SUBSTANTIVE FREEDOM LIES IN FOOD SECURITY AND SOVEREIGNTY
Real freedom is not just access to a right to vote, or to elect a government of your choice. It is not just the right to free political association and assembly. It is not just the right to strike, or the right to protest. It is not just the right to choose religion. These are important rights in a democracy, but the ultimate test of freedom is the ability to feed yourself.
When you have the capacity to feed yourself, you are free. You bow to nobody. If you are unable to feed yourself, the one who supplies you with food is your master. It is that simple.
This basic understanding of what it is to be free is relevant in the aftermath of the Investment Summit convened by the government in the country’s financial capital, Sandton, last week. At the summit, captains of industry had converged and made pledges to invest billions of Rands into the domestic economy. The biggest achievement of the Summit was a promise for jobs. There is no doubt that the high unemployment is a huge problem for the country; and it requires urgent attention.
But a closer look at the Investment Summit exposes some unpalatable truths. We, the Black people of the semi-colonized Azania, own very little of the wealth of our country. The problem is even more serious because a lot of wealth in this country belongs to multi-national corporations. These international companies have the economic muscle to throttle us if as a country we do not toe the line to imperialism.
We do not have to look far to appreciate this reality. The economic stagnation and ruin experienced in Zimbabwe is testimony to this. The Zimbabwean government of President Robert Mugabe’s unpardonable sin was his program to give the indigenous Zimbabweans land. Even today, the country has not recovered from sanctions and flight of capital because of that land reform program.
Flowing from the Investment Summit, we have a choice in this country. We either remain happy and well-fed as a chained domesticated dog; or become a free, lean wild dog which has to fend for itself. Our focus and emphasis on jobs, and paying little attention to the repossession of wealth, and on who owns our minerals, our land, the productive assets of the economy shows that we have chosen the option of a chained dog that is loyal to the master in exchange for some bones.
The other option of the quest of real freedom, of taking our land and its minerals so that we can produce enough to feed ourselves and trade with the rest of the world is tough. It is understandable why many of us laud the Investment Summit as a huge success. This is because the Summit produced a promise for bones – jobs.
Is it not so long ago that we increasingly experienced what others called ‘an investment boycott’ by these multi-national corporations aided and abetted by local captains of industry? Therefore, the take out from this Investment Summit is the confirmation of that old adage: whoever pays the piper calls the tune.
RIGHT-WING TAKE-OVER IN BRAZIL
Brazil, the land of soccer great Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, has a new president. Ultra-right politician Jair Bolsonaro won 55% of the vote against 44% for left-wing Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad.
Bolsonaro will take office in January next year, replacing Temer Lulia who took office in 2016 following the impeachment and removal of Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff was removed from office after she was found guilty of manipulating the budget in order to conceal the country’s mounting economic woes. Her removal marked the end of 13 years of governing by the Workers’ Party. During the 13 years of the Workers’ Party rule, the Brazilian economy performed well, lifting millions from poverty into the middle class. From 2000 to 2012, Brazil’s GDP was growing at an average of 5%, becoming the 6th largest economy in the world. But corruption by some senior politicians of the ruling party, including bribery conviction of former President Lula da Silva, saw the party of the people fall from grace.
When the economy was no longer booming, the people lost faith in the Workers’ Party and voted for Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro can be described as the Donald Trump of Brazil.
What can a socialist party such as AZAPO learn from the rise of the right-winger Bolsonaro in Brazil? A lot. Firstly, the simple fact that corruption can cause a party to lose elections. Secondly, when the economy is not performing, voters switch loyalties quickly. In their switch of loyalties, they can follow a leader who is xenophobic and even racist, if they think that his promises will deliver their daily bread. Sadly, we also note with disappointment developments in Venezuela, another country within the southern hemisphere, where the economy is in freefall.
Does the outcome of the Brazilian election have any bearing on South Africa, a member of the BRICS? Yes and no. Yes, because Bolsonaro, just like Trump, believes that his job is to put the interests of Brazil first, and basically ignore everybody else. BRICS projects may no longer be a priority. No, because what countries’ leaders say during state visits is fundamentally different from what they do in practice. In reality, a country can assist another only if the assistance is in harmony with assisting a country’s interests. It is normal for any country to put its interests as paramount.
SABC TO AXE WORKERS
This past Tuesday the Quarterly Labour Survey confirmed what we all know that the economy is mismanaged by the ruling party. The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 37.3% in the 3rd quarter. It is only a lousy 16.4 million people that are employed! We also learnt this week that the population estimates are now 57.6m according to StatsSA.
Yet the SABC tells us it is sitting with a bloated wage bill it needs to cut. That should make the newly appointed Finance Minister Mboweni smile. Not so long ago, he delivered his Medium Term Budget Statement where he shouted at the top of his voice about the need to trim the public service wage bill. In simple language, the wage bill trimming means retrenchment of workers. So the ruling party hopes to solve unemployment, inequality and poverty by retrenchments. Absurd. Isn’t it?
While AZAPO and the right-thinking people talk about the need to create more jobs, the ruling party is out to retrench more Black workers to add to the almost 40% unemployment rate. Are we not being taken for granted as the cannon fodder, such as the recent 15% VAT, that will be used to address the rot and corruption that the ruling party allowed and encouraged?
For those who are quick to forget, let us remind them that the SABC and other Sate Owned Enterprises are in the present mess because of the corrupt interference and mismanagement by the ruling party. The ruling party has always sought to control the SABC to ensure that it gets a lion’s share and decorated media coverage and perpetuate the lie that it brought freedom to Black people. Turning the SABC into the state broadcaster goes back to the era of the white minority regime.
The ruling party never fails to boast about how it inherited the apartheid legacy. Indeed, it also inherited the undemocratic and unconstitutional practice of seeking to control the SABC. That zombification of the SABC on behalf of the ruling party was carried out by ruthless executives such as Snuki Zikalala and Dali Mpofu. There were always amenable cabinet Ministers like Faith Muthambi appointed to worsen the zombification. Hlaudi Motsoeneng is second to no one in doing his worst in the mandated destruction of the SABC. That destruction was ironically guaranteeing the ruling party a longer lease of political life as its content was the unfortunate misinformation and disinformation of the Azanian masses and the electorate.
Part of that destruction included what seemed to be a progressive move by Motsoeneng imposing 90% on-air local music content on SABC radio stations. A good idea was opportunistically implemented to buy favour from the Black artists and the public for Motsoeneng and the ruling party. It backfired with SABC losing about R300 million advertising revenue.
Motsoeneng was so useful to the ruling party’s consolidation of power that it folded its arms and closed its eyes and ears as the SABC paid a staggering R22 million for his legal battles. And now the SABC stands to retrench 981 permanent workers. The public broadcaster has also indicated that it will cut to half the number of the freelancers it uses from 2400 to 1200. The SABC says this retrenchment will save R400 million annually.
According to rampant capitalism, which has been inherited and implemented by the ruling party, labour is classified as a commodity cost or “human capital”. We all know the basic tension between costs and profits. When costs increase, profits decrease. In that capitalist mindset, labour becomes the first casualty when profits are not flying. Naturally the SABC management will be going through the procedural engagements with trade union representatives and it is hoped that tough and uncomfortable questions will need to be addressed and resolved.
DITIRELO TŠA MASEPALA WA POLOKWANE TŠA GO FOKOLA
Setšhaba sa go wela ka fase ga Masepala wa Polokwane di nelwa ke pula ya matlorotloro morago ga go lemoga gore ditefelo tša bona gase tša maleba. Seo se bonagetše morago ga gore mokgahlo wa go bitšwa Seshego, Polokwane and Neighboring Concerned Community o lemoše setšhaba ka bothata bjo.
Moetapele wa mokgahlo Mr Marothi Joseph Letsoalo le maloko a mokgahlo a bontšhitše seo ka ditšhupetšo go masepala le go neela lengwalo la dinyakwa le dingongorego tša setshaba go boetapele bja masepala wa Polokwane ka la 14 June 2018
Masepala o ile wa tshepiša go tsitsinkela dingongorego le dinyakwa tše gomme ba tshepiša go kopana gape le mokgatlo yo wa setshaba. Ka nnete masepala o ile wa dumela gore ba na le bothata ka tshepediso ya bona yago bitšwa Samras Billing. Kopano ya Masepala le Mokgahlo e ile ya fegwa gomme Masepala wa kgopela go iša dingongorego go kopano ya Council yeo e swerego ka la di 28 July 2018.
Kopanong ya Masepala le council go ile gwa tšewa dephetho tse latelago:
- ka lebaka la yona system ye ya go se šome botse, go tla phumulelwa batho ba dikobo di magetleng dikoloto ka moka,
- go bulela batho ba dikobo di magetleng ditirelo tšeo dibego di fegilwe,
- go fedišwa ga go fega ditirelo tša batho ba dikobo di magetleng,
- go fokotša percent ya go boeletsa(reconnection) ge ditirelo di fegilwe go tloga go 50% go ya go 20% le
- go fedišwa ga tshepediso ye ya go bitšwa Samras Financial system yeo e hlodilego mathata.
Mokgahlo yo wa a badudi o rata gore ka ge system ye ya Samras Billing amile batho ka moka, e seke ya ba batho ba dikobo di magetleng fela bao ba phumulelago dikoloto fela. Setshaba sa Polokwane ka moka se swanetse go phumulelwa dikoloto tsa bona.
Seshego, Polokwane and Neighboring Concerned Community e kgopetše gore masepala o lebelele kgopelo ye ya bona gabotse kudu ge ba lebelela morago gore naa yona tshepediso ye e thomile go gobatša setšhaba ka dipotleng go tloga neng. Sephetho sa setšhaba ke gore ba nyaka go bona maloko ka moka a setšhaba a phumulelwa mekitlana ya bona.
Se sengwe sa go makatša ke gore tše dingwe tša ditefelo tseo di phumuletswego batho ba dikobo di magetleng di bowa gape bathong gomme di tlaiša setšhaba.
Kgopelo ya Seshego, Polokwane and Neighboring Concerned Community ke gore masepala a o lokiše mananeo a bona a ditirelo gomme ba fe setšhaba ditirelo tšeo di lokilego.
Go ya ka Customer Care policy ya 2017/2018 yeo e bilego sephetho sa lekgotlamotse ka 29 May 2017, mo go molao wa Batho Pele Principle o bontsha gore ge masepala o diretše setshaba phošo o swanetše go e lokisa ka pela pela.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue Number 36
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ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION !