Buffoonery around land debate setting SA up for coalition government

TO THIS END, THEY WILL CAMPAIGN AND MOBILISE, EVEN BLACKMAIL AND ACCUSE, TO ENSURE AN AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION IS NOT ATTAINED. WE SAW HOW COPE’S LEADER MOSIUOA LEKOTA WAS REDUCED TO PUBLIC CRYING IN DEFENCE OF WHITE LAND OWNERSHIP.

The most important question in South Africa remains the land question. If we should have any national question it has to be the land question, for therein is locked up most of SA’s challenges, from identity to economics.

 

Unfortunately, what is unfolding before our eyes appears again the naked betrayal of the masses. The most important issue this society will ever have to contend with is made a buffoonery, joke, game and a manipulation of surveys in outcomes.  That which our children in the future will judge us harshly on, resolving the land question, is made a political game.

Firstly, let us accept the EFF, despite its unsustainable and often poorly thought through solutions for the land question, by default leads the public conversation on land. Herein is both a blessing and a curse. Perhaps the blessing is the EFF is aesthetically sincerer on the land debate than the ANC in this epoch ever will be. The curse is perhaps what Malema says may resonate and sound good in a rally, unfortunately, the land question does not take place in a vacuum but against the backdrop of a constitutional democracy.

 

Malema, who tabled the motion, is his usual self – useful loud on threats but empty on strategy and implementation. Saying we will take the land back naturally evokes great emotions, it allows the landless masses of South Africa to dream again, yet it is as old as the slogan Mayibuye iAfrika. In the end, this ultimately translates to pure rhetoric – it simply just doesn’t work like that if we going to accept the constitutional reality of South Africa

.

The land debate is made a joke because the ANC leadership under Ramaphosa consciously has reduced it to a clever political game of events, so-called processes of engagement that from the start is orchestrated to have the desired outcome not to tamper with the constitution. The constitution of South Africa is erroneously associated with the personality of Ramaphosa.

 

It is the conviction of the opposition that South Africa must be led by a coalition of parties. The ANC appears to have fallen for this conviction. You will recall that the motion on land back in March, as proposed by the EFF and slightly amended by the ANC, was passed with a 241-83. While this was a decisive adoption we must not forget that a significant number of 30+ on the ANC ticket either was absent or didn’t vote on the day.

Unfortunately, today it appears there are two ANC’s. There is the ANC that carries the ideals of the masses, mandated to deliver on what the masses agreed. Yet, there is also an ANC whose singular interest is to satisfy a promising investment community, a community in which they are all well vested.  Is it time to concede the ANC at this point in history is not interested in returning any land to the masses any time soon.

On the other hand, you have the majority of opposition parties led by the Democratic Alliance who are at pains to ensure white interest and its confirmed dominance of land ownership as a normalised constitutional defensible reality. They work today as custodians in defence of a constitution that is apparently under threat again. To this end, they will campaign and mobilise, even blackmail and accuse, to ensure an amendment of the constitution is not attained. We saw how COPE’s leader Mosioua Lekota was reduced to public crying in defence of white land ownership.

 

While this unfolds we have the Khoisan people in a multiplicity of expressions, who are yet to have their identities in a democratic state recognised as a 21st-century identity, in all sorts of tumults as they share their own confusing ideas of land as theirs exclusively.  When I as a Khoisan ask my kin, what land they are referring to they stumble in explanation. At the same time, you have traditional leadership structures however defined who are simply not ready to cease their cultural control and grip over land.  Then we have the Mr Gatvols who hardly represent the people with their racist and short-sighted comments filling the canvas of a land debate.

Perhaps the lack of clear and unequivocal consistent leadership on the most fundamental question in democracy, namely the land question, confirms another agenda. That agenda is to take SA to a coalition government in 2019 as an orchestrated plan.

 

Recently, the results of a Constitutional Review of Section 25 amendment comments were published.  We are told 229857 people submitted comments, therefore participated in this exercise. Of those who participated, 129549 apparently commented against the review while 100308 commented in favour of the review. We can’t but conclude that these may constitute the typical games being played that make the land question a buffoonery.

We also know that these processes are also a means to keep the radicals appeased in the ANC and to simultaneously neutralise the EFF and BLF on the issues of constitutional review and land.

 

If there were any true and genuine seriousness about the land question let us vote on this.  The most serious issue we may have to contend with – regaining control of land – is made a political game and used for wild threats while so-called census is manipulated to have the desired outcome.

It looks more and more real that come 2019, we will have a coalition government, not because the people desire that, but because the ANC leadership has been sold the lie that it cannot run the country as a party and that it needs opposition parties in equity of equality to be in power with them. This, unfortunately, is what President Ramaphosa seems to believe. Is it possible that a coalition government will assist its leader with a myriad of internal and internecine challenges facing the ANC, at least so it’s believed?

A coalition government will render whoever leads as answerable to South Africa and not the ANC. There are those who argue it was never Ramaphosa’s aim to be the ANC president, but to lead SA in a Mandela-style of government of national unity. Coalition politics will afford whomever to deal with the issue of deployment from cabinet to all levels. Coalition politics will, therefore, deal with the power of the ANC, its controversial resolutions and its cadre deployment challenges. So, when we get to coalition politics and a government of national unity Ramaphosa would be literally standing in Mandela’s proverbial shoes, a once too often expressed desire that has a tad too much significance for the incumbent. CR would be standing in Mandela’s shoes, exactly where he wants to be.

It is up to the masses to accept the political games of politicians because we were herded into coalition politics in the name of a land debate. The masses must either take their future into their own hands or continue allowing these political games that will never deliver land for the masses.

Clyde Ramalaine

Political Commentator and Writer

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Obama and the things he is yet to speak on when celebrating Mandela

 

Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th USA president is in town to deliver the keynote address at the Madiba Centenary Celebrations.

This moment compels us to reflect on a very sombre time five years earlier marked as December 5th, 2013, when arguably one of the world’s noblest sons and perhaps the modern-day epitome of humanity exchanged mortality for immortality.

Back then the world stood aghast whilst readying to converge to attend the home-going of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. In record time a 10-day period of mourning to mark his death was announced and by the 5th day, I like many others found myself in Suite 71, earmarked for the accredited religious persons to attend the State Memorial at FNB stadium, South of Johannesburg.

This was an occasion graced by 91 former and present presidents, with an even larger contingent of 103 Governments who also came to pay due to honour to Mandela. The list of speakers a crossbreed of friends, foes, enemies, and celebrity politicians honoured to speak on this occasion says more of the mosaic of a Mandela.

It was on this occasion that Barack H. Obama acted as the first of eight renowned people afforded to speak, the same dovetailed with an epic fulfilment of who Mandela is with the ageing Raul Castro of Cuba paying homage to a friend.

Obama gave without any doubt perhaps the address of the day, in sterling gifted oratory skills and aptitude cloaking this rendition in personalizing his Mandela celebration.

There is no question that he had the crowd salivating for more, and for days after that, his speech was discussed argued deliberated on various platforms of social networks, print media, and television broadcasts.

In the aftermath, we were informed that a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher and freedom of information activist (FOIA) Ryan Shapiro, in the USA, was then heading to court to force the CIA to reveal or declassify documents admitting its role in the capturing of Mandela at Howick in 1962. Shapiro has repeatedly requested records mentioning Mandela from the archives of the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defence Intelligence Agency and the FBI.

This and other issues necessitates upon us to ask in this season did Obama not miss an opportunity to set the record straight on perhaps critical issues. Notwithstanding the brilliance of his address, in the world’s accepted favoured accent.

I back then asked did Obama not miss the opportunity to set things right, I ask again will Obama today address some pertinent issues he hitherto has failed to engage.
Permit me to enumerate eights things I have been mulling over, which I thought Obama could and should have reflected upon. I equally hold the hope that today he might heed my call to respond to these matters in an unequivocal sense.

  1. Will Obama today admit the involvement of the CIA in Mandela’s capturing in Howick as a true historical fact. Will he, own up to the fact that the man he and 3 former USA presidents came to honour in December 2013 could potentially have been killed by the work and hand of a previous USA government.
  2. I thought Obama could have spared a thought to actualise the grave implications for this act particularly since then as the USA considers itself the bastion of democracy. He perhaps may have deliberated on the challenge and anomalies of democracy and its often-reaped fruit, which many times do not reflect the human values of a Mandela. This thinking resonates at another level to solicit acknowledgement that it was a democratically elected USA government that shared in stark contrast to the espoused democratic principles a symbiotic and cosy relationship with an Apartheid state heresy. An apartheid system that had as fundamental axis racism, breathing discrimination and came exemplified in segregation with a resultant effect of the debasement of an African dignity.
  1. Will Obama today concede or even allude to the fact that it was the USA multi-nationals and their narrow interest and corporates that fought against the cause for which Mandela became the “black pimpernel” in underwriting the discrimination of opportunity and resource for those of more melanin content. An unambiguous acknowledgement of this at this the demise of his hero, and even now the centenary celebrations could be pragmatic if not redeeming.
  2. Will Obama refer to the fact that Mandela like so many others until very recently still reflected as a ‘terrorist’ on the intelligence of USA radar? Perhaps an acknowledgement of how short-sighted the USA was in not recognising the man he came to celebrate and for which the globe only had personal and collective veneration was served a grave injustice in this fashion by none other than the USA. Will Obama in this season rectify his earlier missed opportunity and take collective responsibility for this injustice in pragmatism thus attempting to fix the past in establishing a future. After all, he was and remains Obama the 44th President of the USA.
  1. Will Obama spare a moment to reflect on the USA’s role in an Angola – Namibia (South West Africa back then). The late Fidel Castro Cuba’s former president before his death took us down an epic journey. This soul-cleansing of rear-view mirror opinion corroborated by facts and names mentioned in his article “Mandela is dead, don’t tell no lies about Apartheid” gives us a perspective less known. I had hoped Obama in his address back then and even in this season would nakedly engage the nature and actuality of the risks of those engagements at the time the error of such whilst arguing no different to a Martin Luther King Jr, on Vietnam ‘being a senseless war’. According to the records, the Apartheid South African regime was backed by the democratic USA in this instance. If anybody was capable of putting the record straight not in narrow defence of USA but in the balance of objectivity whilst owning up, this lanky son of a Kenyan father who brought his shooting – hoop to the White-House was the appropriate candidate. These are not facts too far removed from any USA president be it in historic precedent or experiential reflection.
  1. Will Obama on behalf of previous USA administrations apologise to the current ANC and its preceding leaderships for misunderstanding this organisation not as liberation organisation but as a ‘terrorist’ group? Jogging the memory of this 106-year-old movement in highs and lows with a definitive undeniable reality of being a non-racial organisation could have helped in this celebration of a movement Mandela swore allegiance to beyond his death.
  2. Obama’s speech should equally acknowledge the fact that the ANC in almost 25 years of democracy upholds and maintains respect for its egalitarian SA constitution, the same it firstly produced and jealously guards in having shown a maturity to share common space for all in line with the reconciliation mantra of Mandela. He easily could have acknowledged that in 2004, the ANC with a 2/3 majority could have reinterpreted and altered the constitution to legally reflect what some feared possible if the intentions of the ANC were considered ambivalent on democracy. It should be easy for Obama to acknowledge the maturity of this Movement in consistently engendering the fundamental principles of democracy.
  3. Maybe Obama should acknowledge that his ascendance to USA White-House of political power inadvertently and automatically generated expectations justifiably and sentimentally in hopes from fellow Africans on the desired change in USA diplomacy as that which respects the legacy of a Mandela and his ilk evident in a greater sensitivity for Africa.

It appears whenever Obama addresses Africans it is to lecture them from a veiled place of aloofness. The one key interview with SABC anchor-man in Washington Sherwin Bryce-Peace confirmed this assertion.

The ‘black’ 44th President of the USA identifies easily with the power to pronounce on the thematic narrative of corruption which is justified, yet I have long postulated as is recorded in other pieces I have written, “…Obama’ the African fathered-son wrestles to come home to walk in the barefoot embrace of Africa in admitting the concomitant wrongs and evils committed by the West…”

There must be something worth questioning when Obama as the 44th President of the USA can lecture Africans and yet as an African cannot identify with Africans in this that Africa remains abused by the toxic concoction of a Euro-USA self-interest.

This constitutes perhaps the aspects lending legitimacy on the claim of a definitive missed opportunity the 44th and First African President of the USA had when he came to bury the many he today came to celebrate.

In April of 2016 US District Judge Christopher Cooper said it was clear which records Shapiro would like to review. “Regardless of how onerous it might be to locate them, there can be no dispute about which items are being requested – records in the CIA’s possession that mention Nelson Mandela or his three listed aliases,” with this we heard that Shapiro was edging closer to have access to the CIA files. We remain vigilant to follow the outcome of this as one of the many things Barack Hussein Obama may want to include in his address when Rolihlahla Mandela is celebrated in this season.

Madiba’s centenary celebrations call for more than great oratory skills, it is calling for an admission of wrong on the part of the USA in defiance of the ethics of Mandela. Will Obama help history and let us hear these admissions for he remains the best person to engage these in a time when we have no hope that his successor may ever have such repented heart.

So, Barack speak, today, just don’t lecture if you not willing to own up.

Teta’, Barak if you can let your feet meet the dust of Africa’s perpetual abuse.

Bua’ Hussein if yours is not to read Africans the riot act, but in humility to acknowledge you too have missed golden opportunities to set the record straight.

Maybe we never will hear these admissions ever in history to come, for the best opportunity to engage these stands here in Gauteng today may the occasion not again register a missed opportunity.

Clyde Ramalaine

Political Commentator & Writer

Why I write!

 

 

Heartbeats and impulses,

inked in pages of daily news

a scripted discourse.

Society forced not to think.

Restless tidal currents

involuntarily flows

ignited in question,

from human soul.

Not by permission,

neither by approval

I don’t write to please…

 

It’s a forced craft,

an ancient skill and gift,

really a release valve.

It stirs, it disrupts,

an audacity that evokes.

Though it relays,

thinking from the other side

I don’t write to toe the line…

 

It upsets and annoys,

dispels forced narratives,

Detested by those it lays bare,

Yet, it’s message is received

by high and low.

Freed thinking,

unbridled reflections,

pensive moments

wrapped in words.

Streets of inked columns

It’s my daily protest…

 

Today’s beat – yesterday’s tune,

a search for tomorrow

Sips of free-flow thinking,

sighs in muttered retorts

mixed in inspiration.

A flickering candlelight,

in violent trade – winds that blow,

forever protesting a forced line

You couldn’t pay me to write…

 

Unburdening contemplations,

always defiant in questioning,

revolting a paradigm,

denied anomalies – laid bare

I must write,

I will write,

I write –

daily!

Clyde Nicholas Stephen Ramalaine

22/6/2018

(Dedicated:  To all those who dare to write and force us to all to think)

 

Maimane finally realizes he was elected to lead a white DA, in which he is not to question white privilege!

 

Mmusi Maimane the embattled DA leader, addressed a rally in Soshanguve on Freedom Day. During this speech he attempted to engage the holy grail of white privilege and juxtaposed that to black poverty, he today finds himself offside of those who usually sing with him in accord in the attack of the leading party and its leadership. The mutterings on his incapability to lead the DA have increasingly been growing in the public space of the SA discourse.

Maimane finally is realising he is heading up a white party, a party that will not entertain anyone challenging its raison d’être, namely the protection of white privilege and attacking whiteness. If Maimane had taken the time to listen to Lindiwe Mazibuko, when she warned “the DA is not for free thinking and educated blacks”, he may have paused and approached his ascendance in the DA with more circumspect and less euphoria.

Maimane knows today that despite the much-made history of liberalism paraded as the banner of the DA in its ancestry of a Democratic Party with celebrated progressive voices like Helen Susman and Van Zyl Slabbert among others the DA he leads is a really the fulcrum of a conservative white minority singularly out to defend, fight for, protect and work for the interest of white privilege.

Maimane came to realise that he may talk about anything but as soon as he attempts to engage the subject of white privilege literally the anchor tenant of his party’s existence all hell breaks loose. It didn’t take long for the traditional DA constituency to begin to raise the voices against its leader. The reality is Steenhuizen etc do not respect Maimane they have never respected him, he was a means to an end and clearly, he is fast reaching his expiry date. Let us also be clear Maimane was never the DA traditional constituency’s choice. Helen Zille on her last fundraising trip to those who identify with the DA at an international level was told step down and let the Obama project aka Maimane be elected.

Maimane discovered it is all good and fine to attack the ANC because inadvertently you really attacking black leadership. He finally learns castigating black leadership as corrupt is not so an uncommon belief in the DA he heads up, as long as you never try and flip and he must just not try call whites corrupt? Like OJ Simpson in 1995 after the murder of Nicole Simpson, his wife realised he is really a black man, so Maimane awakes to the reality he is a black man in a white party. The white world will fool you into thinking you are white until you cross a line. Maimane crossed that line and as soon as he did, they told him he is not supposed to do that.

Maimane came to experience the naked truth of what the DA in its fundamental essence stands for. He is never to ask for a broadening of leadership that is black, he was never to raise the subject matter of transformation. His job was to grow the black followers of the DA just not tamper with a dominant white leadership.

The concern as is claimed in DA circles is the alienating of what they term the traditional DA constituency. The constituency is not mentioned in name of categoric sense, it is explained in a traditional definition. Yet its presence in the DA is pronounced, its relevance not disputed and its reality embraced as the supreme constituency. The DA is an alliance as we all know therefore it means, we must ask what is meant with a traditional DA constituency in the DA setting?

Since we discuss constituencies, is there equal concern towards a constituency alienation if the DA continues with its firing of Patricia De Lille? Or is the constituency concern reserved for the real centre of the DA? It does not take special knowledge to decipher, who the constituency is. All one has to do is ask what did Maimane attempt to raise? Who then makes up the traditional definition of DA constituency if not those who claim a white description for their common identity. Maimane knows today he is not part of that traditional DA constituency, he will never be as cursed by skin shade renders him impossible to ever traverse that divide of traditional and non-traditional constituency claims.

The hypocrisy of the DA is its refusal to honestly engage the anomalies of South Africa as the constitutional democracy, anomalies that continue to underscore the protection of white privilege and the upkeep of black poverty as normal and endorsed by a constitution. The DA seeks to use the constitution as the frontline of defence to entrench white privilege and white economic supremacy, it uses any and every means at its disposal to confirm the deep-seated belief in the corrupt nature of black leadership, the courts are not spared.

Maimane finds himself on the receiving end of a blistering attack from within his party ranks. This charge is led by senior leaders in the DA, namely the Deputy Chief Whip Mike Waters, the Chief Whip John Steenhuizen and the vocal Member of Parliament Natasha Mazzone. What then is the common denominator that binds this group of leaders together in agreement on red carding Maimane and his white privilege acknowledgement? It is nothing else but a denotation colonialism and apartheid extended them in white identity. They are defending the traditional base of the DA. They easily identify with that traditional constituency.

Maimane may have pretended hitherto he was not aware that the Democratic Alliance is not a democratic party its list compilation for leadership and its elections of leadership confirms this fact.

How is it that Maimane did not know the DA he leads? After all, he saw and lived through times of struggle to lead, in an attempt of exacting discipline on his predecessor Helen Zille and Diane Kohler-Barnard among a few. He should have known then already his leadership was a token leadership. Is it possible that Mazibuko’s analysis struck him dead in the face?

Yet Maimane may protest he is educated. He may demonstrate he is an independent thinker –  that’s exactly why he raised the issue of white privilege regardless of how discomforting it may be for some? He may even direct you to his most recent tweet on the unfolding saga, in which he categorically asserts: “I firmly stand by comments I made on Freedom Day. SA remains deeply unequal, with black SAns locked out of opportunities. We must focus on solving the problem. Liberation of one race is not the enslaving of another – all of us, black & white, must come together to build #1SA4All”. We do not know if his newfound independence is authentic or a desperate attempt at political survival since he sees the writing on the wall. Is he in any sense becoming black because he realises the white party feels he has served his purpose – which was to get Jacob Zuma out, nothing more nothing less?

What is more clear today is that the DA as an alliance is coming loose at its racial white and black seams, it is tearing at its traditional and non- traditional constituency bases these are also again in a binary of white and black realities. Is it finding itself in what Gramsci long ago defined as the interregnum, the old not willing to die and the new not yet empowered?

Regardless to how Maimane may attempt to sound in charge he knows he is not in charge of the traditional DA constituency, he knows he is a black man in a white party where his own future is not guaranteed since he was elected as a means to an end.

The DA knows now that its last leadership contest that produced a squaring of between Wilmot James and Mmusi Maimane in which they consciously opted for the lesser of the two that spelt any threat to the transformation of the DA, is also becoming uncontrollable. The DA is not serious about transformation particularly itself, it is and remains a party obsessed to protect the white interest and cannot exist outside that fundamental axis. The DA is the sum total of the majority of white voters. It is the natural home of the majority of white voters not because it is the better option for the country but really since whites feel at home and continue to vote for this party because it is a party that represents them as group and race’s interest.

Maimane knows that he personally no different to De Lille is very discardable for those of white privilege. He knows today that he is not indispensable and even those within the party that may support him will not save him since those who do not approve of his white privilege statements are the very ones whom it is claimed he alienates always decide leadership.

The DA, in all honesty, cannot trust any black leader because ultimately any thinking black leader will find it difficult to defend white privilege. In electing Maimane the DA felt comfortable that he was not going to ever challenge the essence of its existence. Maimane ultimately knows much more about his DA and he knows blacks will never be the traditional base of this party. As the days unfold, they will find him corrupt too and nail him like they have always nailed all other blacks who dared to challenge them on their protection of white interest at any and every cost.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Political Commentator & Writer Chairperson of TMoSA Foundation

DA’s capture theme mushrooms into a useful tool for a claim to messiahship

‘State Capture’ often talked about in a claim of textbook precision if not emotion by those who have found it a means to keep South Africa occupied, increasingly appears seldom supported by evidence that will stand legal muster come the hour. For some of us, it remains a hokum argument rooted in a political campaign originally crafted by the opposition and successfully carried in the court of public opinion, with an innate lucrative personal benefit for those in power.

Let us not forget that on March 10, the Free State High Court on the Estina Dairy Farm inquest, ruled that the R10milion in Atul Gupta’s bank account be unfrozen. This past week Judge Loubser of the Free State High Court ordered the unfreezing of R250 million worth of the family’s assets. We also heard from the Pretoria Court where the NPA withdrew its bid to freeze the family’s Optimum and Doornfontein mine rehabilitation trusts.

With the NPA now having lost three rounds in an attempt of seizing the assets as proceeds of a crime to prove state capture as is claimed, it becomes increasingly difficult to see the NPA succeed to bring a case that will stand legal muster come August 2018 when it will make its case. There are those who argue the NPA is in the attempt of creating crime scenes and is failing to prove the much publicised and easily claimed state capture in evidence,

President Ramaphosa on May 24th hosted a meeting with editors of mainstream media, in such he expressed his sincere gratitude towards the media for its role in a democratic society. Ramaphosa also took the opportunity to confess that he as president and former president did not know the extent of state capture until the media revealed such. With this confession, Ramaphosa sought to give the media credit for having given us state capture as prevalent. Perhaps the president with his confession in a two-fold sense shared a less convenient truth though inadvertently when he credits the media for having unveiled state capture. It becomes natural to ask is it possible that state capture was created by the media?

South Africa is a constitutional democracy with three independent arms defining the State, these respectively are the legislative, the judiciary and the executive. To, therefore, claim state capture an undeniable reality it should be that evidence exists that at least two of the arms of the state are captured. Hitherto no evidence exists that either the judiciary or the legislative arms are captured leaving only the executive.  We know efforts are afoot to prove its existence in the executive. Yet, at the same time, only some departments and ministries within the executive are tainted with this claim of state capture.

It may be important to jog our collective memory on the SA use of capture which became state capture as drummed into our national conscience, we warrant asking how and from where this construct made its presence known.

The making of a narrative of capture:  

While President Ramaphosa, generously accredits the media for uncovering the extent of capture.  The truth is if Ramaphosa wants to extend credit to anyone for the presence of a theme of capture as we are fed immanent in state capture, he will need to give the official opposition credit for the construct. The construct of capture was introduced to us by the Democratic Alliance when its strategists developed a campaign for its 2009 elections. The campaign would be centred on the famous three C’s namely cadre deployment, corruption and capture. While the DA itself is very active in cadre deployment it vociferously went after the ANC and sought to discredit it in every sphere on this score.

We will recall that the DA solicited a parliamentary investigation against the ANC led Eastern Cape Government in 2011 on the Siphiwo Sohena appointment. We also recall how by May 2013 it accused the ANC that its cadre deployment policy and practice contradicts the National Development Plan. It was only by December 2014 that the ANC in counter-accusation attacked the DA for its own cadre deployment practice. The DA did not back off but continued attacking the ANC’s cadre deployment, until the ANC began to re-echo the sentiments of a problematic in its own cadre deployment as an internecine challenge. Clearly, the DA won this round because the ANC was now doubting and critiquing its own cadre deployment when nothing was done about the DA’s own cadre deployment practice.

It was time for the DA to move to the second C (corruption) of its campaign, around 2014. The DA’s strategy was now framed around proving the ANC led administration as corrupt in its totality. The means to prove this would be to create a focal point, and that became the ANC and SA president, while it included premiers, mayors and all those in senior positions. Notwithstanding the fact that corruption is a reality from the time of Mandela to varying degrees, we now were led to believe corruption was anchored in the office of the 3rd Elected SA president Jacob Zuma. Fast track to 2016, the subject of a corrupt ANC was now entrenched in our discourse and the credibility of the ANC irrevocably damaged hardly because corruption was a lie neither because it was in the greater degree of prevalence, but for the fact that the DA in dictating the national narrative succeeded. As in the case of cadre deployment, the ANC eventually caught up and began to talk about corruption. Naturally, corruption must at all times be condemned, and there should never be a justification for corruption anywhere

The former public protector’s Secure and Comfort Report, which ultimately ended in the constitutional court, was the death knell in confirming the claim of rampant corruption with its fulcrum, the head of the ANC led government’s Nkandla property. The DA could now claim that it has proven the ANC as corrupt, not to be trusted to lead. By October 2016, with the Constitutional Court ruling public, corruption as a leading theme appeared to have run its course, since no corruption on the part of the president and his family was found in either the report or the subsequent Concourt rulings.

It was now time if not opportune to introduce SA to the last C in the DA trilogy, namely capture. State capture forcefully introduced to our conscience soon took over our national conversation. Its target as always for the DA was the head of ANC and SA, president Zuma.  The means will be his publicly admitted relationship with a naturalised Gupta Family originally from India.

By June 2016, the Secretary-General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe informed the public that out of eight people confirmed to have evidence of state capture, only one was willing to make a written submission. State capture, with this statement, was thus nowhere near any real matter for engaging in ANC circles. Capture would be the most lethal of the DA’s campaign arsenal, for it sought to capitalise on the factionalised self-interest of leaders in an ANC that is known for its conflicting presence of capital, however, defined.

The problematic and political value of proving the Guptas as the state capturers

Despite the fact that there are those who argue that the nature of all capitalist states lends itself to capture, the SA narrative in this season attests a peculiarity in its practical and experiential claim for its prevalence.  Please do not mistake my opinion as defence of the Guptas, I am on record for having said whatever this family and its companies have done wrong, they must like all others face the full might of law. My challenge is the SA prism of state capture immanent in this family in an exclusive sense. The crafted and uncritical appropriated narrative on state capture is necessarily only understood in centre and circumference as limited to the Gupta Family. Perhaps herein lies the questionability and uniqueness of the South African version of state capture’s conundrum. We may argue as to how sincere South Africa is to investigate the prevalence of state capture since it already pre-determined to find it within prescribed limitations to a family name to the conscious exclusion of all others.

Thus, the origin and current problematic with a claim of capture directly borrowed from the DA trilogy (cadre deployment, corruption and capture) for its elections campaign strategy against the ANC, combined with its choice definition in singular association with a particular family namely the Guptas raise questions. If state capture was to be proven it will need to be proven with the Guptas as its central and only focus. Herein lies perhaps the power of the campaign versus the sincerity to deal with a plausible captured state. It is logical to make a case for proving of state capture in the frame of Gupta claims because the narrative has succeeded and it appears all that is needed now is to prove this since the evidence as is claimed is a matter of public knowledge for all to see.

It appears the logic leads to proving the Guptas guilty of state capture and by extension dealing with the latter in a court reality of a successful verdict, would effectively arrest state capture. Not only will it ‘arrest’ state capture and declaring it finally a thing of the past, but it also produces natural heroes and messiahs. Do not underestimate the importance of the latter, we are in an undeniable public relations season it may just be the real reason why such emphasis and space are accorded to let state capture live when it really is corruption that must be dealt with. Framing corruption in claims of state capture a conviction against the already guilty Gupta family, therefore holds much more than political mileage and relevance for some among the political elite.

Who then stands to benefit from keeping us occupied with this crafted narrative of state capture? Who are the to be crowned Messiahs when this type of ‘state capture’ is proven? Can the case be made that undue pressure is exerted on the NPA to prosecute? Let us not forget that those who advance the narrative of state capture are increasingly becoming impatient with the NPA for proving too slow to act in nailing those whom they already had found guilty in the court of public opinion. We have heard Trevor Manuel echoing these sentiments.  We have heard a call to action on the part of the president while in campaign mode. Back then-presidential candidate Ramaphosa in addressing a COSATU rally said the following: “The Hawks and NPA mustn’t sit on their laurels, they must do their work and investigate so those involved can be dealt with… there is no reason for the Hawks and NPA to wait for a commission of inquiry. Something about state capture should be done immediately.”

We cannot rush to conclude the president is now exerting undue political pressure on the NPA, yet we must ask why is the NPA ‘stretched, overwhelmed and under pressure’ as Abram Mashego in his City Press article categorically asserts for the overarching reasons why the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit’s (SCCU) which is directing the criminal investigation into state capture acted in a haphazard fashion? What happens if the case of state capture cannot be made? Will we accept it was always a political campaign?

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

 

 

Beyond, the chaos of political names for Cape Town International airport lays the battle for identity!

Marinos the philosopher introduced us to the adage, “True learning flourishes in chaos”. What happened at the Cape Town Intl. Airport, where a public meeting intended to engage the renaming of the airport abruptly ended in chaos. Chaos where emotions flared, easily interpreted as uncouth behaviour, untenable intolerance, the ever-pervasive and simmering issue of race or it may just present a moment of learning on the subject matter of identity. The quest for identity involuntarily thrusts itself upon our collective conscience in a post-democratic dispensation. Beyond names bandied around, we are compelled to listen deeper and ask what are we hearing or not hearing from this gathering – I think we are hearing the quest for identity pronouncing itself?

We are told that the names in contention include Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, Sarah Baartman and Krotoa of the Goringhaicona.  The one good thing about the names thrown around is for the first time there are more women in this usually male-dominated obsession of names for public places.

South Africa is a nation obsessed with naming public spaces after political personalities. It is not a phenomenon that stems from 1994, but deeply ingrained in the notion of a Republic of SA. It is a direct continuation of an apartheid-era practice of honouring of politicians and leaders as means to flex political muscle. Let us not forget Cape Town International’s last name was DF Malan Airport. In case you forgot, OR Tambo International, was previously known as Jan Smuts Airport, the Bloemfontein Airport was named after JB Hertzog. Hence apartheid beneficiaries can hardly pretend this practice immanent in an obsession of names for public spaces as singularly a democratic era thing.  If the new democratic dispensation learned anything from the heretic systems of colonialism and apartheid it was to inculcate in idol worship their political heroes affording them unique identities eternalised in public spaces. Just as it uncritically appropriated racial classification for means to define a common humanity in questionable frames of black, coloured, white and Indian, whatever these may mean.

However, beyond the irrefutable practice as found from apartheid days lays buried perhaps the golden thread of identity. We may accept that the naming of airports like JB Hertzog, Jan Smuts and DF Malan expressed a sense of political power on one level but it may also at a fundamental level unequivocally articulate a group identity on another level.

In the year that Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu would have turned 100 years these two ANC luminaries are celebrated in a national campaign and series of events, hence some almost naturally assume it normal to bestow the honour of renaming the airport with one of the two. Naming a Nelson Mandela or Albertina Sisulu for the airport would be also neutral since both these figures are celebrated in near sense of deity. Renaming it after any of these two would be considered good public relations exercise in a season when the media claims a resurgence of Mandela-like euphoria.  We may, therefore, deduce going for either a Mandela or Sisulu name is at the core probably an ANC leadership motivated idea. We may conclude it’s the ANC party identity that seeks to exert itself in this regard, particularly in a geographical space where the ANC continues to battle to regain political control.

In the year of her death, the name of Winnie Madikizela- Mandela, for most affectionately known as ‘Mother of the Nation’, is for some the only name for consideration as a means to fix and honour her legacy since the ANC according to some failed to honour this stalwart. Winnie Madikizela- Mandela in her own right divides the ANC as her death showed. The aftermath of her death threatened to unleash a further divide in a very fractious ANC, since information shared laid bare how some key leaders in her party aided the untested claim of her involvement in the death of Stompie Sepei, either by their silence not dispelling that narrative or their compliance to nail her for their own reasons.

While the ANC was dealing with the embarrassment of these revelations and as always absent to engage the public discourse on the subject the EFF seized the moment to gather in the significant spot of Brandfort, the place to which Winnie Mandela was banished under house arrest for nine years. Julius Malema the EFF leader who has an inside track on ANC information often embarrasses the ANC leadership when he blurts information not always meant for public consumption. Malema became the first politician to publicly call for the name of Winnie Mandela as replacement of Cape Town International. With this Malema exerted his personal political identity and that of the EFF as a party that leads. Let us not forget Malema is on record to claim the EFF is directing political theory and the political landscape of SA in this epoch.  A choice for Winnie Mandela while marking her legacy in fixing, really carries the flexing of the identity of the EFF leader and its party. There may also be a radical component of the ANC who is more likely to agree with the EFF because they identify with Madikizela- Mandela and less with Nelson Mandela or Albertina Sisulu.

Robert Smangaliso Sobukwe the Pan African Congress president and Leader and icon, kept in solitary confinement on Robben Island, of whom apartheid’s John Vorster once remarked with the following words: “Compared to [Albert] Luthuli, Sobukwe was a heavyweight, (is also mentioned). Sobukwe due for release on May 3, 1963, was instead eternalised with a special law, called the “Sobukwe Clause”, in the General Laws Amendment Act passed to enable the apartheid government to detain him indefinitely.  The PAC often accuses the ANC of flagrantly usurping the role of the liberation struggle in history in the totality of presence and thus, airbrushing the role Robert Sobukwe and others. Those who call for a Robert Sobukwe renaming of the Cape Town international airport do so in an attempt of exerting the Pan African Congress liberation struggle identity, a claim justified in due recognition. It is an attempt to challenge the ANC in its management of history.

Equally, so others call for the name of Sarah Baartman the Khoi-Khoi woman who was brutally violated and shipped out of the land of her birth forced to perform against her will by Caesars and Dunlop, she was later sold to an animal trainer S. Reaux. Baartman’s physique became the obsession of the French scholar Georges Cuvier who clearly could not see a human but became entrapped seeking to draw a link between and animals in this Khoi-Khoi woman.  Baartman’s body was exploited for scientific racism. Cuvier dissected her body and displayed her remains. She finally returned home as repatriated to rest from where she was violently and inhumanely taken.

On the other hand, some called for the name of Krotoa of the Goringhaicona. Krotoa (known as Eva to the Dutch and English settlers) was the niece of Autshumao, a Khoi leader and interpreter to the Dutch (he was known as Harry/Herry first by the English and then by the Dutch). A young Krotoa, of about 10 or 11 years old, it is claimed was taken in by Jan van Riebeeck during the first few days of Dutch settlement in the Cape. Recent reflections reveal attempts to present her from the other side of her history and more and more defines her a linguist, an intellectual, leader and some of the earliest women leaders in a recorded Khoisan history.

Those who demand the renaming of the Cape Town International airport with names of either Krotoa of the Goringhaicona or Sarah Baartman share a common struggle and that struggle is one for a recognition of identity. For in a free and democratic South Africa, the Khoisan identity is still fighting to be recognised as 21stCentury identity.

Unlike all other identities earlier mentioned, this one remains elusive, reduced to poetry that declared it obsolete. This when many of us long in self-identification claimed our Khoisan identity and have asked the state to stop misidentifying us in trojan horse Coloured identity. When they call for either Krotoa and Baartman it is a call for the Mother of the Cape. It is also intrinsically coupled in manifestation with the thorny subject of land redress. It is for this group natural to call for the honouring of these two brave Khoisan women and their connectedness to what is known as the Cape. Yet it is on a larger scale really group identity trying to be heard. Maya Angelou told us ‘there is no story like a story trying to be told’.

In the end, we run the risk of getting hoodwinked in defending names against other names. Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Robert Sobukwe Sarah Baartman or Krotoa of the Goringhaicona are not just mere names that people lost their tempers for during this heated public engagement that ended in chaos.  They all represent identities.

Perhaps these names represent identities contesting a space in their own way really to unseat DF Malan that continues to hide in garments of a claimed neutral Cape Town International airport.  It can also be argued these identities share a common space of powerlessness, hence they are prepared to contest in outshouting one another even teetering on physical fights. While some of these identities claim a political power they all, in the final analysis, remain victims of powerlessness to varying degrees.

Are we learning anything from this chaos? Shall we hear the quest for identity recognition be it political or in self -definition or will we get lost assuming the names are hated by others who call for their preferred identity? Will those who lead SA ever stop playing mute, we need a Commission on Identity that affords people the inalienable right to self-identify less in apartheid configuration of constricted racist labels.

 

Clyde Ramalaine

June, 5, 2018

Willemse in naked sense reminds SA of its ‘black quota player’ notion advanced by apartheid-era players labels?

– South Africa is a society replete with ‘quota players’, just check your industry and you will hear apartheid benefactors talking about you as a ‘quota player’ –

Rosa Parks the black American civil rights leader who became famous for refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus, which spurred on the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott that helped launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities, responded to this demand with the words “… my feets [sic] are tired…”

In the aftermath of Ashwin Willemse, former SA player and now Supersport rugby analyst sharing his views before he left the studio in full view and with the explicit intent of showing his disgust, as always South Africa is a flood with views and the social media runs wild articulating the binaries of black and white commentary. In a sense, Willemse emulated what American Rosa Parks stood for. We not sure if his revolt against a system of white rugby dictate will ever birth a true boycott that may realize true transformation.

I am not sure why we are all attempting to take refuge in a claimed Supersport investigation which apparently would give us all the facts which we are told will explain what happened on Saturday. As in the case of Parks, all we have are the words of Ashwin Willemse on the night in question.

Perhaps we should look at this and attempt to hear him. Willemse’s two statements cut through the reality of our endemic SA problem, a problem understood and stubbornly anchored in the demon of race. If we know of Parks today it’s for the massive bus revolt birthed and less for her grammatical error of the word feet. I wish to postulate we may just remember Willemse less for the brilliant and deserving wing he was, nor for his analysis often in broken English equal to his colleague Naas Botha, neither for the fact that he has made the Dean’s list to be a Masters student. A mean feat for someone from the backstreets of a Caledon apartheid Coloured Township that duped him into gangsterism. Willemse’s biggest contribution to rugby may just have been what he said on Saturday night.

Let us then hear Willemse in his own words: “I’ve played this game for a long time, like all of us here, you know. And as a player I was labeled a quota player for a long time … and I’ve worked hard to earn my own respect in this game.”

Willemse dovetailed this with: ‘I’m not going to be patronized by two individuals that have played in apartheid, segregated era and come and want to undermine’.

These two statements summarise the entire heart of the current public discourse in the divide. Depending on how apartheid race labels for an identity defines one, one is likely to either embrace, identify, concur or reject one of the two.

The ‘quota system’ phenomenon in rugby is often the manifestation of forced transformation in a space where transformation is not welcomed. Spaces that claim those who earn their places in either club or national colors do so purely by merit. In an ideal world, the assumption can be made that merit informs the choice of players in a squad representing a club or country. However South Africa is not a normal society, we had a saying years ago in SACOS, ‘no normal sport in an abnormal society’. The abnormality of society evidences a truculence to engage the apartheid bastions of race that have hitherto proven stubborn to let go.

Willemse’s emphatic claim that he has worked hard to earn his respect in the game of rugby is not a solitary one or exclusive to rugby, He made it clear his earning of that status is no different to his colleagues though in different epochs. He, therefore, wants to free not just himself but every black player that is necklaced with this label of being ‘quota player’ an identity that again is exacted by those who have always deemed it their right to decide and determine for those they have denied a common equal humanity. Thus, Willemse’s statement is, therefore, a cry for rightful recognition and a legacy devoid of the frame of being a quota player. It cannot be seen as a solitary moment but stands within a larger canvas of observations, personal experiences, and his personal journey.

He is supported by among others Thando Manana who in a radio interview shared similar sentiments being part of SA rugby, who argues it is time for a change. One may easily deduct that the experience is the same for an aggregate group of players of black designation, from the days of Errol Tobias, that over time joined the ranks of SA Rugby and more so in draping a Springbok emblem.

Yet, being cited as a ‘quota player’ is not exclusively limited to rugby, the South African corporate sector is replete with quota, senior executives and business players. The SA media world has its fair share of quota editors and journalists, the apartheid designed academic world that still holds sway of the essence of what makes for curriculum, study material and a professorship in democracy has its own share of quota player academics. The judiciary of SA has its own quota player portion and so we can go on. The reality is apartheid had at its core the flawed belief in a superior race of white identity not exclusively limited to the sport but permeating everything that defines societal life spaces where ordinary people attempts a meaningful life.

Willemse’s revolt is really a cry I to be unshackled from the burden of being tagged a quota player, he in proverbial sense of the Mary-Mary song with a controlled demeanor said, “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance”. He told South Africa and the rugby world, I am no quota player if you who deem me one finds it repulsive for yourself. This is a cry to claim his rightful legacy no different to his fellow analysts in the studio, an equal humanity. This is a common burden of many who in transformation were extended opportunity to participate, learn, grow and ultimately show their mettle. This is not new since we who have always followed rugby and love the sport from childhood days from the seventies know the apartheid rugby teams were empowered players in every facet of the word, hardly an all star-studded player group as if told in a sanitised sense of the history of a definition of SA Springbok rugby teams. Truth be told they were the first to be empowered and had no problem with that empowerment because it was ringfenced and only served the interest of that apartheid advantaged informed by skin color and pigmentation. They were firstly privileged, extended opportunity and often from a space of mediocrity but with a guaranteed space continued to improve in an understanding of the game the same everyone if afforded should show after a while.

Willemse helps us to appreciate problematic and I conviction that informs white thinking on transformation. Transformation is never a welcomed reality, change is always demanded and it is considered discomforting for those who have always benefitted from the status quo. There are those who call for merits as if all players whoever made it into the SA Rugby Teams in what is called “Springboks” did so on pure merit. This is wishful thinking and a blatant lie. They therefore with the advent of a changed political dispensation that necessitated a new society and demanded transformation labeled every black player that made the cut a ‘quota player’. Transformation the necessary instrument and true means for equality are distorted and conveniently understood in the denigrated botched identity of a final product known as ‘quota player’, what an indictment.

Those who are at pains to accord others the designation of quota players often draws a direct correlation between the performance of the team and the presence of those they believe are not elected on merit but informed by the demands of quota systems. They do so without even realizing what they say, Botha about three years ago was talking about the golden era of rugby which refers to a pre-1994 epoch. It is clear there not many in the white world of SA rugby thinking that have regard for the post-1994 era because it remains the team that saw quota players.

When Willemse says he has worked hard to earn his place in this game, he does so because he knows the epithet of a ‘quota player’ came to define the black player in the National Rugby team. The problem with this deduction of what makes for quota player is the again the aspect of race. Willemse’s cry is not a solitary one, but one that many shares.

Unfortunately, rugby seeks to remain white for the wrong reasons, rugby resists all and any means for it wants to continue purporting the enclave of white thinking. Rugby though for public relations stints considered a South African society sport, has exclusively remained the control of a white identity that same identity that predetermined itself as merit players and those who came by way of democratic South Africa as mere quota players. Being a quota player therefore is and remains an albatross and insult if seen through the lens of those who control rugby, the merit claim and afford themselves the inalienable right to know rugby.

South African rugby then attests a microcosm and true reflection of the democratic society, it is as if rugby was discussed at CODESA and apartheid’s beneficiaries negotiated its right to remain the self-appointed custodians of a sport many of us from the Cape have played.

Willemse’s second statement irked the daylights of many apartheid beneficiaries who self-identify in white as the reference to two rugby players that played in the apartheid era. The aggregate comments from whites on this statement depicts a race informed group angered to always be reminded of apartheid. Particularly in a season when Afri-Forum’s Kallie Kriel is in business sanitizing our collective experience of apartheid. When Willemse, therefore, tags Mallet and Botha as apartheid rugby era players, he is not deceptive, they are from that era, it is a fact. They are from a time when South African rugby for the better part was entertaining rebel-teams, begging the world to come and play against it and was considered a pariah state.

Willemse then out of that claim of equal rights space in retributive sense response to those who label others quota players f, those who bask in the sunshine of knowing rugby in superiority. He reminds them you are from the apartheid era. He, therefore, spits on what they consider the holy grail since he says the opposite of what they have come to believe that era stood for. When they look at the pre- 1994 era they see the glory days of Springbok rugby, how dare Willemse, therefore, have the audacity to tell them they were not the best, when that era was in their minds remains the best of all? This response earned him the ire of the white rugby supporters and he is castigated in many ways for being defiant, arrogant and therefore they will now remind him of his gangster past, his challenging life he was raised in Caledon and his challenge with English in a public space context. They will drag him to the altar of ultimate sacrifice and say he is incompetent slothful and corrupt, for when white thinking wants to tell you what they really think of a’ quota player’ be it in rugby, academics, politics, business corporates executive society or anywhere, they eventually will tell you incompetent and corrupt.

In the end, Willemse forces us to engage the label quota player, if you opined because you thought what happened on Saturday night was about rugby exclusively, you have failed to the draw links, because if you look closer you will see your work, business, academic, media, executive space, that had branded you a quota player. For as long as you silent when they make the jokes, for as long as you feel special in white thinking’s company you must stay that – God forbid the day you say like Parks and Willemse … my feets [sic] are tired. That is the day they will come for you and obliterate you. For as long as you remain a quota player and don’t revolt you will accuse Willemse of indolence and attention seeking what till you really get tired and we may have to write about you.

 

Clyde N.S Ramalaine