Ramphele worried over IEC
Cape Town – The soon-to-be-launched political party, Agang SA, has concerns about the independence of elections, its leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Tuesday.
“The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has eroded as an independent electoral commission,” she told the Cape Town Press Club.
She said Agang SA was in talks with other political parties, the Democratic Alliance in particular, to double-check certain IEC processes.
“[We need] to be reassured that first of all, we are not going to have party hands, people going around purportedly doing voter education,” she said.
“We don’t need voter education, we need civic education and that has to be done independently, by professionals.”
She said she was concerned by the IEC’s service providers.
“That electronic platform used for elections – we need to be sure that it is the best that is available and that it’s tamperproof.”
Ramphele said that during a four month tour of the country, she became aware of “sinister” intimidation of voters.
She had heard of some people being required to take pictures of their ballot papers with their cellphones to be “rewarded for doing the right thing”.
Take away your house
“Voters don’t actually know that they have a choice. Many are being told that if you go into that ballot box, we can see who you vote for and therefore we will punish you and take away your grants or your RDP houses.”
Ramphele believed the country was in a state partly because it had disempowered citizens.
“… And that has been the focus of Agang: to build that self-confidence. South Africans have very low expectations of themselves, of their government and of their country.”
She said many of the people she spoke to were furious with the government.
“They’re furious with this corrupt behaviour, and yet they feel powerless,” she said.
“It is clear to me this is made possible by lack of accountability and good governance. Accountability relies on the relationship between the representatives and constituents.”
She believed that there would be greater accountability if MPs had to conduct regular meetings with their constituents.
“Without appropriate governance and accountability systems, the direction of our country is being allowed to drift to catastrophic depths.”
Agang SA will be formally launched as a political party on Saturday.
Motshekga: Re-draft will take 6 months
Johannesburg – A re-draft of the norms and standards for school infrastructure will take at least six months to complete, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday.
Last week, the Equal Education (EE) group said it was taking her to court for allegedly breaching an agreement to publish the document by 15 May. The matter was to be heard in the Bhisho High Court on 11 July.
On Tuesday, Motshekga said she has been communicating with EE to update it on progress with the norms and standards.
She wrote it a letter on 9 May in which she indicated that the compulsory consultation process with the National Economic Development and Labour Council had not been concluded. When she received its report, she would consider all recommendations.
“It is important to emphasise that norms and standards cannot be published at the whim of EE,” said Motshekga.
“The South African government is a democracy that requires all involved and interested in education to have ample time to make input to the final regulations,” she said.
Motshekga accused the EE of being disingenuous. She questioned the group’s sudden interest in the education of African children.
“…To suddenly see a group of white adults organising black African children with half-truths can only be opportunistic, patronising and simply dishonest to say the least,” she said.
The EE said it was shocked and disappointed by Motshekga’s comments.
EE chairperson Yoliswa Dwane said Motshekga should distance herself from these statements, which it viewed as racist.
“EE consists of people of every background and we are very proud of this. Any person who commits [themselves] to advancing the daily struggles of poor and working class youth is welcome in EE,” said Dwane.
“That these values exist is something that those responsible for education should celebrate, not attack.”
The EE has in the last few days mobilised school children in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria to participate in marches.
The children demanded that Motshekga publish the norms and standards, and called for safer and better resourced schools.
On Tuesday, a Grade 11 pupil from an Eastern Cape school took Motshekga, the Eastern Cape education MEC, her school principal, and school governing body to the Bhisho Magistrate’s Court about the condition of her school.
Palesa Manyokole, of the Moshesh Senior Secondary School in Queen’s Mercy, complained that the principal was often absent and unlawfully expelled pupils; teachers were absent and late; there was a shortage of qualified teachers; and there was no curriculum planning.
The matter was postponed to 22 October.
Basic education spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said the department would appear in court if it received a notice.
“We believe this case is part of the gimmick of the EE to embarrass the department,” he said.
As from July, the basic education department claimed it would open one school per week in the Eastern Cape. These are an addition to several other schools opened in Mthatha in the last three months.
These former mud structures reportedly all have early childhood development facilities, administration blocks, soup kitchens, ablution blocks, water and electricity,
“Equal Education will not be brave enough to acknowledge this, or any progress we make on a daily basis regarding school infrastructure,” said Motshekga.
Ramphele proposes ‘civic education’ for voters
Agang leader, Mamphela Ramphele has proposed what she calls ‘civic education’ for voters instead of voter education by political parties, ahead of next year’s elections.
Addressing the Cape Town press club, Ramphele says Agang is ready to join opposition parties in approaching the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on this.
“The Independent Electoral Commission has been eroded as an independent electoral commission, we are not going to have party hacks as people going around, purportedly doing voter education, we don’t need voter education we need civic education and has to be done independently by professionals,” she says.
Speaking at the same event, Ramphele further explained that her party will be a platform to acknowledge the deep psychological wounds of racism.
“What Agang wants is to get people out of is this focus on legacy to a focus on the future, if we are focussing on the future and want to leave children a country that they can be proud of, you have no choice but to tackle this tough issues, SA has postponed dealing with these tough issues for too long,” she says.
SA marks 100 years of Land Act implementation
The 1913 Land Act prohibited black people from owing, leasing or buying land in what was then called the Union of South Africa. (SABC)
1913 Land Act Native Land Act Agri-SA National Assembly Theo De Jager The 1913 Land Act marks exactly 100 years since was implemented on Wednesday. The Act prohibited black people from owing, leasing or buying land in what was then called the Union of South Africa.
Agri-SA Vice President Theo De Jager says farmers are willing to co-operate with government to reverse the legacy created by the divisive legislation.
While the so called Natives could not own, buy or lease land, anyone who entered into a transaction with a native without the prior permission was contravening the act and could face punishment or jail term.
De Jager says Agri -SA will play its part to reverse this legacy.
“As the current generation, we feel there is nothing to defend about 1913, what happened there was fundamentally wrong. I want to say that the current generation of farmers has made this decision and mandated us as Agri-SA to roll up our sleeves and work hard to rectify,” says De Jager.
To further reflect on the legacy of the infamous Act, the National Assembly will hold a special debate on the 1913 Natives Land Act this afternoon.
Agri SA says it supports the reopening of land claims as long as it’s done in an orderly way.
The reopening of the lodgement of land claims will cater for among others, the descendants of the Khoi San Communities who lost their land prior to 1913.
In a commitment which President Jacob Zuma re-iterated recently, De Jager adds: “That’s were oppression and dispossession began. I don’t think we should exclude these.”
De Jager says they are willing work with government but they have conditions.
“One of them is it must be orderly, we cannot allow a Zimbabwean kind of land grab here,” says De Jager.
He says this can only be successful if the commercial farmers and government partner together.
Filed Under: Latest News
About the Author: