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Vol. 9 No. 2: 16-22 May 2014

 

RSA Elections 2014 Review by Mawethu Rune

RSA Elections 2014 Review by Mawethu Rune
An Overwhelming vote of Confidence
On the 7 May 2014 exactly 18,654,457 South Africans took to the polls to individually and secretly choose out of more than 30 parties which political party best represents their aspirations and ambition.

Whopping 11, 436,921 affirmed the ANC as their party of choice with the second and third parties amassing just above 4 and 1 million respectively. The less said about all other parties the better. By any standard this was an overwhelming vote of confidence by the electorate of South Africa on their party which has fought side by side and championed struggles in the trenches for more than 80 years and has been presiding over a people's government for the past 20 years. >>> More

Viewpoint by Tolika Sibiya

Viewpoint by Tolika Sibiya
The Neo-Liberal thinkers reverse the gains of our hard earned democracy
The public discourse on skills and the economy in South Africa and beyond is so eloquent about the crisis in education, the shortage of skills, the problem of unemployment and the high cost of labour (that supposedly prevents business from employing people). This discourse is repeated so much that one could easily be convinced that this is widely agreed upon.>>> More
Viewpoint by Pedro Mzileni Viewpoint by Pedro Mzileni
A Reply to Mail & Guardian Frolics

The Mail & Guardian came out of its closet to disclose explicitly what it has been trying to gossip indirectly to its readers for a long time. It gave up on trying to weaken the ANC through its committed effort to report negatively consistently about its government but now it had to come out and say it out loud and clear that "Vote for opposition to weaken ANC power!". Indeed, the elastic band must have reached its stretching limit.

On 2-May-2014, Mail & Guardian wrote this melodramatic editorial with the hope to convince our people. It said "in 1994 we asked you to vote for change. Twenty years later, we ask you to use your vote to dilute overweening political power".>>> More

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RSA Elections 2014 Review by Mawethu Rune

RSA Elections 2014 Review by Mawethu Rune

An Overwhelming vote of Confidence

On the 7 May 2014 exactly 18,654,457 South Africans took to the polls to individually and secretly choose out of more than 30 parties which political party best represents their aspirations and ambition.

Whopping 11, 436,921 affirmed the ANC as their party of choice with the second and third parties amassing just above 4 and 1 million respectively. The less said about all other parties the better. By any standard this was an overwhelming vote of confidence by the electorate of South Africa on their party which has fought side by side and championed struggles in the trenches for more than 80 years and has been presiding over a people's government for the past 20 years.

Leading to these elections, by and large, media institutions and self-proclaimed intellectuals told us that the ANC would not see the light of day, with the Mail & Guardian even openly campaigning against the ANC. Yet these prophets of doom were proven wrong by the people of South Africa.

It is probably only in this country that a party with a 62% endorsement is expected to explain itself as to why it did not do well or fashion itself as if it lost or its government is illegitimate and therefore hamstrung.

We must be humbled by the overwhelming electoral thumbs up. This is more necessary considering the rise of + 2.78 % in Northern Cape, + 1.34 %,KwaZulu Natal, + 1.14 % Western Cape and + 1.05 % in Eastern Cape.

This trend is in stark contrast with many other liberation parties across the continent that after 20 years as predicted by pundits were toppled out of power.

It is equally true that the ANC and its allies strive to perform better in every election and to win more South Africans to its vision and even a percent decrease compels us to deeply reflect on what should be done in order to consolidate the people's camp.

Reflecting on -3% on national results, - 1.19% in Free State, - 6.05% in North West, - 7.01 in Mpumalanga, - 7.30% Limpopo and - 9.84% in Gauteng, must be done not for political expediency as to demonize the organization or its leadership so that one can feel good about themselves. Neither should it be done to opportunistically find scapegoats in order to trump on organizational misfortunes and ascend in this or other conference.

It is lazy thinking to suggest that this could be blamed on President Zuma. A lot of evidence exists to demonstrate that under his stewardship indeed South Africa has moved forward:

  • Statistics South Africa on 3rd April 2014 released a report which indicates that between 2006 and 2011, the number of South Africans living in poverty has reduced by 4 million. With social grants now reaching 16 million South Africans to alleviate poverty and unemployment
  • Social grants, between 2006 and 2011 rose by 46%, especially the child support grant. In 2002, 13.4-million people fell within the self-declared hunger bracket, while in 2011 - 6.6-million people were in the same bracket.
  • National Development Plan as living document has been developed, for the first time providing overarching strategic long term vision and planning for the country projecting towards 2030
  • When 2008 global crisis took place, 1 million jobs across all sectors in the economy were lost, those jobs have been recovered due to the 1 trillion infrastructure roll out.
  • Currently 6.1 million youth in jobs out of 15 million people at work
  • Between April 2009 and September 2013, Expanded Public Works Programme created 3.7 million work opportunities.
  • National Rural Youth Service Corps established by 2009 administration from the present enlist 14,000 to 50,000 in the next five years.
  • During President Zuma administration more than 370 new schools were built, more than eight million children were enrolled in no fee schools have and a further nine million children receive free meals at school.
  • National Students Financial Scheme increased from R3.1 billion in 2009 to the current R9.6 billion, non-payment by poor students on FET sector, no fee schools more than 80%.

Although electoral outcome numbers require deeper interrogation, the trend reflects that good story to tell resonated with people of South Africa, in that ANC has done enormously well on providing basic services like water, sanitation, roads, houses, built schools, clinics etc and affirmed the dignity of Africans in general and blacks in particular.

Therefore those who were disenfranchised and understand the brutality of apartheid do recognise the enormous strides made by the ANC in improving the lives our people. It is for this reason that those in the rural parts of the country and old townships continue to vote ANC. It is also nonsensical to suggest that in ANC strong hold people voted ANC because it gives grants and food parcels, people of South Africa identify with ANC bear testimony to enormous strides it made in its 102 years of existence.

In the majority of Metro's the ANC has declined and this was not a totally unexpected. Politically, this may mean that secondary interest require particular focus in that while these segments of the electorate note the provision of basic services they are however concerned with the burden of having to take their children to private schools because of the perceived quality of public education and the payment of medical aids because public clinics have a shoddy service. Workers who cannot get RDP houses because they earn more but cannot get bond because they earn less are also bothered by credit-access politics for higher asset acquisition. Thus, middle class interests transcend basic services and the perception of an ANC at war with itself, not so efficient provision of services, coupled with reported cases of corruption and accumulation in front of their eyes may have effect in hurting the ANC at the polls.

The concept of a people's government for people's power has to be strengthened so as to guarantee that the electorate must not be treated as consumers of democracy. The people should not only be awaiting government to deliver democratic dividends but communities must in themselves be agents of change; effectively give meaning to IDP processes, planning and prioritising, intensifying local labour in all projects and giving meaning to development that is people driven.

The real question becomes on how best we can enable communities to take responsibility for limitations and successes of their local areas. Quite often you hear communities saying that this clinic or school is of the government or Councillor and not claiming it as theirs. In turn, it is this lack of claim that makes it possible that during community protests public property, as part of venting frustration to government, is torched.

The single most powerful advantage of the ANC is its presence in every corner of this country. There is virtually no voting district in which the ANC did not get votes. This strength has to be harnessed in ensuring that it contributes in expanding the capacity of the party to deliver. The ANC has to remain a people's party directed as a carrier of the people's aspirations, insulated from alien tendencies such as factionalism, gate keeping, careerism etc. Ordinary people must continue to derive confidence from the organisational machinery of their party which does not only visit them during elections but is part of their daily ordeals and they are a part of its everyday processes.

It's also evident that service delivery strikes and or hot spot areas are not anti ANC strikes but are rather community pressure on the ANC to deliver as shown by the electoral outcomes in what areas whom were regarded as hot spots:

HOTSPOTS ELECTIONS RESULTS 2014-:

  • Glendale in KZN (KWADUKUZA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY/Stanger) = 68.92%
  • Sterkspruit in EC (Lady Grey/SENQU LOCAL MUN) = 84.03%
  • Sterkspruit VD 1 in TOWN Ward 10 =69.41%
  • Sterkspruit VD 2 in TOWN Ward 10 = 76.88%
  • Sterkspruit VD 3 in TOWN Ward 10= 79.54%
  • Bekkersdal in GP (WESTONARIA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY) = 68.04%
  • Malamulele in Limpopo (THULAMELA (THOHOYANDOU) LOCAL MUN) = 85.83%
  • Marikana in NW (RUSTENBURG LOCAL MUN) = 57.35%
  • Manengburg in NW (RUSTENBURG LOCAL MUN) = 57.35%
  • Bloemhof in NW (LEEKWA-TEEMANE [Christiana]) = 66.98%
  • Itsoseng in NW (DITSOBOTLA LOCAL MUN [Litchenburg]) = 68.83%
  • Bodibe in NW (DITSOBOTLA LOCAL MUN [Litchenburg])= 68.83%

If we are convinced as we are that the State is the highest concentration of political power and that in the next foreseeable future state power is to be contested with regular elections, then electoral politics must also inform the ANC to remain in constant contact with the people. Its structures and machinery must be fashioned to respond to these realities; branches and structures that are inward looking, focused on jostling for power, infighting and structures that are only activated for conferences are all an unsustainable subculture.

Those given responsibility to manage and or are deployed in the state must have the required competency, commitment and ideological orientation to comprehend the aims and objectives of the ANC administration.

Furthermore, leagues of the ANC (the ANCYL in particular) must be pre - occupied on how it effectively carry out its twin tasks of championing the interests of young people (with focus in the main to those who have not arrived and are unemployed, under employed, unskilled or not in any form of education or training) while it also mobilizes them behind the ANC. Trends show that since 1999 young people have not been coming out in their significant majority to register and vote. Whilst this is a global trend, it must be a concerning trend for us in the movement.

We may have to consider automatic registration once a person turns 16 and or electronic registration to make it easier and faster. This is raised against the fact on Election Day when the whole country was on election mood, many unregistered young people flocked to voting stations with a renewed interest to vote. They obviously could not vote as they were not registered. There is further evidence showing that the majority of those who did not register could have voted for the ANC.

At a strategic level, we must examine whose values and ideas are dominant on society. It can be argued that South Africa public discourse is dominated by neo -liberal ideas which measure freedom on the realisation of individual satisfaction and success, driven in the main by a media that is hell-bent on projecting the ANC as incapable, incompetent and not caring.

The Electorate has been very loud in giving the ANC a decisive electoral mandate to set the country on to the second phase of a seamless transition from a society underpinned by racial stratification to a national democratic society characterized by radical economic change as contained in the ANC Manifesto. We dare not fail or manufacture political excuses instead of delivering, clear indicators were made where we must double our efforts and those signals must not be taken for granted as we go towards 2016 local government elections.

(Mawethu Rune is the member of the National Committee of the Young Communist League of SA and a National Organiser of the ANC Youth League and a member of the ANCYL National Task Team. He is also a former President of SASCO.)

Viewpoint by Tolika Sibiya

Viewpoint by Tolika Sibiya

The Neo-Liberal thinkers reverse the gains of our hard earned democracy

The public discourse on skills and the economy in South Africa and beyond is so eloquent about the crisis in education, the shortage of skills, the problem of unemployment and the high cost of labour (that supposedly prevents business from employing people). This discourse is repeated so much that one could easily be convinced that this is widely agreed upon.

We are told we need to urgently create jobs but, at the same time, we are told that it would be difficult, if not impossible to do, because of a desperate shortage of skills that supposedly exists among South African workers. This could not be further from the truth, this is so because in our contemporary corporate-dominated society there impression is get created on the premise that our education should be solely for the needs of the market, business or industry rather. This neo-liberal perspective is done under the guise of enhancing national competiveness and thus promoting economic growth and 'progress.

This education system is problematic as it is market driven in public discourse, which is technicists in approach and instrumental in character thus narrows the value and the role of education it should be playing in society. This kind of education is problematic as it perpetuates a range of biases, prejudices and questionable social behaviors.

It reproduces class divisions by valuing the culture and knowledge of those in positions of social privilege and authority. It also advances an elitist agenda and reproduces social inequality. It consolidates cultural authority by legitimating certain forms of knowledge and experience primarily that of the privileged social class while effectively marginalizing other perspectives.

Universities academics are supposed to be providing panacea to societal challenges, they must do so with commitment for justice and democratic citizenship but instead they have fallen victims of this neoliberal discourse around the value and use of education. These public institutions are full of lazy-thinkers (so called Professors, Dr(s) , they have never manufactured any piece of knowledge to contribute to the battle of ideas, instead they argue that social sciences, humanities, philosophy, cultural history and language should not be promoted.

Some scholars go to an extent of questioning as to why taxpayers should in fact fund these kinds of studies via student subsidy, staff and infrastructure at university level. Within this context these scholars are of the view that these kinds of studies should be discarded in the system as they hold no value in society. We need to expose these people for who they are.

Let's take language for instance, Neville Alexandra, spoke about the harmonization of languages, he said that when the isiXhosa speaking grass-roots intellectual is able to read a book written a isi-Pedi speaking activists, for instance, we will then be closer to the language and their harmonization, this is just but an example.

Ayi Kwei Armah of Ghana and Ngugi wa Thiong' of Kenya both argues very correctly that in history, economic and political control has never been complete without cultural control.

Ngugi for instance argues that language, for instance is the carrier of people's values. Ngugi further point out that language must be one of the pillars of the struggle to decolonize the humanities and social science. The decolonizing project must put language question at the center, failing which is bound to reproduce inequalities in the academia, intellectual spaces and by extension in post-colonial societies in general.

All languages must be afforded same status so that they play their pivotal role for social transformation, including small languages such as(Tsonga &Venda), those of whom are regarded as useless hence should never be funded (as these academics say). Whilst Aime Cesaire argues that, learning in an indigenous language preserve, stimulates a deep conceptual understanding of a subject; therefore all languages must be promoted to implement or bi-multilingualism, including global spoken, English.

So this neoliberal thinking on small languages boarders on a naïve argument that African studies are essentially, rhythmic, childlike, mindless, so as African people are quickly to grab opportunities to acquire lazy degrees in anthropology, to the exclusion of more serious but less entertaining aspects of culture such as philosophy of which these academic scholars describe and denounce.

I would certainly agree with Mahmood Mamdani when he says, the key question before us is: how to teach Africa in a post-apartheid academy. He argues that historically, African Studies developed outside Africa, not within it. It was a study of Africa, but not by Africans. The context of this development was colonialism, the Cold War and apartheid.

This period shaped the organization of social science studies in the Western academy. Broadly, it is a question about curriculum transformation (of which in my view the language question must be at the center for curriculum transformation), and about who should be making these decisions. Narrowly, it is a question about how Africa is to be taught in a post-apartheid academy. So universities alike cannot avoid the onslaught of neoliberal militancy that claims to provide sound revolutionary solutions to our social problems, in a country which is still heavenly rooted with legacy of apartheid.

Institutions of learning need to be reclaimed from neoliberal agenda and be transformed to serve a critical purpose which is to provide citizens with knowledge, skills, ethical responsibility essential for active participation characteristic of an inclusive democracy. Education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture. Higher education must also contribute to the education of ethical citizens committed to the construction of peace, the defense of human rights and the values of democracy. Therefore academics constitute a critical group of people that must engage in progressive pedagogical practice in pursuit of social justice, freedom and democracy.

This neoliberal agenda must be denounced as it often bombard students with type of curriculum content designed to convince them that self-worth and social status are dependent on appearance, purchasing power and conspicuous consumption. Through this neo-liberal education students are often measured by what we own rather than who we are as people. Through this education society view or consider something of value when it is expensive. Collaborative and transformative dimension produce egocentric individuals unable to fulfill the basic co-operative and reflective requirements of democratic living. Society at large has a responsibility generally to build public intellectuals who can speak truth to power in defense of the commons and social justice.

(Tolika Sibiya is an NMB ANCYL RTT member, therefore writes in his capacity as a Head of NMB ANCYL Sub-committee on Education)

Viewpoint by Pedro Mzileni

Viewpoint by Pedro Mzileni

A Reply to Mail & Guardian Frolics

The Mail & Guardian came out of its closet to disclose explicitly what it has been trying to gossip indirectly to its readers for a long time. It gave up on trying to weaken the ANC through its committed effort to report negatively consistently about its government but now it had to come out and say it out loud and clear that "Vote for opposition to weaken ANC power!". Indeed, the elastic band must have reached its stretching limit.

On 2-May-2014, Mail & Guardian wrote this melodramatic editorial with the hope to convince our people. It said "in 1994 we asked you to vote for change. Twenty years later, we ask you to use your vote to dilute overweening political power". Their story went on to say "we have no regrets about supporting the ANC in South Africa's freedom election or that we continued to back it in 1999 and even 2004 but by 2009 we trod cautiously endorsing you the voter rather than a political party".

They went further to say "perhaps the most alarming product of years of single-party dominance has been the growth of political arrogance and unaccountability. Lastly, it concluded its theatre performance by saying "by diluting the ruling party's power, we would argue - and that means narrowing its majority by swelling the opposition vote and even, in some provinces, forcing the ANC to rule in coalition - in Germany, the ruling Christian Democratic Union was forced into cooperation with the Social Democratic Party; in Britain, the Liberal Democrats have toned down Tory dominance".

I cannot forget their last paragraph where it said "the Western Cape perhaps offers a local example. One can argue that the narrowness of the DA's majority in 2009 kept it in check".

I choose to reply to this editorial by Mail & Guardian because it is a golden opportunity to expose the class struggle that exists in major institutional means of ideological production and dissemination in the form of educational and training systems, the policy apparatus within the state, a wide range of cultural and faith based institutions and the media in our example here. The battle of ideas is an integral part of the class struggle. What we see in the publication by Mail & Guardian is not only a simple straightforward campaign against the ANC but rather it's the danger of ideas themselves being purported by the ruling class using an institution. Moreover, the ruling ideas of the ruling class tend to infiltrate the outlooks and beliefs of other classes and strata.

The stage of youth is one of assimilating knowledge of all kinds. Avidly searching for a rational understanding of the surrounding world, the youth therefore displays curiosity, rebelliousness, impassioned and uncontrolled enthusiasms; it quickly forms judgements as it abandons others. Such a stage is crucial in the moulding of stable social being; thus all classes and strata wage relentless battles for the hearts and minds of the youth. It is for this reason as to why our involvement in the battle of ideas as the working-class youth is so important in all institutions including the media.

The statement that I have made above of saying the ruling ideas of the ruling class tend to infiltrate the outlooks and beliefs of other classes and strata is no longer an ideal but reality. This is particularly the case in our own current global and national realities, dominated by monopoly capital, including highly globalized media empires. In these conditions, the ideas of the global ruling class are repeated so often that they begin to seem obvious self-evident truths. As some would say, a lie repeated over and over again ultimately becomes the truth. One of the key vanguard roles of cadres of the congress movement is, precisely, to engage actively on this terrain, and expose the class interests that lie behind what often seems like the "natural" way of doing things.

To go back and unpack this media empire called the Mail & Guardian - it says …"in 1994 we asked you to vote for change. Twenty years later, we ask you to use your vote to dilute overweening political power - we have no regrets about supporting the ANC in South Africa's freedom election or that we continued to back it in 1999 and even 2004 but by 2009 we trod cautiously endorsing you the voter rather than a political party"… - This statement by them is not only false but it is equally not class innocent.

The Mail & Guardian in 1994 did not support the ANC overwhelmingly as they claim here. In their similar editorial they wrote just before the 1st general elections on 22-April-1994, what was of interest to them was the liberal concept of racial reconciliation and "development" through "economic growth" that must be "distributed to people to provide basic services and job creation". Furthermore, they also analyzed opposition parties (National Party, Democratic Party, IFP & PAC) within the same editorial in an effort to look for the most reliable liberal option they can find that has the most legitimacy to the global monopoly ruling class in charge of them.

In that editorial, they concluded that they cannot support National Party because of its ugly past, they could not support PAC because of its racial ticket, they could not support IFP because of its ethnic ticket but they wrote a long analysis of the Democratic Party (now DA) in a full and bigger paragraph than the other opposition parties. However, ruling class morality could not allow them to support Democratic Party because, in their conclusion, "was plagued by poor leadership - it has been disappointing in its attempts to woo doubtful voters particularly from minority groups and sadly, the DP failed to rise above narrow sectional interests".

There is no other evidence than this to expose the Mail & Guardian to show that it never supported the ANC because of it was carrying the Freedom Charter but rather it supported it because it had an obligation of a "peaceful racial reconciliation" to deliver and that all opposition parties that it could have supported were rather pathetic. For the Mail & Guardian it was a matter of trying to shoot two birds with one stone, a matter of being on the right side of history and being on the right side of the global ruling class together with the heroic ANC. This is proven beyond doubt when in the same editorial it goes on to say "besides, it is a basic journalistic principle to never entirely trust any government, more so one which has so much hope invested in it". A basic ruling class journalistic principle for journalists of the ruling class.

In the 1999 elections, the Mail & Guardian was in the same liberal lagoon in its editorial that it published on 21-May-1999 just before the 2nd general elections where it mentions briefly that it "supports" the ANC because the opposition is weak again and that the ANC "has insisted that the relations and rights that create wealth must be maintained intact within a stable macroeconomic environment".

This is another feature on pure neo-liberalism that I will touch later on. But here again we see the Mail & Guardian supporting soft liberal gains like "economic stability", 'peace", "prosperity", "law and order" made out of the attempted racial reconciliation. There is absolutely no mention whatsoever of race oppression, class exploitation and gender discrimination affecting the working-class majority in South Africa that the ANC with its Alliance must repair guided by the Freedom Charter.

Again, in the same editorial the Mail & Guardian stresses the fact that "voting against the ANC for the reason that a good government needs a strong opposition to keep it in check is a respectable position". The same logic is repeated in the 2004 elections.

In 2009 and 2014, now we begin to see a Mail & Guardian claiming that it has "changed" its support for the ANC because "ayisafani". I say "ayisafani" because their reasoning is not far away from that of the recent DA campaign.

If the problem is not President Jacob Zuma then it is the corruption that he "came" with to the ANC when he was born in 2009 whilst ANC documents within the movement were already talking about corruption and government in 1991. President Jacob Zuma suddenly gets erased in history as an official of the ANC from 1991 to current and Deputy President from 1997 to 2007 - a time where they were "supporting" the ANC.

I am completely correct to say that the Mail & Guardian together with all the major media empires are staunch cheerleaders of anti-majoritarian neo-liberalism, liberal constitutionalism, capitalism, and the ruling class! They stand against anything that is of working-class. In fact, the Mail & Guardian itself supports my statement when it said in its editorial on 8-April-2004 that "we are a newspaper of liberal ideals". In the course of its liberal trip, it will not be apologetic in supporting anything that is liberal - politically, economically and socially.

The Mail & Guardian in its recent editorial that I am predominantly outlining here is complaining about "single-party dominance" and it wishes South Africa to have a "democracy" similar to that of Britain, Germany etc where power is exchanged between parties. They even make a local example with Western Cape. Let us remove the political mask attached to these statements again so that we can see the true face of its neo-liberal ruling class hiding.

Views expressed by Mail & Guardian and are always shared by the DA and other opposition parties are that there is "danger" with a "two-thirds majority". There is also a constant harp of deliberately "confusing party and the state", a harp of "cadre deployment" and another harp of having an ANC being in an Alliance with the trade union movement and the vanguard of the working-class.

All these of these concerns amount to a single fundamental concern in that the South African post-1994 democratic dispensation has not degenerated into a typical liberal democratic, two-party dispensation in which a centre-right and a centre-left political party, barely distinguishable from each other rotate through office.

This kind of "democracy" has reached its low-point in the United States, where to stand as a candidate, even for a relatively modest office, requires billions of dollars of campaigning funding. Typically, the major corporations in the US will support both parties and stand to benefit equally from whoever wins. This is so identical in the contemporary oligopolistic market in which the commodities of the major corporates (be it soap, cars, juice or cellphone) are distinguished not by price or quality, but by "branding". That is the type of a democracy that Mail & Guardian and the DA want to see.

They hate the investment the ANC has made in the millions of South Africans over the last 102 years in fighting for their disposed political, social and economic freedom. They hate the fact that in the ANC, the majority sees the true embodiment of all its aspirations. They hate its persisting movement character, its ward based branch-level organization and mobilizing traditions and its continued commitment to an alliance with two avowedly radical socialist formations, the SACP and COSATU. They hate the fact that this means that the ANC and therefore the state are accessible to the direct influence of class forces other than their established monopoly capital.

What they want is a "democracy" of lazy politicians that come out of the media (not society) with a Hollywood charisma and attractive organizational appeal sprinkled with bright colours that don't have meaning to "wow" the "voters" (not citizens) towards elections (only). They want a democracy were the "winner" of elections gets 51% and them getting 49% and call it a "matured democracy". To them, a two thirds majority is a "threat" not a democratic mandate given to the ANC by outright majority of a simple vote.

To them, receiving 66% of the vote is not a democratic episode but a somewhat unfamiliar circumstance or an accident of democracy. To them, the two thirds majority is not of a result of a straightforward voting by the majority in a democracy that they now seem not to understand it but rather is some form of a danger. They are afraid of a democracy. Votes going to them are democratic but votes going to the ANC are a threat.

Cadre deployment according to the media and DA is not supposed to happen. They constantly call for the deployment of "competent leaders" not "cadres".

Basically, they are saying that a government that the majority have given a mandate for the ANC to lead, the ANC must turn around and not put its leaders to lead such a government. The leadership of the ANC must step aside and allow "competent leaders" to run its government whilst it stand and watches the show unfold. They forget that cadre deployment is something that they themselves do. When DA won Western Cape, it was a leader of the DA that became Premier. But somehow, when the ANC wins elections, it must not be President Jacob Zuma occupying Presidency with the leadership of the ANC in government.

They want the ANC to be told by them what is a competent leader and according to their own liberal definition of the word "word". Basically the ANC must be told by the minority occupying opposition benches on how it must run its government.

The Mail & Guardian embarrasses itself even more in its editorial when it mentions that "the Western Cape perhaps offers a local example. One can argue that the narrowness of the DA's majority in 2009 kept it in check". What is shocking about this analysis from Mail & Guardian is that it now does not say that "voting against the DA for the reason that a good government needs a strong opposition to keep it in check is a respectable position".

At no particular stage does it encourage the people of Western Cape to vote for the opposition to "weaken" the power of DA but it encourages the other 8 provinces to vote "tactically" to weaken the power of the ANC. This exposes Mail & Guardian in broad daylight that it is supporting the Democratic Alliance! Also, it shows that the Mail & Guardian is anti-government and anti-state because it is encouraging people to vote for an opposition whilst people want to vote for a government. There is no other way to undermine the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality facing our people other than this one.

Another ideological theme of the media/DA is the use of a wide array of NGOs and liberal think-tanks is that the ANC and its alliance constitute a "threat to the Constitution". In making this ideological claim, these anti-majoritarian liberals deliberately dumb-down the actual Constitution, turning it into a narrow 19th century liberal document focused on upholding individual rights and on checking-and-balancing the state. While these values are important and are certainly present in our Constitution, the anti-majoritarian liberals conceal the many transformative obligations that our Constitution places upon the democratic state.

This, in turn, relates to the ideological posture that the media/DA assumes in situations in which it holds political office. It seeks to transform the political electoral debate into a competition over "delivery", "efficiency", and addressing "backlogs". But one must notice how these ideological terms "delivery", "efficiency", and "backlogs" serve two purposes.

In the first place, the DA (given its history and anti-majoritarian platform) tends to win elections only in localities that are relatively wealthy and well resourced, which immediately skews any "delivery" competition between it and the ANC with its mass-base in improvished townships that have a weak revenue base, and in provinces with a lasting legacy of dire, ex-bantustan, rural poverty. But secondly, and more importantly, "delivery", "efficiency", and "backlogs" are all ideological terms that divert our attention from the imperative of carrying forward structural transformation. And this goes to the heart of the anti-majoritarian liberal position - it is in favour of change, but change without transformation!

TAKING THE BATTLE OF IDEAS FORWARD

What I have attempted to analyze above are the major anti-working class economic and political ideologies of our current South African conjecture. Within the congress movement we have a vanguard responsibility as working-class leadership to continuously analyze, expose and popularize our analysis of these ideological currents. As in the class struggle in general, however, it is also important to conduct the ideological struggle with a coherent strategy and tactics.

This means, in the first place, being able to identify the dominant threat to a socialist struggle, and also any immediate principal dangers. Unquestionably, neo-liberalism is the dominant ideological threat locally and globally to the struggle for a different world. It is important that we build the broadest unity against this threat, and that we help to identify, also, elements of neo-liberalism when they infiltrate parts of our movement.

TRANSFORM THE MEDIA!!

In the battle of ideas the media sector plays an absolutely critical role. South Africa's print media landscape remains dominated by four big role players - Naspers, Avusa, the Independent Group and the Caxton group. The Mail & Guardian is foreign-owned entirely. Black ownership in the print media is 14% and the representation of women in boards and senior management in the media is 4.4%. the circulation patterns of newspapers shows that there is a serious lack of distribution in rural areas. Close to 70% of newspaper readers are in Gauteng and Western Cape.

In broadcasting, while the SABC is dominant, Kagiso media has established a sizeable presence with its ownership of private commercial radio stations.

Media monopoly is a major threat to media freedom, to an informed society, and to a meaningful democracy. Current patterns of concentrated ownership an control of the media promote commercial interests and the logic of the private capitalist market. At the moment, it is only ONE class that owns the media and it is distributing ONE message. There is absolutely no diversity and freedom of information in that!

As part of building working class power and hegemony in the battle of ideas it is important that workers in the sector are mobilized and develop a class consciousness. The trade union movement in the media sector must organize journalists. Given the importance of the media in the battle of ideas and its direct impact on today's youth, the congress movement must develop more comprehensive perspectives on the media, and a more coherent strategy and tactics to contribute more effectively to transforming the media in the interests of the national democratic and socialist struggles. This debate is not new

(Pedro Mzileni is in the Branch Political Education Sub-Committee of the ANCYL Khaya Mabeca Branch)

The contents and views expressed in HLOMELANG do not necessarily reflect the policies and positions of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).