IMAGINE AN ANC-LESS SOUTH AFRICA
Political analysts have been exploring various scenarios following the delay by parliament for the submission and debate on the findings of the committee appointed to investigate if President Cyril Ramaphosa has a case to answer on the Phala Phala saga.
Some argue that if the committee were to find that Ramaphosa had a case to answer, this could precipitate a political crisis as he might have to step aside. Others are adamant that the findings would not much impact on him because even if the committee recommends that there was a prima facie case for impeaching the president, a process would still have to start. After a lengthy process that could take even months, it is members of the ANC who would still have the last word because the ANC is the majority party in the National Assembly. In other words, according to this school of thought, Ramaphosa would only be removed from office not because of violating any rule but because his party no longer wants him as president.
The argument is based on history. Former President Jacob Zuma enjoyed the unqualified support from his party for as long as he was president. When the crime busting unit, the Scorpions, had its sting sharply pointed at Zuma, it was the ANC Members of Parliament that moved with alacrity to ensure that the unit no longer existed. It did not end there. When the Nkandla scandal surfaced, Zuma enjoyed full protection from ANC MPs. Some were even uttering ridiculous statements like the swimming pool was a security feature in that it was regarded as a fire pool.
Zuma became vulnerable after Ramaphosa narrowly defeated a spirited bid by Zuma’s former wife, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become president of the ANC in its 2017 national conference. When he was no longer president of the ANC, he was not even allowed to serve the remaining portion of his second term. He was removed not because he had violated any rule but essentially because he was no longer the party president.
Political analysts use the same analogy that the ruling party would rally behind their leader for as long as he is at the helm. Period. And so far, his re-election as ANC president in the forthcoming December conference appears to be a done deal.
But why should non-ANC members make it their business to focus on the developments within that party? The common answer is that it is because the ANC is the ruling party. And that what happens in the ruling party affects the government and by extension affects all people in the country.
This dominant narrative has kept South Africans chained to the ruling party. Many people who are frustrated by the misrule of the ruling party believe they do not have a choice. They openly ask if we do not vote for the ruling party, who would we vote for? Perhaps that explains why more than half of the people who can vote decide to shun the electoral process.
Pan Africanist revolutionary leader, Kwame Toure said the task of the politically conscious is to make the unconscious conscious. In other words, it is the task of AZAPO to explode this myth that people do not have a choice outside the ruling party.
Voters should be reminded that they have the power to change any government. They do not have to tolerate mediocrity. Voters should ask themselves a few questions. They should look at their own experience since this current government came into office in 1994. People must look at the facts, objectively. And what are the facts? The fact is under the current government, South Africa has become the most unequal society in the world.
Under the current government, unemployment is almost at 50%. The situation is even worse among young people. Among the youth, unemployment is at a record 70%. The economy is not growing at a faster rate than population growth. This means that we are going backwards.
The healthcare system has virtually collapsed. The ruling political elite and the beneficiaries of corruption are the ones who are able to access quality health care provided by the private sector.
Public education is in a mess. Those who can, have taken their children from State schools to private schools as they have accepted that there is no effective education in public schools, especially those schools meant for Black children.
Crime has hit the roof. The murder rate in the country is higher than some countries at war. Women and children are not safe as rape has become a common feature in the country.
Trains from Soweto and other areas are no longer running because the rail infrastructure has been vandalised. Many roads throughout the country are in a state of disrepair.
Many people throughout the country do not have water despite the fact that dams are over-flowing. South Africans no longer have reliable supply of electricity, with loadshedding becoming as frequent as sunset.
As AZAPO Voice, our view is that voters should use their lived experience to decide whether they want more of the same or that they want to try something else. While there may be many confusing things, one thing is clear and obvious. South Africa is where it is today not because of the great deeds of one person or the failure of one leader. South Africa is where it is today because of how the ruling party has performed in government. That is an undeniable fact.
Our people should also look beyond the façade of political opportunists who fashion themselves as the champions of the interests of the people while all they want is to access State power. Big business is also investing in politics through funding counter-revolutionary parties whose brief is to ensure that even if the ANC is removed from power, parties such as AZAPO, which have an indisputable record to advance the interests of Black people, are not funded and therefore are unable to play an effective role in the remodelling of our politics.
But the straight and simple message is that you, the voter, have the power to change the country’s political fortunes. And that you can realise by imagining a country under the leadership of AZAPO.
ETHOS OF A DEVELOPMENTAL STATE
The construction of the new Mamelodi Magistrate’s Court started in November 2013. Nine years later, the building has not been completed and construction stopped in 2014. Tens of millions of rands have been paid to the contractor, but the building is becoming a white elephant.
There are many reasons offered why the construction has come to a halt. These range from reports that the Department of Public Works made variations to the original specification to allegations of interference by some members of the community who demanded a 30% stake in the deal.
The Mamelodi project is not the only one that has not been completed. Throughout the country, there are countless projects including those for water, housing and health facilities that have been abandoned after the government had paid millions to contractors.
The propaganda pushed by the State is that by moving several key functions of the government to the private sector, projects would be delivered quicker and cost effectively. The argument is that the State should be lean and only focus on those core functions that cannot be offered by the private sector. At the core of the argument is that the private sector is more efficient and can be relied upon to deliver better than the State. Far from this, the reality of the private sector is that it thrives on profit and margins. The extent of efficiency obtained from private sector delivery is informed by the size of the purse coming their way.
The Mamelodi project and the countless other abandoned projects throughout the country explode the myth that deferring serious reconstruction of the State will make the State lean and efficient. South Africa is a developmental State, with a clear mandate and social contract to improve the lives of the disadvantaged lot. There is no asking who this lot is – Black People. It is this fundamental imperative that should guide thinking with regards to the restructuring of the State. Outsourcing the development of Black people to the private sector can thus not be expected to serve as building blocks to the ethos of a developmental State. The State should rather focus on the frailties that collapse its efficient operations as private sector efficiencies are simply a mirage that this country can ill afford.
The private sector is generally known to be more efficient than the State because in the former there is consequence management. Those at the helm of running a private entity are given targets and if they fail to meet them, they are fired. In the public sector, there is job security and there is no culture of holding those in management positions to account. Non-performing managers do not lose their jobs. And because there is no link between performance and job retention, managers generally perform poorly compared to their counterparts in the private sector.
We should not throw the baby with the bath water. There is a need to have a strong and capable State. The government should insource many of the functions that are now being done by the private sector through the tender system. If the Department of Public Works can be revived and employ qualified professionals such as engineers and project managers, projects such as the Mamelodi Magistrate’s Court would be efficiently implemented by the State. The government would create more jobs and cut the brokers who thrive on tenders from the equation. But this is unlikely to be done because the current politician is motivated by greed and not the need to deliver quality service to the majority of the people.
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITMENTS SHOULD BENEFIT AFRIKA MORE
According to the statement released after the conference, the agreement also strengthened action by countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as well as boosting the support of finance, technology and capacity building needed by developing countries.
The commitment to build resilience by the vulnerable communities that are worst impacted by climate change is commendable, but this must be supported by enabling programs that will limit the emissions from the developed parts of the world.
It is foolhardy for the world to be committed and be excited by developments of new funding packages that will enable developing countries to respond to climate change losses and damages caused largely by the developed countries that continue with their business as usual, contributing to the rise in temperature from their fossil fuels.
These developed countries and multinational finance institutions are the same ones that could not meet their 2020 climate finance target obligations. It must be highlighted that the resilience built by communities from the under-developed and developing world is against the effects of gases that are emitted by the biggest polluters in the world.
These are the same countries that are forcing countries like South Africa to consider reducing their dependency on coal while they refuse to shut down their fossil fuel plants.
While the general commitment to reduce pollution should be welcomed, it is important to understand which countries are the biggest polluters. Here are some of the top polluters:
¨ China, with more than 10 065 million tons of carbon dioxide released
¨ United States of America, with 5 416 million tons of carbon dioxide
¨ India, with 2 654 million tons of carbon dioxide
¨ Russia, with 1 711 million tons carbon dioxide
¨ Japan, with 1 162 million of tons of carbon dioxide
¨ Germany 759 million tons of carbon dioxide
These countries, with the highest carbon emissions, are also the most industrialised countries in the world. It is also worth noting that none of these countries are based on the Afrikan continent.
However, the effects of planet change such as severe droughts and floods tend to affect poor countries more than developed countries, some of which are the primary polluters.
In recent weeks, western Afrikan countries experienced devastating floods while in other parts of the continent people are going through what has been described as one of the most severe droughts in memory.
The real challenge of climate change is that its effects cannot be successfully reversed by the efforts of one country doing what is right. What makes the situation even more complicated is the fact that the burning of coal, one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas, remains arguably the cheapest source of energy.
The situation gets even more complex in the context of South Africa where the country is experiencing critical shortage of power and experiencing loadshedding. It is tempting to argue for the burning of coal to address the current energy requirements for the country.
Those who might advocating for the continued use of coal to address the energy needs argue that countries that are at the forefront of the reduction of coal use do not have coal reserves and have a vested interest in that they have the technology to provide electricity without burning of coal.
Whatever the arguments, what is clear is that climate change is a real threat to the survival of humanity on this continent. It is in the interest of all humankind to embrace this reality and act accordingly.