THE DECAY IN REVOLUTIONARY MORALITY
A Sunday newspaper splashed on its front page a report about KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu who was renting a car for more than R100 000 a month at tax-payers’ expense because he was unwilling to use a luxurious Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 which was used by his predecessor.
The car used by the former Education MEC is only a year old and has clocked just 40 000km.
Following the newspaper report, Mshengu appeared on television, apparently to set the record straight. He did not dispute that he was renting a car. In fact, the real issue that he disputed was the amount. It was not more than R100 000 a month as reported in the newspaper but a “mere R90 000” a month. Wow!
He even offered some preposterous explanation why he was not using his personal vehicle for official business. He said his personal vehicle was bigger than the one that he was renting and that had he opted for his personal car, the department would end up paying more. Wow! He is in fact doing us a favour.
So far, the department has paid almost half a million for renting the car for the MEC. This is despite the fact that there is a car which is still fairly new which he could use. This is not just an illustration of the countless cases of abuse of State resources but also an example of the decay in revolutionary morality that should be guiding the consciences of those who lead our people.
In a country where four out of ten people are unemployed, where half the population live in abject poverty, where millions have no access to drinking water, where millions have no basic needs such as electricity, where children still learn under trees, where millions live in mikhukhu, one would have thought that those who have been given responsibilities to lead the country will be a bit more considerate in how they spend limited State resources. But clearly, our hopes are misplaced. Politicians such as Mshengu are the norm. They are more concerned about their luxury than delivering better services to the people. Sadly, nothing will happen to Mshengu because in this country, one can basically abuse State resources with impunity.
If we are to stop the rot, it is incumbent upon us as a people to hold those in office accountable. One way to ensure that politicians account, is to build stronger opposition so that there is no security of tenure for those in power. Democracy only thrives where there is insecurity of tenure for the incumbents.
RAMAPHOSA’S ANNUAL INVESTMENT CONFERENCES DO NOT STIMULATE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week hosted another conference geared at attracting investment. The investment conference is becoming a permanent feature in our annual calendar. Last year, a similar conference was held and there is little to show for it. Unemployment continues to be on the increase and the economy continues to be sluggish.
South Africa has an impressive reputation of holding conferences, summits and commissions. We seem to believe that diagnosing a problem has the same effect as addressing it. Let’s face it. Is it realistic to expect a businessman to suddenly invest because he attended a conference? The country should address the underlying reasons for low levels of investment and these do not require a conference.
One of the factors contributing to slow growth is the shortage of high skilled labour force. Our country has not fully embraced the fourth industrial revolution and the manner in which we train our people has not evolved with the times. This is why many trade union leaders vehemently oppose mechanization in the mines and in other sectors. They believe that they can save jobs by opposing new technology. But instead of opposing new technology, we should embrace it and exploit it to such an extent that we add value to our commodities which were being exported in their raw form.
The government should also lower the barriers of entry to many industries. For example, we are said to be a capitalist country, but our banking industry is dominated by five major banks. In other countries, this industry has been opened up to allow small players, who operate from small offices and even on street corners.
The government is pre-occupied with maintaining the status-quo in the economy. In the construction industry, for instance, the State insists that certain levels of accreditation should be secured before a firm can tender for big contracts. What these rules actually mean is that only the big white firms that benefited from apartheid should have exclusive rights to do major projects for the government.
In the cultural space, foreign made films still dominate our movie houses. Locally produced films are relegated to some theatres and even there they are only allowed to play just for a week. If the government was progressive, it would support locally made productions by imposing a system that forces the untransformed film industry to give local productions a fair chance.
In a nutshell, our solution for economic growth and job creation lies in the government stimulating domestic economic activity so that we reduce our trade deficit by producing most of what we consume. And when we do that, we would no longer put our hopes for economic recovery on the annual rituals of the investment conferences.
WESTERN IMPERIALISM OVERTHROWS EVO MORALES
After months of US-backed unrest in Bolivia, President Evo Morales has announced his resignation under duress and fled to Mexico for political asylum this past Sunday.
Last Friday night, the demonstrations climaxed to a level where the police unit guarding the presidential residence met to review its support for the government. By Saturday the unit deserted its posts. They had eventually cracked under the pressure of civil disobedience. The Police Operations Tactical Unit (UTOP) had been involved in overdrawn clashes with anti-government protesters.
The army had strangely remained in their barracks and allowed the chaos to worsen. On Sunday the army issued a statement asking President Morales to step down and allow for space for peace in Bolivia. With the sudden loss of support from the police and the army, Morales had lost the power and force to control the burning streets. The army loaded him on a plane to Cochabamba where he announced his resignation on Sunday and fled to Mexico by Tuesday.
This flow of events has traces of a coup in them. While in the safety of Mexico, Morales confirmed this and wrote on Twitter that “the most cunning and disastrous coup in history has been carried out”. He added that “my sin was being indigenous, leftist and anti-imperialist”.
The US and the western superpowers have welcomed the coup. Trump’s US has said that “Morales’ departure preserves democracy”. Already, the US is painting a narrative that its takeover is a “preservation of democracy”. These perpetrators could not help but expose their role in the coup as they boasted that “these events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail”.
There you have it. The will of the imperialist US is the will of the people of all the countries where the US plots regime change.
From 2006 to 2019, Morales has served three terms in office. A constitutional amendment in 2009 called for early elections, which he won. The technicalities brought about by the early elections allowed him to run for a 3rd term in 2014, despite the constitution limiting him to two consecutive terms. Even if somebody spotted anything untoward to the sudden change of the constitution, Morales won a 2017 Supreme Court ruling, which stated that the term limits amounted to a violation of the fundamental human rights.
However, the 2016 referendum to pave for his 4th term was narrowly defeated. External factors like economic strangulation of Bolivia aside, Morales seems to have undermined how powerful the western imperialist propaganda is. While the 2017 Supreme Court ruling opened the way for him to contest elections beyond the initial constitutional limitation of two terms, the western version democracy of two terms has taken root in the minds of many people. You are easily portrayed as a powermonger and dictator when you stay longer in power. More so, when the economy is not doing well. It is not always easy for the masses to see the sabotaging hand of the western imperialists.
The amending of the constitution to allow Morales more space to stay in power played in the hands of the imperialists. The watershed moment was when Morales began to lose even some leftists forces who began to feel that he was overplaying his hand on power. That led to the narrow defeat of the 2016 referendum that sought to allow Morales to run for a 4th term. This defeat was used against Morales to suggest that the people demanded that he step down and give space to others. The October 2019 presidential elections were fought by the opposition under this tone.
The turmoil in Bolivia has been boiling since last year with the country divided between anti-government and pro-government forces. In October 2019 Morales won a narrow victory against his close rival Carlos Mesa of the Citizens Party amid 9 candidates. The west and the opposition claimed that the polls were rigged in favour of Morales. Following after the 2016 Referendum defeat of Morales, the “fraudulent victory” narrative by the western superpowers and the opposition colonised the public psych.
During the October 2019 presidential elections, a blunder was committed when the live transmission of the rapid count method was suspended for about 24 hours. By the night of the strange suspension, Morales was leading Mesa by less that the required 10%. It was obvious to even Morales’ supporters that a run-off election in December was unavoidable. Yet on the resumption of the live transmission of the results Morales was leading comfortably beyond 10%. That was the last straw for Morales. His traditional base started to feel that he should “consider resigning”.
These mistakes forced the people to gradually forget the great strides of Morales and his Movement for Socialism (MAS). Of course, quite a force of the indigenous people remained loyal and are still fighting for the return of Morales. That was because Morales changed the lives of the ordinary people for the better. He nationalised key industries and used the income to reduce poverty by more than half. He also made a bold attempt to nationalise the large lithium reserves, which are necessary for the electric cars. The effect of that was the reduction of income inequality or Gini-coefficient by 19%.
He also made huge strides at the cultural and identity level. 36 indigenous languages became official national languages together with Spanish. The version of indigenous-socialism led by MAS made it possible to do a simple thing that had proved elusive – the official use of Wiphala, which is an indigenous tricolour flag.
To expose the true nature of the coup against Morales, his temporary replacement Jeanine Anez Chávez made what could be seen as a slip of the tongue when she said, “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites”.
What is happening to Bolivia is a lesson that the revolutionary forces should appreciate the fact that imperialism has forged a strong global solidarity despite the fact that it is already strong. But imperialism learned this lesson from the very left it sought to destroy. The First and Second Internationals were there in realisation of the need to close ranks by the revolutionary movements of the people of the world.
AMAXHOSA KING HAS FALLEN
AZAPO Voice joins the nation in mourning the untimely death of amaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu at a tender age of 51.
With only 13 years on the throne at the Nqadu Great Place, King Zwelonke had all the time ahead to consolidate his contributions in fighting for the clarification of the role of Indigenous Leadership in terms of governance, as well the development of Indigenous Law as it relates to this aspect of leadership.
He was often vocal against the disdain that Indigenous Leadership was treated as evidenced by the incarceration of the incumbent abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo.
The attendance of his 2015 coronation by other indigenous leaders who came as far as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Cameron, Libya, Indonesia and Britain gave testimony to his work to unite Indigenous Leadership in Azania and the entire Continent of Afrika.
AZAPO Voice urges all the indigenous leaders to honour the memory of King Zwelonke by building a united and stronger platform as the custodians of the Afrikan culture and its values in the face of the invasive western values.
AZAPO Voice believes that Afrikan Indigenous Leadership would not have been humiliated with the jailing of King Zwelibanzi had this institution been united and solid.
AZAPO Voice conveys its condolences to the bereaved royal family and the institution of Afrikan Indigenous Leadership as a whole.
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