The inadequate land reform programme

The issue of land and the constitution is a hot topic. Wits University Economic Freedom Fighters’ Student Command (EFFSC) hosted a public lecture on the subject by Advocate and Wits law school visiting senior research fellow Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, who said the current land reform programme is inadequate.

“Land is an economic asset that entitles you to a livelihood,” said the advocate. The land reform programme has many failures and those who have managed to benefit in regaining land have, in many cases, seen little or no improvements in their livelihoods.

Students attendees of the public lecture gain new knowledge on the land reform issue.                                                                                                                                                  Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

“The Land Claims Commission [The commission that facilitates the current land claims process, is designed to compensate those who were dispossessed of a land right after 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws], which not many know about, has a budget of about R1 billion and is one of the most dysfunctional institutions as it is not performing according to its constitutional role,” he said. The land reform programme has largely focused on the restitution phases (land acquisition) of the process, to the exclusion of land reform implementation process. “Restitution is not going to sort the problem of landlessness. The duty is on the government to ensure redistribution through expropriation. A redistribution legislation draft was written in 2007 and passed by cabinet but not in parliament. Jacob Zuma still hasn’t signed it. A new expropriation act (last expropriation act was passed in 1975) could’ve been passed as early as 2008,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Nguckaitobi said that the government owns less than 20% of land available for redistribution. “More than 80% of the land is in private hands, which the government should take. They have an obligation to take the land and redistribute it,” he said.

“The government is paying too much market related compensation and settling cases they don’t need to. When the property owner can see they can get away with getting more, they will push the envelope,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Ngcukaitobi believes that occupation is not the most progressive method to expropriate the land without any compensation. “We need to force the government to do its job under the constitution. So everyone who is concerned with South Africa should be concerned with land. We shouldn’t only be confined to judicial systems. It’s time to reform the law of contract, property law and private law,” he said.

EFFSC Member singing struggle songs before the public lecture begins. Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira

During the Q&A session, BA Education student Mangaliso Sambo raised the issue of student accommodation. “Accommodation is privatised by individuals who make money off poor [black] students but the public interest is there. [Black students] cannot afford to pass and be good students if they are still forced to travel from morning to sunset without a chance of rest and have no shelter in close proximity. Residences is not just a land based issue but also an academic issue,” said Sambo.

Third year BA General Wits EFFSC member and organiser Nolukhanyiso Gongxeka commented on the importance of understanding the issue of land reform, “The issue of land is not just about farming. It means taking ownership of the capital and the economic capacity that is owned mostly by white people.”

 

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EFF launches its intellectual coup d’ etat

CALM BEFORE THE LAUNCH: Advocate Dali Mpofu and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema sitting on the Great Hall stage of Wits University during the launch of the EFF book "The Coming Revolution" on Thursday, July 25, 2014. Photo: Luke Matthews

CALM BEFORE THE LAUNCH: Advocate Dali Mpofu (left) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema (right) sitting on the Great Hall stage of Wits University during the launch of the EFF book The Coming Revolution on Thursday. Photo: Luke Matthews

A revolutionary missile was launched yesterday when the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) gathered in the Wits Great Hall to celebrate Commissar Floyd Shivambu’s book The Coming Revolution on Thursday night.

EFF leader Julius Malema delivered the keynote address on behalf of the absent author Shivambu who was still in Cape Town. “We wrote a book because we do not want our story to be told by some white person”, said Malema.

Economic Revolutions

Malema said that the book addresses economic freedom looking particularly at nationalization, noting that he has been previously misinterpreted on the issue.

“I’m agitated by the fact that people love writing books about nationalization. You go and you fetch a book by Van Vicker who will speak on behalf of Malema’’, he said.

The ruling party African National Congress (ANC) was not left out of Malema’s address who accused the ruling party of “selling-out” to economic investors and not putting the concerns of people at the forefront.

“The economy looks the way it looked in the colonial times”, said Malema who explained that the EFF’s economic outlook outlined in the book advocates working class concerns.

Intellectual Riot 

The party’s Gauteng provincial chair, Dali Mpofu said that the book consisted of three parts, “manifesto, election and an interview with the commander and chief”, referring to an eleven-page interview conducted by Shivambu and Janet Smith with the party leader. Malema jokingly referred to the interview as “the longest interview of my life”.

Mpofu who contributed to writing the foreword of the book said, “very little [few] political parties have achieved what this little baby has achieved in twelve months”.

Wits EFF student leader Vuyani Pambo noted the intellectual capacity of the organisation saying, “In case you had any doubts – intellectual production is part of this revolutionary duty”.

The book launch was part of the EFF’s first year anniversary of their political existence which will officially take place this weekend.

 

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African males worst off in higher education: Gauteng EFF

African males suffer the most discrimination in higher education, the Gauteng Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said on Thursday.

The organisation claimed the share of African males in higher education had been stuck at 28 percent since 2000. The party said it planned on writing a report evaluating racial and gender imbalances in higher education institutions in Gauteng.

The EFF made this claim at a press briefing headlined by its candidate for premier, Dali Mpofu, in Braamfontein.

The EFF said that if it won election in Gauteng, it would immediately implement a 100-day plan that includes holding a “youth summit” made up of young people from across the province.

Mpofu said the EFF would launch “Youth Entrepreneur Centres” that would offer free office space and Wifi access to youth business.

Mpofu said Wifi stations would be set up within the 100 days all over Gauteng, “institutions and centres will have to apply and consultations will be held, we will then prioritise it according to where it is needed.”

Premier Candidate Advocate Dali Mpofu addressing the media on  issues relating to the elections and the 100 day plan for Gauteng.

OPTIMISTIC: EFF Gauteng premier candidate Dali Mpofu addressing the media on issues relating to the elections and the 100 day plan for province.

 

EFF the hell out

THE Dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube, has confirmed this week that the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) will not be recognised as a Wits student society this year.

Dube said the EFF had submitted its application too late and as a result could not be accepted as a Club and Society Organisation (CSO).

Dube said it would need to reapply to the SRC at the end of the year.

The only reason the EFF was not accepted was because of its “late submission” and not for any other reason, Dube said.

Asked to comment, EFF member Tokelo Nhlapo said not allowing the EFF to operate on Wits Campus “is against our rights according to the South African Constitution”.

“The EFF is a movement that needs no recognition from an ANC-dominated SRC,” he said.

He made it clear they will contest this decision by the SRC and dean of students in the school council. The EFF will continue to run programmes and fight for free education on the Wits campus, Nhlapo said.

[pullquote]“The EFF is a movement that needs no recognition from an ANC-dominated SRC,”[/pullquote]

“The university students have embraced the EFF and they will continue to do so. We have five members on the Law Student Council – if Sasco [the SA Student Congress] think they dominate, they must think again,” he added.
He said there was still a review pending from the vice chancellor’s office.

Nhlapo said he believed the decision by the SRC was made for political reasons and not because their application was late.

He said the EFF submitted its CSO application a day before the due date, which was November 6, 2013. The SRC denies this.

SRC officer of clubs, societies and student governance, Sarah Mokwebo said the EFF had submitted its application too late. She also said the “SRC is here to protect students and CSOs”.

“We are not fighting this out of political intolerance. If any other unapproved student movement were to come to campus and run events without permission, we would not allow them to do so either,” she said.

Mokwebo said if the EFF continued to run programmes on Wits campus the dean of students would have to deal with them directly.

Earlier this year the SRC, which is dominated by ANC affliated members was accused by its political opponents of abusing its power in office to play “dirty politics” where recognition of clubs and societies was concerned.

ilanit@witsvuvuzela.com

Dancing to the ballot box

JUJU JIVE: EFF supporters, as always, were in high spirits when they marched into Mehlareng Stadium on Saturday.  Buoyed by the manifesto launch and the party’s release of a music CD, they danced and danced.           Photo: Luke Matthews

JUJU JIVE: EFF supporters, as always, were in high spirits when they marched into Mehlareng Stadium on Saturday. Buoyed by the manifesto launch and the party’s release of a music CD, they danced and danced. Photo: Luke Matthews

 

 

THIS past weekend’s festival of political rallies, manifesto launches and street bashes in the name of democracy was proof of a well-known fact, that South African politics at its best is a study in ear-busting raucousness. The lengths political parties went to, to create a carnival atmosphere through song while talking serious politics at the same time, revealed once again just how central music is to our political DNA. [pullquote]Even those groups who contested SRC elections last year pin-pointed music as a route into the hearts of voters.[/pullquote]

On Saturday, Julius Malema’s red berets rode into Tembisa on a colossal wave of volume. Motorcycles with screaming engines, cars packing sound systems powerful enough to raise the dead, and an army of foot soldiers chanting non-stop the irreverent refrains that have become the Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) trademark, raised the roof off Mehlareng stadium.

A few kilometres away, a version of the ruling party’s youth league refused to be outdone by the new kids and plotted a guerrilla offensive of groove by hosting what they called an “election festival”.

But without the gymnastic gyrations of Chomee and her team of dancers, the ANC’s get-together was a downer, drowned out by the EFF’s jamboree.

A day later, many kilometres north of Johannesburg in Polokwane the DA, blessed with less vocal supporters if Loyiso Gola’s Late Night News is to be believed, called on rapper AKA and pop-indie band Freshly Ground to add vibe to its campaign soiree. [pullquote align=”right”]“If you’re going to sing about political things what will you sing about? That you’re disappointed in what government is doing or that there is an alternative party you like better?”[/pullquote]

Even those groups who contested SRC elections last year pin-pointed music as a route into the hearts of voters. Project W promised Witsies an international act for O-week. They went on to win seven seats in their first attempt. DASO sang little and sank. While the PYA-led SRC has for years prided itself on being able to belt out rousing war cries, whether in celebration or defiance, at the drop of a hat.

Add to this landscape significant moments in our history that married politics and dancefloors in pursuit of liberation – the exile-based Amandla Cultural Ensemble of Oliver Tambo and trombonist Jonas Gwanga, Brenda Fassie’s iconic “My Black President”, and the National Party’s banning of Prophets of the City’s The Age of Truth album in 1993 – and music’s role in our political destiny becomes an undeniable fact.

Prof David Coplan, chair of Wits’ anthropology department and author of the remarkable book In the Township Tonight, chronicling the intersection of South African music and political cultures, said the political usefulness of music has changed and pop-struggle songs were not as popular as they once were.

“If you’re going to sing about political things what will you sing about? That you’re disappointed in what government is doing or that there is an alternative party you like better?” Coplan said.

The five songs currently topping VoW’s charts, as well as the charts of Rhodes, UCT, Tuks and UJ’s campus radio stations, are testimony to the decline in popularity of the pop-struggle genre, or at least its changing nature. Our politicians though, wittingly or not, seem aware of the powerful chemistry between music and politics.

Coplan’s take is that there exists a musical politics other than “saying down with this and up with that”.“There is a politics which gives people heart and doesn’t even have to have words. One of the big struggle songs was a jazz tune called Yakhal’ Inkomo by Winston Mankunku Ngozi.

“It had no words but people took it as an anthem of the township, about the desire to be free,” Coplan said. Our official anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica, was conspicuous by its absence at all three of this weekend’s vote-baiting bonanzas, as it is at most political events.

[pullquote]“It had no words but people took it as an anthem of the township, about the desire to be free,” [/pullquote]

The national anthem, on the evidence, does not seem to be the rousing hymn-come-pop-struggle jingle to get a democracy fresh out of adolescence on its feet and dancing to the ballot box.

 

 

Mandela’s legacy in question

Representatives of several political parties came together on Friday to debate the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

Representatives of several political parties came together on Friday to debate the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

“Don’t blame Mandela because black people are lazy”.  The president of the Wits Debating Union (WDU), Jamie Mighti, said he was willing to be unpopular and tell fellow black students this “inconvenient truth”.

Mighti was speaking at a debate held by the WDU about former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy focused on whether Mandela sold black people out in the name of peace and reconciliation.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) representatives Hon M A Mncwango and  Bonginkosi Dhlamini, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Makashule Gana and Andile Mngxitama of the Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF also formed part of the debating panel.

[pullquote align=”right”]”Mandela cut deals with white people at the expense of black people.”[/pullquote]

The IFP, DA and WDU all argued that Mandela did not sell black people out but rather “chose peace over justice” so the country could move forward.

This is in light of Mandela’s decision to protect the private property rights of the wealthy, who were still mainly white.

Mandela was also criticised for his decision to keep South Africa a capitalist state.

Public figures such as his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, have publicly called him a “sell out” for choosing to have black and white people live and work together on what they have called the “stolen” land of black Africans.

Gana of the DA said it was important to consider history and context when looking at what Mandela did for South Africa: “Many other African states were collapsing and skilled people were leaving these countries with no skills transfer … He was driven by that fact and the Freedom Charter, which stated that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.”

Mngxitama was the only panelist who disagreed with the stateman’s approach to building a new South Africa: “Mandela cut deals with white people at the expense of black people. That is his unique contribution, that’s his legacy.”

The activist-turned-politician was met with a room full of applause and cheers when he said the EFF planned to “take the land and he economy back.”

He also said that under their (EFF) rule, all members of parliament would be forced to use public hospitals and take their children to public schools – “then they’ll be sure to make Baragwanath a quality hospital”, he said, to which the crowd responded with more applause and screaming.

[pullquote]”Don’t try party like a white kid. He’s going to leave you behind because he’s 12 years ahead of you.”[/pullquote]

Mighti said he was alarmed by the approach of “the Andiles and Malemas of this world”. He urged fellow students to forgive and forget about the apartheid regime and focus on being better students to ensure a more promising future. “What Andile says makes for good slogans, but it doesn’t make for a good supper”.

He said more black students needed to be in the library and “not at Puma [Social Club].

Don’t try party like a white kid. He’s going to leave you behind because he’s 12 years ahead of you. He had a good education, you have catching up to do.”

A student, who chose not to be named,  shouted at Mighti: “You insult us as blacks and yet you are black. This is what the system wanted.” He argued that the 24 hour libraries on main campus are used by black students, objecting to his claim that black students don’t put in as much work as their white mates.

He said white students were able to do better because they had resources like Apple iPads, computers with internet access and cars, which made their learning simpler.

Mighti ended his address by saying to black students “look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are not the top student in your class. There’s too much ‘instagraming’ and ‘facebooking’ going on”.

The debate ended without final remarks from Mngxitama as he was “summoned” to Soweto to join the EFF’s National Assembly.

The debate, which was held at FNB 101 last night, was aimed at addressing what the WDU has called “ongoing conversations” among young people.

Another debate will be held next week Friday as part of the WDU’s “Responsible Reconcilliation” Series. Next week’s topic is Socio-Economic Integration.

Just EFF’ing around?

By THULETHO ZWANE and RAY MAHLAKA

IN HIS first print interview, newly appointed  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has defended the new movement’s founding members from accusations of being “tenderpreneurs” and “dodgy characters”.

Ndlozi, a politics PhD candidate, has defended his new organisation’s leadership against the criticism laid by his former comrades in the Wits ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

Wits SRC vice president Tokelo Nhlapo accused EFF members of having wrongly benefitted from tenders.

“The discomfort that we have is the characters in the EFF where they have benefitted from these things [tenders].”

Ndlozi defended EFF and said the new movement wants the government tendering system to be stopped.

He admits that while EFF founding member Julius Malema was a “tenderpreneur”, Malema has now realised the flaws in the government tender process and wants to end it.

SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo took a swipe at the founding members of EFF, including Malema and businessman Kenny Kunene. He called EFF a “convenience of stomach empowerment for individuals who are politically disgruntled”.

“I don’t take it [EFF] seriously, it’s not a threat to the ANC and outside Wits it’s not a threat to the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” said Nkomo.

Nkomo also affirmed that the South African Students Congress (Sasco) will continue to support the ANC.

Nhlapo said there were no policy differences between the EFF and ANCYL and called the new organisation’s leaders “dodgy”.

“There is no difference between the ANCYL and EFF, the only contradiction is the EFF is spearheaded by dodgy characters. Julius was expelled from the ANCYL. Floyd [Shivambu] was expelled from the ANCYL,” Nhlapo said.

Ndlozi said the allegations that Malema is corrupt are unfounded: “Julius [Malema] is facing corruption charges. He is facing those charges in court, he’s not running away.”

“Julius was never in government. Malema has not had undue influence. The prosecutor needs to prove that,” said Ndlozi.

Malema, founding member of EFF, owes the SA Revenue Service R16-million for unpaid taxes.

[pullquote]“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them.” [/pullquote]

The public protector, Thuli Madonsela, alleges that Malema made his millions from a fraudulent tender.

Nkomo called EFF a “mickey mouse political party” and said the new movement will not find a place on Wits campus.

“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them,” said Nkomo.

Ndlozi accused the ANC of “broad churchism” and said people were allowed to join the party who didn’t believe in the principles of the Freedom Charter. This was one of the reasons EFF was formed.

EFF has seven non-negotiable pillars which include the expropriation of land without compensation, the nationalisation of mines and banks, and free education.

“We want to nationalise the mines, we want to nationalise the banks. The banks are enslaving the middle-class through debt. We have to take over the industries and redistribute the land and wealth to all,” said Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said EFF disagrees with the ANC and their alliance partners because of their policies. He said Agang is too dependent on morality and competence. “Agang is based on morals and competence, we offer more than not being corrupt,” said Ndlozi.

The EFF wants a more radical macro-economic framework. He said the Democratic Alliance (DA) is committed to neo-liberalism, commercialisation, privatisation, the flexible labour market and the minimal role of the state.

Wits Vuvuzela asked if EFF will contest the national elections in 2014 but Ndlozi was noncommittal.

“He [Malema] is popular today. Statistical houses show that EFF might win certain provinces. The people say we must run but we must respect internal processes.”

EFF will go to the National Assembly and present their founding manifesto after a conference to be held at the end of this month.