Mbeki claims a pro-poor ANC has abandoned its roots

… THE LANDLESS POOR MUST LOOK FOR A ‘WIN-WIN’ SITUATION WITH A RUTHLESS COLONIAL AND APARTHEID BENEFICIARY CAPITALIST CLASS…

Reading Mbeki in this epoch reminded me of James E Cone’s book entitled “Martin and Malcolm and America a-dream-or-a-nightmare”. In such Cone makes the case that for King, given his education, economic status and social standing in that society the cry was for integration. Malcolm Little (X)’s struggle was about the right to his identity not as integrated but in coexistence of an equality of humanity with those responsible for his disenfranchisement.

He then shows how it was right for King to dream while X only saw a nightmare. I am afraid the liberation struggle could not have been about being accepted by the colonials and apartheid minorities, the struggle was always about the emancipation to possess and own as was taken from those who suffered the fate of disenfranchisement.

Let me then upfront thank Mbeki for having shared his mind and nailed his colours to the mast with this 30-page mini-volume, on the subject of land redress, among others, since we now have heard him in crystal clear fashion.

The former President of the ANC and SA recently took it upon himself through his foundation to release a statement which he refers to as a pamphlet centred on the subject of a land debate. In it he details a historical path for an ANC-led national question, driven by the philosophy of a national democratic revolution in which he locates the ANC as leader of society. Mbeki contextualises the history of liberation struggle understood from yellow, black and green colours as far back as 1912, for a movement that first came to be known SAANC and finally the African National Congress. We hear him as he categorically asserts, “Accordingly, successive generations among this indigenous African majority have consistently accepted and treated the ANC as their political home exactly because of how it has defined its historic mission over the decades, and what it has done to accomplish this mission.”

In order to drive his fundamental points home that being, (1). A consistent ANC policy position with the 1960 adoption of the Freedom Charter as cardinal bulwark he argues that the ANC’s  54th Conference held in December 2017 in its adopted and articulated position on land (2) deviated from that trajectory and is yet to explain its reason for such deviation and means for such actions. (3) He argues that this deviation translates to an abandonment of what the ANC always believed, stood for and lived up to since it (4)recrafts the ANC as representative of the black masses and by extension, therefore, the ‘black party’ that former President Jacob Zuma articulated, as new and un-ANC.

In order to advance his rationale to make the case for what he termed a contemporary and most recent deviation, he juxtaposes the outcomes of the 2017 Policy Conference held in June and the adopted resolutions with its leadership pronouncements. In defence of his position he cites Pixley ka Seme and Chief Albert Luthuli in different epochs who both articulate in parity the notion of an ANC that exists to attain and work for a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society in its fundamental original intention and end goal as understood in a national democratic movement leading a revolution framed around a national question. He painstakingly explains this to those who do not know at the hand of critical areas in the life of the ANC among others the formation of the PAC in 1959 and later the Group of Eight who were expelled in the early 70’s.

We must, however, caution that Mbeki’s choice of Ka Seme and Luthuli in this instance are deliberate because he extends himself a free pass not to cite for example, a Anton Lembede who in crystal clear sense shares his mind on the tension of the white supremacist mind on the Africans, with the following words, “The African people have been told time and again that they are babies, that they are an inferior race, that they cannot achieve anything worthwhile by themselves or without a white man as their ‘trustee’ or ‘leader’. This insidious suggestion has poisoned their minds and has resulted in a pathological state of mind. Consequently, the African has lost or is losing the sterling qualities of self-respect, self-confidence and self-reliance. Even in the political world, it is being suggested that Africans cannot organise themselves or make any progress without white ‘leaders. Now I stand for the revolt against this psychological enslavement of my people. I strive for the eradication of this ‘Ja-Baas’ mentality, which for centuries has been systematically and sublimely implanted into the minds of the Africans.”

Mbeki may also reduce the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe as a mere tactic but not a progression in thinking on how to realise the goals of that humanity it advocates as its objective.

Mbeki continues his belief of multiracialism and claims, “all South Africans had an obligation to accept that our country had become a multi-racial entity and therefore that it must respect the principle and practice of unity in diversity, became the view of the indigenous majority which had come to accept the ANC as ‘virtually their only true representative and defender of their interests!”

Mbeki in preamble sense makes a fundamental point when he argues, “Thus such notions as building a “non-racial” South Africa as a central objective of the liberation struggle became a property of the majority of the African oppressed, not merely the ANC. This is why all political formations which sought to challenge the ANC on this matter of a “non-racial” South Africa failed. This was because the matter to ensure that the successful liberation struggle remained loyal to the task to build a “non-racial” society had become an objective shared by the majority of the African oppressed, regardless of political affiliation.

One may easily concur with his claim for its apparent nobility and tranquil stance, yet at a deeper level arises questions on the ensconced subject matter of ‘race’ and how that ‘non- racial’ is given content. Later on, as means of conclusion, we will revisit this topic and ask of Mbeki to not just in a historical path but cognisant of an experiential reality, wherein undeniable and the definite anomalies breathe, what such content of a non-racial identity make look like. Particularly since Mbeki is known for his personal conviction of a doctrine of multi-racialism, the same he extends to the ANC devoid of necessary critique in asking the ANC why it accepts race as means for identity configuration.

Mbeki laments the fact that history will lead that the ANC has always understood its historic mission, as “being as being the heavy task to negate and repudiate the vile racism inherent in imperialism, colonialism and apartheid. Throughout the century of its existence, while also fully respecting its antecedents, the ANC has therefore done everything to emphasise that it has a historic mission both to help eradicate the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and simultaneously to help create a truly non-racial and non-sexist human society”

With this Mbeki again reminds all and sundry that the ANC he joined and later served from inception came into existence not for the masses, but for an elite minority who engaged on land ownership.  This is true, yet it cannot be that this is upheld as if the ANC did not increasingly adopt a pro-poor stance and identity. We all know that those who vote for the ANC from Mandela to today make up the poor and hardly the elite.

Yet, Mbeki appears to contradict himself when he a short while later argues, “it is therefore obvious that the ANC must proceed from this well-established tradition, which identifies it in the eyes of the masses of the black people as their representative and leader, as it takes action to take such action as arises from the adoption by the 54th National Conference of the ANC of the resolution on ‘land expropriation without compensation’. Meaning his deliberate reference and acknowledgement of ‘masses of black people’ identifying with the ANC as their representative and leader, inadvertently underscores Zuma’s unequivocal claims of the ANC as a black party. Mbeki’s sensitivity to ‘a black party’ as articulated by Zuma appears more artificial than real since we know the ANC in governance is kept in power by the poor black masses.

We are compelled to pause and ask of Mbeki to explain his deliberate usage of these constructs, particularly those that define social identities in SA. From previous engaging with Mbeki, my assertion remains that Thabo Mbeki in a sense of convenience of assumption uses “African” and “Black” interchangeably without ever attempting to define any of the constructs in its ontological trajectories, its evolutionary developmental cycles and its current anomalies and ambiguities.  In that sense, we are not sure if his use of ‘black’ is borrowed from the prism of a much later developed (the 1960’s) Black Consciousness response psychology paradigm or a ‘black’ defined by those who had defined natives black that came to be what he considers the authentic ANC?

Likewise, we are not clear and he does not afford us to appreciate his usage of ‘African’ as either borrowed from a geographical milieu or the known Pan Africanist philosophy made famous under the leadership of Robert Sobukwe. We are also not sure why he is reluctant to nail his proverbial colours to the mast to explain the problem of an African identity formulation from a scholarly perspective. For Mbeki, these are interchangeable constants less because he laboured to explain them but more for his ease of use to drive a point home when it suits him.

It would then have to be surmised that for Mbeki the ANC at inception and throughout its cited history understood the differences of what an ‘African’ means and what ‘black’ or any other group in distinction to each other. Mbeki has not taken the time to red flag or question the fact as to why the achieved democracy he espouses as an attainment of the national democratic revolution as misled by apartheid wholly and uncritically appropriated and adopted these race-based configurations for the totality of South African humanities.

Mbeki, pontificates, it therefore stands to reason that as far as the ANC is concerned, the Land Question in our country cannot be resolved in any manner which destroys or negates the role of the ANC in terms of helping to create and build the new and humane Africa of which Pixley Seme and Albert Luthuli spoke! With this, he wants to hold the ANC to the words of Seme and Luthuli as a matter of convenience because he accepts and prescribes to a doctrine of a static ANC that was not shaped by its century-long sojourn.

So desperate does Mbeki become that he has to remind the ANC that ‘South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white; and, the land shall be shared among those who work it! ‘, The truth is there has never been a season when the ANC did ever imagine a South Africa without those who have accepted white for their denotation. As the USA social scientist James Baldwin long concluded, “there are no white people, only those who think they are white”.

To therefore, in this season, seek to underscore the right of ‘whites’ is an overstatement to say the least. To read the ANC the riot act on the reality of black and whites living together is a jaundiced rhetorical jab. No ANC leader has called for the eradication of whites, what ANC leaders increasingly have come to realise is that its position of seeking a living together must be centred on the undeniable reality of the very two nations Mbeki himself analysed in the economic sense which is the elephant in the room. That awareness dictates that the ANC leadership admits, calls for change and develops policy positions and  programmes that will ensure redress over the shorter and longer period.

When ANC leaders do this, it is in the aim to work for that which must reflect the true new society where the apartheid world is no more. The ANC and all its members and supporters call for land redress not with vindictive and malicious intent but in stark acceptance that the current situation is not the revolution it set out to achieve. The current politically connected few empowered blacks with their spouses cannot be considered the end of redress when the masses are landless. Yet it also cannot be accepted that the attainment of radical economic transformation will occur without costs to those who currently own that space. We cannot be under illusions of grandeur on what it will take to attain true economic redress, redress wherein lands stand front and centre and not a tactical means but the last frontier that marks liberation.

Mbeki continues to state, “Put simply and directly, the decision taken by the ANC at its December 2017 54th National Conference on ‘the Land Question’ raises the question – whom does the contemporary ANC represent, given its radical departure from historic positions of the ANC on ‘the resolution of the National Question’! It may very well be that that the ANC leadership is perfectly capable of answering this question in a satisfactory manner. “

To, therefore, play adjudicator and ask who does the contemporary ANC represent is as rhetorical as asking who did the ANC that was forced-fed GEAR and ASGISA etc, represent? Who did the ANC that relaxed laws to see major divestment when in democracy concessions were made for apartheid companies like De Beers, Old Mutual etc under his watch to move SA earned wealth to foreign stock exchanges in London etc?  Or will Mbeki tell us Gear, ASGISA were tactics and did not engage the central holy grail of non-racialism as he now makes of the land question?

Perhaps the biggest error Mbeki commits is his choice to think of the ANC as an organisation in exile. He denies the ANC its natural character of being a living organism that must engage its environment. To pretend the ANC remained static in its persuasion on a score of things that details its raison d’etre  is not hear Neville Alexander when he pleads for a new vocabulary for describing things (and I include people): “…societies and the global village have changed so radically that to continue to analyse and describe things as though we were still in 1848 or 1948 or even 1984 is to be woefully blind and self-defeating.”

Mbeki, therefore, is oblivious to the fact that beyond the original composition of who the ANC represented at Waaihoek in Bloemfontein, it has evolved to become the poor that a Zuma presidency became sensitive to and showed a grasp to realise where the ANC’s future lies. It’s therefore, not wrong to talk of an ANC which was originally for the elite with the attainment of a negotiated settlement ultimately in democracy evolved into the ANC for the poor and black masses essentially; we know that from what we spend on social development from the fiscus on a daily basis.

According to Mbeki, Jacob Zuma was advancing a perspective about ‘the resolution of the National Question’ radically different from the long-established a historic position of the ANC, which he led at the time.

I concur with Mbeki that ‘the ANC must fully discharge its responsibilities on the Land Question as our country’s governing party. In this regard, it must explain in public and in detail what it intends to do relating to all major issues relating to the land. My agreement emanates from the fact that the ANC has failed to act in the interest of the masses that keep it in power, in delivering a coherent plan to actualise redress of land ownership. The ANC is engaged in double speak in its attempts to be apologetic because it seeks to be looking for a win-win situation of deal-making. The ANC must ask itself as to how it may have concluded to strive for land ownership and in the same breath advocate for a sensitivity of the apartheid economy. Less in a choice of agricultural land and or urban land to be expropriated, but to know 72% of all land remains the in unequal ownership of apartheid and colonial beneficiaries, and that is the result of a negotiated settlement.

We thus summarise:

  1. We must ask Mbeki where and in what forum were South Africans afforded space to engage this categorical multi-racial identity claim he so glibly claims? We also need to know where is the evidence that a former president can claim South Africa in democracy accepted the doctrine of race for South African identities? If the president can show us we may take him more seriously, because the record shows an ANC-led government  – despite many of us protesting this race means for identity configuration – refused to listen and continues to believe it knows what a multiplicity of races looks like. Mbeki in honesty will have to admit this race doctrine for identities was wholly and uncritically appropriated by democracy.
  1. Mbeki’s handling of the subject of land in this epoch and his lens for interpreting where we find ourselves postulates a claim that blame for an apparent deviation of ANC fundamentals must necessarily be laid at the post-Mbeki leadership. One of his cornerstone beliefs is the ANC until his period of leadership that came to an abrupt halt in September 2008, was on the right path in honouring of the ANC of Seme, just not the one of Lembede.
  1. Throughout this his expression of a necessary and timeous contribution to solicit an ANC statement on land, we find Mbeki uses the interplay of “indigenous”, “Africans” and “blacks” in a symbiosis of convenience less in corroborating his claims of usage or in clarification for his foothold. This is a common thread with Mbeki not just as limited to this reflection, but throughout the better part of the nineties.
  1. Mbeki’s pleading for an ANC to remain true to its founding strategic ethos which he claims had been the case for 105 of its 106 years of existence, leaves a chance to ask what this means in a society where the reality dictates a failed economic transformation for the masses in which land stands central?  Let us not forget Malcolm X reminded us the revolution was always about the land.
  1. A cardinal critique I continue to have for Mbeki in his non-racial doctrine is his natural acceptance of ‘race’ as the correct means for South African identity formulation. Mbeki does not question or challenge the construct of race, he does not pay any due deference to the fact that race is and remains a debunked scientific notion that continues to exists seventy years on purely in social constructionism. Meaning it was birthed by a society in an epoch which remains questionable for another society who may have developed the tools to appreciate humanity outside the frame of its highly carceral nature.  Maybe he must hear Deborah Posel again, when she reminds us all, “The architects of apartheid racial classification policies recognised explicitly that racial categories were constructs, rather than descriptions of essences”.
  1. Mbeki’s paradigm race is a benign innocent construct that is contaminated by racism, meaning he does not appreciate that race is and remains the product of a racist mind.
  1. Mbeki’s defence of the constitutional democracy as uniquely ANC’s original thought and premise is not without challenge. It may be a useful means and tool of noble attempt to define the ANC and South Africa, yet there are those that argue the ANC had no clue what a constitutional democracy was and how it would function. Maybe Mbeki can explain why Van Zyl Slabbert in his book “Duskant die Geskiedenis” argues it was up to Professor Marinus Wiechers to help and explain to the ANC leaders the idea of a constitutional democracy.
  1. It is therefore rather expedient for Mbeki to – in broadside sense – want to red-card his elected successor Zuma as having attempted to supplant the SA constitutional democracy for a parliamentary democracy. We must ask did the ANC in 1912 and throughout ever define this constitutional democracy for SA that it today defends as if it birthed it? There are those who argue the idea of a constitutional democracy despite its egalitarian expressions became a useful and very effective means to contain how and what type of transformation will be attained. It by extension underscores the challenge of a negotiated settlement for the fact that it inadvertently guaranteed the oppressor his right of identity however that is defined while it equally explicitly for 25 years underscores the plight of the oppressed, colonialism and apartheid victims.
  1. May we remind Mbeki it was none other than him as he in soberness of mind, so we believed then, pressed by the undeniable reality of the moment to observe the true state of a South Africa beyond its glades, mountain peaks, pristine coastlines, fauna and flora and a wildlife second to none in juxtaposing that to the ruthless and crude ugliness of an endemic racist economy that underscores white wealth and black poverty.  He was the one that told us we live in a black and white South Africa where white means advancement and wealth and black has a signpost of poverty and squalor.
  1. While Mbeki, speaks of a non- racial society as the fulcrum focus of an ANC original intent, he does not explain why the non-racial, 25 years since a 1994 and its preceded CODESA engagements, wherein this season there is  consensus that the National Party outfoxed the ANC and left the table with much better a deal than the ANC led negotiators, content is not yet filled. Mbeki has never attempted to fill that non-racial with content because the day he may attempt to do so without annihilation of race, which he uncritically has come to accept as means for the social identities of South Africans. As with his use of African in the frame of the National Question, Mbeki is super lite on content for the African because anytime you want to use African for more than geographical spacing you expose yourself to get twisted in your own confusion.
  2. Mbeki must be held accountable less for his astute intellectual mind, but for remaining one who gets away to thrust subjects (African, black etc) in conclusiveness upon SA, without ever explaining or being open to being engaged on the constructs he uses.
  1. Mbeki’s epistemology has either developed or should we accept regressed to conclude whatever we need to do is at the privilege of capital. We must, therefore, have to bow to capital if we hope to have our land back because its role is so dominant that our fate is dependent on such.
  1. Mbeki laments and advocates for a win-win situation for SA, one where the poor and the wealthy feel they both have one. It is this form of misconception of deal-making that has come to define the ANC that proves problematic. Liberating of the masses cannot be reduced to a win-win deal making frame.

Can someone tell Mbeki that the poor will never be satisfied for as long as the wealthy have their wealth unfettered in birthright claim?

Blacks however defined will never be okay to be black if whites own the means of production and they must remain at the mercy of that in the form of a win-win situation claim. To arrive at the current imbalance of land ownership and economic inequality participation there was no deal-making. Land was taken and done so not to appease anyone but those who took it. The ANC is not advocating for an eye- to an eye but it is emphatic that land will be taken, and that cannot translate to a denial of the existence of apartheid beneficiaries, but its natural next stop in this arduous journey of liberation. There needs to be no apology expected or proffered, neither can this be deliberately confused in fear-rhetoric as a deviation from the liberation ethos.

To pretend the poor can be seeking to be directed by a misguided pietism of selflessness where they can be politically free but economically oppressed and bereft of land ownership and define that as a win-win is the thinking of someone who is a benefactor of the imbalance. To achieve this the state has an undeniable role to play.

  1. Mbeki attests a convenient mind on what the ANC has become that is oblivious and negates the role that capital played from the time poor ANC leaders had their personal homes, children’s school fees and annual holidays paid for as bought by capital. The same capitalist society he defends in claims of we must resign ourselves to the fact that the national democratic revolution cannot occur without the role of the entrenched capitalist of a special kind in SA. Mbeki is still busy trying to rewrite history and wants to apportion blame for land, be it in agricultural or urban, on a new ANC, one he easily wants to define that emerged with his departure. Mbeki, therefore, tells us land return to the masses must be a win-win deal with the same colonialists and apartheid capitalists. He advocates there will be no land redress without capital agreeing to it. In a nutshell, it is in the hand of the capitalists and beneficiaries to again determine the economic fate of the landless masses. How can this be correct?

Clyde Ramalaine

Political Commentator and Writer

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Nene is gone! Creecy and Mashatile – choices present caretaker Ramaphosa with a conundrum

South Africa had two Nene moments in the last almost 36 months. In November of 2015, former president Jacob Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene from leading the treasury, he had assumed that role since he as deputy succeeded Pravin Gordhan. When Zuma fired Nene and momentarily appointed Des Van Rooyen, all hell broke loose and Zuma was forced by every power that defines colonialism and apartheid and their benefactors within and outside the ANC to part with his decision. The campaign against Zuma’ s decision led with a charge of South Africa having lost billions because of this decision to have Nene removed. A fully-fledged campaign was launched to tell South Africans that the country in regard to its economy must be restored back to before the Nene moment in 2015. It has therefore been the overarching mission to bring SA back to a prior November 2015 ‘Nene moment’.

We did not have to wait long for that, when the new ANC president and current caretaker President of SA, Cyril Ramaphosa announced his maiden cabinet he restored Nhlanhla Nene to this post when Malusi Gigaba was dropped. It is clear Ramaphosa did not do any due diligence on Nene.

It is October 2018, we are having another Nene moment, brought about due to his own confessions before the State of Capture Commission in which he details his non-disclosure of having had seven meetings with the now leprous Gupta family. Don’t forget, in SA’s new discourse if you remotely had interacted or engaged with the Guptas’ shadow you are leprous and must be quarantined, but you can meet Rupert, Oppenheimer, Koseff, Watson or Joffe every day and you are naturally extended a clean bill of health because SA remains what it is, a nation in the grip of historical political and continuing economic white power. Nene is virtually history, and Ramaphosa is about to make an announcement on his choice to lead Treasury, he has to in any case announce his first cabinet reshuffle, since the ANC and SA lost its Minister of Forestries, the unique Edna Molewa who was also laid to rest this past weekend. Nene, therefore, is history; the interesting question is who will replace Nene? Before we deal with the advanced candidates, that apparently depicts the binaries of black and white in this instance let us engage a history of Treasury appointments from the dawn of democracy.

In order to appreciate this replacement question, it becomes important to contextualise the ministry of Treasury, which details from the beginning of democracy a strange phenomenon. If we ask when did Treasury become such a powerful unique ministry, we may be mistaken to assume such timing. It then becomes important to ask who did Mandela as the first SA president in Democracy appoint? Well, when Mandela, the icon for many, put his team together to lead SA into what we all hoped as the start of comprehensive transformation, it was not an apartheid classified African, Coloured or Indian he appointed.

South Africa’s first Minister of Finance, Derek Keys, a politician by profession who served from 30 August 1931 – 29 April 2018, was in effect and truth apartheid’s last minister of finance. Keys served in both De Klerk and Mandela’s cabinets respectively from the periods of 1992 to September 1994.

Given the fact that Mandela’s cabinet was a result of a negotiated settlement, we can easily accept that the position of treasury became a negotiated deal. We also can now accept that the appointment of Derek Keys came from a strong lobbying of the economic interest role players who had abundant access to influence, if not direct Mandela’s choice.  One sometimes involuntarily wonder what the State of Capture, had it in terms of reference been extended to inculcate this era, would have made of the many meetings Mandela had with among some Clive Menell, Harry Oppenheimer, even a Douw Steyn and who knows else.

The idea of the Treasury is a special ministry that needs to be guarded more than all was borne from this racialised thinking, where whites are trusted to do a good job of finance and blacks not. The ANC back then already it appears, lacked the trust in self to appoint somebody who did not share the denotation of white as predetermined by colonial and apartheid illegitimate regimes.

When Derek Keys fell ill and was relieved in September 1994, Mandela with another opportunity to prove transformative failed to heed that, he instead took refuge in appointing a banker, the Nedbank executive Chris Liebenberg, who was appointed Minister of Finance of South Africa and served from 19 September 1994 to 4 April 1996.   Since Liebenberg was not a member of any political party, accommodating him in Mandela’s cabinet warranted the amendment of the constitution. All this time the ANC saw nothing wrong to argue a rationale for economic transformation with treasury as the driver, it accepted Mandela’s second choice against transformation without any question or critical reflection.  Was this the evidence that even the ANC did not believe in itself or the apartheid oppressed identity to be capable to lead Treasury?

Later on, Mandela appointed Trevor Manuel, effective from 4 April 1996 he served in that office until the start of the 4th term in May 2009. Even when Manuel was appointed by Mandela at the time it was with a proviso that Chris Liebenberg hangs around to hold Manuel’s hand for a six-month period.

This suggests the ANC from Mandela lacked the confidence and presence of mind to be decisive in positioning treasury at the forefront as a toolbox for transformation. It instead appeared willing to accept that it collectively lacks the ability to lead treasury and that apartheid whites were skilled at that.  For some, Manuel’s appointment as a novice on many scores and surprisingly, also in a mellifluous sense, was an appointment of another ‘white ‘identity, because he was mistaken to either be English or Jewish purely on his external appearance. (South Africa is, unfortunately, a country where one still gets tagged by looks to determine one’s identity)

Treasury under Manuel, who remains the longest-serving finance minister in democracy, became a formidable force and the groundswell that gradually assumed the character of a superior-ministry, when it under Mbeki was allowed a sense of free-will to lead in initiating and implementation of policy decisions that resulted in a softer ear for white monopoly capital, overseeing gratuitous outflows of capital. We lived through an epoch of several drops in exchange rates for import duties, concessions on allowing corporates such as Old Mutual and many others to leave SA and list on the London Stock Exchange. It didn’t take long for the historical, political and ongoing economic powers to settle into an acceptance of Manuel, who nowhere threatened the status quo of economic disparity but sought to maintain the status quo under the guise of stringent fiscal discipline ethos as the totality of what came to define Treasury in democracy.

Economic transformation was sacrificed for a need to appease the World Bank and biased rating agencies to prove SA as masters of fiscal discipline, which became the so-called success story of the Manuel and Mbeki years. Aided by a global booming economic period, what Manuel did at Treasury became the standard for SA and it didn’t matter to the ANC that economic transformation was not realised. Instead, BEE policy – pollution, where a handful of connected individuals, their families and circle of friends benefitted, became the defining architecture of a claimed successful economic transformation as managed by Treasury.

The ANC again failed to develop a coherent plan and, in the deficit of clear intent, to use Treasury as a means to a necessary end. Those who will defend Mbeki will say that he did exactly what you’re protesting the ANC failed in, with his intentions for BEE, but the reality details that under Mbeki we had GEAR and ASGISA and they produced nothing for the poor but continued the perpetuating of a protection of the interest of apartheid beneficiaries. Instead of overseeing aggressive economic transformation where the masses benefit, the managing of SA indicators in compliance to international western powers, unapologetically aligned to white interest, became the central focus for this ministry while it now mushroomed into a superpower-ministry claiming a   legitimacy because it maintained stringent fiscal discipline. Mbeki, therefore, kept the Finance Minister of Mandela’s GNU cabinet.

Fast-forward to a post-Manuel period, Pravin Gordhan the pharmacist who also was a Manuel protégé, was appointed by Jacob Zuma with the advent of the 4th term in May 2009 and he remained that until May 2014. You will recall how Manuel and Gordhan’s appointments were interpreted as non-Nationalist stances, where these whom apartheid did not classify as African were favoured at the expense of what apartheid defined as African. Commentary ran wild that the ANC continued its now tradition of mistrust of the African identity to lead this ministry. In a sense, what Mandela started with as a forced or lobbied Keys appointment, his later choice of Liebenberg who was to hand-hold Manuel who despite his, for some, white physical trademarks out of a known history, remains classified by apartheid as Coloured. Manuel was succeeded by Gordhan whom apartheid declared an Indian, it, therefore, meant, if Apartheid’s race classification identities had served this office, it was favouring three dominant classifications (White, Coloured and Indian) with a glaring absenteeism of the apartheid African identity. Having an apartheid classified identity to lead Treasury did not happen until 2014.

It then came as no surprise that the time had come for apartheid’s African identity to fill the position, given the ANC’s national question on identity that delineates an African in particular and blacks in general notion. given the ANC’s national question on identity that delineates an African in particular and blacks in general notion.  Zuma’s choice was a much-reported advent when Nhlanhla Nene was appointed at the inception of the fifth term in May 2014, and many buoyantly declared him SA’s first true African in charge of Treasury. Some of us vehemently protested this claim because we already had a Manuel and Gordhan who were just as African.

Nene is releasing himself this week making it easy for Ramaphosa to decide on his new finance minister, so we assume. The question becomes will it be easy for Ramaphosa and who are the contenders? Will Ramaphosa return to the pressurised ‘logic’ of Mandela or will he continue to let the apartheid African identity stand, which his predecessor in three instances opted for with Nene, Van Rooyen and later Gigaba?

The contenders we are told are Gauteng ANC MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy and in internally veiled but increasingly more vocal sense, ANC Treasurer Paul Mashatile. The debate on the next appointment comes clouded with a floating gender subject matter that some seek to make the epicentre. I will dare to dismiss this as frivolous because the ANC as an organisation has long fulfilled its own set-out obligation to have gender parity. Bringing gender into the fray may very well be, at this stage, a pure deflection. Creecy has led the Gauteng Treasury and is a candidate because she runs the biggest budget of SA’s provinces. She also is a candidate because she has continued to run Gauteng with the template of fiscal discipline as the overarching theme.

When it comes to a budget that practically depicts transformation for the poor Gauteng stands accused of neglecting its poor. The current challenge in apartheid spatial communities of townships as understood on the diaphragm of racial classification, for example, the Coloured communities are not devoid of its claims of this ill budgeting on the part of Creecy and her Gauteng ANC leadership. To corroborate this assertion against the Gauteng ANC and its MEC of Finance, Barbara Creecy, we can hear the October 7, Media statement of the #TotalshutdownofGauteng update. It reads, “The Gauteng Shut down Coordinating Committee (GSCC) met with more than 12 Communities, today, representing the Voiceless so-called Coloured people of to plan a sustained offensive against the State who consciously decided to exclude us from the country and provinces purse.” [sic]

Nothing can be clearer than this that the GSCC group red-cards the Gauteng province on transformation. While Creecy may have proven strong on fiscal management, she must own up to a budget that does not accommodate transformation if this statement is taken for what it is. On the other hand, we know that Paul Mashatile, the current ANC Treasurer General is pushing from inside in a strange twist of events to unify the position of Treasurer General of ANC and that of SA Finance Minister. The apparent logic for this claim emanates from what he and others advance as most liberation movements who end up leading nations they freed to have their party Treasurer Generals serve as Finance Ministers. On another score, it is also claimed that fusing these two positions may take the ANC out of its own financial predicaments, whatever that may mean and however that may be defined or by whatever means we do not claim to know.

The choices before Ramaphosa with Creecy and Mashatile appears to straight-jacket him into the choice of appeasing the never gratifying interest of white monopoly capital, who will naturally be satisfied by a Creecy presence in that space. Unfortunately, the lines are long drawn and often depicts a simplistic binary of white preference to what is black for this office, at least as seen from corporate SA. Therefore, a Creecy appointment may regain Ramaphosa some ground that he definitely had lost with white voters with his recent noises on land expropriation, who at first glance considered him the second coming of Mandela, even draping him in now vaunted ‘ramaphoria’ kaftans.

The contest between these two has another dynamic to it. Remember Barbara Creecy spent the balance of her political life as a provincial backbencher. It is, therefore, Mashatile that brought her into a sense of MEC limelight. She thus owes allegiance to him for that. Is this Mashatile’s means to get a hold of the SA treasury?

Either way, Mashatile stands to gain because his protege Creecy if successful will have it difficult to forget it was Mashatile to whom she owes gratitude.

This makes Ramaphosa’s choice even more complicated. Ramaphosa must also provide reasons why he is letting Nene go for mere meetings since he cannot fault Nene on work delivered. Should he decide to hold on to Nene he runs the political risk of being touted a weak leader who supports Gupta capture.  He also will have to explain why he wants to fire anyone else in his cabinet who have been associated in meetings with the leprous family of SA business the Guptas.

Yet, Ramaphosa is also pressured to reward Mashatile who vociferously campaigned for him as a CR17 hardliner, critical in pushing fronts to have him earlier installed and deliver the SONA, despite Ramaphosa’s publicly stated transition comments that engaged a process. Mashatile can claim he is owed and if the ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe was rewarded with a plush cabinet posting, why can he not be equally rewarded. Yet Ramaphosa knows that daring to appoint Mashatile will run the risk of delegitimizing his claims of hoping to have a ‘clean team’, whatever that may mean, or as it is often claimed, to keep Treasury pure from essentially Gupta influence. You can bet your bottom teetering Rand that as soon as Ramaphosa awards Mashatile, the same media will unleash every claim, real or fake, in an apparent closet that Mashatile has been tagged with over an extensive period of time. White monopoly capital will never trust Mashatile to lead South Africa’s finance ministry; we know that they do control Ramaphosa’s choices no different to how it controlled Mandela’s choices for the office of Treasury.

This Nene moment proves interesting because he is not tagged for having done a bad job, he is tagged with the convenient leprosy of Gupta association. Nene is history because he went to the now leper’s colony and is contaminated, it has nothing to do with his abilities to run treasury or not. In fact, in this silly season, it does not matter, as long as you have not been to the leper’s colony (Gupta’s) you are clean and ready to serve.

One can only wonder why and how SA arrived at this convenience of capture blame in Gupta association when Rupert, Oppenheimer and all others summoned ANC leaders to their houses and instructed them on choices. Remember how Fikile Mbalula was summoned and instructed by Johan Rupert as per Gayton McKenzie’s book, “Kill Zuma by any means”

Ramaphosa is caught between a rock and a hard place if it is about these two choices. If its Creecy, he will continue to ostracize himself from those whom he relies on to make his caretaker role a permanent five-year term. He will be accused as winding the proverbial clock backwards in white trust as exclusive for the treasury ministry. His choice for Mashatile will put him at war with those who do not trust any apartheid African leader in the made-hallowed office of Finance Minister. Mashatile will be attacked from every corner in the media.

Whatever Ramaphosa’s choice, he is facing a form of a Rubicon with this appointment, since reappointing Nene was easy because the anger of those who hated Zuma afforded him to make that choice, less in rationality but in political savviness, as the one to fix his predecessor’s mess-up.

Tonight, he is confronted to make a choice, that may confirm his Mandela aspirations even in fault lines or his choice to continue what his predecessor Zuma started, to make the ministry equal to all where anyone and definitely an apartheid classified African can lead. Ramaphosa must choose carefully because his personal political career is again on trial with his choice for SA’s next Minister of Finance. He is still dealing with the crisis of illegitimacy and remains mistrusted on many fronts.

He en-route to May 2019 elections days is still dealing with the crisis of legitimacy and remains mistrusted on many fronts, choosing his next finance minister may prove more challenging than what meets the eye.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator and Writer

Did Ramaphosa play Russian roulette offering Treasury to Jonas, others and finally Mboweni

 

South Africa has a new Finance Minister, no it is not Barbara Creecy, Paul Mashatile or Mcebisi Jonas. It is none other than the old hand Tito Titus Mboweni, democracy’s first Labour Minister, later the first black Governor of the Reserve Bank. Mboweni told the media that he only received the call from SA caretaker president, Ramaphosa at around 9 pm on Monday night October 8. “In the wake of Mr Nene’s resignation, I have decided to appoint Mr Tito Mboweni as the Minister of Finance with immediate effect. As the former governor of the South African Reserve Bank and, before that, Minister of Labour, Mr Mboweni brings to this position vast experience in the areas of finance, economic policy and governance” [sic]. These are the exact words Ramaphosa used in making his announcement of the next finance minister.

It must then mean that the President by finally calling on Mboweni and getting a yes, ended his Russian roulette expedition. We learn from the SACP and COSATU, that they were consulted in the choices of the President to arrive at the final choice for a Mboweni. We must, therefore, surmise that the names bandied around were also consulted by the Tripartite Alliance. What does that mean, did the SACP and Cosatu disapprove of the touted Creecy, and the Mashatile bandied names?

It did not take long after Nene appeared before the State of Capture Commission, for the media, opposition parties and a section in the ANC to bid for his head. The dust did not settle on his confessions when names were bandied around. Leading the preferred nominations were Gauteng ANC MEC of Finance, Barbara Creecy who was touted as the next minister.

While we may not know who exactly introduced her as a candidate it caught on quickly and by the time the weekend papers hit the shelves, Creecy looked a concluded choice. The possibilities for her candidacy may have been the work of strong campaigners that define the economic interest with white as the dominant theme. It may also have come about from the presidency’s very active public relations as a means to test the public on a possible woman and white future finance minister. We also learnt about the veiled candidacy of ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile where the apparent rationale led that other liberation struggle movements fused their treasury general positions with that of their country finance ministers.

We know that Ramaphosa did not have Mboweni as his first choice he apparently offered the same post to the controversial former deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas. Jonas by his own admission claims to have declined the offer. Jonas with this decline must have made history, not only was he as he questionably claimed offered this position firstly by a Gupta brother whom he is not sure, the same who threatened him with murder. The second time in this season by a caretaker president Ramaphosa. This coveted job, Jonas declined now twice.

What then does it mean, or how then can we interpret the President’s finance ministry offer to Jonas? Does it mean the post of finance minister, became a trading mechanism where several people may have been approached as offered to a number of people among others Jonas and on Monday night to Mboweni who accepted the offer? While we not privy to how the actual secret meetings for choices of this nature are arrived at, one may deduce that the president applies his mind, as advised by those whom he trusts most. Ultimately the president takes a decision to approach candidates who have the option to either accept or decline.

What we can accept is that since Nene’s confessions and awaiting his offer to resign, Ramaphosa compelled by his constituency base was looking at individuals that may fill this post. We also know Ramaphosa stands accused of not having done any due diligence on Nhlanhla Nene, the appointment of the latter to Ramaphosa’s maiden cabinet confirms the intention was to restore SA’s economy to the first Nene Moment of November 2015 less driven by sensitivity or the abundance of caution to be endorsing Gupta corruption. Had Ramaphosa done his due diligence on Nene he may not have arrived at his first finance minister decision.

Ramaphosa either was misled or made a conscious popular choice that would define him as the opposite of his predecessor thus fixing the November 2015 Nene Moment. It may have been a purely political choice definitely not with state capture as a focus to be dealt with. Therefore, when Ramaphosa tells us today his choice to accept Nene’s resignation is in the interest of clean governance we know we must take that with a teaspoon of salt. SA’s caretaker president must tell us where his moral conscience on the specific Gupta corruption was back in February when he made his maiden cabinet choice for a Finance Minister in Nhanhla Nene.

What do we make of his Ramaphosa’s consideration of Mcebisi Jonas? Why then would Ramaphosa have offered this post to the controversial Jonas? His decision to make the offer to Mcebisi Jonas may have been fuelled by the very same group that makes up a very significant Pravin Gordhan and other others who are connected to the hip to the former deputy minister, Jonas. What form of diligence did the President consider in his choice to make this offer? Why would the president against publicly known information, the tagging of alleged ECDC corruption, and later the Mandela Funeral scandal on Jonas still be that obnoxious to offer him the control of the South African purse? Maybe the fact that Jonas is a member of the SACP, the former worker’s vanguard, but increasingly a cabinet guard of democratic ANC led presidencies.

What then do we make of Mboweni’s acceptance of the offer? Is the choice for him an authentic Ramaphosa choice? We know the president must own his decisions but we have seen how a starchy, strained and unhappy Ramaphosa in February announced a cabinet that appeared not his. Looking at all the candidates we must ask were any of these be it Creecy, Mashatile, Jonas and finally Mboweni authentic Ramaphosa choices? Those who claim to know argues Ramaphosa does not make the decision of his own he goes with the dominant advise or lobbying group.

Tito Mboweni is a very active member of the social media fraternity and has over time made many social comments, as is his right, that may posit him more controversial than what meets the eye. Mboweni is considered by some an affable character, yet others consider him somewhat attention seeking, one not shy to tell you where he is hanging out and one that does not shy away from advancing his views often in a claim of seniority with claimed ‘professorial’ attire.

We remember how he came to defend the SARB in its current status and how he vociferously defended the present ownership of the SARB. Often these spirited defences come meshed in a conflation of institutional and personal legacy threat. Mboweni also dared his public views on the ANC presidential contests between Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Zuma. For the record, Mboweni was more in support of having Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for the position. Mboweni in February made it categorically clear that he was not available for the post of Finance Minister with the following posting, “Against the wisdom of my Team, please don’t tell them this. It’s between us, I am not available for Minister of Finance. You cannot recycle the same people all over again. It is time for young people. We are available for advisory roles. Not cabinet. We have done that”

When he is today announced as SA next finance minister, it may speak of a sense of pragmatism on the part of the SA caretaker president, for appointing someone who did not support his candidacy.

We know he is considered a market-friendly appointment. In a space where this latter part of the fifth administration as led by Ramaphosa is obsessed with foreign investment drives, it becomes imperative to inspire confidence for the rest of the world that South Africa a stable investment destination. Mboweni becomes that neutralising figure to assist global investment communities that SA is a safe destination. The announcement of his appointment saw the highly sensitive SA currency somewhat stabilising, meaning the markets were not too shaken by this appointment, neither were they extending and overall confidence.

His past experiences in particular as South Africa Reserve Bank Governor for the period since 1999 to 2009, coupled with his private sector identity as one who is chairing several boards among other Nampak, He serves as a non-executive director for South Africa at the New Development Bank (BRICS Development Bank. Mboweni’s also serves as international advisor of  Goldman Sachs International.

Mboweni naturally is a safe choice for those who prognosticate the doctrine of an SA that must submit to a globe where it needs to toe the line if it desires foreign investment to be made. This means he is not any threat to the prevailing status quo of a known racialised economic disparity that 25 years in democracy continues to militate liberation and true emancipation of the black masses. Mboweni will, therefore, do little to change the status quo.

On the 28th of April Mboweni shared with the social media world his analysis of what he termed three urgent tasks for the National Democratic Revolution in South Africa. His views as captured, “1. The State must own 40% of all mining companies. This is easy to do. 2. The State Must create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for future generations from mining dividends. 3 A State Bank must be created URGENTLY” [sic]. Since his views as uttered here are not yet publicly altered since it first appeared, the questions South Africans want to know is, how will he actualise the above, or was its mere political banter?  Will he also betray the poor who share these sentiments?

On another score, in a season where Nene was pressurised to resign, ostensibly not for any wrongdoing in either of his two stints but for admitting to meetings with the Guptas, can we accept that Mboweni never met the Guptas or anyone in capital active in state capture on both sides of the racial economic divide? Are we to surmise that he visited no secret bosberaad, no golf weekend or a cruise ship or some powerful economic persona’s house? He also may not have, in the words of Minister in the Office of the SA president Bathabile Dlamini, any ‘smallanyanskeletons’ in his closet as to whom he met.

Don’t forget Ramaphosa was at pains to tell SA that Nene did nothing wrong, this begs the question so why he was then offloaded by the one who told us he did nothing wrong?? Yet you hear Ramaphosa say he made this Mboweni appointment, “in the interest of good governance…” Shall we allow Ramaphosa to get away with his usual doublespeak? I am no Nene fan since his dealings at the PIC and that of his son’s role in a Mozambican questionable oil refinery transaction, whom Weekly Xpose in May 2017 was the first to raise when the entire mainstream media had no interest in leaves much to be desired. However, we are told by Ramaphosa he has done nothing wrong at treasury according to the SA caretaker President but is offloaded for having had meetings with SA’s at the now leprous colony of the Gupta family hence treasury must be quarantined and Nene is leprous now.

In this regard we must say congratulations to the new SA finance minister, Tito Mboweni, he is finally in the post he in another season felt aggrieved and hard done by when he was overlooked by Mandela who opted for Trevor Manuel who was considered less educated for the job. At the time he was reduced to a Labour Minister position. Let us hope his radical social media posts on a need for nationalisation, an EFF – initiated fund, the establishment of a state bank will not also make him a weekend minister in this post when the media turns against him. We will now see if you were merely showboating with your running commentary when capital long ago declared that controversial and pure populist rhetoric. Will you now toe the line? Or will you dare to use treasury for the toolbox it can be to assist if not lead in transforming the economy from its racialised reality that depicts the binaries of white wealth and black poverty?

On a personal note, Tito, remember your boss makes decisions heavily influenced by public relations. He saw the touted Creecy and more veiled Mashatile options and was fortunate to have Mcebisi Jonas decline because he was convinced neither of these would have worked. You also know you were not his first choice for the post, he approached others who declined it, he reconsidered others and became swayed they were not good choices based on unsolicited and solicited advice he received.

Did Ramaphosa with his many offerings to others before Mboweni play Russian roulette with the post of Finance Minister? Your guess is as good as mine. Wishing you all the best but we will keep your feet to the fire

In closing what has become of this position, that many do not want it? What has happened in the political and economic environments of a South Africa that this highly coveted job of Minister of Finance appears not wanted by many in this season? Since even the one that finally accepted it made public his views that he was not available for the position. When did this position become such a poisoned chalice? It appears no one really wanted the job. Is it fair to conclude that Mboweni became the last choice of desperation? Mboweni therefore in the tradition of the octogenarian Job Mokgoro‘s appointment to the office of the premier. Mboweni becomes the retired player, one who declared himself not young and if appointed a definitive recycled one, who in the twilight of his career is brought to fulfil a reserve player role. What is clear if nothing defined Mboweni’s true legacy this chalice he accepted will do so.

What did Ramaphosa have to offer Mboweni whom we all know was a reluctant one for the job?

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

ANC is on trial and faces annihilation at hand of state capture political campaign

Yes, the ANC is on trial, and teetering on annihilation at the hand of a political campaign of state capture!

Is the State of capture Commission, backfiring for those who called for it?

Two months since the first sitting of the State of Capture Commission led by DCJ Zondo on the 20th August, the nagging question as to who is on trial is becoming increasingly more pronounced. Is the ANC on trial with this commission is the question?

We will recall when the idea of the ANC on trial was first mooted, how ANC presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa questioned the assertion. It increasingly appears the ANC may just become the biggest loser. The ANC and its tripartite alliance members are the core focus for this conveniently structured term of reference, that has nothing but the Guptas as the core focus. The divisions of the ANC are no more camps but jagged edge gaping cliffs where there are no winners and certainly losers.

There was a hush in the atmosphere when Nhlanhla Nene became the first pressured victim of the Gupta obsession for state capture claims to cave in. Extending Ramaphosa an opportunity to gain some brownie points, Nene was not what you would call the natural guilty one, he was not mentioned as one of those who has been tarnished in SA discourse with a Gupta association. Nene for all intents and purposes was originally identified as one of the ‘angels’, a victim and hence marked for those who are apparently against capture.

Nene was fired this week, not because any court or even the very commission found him guilty, Nene was fired because the rule of the media has supplanted the rule of the law. Nene is today jobless and he was sent away by a caretaker president who was at pains to tell SA from one corner of his mouth Nene did nothing wrong while the other corner of his mouth belaboured the firing as in the interest of clean governance. We must tell Ramaphosa you cannot have it both ways, what shall it be? This while the ANC’s official statement sings Nene’s praises for offering to resign.

South Africa’s last ballot-elected president, Jacob Zuma, warned SA, ‘beware those who shout state capture, they will regret it.’ How prophetic these words have become? From the start, some of us who have never bought into the media-created crime of state capture argued this is a political campaign where some have identified a political relevance and means to secure power. When we raised this fact, it was never to condone or deny any form of corruption anywhere or by anyone, corruption which we know is rife across the three tiers of government in cahoots with private sector entities is endemic in SA.

The sexy well-publicised term of state capture offered many who are trapped in factional mindsets a golden opportunity to settle personal and camp scores with those whom they have been at loggerheads.

It is here that the greater spotlight on the commission confirms glaring contradictions with the commission. Firstly, the commission is entertaining witnesses and accounts of people who were fired from a cabinet, these are naturally aggrieved and, in this season, seek to settle a score with whoever fired them. We saw this with Vytjie Mentor, Mcebisi Jonas, James Maseko, Nhlanhla Nene; we will see it with Barbara Hogan and Pravin Gordhan, possibly even Ben Martins etc. Meaning an ordinary hiring and firing of cabinet members or senior officials as the constitutional prerogative of an SA president in this season has found accidental (or is its orchestrated) relief in this commission as a belated arbitration on labour disputes.

An interesting development no sooner has Nene been fired, and a chorus of scripted unified voices began to bay for the blood of a hand-selected group of cabinet ministers to be fired too. One can appreciate how thick the boundaries in ANC factionalism are drawn when you read Tony Yengeni’s tweet, ‘I suspect all WMC pawns must have been summoned to Skelmbosch on Sunday and the ganja that were given to smoke was mixed with a very strong and dangerous cocktail. All of them are parroting the names if Malusi, Nomvula and Bathabile without fail.” [sic]

A second emerging problem with the commission is that it lends itself to be an institutional space that is open for anyone to use and by extension abuse for their own cynical purposes. It thus becomes a space that naturally accommodates ANC factional fights to be played out in real time of soap opera drama against the backdrop of a judicial commission. It legitimises the ever-entrenched factional frames of the ANC where the contest is for control of an ANC that at the same time is ravaged by the very contest.

It may be that the chairperson’s begging for the public to participate inspired many of these testimonies. While the commission is yet to prove state capture, the damage has been done at least for some because the media drives this commission.

The commission by design and default affords space, time and place where individuals in the frame of a media crafted angels and demons of ANC leaders can be eternally tarnished. Regardless of how the commission may accommodate an opportunity for cross-examination, the damage in a very biased SA discourse despite the opportunity for cross-examination remains. In South Africa a week is a very long time for the jolts of incidents that daily loads our national discourse. In a drama-filled and event loaded week, we saw, Nene firing, a VBS Bank Heist report, and now a Blade Nzimande fired plausible implicated in Gupta meetings and loans. The VBS Bank heist that implicates the EFF member Brian Shivambu none other than the younger brother of the EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. Whom it is claimed have benefitted to the extent of R16-million from the VBS scandal. Shivambu is loud on the Guptas and yet it looks he too will be made to hang in due season. We also learnt that Floyd Shivambu received R10 million of the R16million his brother is said to have received.

As if the VBS bank heist story was not enough, news broke yesterday of a set of leaked questions raised by an independent journalist directed at a very vocal and anti-Gupta protagonist. We not sure who has leaked this. There are those who argue, the questions were leaked by the Nzimande cohort and supporters as a means of counterattack and to garner sympathy. The questions are categorical for it asks poignant crystal clear questions that easily should be answered for anyone who has nothing to hide. Instead of Nzimande responding to the questions he opted to repeat what Ramaphosa did in 2017 when the same newspaper’s editor sent a set of questions on a slew of infidelities. Nzimande threatens with court procedures. Nene for offering to resign has become a standard demanded from all those implicated in corruption with the Guptas as centrifugal force. As the campaign to have targeted individuals like Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane removed, the tide is turning where known protagonists defined in SA discourse of angels are becoming the real casualties. It will be very difficult for Nzimande to make the case to stay on in this cabinet if the questions can be corroborated as fact. State capture the campaign then appears to have the reverse effect.

We also learned that the Barbara Hogan testimony necessarily slanted to prove Zuma guilty, has been postponed because Hogan has submitted two separate accounts. She was at pains to inform the media that they must wait to see who all are implicated.  Earlier we saw how ANC DSG Jessie Duarte spared no imagination when she came out guns blazing in categorically naming Pravin Gordhan as the one behind a personal attack on her seeking to smear her. We also have heard that the ANC SG Ace Magashule, when pushed to venture an opportunity on the commission categorically state he will be happy to appear before the commission since he has much to share on those who are captured by white monopoly capital and its non-gratifying desire to control the ANC.

Ramaphosa is under enormous pressure from his CR 17 hardliner constituency base and even those whom he seeks to win over to relieve the earlier mentioned cabinet ministers. Yet Ramaphosa’s work in this regard is made less easy when he had to relieve Nene. Thabang Makwetla for his BOSASA corruption allegations, possibly a Nzimande and who knows else. Will there be any member of cabinet left when the files on individuals in this regard are made known?

The puppet masters for the propagated claim of state capture as directed itself to the media-made ‘demons’ of ANC leaders, simply did not factor in that anchor witness Mcebisi Jonas will be unsure of who offered him the R600-million bribe, they did not budget that Mentor would prove this unreliable a witness with her being challenged by Mantashe, Kaunda and Duarte. Those who shouted state capture thought it would be easy to prove their enemies guilty, and did not prove cognisant that a Nene an ‘angel’ will admit his many meetings with the Guptas. They simply didn’t factor in the SACP’S Blade Nzimande facing accusations of having benefited from Gupta relations and associations. The proponents for an undeniable presence of state capture didn’t budget that Thabang Makwetla, Vincent Smith and others would be accused of corruption at the hand of lusty Bosasa, a company which has gained billions in contract value from the state purse. Is the state of capture backfiring on those who prognosticated it as the unfettered gospel?

The commission is earmarked to sit and conclude with a report by March 2020, this gives ample time for more factional fights, self-interest, denigrating others which defines the ANC firstly on trial with this state of capture investigation and secondly teetering on obliteration by the very testimonies of individuals, even political parties and tripartite alliance partners, that confirm an organisation torn to smithereens from within, aided by this commission.  It is not cynical to surmise that this commission may just become the single process that annihilates the ANC. We know it continues to divide the now endemic factional groups where ANC unity is a forlorn mirage.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Who’s the boss?

JUST LIKE THE SITCOM MADE FAMOUS BY TONY DANZA 30 YEARS AGO, IN SA’S UPPER ECHELONS IT ISN’T QUITE CLEAR WHO’S THE BOSS

 

Boone Pickens as far back as 1928, on leadership, told us “be willing to make decisions, That’s the most important quality of a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome, you must be willing to fire.” SA may for the first time have a president who despite appearing the avuncular and affable ever-smiling guy, is yet to convince us that he is making his own decisions and leads from the front.

It does not look like SA’s caretaker president enjoys making his own decisions or that he is willing to make his own decisions.  It appears he prefers to have others make the decisions and he is comfortable to be led by those.  It seems we have in the words of Pickens a ready-aim-aim-aim president that allows others to lead through my office – syndrome.

I have consciously decided to refer to the current SA president as a caretaker president for two primary reasons. One, while SA may have a president finishing off the last months of a fifth Administration, the last ballot-elected and trusted the president of South Africa, remains Jacob Zuma. It is for the same reason I have never regarded Kgalema Motlanthe as an elected president of SA despite a constitutional frame. Secondly, it increasingly looks like the current SA president does not take his own decisions regardless of how unpopular these may be.

I am still waiting to hear what singular authentic decision SA’s caretaker president has taken in the last nine months. It does not have to be a correct decision, it just needs to be an authentic Cyril Ramaphosa decision for which he stands up and can irrevocably claims was his alone.

Tracing back a litany of critical decisions since and before the ANC’s 54th Conference followed by the current SA caretaker presidency one quickly sees an emerging trend. Herewith some – definitely not an exhaustive list of – core decisions that have come to define the last nine months of this caretaker presidency of SA.

  1.  When his alleged infidelity scandal broke last year, Ramaphosa after his failed attempt to use the courts to block the INL publication and his midnight confession to the Sunday Times, vowed to speak to SA on the subject matter. Shortly thereafter, he abandoned his own word and commitment, when he in a twist of events told South Africa after engaging a crossbreed of Northern Cape ANC leadership and COSATU among others he was advised not speak to SA anymore on the matter. Clearly, this was not an authentic Ramaphosa decision but that of others.
  1.  The idea of a new deal, as an economic solution for SA, while promoted by Ramaphosa was claimed emanated from the Democratic Alliance philosophy of economic solutions. Ramaphosa stood accused by both the opposition parties, the DA and EFF, as having stolen without acknowledging the DA’ s input. On the other hand, he was equally accused to articulate economic solutions from the mind of Stephen Koseff.  His economic solution thus in the height of his campaign for ANC high office, came accused as not his at all.
  1.  Abandoning the agreed transition in February was not his decision. We know this since Ramaphosa in the week leading to that repeat of a 2008 wrong decision of the NEC informed SA how smooth the transition was going between him and his predecessor former president Zuma. We know that he met with Zuma on Thursday of that week and they were still on track. By Sunday he, led by the CR 17 hardliners, now came with a demand of an immediate resignation as the only means to navigate SA’s future. I leave it up to you to figure whose decision that was. Clearly not Ramaphosa’s.
  1. Delivering SONA 2018 therefore by extension was not his choice or decision, he was told he will and must deliver it and with this solidify his position as leading both the ANC and SA. Again, the CR 17 hardliners led the decision-making on this score.
  1. His maiden cabinet, which he must own up also was not his, his starchy face on that night confirmed it. It showed and we know he, hours before announcing it, attempted to change some names since he after consultation beyond the ANC top six was advised by another group of constituencies to offload Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyane and Bathabile Dlamini. Ramaphosa’s face in that 10 o’clock at night address, said it all. He was delivering a decision that was not his.
  1. Returning twice from foreign missions to attend to local “crisis” moments were not his decisions either but that of his now known overdrive PR outfit led by Steyn Speed.  How can we forget how Ramaphosa abandoned his Davos trip, seeing him flying back as a crafted fire-extinguisher to deal with a protracted North West ANC and premier crisis?  The latter was resolved weeks later.
  1. Attempting to wrestle the subject of a land debate from those who had controlled it in the ANC was not his. In a break with ANC practice his unconventional midnight show post-Lekgotla was also a PR action, less his personal mind but that of those who have been telling him, you need to take this space from those who control it in the ANC.
  1. The rushed and ill-advised decision of tying up a struggling Eskom into the alternate energy contracts: that it is claimed that this, while it may benefit Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Holdings business that has an interest in this sector, may not have been his decision either.
  1. Hitherto failing to engage a set of detailed questions sent to him on his role or absence thereof on the ‘Coloured boys of Bird Island’ saga, which dates back to an era when he served as the ANC Secretary General of ANC.  He has remained silent. Is he silent because the president was told he must be silent? Despite TMoSA Foundation’s official communique to the president and his office acknowledging receiving the request, Ramaphosa hitherto has given no reply. Is it again a case of the advisers deciding, when perhaps Ramaphosa’s moral conscience may have attempted to prevail in the necessity of response? Is his confirmed lack to even utter one word in support of the victims a political decision? Who decided on that, if so?
  1. Going to Marikana which is a long overdue imperative for Ramaphosa, who for some despite Farlam’s hashed job of a commission remains directly linked to the massacre of 44 lives in that dreadful week in August 2012, is yet to be actualised. Despite the many opportunities Ramaphosa were presented with, he has been delaying, in what some claim is him dancing around the issue. Ramaphosa at some stage was going to go with the late Mother of the Nation Winnie Mandela, yet it never materialised. When the EFF leader Malema accosted him in parliament on this subject matter he as always said he will go and even invited Malema to go along with him. It is as if Ramaphosa is waiting for a perfect moment to show up to claim a hero status instead of prioritising the agony and plight of the families of the 44 victims. He had many opportunities – he occupied the second highest office in the last five years, now nine months as SA caretaker president he is still not showing up. It appears his stage-played attendance must come with some ‘Christmas lucky packet’ that will immortalise him as the hero and not the humble servant who is prepared to face the insults and abuse of those who keep him directly responsible for the darkest hour in our democratic sojourn

This nagging indecisiveness fueled by perpetual political climate assessments                       saturated in public relations intended exercises say more of how Ramaphosa lacks             the grit to make his own decision and act them out regardless of the consequences.

Marikana’s victims need not a president to visit them with an entourage but the                 man who was a director of Lonmin at the time, the same one whose emails                           demanded concomitant action. Marikana needs an ordinary human being to come             and say unreservedly sorry, not a veiled apology that seeks to benefit politically                   from his eventual visit when the ballot is the target. Exactly whose decision is                     Ramaphosa’s absenteeism at Marikana and its victims?

  1. Those who know claim the current temporal so-called financial rescue package relief was not Ramaphosa’s either. We know this since we were told that some high-powered Treasury-based individuals were occupied in an attempt of developing a response. Yes, Ramaphosa announced it, but it was not his leadership, ingenuity or foresight, it was as always, an advised response.
  1. Appointing the new Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, was equally not his decision. We know he offered the first job to the very controversial Mcebisi Jonas. The most recent appointment of SA’s latest finance minister,  Tito Mboweni, for all intents and purposes, remains a last-ditch decision when Ramaphosa appeared to have played Russian roulette in offering among others Mcebisi Jonas, who declined, as is claimed, the offer. Mboweni by his own admission received the call at 9 pm on Monday night.  We may, therefore, conclude that Mboweni was not Ramaphosa’ s first or outright choice and not Ramaphosa’s decision. Ramaphosa appears to have settled for Mboweni who was recommended by an advisory group.
  2. It can be argued the idea of an economic summit of consultation was not his idea either. The African National Congress under its subcommittee chairperson of Enoch Godongwana has over the last decade dismally failed to present a coherent economic plan for South Africa. The 2018 SONA address became what some of us as commentators defined a ‘kick for touch’ address on the critical matters of economic solutions and sustainable jobs. Ramaphosa outlined and told us of a litany of summits; to be delivered among those is an economic summit. The problem with the SA economy is not just its paltry growth statistics but its structural challenges. It goes without saying that finding an economic solution for the man who was marketed by white monopoly capital as the SA economic messiah, ought to be a priority, and the easiest way to approach it is to grasp for consultation as a means to find such solutions.
  3. Those who know argue that the idea of a job summit recently entertained was not his but that of his advisers. Given SA’s many conflictual and competing challenges, it goes without saying that key among the issues SA is dealing with and has to deliver on remains sustainable jobs. A job summit was therefore proposed as a means to this end. That job summit is and remains the playing ground of a colloquium of role players made up of government, business and organised labour as main players. The summit took place a week ago and we have yet to see what this will deliver because a comprehensive and coordinated strategy that harvests definite results is yet not a reality.
  4. Engaging the SARS commissioner debacle, Ramaphosa, as advised, opted to have two processes i.e. the Nugent SARS governance and tax administration inquiry and the disciplinary investigation. Both these processes have the fundamental aim to find against the SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane to have him relieved of his duty. This strategy and tactic with the aforementioned central aim is critiqued by some as a political strategy of ambivalence. Is it again the fancy footwork of the advisers
  5. The media created ‘secret meetings’ among ANC present and former leaders that claimed a plot to oust Ramaphosa despite its many challenges, became a useful political tool for Ramaphosa to test the balance of forces in the ANC. He was silent on it because he, having stood accused in another season as a plotter against Mbeki, knew this was a crafted exercise bereft of true content. Yet Ramaphosa, buoyed by his erstwhile constituency of historic organised labour and more recently the SACP went to the Cosatu elections and dared to share an opinion on secret meetings and plots. Clearly, this constituency and its leaders demanded a response from Ramaphosa of that nature and he yielded to that. In that sense Ramaphosa’s response to the media-fabricated ‘secret meetings’  was not his but what his constituency wanted.
  6. The latest lack of decision-making on the part of Ramaphosa follows that he has extended an invitation to a number of legal organisations and other independent public institutions to assist him in identifying and selecting individuals for consideration as possible candidates for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). This panel is to chaired by Minister Jeff Radebe who will be tasked to identify, screen and shortlist three candidates for final consideration. In typical Ramaphosa style, he seeks to make the appointment a collective decision and therefore lacks the grit to make his own decision as with so many other things. Clearly, the outcome will be a person that was recommended – hardly a Ramaphosa decision.

Leadership, as Pickens taught us, means take your own decision, stand and fall by it regardless of how unpopular it may be for some. Leadership means leading from the front, not constantly asking for the views of others, as a means of claiming transparency, when all this indicates is the adopting of others’ views as your own. Providing you with an option to, later on, claim “I was advised on my choice” meaning “it was not really my choice”.

Of course, I get it that consultation and perceived transparency constitutes core parts of leadership. I also get it that the SA’s caretaker president is at pains to be perceived as a consulting and transparent president, yet that cannot become an excuse for failure to lead in making core decisions of your own. This fuels the crisis of legitimacy and trust Ramaphosa consistently finds himself in en-route to a May 2019 national ballot.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator and Writer

Why do we have the ‘Pastor’ Omotoso, Cheryl Zondi and other similar cases?

The unfolding court proceedings of the alleged atrocious crimes of a pastor Timothy Omotoso of the Jesus Dominion International based in Port Elizabeth who stands accused of having over a protracted period of time abused his privilege and office of pastor in preying on the most vulnerable, some of those merely 14 years old, leaves many of us as parents, members of SA society convulsed in anger, and sick to the point of vomiting. The mere thought of Pastor and abuser in reference to the same person is such a contradiction.

The term pastor or as the Grecians referred to as ‘poimenon’ speaks of a shepherd, someone who cares for protects and defends while providing for the sheep. When the shepherd begins to turn on his own sheep as a means to an end, we have reached another level in our societal definition of what faith, church, the order of pastor’s office means to be a member of the Christian faith. We have seen this across denominational lines where the RCC among others remains plagued to defrock many more priests who have been fingered in the crimes of sodomising, in particular, boys.

Yet it would be gravely unfair to pretend what plays out before our eyes in the testimony of these brave souls that it is a first in SA, or anywhere in the space where humans dwell. It is equally not right to necessarily want to frame this with an upper-African pastor problem that has invaded SA in particular since the advent of democracy.  It is too easy to make it off in that sense, allowing South African pastors to escape due to scrutiny.

I am known strong campaigner for proper visa regulations for SA, I don’t agree with the notion of open borders for justifiable and sensible reasons that protects a citizenry and their legitimate rights as unique to the land of their birth. I am against the idea and practice where anyone can enter South Africa or anywhere else on a visitor’s visa and end up overstaying his/her visit and tomorrow claim being a pastor of a flock in SA. I don’t care how anointed you may claim to be or how called you may feel, you are not legal in SA you must be arrested and deported yesterday. It is also a fact that the church of the 21st century has become a hideout for failed business people, failed careers etc, where someone decides church is good business and has an interest purely anchored in monetary gain.

South Africans are trying to make sense of the supporters of Omotoso who show up in defence of their leader. They are also questioning the defence attorney Daubermann whom we have learnt was assaulted by those who think him callous and insensitive in how he presented his questions. They simultaneously want to know why a Cheryl Zondi, the brave young lady who is a victim Omotoso’s alleged abuse, is rendered an accused.

The spokesman of the Competition Commission, a dear friend, Bra Sipho Ngwema also perturbed by the unfolding saga of this court case, its brutality and callousness of reality supported by detailed in victim evidence, asked me why we have these situations in the life of the church. I do not pretend to know the totality of the answer to this very real question, yet as a social scientist and pastor, I have thought of this too. I herewith venture to respond with the following hardly exhaustive reasons for us having to hear the evidence we are exposed to in this pastor and member sex slave scandal.

  • The institution defined as church constitutes the gathering of people in the fellowship of the Saint’s set-up takes place in the ambit of a constitutionally recognised privilege and right of freedom of association. Meaning no one is forced to attend, any gathering, you do so of your own accord. By that same token, it was your choice to be a member.
  • In accordance with SA being a constitutional democracy where the bill of rights protects individuals to live meaningful self-determined lives. That meaning full life includes the right to belong and practice a faith as sacrosanct to those who made that choice for the particular faith.
  • Church then existentially and innately from a known history of its genesis of association with a Divinity understood in the description of GOD purports a safe place. That safety is extrapolated from the accepted tenets of the subscribed Faith in which two Commandments that encapsulates the original ten defined the life of the member who is also a believer. These two commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself”. This by extension for some could be interpreted as to suggest the safety of the community as often more important than that of the member. This while there is no community without the individual. The risk of anyone trusted who it is claimed threatens the livelihood of the community of faith or the church, is often frowned upon. Meaning you are likely not going to be believed if you ever break your silence. When we hear this brave young lady lead her evidence it must be juxtaposed to the crowd outside who accuse her and the others of threatening the livelihood of their faith community.
  • Those who practice these ungodly things are masters of deception and experts of manipulation, they often exploit the most vulnerable who have turned to the church and faith for help. We must not be confused about the role of a pastor and the designation of pastor is a hallowed designation/position that imbibes trust and influence which translates to power. People confide and trust their pastors with their deepest of secrets. They relate to the office with implicit trust and a firm persuasion that the pastor has their best interest since as God’s representative in the earth he in a sense exudes the closest figment to actualise Deity in the purity of a faith defined by a moral conscience.
  • Another reason we are witnessing what we do today stems from the relatively modern VIP status and trend where pastors have come to be celebrities, either superstars and demigods with a claim to possess supreme powers often considered magical to bless but more so to curse dissidents.  If people ask why she was silent all the time, we must be cognisant of the presence of fear, we do not know what she was threatened with. Abusers usually threaten their victims and by so doing keep them bound in fear to be silent and subservient.
  • This situation prevails today in the 2st Century church because fear has supplanted faith. Where faith use to define the essence of church-life today fear has come to define that. Fear that affords, charlatans of pastors to threaten members with invoked ‘curses’ if they don’t obey and submit to their authorities. We know from the Biblical Text that fear is not from God as 2Timothy 1:7 leads “for God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind.” Why then are church people so afraid of their pastors? Why then are the pastors so prone to threaten God’s children with curses if they don’t obey? Perhaps the devil has come to church and rules from the pulpit.
  • Another reason why these situations may prevail emanates from the known central teaching of the Christian Church that imbibes the practice of forgiveness. The Christian is one who is a product of forgiveness and a benefactor of both graces – the unmerited favour and mercy its twin that spared a deserving sinner the necessary punishment. The Christian Faith, therefore, dictates that those who are products of forgiveness naturally and daily extends that forgiveness as taught by Jesus Christ in an immeasurable sense of 70 times seven a day.

Thus, people forgive and are taught to always forgive as the Christian Didache leads.  In that context, it’s easy for some to abuse the grace of forgiveness until they render others objects of their pleasure.

  • There is another emerging tendency in the 21st Century Church as experienced in SA, Africa, UK and USA. The false doctrines of “father” and “son” or “daughter” teachings which finds expression in very challenging definitions as a lived experience renders adult members mere children of the church pastor. Meaning they must obey him as they would obey their biological parents, in some instances even more than their physical parents. These teach and advance a questionable doctrine of “sonship” as a non-negotiable belief and practice. In that space, they can manipulate, lure and abuse whom they target. Pastors and their spouses who are often not seminary trained and qualified pastors are referred to as ‘Daddy’’ and “Mommy”. This practice is common in the upper-African nations and in some sense imported from there.
  • Unfortunately, the church of today accommodates “pastors’’ who have sold their souls to Satan. Many have entered into dark covenants in pursuit of success defined in a big church, status, prestige money and fame. We seldom want to admit this but some have made covenants where they must sacrifice to Satan when the latter it is claimed guarantees them success understood in a following, so-called big church, fame and of course money.  This is not new, we know according to the Biblical Text found in Matthew 4- that Jesus Christ was tempted after he completed 40 days of prayer and fasting when Satan offered a cocktail of things including, power, fame, wealth and prestige. Anyone who reads the text will realise Jesus never told Satan he lied about his offers at what, I have termed ‘An offer at a prime time.’ in one of my sermons. It’s time we admit the Devil goes to church, he does not have the horns but is often at the Pulpit, draped in designer Gucci suits and Kenneth Cole shoes because some very famous SA and International preacher, have private shrines in their homes where not even their spouses can enter. It is here they receive “prophecies” and magical powers to do what appears to be miracles. Many of them have to sleep with a said number of ladies even man to maintain their abilities to “prophecy and perform miracles” which is their mainstay.
  • Another challenge is the new obsession with ‘deliverance events and services”. The belief here is that members need deliverance from curses, past experiences, ancestral connections etc. The challenge with this is people get delivered weekly, meaning why would one need it today if you had been delivered yesterday? Well, it’s a means to earn money, spent private time with congregants where you literally direct their lives through sophisticated control mechanisms. This deliverance ministry has become an economic spin for the prying eye, the lustful heart and the depraved soul. Often the aforementioned is the very pastor who must nurture God values.
  • Lastly, the church is obsessed with miracles, faith today is defined in magical powers. One of the famous preachers of this era in SA, that has become famous in SA while not born here, answered why he was so famous in SA, with the following exclamation, “South Africans are very gullible and just want miracles.” Listening closely tells you the pastor has determined his market and he lives off that market generously.

It is safe to conclude that the church is in a precarious state that seldom we want to admit as believers and members. It is here the words of Christ Jesus in Luke 18:8 confronts the professing Christian with the sobering truth when he paused and asked: “when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Pastor McCauley’s ghost-writing passes him off as the self-appointed authority of the SA Christian Church”

  

– Its perhaps time McCauley learns to submit to black religious leadership first. –

The unfolding Pastor Omotoso scandal and trial has its own sideshows, earlier this week we learnt of a prominent Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane who in veiled sense threatened Pastor Omotoso with the following words, “they must release you we waiting for you outside.” These words despite Omotoso’s charge sheet is simply not in the spirit of democracy and is less to be expected from a cabinet member. By Tuesday, we read of an opinion piece with Pastor Ray McCauley as the author.

The Star of this Tuesday carries an opinion piece by the controversial Pastor Ray McCauley of Rhema Church. McCauley regularly shares opinions in the Star, often these are framed as of someone who claims a right to be the self-appointed leader of Independent Churches in South Africa. McCauley’s claim to fame in a public political presence is not without question given the protracted and challenging history of an apartheid South Africa. The physical church edifice and infrastructure is often identified as that which thrust him into a socio and political landscape when many key personality funerals and events were hosted at such.

It is my conscious intention to engage McCauley and the known ghost-writers who penned this note. This response must not remotely be misconstrued as a defence of Omotoso whom I already in an earlier piece condemned on the strength of the led evidence as submitted by Cheryl Zondi. It is my submission that Omotoso is merely used by McCauley to exert himself into space he long has claimed for himself.

McCauley naturally like all of us have a right to an opinion which is not herewith questioned. He like all of us is entitled to be angry with the revelations of a Pastor Omotoso church scandal, which involves as we are learning more than 30 witnesses lined up to testify. In what was a very eventful and painful week of evidence led by a brave Cheryl Zondi who intermittently waved away a tear, as she took us all into confidence on what she lived through under the leadership and abuse of the foreign-born Omotoso, McCauley ventured his mind as his right but also made some interesting claims which warrant engaging.

At first glance, the undiscerning eye will want to make this very controversial opinion piece, that I postulate uses Omotoso for its own end, out as a pastoral comment, yet it is an opinion piece and hence must be engaged for what it is. In this conflation of self-appointed claimed authority, accusations, deductions and oblivious of any appreciation of a recognised recorded trajectory of church-history mixed with CRL plagiarised proposals the mind of South Africa’s self-appointed faith leader is laid bare. McCauley takes the title co-chairperson more serious than anything else because the former bodybuilder turned pastor does not submit to any leadership and particularly not apartheid classified black leadership.

It is an open secret that Pastor Ray McCauley has never penned any of his own books including his autobiography, or any of the many articles that have appeared under his name. He has thus, for the duration of his ministry, social and public political commentary life been depending on what is considered ghost-writers, one of the benefits of being wealthy of having access to resources. Unfortunately, the ghost-writers in McCauley’s case are nowhere ever acknowledged. We also know that many of these after a while left Rhema when relations soured. Let us also accept that Pastor McCauley was never a friend of the SACC, he by default during the Zuma presidency given the association with Vusi Mona claimed to be a Zuma supporter moved to support President Zuma. Zuma’s presidency did not afford the SACC the celestial identity it held in Mandela and half the tenure of Mbeki.  This inadvertently was during a time when parliamentarian and former chief whip of the ANC Dr Mathole Motshekga oversaw the formation of a National Religious Leadership chaired by Bishop Daniel Matebesi the same Pastor McCauley always claim as his co-chair designation ad-in-finitum.

The article is his attempt to lend his voice in authority to the much-publicised yet mooted regulation notion essentially aimed at the Christian faith expression at the hand of a minuscule and insignificant few independent church leaders who have made themselves guilty of unorthodox and discomforting extraordinary practices as advanced by the interim CRL research report. I had the privilege of studying and engaging the CRL report on the day of its release and participated along with its Chairperson Xaluva in a panel interview on the then ANN7 platform. McCauley’s ghost-writing let him claim the moral and acclaimed leadership high ground to argue his justification for what the CRL presented in a questionable a hardly conclusive sense of a PEER Review structure. http://weeklyxpose.co.za/2017/07/11/reflections-discomfort-crl-commercialisation-religion-report/

It is important to engage McCauley known for having led the now-defunct IFCC (Independent Federation of Christian Churches) which was really the brainchild of the late Pastor Ed Roebert, and for which McCauley stood accused by some as having hijacked the vision. It was also claimed that the IFCC was formed at the time as a counterforce to the then powerful SACC, apparently with apartheid resources.

He may not want to recall that at one of these IFCC gatherings in the early 90’s proved categorically clear in asserting that he will not submit to any African, Coloured or Indian church leader because ‘they have no track record of having led anything successfully.’ McCauley is known for not submitting to any leader that is not sharing a denotation of apartheid classified white. Hence he continues to refer to himself joint-chairperson of the NRLC. He later joined the SACC the same he never had anything good to comment on, over an elongated period, even in this setting McCauley sees himself as a co-leader, not as one submitting to SACC leadership.

McCauley in his own words, “There are many dubious characters calling themselves prophets, bishops, and apostles among other titles, but whose claim to these titles cannot be backed up by credible deeds in ministry”.

The problem with McCauley’s conclusive views on religion in 2018 lays perhaps in its own dubious character. I as an educated Pentecostal Faith believer first ordained by the oldest Pentecostal Church in SA, namely the AFM-SA, (Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa) in 1992, readily admits and know that from the birth of the AFM-SA in 1908 to deep in the 1950’s the criteria for anyone to be a pastor was the presence of the gift of speaking in tongues. I also which to put it on record that the AFM-SA in its racial composition of an apartheid past and beyond its 1996 unification, struggled for many years to be accepted as a mainline church, meaning recognised by those who are of the denominational settings who have come to define the panoply of religious life in SA both at theology as science and practical faith life.

The Charismatic Church of which McCauley and others make up its SA presence essentially share the Pentecostal Theology and doctrinal stance of the oldest SA Pentecostal church, they may have modernised liturgy, dress code and opened the pulpits in charismatic worship but the theology is still the same.

I am saying this to remind a seeming selective amnesia suffering McCauley or his pen-person that the Pentecostal church from inception, the world over was considered a sect at first, they were given no respect space or dignity by the religious fraternities of the day and it took a very long time to be accepted in these religious fraternities.

No different to the followers of Jesus’ who were castigated and denigrated as indolent, deceived, backwards and gullible by the stoic Sadducees and Pharisees. The general critique against this church formation was its unorthodox expression of faith, its lack of education and an absent footprint of researched theological doctrinal foothold. McCauley’s RHEMA while an American imported church formation with its name appropriated equally so from the late Kenneth Hagin Ministries, was always considered a sect bereft of respectable education and one where the ‘intelligible’ thought theology was always an absent ingredient for this very stream. McCauley today speaks as a self-ordained authority in the false claim of an original solid theology structured, ethos and Didache when all of us who sojourned the last 30 years know different

We must then conclude that a McCauley being vocal confirms it is easy for all of us when we seemingly have ‘arrived’ in whatever shape size or form of acceptance to condemn others as charlatans when we ourselves were considered at some stage “kansvatters” fake and definitely uneducated a bunch of self-appointed pastors. I, therefore, plead with McCauley to remain conscious of firstly the documented history of the Pentecostal Church Movement and its later development of varied Charismatic expressions, not forgetting his own past when others declared him uninformed and uneducated as a self-made pastor.

Hence the accusations of ‘charlatans’ the claims of ‘clowns’ and labelling people ‘gullible’, that his article invokes, in accusing people who practice their constitutional rights of freedom of association purports to have questionable dimensions to it. Let us remember, the entire Pentecostal Movement born in Los Angeles, California under the unction of the Holy Spirit when a one-eyed African American William Seymour Holiness preacher who initiated the Azusa Street Revival, broke the racial barriers as God began to use him in birthing the Pentecostal Church. So slow down Ray, pause and reflect, our Pentecostal Faith was considered a fake church and bereft of any theologically astute prisms and thought life for a long period.

Another challenge I have with McCauley is his opportunistic use of the New Testament Scholar, theologian and gifted writer, Paul. He remonstrates, “Paul could lay claim to the title of apostle given the many letters he wrote and the churches he established, And the man was learned too”

Saul, who became Paul, the one who was a Zealot, Pharisee, and a Roman soldier, who also sat at the feet of the scholar Gamaliel was a fanatical persecutor of the early Church of Jesus Chris in its infancy until his Damascus experience and encounter with God. It is interesting that McCauley in this season seeks to make Paul’s volume of work the criteria, may I remind McCauley more than half of the original apostles wrote nothing. Peter had a writer called Mark who penned the Gospel of Mark as Peter’s account and Mark possibly also wrote the epistles for Peter. The apostleship had nothing to do with volumes of either written work or planted churches as some like McCauley in an armchair comment today seek to advance.

For McCauley to use the criteria of education when tons of pastors in the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches never went to any formal seminary but attended local non-accredited “Word-Schools” is rather convenient if not mischievous. Let us again remind McCauley that Paul despite his intellect and powerful ministry was not accepted by the church of Jerusalem under Simon Peter’s leadership. He had to go and defend himself to the church who spared him no grace, never trusted him until he in Acts 10, eclipsed the appointed leader of the church Peter, who placed his Jewish cultural preferences as sacrosanct after God instructed him to eat what was in the lowered from heaven sheet. Paul then becomes the evidence that God always had the so-called Heathen in mind.

When McCauley label some today for not being able to put together an intelligible paragraph we must surprisingly admit we have come full circle because we know how McCauley’s own lack of education was used against him. He, therefore, emulates today the same ones who accused and rejected the Pentecostal Movement at the hand of that very same education diaphragm. If he from his glass-tower today calls them ‘clowns’, may he pause to know Jesus was called worse by a so-called intelligent religious bunch of hypocrites whom he retorted in the description of being white-washed tombstones, who were not ready to embrace his challenging teaching that exposed their hypocrisy?

The historical Jesus, whom I profess as my Saviour and Lord, was hardly considered a success for ministry if the 21ST Century monied church economy is the dictate. We know he never had a huge church, building or a consistent following he till his death battled to keep the 12 on the straight and the narrow. If Jesus had to be assessed by the 21st-Century capitalist driven minds of church expressions they would have said of him he ran a ‘tuckshop’ because they are ‘megachurch’ inebriated to claim success and impact Jesus never planted any churches for that to become the measurement for His impact. They would never have invited him because he was too controversial, and had no credentials they could vet to afford him their palatial pulpits. It is, therefore, the false capitalistic mind of those who advance a false notion of a ‘mega-church’ as the maximum symbol to confirm impact. It is from the bedrock of this very false notion that McCauley’s writer pens this note that renders him inadvertently a modern ‘papacy- status’ of the SA independent Christian Church community.

Glaringly present throughout McCauley’s shout is a person who inserts himself as above reproach, seldom admitting his own flawed reality that we all share, one who can claim moral high ground and is naturally as they in the Charismatic movement lexicon rank themselves as “Generals”. We must hear McCauley because he tells us he has earned the inalienable right to speak authoritatively on the subject matter of who can be a pastor and who not. He wants to tell us pastors must be vetted; may we ask who vetted him and many others when they announced their calls?

Not only does McCauley claim this right but he equally proves instructive we not sure by what authority, his instructive dictate seeks to browbeat us into an acceptance of a CRL proposal of an adopted Peer Review Mechanism which really has at aim the establishment of a superior organisation that will control accreditation and vetting of pastors and churches. Unfortunately, those bidding for this super State endorsed structure of the organisation are not exempted from their own political and self-interests agendas.

McCauley laments those who join churches, when he says, “The sad thing is there will always be a gullible audience ready to be the followers of these religious con artists. And let us disabuse ourselves of the notion that only the poor and uneducated are the followers of these dubious religious leaders.” I penned an article a few years ago in the TNA publications in which I argue all Faiths imbibes gullibility, to pretend gullibility was not the cause for the establishment of RHEMA is to be sophistic, to say the least. The believer believes less on what he has scientifically observed, intellectually understood, or the vastness of research comprehended. The act and life of faith suggest gullibility and that has been the story of all faith formations and their respective footprints. When McCauley reads followers of other church expressions the riot act, as being gullible, he cannot remotely attempt to claim Rhema members from inception were astute and not gullible in joining his vision as borrowed from the USA. To, therefore, advance gullibility is a none argument. Regardless of education to believe in a God you have never seen takes faith and faith is informed by assumptions made and predicated on that which you seldom can defend or explain in a rational sense.

He uses the Omotoso case to now become a final authority to give the CRL report legs where he highlights what the report sets out almost in a form of plagiarism sense. I had expected McCauley to cite the CRL report for its conclusions and what it presents as solutions. It is not Ray McCauley who first thought of a Code of Practice or a Peer Review structure it was not even the CRL but submissions made to the CRL that was captured in its 39-page report of which its first 25 pages constitute sheer background information. It is important that McCauley desists acting like it was his brainchild of a peer review and a code and what that code must entail. That is rather opportunistic on his part, something McCauley often stands accused of.

He back in the day used his historic association with ANC MK veteran Carl Niehaus to facilitate an opportunity to be on the programme of the late Oom Beyers Naude’s funeral as one of those who prayed. We also know Ray McCauley before a Mandela release did not share the same sentiments he has since Mandela was released. McCauley must learn to embrace being someone’s deputy because he submits to no one and particularly not any apartheid defined black person.

His writing seems to want to dictate today how religious organisations must be formed, when the CRL stands naked for its one-sided and convenient condemnation of doom insecticide-spraying pastors, when it failed in its report to give SA a didactic attempt in explaining as to how faith traditions evolve and as to why it is correct to accept the mainline churches and not others in their faith practice life.

I agree with the writer of McCauley’s article on the subject matter that no one is above the law and we must draw a distinction between the moral and the criminal. When he says that we must also be red-carding the very church who have pleaded silence on the abuse of young boys, girls and nuns as the Roman Catholic Church currently is dealing with. Let us also not forget when we today condemn Omotoso and his need for this blind loyalty how churches like Rhema under McCauley require nothing less than a fierce loyalty to a supreme mortal that rules by decree that easily can see a cup of coffee emptied at an individual in a fit of rage in a board meeting. We must condemn this abuse with the same verve we are encouraged to do of Omotoso.

He raises a pertinent issue if society has an issue with the conduct or integrity of a religious leader what are the governance structures that can be approached? And here I make a distinction between the ethical and the criminal. Again, this issue is not answered by the proposed “Umbrella organisation’ philosophy of the CRL. Off course moral and criminal matters have different premises and whatever entails the criminal is answered by a functional judicial system. The moral as he advances is assumed to be that where for example a pastor divorces, is overtaken with habits that bring the Christian Faith in disrepute etc. These are and should be dealt with by the body the pastor and church subscribe to not an external superimposed structure of a CRL umbrella organisation who acts as final arbiter. The invoking of how society must deal with that is also in a sense flawed because society is bigger than the local church and society at large may not want for example a McCauley anymore as a pastor when his local church would argue the opposite. It is convenient to invoke this society notion when it suits us and to be oblivious to it when it would affect us. Let pastors be governed by their local assemblies no different to how Rhema and all others are governed.

McCauley’s final point on self-regulation was uttered long before and is not new, the right to freedom of association in faith expression is a constitutional right. The pressure of regulation is borne from those who seek to encroach on this right. Self-regulation then becomes Faith’s answer to the fabricated need to regulate in this season. There is no unison voice or any voice regardless of name or size that can claim it speaks in total authority on behalf of the church, in particular, the independent churches in SA. There is no record that the church by enlarge ever agreed to adopt regulation and by extension the pseudo form of it under the guise of lusty organisations whose fantasy is to control the church of Jesus Christ under their political loaded and self-serving interest blankets.

The debate on regulation and self- regulation is very far from being fully ventilated and concluded and we will not allow the CRL, a McCauley or any formation with its own interests to instruct the church on peer review structures etc. Govern the expression of which you were endowed, leave the rest of the Body of Christ to be led by those God have ordained whom you often don’t respect because they according to you are too insignificant and not famous.

Omotoso and every other real or fake pastor must be condemned where the truth of claims can stand legal muster. Let the courts pronounce on Omotoso, he can’t be denied his constitutional rights to a fair trial because the ANCWL is caught in a conundrum of doublespeak as to when it wants to defend victims of abuse when it supports one and rejects the other. Neither can Omotoso be used by the McCauley machinery in his crusade to become SA’s pastor as a means to a political end. The Mokonyane and McCauley rants are sideshows and must be treated for what it is.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine