion of land in SA, where Khoisan leadership had to confront in and around 1493 the Europeans in particular the Portuguese who sought to dispossess them of their land.

 

How far should the State then go with this returning of land? Who then makes up the people the State will identify? The State must prove cognisant and sensitive that a promulgated law of 1715 declared the Khoisan as vermin therefore the object of hunting, that law whilst expunged in 1928 has not returned the Khoisan’s land, neither does the constitution recognise this reality and therefore the SONA must prove bold give effect to the claim on land in aboriginal sense.

Can the case be made that the return of land to the people by constitutional means proves an oxymoron? An oxymoron perhaps since the constitution as is claimed is silent on the first ownership of the land, when it argues South Africa belongs to all who live in it. The challenge of this conclusion is that the Khoisan is not accommodated in First Nation Status, and therefore outside the circumference of the constitutional frame hence reduced to a tribal status equal to all other tribes as the proposed bills advocate.

Radical economic transformation on land ownership must therefore resonate in the acknowledging of identity and in this first acknowledgment that land is owed to the Aboriginals as UNDRIP specify and affords them a First Nation status. The case can thus be made that there can be no land returned to the people until the Khoisan is the centre of that land ownership.

Land ownership is a natural economic aspect and the material evidence of true transformation. Therefore the benefit – sharing and more equality as advocated by Davies in land becomes crucial. Land also directly speaks to what is in the soil namely minerals, therefore a return to land is a return of more than just land but a fundamental reshaping of the economy that ultimately may attain the reality of radical economic transformation.

Having said this we equally must hasten to admit many of the claims as facilitated and finalised by the State have resulted in rightful owners rather opting for monetary compensation, this is another dynamic in our 21st century South African society where it appears our people have not yet understood the value of the land they rightfully claim as a means of economic emancipation.

In conclusion, radical economic transformation can no more be a touted subject of convenience; radical economic transformation cannot pretend a change when it refuses to be radical. It cannot be a populist rhetoric or an academic construct; it must find legs and feet to walk in the dusty earth of SA.

The obligation to realise this is upon the ANC and the State and land return is a means to attain this. Those who want the status quo of an abnormal economic ownership to continue in a so-called normal society will challenge radical economic transformation.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator

Making sense of amaBhungane’s challenge of Weekly Xpose’ legitimacy!

I read a crossbreed of news sources on a weekly basis from which I choose to engage such as I deem it my right. I equally have a blog,  www.ramalainetalkpoliticalanalysis.com that is legally registered with http://www.wordpress.com, it contains over 200 opinion pieces I have penned over the last 4/5 years.I therefore write on a weekly basis opinion pieces as a hobby on our political and religious context and its experiential realities because SA is a very rich tapestry of information and a hive of political activity affording anyone to choose what to engage and analyse virtually on a daily basis.

I must equally upfront state, that I hold no brief for Kenny Kunene whom I have never met neither dare I pretend to speak on behalf of Weekly Xpose’. Mine is and remains an attempt at analyzing amaBhungane as it shares its mind in this article.

You perhaps wonder why I start in this fashion I do so because amaBhungane on February 2, 2017  carried a story with the heading “Another Front in the perception war exposed: Kenny Kunene, founder of Weekly Expose.”

In such opinion piece or report amaBhungane makes a number of claims as it attempts to question and simultaneously label Weekly Xpose in drape of illegitimacy. AmaBhungane in attempt of questioning the credibility of Weekly Xpose’ takes carte blanche to lump some in a group in defence of what it defines as Gupta family interest. It appears the sins of commission on the part of those amaBhungane identify as Gupta family interest defenders are informed by them proving vocal in sharing distinct different opinions to what we are forced-fed daily as it relates to a scripted discourse on the one-sided role of capital in the political life of South Africa.

The preamble of the amaBhungane centre for Investigative Journalism asserts it  “a non-profit company founded to develop investigative journalism in the public interest.” It then makes its case for models of funding in stating the following ” Non-profit, donor funded models represent an alternative gaining ground worldwide. Adequate funding without a profit motive helps to ensure that the public interest in the exposure of wrongdoing is served.”

What is important to remember in South Africa is that civil society formations defined in non-profit organisations have over time distinguished themselves in defence of a constitutional democracy, therefore they often claim a natural custodianship in upkeep and respect of the constitution, which is for some forever under threat. Yet that is the more acceptable face of civil society formations when we also in South Africa know and have seen dimensions of a clear bias, one-sided and less balanced civil society formations that have taken a position less in critical analysis hardly questioning the prevailing narrative as communicated by the majority of SA media platforms.

It is in that context that the work of amaBhungane as extrapolated from its mandate and founding principles warrants remaining crucial and defined in objectivity, it cannot afford to be seen as questionable in its praxis when it lacks the capacity and heartbeat of equal zest to question all media equally particularly  those who ply their trade in investigative journalism.

The amaBhungane article chose to use the phenomenon of what is colloquially termed ‘fake news’ a more recent international politics construct often used  by the 45th President of the USA Donald Trump, to conscientize its readers as to the questionability of the domain of a Weekly Xpose’. Yet it almost begrudgingly is forced to acknowledge that Weekly Xpose’ is legitimate, as can be seen from its claim of ‘legitimate veneer and publishes regular wire articles’. This constitutes clearly a conflicting statement, since AmaBhungane lumps Weekly Xpose’ into a category of fake news whilst it extends an acknowledgment of legitimacy. The subject of fake news is often never engaged honestly for it appears whoever determines news fake holds the custodian right to determine what is real and what is fake news. What then makes amaBhungane the referee on the status of a Weekly Xpose’ as an entity?

The open liner of the article starts in reference to Kenny Kunene as it categorically asserts “is the latest prominent figure linked to an online campaign that appears designed to support the Gupta family and the narrative that they are victims of white Monopoly Capital”. This interlude is then stringed together with ‘recent media reports and research by data analysts that have uncovered a web of fake twitter accounts and real, but strident opinion sites peddling a remarkably consistent narrative that aims to discredit key figures seen as standing in the way of the Gupta family interests”.

The challenge with this mouthful is that it appears designed to pit a South Africa in binary groups, these groups are defined and informed by good and evil. The reference to a Gupta Family interests is a consistent one, meaning the Guptas however defined are the bad fellows in a narrative of good and bad. Apparently the fake and real twitter accounts uncovered by data analysts have uncovered a concerted attempt to discredit key figures that attempts to block the Gupta Family interests.

One is compelled to ask when before this recent uncovered fake and real twitter accounts and opinion sites was a similar exercise undertaken to ascertain an apparent defence of any other family, group or business interest that we can today be told with certainty about the presence of both fake and real twitter and strident opinion sites in defence of Gupta Family and their interests?

AmaBhugane does not share with us who these data analysts and researchers are. Neither do we know if the data analysts can help us to appreciate their findings from an empirical, contextual and comparative vantage point, where they can show us how in other instances similar accounts and sites were uncovered in the case of others that would help us to ascertain the benchmark for this claim?

AmaBhungane concretely an uncritically makes the claim of a ‘discrediting key figures’, this is a another ambivalent and loaded construction of identity that evidences in an questionable claim, because amaBhungane does not specify what is meant with key figures. AmaBhungane assumes there exists and agreed general consensus on what makes for a key figure; it assumes we all share the same prism of such common definition.

Are we to assume that ‘key figures’ are those who share a specific political, economic class status in our society or can anyone be a key figure? What makes for a ‘key figure’ and since we engage a ‘key figure’ status categorisation as introduced by amaBhungane is the natural assumption that should we determine a key figure identity on someone are these naturally exonerated from any question or challenge? If so why, and who determines them above reproach?

Is AmaBhungane from its core mandate equally afforded the sole right to categorise this key figure denotation to members of a South African society?

By Amabhungane’s own admission Kenny Kunene is a businessman with interests in several sectors of what constitutes the South African business world, not only that but he is also very much known in the social SA conscious. Is Kenny Kunene therefore not a key figure if the frame of ‘key figure’ identity is exacted on those who are famed, moneyed, politically powered, religious powered etc?

If Kunene passes the litmus test of being a key figure can the case be made that attempts are equally made by some to discredit him in the same vein as is claimed in amaBhungane’s narrow interpretation of that key figure status?

At another level can so-called key figures question each other and what may constitute the acceptable means of a claim of such discrediting in that context? Recently Tito Mboweni on twitter made his views of Sipho Pityana empathic as noisy using funerals when ANC members are active in the branches. By the assumed implied yardstick of amaBhungane, both Mboweni and Pityana are ‘key figures’, would this statement on the part of Mboweni render him as discrediting Pityana? If so why and if not, why not? Is Tito Mboweni a defender of the Guptas because he clearly disagrees with the key figure of a Save-SA- campaign namely Sipho Pityana? If Mboweni is not a discrediting Pityana why are others who share the same view on Pityana accused for discrediting him?

Let me accentuate this, is Sipho Pityana as Chairperson of Anglo America as key figure, not engaging in discrediting others in the SA society when he insults and hurl abuse on them? Equally I am compelled to know from amaBhungane, is my analysis of Sipho Pityana’s behaviour as carried in my blog and the New Age in 2016 an act of discrediting him? If so why and why would I then be considered a defender of the Gupta family and interest?

AmaBhungane in pursuit of drawing links on weekly Xpose’s illegitimacy invokes the known history of Kunene as having served time for crime, this is then stringed together to create what amaBhungane has deemed a “media offensive aimed at backing President Jacob Zuma and his Gupta allies and delegitimize their political enemies.” Granted the history of Kunene is known, yet to attempt using that as a convenient crutch to build the case of an illegitimacy of Weekly Xpose’ is lame and hardly an attempt at being objective, particularly when you claim custodianship of standards for investigative journalism.

Again the rhetoric of naturally good and bad is very pervasive in the mind of amaBhungane. According to amaBhugane the ‘media offensive is aimed at delegitimizing their political opponents, especially at national treasury.’ The jury remains out on why amaBhungane can be this conclusive without attempting any form of objectivity that equally identifies a campaign from those whom amaBhungane consider as natural victims and angels in a very muddy political context of capital influence. Why this implicit convenient and conscious siding with a group in claim of them being angels?

We must ask why a non-profit entity like amaBhungane with its unequivocal prognosticated goals  finds natural comfort to prove uncritical of our convenient binary context and narrative that casts some politicians as evil while others are angels. From what comfort is this conviction drawn? This interesting conclusion and rhetoric has been peddled for over a  year now and it has for some become the truth. The challenge remains  we do not know why some politicians are natural demons and others are natural angels.

It is further noteworthy that the SA Treasury is defined in the good of a personality, namely Pravin Gordhan, as the hero and messiah of protecting SA’s economy. If the rand does well it is due the sterling work of Gordhan , when the rand plummets  it’s the conniving work of the evil ones. I am on record for having questioned when Pravin Gordhan became this messiah of South Africa’s economy when all who today defend him in claim of undeniable  economic messiah castigated him in his first term.

Would amaBhungane equally categorise my analysis and critique of Gordhan and render me as one who delegitimise political opponents therefore a part of the media offensive?

Can we equally ask why the sum-total of Gordhan’s statements if objectively analysed is not considered as him personally engaging in his own media offensive against other key figures? We have read from a very loving media how Gordhan one minute is strong and the next how he is asking for protection against we still do not know for what and from whom?

In our very flowing political context we must caution Amabhungane for its binary and myopic sense of seeing victims and villains in a scripted narrative of convenience, and what agenda it serves?

AmaBhungane takes the liberty to tag more names against a claim of ‘white monopoly capital’ as appearing to form part of a social media community that also includes the New Age and ANN7 TV News channel.

Again, amaBhungane draws questionable conclusions. It fails to tell us why the claim of some it regard as Gupta defenders are wrong to speak of a ‘white monopoly capital’ defence by others. AmaBhungane fails to argue their right to have an opinion as unauthentic, irrelevant or the figment of an imagination. Why is it so deplorable and less tasteful to acknowledge the rights of others to identify a defence of white capital in SA’s current narrative?

It appears amaBhungane fails to appreciate the fundamental constitutional right of South African citizens to hold opposing views for it rushes to prove intolerant of those it label. 

AmaBhungane furthermore takes the liberty to call the New Age, ANN7 as Gupta media, yet it does not tell us who owns ENCA, the Daily Maverick and all others, these platforms are not defined in similar sense by ownership as amaBhungane takes the liberty.

May we know why these media entities are not equally identified by their owners for example Rupert Family Interest media. May we know why the cross-section of news as carried by for example ENCA with its carefully chosen analysts is not accused of leading an offensive? May we know why journalists and analysts who opine in the Citizen, Mail & Guardian, Daily Maverick, and those who appear on ENCA are not tagged with the label of strident opinions that lead an offensive against key figures?

I have sent my opinion pieces to all newspapers and was told I am no journalist equally some editors refused to publish a view from the other side rendering South Africa’s media world a highly polarised one, where if you attempt objectivity in asking questions from those who control media to larger extend you get labelled as being on an offensive as against the good and therefore an defender of evil. I ask again why amaBhungane only sees a media offensive from one side and who determined the authenticity of that claim of an offensive? The New age therefore over the last three years carried my opinion pieces because other platforms reject it.

In conclusion if we can prove that amaBhungane is an active player in the media and political life of SA as one who holds a specific view and defends a specific stance, can we then question it as perhaps not attempting any objectivity to analyse other voices therefore rushing to label them as Gupta Family interest defenders obsessed to delegitimize so called key figures in defence of Zuma.

It appears that amaBhungane’s understanding of the South African thinking society is very narrow, actualised in binaries of good and evil people in which we are  brow-beaten  to believe the likes of all who those criticise the ANC led government and its leadership, as correct and above reproach with no political agenda of their own. A narrative that renders you a Gupta defender when one articulates ones understanding of what is happening in our discourse. AmaBhungane therefore uncritically defend some as victims of an onslaught and damn others only because they do not agree with the stream of defined narrative.

I must remind amaBhungane that South Africans do think but we don’t think in a uniform line, no amount of tagging and labelling will change the fact that South Africans do not all see the crafted picture portrayed by a section of the media who ages ago opted to be on their own offensive and oppositional to transformation thus  others natural demons and others angels in political and economic convenience.

I am compelled to question the authenticity of amaBhungane if this article is the fulcrum and barometer of it living out its  publicised mandate and standard for practice. It is very possible that after this my article I will also be labelled, it will not be the first time, apartheid labelled me in the 80’s as student activist. We dare not be silent the obligation remains our collective task of asking questions for in our society no one is above question, not even the non-profit amaBhungane.

It remains my contention that AmaBhungane with this article failed to make a coherent, systematic and chronological  argument for the claim of illegitimacy of the Weekly Xpose’ existence both in ownership and content, and thus have perhaps compromised its egalitarian goals as articulated in its founding mandate.

In the end we must ask what threat does the Weekly Xpose’, pose and for what reasons? Who is really so intimidated by its embryonic  presence  that it warrants to be annihilated and denigrated, this when a constitutional democracy evidence the right of its existence and ownership by a businessman and investor.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator

Apartheid benefactors are regaining power and control!

The claiming back of SA by apartheid and its colonial benefactors is long in the making. Having lost political power, as far back as 1989 although officially 1994, the apartheid and colonial benefactors have since that time been in a political wilderness, but never short on strategy power reclaim had to come, the question was always when and how, because political power was lost as confirmed in every election from 1994.

Out of this arose the strategy, that being civil society formations, where Afrikaner wealth bolsters the new method of regaining constitutionally what was lost in the ballot. Fair game and nothing wrong with using the courts, even if it means court casing democracy.

While South Africans are fed a daily overdose of Gupta centred obsessed news from those apartheid / colonial who control the 4th estate the likes of Afri-Forum has over the eleven years of its existence distinguished it more and more as an entity that fills the gap to fight the cause of beneficiaries of apartheid its primary constituency, not in an explicit sense but certainly in an implicit sense, a cause lost in political betrayal by a National Party when it ceded power and thus thrust apartheid benefactors into a brief nomadic political wilderness. Yet they are consolidating in this season and are determined to have this country back.

It is in this context that I seek to appeal to all those who share political power and whatever goes with it. Do not think it far-fetched or cynical that you will wake up one morning with your so-called political power but not controlling anything in SA.

Every case brought against the State be it, the none supply of textbooks in Limpopo, Correctional Services employment equity case, the Esidimeni health scandal, I can go on, is always led by colonial and apartheid civil society groups that initiate if not drive the process for the recognition of the poor’s plight.

All the good the ANC has done over the period of its governance is way- laid by the absence of a concerted, structured, optimised and resourced defence of what was attained. The punted narrative is the ANC do not care not even for the most vulnerable making up society.

I have said the South Africa’s leading political party the ANC as a movement needs to be active in the civil society arena and space not as an emotional responder but as an active role player and leader. It appears this space is totally controlled by apartheid and colonial beneficiaries funded by them to prove apartheid and colonial victims can’t govern or run anything. SA’s governing party spends too much time on the back-foot, scoring too many own goals with factionalism, jostling in slates to occupy Mahlamba Ndlopfu when the proverbial Rome is burning!

I ask again how do you take a country back politically when you have lost political power in a settlement, you do so at the hand of an institutional frame with the face of civil society formation that knows how to the use the toolbox of a constitutional democracy.

The beneficiaries of colonial and apartheid with their loads of capital are hard at work. They own every sphere that matters: they control the media, the economy, the technology and academic worlds, property, land, all major contracts with key SOE’s like Eskom are still owned by the benefactors of apartheid and colonial rule.

The case can thus be made the benefactors of apartheid and colonial rule also owns this constitutional democracy, whilst you fighting in your slates on who will be president and whom you don’t like, those who historically lost political power are gaining full control. Your lack of energy and foresight to use the same constitution to expropriate land for the benefit of the truly poor is tangible.

Apartheid and colonial benefactors have become ten times wealthier in this democracy whilst you claim to control political power. They spent serious money to prove you incapable of running this country, any department, or any institution as they court-case the very freedom you claim you fought for. Every effort of theirs is aimed at showing you weak, incapable, and self-serving. They have succeeded to make you echo their rhetoric of every apartheid victims being corrupt.

They keep you occupied with mundane frivolous things while they are taking control back in every sphere. They watch and laugh at how you tear each other apart, all in the name of capital. They knew how toxic their capital would prove once apartheid victims taste some it. They will judge any every opposing view to theirs unauthentic corrupt and a Gupta voice, while they never refer or tolerate any reference to them as for example Rupert voice. They even get you to agree with them because they want you focus where it matters for them.

Is it possible that we live in a false freedom; for it is becoming more and more evident true control appears a mirage for apartheid and colonials victims.

I implore you to smell the proverbial coffee, apartheid’s benefactors are at work while you trying to jostle for material wealth, seek to drive that big car, enjoy being called chief, sip your favourite libation, and is swaggering heavily intoxicated with your ever eroding and passing political power wealth, as you quote Marx and Lenin theories in between puffing expensive cigars.

It equally taught you well never to trust your own. It’s very strange you are willing to pay apartheid benefactors to do work for you, when you want apartheid victims – your own- to do it for free.

You don’t take counsel from your own, you implicitly trust and consult apartheids benefactors and follow their advice. You easily accuse your own of suffering of entitlement when you don’t see your own entitlement.

Yet if an apartheid or colonial benefactor regardless how small comes with an idea, a plan you quick to jump to hear them out, it’s them you believe!

Apartheid’s benefactors manage even your wealth as an empowered one.

They manage your so-called companies, you have them as personal secretaries when you want to transform SA, what a contradiction for you trust them implicitly! Smell the coffee! Political power bows to economic control,

It’s them you hire as your attorneys to defend you. I must conclude apartheid was the most successful system ever because it succeeded to have colonial and apartheid victims never to trust one another but rather to trust colonial and apartheid benefactors.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator