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AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 23

REORGANISE EDUCATION TOWARDS TRANSFORMATION AND LIBERATION

Colonial education in the context of apartheid caused a lot of harm to the South African society. That damage was of immeasurable proportions in the Black community. And that damage remains in place long after democracy took root after 1994. 

The spate of ill-discipline and lawlessness characterised by violent behaviour in our schools cannot be divorced from the apartheid effects.

In the era of democracy, education restructuring was highly prioritised. That development was coupled with the introduction of a new curriculum. Instead of harnessing the new political landscape, a lot of confusion followed, both in the classroom and government offices, as the trial-and-error in implementation led to instability in the system. 

The removal of the direct Christian influence from the curriculum was supposed to ensure inclusivity and equity in education. What was missed was that the Black parent community was mostly a product of Bantu Education, whose limiting impact had its negative grip on the majority of the parents.

The new system kicked the parents out of the education stream because they were deemed not to be reliable stakeholders to positively influence how their children should be taught. 

Most parents mourned the removal of the stick from the learning space, and the new order that resulted in the morning Christian devotions being no longer compulsory. 

To most parents, that simply meant that the devil had taken over in our schools. 

The result is that the teachers are now left on their own. With the parents detached from education, teachers are now struggling to adjust to the new arrangements as they are not guaranteed of the support of the parents. Often times they find themselves straying and using unlawful methods to try and enforce discipline in the school community. This leads to the teachers being disciplined by the authorities, and sometimes dismissed from the system. 

The status quo is not a good one for teaching and learning. The absence of the parent means that an important link that was there between the school and home has been removed. The learners have seen this gap. They have moved in quickly and occupied the centre stage amid the confusion. The dislocation leaves both the parent and the teacher confused as both refer to the past since the majority of them are the products of the past order. That is the “bad” order they know best.

The whole setup strangely drives both the parents and the teachers to miss and mourn the dehumanising colonial/apartheid education system. The lawlessness and desperation in the schools make them to favourably remember how the religious studies taught the learners to obey and follow in a docile way without questioning authority. 

For fear of reprisals, the teachers are now reduced into observers that are not willing to gamble with their employment security in their attempts to enforce discipline. The learners are left on their own. This is the door through which all types of peer influence creep in and gain so much momentum as everybody wants to belong. 

The new system seems to have missed these dynamics. How on earth was it possible for an apparently Black government to miss the dynamics of the Black Condition?

There was haste to change the system without a proper situational analysis, and without fully engaging with stakeholders. Parents lowered the guards and saw hope in the Mandela mania. They started to relax as they thought they had finally arrived at the “promised land of milk and honey”. The teachers were seen as reactionaries who should be forced to do as they were told. In the process, a large space was created for unionisation. Under such helplessness, many thought association was synonymous with relevance. But this was mostly done in fear of being rejected by the system.

On the other hand, the government failed to realise the impact the previous system had on the community in general and continued restructuring in disregard for who was left behind. 

Children took charge with an understanding that they had government backing. Black education was thrown into disarray. Other communities carried on without any disruption. Rightly or wrongly, this apparent order and stability had a lot to do with the fact that the parents felt relevant as their faith or spiritual ethos were kept intact, while the only change was the curriculum. Such a change was viewed as cosmetic, whereas the same change was deemed to be new in the Black community. 

So, while education is generally chaotic, not all communities are equally affected by the chaos. That is because to some communities the adjustments were superficial, while the rest experienced overhaul of the system. 

Failure to adjust and adapt is now leading to idling and inability to cope. This creates a lot of space for instability and lawlessness, the results of which are what we see in the stabbings and killings in Black schools.  There has been a systems failure to follow the basics of curriculum implementation, and now we are paying the price.

Education is one of the priorities of AZAPO. It is primarily through the education instrument that we are able to develop ourselves as a humanity. Education is a weapon that can help open the road towards Liberation. There is therefore a need for civil society to regroup and redirect the educational direction of this country. This is so huge a task that it cannot be outsourced to government as a sole driver.


 THE CORROSIVE EFFECT OF MONEY  IN THE REVOLUTION

As AZAPO Voice, we generally shy away from expressing views on internal shenanigans of other political parties. However, from time to time, we have to make an exception when the internal dynamics of the ruling party impact on the people and the country.

 Last Sunday, a Sunday newspaper published a story that sent shockwaves throughout the country. According to the newspaper report, R400 million was channelled towards the campaign to make Cyril Ramaphosa president of the ANC at the party’s  national conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg in 2017.

The initial complaint that was referred to the Public Protector for investigation limited the controversial donation to R500 000 from Bosasa. But the newspaper reported that the money that was raised for Ramaphosa’s campaign for the ANC presidency was much more than just half a million rand. It was in fact R400 million, to be exact.

According to those who were in the forefront of the Ramaphosa campaign, they admitted that money was raised from various people and companies including from the controversial Bosasa. They claim that a decision was taken to keep Ramaphosa in the dark about the fund-raising campaign that would enable him to be president of the ANC. What the organisers of the Ramaphosa campaign want the public to believe is that they worked so hard to raise hundreds of millions of rands for Ramaphosa’s campaign, but they did not want their hard-work to be acknowledged by the beneficiary of their efforts.

This claim is hard to sell to any logically thinking person. Generally, donors do not just give away their monies. They see their donation as future investments. They would certainly want the beneficiary to know of their donation so that they can cash it at the right time.

But the real issue is not whether the donation to the ANC presidential ambitions of Ramaphosa was R500 000 or R400 million. The issue is not even whether Ramaphosa was briefed about who donated. The real issue that the public needs to know is why should any money be donated to a campaign for any individual to become the president of the ANC?

Those close to the ANC will laugh at the question. They would say it is an open secret that votes are bought at ANC conferences to ensure victory of a particular candidate. They would say that it has become a culture. The more money one spends to buy votes, the better the chances to emerge victorious at the conference.

But the buying of votes corrupts and undermines the internal party democracy. In other words, a particular branch can vote for particular candidates and give the branch delegates to a national conference a particular mandate. However, the delegates can change the branch mandate, basically aligning their voting patterns to the highest bidder. What a farce!

But that is not the biggest threat. The real threat is that the buying of votes enables those with deeper pockets, some of whom are outside the party, to ensure that their own candidates emerge as leaders. It is possible that those who throw resources to specific candidates have expectations from the beneficiaries of their resources. This process entrenches corruption because the funded candidates must deliver to those who funded their campaigns and do not necessarily act to advance the interests of the party.

It is also possible that those who have money but whose interests are inimical to the interests and policies of the party can use their money to ensure the election of their puppets into the top structures of the ruling party thus undermining the bigger project of the national liberation and economic transformation.

The ruling party, as a component of the liberation movement, should be careful of how money and aid can be used not just to determine who should lead the party but to influence the posture the party takes on various interests including big business.

In this regard, African-American revolutionary giant Malcolm X warned about how aid and money can be used to trap those expected to benefit from “aid”. He said: “A man who tosses worms in the river isn’t necessarily a friend of the fish. All the fish who take him for a friend, who think the worm has got no hook in it, usually end up in the frying pan.”

Money can have debilitating and corrosive effect even to the conscience of tried and tested revolutionaries. Those who have the interests of the people and the country at heart should pause and reflect on the role money is playing to undermine democracy and the will of the ordinary masses of our people.

There can be no denying that money determines the outcome, even the results of the national and provincial elections. Businesses would invest in the electoral campaigns of parties that will safeguard their interests. Should we be surprised when the leftist parties get the least funding and eventually little support?

Perhaps it is time for an honest debate about the role of money in the corruption of our body politic.


THE ROT IS WORSENING IN MUNICIPALITIES’ FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

The 2019 Elections have come and gone amid loud promises of a “New Dawn”.  The electorate gave the ruling party an apparent thumbs up despite the dismally performing economy shrinking by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019.  It seemed not to mean much that the leaders of the ruling party were implicated in all the commissions that are investigating State Capture and various other forms of corruption.

This past Wednesday Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu published the municipal audit report for the 2017-2018 financial year.  The Report confirms what we knew all along that the situation is getting worse and worse in the sphere of Local Government when it comes to governance and financial management.  Local Government is a crucial arm for a developmental State like South Africa.  This is a tier that is closer to the people.  It is through this level of government that the country is positioned to deal with the colonial legacy that marginalised Black people from the social, political and economic opportunities.

The AG’s Report gives a gloomy picture about the possibility of “a quality life for all”.  Of the 257 audited municipalities, only 18 received clean audits.  15 of those 18 municipalities are run by the DA, while the 3 are under the ANC’s control.  The DA-run Western Cape had 12 municipalities with clean audits.  Gauteng, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga each have only one municipality with a clean audit.  The Eastern Cape managed only 2 municipalities with clean audits.  It has to be stressed that the one clean municipality that Gauteng enjoyed is the DA’s Midvaal.  This dismal picture gives a decline from 14% in the previous financial year to 8%.

The AG says there is an improvement in terms of regular expenditure in the municipalities.  But if you listen carefully you might find that the improvement is academic in that the “improvement” is from R29.7 billion in the previous financial year to R25.2 billion.  Irregular expenditure of R25.2 billion is not just criminal; it is counterrevolutionary if you consider the desperate conditions poor Black people live under.

The Provinces of the Free State, North West and Limpopo received no clean audits.  If it has any soul left, the ANC has to do a lot of soul-searching.  As the overall ruling party, it is faced with a disgraceful situation where the majority of the municipalities that are on the wrong side of financial management are under its control.  And it is supposed to be from the liberation movement background.

The AG attributes the dismal performance partly to the fact that his recommendations are not implemented by the affected municipalities.  As if this was not enough, the AG reveals that auditors experienced hostility, intimidation and threats in most provinces.  He bemoans the fact that there are no consequences for the underperforming municipalities or the officials at fault.


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To print and read the pdf version, please click hereAZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 23

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