/ 1 May 2014

Letters to the editor: May 2 to 8 2014

South Africans celebrate 20 years of democracy in Pretoria on April 27.
South Africans celebrate 20 years of democracy in Pretoria on April 27.

On Mac the Mouth
Dear editor, 

You and your reporter. Mnanaledi Mataboge have short-changed me (Mac the Mouth to oversee Zuma’s Legacy, 2 May 2014).

I know Mail & Guardian holds me in high regard. Equally, M&G is aware of the esteem with which I hold it, especially its ability to write fiction dressed as fact.

I am pleased with your anti-ageist stance in upholding my age as a first and primary consideration for President Jacob Zuma to appoint me minister of propaganda in the fifth successive ANC administration to govern South Africa.

My discomfort is because with age and cadre deployment as criteria, I have been labouring under the belief that President Zuma will be proposing to the fifth Parliament that Mac Maharaj be elected the president of the republic.

Angela and Mmanaledi, how could you let the country and President Zuma down, and deflate my self-esteem? Surely you can do better in the area of the imagination! 

Your propaganda colleague-in-arms, Mac Maharaj.

Freedom day
Freedom Day is significant because it marks the end of more than 300 years of colonialism, segregation and white minority rule. It marks the establishment of a new democratic government led by Madiba and a new state subject to a new Constitution. The holding of the first nonracial elections was the culmination of years of struggle.

But the deal made at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, upon which the 1994 elections were based, entrenched white supremacy and postponed the genuine liberation of black people. It gave black people a false sense of freedom. Our people were happy to have a black president, but the reality is that they remain a powerless nation. The ANC government is in office, not in power.

In the 20 years of ANC governance, nothing has changed for the better as far as the black majority is concerned. It is clear that the 1994 elections were designed to lead the masses down the garden path.

The people are angry at being taken for a ride. Almost 20 years after the ANC took office, there is no indication whatsoever that land ownership patterns will change. Many of our people resort to land invasions and suffer forced removals by white landowners who use the same old property laws and courts to effect the removals.

The ANC government takes the side of the landowners and plays a leading role in condemning our people. It is the same story in housing. The houses that were promised are nowhere to be seen. What are homeless people to do when those in power are not addressing their plight?

It is only in black areas that our children still have to learn under trees. It is only in black schools where, several months after they open for the year, stationery and textbooks have still not been delivered.   

We are outraged by the number of corruption scandals in this country. Corrupt leadership makes our people lose confidence in the very structures meant to fight for them and enhance the quality of their lives. Corrupt individuals should be regarded as enemies of this democracy.

All political parties should lend credibility to institutions such as the public protector by taking very strong disciplinary measures against public representatives who conduct themselves in a corrupt manner. – Thole Somdaka, Willowvale

– What a pity senior members of the ANC only seem to discover their alternative voices when they have left the Olympus of power – they include Trevor Manuel, Kgalema Motlanthe, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Kader Asmal and Ronnie Kasrils.

Where were their voices when Thabo Mbeki unleashed his denialist tsunami against the proven fact that HIV led to Aids, a view that cost at least 380 000 people their lives? Where were their now-recent voices of protest from within when their opinions mattered and could have made a difference?

To now suggest a spoilt ballot in the May 7 general election as a “tough love” protest against ANC corruption and ineptitude is pointless. During the last election there were nearly 300 000 spoilt papers, which had no effect on the outcome other than to indicate that nearly 300 000 voters had left their glasses at home.

A spoilt paper turns a precious ballot into a piece of political toilet paper. It gets flushed away to a place where no politicians need care to show concern.

By all means use the ballot as a creative, angry statement against ­corrupt, inept and careless government. Find an honest, small party such as the Keep It Straight and Simple Party, which has bravely contested three general elections without the easy solution of going into a coalition with a bigger party for a fee.

Couldn’t the spoilt-paper revolt be more creative if that vote did not go down the drain, but rather towards putting a sensible, democratic and honest voice in Parliament? Then Luthuli House would have to take note. – Pieter-Dirk Uys, Darling

– The ANC is not only the party of Jacob Zuma; it is the party of the Dubes, the Luthulis, the Mandelas and the Tambos. Above all, it is the party of millions whose collective love, respect, reverence and votes made it the party that will lead South Africa for many years to come.

Let us not reject the democratic process itself; let us defend it and widen it. Kasrils and the others are bitter, disgruntled and alienated from the lives of the majority of our people, who will vote for the ANC in their millions.

Spoilt ballots mean nothing in building and expanding democracy. – Kamal Panday, Durban

– The Democratic Alliance (DA) represents and protects white monopoly capital at the expense of many black people. Cape Town has been alienated from Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and informal settlements such as Philippi.

The DA represents the middle class; it protects white supremacy. This was evident when DA head Helen Zille appointed a white male-dominated provincial leadership, citing meritocracy.

Zille forgets that in her generation, more white people have a formal education than our parents did, because of apartheid. – Bhekithemba Mbatha

– South African Communist Party chief Blade Nzimande is a staffrider like Vivian Reddy, Jimmy Manyi, Richard Mdluli and the brothers and wives of Jacob Zuma.

Who has seen the name Nzimande in the archives of the South African Students’ Organisation, the United Democratic Front, the National Education Union of South Africa and Umkhonto weSizwe? He never spent even 10 seconds in detention, when comrades were detained without trial under section 28 of the Internal Security Act.

South Africans share the concerns raised by Kasrils, who served with Chris Hani, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida and Moses Kotane. Oliver Tambo would not have sent Kasrils into the country in Operation Vula if he was a “factory fault”, as Nzimande says.

If Kasrils is a “factory fault”, what is a president who lives in a house built from stolen money? – Norman Mbuthu, Tshwane