||Durban politics stressed to break-point, 5 December
|PRESS CONFERENCE, 12PM
At 12 noon (sharp), a press conference will be held at CCS offices on the 6th floor of Memorial Tower Building, in which media are invited to view the trashing of Patrick Bond's office. The incident was covered in the Mail & Guardian and EyeWitness News, but announcements will be made on aspects of the investigation not yet publicly revealed. (A press conference at Numsa head office in Johannesburg regarding the 'NumsaExposed' conspiracy document will occur at 10am on Wednesday - contact: Castro Ngobese CastroN@numsa.org.za )
WORKSHOP: DURBAN POLITICS STRESSED TO BREAK-POINT
Constitutionalism as a barrier to the resolution of widespread community rebellions in South Africa
Patrick Bond Politikon 41 (3), forthcoming December 2014
Protest and participation in Durban: A focus on Cato Manor, Merebank and Wentworth
Shauna Mottiar Forthcoming Politikon 41(3) 2014
Occupying Umlazi: Hesitant steps towards political ideology in a Durban township.
Speakers: Patrick Bond, Bandile Mdlalose, Shauna Mottiar, Themba Mchunu and China Ngubane
Date: Friday, 5 December 2014
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, UKZN
The extreme contradictions in South African politics are no more obvious than in Durban and surrounds. As tension mounts over the failings of state and capital all over the country, and as government and Alliance loyalists close ranks, stress is quickly being transferred downwards. In KwaZulu-Natal province, local politicians, community activists and labour leaders are periodically assassinated, tortured or harsassed. The backlash against dissenters moves from sites like Glebelands Hostel through Cato Manor and other townships, to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA offices and even the UKZN Centre for Civil Society. Resistance has been patchy, as activists continue working within 'silos': in specialised NGOs, localist community organisations, up-and-down social movements and trade unions that have so far failed to connect the dots. But in recent weeks, looking hard within the ashes of the destruction of liberation dreams, we have seen flickering embers of hope. Will the revival of progressive civil society include a 'United Front' - whose initial Durban gathering in mid-November received the endorsement of 41 community organisations and more than 1000 metalworkers? Is it time for unity of progressive civil society, at last?
Aside from Bandile Mdlalose (Community Justice Movement leader) and Themba Mchunu (Numsa regional education officer), the presenters are from the UKZN Centre for Civil Society; four authored articles about community politics in the political science journal Politikon this month.
A township movement prepares to 'Occupy'
Umlazi’s unrest won’t be solved by intimidation
China Ngubane 2 July 2012
It is a time when local police brutality is a national scandal, with more than 50 extra-judicial executions (including many innocent bystanders) traced to a hit squad operating from the Cato Manor station. It is also a time when service delivery protests forced South African President Jacob Zuma to proclaim the need for ‘radical’ changes at last week’s African National Congress policy conference so as to redress blatant economic injustice – though this appears to be merely career-lengthening rhetoric.
Fetakgomo ANC leadership taught lesson by community sick of corruption
WASP 19 September 2014
The community of Ga-Nchabeleng has won an important victory against the corrupt ANC leadership in Fetakgomo municipality, Limpopo. For two weeks in September the community protested daily. This included a 3,000 strong march to the Fetakgomo municipality offices.
The protest was sparked when work was halted on a new Home Affairs office in the centre of Ga-Nchabeleng on land given by the community to the municipality for development. Fetakgomo ANC pulled the plug on this site when they realised that the tender had not been awarded to one of their ‘inner circle’ and an opportunity to loot the tender process for self-enrichment had been missed.
Mystery document alleges Numsa is bent on regime change
Sarah Evans (Mail & Guardian) 1 December 2014
The trade union is concerned that the paper’s circulation is part of a trend to destabilise its plans to form a United Front opposed to the ANC.
As the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) prepares to launch its United Front, a document accusing the union and individuals associated with it of plotting against the South African government to secure regime change has surfaced.
The document, titled Exposed: Secret regime change plot to destabilise South Africa, has apparently been circulating since November 20. It is supposedly written by “concerned members within Numsa” who disagree with the broader union leadership’s plans to form a United Front.
Read the document
Numsa launched its Gauteng leg of the United Front this past weekend.
The document’s author is “John Carelse”, but vigorous attempts by the union to try to find out who this is have been unsuccessful, leaving some to believe the name is a pseudonym.
Numsa says it will write to the inspector-general of intelligence, requesting an investigation into the document.
The document says: “The alleged plot is led and facilitated by key leaders within various political organisations, institutes of higher learning, international companies and civic groups, both locally and abroad.
“Central to the success of this initiative are plans to influence mainly the poor, presenting the so-called ‘socialist philosophy’ and socialism as a fix-it-all solution to problems facing South Africa and its people.”
Some of the people named in the document as “plotters” include former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, Professor Chris Malekane, Professor Peter Jordi and Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of former president Thabo Mbeki. Various international “plotters” are also named, from countries including Germany, Venezuela and the Philippines.
The document alleges that the role-players want to effect regime change and “influence and confuse South African communities using socialist rhetoric”.
These “plotters” also want to address inequality using “forceful methods” such as “land grabs” and the destabilisation of the mining sector, the document alleges.
As “proof” of this, the document says those named have used “international experts” on sociopolitical issues to endorse their views.
“These foreign role-players were invited to Numsa’s symposium of left parties from 7-10 August in Benoni, Gauteng.”
At least two individuals named in the document, Professor Patrick Bond of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Azwell Banda, a former Zambian trade unionist, have been the victims of crime recently, in what appears to be attempts to intimidate them.
Banda’s car was broken into last week and Bond’s office was ransacked and his hard drive was stolen last Sunday. It appears as if a second break-in was attempted, but this time only the lock to his office was damaged.
Bond, who directs the university’s Centre for Civil Society, openly aligns himself with some of Numsa’s politics, and talks informally with Numsa members, but says he is not an organiser for the union nor it’s United Front.
Photographs of anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus were taken out of drawers in Bond’s office and torn up.
It is unclear whether the incidents were linked to the fact that Bond and Banda were named in the document. But Bond believes the incidents could have been a signal from forces seeking to intimidate him and others aligned with Numsa’s politics.
“Political intimidation is a long-standing problem in our neck of the woods. Even we irrelevant academics sometimes get attention here. But what kind of sicko signalling is an office-trashing that includes not only theft of an old desktop hard drive, but shredding personal photos of our former Honorary Professor Dennis Brutus and leaving them in odd little patterns? Brutus’ radical poetry, sanctions advocacy, internationalism and an unerring commitment to social justice modelled for us a role for independent intellectuals in social change that we need so badly today.”
Bond added: “Our centre staff have tapped into quite a few controversies recently, but the one scholar-activist initiative that I suspect hits closest to the power structure is supporting the United Front’s formation in Durban. In mid-November, 41 community groups joined more than 1000 Numsa shopstewards in a beach hotel, and that plus the spooky ‘NumsaExposed’ document might have catalysed this attack. It’s flattering in a way, isn’t it? Though we’ve not had this kind of tribute before, I know it doesn’t intimidate our staff in the least.”
Dinga Sikwebu, national co-ordinator for the United Front, said the surfacing of the document was not an isolated incident, and Numsa feared it might be part of a broader trend.
Some of the “alleged plotters” will meet on Tuesday to discuss the document. For now, Sikwebu does not know who authored it but said the union views the matter seriously.
He said the document contained clues about where it might come from, but he does not believe it was authored by Numsa members.
Irvin Jim, Numsa’s general secretary, is described in the document as “secretary general”.
“Any Numsa person knows that we don’t have a secretary general as stated in the document.
That is ANC language used by someone schooled in the ANC constitution and its structures,” Sikwebu said.
He said the “international plotters” were people who were invited to the Benoni symposium in August, but some of those named in the document did not attend the event for various reasons.
“On the eve of that conference we had a call from one of the embassies. They wanted to know what the conference was about because they had heard it was ‘subversive’.” Three international delegates were stopped at OR Tambo International Airport and sent back to their home countries on various technicalities.
One of these delegates was from the country of the embassy that called Numsa, and was kept overnight at the airport, according to Sikwebu.
He said the union viewed the matter as political and the burglary of Bond’s office as being linked to the document, adding: “Why go for the hard drive?”
“When authoritarianism arrives it doesn’t announce itself,” Sikwebu said. “You slide into it.”
If the state can gag our academics, think who'll be next in line
The Times Editorial 4 December 2014
We must stand up as a nation and speak out against threatening statements targeting those who hold a view different to that trumpeted by powerful politicians.
It is worrying that many academics today are being singled out for airing their views about the state of South Africa.
As we report today, Professor Chris Malikane, of Wits University, and Patrick Bond, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, have been accused of being part of a group plotting to overthrow the state.
These allegations are too serious to be left unchallenged. We fully support the demand of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA that the inspector-general of intelligence, Faith Radebe, investigate the source of the accusations.
This country has been rocked by dubious intelligence reports in the past. Remember the Scorpions' 2007 Browse Mole report, which linked Jacob Zuma to being in receipt of covert Angolan and Libyan funding?
Now there is a report that accuses academics and union leaders of planning a coup. Do we want a nation in which members of our intellectual elite simply parrot what the government tells them?
Those behind the new report - "Secret Regime Change Plot to Destabilise South Africa" - must be exposed and investigated.
Our democracy is founded on the principle of freedom of expression. If our academics are attacked for disagreeing with the government, who will be next?
In 1946, Martin Niemöller said this of the Holocaust: "First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
"Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."
We will not be bullied into silence.
Academics, union leaders accused of treason
OLEBOGENG MOLATLHWA, The Times (South Africa) 4 December 2014
We are in a big jail called South Africa
SOUTH Africa is increasingly becoming a hostile terrain for critical thinkers.
Academics now fear that paranoia and intolerance at the top are driving a state-sponsored clampdown on thinkers critical of the government.
Yesterday five well-known academics, including Wits University economics professor Chris Malikane and the University of KwaZuluNatal’s Patrick Bond, were named in an “intelligence report” as conspirators in a coup plot — of being guilty of treason.
The document, titled “Exposed — Secret Regime Change Plot to Destabilise South Africa”, claims that National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) leaders Irvin Jim and Karl Kloete are the plot masterminds, along with several academics. They are said to be planning the illegal ousting from power of the ANC.
The report implicates in the “plot” several civil society leaders who have aligned themselves with Numsa’s United Front.
Numsa has accused the SA Communist Party and the ANC of authoring the report.
Jim yesterday demanded that the State Security Agency investigate its origins.
His deputy, Kloete, said the union would ask the inspectorgeneral of intelligence, Faith Radebe, to order the investigation.
According to the report, professors Noor Nieftagodien, Peter Jordi and Brian Mendez Hotz, along with Malikane and Bond, are entangled in efforts to overthrow the ANC government in collaboration with Numsa and international socialist partners.
Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils was also named in the report, which was brought to light by the SA Communist Party.
Nieftagodien and Hotz raised their concerns about the report and its implications alongside the Numsa leadership yesterday at a media briefing in Johannesburg.
“We have to understand that there is something sinister happening in South Africa. It is intolerance of different viewpoints,” said Hotz.
Nieftagodien added: “[This report] is an attack on critical engagement by academics.” Bond’s offices at the University of KwaZuluNatal were broken into recently.
Earlier this year, University of Johannesburg sociology professor Peter Alexander’s research documents were stolen leading to suspicions that attempts were being made to silence him.
“We are in a big jail called South Africa,” said Kloete. “I guess there is a big wish now that all 50 million people in South Africa must belong to the ANC.”
New spy paper plot claims
Natasha Marrian (Business Day) 4 December 2014
MORE questions have emerged over the use of intelligence agencies to silence critics of the state after the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and leading academics were accused in a document — the second in recent months — of plotting to overthrow the African National Congress-led (ANC-led) government.
The expelled Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliate has experienced a string of break-ins at its Newtown headquarters. Laptops belonging to key officials were stolen, which came after three shop stewards were gunned down in KwaZulu-Natal in what the union describes as "a well-orchestrated plan to destroy" it.
This follows break-ins at the offices of academics such as University of Johannesburg sociology professor Peter Alexander and University of KwaZulu-Natal professor Patrick Bond.
A document has circulated in recent weeks accusing Numsa, Prof Bond and University of the Witwatersrand associate professors Noor Nieftagodien and Chris Malikane, as well as Prof Peter Jordi of working to effect regime change in SA.
It comes amid speculation that Numsa’s opponents in Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have set up a "war room" to counter the "negative messages" emanating from the union — which has rejected the ANC as a neoliberal party and has resolved to research the creation of a workers party to contest future elections.
The document, circulated on social media, identified Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim and his deputy Karl Cloete as "rogue elements" who are "involved in an underground plot to destabilise SA".
Mr Cloete at a media briefing on Wednesday said the union would submit a dossier to intelligence inspector-general Faith Radebe, which would include affidavits from shop stewards in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape who were approached by "intelligence agents" to spy on the union. It also wants the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the possible invasion of citizens’ rights to privacy and would request a meeting with State Security Minister David Mahlobo.
"It is a sign of creeping authoritarianism ... it is no different from how the apartheid regime operated," Mr Cloete said. State Security spokesman Brian Dube on Wednesday said the minister would meet Numsa early next week on these matters as he was currently abroad.
After his suspension last year Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi released what he said was an "intelligence document" on him as an "agent of imperialism" working to overthrow the government.
Mr Jim was referred to in this document. Mr Vavi has lodged a complaint with Ms Radebe.
Prof Nieftagodien, present at the briefing on Wednesday, said the attacks on academics were an attempt to "close the space" they have to "engage critically" about society.
The document refers to head of the Alternative Information Development Centre Brian Ashley, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and Numsa policy chief Dinga Sikwebu. The document purportedly penned by "concerned Numsa members" accuses those mentioned in it of "disguising socialism" as a quick fix to SA’s problems and trying to effect regime change.
Numsa to take action against spies
SHANTI ABOOBAKER 4 December 2014
Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has vowed to approach the inspector-general of intelligence about allegations that state intelligence officers were spying on their senior officials and attempting to recruit their members as spies.
The union also wants the intelligence ombud to investigate the origins of a mysterious dossier that emerged this week, purporting to be from disgruntled union members, and claiming that the union’s leadership was working with foreign intelligence networks to plot “regime change” in South Africa.
The union, which was recently expelled from Cosatu for rejecting the tripartite alliance with the ANC, could test the full extent of any security establishment interference.
Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said they had prepared a dossier to submit to the inspector-general.
It included affidavits from its members who said they had been approached by intelligence officers to spy on Numsa and United Front activities in Port Elizabeth and Ekurhuleni.
The United Front is a Numsa political platform to merge workplace and community struggles.
It will also demand that the inspectorate ascertain whether there has been any surveillance of Numsa officials and allies. This includes any interception of voice or electronic messages from Numsa officials.
Cloete said Numsa and its allies were being attacked for taking part in legal political activity consistent with the right to freely associate with political parties and movements of their choice.
They also believe that state security agencies were not complying with the country’s constitution and laws and would seek an urgent meeting with State Security Minister David Mahlobo to discuss the issue. The union demanded that union and political work not be criminalised.
“War has been declared against us, and that war is no different from how the Nationalist (apartheid) government operated,” said Cloete.
He said the SA Human Rights Commission should “do its job” and hold public hearings on possible abuses of the rights to privacy, freedom of association and security by intelligence operatives and state securocrats.
Wits academic Professor Noor Nieftagodien said the space for critical engagement as a teacher and scholar was narrowing.
“The break-in to (University of Johannesburg professor) Peter Alexander’s office indicates an attack on critical engagement by academics,” Nieftagodien said.
“We are rapidly moving into a situation where people like me will be labelled as regime-change plotters.”
Nieftagodien is named as one of Numsa’s co-conspirators in the mystery document. Another academic named in the document, Patrick Bond, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, recently had his office broken into and ransacked.
Cloete said the wording used in the document was similar to a statement issued at the weekend by the SACP.
SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo responded: “If they don’t want to be accused of a regime-change agenda, we suggest… that they watch their demagogic tongues.”
State security ministry denies Numsa claims
Sapa 4 December 2014
State Security Minister David Mahlobo however had requested the inspector general of intelligence to investigate the claims.
The ministry of state security on Thursday denied involvement in an alleged plot to destabilise the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).
"The ministry refute these allegations with the contempt they deserve and further express our concern at the politicisation of the work of state agents in matters that are the domain of union structures and leadership thereof," spokesman Brian Dube said in a statement.
State Security Minister David Mahlobo however had requested the inspector general of intelligence to investigate the claims.
On Wednesday Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete told journalists in Johannesburg that a document was being circulated as part of a plan to destroy the union.
The document is titled "Exposed: Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize [sic] South Africa".
It apparently implicates himself, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, and former president Thabo Mbeki's brother Moeletsi Mbeki in a plot to destabilise the country.
According to the document, strategies included instigating widespread violence, land grabs and instability, as well as the establishment of intelligence structures in collaboration with foreign governments and international companies.
Cloete said a pattern was emerging and the document was not an isolated event. People, who Numsa suspected were from the State Security Agency, had tried to recruit Numsa shop stewards and activists in the Eastern Cape and Ekurhuleni to spy on the union's activities, he said.
On the plot claims against us - NUMSA
NUMSA 3 December 2014
Union response to the "Exposed: Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize South Africa" document
Statement on a document that alleges that Numsa leaders are involved in an underground plot to destabilise South Africa and are part of a plan to effect regime change in the country.
Over the last 10-days, a document that alleges that Numsa leaders are involved in an underground plot to destabilise South Africa has been doing its rounds. The document which is entitled; Exposed: Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize(sic) South Africa names two elected national officer bearers of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Irvin Jim and Karl Cloete as the kingpins of the plot (see here - PDF).
In their plan to effect "regime change" in the country the two office bearers are joined by two union officials Dinga Sikwebu and Azwell Banda. Assisting what the document characterises as "rogue elements within the Numsa leadership" are four professors: Chris Malikane, Noor Nieftagodien, Patrick Bond, Peter Jordi; former South Africa's Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils; political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki; and Brian Ashley who is the director of the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC).
What the document claims?
Claiming to be authored by "concerned members within Numsa" the "secret regime change plot" document outlines what it describes as a plan of the "plotters" to destabilise South Africa. Amongst the strategies of the plotters are the following:
• instigation of widespread violence, land grabs and instability
• establishment of "their own" intelligence structures in collaboration with foreign governments and international companies
• destabilisation of the mining sector
• the formation of a political party, the United Front (UF)
• the recruitment of other political parties to support the regime change agenda.
To achieve their objectives, it is alleged that the "plotters" use socialism and socialist rhetoric as a "quick fix" solution to the country's challenges. Up the sleeve of the "plotters" is an insidious plan to exploit institutions of higher learning to confuse communities and to indoctrinate the ‘fallible' through use of "socialist philosophy".
In all their strategies, "the rogue elements within Numsa's leadership" and their South African collaborators; have a team of 12 foreigners from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India Uruguay, Philippines, Venezuela that endorse the regime change efforts in our country. These "foreign-players", it is claimed attended Numsa's symposium of left parties and movements held on 07-10 August 2014 in South Africa.
Objectives of the so-called exposé:
We have no doubt that the circulation of this document and its nefarious accusations is part of a well-orchestrated plan to destroy Numsa and deter from its chosen path. We also have no doubt that prompting all these dastardly and desperate acts are our December 2013 Special National Congress (SNC) resolution:
To call on Cosatu to break from its alliance with the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP)
To lead in the formation of a United Front that brings workers and communities together
To explore the establishment of a socialist political organisation or Movement for Socialism.
Now that our resolutions are finding traction, there is panic all over. Even the president of the ANC Jacob Zuma had to admit at the aborted ANC Youth League conference that not only the youth is in crisis but the parent body was in dire straits.
The plan to deal with Numsa has many prongs. Amongst these are:
To expel Numsa from Cosatu
To delay the registration of the amendments that the Special National Congress effected to our union's constitution
To openly support for a rival union in the sectors that Numsa organises in.
The "dirty tricks" document is part of this well-orchestrated plan. This intervention aims to criminalise and demonise Numsa. The strategy is to cast aspersion on what our agenda is and separate the union's leadership from its base.
Let us upfront say what we are unapologetic about:
Firstly, Numsa is a socialist union and believes the crisis facing our people can only be finally resolved under socialism. There is nothing criminal or subversive about this. Socialism is one of Numsa's founding principles. By the way Cosatu has socialism as its founding principle. We propagate it and we discuss it with our members.
Secondly, our Special National Congress mandated us to call for the union federation's break from the ANC-SACP-COSATU Alliance. We are continuing with that mandate.
Thirdly, the Special National Congress resolved wtoe build a United Front and to explore the establishment of a Movement for Socialism. We are busy with that.
Like many in the country, we think that the ANC has taken the nearest off-ramp from its mandated position. We are not apologetic about that.
Before anyone else made the call, our Special National Congress said that President Jacob Zuma must step down. Many people are being convinced of this position.
Rebutting the ludicrous accusations:
The first thing that we need to point out is that no Numsa member could have written the document. In Numsa we do not have a Secretary-General (SG) or Deputy Secretary-General (DSG). These are titles and a vocabulary of the African National Congress (ANC). In Numsa, we have a General Secretary (GS) and Deputy General-Secretary (DGS).
Our preliminary investigation shows that the document was lodged in John Myburg's dropbox which contains only one document; the ludicrous exposé. The document's properties indicate that it was written by John Carelse who claims to be an official of Numsa. Our membership system reflects no member by the name of John Myburg nor do we have a staff member called John Carelse.
Secondly, those who penned the so-called exposé could not have been at the Numsa symposium. Orange Lopez from the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), the general secretary of Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina (CTA) Pablo Micheli and international relations secretariat of Bolivia's Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) Leonilda Zurita were not at the symposium.
Although the three had been invited and had accepted our invitation, due to unforeseen circumstances they pulled out. Their absence was explained at the symposium. Clearly, those who wrote "the regime change" document sat with an old draft programme. The fact that there were changes to the programme did not matter to the writers of the irresponsible document.
Thirdly, what is interesting is the similarity in the jargon in the so-called exposé and in the statement that came out of the South African Communist Party's (SACP) augmented Central Committee held on 28-30 November 2014.
The clarion call of the SACP and the first line in its statement is: expose the regime-change agenda! According to the communist party in the aftermath of the African National Congress (ANC) victory in the May 2014 elections, there has been an intensification of an "anti-majoritarian regime-change agenda emanating from disparate quarters". Like the "secret regime change plot" document, the SACP accuses those who are behind plans to overthrow the government -"neoliberals and pseudo-left populists alike" - of exploiting the persistence of the crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality to further their aims.
Similar to the so- called exposé, the SACP warns metalworkers against what is their union's resolution to explore the formation of an alternative political party. The communist party pleads with union members "not follow a leadership clique within Numsa that is diverting union resources into its personal agenda of launching a political party".
Fourthly, the document has all the hallmarks of documents that recently emanated from apparatuses and individuals linked to the State Security Agency (SSA). A feature of these documents is to accuse all and sundry of being involved in attempts to overthrow the South African government.
Those accused are alleged to be working with foreign agencies or on the payroll of foreign donors. The recent example of this rogue activity is the intelligence report that surfaced last year and accused the general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Zwelinzima Vavi of being part of an advisory committee that Mamphela Ramphele led to set up a political party.
The US agencies National Endowment for Democracy (NED), World Movement for Democracy (WMD) and wealthy Belgian business people were purported as funders of the project. The bogus intelligence report also reported on the Associated Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa reporting on talks he was having with Irvin Jim to destabilise the mining sector.
A pattern is emerging:
The emergence of the "secret regime change plot" document is not an isolated event. Since the Special National Congress of Numsa in December 2013, what we suspect as Sate Security Agency (SSA) agents have been trying to recruit our shopstewards and activists in Ekurhuleni and Eastern Cape to spy on the union's activities on the proposed United Front. We have evidence of this and affidavits from these shopstewards.
We also experienced what looked like intelligence work when we convened the international symposium of left parties and movements in August 2014. Our national spokesperson received a phone call from the French Embassy asking for names of French citizens that were to attend the symposium. The embassy explicitly said that they had been reliably informed that the symposium was subversive. Three international delegates to the symposium were for various reasons turned back as they made their way to South Africa. The delegate from the French's Left Front Christophe Aguiton was held overnight in holding cell when he arrived at OR Tambo International and put back on the next Air France flight back to Paris.
In recent weeks, cars of our officials have been followed, broken into and laptops stolen. On Friday 28 November 2014, suspicious-looking convoy followed the car of Numsa's General Secretary; jumping red traffic lights as he tried to shake the tail behind him.
But as we all know, this has not been directed only at Numsa. It happens to activists in social movements involved in ‘service delivery protests'. It happens to investigative journalists digging up all the rot on corruption. It happens to all those who are critical of the status quo. There is a pattern where intelligence forces are used to deal with legitimate and lawful struggles and campaigns. It is a sign of creeping authoritarianism.
What are going to do?
The first thing that we want to assert is that what we are involved in is lawful political activity which is consistent with the rights of citizens to engage in lawful political activity and to freely associate with political parties/movements of their choice. Our decisions to lead in the formation of a United Front and to explore the establishment of a Movement for Socialism are above board and lawful. We will not be deterred from pursuing what our members mandated us to do. We will also pursue these noble goals with whoever we feel as Numsa are likeminded people, here and abroad.
Secondly, it is our belief that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa requires that intelligence and counter-intelligence activities of the country's agencies are in compliance with the Constitution and legislative frameworks of South Africa. It is for this reason that one of the first pieces of legislation in the new democratic dispensation was the Intelligence Services Oversight Act of 1994; that created the office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence to play a civilian oversight role over our intelligence services.
As Numsa and all of those accused of being involved in the "regime change plot", we intend to file a formal grievance and complaint with the Inspector- General of Intelligence, Advocate Faith Doreen Radebe.
We will ask her:
To investigate the source of the document that is maligning us and our union.
To ascertain whether there is any surveillance of Numsa office bearers, leading officials and a range of "friends of Numsa".
To establish whether there is any interception of voice or electronic messages from Numsa office bearers, leading officials and a range of "friends of Numsa".
In this regard, we will provide the Inspector- General of Intelligence with a dossier with affidavits detailing what we have outlined above as well as a list of people who she must establish whether they any form of surveillance or not. As a union we will also seek an urgent meeting with the Minister of State Security David Mahlobo to demand that no legal union and political work is criminalised.
Thirdly, as a union we plan to mobilise human rights organisations, organisations campaigning for press freedom, human rights lawyers and other social movements to call on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate through public hearings any possible abuses or infringements of the rights to privacy, freedom and security by intelligence operatives and other securocrats.
The mandate of the Human Rights Commission is clearly outlined in the constitution. The Commission has the duty to promote and protect human rights. The Constitution enjoins the Commission to investigate, monitor and assess the observance of human rights. According to the Constitution, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has the power "to take steps to secure appropriate redress where human rights have been violated".
As indicated above the incidents directed at Numsa currently are not isolated. It is not the first time that intelligence operatives are interfering in the exercise of hum rights in our Constitution. We need a public investigation on the abuses of power by securocrats. South African Human Rights Commission must do its work!
Fourthly, as Numsa we believe that in the final analysis our members and communities are our forest and the best form of defence for the organisation and rights of our people. We commit ourselves to inform our members and their communities about what is happening as well as explain to them what the real agenda behind the recent shenanigans.
While we are serious about approaching the Inspector- General of Intelligence, the Minister of State Security and the South African Human Rights Commission; we will not fold our arms while our rights are being violated and our activities. We will therefore have a discussion at Numsa's Central Committee that meets on 08 to 12 December 2014 about the forms of campaigns that we need to take in defence of our organisation. Such discussion will include marching to the Department of State Security or the Department of Labour that is delaying the registration of the amendments of Numsa's constitution.
It is our firm belief that after many states seized on the events of 09/11 to call for greater ‘national security' and to blur lawful and unlawful activities of their citizenry, peddling documents such as Exposed: Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize(sic)South Africa not only puts in danger the lives of many activists fighting for social justice in South Africa, but threatens our international allies in their work in their own countries and in their travels.
As Numsa, we have informed those listed as being part of the manufactured plot about the sinister document and are working with them to determine an appropriate response. We have assured them that no one will choose who Numsa's friends are. Those in the so-called exposé remain our allies and comrades and we will share whatever we do politically in the country to expose the real source of the document with them.
As a union, we are determined to continue on the path that we have chosen politically and organizationally. There will be no going back on our December 2013 Special National Congress. As the workers who established Numsa's predecessors in 1973 and on whose footsteps we march, our slogan is loud and clear:Asijiki! Enough is enough! There is no turning back!
Statement issued by NUMSA, December 3 2014
AIDC backs NUMSA over illegal police interference
MP Giyose 4 December 2014
Board says it is appalling that the security services appear to be meddling in perfectly legal activities
ILLEGAL POLICE INTERFERENCE
The Board of the Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC) gives its fullest possible support to NUMSA's statement, issued on 3rd December, in response to the document: Exposed - Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize (sic) South Africa.
The Board is appalled, that within 20 years of having overthrown the apartheid police state, the security and intelligence services of democratic South Africa appear to be illegally interfering in the perfectly legal activities of various organisations and individuals.
This is the second time this year that the Board has had to defend its staff from attacks that affront our hard fought for Constitution and the liberties it guarantees all South Africans. Several months ago, Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's Secretary General, sought to intimidate our staff for being ‘white foreigners'. We reminded him then that neither being white nor foreign was illegal and that our constitution gave us the right both to disagree with him and to engage in legal activities, notwithstanding his displeasure. Alas, it seems that Mr Mantashe's displeasure has served to act as a green light for security agents to act illegally.
The Board, accordingly, applauds NUMSA's decision to lodge a formal complaint with with the Inspector- General of Intelligence, Advocate Faith Doreen Radebe. We similarly endorse NUMSA's decision to call on the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate possible infringements of the rights to privacy, freedom and security by intelligence operatives.
Statement issued by MP Giyose, Chairperson, AIDC Board, December 4 2014
SACP’s response to Irvin Jim’s Numsa leadership clique
South African Communist Party Central Committee Statement for immediate release 3 December 2014
The SACP categorically denies any involvement in the ‘NUMSA exposed document’ – which appears to combine fact and fiction in advancing a conspiracy theory. It is true however that the SACP has called on current NUMSA members not to be pulled into an opportunistic agenda led by Irvin Jim and his clique. It is Jim and his clique who need to clarify whether their agenda is regime change or not. In “official” NUMSA documents over the recent period the present ANC-led democratically elected government has sometimes been described as a state of “bourgeois dictatorship”. The South African Police are sometimes characterised as nothing more than an instrument of bourgeois rule, who “will do anything to defend the property rights and profits of this class, including slaughtering the working class”.
The Jim clique has criticised the SACP from departing from its 1989 programme, “The Path to Power”. But that was a time when the illegal SACP unapologetically struggled for “regime change” and we didn’t act with surprise when we were persecuted, jailed and killed by the apartheid regime. Of course the current state is contested by a variety of class interests. Indeed, the SAPS has been guilty of inexcusable actions on occasions. But none of this justifies the flirtation with dangerous and provocative characterisations sometimes emanating from the Jim clique. If you don’t want to be accused of a regime change agenda we suggest to this clique that they should watch their demagogic tongues.
Irvin Jim’s petty hatred and accusatory attitude towards the SACP was also displayed when he attended (for a day) our 13th Congress at Ngoye, near Richards Bay in July 2012. At that Congress Jim claimed that he was being followed by an unknown vehicle one evening. When he was told that the car he claimed was unknown and following him was that of the provincial chairperson of the SACP, and the Mayor of EThekwini, Comrade Nxumalo – who stayed at same hotel as Jim – he refused to believe us, thus implying the SACP was plotting to harm him. As we told Jim then, we wish to repeat this again this time around, that the SACP is not into the business of manufacturing post-1994 heroes and fake martyrs!
The SACP will further examine the latest allegations by the Irvin Jim’s Numsa leadership clique and decide on the next cause of action to adopt at an appropriate time. Some gimmicks must just come to an end!
Released by the SACP
Alex Mashilo – National Spokesperson
Mobile: 082 9200 308
Office: 011 339 3621/2
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