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ISSUE TWO 2014
20 YEARS OF FREEDOM FOR SOUTH AFRICA: THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES
note from the editor WELCOME TO THIS ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF ACTSA NEWS
The articles in ACTSA News do not necessarily represent any agreed position of ACTSA itself.
Katharine Collins and John and Maggie Paterson
This spring we will again be protesting at the Anglo-American mining company’s AGM in London. It is a disgrace that 20 years after the end of apartheid the miners devastated by silicosis as a result of poor safety measures still haven’t received decent compensation and healthcare. See page 13 for more information including how you can join the protest and other actions you can take.
Voters queue in Sowento, 1994. CREDIT / Mike Sparham
South Africans queue for the first democratic election, 1994 CREDIT / Susan Wilson
ACTSA has moved, please update your records Action for Southern Africa 308-312 Grays Inn Road London WC1X 8DP
020 7186 0750
The new anti-apartheid archives website, Forward to Freedom, is now live where you can see photos, posters and interviews from the movement. The archive is fascinating and I recommend you take a look – you might even spot yourself in one of the pictures! ACTSA will be holding our annual fundraising dinner on Friday 28th November, so please note that in your diaries.
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Welcome to this special edition of ACTSA News, celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa. The last two decades have seen significant victories in the fight for equality and justice, but there are huge challenges to overcome before South Africa’s visionary constitution becomes a reality. Our two feature articles look back at the progress made in Southern African since the end of apartheid and discuss the problems the region has yet to overcome. Providing a South African perspective is Lawson Naidoo who is currently executive secretary of CASAC (The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution) and was based at the ANC Mission London from 1987 to 1992. South Africa was not the only country that was devastated by the apartheid regime. Paul Fauvet, who has been living and working in Mozambique for more than 30 years, provides a vivid account of the political and economic situation there since 1994.
Thank you, as always, for your continuing support. I have recently joined the ACTSA staff team and been lucky enough to hear from a good number of you about your own individual involvements in the AAM and in ACTSA. I have found your dedication to the freedom of the region truly inspiring, and for that I would like to personally thank you. Best wishes
www.actsa.org Katharine Collins Fundraising and Communications Office
news ZIMBABWE: EU REMOVES TRAVEL BANS ON ALL BUT MUGABE AND WIFE
The new King Mswati III international airport in Swaziland is now open, but you won’t be able to use it. The airport, which took 10 years and £275 million to build, has been rendered useless as no international airlines have opted to fly there. The tiny country already has an international airport far closer to Mbabane, its capital. Swaziland is Africa’s only absolute monarchy, which means the people of Swaziland have no control over how their country’s money is spent. And it is extremely poor, with two thirds of the population living on less than $1 a day, so the huge cost of the new airport is a cause of despair.
20 YEARS ON, SOUTH AFRICA HAS MADE PROGRESS – BUT THERE IS STILL A LONG WAY TO GO TO REALISE THE VISION OF ITS CONSTITUTION
SOUTH AFRICA: ELECTIONS 7 MAY
On May 7th 2014 South Africa will hold their 5th national democratic elections since 1994. While the governing ANC is widely expected to win, most polls and commentators expect their share of the vote to fall. The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance is expected to improve its position and there are two new parties contesting the elections: Agang, founded by Black Consciousness activist, former World Bank Director and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Mamphele Ramphele, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, founded by Julius Malema who was expelled from the ANC. The election will take place against a backdrop of strikes, protests and rising concern about enduring poverty, high unemployment, growing inequality and corruption. The ANC will point to what has been achieved in the past 20 years, in terms of numbers who have electricity, water, decent sanitation, and schooling, and that 16 million now receive cash grants (mainly pension and child benefit) compared to two million in 1994.
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By Lawson Naidoo
IMAGE / SOUTH AFRICANS QUEUE TO VOTE IN THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC ELECTION IN 1994. CREDIT: SUSAN WILSON
SWAZILAND: KING’S AIRPORT OPEN
20 YEARS OF FREEDOM FOR SOUTH AFRICA
IMAGE / ONLY KING MSWATI’S PRIVATE JET WILL BE USING THE NEW KING MSWATI III INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE CREDIT: ACTSA
The European Union has suspended travel bans on eight of Zimbabwe’s most powerful military and political figures. The measures were imposed in 2002 in protest against human rights abuses and violations of democracy, but have been gradually eased to encourage political reform. President Mugabe and his wife Grace are still under a travel ban and asset freeze, however the EU has made a one off exception so that the president can attend the EU-Africa Summit in April. The EU has begun discussions with the Zimbabwe government about resuming direct bilateral government to government aid from 2015.
27 April 1994. Having spent much of the day campaigning door-to-door to get people out to vote, I stood in a queue at my primary school in the Indian township of Chatsworth just south of Durban waiting to cast my vote in that historic election. I was with my best friend from those school days: it was a poignant moment for us as we were ushered into our old classroom where the ballot boxes were stationed. By then in our thirties, we believed the dreams we had shared as boys would at last be attainable in a country free of the shackles of apartheid. That election would mark the culmination of centuries of struggle against colonialism and apartheid, and lay the foundations for a democratic South Africa. The Interim Constitution negotiated at the CODESA multi-party
forum confirmed that South Africa would be a constitutional democracy premised upon the separation of powers, the rule of law and a justiciable Bill of Rights. It paved the way for the realisation of the vision of the national liberation struggle led by the ANC – as articulated in the Freedom Charter and later the ANC’s constitutional principles as expressed in the OAU’s Harare Declaration of 1989, and Commonwealth and UN resolutions. It was the international pressure generated by the ANC and the solidarity movements that created the conditions for this vision of SA as a united, nonracial democracy to become the dominant paradigm. It was a victory over conservative forces sympathetic to the apartheid regime (especially in the UK and USA) who sought to accommodate “group rights” in a federal dispensation.
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Moreover the country basked in the moral authority provided by the leadership of Nelson Mandela. We strutted the global stage with Madiba feted around the world and states leaders eager to be associated with the ‘miracle’ of South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy.
Alongside the first democratically elected parliament and government headed by President Mandela, we had a Constitutional Assembly with a mandate to craft a final constitution for the Republic of South Africa. Chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa (then secretary general of the ANC) it completed its work in 1996, providing a roadmap to transform society from a repressive, divided past to an inclusive, prosperous future. The constitution incorporated a comprehensive bill of rights that recognised social and economic rights, and environmental rights alongside traditional civil and political rights. When the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) was launched in 2010 as a force for progressive constitutionalism and the fundamental transformation of our society, we stated in our founding principles:
exploited. There is an unacceptable and unsustainable gap between the vision of the Constitution and the lived reality for far too many citizens. This gap must be closed. Providing people with access to decent education, adequate housing and health care, and with the protection of a social security net, is essential for a cohesive society and the future prosperity of the nation.” The first post-apartheid government received generous support from the international community to assist in reconstruction and development. There were many successes in providing water, sanitation, housing and electricity to those previously denied by apartheid. Successive governments continued to seek to eradicate the legacy of apartheid.
Diepsloot township, South Africa. CREDIT: DAVID TAYLOR
THE REALISATION OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS IS INTERTWINED WITH CIVIL LIBERTIES AND POLITICAL FREEDOMS. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC MARGINALISATION DEPRIVES PEOPLE OF THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO LIVE WITH SECURITY AND DIGNITY AND IS A BETRAYAL OF THE CONSTITUTION
A vibrant civil society sector had been spawned by the anti-apartheid struggle and the mass democratic movement particularly in the 1980s and early 1990s, and it played a key role in the victory over apartheid. It reached into every sector of society and every corner of the country. These organisations were led by women and men of great stature and commitment to a just and democratic society. Following the 1994 elections, many of these leaders were elected to the new national and provincial legislatures or were recruited as civil servants. This inevitably led to a significant weakening of the civil society and NGO sector. This was coupled with a perception that a democratic government would deliver on the vision of the liberation struggle and that the government should
be supported to realise its historic mission. Development assistance was redirected largely towards the state. Significant progress has been made over the past two decades in creating a more just society, but we have a long way to go to realise the vision of the constitution. I will highlight just two areas that have constrained government’s ability to fulfil its constitutional mandate. Firstly, government operates within the context of finite resources and competing demands on the fiscus. The magnitude of the challenges posed by the legacy of apartheid is daunting. Although the size of the civil service has grown significantly in recent times, its capacity to deliver falls far short of what is needed. The calibre of the civil service and its commitment to professionalism is questioned; it is often alleged that civil servants pursue narrow political interests of factions within the ruling party rather than serving the citizenry at large.
“The realisation of the socio-economic rights is intertwined with civil liberties and political freedoms. Social and economic marginalisation deprives people of their fundamental right to live with security and dignity and is a betrayal of the Constitution. Endemic poverty and inequality renders South Africa a fragile society, where the poor and the vulnerable, especially women and children, are condemned to the fringes and easily
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‘THERE IS AN UNACCEPTABLE GAP BETWEEN THE VISION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LIVED REALITY FOR FAR TOO MANY CITIZENS. THIS GAP MUST BE CLOSED.’
Secondly, the capacity of the state to deliver is further undermined by the siphoning of state resources for corrupt purposes. At the launch of CASAC, chairperson Sipho Pityana said:
“It is beyond doubt that corruption and patronage are so pervasive, rampant and crippling in our society that we are on the verge of being deemed a dysfunctional state. The worst victims of this are the poor as the rich can pay their way through. The principles of public accountability and efficacious public service are now dangerously undermined. The danger that these practices pose to progressive constitutionalism should not be underestimated. [These are] manifested in the accumulation of material wealth, ill-gotten gains plundered from the state at the expense of public interest and the poor. These developments undercut the legitimacy of the democratic order.” The gap between the vision of the Constitution and the daily reality for many people remains almost unbridgeable. We must put power back into the hands of grassroots organisations to enable people to assert and claim their rights. The failure to do so will further exacerbate the divisions in our society. We remain a society in which inequalities mirror that of the apartheid era. Organs of civil society are being revitalised to meet these challenges. Our GDP and other economic indicators define us as a ‘middle income country’ that is now beginning to see a retraction of donor assistance from the ‘first world’ countries. Even those countries who
continue to see the necessity for support are hampered by the global economic downturn that has caused them to tighten their belts. So what can be done by global solidarity movements, and in particular those in the UK, that were at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid? I would argue that a policy of providing assistance to both government and civil society in South Africa is required. Western governments and international institutions should continue to be lobbied to encourage a more equitable order across the world. But we must not lose sight of the importance of ‘peopleto-people’ solidarity, and in particular, support for social justice organisations that seek to redress the socio-economic injustices of the past. Two decades on from the dawn of freedom we have a robust constitutional democracy in which the rule of law is established, the separation of powers is respected, and institutions of governance are functioning, all overseen by an independent judiciary and buttressed by a strong civil society and an independent media. It provides a solid foundation for the vision of a South Africa in which all its people can live securely and with dignity to be realised. Lawson Naidoo is executive secretary of CASAC (www.casac.org.za) and was based at the ANC Mission in London from 1987 to 1992.
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MOZAMBIQUE: THE LAST 20 YEARS TWO DECADES OF PROGRESS, BUT WITH ELECTIONS DUE IN OCTOBER, RENAMO IS PLAYING ITS MILITARY CARD – AGAIN By Paul Fauvet, a journalist who has lived and worked in Mozambique since 1981 In 1994, Mozambique was a shattered country. The war waged by the apartheid regime through its surrogate army, the Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance) rebels, had laid the economy to waste. Factories, bridges, roads, railways, schools, health units – all had been targets. Millions of Mozambicans had fled over the borders, or into the cities. ISSUE TWO 2014 / 20 YEARS OF FREEDOM FOR SOUTH AFRICA: THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES / PAGE 09
‘A RAPID RATE OF RURAL ELECTRIFICATION HAS GIVEN MOZAMBIQUE THE THIRD HIGHEST ELECTRICITY COVERAGE IN THE SADC REGIME’
A rapid rate of rural electrification has given Mozambique the third highest electricity coverage in the SADC region (behind only South Africa and Mauritius). As of December 2012, 38 per cent of the Mozambican population had electricity in their homes – 26 per cent from the national grid and 12 per cent from solar panels.
Mozal and Sasol were offered big tax exemptions, leading to strong protests from civil society groups. The government said the exemptions were necessary to attract investors. But once Mozambique was on the foreign investment map, the tax regime changed and subsequent investment has not enjoyed the same favourable terms. That has not stopped a queue for licences.
There is a cost to this. The ruling Frelimo Party has been transformed. Although the words “Socialism will triumph” still exist in the party’s anthem, the ringing declaration “We are soldiers of the people fighting against the bourgeoisie” has become “We are soldiers of the people fighting for peace and progress”. Frelimo remains a member of the Socialist International, but little that is explicitly socialist can be discerned about the policies of the past 20 years. Indeed, critics accuse Frelimo of forming a de facto alliance with international mining capital. Certainly the government made a highly successful drive to attract large scale foreign investment. The big breakthrough came in 1998, when BHP-Billiton decided to build an aluminium smelter, Mozal, on the outskirts of Maputo. The raw material (alumina and petroleum coke) is imported, but the attraction was the ready availability of cheap electricity. The South African petro-chemical giant Sasol followed, building a natural gas plant at Temane in Inhambane province and a 800km pipeline to its factories in South Africa.
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When Mozambique was a Portuguese colony little geological work was done, and the country’s potential was largely unknown. After peace with Renamo in 1992, the geologists could finally get to work. It was soon discovered that the Moatize coal basin in Tete province contains some of the largest untouched coal reserves in the world. IMAGE / RURAL MOZAMBIQUE. CREDIT: DAVID GOUGH, IRIN
Education and health networks have been rebuilt. Mozambique is approaching the goal of universal primary education, and has made serious inroads against some of the main killer diseases. Thanks to massive spraying programmes and free mosquito nets, malaria, the main killer of children under five, has declined, and the once regular cholera epidemics in Maputo and Beira are now things of the past.
But the cloud on the political horizon is that Renamo decided to play its military card again.
IMAGE ON PREVIOUS PAGE / MOZAMBIQUE FACTORY DESTROYED BY WAR WAGED BY THE APARTHEID REGIME. CREDIT: JOEL CHIZIANE AIM
But today the World Bank and the IMF portray Mozambique as a success story. For two decades the country has been growing strongly, with only a hiccup in 2000 caused by the catastrophic floods. Inflation is under control, the currency, the metical, is remarkably stable and foreign investment is pouring into the country, attracted by the discovery of extensive mineral resources.
The gas discoveries in the north require investments of some US$20 billion to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities that could be operational by 2020.
The 1992 peace agreement required the government and Renamo to disband their armies, and form a unified Mozambican Defence Force (FADM) out of volunteers from both sides. But Renamo did not demobilise all its fighters. It held back a few hundred, as a “presidential guard” to defend Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. Successive governments, led first by Joaquim Chissano, then by Armando Guebuza, regarded this as an ageing force, with no obvious source of resupply or of new recruits, and without any support in neighbouring countries. This was a serious miscalculation. For, repeatedly defeated in elections, Renamo still had an armed force with which it could try to revive its fortunes. President Guebuza won the 2009 election with 75 per cent of the vote and Frelimo had 191 of the 250 parliamentary seats.
Even more important discoveries were made in the Rovuma basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. ENI of Italy and the US company Anadarko found offshore natural gas reserves of at least 190 trillion cubic feet – enough to make Mozambique the world’s third largest producer.
Renamo blamed its repeated defeats on electoral fraud. There certainly were well documented instances of fraud, particularly in Tete province, but serious though they were, they could not explain a gap of over two million votes.
Huge open cast coal mines operated by the Brazilian company Vale, the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto and the Indian Jindal are now in production. Rail and port facilities are inadequate for the projected coal exports (perhaps 100 million tonnes a year by 2020), and so new railways and ports are on the drawing board.
Much more serious were Renamo’s internal disputes. In 2000, Dhlakama had the party’s number two, Raul Domingos, the man who negotiated the peace agreement expelled. In 2008, the same fate overtook Daviz Simango, Renamo’s most successful municipal politicians and mayor of Beira. When Dhlakama refused to run Simango
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Simango then formed his own party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), which, although only a few months old, made a creditable showing in the 2009 parliamentary election, winning eight seats. In the 2013 municipal elections, the MDM, benefitting from a Renamo boycott, took three cities (Beira, Nampula and Quelimane) plus the town of Gurue, and dramatically reduced the Frelimo majority in its traditional strongholds of Maputo and the adjoining city of Matola. But Renamo had now demanded sweeping changes in the electoral laws. It wanted political appointees to dominate the National Elections Commission (CNE) and its executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), robbing them of all vestiges of independence. When the government refused, Renamo unleashed the men it had held in reserve for almost 20 years. As from June 2013, regular ambushes against vehicles travelling along the main north-south highway in the central province of Sofala, led the government to institute a military convoy system – which did not prevent further ambushes. The Renamo gunmen also attacked military and civilian targets elsewhere in the province. A government counter-offensive seized Dhlakama’s headquarters at Satunjira, in Gorongosa district on 21 October 2013, but Dhlakama retreated into the Gorongosa mountains, where he has continued to control Renamo.
ALTHOUGH THE GOVERNMENT WAS ABLE TO CONTAIN RENAMO MILITARY ACTIONS, THE ECONOMIC IMPACT HAS BEEN SERIOUS
With threats to their drivers’ lives and to their vehicles, businesses are reluctant to use the road through Sofala. The Renamo attacks have not occurred near the main tourist resorts, but many South Africans cancelled their reservations. Agriculture has been hit, as peasant farmers have fled from fertile Gorongosa to the safety of towns.
CAMPAIGN FOCUS: JUSTICE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD MINERS Last year England’s High Court ruled that thousands of former gold miners suffering from silicosis couldn’t have their case for decent compensation against Anglo American South Africa heard in the English courts. At the end of March their case returned as they appealed against the decision. ACTSA is supporting the demands of ex gold miners for decent compensation and health care, including testing for silicosis, to be paid for by the mining companies that made their fortunes from apartheid gold. It is a disgrace that 20 years after the end of apartheid so many have received little or no compensation when they sacrificed their health and now live in poverty.
Unable to bring a swift end to this low-level insurgency, the government performed a volte-face and agreed to all of Renamo’s main demands on electoral legislation. This was presented as a fait accompli to the Mozambican parliament which enacted the changes in record time in February this year. Frelimo evidently expected a quid pro quo. But not a single Renamo gunman has been demobilized, and Renamo is now making further demands – notably for international mediation. The general elections are due on 15 October and Frelimo has a new presidential candidate, defence minister Filipe Nyusi. But it is questionable whether they will go ahead at all with the electoral bodies now top-heavy with over 2,300 political appointees turning them into political battlegrounds, and no guarantees of Renamo disarming and ending its offensive.
Although the government was able to contain Renamo military actions, the economic impact has been serious.
ISSUE TWO 2014 / 20 YEARS OF FREEDOM FOR SOUTH AFRICA: THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES / PAGE 12
IMAGE / JUSTICE FOR THE MINERS PROTEST. CREDIT: ACTSA
for a second term as mayor, he stood as an independent and humiliated both his Renamo and Frelimo opponents.
Anglo American South Africa was the largest gold mining company in South Africa throughout the twentieth century. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of global mining giant Anglo American, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. On 24 April Anglo American shareholders will gather in London for the company’s Annual General Meeting. ACTSA, along with Senzeni Zokwana, President of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers and Peter Bailey, NUM Chair of Health and Safety, will join them to ensure that the plight of South African gold miners features on the agenda. Outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in Westminster we will be protesting for justice for silicosis sufferers, we hope you will join us from 1.15pm on Thursday, 24 April. In Parliament a number of MPs have signed Early Day Motion 1260 South African Gold Miners and Respiratory Disease. Please write to your MP and ask them to sign it too. We will be holding a public meeting on the justice for South African gold miner’s campaign and the crisis in the country’s mining industry, following the tragic events at the Marikana platinum mine. We hope you will join us at 6pm on Thursday 23 April at Unite the Union, 128 Theobalds Rd, London, WC1X 8TN. ACTSA will also launch a new briefing on the Justice for South African gold miners campaign in the coming weeks. For further details see www.actsa.org or phone 02071860750.
ISSUE TWO 2014 / 20 YEARS OF FREEDOM FOR SOUTH AFRICA: THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES / PAGE 13
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Please support our appeal This ACTSA news has looked at 20 years of freedom and democracy in South and Southern Africa. While much has been achieved there are still major challenges of gross inequality, injustice and poverty. Please donate to our latest appeal to support the people of Southern Africa in overcoming these challenges. The legacy of apartheid and colonialism still holds strong, and the people of Southern Africa have a great hill still to climb. Please show your solidary and donate to ACTSA today.
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IMAGE/ ACTSA FUNDRAISING DINNER. CREDIT: ACTSA
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“WE MUST NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘PEOPLE TO-PEOPLE’ SOLIDARITY, AND IN PARTICULAR, SUPPORT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE ORGANISATIONS THAT SEEK TO REDRESS THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC INJUSTICES OF THE PAST.” Lawson Naidoo