ANC TODAY VOICE OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS 25 - 31 March 2022 Conversations with the President Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Human Rights Day Koster, North West, 21 March 2022 This is a Human Rights Day of profound significance for so many reasons. It is the first time in two years that we are able to gather to celebrate this day together. This is a reminder of how far we have come since the first case of COVID-19 was declared in our country, and we entered a nationwide lockdown to contain its spread. And now we are here, able to gather in safety, and observing the public health regulations that have become part of our everyday lives. We are observing Human Rights Day here in the town of Koster in the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality. Just as the people of Sharpeville in Gauteng still bear the scars of a tragedy 62 years ago that was fueled by racial hatred, 14 years ago this community was shaken by a terrible crime. It was a crime made all the worse because it happened in democratic South Africa. On the 14th of January 2008 a white gunman, Johan Nel, opened fire in the settlement of Skierlik, killing four people and wounding many more. The shooting of unarmed protestors in Sharpeville on the 21st of March 1960 was the actions of a brutal regime that drew its strength from Dear Mr President 6 Cuba: Don’t tell us who our friends should be Special Focus Battle of Mutale River 12
2 ANC Today CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT repression. The hurt of what took place in Skierlik 14 years ago still cuts deep. It was a stark reminder to us all that racism did not die with the fall of apartheid. It showed us that there was much work still to be done to build the bridges of tolerance and understanding in our nation. We are reminded of this even today when we hear of incidents of racism and intolerance in schools, in workplaces, in communities, in our universities, and in professional sectors. These incidents sadden and anger us, and they should. These incidents have no place in our society, where we still struggle to heal the divisions of the past. We have not allowed these acts of racism and intolerance to define us, or to turn us against each other. They may have brought back bitter memories of our past, but they have not dragged us back to that past. We draw our strength, our inspiration and our protection from our Constitution, which came into effect 25 years ago, after being signed into law in Sharpeville. The Constitution affirms that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, and commits us to upholding the values of human dignity. It affirms that our society is rooted in non-racialism and non-sexism. It holds that our country is founded on the rule of law and that all are equal before the law. It confirms the right of all adult South Africans to vote and to participate in the political life of their country, a right that was denied them in the past. Our Constitution calls for the advancement and protection of human rights for all. It does not matter whether they are men or woman, adult or child, rich or poor, landed or landless, urban or rural dwellers, earners or unemployed, workers or employers, citizens or non-citizens. The Constitution obliges the state to protect and uphold these rights, and to ensure that everyone’s basic needs are progressively met. The Constitution is founded on the achievement of equality. Today, a quarter of a century since the Constitution came into effect, we are confronted by a stark reality. We are a free people, but we are still a long way from being a nation of equals. In recent weeks, a number of studies have told us that inequality in South Africa is deepening. This situation has been made worse by a global pandemic that has now entered its third year. The pandemic has had a grave impact on the ability of people to lead the lives of dignity promised by our Constitution.
3 ANC Today CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT A study by the World Bank notes that South Africa remains the most unequal country in the world, and that race continues to be a key driver of inequality. If you are black in South Africa – and in particular, a black woman – you are more likely to be poor, to live in an impoverished location, to be unemployed, to have lower levels of education, and not have assets like land. The legacy of colonialism and apartheid continues to reinforce inequality in many spheres, and undoing these effects has been a momentous task. Our struggle for freedom was fundamentally about improving the lives of our people. Over the past 28 years, the country has made significant progress in tackling poverty and deprivation. We have built houses, hospitals and clinics. We have implemented universal basic education and free higher education. The vast majority of our people have access to decent water, sanitation and electricity in their homes. Society’s most vulnerable are supported by an extensive social welfare system. Every month, over 46 percent of the population receive a form of social grant. As we meet here, we are seeing many of these gains being eroded. This is not only because of the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of global events far beyond our shores. It also because many of the people tasked with fulfilling the rights and aspirations of our people have shown they are not worthy of that responsibility. Instead of serving the people, they served themselves. We have seen how corruption and incompetence have As government, we pledge on this Human Rights Day that we remain committed to progressively fulfilling the human rights of all. together had a devastating impact on the delivery of services, especially to society’s most vulnerable. Corruption and state capture has eroded human rights, it has weakened the institutions of the state, and it has undermined the rule of law. It is one of the reasons that people here in the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality – like many others in North West and around the country – experience problems with getting decent drinking water and proper sanitation. It is one of the reasons why entrepreneurs and businesses struggle to get permits or basic services like water and electricity to keep their businesses running. Because of corruption our people are forced to pay for services that are their right. Government infrastructure is vandalised or left to decay so that private service providers can be contracted to take over. It is because of complacency and arrogance that many elderly citizens cannot receive the medical care they need, communities aren’t being properly protected from criminals, and children don’t have the textbooks they need. We cannot reduce poverty and inequality as long as public money is being plundered. We cannot transform our society when people are confronted with arrogance or indifference. Just as Sharpeville continues to live in our minds and stand as a symbol of courage, the Constitution reminds us to
4 ANC Today CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT strive for a society that is not only free and equal, but one in which corruption has no place. In the State of the Nation Address, I called for a new consensus to end poverty, inequality and unemployment. We have called it a consensus because it must involve all of society. It must bring together government, business, workers, civil society, community formations and individual citizens. In forging a new consensus we are reclaiming the responsibility of delivering the promise of the Constitution. On this Human Rights Day, we remember that it was people’s power that won our freedom. And it is the power of the people that must take us forward. There can be no dignity if our children continue to go to bed hungry. There can be no dignity if our young people are unemployed. There can be no dignity if access to adequate housing, healthcare, food, water and social assistance is determined by race and class. My message to all South Africans today is that the Constitution is not a mere piece of paper. It is a document that empowers you. As much as it places responsibilities on the state, the Constitution also confers duties of citizenship. We can only win the war against poverty, inequality and unemployment if we rid our society of the ills that continue to set back our progress. The shooting of unarmed protestors in Sharpeville on the 21st of March 1960 was the actions of a brutal regime These ills include crime, substance abuse, gender- based violence, damage to essential infrastructure and violence in our schools. Reclaiming the Constitution must be our common task. We must obey the law, and report those who break the law. We must work with the South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies. We must join community policing forums to help keep our communities safe, and local businesses should support their work. We must pay for the public services that we use beyond the basic amount of services that we receive for free. Trust and confidence in our municipalities can only be restored if we work with them as citizens and play our part so they are restored to sound financial health. This cannot happen if we refuse to pay for services. We must take care of public infrastructure and report acts of vandalism that destroy structures built for the benefit of our communities. As individuals, let us meet our common responsibility to help and care for the elderly, persons living with disabilities, and children. To build the South Africa we want, we must make our
5 ANC Today CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT voices heard on the laws and policies that affect us through public hearings and community meetings. We must be active citizens that support community- based organisations that are performing invaluable work in the places we live. Another important duty of citizenship is holding to account those tasked with public office. Last year we held local government elections, and new councilors have taken their seats in municipalities across our country. We must demand from our councilors that they make good on their electoral promises. They need to have regular engagements with communities, be available and attend to the needs of the communities that elected them. We must support the work of our councilors and join community betterment activities like clean-up campaigns, anti-crime initiatives and the improvement of our schools. As parents, let us play an active role in our children’s education by joining school governing bodies and parent- teacher associations. Let us report all acts of corruption. I want to take this occasion to address employers in this country, including in hospitality, agriculture, transport and other labour-intensive sectors. Our country has one of the highest rates of unemployment. When employers knowingly hire undocumented foreign workers, they are breaking the law. They are also contributing towards social tensions between our citizens and foreign nationals who are living here or have taken refuge here. Our departments of Home Affairs and Employment and Labour continue to engage with employers to ensure compliance with the immigration and labour laws of this country. As a country founded on tolerance, respect for diversity and non-discrimination, we must never allow ourselves to turn against people who come from beyond our borders. Like those countries that gave us shelter during the dark times of apartheid, we must be a welcoming country, particularly of refugees fleeing persecution elsewhere. Those who want to live and work in our country must, however, be documented, and have the right to be or work here. As we observe Human Rights Day, we affirm that democracy and human rights must be enjoyed by all those who live in our country. Unemployment is one of the greatest obstacles to the achievement of the rights of all South Africans. As part of our efforts to grow the economy and create jobs, we are driving a number of initiatives under the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. To address the social and economic effects of COVID-19, we have introduced the COVID-19 social relief of distress grant, the special UIF wage support scheme, relief funding to small businesses and the Presidential Employment Stimulus. To safeguard the health of our people and support the recovery of the economy we have implemented the largest mass vaccination campaign in our democracy’s history. Eliminating poverty and inequality remains our focus as we strive to recover from the effects of the pandemic. As government, we pledge on this Human Rights Day that we remain committed to progressively fulfilling the human rights of all. Let us work together to ensure that the Constitution makes a difference in the daily lives of all our people. Let us build a nation founded on human rights and dignity. And let us leave no one behind.
6 ANC Today COMMENT & ANALYSIS Cuba: Don’t tell us who our friends should be Dear Mr President Just more than a year after his historic release after serving 27 years for fighting the apartheid government, Nelson Mandela undertook a trip to Latin American and Caribbean countries including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Jamaica. His then speechwriter, Raymond Suttner wrote in the Daily Maverick that Madiba’s visit to those countries were but a prelude to the main destination. “The visit to Jamaica was interesting and moving. Many Jamaicans thronged the streets to applaud Mandela. When we arrived in Cuba, it was a very different reception from the other places. On every street pole there was a picture of Mandela, and ANC colours were on display throughout Havana. A special song had even been composed for Mandela by one of the island’s top musicians, Pablo Milanes.” Shortly after his arrival, there was a press conference wherein some sections of the Western media and diplomats criticised the ANC and Mandela himself for having close relationship with Cuba, which they described as a dictatorship. According to Suttner, Mandela got very angry. “But it was an Comrade Pule Mabe anger that was controlled and logical, and he made it clear that those countries that had not offered any support to the South African Struggle had no right to prescribe to the ANC with whom it should be friends,” he wrote. Indeed Mr President, the role Cuba played in our struggle to defeat the apartheid monster cannot be erased from the history books. Comrade Fidel Castro availed to our disposal every item within Cuba’s resource to help us at a time when few of the Western countries were prepared to assist at all. “Mandela said he was not prepared to be advised who his friends should be when Cuban people and government had proved themselves over many decades.” Madiba later delivered a memorable speech at Matanzas Stadium, where the celebration of the 38th anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution was held. His speech, which was published in a book together was Castro’s tribute, was also a statement of the aims of the ANC as a future government and the close relationship that it would continue to have with the government and people of Cuba. Mr President, every single member of the ANC and all South Africans would do well to familiarise themselves with the role Cuba played to bring about the democracy that we enjoy today. The battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the Cuban intervention in Angola is one of the turning points in Southern African history. The battle was fought on the banks of the Lomba River in south-eastern Angola between UNITA (aided by the South African Defence Force) and the Angolan army (FAPLA) aided by Cuba and the Soviet Union. The Cubans played a critical role in the defeat of the apartheid defence forces by backing
7 ANC Today COMMENT & ANALYSIS FAPLA in that battle. That was a historic moment in the defeat of colonialism in southern Africa and of apartheid in both South Africa and South West Africa as Namibia was then called. Upon his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically- elected president, Madiba extended a visit to Comrade Fidel Castro, who received a standing ovation when he addressed a joint sitting of our parliament. Mr President, it is well known that the collapse of the Soviet Union and its allied states presented challenges to Cuba, which received subsidised oil and other products from the USSR. Cuba has also greatly suffered the imposition of US sanctions. Be that as it may, Cuba has soldiered on and has the best medical fraternity of any country in the world. It is for this reason that Mandela’s administration forged an alliance to send our students to study medicine in Cuba. This relationship is solidified and remains intact to this day as provinces continue to sponsor our students’ studies in Havana. Cuban doctors were also invited to help our fledgling health sector during the Mandela era to work in far flung areas not preferred by our local medics. Itisafactthatwedonot produce enough doctors and nurses and this was further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This informed the invitation to the Cubans to bring in their doctors to assist when our country was overwhelmed. It is therefore deplorable that some South Africans have taken it upon themselves to downplay our relations with Cuba. These are the same beneficiaries of the freedom and democracy brought about by the Cubans. It is the benefits of that democracy that they would rush to the courts to overturn our assistance to Cuba which the island nation dearly needs. The selfish interests of those influenced by a Western prism at Cuban affairs have triumphed. The rightwing Afriforum was granted an urgent interim interdict preventing the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) from donating R50 mllion to the Cuban government for food and security. Cuba looked to us because of its frosty relations of the neighbouring United States and the rest of the Western countries. The 4 785 lives lost at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavalle for us to attain freedom seemingly counts for nothing when some among us quibble over nothing. Coming from those who revere Mandela for averting bloodshed that would have plunged our country into civil war had the ANC not chosen a negotiated settlement, it is a bitter pill to swallow that they would seek to determine who our friends should be. The ANC and the rest of South Africa cannot repay Cuba and her people enough and this is not mere nostalgia on our part. There is no monetary value that can be based on the cost of our struggle against apartheid. Cuba shared its limited financial and human resources in a war in defence of colonised people in another continent and incurred immeasurable loss of life. On Wednesday, the ANC joined millions to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Canavale during the 38th Summit of the Southern African Development Community held in Namibia and attended by all regional heads of state. It is sheer hypocrisy therefore that the beneficiaries of apartheid sought to steal the thunder from this epochal event. We will not apologise and will salute those fallen Cuban heroes whose names are inscribed in the monument of Freedom Park in Tshwane. Many with short memories and disjointed history of our struggle would like to airbrush our painful past. Cuito Cuanavale could have been overrun when Fapla brigades came under heavy SADF bombardment. Fapla was on the retreat until the initial contingent of Cuban troops rushed to help organise the defences which thwarted the SADF and forced their retreat. This changed the course of our history in no small measure. “We will not be told who are friends should be!”. We will not forget! Yours sincerely Pule Mabe National Spokesperson and Head of the Department of Information and Publicity
8 ANC Today COMMENT & ANALYSIS Cuito Cuanavale: A historic African battle By Ronnie Kasrils* It was in July 1987 that several brigades of Angola’s military force FAPLA (People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola) advanced south in an effort to crush UNITA. This was followed by an invasion by SADF forces in October, who came to UNITA’s assistance and nearly led to catastrophe for the MPLA government in Luanda. But a dramatic reversal came in March 1988 after crack Cuban internationalist forces from Havana came to the rescue. By the year’s end, the tables had been dramatically turned on the SADF and the Pretoria apartheid regime, resulting in an epic regional change in favour of African liberation. The prelude to the battle started in July 1987 when Angolan government forces (FAPLA), under the guidance of Soviet military officers, attempted to advance on Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA stronghold at Mavinga. This was the strategic key to his base at Jamba near the Caprivi Strip — a long finger of land, under South African military control, stretching as far as Zambia. At first, the offensive progressed well and FAPLA gained the upper hand, inflicting heavy casualties on UNITA and driving them south towards Mavinga. Then in October, FAPLA’s advancing 47th Brigade, forty kilometers southeast of Cuito at the Lomba River, was all but destroyed in an attack by SADF forces hastening from Namibia to UNITA’s rescue. Catastrophe followed as several other FAPLA brigades wilted under heavy bombardment, and bedraggled stragglers retreated to Cuito Cuanavale. The situation could not have been graver. Cuito could have been overrun then and there by the SADF, changing the strategic situation overnight. The interior of the country would have been opened up to domination by UNITA, resulting in Angola being split in half — something Pretoria and Savimbi had been aiming at for years. But the SADF failed to seize the initiative. This allowed an initial contingent of 120 Cuban troops to rush to the town from Menongue, 150 kilometers to the northwest, and help organise the defenses. As the ferocious siege developed, Pretoria’s generals and western diplomats predicted Cuito’s imminent fall. I have had the opportunity to hear the views on this battle from both Fidel Castro on the
9 ANC Today COMMENT & ANALYSIS one hand, and General Kat Liebenberg, a South African army chief at the time, on the other. The briefing from Castro took place in Havana’s Defence Ministry at the end of 1988. He pointed out the drama that had unfolded on a huge tabletop sand model of southern Angola. Our delegation, headed by South African Communist Party leader Joe Slovo, hung onto his every word. Castro observed that the SADF was far too cautious and missed a remarkable opportunity; after their success on the Lomba, they could have quickly taken the town. According to General Liebenberg, with whom I later established a convivial relationship during South Africa’s peace negotiations in 1993–1994, the SADF’s main aim, apart from stopping FAPLA’s advance, was to keep the town under constant bombardment to prevent its airstrip from being used. He politely stuck to the conventional SADF face-saving explanation, for he knew well that if Cuito had been taken, UNITA would have been placed in a most advantageous position. But admitting that meant they had failed in their objective. The actions of the SADF are clear evidence of their determination to breakthrough to the town. For six months they threw everything they had at the beleaguered outpost, in their desire to seize the prize. They relentlessly pounded Cuito with massive 155mm G-5 canons and staged attack after attack led by the crack 61st mechanized battalion, 32 “Buffalo” Battalion, and later 4th SA Infantry group. The defenders doggedly held out, reinforced by 1,500 elite troops that arrived from Cuba in December 1987. By March 23, 1988, the last major attack on Cuito was “brought to a grinding and definite halt,” in the words of 32 Battalion commander, Colonel Jan Breytenbach. He writes: “the Unita soldiers did a The whole region, together with former underdeveloped countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, are today in varying degrees striving for economic independence in a difficult and highly complex new world order. lot of dying that day” and “the full weight of FAPLA’s \[firepower\] was brought down on the heads of \[SADF\] Regiment President Steyn and the already bleeding Unita.” The SADF deployed upwards of 5,000 men at Cuito Cuanavale, according to their commander-in-chief General Jan Geldenhuys, plus several thousand UNITA troops. They were repulsed by the Cubans and 6,000 FAPLA defenders. The numerous pro-SADF accounts focus on the engagements leading up to Cuito Cuanavale and the siege itself, dutifully recording their battlefield maneuvers and achievements. Indeed, they describe tactical efficiency and resourcefulness, but they cannot conceal the fact that they failed to conquer the town, and they downplay the later decisive military developments in the southwest on the Namibian border that commenced in April 1988 and peaked in June that year. Colonel Breytenbach is the exception here. He observed: “With a lack of foresight the South Africans had allowed the bulk of their available combat power to be tied down on the Cuito Cuanavale front.” In his view this should have been regarded as a secondary front. This was in stark contrast to General Geldenhuys fixating on a SADF victory at Cuito Cuanavale and claiming that the new front opened-up by the Cubans in the west was akin to Castro “kicking the ball into touch.” This was a reference to a rugby-football tactic of playing for a draw or ending the encounter by booting the ball out of play. On the contrary, the saga at Cuito Cuanavale can be correctly characterised as a Cuban-Angolan defensive victory. Undoubtedly, wars are not won by defensive engagements. The significance of Cuito Cuanavale is that the defenders not only saved the day, but bought the time to enable the Cuban-Angolan side to turn the tables, and by April 1988 launch a breathtaking offensive in the southwest that changed the course of history.
10 ANC Today COMMENT & ANALYSIS The ball may not have been “in touch”—but it was very much in play. On his table-top model, Castro pointed out the amazing feat of a 40,000-strong Cuban, FAPLA, and SWAPO troop deployment, a front which stretched from Namibe on the coast, along a railway line through Lubango and Menongue, and to Cuito Cuanavale in the east. The SADF forces at Cuito were sidelined, like a major piece on a chess board that has prematurely advanced, as powerful forces (armed with the latest Soviet weaponry and under superior air cover) moved west towards the Namibian border. Angola’s southern Cunene and Mocamedes provinces were liberated after years of SADF control. A master stroke was the rapid construction of airstrips by Cuban engineers at Cahama and Xangongo, within 300 kilometers of the Namibian border, which brought the strategic Ruacana and Calueque hydroelectric dam systems on the Cunene River within striking distance. Soviet MiG-23s, flown by Cuban pilots, had demonstrated their superiority over South Africa’s aged Mirage fighters (whose obsolescence was the result of UN-imposed sanctions), and now that they commanded the skies, the network of SADF bases in northern Namibia was at their mercy. Castro showed quiet pride in this achievement, cutting a thoughtful figure. Behind the singular achievement was outstanding military acumen; he was not the foolhardy gambler depicted by detractors like South African academic Greg Mills. It was at this point that Castro used his now famous boxing analogy to explain the carefully formulated strategy: Cuito Cuanavale in the east represented the boxer’s defensive left fist that blocked the blow, whilst in the west the powerful right fist had struck — placing the SADF in a perilous position. The end for the SADF was signaled on June 27, 1988. A squadron of MiGs bombed the Ruacana and Calueque installations, cutting the water and power supply to Ovamboland and its military bases, and killing eleven young South African conscripts. (While this is a small number, in a white minority country such deaths were felt as acutely as similar losses by Israel’s military). A MiG-23 executed a neat victory roll over Ruacana. The war was effectively over. The SADF was clearly outfoxed in Angola. Magnus Malan, South Africa’s Minister of Defence, admitted that “as far as the Defence Force was concerned \[Fidel Castro\] was an unknown presence in military terms, and therefore it was difficult to predict his intentions.” This amounted to an astonishing intelligence failure, as it came a dozen years after the SADF first encountered the Cubans in Angola during the 1975–1976 aggression. Malan was not alone in this ignorance, however; the Americans had been in confrontation with Havana since the 1960s and appeared to know no better. Along with Pretoria they expected a Soviet Union eager for rapprochement with the West to curtail Cuba’s actions. They were surprised to discover that the Soviet Union’s so-called proxy had not even consulted Moscow over Havana’s massive intervention. The United States was even more taken aback when sophisticated Soviet military equipment in Cuba’s island arsenal was rushed to Angola to supply the Cuban reinforcements. The Cubans could have marched into Namibia but exercised restraint. All parties, including the United States and Soviet Union, were looking for compromise and a way forward in negotiations that had previously been going nowhere. Castro was not looking for a bloody encounter which would have cost many lives on both sides, and neither were apartheid’s generals and political leaders. They could afford casualties even less than the Cubans, considering the popular mass struggle, escalating armed operations within South Africa by the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), and a growing resistance amongst young white conscripts against military service. Because of the embargo, Chester Crocker, chief negotiator for the United States, had to be given a special exemption to meet with Jorge Risquet, head of the Cuban delegation. Crocker confided: “Reading the Cubans is yet another art form. They are prepared for both
11 ANC Today COMMENT & ANALYSIS war and peace. We witness considerable tactical finesse and genuinely creative moves at the table.” His opinion of the South Africans was that “they confused military power with national strategy.” The central negotiation issue was UN Security Council Resolution 435, concerning South Africa’s withdrawal from Namibia, and the departure of Cuban troops from Angola. It is history that the last SADF soldier left Angola at the end of August 1988, and that Namibia became independent in March 1990, even before the Cuban troop exodus from Angola. What materialised at Cuito Cuanavale set in chain a process that finally broke the ascendancy of the military hawks in Pretoria. Together with the popular mass struggle within South Africa and apartheid’s international isolation, the country’s freedom was soon achieved. It is fitting that at Freedom Park outside Pretoria, the names of the 2,070 Cuban soldiers who fell in Angola between 1975 and 1988 are inscribed alongside those of the South African revolutionaries who died during the decades- long liberation struggle. Those patriots and internationalists were motivated by a single goal — the end of racial rule and genuine African independence. After thirteen years defending Angolan sovereignty, the Cubans took nothing home except the bones of their fallen and Africa’s gratitude. It is also noteworthy that for most of those years Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants engaged the adversary in many parts of Angola, cooperated with FAPLA and SWAPO units (as well as with Cuban and Soviet advisers), aided in the interception and translation of Afrikaans radio traffic, and provided invaluable intelligence on the SADF following an historic agreement signed between Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos and the ANC’s Oliver Tambo and their respective military intelligence chiefs (which this author was party to). One hundred thirty Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants lost their lives in action during that time, as did possibly as many white SADF troops, as well as several thousand UNITA and other surrogates under SADF command. It was at the cost of tens of thousands of lives that Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique gained political independence from colonial and racist rule during the decades between 1974 and 1994. The whole region, together with former underdeveloped countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, are today in varying degrees striving for economic independence in a difficult and highly complex new world order. The outcome of this is closely connected to the situation and struggles in North America and Europe and bloody contestation in the Arab world. Whatever stage has been reached—and there certainly have been gains and setbacks—one cannot belittle the enormous sacrifices of the struggle for national liberation and independence from colonial and racist rule of a bygone age. Those sacrifices were not in vain. *Ronnie Kasrils has been an activist in the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party all his adult life. Between 1994 and 2008 he was Deputy Defence Minister, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, and Minister for Intelligence.
12 ANC Today SPECIAL FOCUS Battle of Mutale River - a Historic Watershed in MK History 60 years of the existence of MK is replete with a myriad of acts of valour and fortitude. It’s an illuminating story of men and women of courage who, in the worst times of Apartheid colonial brutality dared to stand up and confront the strongest military might in the African continent. On 16 December 2021, at Freedom Park, the 60 years of MK formation was celebrated in anoccasiongracedbytheDeputy President of the ANC and the country, Comrade David Mabuza. The various phases of intense courageous and daring military actions that have characterised the evolution of MK, are documented, albeit not as fully as they deserve to be. These include amongst others; the sabotage campaign of 1961- 1964; The death defiance of execution by Vuyisile Mini, Wilson Khayingo, and Zinakile Mkaba in 1964; the Wankie(Huange)/ Sipolilocampaignof1967/68;the By Mbulelo Musi AventuraMaritimeescapade;the valour of Solomon Mahlangu; the spectacularmilitaryoperationsof the 1980’s such as the attacks on SASOL, Koeberg; Orlando and Moroka police stations etc; Voortrekkerhoogte; Church Street bombing of the SADF Airforce base; the landmine campaigns of the then Northern Transvaal etc. A battle not often spoken about and seldom given the necessary recognition is the two- day long heroic Battle of Mutale River (BoMR) of 28/03/1988. What is this Battle of Mutale and what is its historic significance? Pursuant to the visit of a high-powered delegation led by the late President of the ANC and MK Commander OR Tambo to Vietnam to exchange experiences, the 1980’s were declared by the National ExecutiveCommitteeoftheANC as the Decade of.Liberation. It was during this period that the four pillars of the struggle were intensified in a manner unprecedented before. The rebuilding of the ANC underground structures inside the country; mass mobilisation and actions; the armed struggle and international solidarity were escalated. Accordingly, special training programmes in urban and rural warfare were designed and undertaken - in the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), German Democratic Republic, (GDR) Cuba, Yugoslavia, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania and not least inside the country. Measures to infiltrate trained cadres into the country on all fronts of Southern Africa increased exponentially. Aspecialunitofsixtydisciplined
13 ANC Today SPECIAL FOCUS MK cadres was identified in Angola and dispatched to Cuba for specialised training as Special Forces and Commandos in 1987//88. On their return they got battle tested with real baptism of fire. They fought in skirmishes against the UNITA bandit forces East and North of the Angolan capital city, Luanda. They successfully repulsed them from encroaching on MK military camps. Amongst these, on 25 March 1988, a group of nine heavily armed and highly trained MK combatants was sent to the frontline, from Angola to Zambia and later Zimbabwe to clandestinely infiltrate South Africa through Zimbabwe via the Limpopo River. Itwasnexttoasmallriverknown as Mutale in the then Venda Bantustan Administration, that they were detected by the Apartheid and Venda enemy security forces. Afiercetwo-daybattleensued, with MK Unit inflicting heavy casualties against the enemy forces including destroying a helicopter. On the other hand, five MK combatants were killed. Two managed to escape and retreated to Zimbabwe whilst one was injured and captured. Thanks to the support of political activists in Venda, he also managed to escape from prison and joined the other two in Zambia. Those who were killed in battle were buried in paupers’ graves by the racist regime in Thohoyandou. Their graves remained unknown to their beloved families for many years. These were: Name. Daniel Nkabinde Abram Moroe Oupa Lukhele Mvuseleli Velaphi Sipho Nkosi MK Name Vusi Mathambo Happy Batho Dan Mabaso Mzimkhulu Goduka Peter Molotsi The three who survived were: Duma Mlambo, James Sekgale and Thabo Dube. With the advent of freedom in 1994 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission processes, a Missing Persons Task Team (MPTT) was established under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to amongst others: conduct research, trace and facilitate the exhumation, repatriation, and burial of the fallen such as those Battle of Mutale heroes. In 2013, with the assistance of the Department of Military Veterans, Department of Justice and the Department of Arts and Culture, the fallen martyrs of Mutale were exhumed, repatriated and finally given decent and dignified funerals in their various homesteads by their respective families. This is in line with the Constitution of the Republic of SA that enjoins “ We the people of SA; Recognise the injustices of our past, “Respect and Honour those who fought for freedom in our land...” This is also in line with Sec 5 of the MV’ s Act which mandates the Department of Military Veterans to honour and memorialise military veterans who contributed to the attainment of freedom and democracy in South Africa. Plans are afoot to commemorate the 34th Anniversary of the historic (BoMR) as an integral part of the 60th Anniversary celebrations of MK. The main objective of this celebration is to inform and educate the public about the significance of the BoMR in the liberation struggle; mobilise the public and stakeholders to partake in the commemoration events; enhance and advance the goal of social cohesion and nation building. Thus, the theme for the celebrations is “ Celebrating the Mutale Battle for Social Cohesion and Nation Building” Sub Themes are “ Lest We Forget” “With Dedication, Honour and Selfless Sacrifice; They Served” The celebrations will be held in three parts: 1. Affected families’ and survivors visit to the battle site in Limpopo – 26 March 2022 2. Memorial Lecture on the BoMR, at uMndeni, Soweto – 27March 2022 3. Public event including international gests such as the Cubans and the Angolans, in Ekurhuleni – 28 March 2022 There are indeed hundreds across the country, in the region of Southern Africa, Africa and the world awaiting to be exhumed, repatriated, and given decent funeral next to their beloved families. Their families are painfully awaiting and yearning for closure. The critical importance of undertaking this noble task in ensuring the healing of many wounds as well as enhancing social cohesion and nation building, cannot be overemphasised. Suffice to say, failure to accomplish that historic mission will make future generations to judge us harshly.
14 ANC Today SPECIAL FOCUS War is not a sporting event, It’s serious stuff where the innocent people die WSikhumbuzo Thomo* By hile people will have varying opinions as to the predictable actions that Russia took regarding the war in Ukraine, none can say they were not warned. After all, it’s not like Russia woke up on February 24 and decided it was a wonderful day to start a military operation on the territory of Ukraine. Russia has its own concerns for its own security as a justification for its actions. Unfortunately, the same thing may be more difficult to say for the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) with regards to their belligerent behavior over the course of the last two decades. And I think that to decrypt the Ukrainian algorithm, US President Joe Biden should help negotiate the ceasefire seize fire. This would save countless Ukrainian lives as well as the lives in the Donbass region. We have seen brutal shelling and missile attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. And the first question we must ask ourselves is that; is there a path to peace in the Ukraine? And the answer to this question is that at this point we must conclude there is a universal opposition to any peace arrangement that involves any Russian success. This could all have been avoided. In an exchange with a reporter, the US Press Secretary Jen
15 ANC Today SPECIAL FOCUS Psaki was asked a question: “Would it not it be better to start negotiating and de-escalating to save Ukrainians, instead of instilling them with the false hope that they can win, that they can actually defeat Russia instead of flooding them with weapons?” and Saki said, “Basically no, we’re just going to keep giving them weapons, and we would have destroyed the Russian economy.” At this point I made the conclusion that there is a universal opposition to any peace arrangement that involves any recognition of any Russian success. In fact, now it appears more Ukrainians are almost incidental to the operation, in the sense that they are there to impale themselves to the Russian army and die in great numbers because the real goal of this entire thing is the destruction of the Russian State and President Vladimir Putin. And NATO is not prepared to stop anything as long as there is the slightest hope that something terrible will happen to Russia and President Vladimir Putin. This is, even though the evidence suggests otherwise. But it does not really matter in this situation. Almost everyone is now on the Russophobic attack and signed on for the Russian hate campaign. And this seems to go on regardless of what seems to be reported, and frankly the absence of much truth in reporting and a lot of wishful thinking in its place is hard to over-estimate and it’s terrible. The dominant narrative we are getting from the West is that militarily this has been a disaster for Russia, that Ukraine If President Volodymyr Zelensky is wise, he better take the deal at hand and stop being cheer led to war by NATO that is not prepared to put its boots on the ground. is putting up fierce resistance that President Putin did not expect, and that they have inflicted serious military defeat on the Russians. Well, again the evidence seems to suggest the opposite, militarily speaking, Ukrainian forces that are still active are surrounded and entirely cut off and isolated in the various towns and villages. And at this point the Ukrainians are incapable of anything but an occasional pin prick attack on something that does not appear to be very robust. So, the war for all intents and purposes has been decided. The issue for the Russians from the beginning has been: how do they proceed without killing a large number of civilians and inflicting a lot of property damage. And President Putin gave very strict orders from the outset that they would avoid those things. The challenge of avoiding these two targets is that is has slowed the progress of the operation to the point where it has given false hope both to the Ukrainians and people in the West to try and convince the world that a defeat is in progress when in fact the opposite is case. And we know that what analysts never do is listen or take President Putin serious. So, the war itself at this stage of the game could be decided very rapidly and permanently if President Putin were to give the order and allow the forces to disregard the concern for civilian life and property damage but he has not done that. He has continued to negotiate even though he recognises that the people sitting across from him really are not in a position deliver very much. They are being told what to do and it is very obvious Washington wants this to continue as long as possible in the hopes that Russia will be desperately harmed. The polling inside Russia demonstrates that about 70% of the Russians are behind their President. This is a very large percentage for any President to enjoy in any conflict. To decrypt some of this Ukrainian algorithm is that in the West there is no truth, there is wishful thinking and there is this
16 ANC Today SPECIAL FOCUS impression of success by the Ukrainians that does not stack up and that results in inflated numbers in reporting. In fact, the Russians are capturing large quantities of Western equipment, British and American. Now, from the energy perspective, Russia provides 10% of the world’s crude oil needs and 40% of Europe’s gas requirements. The US and its allies have imposed comprehensive sanctions that have no basis under International Law against Russia in response to its special military operation in Ukraine. These sanctions have slowed but not entirely eliminated the ability of Russian exporters of oil and gas to transact deals that require world financial networks and especially US dollars. Of note, Uranium has been specifically excluded from the US ban as the United States has a significant uranium dependency on Russia, which provides for over 20% of its domestic demand. And it is worth reminding that while the war is in its worst stage, Russian gas keeps flowing to European off takers through the Ukrainian energy system. Europe does not seem to be rushing to cut Russian supplies. From a domestic point of view, it is clear that the West does not have a substitute plan to lean on. The only viable alternatives for the West and NATO will be to go to Venezuela and Iran bowl in hand and effectively kneel at the feet of those regimes that they have undermined all these years – an excruciating lesson on diplomacy. President Joe Biden has over “Would it not it be better to start negotiating and de- escalating to save Ukrainians, instead of instilling them with the false hope that they can win, that they can actually defeat Russia instead of flooding them with weapons?” estimated and over played his hand with the sanctions against Russia and they will hurt the West more as its global dominance is now a thing of the past. If President Volodymyr Zelensky is wise, he better take the deal at hand and stop being cheer led to war by NATO that is not prepared to put its boots on the ground. And I believe in the interest of world peace that Ukraine must be a neutral state. Comrade Sikhumbuzo Thomo A Member of the International Relations Sub Committee of the ANC and Head of Economic Diplomacy Task Team
17 ANC Today PERSPECTIVE Cultivating a Sustainable Development State in SA SWilliam Gumede By ingapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) used its postcolonial hegemony better than Africa’s dominant independence and liberation movements, to transform Singapore within one generation from dirt-poor at independence from Great Britain in 1965, to a highly developed economy. In contrast, most African countries within one generation became significantly poorer than they were at independence from former colonialism. By delivering industrialisation, widespread prosperity and racial peace, the PAP ensured its continued legitimacy. Almost all African independence and liberation movements who have been successful in opposing colonial or apartheid regimes, have failed to use their hegemony over their societies to make the transition as governing parties who can successfully manage such intricate state- building, industrialisation and development, so successfully implemented by the PAP. The PAP was established in 1954 as a party to fight for the independence of Singapore from Great Britain. Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of post-independence Singapore, was one of the founders of the PAP. Pragmatic Economic Policies The PAP was similar to many African liberation and independence movements, a party of the Left. However, unlike many African liberation and independence movements who adopted either Marxist Leninism, African variants of socialism and communalism, democratic centralism, and state-led development, the PAP adopted pragmatic market- based policies, partnered with business, including multinationals. The Singaporean thinker, Chan Heng Chee says that the PAP ideology was that of pragmatism, meaning adopting policies based on whether they produce results – and if they do not, rejecting it – and not based on dogma or the belief in an absolute truth. Michael Hill and Lian Kwen Fee said that the PAP adopted ‘‘purposive rational policies’’, which “requires planning and considerable quantitative analysis to complement a very strong strain of empiricism. If the leaders find that a policy is not working or that it is producing unintended results, the PAP will jettison it without any sentimentality”. Many African liberation and
18 ANC Today PERSPECTIVE independent movements of both the left and the centre often pursued left populist social, political and economic policies. The PAP consistently rejected populism. The PAP has been exceptionally “responsive” to citizens’ concerns, contrary to most African liberation and independence movements, who often take for granted that their supporters will vote for them because they supposedly brought “freedom”. The PAP also focused on the long term, rather than the short term, whereas many African liberation and independence movements focused largely on the short term, undermining long-term sustainability The PAP focused on making The PAP government encouraged local and foreign investment, introducing tax holidays, low taxes and established industrial estates. “things work”, delivering quality basic public services on time, making “basic utilities function efficiently”, and ensuring new “infrastructure is intelligently planned with a long-range vision in mind”. At independence, local and international business were alarmed by the rise to power of the PAP because of its left- wing history. Many local and international companies moved their company head offices to other countries. However, the PAP proved the market doubters wrong. Private Sector-led Growth, Rather than State-led Growth The PAP cobbled together an industrialisation strategy, focusing on export manufacturing, unlike many African liberation and independence movements, who rarely focused on industrialisation, focusing on redistribution of colonial or apartheid-inherited assets, land and businesses as the main strategy. The PAP encouraged private sector-led growth, rather than state-led growth, unlike
19 ANC Today PERSPECTIVE many African liberation and independence movements, who discouraged private sector-led growth, prioritising state-led growth. It focused on export led manufacturing. It eschewed import substitution, the policy of replacing foreign imports with domestic production, to focus on manufacturing locally for export abroad. The PAP’s post-independence economic strategist Goh Keng Swee, strongly pushed industrialisation as a way to foster growth and create jobs, rather than redistribution of existing or colonially inherited wealth. The state partnered with business – predominantly foreign multinationals. In contract, African independence and liberation movements nationalised many local and foreign companies, or introduced indigenisation or empowerment programmes where the state or local political capitalists close to governing parties get slices of local or foreign companies. The PAP sought out outside experts to help. They did not take on Marxist-Leninist or neo-liberal economic advisors. Singapore took lessons from Japan’s industrialisation, the Dutch and German industrialisation following the end of the Second World War. The PAP also took to heart advice from the United Nations Development Programme, which is more sustainable development orientated, than say the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. The government established a social pact coordinated body, like the Dutch equivalent to forge a consensus between organised labour, business and the government on growth, industrialisation and multiracialism strategies. Importantly, business had equal power to that of labour, although the PAP started off as a party aligned to trade unions. Trade unions were compelled to compromise short-term interests in favour of the country’s long-term industrialisation. For example, they had to agree to productivity targets, accepting lower wages and increases and not to strike to foster an investor-friendly labour market. African liberation and independence movements aligned to trade unions often give preference to their labour allies above that of business, which results in these governments alienating business, and therefore losing out on having business, with its resources, ideas and capacity for the industrialisation programme. The PAP uniquely used multinationals in Singapore to lead industrialisation – because at independence there were no large indigenous companies. International multinationals led the export manufacturing expansion. The PAP government did not nationalise colonial-era local and foreign businesses – as has been the case in many African independence and liberation movement-led countries. The PAP government encouraged local and foreign investment, introducing tax holidays, low taxes and established industrial estates. The PAP government also involved foreign multinationals in partnering with the government in industrialisation. The PAP partnered with local and foreign businesses to stimulate growth, industrialisation and development. “First published in Business Update, Issue 22”
20 ANC Today IN MEMORIUM ANC expressed its Condolences on the Passing of Muslim Judicial Council Lifelong President Sheikh Abdul Gamiet Gabier (86) IWilliam Gumede By t is with great sadness that the African National Congress learned of the passing of Sheikh Abdul Gamiet Gabier, Lifelong President of the Muslim Judicial Council. Sheik Gabier was a pillar of the Muslim community in the Western Cape and the country, as the first Imam of the Primrose Park Mashid and playing an instrumental role in the founding of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC). He once described why the MJS was formed, when he said: “We had no Islamic institution here until we began the MJC. We worried about what would become of the youth.” The MJC was not only formed to address the social issues of the Muslim community, education, youth matters and so forth, but also to ensure that Muslims play their role in the struggle against apartheid and the building of a new South Africa. Sheik Abdul Gamiet Shabier served as president of the MuslimJudicial Council, a founder of the Call of Islam, a UDF affiliate, as a member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and as South African Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Gabier dedicated himself to the struggle against apartheid and was committed to social cohesion and national unity. On 9 May 1994, during the first sitting of the National Assembly where President Mandela was elected, when asked by then Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala to do a closing prayer, Sheikh Abdul Gamiet Gabier did the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, as always prepared to reach out across faiths. As we mourn the loss of this great patriot, the ANC conveys its heartfelt condolences to Sheikh Gabier’s family, colleagues, comrades, friends and the entire Muslim community.
21 ANC Today THIS WEEK IN HISTORY 26 March 1943 Die Burger published use of “apartheid” for the first time The Afrikaans newspaper, Die Burger, published the word “Apartheid” for the first time. 26 March 1956 NAFCOC leader and businessman Sheiks Makhado born Sheiks Mutondi Makhado, businessman and well-known leader in the area of Black economic empowerment, was born in Johannesburg. He was executive director of NAFCOC (1989-91) and founder of the Rethabile Group, with stakes in telecommunications, airlines and casinos. 27 March 1876 Cape Times newspaper hits the streets The Cape Times newspaper’s first day on the streets of Cape Town. It was the first daily newspaper in southern Africa, published as an English language morning newspaper with Frederick York St Leger as editor. It sold for the cheap price of a penny and has been in continuous daily production ever since. The Cape Times: An Informal History, was written by Gerhard Shaw was published in 2000. 27 March 1985 Westdene dam disaster A bus with 76 learners from Vorentoe High school, Johannesburg plunged into the Westdene dam, killing 42 learners. To this day, the cause of the accident is not known. 19 - 24 March Sources: SA History Online, O’Malley Archives and The Africa Factbook (2020) 26 March 1881 Youngest judge appointed Reinhold Gregorowski is appointed a judge in the Orange Free State at the age of 25, making him the youngest judge in SA history. Judge Gregorowski delivered the death penalty in the Jameson Raids, and died in 1922. In 1999, Leona Theron was appointed as judge at the age of 33, making her the second youngest judge. 25 March 2001 Pedestrian week inaugurated Pedestrian week (25-31 March) to raise awareness on pedestrian safety issues, was started by government on this day. According to the UN, each year, over 270,000 pedestrians are killed in road accidents. In South Africa between 35-40% of road deaths are pedestrians. Contributing factors to these high figures, according to the Arrive Alive campaign, include drunk, distracted, reckless pedestrians, poor visibility and state of pavements. The Arrive Alive campaign includes educating children in school on road safety, and physical infrastructure to encourage safety such as wider pavements, traffic bumps, and pedestrian bridges. 26 March 1898 Hunting banned in the Kruger National Park Hunting in the area now known as the Kruger National Park was banned through a proclamation by the then Zuid Afrikaanse Republic (the Boer republic of Transvaal). First named the Sabie Game Reserve, it was renamed after Paul Kruger in 1926, and opened to the public in 1927. The Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in Africa, 19,633 square kilometres large. At last count, it has 93 mammal, 518 bird and 118 reptile species, including the Big Five: Buffalos, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos and the Little Five: antlions, eastern rock elephant shrews, leopard tortoises, red-billed buffalo weavers and rhino beetles.
22 ANC Today THIS WEEK IN HISTORY 27 March 1985 Boesak and Naude arrested for leading protest march Two anti-apartheid clergy Reverends Beyers Naudé and Allan Boesak, and 200 other protesters were arrested for leading a march through the city of Cape Town to Pollsmoor Prison. They were protesting against the Uitenhage massacre that took place on 21 March 1985 in the township of Langa, and also called for the release of Nelson Mandela. The charges were subsequently dropped, but the South African police kept the two men under surveillance. 28 March 1656 First slaves arrive in Cape Town The first 174 slaves arrived in Cape Town – hardly four years after Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape of Good Hope to establish a halfway station for the Dutch East Indian Company (VOC). The slaves arrived on a VOC company ship, the Amersfoort. They were part of a contingent of 250 Angolan slaves originally destined for Brazil, but stolen by the Amersfoort from the Portuguese slave traders. The rest died during the trip, before landing in Cape Town, where they were sold. The slave trade in the Cape colony officially lasted until 1822, with slaves captured from Angola, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Madagascar, and what is now known as Indonesia and Malaysia. When slavery was finally abolished in 1834 by the British, nearly 200 years later, the Cape had a population of over 38,000 slaves. 28 March 1924 Natoo Babenia was born terms of imprisonment, before returning to Durban in October 1949, settling in Beatrice Street, Durban. In South Africa he was a member of the National Indian Congress, the African National Congress (ANC), South African Communist Party (SACP) and Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) and served sixteen years on Robben Island. In 1995, Babenia released his biography, which was titled “Memoirs of a Saboteur”. Natoo Babenia passed away on 1 January 1999 at the age of 75. 28 March 1960 Oliver Tambo leaves South Africa Natvarlal Dayalji “Natoo” Babenia, a political activist first in India, resisting British rule and later in South Africa against the Apartheid government, was born at Coedmore Road, Bellair, Durban. In 1936, faced with economic hardship, his family returned to India, where the struggle against British colonialism was being waged. Babenia played an active role in the Indian Congress movement in Baroda, and served several Oliver Reginald Tambo was sent by the ANC to establish the ANC outside of South Africa, and to mobilise support for the struggle against apartheid. He left South Africa illegally, became ANC President and led the movement, returning only 30 years later in 1990.
23 ANC Today THIS WEEK IN HISTORY 28 March 1987 Launch of the South African Youth Congress SAYCO was the most significant youth organisation to emerge during the 1980s. Initiated by COSAS, it focused on organising the non-student youth, unemployed youth and young workers who shared the interests and aspirations of COSAS but could not belong to it. In 1982, a COSAS Commission was established to investigate the formation of a national youth organisation. It was decide that individual townships and regions establish their own youth congresses that would work in close cooperation with COSAS and AZASO. By 1983, 20 new youth organizations were launched and by 1986 more than 600 youth congresses were launched across the country. 28 March 1987 saw SAYCO launched amidst great secrecy, with representatives from nine regional structures elected to the national executive, at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). It adopted the Freedom Charter, pledged itself to work closely with COSATU and the NECC, and was affiliated to the UDF. Its principle objectives were to unify and politicise all progressive youth irrespective of race; to encourage young workers to join trade unions; and to ensure that women participate fully in the activities of the youth movement. At the outset SAYCO focused on the organisation of all youth in order to tackle their problems through united and collective action and to develop a role for young people in their communities and in the broader democratic struggle. 28 March 1988 Dulcie September assassinated Dulcie September, ANC chief representative in France, Luxembourg and Switzerland was assassinated. An activist who dedicated her life to freedom, she was born on 20 August 1953 in Athlone, Cape Town. 28 March 1996 Trevor Manuel appointed as Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was appointed as first black Finance minister, after the resignation of Chris Liebenberg, a position he served from 1996- 2009). On the same day, the Reconstruction and Development (RDP) office in the Presidency was closed. Manuel unveiled the Growth Employment and Redistribution plan (GEAR) in June of the same year. He served as Finance minister from 1996 to 2009, and subsequently as Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission from 2009-2014. 29 March 1933 Dr Stanley Mogoba born Dr. Stanley Mogoba, future president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1997, was born in Polokwane on this day. He was detained on Robben Island during the 1980s and was appointed as the presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa in 1988. 29 March 1982 Journalist Selby Msimang passed on Journalist, farm manager, clerk, interpreter and political activist, Henry Selby Msimang, died on 29 March 1982 in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg. Msimang was a founding member of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC). He was a staunch labour organiser, and with Clements Kadalie formed the national Industrial Commercial Union (ICU). Due to differences between the two, Msimang resigned as president of the ICU, but rejoined after Kadalie’s resignation in 1929. Msimang was editor of the newspaper Morumioa-Inxusa
24 ANC Today THIS WEEK IN HISTORY (Messenger) and author of numerous articles. He was a founder member of the Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA), formed in 1953. 29 March 1994 Rwanda refugees start trek to Tanzania, fleeing genocide Thousands of Rwandan refugees fleeing violence in Burundi began a two-day trek toward Tanzania. In 1994, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated 1.3 million Rwandans fled genocide to eastern Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC), and more than half a million escaped to Tanzania. Hundreds of thousands went back to Rwanda from both DRC and Tanzania in 1996. 30 March 1951 Group Areas Act comes into effect. The Group Areas divided the country into separate residential and business areas for whites, Africans, Indians and Coloureds. This act completed the process started with the 1913 and 1926 Land Acts, which set aside 80% of land for white ownership. To enforce the separate development policy, forced removals became the order of the day. By 1982, over 3.5 million people had been forcefully removed, including high profile cases such as Sophiatown and District Six. 31 March 1694 Sheik Yusuf arrives in Cape Sheik Yusuf, Islamic leader and brother of the sultan of Macassar, was banished to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company (DEIC). He arrived on board De Voetboog and with his family and retinue; they were forty-nine people in total. In order to minimise his influence on enslaved people at the Cape, he was housed by the Dutch East India Company on the farm Zandvliet, located outside Cape Town. Although he died in 1699, just five years after his arrival at the Cape, after more than three centuries his memory lives on and Zandvliet is a noted place of pilgrimage for Muslim people in South Africa. Although there were already some Muslims at the Cape before the arrival of Yusuf, he is regarded as the founder of the Islamic faith at the Cape. 31 March 1964. As the Rivonia trial drew to a close, with possibility of death penalty for Nelson Mandela and other Trialists, the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid published report recommending that the UN Security Council call on South Africa to refrain from executing people sentenced to death for political offences, to end political trials in process and grant amnesty to all political prisoners. 31 March 2000 Jazz Festival starts in Cape Town The North Sea Jazz Festival started in Cape Town. It was the first time a jazz festival on four simultaneous stages to take place in SA. The jazz festival, now known as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival takes place annually. 1 April 1913 Formation of the South African Police The South African Police (SAP) was formed as a national police force, after the Union of South Africa of 1910. 1 April 1955 ANC launches boycott against Bantu Education African National Congress (ANC) launched mass boycott of Bantu Education. This introduced high levels of inequality in expenditure on education of white and black children, resulting in highly unequal infrastructure, student-teacher ratios, access to text books, libraries, science facilities and sport fields. Bantu education came into effect in 1955 after the
25 ANC Today THIS WEEK IN HISTORY government had passed the Bantu Education Act. The call for boycott of bantu education was accompanied by the formation of alternative schools in communities, which were harshly suppressed by the apartheid government. 1 April 1977 Pik Botha appointed as Foreign Minister Pik Botha was appointed as Foreign Minister, a position that he served in until 1994, when as part of the Government of National Unity, he served in the Cabinet of Nelson Mandela as Minister of Minerals and Energy. 1 April 2016 Clarence Makwetu dies at age 88 years. Makwetu became active and joined the ANC Youth League in the 1950s and was part of the breakaway group from the ANC that formed the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1959. He was imprisoned and banned for the next three decades, and after the unbannings of 1990, he was elected as PAC President, which formed the Patriotic Front with the ANC during the negotiations and was elected as one of the first PAC MPs to the first democratic parliament in 1994.
26 ANC Today INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL DAYS 25 - 31 March 2022 Sources: www.un.org, www.au.int and The Africa Fact Book (2020) 26 March World Earth Hour Every year on the last Saturday of March, this year on 26 March at 20:30 local time, millions of people will observe Earth Hour by switching off their lights for one hour. This action raises awareness on the impact of the human footprint on our planet and all its other inhabitants. (earthhour.org) 27 March World Theatre Day Theatre has a long history as being part of human cultural expressions, telling stories through dramatic representation. During the global pandemic, the creative sector and theatre in particular are facing severe difficulties, and artists and theatre lovers have shown resilience and are adapting. As Helen Mirren, British actor wrote in her message on 2021 World Theatre Day: “Human beings have told each other stories for as long as they have been on the planet. The beautiful culture of theatre will live for as long as we stay here.” 30 March World Bipolar Day The day is observed on the occasion of the death of great artist, Vincent van Gogh, who was diagnosed as being bipolar after he passed on. Bipolar is a mental illness, characterised by extreme shifts in moods, resulting in mania and depression. 1 April April Fools’ Day Although the origin of the day is not known, it is observed through hoaxes and pranks, nowadays perpetuated through media, including social media, mainly to see how easily we are all fooled into believing outrageous things and sometimes outright lies and misinformation.
27 ANC Today BOOK REVIEW By Fébé Potgieter-Gqubule WORLD THEATRE DAY World Theatre Day, celebrated each year on the last Saturday of March, draws attention to the importance of theatre and its messages in our world. Wikipedia defines theatre as a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of speech, gesture, song, music and dance.” South Africa and the continent as a whole have a rich history of theatre, especially since it fits into our cultural traditions of oral story-telling, “ritual, legend, folk tale, festival, and ceremony.” Renowned African playwrights across the continent include Abdelkader Alloula (Algerian), Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Athol Fugard (South Africa), Bate Besong (Cameroon), Cheik Aliou N’dao (Senegal), Femi Osofisan (Nigeria), Gcina Mhlope (South Africa), Gibson Kente (South Africa), Gilberto Mendes (Mozambique), John Kani (South Africa), José Mena Abrantes (Angola), Lindo Lhongo (Angola), Nicole Wéré-Wéré Liking (Cote d’Ivoire), Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o (Kenya), NP van Wyk Louw (South Africa), Sara Shaarawi (Egypt), Tchicaya U Tam’si (Congo Republic), Tololwa Mollel (Tanzania), Victor Elame Musinga (Cameroon), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria) and Tawfiq Al-Hakim (Egypt), to mention but a few. Theatre of course, is best seen as performance, and we must not only read these playwrights, but more importantly support local and African theatre. World Theatre Day 2022 is a good day to start. SOURCES Orimalade, Adesola Harold (2020) “The African Playwright: Old Stories, Present Day Realities” Ngwang, Njoka Divine (2019.) “Two playwrights from each African region, summary of main plays and biographies.”
28 ANC Today X-WORD Earth Hour 26 March 2022 14 123 4 5 67 15 8 12 13 9 10 11 Across 4. Our consumption driven model has led to widespread 6. How much of food produced in the world are wasted 8. Percentage of habitat land on earth already used for agriculture 9. Destruction of natural environment contribute to greater exposure to 11. A pressure on sustainability of habitats 12. Earth Hour raises attention to dangers of ... ... 14. Number of participating countries 15. A direct driver of threats to the Earth Down 1. Check your energy use, travel in order to reduce 2. Farm to ... movement for local food production 3. On Earth Hour each year, we switch off .... and devices for 1 hour 5. A ... future is possible 7. Earth Hour was started in 2007 by the World ... Founda- tion WWF 10. A sustainable food choice is to eat more plants than ... 13. Earth affected by global trade, ..., human population growth WORD BANK power hundred and ninety Wildlife Climate change consumption habitat loss Overexploitation Mining fifty percent one third animals carbon footprint pandemics different table Connect with ANC Today and be part of the conversation via our social media platforms. CONNECT WITH US [email protected] 011 376 1000 Visit our interactive ANC Website www.anc1912.org.za LIKE @MyANC on Facebook TWEET @MYANC on Twitter FOLLOW @myanc_ on Instagram VIEW @MyANC on YouTube