The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga made a sensational pronouncement at the annual congress of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) that Grade 9 or Standard 7 would be an exit point where learners would also be certificated.
Since the inception of the National Curriculum Statement, Grade 9 has been known as the last phase in the General Education Training (GET) band, even though learners were never externally assessed to determine readiness for the next phase. Schools have been running internal examinations. They would on their own assist learners in subject selections for the next phase.
Therefore, all that is new that the announcement introduces is the possibility of an external evaluation and certificate, which will be used to direct and determine career path of individual learners.
The biggest question that we are grappling with is how this announcement is going to improve the quality of education? The reality is that the education system is almost in a dysfunctional state with learners being pushed through until Grade 12. As a result of this anomaly, performance at Matric level shows very little improvement – and generally as a result of moderation intervention by Umalusi. Learners who are to be externally evaluated at Grade 9 are more than unlikely to perform diligently as a result of dysfunctionality at all levels of the system of education.
The Department is unable to determine exactly what the causal factors of dysfunctionality are in the schooling system. This is primarily because the modern teacher cannot be monitored by seniors who are subject specialists, and even by those from the school management teams. It is difficult to detect poor performance by teachers early enough in the system. It takes the analysing of results at the end of the year to pick up that the teacher failed the system.
By introducing the General Education Certificate, a bottleneck situation is likely to develop as very few learners will be able to go through Grade 9. To the Department, this will be an advantage as few learners who are average and above average will be able to progress through the Further Education Training (FET) phase, and most likely make it to Grade 12 and pass. The Department will then be able to claim good percentage pass, ignoring the fact that the system has been strangulated by the GEC and learners who could not go through Grade 9 because they fell off the system or got channelled to non-existing skill development programmes.
At Grade 9, the current learner still struggles to follow instructions. It may therefore not be accurate that learners would do better in vocational colleges. In order to save the education system, the Department has to confront the problem head-on and also deal with the underperforming teachers who hide behind the trade unions. As things stand, the system is faced with the situation of an inability or omission to hold the underperforming teachers accountable. The result is that the learners who are fortunate to survive the system are those who fall within the gifted group. Those who are teacher-dependent would be lucky to make it through.
Bluntly put, this would then mean that the introduction of a certificate at Grade 9 would not bring about any improvement to the quality of education. It may instead force the learners out of the school system very early in life. The conundrum of a learner who is not ready for the workplace and the presently unappealing FET colleges would result in more young people on the streets. In turn, this would complicate the problem of criminality and other social ills in the country. All this because our system is politically designed to be shy to deal with the teacher it employs.
LETTER “B’ DROPPED FROM BLACK EXCELLENCE
One of the promised values of the Liberation Struggle was that a free Azania would anchor governance on Black Excellence. This had to be done to demonstrate to the people that it was racist propaganda that Black people were capable of nothing good, including governing themselves. The value and principle of Black Excellence was meant to give positive content to Sovereignty and national Self-determination.
On the contrary, white settlers gave Black people political office in 1994 with the negative wish that Black leaders would soon lend credence to the white supremacist claim that Black people are capable of nothing good. It was hoped that Black people would soon be despondent and crave a return to be ruled by white people and their anti-Black attitude. If this happened, white racists could not be blamed of colonising the country at gunpoint. They shall have been democratically elected, and therefore legitimate.
It appears the racists were correct in believing that Black politicians would let the people down and therefore give credit to white supremacist rule. Politicians across the political spectrum – from the ruling and opposition parties – are carelessly and arrogantly indulging in the anti-development habits of looting public resources and colluding with private capital in stealing taxpayers’ money in the past 25 years in the democratic dispensation. Though the people were promised Black Excellence, the letter “B” has been dropped such that the present governance and processes “lack excellence’.
In the Azanian political setup where we seek to redress the legacy of colonialism and racism, there is no way that such a project could be successful if it is not imbued with Black Consciousness.
Corruption and fraud in the South African politics are such an order of the day that the public have become numb. The people no longer raise eyebrows when corruption or State Capture rears its ugly head. That is not because they do not care. They care. It is only that the frequency is faster than the winking of an eye.
Violating the supreme law or the Constitution by politicians has no consequences. Ask former President Jacob Zuma. It meant nothing that the Constitutional Court ruled that he had violated his oath of office or the Constitution he was supposed to protect and uphold as the Head of State. All the compromised State institutions like the National Prosecution Authority, Intelligence or Parliament, came to his rescue and blindly defended him against the people. When he eventually fell, he did not do so because he was punished for the violation of the Constitution or 783 counts of corruption, racketeering and money laundering. He was pushed because he had become a useless liability to his ruling ANC.
Cyril Ramaphosa as President, the supposed New Dawn solution, only became the continuation of Zuma with a made-up face and levelled head. He has dropped the letter “B” in Black Excellence. Like Zuma, he is spending considerable time in the courts of law trying to defend himself against this corruption or that scandal. How New is this Dawn when Ramaphosa lies in parliament about receiving corruption money from the dubious Bosasa while Angelo Agrizzi was still spilling the beans of State Capture? Could Ramaphosa have been misled by Agrizzi’s first name which means an Angel? How is it possible that Ramaphosa could have been funded by private companies that have deals with his government to become yet again the President of the country? What is the quid pro quo in all this? What did these companies stand to gain by helping Ramaphosa to become the country’s President to over R1 billion in his bid to become ANC President and Head of State?
As and when the ruling party is corrupt to the core, you expect the opposition to hold it accountable. That was why the public was pleased with the EFF’s calling on Zuma to “pay back the money”. The public was similarly pleased by the DA’s hard-hitting statements of a “broken country” under the ANC-led government. Who will hold the ruling ANC accountable when now the EFF and its leaders are caught up in the VBS (Venda Building Society) Mutual Bank corruption where leaders from both the ANC and EFF stole the money of poor Black people?
According to news reports that detail corruption, both EFF’s bigwigs Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu are linked to the stealing of money of poor Black people from VBS. Shivambu’s brother Brian, who is also an EFF member, received more than R16 million from the VBS loot. The Daily Maverick laid bare documents detailing how Shivambu received loot from Brian’s loot when Shivambu sold him an old 2012 BMW for R700 000 in order to pay the shortfall on his traded-in Range Rover for a new one. Let alone that this is corruption money stolen from poor Black people, no one is able to explain just how on earth could an old 2012 BMW cost R700 000!
Have there been consequences or calls of “pay back the money” against these leaders by their organisation EFF? No. They have now learned to sing the ANC’s misused and notorious chorus of “innocent until proven guilty”
DA’s Mmusi Maimane who recently alerted the nation to a “broken country’ is now a broken man. Ironically, he has been exposed or thrown under the bus by a section of his white supremacist members who cannot stomach being led by a dark person. The DA is now investigating its leader over an apparent scandal that he was handed a gift car by Steinhoff’s CEO Markus Jooste to campaign to win elections. Steinhoff is the company that is involved in a scandal that blew millions of the workers’ investments through corruption. Maimane is also being investigated for a R4 Million house he declared as his own. The investigation is about who actually pays the house rental. It is believed he is being bankrolled by the corrupt world.
Yet in the US, whose imperialism we hate, Donald Trump is facing impeachment for abuse of power or violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Not in South Africa where the letter “B” of Black Excellence is dropped with impunity.
THE AFRIKAN ON AFRIKAN SELF HATE
Some say the looting and torching of shops and businesses reportedly owned by foreign nationals is a result of a failure by the government to enforce immigration and labour laws. Others say the anarchy that had engulfed parts of Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu-Natal and Eastern Cape is the work of criminals taking advantage of the failure of the system of governance. Others say the real trigger to the upheavals that had resulted in the brutal deaths of at least five people is the grinding poverty, chronic unemployment and social injustice. The reality is that all these assertions have elements of truth.
Political leaders are all united in condemning the violence and the looting of shops said be owned by foreign nationals. They are correct to condemn the wanton destruction of property and the targeting of people simply because they happen to come from other Afrikan countries. But that is the easy part.
The real issue is why are local Afrikan South Africans attacking other Afrikans from other countries? The assertion that this is xenophobia is nonsense. Xenophobia is the irrational fear of foreigners. If this violence was purely based on xenophobia, victims of the attacks would include Chinese, Indian and European immigrants. If we are to believe the argument that this is a well orchestrated plan, we should be seeing foreign multi-national companies being attacked by the rampaging mobs.
What we are observing with the latest attacks is Afrophobia – the fear and loathing of Afrikans. Sadly, this is done by other Afrikans. This is in fact an extreme case of self-hate. The wealthiest sections of the population are people of European ancestry. They own mines, big factories, huge farms, banks and basically the entire economy. How come we never hear of an argument that says the white tribe, which is a minority, has squeezed the majority of Afrikan people out of the mainstream economy and therefore they should be targeted? Why is it so easy to target a poor Afrikan immigrant from Somalia who is running a small tuckshop in Soweto but not the white mining mogul? Does that mean that our people only aspire to run spaza-shops, or become truck drivers?
There is a deeper psychological problem that should be addressed. At a primary level, Black people all over the world should first free themselves of the self-hate that the colonizers taught them. Over centuries, Black people were made to believe that they are inferior and that they are second class citizens. They were made to believe that their thick noses and dark skins are ugly. They have been made to believe that their kinky hair can only be beautiful if it has been straightened with chemicals to look like that of Europeans.
In addition to the psychological oppression, Black people across the globe were made to serve white people in the economy. The white people were the owners of wealth and tools of production while in the main Afrikan people were workers and essentially human tools for production. That is why Black people not only embrace white wealth but also admire it, yet they loath other Afrikans who appear to be doing better than them. They seem to ask the question – how did you escape the poverty that was supposed to be for all of us?
If we are to stop this madness of looting and violence on each other as Afrikans, we should first be baptized in Black Consciousness. For only if we love ourselves will we be able to love people who look like us. And when we love those who look like us, we will not target them simply because they seem to have slightly better opportunities than we have.
Currently we are fighting over the crumbs falling from the table of the settler-colonialists. Because of failed leadership and the corruption of the ruling elites, most of whom are puppets of Europe and America, resource-rich Afrikan countries such as Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Mozambique have their people becoming economic refugees in South Africa in search of better economic prospects. Because of poor governance and corruption, these countries are fertile grounds of exploitation by agents of imperialism and neo-colonialism.
Ultimately, if Afrikans are to address their problems and grow their economy and to stop slaughtering each other, there has to be visionary leadership that is anchored on ethical and moral rectitude. But for now, instead of Nigerian and Zambian political leaders to ask themselves what is driving their citizens to leave their home countries, they simply play victim saying “enough is enough” with regard to xenophobia.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 33