/ 13 March 2014

Letters to the editor: March 14 to 20 2014

Zuma has betrayed the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
Zuma has betrayed the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

Zuma tears tripartite alliance apart

The Umkhonto weSizwe Veterans' Association, the South African National Civics Organisation (Sanco), the South African Communist Party (SACP), Gwede Mantashe [ANC secretary general], Blade Nzimande [minister of higher education], Buti Manamela [national secretary of the Young Communist League], Frans Baleni [general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers], Mac Maharaj [presidency spokesperson] and especially ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu will label the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) "counter-revolutionary" for its decision to begin working on the formation of a workers' party for socialism ("Is SA's left on the right road to socialism?").

This is a civil war in the tripartite alliance. It is taking place between Sdumo Dlamini [president of the trade union federation Cosatu] and Zwelinzima Vavi [its suspended general secretary], who, with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Numsa's [general secretary] Irvin Jim, Julius Malema [head of the Economic Freedom Fighters] and Ruth Bhengu of Sanco, worked together to remove Thabo Mbeki from the presidency.

Two years after removing him, cracks emerged. Now there is no turning back. It's Brutus versus Mark Antony, for those who know Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Today, former ANC Youth League leaders Malema and Fikile Mbalula are enemies. Motlanthe, who backed [President Jacob] Zuma against Mbeki, has been sidelined by Zuma.

What divides Cosatu? The federation was used by Zuma and the 2007 class project to remove comrades disliked by Zuma.

Numsa blindly followed him at that time, not knowing that he wanted power to enrich his family, to advance the interests of tribalism and kleptocracy, and to weaken the government's ability to fight corruption and thus avoid having his day in court.

In assessing Zuma's performance as president, workers must ask: What has he done to stop e-tolls, eradicate labour brokers and the casualisation of workers, close the gap between rich and poor or end corruption?

A "good story to tell" about the 2007 decision to support Zuma is this: never again will workers be used by corrupt ANC and SACP comrades.

We salute Numsa. Soldier on, comrades! Expect vulgar insults, ridicule, demonisation and even faeces missiles from the ANCYL.

What divides Cosatu is Zuma and his agenda – the enrichment of his family. – Rosebud Mashankane, Tshwane

– Irwin Jim, after losing internal debates, has spent his time in the Numsa leadership attacking the ANC and the SACP and presenting himself to the public as a so-called "voice of reason". He withdrew Numsa's support for Cosatu and the ANC at a crucial stage – in an election period./p>

In all these instances it was all about him and not the workers of Numsa; it was all about his selfish, inflated ego.

The latest is that he wants to launch a new party. This is not about workers. It is about making money for Jim, his friend Zwelinzima Vavi and the other leaders of Numsa, who are destroying the union bit by bit.

Numsa members should not be fooled by this. They will obviously be called to some kangaroo special conference to rubber-stamp a selfish decision that has already been taken by Jim and company for their benefit. – Kwazi Mthembu, Soweto

Number One's judicial ball is already in the NPA's court

To those less fortunate than he is, John Jeffery ("ANC: Judicial independence crucial to democracy") appears to live in a parallel universe. We are not beneficiaries of patronage, or taking home an annual salary of close to a million rand of public money.

The perception is that, not having been directly and personally elected, he is beholden to the ANC and not the citizenry.

He writes that the findings of a Human Sciences Research Council survey – which blamed declining confidence in the courts on attacks on the judiciary by ANC leaders – are not correct. He says this is simply a "perception", not a fact. But he offers no proof.

Rather, he claims that the ­ruling party's tinkering with administrative control of the courts ­signifies "a further independence of the courts". Are these the same courts that his leader spent years trying to avoid – while saying he wanted his day in court?

The same leader has the say on top-level judicial appointments. What do we perceive? Based on the fact that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) oversaw the withdrawal of hundreds of charges against the man who is now president, should we perceive that there was a Damascus moment for the ANC's leader, and now he is the judiciary's champion? I don't think so!

I do admire effrontery like this: "Judges cannot be accountable to the electorate [because] they are independent of the electorate." Judging by what we know about some ministers, accountability is only trotted out when least appropriate, or when a minister (now ex-minister) such as Dina Pule is disciplined.

Judges are independent – but are accountable to the law.

Unfortunately, this pre-election diatribe from Jeffery is in direct contradiction to what is really happening. When a president promotes the appointment of a judge such as the chief justice, who represents a fringe church, the country should worry – especially when the chief justice claimed God had chosen him! Where's the proof that judges normally expect?

The fact is that, if the ANC controls the NPA, there is no need to hobble any judges. Still, it's handy to have a chief justice who is beholden to the president and to have a tame head of the police's complaints directorate.

If the president is so certain about the judiciary, why does he not clear his name, in the interests of transparency? – Tom Morgan

Nationalisation while looting the poor?

There is nothing revolutionary about the confused Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). They use socialist slogans to attract the poor and the politically immature masses.

Recently Julius Malema and his clique held meetings with entrepreneurs and corporations, and he said at the press conference afterwards that he had assured the capitalists that an EFF government would own at least 60% of business.

How is this nationalisation? When one nationalises, the government owns all the means of production. His utterances prove that as South Africans we cannot take the EFF seriously.

The demagogic nature of the EFF shows that it is Janus-faced. It pretends to represent the poor while hiding a venomous agenda – to continue looting from the poor, as Malema did in Limpopo.

South Africans cannot give a mandate to a lumpen of Malema's calibre. If we do, we sell our country to evil forces. The ANC remains the only relevant political party in our country. – Bhekithemba Mbatha