Volume 6 No.7
1 November 1995
- This Month…
- Provincial Briefs
- General Panic – Magnus Malan Arrested
- Boost for People’s Education
- South African’s Say ‘Yes’ to Future
- Parties Misread Voter Mood
- An Outsider’s View
- Cosatu’s 10 Fighting Years
- Building a Healthy Nation
- How the Sentate Works
- UN Must Reflect Diversity
- Southern Africa Rallies to Cuba’s Aid
- Award-winning Anti-crime Crusader
- The IMF and the World Bank
- Relating to the Public
- Book Review
- CD Review
The ANC achieved an overwhelming victory in the local government elections. The organisation received over 70 percent of the vote. This result is, however, slightly deceptive since KwaZulu/Natal and the city of Cape Town did not hold elections.
If we consider the results of these areas during last year’s national election, the local election results show that we are maintaining about the same level of support. Not much more, and certainly no less.
One positive achievement was that the ANC managed to capture from the National Party key towns and cities in the Western Cape, indicating a swing among coloured voters to the Western Cape. We also fared relatively well in former white areas of major cities like Johannesburg.
So what lessons does this election hold for the ANC? An important thing to note is that the overwhelming majority of South Africans are still looking towards the Reconstruction and Development Programme to bring about fundamental changes in the living conditions of most South Africans. People have indicated a willingness to participate in the RDP at a local level, and become active agents of development.
As the ANC and the broad democratic movement the challenge for us is now to ensure that we create the means for people to become involved in the RDP. That means that we have to strengthen our structures and develop our understanding of what the RDP is and how it can work at a local level. It means we also need to coordinate far more effectively the work of the organisations of the democratic movement.
In a sense, the greatest electoral challenges still lie ahead. KwaZulu/Natal and Cape Town were the two areas where the ANC fared worst in last years elections. If the ANC can reverse last year’s outcome, it will be in a much better position to bring about the necessary development and reconstruction in these areas.
The KwaZulu/Natal government under the IFP has shown itself to be incompetent and ineffective. Rather than curb violence and accelerate development, the provincial government has curbed development and accelerated violence. The time is ripe for change in KwaZulu/Natal. For the sake of peace, for the sake of a better life for all the people living in KwaZulu/Natal, we need to ensure that we put in extra effort in contesting the local elections in that province.
The Western Cape results have shown that most people have grown tired of the racial polarisation encouraged by the National Party. This bodes well for the elections in Cape Town itself, where the National Party has actively promoted racial polarisation. Only the ANC has the capacity to break down these racial barriers. As we prepare for the Cape Town local elections our role as the party of reconciliation and development needs to be highlighted and campaigned for.
For months now the parties on the right of the political spectrum, the Freedom Front and the National Party, have been voicing very loudly their opposition to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Two weeks ago all this changed. Why, they wanted to know, hadn’t the truth commission already been established? The truth commission should be the main vehicle for reconciliation, they said.
What brought about this change of heart was the arrest on murder charges of former Minister of Defence Magnus Malan and ten former SADF senior officers. The group are to be tried for their alleged role in the KwaMakutha massacre in 1987.
The former members of the SADF and NP government opposed the Truth Commission in the past because they didn’t want their role in human rights abuses to be made public. Now that they actually face the prospect of going to jail, the Truth Commission seems the lesser of two evils.
The furore caused by the arrest of Malan and others shows how the political leaders of the NP, in particular, are concerned only for their own welfare. When ‘junior’ members of the security forces, the IFP and even the ANC were arrested for alleged hit squad activity, the NP leaders did not even bat an eyelid. However, now that a member of the former NP cabinet has been arrested, there was an almighty outcry, claiming that the arrests would irreversibly damage national reconciliation.
It was fine when operatives low down on the chain of command were taking the rap for apartheid crimes. Now, it seems, the arrests are coming a bit too close to key leaders for comfort.
Let’s campaign together
The overwhelming majority of South Africans have given the ANC-led government a mandate to govern the country and redress the legacy of apartheid. The ANC alliance, as part of the liberation movement, has the responsibility to transform our country into a true democracy. We have to instil the principles of democracy in all the citizens of our country.
The challenge we are facing is the successful implementation of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and meeting the high expectations of our people. We are now in a better position to realise these objectives having won the recent local government elections.
We won the local government elections partly because all our structures and individuals within the movement worked collectively, as was the case during the April 1994 elections.
It was important that all mass democratic organisations planned and worked together throughout the elections. All our local structures must put in practice what is in our message: “Together, we can work to improve conditions where we live.”
Our leaders, activists, members and supporters of the ANC alliance had an obligation to campaign effectively and with discipline during the campaign so as to realise our strategic objectives. We had to get involved in election structures and put in all our effort. People out there needed to see us working together with our candidates and involving people in general.
Discipline also applied beyond our organisation and alliance. A correct and disciplined approach in our contact with the masses, activists, leadership and members of other organisations was essential to introduce a political culture in which peace, tolerance and freedom of association prevailed and we challenged our opposition to submit to our demand for free political activity to realise free and fair elections. It was also necessary to distinguish between leadership of other organisations and the rank and file members. While the leadership may be hostile to our cause, we had to win over ordinary misled membership.
At all levels of contact with the masses our activists are the public image of our organisation. The ANC alliance will be judged on the basis of their behaviour. If we want to build the ANC as a democratic alternative, we must enjoy the highest reputation among our people. Remember conditions and people change over time. For instance, today some former bantustan leaders and former councillors belong to the democratic forces, and they are active. On the other hand, some former activists now working for the opposition are busy destabilising the liberation movement. It is our duty to win over and cooperate as much as we can with those who share our vision of national struggle.
To reject discipline is to disarm ourselves and willingly help the enemy. To ignore discipline for whatever one’s intention, has the same effect. Our greatest weapon is our collective strength. We must always be aware that our opposition is not resting on its laurels while we are planning our activities. They are also busy planning. They do not only operate from outside our ranks, but also within our structures. The opposition takes advantage of any signs of indiscipline, disunity or weakness. Their aim is always to confuse our people, intensify indiscipline and sow chaos in our ranks.
Dumisa Putini, Vosloorus
One party Myth
It is with concern, but not with surprise, that I note the beginning of a trend that I believe will grow more vocal in the months to follow.
I am referring to recent articles in the press following the ANC’s victory in the local government elections.
One cannot help feeling that minority parties, having failed to make any inroads into the ANC’s support base, are know resorting to Ôplan B’. This would be an attempt to influence public opinion around the undesirability for the country of a single party having an overwhelming majority of political power.
The mechanism for implementing this will be through the electronic and printed media whose control lies in the hands of those protesting most about the “de-facto one-party state”.
It has been said that the ANC shrugged off criticism of its so called failure to deliver on its previous elections promises, and persuaded black voters to give it a second chance. Nothing is mentioned of the fact that the NP also requested another chance from black voters who responded overwhelmingly in the negative, which is hardly surprising given the NP’s track record.
The ANC welcomes debate and criticism and encourages a diversity of opinions. This forms part of the culture of the ANC. The ANC is often accurately described as being a multi-party democracy in itself.
Single party states are not inherently bad political systems, although they often have been, but, the real fault lies with those parties who, having had no real opposition during the apartheid years, have not made the transition to being competitive parties in the new South Africa. This is because they are unable to come up with any reason for the newly enfranchised to vote for them, largely because of their past record and their present policies.
Those who have been unable to secure any meaningful power base through the ballot box should look to themselves for solutions and not attempt to seek ways of limiting what is legitimately achieved power.
‘Undiluted democrat’, Bez Valley, Johannesburg
Make them wear Madiba shirts
Praise be to God for the new identity of the new South Africa. The South African springbok cricket team’s decision to wear ‘Madiba shirts’ as part of their official clothing can only contribute to reconciliation which we desperately need in KwaZulu/Natal. By the by, it will be interesting to note who the many British expatriates in KwaZulu/Natal support in the forthcoming cricket extravaganza.
Considering our President, Dr Nelson Mandela threw most of his ties and plain shirts away with his weapons in the Indian Ocean, it is time to review what shirts our kids must or should wear in school. Those schools which insist on a uniform can choose a particular ‘Madiba style’ shirt design which will keep the status quo of uniform and tunnel vision mentality which came with apartheid and colonialism.
Otherwise, make our children understand democracy and let them decide which ‘Madiba shirt’ they will wear today to school.
There are many days in the Hot Indian Summer of KwaZulu/Natal. Our children are uncomfortable in their colonialist outfits. Considering the above, we must practice and preach democracy to our future leaders, that is our children.
Muhammad Jadwat, Durban
A look at events which made news in October
Isreali PM assassinated
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on Saturday evening 4 November, minutes after he had finished delivering a message of peace to approximately 100,000 Israelis in Tel Aviv.
Rabin’s confessed assassin Yigal Amir was caught by Israeli police with the murder weapon still in his hand. He later explained in a five page confession that he had “received instructions from God” to kill Prime Minister Rabin.
Deputy President Thabo Mbeki represented South Africa at the state funeral held in Israel which was attended by more than seventy world leaders including US President Bill Clinton, French President Jacques Chirac, Britain’s Prime Minister John Major, Britain’s Prince Charles, Germany’s Helmut Kohl and UN secretary General Boutrous Boutrous Ghali.
President Nelson Mandela said in a statement he was “greatly shocked and disturbed by this criminal act, which could only have been carried out by those who have no interest in the genuine welfare of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples”.
A memorial held in Johannesburg for Rabin was attended by President Mandela, ANC secretary general Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Gauteng chairperson Tokyo Sexwale and former ANC deputy president Walter Sisulu. Mandela told the gathering that it was difficult to find words to express the shock he felt at the news. He went on to say that “such a deed was always possible and ever feared, but it found us unprepared for the cynical brutality and the reckless disregard for human life. It shocked us by its scornful rejection of the longing for peace in the hearts of ordinary people. His death touches us all.”
Magnus Malan arrested
Former defence minister General Magnus Malan and 10 high-ranking former military officers appeared in court in Durban on Thursday 2 November in connection with the massacre in KwaMakutha in 1987 of 13 people at the home of UDF leader Victor Ntuli. The victims included five children under the age of ten.
The men were released on bail ranging from R3,000 to R10,000 and were ordered to surrender their passports and to report once a week at their local police stations. Their next court appearance is on 1 December when formal charges will be laid.
The men have been accused of helping form a para-military force for the Inkatha Freedom Party ,which was allegedly involved in the KwaMakutha massacre. Seven other men, including IFP deputy secretary general KZ Khumalo, have also been charged for the murders.
Cabinet backs 2004 Olympic bid
The cabinet decided on Wednesday 18 October to support and take part in the preparations for South Africa’s bid to host the 2004 Olympic Games.
Cabinet secretary Jakes Gerwel announced that national, provincial and local government would work together with the Olympic bid committee. Gerwel stressed that the government was at that stage making no commitments, but that the government’s involvement in the preparations would enable it to make an informed decision by April next year. He added that the government’s main worry was whether hosting the Olympics would be economically feasible and desirable.
Lucas Mangope to face charges?
Former Bophuthatswana president Lucas Mangope may face charges of fraud, theft and contravention of the Exchange Control Act totalling nearly R23 million. The North West provincial government accepted recommendations by the Skweyiya Commission Of Inquiry that Mangope and several ministers and officials in his government be charged.
North West premier Popo Molefe said that he had asked the province’s attorney-general to consider prosecuting Mangope. In addition he said that he had instructed Johannesburg attorney Ismail Ayob to institute civil action against Mangope to recover the money.
Mangope has also been stripped of his right to operate bank accounts of the Motswedi tribal authority after the commission found he had been paid R2,6 million in mining royalties due to the Bahurutshe-Boo-Manyane tribe.
Themba Khoza named as informer
IFP member of the Gauteng legislature Themba Khoza was named in court papers from the trial of Eugene de Kock as a paid security police informer. Khoza and MEC for safety and security in KwaZulu/Natal Celani Mtetwa were both named in papers by Goldstone Commission witnesses Warrant-Officer Willie Nortje and Warrant-Officer Brood van Heerden, who are former members of the police C10 counter-insurgency unit which was based at Vlakplaas. The unit’s former commander Eugene de Kock is currently on trial for murder.
In an press conference held on Tuesday 17 October the ANC said that Khoza had had ample time to answer to a number allegations made against him, but had so far failed to do so.
These allegations were contained in Goldstone Commission reports on the Nqutu massacre, third force activities and train violence.
Allegations have also been levelled against him in relation to incidents of violence in Sebokeng, Nqutu, around the ANC Headquarters on 28 March 1994, Boipatong and Wembezi.
Guerilla war veterans to get medals
The South African National Defence Force announced that it planned to decorate veterans from the guerilla war against white rule.
In its annual report, the SANDF said that “the institution of a series of awards for bravery, merit and long service applicable to the non-statutory forces prior to April 27, 1994 has been accepted in principle”.
IFP MEC sacked
Repeated calls for the sacking of KwaZulu/Natal MEC Celani Mtetwa appear to have resulted in Mtetwa being removed from his portfolio of safety and security. Mtetwa has consistently been linked to gun-running and hit squad activities in KwaZulu/Natal.
KwaZulu/Natal premier Frank Mdlalose announced on Monday 30 October that Mtetwa would take over the post of MEC for Public Works.
ANC spokesperson for KwaZulu/Natal Dumisani Makhaye said that the decision to transfer Mtetwa from a powerful portfolio to one that “existed in name only” was an admission that there was something “fundamentally wrong” with Mtetwa.
Good election news from all provinces
In the North West the election victory by the ANC proved that there is no clear opposition for the ANC in the province. The ANC is now in control of local authorities in all towns, including major cities such as Klerksdorp, Rustenburg, Mafikeng, Vryburg, Potchefstroom and Brits. The ANC won the majority of seats on all of the six rural district councils.
It is clear that the NP was caught by surprise by the improved showing of the ANC in the Western Cape. The ANC won all 16 towns it concentrated its campaign on, including the province’s two biggest rural towns.
The ANC won 44,7 percent of the vote and the NP only got 36.1 percent. This clearly represents a huge swing away from the NP to the ANC. The ANC won over half the wards, while the NP won only more than a quarter.
The ANC has clear control over 16 councils compared to the NP’s 11.
The ANC in Mpumalanga won an overwhelming 76.4 percent of the votes. The ANC won 84.4 percent of the 827 seats it contested. The ANC has effectively been mandated to lead the councils of rural areas and major and small towns in the province, including the capital Nelspruit.
In the Northern Cape the ANC was well on the way to an outright win with 48 percent against the NP’s 38 percent. The Kimberley council went to the ANC, and the party made significant inroads in the previously NP-supporting districts of Namaqualand, Lower Oranje and Diamantveld.
While the Gauteng ANC won in its traditional support base, it also established a strong presence in wards where it did not expect to do well. There was, however, a low poll in the Greater Johannesburg area, due in part to problems with the voter’s roll. The ANC in Gauteng has improved its level of support from April 1994.
In the Eastern Cape, the ANC appeared set for a sweeping election victory with initial results showing comfortable ANC control of many councils. Some by-elections will have to be held because certain polling stations were not able to operate. The ANC’s most convincing victory in the province was in the provincial capital Bisho and neighbouring King William’s Town.
The ANC in the Free State took the majority of seats in 13 of 18 councils.
The ANC managed to get votes even in areas that it did not contest.
Although no elections were held in KwaZulu/Natal, the people of the province decided to vote with their feet on 1 November. On that day 40,000 people took part in a huge “March for Freedom” in Durban.
The ANC Provincial General Council resolved that all ANC structures and members embark on a massive voter registration and education campaign, and ensure that its target of not less than 80 percent registration is achieved
Freedom of association?
S’bu Ndebele is the MEC for transport in KwaZulu Natal. As an ANC leader he is now able to address meetings in many parts of the province where it was once impossible to have such meetings.
But the problems have not ended. In the days following such meetings, once the spotlight has shifted away, there are often revenge attacks against the rural people who have attended the meetings.
“The problem is not so much the right to freedom of association,” says Ndebele, “the problem is freedom after association”.
In the beginning was the Market
According to The Star journalist, Bruce Cameron: “It’s time SA realises it either plays by the IMF’s rules or it opts out of the game.”
He carries his worship of the IMF even further: “There is a book according the World Bank and the IMF, but it is a book written by the markets.”
Forget about policy debate, parliament, democracy, or national sovereignty. It’s all written and divinely preordained…by the markets.
More market totalitarianism
Kaizer Nyatsumba, is The Star’s political editor. In a speech he recently prepared for a government-convened ‘conference of communicators’ he had the following to say: “Let us be frank with one another: boring government announcements or developments, like all other news, competes with the important and perhaps sensational, sexy or interesting news – as it is often described pejoratively – for space. You may detest the comparison, but people employed by the various arms of the government are like salesmen and saleswomen. You have a product to sell, and that product is your department, ministry or, indeed, the government.”
This is market totalitarianism gone mad. Information is not a commodity, Kaiser, it is every citizen’s basic right. Newspapers are not, or should not be, just space for sale. What happened to moral vision? Or to a commitment to tell the truth?
And should government communicators just be salesmen and saleswomen? Is government just a product to sell? What happened to the idea of democratic institutions capable of transparently leading a process of transformation?
By the way, if newspapers are just space for sale, then what are journalists? Overpaid parking lot attendants? Or maybe guard dogs?
The image of a guard dog is not so far fetched. Peter Sullivan, the editor of The Star, recently circulated a note to all staff members of his newspaper. Sullivan instructed them that only he and senior colleagues would be able to write about the press. Of course, journalists at The Star were angry about this, and they leaked the note to the ANC.
Kaizer Nyatsumba responded to this leak by issuing his own memo to all staff. It says: “I would like to record my strongest disapproval of, and utter disgust at, the leaking to a political party of internal correspondence from the Editor.
“This reprehensible practice, by whoever it was, was not only irresponsible but also a terrible betrayal…Please be informed that I intend to get to the bottom of this matter, and that disciplinary action will be taken against the mole or moles.”
Nyatsumba and others are always happy to publish the most vague allegations and unsourced ‘leaks’ from within the ANC. When we complain that they have not even checked out the truthfulness of these ‘leaks’, they tell us that this is freedom of the press.
But they don’t seem to like their own medicine.
His master’s voice
The Argus group of newspapers, of which The Star is a part, was recently sold by the big mining houses to Tony O’Reilly, an Irish baked beans magnate. The group now calls itself ‘Independent’. O’Reilly, like previous owners Anglo American, always insists that he does not dictate editorial content. The scandal is: perhaps he doesn’t have to.
Considering the media coverage of the recent local government elections, it is not surprising that some parties thought their election message didn’t come across clearly enough. But the ANC, eager not to leave all the work to the journalists, decided to confuse voters all by itself.
What other explanation can there be for the ANC newspaper advert which read: “Stamp out crime: let’s make it happen where we live”.
The arrest of Magnus Malan and other former generals will test in court the links that have long been alleged between the previous government and third force violence, writes a correspondent.
The forthcoming trial of former defence minister Magnus Malan and 10 former security force officers will be the first time that the link between the former NP government and third force violence will be tested in court.
Malan and his co-accused, who are due back in court on 1 December, were arrested in connection with the massacre in 1987 of 12 people in KwaMakhutha, south of Durban.
Their alleged involvement in the massacre relates to evidence that a secret subcommittee of the State Security Council facilitated the training of an Inkatha hit-squad. About 200 Inkatha members were trained in the Caprivi Strip in the mid-1980s in the use of AK47s, RPG7 rocket launchers, G3 automatic rifles, Browning machine guns and anti-personnel mines.
The arrest of Malan and the other prompted an outcry from the right wing, in particular the Freedom Front and the National Party. NP leader FW de Klerk called on President Nelson Mandela to grant temporary indemnity to the former generals. Freedom Front leader Constand Viljoen said the case should be brought before the Truth Commission so that the generals can get amnesty.
It won’t be that easy, however. The legislation under which temporary indemnity was granted to members of the ANC, PAC, IFP and right wing during negotiations has now fallen away. It has been replaced by the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, under which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will function.
ANC secretary general Cyril Ramaphosa slammed De Klerk, Viljoen and others for suggesting that the generals should not be prosecuted. He said their statements demonstrated a blatant disregard for the due process of law: “De Klerk is making a mockery of the criminal justice system. His statements slight the integrity of the law enforcement agencies who are working tirelessly to expose those implicated in the wave of crime and violence that has engulfed our country since the mid-1980s.”
Ramaphosa said these leaders couldn’t ignore the facts of the case, “that the charges against General Magnus Malan and his co-accused arise from criminal investigations by the police, and a decision taken by the KwaZulu/Natal attorney-general Tim McNally”. Neither the ANC, nor the government played any part in this decision, he said.
Ramaphosa criticised De Klerk for asking that these former SADF officers receive special treatment. “Why was there no similar outcry from the likes of the NP when other members of the IFP and ANC were charged recently for alleged involvement in hit-squad related activity?” he said.
The reason for the NP’s vehement defence of Malan is more likely to be their fear that the investigations would soon implicate other former NP cabinet members, including those in the present cabinet. During Malan’s trial the court will hear evidence on the link between political violence in KwaZulu/Natal and the then State Security Council. In addition to Malan, NP leaders FW De Klerk, Roelf Meyer and PIk Botha were also members of the council.
Minister of safety and security Sydney Mufamadi recently acknowledged that it was conceivable that more former NP ministers could be indicted. “It is difficult to imagine that Malan acted on his own without the knowledge or support of not only fellow members of cabinet on the security council, but the heads of the various services such as the police and intelligence service,” he said.
Mufamadi also said it was difficult to imagine that there was no inter-cabinet discussion between the former South African government and the then government of KwaZulu.
“Neither the police nor the courts respond to political imperatives. They did in the past and we are determined they should act independently now,” Mufamadi added.
The irony of KwaMakhutha
When NP leader FW de Klerk accused the government, the police and the courts of threatening the reconciliation process, he probably didn’t grasp the irony of his words.
A 1987 newspaper report on the KwaMakhutha massacre quotes spokesperson for the Minister of Law and Order, Leon Mellet as saying: “The police are determined to track down the perpetrators of this cold blooded, senseless and callous deed.” Yet when the police finally seem to have made a breakthrough in the case, the NP criticises them.
In the same report from 1987 IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi warns the ANC and UDF to end the “bloodbath” in the townships.
“Inkatha supporters were being singled out as an attempt to deny them the right to work for the noble ideals which the pro-negotiation and anti-violence organisation served. The ANC mission in exile, working through surrogates, was trying to tip the scales in favour of violent solutions which would ensconce a Marxist one-party state in South Africa,” the report says.
The report itself levels responsibility for the attack at the ANC: “The fact that AK-47 calibre rifles were used points to the ANC as the only organisation which receives such weaponry from Russia.”
“It is believed that a group of suspected terrorists in a vehicle were seen near the home of Mr Ntuli shortly before the attack,” the report says.
Boost for people’s education
The democratic movement is regrouping in the battle for people’s education, writes Steyn Speed.
The struggle for equity and quality in education in South Africa was given a boost recently with the formation of a ‘political centre’ to develop a coordinated approach by the broad democratic movement to education issues.
An education workshop held last month in Johannesburg resolved to establish a National Coordinating Forum, which would include the Tripartite Alliance, Sanco, the SA Students’ Congress, SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, Congress of SA Students and the ANC Youth League and Women’s League. It would also involve ANC provincial structures, members of the ANC education study groups, ANC members of provincial standing committees and other strategically located activists.
The function of this structure would be in the main to establish a concrete and coherent education perspective Ð to take forward and concretise the notion of people’s education. Specifically, the structure would coordinate and drive the transformation of education. It would provide a political reference point for people deployed in the various areas of education work.
The decision to establish the structure follows an assessment that the process of change in education was beset by a number of problems. Chief among these was the lack of clear policy within the democratic movement.
“If our practice is not guided by firm policy and vision, then we are bound to begin to pull apart and to develop factionalism and power struggles in all our work,” education minister Sibusiso Bengu told the recent workshop. “Without a strategic perspective we are bound to experiment with conflicting approaches at all levels,” he said.
This has had an impact on the process of developing education legislation. “Our legislation process has also not been properly guided by the movement… Our consultative processes are not yet up to scratch,” Bengu said.
“All these things point to one major problem in education, namely that our organisational capacity as the ANC to lead the alliance in education leaves much to be desired. Our comrades in parliament, our comrades outside parliament, our comrades in government, our alliance structures, and all of us have no central point of reference,” he said. The workshop identified, in addition, the lack of coordination between all components of the ANC, especially the relationship between the education ministry, MPs and mass organisations.
The workshop identified a number of immediate priorities for the forum. These included building the capacity of student organisations; developing a perspective on the review committee report on education; finding an approach to higher education; and engaging in debates around provincial education bills.
According to Bengu, though, the critical challenge facing the ANC in government next year was concrete delivery: “Our plans have been formulated, our policies are in place, and our laws are being enacted. The stage is now set for the emergence of better conditions for learning and teaching for our people.”
“We need to start the year with clear targets, plans, programmes, and time-frames for delivery. The implementation of our policies will need the energies and resources of all our people in order for us to succeed,” he said.
South Africans say ‘yes’ to the future
South Africans have given the ANC an overwhelming vote of confidence, writes Steyn Speed.
The vast majority of South Africans are confident that the ANC can make the Reconstruction and Development Programme work at a local level. This was demonstrated by the ANC’s overwhelming victory in the local government elections.
The elections, which took place in nearly 700 local councils, saw the ANC achieve almost two-thirds of the votes. No elections were held in KwaZulu/Natal or in the city of Cape Town. A few smaller areas did not hold elections, either because of unresolved electoral disputes or problems with the voters roll. These councils have to hold elections before the end of March 1996.
Of all the votes cast, the ANC achieved a 66.4 percent majority. The National Party received 16.2 percent of the votes; the Freedom Front 4 percent; the PAC less than two percent and the IFP less than one percent.
Given that KwaZulu/Natal and Cape Town didn’t vote, the ANC’s result is similar to what it achieved in the same areas during last year’s national election. The ANC did make some significant gains, however. The ANC made great strides in several key areas in the Western Cape, gaining an outright majority in the councils of Paarl, Worcester, Knysna, Riversdale and Swellendam. In a number of other councils, the ANC was the majority party. The results showed a significant swing among the coloured community away from the NP towards the ANC.
“The results in the Western Cape disprove academic contentions that the coloured community stood firmly behind the NP. The National Party’s application of racist tactics in an attempt to create a fear psychosis among the coloured community has finally been broken. The negative and shallow approach of the NP has finally caught up with the National Party,” the ANC said in a statement.
The relatively enthusiastic turnout of voters defied earlier predictions of widespread voter apathy and ignorance. While the local elections went relatively smoothly compared to last year’s national elections, there were problems with the voters roll in a number of areas. Observers say that thousands of voters who had registered had to be turned away because their names didn’t appear on any of the voters’ rolls. There were also a few reports of violence and intimidation, and delays in delivery of ballot papers and voting material.
Kehla Shubane, co-chairperson of the Local Government Election Task Group, acknowledged that the process was fraught with problems. “Given the almost impossible time frame, the need to virtually double the registration period of 90 days, the political and logistical problems of demarcation of boundaries and delimination of wards, the logistics of preparing voters’ rolls for the first time, the problems and disputes regarding nominations, and the logistics of polling arrangements, especially in rural areas where local government didn’t exist, I think we did quite well,” he said.
Due to the negotiated structure of local councils Ð with half the wards falling in former white, Indian and coloured areas and the other half falling in former african areas Ð the number of seats won by a political party doesn’t directly reflect the percentage of votes they received. This makes it possible in some local councils for the ANC to win as much as twice the number of votes as its nearest rival, but only get 50 percent of the seats of the council.
Despite this disadvantage, the ANC said it had nevertheless made significant advances in all communities. “This is so because the ANC remains the only political party in our country with a vision and a plan to transform our country and ensure a qualitatively better life where we live,” the ANC said.
Speaking at the ANC’s victory celebration, ANC president Nelson Mandela said: “Our country is today a democracy in the complete sense of the word. The people of South Africa have spoken. They have shown their resolve to unite the nation and build a better life for all.”
Now was the time for the elected councillors to work with communities to build a better life, Mandela said.
Most other parties had little reason to celebrate the results. The National Party received only 16,2 percent of the vote, compared to 20 percent last year. Although the NP’s performance might improve with the Cape Town election, it is unlikely that this will dramatically affect their overall percentage. Although the Freedom Front received four percent in the election compared to two percent last year, they failed to get an overall majority in any council, except for the all-white Orania. This represents a major setback for their volkstaat plans.
The Democratic Party made some gains in its traditional constituency of northern Johannesburg. They received eight percent of the vote in Gauteng compared to five percent last year. The Pan Africanist Congress made barely any progress at all, winning only 1.4 percent of votes nationally. The Inkatha Freedom Party lost ground in Gauteng, the only place outside of KwaZulu/Natal where it received any significant numbers of votes. It polled 2.1 percent of Gauteng votes, compared to 3.7 percent last year.
The new factor in these elections was local parties and independent candidates. Ratepayers’ organisations and other local parties together polled over five percent of the national vote. Independent candidates got 583 of the 7,268 seats nationally.
Parties misread voter mood
Most parties in the local government elections were hopelessly out of touch with the voter, writes Steyn Speed.
Among the campaigns of all the other parties contesting the local government elections, there appeared to be two common elements: an absence of local government issues, and the ANC.
Few major national parties, apart from the ANC, built their campaigns around local government issues. In fact, one could easily be forgiven for believing that these were elections for national government. Even when parties did focus on issues which were relevant to local government, like crime, housing or water, they failed to demonstrate how these issues could be addressed at a local level.
Related to the ‘national’ nature of these parties’ campaigns was an emphasis on the ANC, particularly its record in the Government of National Unity. Needless to say, these parties were not complimentary about either the ANC or its record.
The National Party, the main opposition to the ANC, have still not managed to develop a single message for all groups of South Africans. As they try to reach out to different communities their message becomes splintered. As a result, they consistently fail to convince the electorate of their ‘non-racialness’.
The NP campaign was rich in irony, if nothing else. One of their main initial campaign messages was that the Government of National Unity had failed to deliver anything in its first eighteen months. Beyond the obvious inaccuracy of their message, they failed to acknowledge that they were the second largest party in the government. If there had indeed been the sort of failures they talked about, the NP should have accepted at least a degree of responsibility for them.
This irony was demonstrated most clearly in the NP’s accusation that the government had failed to deal decisively with crime. While blaming the ANC for this, they failed to acknowledge that it was their leader, FW de Klerk, who chaired the important cabinet committee on security and intelligence, the structure through which all policing and security policy was developed.
Another irony of the NP campaign was its sudden support for the Reconstruction and Development Campaign (RDP). The ANC had failed to make the RDP work, the NP said. Only the National Party itself could make the RDP deliver, they said. What they didn’t say was that during the last election, they had derided the RDP was unrealistic, unworkable and too socialist. Now that the majority of South Africans had shown their support for the RDP, the NP wanted to claim the programme as their own.
During the course of the campaign, the NP had to deviate from its main message to appeal to different racially-defined constituencies. To coloured voters they talked about the ANC’s ‘affirmative action’ policies, which favoured they said favoured africans. To white voters they tried to appeal to their nostalgia for white rule. Life was better under the National Party, they said.
The NP’s attempts to broaden their support base were not helped by a late charge by the Freedom Front over the arrest of Magnus Malan and other former generals. In the final days before the election, when the NP would have been wanting to consolidate their message to all voters, they were having to battle for the vote of the white right-wing.
When the final result were in, the NP had failed to make any inroads into the black constituency. They were largely confined to their traditional constituency, losing ground to the ANC in coloured areas of the Western Cape and Northern Cape, and gaining some ground from the CP and FF in areas like Pretoria. Their national overall result of 16 percent of votes was significantly less than their 20 percent in last year’s national election.
The Democratic Party were determined to win back the support in white areas which they had lost to the National Party in last year’s election. Unlike the NP, the DP were able to keep their message intact, largely because they were appealing to only one constituency and, to some extent, only one province. The main election ticket was an anti-crime one. Their Gauteng anti-crime plan, which they released shortly before the election, revolved largely around re-instituting helicopter patrols of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs in an effort to curb car hijackings. The DP campaign was greatly assisted by prominent coverage in all the major media. The amount of space given to the DP was wholly disproportionate to the support they had on the ground. They only received just over three percent of the vote.
To a large extent the DP did regain much of its previous support, winning several wards in Johannesburg’s middle to upper class English-speaking white suburbs. In large part, these gains are probably due to changing perceptions in these areas about the ANC. In the 1994 national election, many former DP supporters, fearful of an ANC government, voted for the NP as the only feasible opposition. After 18 months of ANC-led government, many of these fears have been laid to rest. The result is that it is now safe for these people to vote for the DP again. Most of the seats won by the DP were in Gauteng. They got one seat each in East London and Port Elizabeth, and four towns in the Western Cape.
The Pan Africanist Congress had a simple message, if not much of a campaign. ‘Don’t be cheated twice’, they told voters. Considering the PAC received only 1,42 percent of votes, it would seem the vast majority of South Africans didn’t feel they had been cheated in the first place. Again the PAC failed to provide voters with a programme which was even comparable to the ANC’s.
The Freedom Front replaced the Conservative Party as the voice of the Afrikaans-speaking white right wing. Although the received four percent of the vote, compared to two percent last year, they failed to secure an overall majority in any councils in the country Ð except for all-white Orania. This effectively undermines any claims for an Afrikaner volkstaat.
The IFP’s campaign amounted to little more than electoral disruption. They stormed the offices of the Johannesburg Transitional Metropolitan Council before the election and disrupted voting at several stations in Soweto and on the East Rand. In Johannesburg’s suburbs, their posters read ‘the party you can trust’. In the absence of any evidence to support this claim, the IFP managed less than one percent of the vote nation-wide. Their Gauteng support is down from three to two percent.
What most opposition parties failed to grasp was that most South Africans, far from being disenchanted with progress made in the first 18 months of democracy, were optimistic about the future and were keen to support the ANC in making the RDP work.
An outsider’s view
The success of the local government elections will be largely determined by the progress of time, writes Dutch journalist Mark Deuze.
When we turned the corner, the incredible sight of hundreds of people lined up in the shade in front of the Johannesburg City Hall gripped my throat.
After swallowing the nonsense of angst-ridden upper class politicians promising an end to crime and violence in the streets of Gauteng, we were confronted with the only ones who can actually deliver on such a promise: your everyday people. There they were: bricklayers, their hands still sore; mothers, their tired eyes weary of another sleepless night; elderly people, supported by family and friends, peacefully waiting for their second chance to bring an end to the oppressive society they grew up in; youngsters, students, equally eager to engage in some personal ‘nation-building’.
Voting is not the same as achieving an accountable, efficient democracy. Voting for local government doesn’t really mean the same as getting everything you’ve always wanted from your councillors: timely waste disposal, extensive traffic control, people you can talk to if there are problems in your ward.
The latter is going to be a major test for the newly elected councillors. Will they be in their offices when you need them? Will they pick up the phone when you call them? Do they really care about the fact that the streetlights in your little corner of the world are not functioning properly?
These questions can only be answered by time. And time itself poses a whole new set of questions. South Africa has shown the world these last five years that it can negotiate more effectively than the negotiators in Europe and America could in Bosnia. This is bound to have an impact on the development of effective local government in the upcoming years.
A well-known academic said that South Africa is “one ongoing seminar”. True, but the time has come to transform words into actions. Will the newly-elected councillors really be that motivated to actually start the changes in their communities that are so desperately needed, or will they be just there to consolidate their own positions and the positions of the more affluent members of their constituency? So, although the voting this month was a profound and emotional experience, it doesn’t end there. The voters have to continue ‘voting’; keeping the fires in the governmental engine burning. The politicians are mere vehicles towards achieving community upliftment and development. It is the people who are the wood that feeds the flame of ‘masakhane’.
When I got to South Africa for the first time, in January of this year, I met a middle-aged man in a hardware store in Pretoria. He noticed my accent and asked me what I was doing here. “I want to live here, work here and learn about South Africa, its people and its history,” I answered. Sure enough, I was only two days in the country and my head was still filled with a lot of European idealism about the realities of South African life. The man smiled patiently. “Please come back in five years time, mister,” he said, “that’s when we will have a history of our own.” On 1 November I became witness to the new South African history in the making. Mark Deuze is a Dutch journalist, who recently moved to South Africa.
Ten fighting years
This year Cosatu celebrates its 10th anniversary. This is an overview of the highlights (and lowlights) of this period.
The pre-Cosatu years
The ANC, SACP, PAC and Sactu are banned. Progressive unionism had been in existence for nearly 45 years
January harbour strikes in Durban. Mawu, NUTW, IAS, IIE, SALB and TUACC emerge
Soweto uprisings and banning of Saso. The clampdown, while targeting the black consciousness movement, is partly a response to re-emerging worker organisation
Formation of Fosatu and Cusa. Other unions emerge, Saawu, WPGWU, CTMWA, etc.
First formal unity talks, Langa, Cape Town
Neil Aggett dies in detention. Second and third round of unity talks.
Athlone unity talks and the first feasibility committee meeting. Launch of the United Democratic Front Ð debate on affiliation was to be a further source of division in unity talks
Johannesburg unity talks. Vaal township uprisings against tri-cameral parliament elections. Eight hundred thousand workers support Transvaal regional stayaway initiated by Cosas and supported by Fosatu and the UDF affiliated unions. The issues were the education crisis, removal of troops from townships and rent increases. Its success helps to wean Fosatu away from its suspicion of alliances with non-worker, community groups. Sactu intervenes to persuade ‘UDF’ unions to stay in unity talks.
State of emergency imposed in the Eastern Cape and PWV. Unity talks in Soweto resolve to go ahead with the launch of the federation.
Congress of South African Trade Unions launched in the context of intense repression. Jay Naidoo meets Sactu and ANC in Harare
Thirty thousand workers at Impala Platinum mines down tools. Management dismiss 23,000 workers and strikes on other mines follow.
Moses Mayekiso, Mawu general secretary, detained without trial. Thousands of metalworkers in Natal and the Transvaal protest.
Cosatu Exco members meet with the UDF for the first time.
Cosatu delegation meets with the ANC and Sactu outside the country. Talks cover the future economic system, the role of the working class in the national liberation struggle, the release of Mandela and the potential of negotiations.
Hundredth anniversary of May Day. Cosatu calls for the day to be declared a public holiday. About 1,5 million workers heed the call to attend rallies instead of going to work (stayaway calls were illegal). The UDF supports the call. Many rallies are banned, but the press and employers concede that the unions had won the fight.
Inkatha launches Uwusa, with the slogan “Jobs not Hunger”. The rally opens with a mock funeral as coffins marked ‘Barayi’ and ‘Cosatu’ are carried into the stadium. A sign that Cosatu and not employers was Uwusa’s main target.
TGWU and GWU merge to form one union, TGWU, uniting 26,000 workers.
A second, harsher state of emergency is imposed. Armed men carrying machine-guns and shotguns break into Jay Naidoo’s house. He is not home. Thousands of other unionists and activist aren’t so lucky. Six weeks into the emergency, 2 700 unionists have been detained Ñ 81 percent from Cosatu. Those not caught went ‘into hiding’ and the priority became to keep the unions going.
FCWU, Sfawu and Rawu merge to form Food and Allied Workers Union, bringing together 60,000 workers. One and a half million workers nationwide staya way to commemorate June 16 1976
Cosatu East London offices burned down.
Fire breaks out in Kinross gold mine, the flames ignite a 600 metre stretch of polyurethane coating deep underground. Nearly 180 miners die. The tragedy is compounded by Gencor’s attempts to keep the press and union officials from the accident site. In response NUM calls a work stoppage on 1 October, to which 325,000 miners respond.
Sarhwu re-launched, its inaugural congress is held in secret in Grahamstown.
Sadwu launched uniting 50,000 workers from Sadwa and regionally-based domestic worker organisations.
- Sarmcol workers terrorised and killed. Ccawusa members at OK Bazaars go on strike for a minimum wage of R450. The strike lasts 77 days.
Cawu launched, bringing together 30,000 workers from 7 unions.
The National Unemployed Workers Coordinating Committee is launched.
Num adopts the Freedom Charter.
Workers at City Deep depot of SATS down tools in support of an unfair dismissal. By April 20,000 workers had joined the strike.
- Police force their way into a meeting of striking SATS workers in Germiston, opening fire and killing three workers. On the same day in Doornfontein, police open fire on a group of strikers on their way to Germiston, killing another three workers. Within hours 200 heavily armed police enter Cosatu House, searching and destroying property and detaining over 400 people.
After the bodies of four SATS scab workers are found, police again lay siege on Cosatu House, claiming the killings took place in the building.
The state declares the first Friday of every May Workers’ Day. Unions reject this.
White’s-only elections for PW Botha’s latest package of reforms. The UDF and Cosatu call for a two day stayaway. Two and a half million people respond.
In the early hours of 7 May, two massive blasts rock Cosatu House. The work of professionals, the building is declared unsafe.
Numsa launches with 130,000 paid up members from six unions. Moses Mayekiso, in detention, is elected general secretary (a post he could only take up two years later on his release).
SATS management concede to all of Sarhwu members demands and all dismissed workers are reinstated.
Nehawu launched with over 9,000 paid up members.
Cosatu’s second national congress and the Freedom Charter is adopted as a guiding document.
NUM announces a legal industry-wide strike after wage negotiations deadlock. The strike lasts 21 days, at its height 340,000 miners on 44 mines are out on strike. Mine management respond with a heavy hand.
Anglo mine security attempt to regain control of hostels and force 3000 workers underground.
NUM accepts Chamber’s wage offer and members return to work. Eleven workers had been killed, 600 injured, 500 arrested and 50,000 dismissed.
Ppwawu launches with 23,000 members from Pwawu and Nupawo
Draft changes to Labour Relations Act tabled and Cosatu launches campaign against the amendments.
- Samwu launches, representing 17,000 workers in the municipal sector.
Seventeen organisations, including the UDF, effectively banned. Cosatu’s ‘political’ activities restricted.
Cosatu and Saccola meet for the first time to discuss amendments to the LRA.
First Cosatu women’s conference.
Cosatu special congress convenes to discuss a response to the restrictions.
Two and half to three million people stay away in protest of restrictions against organisations.
Khotso House, headquarters of South African Council of Churches, is destroyed by a bomb blast.
The government enacts the Labour Relations Amendment Act, despite an agreement that labour and employers could input into the Act.
- Potwa affiliates to Cosatu.
In the first Workers Summit, Cosatu, 11 Nactu affiliates and 16 non-affiliated unions meet to discuss a response to the new LRA.
Moses Mayekiso, Numsa general secretary, released from prison, following his acquittal on charges of treason.
Cosatu initiates peace process in Natal, but the process collapses after Inkatha call for a moratorium on talks ‘until there is the prospect of success.’
Cosatu’s third national congress convenes, 1,858 delegates represent a membership of 924,000. The idea of an anti-apartheid conference and the Workers Charter Campaign is launched.
The MDM launches the national defiance campaign. ANC and SACP banners are carried openly and the ANC is effectively unbanned.
Nactu attends the second workers’ summit, which is restricted. Police surround the venue and video tape proceedings.
Stay aways, demonstrations, an overtime ban and consumer boycott are launched against the LRA, to pressurise employers to negotiate the Act.
Sactwu launches, uniting Gawu and Actwusa and 180,000 workers in the textile industry.
Saccawu is launched, with a paid-up membership of 85,000, unifying the three Ccawusa factions.
- Cosatu’s fifth birthday passes almost unnoticed with so many other issues occupying the federation.
- De Klerk unbans the ANC, SACP and PAC and Nelson Mandela is released.
Numsa members at the Mercedes Benz factory in East London build a special bullet-proof luxury car as a gift to Mandela. Each employee worked a few hours unpaid overtime and the car rolls of the line in four days (it normally takes 38), with only 9 faults (the average is 68).
A meeting between Sactu and Cosatu in Zambia resolve to phase out Sactu with the objective of achieving one country, one federation.
The government finally declares 1 May Worker Day.
A meeting of the ANC, SACP and Cosatu formally constitutes the tri-partite alliance under the leadership of the ANC.
Cosatu-Nactu-Saccola sign the Laboria Accord, endorsing basic labour rights for all workers and agreeing to reverse the most offensive provisions of the 1988 LRAA.
A meeting between the government, Cosatu-Nactu and Saccola thrash out an LRA minute Ñ recognising the basic rights of all workers. No future labour law would go before Parliament before Saccola and the unions had considered it.
Cosatu campaigns conference re-launches the Living Wage Campaign calling for right to living wage, centralised bargaining, job security and an end to privatisation.
- Sadtu launched, bringing together 100,000 teachers.
- Codesa convenes and Cosatu participates as part of the Tripartite Alliance.
Cosatu special congress discusses the RDP, Platform of Worker’s Rights and 20 officials nominated for the ANC’s election list
- Interim Constitution signed by all negotiating parties. Preparations begin for democratic elections.
First democratic elections in South Africa. ANC wins resounding victory.
- Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected President.
National Economic, Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) is launched, and Jayendra Naidoo is made executive director.
The farmworkers union Saapawu is launched
Cosatu holds an international policy conference.
A new Labour Relations Act is passed by parliament.
The country goes to the polls for local government elections.
- Cosatu celebrates 10 fighting years.
A day in the life of a community health worker
Building a healthy nation
Health care worker Thuli Mzamane grapples daily with challenge of bringing accessible health care to ordinary South Africans. Phil Nzimande spent a day with her at her clinic in Winterveld.
“All communities in South Africa need to have equal access to basic health care so that our new country can grow up healthy and strong. The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is a way to begin making health, clean water, housing and jobs available to the poor who have always lost out,” according to The Networker, a newsletter of the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network.
That is the ideal situation. Ask Thuli Mzamane about the practise. A nursing sister and a mother, Mzamane is coordinator of the St Peter’s Mandlenkosi Clinic and two other satellite clinics in Winterveld, north-west of Pretoria. Mzamane joined the project in 1988 after working in several hospitals.
The clinic was started in the 1970s by Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa in honour of one of the Roman Catholic priests who worked in the area, to try to alleviate the health problems faced by the relatively poor community at the time. The clinic today is a far cry from the time when they used to run the clinic from under a tree.
Mzamane is assisted by a dedicated staff of four full-time community health workers and a number of volunteers from the Red Cross. The community health workers were trained at the Alexandra Community Clinic, a pioneer in primary health care.
The community health worker’s task is to go out to educate the community about the importance of taking their children to the clinic for regular immunisation, and to ensure that people have access through the clinic to basic health care.
However, this is not always successful as some people, largely because of tradition and the high rate of illiteracy, refuse to take their children to the clinic for periodical immunisation. In one of the houses MAYIBUYE visited with Mzamane a mother was reluctant to take her child to the clinic for a long overdue immunisation because of her religious belief.
The clinic is also assisted by medical students from the Medical University of South Africa and the University of Pretoria, who visit the clinic on Saturdays to do their practicals.
“The clinic treats about a hundred patients a day, mainly children who suffer from malnutrition-related diseases as their parents cannot provide for them due to the high rate of unemployment,” Mzamane says.
Sexually transmitted diseases are increasingly becoming a serious threat to this semi-urban settlement.
“This is so especially among teenagers and young women who have sex with older men and strangers to gain that extra cash. Eventually this leads to the most dreaded diseases of our time: Aids,” says Mzamane.
Major cases are however referred to Ga-Rankuwa or Moretele hospitals, both of which are very helpful to the clinic.
Winterveld is a densely populated area. Officially it is said there are five hundred thousand people, but Mzamane disputes this figure, saying that with a huge number of so-called illegal aliens the number could be double the official figure. Poor housing, lack of enough health centres and facilities for the youth are some of the problems facing this community. This puts a lot of strain on the capacity and resources of the clinic.
What is encouraging, however, and which gives Mzamane the strength to pursue her work wholeheartedly, is that this is a community project. The clinic is accountable to the community through the Winterveld Health Forum, through which all community organisations make inputs into the running of the clinic and address all health-related issues.
“Winterveld is the most cooperative and participatory community I have ever worked with. Without their support primary health care would forever remain a pipedream in this part of the world. Since I started working here I have learned a lot from the community and I have become more sensitive to people’s plight. This you don’t get from working in a big hospital,” Mzamane says.
The clinic also runs a number of projects in the community. These include:
- A nutrition Centre where parents of children who are underweight are given food on a daily basis to cook and feed their children with.
- Immunisation every Thursday for children and adults against diseases like tuberculosis.
- A literacy project in which the clinic, together with other community organisations, conducts literacy classes and health awareness campaigns. The Winterveld community radio station, which will soon go on air, will help in this project.
- An advice centre, which mainly helps people who wants to apply for identity documents. David Maishe, coordinator of the centre, says that many people in Winterveld do not know how and where to go for their IDs. Most of them cannot afford to travel to Ga-Rankuwa or Mabopane. He insists that the Department of Home Affairs must open an office in Winterveld.
Running the clinic and all its projects has become very costly. The clinic, like most other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), is heavily dependent on donor funding, mainly from the European Union, which is used for paying salaries and buying drugs. This is quickly becoming a problem as major foreign funders are beginning to redirect their funding priorities. Most of these funders are now donating their money to the Reconstruction and Development Programme of the government, through which NGOs are expected to get funding.
Mzamane says the clinic charges a nominal fee of seven rand for adults and five rand for children. However, this does not mean the clinic turns away those who cannot afford to pay. People are happy to pay the fees as the money is used sustain the projects the clinic runs for the community.
All is not lost however. “The Winterveld RDP committee was recently established and we are now working out our proposal, and hope to get enough funds to continue our much-needed projects,” says Mzamane.
What is progressive primary health care?
A progressive primary health care approach:
- Challenges society to address the socio-economic causes of poor health and makes provision for basic health needs;
- encourages community empowerment, ensuring that people are fully able to manage resources that are available to them;
- comprehensive quality health care including promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative services;
- demands concerned and accountable health worker practice;
- prioritises the people who are most disadvantaged, ensuring that health care is accessible, equitable and affordable to all;
- recognises the importance of integrated service provision from primary to tertiary levels of care within a coherent health system;
- promotes inter-disciplinary, multi-professional and inter-sectoral collaborative teamwork for development.
The workings of the senate
Khensani Makhubela looks at the parliament’s second house, what it is and how it works.
The senate, one of the two houses that make up parliament, represents the interests of the nine provinces at the national level. To ensure that the influence of the nine provinces is carried into the national parliament and to introduce a provincial flavour into the national legislative process, some of the smaller provinces are ‘over-represented’ in the Senate in that every province is represented by ten senators, irrespective of the size of the population in that province.
Every such group of ten senators is nominated by the political parties which are represented in the provincial legislature concerned in direct proportion to the distribution of seats between the parties.
The senate is given specific legislative powers with regard to acts of parliament and amendments to the interim constitution which affect provinces.
The senate not only plays a decisive role in the national legislative process, but also forms part of the Constitutional Assembly, which has the task of drawing-up and approving the new constitution.
A member of a provincial legislature or local government nominated as a senator must vacate their seat in the provincial legislature or local government if they accept their nomination.
The voters have an indirect influence in the nomination of representatives to the senate. They elect the representative to the provincial legislature and thus determine the proportional distribution of seats between the different political parties in terms of the list system of proportional representation.
The number of senators which each of these political parties is entitled to nominate is dependent upon the proportional distribution of seats. However, this is where the voter’s influence ends and the political parties obtain the sole competence to decide who should fill the seats allocated to the parties.
At its first sitting the senate elects one of its members to be the president of the senate thereafter elect another of its members to be the deputy president of the senate. The president of the senate is National Party senator Kobie Coetzee, and the deputy president of the senate is the ANC’s Govan Mbeki.
The president of the senate is assigned certain powers and functions by the constitution. If the president is absent or is for any reason unable to exercise or perform their powers and functions, the deputy president acts as president.
The qualifications required to be a senator are the same as those necessary to be a member of the national assembly. A senator must vacate their seat if they no longer qualify to become a senator; if they are no longer a member of the party which nominated them as a senator; if they resigns their seat; or if they are absent from the senate without leave for 15 consecutive days.
If a senator vacates their seat, the vacancy is filled by a person nominated by the party which nominated the vacating senator.
If a provincial legislature is dissolved the senators from the province in question must vacate their seats in the senate. Once the new legislature is constituted, new senators will be appointed.
Whenever necessary, the senate and national assembly can convene in a joint sitting, which is presided over by the speaker of the national assembly or the president of the senate. The president of South Africa may request the national assembly speaker and the senate president to convene a joint sitting.
The senate sits at the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, unless the senate president of the senate, in consultation with the national assembly speaker, directs otherwise on the ground of public interest, security or convenience.
UN must reflect diversity of universe
As the United Nations’ celebrates its 50th anniversary it should reassess its role, president Nelson Mandela told the UN General Assembly. This an edited version of his address.
When distinguished leaders came together, half-a-century ago, to consign to the past a war that had pitted humanity against itself, the ruins and the smoke from the dying fires were the monument to what should not have been.
Fifty years after the formation of the United Nations, we meet to affirm our commitment to the founding ideal and the common desire to better the life of all human beings.
What challenges us, is to ensure that none should enjoy lesser rights; and none tormented because they are born different, hold contrary political views or pray to God in a different manner.
We come from Africa and South Africa on this historic occasion to pay tribute to that founding ideal, and to thank the United Nations for challenging with us, a system that defined fellow humans as lesser beings.
The youth at whom we have directed most of our awareness campaign on this golden jubilee, should marvel at the nobility of our intentions. They are also bound to wonder why it should be, that poverty still pervades the greater part of the globe; that wars continue to rage; and that many in positions of power and privilege pursue cold-hearted philosophies.
For, no one, in the north or the south, can escape the cold fact that we are a single humanity.
At the end of the Cold War, the poor had hoped that all humanity would earn a peace dividend, enabling this organisation to address an expectation it was born to address. And they challenge us today to ensure their security not only in peace; but also in prosperity.
The changed world circumstances permit of neither the continued maldistribution of resources, nor the related maldistribution of decision-making power within this organisation itself.
Indeed the United Nations has to reassess its role, define its profile and reshape its structures. It should truly reflect the diversity of our universe and ensure equity among the nations in the exercise of power within the system of international relations, in general, and the Security Council, in particular.
We raise the matter to make the fundamental point that the agenda of the next century and programme of action to promote it, can only be true to the purposes of this organisation if they are set by all of us.
We must, without delay, constitute a new leadership for the new age, and bring sunshine into the hearts of billions, including women, the disabled and children.
Circumstances may tempt us to bend to the pressures of realpolitik. However, like the founders, we are faced with the task of ensuring the convergence of word and deed. Unlike them, the obstacles we face are fewer and the conditions more auspicious.
As the United Nations matures into the new millennium, it is called upon to facilitate the birth of a new world order of peace, democracy and prosperity for all.
Thus we can honour the memory of those who perished in pursuit of the founding ideal; and protect future generations from the pestilences of war, hunger, disease, ignorance and environmental degradation. The time to act is now.
Southern Africa rallies to Cuba’s aid
An historic solidarity conference in Johannesburg has paved the way for a southern African Cuba solidarity movement, writes a correspondent.
The seed of a southern Africa-wide network of Cuban solidarity groupings was planted last month at Africa’s first Cuba solidarity conference, held in Johannesburg.
Participants from Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe resolved to call on all southern African countries to establish Cuba friendship associations with popular support. The groups represented at the conference decided to establish themselves as a sub-regional network of Friends with Cuba. They also said that governments in southern Africa should be called upon to extend the necessary material support to solidarity organisations and activities.
The key concern of conference delegates was the United States government’s 30 year old economic blockade of Cuba. The blockade was an act of aggression with the blatant intent to violate and undermine Cuba’s right to self-determination, the conference said. It further said that the US laws which give effect to the blockade had an “extra-territorial effect”, in that it amounted to direct interference by the US government in the foreign affairs of other governments that want to have relations with Cuba.
“Cuba needs world solidarity,” Cuban Friendship Institute president Sergio Corrieri told the conference. “Cuba is being attacked, even if no bombs are falling. Cuba is harassed and besieged, even if there are no stone walls. We are the only country in the world that has suffered a blockade for more than 30 years, practised by the world’s strongest superpower,” he said.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, ANC president Nelson Mandela said the majority of South Africans rejected an approach to foreign relations premised on nostalgia for the Cold War. “They reject the notion that Cuba should be starved to ideological submission. As government, we are firm in our view that it is in the interest of South Africa to have diplomatic relations and multilateral ties with Cuba,” he said.
Mandela, together with other heads of southern African states, would be requested to facilitate a “peace meeting” between Cuban president Fidel Castro and US president Bill Clinton. In fact, at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations held in New York in late October, Mandela told journalists that he was confident that Clinton and Castro would sit down for talks in due course.
The conference further resolved to lobby the Southern African Development Community to adopt a clear policy position in support of Cuba and call on the Organisation of African Unity to declare a day of African solidarity with Cuba.
In addition to organising political solidarity with Cuba, the conference also focussed on developing economic links with Cuba through increased trade and direct private sector investment. There was also a need, the conference decided, to make Cuba a tourist destination for southern Africans.
The conference acknowledged Cuba’s contribution to ending colonialism in southern Africa. “Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonisers. They have shared the same trenches with us in the struggle against colonialism, underdevelopment and apartheid,” President Mandela said.
“Hundreds of Cubans have given their lives, literally, in a struggle that was, first and foremost, not theirs but ours. As southern Africans we salute them. We vow never to forget this unparalleled example of selfless internationalism,” he said.
“We wish to record our indebtedness to Cuban hospitality. In particular, tens of thousands of young South Africans have been trained, and some are still training, in Cuban schools and universities. Today, in many different fields Ð in the health sector, in government and in the army Ð there are many young professionals, contributing to the development of the country, who owe their skills to the generous training provided to them by Cuba, he said.
Award winning anti-crime crusader
Teamwork is the key to combatting crime, according to SAPS liaison officer Henriette Bester. Khensani Makhubela spoke to her about life in the police service.
In the early years there was no place in law enforcement for women. Today Lieutenant Colonel Henriette Bester, public relations officer for the West Rand, is constantly in the news promoting crime prevention in South Africa.
Bester, from Krugersdorp police station, strongly believes that members of the police force should be fully aware of all issues relating to crime in the country. “The new mission of the South African police is to ensure the safety of all people in the country through community involvement and by rendering a professional service,” she says.
Bester was doing her matric when she decided to join the police force, as the doors had just been opened for women who wanted to join the force. She felt it was a challenging career and was determined to make a success of it. Her mother played an important role in encouraging her to pursue her goal.
And the fact that her father was a policemen? “My situation is not like father, like daughter. Actually I should have been discouraged to join the force when my father got shot when I was only eleven years old,” she says.
Bester joined the Krugersdorp police force in 1973 . She was sent to police college where she was among the third group of women ever to join the force. In 1984 she became an officer in a Pretoria police station and in 1985 she was appointed the first female station commander in the country, in Florida, Roodepoort.
“I made sure I learnt every thing that needed to be learnt during that time, I wanted to prove a point that woman can also make it. In the same year I was appointed second in command of the uniform investigation branch and that was a starting point for me,” Bester says.
Bester says being a public relations officer is a challenge. “When I was appointed as public relations officer in 1990 I was really scared. The police force was going through changes and the country was going through changes. As a spokesperson I had to deal with all categories of people from all over the place. Then the police were blamed for lots of things by different communities. I also had to promote the police internally and externally and that was not easy,” she says.
“I feel the reason why I manage to face all these challenges is because I am a very positive and enthusiastic person and again I love my job and I have a lot of experience in the field,” says Bester.
“As a spokesperson you have to know the people you deal with and the areas they come from, their emotions and reactions. For me it is not difficult as I have been trained very well and my training did not stop when I got my police diploma I continued to learn how to deal with people from different communities,” she says.
Bester has received a number of awards. In 1991 she was appointed the West Rand Media Club Newsmaker of the Year. She was also chosen as the West Rand Police Division’s Policewoman of the Year.
As media liaison officer Bester is responsible for the police’s media related projects. She organises show and exhibits focusing on crime prevention. They also get guest speakers from religious groups, business people, politicians, victims of crime and culprits.
She says her job is not as dangerous as many people think: “To me it is just like crossing the road and I don’t know when one day I will be crossing a road and I am hit by a car. It can happen to anyone. It’s like in my work anything can happen anytime. Actually I feel my life is safe when I am at work and it makes me sad when I can’t help people with problems. I feel my hands have been chopped”.
Bester says that the change in the country is for the good. “In the past police had no choice and had no place in the communities because we worked for the government that made laws that people and the police themselves didn’t like. But we were forced to obey the law,” she says.
“It is good that all the discriminatory laws are taken out of the books. It makes our work a lot easier and the attitude among our colleagues and the community is gradually changing.”
She says the police and the community must form a partnership because the one cannot function without the other. “Our history has made it very difficult for us to prevent crime successfully, but we all know that the only effective way to deal with crime is for each and every citizen to fulfil his or her role in crime prevention.”
“Teamwork is the key to dealing with any crime successfully. I think it is time for all professions to come forward and offer their expertise in our fight against crime. It should not be left to the police only,” Bester says.
Mayibuye Study Series no. 5 – The South African transition in a world context
The IMF and World Bank in the Third World
In the last instalment we looked at the emergence of the IMF and World Bank towards the end of the Second World War. At first their main focus was economic reconstruction in Western Europe and Japan. But in the 1980s their focus shifted to the Third World.
By 1984 the debt of Third World countries to western private banks and governments had doubled in five years, to $800 billion. The world financial system was in danger of serious collapse as a result of unscrupulous borrowing by banks flooded with eurodollars.
Many Third World countries owed more than they could possibly pay. Private corporations were more and more reluctant to invest or to lend to them. Many First World banks were on the point of collapse. It was into this situation that the IMF and World Bank now entered. Their role was to rescue the private banks by tightening the screws on Third World debtor countries. Their role was less to solve the debt problem, and more to manage it. The weapons they used were structural adjustment programmes.
Structural Adjustment Programmes
The IMF and World Bank agreed to make loans available to debtor countries (often simply so they could pay back some of the interest on the debt), but there was a price. The IMF and World Bank set ‘conditionalities’, certain requirements, which were in the form of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).
Structural Adjustment Programmes typically involve:
- the devaluation of the local currency, to make imports more expensive and exports cheaper;
- massive cuts in government spending Ð especially spending on social programmes like health and education;
- privatisation, and the general opening up of economies to foreign private investors;
- restrictive labour policies to depress wages;
- freeing prices from government regulation or subsidy.
This kind of package has the basic result of:
- opening up Third World economies to multinational control;
- greatly weakening the sovereignty of Third World governments;
- increasing the burden on already poor Third World workers and peasants.
SAPs are basically about maintaining the dependency of Third World economies and of subordinating them to the interests of the advanced capitalist economies.
Apart from enforcing a range of economic and social measures, the IMF and World Bank have also often made multi-party democratic procedures a condition for further loans. This is partly to give some political credibility to what are, otherwise, extremely harsh measures.
But, as we noted in a previous instalment, the IMF and World Bank have found that SAPs are often easier to carry through when they are implemented by elected (centrist or even would-be left) governments. The bitter pill of the SAP has more chance of demobilising popular hostility when it is administered by an elected government, as opposed to an illegitimate regime.
Despite some claims to the contrary, even the IMF and World Bank are increasingly having to admit that the impact of these SAPs has been devastating in many cases.
Each year Africa is now paying $10 billion just on debt repayments to the wealthy north. That is four times more than is spent by all African countries on health. Africa is now a net exporter of capital. The poorest continent in the world exports more capital than it receives to the advanced capitalist economies.
Implications for SA?
The first point to underline is that there is nothing inevitable about an SAP. Before the April 1994 elections, the old apartheid regime was in the process of implementing many features of an SAP long before the IMF and World Bank had put any pressure on SA.
South Africa’s external debt situation is not grave, and we are not in a situation where we have to implement an SAP. This is partly the result of South Africa’s economic isolation in the 1980s because of financial and other sanctions.
But this does not mean that we can be complacent. The need for progressive fiscal discipline and general macro-economic caution, which have been stressed by the ANC-led government, make sense in this wider context. If our external debt escalates, we can become the prisoners of externally-imposed programmes.
The second point to underline is that there has been a growing world campaign against the impact of IMF and World Bank policies on the Third World. There are now critical voices emerging from within these organisations themselves, especially within the World Bank. Last year was the 50th anniversary of these institutions. But, rather than being a big celebration, the anniversary sparked off a major debate, and an international campaign called: “50 years is enough!”.
These campaigns have called for:
- a narrowing of these institutions’ functions towards more basic economic concerns, so that they do not become super-governments;
- increasing their internal transparency and democracy;
- additional institutions to help with development;
- writing off the debt, particularly of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries.
What approach for SA?
In approaching these institutions as South Africans we need to understand their background and recent role. We must have no illusions. But we must also not mystify the IMF and World Bank. Virtually every government in the world has some dealings with them. They are banks, and we must relate to them, if we have to, like any other banks. If, and when we engage with them, we must be clear of our own national and southern African priorities.
We must not allow other agendas to be forced upon us, nor must we borrow money simply because it is being offered to us. We must ensure that borrowed money goes into sustainable development and growth, and not into massive projects that become unworkable, and lead to a debt trap.
This means also that our government negotiators must enjoy popular backing, and this means that the negotiations process must be democratically discussed and transparent. Lack of transparency will simply strengthen the banking bureaucrats in these institutions and weaken our own negotiators.
Finally, we must, as a country and as an ANC, connect up with the broader international struggles for a more just world order, and for the democratic transformation of multi-national institutions.
Relating to the public
In our last series we dealt with campaign communications for the elections. In this new series, David Adams will deal with public relations in organisations.
Most organisations deal with the public on a daily basis. However, a large number of these organisations need to deal a lot more effectively with their public; understand the importance of public relations; establish who in the organisation is responsible for public relations; and plan a public relations strategy.
What is public relations?
So often we hear people say about organisations: “Their public relations is bad”. But what is public relations really. Public relations is that part of an organisation’s work that makes the public think about your organisation. If you want your public relations to be effective you should not just remember it when you want something from the public. You need to build up a positive image of your organisation in an on-going way so that your public knows you, understand you and ultimately supports you. The key to effective public relations is knowing how to ‘sell’ your organisation by showing the public that your organisation is worth supporting.
What makes your organisation special?
The things that make an organisation special can be divided into five groups:
- What your organisation stands for;
- how your organisation does its work;
- who the leaders of your organisation are;
- the offices of your organisation;
- who works for the organisation.
Each one of these five areas is an important part of your public relations and you need to think about it and plan carefully.
What your organisation stands for
The aims, principles and policies of an organisation are the reasons why it exists. If these are changed, the whole organisation changes. People normally support an organisation for what it stands for.
Members of the ANC support it because of what it stands for. If the aims and principles of the ANC changed dramatically, it would definitely loose much of its support base. It is also true in the case of soccer clubs, welfare organisations and membership-based organisations. When you change what your organisation stands for, you change the basis on which the public relates to you. But in many instances the aims, principles and policies of an organisation change depending on the present situation. The role of public relations in the process of changing the aims of an organisation, is to involve the community and members in the process before final decisions are made. Members and supporters will then understand and support the changes and accept the organisation’s new role and new image.
How your organisation does its work.
The way an organisation does its work includes all the methods it uses to do its work and how it relates to its public. The activities and strategies of an organisation can bring in more support and more members and at the same time drive away support and members. The way an organisation works needs to be looked at from a public relations point of view and can be changed for the sake of public relations.
The people who lead your organisation, the office bearers, executive committee members, or senior staff are often the people whom your public knows and remembers best about your organisation. They should:
- have strong support among most of the organisation’s public;
- behave in such a way that inspires confidence among their public, employees and members;
- be good at dealing with the media.
Sometimes leaders of an organisation can behave in such a way that support for the organisation is lost. For example, many people may feel that a charity organisation spends its money unwisely if their offices are too smart and that the leaders get very big salaries. If a leader of an organisation appears on television and is dressed in expensive clothes and gives viewers the impression that the money raised by the organisation is spent haphazardly, the organisation will loose support.
Offices of your organisation
Often the very first contact someone has with an organisation is a visit to the offices. Think about the offices of your organisation in this manner:
- Are they close to the groups you serve and the people who support you?
- Are they too smart for the public?
- Are they dirty, untidy or shabby?
- Are they pleasant and welcoming?
People who work in your offices
The employees who work in the offices of an organisation are an important part of its image. Ask yourself:
- Are your employees efficient and dedicated to their work?
- Are they helpful to visitors?
- Do supporters, clients or members find visits to the office pleasant or useful?
- Do they get the help that they need?
- Does the way the staff dress fit the image your organisation wants to have?
Everyone in an organisation has a public relations function no matter big or small. The people who talk about the organisation to their fellow workers, relatives, friends and others whom they meet are part of the organisation’s public relations. If the members, supporters and clients are well-informed and enthusiastic about the organisation, the people they meet and talk to will think positively about the organisation and may even join the organisation.
Everything an organisation does and everything that those involved in an organisation say and do, affects the way that others see it.
Everything about an organisation, and everyone in it, is part of its public relations. Public relations is not something that happens only once. It is an on-going activity. Remember this when you plan your public relations strategy and activities.
An important part of public relations is organisational identity. This refers to everything that helps to create a certain image or picture of your organisation that people recognise and remember. It is important for non-profit organisations to have an organisational identity because:
- people often remember an organisation’s logo and colours and not its name;
- it makes it easy for supporters, clients and members to recognise your organisation;
- it gives supporters, clients and members something to identify with and be proud of;
- slogans that are sometimes part of an organisation’s image can help to promote what the organisation stands for.
The image of your organisation must match the aims of your organisation. It is not good public relations to have smart cars and smart offices in a wealthy part of town if your organisation serves the rural poor. Remember that even if your organisational identity is very good and people recognise your logo and colours easily, as long as other aspects of your public relations are neglected, this will not improve your image.
Next month we look at why you need public relations and public relations for whom?
The voice of a woman heard worldwide
by June Madingwane
African Women’s Poetry is the voice of a woman which can be heard worldwide. It is in the north, west, east, central and southern part of the African continent. This voice echoes in prison walls, in the river, high up in the mountains and into the deepest sea.
Women cry out as they are being oppressed, abused, raped, tortured, tormented and enslaved. They watch helplessly as their perpetrators take pride in demoralising them of their human qualities. Love, hatred, pain, motherhood, uncertainty and the acceptance of violation of rights are expressed in talented ways by women such as Zinzi Mandela, Marina Gashe, Alda Lara, Stella Chipasula, Ingrid de Kok, Ama Ata Aidoo, Leila Djabili, Lindiwe Mabuza, Gcina Mhlope and many others.
These emotions are written in a free flowing style and a form of a song. Discrimination is described as a body being cut into pieces; there will be a black and a white one. The black one is associated with laziness, hunger and unwillingness. The results of these dissections are districts, departments and different laws to govern the human race.
Motherhood is one aspect in a woman’s life which cannot be wished away. It is the way in which Queen Nature reigns. It is indeed the miracle of nature as life grows inside a woman. What comes out of the warmth of that belly is left to be treasured by the woman even though she does not know what could be in store for her. This is a period of anticipation, uncertainty and longing for the unknown.
Catherine Obianuju Acholonu of Nigeria describes rape as another form of slaughter. As the body goes through a gruelling form of torture there is a silent voice which cries helplessly. She writes: “Innocent virgins basking in the sun, suddenly wake up, greedy eyes, lecherous tongues and devouring breath, Heavy boots at their heels, heaving chests pin them down, then, rummaging hands tear open the frills, unfolding lustful era…”
As that massive frame pins a woman down, there is not much which she can do. A cry for help usually brings about a fierce blow across her face or even more. She feels dirty when it is over. The water cannot clean out that dirt. His face, full of hatred, flashes in her mind daily. Fear becomes her constant companion. She becomes a prisoner. The bleeding of her broken heart never stops. She tends not to trust any male who comes near her.
Besides all this, a woman remains a warrior. She may not be strong physically, yet she can withstand the gashing wind, the torrential rain, the scorching sun and the chilling winter. These conditions are brought about by men who always need to prove that they are superior. The emergence of a woman from all these conditions with no scar visible, usually raises eyebrows. Women smile in public fighting the pain inside them. This is the power which cannot be destroyed or challenged. The ability to provide for their families even though there is no sign of hope, proves that strength.
Malik O’Lahsen writes about oppression: “It took one hundred years, to make me a savage, even more… They are clipping out pictures, with border barbed wire, they are cutting up my body to make it into history…”
It is said what goes up, must come down. Amelia Veiga of Angola writes about liberation. This is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Oppression may seem to have been eternal yet a voice comes up preparing for freedom. She writes thus: “Horrible and cruel wind, which despises and twists, and makes war without quarters. And now crawls lamenting, then grows in fury, and howls like thunder, but it is in every sense THE WIND OF LIBERTY that astonished the poor world, aspires to retain in its hands…”
Contributors in this book may be from different parts of Africa, yet their writing shows unity. There is often a common issue which is reflected in most of these poems. June Madingwane is a freelance journalist who has published several short stories and articles. Title: African Women’s Poetry
Editor: Stella and Frank Chipasula
Finding one self
In the clean, smooth sounds of Moses Molelekwa, Bongani Madondo has found the next generation of jazz ‘prophets’.
The name Moses Molelekwa is not yet so popular, even in the tight pseudo-academic jazz circles. Yet he is a musician which words find difficult to describe.
Moses Molelekwa’s music in his first CD, Finding One Self, is an intricate, deeply hidden and powerful listening experience.
Molelekwa is the missing piano link between the older jazz guard and the contemporary jazz pack, that comprises, among others, McCoy Mrubata, Vusi Khumalo, Fana Zulu, Prince Lengoasa and the evergreen Lulu Gontsana.
This long-awaited CD is composed of beautiful and mind-engaging pieces. ‘Taiwa’ Molelekwa, to those who are affectionately close to him, roped in his friends and fellow jammers in this spiritual sounding musical documentation.
In addition to the fresh jazz vanguard named above, he made use of Louis Mhlanga on guitar, Victor Masondo, Bessie Mahlasela on percussion, Thulani Majola on soprano sax and one underrated, yet dynamic and passionate, vocalist Max Ngcobo.
Molelekwa opens his musical case with a piece Nomkhosi, a song that speaks of nothing exceptional until one listens to it twice. Nomkhosi catches one’s senses, but needs proper respect and an appropriate pace.
Moses’ presence in this piece and the second, Finding One Self, is somehow felt from behind the scenes, allowing his fellow players to express themselves in a true democratic jazz style.
This may be serving the emperor with two meals simultaneously, but the piece Nobohle is a reflection of musical dedication, passion and a vindication that South Africa is blessed to have in Molelekwa and his buddies musical prophets who will take over the reigns from vintaged jazz musicians. This CD provides hope that the fresher younger jazz vanguard will introduce an altogether new approach to the musical genre that jazz is.
Nobohle is an excellent, well plotted musical narrative that gives all the answers at the end of a puzzle. Led by Lengoasa’s educated flugelhorn, Mrubata’s saxophone and the captivating percussive sounds of Bessie Mahlasela, this track explodes into a volcanic sensation halfway through, letting in the vibrating, sand-chanting vocals of Max Ngcobo.
A calculatedly ensemble chorus and deceptive rhythms, this piece highlights Max Ngcobo’s vocal craft Ð displaying Al Jarreau’s inspiration with natural tear-spilling ease.
As the Zulu expression implies, Nobohle is a beautifully arranged piece. In the two subsequent tracks, Melancholy Thoughts and Kwalo, Molelekwa is engaged in a lonely musical journey, truly trying to find his true self.
The last two pieces, Marabi and Bo Molelekwa, are authentically jazz songs. In a listener’s mind these four pieces bring memories of Joshua Redman, the 25-year-old African-American saxophonist.
Like Redman, Molelekwa plays smooth and clean music that somehow catches an inner instinct, whether one loves jazz or not.
His approach and creative input liken him to a graduate from a gospel musical background. The questions that remains is whether Moses Molelekwa’s CD will achieve commercial wonders.