The controversial founder of the Ama-Afrika movement is playing a key role in the government's highly-secretive Joint Management Committee in Port Elizabeth.
Ama-Afrika, headed by the Reverend Mzwandile Maqina has been involved in numerous violent clashes with resistance organisations. Six blacks and 27 whites make up the PE mini-JMC, part of the web of shadowy security committees that span the country.
The JMCs are regional organs of National Security Management System, a secretive Security Force- dominated structure central to the government's "hearts and minds" campaign. Their function is to assess security problems in each region and recommend to the authorities appropriate "solutions", ranging from security force action to the upgrading of living conditions. The JMCs this year have become increasingly involved in township affairs.
According to a document titled "Memorandum on formation of liaison forum by the Port Elizabeth Mini-Management Committee" which was drawn up after two meetings of ad-hoc groups, the mini-JMC has identified "solutions" — such as the construction of a major sports and cultural complex at KwaDesi township, outside Port Elizabeth – to massive resistance in the area. At least two sub-committees of the mini-JMC have been established and one of these, the Personnel Executive Committee, is being headed by Maqina.
Others on the 12-member committee include vice-chairman David Abel, a businessman who is the secretary of the President's Business Club, which has Sakkie Louw, MP for Newton Park, as its chairman; Abel and Professor Johan van der Westhuizen, formerly of the University of Port Elizabeth, formed the Action for Peace and Prosperity organisatlon. Others are Bruce Mann (treasurer), Carl Coetzee of Port Elizabeth Tramways and a member of the PE Chamber of Commerce (secretary), N Shamley (liaison with authorities) and executive members D Meyer, Tony Pocock, Danny Mansel, O Makinana (sport and advancement), Ibhayi mayor Jimmy Nako, R Senekal of Child Welfare and Dr E de CiIIiers. Other blacks involved in the JMC's structures are Pat Maqina of the Domestic Workers of South Africa (Dwasa), T Konlo (youth programmes) and H Grootboom (housing).
As chairman of the steering committee for the Liaison Forum Maqina organised a meeting held on October 5 at the Walmer Town Hall. According to its own documents, the principles of the Liaison Forum are that:
- It is to be representative of the private sector drawn from all population groups "For obvious reasons", its operations will be low profile, with anonymity for participants;
- Press statements and media appearances are to be undertaken only by the chairman or his appointee after consultation with the JMC and the forum executive
- shall be non-party political. Its objectives ale to solve problems, achieve peace and restore normality; to identify grievances and problem areas timeously and to act as a direct link between the private sector and the authorities to ensure effective action.
The executive committee of the forum is to meet weekly and a larger group of 40 to 50 people are to meet monthly.
This artcile originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.