Category Archives: Politics

Mabuza defends Ramaphosa over de Ruyter appointment, SAA business rescue

Deputy President David Mabuza has come to the defence of President Cyril Ramaphosa on a number of recent controversial decisions.

Mabuza was speaking at the 4th special national conference of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in his capacity as African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President in Kempton Park on Tuesday.

He said the the decisions to appoint Andre de Ruyter as Eskom CEO and to place South African Airways (SAA) into business rescue were collective decisions, not Ramaphosa’s alone.

ANC deployment committee

Mabuza acknowledged that, as chairman of ANC’s deployment committee, he has been criticised over the “deployment of cadres into strategic positions.”

He said the deployment committee has decided to go on a “retreat” to discuss these challenges.

The Deputy President added, “The recent deployment of Eskom CEO is a case in point, and this is a decision that we took in the deployment committee, all of us.

“And people are now quiet. The only person that is being blamed is the President. The decision to deploy de Ruyter as the CEO is a decision that we took collectively.”

SAA business rescue

He added that the appointment, which some criticised as “anti-transformation,” should be seen as part of the ANC’s “programme” to build a nonracial society.

Mabuza told delegates at the conference that putting SAA into business rescue was similarly a collective decision. Some have criticised it as part of a plan to privatise SAA.

He said, “The decision to put SAA under business rescue is a decision that we took. It’s not a decision of the President.

“We arrived at that decision because of a number of considerations that we took. It is in the best interest of the workers in SAA and is in the best interest of the entity not to close down.”

Mabuza also apologised to the public and the business community for the ongoing load shedding.

“We’re going to tackle all the challenges faced by all our state-owned enterprises together. Some of the decisions that we’re going to take are going to be very unpopular decisions,” he said.

Load shedding: EFF says Gordhan, entire Eskom board must resign

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has demanded the resignations of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the entire Eskom board over the load shedding crisis.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the party said the crisis is a result of Eskom’s “incompetent leadership” and Gordhan’s “interference.”

The state power utility has been implemented stage 4 load shedding for several days now. On Monday, it briefly escalated it to an unprecedented stage 6.

‘Greedy capitalist establishment’

Eskom blamed heavy rains that caused coal handling issues as well as flooding at Kriel power station. A further technical fault at Medupi power station compounded the problem.

The party said, “The EFF believes that the Eskom leadership of Jabu Mabuza and Pravin Gordhan are deliberately sabotaging Eskom so as to build a case for privatisation of electricity.

“The EFF is aware that the current Ramaphosa administration is working with the greedy capitalist establishment to undermine the power generation of Eskom so that they can later sell power stations to the capitalist establishment.”

It called for the appointment of a team of engineers and experts, “including those who have ended load shedding before,” to develop a maintenance plan for Eskom’s power stations.

‘Discontinue IPPs’

It further demanded a discontinuation of renewable energy independent power producers (IPP) agreements because “they add no significant value to South Africa’s electricity needs.”

EFF also spoke against the President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to unbundle Eskom into three entities – generation, transmission and distribution.

“We demand that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa must develop some courage and act against incompetence and sabotage because the people who are involved in these are doing so in his name and to benefit his private funders,” the party added.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa cut short his visit to Egypt on Tuesday to return to South Africa to deal with the Eskom crisis.

The Presidency confirmed that he will meet with Eskom’s management team on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa came under fire for going ahead with the visit just hours after Eskom announced the escalation to stage 6 of load shedding on Monday.

Sho Madjozi blames 8-hour SAA flight delay on 'mass looting under Zuma'

Rapper Sho Madjozi has blamed “mass looting” under former President Jacob Zuma’s administration for an eight-hour South African Airways (SAA) flight delay she experienced on Sunday.

Madjozi made the comment in reply to a fan’s query on Twitter. She had earlier tweeted about her long wait at the airport.

“Been waiting at the airport in Durban for about 8 hours waiting to fly to PE [Port Elizabeth]. The flight is now scheduled for 23h45. Hoping for the best.”

SAA business rescue

When a fan inquired what had caused the delay, the popular rapper replied, “Business rescue on SAA my friend. But if you wanna go deeper, it’s because of mass looting of state funds under JZ [Jacob Zuma].”

SAA has been battling to return to normalcy since the recent strike by workers who were demanding salary increases.

The struggling state airline had to cancel some domestic and international flights for several days and was reportedly losing around R50 million in revenue per day.

Although the strike was resolved, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan suggested last week that its impact had contributed to government’s decision to put it into business rescue.

Fans react

Predictably, Sho Madjozi’s comment sparked debate among her fans, with some criticising her for it.

Sanele Sane Ngcobo replied, “Highly disappointed by this misinformed comment. Most painful part is that it [is] coming from my favourite. It is important for one to understand history of SAA before making such reckless comments. Capitalists want to privates SAA at all cost.”

“She need not to allow the hype of John Cena to get over her head. She is Thuma [Mina] Brigade we knew but wasn’t expecting her to spit on our faces. She must get her high horse and stop behaving like politicians because we will treat like one,” @Munyai_R_Gundo added.

However, others, like @PhandleVuyo, came to Madjozi’s defence. He replied, “Sho Madjozi is not wrong! At all!

“All those expressing ‘disappointment’ at the truth she tweeted must know their disappointment does nothing to her. At least we know she’s not a stomach artist like that goat-bearded dude who’ll sing praises for [leaders] like Zuma for their next plate!”

@Great_Kopi added, “They will attack you sisi. Truth hurts. Almost all SOEs suffer under the ‘father of RET’ [radical economic transformation].”

Ramaphosa: State will retain ownership of 'strategic' SOEs

President Cyril Ramaphosa has seemingly rebuffed claims that he’s planning to privatise state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

In his weekly newsletter to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa was categorical that the state will retain ownership of all “strategic” SOEs.

He wrote, “As we do this work, we are clear that the state will retain ownership of all those state-owned enterprises that are strategic.”

Strategic equity partners

“This is so that these entities are able to perform the crucial economic and developmental functions that the market would not on its own be able to perform,” he added.

At the same time, Ramaphosa said government will seek strategic equity partners at SOEs “where necessary and where appropriate” to help raise capital and inject skills and technology.

The President said, “This must be done transparently and in a manner that strengthens – rather than weakens – the ability of the state to meet the development needs of the people.”

He said his decision to put South African Airways (SAA) into business rescue shows government’s commitment “to take all necessary steps – even drastic ones – to restore [SOEs] to health.”

‘None of our SOE’s is lost’

Ramaphosa insisted that despite the massive problems they face, “none of our SOEs is lost.” He added that “they can all be saved” through “extraordinary effort and, in some cases, tough decisions.”

Ramaphosa has come under criticism from some leaders who believe his decisions on SOEs, such as Eskom’s unbundling and SAA’s business rescue, are a prelude to privatisation.

Over the weekend, Sunday Independent quoted unnamed sources in the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) who reportedly accused Ramaphosa of planning to “sell off state assets to pre-selected private partners.”

Ekurhuleni Mayor and ANC regional chairperson Mzwandile Masina also seemingly criticised the President’s decision to put SAA into business rescue.

In a tweet last week, Masina wrote, “Restructuring, unbundling, business rescue = (privatisation) which is not ANC policy.”

On Sunday, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said Ramaphosa would highlight the state of SOEs in his “political overview” at the party’s NEC meeting being held in Benoni, Gauteng.

Anti-apartheid activist Ben Turok passes away aged 92 – family announces

Prominent anti-apartheid activist and former MP Prof Ben Turok has passed away, his family has announced.

In a statement released on Monday morning, Turok’s family said he had passed away in the early hours of Monday aged 92.

“He was always outspoken and dedicated his whole life to fighting for freedom, equality and social justice in South Africa,” they said.

‘Loyal, lifetime ANC member’

The family added, “He was a loyal, lifetime member of the [African National Congress] ANC, but retained an independent perspective throughout.

“He asked for his death to marked by a private ceremony, rather than anything official or formal, in view of the present predicament facing the country. His wisdom and counsel will be sorely missed.”

Born in Latvia in 1927, Turok and his family emigrated to South Africa in 1934. He became involved in the anti-apartheid Defiance Campaign in the early 1950s.

In 1955, he presented the economic clause of the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People.

Arrest, exile and return to South Africa

Turok’s anti-apartheid activism led to his arrest in 1956 and he became one of the 155 activists in the Treason Trial. He also joined the South African Communist Party (SACP).

In 1961, he became a founding member of uMkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the ANC’s military wing.

Turok was arrested again in 1962 for sabotage and sentenced to three years in Pretoria Central Prison.

He escaped to exile in 1963 and took part in ANC activities in Tanzania and the United Kingdom before returning to South Africa in 1990.

Turok became an MP in 1995 and served for 20 years before retiring. He held an MA in Political Science from the University of Dar es Salaam and was a prolific writer and editor.

In his final years, he was a prominent columnist for Business Day. He was also the director of the Institute for African Alternatives and editor of New Agenda.

Mashaba launches The People's Dialogue: 'Our political system is broken'

Former Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has formally launched “The People’s Dialogue,” a political engagement platform for South Africans.

In a video posted on his social media pages on Friday, Mashaba said the platform is aimed at starting “an engagement with South Africans about forging a better future for our country.”

He invited South Africans to share their views on critical issues affecting the country on his website – thepeoplesdialogue.org.za/.

‘1994 did not bring more opportunities’

The ex-Mayor said after succeeding in business in the 1980s, he thought the 1994 democratic breakthrough would bring more opportunities.

He added, “But this did not happen because our South African people are being held back by politicians and political parties that seem to exist only for their narrow self-interest.”

Mashaba said the level of corruption he witnessed as Mayor of Johannesburg “shows me that politics is rotten to the core.”

He said he started the platform because he is “tired” of the failure of corrupt politicians, adding that listening to South Africans is the first step as he explores “the next steps that need to be taken to change our country.”

‘Our political system is broken’

In a series of other tweets, Mashaba added, “I believe in South Africa and South Africans. I will not give up and neither must you. This week’s chaos shows that SA needs real solutions – not politics as usual.

“Our political system is broken, but, South Africa is full of potential. We want to believe, we want hope for a better future and we, the people, know what needs to be done to fix our country.

“If we rely on our political parties for solutions, we will never succeed. This is why I believe in a people-driven engagement, focusing on turning South Africa around. #SASpeaks.”

Mashaba resigned as Mayor and from his former party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), in November. Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane followed suit.

The two leaders met last week and hinted at starting a “conversation.” Maimane tweeted, “Our nation must engage in conversation, charter a dialogue about the future.

“Together as a nation, we can and must build a future for all. Join the conversation.”

Masina takes aim at Cyril: 'Business rescue is privatisation, which isn't ANC policy'

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has seemingly criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to put struggling state airline South African Airways (SAA) on business rescue.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the decision in a media statement on Thursday morning, saying it would “restore confidence in SAA.”

In a Twitter post on Thursday, Masina said business rescue equals privatisation, “which is not African National Congress (ANC) policy.”

Fikile Mbalula defends Ramaphosa’s decision

Masina is also chairperson of ANC in Ekurhuleni, while Ramaphosa is also President of the ANC.

The Mayor wrote, “Restructuring, unbundling, business rescue = (privatisation) which is not ANC policy.”

However, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who is also an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, came to Ramaphosa’s defence.

In a reply to Masina’s tweet, he wrote, “I think we are being sensational. Let’s have the real debate – when a company is bankrupt [and] does not generate profit, what do we do? Perpetual bailouts?”

Masina’s public broadsides at Ramaphosa

Masina has publicly criticised Ramaphosa on a number of occasions. In May, he criticised his appointment of Gordhan as a minister.

He tweeted, “The appointment of Pravin undermines the rule of law and makes mockery of our democracy. This is really out of order! I hope the NEC looks into this matter with urgency.”

He has also been outspoken in his criticism of the CR17 campaign fundraising for Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC presidency bid, including penning an article on News24 about it.

Masina made headlines in 2017 when he declared he won’t serve under the leadership of Ramaphosa should he win the ANC’s presidential contest.

News24 reported at the time that Masina said if Ramaphosa won, “white people will lead South Africa.” However, he didn’t make good on this threat to resign as Ekurhuleni Mayor.

In August this year, Gauteng ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) threatened to take disciplinary action on members who publicly discuss internal matters. Masina is a member of the PEC.

“The PEC has impressed upon all its members, its structures across the length and breath of the province to desist from engaging publicly on internal matters and misrepresenting the organisation’s position on issues.

“All codes of conduct, disciplinary and related policies will be enforced as we drive the renewal process,” the PEC said.

Mashaba slams Makhubo's election: 'It was about personal & political benefit'

Former City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has slammed the election of Geoff Makhubo as his successor.

In a statement he issued on Thursday via Twitter, Mashaba said Makhubo’s election was all about “personal and political benefit” and not about Johannesburg residents.

Makhubo, the African National Congress (ANC) candidate, was elected on Wednesday with 137 votes ahead of Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) candidates.

”I share the anger’

He won the support of the smaller political parties that had previously been in a coalition with the DA. Mashaba lamented the fact that Johannesburg has been won back by the “corrupt” ANC.

He wrote, “I share the anger of the 5 million residents of Johannesburg that the work of turning the City around has been destroyed by the election of Cllr Geoff Makhubo.

“The fact that Makhubo was elected with the help of some members of the previous multi-party coalition government, together with a number of DA councillors, demonstrates everything that is wrong with our political system.

“The considerations were all about personal and political benefit, and not about the residents of Johannesburg.”

R30 million Regiments allegations

Mashaba cited allegations by investigative journalism unit amaBhungane that Makhubo was allegedly paid R30 million from Gupta-linked company Regiments in return for “influence.”

He said, “The DA of today is clearly not the DA that I joined – not when they support an allegedly corrupt person.

“As a result, instead of having a Mayor who fights corruption, Johannesburg will now have a Mayor who is allegedly corrupt.”

The former mayor hinted that he may still remain active in politics, saying, “This is why I cannot give up on the project of saving Johannesburg and South Africa.”

Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who followed in Mashaba’s footsteps by resigning from the DA, also said he was “sad and angered” by Makhubo’s election.

He tweeted, “As a resident, I’m sad and angered at the events in the @CityofJoburgZA. The work had only begun.

“Our nation needs coalitions so that citizens from all walks can stand together to build an alternative and a future. Democracy requires change and accountability regardless of party.”

ANC dismisses state capture claims against Magashule as 'vilification campaign'

The African National Congress (ANC) has dismissed the latest state capture allegations against its Secretary-General Ace Magashule as a “vilification campaign” against him.

On Monday, British non-governmental organisation (NGO) Shadow World Investigations released a report claiming it had uncovered “new evidence” of corruption and state capture in the Free State during Magashule’s tenure there as Premier.

It alleged that Magashule’s office bought computers at inflated prices – R3.8 million instead of R1.7 million – from a Gupta-linked front company called Sunbay Limited.

‘Attempt to tarnish Ace’s image’

The NGO further claimed the Free State government paid inflated prices for mobile medical clinics provided by Gupta-linked company Mediosa.

However, the ANC dismissed these claims in a statement on Tuesday, terming them as another attempt to tarnish Magashule’s image through the media.

The party said, “This so-called NGO is rehashing old allegations which have never been substantiated.

“The ANC does not see these allegations in isolation, but as part of a well-orchestrated and co-ordinated vilification campaign against out Secretary-General and to further fuel divisions.”

‘Whose agenda are they serving?’

The ANC rejected the allegations “with contempt” and asked Magashule “not to dignify these insults with a response.”

“It is not clear why this NGO would devote so much resources and energy towards pushing narrow political agendas by seeking to tarnish the image of some leaders. The question arises: Whose agenda are they serving?” the party asked.

It said “malicious campaigns” undermine freedom of expression and are “concocted by forces that are hostile to the national democratic revolution and that are hell-bent on sowing divisions within the ranks of the movement.”

The ANC said it stands “solidly” behind Magashule, adding, “Our unity and renewal project demands that we all stay vigilant against wedge-drivers.”

Shadow World Investigations is associated with former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein. It was formerly known as Corruption Watch UK.

It said it is prepared to present its report at the commission of inquiry into state capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The inquiry is investigating allegations that the Gupta brothers – Ajay, Rajesh and Atul – masterminded “state capture” during the term of former President Jacob Zuma.

BLF opens up membership to all – if they agree 'SA belongs to black people'

The Black First Land First (BLF) movement has resolved to open up membership to all – subject to certain conditions.

Prospective members must agree that South Africa “belongs to black people” and that it “was stolen from black people by white people.”

BLF took the resolution at a special policy conference held in Durban over the weekend to discuss its recent deregistration as a political party by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

‘1994 Constitution is anti-black’

Section 16(1)(c) of the Electoral Commission Act bars the IEC from registering a political party that excludes membership on the basis of race, colour or ethnicity.

Previously, Article 4 of BLF’s constitution stated that membership was restricted to only black people. The organisation resolved to amend that Article over the weekend.

Other conditions BLF imposed on prospective members include an agreement that white people are “not indigenous people of this country” because they arrived in 1652 and that they are therefore “colonialists” who implemented apartheid.

Furthermore, they would have to agree that “the 1994 Constitution is anti-black and must be replaced by a pro-black constitution of redress.”

“White people must not only return the stolen land, they must also pay reparations to black people for colonialism and apartheid,” the organisation added.

Seek registration with IEC

BLF further resolved to seek registration with the IEC “without abandoning its pro-black” stance and to register as a civil society organisation as well.

In its declaration, the special conference reiterated BLF’s commitment to “struggle by any means necessary to overthrow the current constitutional dispensation, which is pro-white.”

It also recognised BLF’s commitment to struggle for a “pro-black constitution” because “the law, as it is currently structured, favours white power.”

Despite opening up its membership to all, BLF still said in the declaration that it “has no obligation to accept members of the oppressor group as its members.”

“There is no ethical or ideologically sound reason to believe that white people can ever be allies of black people in our fight for liberation,” it said.

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