I attended an event yesterday that was celebratory in nature. It was celebrating 300 young South Africans, hosted by Mail&Guardian.
It started off well enough until the keynote speaker stood up to talk.
Prince Mashele stood up and looked relatively unassuming. Little did we know we were in for a shock. His talk was well timed, well delivered and was perfectly placed for the right target market sitting in front of him.
This was his overbearing message:
Where were you and what did you do when South Africa began to degenerate?
So I ask you this question: Where were you and what did you do when South Africa began to degenerate?
I know where I am and what I’m doing. How about you?
Jacob Zuma’s cabinet has come to light, been inducted and is taking office as we speak. It’s an interesting mixture, there are some changes, moves and shifts in position. The video in this post is a nice show of who’s who in the Cabinet. It’s always nice to see some faces put to the names that will govern us for the next few years.
Here’s the list in text format too:
President Zuma’s new Cabinet in alphabetical order is as follows:
1. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – Tina Joemat-Peterson
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dr Pieter Mulder
2. Minister of Arts and Culture – Lulu Xingwana
Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture – Paul Mashatile
3. Minister of Basic Education – Angie Motshekga
Deputy Minister of Basic Education – Enver Surty
4. Minister of Communications – Siphiwe Nyanda
Deputy Minister of Communications – Dina Pule
5. Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – Sicelo Shiceka
Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Yunus Carrim
6. Minister of Correctional Services – Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services – Hlengiwe Mkhize
7. Minister of Defence and Military Veterans – Lindiwe Sisulu
Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans – Thabang Makwetla
8. Minister of Economic Development – Ebrahim Patel
Deputy Minister of Economic Development – Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde
9. Minister of Energy – Dipuo Peters
10. Minister of Finance – Pravin Gordhan
Deputy Minister of Finance – Nhlanhla Nene
11. Minister of Health – Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
Deputy Minister of Health – Dr Molefi Sefularo
12. Minister of Higher Education and Training – Dr Blade Nzimande
13. Minister of Home Affairs – Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs – Malusi Gigaba
14. Minister of Human Settlements – Tokyo Sexwale
Deputy Minister of Human Settlements – Zou Kota
15. Minister of International Relations and Cooperation – Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (1) – Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (2) – Sue van der Merwe
16. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development – Jeff Radebe
Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development – Andries Nel
17. Minister of Labour – Membathisi Mdladlana
18. Minister of Mining – Susan Shabangu
19. Minister of Police – Nathi Mthethwa
Deputy Minister of Police – Fikile Mbalula
20. Minister of Public Enterprises – Barbara Hogan
Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises – Enoch Godongwana
21. Minister for the Public Service and Administration – Richard Baloyi
Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration – Roy Padayachie
22. Minister of Public Works – Geoff Doidge
Deputy Minister of Public Works – Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
23. Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform – Gugile Nkwinti
Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform – Dr Joe Phaahla
24. Minister of Science and Technology – Naledi Pandor
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology – Derek Hanekom
25. Minister of Social Development – Edna Molewa
Deputy Minister of Social Development – Bathabile Dlamini
26. Minister of Sport and Recreation – Makhenkesi Stofile
Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation – Gert Oosthuizen
27. Minister of State Security – Siyabonga Cwele
28. Minister in The Presidency (1) – National Planning Commission – Trevor Manuel
29. Minister in The Presidency (2) – Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency – Collins Chabane
30. Minister of Tourism – Marthinus van Schalkwyk
Deputy Minister of Tourism – Thozile Xasa
31. Minister of Trade and Industry – Rob Davies
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (1) – Thandi Tobias
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (2) – Maria Ntuli
32. Minister of Transport – Sbusiso Joel Ndebele
Deputy Minister of Transport – Jeremy Cronin
33. Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs – Buyelwa Sonjica
Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs – Rejoice Mabhudafhasi
34. Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities
Here’s some very cool images of where you can go to vote according in the Cape area. Unfortunately they are somewhat illegible but might help as an absolute last resort. I think that the yellow numbered squares are what you want to look for on the maps.
I have to keep pushing this and there is something very cool coming out on Monday in the SA Rocks stable that s along these lines. So do me a favour, do your country and fellow citizens a favour and do your democracy a damn favour and register to vote. Vote vote vote vote vote vote.
With South Africa’s current political situation the best thing that we can do for the citizens of this country is expose them to as many different choices as possible.
A recent comment on this blog alluded to the fact that South Africa’s democracy is failing because we almost become a single party state. This is problematic because people begin to think that there is only one option when they vote. Instead of thinking that there are many options, people be default and almost instinct begin to vote for one party and in SA that party is the ANC. This becomes more problematic because people begin to feel as if the alternative isn’t representative and in turn believe that they should not vote because there are no options.
The worst thing that can happen to a democratic society is for the citizens of the country to become apathetic. Apathy breeds inaction and inaction breeds dictatorship. Edmund Burke said “Evil prevails when good people do nothing”. This is the truth right now in our political climate. We need action.
IOL reports: “The public broadcaster told the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) that the flighting of political party messages could cost it up to R91,8-million in lost advertising revenue.
“It’s a lot of money… Eighty percent of our revenue comes from advertising,” said SABC news chief Snuki Zikalala.
“[It will] dent our finances, badly, badly.”
Hmmm… let us see, shall we rather dent the finances of the governmental broadcaster (read voice) or shall we rather attempt to keep our democracy in place? I am voting for the latter. I believe that one of the biggest problems facing the citizens of this nation is lack of voter education. We don’t know what parties we can vote for, can you name just six parties in SA? If you an I am sure you are one of the few. If you can’t welcome to the club. To me the most sensible thing to do is send out adverts on our national broadcaster to the public which indicate that the most important thing to the government and its broadcaster is the public and their education.
I am sure there are many people who will disagree with me on this one but I am, right now, rallying for votes, voting and action. Screw the public broadcaster’s back pocket. Screw the CEO’s and bigwigs bonuses. What the hell is R9mill at the end of the day? That’s the difference between 9 top managers and their wives Mercedes and the honour of our democracy.
The parties each list their candidates according to that party’s determination of priorities. In a closed list, voters vote for a list, not a candidate. Each party is allocated seats in proportion to the number of votes, using the ranking order on its list. In an open list, voters may vote, depending on the model, for one person, or for two, or indicate their order of preference within the list.
SA operates on a closed list system which means we vote for a single candidate, not two, three or so on as stated above.
Let’s get more specific about proportional representation. Basically it is what it states it is. Representation within government according to the proportion of votes that a party receives. In SA it is of utmost importance that the volume of votes remains high. Why? Because of the 65% policy that we have.
In the last elections the ANC won over 65% of the votes that were cast. This means that the party and by proxy the president of the nation would be able to alter the constitution as they see fit. This is not a good thing and is looked upon by some as a failing of the PR system as one party has complete dominance. But this is not really the case.
Thanks to the PR system there are seats in parliament allocated to other parties that have won votes. Parties such as the DA, IFP, SACP and others are all represented in government. Even if a party wins a single seat in parliament, in SA’s PR system that means that the particular faction of people who voted for that party are actually represented in government.
On other, more simple terms, this means that if you actually have the energy and take the time to vote you will, certifiably, be represented in parliament if your party wins enough votes to ensure they are allocated a seat in parliament.
To put this in to context we can use the American system called First Past the Post (FTPT) voting. In a nutshell this means that there are (basically) two parties that are in the running for the presidency and government, the Republicans and the Democrats. in the US you can vote for one of the two parties. That’s it.
Couple the lack of options with the lack of voters and you have a massive unrepresented faction of the US people in government. If you are one of 15% of people in the US who vote Republican, 17% vote Democrat and the rest either didn’t vote or voted “undecided” then you are pot out of luck. Why? Because the Democrats with their 17% have won the election. All of it. Parliament, cabinet, ministers and the rest are all Democrats. The other 83% of the population are not represented at all, irrespective of their vote.
Whereas in SA, if you vote there is a very strong chance that no matter who actually wins the election your interests will be represented in government or parliament.
I’m no fool (although some may argue that point). I know that it’s not ideal what we are going through politically in SA right now. When I heard that Trevor Manual had resigned I was in a foul mood and reacted badly to it. But then he amended his resignation stating that if asked, he would willingly work under the new president of the country. That’s better.
But there is a flip side to the negative political wave sweeping the country. It’s not positive, it’s just a different way to look at things.
I regard myself as quite the political conspiracy theorist. I love them and thrive on them and believe that what we see through the eyes of the media is one hundredth of the real truth and real happenings in politics. There is more to this than meets they eye.
Mbeki’s resignation was relatively necessary
What if Zuma was right? What if Mbeki had been gunning for him with a conspiratorial fervor never before seen in SA? If that is the case and the ruling that Zuma could not be prosecuted is accurate (which we should assume to be so) then why would we want Mbeki the conspirator as our president? Surely his resignation is proof that our democracy is in working order. That when a constitutional judge makes a decision it is the word according to our democracy and the decision is then carried forward throughout the system. It’s working, believe it or not, our democracy is working.
The 14 resignations
No it isn’t ideal that 11 Cabinet Ministers and 3 Deputies have resigned but let’s look at it from a different perspective.
If a company is going bankrupt and they hire a new CEO to pull it out of the muck, would it not make sense for some of the staff to leave with their allegedly conspiratorial and failing boss who sunk the company in to financial disaster? I think it makes sense to an extent. In the same way, if a president is seen to be doing wrong then surely by association the people that he hand-picked to be in government with him are involved in the political mess that is abound? One man cannot act alone in politics, if he is implicated then so too is his staff and be inference their staff and so and so on. So with that said, why would we want these ministers in power if there is a chance of them being fraudulent, conspiratorial, questionable or criminal? We all quickly forgot the lovely health minister and Mbeki’s relentless defence of her in the recent past.
Furthermore, many of the ministers have stated that if the new president would like them to continue in their positions they will stay. Fair I think. Then if in fact, the ruling party takes it upon themselves to request the service of the current ministers it is their choice and their doing, the doings of the ousted previous president.
Then on to the workings of our cabinet. Let us not assume for a second that the figureheads of the cabinet are the ones keeping this ship afloat. Below the ministers and their deputies there are Director Generals who are hard at work every day keeping the cogs moving and the wheels turning. They need their salaries and they need their jobs. They know the policies and the workings of their respective departments. Whether their boss leaves or not will more than likely not infringe on the workings of the country. Yes some policies might change but that is to be expected with a change of leadership to varying extents. At the end of the day it is the people on the ground who are working for the country, the big earners and big spenders who are being fired, resigning and departing.
Policy is in the eye of the beholder
Who says that they way that Trevor Manual has been doing managing South Africa’s finances is the only way that it can be done? Mbeki focused on international relations and the way that SA is perceived by the world. However what of crime, poverty, job creation and HIV/Aids as priorities? Maybe with a change in leadership we will find a shift towards the prioritisation of areas previous neglected by the government? This is not to say that the Mbeki regime did badly but no government can ever be brilliant at every aspect of their country. Some governments prioritise health and education while others will prioritise taxes and crime, this is just the nature of the beast.
It is possibly time for our government to shift towards things that have been neglected in the past such as crime. Who are we to decide what should be done and what shouldn’t without actually experiencing something else. All we know in terms of policy, government and leadership since the iconic regime of Mandela is Mbeki, his ministers and his policies. Maybe a change will do us good?
This post has been brewing in my mind for a while now. In fact, since I decided that I was in firm support of change, yes we can and Barak Obama I’ve been thinking about the state of politics in SA.
I’m not so sure that Zille is our future. In fact I sort of resent the fact that politicians the world over are over the age of 50 and seem to lack any on the ground connection to the voting public. Hence my adoration for Obama and disdain for McCain. Obama got it right, he connected with the “youth” on a level that they wanted or craved.
Why should I put my trust in a leader who doesn’t seem to get me? Who doesn’t seem to talk to me. Maybe she does get me but I honestly don’t hear enough from her to know what she gets.
Which brings me to another point: Why is it that we aren’t hearing from the parties, why is there no campaigning going on? It’s less than a year until I am meant to give my vote away to someone or some party, why is no one rallying for that vote? Or is it such a foregone conclusion that things are too far gone to need to campaign? I think not.
Around the world millions upon millions of dollars are spent on every campaign for presidency. Where is the big money? And surely the big money in SA would mean a winner? The more money, the more exposure, the more votes? Or not?
In a nutshell, I am asking for a leader with firm policies, with a firm grasp on reality, with a firm grasp on society and one that is willing to lead me through the next four years.
Here are a few snippets, but I really do suggest you read the entire post and leave your comments.
Third was Jody Kollapen, chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, taking stock of how little progress we’ve made in internalising human rights, how little progress we’ve made towards that lofty and important goal that “South Africa belongs to all who live here”.
Fourth was Dr Abdulkader Tayob talking in very nuanced and textured ways about the 300 years that the Muslim communities of South Africa have negotiated life here and engaged in various forms of politics, and hearing him carefully push his questioners to think more thoroughly about their black-and-white opinions and to be more willing to understand the complexities of Islamic ideas and thinking.
So, I conclude, the years of legitimate government have lulled us into a silence. Now that we see around us very significant signs of danger, we know (from past experience) that we — the ordinary citizens — have the power of speech and disagreement and that we should use this power.
And here is Anthea’s resolve:
I resolve from now on to end my silence. And to assert: I’m a South African, I belong here, this is my government and my country and there are certain things I do not want done in my name. I resolve to talk, to start conversations, to listen, to seek to understand and to do the work to get into and through complexity and complication. But I don’t think this country is being served any longer by those of us just watching events unfold.
This is the first introduction to localalised government representatives on SA Rocks. I will be trying to focus on more as the days go on but if you have any information, suggestions or ideas, please feel free to contact me.
I don’t. I don’t enough about my government, the policies, the people in power and what departments they control.
At the Million Man March The minister of Safety and Security Correctional Services was booed of the stage when he accepted the mandate set by the MMM. People wanted the President, they wanted Mbeki because he is the one they believed would listen. Pah!
The crowd wanted Mbeki because he is probably the only person in government that they knew by name and position. President Mbeki. Easy.
But what is the nature of a democratically elected government? Is it not to have various platforms of responsibility and channels of communication? I think it is. Yet this system falls flat because the people of this country haven’t taken the time out to actually learn about their own government. As I write this I can’t tell you who this MEC of Gauteng is, I don’t know who the mayor of my city is and I sure as hell don’t know the name of anyone in the police force in my immediate or greater areas. This is a major, massive problem that starts with me and continues over to you and your immediate surroundings.
If we as the people are not engaged enough to find out who to blame for the little things then how can we expect to create a stir at the top about the big things, like crime?
Using crime as an example is a good case study. Many people have been asking why the MMM was a “flop”, how could it have been better and why are the crime rates so high. Maybe it’s because we are trying to conquer the world before we control our neighbourhoods? Maybe what we should be doing is banging down the doors of our mayors and local government officials instead of trying to reach the president himself? There are people in these position for reasons, tried and tested, yet we don’t feel the need to even learn their names. I think this is where our community is flawed. We should all know where our closest police station is, who we can talk to at that police station and what number to call when we have a problem. Imagine if everyone in Johannesburg took the initiative to talk to their neighbours, friends and local government (include police). Don’t you think that would actually make more of a difference than trying to rally a gazillion people to the union buildings and call for the president to come down? I think it might.
Now let’s do a bit of an exam here – DON’T USE GOOGLE OR THE GOVT WEBSITE
Tell me who the ministers of the following departments are:
Justice & Constitutional Development
Secretariat for Safety & Security
SA Police Service
Trade & Industry
Water Affairs & Forestry
I hope you didn’t use Google or any other online resource. Now go ahead and try to answer in your comment. I am extremely interested to know how many of you actually know 10% of the above. I didn’t. I can guarantee that local government knowledge is even worse.
I understand that I often call people to action, that I ask people if the problem lies with them, us, or everyone. I know I do it. I do it because I think it’s the truth and it’s the necessary truth. We need to start to learn about our surroundings, accept and act rather than rebel and react.
For good measure, here is a list of our ministers: