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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

New from Johnny Copelyn – Maverick Insider: A Struggle for Union Independence in a Time of National Liberation

Maverick InsiderPan Macmillan is proud to present the exciting new publication Maverick Insider: A Struggle for Union Independence in a Time of National Liberation by Johnny Copelyn:

In 1973, the trade union movement was both racially and regionally divided. It virtually excluded African workers, and in many cases unions were led by cautious and paternalistic leaders, long schooled in avoiding confrontation with either the state or employers.

Then widespread strikes erupted in Durban where hundreds of thousands of workers downed tools in support of wage demands. It was a militant explosion unprecedented since the apartheid government had crushed and outlawed mass demonstrations against segregation and “whites only” rule. And it provided the impetus for the next decade and a half of trade union organisation, which succeeded in uniting workers on a largely non-racial basis, dominated by the slogan “one union one industry”.

Maverick Insider is an anecdotal, insider’s account of the transformation during this period in the textile, clothing and leather worker sectors. It focuses on the outlooks of leadership groups in different parts of that industry and their efforts to influence the nature of the amalgamation of six unions to form the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), one of the three largest unions of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

It traces the interaction between union leadership and both political parties and community organisations dedicated to making the country ungovernable, as well as those who were determined to stamp out such calls. It details struggles to unite workers across political divides in the same union organisation and to assert an independent working-class point of view in a period of growing African nationalism.

It details the traumatic events on the road to the so-called peaceful miracle that created a rainbow nation but left 22 000 South Africans dead in the process. And it is the story of a team of people who set out to change the world and formed an unshakeable bond in the process.

About the author

Johnny Copelyn runs a listed investment holding company, Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI), which is SACTWU’s investment vehicle. He lives with his life partner, Corinne, in Cape Town. Between them they have six children.

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‘The ANC government has been zombified’ – Malema after Nkandla judgment

Still an Inconvenient YouthCommander-in-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema has vowed not to allow President Jacob Zuma to speak in Parliament again, adding that his party will stop him physically.

“Zuma must step down because he is no longer the president of this country‚” Malema said in the wake of the Constitutional Court judgment on the public protector’s report on Nkandla.

“If Zuma is continuing to stay in office‚ he leaves us no choice but to use practical ways to remove him‚” Malema said.

He added the African National Congress (ANC) kicked him and other members out of the party due to their criticism of the ANC and their attempt to “speak truth to power”.

“The ANC government has been zombified,” Malema said.

Watch the video:

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Source: TMG Digital

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Sanral is flogging a dead horse, says Outa’s Wayne Duvenage

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says Sanral’s announcement that civil summonses will be issued to e-toll defaulters is merely a scare tactic for motorists and a show of force for the benefit of ratings agencies.

Outa says the public “need not panic or become anxious about this latest development‚ as this is precisely what Sanral seeks to achieve”.

Sanral said on Monday that the orders will be handed to individuals and “higher value summonses of mostly companies”.

Owing to the amount owed in the latter cases‚ said the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project’s Alex van Niekerk‚ “the summons has to be managed by the high court”.

Outa‚ however‚ pointed out on Wednesday that a “high court civil claim … entertains debt in excess of R400 000”.

“Civil claims of this nature‚ if properly defended‚ will take many months‚ if not years to bring to fruition‚” Outa said.

“What Sanral would like to have the public believe is that everyone will shortly be receiving a summons to appear in court‚ but this is not the case and is virtually impossible for them or the courts to do.”

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage also took issue with Van Niekerk’s contention that there was “an obligation to act” as “global ratings agencies and the investment community are also looking towards Sanral and expect from us to demonstrate our commitment to financial responsibility and high standards of corporate governance”.

Duvenage said Sanral has “a need to demonstrate to the ratings agencies that they can and will take action‚ following two years of threatening to do so”.

“Eventually‚ there comes a day when they would either have to drop the cause or decide to carry through with their threats‚” Duvenage said.

“Sanral and the government have unwisely demonstrated their decision to press on with their failed scheme‚ which is akin to flogging a dead horse.”

Outa’s statement also claimed that “well-connected debt collection companies stand to make large undisclosed amounts from all historic e-toll fees collected” is another “motivating factor for the renewed drive to create the heightened anxiety levels that will steer some of the public toward settling the e-toll debt”.

It said unpaid e-toll debt incurred before September 2015 totals more than R14-billion.

Source: TMG Digital

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Outa says the fuel levy hike ‘will push up the cost of living’ for everyone

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa, previously the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) said it found it “strange” that government “has no problem increasing the general fuel levy by 60 cents over the past two years”.

Yet‚ the civil watchdog said‚ government baulked at “an additional nine cents on the fuel levy to cover e-tolls” as it “would affect the poor”.

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage said the 30 cents-a-litre levy hike – announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during Wednesday’s Budget Speech – “was predictable during this time of low fuel prices”.

But‚ he added: “We are concerned these high fuel levies (now at 36 percent of the fuel price)‚ will give rise to over R110-billion in the general fuel levies (general fuel levy and Road Accident Fund)‚ which is over 200 percent up on this revenue stream of a decade ago.

“The taxes applied to motorists and the transport industry will unfortunately be passed on to all citizens and will push up the cost of living.”

Duvenage held out hope that Gordhan will call the South African National Roads Agency Ltd and the Department of Transport to see reason and apply rational thinking in halting the failed e-toll decision”.

He also called for more transparency at government entities and said Gordhan should instruct them “to fully grant access to people who are rightfully inquiring about information pertaining to expenditure and tender allocation and if that information is not all there‚ the CEO’s job should be on the line”.

He also said that Wednesday’s speech did not give the sense that corruption was “being handled with conviction”.

“We need the removal of those officials who have been responsible for the waste‚ and criminal charges laid where necessary‚ so that a clear message is sent to those who waste and steal our taxes.

“They must fear the potential consequences and thereby change behaviour. In addition‚ we would like to see government claw back on the known lost revenues from people and organisations who have been fraudulently enriched with taxpayers’ money.”

Source: TMG Digital

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Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance urges public to oppose Eskom rate hike

The E-Tolls SagaOuta has released a statement to the effect that Eskom’s latest application to hike up its rates was based on claiming costs for electricity it had never generated.

The former Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance‚ now rebranded as the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse‚ is challenging the power utility’s bid to have the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) give it permission to up its rates.

The organisation announced on Monday that it had contracted energy analyst Ted Bloom to lead its campaign against electricity price increases‚ especially since Nersa had cancelled public hearings into the issue‚ saying there had been a “lack of interest”.

Outa said in its statement: “Eskom has a claim of R22.8 billion in terms of the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) despite making a profit of R7.1 billion in the 2013/2014 financial year. Outa believes this is unjust and that most of the claim should have been averted through more prudent management in numerous areas‚ by Eskom’s leadership.”

Despite the official end of the hearings‚ Outa is urging the public to join it in opposing the rate hikes‚ and has opened a portal (www.OUTA.co.za) through which objections can be registered.

“There are glaring concerns that speak to the inefficiencies within Eskom which we believe must be urgently addressed‚” Outa said.

Outa is also contesting the basis on which Eskom is applying for an increased tariff‚ saying that Eskom was claiming “electricity costs and revenue from the public for electricity production it projected‚ but which it did not in fact generate”.

“This is akin to a service provider charging somebody full price for a service it said it would render‚ but which it in fact never rendered‚ or claiming from insurance for a loss envisioned‚ but that didn’t occur.”

Among a series of other charges‚ Outa also says that “Eskom intends to pass a preventable and unfair over-expenditure (estimated at R10 billion) onto consumers”.

“Eskom questionably employed overly-expensive Diesel Turbines when Coal Fired Infrastructure was not running at full capacity‚ and intends to pass a R8 billion bill related to diesel consumption on to consumers.”

Source: TMG Digital

For more on the development of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, see:

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Mmusi Maimane’s leadership is ‘fairly revolutionary’ for the DA – Ferial Haffajee

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Late last year, Ferial Haffajee chatted to Insig about the outlook for Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in 2016.

Haffajee’s debut book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, is on shelves now.

“I think the very coming into being of a black leader, in the shape of a young black pastor, who crafts himself like Barack Obama, has been fairly revolutionary for the DA,” Haffajee says. “And if you look at its research I think that he resonates with many voters that the party may not have been able to reach before.

“But consolidating a tough party, because as it gets bigger it gets more difficult to run, is certainly going to be his task over the next three months.”

Haffajee adds, however, that her “jury is out” on the DA, an opinion that hit home for her on a drive through Khayelitsha the previous day.

“I don’t think the DA has done enough to bridge inequality in the Western Cape and in Cape Town,” she says.

Haffajee is the editor-in-chief of the City Press and sits on the boards of the International Women’s Media Foundation, the World Editors Forum, the International Press Institute and the Inter Press Service.

Watch the video (introduction in Afrikaans, discussion in English and Afrikaans):

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“It is very dangerous to have an uneducated president” – Prince Mashele on President Jacob Zuma

The Fall of the ANCPrince Mashele, executive director of the Centre for Politics and Research and co-author of The Fall of the ANC: What Next?, shared his views with John Robbie on Talk Radio 702 about the challenges facing the ANC in 2016.

Mashele says the weakness of the Tripartite Alliance and ructions within ANC leadership and the ANC Youth League mean 2016 could be a watershed year in politics.

“We are going to see very likely the ANC losing one or two big metros,” Mashele says. “Nelson Mandela Bay, I think the ANC might not get it. Tshwane, they might not get it, and Johannesburg. The party is very vulnerable.”

Robbie asks Mashele about President Jacob Zuma’s recent statements regarding the economy, to which Mashele replies:

“I’ve always said this and people thought I was mad, or maybe on drugs, but it is very dangerous to have an uneducated president. And if there are still people who think I am mad for saying that, I think they themselves are mad. Jacob Zuma has demonstrated it, we don’t need any more evidence of the dangers of an uneducated president.

“I mean, this is a man who is essentially illiterate when it comes to economics, when it comes to numbers. He can’t read numbers. So a guy like that to lead a sophisticated economic power that is in dire straits, you must know you are going nowhere.

“And this is not only dangerous to the country but to his own party.”

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Why Onkgopotse JJ Tabane wants to talk frankly with politicians (Podcast)

Let's Talk FranklyPowerFM’s Sebenzile Nkambule invited Onkgopotse JJ Tabane to talk about his new book, Let’s Talk Frankly: Letters to Influential South Africans About the State of Our Nation, on her early morning show, Power Up.

Tabane is one of South Africa’s leading media and communications specialists, a community activist and a business executive. Let’s Talk Frankly is an exercise in accountability, offering readers a collection of letters to the big names of South African politics, including Gwede Mantashe, Helen Zille, Julius Malema, Signal Jammer, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mmusi Maimane and Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

When asked why he chose to write letters like this, he says: “It’s very difficult to get some of these guys to account. You know, what do I do? Do I wait for Malusi Gigaba to come to my brunch before I can ask him why we are stuffing up the tourism numbers? He probably won’t come to my brunch.” The letters are not all negative, Tabane notes, and do not serve to pick a fight. He is merely saying what he feels need to be said and asking what needs to be asked in the spirit of accountability.

The book is not a compilation of his best letters, but a fresh offering of longer writings than those that we have come to know him by. In the interview, Tabane opens up about his book, his motivations behind writing it, some of the issues he tackles in it, and how it has been received.

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“Transformation” Has Become an Abused Word in Our Society – Ferial Haffajee (Podcast)

What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Sebenzile Nkambule recently interviewed City Press editor Ferial Haffajee about the pertinent themes and issues in her new book, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

In the interview, Haffajee talks about the events that compelled her to write the book: “My newsmaker of the year is definitely something between hashtag Pay Back the Money and hashtag Fees Must Fall, but if I were to choose a second then I certainly think this is the year where the race debate or perhaps even race rage took centre stage for me and became a talking point month after month after month.”

On the title, Haffajee says, “I hope it interests people enough to pick it up.” She continues, “It’s certainly not ‘let’s put all white people back on the boats to wherever’, not at all because I’m very much a child of the Nelson Mandela generation, I am that child of ’94, I completely buy into our constitutional vision, but what interests me is that 23 years hence, why does a new generation of our young people, what we have carelessly called ‘born-free’ in the past, still feel so overwhelmingly that white power stands in the way of a better life in our country? It’s that book, it’s their voices that come to the fore.”

In this insightful podcast, the author explains why she believes “transformation” has become an abused word in our society.

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Sanral Kickstarts Automated E-Toll Payment on Major Plazas for “Safe and Easy” Festive Travel

The E-Tolls SagaJust days after the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) called the e-toll system a confirmed failure, the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has released a statement hailing a “milestone” for the system.

Wayne Duvenage, chairman on Outa and author of The E-Tolls Saga: A Journey from CEO to Civil Activist, commented on the fact that Sanral has collected less than 1 percent (R40 million) of the outstanding e-toll debt during the first month of the e-toll discount dispensation.

“Outa is now convinced that the e-Toll scheme has officially collapsed,” Outa said in a statement.

“In our opinion, there is no way the e-toll scheme can recover from this reaction to their latest dispensation,” Duvenage said. “The public have spoken and accordingly they have sent a strong message to the government that they will not be coerced, intimidated or fooled into paying these irrational e-toll taxes.”

However, Sanral has confirmed that the automated payment option has been activated at a number of toll plazas, just in time for festive season traffic.

Outa is yet to comment on the development.

Press release from Sanral

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral) reached a major milestone when it switched on the automated payment option at its toll plazas on the following routes:

  • N1 from Pretoria to Musina
  • N1 between Bloemfontein and Johannesburg
  • R30 Brandfort
  • N17 between Johannesburg and Ermelo
  • N2 South Coast route
  • N3 Mariannhill

In addition, the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) also switched on automated payment on the N3 from Heidelberg to Cedara.

At midnight on 4 December the automated pay system on these existing toll roads became operational. Road users with electronic tags no longer have to stop to pay tolls manually with cash or credit cards.

“We have become one of very few countries in the world with a fully interoperable electronic toll collection system with central transaction clearing, says Vusi Mona, communications manager of Sanral.

“Moreover, it is a choice. Those who use our toll road network will experience the convenience of electronic payment in time for the festive season and this is a help to speed up traffic flows at toll plazas.

“Automated payment is done automatically through a tag fitted to the vehicle to identify the account holder, debit their toll account with the appropriate toll fees and automatically open the toll boom – without the need to stop and pay manually. This automated option will not incur any additional costs to the road user.”

Sanral has thereby responded to its customers’ needs – a survey done during August and September this year showed beyond doubt that 70% of customers want to make use of tag technology for improved convenience at toll plazas.

“We continuously strive to make improvements in the way that we manage our road network and make driving on our roads as safe and easy as we can achieve through engineering and world-class technology. Automated payment is one such a way.

“Moreover, it is in line with our Government’s commitment to improve road infrastructure that underpins the competitiveness of the South African economy.

Ends

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