SACP wades into succession debate
Leon Engelbrecht | Johannesburg, South Africa For Mail & Guardian,6 May 2007
The South African Communist Party (SACP) would not be an absentee participant in the election of a new African National Congress president, the organisation’s deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin said on Sunday. He said the SACP was planning to uphold the values of the liberation struggle in the debate rather than act as a campaign manager for any one personality. Cronin was speaking at a press briefing on this weekend’s meeting of the party’s central committee. He said a key issue in next year’s election of a new leadership for the ANC would be the struggle against corruption, and key to this was the unhealthy link between big business and politicians. SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande said the intersection between business and the state was the root of many of the problems the ANC and government faced. “We must disrupt this relationship,” he said. “If you decide to serve the public, serve the public. If you decide to make money and go into business, go into business, but don’t mix the two,” Nzimande argued. He added that for many the public service had become a station “where you wait for the next [gravy] train.” Asked about President Thabo Mbeki’s recent statement that his successor should be a woman, Cronin responded to laughter that “our position is that the next president will be a man or a woman”. Commenting on perceived political factions within the ANC, Cronin said these were “often business factions operating through our structures”. Nzimande said the atmosphere surrounding the succession race had become poisoned. There was a dire need to “de-individualise” the succession debate. In addition, the ANC’s national executive committee had ruled that the election of a new leadership team had to be left to internal constitutional processes in the run-up to the 2007 conference. “We agree with that,” Nzimande said. However, the party wanted an ANC leadership that valued the ANC-SACP-Congress of SA Trade Unions alliance and valued the values of that alliance. He added that the party was committed to gender equality and the emancipation of women, but then Mbeki had raised the issue in a “rather difficult” atmosphere and the call could have the unintended consequence of hindering, rather than advancing the cause of women. Nzimande said the entire matter, therefore, had to be handled in a disciplined and inclusive manner, but without stifling democracy. 2 Mbeki said on Saturday that while there might be “squabbles” or “fights” within the ruling party particularly about the succession, the objective of the ANC is to address the needs of ordinary South Africans. “What are the principle tasks of the ANC? The principle task is not to be fighting over leadership. We should be concentrating on improving the lives of our people … positions are not decided by the ANC president or the secretary general. “I can understand that people are ambitious to become leaders — that shouldn’t surprise anyone. If they want to become a leader — it has to be within the confines or the rules and regulations that govern the country. “Some people want to have a seat for the presidency and some want to take over. What South Africans are saying is: ‘However you resolve your squabbles in the ANC, this is the direction we want for our country to take.'” – Sapa
Sexwale’s name thrown into succession debate
07 January 2007, Mail& Guardian
Businessman Tokyo Sexwale has been approached by senior Cabinet ministers to run for the position of African National Congress (ANC) president later this year, a move which would pave the way for him to become the president of South Africa when Thabo Mbeki retires in 2009, the Sunday Times reported. Sexwale himself has been talking to both of the ANC factions, whose loyalties are split between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, the Sunday Times said. Part of Sexwale’s strategy appears to be to seek former President Nelson Mandela’s endorsement of his candidature, which his backers believe would constitute a great boost for his campaign. Turbulent year In December it was reported that 2007 promises to be the most turbulent in South Africa since apartheid’s demise, with an already acrimonious battle for the leadership of the ANC set to spill out into the open. Mbeki, not due to stand down as state president until 2009, is set to relinquish his post as ANC supremo at a December conference with Jacob Zuma, the man whom he sacked as his number two, looking to place his foot on the traditional stepping stone to the highest office. Mbeki will also face a new opposition leader when the Democratic Alliance chooses a successor to the outgoing Tony Leon. “I would say it will be the most divisive year” since the end of the whites-only regime in 1994, said Cape Town-based analyst Daniel Silke. “The battle for leadership in both spheres has the potential to create internal ructions.” The last succession contest a decade ago, when Mbeki replaced Nelson Mandela, was not without bitterness but the divisions this time have raised questions about whether the ANC can stay in one piece. 3 In line with ANC tradition, Zuma has not declared his candidacy but there is furious lobbying behind the scenes. Fundraising dinners have been held to build up a war-chest while Zuma supporters have been fingered for a string of humiliations heaped on Mbeki, such as heckling one of his speeches. The contest will play out a decade-long battle between supporters of Mbeki’s privatisation agenda and those who feel he has ignored deep-seated poverty. Adam Habib of the Pretoria-based Human Sciences Research Council said Zuma had positioned himself as cheerleader of the have-nots. “He agreed to represent that faction, he articulated that unhappiness,” he said. Zuma kept in the race after being cleared in 2006 of rape and having a corruption case thrown out of court. But the threat of new graft charges and damaging revelations in the rape trial have left a shadow over his head. A recent poll in the Sunday Independent showed 60% believe Zuma has disgraced the country while half believe he would be a disaster as president. The survey also highlighted ethnic divisions, with Zuma’s main support base among Zulus and Mbeki’s support at its highest among Xhosa-speakers. Nearly 80% of those from Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal want him as president compared with 31% of Xhosa speakers. “For the first time within the succession stakes there is inter-ethnic conflict,” said Silke. While Silke doubts the succession battle will scare off investors, “anything that smacks of emergence of tribalism within South Africa would be of major concern to the international community”. The potential for division has led to speculation the party will seek a compromise candidate. — Sapa, AFP
Khumalo challenges Mbeki on succession debate o
The Mercury on May 11, 2006 Sipho Khumalo May 11 2006 at 09:34AM
An ally and confidante of embattled ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma has sneered at President Thabo Mbeki’s statement that the next president of the country should be a woman. 4 Elias Khumalo, a businessman, said on Wednesday that Mbeki should resign now and give his position to a woman to show his commitment to the statement he made at the weekend. The statement has been viewed with suspicion by those backing Zuma, who feel this is a plan by Mbeki to personally appoint the next president and prevent Zuma from ascending to the position. Khumalo said it was baffling that Mbeki was opening a debate on the presidential succession now after commenting that the time was not right for such debate when the issue was raised by the ANC Youth League in 2005. Khumalo, a former business associate of Muziwendoda Kunene, who has been implicated in the hoax email scandal connected to the ANC’s succession battle, said Mbeki’s comment ran contrary to ANC policy. He is also a leading figure in the Friends of Jacob Zuma organisation, which is responsible for mobilising financial support for Zuma’s legal defence. “It has never happened in the ANC that you have a president deciding unilaterally on his preference (of a successor). This is a sign of autocracy,” said Khumalo. He said he feared that Mbeki’s call could be viewed by some people as an attempt to ensure that whoever succeeded him, whether male or female, was more “docile and controllable”. “If the president is so passionate that the next president should be a female, he can actually demonstrate that by resigning now to give the chance to a woman. I do not think anybody would oppose that because he would be practising what he is preaching,” said Khumalo, adding that empowering women was a policy of the ANC and not of an individual in the party. Mbeki’s call for a woman president has also been criticised by Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal, with its Secretary, Zet Luzipho, saying the timing of the call raises many questions. He warned that “women should not be used for selfish political agendas” hidden in campaigns for women empowerment. He asked why Mbeki was so confident that the next president would be a woman. Luzipho has been at the forefront of pro-Zuma campaigns in the province.
Union slams Mbeki over succession debate
May 26 2006 at 12:27AM
By Leon Engelbrecht African National Congress leader and president Thabo Mbeki was lambasted by the Congress of South African Trade Unions on Thursday for campaigning for a successor while preventing others from doing the same. Its Central Executive Committee (CEC) criticised Mbeki for opening the debate on who would succeed him while he presided over an African National Congress National Executive Committee that condemned the ANC Youth League for doing the same. “It cannot be correct that others’ hands are tied by protocol while the president declares his own candidature and then consistently calls for a woman president in public instead of using the ANC structures,” Cosatu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said at a media briefing on the CEC’s behalf. Equally it is wrong to mobilise non-ANC members to decide on who must be the next president, more so when the South African system lets the president be elected by the ANC rather than the whole electorate. It is the ANC that was elected by the citizens not any individual. “Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was brutally and rudely reminded that he was not an ANC 5 member when he ventured to make comments about democracy in the ANC. Now, in contrast, everyone is being mobilised to decide on internal ANC matters,” Vavi said of an attack on Tutu last year and an invitation to the public earlier this month. Vavi said Cosatu and the South African Communist Party believed this was just another tack by a grouping within the ANC that was, as he put it, carefully and skilfully pursuing a project to shift the ANC and the national democratic revolution from its radical character into a moderate, centre-left political party beholden to capital. “The key feature of this strategy is low intensity democracy which includes marginalisation of the ANC mass base together with all formations of the mass democratic movement,” Vavi charged. He added that the ANC’s NEC had become a club of cabinet ministers and business interests, and therefore it came as no surprise that big business was now openly attempting to influence the succession. “Equally we are not surprised that some of businesses have joined the tune that we now need a women president,” Vavi said. “Every class, even those who have historically sought to destroy the ANC, will seek to influence this discussion, using every means in its possession, from money to the media.” At the weekend the SACP said the intense and early interest in who would next year succeed Mbeki as president of the ANC and as head of state in 2009 was the direct result of the over-centralisation of power in the Union Buildings and Luthuli House. – Sapa
Succession Debate by Zwelinzama
The succession debate Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, COSATU – September 7, 2006
Dear friends and comrades, Thank you for the opportunity to speak on the important issue of the succession debate. This is a particularly welcome chance for us because, for all the media noise about COSATU’s views and positions, we have seen very little willingness to actually listen to us. As usual, we are producing volumes of documentation on our work and ideas for the upcoming Congress, and it would be a useful exercise if our friends outside of COSATU took the time to look at them. We thank you for the chance to speak directly and openly on this complex and politically contested issue. Let me start by asking why we need a succession debate at all. For COSATU, the process is meaningless if it becomes a mere beauty contest, a debate on the pros and cons of individuals. In any case, from experience, even if we think we know a person, she or he is likely to surprise us once they come to power. Rather, COSATU must use this opening to ask what changes are needed in the ANC as an organisation in order to improve the position of workers and the poor. The succession debate must open up an analysis of the ANC’s role in the current phase of our revolution. The succession debate is about how we take our NDR forward. Only then can we set parameters for the way forward. We have to start by evaluating how conditions have changed since the democratic breakthrough in 1994. For COSATU, the main shortcomings today lie in the economy and how we have conducted our politics. Since 1994, we have seen extraordinary high levels of unemployment and poverty, with precious little improvement for the majority of our people. True, government has done a lot to extend services and social grants our communities. But the benefits have been offset by the job-loss bloodbath. We watch our members turned onto the street every week, while their children spend years after leaving school with little prospect of a paying job at all. Today, years after we won democracy, inequalities in income and wealth remain virtually unchanged. Black communities still lag far behind historically white suburbs in access to services. The lines of inequality still run between a small group of predominantly white rich people, on the one hand, and the vast majority of mostly black workers, the unemployed and the informally self-employed, on the other. At the same time, a small group of black people has managed to get a foothold in the economy. Black capital has made increasing efforts to use the state to drive its own limited demands, rather than to ensure transformation. A right-wing political-economic elite has begun to consolidate itself, with close ties between some in government and business. This situation runs the real risk of establishing a kleptocracy, where our leaders judge development by their ability to consume as much as the rich in the North rather than by improvements in the position of the majority. It is this situation that led COSATU and the SACP to agree that capital was the main beneficiary in economic terms from our first decade of liberation. That’s a heavy statement we have made with profound implications on the direction of our NDR. Our NDR was never about a narrow replacement of the white with the black oligarchy. Our NDR is about tackling all three forms of oppression – the national, class and gender oppression simultaneously and not one after the other. The situation where the main beneficiary of economic transformation is white capital cannot be allowed to persist. It was from this analysis that these leading working class formation declared the next decade must be a workers and the poor’s decade. In this context, the failure to transform the state means that it remains more responsive to capital than to the majority, despite efforts to improve public services for the poor and some progress on economic policy in the past few years. Our democratic government inherited a state full of closed and hierarchical processes designed to exclude the majority. Despite huge improvements, embodied in Parliament and NEDLAC, most people are still shut out of key government decisions. The result has been an increase in unrest, as local governments in particular seem unresponsive to people’s needs. At the same time, the failure to transform the state means that many people who dedicated their entire lives to our liberation remain excluded from political power. Most long-term activists have been marginalised, and they are increasingly bitter about it. This situation points to the need to refine COSATU’s long-standing call for a strong developmental state. A strong state that is controlled by capital is not in the interests of the working class. Rather, we need a democratic developmental state that drives policies in the interests of workers and the poor. That, in turn, requires inclusive and accountable policy-making processes. The voice of communities, working people, and the historically marginalised must dominate in the development of government programmes and policies. Implementation must be powered by the mobilisation of our people, not just deals with big business. Only in that context do we call for a state with the power to co-ordinate around key projects, find the necessary resources, and manage both local and international situation appropriately. What do we need from the ANC to address the challenges that have arisen over the past 12 years? Above all, the ANC must give the majority power over the state in between elections. The ANC has always been our organisation, our best hope for bringing together the progressive forces in our country to drive transformation and a better life for all. We will not give it away to capital without a fight. But we have to admit that from the standpoint of an ordinary worker, it has today largely become only an elections machine, mobilising our people to vote and ineffective in between. We need to turn that around. Revitalising the ANC faces three challenges. First, the huge power of the state has tended in itself to demobilise the ANC at all levels. Given the capacity of the state to churn out policy proposals, the ANC can easily be left behind. The NEC and the NWC have virtually no poor people or workers left, and are dominated by government leaders. The result is that the real policy discussions take place within government. There is a dearth of debate in the ANC – we are lucky if there’s a meeting once or twice a year to reflect on policy issues. ANC branches are largely shut out from policy processes. At my last branch meeting, the main policy question was how to take forward the municipality’s anti-litter campaign. This situation means the ANC has become little more than a rubberstamp for government decisions. In the process, it has developed a culture of intolerance, where power determines the outcome of policy discussions, rather than facts and the experience of all participants. Second, in the context of growing class formation in the black population, the ANC has become a centre for contestation and lobbying. It has always been open to anyone who accepts its ideals and objectives. That openness can now be abused by people who pay lip-service to improving conditions for the majority, but in fact seek opportunities to enrich themselves. Capital always has time and capacity to lobby the powerful (as well as money for elections). Black capital may be small in numbers and economic power, but it certainly has time to contest the ANC. Now we also see big white companies taking an interest. At 8 the same time, the opportunities for politicians to enter business have multiplied, and they are increasingly drawn into the business class. The results of deepening class differences in political terms are clear to see. Large ANC meetings that include representatives of the branches reach very different conclusions from the closed-door NEC and NWC meetings. The outcome is instability, conflict and, for COSATU, repeatedly re-awakened hope that we can revive the old, democratic ANC. In our 2015 Plan we committed to rebuilding the ANC from the bottom up, by encouraging our members to revitalise their branches. If we do not deal with the log-jam on internal democracy, however, that proposal is not going to work. Third, we have to take into account the international context. We have been tremendously encouraged by the recent successes of mass mobilisation around the WTO, as well as by the victories of the Left in Latin America in recent years. Obviously these victories are offset by the horrors of U.S.-led aggression in the Middle East. Still, they point to the potential for galvanising local and international forces to confront American aggression and economic hegemony. The succession debate has to help us analyse and develop proposals for dealing with all these challenges. Again, the question is how to revive long-standing ANC traditions in the face of contestation by business and the power of the state. Those traditions are, above all, The bias toward the working class and the poor, based on internal democracy, not closed decision-making in smoky back rooms, A commitment to ANC leadership in policy issues in the spirit of the Ready to Govern Conference and the RDP, based on mass consultation and open debate, and The culture of public service, collectivity and open debate, rather than individual careerism and competition over 4 by 4s. In sum, the succession debate, for us, must not deteriorate into squabbles about the merits or shortcomings of individuals. Rather, it must discuss programmes of action and the leadership collective as a whole, at all levels. The succession debate must help us think through our analysis of where we are in our political and economic programme, and where we want to be. Only on that basis can we position the ANC for its centenary in 2012 and beyond as a true liberation movement, one that can free our people not just of the oppression of apartheid, but of the tyranny of joblessness, poverty and powerlessness. 9 The Herald, 07 November 7, 2007 Patrick Cull on Monday Ramaphosa bid seems to be wishful thinking THE most intriguing question in the “succession” debate at present is whether Cyril Ramaphosa will, despite his denials, enter the presidential race. On two occasions Ramaphosa‘s name has been mentioned, and on both occasions he has issued a statement denying that he has any aspirations to serve either as president of the ANC or head of state. Yet the suggestions persist that he will step forward at some point, Tokyo Sexwale will withdraw in his favour, and Ramaphosa will be hailed as the man that can heal the rifts and destroy the factionalism that has become an integral part of the ruling party. It all sounds as if it is the product of wishful thinking on the part of those within the ANC who resent the manner in which the organisation is being torn apart and would like both ANC president Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, to withdraw from the fray, and those fearful of the effect on the country if Zuma were to be elected. Until Ramaphosa does emerge as a candidate – if it ever happens – we are left with two candidates that appear to have run out of steam with Sexwale waiting in the wings, although there has been a prolonged silence from that quarter as well. In the meantime slates have now been published by the rival camps for the top six positions that will be decided at national conference at the end of the year. There is some overlap, although whether that is because there is consensus or because the people represent key constituencies is another matter. Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Zuma‘s name, for example, appears on the slate of both those supporting a third term for President Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader and those backing Zuma. Apart from the speculation around Ramaphosa, the only other development has been ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota‘s criticism of Zuma‘s trademark battle cry on the grounds that phase of the struggle had ended and songs should reflect today‘s challenges such as those around development. Lekota later denied that he was referring to Zuma. Perhaps the saddest aspect of events over the past month has been the way that Mbeki has appeared in a new guise. Rather than the “philosopher king” image that he appeared to cultivate, we see a man who appears to have become obsessed with the loyalty of those around him rather than the best interests of the country. And that has seen him launch attacks on the media and his henchman, Essop Pahad, even proposing government should withdraw its advertising support from the Sunday Times following its expose of Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang‘s criminal record in Botswana. Mbeki‘s actions at times have appeared almost irrational, the dispute over conditions at East London‘s Frere Hospital being the prime example. Mbeki must know that there are significant problems with state hospitals. Reports of the conditions that prevail appear almost daily along with those that record staff shortages, lack of security and a host of other problems. And he must surely also be aware of the fact that some provinces are not spending the conditional grant funds allocated for hospital revitalisation. Yet he is not willing to act against those responsible. Rather, he lauds Tshabalala-Msimang, defends the investigation that was conducted after Frere Hospital knew it was to take place and dismisses deputy minister Noziwe Madlala- Routledge for not working as part of a collective after she had visited the hospital unannounced and declared it to be a “national emergency”. The Daily Dispatch investigation is summarily dismissed and its motives questioned. Yet he visited the Peddie Hospital personally in the election campaign of 1999 and he saw the conditions. Surely he does not believe that in eight years the situation has been magically transformed? What is in the public interest has been simply pushed aside and replaced by what is in the President‘s interests. It is clear that he has become utterly intolerant of criticism and his determination to serve a third term as ANC president and therefore retain power has become an obsession. It is there that the similarity with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is to be found. Both men are intellectuals and remote. Neither is interested in materials things and it has never been suggested of either that they are corrupt. But they are both driven by a desire for power and while Mbeki would never seek to change the Constitution to allow him to serve a third term as head of state because that would reinforce the negative perceptions of Africa, he is seeking to retain ultimate control by being elected as ANC president for the third time. Certainly, the election at the end of the year is about which person will be elected and the policies that they will pursue, although even if Zuma were to be successful it is difficult to see him introducing drastic shifts in fiscal and economic policy. The left wing credentials he proclaims are a convenient tool in the battle for the leadership. More importantly, however, it is about whether we will see Mbeki returned for a third term and whether he will be able to entrench himself as the real power, determining policy and dispensing patronage from behind the throne.
Succession bomb rocks ANC
26/09/2004 13:24 – (SA) News24 Jimmy Seepe Johannesburg
Gauteng ANC leadership has thrown down the gauntlet by requesting discussion with the party’s national leaders about President Thabo Mbeki’s successor in 2009. 11 More than two years before the ANC has to choose a new leader at a national conference, the influential Gauteng district has called on the national leadership to encourage the party’s structures at all levels to discuss a successor for Mbeki. The request upset the ANC because it is in direct opposition to a formal request from the national leadership that such discussions be discouraged. The national leadership requested that the focus must instead be on the challenges facing the country and the party. Gauteng ANC co-ordinator David Makhura confirmed that the provincial executive committee had suggested to the national leadership that discussions should be held about Mbeki’s successor. “We want the issue discussed inside the organisation’s structure, instead of being informally discussed by individuals. We are placing it firmly on the agenda,” he said. The suggestion indicated that it could not be taken as a given that deputy president Jacob Zuma would succeed Mbeki, in the same manner Mbeki, then deputy president, succeeded former president Nelson Mandela in 1997. It seemed as if the ANC could be entering a long and drawn-out process to choose a successor for Mbeki, who must step down in 2009 according to the Constitution. Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Defence Minister and ANC national chairpeson Mosiuoa Lekota have been mentioned as possible successors during the past year. Businessman and ANC heavyweight Cyril Ramaphosa, businessman and former ANC spokesperson Saki Mcozoma and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel have also been mentioned. Ramaphosa, a former secretary general of the ANC, has been denying rumours that he was in the race for the presidency. The ANC in Gauteng brought up the issue of Mbeki’s successor in athe wake of an official document titled Building an protection of the unity of the movement. The document requests an honest discussion on national and provincial levels on issues relating to the succession. The document states that the unity of the ANC will be seriously tested by the critical question of leadership succession on national and provincial level as the 52nd national conference and the 2009 election approach. This move by the Gauteng ANC could be regarded as a reverse for the political ambitions of deputy president Jacob Zuma, who would have liked to see a seamless succession from being deputy president to being president. He has said on several occasions that discussion about succession within the ANC was ISS TODAY 18 July 2006: South Africa’s Succession Debate Cheryl Hendricks, ISS
The presidential succession debate continues to pervade the South African media, even though the ANC has noted that it will not engage the issue until the ANC conference next year. The media portrays the ANC as split between Zuma and Mbeki supporters and argues that this has severely impacted on the functioning of the organization. They have suggested a number of possible compromise candidates: Kgalema Motlanthe, Trevor Manuel, Mosioua Lekota and Cyril Ramaphosa. The furthest President Mbeki has gone in making his wishes known is by indicating that he would like to see a woman as the next South African President. His appointment of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as his deputy was seen as a step in this direction. However, from the choice of possible compromise candidates being bandied around, it seems that South Africans are not that willing to consider the potential of women in this regard. What are some of the underlying issues that emerge from the succession saga and that explain its current political centrality? First, the struggle between Zuma and Mbeki supporters is representative of the deeper cleavages within the society. Mbeki has come to represent the urbane, modernist, technocratic, pan-Africanist face of the ANC, while Zuma is seen as appealing to the populists, urban and rural poor, and traditionalist elements. South Africans have largely tended to deny the salience of ethnic politics. Zuma’s political campaign, however, has brought ethnicity squarely into the political arena, and this scares many. This is not an issue that can be neatly swept under the carpet through some form of ‘elite pacting’. It has to be recognized and dealt with appropriately, for it has been the nemesis of most post-colonial African states. Second, the debate highlights the need for a public discussion on how future presidents are to be elected. To date the ANC has retained its liberation movement modus operandi in which secrecy, discipline, internal unity and collective leadership are the guiding principles. It is now confronted with a situation in which there is a competition for power that has spilled over into the public domain. The ANC appears to be caught off guard by these tactics. It has to think through ways in which competitive power politics, with which it will be confronted more and more, can be incorporated into deciding who will govern. Third, though South Africa has one of the most progressive liberal democratic constitutions, we are well aware that there is still a major disjuncture between it and societal norms. It is not surprising, therefore, that though gender equality is entrenched in the constitution, those power brokers viewed as having a chance to become president are all male. A woman president would, regardless of her qualifications, be seen as an affirmative action appointment and the political stakes appear too high for such considerations.
Deputy President Jacob Zuma’s address at the Conference of Knowledge Management Africa, Ceasars Palace, Johannesburg
1 March 2005 13 Mr Mandla Gantsho, CEO of the Development Bank of DBSA, Members of the Knowledge Management Africa Committee, The Honourable Raila Odinga, Minister of Roads & Public Works, Kenya, Vice-Chancellors of institutions of higher learning, Representatives of the Business Community, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Guests,
It is an honour and a privilege for me to be part of this important conference that deals with such a crucial issue of Knowledge Management in our country and the continent. The deliberations and discussions that you will have in the next three days, under the theme, “Knowledge Management to Address Africa’s Development Challenges,” are an important contribution to help our country and our continent to deal with the challenges that face us on the issues of enhancing service delivery and governance. We believe that since the inception of democracy in our country in 1994, a lot of ground has already been covered at the level of knowledge management. However, the most critical aspect remains that of ensuring that such knowledge is accessible to the majority of stakeholders, and also to co-ordinate the efforts that have been made. I am pleased to see representation from academia and the business community from the African continent, to this conference. We need all key sectors to be part of this process of renewal. The challenges that face Africa cannot be solved by African governments on their own, without the participation of all stakeholders in the African continent. As you are aware, there are many challenges that face the continent. At the dawn of the 21st century we declared this century as the African Century. We have every intention of living up to that declaration and need the support of other sectors to make the renewal objectives a reality. In declaring this an African century, we were informed by an experience of many decades of hardships. Due to slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism apartheid and other forms of oppression, our continent had gone through systematic underdevelopment which sowed the seeds for conflict, poverty, instability and suffering over many decades. When Africa gained its independence from colonial powers after decades of struggle, the instruments of control by the colonising powers had been entrenched. A particular culture of public service and governance, which did not put the interests of the indigenous people first, had taken root, which many countries still have to address to this day. We are aware that we cannot blame colonial powers alone for the predicament we found ourselves in, given that after the decolonisation period, some African elites used the opportunity of being in power to plunder resources, and disregarded democratic norms and traditions. The challenge now is how do we work together as all sectors to reverse the socio-economic challenges facing the continent, and to entrench a culture of democracy, good governance and peace. I must reiterate that we view it as the responsibility of every sector within the broader African society in the continent, to work towards the regeneration of Africa and the reversal of stereotypes. Your conference is therefore an important step towards that direction, where we pool our intellectual resources for the betterment of the continent. Ladies and gentlemen, your conference takes place during the season of hope, not only in our country but the continent at large. This is largely due to the enormous amount of work that is being done to rebuild our continent and place it on the path of sustainable development. The various organs and programmes of the African Union are being operationalised, and are geared towards helping the continent achieve the objectives of renewal. On the socio-economic front, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, is being implemented at various levels in various regions in the continent. The NEPAD office will be in a position to provide details and opportunities that are available. The establishment of NEPAD holds the key to solving some of Africa’s problems with its goals of eradicating poverty, enabling sustainable growth and development in the continent and working to end the marginalisation of Africa in the globalisation process. To boost the NEPAD process, the agenda of our engagement with the developed partners in the North also includes the call for the restructuring of international economic and financial institutions, to create a more just and equitable environment for the developing world. We are saying to the developed world we have heard their declarations of intent, we now seek concrete action plans, with regards to the opening up of markets for our products and other interventions such as the cancellation of debt. Another new way of doing things in Africa, towards the renewal, is the promotion of democratic principles and good governance. We are seeing more and more African countries holding democratic elections and promoting a constitutional and democratic way of taking over power. Successful free and fair elections were held in the continent in the past few months, for example in Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana and Niger. We also welcome the increasing intolerance of the unconstitutional entry into office through coups and other mechanisms within the continent. The African Union objective of ensuring that democratic principles are respected in the whole of Africa has been given a major boost over the weekend, on the issue of Togo, when Faure Gnassingbe vacated office as the self-elected president of Togo. The Constitution of Togo will now give direction on the issue of succession. We are generally encouraged by the progress being made in peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts in various regions. South Africa has played a role in peacemaking and peacekeeping in various parts of the continent. We do this as we realise that we cannot achieve the socio-economic objectives we have set for the continent if there is continuing conflict. You would be aware that a major breakthrough took place yesterday when the people of Burundi voted during the referendum on their Constitution. The referendum will pave the way for the holding of local, parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for April this year. We congratulate the Burundians on reaching this milestone, and wish them all the best in the implementation of the rest of the transitional programme, especially the coming democratic elections. Other important developments that have taken place in the continent have been in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Liberia is ready to hold democratic elections later this year in October, while Sierra Leone has restored its democratically elected leader President Kabbah back to his seat. In Sudan a ceasefire has been signed, thus ending one of the longest conflicts in the continent. The step taken by the Sudanese government to resume talks with Darfur rebels is another positive development. We are also confident that peace will finally be achieved in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we will continue to assist the Congolese people towards holding democratic elections which are scheduled for June this year. The positive developments on peacemaking make us optimistic that indeed a new Africa is in the process of being born, free of conflicts, wars, poverty and hunger. Ladies and gentlemen, let me reiterate that we view the restructuring of international institutions as an important part of our strategy of rebuilding our continent, and of ensuring an equitable world political and economic order. We believe that some of the problems that we face as a continent are also due to the fact that we are underrepresented on international bodies such as the United Nations, which make and determine policy on crucial international issues such as international peace and security. The draft African Common Position on the UN Security Council reform includes the following: * Africa’s goal is to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council. * Full representation of Africa in the Security Council means not less than two permanent seats, and as a matter of common justice, with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership, including the right of veto, as well as five non-permanent seats. * Even though Africa is opposed in principle to the veto, as long as it exists, it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council. The African Union should be responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives in the Security Council. The question of the criteria for the selection of African members of the Security Council should be a matter for the AU to determine, taking into consideration the representative nature and capacity of those chosen. We hope to take our intelligentsia, business community and civil along as we fight this struggle of representation at the UN. We believe our time has come. I wish you well in your deliberations, and hope that this conference will be a success. We look forward to receiving your resolutions. I Thank You
ANC succession race wide open
Sexwale: Leadership and Democracy in South Africa (07/06/2007) Send to Colleague: Print Article: Published: 7 Jun 07 – 14:34 Source: Business Day Title: Sexwale:
Leadership and Democracy in South Africa PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS ON LEADERSHIP AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTH AFRICA A more than candid public conversation on leadership in South Africa as we enter the second decade of liberation can only be realistic if it is contextualized. Therefore, what is the context? Firstly, South Africa is not only experiencing the nascent stages of its second decade of national emancipation but finds itself within an increasingly competitive environment in a rapidly globalizing international economic arena, accompanied by a variety of challenging political circumstances. Secondly, at the turn of this century, leaders of the world, all hopefully representing this various peoples, converged at the United Nations Summit to map out the fundamental tasks confronting mankind around global development issues. The Millennium Development goals, aimed at confronting the question of extreme poverty in our world where close to two billion people are forced to exist on fewer than two Dollars per day, were the collective goals chartered by the Millennium summit. These goals, to be reviewed in 2015 and finally in 2025, include amongst others, the following: 1. The eradication of extreme poverty. 2. The achievement of universal primary education. 3. The reduction of child mortality. 4. To improve maternal health. 5. The promotion of gender equality. 6. The combating of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. 7. To ensure environmental sustainability. 8. The development of global partnerships for development. Our country is co-sponsor and signatory to the UN declaration on these noble Millennium goals because not only do we crave to live in a better world, but most importantly, we desire to have a better quality of life for our own citizens. The Electoral manifesto of the ANC, our governing party, was and remains “A better life for all”. A better quality of life, a much better life presupposes sustained economic growth – or better still, sustainable high economic growth rates. In our situation, this implies an economic GDP growth rate beyond the current 4 to 5% to compete with the population growth figures. Notwithstanding that the South African year 2006 – 2007 growth rates are in positive territory, it should be recalled that the envisaged target was 6% for the year 2001. Therefore, there is a deficit in our targets, a situation that will require continuous improvements. Economic growth rates are by themselves meaningless unless they touch the lives of ordinary citizens. Our greatest challenge is therefore that of wealth creation for all. The concept of shared growth after all needs to be understood not in the context of what Karl Marx referred to as “egalitarianism”, but in a situation where, through the creation of equal opportunities, citizens shall prosper to varying degrees of success. In a nutshell, the task is that of growing a strong and sustainable economy and to undertake wealth creation opportunities for all. The poorest of the poor do not wish to remain entrapped in their marginal position for a moment longer; they also need to enjoy material wealth. Therefore, being pro-poor is not about sloganeering or poverty entrenchment but about engaging in strategies for wealth creation and enhancement. While the process of economic growth in our situation is premised upon the uneasy partnership between labour and capital in the production processes, it is nevertheless the function of the State to create the enabling environment for growth. An additional role of government together with its partners in the economy – workers and capital – is to put in place a social plan to support those who are on the fringes of the economy, far away from its centre-stage, and to have a safety net to catch those – the poorest of the poor – who fall through the cracks. This is aimed at providing them with housing opportunities, a public health system, education and skills development, as well as providing electricity, water and other crucial basic social services. But it is the corporate sector that is the primary creator of jobs and work opportunities. The extent to which this sector is treated or maltreated, welcomed or unwelcomed, by far determines their continued appetite and commitment to capital expansion and job creation. It should also be emphatically stated that at the same time, it is the workers who are the primary creators of value, for without them, natural resources, tools and machines cannot by themselves create commodities. It therefore stands to reason, that the capital-labour partnership is uneasy for the reason that it is the quintessential example of the unity and struggle of the opposites – where both are united in the production process and contradictory in respect of the distribution of surplus value. Where labour’s objective is to maximize wages, capital aims at the maximization of profit. Growth of our economy therefore lies in the ability of all parties to manage these production tensions while government develops and maintains the requisite climate. Our country is not an island. It is part and parcel of the globalized world markets, which are highly punitive upon those who place much emphasis on internal feuds where contradictions are left to degenerate into antagonisms. Foreign competitors simply love such nations. The notions ought to change. We need to bear this in mind as we continue to engage with each other.
PROGRESS THROUGH AN OPEN SOCIETY
If it is a given that the national endeavour is that of creating a sound basis for the provision of a better quality of life for all South Africans on the basis of a solid and highly growing economy to create wealth and wealth opportunities for all our people for the elimination of poverty, then it is presumed that these major challenges can only be realizable in a constantly changing and improving climate of freedom. Freedom is indivisible and a more free and more open society is a fundamental pre-requisite. At every twist and turn in the quest to achieve our desired objectives, our best tools or weapons remain more debates, more discourses, more discussions, dialogue – all based on dialectical understandings. In the world of natural science, the strength and quality of one element is usually tested against another in laboratories. On the contrary, in the world of social science – where human consciousness is the highest – the quality of one idea is tested against another idea and the tested method is that of dialectical examination. Thus may the best idea prevail. That is the essence of democratic discourse. The opposite is also true – under the climate of fear, of less democracy, less sincere debates, less frank discussions, less than good ideas prevail and mediocrity wins the day. Fear is a state of mind which can be externally or internally imposed. Relatively, the former is easy to deal with as it is objective and the imposer is known and can thus be challenged. But organic fear, which is self-imposed, is much harder to tackle since it is subjective, corrosive and self- destructive, no matter how much its owner may try to put up a brave face! In an open society, an open democracy where there is a free flow of ideas, one where “a hundred flowers” are blooming, as Mao said, or as one ANC writer intimated, where we ought to be celebrating in a “festival of ideas”, we all must be free to state: I THINK. or I THINK NOT. I THINK SO. or I DON’T THINK SO. The classical example on free thinking and debate is summed up in the discussion between Karl Marx and one of his critics on the question of the causality of poverty. This critic wrote extensively on the theme: The Philosophy of Poverty, arguing that it is as a result of natural differences amongst people. Marx retorted by writing on the Poverty of Philosophy regarding the failure of philosophy in explaining poverty! Hence his classical conclusion that all along philosophers have been busy interpreting the world – the task even of philosophers, is to change it! Therefore in the challenging endeavour to address the issues of providing a better quality of life and the creation of a better country in a better world, a free-thinking, more tolerant and open society is a primary prerequisite, where dissent is never to be regarded as disloyalty. “Thinking requires no one’s approval – implementation may. Be not fearful”.
CHARACTERIZATION OF LEADERSHIP STYLES
Our contribution to this conversation on leadership as provided by the Platform for Public Deliberation led by its executive chairman, Xolela Mangcu, would be incomplete without a word on developments around the ANC, the governing party’s much talked-about forthcoming December conference where a new set of leadership is to be elected. Analysts, commentators and also some of us members of the ANC are missing the point to an extent. More light needs to be shed upon the ANC June conference which shall be engaged on critical policy issues affecting the entire country than the heat being generated under the December conference. In a way, we, the ANC, must first go through the eye of the needle in June in order to see December through. However, it is understandable that there is much being made about the leadership succession issue in December. This is a common phenomenon in the world where policies are seen as less exciting than personalities. The crucial point on this matter that needs to be clearly understood is that the ANC – is not only going to elect one person – in this case the President but it is also an election of the entire leadership of the National Executive Committee. Such a leadership is expected to conduct itself as a collective, mandated to take forward the work of the National Conference for the continued implementation of ANC policies especially as pertaining to government. Such a collective leadership, as always, shall be expected to prioritize the question of political and socio-economic development with special emphasis on the development agenda affecting the poorest of the poor who emanate particularly from the ranks of the working people. This approach, however, does not in the least make the ANC a working class organization. The ANC is a multi-class organization of the people of South Africa. While its policies are biased towards the working people in general and also towards the African majority in particular, it nevertheless caters for all peaceloving, democratic South Africans who believe in its objectives and the National Democratic Revolution for the advancement of the developmental state on behalf of all our citizens – black and white. We go into both conferences with an open mind as exemplified by the various policy discussion documents already distributed to enable robust debates. Contrary to speculation from critics, the ANC is open to acknowledging even some of the most difficult issues around existing antagonistic tensions which threaten to undermine our organizational unity. Let me quote from our organization review vol. 3: “However many challenges remain, across the organization and the broad democratic movement there is a growing tendency to carry out dirty character assassination and (the) dissemination of lies about other Comrades has reached uncontrollable proportions”. A last word on leadership: The essential ingredient of leadership is courage. Hence the saying: “the courage of one’s convictions”. All of us do have, in one way or another, convictions. But it is when courage fails us that convictions never see the light of day. Here a clear distinction on the leadership quality of courage should be made from that of bravado. To be brave is one thing. Bravado is entirely a different story that can lead to failure. Pallo Jordan in his April tribute to Chris Hani said that of all the qualities attributed to Chris Hani, he had one in great abundance, i.e. courage. If we can only learn from particularly this attribute, we shall never fail. It took enormous courage on the part of ANC leaders over more than nine decades to handle various crises confronting the ANC and the people of South Africa. These moments of courage include inter alia; the response to the betrayal of our people at the formation of the Union in 1910 which was followed by the formation of the ANC in 1912, the response to the 1956 arrest of 156 leaders of the Congress Movement, the 1960 banning of the ANC, and the launching of the Armed Struggle, right through to the conclusion of the Armed Struggle via the Codesa Constitutional breakthrough. It took great courage on the part of 20 000 women in 1956 to march on the Union Buildings protesting against pass laws. Malibongwe. It took great courage by the Youth League, particularly under the leadership of Peter Mokaba to stare down apartheid troops as the Young Lions made apartheid unworkable and racist South Africa ungovernable. It took personal courage on the part of OR Tambo to lead the ANC for close to three decades of difficult challenges culminating in paying the highest price with his life as a result of a stroke. It took a great deal of personal courage for the 27 year old Chris Hani, following the Wankie Operations setback in then Rhodesia to put pen to paper in a memorandum to the leadership which culminated in the groundbreaking Morogoro conference – a turning point for the ANC. It took great courage for Madiba isolated and alone in prison, to stare the enemy in the face and call upon him to initiate discussions with the ANC outside prison which led towards the demise of the apartheid regime. It has taken personal courage on the part of President Mbeki to challenge the negative and distorted global perspective on Africa and to identify this as the African Century for the African Renaissance. Leadership is not about walking behind the people, pushing them forward to save one’s skin. This is called tailism. Leadership is not about hiding amongst the people and not taking leadership decisions hiding behind the slogan “the masses say”. Leadership is not about running too far ahead of people where they cannot see or hear you. Such leaders can lose touch with the people and their reality. Leadership is about being sufficiently ahead of the people but near enough to be seen and heard by them, and to see and hear them to coordinate strategy and tactics. At the end of the day, courage is about learning to unlearn our fear. Let me conclude by quoting from a film called “Good Evening and Good Night” which provides us with insight into the United States’ experience of a society which was grappling with its own fears during the era of McCarthyism. I quote: “It is necessary to investigate before legislating but the line between investigating and prosecuting is a very fine one. (Don’t overstep it). We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not truth, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear of one another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine. And remember that we are not descended from fearful men (and women) not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is not time for men who oppose (McCarthy’s) methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the results. We proclaim ourselves and indeed as we are the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” He concluded his comments by quoting Cassius from Shakespeare’s rendition of Julius Ceasar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in our selves”. I thank you for the opportunity to speak. Good evening and good night. The pronouncement by President Thabo Mbeki that he would make himself available for a third term as the leader of the ruling ANC has thrown the succession race wide open. It is no longer a two-man race between Mbeki and his deputy Jacob Zuma, but other big-name ANC members can also come to the party, as was the case with business tycoon Tokyo Sexwale. This was the view expressed by political analysts on Sunday after an interview that Mbeki had with SABC TV at the weekend after the ANC ended its four-day national policy conference in Midrand. The ANC resolved at the policy conference that it would be “preferable” that the leader of the organisation also be the president of South Africa. Professor Adam Habib of the Human Sciences Research Council said: “Both sides (the Mbeki and Zuma camps) are not strong enough to impose their will. They are beginning to explore other options.” There was no significant resolution of the succession question and there were divisions within the rank and file of the ANC, he said. “They are postponing the solution to the issue. It does not resolve the issue,” said Habib, adding that the party was hoping to resolve the presidential question at the December conference. Susan Booysen of Wits University described the ANC’s resolution that it preferred its leader to lead both the party and the state as a compromise. The conference’s resolution was what the Mbeki camp had hoped for, and they got it. “The alternative was for the guillotine to come down on his (Mbeki) head. That didn’t happen. “The Jacob Zuma camp had run on this perception of having an alternative moralistic policy. “That is gone. “It will take the opposing camp quite a while to recover from this victory,” said Booysen. Political parties have urged caution after Mbeki’s announcement. Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said her party was opposed to the centralisation of power “in too few hands”. She said: “In theory there should be no problem with a person standing for a third term as party leader, but as the ANC leader will effectively be able to require accountability for the ANC presidential candidate, it will imply an extension of President Mbeki’s term as national president.” This scenario was never intended by the country’s constitution, which limits the presidential terms to two. “We believe it is important for power to rotate and that there was a good reason for the two-term limit,” said Zille. Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said current political events were “a good lesson to South
‘They are beginning to explore other options’
Africa that the president should be elected directly, as in the United States and France.” Having a directly elected president avoided troubles within political parties. “It is impossible with our constitution because it allows the president to be elected indirectly. We support the principle of electing the president directly,” she said. In the interview with SABC TV, Mbeki said that if members of his organisation felt he should continue leading the party, he would stay. Musa Zondi, the spokesperson for the Inkatha Freedom Party, said the issue was an internal ANC matter and whatever happened within the ruling party should be respected by other political parties. He said there was nothing preventing Mbeki from standing for a third term as the leader of the ANC. ANC Youth League spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the overwhelming view within the ANC was that it was preferable that the ANC’s leader was also the leader of the country. SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande said: “We respect the internal processes of the ANC. That is a matter to be dealt with by the ANC. They contest elections.” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said Mbeki had a right to stand, but “Cosatu agrees with the resolution of the ANC that the president of the organisation (should preferably) be the president of the country”.
ANC presidential race heating up
July 01 2007 at 03:03PM By Mariette le Roux
The race is on for the presidency of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress after a party conference left the door open for incumbent Thabo Mbeki to contest a third five-year term. In what some interpret as an Mbeki victory and others a setback amid a divisive succession battle, the ANC expressed a non-committal “preference” at the weekend for the party leader and head of state to be the same person. It did not bar Mbeki from contesting the party’s top job in December, even though South Africa’s constitution precludes him serving a third term as president when his mandate ends in 2009. “The party had to find a compromise, this was the compromise,” University of the Witwatersrand political analyst Susan Booysen told AFP. “Suddenly there was an option worse than the compromise: division in the ranks and acrimony.” Mbeki was quick to respond, announcing on Saturday he would stand for re-election as party head if asked. “If the leadership… said ‘no, you better stay for whatever good reason’, that would be fine. You couldn’t act in a way that disrespected such a view,” he said. Some had expected the ANC to back dual centres of power, which many fear would cause conflict between the country’s next president and the leader of the party that put him in power.
‘The alternative was for the guillotine to come down on his head’
Mbeki and his allies are open to the idea but supporters of his main rival, ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, are known to favour the single presidency option. The outcome of the four-day policy conference, which ended on Saturday, was exactly what Mbeki’s strategists would have hoped for, said Booysen. “The alternative was for the guillotine to come down on his head. That didn’t happen.” Also, delegates broadly affirmed the government’s policy direction, making it harder for critics to accuse Mbeki of following an anti-party, pro-capitalist economic route, she said. “The Jacob Zuma camp had run on this perception of having an alternative moralistic policy. That is gone. “It will take the opposing camp quite a while to recover from this victory.” The ANC has governed the country since the end of the whites-only apartheid regime in 1994. Mbeki, often criticised for an autocratic leadership style, is credited with the country’s strong economic standing while Zuma, a populist facing possible corruption charges, is punted as the candidate of the left. University of South Africa political commentator Dirk Kotze said the conference resolution was a temporary reprieve for Mbeki. “His main objective is to keep Jacob Zuma out of the race for president,” he said. If chosen party head, Mbeki would have a key influence on the ANC’s nomination of a presidential candidate for elections in 2009. Mbeki may opt to retire as ANC leader in 2009 if the nominee was one he trusted. But if he didn’t, having dual centres of power may not be such a bad thing, said Booysen. Delegates welcomed the outcome, saying it affirmed the ANC’s core principles. But political analyst Adam Habib of the Pretoria-based Human Sciences Research Council, reads the outcome as a mere postponement of the leadership question. “It demonstrated they are not sure how the succession battle is going to evolve in the next six months,” he told AFP. “Both sides were not strong enough to impose their own will, but strong enough to stop the other side from imposing theirs.” With the two camps effectively neutralising each other, the only solution may be to find a compromise candidate, said Habib. The ANC will elect its next leader at a national conference in December. – Sapa-AFP