The Moment the DA wished the SABC was absent !

                                  – be careful what you wish for, you might just get it….. –

Thank God for the public broadcaster. Sunday a week ago, South Africa’s opposition party the DA had its weekend in the sun. It was the weekend of legacy handover, the entire Saturday was dedicated to its former leader Helen Zille. Speaker after speaker singing her praise.

“We would like to thank all media represented here today, in particular the SABC whom we had to drag to court tobe here today”, these were the words of Ethel Trollip, the comeback kid of DA election party politics.
Indeed the SABC was there be it dragged through a court order or not it was there. The intention was clear the DA wanted to use the weekend’s internal elections as its first major rally for the 2016 Municipal Elections. The choice of Port Elizabeth was no mistake or coincidence, it is as clear as the opposition could make it, there next aim is the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan node as the second DA political power spot – securing the Cape west to east. With this in mind an event was put together. It therefore was important to get all the publicity andmileage from this event – no resources were spared to achieve this aim.
Cut forward to the Sunday, then there came the moment for the announcement yes the announcement scripted, of the former leader in typical Sepp Blatter style asking for the envelope, to announce a ‘winner’ of the host of the proverbial world-cup two ‘worlds cups’ away.
Cut back to Saturday evening at the induction of Helen Zille into the pantheon of smart leadersby Allister Sparks. Sparks then becomes the nightmare of the spin doctors, since in a moment, all the time, money, resources and effort spent on is witnessed going up in smoke and no amount of spin can undo it, because we saw it, we heard it since the SABC was dragged to court to be there, fortunately.
The case can thus me made that Maimane was handed the baton not by Zille, neither by any of the DA leaders but a dead, buried and now resurrected Verwoerd as eulogized by Sparks.

It becomes important to ask who is Allister Sparks, Sparks is the embodiment of a lifetime of journalism, public commentary, political analysis starting from Malan to this present Zuma era, in his own words. So Sparks was around in 1948 with the establishment of the Apartheid State. Sparks was around with the Defiance Campaign, the banning of the ANC, the start of MK. Sparks lived through the arrests at Lilliesfarm and the subsequent Rivonia Trial. He was present plying his trade during the strangled – deaths of the organizations in the 1960’s, the forced removals of black people, be it in Sophiatown or District Six.
Sparks was around at the height of Black Consciousness, the student uprise in 76, the forming of COSATU, the formation and launch of the UDF, the activities of the MDM, the Tri-Cameral system experiment to bamboozle the people of South Africa in acceptance of half-baked solution as the alternate to the Apartheid State. Sparks was around in the mid-to late 80’s student uprise as led by the Cape, Sparks was there when the Talks about Talks took place.

Sparks, he was around when millions voted for the first time in claim of democratic franchise. Sparks lived through all of the 21 years of democracy. He commented, he opined and articulated meticulously and authoritatively from Malan to Zuma, hence when he took the podium and was handed the microphone, it was to give stature this moment of oppositionpolitics.
No one thus was more qualified, none more erudite than Allister Sparks, handpicked to give credence to this moment, on his shoulders and illustrious career a Helen Zille would leave and a Maimane will emerge. Niklos the emerging philosopher contends ‘there is something infants and old folk have in common, they speak the truth innocently’, Sparks clearly spoke the truth innocently and could not even understand why there was such a fuss made of his Verwoerd admiration.
What happened next no analyst,soothsayer or modern day prophet could preempt, no choreographer could design and clearly no spindoctor can now fix, because the SABC was there, and we the public saw this for ourselves in real time. Fortunately. We saw, we heard him go through a list of smart politicians who happened to all be white politicians. This list was dovetailed with the guest of honour, Helen Zille, the person of the hour.
The only problem is that somewhere among the listed ones, was a strange fellow, the epicentre of apartheid, the force behind segregation, the embodiment of black – hate, who was inspired by Adolf Hitler in claim of white supremacy.

Hendrik Verwoerd the nightmare of every African, now would define the finalmoment of the final chapter of Zille’s leadership. The stench from this sparked emissions enveloped the room, settling on the evening gown of Helen Zille forthese were words to eternalize her. And didn’t it? Yet she is associated not with Mandela, not with Biko but with Verwoerd and by implication with Hitler. All this in her finest moment.
We the public saw this, we heard it because the SABC was there. Fortunately. Because no spin-doctor can ever challenge what we have heard. Neither can a belated claim of senility as attempted by the DA’s usual spin.
Zille, eternalized into that pantheon of “SMART POLITICIANS” and no amount, of her protesting with audible NO, NO, NO – Nee, Nee, Nee could alter her induction in this pantheon. The SABC showed how Zille in moment of induction into this legacy of smart politicians is whisked away from the cameras and microphones of SABC for she was audible and there was no pre-approved or vetted script from the forever spin-doctor politics of the DA.
If Zille’s induction came at the un-vetted remarks of a Sparks in admiration of a Verwoerd and by extension Hitler, Mmusi Maimane’s coronation to high office in opposition politics did not escape the resurrected Verwoerd’s crown, cloak and scepter, because the public broadcaster was there and we are all duly informed.
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine


Open letter to Mmusi Maimane candidate for DA Leadership

Dear Mr. Maimane,
Re: South Africa needs a Transformed Opposition:
On the eve of this historic moment in the history of South African Opposition Politics, I have thought it right to implore to give due consideration for the moment we stand in. It is historic to have a Dr. Wilmot James and Mr. Mmusi Maimane as the two contenders for the DA leadership in this season. All South Africans must acknowledge that this is significant  in the evolution of our democratic narrative.
Our Democracy warrants an opposition party not an oppositional party, as we have witnessed throughout the period of 21 years of our political freedom.
The DA with this moment that will transpire in 24 Hours is at it its proverbial Rubicon, it can either stand still, which translates to going back to 1948 or move forward to the realisation of the promise of April, 27 1994.
I am of the firm belief that the standing still or going forward is not a “black” number issue. Rather it is an ideological shift needed within the liberal project of South Africa for the next stage of continuing the work we started since April 27, 1994. Race is neither the subject, nor the point in our non-racial future; we cannot afford to make it the epicentre of this moment in opposition politics.
South Africa needs a transformed DA, it does not merely need a “black” face, as we attempted in a history of Tri- Cameral parliament of 1983 or the more recent attempts of the Zille, Mazibuko and De Lille triumvirate and the attempt to parachute Dr. Mamphela Ramphele into DA leadership.
As this moment presents itself in historic stature for the opposition party, South Africa in national agenda warrants a move to the middle ground of political leadership as we so acutely were reminded with recent xenophobic attacks, our role in SADC, our role in Africa and the World.
That the DA needs a shift from its entrenched paradigm and position of oppositional politics to this middle ground where the dream of future as embarked upon in the national polls of 1994 and built further with ensuing leaderships as trusted by the polls in the form of the governing party.
I am fully cognisant of the reality that you may well have the numbers to secure a win in tomorrow’s internal leadership election.
1. You are a young politician with hardly 5-10 years of exposure to national politics to be the custodian of the needed transformation in opposition politics.
2. The task at hand requires a seasoned politician to take the liberal project in the DA and to transform it into the direction our country needs. If you know anything about the evolution of the British, liberal politics and the democratic institutions it took seasoned leaders and minds to reach the point of transforming it by the turn of the previous century. (Locke, Walpole, Burke, Disraeli, and Peale to name a random few)
3. The country needs a transformed opposition that the promise of 1994 pointed to.
4. It is not ideal to have a “black” face merely for election purposes with a conservative ideology driving the liberal project. The electorate is wiser than that and may well judge you harshly in future elections.
5. It cannot be that we allow the conservative minds to drive a black face leader agenda at the expense of the much-needed transformation of our opposition politics from being oppositional to a meaningful opposition to the governing party.

It is in the light of the above, that I will prevail on you to put the country’s needs first. My unsolicited advice is to find the energy and time to grow your knowledge and experience in the current position you have assumed for the last year as Parliamentary leader for the DA.

Your time in the future may yet come, and you may be the right person come that hour. Do not allow those who want SA to go back to 1948 to lull you into believing your candidacy is the answer for this moment.
With this,  we wish both candidates a fair election and a good result for SA.
I trust my musing in this regard, finds you receptive.

Yours sincerely.
Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine


Who really decided Zille must step aside for a Maimane leadership?


-Maimane’s candidacy – project Obama, is not his, neither is it Zille’s but perhaps an International one –

James Baldwin, accredited for having singed the frontal lobes of many white intellectuals in 1963 writes the following: “White Americans find it difficult, as white people elsewhere do, to divest themselves of the notion that they are in possession of some intrinsic value that black people need or want. And his assumption – which, for example, makes the solution of the Negro problem depend on the speed with which the Negroes accept and adopt white standards – is revealed in all kinds of striking way, from Bobby Kennedy’s assurance that a Negro can become President in forty years, to the unfortunate tone of warm congratulation with which so many liberals address their Negro equals-an achievement that not only proves the comforting fact that perseverance has no colour, but also overwhelmingly corroborates the white man’s sense of his own value” (James Baldwin 1963 THE FIRE NEXT TIME)


From this citation, it is clear that Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency was not merely a prophecy but an orchestrated activity in which the Kennedy Clan played its critical role exactly 40 years later.


We dare not forget the critical role the last senior of the Kennedy clan (Ted Kennedy) played in securing the 44th president as the first ‘black’ USA president in history.   I am of the view that orchestration is not unique to an Obama but may prove very plausible, in this musing in the succession debate of the Democratic Alliance.


A week or so ago, the leader of the opposition and the DA Helen Zille, announced her non-availability for contest of DA leadership in the immediate future. The aftermath of this press briefing afforded us many interpretations of this sudden unfolding paradigm. There are those who bestowed honour and salutations of congratulations on her for ‘her’ decision as that, which attest, and confirms progressive leadership.


Yet, others of whom I am one, remonstrated her decision did not come without a nudge if not an instruction.


Perhaps it is important to, first provide a context, Helen Zille makes her statement literally within days after she had returned from the USA having concluded a fundraising exercise. It is said she assembled a select and distinct group of people for her brainstorming at Leeuwenhof; two of those included in this meeting are some of her or the DA’s biggest funders. Maimane despite being the leader of the opposition in parliament did not attend this meeting, but the CEO of the DA did. Wilmot James the Chairperson of the DA did not attend this meeting also, clearly an interesting twist. Maimane we can assume did not attend because Zille did not want be seen to overtly anoint her successor, or to compromise Maimane’s candidacy hence he it is claimed did not know (politics). James was not invited because he stands on the other side of Zille’s prism and therefore not one to be trusted. This meeting results in the hastily convened press statement, which came with a cocktail of tears and emotions.


Shortly after this the public is introduced to the candidacy of a Mmusi Maimane who last weekend did not know if was going to stand or not, seemingly all of sudden confirms his readiness to stand. It is a given that Maimane has Zille’s blessing to lead the Democratic Alliance, we hear of rumours of a potential candidacy of Dr. Wilmot James but I dare assert of this nothing will come.


Mmusi Maimane whom many have already called ‘Mr. Obama’ in imitation will become the first black leader of the DA come the hour. The fervour with which he bestowed honour to a Zille bordered on the praise singing of an imbongi, yet that is all scripted because the SA-Obama project is unfolding.


Whilst this is a given, I will postulate that the decision for Helen Zille to step down does not simply attests local or domestic politics at play, but a serious global hand evidenced in the USA. Was Helen Zille told by the funders, its time you shift, and that time is now, and you will find a ‘black’ young leader because it is in the interest of some that the ANC is truly challenged with the view of unseating it in elections. There is no question that the funders for whatever reason are not in concert with an ANC leadership but tolerates it until it can produce what it believes is the correct formula to secure a victory in national polls. Whether this will work is yet to be discovered.


My premise for this is borne out in the building of a profile of a Mmusi Maimane, whose candidacy for a Gauteng Elections had a R120milion tag to it. Another reason why Mmusi and not a Lindiwe Mazibuko is to be that face is the reality of our politics of male dominance as often understood from a cultural context as acceptable with even the ANC Women’s league proving soft in aggression for a woman candidacy. The Gauteng elections contest was to be the springboard for catapulting Mmusi Maimane into relevance and place of prominence in the DA, which it is hoped is only a mid-stop to a possible presidency of SA. We must also calmly asked if the woman led move of a DA immanent in Helen Zille, Patricia De Lille and Lindiwe Mazibuko really had meaning for women advancement in the political economy. Close examination appears to suggest not.


We can also accept that Zille’s attempt at securing a parachuted ‘black’ face for the 2014 National Elections in a Mamphela Ramphele was not as innocent and stupid as is advanced but again a means by which the DA sought to adapt to the new reality of which I claim they are directed to go perhaps less by locals ( the true constituency of the DA) but by funders local and abroad.


There is another dimension I wish to add here, just as much as a Bobby Kennedy back in 1963 could predict or, as I would like to believe, orchestrate a future Obama presidency so we can confirm that Hillary Clinton will become the 45th President of the USA come 2016. It does not take rocket science to appreciate the hegemony of male dominance of politics as evidenced in the local USA and world contexts. Thus, it would have been more palatable for a black male (provided he is of certain standing) to surge in ascendance of political power ahead of a white female presidency.


Back to Maimane’s candidacy, Is it possible that in South Africa with its more progressive constitution and its need to show the world that it produced its first ‘white’ female opposition leader (Zille), the SA opposition proved more racial than the USA who in my assessment proved more chauvinistic in an Obama Election victory.


By the same token we may also ask if reverse of that male hegemony in party politics in the Democratic Party of a Tony Leon leadership, whilst confronted with the reality of a need to change to a black leadership, instead argued back then already we will rather have a female ‘white’ leader before we have a ‘black’ leader.


It is water under the bridge now that history finally caught up with the conservative Democratic Party (the enclave and hide out of all former National Party and Conservative Party members) who despite becoming a Democratic Alliance never shed its true identity of conservatism. The DA remains a party with an androgynous ideological definition, for it is made up of Afrikaner and English conservatives in claim of liberalism. In this season, it has secured a growing black voter base who does not necessarily understand this ideological challenge, but who is tired or angry with an ANC that it claims has failed.


Therefore, whilst the nominations and candidacy of the DA’s future leadership dynamics are unfolding and the proverbial taste of a black leader in a conservative setting though claimed as liberal, is proving not palatable for the majority of real DA supporters, the efficacy of holding on to the white dominance confirms an eternal description of a white party as opposition and not in line with the demanded dictate of those who truly control the future of the DA. That control plausibly may have a foreign funder hand.


In an earlier piece I wrote title ‘Steve Hofmeyr the evidence of the crisis of the Afrikaner Political Leadership’, I advanced the notion that the Afrikaner intelligentsia has never been able to accept its new position of opposition; it thus has a stubborn reluctance to participate in the design of the new democratic era. I argued the Afrikaner intelligentsia pins its hopes on a South Africa in failure, from this prims of a will and must fail, it readies itself to govern again once the failure is accepted as evident. This latter thought is what makes them not to participate meaningfully to contribute from its resources and skills, because its divestment in the democratic SA it its investment in a future rulership.


I now seek to extend the boundaries of this Afrikaner claim in saying the DA (who represents the earlier mentioned conservative Afrikaner and English voter-constituency) has made a calculated choice that it will never persuade SA voters to accept its vision unless it has a black face hence the choice of a Maimane. He now becomes the means to legitimise itself as a black party, sensitive to the critical dimension of youth role with the hope of governance less from a liberal but a conservative notion, which is in-sink with the Afrikaner aim, as advised by the  funders.


Maimane fits this paradigm as an educated, young leader, not ANC aligned, and who imbibes DA policy in all its facets. He is articulate as one who epitomises the new ‘race-free’ South Africa whose personal family attests this reality. He bridges the gap and is that male figure that feeds the paradigm of a not yet ready SA to be governed by a woman.


Maimane therefore is the project – Obama in the DA context, he will lead it, because upon him the hopes of a ANC unseating is placed, as carefully selected by those across the big waters less by those in domestic DA context who may prove dinosauric for finding a black leader acceptable even in 21 years after the advent of democracy. They will die a natural political death because their irrelevance in frozen paradigm is not congruent with this moment as determined by the funders of the DA and those who have an interest to see the ANC unseated.


I am afraid it is not as simple as it appears, I am afraid his candidacy was not his neither was it Zille’s but the funders who have deep pockets who read the times and like Kennedy in 1963 can correctly predict or orchestrate an outcome such as an Obama presidency so in this season Maimane is making history to become the first black leader of a white party with the hope of influencing the future elections.


I will also attempt to argue in a later piece that this is significant because it must mean in be seen as positive the interest of the national agenda. A shift to a middle ground from the SA Opposition party is necessary, hence a ‘black’ leader be it Mmusi Maimane or Wilmot James may be that bridge for that ideological shift. The ANC itself has to shift, though its closer to the middle ground than the Opposition Party. It is my view that Wilmot James will push more for this ideological shift than a Maimane. Thus if the DA elects a Maimane the shift will be slower because he does not naturally represent in ideology.


In conclusion, it remains my submission Helen Zille never stepped aside as a gesture of her own goodwill, but she was instructed to do what she did, by those before whom she bows.


The choice of Maimane is not that of the DA voters constituency, they too had not any say in it, equally it’s not Maimane’s choice he finds himself almost prophesied no rather orchestrated as the right man in the right place at the right time with the right profile.


Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Political Commentator



Zille & Ramphele: The KISS that left more than a betrayal smudge!

 Helen & Mamphela

It is all in a kiss, be it love or betrayal !

Through generations and times, a kiss was used to convey affection, love, friendship, peace, and unity. Equally, a kiss was used the night of the betrayal of Jesus Christ as the sign for his detractors. We have seen how disgraced leaders in full view would embrace and kiss their partners as a sign of unity after infidelity was confirmed, despite the known true reality of the hell behind closed doors.

This week was one of drama for some unsuspecting Mzantsites who decried the mess of ‘unification’ of claimed two parties or the blatant renting of a ‘black’ academic turned politician. In the hullabaloo of denials early on Monday and the Tuesday huddled press conference jointly attended by Dr. Ramphele and DA Leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, some are left in proverbial sixes and sevens to make of this matrimony of convenience in election pact signet.

I like many have shared my views a long time ago on Dr. Ramphele as it was carried in an earlier article captured in February 2013 of the Citypress “Inside a flawed political ambitious mind.” Yet I thought perhaps I could opine on the actual kiss that was blazoned on the news media purporting to be the ultimate sign of the ‘unity’ of Agang- SA and the DA.

The kiss thus has a dubious and multi-layered meaning depending what society, time, and situation one finds oneself. This week Ramphele and Zille kissed in unity of a ‘black’ presidential candidacy for a ‘white’ party. It is time to ask what this kiss meant.

This kiss, for Ramphele was a kiss of betrayal to an Agang-SA she informed the world and all who wanted to hear is the answer for ANC opposition. The same Ramphele opined the DA was a ‘white’ party who can never articulate or speak on behalf of what is commonly termed ‘black’ people.

It was a kiss in betrayal of those who for a variety of reasons found Ramphele what the claimed a fresh breath and new entrant self-made and need no one’s money. It was a betrayal to the staff compliment of Agang-SA who was clearly shell-shocked by this announcement as they were readying for an elections showdown as promised by its leader.

Ramphele’s kiss with Zille was also a betrayal of ideology. Yet this ideology aspect in my assessment is perhaps not true because Ramphele though in extramarital relation -association of a Black Consciousness icon Steve Biko has not practiced these strong BC ideological principles. For the greater part of her post – Apartheid context, Ramphele has proven very comfortable in the various positions she held in dictate of a liberalist conviction. Ramphele betrayed some who considered her perhaps wrongly the hope of the black middle class. Mamphela betrayed Biko’s famous  ‘black’  unit construct philosophy.

Ramphele also betrayed herself because it appears one cannot take her morning and evening talks but with a cup of salt. She betrayed some who considered her as an academic astute and above this political muck of personalities and self-interest.


Well on the other side, what does this kiss mean for Zille? Helen Zille came to prominence when she took over from Tony Leon in what was considered a bruising battle, which left perhaps eternal scars on Leon. Zille got working on her now crystallised ideal of moving a Democratic Party to a Democratic Alliance. You cannot falter her for consistency in creating an alliance of what was a party. She had meticulously set cause conscious or unconscious of the reality of what comprised the Democratic Party and now the Democratic Alliance. Helen knows how to fight her wars inside the organisation. She even used a young Lindiwe Mazibuko to stave off some challenges from the DA constituency. Yet what Helen who had a stormy year in organisational setting with inconclusive policy positions on empowerment for previously disadvantaged groups defines coupled with the simmering tensions of those who have increasingly have become uncomfortable with her leadership for  divergent reasons. The only problem with alliances is that they bring together conflicting doctrines on a subject and they can tear any time. The DA is hardly a singular group of similar doctrine,

Helen in her persistent and obsessed need to unseat the ANC had political one-night stands, dates, flings, and some courtships with a variety of personalities from a crossbreed of SA political and labour context. She portends forever in love with anything and everyone that says something bad of the ANC. Helen has politically bedded the dead ID of a once vocal Patricia De Lille, until she chained De Lille into a silence with a Mayoral Chain rendering the ID into brief existence but a long death.

Hats off – to Helen Zille for knowing how to take them down in which she remains the male dominant one. She had a proposed date with the now suspended COSATU representative Zwelinzima Vavi that came out when Vavi told all how he was pursued by a feisty Zille. She flirted with Mosioua Lekota of COPE, until their competing ego’s killed the fling. Zille may have had some politically speaking one – nightstands with a Kenneth Meshoe of the ACDP and with Bantu Holomisa of the UDM but these were brief ones. 

Yet Helen kissed in this season Ramphele, in what I shall call a kiss of betrayal on her part for she betrayed the ultra-conservative DA members who came to the DA as a fall out of and old NP remnant. Zille betrayed the organisation’s policy context in letting an outside person be proposed for the DA’s presidential contest.

She betrayed a growing group of internal unhappy  constituency with her leadership who sees her latest half cooked quick to media press conference as in defiance of the DA stance. Zille, in her kiss betrayed even those who are considered liberal, for liberality is not naturally translating to an absence of conservatism. The DA cannot claim it was ready for this surprise of a ‘black’ leader as Helen sprung this on them. It is therefore not correct to assume that all the so-called liberals agree with a Ramphele as DA presidential candidate. Helen on lighter note potentially betrayed South African males, confirming an undying obsession to show female dominance over males as her Western Cape cabinet attests.

Helen Zille with this barely kiss, also betrayed Ramphele, for the truth is knowing that the DA will never have the seat of president in SA constituency, it is an easy  offering thing to a  megalomaniac Goggo who hallucinates of a place and time in Tuynhuis as president of SA. She offers Mamphela literally a moment in the sun of claim of face on ballot paper in the only true opposition fold, but nothing more than that because come June 2014 Ramphele will be an ordinary DA member with  a record of accomplishment of failure as evidence and  sign of no future.

Helen betrayed, her own protégé and crowned successor, Lindiwe Mazibuko . The truth is  the young Mazibuko was never an option she was a decoy of youth claim, whom  Helen Zille preferred at a time when she needed to deal with some in the DA who were challenging her base and leadership. Mazibuko has therefore outlived her stay and served her “purpose” you could see that with all the mess of policy confusion caused by her ineptness.

Also  because Mmusi Maimane is a much more complete DA future leader than her. Ramphele gives Helen a chance to fix the wrong of Mazibuko appointment. My  unsolicited advice to Lindiwe go back to university and study further girl!  It is time we acknowledge Zille’s uncanny knack to attempt greatness in SA political platform. Her moves are all in self-sustaining almost intoxicated to unseat the ANC regardless who she must flirt with, when and where even how.

Lastly, Helen betrayed herself for she acknowledged that she would never qualify to be the SA president for who she is and for what she can bring. She with this last stroke of bedding told SA the DA still believes in fronting when every law in democracy convulses at the thought of such.

Helen’s lips met Mamphela’s lips in a sanitised embrace of kiss in which hardly the make-up smudged, but the betrayal proved real. Perhaps this kiss was rehearsed, perhaps this kiss is a more true reflection of what this charade of potential political prostitution dictates, for it is no semblance of unity as we are told in abuse of Mandela legacy, it is the calculated and callous desires of two politicians who have betrayed their parties and themselves.

In the end, it appears the  famous song ….Let’s just kiss and say goodbye…  of the Manhattans that vintage soul-train voice group, will be the song cometh the hour after the 2014 elections results are announced.

Until then the stench of betrayal pollutes our political canvas attesting a sanitised kiss that left  an indelible betrayal smudge.

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Independent Observer