ABOLISH PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS
In its 50 years of existence and revolutionary activism, the Black Consciousness Movement made its rejection of the balkanisation of Azania very clear. The division of the country took different forms at different times.
Colonial powers of all stripes descended upon Azania to claim a piece of our country as their own. Many colonial powers like Portugal, Britain, Netherlands, Germany and France tried their hand on plundering the mineral resources of Azania and ultimately colonising our beautiful country.
That is how it came about that Azania was at some stage partitioned into 4 so-called “colonies” named Cape Colony, Natal, Oranje Free State and Transvaal. The British controlled the Cape and Natal, while the Boers who were Dutch descendants grabbed control of Oranje Free State and Transvaal. This foreign control and plundering of the Azanian minerals led to foreigners killing one another in what was known as the First Anglo-Boer War in 1880-1881 and the second one in 1899-1902. That culminated in the so-called Union of South Africa in 1910. The Azanians had no say in all these political developments. They were more or less slaves in the country of their forebears.
AZAPO, the leading organisation of the BCM and flagbearer of Black Consciousness, intensified the anti-colonial struggles fought by the Azanians under the leadership of the various Kings and Queens like Autshumato, Sekhukhune, MaNthatisi, Shaka, Hintsa, Ngungunyane, Moshoeshoe and many others. AZAPO’s position had always been that Azania is a Unitary State under the ownership of Azanians as opposed to the division of the country into “Colonies” or Provincial Governments. That means our country is One Azania for One Nation and One People under one Central Government.
This position by AZAPO is a direct rejection of the Freedom Charter position, which claims that “South Africa is for all who live in it” in the form of “four racial groups”.
With the introduction of democracy in 1994, the partitioning of Azania continued in the image of the Bantustans and the “Four Colonies”. CODESA and the Kempton Park Settlement sought to legitimate what our people had rejected for centuries. They re-Balkanised Azania into 9 Provincial Governments on the basis of a quasi-federal system. This was a compromise to allay and protect white minority interests as well as perpetuate the nonsensical Apartheid Balkanisation model of ‘separate but equal’. The 9 provinces followed, in a sense, the logic of the notorious Bantustan system. The North West for baTswana; Mpumalanga for amaSwazi and amaNdebele; Eastern Cape for amaXhosa; Limpopo for baPedi, vhaVenda and vaTsonga; KwaZulu-Natal for amaZulu; the Western and Northern Cape for the so-called Coloured.
AZAPO cast its historical rejection of the partitioning of Azania into a Political Campaign in 1999. The campaign was consolidated into the 2009 Election Manifesto where it declares:
“In line with building a strong democracy and enhancing efficiency in governance, AZAPO views the nine provincial governments as unnecessary and costly. As government AZAPO will:
- Seek to abolish provincial governments and replace them with administrators answerable to the national government.
- Ensure that these administrators work closely with the local sphere of government, allowing for faster and effective service delivery.
- Strategically deploy public servants who were employed in provincial government to local government thereby releasing more funds and skills for projects at a local level.”
The Campaign was directed at the abolition of Provincial Governments that must be replaced with simple administrations. In point form, we provide some of the reasons why AZAPO is vehemently opposed to the CODESA compromise of a system of 9 Provincial Governments:
- It is based on a political compromise to protect white minority interests at the expense of Black people.
- South Africa is a relatively small country, a developmental State, that cannot afford the luxury of a disproportionately big and cumbersome government.
- It causes unnecessary duplication. For every government department there is a Minister and 9 “Provincial Ministers”.
- It is expensive. Huge aspects of the budgets go to salaries of these “Provincial Ministers”, their staff components, body guards, travel expenditure, phone bills, their families, etc.
- It causes red-tapes. In most cases the national Ministers have concurrent powers with the MECs resulting in unwieldy procedures and territorial battles. [A classic example is Minister Motsoaledi pleading/lamenting that he cannot deal with or intervene in poor health care services by errant provinces]
- It somehow reintroduces the discredited apartheid Homeland system and its ethnicity. Thus in the same country, people would be prepared to sacrifice their lives resisting a “move” to the other part of the same country (cross-border municipalities).
- It undermines service delivery by usurping the badly needed resources to finance a redundant and counter-productive bureaucratic arrangement.
At every Election that AZAPO participated in, the Campaign to Abolish Provincial Governments was foremost in our message. The media pretended not to be interested until this noble and progressive AZAPO Campaign was mimicked by the ruling party in 2012. The media reported the ruling party’s entertaining of the AZAPO position as being raised for the first time in political history of Azania. That was unfortunate, but not unexpected. AZAPO was therefore not disturbed by the “stealing” of its Campaign and ideas by the ruling party. It is pleasing that we are now hearing more political parties in this 2019 Elections mimicking the AZAPO position, albeit in a watered down way. AZAPO is happier when it is able to influence society, and make it implement its progressive ideas and policies.
The ruling party raised its voice on the matter again in 2017, and again this year through President Ramaphosa. Unfortunately, it appears to be very poor at copying the simple AZAPO idea. It seems to want to fight Balkanisation by vulgarising AZAPO’s position. Instead of Abolishing the 9 Provincial Governments and replace them with simple administrations as AZAPO so plausibly states, the ruling party wants to “reconfigure” and reduce the 9 Provincial Governments to 6. They seem not to understand that there is a vast difference between the “reconfiguration of provinces” and the abolishing of Provincial Governments.
AZAPO stubbornly holds on to the principle of Azania as a Unitary State. The abolition of the 9 Provincial Governments (not reduction) must be replaced by simple administrations. The massive human, material and financial resources saved must be redirected to the Local Government, which is said to struggle due to lack of capacity and resources. The strengthening of Local Government makes a lot of political and governance sense for a developmental State that South Africa claims it is.
TIGHTEN IMMIGRATION LAWS
The issue of undocumented migrants is in the news again. This time the health and local government authorities are raising concerns about the heavy burden that the migrants are exerting on the health facilities.
It was reported that about 83 000 undocumented foreign nationals are accessing clinics in the City of Johannesburg. Many more get treatment in hospitals around the country, a practice contributing to the shortage of medicines as many of those getting treatment were not included in the budgeting process.
The government has failed dismally to implement its own policies on immigration. The failure to enforce the laws and to separate asylum seekers from undocumented immigrants who came to the country seeking better economic prospects have created a fertile ground for xenophobia among local people as they have to compete with foreign nationals for limited economic and social opportunities.
Countries around the world take serious measures to regulate immigration. They also enact laws that allow for the importation of skilled labour force while limiting the influx of migrants who have limited skills. In terms of these laws, local companies intending to employ a foreigner should first prove that they could not find a local national with the same qualification and skill before they can appoint a foreigner. This practice, common throughout the world, is ignored and foreigners are employed to do ordinary jobs that can be done by locals, mainly in the hospitality sector and retail in general.
But that is the nationalist view. AZAPO is anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist. We must understand that nobody just leaves his or her country for no reason. One of the main motive forces for migration is hunger. People are prepared to risk their lives to smuggle themselves into Europe because they want to survive. This is because in their home countries they have been made destitute by war, conflict and political mismanagement that completely destroyed the economy.
Many countries that are producing higher figures of refugees such as Libya, Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are victims of political destabilisation by Western powers. These imperialist powers prop up despots who become their puppets and become channels that funnel wealth and resources from Afrika to the West. Afrikan leaders, such as Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah, who have the interest of their people at heart are removed, either from office or from the land of the living.
In the final analysis, the most effective way of addressing the problem of undocumented immigrants is to develop and nurture credible and genuine Afrikan leadership. This leadership has to be accountable to the people and should have the vision of developing their countries and the integrity not to steal from the people.
Afrika is very rich in mineral resources but lacks the visionary leadership to ensure that these resources are used for the benefit of the population. If we were to do that, we would stabilize Afrikan economies and there would be no need for people to leave their families and migrate to other countries with the sole purpose of surviving. But for now, colonialism and imperialism have conspired against Afrikans, and we are essentially fighting among ourselves.
PROTECT THE PEOPLE FROM FALSE PROPHETS BY EMPOWERING THEM WITH SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE
Following the “resurrection” stunt pulled by Alleluia Ministries International leader Alph Lukau about two weeks ago, there is a growing clamour for the government to regulate religion. Many people are of the view that the government should intervene and regulate religion in order to protect people from religious leaders that are abusing religion to prey on gullible people.
What is patently obvious is that religion has become big business. Religious entrepreneurs have spotted an opportunity to make money. Conditions of extreme poverty, unemployment and ignorance create a fertile ground for religious exploitation. The religious entrepreneurs target people who want to get out of poverty and who want prosperity. The doctrine is that those who want to receive blessings and breakthroughs should donate to the church. The bigger the donation , the bigger the blessing.
People who want to get married; people who are struggling to have children; people who are in debts; people who want jobs; people who want to be delivered from diseases; and people who want to know about their future are the target market. The religious entrepreneurs have perfected the art of deception. They attract thousands of people who want to get blessings and deliverance. The church leaders would sell various products such as face-cloth, bottled water, stickers and bracelets. It is organised business.
Because of the severe competition in this “holy” business, these religious entrepreneurs have to outsmart each other in terms of the “stunts” they can pull to attract more customers. Hence the plot to organise the “resurrection”.
Instead of calling on government to regulate religion, perhaps the most effective way of fighting this abuse of religion is to empower ordinary people with scientific knowledge and skills. If we give our people quality education that empowers them to create wealth and enables them to employ other people, they are unlikely to be duped by false prophets.
If people can clearly see that there are no magical powers to make it in life and that it is only through hard-work that people succeed, we would be reducing the space that these religious charlatans exploit and trap people to follow them.
It would be an impossible task for the government to regulate religion without tempering with the Constitutional right of freedom of religion. The power to shun the Lukaus of this world lies with the individual and not the State.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 10
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ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION !