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In climate of repression, who can surf South Africa’s micro-protest wave?
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In climate of repression, who can surf South Africa’s micro-protest wave?

Patrick Bond 17 July 2012

The recent surge of unconnected community protests across South Africa confirms the country’s profound social, economic and environmental contradictions. But if activists fall before a new hail of police bullets, or if they lack an overarching political strategy, won’t their demonstrations simply pop up and quickly fall back down again – deserving the curse-words ‘popcorn protests’ – as they run out of steam, or worse, get channelled by opportunists into a new round of xenophobic attacks?

It’s been a hot winter, and we’re just halfway through July (the Centre for Civil Society’s Social Protest Observatory keeps tabs: Consider evidence from just the past two weeks, for example, in Johannesburg’s distant Orange Farm township south of Soweto, where residents rose up against city councillors and national electricity officials because of the unaffordable R2000 installation charged for hated prepayment (i.e. self-disconnection) meters, not to mention a 130% increase in electricity prices since 2008.

Nearby, in Boksburg’s Holomisa shack settlement, 50 activists were arrested after blocking roads with burning tyres. Likewise, in the port city of East London’s Egoli township, house allocation controversies led to a brief uprising, and down the coast, high-profile Port Elizabeth road barricade protests again broke out over failing services in Walmer township.

Near the Botswana border close to Northwest Province’s Morokweng village, a dozen residents angry about inadequate state services were arrested for arson, public violence and malicious damage to school property, following months of frustrated non-violent protest; while in the provincial capital of Mahikeng, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate began an investigation into a death on July 4: “The deceased was allegedly shot and run over by a police vehicle during a service delivery protest in the area.”

In Free State Province’s capital of Bloemfontein, 300 community protesters barricaded a main road with rocks, and in a separate incident, when municipal police began forcibly removing street traders from a shopping centre, a community demonstration shifted targets: from a cruel city council to the nearest Other victims, immigrant hawkers. The protest forced 500 to flee, reviving memories of the deadly copy-cat anti-immigrant attacks of mid-2008 and mid-2010; the police arrested more than 100.

Days later, the same thing happened twice in Cape Town, at the huge Mitchells Plains township and close to the International Airport, with community xenophobes targeting Somali-owned spaza shops. Cretins from the Western Cape provincial African National Congress (ANC) executive had fuelled these flames with a blatant policy proposal aimed at outlawing foreign-owned shops.

More and more frequently, it seems, community-based popcorn protests can hang in the air long enough for opportunists to blow them onto xenophobic terrain, if the political wind shifts from left to right and residents think and act only with localistic perceptions, inconsiderate about why so many refugees are forced into South Africa thanks to Pretoria’s subimperialist political and economic policies.

Surfing Durban’s protest wave
Durban may have been South Africa’s most active protest site in recent days, including high-profile middle-class demonstrations close to the town centre: a peaceful march against rhino poachers and a picket against animal abuse at the Brian Boswell Circus.

The city’s most disruptive recent demonstration was the occupation of a key spine road, Umgeni, last Wednesday by furious residents of Puntan’s Hill shack settlement. One protester was killed and two others injured, run over at 4am by a motorist who has been charged with culpable homicide, though he claims he was innocently trying to escape the blockade.

The latter incident was sparked by community ANC loyalists victimised by the ANC-run municipality’s disconnections of illegal electricity hook-ups to their shacks. They also complained of non-delivery of housing notwithstanding their councillor’s repeated promises. As a result of the protest, Puntan’s Hill activists received a new commitment from authorities that new houses would be fast-tracked and that some families would be relocated to a long-promised housing project, Cornubia, near the city’s wealthiest new suburb, Umhlanga.

Last Thursday, another Durban protest march – by AIDS treatment activists – ended at City Hall but was aimed mainly against Barack Obama, who recently cut the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS, thus canceling life-saving treatment for thousands of local residents at two downtown hospitals and an NGO clinic in Umlazi township. On Sunday, some of Durban’s treatment activists will protest again at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, in a coalition called Keep the Promise supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other notables.

I witnessed two other manifestations of social unrest last week in South Durban. In the petro-chemical complex of Jacobs on Friday morning, the notorious corporate polluter FFS Refiners, specialising in waste oil recovery, was targeted by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance’s 75 protesters. The company’s chief executive, Don Hunter, long denied that FFS emissions were the source of an awful ‘cats-wee’ (methanethiol) stench, but he was finally caught by the lethargic municipal environmental health department (the smell began nearly two years ago), so the protest spirit was fiery after this small but significant victory.

Racial integration of this protest, in a very divided, neo-apartheid urban context, occurred with the arrival of ‘Occupy Umlazi’ and Abahlali baseMjondolo activists. The same solidarity was offered nearby a few months earlier, when truck transport firms’ irresponsibility compelled 400 mainly working-class white protesters to invade the main Solomon Mahlangu (Edwin Swales) Drive that links South Durban to the M4 highway.

The broader struggle here is to retake the South Durban Basin’s sprawling valley from ecologically-poisonous capital and an uncaring municipality, a struggle that continues on Thursday night at the Merebank Community Centre when activists consider how to reverse the city’s R250 billion ‘Back-of-Port’ construction project. Thanks to the deepening of Durban harbour – already Africa’s largest – and its capacity to unload mega-ships holding 15,000 containers at a time, the new container terminals and proposed dug-out harbour (on the old airport site) will wipe out large neighbourhoods.

These include Clairwood, where Indian and African residents, ranging from the middle-class to shackdwellers, have been oppressed by illegal trucking and toxic petro-chemical operations for years. Just a half year following Durban’s hosting of the UN Climate Summit, the extreme emissions associated with port and petro-industrial expansion ridicule our managers’ claims to be environmentally conscious.

About 15 minutes drive south of the port, Occupy Umlazi continues on bush land taken in the huge township’s Ward 88, not far from the infamous Max’s Lifestyle Club frequented by local black elites. A large tent was erected next door to the office of ANC councillor Nomzamo Mkhize, who for the last fortnight has tried to ignore the protest. At Sunday afternoon’s meeting of two hundred residents, Abahlali secretary Bandile Mdlalose gave fearless leadership, observing that ANC supporters were doing the power structure’s dirty work in nearby Zakhele shack settlement. There, late last month, Occupy Umlazi activists Noxolo Mkanyi and Mkhayi Simelani were shot and hospitalized in a late night raid by political thugs.

A few kilometres further south, in Folweni Reserve township, teenager Mxolisi Buthelezi was fatally shot in the back with an R5 rifle while running away from police, during a July 1 service delivery protest of 1500 people. A few days before that incident, 43 people were arrested in a similar protest. Their efforts at least managed to reverse a 25% taxi price increase. The cop who allegedly killed the youth, Msizi Chiliza, committed suicide a few days later.

Violence in the air
Durban can be a wickedly violent town, rife with internecine political rivalries settled by the bullet. Bodyguards are now required by leading municipal officials – including the police chief – who have become justifiably frightened by how high the crony-capitalist stakes became after an anti-corruption investigation, the Mamase Report, fingered not only former mayor Obed Mlaba and municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe, but numerous councillors and allied businesses. Several well-connected construction firms still get housing contracts in spite of past work that is so shoddy, hundreds of their structures collapse during stormy weather.

The air of violence explains the scare last Friday night, when Durban police in an unmarked car suspiciously followed the national metalworkers’ union secretary, Irvin Jim, from the SA Communist Party’s big conference in northern KwaZulu-Natal. This raised speculation of a potential hit job given how the union is being targeted by elites for being too independent-minded and for advocating large-scale nationalisation.

Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande downplayed Jim’s concerns, claiming the men were simply guarding Durban mayor James Nxumalo but got lost. Unconvinced, union spokesperson Castro Ngobese remarked of the car’s passengers, whom Jim’s bodyguards confronted, “Surprisingly they did not know the name of the mayor, and even worse they could not produce authentic SA Police Service identification cards. The cars had false registration plates and were heavily armed.”

The incident comes just after the unsolved murder of regional ANC leader Wandile Mkhize on July 2, immediately following the ruling party’s controversial policy conference. Mkhize’s last SMS – to former ANC Youth League leader Fikile Mbalula – included the confession, “The stories and lies we fed as members to some of you in leadership further served to deepen the contradiction,” i.e., between the youth and ruling party’s national executive.

Party infighting is also blamed for last July’s hit on Durban’s leading ANC official, Sbu Sibiya, shortly after ANC councillor Wiseman Mshibe was shot dead. Several leaders of a small breakaway from the Inkatha Freedom Party – the National Democratic Party – were also executed in cold blood last year.

Many other Durban civil society activists have lost their lives to assassinations or police murders over the past five years, including Mbongeleni Zondi in Umlazi, the South African National Civic Organization’s Jimmy Mtolo in New Germany, Clairwood activist Ahmed Osman, Merebank’s Rajah Naidoo, and University of South Africa student Mthoko Nkwanyana.

Challenging power durably
In many such cases, just as during apartheid, assassinations can be understood as an honour: acknowledgement that activists are doing a good job targeting the local power structure, which in turn is often being squeezed by national and international pressures to clamp down on dissent, so as to more decisively impose the austerity policies generating these sorts of uprisings across the world.

South Africa, however, suffers from far too many activists and analysts who promote a localist ideology that begins and ends with the municipal councillor, city manager or mayor. There are too many turf-conscious leaders who look inward, failing to grasp golden opportunities to link labour, community and environmental grievances and protests, and to think globally while acting locally.

Most encouragingly, perhaps, in Cape Town the South African Municipal Workers’ Union and local civic organisations signaled a future direction for protest, when on July 5 several hundred marched in unity against both poor service delivery and mayor Patricia DeLille’s neoliberal version of a public works programme, which amounts to union-busting outsourcing. Declared union leader Mario Jacobs, “In the future we plan to involve more organisations and will bring thousands of people to take part.”

The tests in Cape Town are whether further community protests attract labour’s support and whether they, like others emerging across the land, succumb to resurgent xenophobia and hijacking (or repression) by ANC cadre. Across South Africa, similar efforts to unite unions with township, rural and green groups – especially by the Democratic Left Front led by ex-communists, and the Million Climate Jobs campaign based at Cape Town’s Alternative Information and Development Centre – are another test of progress.

If the wave of courageous protests continues, it is because new layers of activists are emerging whose backs are up against the wall, but who won’t give in. If police or party thugs do not intimidate them, their next step towards power will be to link up, meld micro-protests into a movement much bigger than the sum of the parts, and then make the political case: not only against a local councillor here or there, but against the broader economic system responsible for our standing as the world’s most unequal society.

In Durban, Puntan's Hill activists take the Umgeni Road

Johannesburg's Orange Farm revolts against local elites

Mass meeting at Occupy Umlazi in South Durban

Mxolisi Buthelezi, murdered in Durban's Folweni Reserve by cop who then committed suicide

Port Elizabeth's Walmer township protesters

Fighting 'cat-wee' emissions at FFS in South Durban

The alleged Cato Manor Police Station hit squad celebrate after an assassination (victim's widow on right)

Esimweni sengcindezi, ubani ongabhekana negagasi lezibhelu ezincane zaseNingizimu Afrika?
NguPatrick Bond Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

Lemibhikisho esanda kuba khona ebichithakele emiphakathini yonke yaseNingizimu Afrika iqinisekisa ukugqagqana okukhulu kwezemvelo, kwezenhlalakahle kanye nezomnotho kwalelizwe. Kodwa uma izishoshovu zizoba ukudla kwezinhlamvu zamaphoyisa, futhi uma bengenayo indlela (overarching) yezombusazwe, ngeke-nje ukubhikisha kwabo kuvele futhi masinyane kunyamalale kuwele phansi – kufanelewe ileligama elinesiqalekiso phecelezi ‘ipopcorn protests’ – sebephelelwa umfutho, noma sebengenelelwe osomathuba abenza kuqale phansi ukuhlasela abokufika (xenophobia).

Lobu ubusika obushisayo futhi simaphakathi noNtulikazi (iCentre for Civil Society’s Social Protest Observatory ilokhu iqaphele okwenzekayo: Awubheke-nje ubufakazi emasontweni amabili edlule, ngokwesibonelo-nje, ilokishi elikude laseGoli eningizimu neSoweto iOrange Farm, lapho izakhamizi zavukela khona amakhansela edolobha kanye nezikhulu zezwe zamandla kagesi ngenxa yokufakwa kwamamitha kagesi azondwa kakhulu akhokhelwa engakasetshenjiswa u$250 abantu abangakwazi ukuwakhokhela (ngoba-uzifakela wena), kungakabalwa-nje ukwenyuka ngamaphesenti ayikhulumi namashumi amathathu (130%) kamanani kagesi kusukela ngo2008.

Eduzane-nje, iHolomisa – okuyisakhiwo semijondolo saseBoksburg, izishoshovu ezingamashumi amahlanu zaboshwa emva kokuvimba imigwaqo ngamathaya avuthayo. Ngokufanayo, edolobheni eliseduze kwechweba eEast London elokishinishini elaziwa ngeGoli, ukungabikhona kweqiniso ngokunikezwa kwabantu izindlu kwadala umbhikisho omfushane, ezansi mawuqhubeka, ukuvinjwa komgwaqo okwakugqamile kwedolobha lasePort Elizabeth kubhikishelwa ukungaphumeleli kahle kokulethwa kwezidingongqangi elokishini laseWalmer.

Eduze komngcele waseBotswana eMorokeng eduze kwesiFundazwe saseNorthwest, iqoqo lezakhamizi elinganelisekile ngokulethwa kwezidingongqangi zezwe laboshelwa amacala okushisa, udlame emphakathini kanye nokucekela phansi impahla yesikole, emva kwezinyanga zokubhikilisha ngaphandle kodlame; kwinkulumbuso yesifundazwe eMahikeng, iQembu Lamaphoyisa Aphenya ngokuzimela (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) aqala uphenyo ngowabulawa zingu4kuJulayi: “Umufi kusolwa ukuthi wadutshulwa wabulawa futhi kwagibela phezu kwakhe imoto yamaphoyisa ngenkathi kunombhikisho mayelana nezidingongqangi endaweni.”

Kwinkulumbuso yeSifundazwe saseFree State eBloemfontein, amabhikishi bomphakathi abangu300 bavimba umgwaqo omkhulu ngezimbokodo, kwathi kwenye indawo eseceleni, lapho amaphoyisa kamasipala esusa ngenkani abadayisi basemgaqweni kwinxanxathela yezitolo, ukubhikisha komphakathi kwashintsha okwakusophiwe: kumhkandlu wedolobha ononya Kwezinye izilulu, abokufika abangabadayisi. Umbhikisho waphoqa ukuthi kubaleke abangu500, kukhumbuleka ukuhlaselwa okuyingozi kwabokufika maphakathi no2008 kanye namaphakathi kuka2010; amaphoyisa abopha abangaphezulu kuka100.

Emva kwezinsukwana, kwaphinda futhi lokho kabili eKapa, elokishini elikhulu laseDays Mitchells Plains eliseduze kweSikhumulasindiza Somhlaba, lapho abacwasa abokufika behlasela izitolo zabokufika baseSomali. AmaCretins aqhamuka kuKhongolose wezikhulu zalesisifundazwe babekhwezela lomlilo ngemigomo abayigqugquzelayo esobala ebhekene nokwenza kungabi semthethweni ukuthi abokufika babenezitolo.

Kubonakala sengathi sekujwayelekile ukuthi lemibhikisho yesikhashana yasemiphakathini iqhubeke jalo igcine isingenelwe ngosomathuba abayenza kube ngeyokucwasa abokufika, lapho umoya wezombusazwe ubhebhetheleka ngakhona futhi nezakhamizi zicabanga kanjalo ngemibono yezindawo zayo, ngaphandle kokucabanga ukuthi yini abokufika abaningi baphoqeke ukuza eNingizimu Afrika futhi lokho sibonga imigomo yezombusazwe kanye nezomnotho yasePitoli kumazwe angomakhelwane.

Ziyanyuka izibhelu eThekwini
ITheku kungase kwenzeke ukuthi libe indawo enesibhelu esinomdlandla kakhulu eNingizimu Afrika kungekudala-nje, okumbandakanya ukubhikisha komtakabani okwakugqamile eduze kwesiyenge sedolobha: imashi enokuthula eyayimelene namasela obhejane kanye nokuhlukunyezwa kwezilwane kuMbukiso Wezilwane wakwaBrian Boswell.

Ukubhikisha okubenokuphazamisa kakhulu maduzane-nje kulelidolobha kwakungukuthathwa komgwaqo ongumgogodla, uMngeni ngoLwesithathu olwedlule yizakhamiza ezazidinwe ziganzwe unwabu zasemijondolo yasePuntan’s Hill. Omunye wababhikisha wafa kwathi ababili balimala, ngenkathi beshayiswa imoto ngehora lesine ekuseni lapho umshayeli athi khona wayezama ukubalekela ukuvinjwa komgwaqo.

Lesisenzo sokugcina sasisuswe yizethenjwa zikaKhongolose zasemphakathini eziyizilulu zokuvalwa kukagesi oxhunywe ngokungemthetho emijondolo yabo, uvalwa ngumasipala obuswa nguKhongolose. Futhi bakhononda ngokungakhelwa izindlu emva kwezithembiso eziphindaphindiwe zenziwe ikhansela labo.Umphumela walombhikisho, wenze ukuthi izishoshovu zasePuntan’s Hill zithole ukuzinikelela okusha okuqhamuka kwizikhulu zokuthi izindlu ezintsha zizokwakhiwa ngokushesha futhi nokuthi eminye imindeni izothuthelwa endaweni yokuhlala ekade yathenjiswa, iCornubia, eduze kwalapho kwakhe khona izakhamizi ezicebe kakhulu zedolobha, eMhlanga.

NgoLwesine olwedlule, kwakunenye imashi eThekwini – izishoshovu zokulashelwa iNgculaza – kwaphelela eCity Hall kodwa yayimelene kakhulu noBarack Obama, osanda kunquma iCelo Eliphuthumayo likaMongameli waseMelika leNgculazi (US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS), ngalokho evalela imithi esiza ukulapha izinkulungwane zezakhamizi zalelidolobha ezibhedlela ezimbili kanye nomtholampilo weNhlangano Ezimele (NGO) elokishini laseMlazi. NgeSonto, ezinye izishoshovu zokulashelwa ileligciwane zaseThekwini zizobhikilisha eNgqungqutheleni Yomhlaba Yengculaza eWashington, ngokuhlanganyela neKeep the Promise exhaswe nguMbhishobhi Omkhulu uDesmond Tutu kanye nezinye izaziwa.

Omunye umbhikisho waseThekwini, ngoJulayi 6, wahlanganisa ukushiswa kwamathayi kanye nokuvinjwa komgwaqo eMarianridge, ngenkathi izakhamithi zisolla elinye ikhansela lendawo ngokungabikhona kwezindlu ngokwanele.

Ngibona eminye imthelela yokubhikilishela inhlalakahle emibili ngesonto elidlule eNingizimu neTheku. Lapho kunesizinda samafuta ezimoto eJacobs ngoLwesihlanu ekuseni, imboni iFFS Refineries edume kabi kakhulu ngokungcolisa umoya, ebibhekwe ngqo ngababhikishi abangu75 South Durban Community Environmental Alliance. Isikhulu esiphezulu salemboni, uDon Hunter, okade ayephika ukuthi iFFS iyona ekhiqiza iphunga elinukisa okomchamo wekati (odalwa imethanethiol), kodwa ugcine esebanjwe umnyango wezempilo zemvelo ovilaphayo (leliphunga laqala eminyakeni emibili edlule), ngakho-ke umfutho walombhikisho wawushisa kakhulu emva kwalokukuphumelela okuncane kodwa okubalulekile.

Ukuhlanganyela kwezinhlanga kwalombhikisho, endaweni enokwahlukana, futhi enobandlululo olusha, kwenzeka ngokufika ‘Kokuthathwa koMlazi’(Occupy Umlazi) kanye nezishoshovu zaseBahlali baseMjondolo. Ngokufanayo lokukuhlanganyela kwenzeka ezinyangeni ezimbalwa ezingaphambilini, ngenkathi ukuziphatha ngobudedengu kwezimboni zamatrukhi ezaphoqa ukuthi cishe amabhikishi iningi labo okwakungabamhlophe ababalelwa ku400 abangabasebenzi bahlasele umgwaqo iSolomon Mahlangu (Edwin Swales) ohlanganisa iNingizimu neTheku kuthelawayeka iM4.

Umzabalazo owandile lana ukuthatha kabusha iNingizimu neTheku kwidolobha elinobungozi kwezemvelo kanye nomasipala ongenandaba, umzabalazo oqhubekayo ngoLwesine ebusuku eMerebank Community Centre lapho izishoshovu zibheka ukuthii zingasiphendukezela kanjani isakhiwo sedolobha sikadolla amabhiliyoni amashumi amathathu. Sibonga ukwanda kwechweba laseThekwini – elikhulu kakhulu ezwenikazi laseAfrika – kanye nokukwazi kwalo ukuthulula imikhumbi emikhulu ephatha amacontainer angu15 ngesikhathi, izizinda ezintsha zamacontainer kanye nechweba abafuna ukulimba (esikhumulweni sezindiza esidala) eyosusa imiphakathi eminingi emikhulu.

Lemiphakathi ihlanganisa iClairwood, lapho izakhamizi zamaNdiya kanye nezasemaAfrika, zisukela kweziphila impilo engcono kuya kwezihlala emjondolo ezingaphansi kwengcindezi yokuhamba kwamatruki ngokungekho emthethweni kanye nezimboni zamafutha ezinobungozi zeminyaka. Kwisigamu sonyaka-ke kulandela ukuphatha yiTheku kweNgqungquthela Yesimo Sezulu Senhlangano Yomhlaba, ukungcola kakhulu komoya kuhlangene nokunwetshwa kwechweba kanye nezokuthutha amafutha kwenza inkulumo yomphathi wedolobha yokuthi singabanakekela ezemvelo kube inhlekisa.

Kwishumi nesihlanu semizuzu uma usuka eningizimu nechweba, Ukuthathwa koMlazi kuyaqhybeka emhlabeni oyisikhotha othathwe kuWadi 88 kulelilokishi elikhulukazi,, bude buduze neMax’s Listyle Club enedumela elibi ehanjelwa kakhulu ngababusi abamnyama basendaweni. Itende elikhulu ebelikade ligxunyekwe eduze komnyango wekhansela likaKhongolose uNomzamo Mkhize, okade emasontweni amabili edlulle ezama ukuwuziba lombhikiisho. Emhlanganweni wezakhamizi ezakhamizi ezingamakhulu amabili ngeSonto ntambama, unobhala weAbahlali uBandile Mdlalose wahola ngaphandle kokwesaba, enaka ukuthi abalandeli bakaKhongolose babenza okungalungile ngenhlangano emijondolo eseduze yaseZakhele. Lapho-ke, ngokuphelaa kwenyanga edlule, izishoshovu zoThathwa koMlazi uNoxolo Mkanyi kanye no Mkhayi Simelani badutshulwa balaliswa esibhedlela emva kokuhlaselwa izixhwanguxhwangu zezombusazwe ezinzulwini zobusuku.

Kumakhilomitha ambalwa uma uqhubekela eningizimu, elokishini laseFolweni, umfana uMxolisi Buthelezi washona emva kokudutshulwa emhlane ngesibhamu iR5 ngenkathi ebalekela amaphoyisa, ngesikhathi sombhikisho wabantu abangu1500 ngoJulayi 1 bebhikishela ukulethwa kwezidingongqangi. Ezinsukwini ezimbalwa ngaphambi kwalesisehlakalo, abantu abangu43 baboshwa embhikishweni ofanayo. Kodwa-ke imizamo yabo yenza ukuthi ukwenyuswa kwemali yokugibela amatekisi ngo25% kubuyele emuva. Iphoyisa elisolwa ngokubulala umfana, uMsizi Chiliza, wazibulala emva kwezinsuku ezimbalwa.

Isishingishane Sodlame
ITheku libuye libe idolobha elinodlame nokwesabekayo, futhi likhungethwe ubuqembuqembu bezombzombusazwe lapho lenkinga ivele ixazululwe ngenhlamvu yesibhamu. Abavikeli bayadingeka manje befunwa izikhulu ezihola phambili zikamasipala – okuhlanganisa – nomphathi wamaphoyisa – abanokwesaba okuqondakalayo emva kokuba babona indlela ekwenzeka ngayo kobhululu bongxiwankulu ngesikhathi sokuseshwa ngenkohlakalo, umbiko kaMamase, ongakhombanga-nje kuphela uwayenguSobaba womkhandlu uObed Mlaba kuphela kanye nowayengumphathi weTheku uMike Sutcliffe, kodwa namakhansela ambalwa kanye nezohwebo abebezwana nazo. Izimboni ezimbalwa ezingobhululu nongxiwankulu zisaqhubeka nokuthola izinkontileka noma kunemibiko yomsebenzi osewenziwa ongekho ezingeni, amakhulu ezakhiwo zabo ziyawa uma kunezimvula ezinkulu.

Isishingishane sodlame sichaza ukwesabisa kwangobusuku boLwesihlanu olwedlule, lapho amaphoyisa aseThekwini egibele imoto engamakiwe ayelandela ngokusolekayo unobhala wenyunyani yabasebenzi kazwelonke bensimbi uIrvin Jim, owayeqhamuka kwingqungquthela enkulu yeQembu lamakhomanisi eyayikade isenyakatho neKwaZulu-Natal. Lokhu kwenza kucatshangwe ukuthi kungase kube uzohlaselwa njengoba lenyunyani ihlale ibhekwe ngababusi njengezimele kakhulu ngomqondo kanti futhi enxenxa izinkulumo ezithi imikhiqizo nezimpahla zesizwe akube isizwe abanikazi bazo.

Umholi weQembu lamaKhomanisi uBlade Nzimande wabukela phansi ukuxwaya kukaJim, ethi lawomadoda ayeqaphe uSobaba weTheku uJames Nxumalo kodwa alahleka. Enganelisekile, isikhulumi senyunyani uCastro Ngobese waphawula ukuthi ababehamba ngaleyomoto, ngenkathi abaqaphi bakaJim bebhekana nabo, “bamangala kakhulu ukuthi babengalazi igama likaSobaba, futhi okubi kakhulu bahluleka ukuveza amaphepha okuzazisa achaza ukuthi bayizisebenzi Zamaphoyisa AseNingizimu Afrika. Izimoto zazibhaliswe ngokungamanga futhi babehlome beyizingovolo.”

Lesisehlakalo senzeka emva kokubulawa komholi kaKhongolose uWandile Mkhize ngoJulayi 2 okungakaxazululwa, okwenzeka maduzane-nje emva ukungaboni ngaso linye nobuhixihixi okwaba khona kwingqungquthela yomgomo yeqembu elibusayo.The incident comes just after the unsolved murder of regional ANC leader WandileMkhize on July 2, immediately following the ruling party’s controversial policy conference. Umyalezo wokugcina kamakhalekhukhwini kaMkhize – awuthumela kowayekade engumholi weNtsha kaKhongolose uFikile Mbalula – wahlanganisa ukuzihlanza, “Izindaba kanye namanga esakwenza njengamalunga kwabenu ababesebuholini kwaqhubezela phambili ukungaboni liso linye,” okusho ukuthi, phakathi kwabasha kanye nezikhulu zeqembu elibusayo.

Ukungezwani futhi ngaphakathi kuleliqembu kusolwa ekubulaweni komunye wezikhulu eziphambili zikaKhongolose waseThekwini, uSbu Sibiya, emva kokuba ikhansela likaKhongolose uWiseman Shibe wayedutshulwa wafa. Abaholi abambalwa ababekade besuka kwiqembu leNkatha Freedom Party – beNational Democratic Party – nabo futhi babulawa ngesihluku esimangalisayo ngonyaka odlule.

Asikho izishoshovu esingazi ngesiteshi samaphoyisa akaKito (Cato Manor Police Station), esakhiwe elokishini lapho kuhlala khona abantu abamnyama (ngezansana-nje kwesikhungo semfundo ephakeme iNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natal lapho ngibhala khona). Iningi lamalunga alesisteshi angaphansi kophenyo ngokuzimbandakanya kanye neqembu lamaphoyisa adume ngokubulala kakhulu abantu, okubikwa ukuthi selibulele cishe ngaphezulu kwabantu abangu50 kuleminyaka embalwa.

Ukubhekana ngqo namandla ombuso
Izishoshovu eziningi zemiphakathi yaseThekwini zilahlekelwe izimpilo zawo ngokubulawa ngokucoboshiswa noma ukubulawa ngamaphoyisa eeminyakeni eyisihlanu edlule, okuhlanganisa uMbongeleni Zondi eMlazi, uJimmy Mtolo weSouth African National Civic Organization’s Jimmy Mtolo eNew Germany, isishoshovu saseClairwood uAhmed Osman, uRajah Naidoo waseMerebank, kanye nomfundi waseNyuvesi yaseNingizimu Afrika uMthoko Nkwanyana.

Ezimweni ezinje, njengoba kwakwenzeka ngesikhathi sobandlululo, ukusocongwa kwakubonwa njengobuqhawe: okwakwenza sazi ukuthi abangani bethu kumzabalazo babenza umsebenzi omuhle ukubhekana namandla ombuso endawo., ojwayele njalo ukucindezelwa amandla ezwe kanye nomhlaba wonke abasuke befuna ukuqeda ubushoshovu, ukuze babeke imigomo okuyiyona edla lezizibhelu emhlabeni wonke.

INingizimu Afrika, kodwa-ke, ineshwa lezishoshovu eziningi zasekhaya kanye nabahlaziyi abaxhasa umbono wezombusazwe oqala ugcine ngekhansela likamasipala, umphathi wedolobha kanye noSobaba womkhandlu. Kunabaholi abaningi abahlale bezibhekelela bona, behluleka ukusebenzisa amathuba okuhlanganisa izikhalo zabasebenzi, zomphakathi kanye nezemvelo okuhmabisana nemibhikisho, nokucabangela umhlaba wonke ngenkathi besebenzela abantu bendawo.

Okuqinisa idolo kakhulu, mhlawumbe, eKapa iNyunyana Yabasebenzi Bakamasipala WaseNingizimu Afrika (South African Municipal Workers’ Union) kanye nezinye izinhlangano zemiphakathi lapho ziqondisa indlela yekusasa lemibhikisho, ngenkathi ngoJulayi5 amakhulu ambalwa emasha ngokubambisana ngokulethwa ngokuntengatenga kwezidingongqangi emphakathini kanye nomqondo obuthakathaka wohlelo lemisebenzi yemiphakathi likaSobaba uPatricia deLille obhekelela ongxiwankulu, okubhekana nokugqabula izinyunyana. Njengokusho komholi wenyunyana uMario Jacobs, “ Ngokuzayo sihlose ukuhlanganisa izinhlangano ezinye futhi okuyoletha izinkulungwane zaabantu ukuthi bahlanganyele nathi.”

Ukuvivinywa eKapa ukuthi ngabe ukuqhubeka nokubhikisha emiphakathini kungaheha ukuxhaswa ngabasebenzi noma ngabe, njengoba kwenzeka kwezinye izindawo ezweni lonke, nabo bayovele bacwase abokufika okhlale kuqhamuka futhi okutshontshwa (noma kucindezelwe) ngamalunga kaKhongolose. ENingizimu Afrika, imizamo efanayo ukuhlanganisa izinyunyana kanye namaqembu aselokishini, asemaphandleni kanye nawezemvelo – ikakhulukazi okwenziwa yiDemocratic Left Front eholwa yilabo ababengamakhomanisi, kanye nomkhankaso weMillion Climate Jobs okuzinze eKapa eAlternative Information and Development Centre – okunye ukuvivinywa okuqhubekayo.

Umangabe leligagasi lemibhikisho enesibindi liqhubeka, ingenxa yezigaba ezintsha zezishoshovu eziqhamukayo ezingenazikhali, kodwa ezingazimisele ukungaqhubekeli phambili. Umangabe bengasatshiswa ngamaphoyisa noma izixhwanguxhwangu zeqembu elibusayo, isinyathelo sabo esilandelayo eduze kombuso ngabe ukuhlanganyela, benza imibhikisho emincane ibe iqembu elikhulu kakhulu kunezingxenyana, futhi bese beba necala abangalibeka lezombusazwe, hayi-nje ngekhansela lendawo lapha noma laphaya, kodwa kwisimo sonke sezomnotho okuyisona esisenza sibe umphakathi ongenakho ukulingana kakhulu emhlabeni wonke.

CCS fights Green Economy gimmicks at Rio +20


By Cornelius Thomas

WENDY'S BOOK LOUNGE kindly invites you to the official book launch of Time with Dennis Brutus: Conversations, Quotations and Snapshots, by Cornelius Thomas

Host: Wendy’s Book Lounge
Presenter: Cornelius Thomas
Venue: South End Museum, Port Elizabeth
Date: Wednesday, 11 July 2012, 6.00 for 6.30pm
Price of book – R239.00

In Time with Dennis Brutus, Cornelius Thomas provides exquisite glimpses of how Dennis lived his last five years. I was with him most of that time in Durban, where the Centre for Civil Society was blessed to have him as honorary professor. But he did more than pontificate, he drove my colleagues and me in ways that expanded our horizons by making real the Centre’s epistemology: praxis. By that I mean the production of knowledge in struggle, such that by challenging power – in all sorts of guises – the most extraordinary revelations are produced. We learn far more than might any armchair academic, about a system’s ability to repress, to coopt, to consolidate, to concede and to challenge the powerless, and how those various reactions by power to its critics, in turn, change the critics. Dennis always pushed us, even until the month before he died – where his last public talk was at the ‘Crisis and Commons’ conference, which he had spent the prior six months helping to conceptualise and organize.

From 2005-09, the several trips Dennis made to the Eastern Cape were punctuated with exceptional statements of ‘truth to power’. The most memorable was perhaps his triple crown of celebrations at Paterson High, Nelson Mandela Metro University and Rhodes University (the latter two conferring honorary doctorates) on 16-17 April 2009. On these and so many other occasions I recall Dennis returning from Port Elizabeth, East London or Alice with exceptional energy and pride, that his work was taken seriously, his ideas respected, and his political vision acknowledged. One reason was Cornelius Thomas’ friendship and comradeship, of which Dennis often spoke.

Would this friendship – so lovingly and honestly documented in the pages that follow – warrant a reader’s time in this era of information overload? I think so because we all can do so much more to live our lives if Dennis’ model of warm-hearted, solidaristic networking is our own. In his 1978 testimonial poem on being a troubadour, Dennis talked of his ‘Knight-erranting, jousting up and down, with justice for my theme, weapons as I find them, and a world-wide scatter of foes.’ It was only the world-wide scatter of friends that made this possible, dating a half-century back to the global campaign against apartheid South Africa’s whites-only presence in the Olympics.

It is not only because of the world-class political poetry and that victorious campaign – less than a decade in time spent, even without internet access and with terribly poor phone systems across the African continent, whose self-interested leaders he had to unite against mighty, wealthy Pretoria – that historians will address Dennis’ legacy with enormous respect.

I think, too, the autocritical capacities in Dennis’ work, as Thomas also found, were exceptional, especially for those who would follow in Dennis’ footsteps as a committed independent progressive. Being a political junkie whose first exposure to Dennis – at university (Swarthmore College), like so many of us radicalized in the early 1980s during the heyday of the US anti-apartheid solidarity movement – was in understanding the connections between local and global, and between race and corporate power, his poems were often beyond my comprehension. They were surgically delivered, at times breathtaking, at times didactic, at times counterposing society and nature with dramatic insight, capable of breaking free from accepted form – and his internal punning and literary references were typically lost on many such followers. But here in Durban, our University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Creative Arts made him a fixture at the Time of the Writer and Poetry Africa festivals, and still carry a ‘Letter to Dennis’ feature in their poetry week.

At least one overarching impression sings out from the cacophony of warm memories from Dennis’ last five years: the philosophy that genuine liberation – not the half measures won in 1994, when class apartheid replaced racial domination – represents a war to be waged on many fronts because as one battle is won and many more usually lost, there are still others on the horizon that make an engaged life fulfilling, that keep the fires of social change desire burning long into the night. No South African threw themselves more passionately into so many global and local battles.

But from where did the indominable energy emerge? In his youth, Brutus was radicalized in part by the denial of opportunities to play sports across Port Elizabeth’s neighbourhoods. He was restricted to competitions in the black townships, hence his first campaign was for athletic fairness. This was an entrypoint into revolutionary politics, initially with the Teachers League and then the Congress movement. By 1968, Brutus had lobbied sixty Third World countries to boycott the Olympics if the white South African team participated, and thus defeated the notorious International Olympic Committee leader, Avery Brundage, a man who was pro-Berlin in the 1936 Nazi games, pro-Salisbury after Ian Smith took over in 1965, and very pro-Pretoria at the Mexico Games.

In the process, Brutus received deep battlefield scars, suffering bannings (both personal in 1961 and affecting most of his poetry until 1994), a 1963 police kidnapping in Maputo followed by a near-fatal shooting outside Anglo American’s central Johannesburg headquarters during an escape attempt, imprisonment and torture at the Hillbrow Fort Prison and on Robben Island from 1963-66, and alienating times in exile from 1966-1991. It was partly his infinite mischievousness that prevented exile from wearing Brutus down. Former Bureau of State Security agent Gordon Winter called him “one of the twenty most dangerous South African political figures overseas.”

He was extremely effective. At the 1971 Wimbledon tournament, Brutus disrupted a semifinal match played by Cliff Drysdale, winning acquittal for his deed from the House of Lords. Other pranks with a bite included the weed killer he and local students poured onto the rugby pitch to spell out “Oxford Rejects Apartheid” just as a key match began, forcing cancellation, following a march of 18,000 Londoners against racist sport, which compelled the Springboks to cancel their 1970 tour. Such fun never quite washed away the bitter taste of apartheid. The residue lingered long after, especially when Ali Bacher won membership in Naas Botha’s SA Sports Hall of Fame, because the cricket administrator “organised international rebel tours in the early 1980s.”

Brutus was on the verge of induction at the same December 2007 ceremony, but upon mounting the stage, he handed back the statue, announcing, “I cannot be party to an event where unapologetic racists are also honoured, or to join a Hall of Fame alongside those who flourished under racist sport. Their inclusion is a deception because of their unfair advantage, as so many talented black athletes were excluded from sport opportunities. Moveover, this Hall ignores the fact that some sportspersons and administrators defended, supported and legitimised apartheid.” Such deep principle had, in 1983, led Judge Irving Schwartz to declare, “There is no question that Professor Brutus has made himself hated by just about every [white] South African.” Schwartz rebuffed Reagan Administration efforts to expel Brutus from the United States.

Those three decades in the US spent teaching at leading universities (Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Dartmouth, Swarthmore and others) gave Brutus opportunities for high-profile support to every doomed lefty political struggle: ending the unfair incarceration of Philadelphia poet Mumia Abu Jamal, American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier and Guantanamo Bay prisoners, halting sweatshops, imposing Boycott Divestment Sanctions on Israel, building Burmese solidarity, opposing Washington’s militarism by following Thoreau’s lead and refusing to pay a portion of his taxes, and attempting to prosecute George Bush for war crimes.

Without much if anything to show for these efforts, what did Brutus do, then, upon returning to South Africa? In 1998, he and Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane inaugurated Jubilee South Africa to, first, demand rejection of inherited apartheid debt, which Trevor Manuel’s finance ministry was dutifully repaying, and then launch a World Bank Bonds Boycott aimed at defunding the Washington nerve centre of free market ideology. Brutus and Trevor Ngwane initiated the latter campaign at the April 2000 protests against a Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting. At the world’s largest private pension fund, TIAA-CREF, Brutus then persuaded trustees to divest Bank investments, just as he had twenty years earlier during the anti-apartheid struggle.

War on ‘global apartheid’ was now Brutus’ apparently Quixotic campaign. Yet exactly three months before the infamous Battle of Seattle at the World Trade Organisation summit in November 1999, he addressed a major rally with a scarily accurate premonition: “We are going to set in motion a movement and a demand and a protest around the world which is going to say no to the WTO and it is going to start right here in Seattle!” The WTO never recovered, and as recently as last April, the IMF also looked down and out – losing major borrowers, operating in the red and retrenching a tenth of its economists – until Manuel spearheaded a $750 billion bailout by the G20 group of large economies, infuriating Brutus.

Other SA-based campaigning included leading demonstrations against the World Conference Against Racism in 2001 and World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, anti-privatisation, climate, apartheid reparations (which Pretoria finally has conceded make sense), a reversal of the US travel ban on Centre for Civil Society founder Adam Habib (who insulted Washington at the outset of the 2003 occupation of Iraq), fighting World Cup forced removals, Zimbabwe and Tamil solidarity, and in Durban, support for Warwick Junction small traders facing eviction and a variety of other local eco-social justice struggles. For this Brutus was labeled ‘ultra-left’, or as Mbeki aide Essop Pahad put it in a 2002 statement to The Sowetan, “Dennis the Menace!... We cannot not allow our modest achievements to be wrecked through anarchy. Opponents of democracy seek such destruction.”

Instead, as Noam Chomsky recounted more accurately upon his death, Brutus was “a great artist and intrepid warrior in the unending struggle for justice and freedom. He will long be remembered with honor, respect, and affection, and his life will be a permanent model for others to try to follow, as best they can.” Most followers will find his legacy of politico-literary contributions reason to adopt the title of a seminal Brutus poetry collection: Stubborn Hope.

And that hope translates into another idea, stubborn friendship: given by Dennis to Cornelius, and repaid handsomely with these valuable memories.
Patrick Bond, March 2012

I will be the world’s troubadour
if not my country’s
jousting up and down
with justice for my theme
weapons as I find them
and a world-wide scatter of foes

Being what I am
compound of speech and thoughts and song
and girded by indignation
and accoutred with some undeniable scars surely
I may be this cavalier?

Values Versus Prices at the Rio+20 Earth Summit

Patrick Bond 19 June 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO - Given the worsening world economic crisis, the turn to ‘Green Economy’ rhetoric looms as a potential saviour for footloose financial capital, and is also enormously welcome to those corporations panicking at market chaos in the topsy-turvy fossil-fuel, water, infrastructure construction, technology and agriculture sectors.

On the other hand, for everyone else, the Rio+20 Earth Summit underway this week in Brazil, devoted to advancing Green Economy policies and projects, appears as an overall disaster zone for the people and planet.

Meanwhile in Mexico, the G20 meeting of the real powerbrokers this week included a Green Economy session. But more serious distractions for the elites include ongoing Southern European revulsion at harmful public policies cooked up by bankers, and potential war in the Middle East. Perhaps a few environmentally-decent projects may get needed subsidies as a result of the G20 and Rio talkshops, and we’ll hear of ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ to replace the fatuous UN Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

But the overarching danger is renewed official faith in market mechanisms. No surprise, following the logic of two South African precedents: the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (Rio+10) and last December’s Durban COP17 climate summit. There, the chance to begin urgent environmental planning to reverse ecosystem destruction was lost, sabotaged by big- and medium-governments’ negotiators acting on behalf of their countries’ polluting and privatising corporations.

Market fixes to market failures?
It’s useful to interrogate the eco-governance elites’ assumptions. I’m here in Rio at the International Society for Ecological Economics conference (ISEE) within a critical research network – the Barcelona-based Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT) – whose leaders, Joan Martinez-Alier and Joachim Spangenberg, issued a statement appropriately cynical about the Green Economy: “The promises are striking: conserving nature, overcoming poverty, providing equity and creating jobs. But the means and philosophy behind it look all too familiar.”

Unfortunately, after the original 1992 Rio Earth Summit, multinational corporations increasingly dominated the emerging terrain of global environmental governance. The United Nations Environment Programme came to view “the sustainability crisis as the biggest-ever ‘market failure’” – a dangerous distraction, according to the two political-ecologists, because “Describing it this way reveals a specific kind of thinking: a market failure means that the market failed to deliver what in principle it could have delivered, and once the bug is fixed the market will solve the problem.”

Martinez-Alier and Spangenberg reverse this logic: “Unsustainable development is not a market failure to be fixed but a market system failure: expecting results from the market that it cannot deliver, like long-term thinking, environmental consciousness and social responsibility.”

In the same spirit, Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi chastised ISEE’s conventional economists in a plenary: “There are a million struggles in India against pollution that Martinez-Alier calls the ‘environmentalism of the poor’, in contrast to the Green Economy which is the environmentalism of the rich.”

Narain contined, “The issue is not the price of nature, it’s rights and it’s the values of democracy, of governance, of society, of humanity. Let’s be very clear: in today’s Green Economy as it is being shaped in Rio Centro and by many economists, these principles will not help us move ahead. Let’s not get lost in yet another shallow, empty concept.”

It’s critical to pose the Green Economy from this class-analytic and eco-centric standpoint, especially because inside the official Rio Centro, negotiations on a bland pro-market text continue through Saturday. There, progressive civil society strategies to insulate basic human and natural rights – e.g. to water – are being foiled by negotiators and by the host neoliberal Brazilian government which is channelling reactionary positions from Northern negotiators, especially from Washington, Ottawa, Tokyo and Tel Aviv, the main saboteur-regimes when it comes to water justice.

According to Anil Naidoo of the Ottawa-based Blue Planet Project, “the new negotiating text is out and it is terrible! We expected the attacks to continue as we have made strong gains through our pressure, but clearly we must again fight for our human right to water and sanitation.” In spite of excellent anti-privatisation activism by Naidoo’s allies in dozens of cities across the world, water commercialisation remains a major threat, especially thanks to the World Resources Institute’s mapping of scarcity on behalf of thirsty transnational corporations.

Also within the rubric of the Green Economy, corporations are seeking new technological ‘False Solutions’ to the climate and other environmental crises, including dirty forms of ‘clean energy’ (nuclear, so-called ‘clean coal’, fracking ‘natural gas’, hydropower, hydrogen, biofuels, biomass and biochar); dangerous Carbon Capture and Storage experiments; and other whacky geoengineering gimmicks such as Genetically Modified trees to sequester carbon, sulfates in the air to shut out the sun, iron filings in the sea to create algae blooms, and large-scale solar reflection such as industrial-scale plastic-wrap for deserts.

From African ‘natural capital’ to pricing to markets
Crazy corporate tactics aside, the philosophical underpinning of the Green Economy needs wider questioning. The precise wording is terribly important, as Africans began to understand after last month’s ‘Gaborone Declaration’ hosted by Botswana president Ian Khama. He brought together leaders from nine other African countries – Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania – to “quantify and integrate into development and business practice” what ordinary people consider to be the innate value of nature.

But these leaders and their conference sponsor Conservation International mean something else, devoid of eco-systemic, spiritual, aesthetic, and intrinsic qualities. The Declaration insists, “Watersheds, forests, fisheries, coral reefs, soils, and all natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity constitute our vital natural capital and are central to long-term human well-being, and therefore must be protected from overuse and degradation and, where necessary, must be restored and enhanced.”

There are good sentiments as far as they go, yet by relegating our environment to mere natural capital, the next step is to convert value into price and then sell chunks of nature on the market. All manner of financialisation strategies have emerged to securitise ‘environmental services’, most obviously in carbon markets which continue failing miserably to deliver investor funds to slow climate change.

For some institutions we can term yuppie-green due to their pro-market ideology, faith continues in spite of emissions trading’s descent to hell. In a joint paper published last week, the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace advocated last-gasp reforms to revitalise the European Union carbon markets. Like the Chicago exchange in 2010, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is in real danger of dying, what with last month’s drop-out announcement from Munich’s leading financiers, who cited a fatal degree of corruption and market oversupply.

The 2010 crash of the Chicago Climate Exchange – and an ongoing civil fraud lawsuit against founder Richard Sandor – is only the most obvious warning to those promoting emissions trading and voluntary offsets. In Africa, we argue based on new research for EJOLT, the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ (CDM) carbon-trade and offset mechanism ‘Cannot Deliver the Money’.

The Durban COP17 climate gamble – that carbon markets could be revived as part of a renewed Kyoto Protocol mandate – was lost by virtue of the negotiators’ failure to make post-2012 emissions-cut commitments. And the Bonn follow-up meetings of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change last month just amplified the crisis, by all accounts

But the crisis facing the market crew aiming to ‘privatise the air’ is also pushing environmentally-oriented bankers in all sorts of other directions. Explained City of London investor Simon Greenspan, whose firm won World Finance magazine’s ‘Western European Commodities Broker of the Year’ award four months ago, “At Tullett Brown we’ve only ever invested in areas of the market that have truly stood the test of time, such as gold and silver and property. When our analysts were looking for the next great area of growth it was fairly obvious to them. It was the planet, it was the environment.” (Oops, just days later, British financial authorities forced Tullett Brown into provisional liquidation.)

Reacting to the Gaborone Declaration, Nnimmo Bassey from the Niger Delta NGO Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth International warned, “The bait of revenue from natural capital is simply a cover for continued rape of African natural resources.” Thanks to inadequate protection against market abuse, he adds, “The declaration will help corporate interests in Rio while impoverishing already disadvantaged populations, exacerbate land grabs and displace the poor from their territories.”

To illustrate the pernicious way markets undermine nature, Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe would say of the rhino and elephant 15 years ago, “The species must pay to stay” – which in turn allowed him and (white) cronies to offer rich overseas hunters the opportunity to shoot big game for big bucks. The dilemma about hunt marketing is that it doesn’t stop there: black markets in rhino horns and elephant tusks are the incentive for poachers to invade not just poorly defended game parks north of the Limpopo River, but also now in South Africa.

The alternative strategy would have been to tighten the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species’ restrictions against trade in ivory. But South Africa’s game-farm owners and free-market proponents got too greedy, and by influencing Pretoria to press for relaxation of CITES’ ban, hundreds of elephant and rhino corpses denuded of horns and tusks now litter the bush.

From prices to values, and from fees to fines
At best, the Gaborone Declaration commits the ten countries to “reducing poverty by transitioning agriculture, extractive industries, fisheries and other natural capital uses to practices that promote sustainable employment, food security, sustainable energy and the protection of natural capital through protected areas and other mechanisms.”

How, though, is the crucial question. It is well and good to protect nature through imposing a prohibitive fine and ban on those who pollute, and it is past time for payment of the ‘climate debt’ from the Global North’s companies and government which take too much of the shrinking carbon space left in the environment, for instance.

As Kathy McAfee from San Francisco State University puts it, “Compensating the poor and other land users for practices that maintain healthy, ‘service-producing’ ecosystems may be an important part of strategies for sustainable and equitable development. Serious problems arise, however, when such compensation schemes are framed as markets.”

It is another matter, entirely, to treat nature as ‘capital’ from which a fee-for-use – at Rio+20, termed ‘payment for environmental services’ – is offered by deep-pocket polluters to continue business-as-usual.

What do we need in coming years? Valuing nature and imposing pollution-bans and prohibitive fines for ecological degradation are the conceptual approach and the strategy required. But given the power balance here, we can instead expect the Earth Summit to promote the pricing of nature based on a pollution-fee system and environmental markets, which in effect will give discredited bankers the job of regulating world ecology.

Then watch out, people and planet – you will be swamped by hunger for profits.

Patrick Bond directs the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society.

CCS fights Green Economy gimmicks at Rio +20

what Brazilians need to know: a political economy of the 2010 World Cup™

Green Economy Buzz moves to Rio

CDM in Africa

Bilderbergers beware

Patrick Bond 6 June

Near the Dulles International Airport west of Washington last weekend, I found myself a couple of dozen meters away from a formidable gathering of 150 powerbrokers – the Bilderberg Group – whose capacity to move money and influence events rivals even the upcoming G20 meeting in Mexico, last month’s G8 summit in Camp David and NATO military meeting in Chicago, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meeting in April, or the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January.

The secretive Bilderbergers aren’t normally a protest magnet, but for my purposes, while passing through Washington, this was the best opportunity to hear their critics from the libertarian-populist strain of US civil society. Hundreds of protesters jammed the sidewalk all weekend, mainly motivated by a call to ‘Occupy Bilderberg 2012’ made by Alex Jones, who has a radio audience of three million and a lurid website (“There’s a war on for your mind!”).

Protesters hurled creative abuse at the black limousines rolling past towards the Chantilly Marriott Hotel entrance, and to protect them, police arrested a few activists who dared step onto the road. These particular masters of the universe first met at a hotel (The Bilderberg) in Holland in 1954, co-hosted by Dutch royalty, Uniliver and the US Central Intelligence Agency. The obscure brainstorming session would become an annual intellectual and ideological “testing grounds for new initiatives for Atlantic unity,” according to Sussex University scholar Kees van der Pijl, perhaps the world’s most rigorous scholar of transnational ruling classes.

Often compared to the Trilateral Commission (US, European and Japanese leaders), Council on Foreign Relations thinktank in New York and Bohemian Grove confab (near San Francisco) as low-profile talk shops for key strategic role-players, the Bilderberg Group’s website explains that its “regular, off-the-record discussions helped create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations in the difficult post-war period. The Cold War has now ended. But in practically all respects there are more, not fewer, common problems – from trade to jobs, from monetary policy to investment, from ecological challenges to the task of promoting international security.”

By inviting a few outside the US-Euro axis, Bilderberg organisers send signals about which regions are considered important – and Africa doesn’t feature. On this year’s agenda were “Transatlantic Relations, Evolution of the Political Landscape in Europe and the US, Austerity and Growth in Developed Economies, Cyber Security, Energy Challenges, the Future of Democracy, Russia, China and the Middle East.”

The 2012 guest list included the top managers of international banks, oil and chemical companies, high tech firms, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation, plus rising government leaders, philanthropists and old imperialists like Henry Kissinger.

This crew is bound to draw the ire of many victims, yet instead of the kind of Occupy protests I witnessed in London last month – a march through The City with socialists and anarchists furious about parasitical banking practices – or at Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park last year and in various subsequent anti-bank protests by US leftists, the weekend’s Bilderberg protest displayed paranoia about the conspiracies being hatched in the Virginia hotel.

These include everything from the vetting of top politicians – after all, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama came to Bilderberg to ‘audition’ just as their star rose – to imposing ‘Agenda 21’ sustainable development strategies, to arranging potential world hyperinflation via the next bail-out round for the shaky financial sector. Conversations revealed fears of a one-world government taking away the patriots’ guns and imposing a solution to climate change.

Many of these libertarians believe climate change is a plot by Al Gore to impose world carbon taxes. If only – for Gore is actually nstead a self-interested huckster for carbon trading, which is failing miserably in Europe, as well as in the US (except California) in the wake of the 2010 closure of the Chicago Climate Exchange.

Mind you, some such conspiracy theories are sufficiently close enough to an accurate reading of power to be taken semi-seriously. But it should be patently obvious that at least since 1987 – when CFCs in our old fridges and deoderants were banned by a UN Montreal Protocol so as to prevent the ozone hole from growing – all subsequent world-government ambitions to regulate ecology, manage trade, fix finance, coordinate military activity and address the myriad of other world problems have been dismal failures.

This is where I found myself differing most with Jones’ supporters: never before in history have world elites been so tempted to address global-scale crises, but – thanks to the adverse power balance represented by neoliberal ideology in the 1990s, neoconservatism in the early 2000s and some fusion of the two since Obama came to power – never before have they acted so incoherently.

Today, the very words ‘global governance’ appear a contradiction in terms. Scholars in this field whom I met at Sussex University for a ‘SouthGovNet’ conference on ‘Rising Powers’ last month were well aware that the subimperialist group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa cannot yet do imperialism’s heavy lifting, even when it comes to what is considered a ‘global public good’ – non-collapsing international financial networks – via the desired G20 re-bailout of the IMF (the BRICS are objecting to giving their $100 billion share of the $430 billion that Christine Lagarde now seeks for a rainy European day).

Van der Pijl’s exceptionally rich study of Bilderberg and subsequent US-European geopolitical maneuvres, The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (which thankfully Verso Press is about to reissue), provides the theoretical underpinning that I feel Jones’ passionately conspiratorialist followers desperately need, if they ever aim to properly judge the world’s complex combinations of structure and agency.

As Marx remarked, “People make their own history, but not under conditions of their own choosing.” Developing an analysis of political-economic structure – the background conditions – is the vital missing element short-circuited by the libertarian right’s shallow habit of name-calling Bilderbergers ‘Illuminati!’

How do we best understand the Bilderbergers, then? In his most recent major article dissecting their agenda, based on the 2007 meeting, van der Pijl insists, “The West, capital, and the state emerged in a single process in which mutual relations are not external and optional but internal, embodied in transnational classes.”

Such elite networks are, Antonio Gramsci wrote in The Prison Notebooks, like “international political parties which operate within each nation with the full concentration of the international forces. But religion, Freemasonry, Rotary, Jews, etc., can be subsumed into the social category of ‘intellectuals’, whose function, on an international scale, is that of mediating the extremes, of ‘socializing’ the technical discoveries which provide the impetus for all activities of leadership, of devising compromises between, and ways out of, extreme solutions.”

Likewise, van der Pijl sees the Bilderberg Group as an ‘international’ of corporate capital, although possessing a narrower base than the Davos crew because of its Atlanticist character. Hence the biggest geopolitical and economic threat to the Bilderbergers is ­­China.

Initially, he observes, the mood was welcoming, because “Beijing’s decision to peg the Chinese currency on the dollar in 1994, was seen as a move to tie its fate more emphatically to the US economy and a further commitment to become integrated into the expanding West at the height of the Clinton globalisation drive.”

However, van der Pijl continues, “The Chinese challenge to the West and the response to it were in 1996 still in a benign stage and were soon beginning to mutate into a different direction,” namely putting China right after Iraq and Iran on Washington’s enemy list, roughly a decade ago.

Five years back, van der Pijl identified Bilderberger priorities from a list that an insider informant had jotted down: dividing Iraq, invading Iran, controlling other oil and gas supplies, creating more EU-type unions in the American Hemisphere, and “talking about China as the World’s next Evil Empire.”

Retroactively, in 2012, it is fanciful to imagine Washington’s power to fracture Iraq and to compel more economic ‘unions’, in the sense of a single currency, fallen trade barriers (amplifying NAFTA) and increasingly centralised state coordination. As for the other projections five years ago, recall that the bubbly pre-crisis economic period had not yet ended and Peak Oil was feared at an early date (before the fracking boom), so the Bilderbergers’ bravado is not surprising.

But they were nervous, too, of a coming political storm, remarked van der Pijl. Representing both BP and Goldman Sachs in 2007, Peter Sutherland (former WTO director) “was quoted as saying that it had been a mistake to have referenda on the EU constitution. ‘You knew there was a rise in nationalism; you should have let your parliaments ratify the treaty, and it should be done with.’ Kissinger said words to the same effect concerning unification of the Americas, stressing the need to mobilise the enlightened media behind its propagation.”

What kind of political storm did the Bilderbergers chat about last weekend, in the wake of so much revolt across the world? In his 2007 paper, van der Pijl was correct to warn against “US rightwing anti-globalists with a strong conspiratorial bent who consider Bilderberg a permanent quasi-world government rather than a nodal point (among several others) of the Atlantic ruling class as it evolves and seeks to work out a strategic consensus.”

But if the Bilderbergers agreed upon a strategic consensus, it was probably extreme neoliberalism, taking advantage of financial capital’s crises by bailing out the banks and imposing financial capital’s austerity agenda. With Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish and Italian social pressure rising, we can anticipate many more such populist concerns about the anti-democratic IMF, European Central Bank and financial institutions.

(To illustrate, near where I live in South Africa, the mysterious men from Moody’s rating agency are this month arm-twisting the state to reinstate a hugely unpopular highway tolling strategy in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region, in the face of both trade union and middle-class white revolt.)

So there is no doubt that world banker domination – which should have been reduced by the 2008-09 financial melt – will continue. Only the occasional sovereign default – Argentina (2002), Ecuador (2008), Iceland (2008) and maybe Southern Europe this year – or imposition of exchange controls (as rediscovered by Malaysia in 1998 or Venezuela in 2003) reduces the banksters’ grip.

Yet the libertarian protesters’ fear of the elites has only superficial commonality with the Occupy movement’s more robust approach. The latter want a forward-moving ‘system change’ – as we heard from Occupy COP17 in Durban outside the climate summit last December – whereas nationalistic US nativism offers no grounds for broad-based alliances.

As expressed in a fairly typical protest banner on Saturday, “Warning to secret societies: you are pissing off American patriots. We have machine guns also.” The macho, self-described ‘paleo-conservative’ narrative plus the occasional undercurrent of anti-semitism is not language heard from Occupy’s collection of socialists, anarchists, liberals, Greens, labour, civic activists, youth and the progressive faith community.

The strongest political effort by these libertarian anti-Bilderberg protesters is to attempt the election of Texan member of Congress, Ron Paul, as president, and with 20 percent popularity, he remains Mitt Romney’s only irritant within the Republican Party as the November showdown with Obama now looms.

But with Obama continuing to molly-coddle Wall Street (e.g., still no prosecutions for the great 2008-09 financial theft) and openly declaring himself a militarist – personally approving drone assassinations in the Middle East and delighting in the Stuxnet cyberwar attack on Iran, according to The New York Times last week – the paranoid streak about Washington’s surveillance and proto-fascistic policing also resonates.

So long as they leave their guns behind, I wish them well, because to have directed a great deal more media attention and popular hostility against the ‘.0001%’ gathered in the Marriot last weekend, was a public service that the rest of our world should now build upon. But hopefully, with political values more aligned to rainbow than Rambo.

Patrick Bond directs the Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa.

Inclusive green growth or extractive greenwashed decay?

The debate over the Green Economy rages on next month in Rio de Janeiro, at the International Society for Ecological Economics meetings, the Cupulo dos Povos alternative people’s summit, and the UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit. Proponents and critics of ‘green growth’ capitalism will butt heads using narratives about valuations of nature and the efficacy of markets.

Boiling down a complex argument from her book Eco-Sufficiency & Global Justice, University of Sydney-based political ecologist Ariel Salleh observes how a triple externalization of costs ‘takes the form of an extraction of surpluses, both economic and thermodynamic: 1) a social debt to inadequately paid workers; 2) an embodied debt to women family caregivers; and 3) an ecological debt drawn on nature at large.’

At minimum, addressing these problems requires full-fledged re-accounting to toss out the fatally-flawed GDP indicator, and to internalize environment and society in the ways we assess costs and benefits. This exercise would logically both precede and catalyze a full-fledged transformation of financing, extraction, production, transport and distribution, consumption and disposal systems.

But it is only in the struggle for transformation that we learn how institutions of power hold fast to their privileges, and why genuine change won’t happen through mere tampering with national income accounts: ‘torturing the data until they confess’, the old economists’ adage.

The World Bank is one such institution, in part because the man taking charge next month, Jim Yong Kim, is a progressive medic and anthropologist. It’s fair to predict that he’ll add style to the Bank’s ‘talk left, walk right’ break-dance repertoire, spinning out arguments that will make our heads spin, while business continues more or less as usual.

A good example of environmental reformist PR can be found in the new Bank report, Inclusive Green Growth. ‘Care must be taken to ensure that cities and roads, factories, and farms are designed, managed, and regulated as efficiently as possible to wisely use natural resources while supporting the robust growth developing countries still need,’ argue Bank staff led by Inger Andersen and Rachel Kyte, in order to move the economy ‘away from suboptimalities and increase efficiency – and hence contribute to short-term growth – while protecting the environment.’

Of course, certain uses of resources are off limits for polite discussion, as Bank staff dare not question financiers’ commodity speculation, export-led growth or the irrationality of so much international trade, including wasted bunker fuel for shipping not to mention truck freight.

Yet the Bank cannot help but momentarily inject a power variable into its technicist analysis: ‘That so much pricing is currently inefficient suggests complex political economy considerations. Whether it takes the form of preferential access to land and credit or access to cheap energy and resources, every subsidy creates its own lobby. Large enterprises (both state owned and private) have political power and lobbying capacity. Energy-intensive export industries, for example, will lobby for subsidies to maintain their competitiveness.’

Would the Bank dare practice what it preaches about ending ‘inefficient’ subsidization, given how it amplifies irrational power relations when maintaining the world’s largest fossil-fuel financing portfolio? When Inclusive Green Growth argues that ‘Governments need to focus on the wider social benefits of reforms and need to be willing to stand up to lobby groups’, we cannot forget the Bank’s own largest-ever project credit, granted just two years ago. The $3.75 billion loan for a 4800 MW coal-fired power plant (‘Medupi’) was, according to outgoing Bank president Robert Zoellick and his colleagues, aimed at helping poor South Africans.

In reality the benefits are overwhelmingly to mining houses which get the world’s cheapest electricity (around US$0.02/kWh). The costs of Medupi and its successor Kusile are borne not just by all who will suffer from climate change (including an estimated 180 million additionally dead Africans this century). All South Africans are losing access to electricity through disconnections, and as a result, engaging in world-leading rates of community protest because to pay for Medupi and Kusile, price increases have exceeded 100 percent over the past four years.

The Bank’s Inclusive Green Growth arguments always return to profit incentives: ‘If the environment is considered as productive capital, it makes sense to invest in it, and environmental policies can be considered as investment.’

The nature-as-capital narrative leans dangerously close to the maniacal positioning of former Bank officials Larry Summers and Lant Pritchett, who in 1991 wrote their infamous memo in preparation for the original Rio conference: ‘The economic logic of dumping a load of toxic waste on the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.’

Facing up to pollution externalities is deceptively simple within the Bank’s pre-existing neoliberal narrative, of fixing a market problem with a market solution. For example, ‘Lack of property rights in the sea has led to overfishing – in some cases with devastating results. The use of individual transferable quotas can correct this market failure, increasing both output and employment in the fishing industry.’

The Bank’s banal reversion to transferable quotas – also known as cap-and-trade – is most extreme in the greenhouse gas markets, where its writers fail to acknowledge profound flaws that have crashed the price of a ton of carbon from €35 to €7 these last six years. The Bank, which subsidizes carbon trading, mentions only a few allegedly-fixable European Union Emissions Trading Scheme design problems. It ignores the deeper critique of carbon markets developed, for example, in our new report, “CDMs Cannot Deliver the Money to Africa.”

Here’s an unintended consequence of Bank-think, however: if you do factor what it terms ‘natural capital’ into the national accounts, you find that when non-renewable resources are dug out of the soil, there should logically be a debit against genuine national savings (i.e. a decline in a country’s natural capital) instead of just a momentary credit to GDP.

Thus in many situations it becomes logical to leave resources in the ground (sacrilege!), especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, because since the commodity boom began in the early 2000s, according to another recent Bank report (The Changing Wealth of Nations), my home region has suffered negative genuine savings – ‘looting’ – mainly because of non-renewable resource decay in the context of resource-cursed neo-colonial politics.
GraphI’ve had this argument with the Bank’s dogmatic chief Africa economist, Shanta Devarajan, and needn’t rehash it. Instead, let’s turn from Bank babble to listen to those at the base with more profound insights:‘Today, those who have created the ecological crisis talk of the Green Economy. For them, the Green Economy means appropriating the remaining resources of the planet for profit — from seed and biodiversity to land and water as well as our skills, such as the environmental services we provide. For us, the privatization and commodification of nature, her species, her ecosystems, and her ecosystem services cannot be part of a Green Economy, for such an approach cannot take into account our traditions. The resources of the Earth are for the welfare of all, not the profits of a few.’

Ukukhula koluhlaza okuhlanganisayo, noma ukumbiwa kokubolile okuluhlaza?
NguPatrick Bond Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

Inkulumompikiswano mayelana neMnotho Oluhlaza (Green Economy) isibhebhetheka ngenyanga ezayo eRio de Janeiro, emihlanganweni yeInternational Society for Ecological Economics meetings, the Cupulo dos Povos alternative people’s summit, and theUN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit. Abaqambi kanye nabagxeki bobungxiwankulu ‘beomnotho oluhlaza’ bayoshayisana ngamakhanda besenzisa amagama okubheka imvelaphi kanye nokusebenza ngokunosizo kwezimakethe.

Esehlela phansi kwinkulumompikiswano ehlukile encwadini yakhe iEco-Sufficiency & Global Justice, onguchwepheshe kwezombusazwe zemvelo osesikhungweni semfundo ephakeme eUniversity of Sydney uAriel Salleh uqaphhi ukwenziwa nxantathu kwamanani ezikweletu zenhlalakahle kuthatha indlela yokumba ngokwezelele, kwezomnotho kanye nekama(thermodynamic: 1) isikweletu sezenhlalakahle kubasebenzi abangakhokhelwa ngokwanele;2) kanye nokuhlanganisa isikweletu kubesifazane abanakekela abomndeni abangaphilile; bese 3) isikweletu sezemvelo esisuka kuyona kakhulu.’

Ngokuncane-nje, uma kubhekwana nalezizinkinga kudinga ukubuyekeza kabusha njengezikali zamaGDP ezinezinkinga, kanye nokwenza ngaphakathi ezemvelo kanye nezomphakathi. Lokhu kwenza indlela ehamba phambili yomqondo eyoletha izindlela zokukala amanani kanye nokuzuza. Lokhu kuyokwenza indlela eyoqala futhi igcine ukushitsha kwezezimali, ezokumbiwa, ezokukhiqiza, ezokuthutha kanye nokusabalalisa, ukuthenga kanye nezindlela yokulahla.

Kodwa isemzabalazweni woshintsho lapho sifunda khona ukuthi izimboni ezinamandla zibambelela kanjani ngokuqinile emalungelweni azo, futhi nokuthi yini ushintsho lwangempela lungeke lwenzeke ngaphandle kokuxakazisa kwezimali zezwe: ukusebenzisa lolwazi baze bakhulume iqiniso’, indlela endla eyayisetshenziswa ngochwepheshe bezomnotho.

IBhange lomhlaba lingenye yalezozimboni, engxenye ngoba indoda ezobe isiliphethe ngenyanga ezayo,uJim Yong Kim, ungumnikeli onentuthuko. Kuyiqiniso ukuqagela ukuthi uzofika nomkhuba kuleliBhange nomkhuba wakhona ‘wokukhuluma ilumi lwezishoshovu kodwa abhekelele ongxiwankulu’, okudala izinkulumompikiswano ezenza amakhanda ethu adidizele, ngenkathi ezohwebo ziqhubeka njengenhlalayenza.

Isibonelo esihle soshintsho sokudayisa ezemvelo kutholakala embikweni omusha waseBhange, iInclusive Green Growth. ‘Ukuqikelela kumele kwenziwe ukuqinisekisa ukuthi amadolobha kanye nemigwaqo, izimboni kanye namafamu enziwe, aphathwa, futhi alawulwa ngendlela enhle kwimikhiqizo yezemvelo ngenkathi kuxhaswa ukukhula ngamandla kwamazwe asafufusa asakudinga,’ kusho izisebenzi zeBhange ziholwa nguInger Andersen benoRachel Kyte, ukuze kube nomthelela ekukhuleni kwesikhashana kwezomnotho – ngenkathi futhi kuvikelwa ezemvelo.’

Ngempela, ezinye izinsiza akukhulunywa ngazo, njengoba abasebenzi baseBhange bengababuzi abatshali bezimali ngezinye izindlela zokuhweba ezimaqondana nokuhweba emhlabeni wonke, ezilanganisa amafutha asuke emoshiwe ngemikhumbi yokuhweba kanye nokuthutha ngamatruki.

Kodwa-ke iBhange alikwazi ukuthi ngesikhashana umqondo uma behlaziya: ‘Ukuthi ukwenza amanani okungaka akwanele ksho ezomnotho ezinobuhixihi ekufanele zibhekelelwe. Noma ngabe kwenza ukubhekelela ukuthola umhlaba kanye nemali yemboleko noma ukuthola amandla kagesi ashibhile kanye nezinsiza, ngisho nokuxhaswa kudala okwakho ukukhulunyelwa. Izimboni ezinkulu (eziphethe uhulumeni noma zangasese) zinamandla ezombusazwe kanye nendlela yokuzikhulumela. Izimboni ezihambisa kakhulu ezamandla, ngokwesiboniso-nje, zikhulumela ukunganyakaziswa kokuqhudelwana kwazo.’

Kungezeka iBhange likwenze elikushumayelayo ngokuqeda ukuxhasa ‘okungenele’, uma sesibhekana nokuthi ubudlelwane benziwa bube nedumela kanjani ukuze kusimamiswe iqhaza lokuxhasa ngezimali abezokumbiwa phansi? Uma iInclusive Green Growth iphikisa ngenkulumo ithi ‘‘Uhulumeni kufanele abhekane nokuzuzisa kakhulu ngoshintsho kwezenhlalakahle kanye nokuthi kube nesidingo sokuma babhekane namaqembu akhulumayo’, ngeke sikhohlwe iprpjekti okuyiyona enkulu kakhulu yeBhange yokubolekisa ngemali, iminyaka emibili edlule. UR29 wezigidigidi wemboleko wokwakha isizinda sokuphehla amalahle esingu4800 MW (eMedupi), futhi ngokusho kukamongameli ophumayo eBhange uRobert Zoellick kanye nozakwabo, ukuthi kwakubhekene nokusiza izakhamizi zaseNingizimu Afrika ezinhlwempu.

Empeleni inzuzo iya kakhulu ezindlini noma ezimbonini zokumbiwa phansi ezithola amandla kagesi ashibe kakhulu emhlabeni wonke (cishe amasenti angu7 ikhilowathi). Inani leMedupi kanye neKusile akukho-nje emahlombe abahlukunyezwa ukushintsha kwesimo sezulu (kanye cishe nabantu abaseAfrika abafika kwisigidi esingu180 sabafile kuleminyaka eyikhulu) kodwa kodwa futhi izakhamizi zaseNingizimu Afrika eseziswela amandla kagesi ngenxa yokunqnyulelwa wona, okuholela, ekutheni kube nemibhikisho eminingi kakhulu ukudlula umhlaba wonke ngoba ukuze kukhokhelwe iMedupi kanye neKusile, amanani amandla kagesi asenyuka ngamaphesenti angu100 kuleminyaka emine edlule.

Izinkulumompikiswano zeBhange ngeInclusive Green Growthnjalo zihlale njalo kuphindelwe ekwenzeni inzuzo: ‘Uma imvelo ibhekwa njengakhiqiza imali, kubonakala kunomqondo ukutshala imali kuyona, futhi imigomo yezemvelo ingabonakalo njengendlela yokuzuza.’

Inkulumo mayelana nezemvelo ukuthi kwenziwe izimali ngazo kuncike ngobungozi eduzane kwisikhundla abami kuzo laba abanobuhlanya ababeyizikhulu zeBhange uLarry Summers kanye noLant Pritchett, okwathi ngo1991 babhala umyaleo wabo awduma kabi kakhulu ngenkathi belungiselela ingqungquthela eayiseRio: Umqondo wezomnotho wezokulahla ukungcola okuyingozi emazweni ahlupheka kakhulu ikona okufanele kwenzeke futhi kufanele sibhekane nakho.’

Uma sibhekana nezokungcoliswa komoya ngaphandle kulula okunobuwula ngaphakathi kweBhange ezinkulumweni ezikhona zobungxiwankulu, zokulungisa inkinga yemakethe ngesixazululo semakethe. Ngokwesibonelo-nje, ‘Ungabikhona ngokwanele kwamalungelo ezimpahla olwandle kuholele ekutheni abantu badobe kakhulu – kokunye okube nemiphumela enzima kakhulu. Ukusebenzisa ukubala umuntu ngamunye kungalungisa lokukuhluleka kwemakethe, kunyuse okuphumela ngaphandle kanye nokuqasha embonini yofishi.’

Ukuphindela emuva kokukala kweBhange okujwayelekile – okubuye kwaziwe njengokuhweba ngesisisi esingcolisayo (phecelezi icap-and-trade)– kakhulu ezimakethe zesisisi ezingcolisa umoya, lapho ababhali bazo bevuma ukuthi kunamaphutha amakhulu ehlise kakhulu amanani lapho inani lethani lesisisi lisukela ku€35 kuya ku€7 eminyakeni eyisithupha. IBhange, elixhasa ukudayiswa kwesisisi esingcolisayo, liphawula kuphela okusolwa njengezinkinga ezimbalwa zeEuropean Union Emissions Trading Scheme, beziba ukugxekwa okunzulu okudalwa izimakethe zesisisi esingcolisayo, njengoba kwenzekile-nje njengesiboniso kumbiko wethu omusha, ‘AmaCDM awasoze aletha imali eAfrika’.

Nanko-ke umqondo owawungalindelwe yiBhange: uma wenza okwenzemvelo kwizimali zezwe, uthola ukuthi izinsiza ongakwazi ukubuye uzenze kabusha zimbiwa emhlabathini, kufanele kube khona isikweletu ekugcineni imali kwezwe (okusho ukuthi ukwehla kwezomnotho ovela ezweni) esikhundleni secredit yesikhashana yeGDP.

Ngakho-ke ezimweni eziningi (kuba nomqondo imikhiqizo yezwe emhlabathini (okuyinhlamba!), ikakhulukazi eNingizimu neAfrika, ngenxa yokuthi okuthengwayo kwaba nedumela kuqala iminyaka yo2000’s, ngokusho komunye umbiko maduze-nje weBhange (Ukuguquka Kwemicebo Yezizwe), isifundazwe sekhaya lami sihlupheke kakhulu ngokonga kabi kwangempela – ‘ukweba’ – ikakhulukazi kwizinsiza ezisengephinde zimile eziyisiqalekiso zokuqalwa kabusha kokubuswaa ngamazwe aphesheya.

Sengike ngaba nayo lenkulompikiswano nomhlaziyi wezonotho weBhange onguntamolukhuni, uShantaDevarajan, futhi angisiboni isidingo sokuyiqala phansi. Eskhundleni salokho asisukeni ekuhumeni kweBhange silalele labo abangaphansi abanemibono ejulile:

  • Njengenhlangano yabafama bomhlabaiVia Campesina;

  • Isizinda esizinze eRio iFASE Environmental Justice and Rights Center

  • ‘iQembu iETC ’ http//

  • Abamele ezabesifazane kwinhlangano yamahlathi omhlaba (World Rainforest Movement) http//

  • Izishoshovu ezinokuhlanganyela zaseJalimani eBUKO
  • and

  • Isimemezelo sabesifazane baseNingizimu neAsia (Dhaka Declaration of the South Asia Women’s Network), okuyibona amazwi abo okufanele ngigcine ngawo:

  • ‘Namhlanje, laba abadale izinkulumo zemvelo eziynkinga zoMnotho Oluhlaza. Kubona, uMnotho Oluhlaza uchaza ukusebenzisa izinsiza zemvelo zomhlaba ezisasele ngenzuzo –kusukela kwimbewu kanye nokuguquguqukq kuya emhlabeni kanye namanzi kanye namakhono ethu, njengezinsiza zemvelo esizilethayo. Kuthina,ukwenziwa ngasese kanye nokudayiswa kwemvelo, ngeke kube ingxenye yMnotho Oluhlaza, ngoba leyondlela ngeke ibhekelele imikhuba yethu. Okukhiqizwa umhlabaokwenhlalakahle kawonkewonke, hayi inzuzo yabambalwa.’

    UPatrick Bond ungumqondisi kwisizinda iCentre for Civil Society esikhungweni semfundo ephakeme eUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal.
    UFaith ka-Manzi umhumushi, imbongi, isishoshovu samalungelo esintu kanye nombhali ngaphansi kompheme weCentre for Civil Society.

    'Closing the Doors of Learning'

    (to the Israeli State) Opens the Doors of Freedom
    Patrick Bond and Muhammed Desai 25 May 2012

    One of South Africa’s largest tertiary institutions, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, is a site of multiple controversy but a near-disaster on Monday deserves

    more reflection because it points us in a positive direction: away from allying with the Israeli state and its apartheid policies during a time of heightened racism. A

    representative of Israel had been invited to speak but was then disinvited, after the university was called on by staff and students to respect the “academic boycott” of Israel.

    From South Africa, the African continent and everywhere else, it is a critical time to step up pressure against the rogue regime in Tel Aviv. Israel’s hard-right leader,

    Benyamin Netanyahu, is in a dangerous career phase, preparing to bomb Iran; illegitimately holding thousands of Palestinian prisoners in worsening conditions; expanding

    settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank; terrorizing Gaza; and tightening his militaristic hold over the region.

    Netanyahu’s approach to protecting his core constituency was unveiled at a recent cabinet meeting, in his paranoid description of African refugee immigration (mainly from

    Eritrea, Ethiopia and South Sudan) last week: “if we don't stop the problem (sic), 60,000 infiltrators (sic) are liable to become 600,000, and cause the negation of the State of

    Israel as a Jewish and democratic (sic) state.”

    Interior Minister Eli Yishai picked up the same theme: “They [African immigrants] should be put into holding cells or jails… and then given a grant and sent back.” In spite of

    police data confirming that Israelis commit more than twice as many crimes per person as African immigrants, Yishai claimed, “most African infiltrators are involved in crime.”

    According to the Hotline for Migrant Workers, “In the last month, the number of hate crimes carried out by Israelis against Africans has risen tremendously. Multiple Molotov

    cocktails were thrown into houses of Africans in southern Tel Aviv on two separate occasions, a week apart.”

    Then on Wednesday night, the logic of Netanyahu/Yishai unfolded at street level when hundreds of their followers attacked Africans in what was widely described as a race riot,

    leaving many injured, with a dozen Israelis arrested for violence.

    In this context, the Israeli embassy had suggested an input to a UKZN audience about Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall. The Wall is the topic of current controversy since Gush Shalom, a

    Tel Aviv-based human rights group opposed to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, has just demanded that last Saturday’s ‘Jerusalem Day’ in future be removed from Israel’s

    calendar of holidays.

    As a celebration of the 1967 War and Occupation of Palestine, it involves a provocative march to the Wall through East Jerusalem. Political scientist, Peter Beinart, author of

    The Crisis of Zionism, remarked last week, “I am disturbed that Yom Yerushalayim [Jerusalem Day] has become a nationalistic holiday, observed most publicly by the religious

    right. Too often, Yom Yerushalayim celebrations turn violent… most celebrations glorify the violent abuse of power by cruel extremists.”

    As Lia Tarachansky of the Real News Network reported from Jerusalem on the weekend, “The celebrators marched through Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter chanting ‘Muhammed is

    Dead’ and celebrating a 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians in Hebron. Across the road roughly 600 Palestinians protested the celebration and the occupation of East Jerusalem. They

    were joined by Israeli peace activists.”

    Pretoria-based Israeli official Yaa’kov Finkelstein had informed UKZN’s Social Sciences Dean Nwabufo Okeke-Uzodike that he “would like to give a lecture to staff and students on

    the Western Wall in Jerusalem” two days after this incident, but with less than 24 hours to go, UKZN Deputy Vice Chancellor Joseph Ayee emailed staff: “I have re-considered the

    sensitivities that the visit of the Israeli Deputy Ambassador has generated. Given the negative publicity that the visit will give UKZN, I hereby cancel the visit and the


    That the talk would “be held under a cloud with likely reputational damage for the institution is not in the interests of all of us,” observed Ayee. This resulted from a flurry

    of letters by senior academics including Lubna Nadvi, Rozeena Maart and Jerry Coovadia, as well as a vibrant protest planned by hip-hop artist, Iain ‘Ewok’ Robinson, who

    generated similar opposition to Finkelstein’s co-sponsorship of the Hilton Arts Festival near Durban last year. Said Robinson, “Hosting the ambassador under the auspices of

    creating some kind of neutral space for dialogue is another blatant legitimization of Israel’s policies of oppression.”

    A time for dialogue with Israel’s official representatives should wait until nonviolent public pressure against the regime mounts and the extreme power imbalance is lessened. As

    the Palestinian solidarity movement argues, this time will come – just as three-decade long sanctions were lifted against South Africa when in the early 1990s there was

    irreversible progress towards one-person one-vote democracy (implemented in April 1994) – only when Israel recognises the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self

    determination and:

    1. ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
    2. guarantees the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinians citizens of Israel to full equity; and
    3. respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

    Accepting these three conditions as comparable to the demand for democracy in South Africa, our local movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel got a

    boost in 2010 when South African Artists Against Apartheid formed with the announcement, “Collaborating with institutions linked to the state of Israel cannot be regarded as a

    neutral act in the name of cultural exchange.”

    In this context, severe reputational damage for UKZN would have surely followed had the event gone ahead. Upon hearing of Finkelstein’s talk, Ramallah-based BDS strategist Omar

    Barghouti exclaimed, “Why would they invite an Israeli diplomat to UKZN at a time when even the SA government is advising its own ministers not to visit Israel, unless for

    absolute necessity? This is what complicity looks like!”

    Barghouti continued, “Imagine in the 1980s if a Cuban or Palestinian university had invited a South African official to give a lecture? Wouldn’t the ANC and the great majority

    of South Africans have felt betrayed by their best friends in the world? Well, this is how Palestinians feel now if a South African institution is complicit with Israel.”

    Universities should be at the forefront of the BDS movement – and thanks to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel this has been the case since

    2004 – because by making Israeli officials unwelcome, these opportunities actually open wide the door for learning political ethics, as at UKZN. Three years the same controversy

    arose at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, whose officials mandated a leading lawyer, Advocate Geoff Budlender, to investigate. Budlender concluded in favour of

    the BDS activists, saying that Wits University “could legitimately decide to make its facilities available to outside organisations only for certain purposes, and not to make

    them available for other purposes... [if] a speaker or activity might be so offensive.”

    Likewise, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) was requested by over 450 leading South African academics – including nine vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors – to end

    its institutional relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) last year. UJ did terminate the relationship and, in effect, became the world’s first university to

    impose an academic boycott on Israel. Then, according to Nina Butler of the Rhodes University Palestinian Solidarity Forum, writing for the Mail&Guardian Thoughtleader last

    week, another local university “was approached by BGU with a large amount of funding for water research, only to be told explicitly that their association and money was not


    At BGU itself, this week also an important moment for the academic boycott when a conference on Monday promoting ‘African Entrepreneurs’ was the subject of criticism, given the

    university’s ongoing collaboration with the Israeli military and the occupation of Palestine. Laudably, Zimbabwean historian Musiwaro Ndakaripa withdrew as a result of BDS

    commitments, but some Africans went ahead to violate the Palestinians’ boycott call, including the Angolan ambassador.

    But elsewhere on the Israel-boycott front, matters are slowly improving. Last week, Pretoria’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv was summoned by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a

    formal reprimand because the SA Department of Trade and Industry ruled against ‘Made in Israel’ label in the marketing of Ahava Cosmetics, Soda Stream and other products from

    the illegal West Bank settlements. This extends existing labeling requirements of the European Union and Britain in a way that will facilitate the boycott of Israeli Settlement

    products, so Israel’s Foreign Ministry complained that it is “negatively tagging a state through a special marking, according to national-political criteria. Accordingly, this

    is a racist (sic) measure.” In reply: was it racist to oppose SA apartheid by boycotting the state institutions and the companies which made it tick, thus hastening the end of

    official racism?

    Likewise, Israel’s Pretoria embassy spokesperson Hila Stern ratcheted up the rhetoric upon learning of UKZN’s about-face, describing it as a “campaign of intellectual terror.”

    Quite right. When in 2010 US Vice President Joe Biden labeled WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange a terrorist for revealing imperialism’s horrid secrets, and when the US State Department

    kept Nelson Mandela on its books as a terrorist from the early 1960s right through 2008 (when Congress forced a change), there was much these two men could be proud of. The UKZN

    academic activists who raised the stakes by further educating South Africa about solidarity ethics will hopefully continue to ‘terrorise’ the Israeli apartheid regime, just as

    did BDS ‘terrorise’ those on the side of South African apartheid decades ago.

    Bond directs the UKZN Centre for Civil Society and Desai coordinates BDS South Africa.

    South Africa’s dangerously unsafe financial intercourse

    Patrick Bond 26 April 2012

    Just before last weekend’s meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) board in Washington, South Africa's finance minister dropped us an obscure news item: “Gordhan concerned about rand volatility” (Reuters, April 16).

    Hidden away in the business pages, it was nevertheless an important confession. Pretoria can no longer remain in denial about South Africa’s glaring economic HIV+ status, what with our regular breakouts of full-blown financial AIDS, in a world featuring the collapse of so many sickly economies. Indeed, the rampaging plague will infect many more countries now that the IMF has an additional $430 billion to jet around the world with, thanks to careless finance ministers like our Pravin Gordhan.

    Three years ago, his predecessor Trevor Manuel was responsible for lobbying the world to grant the IMF a $500 billion capital boost, aimed at firming up world finance after the 2008 melt. Now the banksters’ pimps are back for more, and even the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – were asked to fork out another $100 billion. Gordhan is on record supporting the bailout, even though the other BRICS haven’t yet paid a cent.

    For once in his life, Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch spoke for the world’s masses when on Monday he tweeted about Britain’s contribution: “Govt sending IMF another £10bn to the euro. Must be mad. Not even US or China chipping in.”

    Stodgy men like Murdoch may not like the ways of the wilder Europeans. And it’s true that the IMF remains full of unrehabilitated financial libertines, whose advice is inevitably to remove protections against monetary malfeasance, especially exchange controls. To paraphrase their advice with a sickening local anti-condom joke, “You can’t enjoy the sweet if the wrapper is still on.”

    Even Nelson Mandela, who mistakenly approved a $750 million IMF loan a few months before our 1994 liberation from political apartheid, adopted the same suicidal philosophy – we may call it 'economic apartheid'. So as Gordhan is correct to finally now lament, the South African currency, the rand, became intensely ‘volatile’ – i.e., crashing dramatically, akin to a heart attack. Face it, that’s what happens when you play the field bare and unprotected, prone to picking up vile contagions from the world’s diseased financial industry, in an intellectual milieu of rampant economic-AIDS denialism.

    Other opportunistic infections are all too obvious: a persistent current account deficit that by early 2009 had given us the reputation of the world’s riskiest of 17 emerging markets, according to Economist gossip. Last year, that status forced up our prime interest rate – the equivalent of a cheap perfume to attract sleazy one-night-stand banksters – to the world’s second-highest level, after Greece.

    SA current account deficit; Economist risk rating; comparative interest rates

    Why have we been so unhygienic in our international economic relations? There were those notoriously bad influences on Mandela at the World Economic Forum in 1992 and then two years later, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus reportedly told him he had to reappoint apartheid’s two main economic managers – both dirty old men with racist, big business swagger – when he took office in May 1994. Perhaps giddy with all the attention he was receiving then, Mandela stupidly agreed.

    So it was SA Reserve Bank governor Chris Stals who, in March 1995, gave us a really bad dose of the virus just at the time the rest of the world was becoming aware of the emerging markets epidemic, a few weeks after Mexico caught economic Slim’s Disease and its currency crashed by two thirds. Stals cut a gaping hole in the only condom we had on at the time, the Finrand (‘Financial rand’), our decade-old system of discouraging capital flight. Within a year, in February 1996, the result was a crash of a third of the rand’s value, ironically catalyzed by a rumour that Mandela was ill.

    Since then, like blood-letting in the 18th century, those promiscuous Pretoria players – the latter-day Lotharios Stals (1989-99), Tito Mboweni (1999-2009) and now Gill Marcus at the SA Reserve Bank and Chris Liebenberg (1994-95), Manuel (1995-2009) and Gordhan at Treasury – have tried to kill the patient by steadily rolling back that condom, loosening exchange controls more than 30 times. It must have felt relaxing to them and their Sandton financial district buddies, but with potentially fatal risk for the rest of us.

    Gordhan (by Zapiro); Marcus; Mboweni (by Zapiro)

    The worst period was 1999-2001 when the largest Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed firms – Anglo, DeBeers, Old Mutual, SA Breweries, Mondi, Investec, Didata and others – were given permission by Manuel to take their party to London, switching financial headquarters and primary stock market listings away from Johannesburg.

    The blood then hemorrhaged: corporate dividends, rich white people’s apartheid-era loot and ‘Black Economic Empowerment’ tycoons’ tenderpreneurship takings (e.g. Mzi Khumalo’s illegal R1 billion+ of capital flight) spurted out of SA at record rates. In 2007, according to economists from Wits University, the capital outflow amounted to more than a fifth of the country’s GDP that year.

    Worse yet, our children will be adversely affected by this generation’s irresponsibility. For in order to pay off the capital-flight financiers, Manuel and Gordhan contracted foreign debt that is now $100 billion higher than the $25 billion Nelson Mandela inherited in 1994 – putting us in danger of reaching mid-1980s levels when South Africa defaulted.

    Each time there is a flare-up of the sickness, instead of staying home and recovering through tightened exchange controls, our financial fanatics cock their hips, raise the Reserve Bank’s repo rate to appear more attractive, and go out for more wild-and-crazy unsafe international monetary intercourse in the multiply-afflicted global capital markets. No wonder, as Gordhan has just complained, there’s extreme volatility in the temperature of the economy (the rand’s value). SA’s currency has crashed by more than 15 percent on six separate occasions: 1996, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2011.

    That’s the worst ongoing currency malady in the world, aside from that fatal case across the Limpopo River, the wretched patient known as Zimdollar who died in January 2009 after Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono gave the country monetary gonorrhea: an inflation rate of trillions of percent. In that sauna-like climate, you can’t just go take a shower to protect yourself from infection, even South African president Jacob Zuma might acknowledge.

    Also revealed last week was the secret behind our local ‘growth’: consumer credit binging, which is just another symptom of the underlying disease. The Standard & Poor’s rating agency – usually not so well regarded for timely recognition of financial f*&!-ups – indiscreetly remarked on rising unsecured personal loans for cars, home improvements, overdrafts and credit cards: “There are signs a bubble is forming… there’s no place in the world where unsecured credit has grown at this pace and there hasn’t been a problem with it.”

    SA foreign debt soars; consumer debt bubble fit to burst

    Our current finance minister, a trained chemist, surely understands these terrible infections. Yet for Gordhan, the cure is simply more globalization, with the vain hope that his intimate partners on Wall Street and the City of London will somehow discover a cure – though all evidence is certainly to the contrary, with Iceland, Ireland, Greece and now Spain keeling over. The Euro itself could be next in the morgue.

    This past weekend’s parties in Washington offered more evidence of politicians’ pathological love of the international financial high life. Not even an AIDS specialist like Dr Jim Yong Kim – the just-named World Bank president who while at the World Health Organisation helped get cheap Anti-Retrovirals to millions of HIV+ Africans – has the skills to end this ideological plague, also known as the Washington Consensus.

    We thought Dr Kim could at least try, after reading a brilliant book he co-edited a decade ago, Dying for Growth, but he’s since been consorting with Washington quacks, trying as hard as he can to deny his earlier diagnoses by claiming the World Bank is now ‘pro-poor’. Ah, the lies that the terminally ill tell themselves – but no one else is fooled.

    None of these fast-lane financiers learnt a lesson in humility from the 2007 firing of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz due to nepotism (high-salaried favours for a girlfriend), nor from the tragically sex-addicted Dominique Strauss-Kahn, formerly IMF managing director, whose Viagra-fuelled orgies left him in a professionally-vegetated state of decay last May. Strauss-Kahn resigned in disgrace but his influence lingers, as the fast-thinning IMF desperately sought the new capital injection, so that his successor Christine Lagarde (herself still under investigation for politico-financial corruption in Paris) can in turn lend more to the European 1% elites to screw their 99%.

    Strauss-Kahn; Zuma and Lagarde; Manuel and Wolfowitz

    This is no harmless Mary Poppins, though Lagarde calls her $430 billion benefaction an ‘umbrella’, to disguise its real role: a sharp stick to jab at ordinary people’s bellies.

    Gordhan is paying a high price for the company he keeps, if the BRICS go along with Lagarde’s request to add to the bank-bailout kitty. Gordhan was asked by Moneyweb’s Alec Hogg about the $100 million Pretoria is expected to contribute to the IMF: “Many African countries went through hell in the 70s and 80s because of conditionality according to these loans. Are you going to try and insist that there is similar conditionality now that the boot is on the other foot, as it were?”

    “Absolutely,” replied hell-raiser Gordhan, “The IMF must be as proactive in developed countries as it is in developing countries. The days of this unequal treatment and the nasty treatment, if you like, for developing countries and politeness for developed countries must pass.”

    Such a ‘proactive’ reversion to ‘nasty’ financial intercourse will be a pain in the ass for workers and poor people in Southern Europe, already victims of those men who, during Strauss-Kahn’s reign, earned the informal nickname International Maid Fornicators.

    In this daredevil milieu, we can only expect Washington’s virus to spread. So it’s long overdue for those svelte swingers Gordhan and Marcus to take some time off to detox and get some overdue sex education. While well-intentioned but inept Keynesian doctors like Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs still search plaintively for an AIDS cure – an unending process that mainly allows the authorities to continue merrily along in their hedonistic ways – it’s time now to start practicing the ABCs: Abstain; Be faithful; and Condomise

    That requires
  • abstaining from further financial liberalization and from paying IMF pimps.

  • Being faithful to poor and working people at home, instead of partying with the ever-unfaithful Goldman Sachs mafia (the ones who hired Mboweni after his 2009 firing); and

  • Condomizing by putting our exchange control system back on as tight as we can.

  • Others have done so since the pandemic hit emerging markets in the late 1990s. As a result, after an initial shock exposure which weakened their immune system, several countries condomized and even defaulted on Odious Debts, and grew stronger and more self-reliant: Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador and Malaysia. Moreover, China and India never removed their exchange-control condom, and are now healthier, bigger and bolder than ever.

    I’m optimistic that South Africans – or at least all those outside the Union Building, the Treasury and Reserve Bank (oh, and Parliament, which appears a lost cause) – can learn these lessons. After all, a caring populace moved, over the past decade, from widespread stigmatization of such afflictions to successful activism in search of affordable treatment, even facing down Big Pharma, the Thabo Mbeki and George W. Bush regimes, and the World Trade Organisation’s Intellectual Property fetish.

    If a Financial Treatment Action Campaign arose here in 2012, as did Occupy Wall Street in the belly of the New York beast last September, it would surely do much more than teach the ABCs. Like those in the first TAC, the activists would force Pretoria to first reverse its Washington-Consensus denialism and immediately provide genuine Anti-FinancialViral therapies at clinics, factories, fields, homes and even shopping centres across the country. It’s South Africa’s turn for a new moral regeneration campaign, but this time one that takes seriously the challenge of economic liberation, instead of the current crew’s fascination with unending financial liberalization.

    Patrick Bond’s recent books are Politics of Climate Justice, Durban’s Climate Gamble and Zuma’s Own Goal.

    Who should be President of the World Bank? One of these - or no one?

    Why Jim Kim should consider resigning as World Bank president-designate

    Promise-breaking at the World Bank, Part 1: Before
    Patrick Bond 5 April 2012

    That 66th birthday month of his, March 2012, was auspicious for adding a little spice to his dreary life, but no, it just can’t last. Born in March 1946 alongside his evil twin, IMF, in Savannah Georgia, after conception in what must have been a rather sleazy New Hampshire hotel (the ‘Bretton Woods’) in mid-1944, the old geezer known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or much better by his nickname World Bank (but let me just use WB), really ought to be considering retirement.

    Not to be ageist (ok just this once), but still, it’s patently obvious that WB’s relentless WashCon ideology is so last-century, so discredited by recent world financial melting, and so durably dangerous in today’s world. His presidents have reflected the worst of the old yankee imperialist mindset. And let’s not even start on IMF’s extremist lads and lass, who in recent years have migrated their austerity dogma from North Africa to Southern Europe and to my native Ireland, meeting growing resistance along the way.

    Even that one moment in 1997-98 when, obviously in mid-life crisis and slightly destabilised by his East Asian buddies’ spills, WB developed a little moral spine and sensibility – witnessed by his chief economist Joseph Stiglitz’s loose talk of a new Post-Washington Consensus – the devil on WB’s right-hand shoulder (named Larry Summers) told his then president James Wolfensohn to boot Stiglitz out, in September 1999, if Wolfensohn wanted to hang around WB for another five years. Order given, and immediately executed.

    More at The Real News

    Why Jim Kim should consider resigning as World Bank president-designate
    Patrick Bond 18 April 2012

    The situation for the many constituencies hopeful about Jim Yong Kim’s ‘election’ as World Bank president is comparable to early 2009.

    Barack Obama entered a US presidency suffering institutional crisis and faced an immediate fork in the road: make the change he promised, or sell out his constituents’ interests by bailing out Wall Street and legitimizing a renewed neoliberal attack on society and ecology, replete with undemocratic, unconstitutional practices suffused with residual militarism. As president-elect, surrounding himself with the likes of Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Paul Volcker, William Gates, Rahm Emmanuel and Hillary Clinton, it was obvious which way he would go.

    Unlike the corporate-oriented politician Obama, by all accounts Jim Kim is a genuine progressive, a wunderkind Harvard-trained physician and anthropologist with a terrific track record of public health management and advocacy, especially against AIDS and TB. So unlike predecessor Robert Zoellick, who in the service of power broke everything he touched since the late 1980s,1 Kim spent the last quarter century building an extraordinary institution, the Boston NGO Partners in Health, and improving another by working at its top level, the ultra-bureaucratic World Health Organisation in Geneva.

    Accomplishing spectacular AIDS and TB breakthroughs required making alliances with grassroots activists, including South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign, to win an historic fight against Big Pharma and the World Trade Organisation’s Intellectual Property rights protections in 2001. The payoff was provision of generic and discounted AIDS medicines to several million poor people at an affordable price, whereas a decade earlier those medicines cost $15,000/patient/year. It was one the greatest recent victories against corporate-facilitated oppression, ranking with the demise of apartheid in 1994 and the rise of Latin America’s centre-left governments since the late 1990s.

    For these reasons, Kim should be proud to come under fire from die-hard, unreconstructed economists like Bill Easterly2 and Lant Pritchett,3 who is forever famous (with plagiarist Summers) for using an internal World Bank bully pulpit to advocate the dumping of toxic waste on low-income people, since after all, Africa “is vastly under-polluted”.4 Alleges AIDS activist Gregg Gonsalves, “Pritchett has vociferously complained about the provision of Anti-Retroviral Therapy in the developing world as a prime example of palliative humane development and misguided philanthropy.”5
    So balance surely requires that instead of just being attacked from the wickedly anti-social and anti-environmental right, Kim receives a constructive critique from the left?

    Indeed we will soon learn whether Kim’s commitment to progressive change is as strong as his record suggests, or whether he will instead repeat his deplorable role in the notorious Dartmouth fraternity hazing scandal where as the College president apparently intimidated by rich alumni and bolshi ‘vomelette’-making students, he did nothing at all, deploying the bizarre excuse, “One of the things you learn as an anthropologist, you don’t come in and change the culture.”6

    We might learn most by watching what happens to the Bank’s fossil fuel portfolio and culture of wanton climate change. The first test is a huge, irrational Kosovo coal-fired powerplant loan he will probably sign off on in his first few weeks on the job. His new underlings are, after all, the main financiers of coal-fired electricity, including their largest project loan ever ($3.75 billion), which was here in South Africa exactly two years ago.7
    The contradictions will be spectacular. The scholar who co-edited the great anti-neoliberal book Dying for Growth will be compelled to actively ignore data (from Christian Aid) which suggest 185 million African deaths in the 21st century will be due to climate change, in addition to immediate coal-related health problems.

    Scientists working for the Environmental Defence Fund found that “between roughly 6000 and 10,700 annual deaths from heart ailments, respiratory disease and lung cancer can be attributed to the 88 coal-fired power plants and companies receiving public international financing”.8 Furthermore, writing in Geotimes on “Health Impacts of Coal,” three other scientists observe the rise in cancers, bone deformation, black lung and other respiratory diseases, sterilization, and kidney disease associated with coal. And they point out, “In the 13th century, the dense, sulfurous air in London attracted the attention of the British royalty, who issued proclamations banning the use of coal in London.”9
    To get Kim to catch up to eight-century old preventative healthcare is going to be impossible given the balance of forces amongst Third World elites in sites like South Africa, within the fossil-addicted World Bank itself, and a few blocks away at the White House and Treasury where mega-energy interests hold enormous sway. This is what multinational capital requires of Kim: a revitalized image for a crucial subsidized financier of coal-fired power plants and carbon markets when both are in extreme disrepute.

    The sickening signs of Kim’s retreat in the face of power were unmistakeable beginning in early April, just after his nomination was announced by Obama. Kim’s book Dying for Growth questioned neoliberalism in part because Washington’s model didn’t actually create broad-based growth, but instead austerity and parasitical finance-oriented GDP ‘growth’. But Kim tried running away from that uncontroversial conclusion, telling an uncritical New York Times journalist, “That book was written based on data from the early and mid-1990s. Our concern was that the vision was not inclusive enough, that it wasn’t, in the bank’s words, ‘pro-poor.’ The bank has shifted tremendously since that time, and now the notion of pro-poor development is at the core of the World Bank.”10

    This is nonsense, of course, as was the follow-up article in The Washington Post last week hyping his candidacy by his co-editors Paul Farmer and John Gershman: “In the 1990s, when the book was researched and written, too many of the world’s poorest had been left behind by the growth of the global economy” but “Thanks in part to Kim’s trailblazing work, development approaches have changed.”

    Huh? Farmer and Gershman provide no evidence of real change, only of rhetoric, using a throwaway line in a 2006 World Bank World Development Report: “We now have considerable evidence that equity is also instrumental to the pursuit of long-term prosperity in aggregate terms for society as a whole.” But such banal phrasing can be found in Bank reports right through neoliberal era, as Bank economists regularly wrote left (putting a ‘human face’ on structural adjustment) so they could walk right.

    Farmer and Gershman brag of “greater investments in areas such as health and education, which help countries grow.” But the week before they made this emollient claim, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reported a 3 percent decline in Overseas Development Aid by rich countries in 2011.11 Reflecting on such cuts, the Brookings Institute produced a major study last August, concluding that “The future of bilateral aid to basic education is at risk, placing the educational opportunities of many of the world’s poorest girls and boys on the line.”12

    As the Education for All Global Monitoring Report blog complained in early April, “the World Bank, the most important donor to basic education, massively decreased its support after a boost in 2009 and 2010” – whereas the poorest countries actually need “$16 billion in aid annually to meet their basic education goals by 2015” (of around $5 billion in aid to education, they presently only get $2 billion). The Bank’s website shows that its own highly-subsidised loans for basic education to the poorest countries fell from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $400 million in 2011, a level last seen a decade earlier.13

    As for health, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ashamedly conceded last November that it would offer no new grants through 2014 because of funding shortfalls.14 Obama is to blame, in large part, for these aid cuts.

    I’ve met both Farmer and Gershman, and like everyone else, I immensely respect their traditional role: haranguing powerful institutions to do less harm. What they did in the Washington Post was the opposite, offering excuses for the World Bank and its status quo ideology because their friend is about to take over.

    What might Kim do to change the Bank? As he told Bank directors who interviewed him last week, “The Bank is an unparalleled resource for its members, not only for financing but also knowledge and convening power. These strengths were apparent in the Bank’s timely response to the recent financial crisis. The Bank must remain an effective partner in strengthening the foundations and fairness of the global economy, and in ensuring that the benefits of growth are widely shared.”15

    It is just too tempting to rearrange these words to get a more honest view, one Kim probably would have agreed with not long ago: “The Bank is an unparalleled force of social and ecological destruction, not only in its financing on behalf of multinational capital, but also its lack of real development knowledge and its overweening power. These flaws were apparent in the Bank’s surprised response to the recent financial crisis, which it helped cause by increasing indebtedness, vulnerability and financial deregulation through decades of loan conditionality and an ideology of financial liberalisation. The Bank has systematically weakened the foundations and fairness of the global economy, and ensured that the benefits of growth are enjoyed only by the top 1%.”
    In his interview, Kim went on to argue, “The World Bank has taken steps to realign voting power to increase the voice and responsibility of developing countries in the governance of this institution.”16

    But what kind of steps, and who got stepped on? The last time such realignment happened, in April 2010, the watchdog Bretton Woods Project noted that Africa’s vote rose less than 0.2 percent, and domination by the rich North remains formidable: “In reality then, high-income countries will cling onto almost 61 per cent of the vote, with middle-income countries getting under 35 percent, and low-income countries on just 4.46 percent.”17

    Kim’s weasel-like distortions are disturbing, because in the global justice movement, the now common-sense analysis of imperialism’s multilateral institutions is that because efforts to reform them over the past quarter century consistently failed, they are better off decommissioned, as part of what Walden Bello of Focus on the Global South has termed ‘deglobalization’.18

    If instead, Kim relegitimizes the World Bank the way that Obama has done US imperialism, and if it is apparent he and his otherwise trustworthy friends Farmer and Gershman stoop to fibbing in defense of his career, then we have a great step backwards to contemplate.

    In Obama’s case it took 30 months before the Occupy Movement finally sprang up to contest his reactionary economic policies and ultra-rich beneficiaries. It better not take so long to mount a struggle against Jim Kim’s World Bank, for too many lives depend upon weakening that killer institution. The only constructive thing Kim can do at this stage, I suspect, is immediately tender his resignation and start a run on the Bank.19

    Patrick Bond directs the Centre for Civil Society in Durban:

    Nigeria: A Bill of Rights for road, marine and rail users needed

    Fidelis Allen First Published in Pambazuka 7 April 2012

    A bill of rights that protects Nigerians from insecurity and violence on the roads is also needed alongside the coming bill of rights for air travellers.

    ‘Travellers Bill of Rights for the unfriendly sky’ was the title of a recent report in a daily newspaper in Nigeria, in which the civil aviation authority notes that Nigerian air travellers will soon heave a sigh of relief. [1] Now that frequent fliers will soon have a bill of rights that will protect them from the abuse of unnecessary delays, unfriendly flying and so on in Nigeria, can we also expect a bill or rights for road travellers who are mostly poor Nigerians without the cash to fly? The roads are bad, full of pot holes, infested with kidnappers, armed robbers, gas or fumes from cars that are not roadworthy, money-extorting police officers and so on.

    The lots of the road traveller are indeed diverse and troubling, within cities, inter-city, inter-state and even in the countryside. Unmistakably, aviation matters fall within the exclusive list of the federal legislative divisions in Nigeria. Road and marine transportation however are generally areas in which all three tiers of local, state and federal government are currently free to engage with service delivery. Unfortunately, it seems that policies, rules, regulations and laws in this sector sometimes portray a dangerous class orientation in Nigeria. The coming Bill is not a bad one. But those who fly are those basically living above the line separating rich from poor. At least, this is an assumption that seems real. After all, how many poor people on the national minimum wage of N18,000 can afford a domestic flight from say, Port Harcourt to Lagos or Abuja. For N18,000 is also the average amount needed for a single adult flying on these domestic routes. Road transportation remains the only alternative for the poor.

    In January this year, a mass transit bus that left Port Harcourt for Abuja met its waterloo around the Lokoja axis. Passengers were not only robbed of their monies and personal belongings; all the girls in the bus were raped by the thieves, an experience that is now becoming common on the roads. I cannot forget my own experience in January 2007 on my way from Lagos. I needed to be in Port Harcourt the following morning, do some transactions and return to Lagos, but it was late and I could not catch a flight from Lagos that evening. The alternative was a night bus, which I gladly but fearfully boarded. Just somewhere after Ore, for those familiar with that road, at a very bad spot, where the driver had to slow down, suddenly young men with guns started jumping into the bus from the front. The bus had just one door adjacent to the driver’s seat. The disappearance of the driver and conductor was also swift, shocking and magical, leaving us alone with the thieves who numbered about 16. It was the first time I had ever had such an experience on a night journey. The thieves ordered every one out after emptying our pockets of money. I remember a particular woman whom they insisted must give them N300,000 which they claimed she had. This went on for close to one hour. Eventually we were all asked to lie on one another in the middle of the road, on which trucks and other vehicles were supposed to be plying, with our eyes closed or level to the ground.

    The Nigerian police came ten minutes after the thieves successfully robbed us. Fortunately, none of the women in the bus were raped. But the memory is unpalatable. And I vowed to myself never to travel by road nor undertake night journeys again in my life. It took an extra 24 hours to arrive in Port Harcourt; a journey that should have ended seven hours after the incident. This was because we eventually had to spend the whole night at that spot, as we did not know the whereabouts of our driver and conductor. The trauma, devastation and frustration were enough to decide, as I did, never to travel in the night again. Yet there are many others who cannot take such a decision. They are probably getting robbed at other times too. Insecurity on the roads will be the next monster that will mar the Nigerian nation if nothing is done now.

    We cannot quantify the value of effective security and smoothness of the roads for road travellers. The local economy and prosperity at the level of individual economic trading concerns - even for farmers who need to transport their farm produce to neighbouring villages, towns or markets - currently depends mainly on unsafe roads and crude marine transportation. Another dimension to this is the rate of automobile accidents on Nigerian roads. Most of the time, it is because road users are either trying to avoid bad spots, are driving at top speed for fear of robbery attack, or driving cars that do not receive regular maintenance. Alcohol plays a negative role as well. The public transport operators are not excluded from the problems. Marginal public regulation and control to ensure standards does not only add a dangerous dimension, it has become rationalised with inefficiency and poor service delivery by government workers in relevant ministries at the state and federal government levels. The local government councils constitute a different problem area. They set up task forces that become a problem for the free-flow of traffic for road users on inter-state or inter-local government journeys.

    The rail system has long broken down. But how did we get here? This is something working in many parts of the world. For Nigeria, the rail system was basically a colonial creation to facilitate transportation of agricultural produce from the hinterland to the ports for easy export. It was not intended to serve the local domestic transportation needs, which is why one must keep wondering why the post-colonial state in Nigeria has deteriorated so badly in service delivery. Governments are fast withdrawing from public service delivery on the excuse of privatisation. Yet, there are many areas where this is not working. The responsibility of fixing the roads is not any private investors. Maybe eventually, the roads will be privatised, at which point one can be sure that some poor people will never think of travelling again. Resources for effective and efficient air, marine, road and rail transportation in Nigeria are available. This has been the truth, especially since the Nigerian state began to flaunt itself as oil resource rich. It is clear that the oil resource has only encouraged corruption and class-oriented programmes. It is no surprise then that only the rich can fly in Nigeria.

    Recently I was in the city of Geneva where the tram, which is free for commuters, is powered with energy generated from a lake in the city. It was amazing, but it called my attention to the wroth in Nigerian cities’ transportation deficiencies, where the numbers of cars alone emit dangerous substances that can kill residents faster than any other disease. The poor are left to solve their own problems while the rich: oil block owners, oil workers, politicians in Abuja, States and local governments, local petty bourgeois, foreign capitalists, top civil servants, some neoliberal local and foreign professional NGO practitioners and so on, are now seemingly being able to extract a bill of rights for travellers from the political class. But who will do the same for road travellers? Who takes responsibility for the wroth in the country’s road, marine and rail transport systems? The problem is even worse for riverine states and communities like Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Lagos, Cross Rivers and so on, where villages separated by water do not even have well organised transport systems facilitated by government to reduce the pain of the poor. In some of these villages, for instance in Rivers State, oil companies make huge money from oil wells, but leave their host communities stranded with nothing, not even the assistance needed in the area of inter-village transportation of goods and persons. A bill of rights that protects Nigerians from insecurity on the roads, compels government to fix the roads, resuscitate or build a modern rail system, ensures a developed marine transport system and so on, is also needed alongside the coming bill of rights for air travellers in Nigeria.

    Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

    Fidelis Allen,PhD, is based at the Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.

    Please send comments to or comment online at Pambazuka News.

    Kebble, Crony Capitalism 2.0 and the Wretched of South Africa

    Crony capitalism in South Africa - discussion on Redi Thlabi's Radio 702 talkshow
    Political Economist, Patrick Bond, penned an insightful article on how cronyism in South Africa is alive and well. He used one of the most infamous recent example, that of failed and disgraced mining magnate ‑ Brett Kebble. Bond goes on to illustrate how the naked cronyism of Kebble, still infests South African life beyond the grave.
    Listen to Audio

    Patrick Bond 4 April 2012

    Brett Kebble and his advisee, Jacob Zuma

    Do Pretoria and Johannesburg deserve the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities along the ancient Jordan River which were, according to The Book of Genesis, consumed by fire and brimstone as punishment for sinful hedonism?

    Etymologically, Sodom – today just a salt pan at the Dead Sea – comes from ‘fortified’ and Gomorrah meant ‘deep’ with ‘copious water.’ So the names match nicely, given the respective catastrophes besetting Pretoria’s police – national commissioners Jackie Selebi and Bheki Cele implicated in corruption with a potential third, Richard Mdluli, nearly there – and Joburg’s goldmines: Acid Mine Drainage; a corrupt Paris firm’s 2001-06 water commercialization (causing a decade’s worth of Soweto community protests); and at the city’s main post-apartheid water source in Lesotho’s dams, notorious eco-destructive graft.

    Sodom and Gomorrah initially existed in an Eden-type setting on the Jordan River (this, of course, a couple of millennia before Israel occupied the West Bank, stealing all the good land and water). Before sin became pervasive, the Jordan Valley was politically comparable to at least the image of a contemporary Rainbow Nation, one born in 1994 of heroic struggle after a national liberation movement overcame apartheid crimes against humanity, led by Saint Nelson Mandela.

    Eighteen years later, with the scale of state-related corruption reaching R25 billion per year, according to the Special Investigating Unit, and private-sector corruption at least twice that according to Transparency-South Africa, God’s wrath against the rulers of Pretoria and Johannesburg appears overdue.

    Good riddance, Brett Kebble
    Why, then, are the relatively minor machinations of the late Brett Kebble during the late 1990s and early 2000s of such enduring interest? (He ripped off maybe a billion and a half rand in his decade of CEO chaos.)

    Historians may well decide that Kebble’s career represented a kind of diamond-encrusted-gold-ringed finger rudely pulled from a cracking Mbeki-era dyke – already shaking at the foundations after the Mandela-era Arms Deal – thus swamping the heart and soul of the African National Congress (ANC) leadership with financial malfeasance and political rot.

    Kebble was, after all, extremely good at his game, up to the point the inverted pyramid crashed in mid-2005. More brazenly than any other previously-and-still-empowered South African, he utterly scammed the new political elite, investors and the cultural crowd with his patriotic-white-friend-of-black-empowerment-and-the-arts hustle. That’s why a critique on the political terrain that Allan Kolski Horwitz chooses in the parody play Comrade Babble, does so much collateral damage to South Africa’s multiple opportunists.

    Though the wreckage Kebble left was extensive, he was killed at the remarkably young age of 41, and is remembered amongst financier peers mainly for having run into the ground the once-proud mining houses JCI, Western Areas and Randgold. Summing up his contribution to South African entrepreneurship, veteran business editor Jim Jones recalls,

    Kebble’s modus operandi was the same as that of many fraudsters. He quietly transferred and sold shares in London-listed Randgold & Resources (R&R) to pay pressing creditors, but concealed those transfers so as to fool creditors and shareholders of JCI and R&E into believing their claims against the public companies were backed by R&R shares worth R1.2 billion. And he quietly sold a significant part of JCI’s shareholding in gold company Western Areas for another few hundred million rands. Then there were shares, worth hundreds of millions, in uranium hopeful Afrikander Lease, in Harmony and Anglo Platinum, which have disappeared without trace.

    The most detailed autopsy of the scamming was by Barry Sergeant, whose book Brett Kebble: The Inside Story, reveals how much was stripped through unsound financial engineering:

    the uneasy truth of the overall matter is that, under Kebble, JCI itself was a gigantic slush fund. A thorough forensic examination and analysis of the JCI group accounts from 1997, including deconsolidation and reconstruction of the accounts, revealed that JCI had posted total losses of R792 million from 1997 to 2004. This is simply staggering, given that at no time during this entire period did JCI have any form of normalised income…

    Sweltering under his own flawed delusions, Kebble was forced to fritter about, blowing his off-key clarion, moving from one rats-and-mice deal to the next, concocting one irregular transaction after another. The virtuoso moved into a jejune phase of his business career, seemingly determined to prove that when measured as a conventional businessman, he was a complete and utter disaster.

    But he got away with it for way too long, thanks to the lack of regulator oversight, as well as the blindness of South Africa’s business journalists, with the exception of noseweek’s Martin Welz and The Citizen’s Paul Kirk, both of whom made it to Kebble’s ‘hit list’.

    Because of slack bureaucrats and newspapers, not much was evident to the outside world until mid-2003. Though his firms were in negative equity in 1999 and personally he was technically insolvent as early as 2001, Kebble’s disasters multiplied mostly under cover. Finally in August 2005, the deathly-ill mining houses were stripped from his control by his leading creditor, Investec, and his main outside investor, the R220 billion Allen Gray fund which owned around a fifth of the three Kebble-controlled firms. (Other Randgold shareholders in turn sued Investec for continuing Kebble’s Ponzi scheming long, after his firms should have been eased out of management’s hands.)

    A few weeks later came the near-fatal shooting of Allen Gray investigator Stephen Mildenhall, so ordered by Kebble because of his critical audit of JCI and Randgold books.

    Then on 28 September 2005, Kebble suffered what the National Prosecuting Authority termed an ‘assisted suicide’, shocking South Africa. Why did he go in this convoluted manner? The man who hired the shooters, Clinton Nassif, “was looking for means of killing Kebble in a way that would not look like a suicide, so that the insurance could still pay out and look after his family,” Nassif’s main assistant testified in court, confirming Kebble’s scamming orientation right to the very end.

    Indemnity from prosecution was given to the three killers, but it was the underworld crime boss Glenn Agliotti – a dear friend of then Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi (‘finish en klaar’) – who confessed to have been the main suicide assister. He nevertheless won acquittal from Judge Frans Kgomo, and the whole episode of prosecuting Kebble’s death still reflects incredibly badly on South African politics, policing and justice.

    Kgomo referred to Mario Puzo’s mafia novel The Godfather: “The trickery and shenanigans practised ... as demonstrated in that book was demonstrated by this family, the Kebbles.” In his judgment, Kgomo continued, “‘The Don’ was Brett Kebble, the ‘consiglieri’ was John Stratton, the ‘caporegime’ was the accused, the ‘lower caporegime’ was Clinton Nassif and the ‘button men’ were [self-confessed hitmen] Mikey Schultz and bouncers Nigel McGurk and Faizel Smith.”

    But police and prosecutorial incompetence – or worse, conspiracy to sabotage the case – left Kebble’s murder, by seven bullets at near point-blank range in his top-of-the-range Mercedes late one spring night in suburban Johannesburg, shrouded in dust.

    To add to the confusion, even after Kebble’s financial fall and disreputable death, a horde of politicians and businessmen proudly considered themselves as friends. Consider this partial list of high-profile attendees of Kebble’s October 2005 Cape Town funeral: Essop Pahad, David Gleason, Brigitte Radebe, Saki Macozoma, Peter Gray, Mafika Mkwanazi, Tokyo Sexwale, Tony Yengeni, Ebrahim Rasool, Mo Shaik, Pam Golding, Nomaindia Mfeketo, Limpho Hani, Mbulelo Goniwe, Baleka Mbete and Dali Tambo.

    The pallbearers were ANC youth leaders Lunga Ncwana, Songezo Mjongile, Andile Nkuhlu and Sharif Pandor.

    But Kebble’s damage at a systemic level is far more impressive, especially given the loose morals of the man who pulled off what was perhaps South Africa’s worst-ever corporate mauling, on the watch of managers from major financial institutions like Allen Gray, who watched it happen in slow motion, again and again, between 1997 and 2005.

    As an aside, it always makes me chuckle to read, repeatedly, how South Africa’s financial system is judged one of the world’s most healthy and well managed – ranking fourth in the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Competitiveness Report – while thinking of how the major banks and investment houses sunk pension and insurance funds down Kebble’s black hole of corruption.

    Charming Kebble’s financial scamming
    Seducing politicos and investors alike, the Kebble charisma, drilled in early at St Andrews boarding school and then the University of Cape Town Law School, was apparently mesmerizing. As Chris Barron explained in the Sunday Times shortly before Kebble’s murder,

    He’s extremely urbane: impeccably dressed and groomed, a polished talker with an accent to match. He plays the great entertainer well. He has a good line in jokes to suit every occasion (even down to a private secretary called Meininghaus), and is clearly a man of culture. He quotes Shakespeare, is a nimble pianist and pays serious money for serious art. Then, of course, he’s clever. His brain operates on a higher level. He can interpret a balance sheet at a glance, make lightning fast mental calculations, spot the gap and visualise the shortest way through it.

    Kebble came of age in a time, before the 2002-08 world commodities boom and during the initial debt-loaded-dealing era of black empowerment, when any smart mining house was considering disinvestment (not least for huge forthcoming environmental liabilities including Acid Mine Drainage) and when any huckster could move in. As Barron recalls,

    Analysts and journalists were swept along as much by his polished persona as by a gung-ho, devil-may-care attitude that made the local mining world as exciting as during the heady days of Barney Barnato. If they hadn’t been so busy laughing at his jokes, admiring his fancy fingerwork on the ivories and his ability to quote Shakespeare, they might have been more sceptical and noticed vaguely disturbing signs.

    As Barron continues, the SA financial industry stood exposed as inexperienced rubes:

    From the start he was a heavy share trader, trading up to a million Rand Leases shares a day. It was a tendency that should have sounded a warning. The way he took over Randgold and others was impressive, but it was essentially pushing numbers round a board, not building solid shareholder value. There was no cash in sight. He was simply using one company to take over another by transferring shares. Admittedly value was being added for shareholders along the way, but how much in relation to the value being added to Kebble family interests was a question that the sheer complexity of the structure Kebble was creating made almost impossible to answer.

    The first disaster, remarks Barron, did not trip up Kebble for more than a few weeks:

    SA investors barred from foreign stocks saw Kebble’s West African mines as the next best thing to Bre-X, and that virtually every local analyst thought Kebble could do no wrong pushed Randgold shares from R4 to R41.50 in 1997. Share options worth millions were granted to the Randgold directors before the Bre-X bubble burst and Randgold shares plummeted to R2.

    Kebble responded to failure by raising the stakes:

    Years of uncritical adulation had fed Kebble’s always incipient arrogance to the point where it had become uncontrollable. In terms of the mining business he was still an upstart, but he intimidated those with far more experience who disagreed with him. He phoned fund managers and demand to know why they were selling Randgold or related shares.

    As if to underline the naivety of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange crew, says Barron,

    Rather than accuse Kebble of gross unprofessionalism, analysts still somewhat starry-eyed over his virtuoso personality tut-tutted that this was merely a case of over-enthusiasm, of wanting to move too quickly because to Kebble “slow is boring”… [T]here then came Kebble’s cavalier use of money owing to shareholders of Randfontein, a company in which he had a minority stake, to add cashflow to a Kebble family mine, Western Areas. Still excuses were found for his behaviour, still directors and advisers gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    Barry Sargeant picks up the story:

    JCI’s auditors throughout the relevant period, Charles Orbach & Company, could well argue that the accounts of JCI and its subsidiaries complied with all the technical rules that auditors are expected to apply, but there can be no question that the economic substance of JCI’s accounts was unmitigated trash. Had they been presented on a see-through basis, as in the various appendixes to this book, JCI would have been stampeded by entire kennels of fiduciary watchdogs, including the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board, the JSE (which, ironically, has a special committee to monitor accounts), the Financial Services Board and the full gamut of law enforcement agencies. The overweening naivety of these various oversight entities will remain both unthinkable and unpalatable.

    One reason he got away with it for so long was that Kebble had an awe-inspiring capacity to not only drop names of political heavyweights, but to deposit small fortunes into their bank accounts.

    Playing politics with poison
    In 2010, thanks to yet another leaked police tape, much more was finally understood regarding Kebble’s strategic maneuvres. He located himself directly within the personality divide between the Mbeki and Zuma camps, a fissure that imploded the ANC during ‘eight days in September 2008’, as Frank Chikane’s book has it. The palace coup was justified by Zuma’s men, on grounds he was being unfairly abused by Mbeki’s organs of the state.

    Kebble’s so-called ‘voice from the grave’ tape, recorded in the office of crime intelligence commander Mulangi Mphego at police headquarters in Pretoria in 2003, allowed Mail&Guardian journalists Jackie Mapiloko and Sam Sole to trace some links directly to the president of Interpol, SA Police Commissioner Selebi, who was later imprisoned for corruption charges:

    In the meeting, Kebble repeats and fleshes out claims he had already made in private – that he was a victim of an abuse of office by former director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka and his Scorpions investigators… It is clear from the tape that [Kebble right-hand man John] Stratton was in regular contact with Mphego – whom he calls “Mphegs” – and was providing him with information from Kebble’s own private intelligence network. In the meeting Kebble links Ngcuka to the same group of alleged power-brokers who were to emerge in the hoax email allegations and in the so-called Zuma tapes that scotched the Zuma prosecution. They include businessmen Saki Macozoma and Mzi Khumalo and Ngcuka’s wife, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka…

    In the meeting Kebble makes it clear that he believes Ngcuka’s investigation of cases against him and his father – over two separate cases of alleged corporate fraud – were legally unfounded and politically motivated. Kebble, who emerges from the two-hour meeting as an astute and polished communicator, tells Mphego and Lalla:

    “I knew from a fairly early stage – because he came to tell me – that Mzi [Khumalo] had a close relationship with Ngcuka. He came and said, ‘You know these claims you’ve got against me [Kebble’s company JCI was seeking to enforce a R30-million debt against Khumalo] … I know Bulelani very well and maybe if we can settle this thing he won’t be so hard on you …’ I then started to look very closely at who was around Ngcuka and found these guys had a pattern of operating. They would get together regularly – Mzi, Saki, Moss Ngoasheng [former president Thabo Mbeki’s former economic adviser] … and Bulelani and friends – get together and drink heavily every Friday night … and hatch their plots… The reason for this attack [on me] is that Bulelani’s office is being abused. The office is used not in pursuit of justice; it was used to settle scores, commercially and politically.”

    As Mapiloko and Sole continue, Kebble took his war with the Mbeki cronies very seriously:

    Kebble told the spy chiefs that he was about to go public with his allegations and added that he was “very grateful for the guidance and help you have given us”… Of significance is that the meeting took place about a month after Mphego had also secretly filmed an interview with Glenn Agliotti, in which the policeman confronted Agliotti about claims that he was using money from the Kebbles to pay off Selebi. In that interview Agliotti said he had used Selebi’s name to get money out of Kebble, but Mphego makes no mention of this in his interview with Kebble and Stratton. Instead, he approached Agliotti’s role obliquely, hinting that some of Kebble’s associations might be undermining his credibility… Kebble said: “We’ve never paid any money to anybody for any favours … I put money in to fund the ANC lavishly, I fund the ANC Youth League lavishly.”

    Corrupting the youth
    According to the SA Revenue Service, Kebble’s estate owed a bill of R180 million, and Randgold alone demanded R290 million from the dead man’s assets. The decade of decadence left vast claims by jilted investors, not to mention the huge shareholder losses in corporate securities that Kebble had turned into loo paper. The firms responsible for winding up Kebble’s liabilities came up short, holding only R40 million in left-over personal assets listed in his will.

    How would the trustees squeeze a bit more money back for Kebble’s creditors and the taxman? Even after he was effectively bankrupt, Kebble continued to dish out financial favours, for which the trustees demanded repayment. The list of 17 recipients of last-gasp Kebble largesse, and claims made against them by the estate’s trustees, is fascinating, and helps explain how the ANCYL’s investment arm had tens of millions of rands at its disposal by the mid-2000s:

    • a variety of ANC branches received R4.6 million;
    • the ANC Youth League itself got R1.3 million;
    • ANCYL leader Lunga Ncwana and the family trust received more than R10 million;
    • ANCYL national executive committee member Songezo Mjongile received nearly R850 000; and
    • approximately R500 000 was owed each by ANCYL secretary general Sihle Zikalala, Thuthukile Mazibuko Skweyiya (wife of former minister Zola), and the late trade union leader and ANC member of parliament John Gomomo.

    The disgraced former ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus was charged with R100 000, and though he claimed it was for media work he did for Kebble, for whatever reason he agreed to repay the full amount. So did the estate of Gomomo (R480 000), marking yet another great labour leader’s descent into the hell of class-treason. It was also reported that ANC politician and businessman Nissen repaid R370 000 and that the Democratic Alliance repaid R250 000 it received in 2004.

    But the ANC refused to repay on grounds, as we consider in the conclusion, that Kebble got value for money. Court records show that some of Kebble’s payments to the ruling party were routed through Sekunjalo CEO Dr Iqbal Surve, youth league member Lunga Ncwana, the Sandton Park Plaza and the Balalaika hotel. Kebble’s payments to the ANCYL included R400 000 for its 2004 Western Cape provincial conference, R335000 for the tombstone of Mxolisi Majombozi and an “end-of-year road show”, and R30000 for “travelling and accommodation expenses” for league officials.

    Others did more venal heavy lifting for Kebble, and were paid accordingly. According to Jim Jones, “Kebble sought to burnish his public image by channelling about R30-million through journalist David Gleason when Gleason acquired nominal ownership of Finance Week. That venture folded, but Gleason continued to deliver favourable press coverage or attacks on those with whom Kebble had commercial disputes.”

    Although as Kebble bragged, the ANCYL’s Lembede Investment Holdings was given lavish support – or some say was manipulated – by Kebble, recent president Julius Malema pleaded ignorance: “We don’t even know what Kebble look like.” (Malema was one of the most visible to make inroads into Crony Capitalism 3.0, but the failure of 2.0 is probably a prerequisite, one that Kebble assisted through his version of Black Economic Empowerment suicide, as noted below.)

    But his predecessor, Fikile Mbalula (now sports minister), the Malema ally who is anticipated to run against incumbent Gwede Mantashe for general secretary of the ANC in December 2012, was a well-lubricated and occasionally-grateful beneficiary. Interviewed for journalist Mandy Weiner’s exhaustive book Killing Kebble, the dead man’s butler, Andrew Minaar, remarked of Mbalula: “He’d come here and in like an hour he’d finished off a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label.”

    Talking to Weiner, Kebble personal assistant Laura Sham also recalled Mbalula’s posse: “They’d be fine when they arrived, but the more they drank, they’d become hooligans. I knew Fikile drank quite a bit. They behaved like absolute hooligans.”

    (After the Mail&Guardian reported all this, Mbalula sued for defamation and decisively lost.)

    Sham explained the ambivalent relationship Kebble had with the ANCYL: “He gave them R4-million for their conference one year. Brett’s name was in the papers a lot at the time and he wasn’t looking good. They actually said to him ‘please don’t come to the conference’ after he funded their conference … Brett came into the office and he was so downtrodden. He said to me: ‘How quickly they forget’ … It was a slap in the face.”

    Denying the slight, Mbalula told the M&G’s Mandy Rossouw that he thought Kebble had been treated fairly: “He wanted political capital out of that relationship to advance his business interests and the youth league wanted to advance its business interests.”

    The most corrupted of all?
    The highest-profile cretins within South Africa’s unauthentic bourgeoisie may well be Zuma nephew Khulubuse, Zuma lawyer Michael Hulley and Mandela grandson Zondwa, because of the economic, labour and ecological volcanoes they willingly inherited from Pamodzi Gold and amplified under the name Aurora Empowerment Systems. But the grandfather of ANC corruption via black business chicanery must be Mzi Khumalo, whom Kebble met thanks to the latter’s former legal secretary, Judy Sexwale, who is the wife of Tokyo.

    The ill-fated Kebble-Khumalo relationship was sealed in a 1996 joint purchase of JCI in which Anglo American sold them more than a third of the firm for R54 per share. Although he is discredited by taking tens of millions of rands of the bankrupt Kebble’s money, Gleason’s account in a puff-piece Business Day obituary provides some background:

    Responding to Anglo American’s decision to unbundle its ownership of JCI in favour of black ownership, Kebble cobbled together an empowerment consortium and twinned himself with former Robben Islander Mzi Khumalo. After an agonisingly long struggle with a group led by Cyril Ramaphosa – during which JCI’s share price climbed to levels never again seen – Khumalo and Kebble triumphed. But the price was high, not only in money terms. When Khumalo transgressed corporate governance norms inside the house, a long-simmering antagonism between the two men burst into a conflagration that cost Khumalo his chairmanship and left the relationship in permanent animus.

    By 1998, after the 50 percent crash of share prices on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange caused by contagion from the world emerging market crisis, they were in trouble and asset-stripped JCI. Khumalo was accused of feeding the best gold mines back to Anglo at a deep discount (the shares were down to R37 then) and later ripping off Harmony gold mines by prematurely cashing in Simane partner shares from a black empowerment gift made by Kebble allegedly worth more than R1 billion. The case went to court in 2000.

    According to a report by financial journalist Sherilee Bridge,

    JCI's property assets, including its Gold Fields Properties, were unbundled into a new entity called Mzi Khumalo Enterprises with R140 million in cash, Kebble said.

    “It was highly unpopular at the time but we considered it an empowerment deal and wanted him to have something to start afresh,” he said. The [court] documents allege that Khumalo never returned the shares or paid for them but that the shares were unlawfully transferred into a trust account, believed to be the Khumalo Family Trust, or sold on without permission… “What happened to Mzi was like winning the lottery,” Kebble said…

    The Scorpions are investigating two former officials of the Industrial Development Corporation alleged to have accepted a bribe in the Harmony-Simane empowerment deal. The empowerment deal was plunged in controversy after the shares sold to Simane were thought to have been sold on despite a lock-in clause that prohibited this.

    But by 2002, on Moneyweb’s radio show, Kebble explained how he thought a bust loan was the basis for Khumalo’s own manipulation of the state:

    ALEC HOGG: You’re bringing up Mzi Khumalo, you’re bringing up a score to be settled – what proof do you have of that?
    BRETT KEBBLE: Mzi owes us a lot of money and he has not paid us.
    ALEC HOGG: What’s a lot of money?
    BRETT KEBBLE: Well, close on R50m. So he’s avoided paying us for many years. There’s a lot of interest on this money, so it gets to around R50m. He came and had a meeting with me one day at the time when this matter was being, as I said, plucked from the hands of the FSB.
    ALEC HOGG: All right, let’s go back a little. This has to do with the share price, or the allegations of share price manipulation of four years ago?
    BRETT KEBBLE: Correct. So we heard one day via the media that the Director of Public Prosecutions was going to investigate the matter further and would then make a pronouncement. At about the same time I got a visit from Mzi Khumalo, who told me that he was a great friend of Bulelani Ngcuka’s, that they spent a lot of time together and that he could influence certain outcomes with this individual, and that Bulelani was looking for a big, white fish to fry and that I was going to be that fish.

    Whether true or not, a deal was done with Khumalo to settle for the R30 million in 2004. And yet within a few years, Khumalo was himself fried as Ngcuka was edged out of power by the Zuma Tsunami. In mid 2011, the SA Reserve Bank attempted to attach Khumalo’s assets and shares worth R1 billion as penalty for violating exchange controls in collusion with Deutsche Bank’s London office. By late 2011, Khumalo’s main SA vehicle, Metallon Corporation, was liquidated. Earlier, his hotel business – Joob Joob Investments – was shut down because he didn’t repay R27 million while building the Zimbali hotel north of Durban, in what is Africa’s most exclusive gated community.

    Khumalo’s hutzpah, over-the-top scamming and utilization of friends in high places was so similar to Kebbble’s rise and demise, that one must tip a hat to the bitter teacher.

    Forging art empowerment
    What we know of another crucial but soon soured partnership is Kebble’s love for high art. The Brett Kebble Art Award started in 2003 with R100 000 for the winner, a prize doubled in 2004 to R200 000. His personal collection – 142 pieces mostly collected during the post-2001 splurge when he was bankrupt – fetched R54 million at auction, including much-desired pieces by famous South Africans Maggie Laubscher, Irma Stern, Walter Battis, William Kentridge and Alexis Preller. It was far less than the R100 million anticipated by trustees desperate to pray creditors.

    Kebble’s empowerment rhetoric notwithstanding, there was apparently only one major black artist’s works in the stable, and those two George Pemba paintings were suspected by noseweek to have been ripped off by Kebble from JCI, whose corporate collection had been reduced to “very little of value,” according to a valuer in 2006.

    Aside from noseweek, a sole critical voice spoke out publicly against Kebble’s art sponsorship, and then only mildly: Sean O’Toole in the Mail&Guardian in 2004. He remarked upon Kebble’s

    radically revamped, steroid-enhanced art award (double the prize money and run by a professional, reputable curator). Quite befitting the pomp that surrounds the award, the do was at Kilimanjaro, an ostentatious supper club in Johannesburg’s maximum-security Melrose Arch complex. Visual art consultant Clive van den Berg, the newly appointed curator, delivered a carefully worded and credible outline of his vision for the award, before a choreographed piece of music announced Kebble’s arrival. The polite hush became even politer. Both jovial and eloquent, Kebble expanded on his passionate interest in art, which he said offered a “soft refuge for people such as myself.”

    “I can’t imagine my life without art,” he said from a lonely circle of light in an otherwise darkened room. “This award is my way of putting something back in for the enjoyment.” Power has the uncanny ability to induce awe. When Kebble finally opened the microphone to the floor, he was greeted with an odd mixture of polite kowtowing and meaningless silence…

    For the young, the impecunious and the marginalised, the question of ethics has not even featured. And why should it? Only a fool or a William Blake-like mystic would say “thanks, but no thanks” to a first prize of R200 000. This is not to sidestep the crux of the dilemma, succinctly paraphrased by polemical magazine noseweek: “One would have to be extraordinarily naive to see the awards as anything but a shameless attempt to divert public attention from the... charges of fraud and share manipulation Kebble and his dad Roger are facing”…

    Kebble stared me down before replying: “I usually respond with two words. The first starts with an ‘f’.” He quickly qualified this with a more reasoned argument that included references to “empowerment and transformation” and “an African partnership based co-operation.”

    That word partnership can sometimes be genuine, though with Khumalo it wasn’t. Instead, like colonial-era Central African Federation leader Godfrey Huggins’ description of how Rhodesia should be run, by whites with black labour, it was akin to “the partnership of rider and horse.” Can we, to conclude, take this relationship up a level, to the partnership between crony capitalists and the ruling party?

    Monetary lubrication of wretched politics
    Delivering the first eulogy at Kebble’s Cape Town funeral, Thabo Mbeki’s closest confidante, Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, warned his gathered friends that “What Brett said ... in private should remain private.” Indeed, it was good advice to the scoundrels present. Not only can we understand why, from the pages above, but this remark also sheds light on why in 2008 a Secrecy Bill was put forward by Mbeki’s government that, made yet more extreme under Zuma, signaled the need to ‘keep private’ the corruption that infects the highest levels of South Africa’s new elite.

    The most corrupted victim-villain that emerged from the Kebble catastrophes is our ruling party. Not only was Kebble’s money a massively corrupting influence on the inside, it also made possible the skewering of the ANC as being bought-and-paid-for. Much worse than merely an allegation by disillusioned leftists (like myself) and the liberal opposition, this corruption is now a frank confession.

    ANC Treasurer Mendi Msimang, who as husband of the notorious health minister Manto and a long-time exiled functionary, knew how power worked and in a 2010 court deposition, let the cat out of the bag. Without any attempt at disguising the role of money in politics, Msimang argued against the Kebble trustees’ attempt to retrieve R3.5 million from the ANC and R850 000 from the ANCYL, pointing out quite calmly in an affidavit that “donors receive value for the funds donated” because corporates’ “indirect benefit” was that in the South African political climate, “the gallant effort and contribution of the ANC” would keep their investments safe.

    According to Msimang, Kebble was “maintaining an institution of democracy which (enabled) him to acquire his wealth, which in (turn), enabled him to operate his business in a democratic state free of racism, economic sanctions and free of all the negativity brought by (apartheid).”

    Notwithstanding all the recent talk-left about the merits of mines nationalization versus a major new resources tax in the ANC’s leadership, had Kebble lived to 2012 he would have been pouring more investments into hastening the walk-right, i.e. improving the conditions required to best “operate his business,” and reaping his due returns from an ANC embedded within South Africa’s Minerals Energy Complex. The 2012 State of the Nation address and Budget Speech, after all promised more hundreds of billions of rands in subsidies directed to mining houses, reflecting an investment climate “free of all the negativity” associated with either apartheid or the masses’ contemporary demands for redistribution.

    How far up did the ANC’s crony-capitalism rot spread, and how early can we find Kebble’s fingerprints? Right to the top, it seems, for the company Catalyst Props was used by Mandela’s lawyer Ismail Ayob (who subsequently fell out with Mandela over money) to buy the original Houghton house Mandela lived in during the 1990s. The 1992 purchase price was R525 000 and Kebble bought it in 2000 for R3 million, then also becoming a director of Catalyst. According to journalist Jeremy Gordin, writing in 2006,

    Mandela and murdered mining magnate Brett Kebble were on first-name terms – and in 2000 Kebble bought, apparently at Mandela’s suggestion, the former president’s first home in Houghton. Kebble then allowed Mandela to continue using the house for the work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the next few years…

    Ayob said that Mandela and Kebble, introduced to one another by then Gauteng premier Tokyo Sexwale, had been on first-name terms – “there was no Mr Mandela and Mr Kebble, it was Madiba and Brett,” said Ayob – and that they had had a very cordial relationship. “And Kebble was a man of very great largesse. You have no idea of how large or widespread his largesse was,” said Ayob… “These days, as you well know, Kebble has become the devil incarnate – and no one wants to admit the connection between him and Madiba.”

    The question must, as ever, be raised: do corporations regularly buy influence within the ANC? As publicized in March 2012, did cellphone giant MTN pressure the South African state to not oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, given its vast ownership stake in Iranian telecommunciations? Or did the Chinese government contribute to the ANC and receive value in the form of repeated denials of the Dalai Lama’s visa application? Did this practice start in 1997 when Nelson Mandela awarded the Cape of Good Hope prize to the corrupt Indonesian dictator Suharto, just prior to his democratic overthrow, in exchange for a $25 million donation Suharto made to the ANC? The examples are too numerous to contemplate.

    In April 2005, efforts by transparency advocates to have corporate donations to political parties revealed were rejected by the Cape High Court, which judged these parties to be ‘private,’ hence not needing to disclose their funding sources.

    Conclusion: ‘Kebbleism’ and ANCorruption
    But is there any sort of principal at play here, by which purchase of value resulted in a strengthened political current (as opposed to competing faction)? The first time I heard of a new ideology coming from the corpse of Brett Kebble was in a Daily Maverick report by cynic-journo Stephen Grootes, from a December 2009 SA Communist Party congress: “There’s another great word coming out of the conference relating to the League so far – ‘Kebbleism’.”

    Within three months, the Communication Workers’ Union endorsed the Cosatu demand for “lifestyle audits of public representatives and leaders, as a ‘Kebbleism’ had taken root.” In February 2011, the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA criticized a provincial variant of the “deep-seated and entrenched Kebbleism within the ANCYL in order to capture state machinery for self-centred economic and accumulation interests.”

    In March 2010, the Friends of Jacob Zuma website carried a post by ‘Concer’ (one of many exhibiting both irrational loyalty and deep wisdom) which reflects the views of so many ANC cadres that it should be quoted at length, notwithstanding the pseudonymical source:

    Kebblism started to manifest itself toward the end of Thabo Mbeki’s term and I thought that when the new administration took over, it would make it its priority clamp down on this phenomenon called kebblism but instead it is in this new administration that this phenomenon has entrenched itself, and is now spiralling out of control.

    As some people say, our personalities are twofold, we have a bad and good side. Today I will like to say that Mr Kebble was a very good, kind hearted man, and his benevolence was quite remarkable. But the kind of politics he introduced had far reaching implications to our society. It corrupted the soul of the national liberation and that corrupting has spread over to government, culminating in the collapse of service delivery in many parts of the country. Not only that, Kebblism has encouraged venality, produced leaders who are embarrassing the ANC, leaders who claim to be poor but live lifestyles of millionaires. Instead of taking us to their confidence they deny their opulence but we do see the posh cars they drive, we do see the expensive clothes they were and the houses they live in – these things exist and can be verified.

    We can deny the truth but facts are there – kebblism is in control.

    What, then, was Kebble’s underlying ideology? It has long been evident to opportunistic observers that “talk left, walk right” will take you a long way in Southern African politics, with Robert Mugabe the most extreme case but Mbeki, Zuma, Malema and many others practicing that dance. But Kebble? Here he is talking to M&G reporter O’Toole in 2004:

    Some of those we’ve empowered have become part of an elite and developed amnesia. There is a self-proclaimed black royalty. Most of them couldn’t give a shit about liberation. Some people were never interested in brotherhood.

    Seriously? Yes, this was the spin from Kebble in his final months, according to O’Toole’s transcript:

    Either you have a view like me. You share capital and try to build it to spread wealth and develop a whole number of entrepreneurial opportunities for people where they can rise up as entrepreneurs and things flourish all over the place à la the free market in America.
    Or, you have a situation where you have the five white families who ran the country during the old order being replaced by five black families in the same position; a simple transfer of elites. I resent that. For me it is a great philosophical barrier that I can’t and won’t abide. That’s why I get attacked.

    This country’s major problem, historically, was that the economy was run by five major groupings, and most of those were family-orientated. It stifled the economy and in many cases led to a lack of development. It enhanced and entrenched the apartheid system. That was the primary reason for the old-order attack [on me].

    This, then, was South African Crony Capitalism 1.0, white-on-white state-capital coziness. The best single example, insiders say, was Anglo American’s delivery on a silver platter of Gencor to Afrikaners when, in the 1960s, the equivalent of Malema anti-mining populism was rearing its head from the boer.

    Kebble continued his class analysis of South African Crony Capitalism 2.0, the construction of which he excelled at, white-on-black:

    What has happened since then is that the old order has gone and co-opted a few little Uncle Toms, pasted them onto their boards and companies, promised them all kinds of power and ability to do things, given them a selective and very discreet deal-flow and also set them up as people who would attack my philosophy...

    It makes me sick, quite frankly … that the biggest problem I have is this group of people getting into a huddle trying to monopolise deal-flow, not by being the best, not by getting up early every day and doing their job, not by being clever and smart and building alliances, but by sitting around and drinking huge cases of single-malt Scotch and getting pissed regularly, doing all sorts of strange things to small animals and young girls late at night.

    There are no reports of the Kebble mansions in Inanda, Johannesburg and Bishopscourt, Cape Town hosting strange things of that sort, though the liquor flowed, by all accounts.

    The most confusing confidante of the huckster was probably David Gleason, and you the reader may want to take some parts of his eulogizing seriously, though not the bulk:

    Passionately committed to SA, Kebble long held the view that the undue enrichment of the new elitists was an extravagance it could not afford and that the only way forward was to enlist the hopes and aspirations of the ruling party’s vast grassroots support base. Neglect of this vital constituency, he believed, would bring radicalism and ruin in its wake. It was this that drove him to become something of a doyen of black empowerment advocates…

    In recent years, Kebble became engrossed in the political agenda which the country is following. He made no apology for this. In his personal political philosophy, with which I frequently disagreed, there is a close nexus between business and politics (I agree with this). He was anxious, he said, to ensure the choices made by politicians would encourage rather than retard business development. And he expressed a particular anxiety about South Africa’s army of the unemployed and the vast number of poverty-struck communities. He took the view that the rise of the new elitists, many attached or close to the ruling party, would become anathema to the party’s massive grass-roots support base.

    The factionalism within the ANC and the emergence of power centres concentrated on pushing the agendas of the newly rich, was a matter he viewed with profound concern. His own leanings, increasingly I thought to the left, led him to lend support to deputy president Jacob Zuma. When then national director of public prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, attacked Zuma through a smear campaign rather than a proper prosecution, he smelt another example of a gross abuse of political power. His support for Zuma, now facing corruption charges, took the form of active advice…

    I last saw Kebble over lunch on the day he died. He said then that he couldn’t understand why Mbeki had persisted in attacking him and over such a long period. He clearly felt this keenly. It made no sense to him that, considering all he was doing was embracing the very policies the ANC had evolved over the long years in the wilderness, he had been singled out as a pariah. The answer, of course, was his espousal of the Zuma cause. This is not exactly popular among those in power, anxious to hold onto the important levers.

    It is evident that Kebbleism fails partly because it picks the losers not winners, including the opposition DA. And yet nearly exactly three years after Kebble’s murder, Zuma did eventually evict Mbeki, albeit not thanks to the tycoon’s ‘advice’ but rather to trade union and communist agitation within the ANC’s branches at a time Mbeki was blamed (correctly) for widespread AIDS suffering and economic inequality.

    Still, underlying the rot in the ruling party was money of the sort Kebble dished out, and very few people – including myself or my own comrades within South Africa’s independent left, which made little or no comment and no outright attacks on Kebbleism – can claim to have adequately addressed the devil incarnate in good time. Wits journalism professor Anton Harber, appropriately asked,

    I have often wondered if the Kebble case was our Enron, where journalists failed to ask obvious questions and probe beneath the company´s public relations machinery until after the company collapsed and it was too late. Barry Sargeant had taken a pot shot or two at Kebble as early as 10 years ago, but faced legal action and intimidation. He stayed with the case, and has since written a book with some startling claims about Kebble. Martin Welz of Noseweek magazine used leaked documents to show that Kebble had never paid taxes, and raised questions about why the receiver of revenue and his team had not noticed this. Welz said he had internal correspondence that showed there was one key figure in the receiver´s office who repeatedly prevented the investigation into Kebble from going anywhere, and suggested this was because of this person´s closeness to the ruling party.

    The initial reaction of the country’s main media watchdog, Business Day, was pathetically self-interested, in this editorial the day after the murder:

    A rich and important businessman lies dead in his bullet-ridden luxury car in the dead of night in the nation’s financial capital. Shot by drive-by assassins, the man is slumped in his seat, the car driven up onto the kerb. It is a scene reminiscent of Bogota or some banana republic, but in our case the dead man is Brett Kebble and the place is Johannesburg, the greatest city in Africa. The first and most obvious thing to say about the murder of Kebble is that the economic consequences of not solving it quickly are beyond calculation. We cannot allow our already tarnished reputation as a violent society to drift into the sphere of business being done through the barrel of a gun.

    Actually, the reputation of South Africa as a banana republic will continue to grow, thanks to Business Day’s overall ask-no-questions approach to mining capital. In ecological terms, for instance, the paper’s editor Peter Bruce distinguished himself as a maniac in the Kebble tradition by celebrating the 2012 State of the Nation address by Zuma, demanding that the state help capital ‘mine more and faster and ship what we mine cheaper and faster.’

    To be fair, Bruce also once confessed how South Africa really works, whether under Zuma or (in this instance in 2003) Mbeki: “The government is utterly seduced by big business, and cannot see beyond its immediate interests.”

    The ANC’s corruption in Kebble’s den reminds of Fanon’s warning in Wretched of the Earth:

    This native bourgeoisie, which has adopted unreservedly and with enthusiasm the ways of thinking characteristic of the mother country, which has become wonderfully detached from its own thought and has based its consciousness upon foundations which are typically foreign, will realize, with its mouth watering, that it lacks something essential to a bourgeoisie: money.

    The bourgeoisie of an under-developed country is a bourgeoisie in spirit only. It is not its economic strength, nor the dynamism of its leaders, nor the breadth of its ideas that ensures its peculiar quality of bourgeoisie. Consequently it remains at the beginning and for a long time afterwards a bourgeoisie of the civil service. It is the positions that it holds in the new national administration which will give it strength and serenity.

    If the government gives it enough time and opportunity, this bourgeoisie will manage to put away enough money to stiffen its domination. But it will always reveal itself as incapable of giving birth to an authentic bourgeois society with all the economic and industrial consequences which this entails.

    Wrecking a few companies is one thing, but wrecking a country through these sorts of personal manipulations of the powerful is a tragedy turned farce. Because Fanon again warns of the logical result, right?:

    The party is becoming a means of private advancement. There exists inside the new regime, however, an inequality in the acquisition of wealth and in monopolization. Some have a double source of income and demonstrate that they are specialized in opportunism. Privileges multiply and corruption triumphs, while morality declines. Today the vultures are too numerous and too voracious in proportion to the lean spoils of the national wealth.

    The party, a true instrument of power in the hands of the bourgeoisie, reinforces the machine, and ensures that the people are hemmed in and immobilized. The party helps the government to hold the people down. It becomes more and more clearly anti-democratic, an implement of coercion. The party is objectively, sometimes subjectively, the accomplice of the merchant bourgeoisie.

    If Fanon is right – and fifty years hence, he appears to be, in virtually every post-colonial but neo-colonial African country – then we might conclude, now, that Kebbleism is a fatal political disease afflicting the ANC. Indeed, to return to our opening metaphor, it’s a disease closely comparable to the description Moses offered of Sodom and Gomorrah: “a burning waste of salt and sulfur: nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it.”

    Is it then the case, learning, as we do, so much from Kebble himself, that the ANC’s only cure is an assisted suicide?

    The leftist spy who came in from cold Pretoria

    Patrick Bond 26 March 2012

    ‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this level,’ said the normally ebullient Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after fourteen years of service to the South African government. It was late September 2008, just after Thabo Mbeki was palace-couped.

    Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international laughingstock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best.

    None of this was Kasrils’ fault, of course; such fights continue to this day, and leading police officers Bheki Cele and Richard Mdluli have allegedly amplified the Mbeki-era traditions of graft. But the intrigue was so murky in September 2008 that when an obscure judge made an offhanded, seemingly flippant remark about Jacob Zuma being a victim of political conspiracy, it was a catalyst for the ANC’s Zumites to unceremoniously evict Mbeki seven months before his term was due to end.

    To last so long in that immoral swamp required a firm constitution, and to then extricate from the mire was a heroic task. Kasrils was (and remains) the continent’s highest-profile revolutionary from the white race, and in spite of all the muck nearby, he exudes an exceptionally powerful moral influence. Kasrils also played crucial leadership roles as minister of water, deputy minister of defense, and leadership in the ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe armed wing and SA Communist Party dating back nearly five decades.

    The contradictions he faced during his era in power were overwhelming. They deserve, I believe, serious consideration; in some cases, much more decisive resolutions than we’ve witnessed; and now renewal, in the dialectical spirit. Exploring and transcending both the exercise of power (thesis) and counter-power activities by progressive civil society (antithesis), in order to find a new synthesis and yet new contradictions, is my objective in the coming pages.

    Contradictory Kasrils
    Last week Kasrils visited us at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a Time of the Writer festival guest at the Centre for Creative Arts and speaker at the Centre for Civil Society’s seminar on authoritarianism and corruption. A student here in the early 1960s, he reminisced about his disputes during economics classes with the ‘reactionary’ Professor Owen Horwood – later an influential apartheid Finance Minister – because of Kasrils’ opposition to Bantustan policy.

    He returned for this visit because in 2010, Kasrils’ beautiful biography of his late wife Eleanor, The Unlikely Secret Agent, won SA’s main book award (the Sunday Times Alan Paton non-fiction prize) and his compelling autobiography Armed and Dangerous had its third edition in 2004. His presentations last week celebrating writing, women and radical politics were thoughtful and humorous.

    Like most who meet Kasrils, it took me only four discussions to depart so charmed as to confess I will now blindly follow him on any madcap adventure – albeit one in September 1992, when he marched 80 000 protesters to the ‘Ciskei’ government’s doorstep, left dozens to return home in coffins, after pro-apartheid armed forces opened fire. But dangerous as he has been, armed or not, this is the kind of mensch who would have us cracking up on our way to the gallows, more gregarious and fun-loving than any lefty I’ve ever known.

    That charm in turn calls for even more critically-sympathetic reflection about how a South African nationalist-communist spy might come in from the cold. We might attempt this via the dialectic method, which respects tension and contradiction, which contextualizes so as to point the way forward to social progress, and which seeks to understand interrelations of economy, politics, society and nature.

    Kasrils was quite right to finally quit the Pretoria regime, as he witnessed extreme abuses of power within his beloved ANC, and on occasion was attacked – without merit, he insists – for allegedly being a guiding force in the network of Mbeki supporters trying to halt Zuma’s presidential push.

    The worst of it, he recounts, was when in early 2006 the Young Communist League leadership accused him of setting up a ‘honey trap’ for Zuma, who was accused of rape a few weeks earlier by an openly HIV+ lesbian known as Khwezi. The future president was acquitted after a trial in which misogynist patriarchy by Zuma and his supporters was on blatant display.

    Kasrils had known the 30 year-old victim for a quarter of a century (as had Zuma) because her parents provided a safehouse during anti-apartheid military missions deep in Durban’s townships. He was drawn in against his will in a peripheral way, making clear that Khwezi should sort out the charge with professional aid, not old family connections to the Minister of Intelligence. But that moment was when the break with Zuma became irreparable.

    Given his despondency about the ANC’s subsequent trajectory, time and time again in several conversations Kasrils reminded of what he is accused of sounding like by journalist Alistair Sparks: an end-of-apartheid verligte (Afrikaner enlightened reformer). But now Kasrils feels there is far more at stake: saving not only the liberal gains that the likes of FW de Klerk (verligte-in-chief) grudgingly surrendered two decades ago, but also reviving prospects for a broader left turn in coming years.

    Given Kasrils’ larger-than-life personality, the best approach might well be to treat him as would Karl Marx, as recommended in Das Kapital: ‘Individuals are dealt with here only in so far as they are the personifications of economic categories, the bearers of particular class-relations and interest.’

    You could add race/ethnic, gender and generational relations as well, since most of these divisions are also being amplified under conditions of class apartheid. Unfortunately, Kasrils is yet to pronounce on deeper-rooted economic policy corruption – i.e. the numerous neoliberal policies adopted after 1994 – aside from firmly endorsing the country’s 1996 structural adjustment policy (‘Growth, Employment and Redistribution’, GEAR), at the time, as part of the Arms Deal.

    Instead, Kasrils’ current focus on corruption highlights mainly the acquisitiveness of the political-bureaucratic petit bourgeoisie, aspiring to great wealth for little effort.

    The wretched of the ANC
    His naming as ‘WaBenzis’ several former colleagues – including the late defense minister Joe Modise and current SA Communist Party chief Blade Nzimande – certainly helps personify the problem. As Kasrils griped in our seminar, ‘South Africa is regaled by one revelation after another involving luxury limousines, lavish banquets, expensive hotel bills and other extravagant follies.’

    His own ‘economic category’ might be described best as a small-c communist. Kasrils’ trajectory of race/class-suicide began on Sharpeville Day in 1960 when, as he told the Time of the Writer audience, his white colleagues at Johannesburg’s Lever Brothers film advertising division were stunned when he sided with black staff, as reports came in of the 69 murders. As for his hostility to Zionism, Kasrils (from a Jewish background) came to understand the Israeli occupation of Palestine and became the continent’s leading campaigner for Middle East justice and the ‘one-state’ solution needed to avoid making permanent the region’s bantustanization.

    He sums up the rise and fall of his vision for a socialist South Africa simply and accurately: ‘Regarding national liberation, as Vladimir Lenin put it, the character of the outcome depends upon the organised strength of the working class. For quite a period of time we saw the left rising and becoming strong and then post-1990 we see the rightwing agenda becoming so strong with its alignment to capital.’

    You can’t argue with that, but the depth and intensity of South Africa’s contradictions require more than a simple class correlation as explanation. Instead, with dialectical method, Lenin remarked how social development ‘proceeds in spirals, not in a straight line; a development by leaps, catastrophes, and revolutions; “breaks in continuity”,’ leaving us to link what we observe at surface level into ‘a uniform, and universal process of motion, one that follows definite laws.’

    Theoretically, those laws of exploitation, it seems to me, were initially understood best by Marx in Kapital in 1867, elaborated in North-South (and capitalist-noncapitalist) terms by Rosa Luxemburg a century ago, and translated to African post-colonialism by Frantz Fanon fifty years ago. The critiques of capitalism, imperialism and nationalism by these revolutionary theorists still work well today, especially in a South Africa where migrancy, gendered roles and deep racial divisions in the division of labour, ecological degradation and capitalist crisis tendencies persist and indeed worsen.

    But it is in the realm of degenerate political leadership that we see Kasrils’ next set of contradictions, as he gradually breaks from the ANC and loses all respect for the Communist Party (or so it seems), while lauding trade union and other civil society activism. He quoted from Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth in his seminar last Friday, aiming these words at his former comrades who lost touch with the masses: ‘Privileges multiply and corruption triumphs, while morality declines.’

    Fanon’s subsequent three sentences are yet more appropriate: ‘Today the vultures are too numerous and too voracious in proportion to the lean spoils of the national wealth. The party, a true instrument of power in the hands of the bourgeoisie, reinforces the machine, and ensures that the people are hemmed in and immobilized. The party helps the government to hold the people down.’

    The arms bazaar
    By many accounts in critical civil society, the 1997 Arms Deal was the font of South Africa’s large-scale corruption, the source of so many contradictions that drive Kasrils’ dialectic. He had, after all, spent the late 1990s arguing the case for the deal, on grounds that it could ‘stand up to the closest scrutiny’ because the process was ‘meticulously professional and objective.’ For the two leading experts on the Arms Deal, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren, ‘It almost beggars belief that this claim could be made.’

    Kasrils also notified parliament of ‘Major offset or counter-trade agreements so that for every rand spent abroad, the same amount will be invested in SA. Such packages will be of enormous benefit to our GEAR strategy. A tremendous boost to our economy and Treasury.’ Latest estimates from the Sunday Independent are revealing: of R114 billion promised in Arms Deal offsets, only R4 billion was delivered.

    Kasrils’ defense last Friday was that the post-apartheid armed forces desperately needed the highest-technology weapons, but this did not leave his audience convinced. Exclaimed anti-corruption campaigner Marianne Camerer, ‘How can you sleep at night?!’

    Kasrils’ answer: he’s sleeping well because as far as he could tell, the Arms Deal didn’t corrupt at ministerial executive level in major transactions, though he now concedes that at secondary level, the company-to-company transactions had plenty of holes. Schabir Shaik’s facilitation of the French firm Thales’ access to Zuma – for a reported R500 000/year – was an obvious example, and as Kasrils later put it, ‘Zuma was by then willing and ready for corruption.’

    It was recently revealed that Zuma spokesperson Mac Maharaj was another conduit for Thales dirty funds, via an offshore account. These were men Kasrils relied on for life-and-death missions during the armed struggle against apartheid, though in at least in one case, Mo Shaik (who is now moving from heading the SA Secret Service to a Development Bank of Southern Africa job), there was finally a reconciliation with Kasrils.

    But as Kasrils told me, this wasn’t the same Zuma he’d gotten to know as commander during MK operations, ‘a simple, decent comrade.’ Kasrils’ unsatisfactory theory of corruption seems largely based upon the numbers of wives and children that the former exiles were responsible for upon returning to South Africa two decades ago.

    It’s a potentially racialising theory because as he pointed out in seminar, the white middle-class radicals who returned from abroad weren’t faced with anything like the same material pressures of household reproduction. And so when Kasrils began raising the critique of Zuma’s corruption within the Communist Party, for example, he confided that he found no resonance from black comrades, only from whites and Indians.

    I asked whether, like other vocal critics of South Africa’s elite transition who were purged from the Party because they were communists (the names Jara, Satgar, McKinley come immediately to mind), this fate would befall Kasrils, he smiled and confirmed he was no longer in leadership nor a member of a branch – but hadn’t been expelled. Yet.

    Flirting with Zimbabwe, flunking the xenophobia test
    Looking more broadly at morally-exhausted nationalism, what of the so-called Zanufication of the ANC? The phrase was first used by SA Communist Party deputy leader Jeremy Cronin in 2002, and the backlash from Mbeki’s ranks was so strong that a humiliating apology was wrenched from the country’s next-highest profile white revolutionary.

    True, Kasrils quickly confirmed, Zimbabwe’s Zanu(PF) ruling elite is ‘absolutely disgusting. We were their guests in exile and so we were mum over the Fifth Brigade [i.e. the Mugabe government’s mid-1980s’ massacre of 20 000 Ndebele people]. But you do that and you’re caught in a trap.’

    Yet in 2005, in the midst of Mugabe’s most zany, self-destructive activity, Kasrils pronounced in a speech that his regime and South Africa’s shared a ‘common world view’ and would ‘march forward shoulder to shoulder’.

    When asked about this contradiction, Kasrils replied: ‘Sometimes it’s the context. They were our guests on that occasion, and we were signing a standard Defense Accord.’ He looked deeply regretful, but tragically, there is nothing incorrect about his remark.

    Kasrils did, in retrospect, warmly endorse the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union’s April 2008 refusal to trans-ship three million Chinese bullets from Durban to Zimbabwe; Mugabe had ordered them to prepare for potential electoral defeat. (According to some reports, the Zimbabwe army finally acquired these via Angola after all the other ports in the region were declared no-offload zones for the weapons by courageous dockworkers.) Ten months later, the same unionists declared they would not unload Israeli goods, which warmed the progressive world’s heart, especially that of the newly-retired Kasrils, who stepped up his exceptionally admirable Palestine advocacy.

    Of course, blowback from the ANC’s pro-Mugabe policy occurred in late May 2008, when with refugees streaming across the border to escape Zanu(PF) violence, more than sixty murders and 100 000 terrified displacees resulted from a heartbreaking xenophobia outbreak. ‘We are not just seeing spontaneous xenophobic attacks,’ Kasrils told journalists at the time, ‘There are many social issues at the root of the problem, but we have reason to believe that there are many other organisations involved in sparking the attacks.’

    Really? There was no grounding for such conspiracy theory within sound intelligence. As Kasrils confessed, ‘Of course we were aware something was brewing. It is one thing to know there is a social problem and another thing to know when that outburst will occur.’ Stupidly, his National Intelligence Agency director general initially blamed xenophobia on a ‘Third Force’ that was ‘deliberately unleashed ahead of next year’s general election.’

    To his credit, Kasrils later admitted these were ‘misguided’ theories, and regarding official impotence, ‘there has not been the kind of intelligence that has been able to, say, pinpoint exact details. Even now, two weeks into the mayhem, there’s not that great a possibility of being able to say.’

    Resolving that particular contradiction, today Kasrils is a high-profile board member of Cape Town’s most effective anti-xenophobia organization, People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty.

    But what happens next, if there’s another stolen election in Zimbabwe like those of 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2008? Contrary to hopes within that country’s democratic movement, Kasrils does not foresee Zuma intervening to ensure a free and fair election through enforcement of Mbeki’s September 2008 Global Political Agreement. In contrast, he says, ‘I thought Mbeki was getting the better of Uncle Bob. There were some changes in the election modalities, thanks to Mbeki’s niceties.’

    This isn’t how Zimbabweans see it, for in March 2008, Mbeki laid down the law just as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change felt they had clearly won the majority of votes in the presidential election’s first round, having verifiable cellphone photos of poll results in each station immediately emailed to Harare headquarters for independent counting. Mbeki was the spoiler by ordering that Morgan Tsvangirai agree to a run-off vote in June, a race from which he soon had to withdraw because hundreds of his supporters were being killed or injured.

    What if this happens again? Kasrils is adamant: ‘Sanctions. Absolutely, what else is there to do.’

    Given the ANC’s ongoing commitment to Zanu(PF), it would be a great service for Kasrils to help open this debate if Zimbabwean comrades request it. The precedent is, once again, the Congress of SA Trade Unions’ threatened mid-2000s blockade of the Zimbabwe-SA border at Messina.

    ANC secrecy
    Another area of contradiction in which Cosatu’s support is vital, is the Secrecy Bill, the legislation that Kasrils originally introduced in early 2008 but that he now virulently opposes. As the Mail&Guardian reported four years ago, ‘Kasrils portrayed it as striking an enlightened balance between the need for secrecy and the constitutional imperative for open and accountable government. However, the M&G raised concerns that it would lead to a blanket of secrecy over government affairs.’

    By mid-2008, Kasrils’ internal ministerial review commission – consisting of Joe Matthews, Frene Ginwala and Laurie Nathan – warned of very negative consequences of providing ‘so sweeping a basis for non-disclosure of information,’ reminiscent of ‘apartheid-era secrecy laws.’

    That commission criticized Kasrils on several other grounds: ‘The enormously wide mandate initially given to NIA to gather political intelligence, that some current methods of intrusive surveillance are unconstitutional and that a policy culture persists in the spy agencies that insists they should be allowed to “bend the rules” when necessary.’

    Again to his credit, Kasrils recognized many of these problems, and by late 2011 he was in the lead of the civil society campaign against the newer and even more totalitarian version of the bill. It was, he claimed at a Wits University rally, ‘turning into a Frankensteinian monster, a dog’s breakfast of toxic gruel.’

    Kasrils also attacked parliamentary oversight: ‘All of those in the committee dealing with the bill, from every single party, are all woefully failing.’

    These are the kinds of dialectical discussions which Kasrils invites: vast contradictions in past practices, conjoined with an ability to track degenerative trends and openly speak out today.

    Privatisation and protest
    That reminds me of the last time I ran into Kasrils, on September 3 2002, when dozens of protesters disrupted the ‘Water Dome’ conference panel his Director General Mike Muller had arranged with European privatisers as part of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. Kasrils was livid, accusing me (!) of organizing the humiliating toyi-toyi (a task for which this armchair academic is quite incapable).

    A decade ago, this was one of South African society’s hottest issues, along with the Mbeki government’s denial of AIDS medicines that left more than 330 000 people to die unnecessarily, according to a Harvard Public Health School study. Many of us were called ‘ultra-leftists’ during this era, because from around late 1999 in Durban’s Chatsworth township and Soweto, a new left had emerged to contest urban social services.

    The argument, especially against Kasrils’ predecessor Kader Asmal, was that the 1994 water White Paper mandated full cost recovery, ignoring the implicit promise for a Free Basic Water ‘lifeline tariff’ mandated in the Reconstruction and Development Programme. Asmal, whom I briefly served as an advisor, was cross that a water-rights advocacy movement was rising, and he very decisively rejected Free Basic Water, once – to deter me raising this with his staff again – writing me the sternest letter that I’ve ever received (probably drafted by Muller).

    There was great delight in February 2000 when Kasrils announced that at least 6000 liters per household per month would be provided to all residents of South Africa free. The catalyst was his meeting a Transkeian peasant who had turned away from one of Asmal’s water taps and gone to a dirty river for water, simply because the 100 percent cost recovery fetish of Asmal and Muller meant the new piped water was unaffordable.

    Kasrils’ policy reversal represented to many of us the finest of the ANC’s traditions, so different from the staged imbizos that Mbeki was running around the country, none of which led to policy changes.

    The problem reached tragic proportions in August 2000 when Ngwelezane officials took the 1994 White Paper seriously and cut off more than 1000 households because the R56 ($8) connection fee was too high. That same month, Kasrils drove the Free Basic Services policy into the ANC’s municipal election platform for the December 2000 vote. By 2001 the promise had become policy – yet with a catch: Muller ensured that the consultancy that was most responsible for opposing Free Basic Water during the Asmal years (Palmer Development Group) was the outfit chosen to design its municipal implementation.

    The only outcome possible was sabotage of Kasrils’ intentions. Ironically it was here in Durban – the model for the 6000 liters because a drum was provided to residents that was actually cheaper for the city to fill each month than send out small bills and make collections – that the sabotage was most decisive.

    From 1997-2004, according to municipal data, the real price of Durban residential water doubled, leading to a drastic contraction in consumption by an estimated million of the city’s poorest residents (by one third, from 22 000 to 15 000 liters per household per month) – even during epidemics of AIDS, cholera and diarrhea. The reason for this was that after the small tokenistic amount, the next block’s price rose so high so quickly that it was soon considered the second most inequitable (behind Pietermaritzburg) in all South Africa, and the worst of five major cities surveyed by the United Nations a few years later.

    This city, regrettably, was the model for Free Basic Water, yet it should have been understood as an example of South Africa’s most venal public policy: brutal neoliberalism applied to social services but with tokenistic welfarism. In other words, the struggle for decommodification in which Kasrils had initially appeared as a top-down hero, was now twisted into a system for even deeper state surveillance and disciplining techniques, such as pre-payment meters.

    The case of Veolia
    Was Kasrils a water privatizer? Definitely not, he repeatedly claimed. Yet his earlier commitment to ‘public-private partnerships’ (a euphemism for commodification, commercialization and as in this case, privatization) hit hard here in Durban, home to the country’s leading grassroots environmental justice campaigning group, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (

    Kasrils arrived in mid-2001 to open an industrial waste-water recycling plant in South Durban, owned by the world’s largest water privatizer, Paris-based Vivendi, claiming, ‘Durban has not only implemented some very effective water conservation and demand management programmes, it has also managed to be extremely innovative in the ways in which to provide water to poor and indigent households.’

    Actually, protesters were up in arms about those rising prices and disconnections. From Chatsworth they filed the first court injunction requested by any South African community group against municipal cut-offs, on grounds of water rights. They lost, but the anger at water commodification grew here and everywhere.

    Yet at the Vivendi plant’s opening, Kasrils announced, ‘Public-private partnerships enable a synergy between the best that Government and the private sector have to offer.’

    The ‘best’? This was true for Vivendi profit-taking and for two huge South Durban polluters which were its only water purchasers, the Mondi paper mill and the Sapref oil refinery owned by Shell and BP. Their price of water was cut nearly in half by Vivendi, from R5.40/kl to R2.80, because Durban municipality priced the incoming water to Vivendi so generously.

    But at the same time, SDCEA activists were demanding these firms be closed, in part because they were primary causes of the world-leading asthma rate of 52 percent at the nearby Settlers Primary School.

    Then there was the financial downside. South Africa would pay a steady profit stream to Vivendi’s French shareholders, in an era in which the country’s balance of payments deficit soared to amongst the world’s worst (by 2009 this left South Africa with the reputation as the riskiest of 17 peer emerging economies, according to The Economist).

    Ironically, fairly sophisticated R&D capacity in the South African engineering sector for water recycling already existed, given that the Durban wastewater treatment facility utilises merely sand and carbon filters, ozone and chlorine.

    Asked about these in an interview last weekend, Kasrils rebutted that at least the Durban municipality’s capital was saved for redeployment elsewhere, thanks to the French investment.

    Yet implicit rates of return and profit/dividend outflows were so substantial that it would have made sense for the city to have taken on the project internally, if merely for the sake of expanded municipal capacity and ownership. It would have been a much better use of money than building a second world-class stadium – now considered a white elephant – with the city’s large reserves a few years later.

    Indeed, Engineering News reported that by 2014 there will be an estimated $240 million in South African water and wastewater outsourcing revenues, so to permit foreign, for-profit suppliers into this market without developing national and local capacity was a misjudgment.

    Setting aside the deal’s flawed economics, a more extreme political contradiction loomed: Vivendi wasn’t a good business partner, in contrast to Kasrils’ 2001 claim about the world’s largest water privatiser: ‘a number of French companies heeded the call to withdraw from South Africa in the interests of breaking the apartheid government through economic sanctions. I believe it was in 1985 that the French government decided to stop all new investment in South Africa, a year before the European Union made a similar ruling.

    Kasrils then offered this specific praise: ‘Vivendi Water respected this decision and it was only after the release of Nelson Mandela and his inauguration as our first democratic president that Vivendi took the decision to invest locally.’

    Yet simultaneously, Vivendi’s operations in other countries were rife with corruption, as the 2001 report ‘Dirty Water’ by Friends of the Earth International showed. The month after the South Durban deal was done, in the Italian city of Milan, ‘a senior manager in Vivendi’s water division was convicted for bribery and received a prison sentence’ while four years earlier, ‘junior French minister Jean-Michel Boucheron was jailed for two years’ and fined the equivalent of a million rand after a Vivendi bribe was revealed.

    In another case, according to the Dirty Water report, Vivendi executives were ‘convicted of bribing the mayor of St-Denis to obtain the water concession.’ Vivendi privatization in Puerto Rico was already recognized as a world-class consumer disaster, and in England in 1998, Vivendi’s waste disposal operation ‘was listed by the Environment Agency as the second worst polluter in the UK.’ A year later, Vivendi was hit with seven prosecutions for waste management pollution. Health and safety violations were rife in Vivendi operations by the late 1990s.

    Perhaps most ironically, in 2003 Vivendi changed its name to Veolia, and quickly became one of the leading targets of Palestinian activists demanding sanctions and disinvestment. By 2006, Irish campaigners started to succeed against the world’s largest water firm, as contracts were canceled due to Veolia’s participation in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

    According to campaigners, Veolia ‘is helping to build and operate a tramway linking illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with Israel. Not only do the settlements contravene article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention forbidding an occupier transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies, but in most cases the establishment of the Israeli settlements involved war crimes too. The tramway tightens Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, ties the settlements more firmly into Israel and undermines chances of a just peace for the Palestinian people.’

    The BDS fight against Veolia has included a great many victories, all of which were after Kasrils left the water ministry. To his credit, the 2001 grand opening can be revisited and Palestinian solidarity politics renewed in only one way, which he has provisionally agreed to: a ‘street closure’ of Veolia’s South Durban plant, one day soon. This would resolve several interlocking privatization contradictions created by Kasrils eleven years ago, and push forward one of the world’s most difficult dialectics of economy-society-nature.

    More water wars
    But there were many other contradictions associated with early 21st century water politics, and this is only a partial list of civil society grievances against Kasrils recorded at a meeting he hosted at the time of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in mid-2002:

    • The SA Municipal Workers Union opposed the private-sector and NGO-oriented rural water programme and the promotion of public-private partnerships in municipal water delivery;

    • Some community organisations, social movements and NGOs, mainly affiliated to the National Land Committee and Rural Development Services Network, complained that most taps installed after 1994 quickly broke and that millions of South Africans remained without water, arguing that Kasrils did not take seriously the RDP promise of 50 litres per person per day of free water;

    • Environmentalists in the Group for Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring Group, Earthlife and the Soweto and Alexandra civic associations complained that Kasrils championed unnecessary Lesotho dams;

    • Many civic groups protested intensifying municipal water cut-offs, with fierce demonstrations in the townships of Gauteng, Durban, Cape Town and several smaller towns;

    • Criticism continued against low infrastructure standards, such as mass pit latrines in urban areas.

    Because of the failure to resolve any of these state-society contradictions over water commodification and ecological destruction, Kasrils grand opening to the left with Free Basic Water soon appeared as a shut door. ‘You were seen as our main enemy’, he told me last week, ‘because when we offered 25 liters you ungratefully insisted on 50,’ and yes, in retrospect, there was a degree of self-defeating, arrogant posturing by myself and many others on the independent left, especially after the empowering march of 30 000 people against the ANC government and World Summit in late August 2002.

    The tensions ratcheted up, and in his April 2003 budget speech to parliament, Kasrils went after the jugular of the man who had actually surpassed him as the most notorious white revolutionary living in South Africa, John Pape, of the International Labour Research and Information Group in Cape Town. Noting that a few months earlier, Pape was extradited to the US to stand trial for his early 1970s participation in the Symbionese Liberation Army (an urban guerilla group in California best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patty Hearst), Kasrils attacked him as a ‘phoney revolutionary.’ (And me and a few others, too.)

    Pape, according to Kasrils, ‘glorified the use of incorrect information in a paper entitled “Down With Missionaries and Objective Academics”. He encouraged his labour education colleagues not to present facts to help workers make their own decisions but rather to “lead” them to support their desired positions and courses of action. I have nothing personal against the man but misleading working people by withholding concrete facts or deliberately providing them with incorrect information is no basis for long term political success.’

    Had Kasrils ever read this 1998 paper? If he had, I sense he might have agreed with Pape’s actual concerns, on the one hand, that, ‘The missionary sees union members as passive zealots who chant slogans and repeat key phrases without being able to analyse or criticize,’ and on the other hand, that ‘The objective academic sees unions as debating societies, not as organizations engaged in struggle.’

    Seeking a route out of these traps, as even a Los Angeles Times reporter could recognize, Pape’s main thesis was the opposite to Kasrils’ allegation. He argued ‘that union leaders had to cultivate critical thinking among their members, not lock-step militancy.’ The newspaper cited these sentences from Pape’s article: ‘It is dishonest to pretend we don’t have opinions. But it is also destructive to use our views as a sledgehammer to hit people over the head. Sledgehammer tactics will silence differing opinions.’

    Indeed at the time, that appeared to be Kasrils’ objective: sledgehammering his critics.

    With Pape in prison, fellow researcher David McDonald replied to Kasrils’ charges: ‘It is morally reprehensible that Water Affairs and other government agencies have not been researching the cutoff situation themselves and sharing this information with the public. Apparently they would rather attack academics whose data does not fit their rosy picture of service delivery than do the difficult work of research themselves.’

    McDonald added, ‘Sadly, the cutoff saga continues, and the new white paper on water services makes it clear that cost recovery remains at the heart of government’s water delivery strategy. Those who do not pay their bills will continue to face the wrath of budget-conscious bureaucrats.’

    Kasrils’ rejoinder was that thanks to his policies, no one should be cut off entirely – because of the guaranteed free supply. Rebutted McDonald, ‘“Free services” are just part of this cost recovery continuum. Once the meager supply of free water is consumed, water flows will be restricted or cutoff if not paid for, despite the fact that millions of low-income households cannot afford to pay for the water they need. The city of Durban, the first to introduce free water, is still cutting off as many as 1000 households a day.’

    Johannesburg townships witnessed the toughest battles over water, and at one point in 2004, Kasrils attacked the openly socialist Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) for destroying the pre-payment meters which Kasrils endorsed as a delivery system for at least the basic minimal free supply of 25 liters per person each day.

    As he wrote in This Day newspaper in April 2004: ‘Attempts by misguided activists such as the APF to stop municipalities from managing their water systems sill probably undermine people’s water supplies and turn the hard won “right to water” into an empty tap, the right to a healthy environment into an open sewer.’

    APF leader Trevor Ngwane replied: ‘Does Kasrils not know that these devices are banned in Britain, where they are considered a public health threat. Here we have AIDS, and tens of thousands of our people dying from diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery each year. So the threat of losing access to water – and hence our lives – is even more immediate.’

    Ngwane continued, ‘Last May, Kasrils promised he would help by “naming and shaming”
    municipalities like Johannesburg which disconnect people and deny them lifeline supplies. We are still waiting for Kasrils to make good on his promise. Good riddance if, in the next cabinet, he is moved somewhere less damaging to the public health.’

    Damn dams
    A decade ago, this was the destructive tone of the debate between the impotent left-left and those few in the ANC’s left flanks who exercised a certain kind of delimited power. The early 2000s conflict was as acute in relation to Johannesburg water as it was for access to AIDS medicines. In 2001, another French firm – Suez (whose subsidiary was implicated in corruption associated with Lesotho dam construction) – was hired to commercialise the city’s retail supply, and let the rich continue to pay a relatively lower post-apartheid price compared to poor people (even Palmer Development Group data showed), while unemployment and inequality soared in South Africa’s meanest city.

    I lived in Johannesburg then, and worked at Wits University’s public policy school. It was not hard to break with Asmal over his decision to hire the same corrupt construction firms to build the second Lesotho dam in 1998, since those two dams were responsible for quintupling the price of water to consumers, as well as destroying sensitive ecologies.

    In 1999, Kasrils as the new water minister inherited the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which soon became the highest-profile corruption case in the Third World. Even the World Bank began to debar some of the dozen multinational corporations convicted of bribing Lesotho officials, one of which (the giant Canadian civils firm Acres International) effectively closed due to the revelations.

    In last week’s UKZN seminar, Kasrils claimed that he and Muller were the driving forces in speeding up Bank investigations, yet from our perspective in civil society, Pretoria was regularly turning a blind eye to corruption by the same firms. I have found no account of Kasrils’ own attempt to deter further SA government contracts with SA firms like Group Five, Concor, LTA, Ninham Shand, Knight Pièsold and Keeve Steyn, or others associated with the LHWP corruption, and in overseeing the second Lesotho mega-dam’s construction, the same firms were hired.

    Subsequently, as Kasrils confirmed with genuine disgust during our seminar, the main Basotho official guilty of taking bribes, the head of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, Masupha Sole, served a few years in jail but in August 2012 was rehired as a top Authority official.

    There was another problem, though: it appeared Kasrils had a Soviet-era fascination with massive dams, something that at least Asmal had tempered by chairing the World Commission on Dams from 1998-2001. After copious evidence of mega-dam destructiveness, that Commission suggested quite restrictive conditions for dam-building, and as a result was rudely rejected by the World Bank and also by Kasrils and Muller.

    In May 2001 after a trip to China, Kasrils witnessed what can reasonably be called the most extreme attack by human beings on nature, the Yangtze River’s Three Gorges Dam: ‘I must state my admiration for the determination and care with which the Chinese government is promoting this vast undertaking.’

    This contradiction is formidable, and last December, when I visited the upper reaches of the dam’s impoundment near Chongqing, I witnessed why the Chinese government itself confessed, a few months earlier, their struggle to address ‘urgent problems in terms of environmental protection, the prevention of geological hazards and the welfare of the relocated communities’ (there were nearly two million people displaced).

    Four years earlier, Yangtze River Forum secretary general Weng Lida also admitted these ‘problems are all more serious than we expected,’ and other senior officials worried about frequent landslides, pollution, and environmental ‘catastrophe’, some in the wake of several ‘major chemical spills and algae outbreaks that have contaminated the country’s rivers and lakes, leaving millions of people without safe water for days and weeks at a time,’ according to Probe International, a Three Gorges Dam watchdog.

    Even Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, a geologist, conceded pollution control was lacking at the Three Gorges dam. There is also a new awareness of how a dam in central China I visited, Zipingpu (upriver from the town of Dujiangyan), had caused the May 2008 earthquake that killed more than 80 000 people.

    These eco-social antitheses to Kasrils’ hydropower thesis have not yet created a new synthesis, but last week he remarked that he’ll soon go back to central China for another look at the Three Gorges, given that he’s in the process of setting up a China-South Africa Friendship Society. Such a society, we agreed, should seek civil society linkages – after all these are the two leading countries I know of in protests per capita – and avoid some of the sleazier relations that characterize China’s interests in Africa.

    After a few days of contemplation, I am certain that the way that John le Carré’s great novel The Spy Who Came in From the Cold was described by Time magazine – ‘a sad, sympathetic portrait of a man who has lived by lies and subterfuge for so long, he’s forgotten how to tell the truth’ – is the polar opposite of how to understand Ronnie Kasrils’ renewed life on the left. After a chilly period as a genuine revolutionary trying to find a way forward within a blatantly corrupt version of ‘post’-colonial neoliberal nationalism, in which his own best instincts were confounded by an adverse power context and bureaucratic distortions, Kasrils should be warmly welcomed for any initiative he pursues, and I look forward to doing so, in coming months and years.

    (It might be easier to accuse others around Kasrils of ongoing lies and subterfuge, including his main water policy advisor Muller, a National Planning Commissioner who, dangerously for Gauteng and Mpumalanga residents, appears to be in Mbeki-style denial about the region’s Acid Mine Drainage crisis. Another is the man who self-interestedly misinformed Kasrils about Joe Slovo’s seven months as housing minister, the World Bank’s Billy Cobbett, before Kasrils delivered the Eastern Cape’s 2010 Slovo Memorial Lecture through remarkably rose-coloured glasses.)

    The method above, in which older contradictions are explored against newer wisdom and recommitments – e.g. on the Secrecy Bill, Zimbabwe, xenophobia – isn’t fool-proof, and many further debates remain about areas of nuance regarding the Arms Deal, water pricing, dam-building, wastewater privatisation and the like.

    What seems profoundly different, though, is an appreciation by Kasrils that a very wide range of progressive social actors, including once-derided ultra-lefties (like myself), could perhaps be part of that renewed movement leftwards, ‘in spirals, not in a straight line’ (Lenin). We can only hope that with his exuberance and unfailing energy, Kasrils continues to spiral up and outwards, gathering more former skeptics like myself along for his ride.

    But for those others facing situations in which power can be exercised as decisively as did Kasrils, likewise we might wish for further ‘catastrophes’ and ‘breaks in continuity’ – like those ‘eight days in September’ 2008 – to hasten the working of the dialectic. If we’re correct, then further contradictions regarding the fight against class apartheid require exploration, to get us to that ‘universal process of motion, one that follows definite laws.’

    Along with Ashwin Desai and Trevor Ngwane, there’s a strong sense I’ve had in recent years that the ‘uneven-and-combined’ character of South Africa and its urban social resistances require much fuller treatment (,68,3,2523). As that too proceeds, I will always think back to the March 2012 conversations with Ronnie Kasrils about his own contradictions, and seek to renew these in some way in search of a better understanding of power: an understanding that he too is grappling with so courageously, given how far he has come in from the cold of Pretoria.

    Debating CityPress on the SA Treasury

    Patrick Bond disputes whether the Finance Ministry is a “powerhouse of big brains and safe hands”, “a template for good governance”, “a hothouse of talent filled with expensive and committed officials” under “excellent political leadership”, and “a careful place”... or instead, a neoliberal source of ecological destruction and national economic decline.

    Treasure Treasury’s tree-planters
    CityPress editorial page 26 February 2012

    A few years ago, former finance minister Trevor Manuel handed out saplings to the gathering at Parliament’s annual tabling of the budget.

    The symbol was this: it was time to plant for the future, to move away from consumption spending to investment-geared fiscal planning.

    This meant a tempering of the public sector wage bill; a medium-term planned decline of social grant beneficiaries and a healthy injection into infrastructure.

    The future was in roads, rail, housing, hospitals, colleges and the rest of the social infrastructure that would provide a foundation for prosperity for the next generation.

    Spend for tomorrow but don’t overburden the next generation with debt so large that it crowds out the hopes of the future.

    With this philosophy embedded in how the Treasury does its work, it’s safe to say that this powerhouse of big brains and safe hands have become the great tree planters of South African public life.

    The Treasury, along with other notable examples like the Independent Electoral Commission, the SA Revenue Service and, lately, the department of home affairs, is beginning to provide a template for good governance.

    It’s worth looking at some of the Treasury’s leadership characteristics that have led it to being seen as a long-term thinker.

    The first is that the Treasury is a hothouse of talent – it is filled with expensive and committed officials who work hard under excellent political leadership in the shape of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

    The second is that the Treasury works to a profoundly political philosophy that is repeated year after year after year.

    In essence, this philosophy is of planting trees – making investments for tomorrow.

    Thus, this year the infrastructure budget is the most notable feature and the education allocation is still the highest single amount of spend.

    The bang for buck is a perennial downfall of education spending, but it is still investment spending, not a short-term consumption splurge.

    In addition, the Treasury is a careful place – while big figures were bandied about for ¬infrastructure this week, in reality a lot of the money is already allocated and a fair proporition may not be spent at all, if the Budget Review document is to be believed.

    The People’s Budget campaign says Gordhan was too tight with grant increases, but that point is moot when you consider that an estimated one in three South Africans now get a grant.

    Social solidarity is thus another enduring plank of the Treasury philosophy.

    When you look to Greece and Europe, and to struggling America, then it really is a truism that we should treasure our Treasury.

    Why Treasury should be transformed, not treasured
    Patrick Bond (City Press editorial page 'Second Take') 11 March 2012

    Is the National Treasury, as a CityPress editorial claimed on 26 February, truly a “powerhouse of big brains and safe hands”, “a template for good governance”, “a hothouse of talent filled with expensive and committed officials” under “excellent political leadership”, and “a careful place”?

    No. The Sunday Times asked a good question two weeks ago: “Did the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, really think that a decision to spend R300 billion over the next 17 years on nuclear power stations did not merit a mention in his budget speech?”

    That newspaper reminded readers of the “greed, fraud, corruption and cover-ups surrounding the R45-billion arms deal” financed by Gordhan’s predecessor, Trevor Manuel. As former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein revealed, Manuel advised, “It’s possible there was some shit in the deal. But if there was, no one will ever uncover it. They’re not that stupid. Just let it lie.”

    With a similarly careless attitude, Gordhan’s pro-privatisation infrastructure budget promotes not only nuclear madness but also hundreds of billions of rands worth of coal-fired power plants, more coal exports, further water-degradation of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, and highway commercialization.

    Yet the COP17 climate summit last December was hosted here in Gordhan’s home town of Durban. Last month, Yale and Colombia university researchers rated SA the fifth worst ‘environmental performer’ amongst the 132 countries studied due mainly to emissions.

    Can we really brag about this filthy infrastructure, which will mainly export superprofits to London and Melbourne mining houses? Anglo and BHP Billiton already get the world’s cheapest electricity, paid for by imposing a 150 percent price increase on everyone else the last four years.

    Vast overspending and outright corruption in energy infrastructure – as well as in white-elephant soccer stadiums, Lesotho mega-dams, the elite Gautrain, new or upgraded airports, and Coega’s industrial zone – are rife. Recall the dodgy R40 billion Eskom purchase of powerplant boilers made by Hitachi and the ANC’s Chancellor House, which will not be delivered on time, hence risking another round of load-shedding.

    SA also suffers amongst the world’s highest unemployment, inequality and interest rates, a soaring foreign debt (now $120 billion, up from $25 billion in 1994), and vast outflows of capital thanks to unending exchange-control deregulation – all due to mismanagement by the Treasury and SA Reserve Bank. They fail to regulate persistent capital flight by big corporations, in 2007 amounting to a reported 20 percent of GDP.

    The Treasury remains addicted to failed neoliberal policies, leaving our economy in the doldrums. It is worthy only of enthusiastic condemnation by a newspaper of CityPress’ caliber.

    Diamonds are Zimbabwe’s worst friend

    Will world prices collapse as Mugabe’s generals loot Marange?
    Khadija Sharife 13 March 2012

    The news from oppressed Africa may be dominated by the self-serving You Tube video by Jacob Russell, ‘Kony 2012’, seen by 80 million viewers, aiming to raise consciousness about children involuntarily soldiering for the Lords Resistance Army in oil-rich northern Uganda. But in contrast to American saviors, there are plenty of local activists needing solidarity in their struggle against tyrants.

    One of these is an institution, the Centre for Research and Development in Mutare, Zimbabwe, whose offices were mysteriously burgled last week. Mutare is the closest city to the $800 billion Marange fields, described as the largest diamond find in history.

    Even before Kimberly Process (KP) certification, Zimbabwe became the world’s seventh largest producer, and the KP deal apparently occurred because Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines threatened that world diamond markets would be flooded if KP-certification were not provided.

    In any case, Zimbabwe’s main diamond trading partners, India and China (via Dubai and Israel), hold no regard for the KP, and therefore cannot be held hostage by threats of peer exclusion. Already, 30 percent of the diamonds handled in India’s key cut and polish hub, Surat, are imported from Zimbabwe.

    Africa generates over 65 percent of the world’s rough stones. Until recently, a handful of companies including DeBeers (35 percent market share by value) and Russia’s Alrosa (25 percent market share) benefited from near monopolistic control, with sales dominated by the US market thanks to the deeply entrenched impact of the De Beers ‘Diamonds are forever’ advertising campaign.

    Until the 1990s, DeBeers had set the inviolable rule of the diamond industry: one buyer (Central Selling Organisation) to absorb – and vault – the bulk of surplus to prevent diamonds from losing the scarcity value, artificially created via slow release onto the market.

    Andrei Polyakov, spokesperson for Russia’s Alrosa – which remains 90 percent state-owned – confirmed, “If you don’t support the price, a diamond becomes a mere piece of carbon.”

    The diamond merchants now face a serious crisis: losing the battle to keep stones in the Zimbabwe soil by locking down concessions. At one point, De Beers held over 45 Exclusive Prospecting Orders, and despite discovering Marange early in the game, De Beers failed to exploit the resources.

    Zero exploitation
    Unlike Botswana and Namibia, the generals close to Robert Mugabe who control Zimbabwe’s military refuse to play ball by controlling the supply. Intimidated by the “environment of uncertainty regarding the status and future of the concession,” De Beers opted out in 2006, when its prospecting license expired, even though DeBeers knew that at Marange, the yield was more than 1000 carats per hundred tonnes, nearly ten times higher than another large field, Rio Tinto's concession in Zimbabwe's Midland province.

    According to Keiron Hodgson, a Charles Stanley Securities analyst of the diamond sector, “Zimbabwe really does have the potential to upset the applecart. Zimbabwean officials anticipate that diamond production could generate between $1 billion and $2 billion per annum to an economy that has a GDP of around $7.5 billion so I would understand the urgency to produce diamonds from Zimbabwe, but I don't think they're going to go out and produce as many as they can because they are quite price aware.”

    Many others, however, fear a price collapse from an increasingly desperate Zanu(PF) ruling party which needs the revenues to fight the coming national election in Zimbabwe, and which would probably have no hesitation to loot Marange as quickly as possible in the event of a loss of state power to the Movement for Democratic Change.

    The US government was previously considered the most vociferous opposition to the export of Zimbabwe’s ‘conflict’ stones, so considered because several hundred peasants were murdered by army troops in a 2007 massacre at Marange. But ever-unreliable and self-interested Washington State Department officials apparently caved to Mugabe’s wishes for KP certification, provided that African states support their bid for KP chair in 2012.

    Who couped the KP?
    Two years ago, Farai Maguwu, head of the Centre for Research and Development and an incoming doctoral student at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society, was arrested in Mutare by Mugabe’s government for allegedly endangering ‘national security’ by possessing information about the military’s violation of human rights at Marange.

    Maguwu’s arrest appeared to be contrived: he met with the KP-appointed monitor Abbey Chikane, brother of former SA Presidency director-general Frank, who had tipped off Zimbabwean State intelligence officials in spite of claiming that the meeting was confidential. Maguwu believed, and stated publicly, that he had been ‘set up’ by Chikane.

    Chikane argued that he received from Maguwu state security documents drafted by the army, while Maguwu rebuts that Chikane was fishing for said documents at the meeting.

    According to Human Rights Watch, which gave Maguwu its highest award for rights advocacy in Africa, “He was imprisoned for more than a month and denied medical care to punish him. The authorities then illegally transferred him to various police cells with deplorable conditions even though he suffered from a serious health condition. Maguwu was released in early July and only finally cleared of all charges in October.”

    As for Chikane, the KP did not publicly reprimand him, nor did he resign. Complained Ian Smillie, known as one of the world's leading conflict diamond experts and a key architect of the KP, “We don't know where all the diamonds went that were approved by Abbey Chikane. Chikane was a mistake on several levels… He has extensive personal business interests in the Southern African diamond industry that should have disqualified him from the outset.”

    Is the KP fatally corrupted?
    This leads to a bigger question: given Chikane’s chicanery and Washington’s grab of the KP, both at the expense of Zimbabweans being persecuted by Mugabe’s regime, should civil society chuck out the KP as a useful tool in monitoring multinational corporate activity in blood diamond zones?

    After all, though some good may be claimed from KP activities in West Africa, the definition of conflict diamonds has excluded some of the world’s primary culprits: anti-democratic, corrupt and authoritarian ‘rent-seeking’ regimes, such as Namibia and Angola, who not only ‘self-regulate’ what constitutes KP-certified diamonds, but also act as partners to mining houses, therefore directly benefitting from diamond revenues.

    Last week, Magawu was finally allowed to visit the Marange mines. As he then reported, “They have brought in state of the art equipment to intensify mining. I was deeply concerned with the level of mining taking place given that the money is not being accounted for. But we take this is a stepping stone, (hoping for) greater scrutiny by civil society. A meeting I held with (Finance Minister) Tendai Biti recently revealed that he had not yet received any information on the diamond auctions that were conducted in December and January respectively. If diamond revenue can't reach the treasury then we may be sitting on a time bomb.”

    Khadija Sharife is a researcher at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society.

    Ngabe amanani omhlaba azokuwa njengoba ojenene bakaMugabe beba eMarange?
    NguKhadija Sharife
    Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

    Izindaba ngeAfrika ecindezelwe kungenzeka zixakwe kakhulu umboniso weYou Tube ezibhekelelayo owenziwe nguJacob Russel, ‘iKony 2012’, obonwe yizigidi ezingamashumi ayisishagalombili, eqonde ukwenza abantu babone ngezingane ezephoqwa ukuthi zibe amasosha eLord Resistance Army enyakatho neUganda lapho kugcwele khona amafutha. Kodwa uma sekuphanjanwa nabahlengi baseMelika, ziningi izishoshovu zendawo ezidinga ukuxhaswa kumzabalazo wazo zimelene nababusi abangondlovukayiphikiswa.

    Esinye isikhungo, iCentre for Research and Development eMutare, eZimbabwe, amahovisi abo agqekezwa ngokungacacile ngesonto eledlule. IMutare ilona dolobha eliseduze kakhulu nezimayini ezibiza u$80 wezigidigidi, echazwa njengeyona mayini enkulukazi yedayimane esike yatholakala emlandweni wonke.

    Nangaphambi kweNqubo yaseKimberly yokugunyaza, uMnyango waseZimbabwe wziMayini wasabisa ngokuthi izimakethe zedayimane ziyobanozamcolo uma ngabe ukugunyaza kweNqubo yaseKimberly kunganikwa.

    Kodwa-ke, ozakwabo bokuhweba ngedayimane baseZimbabwe abahamba phambili, iIndia neChina (kudlulwa eDubai nakwaIsrael), ayinandaba neNqubo yaseKimberly, futhi ngeke yenziwe iziboshwa ngokusatshiswa ukukhishelwa ngaphandle ngozakwabo. Futhi-nje amaphesenti angamashumi amathathu edayimane owenziwe eIndia, iSurat, asuswa eZimbabwe.

    IAfrika ikhiqiza amaphesenti angamashumi ayisithupha nanhlanu amatshe emhlabeni wonke jikelele. Kuze kube manje, izimboni ezimbalwa ezimbandakanya uDeBeers (amaphesenti anagamashumi amathathu nanhlanu emakethe amasheya ngamanani) kanye neAlrosa yaseRussia (amaphesenti angamashumi amabili nanhlanu amasheya emakethe) azuza ngokulawulwa ngobubhululu, ukudayiswa kuholwa imakethe yaseMelika futhi kubongwa isikhangiso somkhankaso kaDebeers othi ‘Amadayimane ayingunaphakade’

    Kuze kube iminyaka yama1990, uDeBeers uyena owayelawula umthetho ongenakuphulwa kwimboni yamadayimane: umthengi oyedwa (Central Selling Organisation) ukuthatha – nokuvalela insalela ukuze kuvinjwe ukuthi amadayimane alhlekelwe inani lokungabokhona, okudalwa ngokudedelwa kancane ezimakethe.

    UAndrei Polyakov, okulumela iAlrosa yaseRussia – amaphesenti ayo angamashumi ayisishagalolunye aphethwe umbuso – wakuvuma lokhu, “Uma ukngalixhasi inani, idayimane livele libe ucezu lwekhabhoni.”

    Abadayisi bedayimane manje babhekene nelasisivunguvungu: sokuhluleka empini yokugcina matshe emhlabathini waseZimbabwe ngokuvala izivumelwano. Ngenya inkathi, uDeBeers wayenamaOda Okubhekela Akhe yedwa angamashumi amane nanhlanu, futhi nangaphandle nje kukothola iMarange kudala, uDeBeers wahluleka ukusebenzisa lezizizinda.

    Ukuxhashazwa Okungekho
    Njengokungafani neBotswana neNamibia, ojenene abasondelene noRobert Mugabe abalawula ezombutho zaseZimbabwe bayanqaba ukuzwelana ngokulawula ukusabalalisa. Ebhekene nokwesaba “mayelana nendawo engenasiqiniseko mayelana nekusasa lesivumelwano,” uDeBeers waphuma ngo2006, ngenkathi imvume yokumba isiphela, noma uDeBeers wayazi ukuthi eMarange, umkhiqizo wawungaphezulu kwamakharathi ayinkulungwane kumathani ayikhulu, ngokuphindaohindwe kayishumi kunenye imayini, isivumelwano seRio Tinto esifundazweni esimaphakathi saseZimbabwe.

    Ngokusho kukaKeiron Hodgson, umhlaziyi kwimboni yamadayimani eCharles Stanley Securities, “iZimbabwe ingakwazi ukunyakazisi laba bazethembayo. Izikhulu zaseZimbabwe zilindele ukuthi ukukhiqiza madayimane kuyoletha phakathi kuka$1 wezigidigidi kanye no$2 wezigidigidi ngonyaka kumnotho oneGDP ecishe ibe ngu$7.5 wezigidigidi ngakho-ke ngingakuzwa ukushesha ukukhiqiza amadayimane eZimbabwe, kodwa angicabangi ukuthi bayahamba futhi bayokhiqiza amaningi ngendlela abangenza ngayo ngoba bawazi kakhle amanani.”

    Abanye abaningi, kodwa-ke, basaba ukuwa kwamanani okuqhamuka kwiqembu lezombusazwe iZanu (PF) ebusayo edinga izimali ukulwa nokhetho likazwelonke oluzayo eZimbabwe, futhi elingeke lingabaze ukuntshontsha iMarange ngesidumo umakwenzeka belahlekelwa amandla ombuso uya kwiMovement for Democratic Change.

    Uhulumeni waseMelika ngapahmbili wawaziwa njengomphikisi onelukuluku kumatshe aqhamuka ezweni laseZimbabwe ‘anobuhixihixi’, ngokubhekwa kanjalo ngoba abampofu abangamakhulu ambalwa babulawa ngamasosha ezempi eMarange ngo2007. Kodwa izikhulu ezingathembekile futhi ezizibhekelela zona zeState Department yaseWashington zabuye zavumela izifiso zikaMugabe ukuqinisekisa ngesihlalo seNqubo yaseKimberly ngo2012.

    Ubani owaketula iNqubo yaseKimberly?
    Eminyakeni emibili edlule, uFarai Maguwu, umqondisi weCentre for Research and development futhi ozofika maduze njengesitshudeni esivakashile esenza iziqu zobudokotela esikhungweni semfundo ephakeme eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali eCentre for Civil Society, waboshwa eMutare nguhulumeni waseZimbabwe ngokubeka engcupheni ‘ukuphepha kwezwe’ ngokuba nolwazi ngokuphula komthetho abezombutho amalungelo esintu eMarange.

    Ukuboshwa kukaMaguwu kwabonakala sengathi kwakuhleliwe: wahlangana nowayengumhloli owayebekiwe weKP uAbbey Chikane, ongumfowabo owayengumqondisi-jikelele kowayengumongameli waseNingizimu Afrika uFrank, owayethiphise izikhulu zezomoya zombuso waseZimbabwe noma wayekade ethi umhlangano uzoba imfihlo. UMaguwu wakholwa, futhi washo phambi komphakathi, ukuthi waye ‘dayiswe’ nguChikane.

    UChikane waphikisa ngokuthi wathola kuMaguwu izincwadi zombuso ezimayelana nezokuvikela ezazibhalwe umbutho wempi, ngenkathi uMagawu ephikisa ukuthi uChikane wayezofuna lemibhalo ngesikhathi somhlangano.

    Ngokusho kweHuman Rights Watch, eyanika uMaguwu umklomelo omkhulu ngokulwela amalungelo eAfrika, “Wayeboshiwe ngaphezu kwenyanga futhi enqatshelwe ukwelashwa njengesijeziso. Abezomthetho baphula umthetho ngokumyisa emagumbini ahlukene amaphoyisa asezimweni ezimbi kakhulu noma babazi ukuthi impilo yakhe isebucayini. UMaguwu wadedelwa ngokuqala kwenyanga kaJulayi futhi asulwa wonke amacala ayebhekene nawo ngenyanga kaOktoba.

    UChikane, ayizange iKP imsole phambi komphakathi, futhi akazange asule. Kukhononda uIan Smillie, owaziwa kakhulu emhlabeni wonke kwizingxabano ezihambisana namadayimane futhi ongumdwebi phambili weKP, “Asazi ukuthi amadayimane ayaphi ayevunyelwe nguAbbey Chikane. UChikane wayeyiphutha ezintweni ezimbalwa… Unobudlelwane obuningi kwezezimboni zamadayimane Eningizimu neAfrika okwakufanele kube isizathu sokuthi angakhethelwa isikhundla sakhe kusukela phansi.”

    Ngabe iKP inenkohlakalo engapheli?
    Lokhu kuholela embuzweni omkhulu:uma sesibhekana nenkohlakalo kaChikane kanye nokubhudukeza kweKP iWashington, lokho bekwenza kwizakhamizi zaseZimbabwe ezingaphansi kokuhlukunyezwa umbuso kaMugabe, ngabe izinhlangano zemiphakathi kufanele balahlele ngaphandle iKP njengethuluzi elibalulekile lokuhlola izinkampani zamazwe aphesheya kwimikhuba yazo ezindaweni lapho kuchitheka khona igazi ngamadayimani?

    Empeleni emva kwalokho, mhlawumbe okuhle kungaqhamuka kwimikhuba yeKP eNtshonalanga neAfrika, ukuchazwa kwamadayimani anokungqubuzana kukhiphele ngaphandle ezinye izonakali eziphambili zomhlaba: ezingahambisani nentando yeningi, ezinenkohlakalo futhi eziyimibuso engontamolukhuni, njengeNamibia neAngola, abangagcini-nje ‘ngokushaya eyabo imithetho’ ukuthi yini ekufanele kube umthethosisekelo wezitifiketi ezinesiqiniseko zamadayimani, kodwa futhi ababuye babe ngobhululu nezindlu zezimayini, lokho okubenza bazuze ngqo kwizinzuzo yamadayimani.

    Ngesonto eledlule, uMagawu wagcina evunyelwe ukuvakashela izimayini zaseMarange. Njengoba-ke abika, “Sebelethe izinsiza eziphambili ukumba kakhulu. Ngaphatheka kabi kakhulu ngendlela ukumbiwa okwenzeka ngayo ikakhulukazi ngoba akekho onakekela izimali. Kodwa lokhu sikubheka njengendimba ekufanele sidlule kuyona (sithemba) ukubhekisiswa izinhlangano zemiphakathi. Umhlangano engaba nawo (Ngqongqoshe Wezimali) uTendai Biti maduze-nje waveza obala ukuthi wayengakalutholi ulwazi ngokudayiswa kwamadayimane okwenzeka ngoDisemba kanye nangoJanuwari. Uma inzuzo yamadayimani ingakwazi ukufika esikhwameni semali yombuso kusho ukuthi sibhekene nengwadla.”

    UKhadija Sharife ungumcwaningi eUKZN eCentre for Civil Society

    Farai Maguwu, incoming CCS doctoral student and Mutare‑based diamond watchdog

    State failure, market failure and civil society failure

    After last week’s COP17 autopsy, SA’s environmental justice movement also left fingerprints on the corpse
    Patrick Bond 28 February 2012

    Critics of power abuse often dwell exclusively on state failure and market failure.

    A good example is the way a lead editorialist in the Sunday Times grappled with the next round of crony-capitalist tenderpreneurship two days ago: ‘Did the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, really think that a decision to spend R300 billion over the next 17 years on nuclear power stations did not merit a mention in his budget speech?’

    Unearthing that figure, buried deep in the detailed budget document, the editorialist reminded Gordhan of ‘the decade-long fiasco that resulted from greed, fraud, corruption and cover-ups surrounding the R45-billion arms deal.’

    Another unpleasant reminder will come when former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s dereliction of duty is again raised by both Zuma’s arms-deal commission (if they do even a half-baked job) and by those reviewing his fitness for a possible run, in coming weeks, at the World Bank presidency. In June the incumbent, Robert Zoellick, will be replaced after serial disasters in both government and finance stretching back a quarter century.

    Former Member of Parliament Andrew Feinstein revealed that Manuel knew of bribes solicited by the late Defense Minister Joe Modise. Feinstein testified (without challenge) that in late 2000, Manuel surreptitiously advised him over lunch, ‘It’s possible there was some shit in the deal. But if there was, no one will ever uncover it. They’re not that stupid. Just let it lie.’

    Apparently adopting a similar attitude, Gordhan is facilitating not only nuclear madness but also hundreds of billions of rands worth of Eskom’s coal-fired power plants, more coal exports, further water-degradation of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, and roads commercialization (thanks to Gauteng residents’ revolt against e-tolling).

    How does this square with our hosting the COP17 climate summit, here in Gordhan’s home town?

    Earlier this month, Yale and Colombia university researchers rated South Africa fifth worst ‘environmental performer’ amongst the 132 countries studied; the three categories in which we did worst were forest loss, sulfur dioxide emissions and carbon emissions.

    This is mainly thanks to Pretoria finance, energy and mining officials, Johannesburg Eskom bosses, and the Melbourne and London mining and metals houses. They support vast electricity wastage for smelting (resulting in the world’s highest kWh/job rate in this capital-intensive sector), leaving our greenhouse gas emissions from energy twenty times higher than even the USA’s, measured per unit of economic output per person.

    Such eco-financial insanity continues because the crony capitalist Minerals-Energy Complex remains intact: tragically, the most powerful force in forging apartheid’s migrant labour system was strengthened not weakened after 1994, even though the mining sector added nothing to the country’s GDP growth during the 2002-08 minerals boom. One reason was corporate capital flight, which in 2007 – at the boom’s peak – reached an awe-inspiring 20 percent of SA GDP, according to Wits University economists.

    To that waste and resource outflow must be added banal corruption, such as the Chancellor House (an African National Congress fundraising arm) and Hitachi R40 billion deal for Eskom boilers which will apparently not be delivered on time, hence risking another round of load-shedding. In 2009, Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana found that Eskom chairperson Valli Moosa ‘acted improperly’ because he awarded that price-busting contract in blatant conflict of interest, while he sat on the ANC’s finance committee.

    That fact doesn’t bother the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s carbon trading desk, which has just rewarded Moosa with membership on the ‘High-Level Panel on the Clean Development Mechanism Policy Dialogue.’ The panel will, in a September report, almost certainly attempt to justify the privatization of the air in spite of repeated episodes of emissions market fraud and corruption, benefiting only those involved in financial profiteering from greenhouse gas pollution.

    For good measure, Moosa also chairs the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature’s South Africa chapter, which promotes the carbon trading gimmick.

    Indeed, state and market failure were joined by civil society failure at the COP17. This was on display last week when 100 chastened climate activists gathered in a desultory central Durban hotel to provide each other with an autopsy of the climate summit – specifically, how the climate justice movement failed to demand accountability from the ‘1%’ negotiating elites inside the convention centre who were, to put it scientifically, plotting genocide and ecocide.

    The harshest auto-critique was from Professor Ashwin Desai. He attacked the ‘big name spectacle NGOs’ Greenpeace and WWF, which ‘dominated the content and temperature of the march’ of thousands last December 3. ‘Local grassroots organizations were reduced to spectators, and were allowed only the occasional cameo appearance with most often a single line; ‘Amandla!’’

    The route to the Convention Centre ‘delivered the Minister of International Relations, and COP17 president Maita Nkoana-Mashabane to the masses gathered below. She used the opportunity to say how important civil society was and promised to study a memorandum. She was gracious and generous. I could see the NGO’s on the truck preening themselves in the glow of this recognition and probably increased funding.’

    But Desai would be the first to confess how few Durban communities made the effort to more decisively link climate to other burning concerns, including high electricity prices due to coal-fired powerplant construction, severe storms (one causing at least eight deaths on November 27), and the petro-chemical industry’s regular explosions, such as last October 10’s Engen refinery fire that left 100 kids from Settlers Primary School in Merebank hospitalised.

    For Desai, who assisted with mobilizing in Wentworth and Merebank, ‘There's a litmus test. In 2001 there was a huge march here, with some 10 000 people in the streets, a completely different march: militant, scathing of the local ruling class, with swear words on its placards. The Durban Declaration was a visceral indictment of our ruling class as an agent of global capital and its economic policies which were deepening inequality and increasing poverty.’

    The result at COP17 left him depressed: ‘Civil society as meticulously controlled spectacle, reducing people to choreographed cheerleaders, acting as an accomplice to power.’

    Activists who supported the ‘C17’ committee of civil society had all manner of good (and a few bad) excuses for the weak showing last December, including erratic funders. Some huge NGOs, including WWF and Greenpeace, apparently contributed only staff time and no other resources. These and others, including faith communities at Diakonia and some trade unions, held competing events to the C17’s People’s Space at locations across town, even though they served on the C17 committee.

    Though many praised the C17 for hard work, its meager impact at COP17 – reflected best in negotiators’ abject failure to cut emissions – doesn’t auger well for civil society unity in future campaigns to save the climate and economy from the Minerals-Energy Complex and finance ministers.

    A sober accounting of the climate summit must also offer an autopsy of civil society counterpower at this juncture, and a diagnosis for reviving the corpse – or for rejecting contradiction-ridden unity of such breadth.

    Patrick Bond directs the UKZN Centre for Civil Society, where public seminars will be held tomorrow and next week on mobilizing for socio-environmental and political justice.

    Global Sustainability’ Wilts In South Africa’s Political Hot Air

    Patrick Bond 16 February 2012

    Durban – The latest acts in this country’s intensifying political drama include a sizzling summer-long battle between young and old within the African National Congress (ANC), last week’s State of the Nation speech by president Jacob Zuma, and the release of the ANC’s ‘research’ on alternatives to mining nationalization, a demand by the ANC youth which is now one of the main wedge issues dividing the ruling party.

    Amidst the chaos, stepping over the political corpse of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema (about to be expelled for ‘throwing the ANC into disrepute’), Zuma apparently also wants to be considered a world eco-visionary. As co-chairs of the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, he and Finnish president Tarja Halonen published an article last week entitled ‘Seizing sustainable development.’ Zuma and Halonen ask, ‘How do we begin to tackle the massive challenge of retooling our global economy, preserving the environment, and providing greater opportunity and equity, including gender equality, to all?’

    From the Panel’s report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet, comes answers that include neoliberal fixes – ‘Pollution, including carbon emissions, must no longer be free’ – and obvious reforms: ‘Price- and trade-distorting subsidies should be made transparent and phased out for fossil fuels by 2020.’ Plus sanctimony: ‘We need to place long-term thinking above short-term demands, both in the marketplace and at the polling place. Promoting fairness and inclusion is the right thing to do – and the smart thing to do for lasting prosperity and stability.’

    Two days later, in a speech to parliament considered the finest in his blooper-filled career, Zuma declared, ‘Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the inter-ministerial committee on COP17 for making the conference a huge success. The final outcome of COP17 was historic and precedent setting, ranking with the 1997 conference where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.’

    But who won at Durban’s climate summit? The biggest polluters, it turns out, who got off scot-free on emissions cuts as well as on North-South fairness. According to the New York Times, at the recent World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a top aide to chief US State Department negotiator Todd Stern remarked that ‘the Durban platform was promising because of what it did not say.’ After all, revealed Trevor Houser, ‘There is no mention of historic responsibility or per capita emissions. There is no mention of economic development as the priority for developing countries. There is no mention of a difference between developed and developing country action.’

    Zuma’s ‘huge success’ was in reality a sell-out of the UN’s tradition of differentiated responsibility between rich and poor countries. As climate chaos hits, Africa will be the worst-affected continent. (And so who can blame the African Union for its majority-vote hostility to Pretoria’s leadership candidate in a hung election last week?) The only Africans who smiled when leaving Durban were those from South Africa’s mining and electricity-guzzling industry – along with oil extractors – blessed by COP17’s failure to make binding emissions cuts.

    Zuma’s State of the Nation address expanded his to-do list of climate-destroying investments. Already Pretoria is constructing the world’s fourth-largest coal-fired power plant with the World Bank’s largest-ever project loan, at Medupi in the beautiful Waterberg mountains where there is insufficient water for cooling it. Not far away, contracts are being signed for the world’s third-largest coal-fired plant, Eskom’s Kusile.

    The main Eskom beneficiary is BHP Billiton, which consumes more than 10 percent of SA’s electricity and still gets the world’s cheapest power deal at Richard’s Bay, where the workforce has been shaved back by increasingly capital-intensive aluminum smelters to now fewer than 1500. The other beneficiary is the Japanese firm Hitachi, which in 2010 pretended not to know that its owners included the ANC’s Chancellor House, and whose supply of boilers – for which they are paid a mind-boggling R40+ billion – is so far behind schedule that more Eskom electricity black-outs loom.

    Zuma’s speech unveiled yet more eco-destructive capital-intensive projects: ‘First, we plan to develop and integrate rail, road and water infrastructure, centered on two main areas in Limpopo: the Waterberg in the western part of the province and Steelpoort in the eastern part. These efforts are intended to unlock the enormous mineral belt of coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other minerals, in order to facilitate increased mining as well as stepped-up beneficiation of minerals.’

    There is much more: ‘Among the list of planned projects is the expansion of the iron ore export channel from 60-million tons per annum to 82-million tons per annum…, development of a new 16-million-tons-per-annum manganese export channel through the Port of Ngqura in Nelson Mandela Bay… and expansion of the iron-ore rail line between Sishen in the Northern Cape and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape.’

    Speaking to CityPress newspaper after Thursday’s speech, Zuma elaborated: ‘By 2014, I’d want to see the cranes, building, digging everything. I’d like to see people employed. We are looking at a new kind of city at Waterberg. That’s how Johannesburg began, as a mining town.’ Set aside that Johannesburg is the world’s least sustainable city, does Zuma know that there’s a vast national housing shortage and a vast surplus of unemployed people, and that building homes doesn’t require cranes, but does create far more jobs per unit of capital spent?

    Did he notice that the largest platinum operation, Implats, fired 17,000 workers just a week before his speech, whom when rehired will suffer a substantial cut in their pensions? Did he read the National Planning Commission’s finding that ‘South Africa needs to move away from the unsustainable use of natural resources’?

    As for non-renewable resources now being drawn from South African soil with only a pittance for communities, workers and the government fiscus, Zuma protected multinational mining capital from Malema’s populist nationalization demands by setting up a commission whose report is already drawing ridicule.

    Malema, who became exceptionally wealthy in recent years allegedly by influencing Limpopo Province tenders for large payouts, was predictably hostile. As he explained last Friday, the lead researcher, Paul Jordaan, was ‘compromised’ for opposing 1955 ANC Freedom Charter nationalization promises: ‘Jordaan and the research team visited 13 countries and the only conclusion they could come up with are the opinions held by Comrade Paul Jordaan in 2010. It is possible that the research was a smokescreen to legitimise the personal opinions of Comrade Paul Jordaan and that is not how the ANC works.’

    Other critics were just as harsh. Explained University of Cape Town political scientist Anthony Butler, a leading commentator, ‘The document’s intellectual quality is uneven. The research “methodology” involves lots of foreign travel and “stakeholder workshops”. The study team also makes unacknowledged use of “less scholarly” resources, such as Wikipedia and The credibility of the report is damaged by long passages that bear a remarkable resemblance to the work of retired North American mine-tax expert Charles McPherson.’

    As Butler complained, in one of many ‘unfathomable coincidences of word selection and arrangement (such borrowings are far too extensive to set out fully here) both [the ANC and McPherson] call for “the explicit recognition in budgets and planning documents of the financial and fiscal costs and risks associated with state participation”. Did McPherson help draw up the ANC’s report? If so, was the ANC’s national executive committee aware that a former oil-industry executive, who only recently ended his career in the fiscal affairs department of the International Monetary Fund, was commissioned to contribute to its study?’

    Butler worries that the report still supports elements of Malema’s ‘phoney nationalisation drive’, such as transferring mineworker pension funds ‘into special purpose vehicles in the service of developmental objectives. In reality, such instruments would be abused to fund corporate welfare for the politically connected.’

    Indeed under conditions of neoliberal nationalism, the outcome of most public policy in South Africa is inevitably crony capitalism rife with corruption. A major ANC-initiated forensic audit into corruption in the second-largest city, Durban, last week revealed massive illegalities especially in $400 million worth of privatized housing construction contracts under the 2002-11 leadership of city manager Mike Sutcliffe, who claims he will soon rebut the charges.

    The overall problem is not housing, though, which remains an area of vast underinvestment. It is the incessant construction of white elephants and prestige projects. These were what the former trade union leader Ebrahim Patel – now Minister of Economic Development – was reduced to celebrating, in justifying the vast infrastructure investments. In his parliamentary response to Zuma, Patel remarked, ‘We took account of the lessons of the 2010 World Cup infrastructure and the growing experience in the build programmes for the Gautrain, the Medupi and Kusile power stations, the Freeway improvement programme and the major airport revamps.’

    But to continue along this track is suicide. The World Cup stadia are nearly all losing money on operations and maintenance. The Gautrain’s speedy lifts from the Johannesburg airport to the financial district and government buildings in Pretoria are too expensive for the masses. The power stations have already raised the price of electricity by more than 150 percent, with another 25 percent increase scheduled in April. The public-private highway tolling partnership with an Austrian firm is so unpopular that on March 9 the trade union movement is threatening a national strike. The utterly unnecessary airport revamps are, again, for elites only.

    Zuma’s pandering to mining houses is especially galling. As if to celebrate the state’s renewed orientation to big business interests, the ‘Mining Indaba’ – Africa’s biggest trade fair – in Cape Town last week was capped with a keynote speech by an extremist climate-change denialist, David Evans. The ‘performance’ was ‘well received by an audience of miners, who come from an industry that often feels the pinch of climate control in the regulation of their industries,’ reported the Mail&Guardian.

    Zuma’s crucial challenge, under such influences, is to continue opposing the rhetoric of his Global Sustainability Panel, insofar as nearly everything he and the big corporates are doing here place short-term demands above long-term thinking, both in the marketplace and at the polling place, promoting unfairness and exclusion, and thus preventing lasting prosperity and stability. It’s from such accumulation dynamics that South Africa has come to specialize in ‘talk left, walk right’ politics. Whether it is the ‘Black Economic Empowerment’ fronting scams, such as Hitachi and Chancellor House, or the greedy corporations’ influence, the ruling party appears addicted to unsustainable underdevelopment hyped by big-business cheerleading.

    From Zuma’s main political base, for instance, Toyota South Africa CEO Johan van Zyl last week argued, ‘Durban as a brand is not strong enough to simply say “come and invest in Durban”. What it needs to attract investors are big projects.’ At a seminar of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science and Business Day newspaper, van Zyl insisted, ‘Durban needs to keep ahead of the competition. China is building ports they don’t even know when they will use. If return on investment is the line of thinking we may never see the infrastructure.’

    In other words, please supply more public subsidies to the high-carbon fat cats. In that very spirit, Durban’s new city manager S’bu Sithole inherited a secretive $32 billion ‘Back-of-Port’ plan to expand what is already Africa’s largest harbour, in the process demolishing the 150-year old neighbourhood of Clairwood and expanding the deadly petro-chemical industry.

    Also at that seminar was former Durban mayor Obed Mlaba, criticized in the forensic audit for illegally hijacking a $400 million waste-energy infrastructure tender at the Bisasar Road landfill, site of a high-profile carbon-trading pilot project. Complained Mlaba, ‘Big projects or even creating clusters around them are hampered by small-town mentality.’

    Typical of a big-town mentality was this banal command to Zuma by Business Day editor Peter Bruce on Monday: ‘mine more and faster and ship what we mine cheaper and faster.’

    If we do so, then bye-bye resilient people and resilient planet.

    Bond authored Politics of Climate Justice (UKZN Press), edited Durban’s Climate Gamble (Unisa Press), and directs the UKZN Centre for Civil Society:

    Zim police stop KZN academic’s lecture

    Leanne Jansen (The Mercury) 10 February 2012

    Durban activist and academic Patrick Bond has been barred from delivering an address as part of a series of lectures in Harare.

    Bond, who returns to SA on Friday, described on Thursday how riot police chased people away from the event, organised by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on Wednesday.

    Bond would have spoken on the “global financial crisis, the discrediting of the neo-liberal ideology, and the failure of global climate governance at the COP17 (climate change conference in Durban last year)”, he said.

    He said the New Zimbabwe lecture series also faced bans in 2011 and was only saved when the MDC threatened to withdraw from the unity government.

    Bond was to deliver the first lecture of the 2012 series.

    “It is a sickening feeling to have simple rights of expression so blatantly repressed, but my experience is trivial when compared to the majority of Zimbabweans’ suffering. It is heartening that sufficient interest in the global financial meltdown and ecological crises exists to risk attempting the lecture again, hopefully next week. Another request for permission was supplied to the police,” Bond said.

    Charles Mangongera, the MDC’s director of policy and research, said he was “embarrassed” that Bond had travelled from Durban “only for him to be denied an opportunity to share his ideas”.

    According to Mangongera, the lecture series was a platform for critical thinking and debate on issues Zimbabweans were faced with daily.

    Mangongera said the police had been told of the seminar “more than a week ago” to satisfy the Public Order and Security Act.

    “Ideally we were not even supposed to notify them, as the act only refers to political gatherings and, clearly, an event of this nature is not a political gathering.”

    Mangongera said members of the organising team were called to the Harare Central police station on Wednesday and told that permission to hold the event had been denied because a “false address” had been provided.

    The Mercury phoned the police station on Thursday and spoke to a man who identified himself only as the station commander.

    When the incident, as told by Bond and Mangongera, was relayed to him, he responded: “Yes, so what do you want?”

    Asked why the lecture series was prevented from taking place, he laughed and put the phone down. - The Mercury

    The free flow of ideas is the hallmark of a proressive society
    Charles Mangongera (Zimbabwe Weekend Post) 10 February 2012

    The New Zimbabwe Lecture Series is a critical thinking and debating forum for ideas exchange and debate. The idea behind the series is to offer a platform for public debate on issues that confront Zimbabweans every day. The hope is that Zimbabweans can also learn from the experiences of other coutries and from time time eminent scholars and personalities are invited from abroad to share their thoughts and experiences. On Wednesday the 8th of February the series was to host a public lecture under the theme, ‘The Global Financial Crisis and its implications for the Third World: The case of Zimbabwe’. Billed to speak were renowned Zimbabwean academic, author and publisher, Dr. Ibbo Mandaza and well-known South African academic and author, Professor Patrick Bond.

    As the convenors of the New Zimbabwe Lecture Series we sent out invitations and flighted advertisements in the local press for the event. Here is the full text of the invitation that we sent out to the Zimbabwean public; “There is a saying that goes, “When Europe and America sneeze, the whole world catches a cold”. As the the United States and Europe grapple with the effects of economic recession and growth stagnation, the rest of the world including Africa have not been spared. Given the current state of globalisation and the integration of economies, the financial crisis has resulted in recession not only in the European Union and United States but across the whole globe. Markets in Asia and Africa have been adversely affected and economic growth is stuttering. Given these conditions, what are the policy options for Africa and Zimbabwe in particular? What are the policy implications and how feasible is the “Look East Policy” in the context of the emergence of China as a ‘superpower’? What lessons can Zimbabwe draw from the financial crisis and how can it safeguard itself from the economic shock? How will the financial crisis impact on internal political dynamics in Zimbabwe? For these and more questions, the public is hereby invited to this lecture”.

    As is required by the police under the obnoxious Public Order and Security Act (POSA) we sent them notification more than a week ago that we would be convening this lecture. Ideally we were not even supposed to notify them as the Act only refers to political gatherings and clearly an event of this nature is not a political gathering. But because of our previous experiences where we have had the police barring public seminars on the pretext that they were not sanctioned, we thought it prudent to notify them. We wrote the police more than a week ago but we never heard from them until the day of the seminar when they called one of our team members to Harare Central Police Station. There he was told by one Superintendent Gowe that the meeting would not go ahead. Gowe handed him a letter saying ‘my office regrets to inform you that it has been confirmed that you are using a false address, and hence your public lecture is not sanctioned’. My colleague protested that the New Zimbabwe Lecture Series was a bona fide platform that had held similar events before and that the police had been furnished with the same application details but he was was told off.

    An hour before the scheduled time of the event we received a call from the hotel where we had booked space for the event informing us that they had been instructed to lock up the space. They could not confirm to us whether the people who gave the instruction were police officers but could only say they were not in police uniform. We visited the venue so we could notify people that the meeting had been cancelled. By the time we got to the hotel there was a fully loaded police truck parked in the front. Officers in full anti-riot gear had been dispatched to cordon off the hotel entrance.

    We asked to address the people that had come for the seminar in order to inform that the meeting had been cancelled. The leader of the police team told us that he was under strict instruction not to let anyone address the people and warned that if we did he would promptly arrest us. By that time a big group of people had already gathered in the hotel lobby. We defied the him and addressed the people informing them that the police had barred the meeting.

    I took the leader of the group aside and I asked him how he genuinely felt about what the police were doing. I told him that this was an academic exercise and that the police had no right to stop such a meeting. He told me he saw nothing wrong with the seminar but was simply following instructions ‘from above’. “My friend, if I had a choice I would be at home with my family or maybe at the bar having a beer. But what can I do? I have been given orders and I cannot question them’, he told me.

    Later on as I drove home I felt embarrassed that we had flown a man all the way from Durban only for him to be denied an opportunity to share his ideas. Is this the Zimbabwean society we want to build? A society that fears ideas? How can we progress as a country if we close platforms for information exchange and debate? Countries that have progressed have done so on the backdrop of robust intellectual debate, from which new ideas emerge. Is the Zimbabwean political class so paranoid that it can send a whole truckload of police officers to bar Zimbabweans from talking about issues that confront them?

    The New Zimbabwe Lecture Series will be submitting another application for the same event next week. We will not rest until Zimbabweans get a genuine opportunity to search for answers to the problems that confront them every day.

    Charles Mangongera writes from Harare. E-mail feedback to

    Public meeting on financial and ecological crises banned 9 February 2012

    Police yesterday banned a public meeting in the MDC’s New Zimbabwe lecture series which was to have been addressed by South African economist Patrick Bond, the topic being “Global Financial and Ecological Crises, and Implications for Third World Countries.”

    As one observer commented about the ban: “Hundreds had turned up for the meeting only to be greeted by baton wielding anti-riot police. Is this the state of the GNU we want?” The real question however is did we ever say we wanted any kind of GNU? The people of Zimbabwe didn’t vote for a compromise. The politicians decided to force one on us when none of them could get their own way.

    Meanwhile, “The Principals” (Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara), signatories to the Global Political Agreement met for 2 ½ hours yesterday to “deliberate key issues affecting the country.”

    Amongst other things, they discussed elections, media reforms the land audit, and sticky issues like the Attorney General’s Act and Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri. The gist of the statement after the meeting? Yes, these are issues. And something should happen about them.

    Somehow, I wouldn’t have thought that “something” would have involved banning a public discussion. . . ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

    Khadija Sharife's new book on why Africa must change tax injustice

    This book addresses issues that, in the light of the current financial and economic crisis, are urgent, timely and salient to the bigger issue of development finance. - Yash Tandon

    This lucid introduction to tax justice in Africa sets out the causes and consequences of tax injustice and offers options for a fairer future. Although tax revenues are essential for establishing independent states of free citizens, taxes in Africa are often regressive, tax administration ineffective and many commodity exports from Africa are tax exempt. The influence of multilateral agencies on tax policy in Africa has, in many countries, decreased government revenues. Multinational companies exploit tax loopholes while secrecy jurisdictions enable tax evasion.

    So what is the role of governments, parliaments and taxpayers? What needs to be done to achieve tax justice? The solutions suggested in this important book include raising awareness about tax issues, promoting a culture of tax compliance, increasing tax transparency and enhancing international cooperation on tax matters.

    Tax Us If You Can was written by lead author Khadija Sharife, a regional correspondent for The Africa Report magazine, Africa project fellow for the World Policy Institute, and University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society (UKZN-CCS) researcher and writer.

    If you're an African non-governmental organisation of limited funds, please email to arrange a complimentary copy of this ebook (Adobe PDF).


    Tax is the foundation of all civilisations. The act of tracing tax
    policies and practices reveals the history of the relationship between
    the ruler and the ruled, state and citizen.

    In Africa this relationship can be traced back over millennia. For
    instance, Egypt’s famed Rosetta Stone, created in 196 BC during
    the Ptolemaic era, was an agreement granting a tax exemption to
    priests and certain reductions to the military and other ruling classes,
    including traders approved by the king. It was an early example of
    the special privileges that continue to proliferate across the continent.
    Today, 80 per cent of Africa’s exports consist of primary commodities.
    African governments depend heavily on the resource rents from
    these commodities, but many are exempt from taxation. Tax holidays
    and other hidden subsidies granted to multinationals in secretive
    agreements deprive governments and their citizens of significant tax

    Similar exemptions to those that once governed trade along the
    Anu canal in ancient Egypt continue today as foreign traders set up
    shop in the various free zones along Africa’s coastlines, or special
    economic zones and international financial centres along the trade
    routes that cross the continent, where little or no tax is due.

    Tax injustices in Africa prevail for a number of reasons. Key
    among these are the world’s secrecy jurisdictions, which provide
    services with high levels of confidentiality in order to facilitate the
    hiding of taxable incomes and shelter criminal activities. It is not
    without irony, then, that the Rosetta Stone is housed in London,
    which is linked to more than a quarter of the world’s secrecy jurisdictions.
    (Secrecy jurisdictions are defined as places that intentionally
    create regulation for the primary benefit and use of those not
    resident in their geographical domain. That regulation is designed to
    undermine the legislation or regulation of another jurisdiction. See
    Chapter 3.)

    This book aims to help readers understand the issues behind
    Africa’s struggle for tax justice. Chapter 1 begins by exploring the
    meaning of tax justice in the African context before examining some
    of the main channels for tax leakage from the continent and the
    impact of these leakages on government revenues.

    Chapter 2 sets out the key systemic causes of tax injustice in
    Africa, explaining first how decades of selective development, or
    ‘maldevelopment’, in resource-rich states has left government funds
    depleted and many countries susceptible to conflict. The chapter
    goes on to examine the policies that have contributed to making
    taxes in Africa regressive, and ends by looking at problems around
    ineffective tax and customs administrations.

    Chapter 3 presents a ‘who’s who’ of tax injustice in Africa. The
    tax avoidance industry is always keen to make a clear distinction
    between tax evasion, which is illegal in most countries, and tax
    avoidance, which usually involves exploiting legal loopholes. This
    chapter looks at some of the key players involved in exploiting such
    loopholes: accountants, lawyers, bankers, multinational companies
    and, crucially, secrecy jurisdictions. It also examines the role of
    governments, parliaments and taxpayers, and asks what all stakeholders
    should be doing to help achieve tax justice.

    Chapter 4 discusses how multilateral agencies, such as the World
    Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have influenced
    tax policy in Africa. It shows how the ‘tax consensus’ promoted by
    these organisations has led to a reduction in government revenues in
    many countries. It then looks at some of the international organisations
    trying to tackle various aspects of tax injustice, particularly the
    United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
    Development (OECD), and discusses the role of a range of African
    organisations and the growing contribution of civil society.

    Chapter 5 emphasises the importance of taxation for Africa’s
    future and explores a series of options to help achieve tax justice.
    Key among these will be: raising awareness around tax issues and
    promoting a culture of tax compliance; increasing tax transparency
    among governments and multinational companies; increasing international
    cooperation on tax matters; and enhancing international
    assistance to help African governments improve their tax affairs.

    Finally, a glossary of tax terms is provided to help readers understand
    some of the technical terminology around taxation.

    Tax revenues are necessary for any state to meet the basic needs
    of its citizens. In Africa, tax revenues will be essential for establishing
    independent states of free citizens, less reliant on foreign
    aid and the vagaries of external capital. We hope that many of the
    ideas presented here will be realised and that tax justice can help all
    African states achieve a greater degree of self-determination.

    The IMF and Tunisia

    Will Neoliberalism Make a Comeback in Africa?
    Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife 3 February 2012

    With International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde visiting Tunis today, the stage is set for ideological war over the progress of democratic revolutions.

    Until 27 year-old fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by immolation in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia was packaged as an IMF success story. In 2008, dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was embraced by Lagarde’s predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn: ‘Economic policy adopted here is a sound policy and is the best model for many emerging countries.’

    Ben Ali’s regime was the ‘best model’ for two other Washington institutions: the State Department just a few blocks from the IMF headquarters, and the Pentagon. From within Hillary Clinton’s lair, as WikiLeaks revealed in 2010, ‘The United States and Tunisia have an active schedule of joint military exercises. US security assistance historically has played an important role in cementing relations.’ (Clinton is a leading candidate for World Bank president, to be chosen in mid-2012.)

    Also in 2010, the IMF celebrated Ben Ali’s commitment ‘to reduce tax rates on businesses and to offset those reductions by increasing the standard Value Added Tax (VAT) rate,’ which hurts poor people most. The IMF advised the tyrant to ‘contain subsidies of food and fuel products.’ While squeezing the poor, the IMF diplomatically turned a blind eye to widespread corruption by Ben Ali and his wife’s notorious Trabelsi family, the two families’ extreme level of business concentration, the regime’s reliance upon murderous security forces to defend Tunisian crony capitalism, and the hedonistic lifestyle for which Ben Ali’s clan had become famous.

    The informal sector is vibrant in Tunisia, about half the size of the formal Gross Domestic Product, but doesn’t contribute to the 18 percent VAT rate. So like in South Africa where the state just announced tax filings by a record four million people, the pressure is intense for authorities to bring survivalist home-production businesses into the net. Police harassment worsened, and Bouazizi killed himself after his fruit cart was overturned and goods confiscated. He had borrowed $200 the night before to buy the produce, and with the meager earnings, he supported a family of four. He died of the burn wounds last January 4.

    Before long, another self-immolation occurred, politically, when the notorious sex pest Strauss-Kahn allegedly raped a 32-year old Guinean maid, Nafissatou Diallo, who fought back with a charge that, ultimately, could not be prosecuted in the criminal courts, though a civil trial looms.

    But the legacies represented by both immolations continue: high-risk pro-dictatorial neoliberalism and courageous popular resistance. A month ago, Strauss-Kahn’s successor Christine Lagarde, also a former French finance minister, visited Abuja to offer neoliberal advice to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan on fuel subsidy cuts. Lagarde was effusive about Jonathan. ‘I was extremely impressed’, she said, ‘with the energy and pace at which he wants to transform the economy.’

    However, as for Nigeria’s very low fuel price, as the BBC reported, ‘The IMF has long urged Nigeria’s government to remove the subsidy, which costs a reported $8 billion a year.‘ Lagarde also emphasized this ‘reform’, and the result was nearly Tunisian in scale: a national popular struggle, Occupy Nigeria, that shook the country to the point of Jonathan’s overthrow before civilized society – the trade unions – called off protests, agreeing to a government fuel price concession.

    The preceding paragraphs are based upon leftist ideological argumentation, but this is not the only narrative about Tunisia. The Third World’s most celebrated neoliberal is probably Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. He blames the series of revolutionary uprisings in North Africa on limited access to capital.

    In an interview last year, de Soto told us, ‘Bouazizi immolated himself in a terrible suicide because he never got a right to the land his house was built on, which could have been used for credit to develop his business, for example, to buy a truck. He was never able to get an official right to put a stall in a public place and so, he never had a property right to it. The only way to get the police to accept it was to pay off a bribe of several dinars every day. When they take that away from him, the space, he knows he does not have much of a future anymore.’

    De Soto also blames Islam’s Sharia law for the inability of Bouazizi’s mother to benefit from belated municipal recognition of his home: ‘When he died, she wasn’t able to pass the title from his name to her name, because the paper that recognises the property is hard to transfer and in the process, someone could do very dirty tricks. Should she wish to sell it, to rent it, to use it as a guarantee to get capital for credit, she’s got a problem. The kind of papers that the Municipality dishes out are not good enough for the bank. So women are not protected because of Shariah laws of the country, where property would go to the eldest son, even if the son is not able to benefit from the asset.’

    But one fatal flaw in his argument, as shenanigans at Muhammed Yunus’ Grameen Bank and recent suicides by 250,000 over-indebted Andra Pradesh farmers suggest, is that microcredit can just as easily add to the woes of ordinary people, amplifying the deeper economic contradictions. Moreover, Tunisia’s system was structured to diminish the power of citizens in order to sustain a dictatorship, with an estimated 17 percent of one major Tunisian bank in the hands of Ben Ali’s son.

    Thus, the poverty innate to the IMF’s best model, Tunisia, cannot be solved by paper rights aiming to integrate poor people into a rotting ‘formal’ economy locked up by political and military elites. The same is true in Egypt, where repression by the post-Mubarak military against progressive democrats has worsened. The majority of parliament represented by Islamic parties is not yet sufficiently powerful to support the democrats – if that is their wont. The re-emergence of political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa, especially Tunisia where progressives do have influence over economic policy, requires new narratives. The revolutionary alliance in several countries between political Islam and democratic civil society, against Washington-backed dictators, has not yet ended.

    In a speech last December, Lagarde attempted to coopt the ideas of the Arab Spring. Speaking of Bouazizi, she asked, ‘Who could have predicted that his tragic death would herald a whole new Middle East? Who would have foreseen that this act of desperation against a violation of human dignity would ignite a flame that would eventually illuminate the entire region, toppling governments and leading to mass awakening of social consciousness?’

    But for Lagarde, the awakening was dangerous: ‘This is naturally a risky and uncertain period. It is a period when hard choices must be made, when post-revolutionary euphoria must give some way to practical concerns.’

    Her concern was partly about Tunisia, where yesterday she seemed to be making progress. ‘It will be important to manage this difficult transition in an orderly way. And here, I want to pay tribute especially to the people of Tunisia, who are going through a smooth and inclusive process of transition. Just as Tunisia provided the first spark of the Arab Spring, so now can it light the path forward for other countries in the region.’

    Will that light include the kinds of subsidy cuts and privatization strategies her institution backed in pre-revolutionary Tunisia? After all, said Lagarde in her December speech praising the Arab Spring, ‘We are offering the best policy advice possible. We will provide financial help if requested. And with our technical assistance, we are helping countries build better institutions for a better world. Some examples: We are helping Egypt make its tax system more equitable. We are helping Libya develop a modern system of government payments. We are helping Tunisia improve its financial sector. And we are helping Jordan with fuel subsidy reform.’

    Then Jordan will surely follow Nigeria in protest. But in Tunisia the pitch is insidious, for yesterday, interim prime minister Hamadi Jebali was quoted in the local press as ‘commending the IMF’s active and constructive support to Tunisia’s economy particularly after the revolution.’

    But Jebali’s former advisor, and current spokesperson of the ruling Al-Nahda party, Said Ferjani, offered a more balanced view yesterday during a talk in Durban, South Africa: ‘The IMF was bad in describing Ben Ali as a model.’

    Although he conceded there were no plans to cut ties to the IMF, ‘We won’t be in a situation where we will be blackmailed by anything. Across Africa they pushed for privatization of the safety net. We will never listen to such things. We will not accept anything that compromises our national interest. The poor people of Tunisia are the prime priority for us because at the end of the day those are our people and we will not bow to any pressure or any kind of policies that would exacerbate the plight of the poor people. The IMF can say what they want but we will do what is right for our people. It’s the aim of our revolution.’

    If the likes of Lagarde continue their visits to African capitals – including Pretoria last month when who knows what advice she chummily proffered to South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan – then we need to hear more from Tunisians, Egyptians, Nigerians and so many others about how underlying causes of revolt, especially inequality and neoliberalism, can fuse opposition from diverse traditions. After all, no country exemplifies neoliberalism, inequality and multifaceted protest – and resulting political confusion – as acutely as South Africa.

    Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife are researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society.

    South Africa & Carbon Trading

    Should Africa walk away from carbon market failure before we destroy the planet?
    Michael Dorsey and Patrick Bond, Original version appeared in >Business Day, 24 January 2011

    Last winter, when carbon prices fell 15 percent in one week, industry analysts termed it “carnage”. Then in the fortnight before last month’s Durban climate summit, carbon prices fell more than 30 percent, with front-year European Union Allowance permits dropping below $11/tonne. And they have crashed even further since.

    During the Durban talks Deutsche Bank confessed, “We do not expect the pricing outlook to improve materially in the foreseeable future.” A leading UBS analyst predicted a €3/tonne price in coming months, because the EU Emissions Trading Scheme “isn't working” and carbon prices are “already too low to have any significant environmental impact.”

    PointCarbon, Reuters’ climate trade news service, concluded, “Carbon markets are still on life support after the COP17 put off some big decisions until next year and failed to deliver any hope for a needed boost in carbon permit demand.”

    The French bank Societe Generale projects, “European carbon permits may fall close to zero should regulators fail to set tight enough limits in the market after 2020” – and without much prospect of that, the bank lowered its 2012 forecasts by 28 percent. A 54 percent crash for December 2012 carbon futures sent the price to a record low, just under €6.4/tonne. Making matters worse, an additional oversupply of 879 million tons was anticipated through 2020, partly as a result of a huge inflow of United Nations offsets: an estimated 1.75 billion tonnes.

    Those UN carbon credits include Clean Development Mechanism projects which are notoriously bogus. The UN estimates that 40-70% of the projects are fraudulent or “non-additional”—which in lay terms means they do not mitigate climate change. South Africa’s leading pilot in Durban, the Bisasar Road waste-to-energy site is a case in point. The project is bound up in a corruption controversy surrounding former mayor Obed Mlaba and an official’s false claims to the UN that without foreign funding the project would not have gone ahead.

    Many analysts openly admit carbon prices are far too low and may never rise high enough to catalyse the transformative innovations – most costing in excess of €50/tonne (the EU peak was just over €30/tonne five years ago) – necessary in energy, transport, production, agriculture and disposal to achieve a solid post-carbon foothold. By all scientific accounts, by 2020 it is vital to wean the industrialised world economy from dependence upon more than half the currently-consumed fossil fuels, so as to avert catastrophic climate change.

    Africa hasn’t really received this bad news, mainly because even the continent’s finest daily paper, Business Day, doesn’t report the carbon markets with a fraction of the critical vigour given to interrogating ANC Youth League grandstanding over the word ‘nationalisation’, for example. Indeed after Durban, BD uncritically cited National Business Initiative CEO Joanne Yawitch’s remark that “the most important” of Durban’s outcomes is securing Kyoto’s “second commitment period and the carbon market.”

    The lack of awareness of the carbon market’s crash is a travesty because far too often these past two centuries, the continent has been looted by faraway financiers selling snake-oil.

    This week at the Sandton Sun, a conference aims to “make Africa a major focus for climate finance into the post-Kyoto era” with keynote speakers from Morgan Stanley, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Carbon Check, CDM Africa Climate Solutions, SouthSouthNorth, similar emissions traders, the Johannesburg and Cape Town municipalities and the national Department of Energy.

    Caveat emptor to carbon buyers, sellers and speculators. Climate gamblers have been led astray since 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was amended – at US vice president Al Gore’s request – to let corporations buy the right to pollute in exchange for endorsing the treaty. Predictably, Washington has refused to honour this ever since, even though it represents a world-historic broken promise, followed logically by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s 2009 pledge to raise $100 billion per year for the Green Climate Fund, also worthless.

    Pulling at straws, that Fund’s design cochair Trevor Manuel has suggested getting half the revenues from carbon markets. It might have been feasible if the emissions trade reached the anticipated $3 trillion mark by 2020. In reality, after a decade, the market seems to have peaked at $140 billion in annual carbon trades.

    These trades are mostly in the EU where the Emissions Trading Scheme was meant to generate a cap on emissions and a steady 1.74 percent annual reduction. Unfortunately, the speculative character of carbon markets not only encouraged rampant fraud, Value Added Tax scams, and computer hacking which shut the Scheme for two weeks last year.

    The EU’s carbon trading also included perverse incentives to stockpile credits when large corporations as well as Eastern European states – with ‘hot air’ excess emissions capacity subsequent to their 1990s manufacturing collapse – gambled the price would increase.

    With the market now collapsing, the current perverse incentive is to flood supply so as to at least achieve some return rather than none at all when eventually the markets are decommissioned, as happened in 2010 to the Chicago climate exchange. Powerful equity backers of the Chicago market – once the lead US carbon exchange – recently sued the high-profile founder, Richard Sandor, for misrepresenting the value of their assets. If they win perhaps other investors can follow suit and squeeze back the vast losses from the investment banks now selling the declining credits.

    Africa can and must do better than invest faith and state resources in yet another Ponzi scheme: the ‘privatisation of the air’. The North’s ‘climate debt’ to Africa should be paid not through such gambling, but in genuine income transfers that reach ordinary people who are taking the brunt of worsening climate chaos.

    Dorsey and Bond are development and environment professors at Dartmouth College and UKZN respectively. Last year, Bond authored Politics of Climate Justice (UKZN Press) and edited Durban's Climate Gamble (Unisa Press).

    Trouble in Cato Crest

    Faith Manzi 19 January 2012

    These are photos from a visit to Cato Crest - just below UKZN - in the wake of a contested demolition of shacks, which are to be replaced by small formal housing units. Across from the bulldozed shacks are temporary, haphazardly built ones until people can move in to their houses.

    One woman is using her house to shelter a family of two women and their babies whose structure was destroyed by the heavy rains just before Christmas. She informed us of corruption in housing allocation: there are people who occupy similar houses nearby by buying them through the committees in charge of allocating local people with houses once they are finished (she spoke in anonymity).

    Upon arrival at the tin shackland we were greeted by a sickening stench, since the toilets are right inside in the one person alley between the shacks. These tin structures are connected to each other with no breathing space or privacy. So there is serious overcrowding and hardly any space for movement. However, the water supply is also right alongside the tins.

    The place is full of stolen electricity wires lying across the road some with uninsulated cables - a danger to anyone (especially the kids who run around barefoot) since there is water in the road due to the building taking place. Some children are not attending schools and are manning small spaza shops.

    These are conditions in which protests logically occur. Will civil society find a voice, or will it be suffocated by contending political parties?

    Cato Crest demolitions halted
    Bongani Hans 19 January 2012

    The controversy around the flattening of shacks to build low-cost houses in the Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban has been amicably resolved, with eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo announcing that the demolitions are to be suspended.

    Addressing hundreds of residents in Cato Crest on Wednesday, Nxumalo said the demolitions would continue once his municipality found alternative accommodation for those whose houses were to be razed. He said residents would find out about accommodation arrangements on February 5.

    It is estimated that more than 2 000 residents would have to abandon their shacks.

    Nxumalo said the municipality had allocated more than R34 million to build more than 1 500 houses in the area.

    There are also many tenants of shack owners who will be left without accommodation when the shacks are demolished. Nxumalo said these tenants would be given temporary accommodation and in future would be given houses.

    “The problem of informal settlements will never be solved if new people move into the area once they hear about this low-cost housing project. So please do not invite your relatives and friends from other areas to come here,” he said.

    Residents had been asked to find temporary alternative accommodation and to wait for their homes to be completed. This sparked a war of words between DA members and ANC ward councillor Mzi Ngiba.

    The DA pressed the municipality to stop the process and to make it eThekwini’s responsibility to find alternative accommodation. The party also demanded that the municipality give assurances that tenants would also get low-cost houses.

    Fifty shacks have been demolished, some without their owners’ consent.

    DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said:

    “The owners of the 50 demolished shacks should not worry because their houses will be built soon.” - The Mercury

    ‘Illegal’ evictions from shacks challenged
    Bongani Hans (The Mercury) 16 January 2012

    VIOLENCE erupted at the Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban early yesterday after residents were ordered to vacate their homes to make way for new low-cost housing.

    The DA says the evictions are illegal and are being challenged. The party has opened cases of illegal eviction at the Cato manor police station.

    DA proportional representational councillor Hlanganani Gumbi and party leaders, including MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, visited the area yesterday.

    Gumbi said his party had told residents that the eviction notice was issued by the ANC instead of the municipality. He said the eviction was illegal because it had not been authorised by a court.

    Residents said they had been told to remove their goods because tractors would demolish the shacks today.

    Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of illegal eviction had been opened at the Cato Manor police station by the DA.

    Gumbi said he had to intervene when residents toyi-toyied and blocked roads after midnight. Irate residents also barricaded roads with burning tyres.

    However, many residents were seen removing belongings and demolishing their shacks. They believed that the eviction was a temporary measure and was for their own benefit.

    Others, who admitted to being supporters and members of the DA, refused to comply and said the eviction was illegal and they would not move until they were given alternative accommodation.

    The DA chairwoman in the area, Mpume Dlamini, told residents that if they agreed to move they would never be allowed to return and their houses would be sold to other people.

    “We have previously seen people’s houses being sold. This happened in the newly built low-cost houses three times last year and police refused to open cases against people who were selling the houses,” said Dlamini.

    Welcome Mpungose, who is a member of the ANC and also a member of the local community development committee, said they were working with local ward councillor Mzi Ngiba to clear the area to make way for about 2 000 new houses.

    “We are not doing this under the name of the ANC, but we are the development committee. We want better houses to be built for people in this area. The houses cannot be built if there is no vacant land.

    “I will also demolish my seven-room shack,” he said.

    Ngiba confirmed that excavators would be used to demolish the shacks today. He said local residents had agreed to comply by removing their shacks.

    “The DA is angry to see that we are delivering services. They hate the fact that we are working hard to get rid of shacks,” he said.

    What role for African civil society in economic disputes?

    The reality behind the alleged recovery of Africa from the 2008/09 global financial meltdown, which has been well advertised by multilateral financial agencies, needs investigation, partly because the institutions’ political agenda appears to be to further integrate the continent into a highly volatile world economy, as well as cement Washington Consensus economic policies.

    The reality of economic recovery is so contradictory that African elites in countries praised recently for their pro- Washington stance by the Bretton Woods Institutions (such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt), are now being challenged by popular movements demanding both democracy and socio-economic justice. From North Africa these are moving to sites such as Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Swaziland, Botswana and South Africa, and social protests at other sites of exploitation across the continent.

    Urban Social Movements in South Africa

    Confronting uneven and combined development theory
    Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai and Trevor Ngwane 17 January 2012

    The political dynamics of contemporary South Africa are rife with contradiction. On one hand, it is among the most consistently contentious places on earth, with insurgent communities capable of mounting disruptive protest on a nearly constant basis, rooted in the poor areas of the half-dozen major cities as well as neglected and multiply-oppressed black residential areas of declining towns. On the other hand, even the best-known contemporary South African social movements, for all their sound, lack a certain measure of fury.

    In the face of the government’s embrace of neoliberal social policies since shortly after the fall of Apartheid, what are often called ‘service delivery protests’ occurring many thousands of times a year according to police statistics,[1]are at once the site of poor people’s demands for greater responsiveness to human needs in general, but are also intensely localized and self-limited in their politics. The upsurge of protest since the late 1990s invariably invokes images of the anti-Apartheid struggle and thus focuses analysis on continuities and breaks between the old anti-Apartheid mass action and the new mass action in post-apartheid society.[2] And yet, the majority of community protesters operate in close interconnection with parts of the Tripartite Alliance, composed of the African National Congress (ANC), the trade union movement represented by the Congress of South African Trades Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), and so the line between insurgencies and governing organizations is not always clear. Yet their geographic and political isolation from each other have contributed to their having little leverage over the Alliance, which notwithstanding some resistance by unions and communists, embraced neoliberal policies in the transition from anti-apartheid resistance to class-apartheid government in 1994.

    But beyond the community protests, in many respects, the problems that have faced more traditional radical social movements in South Africa are familiar to students of social movements elsewhere: of moving from movement to governing; of cooptation and shifting roles vis-à-vis the state; of the limits of localism; and of the joining of community- and workplace-based organizing to forge a strong working-class politics. These are all the subject of considerable scholarship, both within and outside of the Marxist tradition, and within and outside of South Africa.[3] We argue here, however, that in the South African context, these can be more clearly seen as symptomatic questions of a larger problematic, what we term, following Trotsky, the problem of ‘uneven and combined Marxism.’

    For Trotsky, ‘uneven and combined development’ was a fundamentally dialectical framework through which he sought first to theorize the relations among Russia’s nascent industrial base (and hence, too, Russia’s urban proletariat), and its backward, semi-feudal rural relations, and second, following this, the revolutionary potentials for Russia at the time of the Revolution. For Trotsky, this implied understanding the relationship among forms of capital both within Russia and across borders. Uneven development means that extremely different relations of production coexist within and across territory, while combined development suggests not that the ‘less developed’ are archaic and simply bound, at some point to ‘catch up’ with the more advanced, perhaps going through the same ‘stages’ of development. (The South African modernization narrative since the early 2000s, shared by former president Thabo Mbeki and current president Jacob Zuma, is that the ‘two economies’ are ‘structurally disconnected’.)[4]

    Instead, it means that in order to understand the revolutionary possibilities of a given moment, it is important to understand how more and less advanced relations of production are related, how they often reinforce each other, and how their contradictions may lead to revolutionary advances in developmentally ‘less-advanced’ contexts. ‘Uneven and combined Marxism’ implies a way of considering the difficulties of constructing independent left politics in the conjuncture of a long-term capitalist stagnation in a 21st century South Africa in which some sectors of the economy – construction, finance and commerce – have been booming while many other former labour-intensive sectors of manufacturing were deindustrialised (or shifted from general production for a local mass market to niche production for a global upper-class market, such as luxury autos and garments), and in which large sections of society are still peripheral – aside from serving as a reserve army of unneeded surplus labour = to the interests of capital, domestic and global. The unevenness is also geographical, with small areas of South Africa operating within a circuit of luxury consumption and new technologies, but others such as ex-Bantustan rural areas continuing their decline. The unevenness of sector and space is no surprise, of course, since capital has always flowed to sites of higher profitability not to establish equilibrating trends, but on the contrary to exacerbate differentials and enhance inequalities. The word ‘combined’ is important in South Africa because of the ways capital interacts with the non-capitalist sectors and spaces, including women’s reproductive sites and mutual aid systems, spaces of community commons, state services, and nature.

    Unevenness is obvious across the cities and townships (and towns and dorpies or villages) where battles rage, among the sectors of capital, and across scales of struggle. The ‘combined’ part of anti-capitalism is an area we are yet to see fully invoked (in the spirit of, for example the Latin American mobilizations which foreground indigenous movements’ struggles), because of the complexities of organizing the unorganized – especially women –in shack settlements and rural areas where the act of daily survival in the interstices of capitalist/non-capitalist articulations generates far more collisions of political self-interest than standard Marxist urban theory so far elucidates.

    To speak of uneven and combined Marxism, therefore, is to invoke a political project on the South African left that cannot but begin with the contradictory totality of the country’s social relations, both internal and external, at multiple geographic scales and at vastly different levels of development. And yet, the beginning cannot also be the end; the challenge for South African left politics is to create a hegemonic formation from this unevenness that is capable of moving toward fulfilling the global left’s hopes in the anti-Apartheid struggle, which was, at the same time, in many respects, an anti-capitalist struggle as well. But to articulate a left politics on this uneven ground is also to enrich the typically imported Marxist analysis, in the sense that the South African experience heightens and encapsulates several otherwise familiar tensions – – urban/rural; worker/poor; local/national/global; society/nature; gender; etc. – – and can therefore show, perhaps more clearly than can other contexts, the essential relations among them.

    In what follows, we begin by describing the contemporary contours of protest in South Africa, and then return to the problem of the hegemony of the Tripartite Alliance and its embrace of neoliberal policies, even if this has itself been somewhat uneven and the source of some tension among Alliance members. We then discuss the development of a strategic impasse among South African social movements, and present and critique several theoretically informed alternative routes out of or around the apparent cul-de-sac. We conclude by rearticulating more precisely the stakes in proposing an uneven and combined Marxism; and rather than proposing solutions, we draw upon it to pose the strategic questions for an agency-centred South African left more sharply.

    Contemporary South African Protest
    Writing five years after the end of Apartheid, Andrew Nash observed:
    The struggle against Apartheid became at times a focus of the hopes of the revolutionary left around the world. It represents a missed opportunity for the left not only in the more obvious sense that it did not result in a real challenge to the power of global capitalism. It was also an opportunity to transform the historical relationship of Marxist theory and working class politics, and overcome the division which allows a dialectical Marxism to flourish in the universities and journals, while working class politics are dominated by the managerialism of Soviet Marxism or social-democracy.[5]

    This sense of a lost opportunity persists in South African politics today. It is found in the widespread discontent in townships and shack-dweller communities on the urban periphery over the rising cost of living and of previously state-provided services such as water and electricity; it is found in the militant protests among the poor for redistricting so that poor areas and rich areas are not administratively separated, thereby hampering the poor’s ability to gain access to resources and public services (as in the towns of Khutsong and Balfour); it is seen in the divisions within the ANC, SACP and COSATU; and it is seen in the Treatment Action Campaign’s successful and well-known battle against Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS denialism and against Big Pharma’s price-gouging of antiretroviral medicines. And yet, in many of the successful instances of protest – e.g., the reconnection of water and electricity, the rolling-back of privatization schemes, and the reduction in the price of antiretrovirals from $15,000 per person to zero – revolutionary Marxists played important leadership roles, suggesting, perhaps, that Nash bends the stick a bit too far.

    Nevertheless, the question of how far to bend the stick remains. There is no question that anti-racial Apartheid also had within it the seeds of anti-class Apartheid. This can be seen in the Treatment Action Campaign’s successful attack, not just on price-gouging by Big Pharma, but also on intellectual property rights, which were curtailed by the 2001 Doha exemption for medical emergencies. It can be seen in the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee’s work since 2000 not only to fight against the electricity company’s privatization, rate changes, and electricity cut-offs, but also to teach people how to illegally reconnect themselves to the grid. These are only part of what Peter Alexander calls a ‘rebellion of the poor’. In the wake of the introduction of the ‘Growth, Employment and Redistribution’ strategy or ‘GEAR’ that marked the Alliance’s definitive turn toward neoliberal macroeconomic policy, the most militant communities that took to the streets in protest and which formed the new urban social movements were relatively privileged. They already had houses, but were now fighting a defensive battle just to stay on in the urban ghettoes. Those who clung on to spaces in the city in shacks appeared to be more patient. The Alliance’s promises to the poor included gaining access to the formal ghetto, while at the same time, its municipal officials were evicting others for non-payment as employment became increasingly precarious and unemployment increased to more than forty percent of the workforce. For a while, the enormous legitimacy of the ANC explained this patience.

    But from the late 1990s, ongoing waves of protests broke across the country’s formal townships and shack settlements and the ‘new urban social movements’ formed in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town from 1999. Though the first waves ebbed after a national protest at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, more surges were noticed from mid-2004 in Zevenfontein north of Johannesburg and in Harrismith in the Free State (where repression was marked by shooting and death), and in Durban’s Kennedy Road beginning in early 2005, shack-dweller protest coalesced into the Abahlali baseMjondolo (shack-dweller’s movement).

    Yet, in many cases what started out as insurgencies outside the control of the Alliance were siphoned off into calls for participation, legal challenges, and ‘voice’. Furthermore, one of the striking elements of South African protest is its failure to ‘scale up,’ or join together either geographically or politically. With some few exceptions, the recent upsuge of service-delivery protests have taken the form of ‘popcorn protests’, that is, movements that fly high, move according to where the wind blows – even in xenophobic directions at times – and then fall to rest quite quickly.[6] There have been several attempts at coordination in the mid-2000s: Johannesburg’s Anti-Privatization Forum brought together service-delivery protest groups, students, left political activists (including, at first, some in the municipal workers’ union and the SACP), and independent-left trade unions; the Social Movements Indaba[7] which from 2002-08 combined community struggles; and since 2011, the Democratic Left Front has taken a similar initiative. Despite these efforts, and in part because of continual splintering of independent left forces and a failure to make common cause with the left of the labour movement, there have developed no common programmes and no bridging organizational strategies that can challenge neoliberalism on a national level. Three elements of this failure – reflecting the uneven and combined nature of anti-capitalism in South Africa today – are worth noting here: the importance of access, localism, and leadership.

    Social movements often organize around sets of demands on the state that are, at least in principle, winnable. Service-delivery protests targeting the privatization of water supply or high charges for water use by the local water authority, the regressive kilowatt-per-hour charge on electricity, or the eviction of shack-dwellers from squatted land all imply the possibility of success. In Durban’s rebellious Chatsworth community,[8] for example, in order to achieve de facto recognition and therefore the delivery of services that would keep the movement constituency close to its leadership, movement activists increasingly joined with the city council in various committees to administer and monitor the movement’s success. A decade after the initial 1999 uprising, political work mainly involved technical issues and oversight over upgrading, liaison with welfare departments and a range of other interventions which pressed less for radical policy change but focused instead on merely getting existing policy implemented.[9] This also inevitably brought the movement into close working relationships with ANC local councilors and limited the autonomy of the movement, and ultimately led to enormous disappointments in Chatsworth when official promises were broken and municipal contractors engaged in fraud.

    Likewise, in Durban’s shack-lands, in order to get recognition from the local council, shack-dweller activists had to ensure that no more shacks were built. Activists had to also ward off competitors. This was especially so if an organization defined its role as ensuring delivery. It was paradoxical but increasingly common that movements took political positions sharply critical of neoliberal policies on the one hand, while negotiating for better delivery within those policy frameworks on the other.

    Of course, this is a common feature of social movements, and of poor people’s movements beyond the South African context. There is a recurring question of how to consolidate a movement’s ‘victories’ without demobilizing it, and how to move beyond the initial ‘winnable’ demands to more radical ones that cannot be so easily administered. In the South African context, however, this problem is deepened by the sheer weight and presence of the ANC. Though there is a significant variety of political positions taken by local ANC branches and officials, larger matters of policy and financing are settled at the centre, while implementation – and enforcement – depend greatly on the local level. Reaching the centre, therefore, is fundamentally difficult given the fact that the service-delivery protests tend to limit their demands to locally constituted authorities, with the possible exception of Eskom, the utility providing ninety-five percent of South Africa’s electricity (Eskom sells energy both to municipalities as well as to four million individual households – mainly in black townships and rural areas – who were retail customers dating to the apartheid era). Access problems therefore imply a need for protesters to ‘jump scale’ from local to national, and sometimes also to global, for the World Bank has been known to give ‘instrumental’ advice on matters such as water pricing.[10]

    Localism and the Geographic Scales of Protest Organization
    Marxist urban theorists, following the geographer Henri Lefebvre, speak of social relations unfolding on multiple geographic scales. Scales combine aspects of people’s own construction of the extent of their social relations, and boundaries of the arenas in which they exist. They thus, depend, too on historically accreted understandings of the spatial limitations exerted on these relations, and on the physical properties that may inscribe them. As Marston writes, they ‘are the outcome of, both everyday life and macro-level social structures.’[11] Finally, the framings of scale – framings that can have both rhetorical and material consequences –are often contradictory and contested and are not necessarily enduring. To say, therefore, that contemporary South African protest – with several exceptions such as the Treatment Action Campaign and for a time, the Jubilee SA network, as well as some of the more innovative community groups in the major cities – is characteristically local in orientation is to make an observation about the scale of the protests.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the localist orientation of protest. To the extent that participants stop evictions that affect them; to the extent that they force local authorities to increase the free allowance of electricity and water and lower fees for anything above the survival allowance; to the extent that a ‘residue’ of protest emerges as some local institutional safeguards against further abuse; to this extent, they are better off for having protested. From a Marxist perspective, however, limiting protest to the local scale both narrows the immediate transformative potential of social movements and in the longer term, disadvantages both the movements and the people who compose them. The same can be said about sectoral-narrowness, in which the ‘water sector’, economic reform advocacy, gender, energy justice, climate activism, access to education, healthcare advocacy, and myriad more specific struggles fail to connect the dots between each other, both in South Africa and across the world (notwithstanding a World Social Forum movement meant – but apparently unable – to solve this problem).[12]

    What does going beyond localism mean? To ask the question begs, first of all, a more precise definition of what constitutes the ‘local’ in the present case. Here, we propose that ‘local’ in South African protest denotes a focus on administrative and jurisdictional boundaries on one hand, and on the site of social reproduction, on the other. The extremely vigorous protest movements in the country focus most of their attention on the failings of local councils and governments which are themselves both the local enforcers of ANC policies formulated on the national scale – often influenced by the demands of global brokers of capital (the SA Treasury places great stock in its international credit ratings) – and often, political machines in which allegiance to the ANC line at the time is paramount for gaining access to decision-making processes. They are also focused on the circumstances of life in communities in which many people share abysmal living conditions.

    As people active in these struggles, we can confirm that these were not originally meant to be narrow and localized. We initially shared the hope that struggles at the community level – at what provisionally could be called the point of reproduction – would have a quality and depth to them that would enable radical social antagonisms to flourish in ways that were unthinkable in the world of regular wage-work, at the ‘point of production’. As an idea, it makes sense. People live in communities 24 hours a day. With a huge mass of unemployed people stuck in these ghettos, many with experience in previous struggles, including that against Apartheid, it would be easy for demands made from these sites to be backed up with the force of mass organizations. All that was needed was a focus on bread-and-butter township or shack issues and then an ideological extrapolation to broader political questions. Or so our thinking went, along with that of various segments of the independent – non-ANC, non-SACP – left.

    Focusing on the site of reproduction made sense in another way. In fact, the townships, shack-dweller communities, flat-dweller communities, and dorpies of South Africa contain a vast amount of economic activity, and the unemployed are as often as not also the marginally employed, the unofficially employed, and the precariously employed, which means, as well, that they play no role in the preeminent labour organization in the country, COSATU, which has its base in the country’s heavy and extractive industries and public sector. Only the narrowest view of the working class would ignore this group.

    And yet, the local community as a site of post-Apartheid resistance to neoliberalism has been much more difficult to sustain. Partly it is because of an assumption, seldom made by those actually living in townships, that there exists substantial ground for unity flowing from merely living under the same conditions. One version of this assumption, as articulated in Latin American cities by James Petras and Morris Morley, is that:
    The power of these new social movements comes from the fact that they draw on the vast heterogeneous labour force that populates the main thoroughfares and the alleyways; the marketplaces and street corners; the interstices of the economy and the nerve centres of production; the exchange and finance centres; the university plazas, railway stations and the wharves – all are brought together in complex localized structures which feed into tumultuous homogenizing national movements.[13]

    But in the South African context, while localism produced militancy, it did not necessarily produce solidarity with any regularity. Indeed, shack-dwellers often face the ire of those with a tighter, but still tenuous, hold on stable tenure in the townships. Township residents can be mobilized for violence against shack-dwellers and immigrants as much as they can be mobilized for solidarity.

    Another source of optimism for the fusing of proletarian and precariat identities is alluded to by John Saul, recalling arguments made nearly four decades ago:

    In a capitalism in crisis the ‘classic strengths of the urban working class’ could become ‘more evident,’ with the ‘the upper stratum of the workers [then] most likely to identify downward [to become] a leading force within a revolutionary alliance of exploited elements in the society.’[14]

    In the South African context, therefore, the mobilization of communities could, in theory, join up with the existing organization of workers through COSATU, provided the latter could peel itself away from allegiance to the ANC and the Alliance’s embrace of neoliberalism, especially in the light of clearly deteriorating conditions.

    But beyond the disappointments generated by a COSATU much changed by its entry into the Alliance and the decline of the shop-steward leadership that had provided much of its strength during the anti-Apartheid struggle, local communities were themselves difficult to coalesce around consistent analyses of the problems that led to their oppression, and abstraction from the local to multiple scales proved difficult once the problem of evictions, electricity, sewerage, and potable water were addressed.

    Finally, it must be said that from a strategic point of view, there is some value in being able to organize at a scale commensurate with that of one’s adversary’s organization. The ANC is organized at the national level and it staffs its organization by positioning cadre in local areas. This means that it centralizes power and is able to exert significant – though far from total – control over local cadre. Thus, although some local councilors, for example, are more ‘trigger happy’ when it comes to repressing service-delivery and shack-dweller protests (and there have been more than a dozen deaths of protesters at the hands of police and non-official enforcers), the ANC’s centralized organization, which is extremely averse to criticism, has set a policy of repression while also trying to channel protest into the least threatening, least direct forms, such as marches, as opposed to land occupations. The ANC’s factional violence against its own cadres is notorious, such as in Durban where in mid-2011 the party’s leader was assassinated. But by December 2011 the ANC city manager and political elites were sufficiently united to unleash thugs on Democratic Left Front activists who staged a march of more than 5000 against the United Nations climate summit and who put up signs a few days later in City Hall during a visit by Zuma.

    Another set of problems that arises from contemporary South African protest is also familiar to students of social movements and revolutionary politics, namely, the problem of leadership, and particularly, the role of intellectuals in the movement. Antonio Gramsci’s analysis of intellectuals is apposite here. Gramsci argues, in essence, that intellectuals are those who give shape, through mental labour, to specific sets and sites of social relations. Those he calls ‘traditional’ intellectuals are those whose roles as intellectuals were formed in earlier periods, and thus appear as separate from, and above, contemporary class relations and antagonisms, such as clergy and the professional scholars and teachers. ‘Organic’ intellectuals, by contrast, are those whose intellectual labours shape the projects of entire groups of people, such as industrialists and union militants. Traditional intellectuals can, by virtue of their social position, make claims about universals, whereas organic intellectuals allegedly articulate particularities. But as Gramsci makes clear, traditional intellectuals are just as moored to class as are organic ones, and that in fact newly dominant groups work not only through their own organic intellectuals, such as managers and consultants, but also through traditional intellectuals.[15] In South Africa, many organic intellectuals arose out of the anti-Apartheid struggle. Many were linked to the trade union movement, others to the ANC, still others to the SACP, and others to the Trotskyist and other independent left wing formations. Even since the Apartheid period, the boundary between organizations of traditional intellectuals – e.g., the universities and NGOs – and the organizations that produced and were produced by organic intellectuals in and of social movements has been porous. Student militants were enormously important to the anti-Apartheid struggle, and post-Apartheid South African universities have been home to some academics who have aligned themselves closely with, and worked within, the social movements. The question this has raised within social movements, however, is that of vanguardism.

    In some social movement efforts, significant participation by university-based and foundation-funded scholar-activists and NGOs seemed to other participants to reproduce inequalities. Accusations of ‘ventriloquism’ and ‘substitutionism’ by academics within movements have been traded.[16] Some university-based intellectuals have argued that since ‘the poor are the embodiment of the truth’, that the role of traditional intellectuals is to reflect their positions to the world and simply act in concert with the poor.[17] This kind of analysis sometimes results in the romanticization of urban social movements, and also denies the complex articulations of movements and the education of their leaders. There is no doubt about the dangers of vanguardism. The question is whether a populism that homogenizes ‘the poor’ is capable of building the necessary coalitions to bring protest up to a regularly coordinated non-local scale.

    The question of leadership has led, as well, to the involution of protest, especially divisions within social movements and their networks including the Anti-Privatisation Forum, Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, Western Cape Anti-Evictions Campaign, Landless People’s Movement, Jubilee South Africa and Social Movements Indaba. These divisions are, however, more a symptom than a cause of the strategic impasse faced by South African urban movements today. Scholars of movements have noted that internal tensions often come to the fore when the there is no clear way forward for externally oriented action.[18]

    Together, the contradictory tendencies of access, localism, and leadership have produced a movement sector that is at once extraordinarily militant in its actions and profoundly moderate in its politics. The increasing turn away from electoral politics in poor areas in favor of protest politics signals a strong disenchantment with the apparatus of representative government and with the actual governance of the (mostly) ANC officers. On the other hand, in spite of this disenchantment, South African movements are nowhere close to articulating alternatives, and doing so would require movement leaders to engage in the sustained dialogue necessary to abstract from local concerns to national, and even international ones. The potential is there: the Treatment Action Campaign’s successful demand for decommodified and locally-made (generic) AIDS medicines, and the Campaign against Water Privatization’s fight against Johannesburg Water’s management outsourcing to Suez, took activism in these sectors out of tired social policy or NGO-delivery debates, and set them at the cutting edge of the world’s anti-neoliberal backlash.

    The Tripartite Alliance’s Hegemony
    Another inescapable feature of South Africa’s contemporary politics is the continued – though increasingly fragile – hegemony of the ANC. The ANC enjoys an enormous amount of legitimacy and ongoing prestige, in spite of the fact that nearly twenty years of ANC rule has resulted in deepening poverty and inequality, and in spite of the visible divisions within the ANC, as for example, in the clashes between President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, and between Zuma and the ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema. The ANC was the main organization of the international anti-Apartheid struggle, and even though it was banned within South Africa from 1963 to 1990, quickly reasserted itself as the largest, best-organized group capable of taking the reins of power during the early 1990s transition. In establishing its hegemony at the local level, it supplanted already-existing organizations with its own (e.g., women’s organizations, youth groups), and has dominated electoral politics since the first post-Apartheid elections in 1994.

    The Tripartite Alliance is dominated by the ANC, which, under Mandela, began to separate the ideological strands that had undergirded the most militant elements of the anti-Apartheid movement, both in South Africa and abroad. Capital flight increased after the democratic elections of 1994, and in reaction, in early 1995 the ANC government relaxed exchange controls to prove its new loyalty to the Washington Consensus. By the mid-1990s, indeed, ANC leaders had distanced the party from the interventionist currents in the movement. In his first interview after winning the presidency in 1994, Mandela stated: ‘In our economic policies…there is not a single reference to nationalization, and this is not accidental. There is not a single slogan that will connect us with any Marxist ideology.’ Although he inexplicably missed the nationalization mandate he was given in the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme (page 80), Mandela’s specific reference to Marxist ideology in many senses reflects the strong strand of anti-capitalist thinking that linked into resurgent struggles against Apartheid from the early 1970s. Through its policy and slogan of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), moreover, the ANC deracialised capitalism – albeit for a very few billionaires – and separated the profitability dynamic of South African capitalism from racial domination. The latter has remained strong, of course, but more notable is the rise of class apartheid techniques.

    Mandela’s avowed anti-Marxism did not, however, so alienate the SACP and COSATU that they abandoned the coalition. To the contrary, the initial redistributive promises in the ANC platform – eclipsed by GEAR in 1996 as well as by numerous White Papers starting in mid-1994 – gave the SACP and COSATU power in administering what might, in other circumstances, have been the development of a managerialist, social-democratic welfare state. The SACP chairman, after all, was Joe Slovo (prior to his death in early 1995), and his 1994 U-turn towards a fully neoliberal housing policy[19], as the World Bank explicitly recommended, was the main signal that the Reconstruction and Development Programme was finished before it had even begun. Slovo reversed nearly every major mandate he was provided.

    Though centralized, corporatist bargaining was not part even of the initial coalition deal, COSATU had a prominent place at the table to represent the concerns of the organized working class. It did so with enough friction with the ANC that it could boast of putting up a fight, even while lauding the not-really-corporatist arrangements of the Alliance as corporatist, suggesting that it in fact had codetermination powers (in sites like the National Economic Development and Labour Council), and that the working class was more institutionally powerful than it patently was. After all, in the post-apartheid era the share of profits to wages shifted to the favour of capital by nine percentage points. And the SACP gained some power over the state’s redistributionist functions, with the Mandela era witnessing central committee members in positions that included the ministers or deputy ministers of trade and industry, public works, housing, transport, public services and even defense. At once, this meant that the SACP had something to lose from challenging the ANC within the coalition too strongly, and it was consistent with the party’s longstanding line that racial democracy had to precede the larger economic project of socialism. It also meant that the party would be at the front lines of managing a rapidly changing urban landscape as the lifting of residency laws under Apartheid resulted in the vast growth of shack communities both on the urban periphery and in already urbanized township areas. That the party endorsed GEAR and the neoliberal Africa strategy (the New Partnership for Africa’s Development) and supported a platform that put private investment at the center of its housing strategy – in a period characterized by capital flight – suggests that it was a comfortable member of the publicly anti-Marxist ANC-led Coalition, and that its constant support for the Coalition’s neoliberal macroeconomic initiatives at multiple scales in 1996, 2001 and 2010 should not surprise.[20]

    Nevertheless, the Alliance’s cohesion and hegemony has not been rock-solid. There have, from the start, been tensions both between COSATU and the ANC and within COSATU about the ANC and the union federation’s role in the Alliance and what it gets out of it. These tensions extend backwards in time to before COSATU’s founding in 1985 and speak both to the shop-floor militancy of 1970s unionism in South Africa and to the tensions around the integration of the union movement into the nationalist project. But these tensions were raised with GEAR’s introduction by the ruling party’s neoliberal bloc, and ultimately resulted in COSATU’s support for Jacob Zuma’s successful bid for ANC leadership against Thabo Mbeki in the 2007 ANC National Conference, and Mbeki’s humiliating firing by the ANC as president in September 2008.

    And yet Zuma’s government has done little better than Mbeki’s, and has not changed the country’s neoliberal macroeconomic course. A three-week strike of public-sector workers in 2010, most of whom were members of COSATU, and which both imposed real hardship and threatened to spread to other sectors of the economy signaled the ripening of the contradictions of COSATU’s continued alliance with the ANC. COSATU’s membership has become older and more skilled as neoliberalism has resulted in segmented labour markets and the proliferation of informal work, and a growing proportion of its members are employees of the state. For this – and for the access to a different lifestyle for leaders who move into government positions – COSATU depends on the ANC-dominated state. On the other hand, continued austerity and attempts to squeeze public workers – visible from Johannesburg to Wisconsin, from Durban to Athens – in the face of already desperately inadequate services and a massive and visible gap between rich and poor (even among Africans), has led at least one COSATU leader to criticize Zuma’s government as becoming a ‘predator state.’[21]

    The fraying hegemony of the ANC with respect to its Alliance partners, and the simple refusal of many township and shack-dweller communities to engage any more in the formal political process, signify South Africa’s deep crisis. Nevertheless, the protests raise the questions of whether dissent is solely about the delivery of services, or whether it signifies a bigger dissatisfaction with the social order as such? Do protesters see continuity between the anti-Apartheid struggle and the struggle today? Even in extreme cases of struggle (such as the disputes over district boundaries in Khutsong), the lead activists retained connections to the Alliance that through its legitimacy from the anti-Apartheid struggle and its patronage networks, were more durable than the centrifugal pressure to disconnect. And if a crisis consists in the fact that ‘the old is dying, but the new cannot yet be born’[22], it begs the question of what ‘the new’ is and what its birthing process could look like.

    Theorizing the Strategic Impasse
    The question of how to move out of the crisis to a renewed revolutionary politics that separates the nationalist project from the politics of neoliberal development has garnered several answers. Each is partial, and each, as we will argue, is inadequate to the task. In this section of the chapter, we will examine three that have particular currency: the expansion of rights through litigation; the claim for ‘the right to the city’, which is distinct from juridical rights-talk; and the creation of spaces for ‘participation’. In the following section, we will revisit the question of the impasse with reference to a reformulated Marxist account of uneven and combined development.

    Community-based social movements have repeatedly gone to court to enforce their rights. And actual ‘victory’ in court is beyond our quibbling, and indeed some offensive victories (nevirapine to halt HIV transmission during birth) and defensive successes (halting evictions) are occasionally recorded. Nevertheless, we consider insidious the constitutionalist discourse that envelops individual cases in an overall strategy: the idea that ‘the turn to law’ is a good or beneficial thing to do with the energies, affinities, possibilities and power of a movement.

    The ‘turn to law’ discourse bears the unmistakable scent of reform without a strategic sense of how to make more fundamental demands that bring into question barriers as large as property relations. The result is the kind of ‘reformist-reform’ (as Gorz put it)[23] that entrenches the status quo. (In contrast, nonreformist reforms work against the internal logic of the dominant system, and strengthen rather than coopt the counterhegemonic challengers.) In this sense, the illegal occupation of land is far more powerful than a court’s ultimate granting of tenure to the occupiers. The turn to constitutionalism also has consequences for movement leadership; it is based on the conception that a certain professional legal caste among us can secure in the constitutional court meaningful precedents (and consequent compliance by the executive) that advance the struggle of the poor in a fundamental way..

    To be clear, we are not opposed to going to court. This may be useful from time to time. But as a strategy – rather than as a tactic – it is limited, and unable to compensate for weaknesses in protest organization and militancy. For example, the Treatment Action Campaign’s victory against Mbeki in late 2003 was spurred, to some extent, by a mid-2001 Constitutional ruling that compelled his government to provide nevirapine to HIV+ pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission. In general, it is fair to say that the rights narrative was important to reducing stigmatization and providing ‘dignity’ to those claiming their health rights. Also successful in the Constitutional Court was Durban’s Abahlali baseMjondolo shack-dwellers movement, which in 2009 won a major victory against a provincial housing ordinance justifying forced removals. Such removals continue unhindered, unfortunately, and at nearly the same moment that Abahlali baseMjondolo won the court victory they were violently uprooted from their base in Kennedy Road.

    Thus, as Rosenberg indicates, writing in the critical legal studies tradition, rights depend on their enforcement, and courts cannot compel this.[24] Further, court judgments can be reversed: a crucial rights narrative test came in the struggle to expand water provision to low-income Sowetans. A victory had been claimed by the Anti-Privatisation Forum in 2006 because after community struggles, water in Johannesburg is now produced and distributed by public agencies (the multinational firm with Soweto’s water contract Suez was sent back to Paris after its controversial 2001-06 protest-ridden management of municipal water). In April 2008, a major constitutional lawsuit in the High Court resulted in a doubling of free water to 50 litres per person per day and the prohibition of pre-payment water meters. But the Constitutional Court reversed this decision in October 2009 on grounds that judges should not make such detailed policy, and that the prevailing amounts of water and the self-disconnection delivery system were perfectly reasonable within the ambit of the South African Bill of Rights. Once again, this meant that activists were thrown back to understanding the limits of constitutionalism: they recommitted to illegal reconnections if required.[25]

    We therefore object simply to the subordination of a political discourse to a legal discourse – even if superficially an empowering one, in terms of ‘rights’ narratives – and therefore to the subordination of a radical discourse to a liberal one. As Alan Hunt and Gary Wickham argue, discourse ‘structures the possibility of what gets included and excluded and what gets done and what remains undone. Discourses authorize some to speak, some views to be taken seriously, while others are marginalized, derided, excluded and even prohibited.’[26] By flirting with legalism and the rights discourse, movements have seen their demands watered down into court pleadings. Heartfelt pleas are offered but for the observance of the purely procedural: consult us before you evict us. Demands for housing that could be generalized and spread, become demands for ‘in situ upgrading’ and ‘reasonable government action’ and hence feed the politics of local solutions to the exclusion of demands that can be ‘scaled up’.

    Right to the City
    An alternative formulation of ‘rights’ is given by Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey’s ‘right to the city’ argument. Harvey is clear that the ‘right to the city’ is a collective right, rather than a liberal-individualist one, and is based on the idea that ‘the freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is…the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.’ Because Harvey links urbanization, and therefore, the way of life of an increasing majority of humanity, to the absorption of capitalist surplus, the ‘right to the city’ implies empowering the mass of people to take the power from capitalists to produce their way of life and learn to wield it themselves. The current crisis of global capital has led to some of the uneven developments to which we have already referred in South Africa. The explosive price of real estate (nearly 400 percent from 1997 through to a 2007 peak) was facilitated by not only local overaccumulation but by the inflows of surplus global capital, thus contributing to the boom-bust dynamic in the construction trades even as the rest of the economy stagnates or worse. ‘The results,’ Harvey writes, ‘are indelibly etched on the spatial forms of our cities, which increasingly consist of fortified fragments, gated communities, and privatized public spaces kept under constant surveillance.’ He continues, quoting Marcello Balbo:
    [The city] is splitting into different separated parts, with the apparent formation of many ‘microstates’. Wealthy neighbourhoods provided with all kinds of services, such as exclusive schools, golf courses, tennis courts and private police patrolling the area around the clock intertwine with illegal settlements where water is available only at public fountains, no sanitation system exists, electricity is pirated by a privileged few, the roads become mud streams whenever it rains, and where house-sharing is the norm…

    Harvey sees the ‘right to the city’ as a ‘both a working slogan and political ideal’ to democratize the ‘necessary connection between urbanization and surplus production and use.’[27] However, in the South African context, the slogan has been taken up both by proponents of legalistic means of struggle and by the more autonomist-oriented shack-dweller campaigns, and so the ‘right to the city’ can be seen as a kind of ambiguous hinge that joins quite different political orientations. For example, Marie Huchzermeyer argues that the South African Constitution mandates ‘‘an equal right to the city,’’ and that this requires movements to pursue marginal gains through the courts: ‘Urban Reform in this sense is a pragmatic commitment to gradual but radical change towards grassroots autonomy as a basis for equal rights.’ After all, she argues, ‘three components of the right to the city – equal participation in decision-making, equal access to and use of the city and equal access to basic services – have all been brought before the Constitutional Court through a coalition between grassroots social movements and a sympathetic middle class network’. Nevertheless, she also argues that human-rights ‘language is fast being usurped by the mainstream within the UN, UN-Habitat, NGOs, think tanks, consultants etc., in something of an empty buzz word, where the concept of grassroots autonomy and meaningful convergence is completely forgotten’.[28]

    Unfortunately, given the power imbalances, Huchzermeyer and others who make the ‘right to the city’ claim run the risk of merely extending a slogan, rather than a strategic vision, to the question of the current impasse in South African social movements. The danger here is particularly felt in the ways in which ‘the city’ can be taken to mean ‘particular cities’ (which, on one level, they must) and therefore to privilege local politics and local solutions, without a larger-scale analysis that could provide a kind of standard by which locally generated choices and strategies could be subjected to criticism. One result is that like groups often accept each other’s political stances while discounting the possibilities of coalition across types of community: hence, for example, ‘Abahlalism’ – ‘shack-dwellerism’ – arises as a kind of autonomistic-populist practice in which the deep suspicion of non-shack-dwellers, even if sometimes merited, finds its mirror image in the idea that political ideas are invalidated or validated simply by virtue of their issuing from ‘the poor.’[29]

    A clause in the Constitution as well as various laws compel municipalities to involve residents in ‘community participation’ processes to enable people to directly influence decisions that affect them.[30] John Williams, reporting on research in the Western Cape finds that ‘Most community participation exercises in post-Apartheid South Africa are largely spectator politics, where ordinary people have mostly become endorsees of pre-designed planning programmes, [and] are often the objects of administrative manipulation.’ As a result, formal municipal governance processes are ‘a limited form of democracy [that] give[s] rise to an administered society rather than a democratic society’ since there is no real debate of policy or of social programmes by the working class electorate and government officials.[31] In Durban, a study of community participation in local economic development processes by Richard Ballard and his colleagues reveals that such processes allow ordinary people ‘to demand accountability’ from ‘elected representatives and sometimes quite senior officials.’ However, they are ‘consultative rather than participatory’ and ‘invariably become conspicuous for the issues they leave out, and for the voices they did not hear.’[32]

    This was particularly apparent in the way that the Durban ‘Citizen’s Voice’ process was handled by the city and the main water NGO (Mvula Trust), invoking participation by what might be termed ‘civilised society’ as a way of encouraging poor communities to consume less water just after the municipal prices had doubled in real terms over a period of six years.[33] The ward committee system as a mechanism to involve people in local government participatory democracy has similar shortcomings, according to John Mavuso.[34]

    In a different vein, David Hemson concludes that ‘community participation in South Africa is informed by the memory of community struggle – a radical form of participation – against the racist Apartheid State’ and that this must be harnessed. ‘It is precisely this repertoire of radical strategies that can and should be revisited and adapted, to advance the interests of the materially marginalized communities at the local level.’[35] Luke Sinwell applies a theoretical approach first developed in the South African context by Faranak Miraftab,[36] based on a distinction between ‘invited’ versus ‘invented’ spaces of popular participation. The ward committees, imbizos (government-initiated public forums) and integrated development plans of invited participation contrast with invented spaces through ‘self-activity’ such as community self-organization, direct action and other non-official mechanisms of exerting pressure. Based on extensive research conducted in Alexandra, one of the country’s oldest and poorest black working class townships, he concludes that progressive change is more likely to emanate from the use of invented rather than invited spaces. However, Sinwell laments that community activism in the invented spaces also fails to question power relations and social structures in a fundamental way. Community organisations tend to work within budgetary constraints set by the state and as a result community groups end up competing among themselves for limited resources rather than questioning the neoliberal framework and its ideological underpinnings.[37]

    Combined and Uneven Development, Combined and Uneven Marxism
    The importance of Marxist criticism is to uncover, in particular situations, what is ‘systematic’ and what is ‘conjunctural’, as Gramsci put it.[38] This, in turn, helps to distinguish – and therefore, to both facilitate and structure discussion about – short- and longer-term demands. The ‘pure militancy’ of an immediate politics of the poor does not do this easily. It is rather through dialogue, not just among ‘the poor’ but among the several sectors of society caught at various points in the contradictions of neoliberalism that a larger political formation capable of a sustained revolt against capital, and the creation of a new order, can be built.

    Here, Trotsky’s understanding of ‘combined and uneven development’ is useful. Though it can be read somewhat more broadly, most interpretations of Trotsky understand him to have meant ‘combined’ development to refer to the relations among different levels of development within a given nation.[39] In South Africa, the logical corollary is to ‘articulations of modes of production,’ a concept promoted by Harold Wolpe to explain race-class politics linking sites of surplus value extraction to bantustans (where impoverished women provided cheap-labour’s reproduction at a vast distance), but which is even more relevant in post-apartheid South Africa given enhanced migrancy, xenophobia and adverse gender power relations.[40] Geographers such as David Harvey and Neil Smith have emphasized that even within nations, the combined unevenness of development is given spatial expression. Apartheid was, in its nature, both a racial order and a spatial one, and it enforced uneven and combined development in almost caricatured forms. The systematic separation of racial groups, the profound underdevelopment of black areas, and the racial segmentation of labour markets suggested to many on the left (including us) as we noted earlier, that the fight against Apartheid was coterminous with the fight against capitalism. Though we were correct that capitalism and racism were mutually reinforcing during the 20th century, the conventional mistake by radicals was in thinking that the defeat of one durable but ultimately conjunctural manifestation of racism, Apartheid, would bring the capitalist system to its knees.

    Accordingly, we found that Apartheid was conjunctural, but uneven and combined development is systematic. The particular spatial manifestations of uneven and combined development are also conjunctural, though, again, they can be extremely durable. Hence, fights against eviction or for clean and affordable water, even while encountering the severe power of state coercion, and sometimes taking years to resolve, do little to change the systematic dynamics of uneven and combined development that are deepened in new ways in neoliberal South Africa.

    Trotsky also marshaled the theory of uneven and combined development to argue against ‘stageism’ or the idea that revolutionary politics depended on a given country’s going through the specific, drawn-out processes of capitalist development found in other countries. What this meant, however, was that coalitions among workers across space and across situations in the process of capital accumulation (e.g., industrial workers, peasants) were central to revolutionary potentials, but that these potentials were realizable, even if with difficulty. The contemporary conjuncture in South Africa, beset by entrenched neoliberalism imposed by a weakening-but-still-present ruling Alliance dominated by the ANC, has seen the accumulation of protests by township residents over services, shack-dwellers over evictions and services, and the relatively ‘privileged’ public-sector workers over pay and the quality of services they provide. Though the public workers’ strike was suspended without winning the union’s key demands, it came close to bringing out private-sector workers – all in the formal sector – as well.

    The question for an ‘uneven, combined Marxism’ is how to take advantage of the unevenness and particular conjunctural combinations of social relations in South Africa and beyond. The present period in South Africa exemplifies the dynamics of uneven and combined development and its spatial and social consequences. Within South Africa, it is important to think about how, for example, shack-dwellers’ struggles and public workers’ struggles could be linked up, even as the latter’s relative privilege and operation in the formal labour market may make them wary of such an alliance, and as the former’s distrust of cooptation creates an equal hesitancy. The Durban climate summit –the Conference of the Parties 17 – illustrated how very difficult it is to conjoin labour, community and environmental considerations, especially in the context of a set-piece ‘Global Day of Action’ march (3 December 2012) when distances between constituencies, political traditions and issue areas remain debilitating.[41]

    How could a joined-up movement respond to the conjunctural pressures upon it, such as the apparent advantages to the unemployed of labour-market flexibilization schemes or to the quality of life of township residents of evicting shack-dweller settlements? What kind of ways can – or should – Marxists talk about taking on the systemic problems of uneven and combined development with people who are located in different, and even sometimes opposed, areas of this combination? What organizational forms might be applied to start this conversation and yet keep it focused on the systematic elements of the present? How do we move beyond the concern for access, the localism, the constitutionalism, and the anti-political populism of contemporary protest – even as these sometimes yield concrete results – while also moving beyond the ambiguity of a simple slogan? To us, the protests represent a profound critique of neoliberalism by working class communities. But are protesters aware of the greater significance of their protests? And to what extent do protesters’ demands require solutions that challenge neoliberal policy and even entail a challenge to the capitalist mode of production? Or is it the case that the overarching neoliberal economic framework constrains the realization of not only the people’s aspirations, but their ability to think beyond capitalism?

    We agree with Andrew Nash[42] that the answers to these questions will not come through the elaboration of a new, ‘proper’ Marxist line by mainly university-based, white intellectuals, and that the great task of a renewal of South African Marxism will depend on the elaboration of a new stratum of organic intellectuals from the movements (though not necessarily bypassing the universities) who can, perhaps, move among them in ways that enable them to abstract from the local without abandoning the reality of it. Being able to do this partly depends on the ability of South African movements to look beyond themselves, to a world increasingly resistant to neoliberalism and to contribute to, and take from, a growing global movement. The successes of the Treatment Action Campaign were one such contribution, although this movement also teaches the dangers of self-liquidation into state-conjoined service-delivery and narrow sectoral politics as well as a seeming over reliance on foreign funding.

    In encountering similar-but-different movements and contexts, movement intellectuals gain new perspectives on the possibilities of coalitions and on the similar-but-different permutations of combined and uneven development elsewhere; these can enhance their capacity to reinterpret local conditions by denaturalizing existing political categories and divisions. Indeed, in calling for a ‘combined and uneven Marxism’, we intend to suggest that the way forward cannot lie in the search for the pure revolutionary subject, whether the worker, the township ‘poors’, the shack-dweller, the organic feminist, the red-green social environmentalist, or anyone else; and it cannot lie in the search for the perfect location, whether the household, community, farm, benefits office, oil refinery or factory. Combined and uneven development makes clear that if the Marxist view that people are a ‘nexus of social relations’ holds, a combined and uneven Marxism must draw on the interdependence of locations in these relations in order to reinforce our interdependence rather than accept the capitalist combination of unevenness and mutual social antagonisms among those from whom capital is extracted. Of course this is to state a problem rather than to proclaim a new strategy. However, consistent with the argument above that it is the development of organic intellectuals from within the movements, and their discussions and alliances with one another as well as with ‘traditional’ Marxist intellectuals, it is only here that a way forward will be found.

    Imibhikisho enedumela isekude ikuba yingozi yangempela
    NguPatrick Bond, noAshwini Desai benoTrevor Ngwane. Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

    Njengoba sesingenile kunyaka ka2010 obekelwe yiqembu lezombusazwe
    iKhongolose eliqeda iminyaka eyiKhulu lasungulwa ngoJanuwari kanye
    nokubukusa – kodwa okungahehi- ngengqungqthela yabaholi ngoDisemba,
    akesiqale sibheke ukuthi umphakathi wethu uyindawo enezigigaba kakhulu
    emhlabeni, nemibhikisho ephazamisayo cishe njalo-nje.

    Ngenxa yeminyaka engamashumi amabili kufike ukubuswa ngemigomo
    yongxiwankulu okwenze umphakathi wangalingana okwedlula isikhathi
    Sobandlululo, lokhu esihlala sikubiza ‘ngemibhikisho yokulethwa
    kwezidingo emphakathini’ kwenzeka izinkulungwane onyakeni, njengokusho
    kwezibalo zamaphoyisa. Kodwa-ke lokhu kwenzeka ezigcemeni zalapho
    kusuke kunenkinga khona kuphela futhi kungasabalele ngezombusazwe.

    Abaningi abasuke bebhikisha basuke bekwenza lokhu bebe besondelene
    kakhulu neNhlanganyela eNtathu phecelezi iTripapartite Alliance, futhi
    ukwahlukana phakathi kwezinhlangano kanye namaqembu abusayo kungabe
    kusagqama. Futhi banenkinga yokwehlukana ngokwakhelana kude
    nangokuhlukana ngezombusazwe.

    Njengomphumela-ke, izizinda zezwe zongxiwankulu – Ezokugcinwa Kwamafa
    (Treasury) kanye nezinqumo zoNgqongqoshe – zibe zingachaphazeleki.
    Okwamanje isethembiso esisekude seMshuwalense Wezempilo kaZwelonke
    phecelezi iNational Health Insurance, ukwenyuka kwesibalo sabaxhwaswa
    ngemali yezenhlalakahle enganele, ‘ukulethelwa kwezidingo zamahala’
    ezingenzi mehluko kanye nezigidi ezintathu zezindlu ezakhiwe kambi,
    ezibekwe ezindaweni ezingasizi, ezincane ezenza abaholi bakaKhongolose
    baqhoshe ngokuthi kukhona abakwenzela abantu.

    Ingqakambi ibalulekile, ngoba ukuhlakazeka kwabantu abasebenzayo kanye
    nabampofu kuveza ‘abantu abangumphumela wokubuswa ngongxiwankulu’
    emphakathini. Esikhundleni sabasebenzi abanokuhlanganyela
    okwabonanakala ngesikhathi sezizinda sezimboni zamafektri kanye
    zezezimayini zeminyaka edlule, ezomnotho zethu ezingasenakho
    ukuqiniseka sezisabalele, ziyashabalala futhi nezimboni ziyaphela.

    Ezinye izingxenye – ezikwakha, ezezimali kanye nohwebo – zachuma
    kakhulu kodwa izizinda eziningi zokukhiqiza ezizimelele kubasebenzi
    zaphela, noma kwasekuvela ukuqashwa ngetoho, futhi kwathi imishini
    yenza imisebenzi ebiyenziwa abantu, futhi kwashenxwa ekukhiqizelweni
    uwonkewonke ezimaketheni zezwe ukuzwe kuqhakambiswe imakethe yomhlaba
    ekhiqizela abacebile, njengezimo ezibizayo kanye nokokugqoka.

    Kusukela ekwakhiweni kwezinkundla zemidlalo kuya kwezokuthutha
    ngemikhumbi/nangezindiza kuya kokuncibilikisayo, ukufakwa kwezimali
    kakhulu oklusandwa kwenziwa kuze nemisebenzi emincane kakhulu,
    ikakhulukazi eThekwini. Ipayipi elisha lamafuthu elisuka eThekwini
    liya eGoli elibiza uR24 wezigidigidi (billion), ngokwesiboniso-nje,
    udale imisebenzi engewona atoho engu100 kuphela.

    Ukungalingana kwezentuthuko futhi kuya ngezindawo, ngezigceme ezincane
    zaseNingizimu Afrika zisebenzisa izinsiza ezintsha zetechnology kanye
    nokuthenga imikhiqizo ebizayo, kodwa emaphakhathi amadolobha, izindawo
    zasemaphandleni kanye namadolobha amancane zibe ziqhubeka nokubola.

    UThabo Mbeki kanye noJacob Zuma bahlanganyele enkohlisweni ‘yemonitho
    emibili’ (two economies), ukuthi ukwakha izakhiwo zikanokusho
    ezibheke phjezulu ezindaweni ezifana noSandton, kanye nezinxanxathele
    zezitolo kanye nezakhiwo zamawovivi kungenzeka kwehlise ingcebo isuke
    phezulu iya phansi. UMbeki wayekhala ‘ngokuhlukana kwezakhiwo’
    zamampofu kwezabacebili.

    Noma ngumuphi umfundi woBandlululo angakuqinisekisa ukuthi,
    esikhundleni, ngaphezulu kweminyaka eyikhulu. Indlela yethu yezomnotho
    yayenziwe yakhiwa ukuze idale ubuphofu kwenye ingxenye – ikakhulukazi
    kumaBanstustans – ngengomgomo wokuceba kwenye ingxenye: izimboni
    zabamhlophe, izinkundla ikakhulukazi izimayini. Laba ababeqasha
    abasebenzi ababesuka emaphandleni beza emadolobheni babethola
    ukunakhuliselwa izingane, kwezempilo kanye nokuguga ngaphandle
    kokuxhsa ngezimali futhi lokhu kwakwenziwa ngabesifazane

    Amaholo abasebenzi, ezempesheni kanye nezimali zezenhlalakahle
    zabantwana akuzange kusenze gcono lesisimo, futhi loluxhasa olwenzeke
    emva kukahulumeni wobandlululo alufiki eNingizimu Matebeleland kanye
    naseMozambique lapho abasebenzi abaningi babeqhamuka khona.

    Inselelo kwezombusazwe enentuthukoi ukudala iprojekti kulokhu
    kungalingani, ozokwazi ukubhekana nemidonsiswano ejwayelekile –
    kwabasemadolobheni/emaphandleni; abasebenzi/abampofu;
    okwasekhaya/okwezwelonke/kanye nomhlaba wonke; umphakathi/nezemvelo;
    ubulili; njalonjalo. – engxenye ngokuhlanganisa ubuhlobo phakathi
    kwalokhu kungqubuzana.

    Kweminye imibhikisho ebe nempumelelo – nisiboniso-nje ukuphinde
    kuxhunywe kwamanzi nogesi, ukungenziwa kwenzhlelo zokwenziwa ngasese
    ezinye izidingo (njengempi enkulu yango2010 yomgwaqo okhokhelwayo
    eGauteng), noma ukwekhilswa kwamanani onyaka emishanguzo yengculazi
    kusukela ku$15 000 umuntu emunye kuya kuzero – amalokishi angconywana
    njengeChatsworth kanye neSoweto ayeyizigceme zokunganeliseki
    kwabasemadolobheni. Isizhozhovu ezihamba phambili zziqhamuke
    kwizakhamizi ebezivele zinezindlu, kodwa manje sebelwa impi
    yokuzivikela ukuze bahlale emalokishini.

    Ekuqaleni, labo abekade behlala emijondolo impilo yabo isengcupheni
    bebebonakala benesineke. Izethembiso Zenhlanganyela Entathu kwabampofu
    zazimbandakanya ukungenelela edolobheni, kodwa futhi ngesikhathi
    esisodwa, omasipala bebe bexosha abanye ngokungakhokheli ngenkathi
    kwanda ukungabikhona kwemisebenzi kubantu abangamaphesenti angamashumi
    abane abasebenzi.

    Emepeleni, udumo lomlando omuhle kaaKhongolose ilona olwenza kubekhona
    lokhukubekezela. Kodwa imibhikisho eqhubekayo ivele ezweni lonke
    emalokishini kanye nasemijondolo, kusukela ngo1999 ngenkathi ukugxekwa
    ngokubuswa okunhlakanhlaka kweTheku nguFatima Meer kusiza kuholela
    ‘kwizinhlangano ezintsha zokuhlalakahle zasemadolobheni’.

    Imibhikisho yokuqala yaqhamuka emva kombhikisho omkhulu kazwelonke
    eJohannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Develeopment ngo2002, okunye
    okuningi kwalandela maphakathi no-2004 eZeervontein ahlala abantu
    abahlupheka kakhulu enyakatho neGoli, nasemadolobheni amancane
    njengeHarrismith eFree State, ezakhiweni zasemijondolo kuKennedy Road
    eThekwini kuqala ngo2005, kanye nasemadolobheni amancane asemigceleni
    njengaseKhutsing kuliwa nesinqumo sesifundazwe obusayo sishintshelwe
    kwesinye isifundazwe.

    Kodwa akuzange-nje kulandele ingcindezi yenziwa nguhulumeni,
    kwizikhalo eziningi okwaqala njengokuvukela umbuso okwakungalawulwa
    Inhanganyela eNtathu kwabizelwa ekutheni kuhlanganyelwe, kubhekwane
    nezinselelo zomthetho, kanye ‘nezwi’.

    Elinye iphuzu eligqamila ngalemibhikisho ukwehluleka kwayo
    ‘ukunyukela’, noma ukuhlanganyela ndawonye ngezindawo noma
    ngezombusazwe. Ngaphandle kwezingqinamba ezimbalwa, ukwenyuka
    kwamaduze kwemibhikisho efuna ukulethwa kwezidingo zomphakathi
    sekufana ‘njengemibhikisho eqhamuka isigubhukane’, okusho ukuthi
    ubushoshovu bomphakathi obundiza kakhulu, buye lapho bufuna ukuya
    khona – okuze kuthinte ngisho ukucwaswa kwabokufika baseAfrika
    (xenophobia), okubuswa ngamadoda noma okucwasa ongqingili ngezinye
    iziwombe – bese futhi kuyashabalala ngokukhulu ukushesha.

    Imizamo yokwenza inhlanganyela kusukela ngeminyaka kuqala u2002 –
    njengeJohannesburg Anti-Privatization Forum kanye ne Social Movement
    Indaba kazwelonke – kwabangaphansi kokuhlaselwa ubuqembukelana kanye
    nokuhluleka ukuba nesikhalo esifananyo kanye nenhlangano yabasebenzi,
    inkinga esaqhubeka kwiDemocratic Left Front. Ngakho-ke akukho luhlelo
    oluvelile elifananyo futhi akukho zinhlelo zenhlangano eziyinselelo
    ukubhekana nokubuswa ngongxiwankulu kuzwelonke.

    Kumbhalo omude waloludaba [], sibhekana nezimo
    ezintathu zalokukuhluleka: ukubaluleka kokutholakala kwezinsiza,
    ukwakhelana, kanye nobuholi. Ngethemba sigcine ngokuthi okubonakala
    kuyimibandela ehlukanisayo kuyinkomba kunesizathu sikangqingetshe
    okubhekene nezinhlangano zasemadolobheni ezilwela inhlalakahle
    yemiphakathi yaseNingizimu Afrika.

    Kodwa-ke uma sesilahla ithemba, sibonile futhi ukuthi izinhlangano
    zasemadolobheni zinamandla ngokwenza kodwa zihudule izinyawo
    kwezombusazwe, okuyikona okubabuyisela emuva – ngenkathi belelwa
    ukwenziwa kwamanye amalungelo nokuchitha isikhathi kushushiswa futhi
    bedala izikhala zokunganyelwa ngesingakubiza ‘ngokuhlanganyela
    ngaphakathi (nabezombusazwe)’

    Ngesikhathi iphalamende linxenxa umthetho ozofihla okwenzeka
    ngaphakathi (secrecy legislation) – futhi lelula ukumemezela okumelana
    nokukhohlakala kanye nokuvimbela ukuveza obala abangcolisa umoya
    njengeSouth Durban Community Alliance – kubalulekile ukuthi
    izishoshovu ezilwela inhlalakahle ziqhubeke nokuphonsela inselelo
    iqembu elibusayo mayelana nokuthi kuqhakambiswe ukukhohlakala kwalo,
    okubonakala sengathi ngeke kujike futhi okuzimelele.

    Kodwa umangabe inkinga iseqinisweni lokuthi ‘okudala kuyafa kodwa
    okusha ngeke kuzalwe okwamanje’, kwenza sibuze ukuthi ngabe ‘okusha’
    kuyobukeka kanjani masekuzalwa. Cha asinazo izimpendulo ezicacile,
    kodwa uma ukugqubuzana kuqhubeka, u2012 uzoza nokuthi abezindaba
    badlule ekubhekeni ukwahlukana okuphakathi kweqembu lababusayo bese
    belalela ngokuqikelela emphakathini omkhulu wabantu ongenalutho.

    Looting Durban: Can Durban Recover From City-scale Neoliberal Nationalism?

    Can Durban Recover From City-scale Neoliberal Nationalism?
    Patrick Bond 2 January 2012

    This is the South African city of Durban’s first week since 2002 without City Manager Michael Sutcliffe. He became well known across the world as a target of community and environmental activism, for catalyzing a $400 million stadium for the soccer World Cup in 2010, and for hosting the COP17 climate summit last month, in a city of 3.5 million of whom a third are dirt-poor and another third struggle as underpaid workers.

    Why did they put up with Sutcliffe’s mainly malevolent rule? Alongside constituencies of fisherfolk, streetchildren and informal traders, many grassroots groups like the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, the Chatsworth Westcliff Flatdwellers, Abahlali base Mjondolo shackdwellers and Clairwood Ratepayers and Residents Association have long condemned race- and class-biased municipal policy and Sutcliffe’s viciousness. But the prestige of the African National Congress (ANC) liberation movement means the ruling party has been comfortably re-elected since the days of Mandela (1994-99). Until the leading trade unions break their alliance with the ANC, that won’t change, and ruthless men like Sutcliffe will stay at the top of government.

    With ambitions of urban restructuring akin to Haussmann of Paris and Moses of New York, Sutcliffe was a most divisive leader. Raised in Durban and granted a PhD in geography from Ohio State University, he was a very rare white technocrat who wielded enormous political power through skilled manipulation of factions within the ruling party. To the surprise of many, he amplified his power by making a quick loyalty shift in 2007 from former president Thabo Mbeki to local favourite Jacob Zuma.

    Sutcliffe’s one-man reign terrorized many poor and working people, and also irritated the white petit-bourgeoisie who saw him as a rabid Stalinist, especially when without consultation, he changed more than a hundred colonial-era street names (such as Moore Rd to Che Guevara Rd). But shifts in appearance matter little, when with Sutcliffe’s facilitation, the city’s apartheid structures also evolved into even more discriminatory and exclusionary zones, like the new edge city of Umhlanga – with the southern hemisphere’s largest shopping mall – and nearby ‘gated communities’ such as Mount Edgecombe.

    Sutcliffe’s departure interview with the Financial Mail last week was revealing: “As far as the decisions go, there are no regrets; we did what was necessary and had to be done.”

    No regrets? Wikipedia’s entry on Sutcliffe lists his legacy as “street renamings, the loss of the city’s Blue Flag beach status, illegally banning protests, banning posters, serious human rights abuses in the city’s housing program, the failed privatization of the city’s bus system, allegations of spin-doctoring, the failed uShaka Marine World, threats to withdraw advertising from newspapers employing journalists critical of the municipality, lack of action against environmental destruction, favouritism toward ANC-aligned individuals and businesses, unlawful and at times violent violations of the basic rights of street traders and shack dwellers and corruption.”

    Speaking to Durban’s Daily News (the largest English newspaper) last week, Sutcliffe was adamant: “I have never been and will never be involved in fraud and corruption.” Yet even the provincial ANC requested a forensic investigation after the national auditor-general’s 2009-10 report on the city identified “irregular expenditure” of $65 million that year and “irregular housing contracts” of more than $400 million during Sutcliffe’s reign. Three other municipal officials were also implicated.

    For example, contracts for building more than 3000 houses (at more than $25 million) involved Durban’s notoriously ostentatious Mpisane family, which faces multiple prosecutions for tax fraud and corruption. In 2010, Sutcliffe told The Daily News, “The reports that these houses were built to sub-standard levels are absolute nonsense and part of media frenzy. I challenge anyone to visit every single one of those houses and they will see that the houses are not falling apart.”

    The National Home Builders’ Registration Council then found defects in more than 1000 Mpisane-built houses, with more than a third requiring structural rehabilitation.

    The closest to a confession by Sutcliffe was last week in The Daily News: “We have not followed every single supply chain mechanism in the book because we needed to ensure service delivery took place efficiently. We have been able to build more than 22,000 houses in one year because we fast-tracked procedures.”

    But many thousands more houses should have been built, much more quickly and with much better quality and less cronyism. By the time of the World Cup, Durban’s housing backlog stood at 234,000, yet as the Academy for Science in South Africa determined last May, the annual addition to the city’s low-income housing stock had dropped from 16,000 to 9,500 by 2009, and “given the current budget the backlog will only be cleared by 2040.”

    In mid-2008, Sutcliffe had told the Mail&Guardian newspaper, “We can address the housing backlog in the city within seven or eight years”.

    One reason for a worsening housing crisis was that Sutcliffe diverted city reserves into building the Moses Mabhida Stadium in 2008-10, notwithstanding a next-door world-class rugby stadium (Kings Park) available for upgrading. Cost overruns skyrocketed the prestige project’s price from $240 to $400 million, with the usual tiny set of ANC-supporting tycoons winning construction contracts.

    The combination of incompetence and arrogance proved hugely expensive, for as opposition city councilor Dean Macpherson complained a year ago, Sutcliffe “didn’t see fit to consult with the [popular rugby-playing] Sharks before Mabhida was built and now we have a stadium that the Sharks won’t move to, basically stands empty and will cost the ratepayers of Durban billions to fund in the future.” Sutcliffe’s hope for justifying Mabhida Stadium by hosting the 2020 Olympics was dashed in mid-2011 by rare national budgetary common sense.

    Last year featured many such allegations against Sutcliffe, as an open feud with former city mayor Obed Mlaba left blood dripping from knives in both their backs. Last January, Sutcliffe publicly announced that he wanted another five-year contract. But he had made too many mistakes and enemies, and his ally leading the provincial ANC, John Mchunu, had died the year before.

    Other complaints mounted: Sutcliffe’s supersized salary and bonuses (higher than Zuma’s); brutality against street children removed prior to major events and against fisherfolk trying to use beach piers; the celebrated 2010 beachfront rehab’s still-empty storefronts and dead palm trees; and the unprocedural street renaming, culminating in November with a Supreme Court decision against Sutcliffe on the first nine changes.

    Sutcliffe’s last month on the job must have been even more frustrating, beginning on December 2 with yet another defeat in court against activists demanding the right to march in central Durban. Opposed to the COP17 UN climate summit, their desired route passed the US Consulate, City Hall and the International Convention Centre. This was approved by a local judge who made Sutcliffe pay court costs.

    Then came revenge. “Obviously smarting from his failure to impose his will on our right to assembly and protest, he hired 150-200 ‘Host City Volunteers’,” explained Rehad Desai of the Democratic Left Front. “Paid R180 for their services,” these “Green Bomber goons” – as Desai called them to remind of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe paramilitary – wore distinctive green tracksuits with Durban and COP17 logos.

    After seeing critical posters at the December 3 march of around 8000 people, Sutcliffe’s volunteers began “singing pro-Zuma and pro-COP17 slogans. Their presence on a climate justice demonstration remains a mystery. [Climate activists were] denied water, beaten with fists and had their banners torn down. The rural women, representing countries from all over Africa, were taunted by certain Green Bombers with crude sexist abuse.”

    Five days later at City Hall, Desai and two other activists from Greenpeace and ActionAid were attacked by the Green Bombers, simply for holding up posters: “Zuma stand with the poor not the corporations.” Remarked Sutcliffe in The Witness newspaper the next day, “They deserved that reaction from people. People were outraged, especially after what happened at the weekend. Why vent when they had the opportunity when the president had come to listen? Surely that’s not right.”

    To ‘vent’ by silently holding up a poster in City Hall deserves a beating?

    Critical academics label this thuggish ideology ‘neoliberal nationalism’: a vindictive, anti-poor deployment of state power and resources, combined with revolutionary-sounding bombast, reviving Mbeki’s ‘talk-left, walk-right’ moves. We saw this most vividly in Sutcliffe’s 2009 attempt to evict low-income informal traders from the century-old Warwick Early Morning Fruit/Vegetable Market on behalf of a crony’s shopping mall project, which only mass community protests reversed following a late-night police attack.

    But ironically, the year before, the American Association of Geographers (AAG) awarded Sutcliffe the Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors and the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor in Applied Geography. Sutcliffe’s sponsor for the award, Kevin Cox (a faraway Marxist who supervised Sutcliffe’s doctoral thesis), described these awards as “among the most prestigious recognitions in geography… Over a lengthy career as political activist and trusted member of the ANC government, Mike has proven himself to be an applied geographer par excellence and with a strong pro-people bent.”

    According to the AAG website, the Anderson Medal of Honor reflects “the most distinguished service to the profession of geography” and “A medal is so distinctive an honor that it is bestowed only if the accomplishments are truly outstanding,” while ‘Public Service’ means the awardees “gained more than usual recognition by co-workers, public officials and fellow citizens, and have clearly influenced the progress of the community.”

    No doubt, Sutcliffe gained more than usual recognition and until last Friday he enjoyed huge influence. But by any reasonable measure these were of mainly negative consequence. For example, prior to managing Durban, his role leading the country’s Municipal Demarcation Board led to repeated protests by poor people against boundaries. And by generating vast geographic distances within most rural municipalities, he sharply curtailed local democracy.

    While expanding Durban’s highways in a manner Engels described in 1844 Manchester – so that rich people could drive more quickly through poor areas – Sutcliffe oversaw other infrastructure disasters. Public transport declined, water systems failed and his shipping/petrochemical-centric urban industrial project threatens South Durban’s 200,000 residents with forced relocation and more pollution. And Sutcliffe’s promotion of the World Bank’s Clean Development Mechanism for Durban’s Bisasar Road landfill cemented environmental racism.

    It could well be argued that Sutcliffe’s municipal version of neoliberal nationalism was structurally ordained, and that by focusing too much on his personal foibles we distract from a larger, more general problem.

    That structural problem, sometimes termed ‘interurban entrepreneurialism’, bests many power-hungry officials. As City University of New York professor David Harvey noted 23 years ago in a seminal article, “To the degree that interurban competition becomes more potent, it will almost certainly operate as an ‘external coercive power’ over individual cities to bring them closer into line with the discipline and logic of capitalist development. It may even force repetitive and serial reproduction of certain patterns of development such as ‘world trade centers’ or new cultural and entertainment centers, waterfront development, postmodern shopping malls, and the like.”

    Bearing that in mind, is it time for Geography (the discipline in which I also hold a PhD) to reject unequal and uncaring municipal rule? It’s opportune to ask, now, as the Occupy movement in so many cities insists on transferring power from the 1% to everyone else. Vainly, I might also hope that the AAG will rethink and revoke its two idiotic awards to Sutcliffe, perhaps as early as at the annual meetings in New York next month, so as to avoid acute embarrassment in the event the ongoing Durban corruption investigation leads to criminal charges.

    Many of us here anxiously await Sutcliffe’s promised autobiographical account of his nine years in power, because the vast extent of his misrule needs book-length consideration. At the very least, the ubiquitous political potholes dug by Sutcliffe across Durban provide his successor, Sibusiso Sithole, an excellent road map of where to make ideological, policy, management and attitude U-turns.

    Ukuxhashazwa kwezimali ngobudedengu bezimali zabakhokhintela baseThekwini
    NguPatrick Bond
    Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

    Isonto lokuqala leli kusukela ngonyaka ka2002 lapho uMichael Sutcliffe angesezukuba nguMphathi wedolobha laseNingizimu Afrika iTheku. Waziwe kakhulu emhlabeni wonke njengesitha sezishoshovu zomphakathi kanye nezemvelo, esegcina ngokwakha inkundla yeNdebe Yomhlaba ngo2010, kanye nokwamukela izihambeli zengqungquthela yesimo sezulu ebiseThekwini iCOP17 ngenyanga edlule, edolobheni lapho kubahlali bakhona abangu3.5wesigidi, cishe iningi lihlupheka kakhulu kanti abanye behola abaholo aphansi kakhulu.

    Babebubekezelelani lokubusa ngobubi kanje kukaSutcliffe? Kanye nabavoti abangabavoti, izingane ezihlala emgaqweni kanye nabadayisi basemgaqweni, amaqembu amaningi ezinhlangana zabantu njengeSouth Durban Community Environmental Alliance, iChatsworth Westcliff Flatdwellers, Abahlali base Mjondolo kanye neClairwood Ratepayers neSosesheni Wabahlali (Residents Association) kade babegxeka imigomo kamasipala kaSutcliffe enonya ehambisana nobuhlanga kanye nesimo sempilo somnotho somuntu. Kodwa isithunzi sikaKhongolose(ANC) inhlangano yenkululeko isho ukuthi iqembu elibusayo belilokhu likhlale likhethwa ngokukhululeka kusukela ezinsukwini zikaMandela (1994-1999). Umangase inhlanganyela yamaqembu aholayo abasebenzi ingase izihlukanise ukuzimbandakanya kwayo neANC, lokho ngeke kushintshe, futhi amadoda anesihluku njengoSutcliffe ayohlala ephezulu ezikhundleni zikahulumeni.

    Enamaphupho okwakha kabusha okufana nokukaHaussmann waseParis kanye noMoses waseNew York, uSutcliffe wayengumholi onezinxushunxushu. Ekhulele eThekwini futhi wathola ijazi lobudokotela (PhD) kwiGeography eNyuvesi yaseOhio State, wayewangumbusi omhlophe ongajwayelekile obenamandla okubusa amakhulu ezombusazwe ngenxa yokuxabanisa ngokukhulu ukuhlakanipha ukwahlukana okuyingqayizivele kwiqembu elibusayo. Okwamanga abaningi, ingenkathi esekhombisa kakhulu amandla akhe ngenkathi ngokukhulu ukushesha esintsha ukuxhasa kwakhe owayengumengameli uThabo Mbeki ngo2007 esezenza okhonzwe kakhulu uJacob Zuma.

    Ukubusa kukaSutcliffe ngayedwana kwahlukumeza abaning abahluphekayo nabangasebenzi, futhi kwacasula nabamhlophe abasuthayo abambona ngengongalawuleki ongenakuphikiswa njengoStalin, ikakhukazi ngokungafuni ukuboniswa, washintshwa amagama emigwaqo ebikhona kusuka kudala kusabusa amaNgisi (njengoMoore Road waba iChe Guevara Road). Kodwa ushintsho olubonakalayo lusho okuncane, umangabe ngenxa yokungenelela kukaSutcliffe, izakhiwo zobandlululo zedolobha zaqhubeka ngokucwasa kanye nokukhipha inyumbazana, njengonqenqema lwedolobha olusha eMhlanga – lapho kunenxanxathela yezitolo enkulukazi eningizimu neAfrika yonkana – kanye nezinye izindawo zezakhamizi ‘ezivalwe ngamasango’ njengaseMount Edgecombe.

    Kwingxoxo yakhe esehamba uSutcliffe kanye nephaphandaba iFinancial Mail kukhona okwaphumela obala: “Uma ngibheka izinqumo engazenza, akukho ukuzisola; senza okwakubalulekile futhi okwakufanele kwenziwe.”

    Akukho ukuzisola? Okubhalwe iWikipedia ngoSutcliffe kubala umlando wakhe njengoku “biza kabusha imigwaqo, ukulahlekelwa idolobha iBlue Flag kulwandle elalaziwa njengelihlanzekile, ukuvimbela ngokungemthetho ukubhikisha, ukuvimbela izingqwembe, ukuhlukunyezwa kakhulu kwamalungelo esintu ohlelweni lwedolobha lokwakhiwa kwezindlu, ukwahluleka ukwenza ngasese ezokuthutha umphakathi ngamabhasi, ukusolwa ngomkhonyovu, ukungaohumeleli kweuShaka Marine World, ukusabisa ngokususa ukuadverthiza emaphephandabeni aqashe izintatheli ezigxeka umasipala , ukuhudula izinyawo ngokucekeleka phansi kwezemvelo, ukubhekelela abantu abasondelene noKhongolose kanye nezohwebo, ukungabikhona emthethweni kanye ngezinye izikhathi ukuphulwa kodlame kwamalungelo abadayisi basemgaqweni kanye nabahlali basemjondolo kanye nenkohlakalo.”

    Kwiphephandaba iThe Daily News (okuyiphephandaba elikhulukazi lesiNgisi) ngesonto eledlule, uSutcliffe wayeqinisa ikhanda, “Angikaze futhi angisoze ngizimbandakanyise nokukhwabanisa kanye nenkohlakalo.” Kodwa uKhongolose wesifunda wacela ukuseshwa ngokujulile emva kokuba umbiko womcwaningi –mabhuku jikelele (auditor-general) ka2009 -2010 wagagula “ukusetshenziswa ngokungajwayelekile kukaR535 million”($65 million) kulowonyaka kanye “nezinkontileka ezingajwayelekile zezindlu ezibize uR3.5 billion ($400 million) eminyakeni engu10.” USutcliffe kanye nezinye izikhulu ezintathu bayathinteka kulokhu.

    Izinkontileka zezindlu ezingaphezulu kuka3000 houses ezibiza uR220 million (more than $25 million) zazimbandakanya umndeni wakwaMpisane, okumanje babhekene nokushushiswa. Ngo2010, uSutcliffe watshela iphephandaba iDaily News ukuthi, Imibiko yokuthi lezizindlu azakhekanga zaba sezingeni elingcono umbhedo kanye nokuhlanya kwabezindaba. Ngibiza noma ubani ukuthi ayobona lezizindlu futhi bayobona ukuthi lezizindlu azibhidliki nokuthi empeleni zakhiwe zaba sezingeni eliphezulu kakhulu kunezinye izindlu zeRDP kwezinye izindawo.”

    INational Home Builders' Registration Council yathola ukuthi kunamaphutha ezindlini ezingaphezulu kuka1000 ezakhiwe nguMpisane. Okucishe kusondele ekuvumeni lelicala okwashiwo nguSutcliffe ngusonto eledlule kwiphephandaba iDaily News: “Asilandelanga zonke izindlela zokuthekelela ezibhalwe phansi ngoba sasidinga ukuqinisekisa ukuthi izidingo zifika ngokugculisayo. Sikwazile ukwakha izindlu ezingaphezu kuka22 000 ngonyaka owodwa ngoba sihambele phambili imigomo.”

    Kodwa izinkulungwane zezindlu kufanele ngabe zakhiwe, ngokukhulu ukushesha futhi ngeqophelo eliphezulu kanye nokuncipha ukusebenzisa obhululu. Ngesikhathi seNdebe Yomhlaba, kwakufanele kwakhiwe izindlu ezingu234 000 eThekwini, kodwa iAcademy for Science in South Africa yabika ukuthi ngenyanga kaMeyi ngonyaka odlule, ukwandiswa kwezimpahla yokwakhiwa kwezindlu zabahola imali encane kwehla kusukela ku16 000 kuya ku9 500 ngo2009, futhi “uma sibheka ezezimali zamanje lokukusalela emuva koze kuxazululwe ngo2040.”

    Maphakathi no-2008, uSutcliffe watshela iMail&Guardian ukuthi, “singabhekana nokusalela emuva mayelana nezezindlu edolobheni eminyakeni eyisikhombisa noma eyisishagalolunye.”Isizathu esenza inkinga yezindlu iqhubekele phambili ukuthi uSutcliffe wasusa izimali ezazigciniwe idolobha wakha inkundla iMoses Mabhida, kodwa kukhona kwamakhelwane inkundla yebhola lombhoxo eseqophelweni lomhlaba eyayilungele ukulungiswa. Ukwakhiwa kwenkundla entsha kwadla izizumbulu zezimali kusukel kwinani elinguR1.8 kuya kuR3.1 billion ($240 million to $400 million), futhi obhululu bethola izinkontileka zokwakha: inkampani yangasese iRemant Alton ukuthutha umphakathi kanye nokuthuthukuswa kwePhoyinti iDolphin Whispers nayo eyahluleka, imboni yamaBroederbonder iBruinette Kruger Stoffberg, iGroup 5/WBHO ihlangene with neqembu loMvelaphanda likaTokyo Sexwale benoBulelani Ngcuka’s Mvelaphanda, kanye noVivian Reddy weEdison Power.

    Lenhlanganyela engenzisisi kanye nokwedelela yenze kwaxhashazwa izimali ezinkulu ngesikhathi sokuphatha kukaSutcliffe, njengo ikhansela leqembu lezombusazwe eliphikisayo edolobheni uDean Macpherson asho onyakeno odlule, wathi, “akazange abone kubalulekile ukuthi akhulume namaSharks ngaphambi kokwakha iMabhida manje sesinenkundla iSharks engafuni ukuya kuyona, futhi ehlala ingasebenzi futhi ezobiza abakhokhi bentela bedolobha laseThekwini izizumbulu zamabhiliyoni amarandi ukuyixhasa ngesikhathi esizayo.” Ithemba likaSutcliffe ngokuzivikela ngokwakha inkundla iMabhida wukuthi iphathe imidlalo yango2020 yamaOlympics livele lashabalala ngo2011 ngesikhathi sokuhlelwa kwezimali kanye nuthi idolobha lizicabangele.

    Ngonyaka odlule beziningi izinsolo ezibhekene noSutcliffe, njengengxabano eyaziwayo phakathi kwakhe nowayenguSobaba wedolobha uObed Mlaba bezingwaze ngeyabo. NgoJanuwari wonyaka odlule, uSutcliffe waphumela obala emphakathini wathi ufuna enye inkontileka yeminyaka eyisihlanu. Kodwa waba namaphutha amaningi kanye nezitha, kanye nomngani wakhe omkhulu wesifunda sikaKhongolose, uJohn Mchunu, washona ngaloyanyaka.

    Ukungagculiseki kwabakuningi: iholo eliphezulu kakhulu likaSutcliffe kanye namabhonasi: isihluku ezinganeni ezihlala emgaqweni kanye nakubadobi ababezama ukusebenzisa ulwandle; ukuhlelwa kabusha kwezindawo zokudayisa olwandle ezingasetshenziswa kanye nezizihlahla ezitshalwa kwimigwaqo yothelawayeka ezifayo; ukunikwa kwamagama a,asha kwemigwaqo okungekho emthethweni, okwagcina ngokuthi ngoNovemba30 eNkantolo eNkulu kwenziwe isinqumo esasimelene noSutcliffe mayelana nokushintshwa kwamagama emigwaqo.

    Inyanga yokugcina kaSutcliffe emsebenzini kufanele ukuthi ibimphathe kabi, kuqala-nje ngoDisemba2 ngokwehlulwa futhi enkantolo izishoshovu zifuna ilungelo lokumasha maphakathi neTheku. Zemelene nengqungquthela yokushintsha kwesimo sezulu iUN COP 17, indlela ezazifuna ukumasha ngayo yayidlula ezindlini zeNxusa laseMelika, eCity Hall kanye naseInternational Convention Centre, okwakuvunywe yimantshi.

    Nango-ke uSutcliffe eseziphindiselela. “kubonakala-nje ukuthi uthukuthele uthelwe ngamanzi ngokungaphumeleli kwenhloso yakhe yokugcindezela ilungelo lethu lokuhlanganyela futhi sibhikishe, waqasha cishe uR150-200 ‘Wabamukeli bedolobha Bamavolontiya’,” kuchaza uRehad Desai weDemocratic Left Front. “Wayebakhokhela uR180 ngalomsebenzi,” lezizigcwelegcwele ezazibizwa ngokuthi ama “Green Bomber ” – njengoba uDesai bewabiza ngalokho esikhumbuza abezombutho ababhekelele uRobert Mugabe –ngoba nabo babegqoka amatracksuits aluhlaza namalogo eTheku kanye neCOP17.

    Emva kokubona izingqwembe ezazigxeka ngemasho yangoDisemba3, amavolontiya kaSutcliffe aqala “acula izisho ezivuna uZuma kanye neCOP17. Ukuba khona kwabo kwimashi eyayilwela ubulungiswa kwisimo sezulu kwabayinsumansumane. [Izishoshovu zesimo sezulu] zanqatshelwa amanzi, zashywa ngezibhakela futhi izingqwembe zazo zahleshulwelwa phansi. Abesifazane basemaphandleni, ababemele amazwe ayeqhamuka eAfrika yonke, babechukuluzwa ngabanye bamaGreen Bombers ngezisho eziyinhlamba zobulili.”

    Emva kwezinsuku eziyisihlanu eCity Hall, uDesai kanye nezinye izishoshovu zeGreenpeace kanyeneActionAid bahlaselwa ngamaGreen Bombers, ngoba bephethe izingqwembe ezithi : “Zuma ima kanye namahlwempu hayi izimboni.” Echaza uSutcliffe kwiphephandaba iWitness ngosuku olulandelayo wathi, “Bakuthola abakufunayo kubantu. Abantu babethukuthele, emva kokwenzeka ngempelasonto. Yini bangathukutheli ngesikhathi benethuba ngenkathi umongameli wayezile ezolalela? Lokho akukho kuhle.”

    ‘Ukuthukuthela’ ngokuphatha unqwembe eCity Hall lokho kusho ukuthi usungaze ushaye umuntu?

    Izifundiswa ezifana nami zingathi lendlela yokuziphatha ubugcwelegcwele bokubuswa ‘ngobungxiwankulu’: bokuziphindiselela, ukuphatha nhlakanhlaka amandla ombuso kanyenezidingongqangi, kuhlanganisa nokuzwakala sengathi bayizishoshoshu, bevuselela isikhathi sika Thabo Mbeki ‘sokukhuluma kahle sengathi unendabe nabantu abahlwempu kanti uthi lala lulaza sikwengule’. Sakubona kakhulu lokhu ngesikhathi uSutcliffe ezama ukususa iMakete Yezimfino (Early Morning Market) ngo2009 kuWarwick Junction efuna ukuthi abangani bakhe benze inxanxathela yezitolo, lapho-ke ukubhikisha okukhulu komphakathi kwenza lelicebo lingaphumeleli emva kokuba amaphoyisa ehlasele abantu ezinzulwini zobusuku.

    Kodwa-ke ngokuxakile, ngaloyanyaka, uSosesheni waseMelika wamaGeographers (American Association of Geographers AAG) bahlomulisa uSutcliffe ngeGilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors kanye neJames R. Anderson Medal of Honor in Applied Geography. Owaxhasa lomhlomulo kaSutcliffe, uKevin Cox owemhlola ngenkathi ebhalela izifundo zobudokotela, wachaza lemihlomulo “njengehlonipheke kakhulu kwigeography . . .Emva kwesikhathi eside njengesishoshovu sezombusazwe kanye nelunga eliyisethenjwa likahulumeni kaKhongolose, uMike uziveze eyigeographer engungqaphambili futhi ebhekelela abantu.”

    Njengokusho kwewebsite yeAAG, iAnderson Medal of Honor ikhombisa “ukuzimisela kakhulu emsebenzini wamageographers” kanye “Nomhlomulo ohlukile futhi okuhlonishwa ngawo umuntu ovelele,”ngenkathi kuchaza ukuthi abahlonyulisiwe “bahlonishwe kakhulu ngozakwabo emsebenzini, izikhulu zasemphakathini kanye nezakhamizi, futhi babe negalelo kwintuthuko yomphakathi.”

    Ngaphandle kokungabaza, uSutcliffe ubaziwa kakhulu futhi kuze kube ngoLwesihlanu olwedlule enedumela kakhulu. Kodwa isikhathi esiningi bekunguduma kwemiphumela emibi. Njengesiboni-nje, ngaphambi kophatha iTheku, indima ayidlala ehola iMunicipal Demarcation Board yasezweni kwaholela ekubhikisheni okuningi ngabantu abahluphekayo ngemingcele. Futhi ngokwahlukanisa kakhulu abantu nomasipala, wehlisa izinga lentando yombuso wezindawo ezakhelene.

    Ngenkathi andisa othelawayeka baseThekwini ngendlela echazwa nguEngels ngo1844 ngeManchester – ukuze abantu abacebile bashayela kalula ezindaweni zabampofu - uSutcliffe wengamela umonakalo ezakhiweni. Kwancipha ezokuthutha umphakathi, kwalimala indlela amanzi abehamba ngayo kanti namaprojekti akhe ezokuthutha ngemikhumbi nezimboni zamafutha bezibeka engcupheni izimpilo zezakhamizi ezingu200,000 zeNingizimu neTheku ukuthi ziphoqwe ukuthi zisuswe emakhaya azo kanye nokungcolisa kakhulu umoya. Futhi nokugqugquzela kukaSutcliffe iClean Development Mechanism yeBhange Lomhlaba emgodini wezibi waseThekwini okuBisasar Road kwaqinisekisa ukucwaswa ngezemvelo.

    Kungashiwo nje ukuthi ukuphatha kukaSutcliffe kukamasipala ngendlela yobungxiwankulu kwakuyinto ayetshelwe yona, nokuthi uma sesibheka kakhulu amaphutha akhe kusenza singabe sisagxila, enkingeni enkulu futhi esabalele kakhulu.

    Lenkinga eyayihleliwe, kwesinye isikhathi ibizwa ‘ukuhwebelana kwangaphakathi’, njengoba sibona kwenza izikhulu eziningi ezilambele ukuphatha. Njengoba uSolwazi waseNyuvesi yaseCity University of New York uDavid Harvey aqaphela eminyakeni engu23 edlule komunye umbhalo wakhe, “Kangangokuthi ukuqhudelana phakathi nedolobha kuya kunyuke, kuye kwenzeke, ‘njengamandla ayinqubo aqhamuka ngaphandle’ kumadolobha ngokwehlukana kwawo ukuze asondelane nentuthuko kanye nomqondo wongxiwankulu. Kungaze kuphoqe izindlela ezithile zokuthuthukisa nezokukhiqiza ezifanayo ‘njengoworld trade centers’ noma izindawo ezintsha zokungcebeleka, ukuthuthukisa ezasolwandle, kanye nezinxanxathela zezitolo zesimanjemanje, nokunye okufana nakho.”

    Ngaphandle-nje kokukhohlwa ukuthi, sekuyisikhathi lapho iGeography (isifundo nami enginejazi lobudokotela kuso) ukuthi inqabe umthetho kamasipala oobusa ngokungalinganwa kanye nokunganakekeli? Ngabe akusona isikhathi sokubuza ukuthi, manje njengoba inhlangano iOccupy movement emadolobheni amaningi ifuna ukuthi amandla okubusa asuswe kwindlanzana eliyiphesenti elilodwa aye kubantu abaningi.

    Mhlawumbe ngokungazi, ngingethemba ukuthi iAAG izocabanga kabusha ibuyisele emuva lemihlomulo emibili ewubulima ewanike uSutcliffe, mhlawumbe ngokushesha ngenyanga ezayo yonyohlangana yonyaka eNew York, ukuze bangahlangabezani nokuphoxeka uma sekwenzeka lokukushushisa okuqhubekayo eThekwini okumelene nenkohlakalo sekwenziwa amacala.

    Kodwa-ke, iningi lethu lilindele ngokukhathazeka umlando ngokuphatha kukaSutcliffe exoxa ngeminyaka eyisikhombisa ebusa, ngoba ukuphatha kwakhe ngobudedengu budinga umqingo wencwadi. Ikakhulukazi, ngoba lemigodi yezombusazwe njengenhlalayenza embiwe uSutcliffe iTheku lonke lakhela uSithole ibalazwe lokwenza imigomo yombusazwe, yokuphatha kanye nesimilo esishintshile.

    Izincwadi ezintsha zikaPatrick Bond iDurban’s Climate Gamble (Unisa Press)kanye nePolitics of Climate Justice (UKZN Press).

    What is Radical, in Neoliberal-Nationalist South Africa?

    What is Radical, in Neoliberal-Nationalist South Africa?

    South Africa has rich, robust radical traditions and over the last two decades I have seen these extended, deepened, and widened. In late 2011 at the Durban world climate summit known as the Conference of the Parties 17 (COP17), they will ground a formidable anti-capitalist critique of elite market environmentalism. Some of this confidence comes from defeating racial apartheid, although what we term “class apartheid” soon set in during the presidency of Nelson Mandela.

    Across a variety of sectors, this condition generated strong Polanyian double-movement reactions, I argue in this essay. South African bottom-up experiences fighting the dominant governing ideology of neoliberal nationalism confirm the need to delink global corporations from determinations of social welfare, to decommodify basic goods and services, to rebuild public sector capacities, and to ensure that the state is run by a political party with genuine accountability to its poor and working-class constituents, exhibiting the consciousness of environmental, gender, and racial justice.
    On the Web


    Durban’s climate Zombie tripped by dying carbon markets
    Patrick Bond (Eye on Civil Society) 20 December 201

    Looking back now that the dust has settled, South Africa’s COP17 presidency appears disastrous. This was confirmed not only by Durban’s delayed, diplomatically-decrepit denouement, but by plummeting carbon markets in the days immediately following the conference’s ignoble end last Sunday.

    Carbon markets failing and Durban Green Climate Fund doomed - up to activists now

    Democracy Now! covers the 3 December march against the COP17, ending with Patrick Bond at the US consulate

    COP17 succumbs to Climate Apartheid: Antidote is Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement

    Patrick Bond, speaking at Occupy COP17, 10th December 2011

    CCS Visiting Scholar Janis Rosheuvel interviews in Durban during 3 Dec. Global Day of Action March

    Critics: Rich Polluters—Including U.S.—Should Face Sanctions for Rejecting Binding Emissions Cuts

    Patrick Bond, Pablo Solon & Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu Interviewed by Amy Goodman from Democracy Now 9 December 2011

    Wanjira Maathai: U.S. Should Shape Up or Get Out at U.N. Climate Talks

    Fighting for Climate Justice in South Africa: An Interview with Trevor Ngwane

    Questioning the COP17 on Al-Jazeera: Patrick Bond on SA role

    How does the Occupy movement relate to the COP17? (Patrick Bond on The Real News Network)

    Faith Manzi and Patrick Bond of CCS join the December 1 World Bank out of Climate! protest

    Ewok paints more Keep the oil in the soil

    Interview with Patrick Bond
    From South Africa, Professor Patrick Bond on the the environmental opposition to COP-17. the UN Summit on The Environment

    UKZN to accommodate alternative COP17 civil society events

    Interview: Patrick Bond on the Durban Conference of Polluters

    >Climate Justice Festival of Film to mark COP17 26 November - 9 December
    More information on Events
    FaceBook Page for Cop 17

    UKZN to accommodate alternative COP17 civil society events
    The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been identified as the site of this year’s COP17 alternative space, known as the ‘People’s Space’, where national and international civil society will come together around the global issue of climate change.

    The contract to utilise UKZN was signed on November 3, 2011, between the C17, a body mandated by over 80 South African civil society groups to coordinate civil society activities around COP17, and UKZN management, with the assistance of the university’s Centre for Society and School of Development Studies.

    C17 aims to provide a space in which to strengthen the climate justice movement in South Africa, while at the same time consolidating civil society actions across the world during the two weeks of negotiations.

    The establishment of a parallel space at COP negotiations each year responds to the marginalisation civil society frequently experiences at these events and the lack of progress that has been made by international governments in addressing climate change.

    ‘The People’s Space’ will thus serve as the space in which the people of the world can make their voices heard and where civil society can work towards creating another vision for addressing climate change by building a strong movement of like-minded activists and ordinary people from around the world.

    Howard College venue just 6km from the COP
    Situated just six kilometres from the official UNFCCC event at Durban’s International Conference Centre (ICC), UKZN’s Howard College will provide room for key civil society events for the duration of the two-week conference from November 28, to December 9, 2011. C17 will engage with eThekwini Municipality to provide transport between the ICC and UKZN.

    The People’s space is expected to attract between 5 000 and 6 000 people during the course of the conference. Events include the Conference of the Youth (COY7) the weekend ahead of COP17, the international labour movement’s Pavilion of Work, as well as numerous panel debates, art exhibitions and film festivals.

    In addition to access to the People’s Space, C17 is coordinating the Global Day of Action on December 3, 2011, to relay civil society’s dissatisfaction with the pace of the UNFCCC negotiations. A peaceful march through the streets of Durban attended by upwards of 20 000 people will be supported by people around the world as they take action in their home countries.

    C17 will also establish a climate refugee camp at Block AK near the ICC from the December 1 to December 6, 2011, highlighting the plight of climate refugees worldwide.

    To apply for use of the space go to For more information, or to receive communiqués on civil society activities at COP17, go to, and follow us on facebook and Twitter.

    Contact information
    People’s Space enquiries – Bryan Ashe:
    Media enquiries – Laura Tyrer:
    Global Day of Action enquiries – Desmond D’Sa:
    General enquiries – Siziwe Khanyile:

    About UKZN
    The University of KwaZulu-Natal will be the host site for the ‘People’s Space’ activities, organised by civil society, associated with the international climate change negotiations to be hosted in Durban from November 28 to December 9. These activities will include public seminars, exhibitions, films and cultural activities. Many of the world’s leading experts on climate and civil society will be on hand over the fortnight. Academics and activists will intermingle with those attending the United Nations COP17. The UKZN Centre for Civil Society and School of Development Studies will arrange local public events, web access and media relations to ensure that civil society’s views are heard and respected.

    About C17 (the COP 17 Civil Society Steering Committee)
    The Civil Society Committee for COP17 (C17) includes representatives of various organisations including social movements, labour, environmental justice organisations, international environmental NGOs and faith-based organisations. It is a facilitatory body established to coordinate the participation of international and national movements and organisations of civil society in the common process but will not seek to represent them or to enter into negotiations with, or lobbying of, governments on their behalf. Rather, the C17 seeks to create opportunities for civil society engagement in the 2011 climate change negotiations during 2011, civil society engagement with the South African government around climate change negotiations and positions, a platform for the expression of diversity in civil society and environmental movement building in South Africa and the region.


    Interview: Patrick Bond on the Durban Conference of Polluters

    Kyoto will likely pass away in 2012, except for the emissions trading schemes which capitalists can use for profit. What we do outside the Durban conference will be very important

    Noted South African activist and scholar says Patrick Bond there are really two streams of environmental thought and action regarding the ongoing United Nations climate talks, known as the “Conference of the Parties” (to the Kyoto Protocol).

    The first, like Climate Action Network, really hoped the industrial countries and the developing world could use climate financing and market mechanisms (like carbon trading) to work towards a lower emissions world.

    The second, the Climate Justice Movement, rejects actors like The World Bank, and capitalist intervention using tools like carbon trading. They also question the REDD agreement banking carbon credits in forests, especially tropical forests – because it takes rights away from the indigenous inhabitants.

    COP 17 update: on alternative spaces and logistics

    COP 17 update: culture jams, deck of polluter playing cards

    COP 17 update: some resources from the Centre for Civil Society



    The Emerging Revolutions
    Edited by Firoze Manji and Sokari Ekine
    With Chapters by Patrick Bond & Khadija Sharife

    Dear 'African Awakening' authors,

    The first twenty books arrived in our office this morning and they look stunning - THANK YOU all for your contributions, and CONGRATULATIONS! Now let's get the book out there.

    The best publicists for a book are its authors, so the more you can help us spread the word now the better. The publication date is 1 December and we will issue a media release then.

    There are many ways you can help spread news of this title:

    • add the book’s details as part of your email signature (there is an email footer you can use on this email)
    • add links from your website, email, blog or Facebook page to the book on the Pambazuka Press website (
    • include it in your author biography for articles
    • print and distribute flyers (attached)
    • let us know of anyone who would like to review the book in print, online, radio or television - we can provide review copies and promotional materials.
    • encourage your contacts to review the book on Amazon UK or Amazon US.
    • let us know of any relevant events and conferences you will be attending so we can provide you with books, flyers and posters.

    As you know, we've been doing some publicity. There will be a launch in Durban on 6 December, and we might be able to do a launch in London. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU COULD BE AVAILABLE IN LONDON ON FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER.

    Contributors receive one free copy on request and can buy further copies at 25% discount. If you have sent us your address your copy will be on its way soon. If you haven't, you can email it to me.

    Here are some selling points and a short blurb of the book:

  • What the mainstream media has missed – the 2011 uprisings in their African context.

  • Pambazuka News’s respected writers offer in-the-moment comment and analysis as well as informed reflection.

  • An almanac with its eyes open – Africa’s radical review of the year

  • The tumultuous uprisings of citizens in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have seized the attention of media analysts who have characterised these
    as 'Arab revolutions', a perspective given weight by popular demonstrations in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and elsewhere. However, what have been given less attention are the concurrent uprisings in other parts of the African continent. The uprisings across Africa and in the Middle East, the book argues, are the result of common experiences of decades of declining living standards, mass unemployment, land dispossessions and impoverishment of the majority, while a few have engorged themselves with riches.

    African Awakening is unique in its coverage of the protests, strikes and other actions in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe as well as in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

    Through incisive contributions from analysts and activists across the continent, the essays in ‘African Awakening’ provide an overview of the struggle for democratisation which goes beyond calls merely for transparent electoral processes and constitutes a reawakening of the spirit of freedom and justice for the majority.


    Climate Justice Protests at the US Consulate

    Climate Change Gridlock: Where Do We Go From Here? (Part 1)
    Patrick Bond of CCS and other analysts of Conference of the Parties gridlock critique the UN and major polluters - and propose bottom-up civ soc alternatives.
    Listen here

    Global warming is no longer a fear for the future, it’s threatening human civilization now. But a good portion of humanity doesn’t seem that concerned. On this edition, part 1 of a special 2 part series, Brian Edwards-Tiekert takes us through the climate change that is happening, the political response that isn’t, and the people trying to break the gridlock.

    This series was made possible by a grant from The Lia Fund, with additional support from The Cultural Conservancy.

    Tim Flannery, author of “The Weathermakers”; Professor Joseph Alcamo, United Nations Environment Program chief scientist; James Inhofe, US Senator from Oklahoma; Bernaditas Muller, South Centre climate change special advisor; Patrick Bond, Center for Civil Society director at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa; Enele Soapala, Tuvalu minister for foreign affairs, environment, and labor; Barack Obama, President of the United States; Stanislaus Lumumba Di-Aping, South Sudanese diplomat; Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director; Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives; Terisa Turner, University of Guelph economist, Nnimo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International chair

    For more information:
    Climate Signals – An Inventory of Climate Change Impact Reports
    Skeptical Science
    Climate Progress
    Mobilization for Climate Justice
    Center for Civil Society, University of Kwazulu-Natal
    Indigenous Environmental Network
    Senator James Inhofe
    The South Centre
    Tuvalu and Global Warming
    Greenpeace International
    Friends of the Earth International
    COP 17 in Durban, South Africa

    Electricity prices and runaway trucks will embarrass Durban’s COP17

    Patrick Bond (Mercury Eye on Society column) 27 September 2011

    Environment minister Edna Molewa announced yesterday at the International Convention Centre provincial climate meeting, that the Durban climate summit starting in just two months will be “a conference of hope,” generating an “outcome all of us will be happy about.”

    Neither is true. By all objective accounts, the COP17 won’t provide a meaningful deal to cut emissions, and climate finance is mired in promotion of for-profit schemes by the World Bank via the upcoming G20 meeting. The promise of “$100 billion grants annually by 2020” made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in late 2009 looks sure to be broken.

    The likelihood is not only that the Kyoto Protocol’s binding (not voluntary “pledge and review”) commitments for rich countries to cut emissions will be dropped. Just as dangerous, Kyoto’s promotion of fraud-ridden carbon trading instead of genuine emissions reductions will be extended.

    Nor did Durban Mayor James Nxumalo’s listing of the city’s heartwarming microprojects – Buffelsdraai community treeplanting, the Green Hub building at the Blue Lagoon, and the solar geyser scheme – disguise high-carbon, climate-dumb Durban’s own rapidly-growing emissions plans, especially the R250 billion “Back of Port” expansion of shipping, trucking and petro-chemicals.

    Neither leader gives confidence that they are doing anything much beyond greenwashing, in the wake of two meetings I attended last week at Austerville community hall in Wentworth. On Wednesday, 400 residents came out in the rain with their electricity bills, furious about Eskom’s price increases, passed along by a brutal municipality, resulting in a wave of household fiscal misery.

    Eskom needs to squeeze poor Durban residents to build the world’s third and fourth largest power plants. It’s not hard to make the links between dirty energy (paraffin, coal and even wood) at home due to electricity price hikes or outright disconnections, and climate change, not to mention health degeneration.

    Do national, provincial and municipal officials want angry community demonstrators in central Durban during the big December 3 march past the US Consulate, City Hall and ICC to the beach, highlighting these complaints?

    Intensified service delivery protests are inevitable given Eskom’s apparent desire to continue providing the largest mining and metals houses (BHP Billiton and Anglo American) with the world’s cheapest electricity, around a tenth of what the Wentworth residents pay.

    A meeting in the same hall on Thursday featured a classic battle: big business imposing toxics on a vulnerable neighbourhood, Clairwood. But this long-oppressed site has amazing civil society fighters, amongst Africa’s most passionate environmental justice activists.

    The huge transport firm Bidvest hired an environmental impact assessment (EIA) specialist, Peter Buckland of Coex, to avoid doing a full EIA and instead submit merely a “Basic Assessment.” Bidvest proposes to increase daily truck traffic in pollution-saturated South Durban by 40 trucks, carrying flammable liquids (like pentene), combustible solids (celluose), oxidisers (ammonium nitrate), poisons (dimethyl sulphate) and corrosives (acids).

    Bidvest’s hazmat storage site, Rennie’s Distribution, is across from the Jacobs Hostel, just north of the city’s famous racecourse, and situated between the working-class neighbourhoods of Woodlands and Austerville. They are all at risk if the proposal succeedes.

    The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance’s Des D’Sa started the debate observing the several thousand deaths in KZN caused by truck-related accidents since 2006, and public health threats caused by South Durban Basin trucking. Bidvest was also responsible for a massive September 2007 fire in the Island View refinery area of the port, fatal to a worker and terrifying for residents of the Bluff. The South Durban emergency evacuation plan that D’Sa demanded from municipal officials was never provided.

    A variety of criticisms of Bidvest and Coex followed, including Clairwood resident association leader Mervyn Reddy’s analysis of congestion on the South Coast road. Under constant truck owner pressure to speed up, the drivers move south from the port using various residential roads during the area’s constant traffic jams, in search of short-cuts away from back-of-port chaos.

    The pressured drivers are often the most wicked on the road, and Reddy showed numerous slides of appalling truck crashes that have killed nine South Durban residents in recent years. And he showed a portrait of an assassinated local community leader, Ahmed Osman, who fought the truckers. Alan Murphy, the Ecopeace party’s former city councilor, pointed out the vast contradictions in Coex’s Risk Analysis, especially its failure to consider explosions during transport.

    As for climate implications, it was revealing that Buckland had not read the book, “Towards a Low Carbon City”, commissioned by the city and launched last month by authors from the Academy of Science of SA. According to the report, “The transport sector is pivotal to the transition to a low carbon city.”

    The report suggests that proposals like Bidvest’s should be viewed with extreme skepticism: “The top priority was identified as the need to reduce the vehicle kilometers travelled in the road freight sector as this provided the greatest opportunity to simultaneously reduce emissions of GreenHouse Gases and traditional air pollutants.”

    Butland’s Basic Assessment ignored climate change and when I asked, he had nothing to say. The overwhelming critique of the proposal by the entire community audience – all raised their hands when asked if they are opposed – is a clear refutation of the KZN provincial government’s decision to allow a Basic Assessment instead of a full EIA. If the municipal and provincial officials who have authority over this matter decide in favour of increased hazmat trucking for South Durban, all hell will break loose.

    It’s just one battle in a long-term war: the corporate/municipal agenda to expand high-carbon activities, versus resident health and safety. There will be many more, given how fired up this community is against the devastation caused by the hazmat trucks and against the coming back-of-port project.

    The smug tone of politicians at the ICC yesterday and today will surely change when this sort of inadequate environmental regulation, excessive electricity price increases, and fury at climate change policy procrastination combine to ensure Durban and national officials suffer a very hot summer.

    Patrick Bond is author of the forthcoming book Politics of Climate Justice, from UKZN Press, and he directs the UKZN Centre for Civil Society.

    Climate-dumb Durban's greenwash manual

    Will the host city for the November-December world climate summit, COP17, clean up its act? The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report, Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban – offers an early chance to test whether new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers, attempting to disguise high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric, as did their predecessors.

    Click the cover page for the manual:
    Towards a low carbon city

    As COP17 approaches: Dirty Durban’s manual for climate greenwashing

    Durban’s infamous Bisasar Road dump: Africa’s largest “Clean Development Mechanism” is one of the world’s primary cases of carbon-trading environmental racism.

    By Patrick Bond
    August 29, 2011 -- Will the host city for the November-December world climate summit, COP17, clean up its act? The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report, Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban – offers an early chance to test whether new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers, attempting to disguise high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric, as did their predecessors.

    Will Durban Mayor James Nxumalo and a new city manager, still to be named, instead get serious about the threat we face – and that major industries pose – as a result of runaway greenhouse gas emissions? We needn’t rehearse concerns about future rising sea levels, extreme storms, flooding that will overwhelm dirty Durban’s decrepit storm-water drainage system, landslides on our hilly terrain, droughts that draw new “climate refugees” from the region into a xenophobic populace, the disruption of food chains and other coming disasters.

    However, what might be termed South Africa’s “mitigation denialism” remains a notable problem. Not only did planning minister Trevor Manuel announce last week that he expects the global North to pay South Africa up to $2 billion a year through the Green Climate Fund he co-chairs – when in reality it is South Africa that owes a vast climate debt to Africa given our world-leading rate of CO2/GDP/person – but Assaf seeks to persuade politicians that Durban can “entrench its reputation as SA’s leading city in terms of climate change actions” [sic].

    Missing in analysis: Durban’s worsening carbon habit
    This is pure hot air, because Assaf’s 262-page study shies away from critical mention of high-carbon Durban’s unprecedented public subsidies on long-distance air transport, shipping, fossil-fuel infrastructure, highway extension and international tourism.

    For example, the study tells us nothing about the $35 billion that “back of port” planners have in mind for South Durban: displacing residents of the 140-year-old Clairwood neighbourhood to allow more expansion of the vast harbour (and its ships’ dirty bunker fuel), a new highway leading to more container terminals and supertoxic petrochemical facilities (including doubling oil flows through a new pipeline to Johannesburg via black neighbourhoods), expanding the automotive industry, and digging a huge new harbor on the old airport site. Not a mention.

    Assaf says nothing about the damage done by building the $1.2 billion King Shaka International Airport way too early and way too far north of the city, nor – aside from a throwaway reference in the governance chapter – about the mostly empty $430 million Moses Mabhida Stadium built for the 2010 World Cup, next door to an existing world-class rugby stadium that should have been used. Durban was nearly rewarded with a climate-destabilising 2020 Olympics bid before the South African cabinet had a rare commonsense moment in June and withdrew from the competition.

    All these mega-investments certainly make Durban “SA’s leading city in terms of climate change actions” – but opposite the way Assaf claims.

    In a failure of analytical nerve, the Assaf scientists appear too intimidated to discuss these expensive mistakes in polite company, much less argue for a detox-rehab of Durban’s carbon-addicted corporates. Yet it makes no sense to avoid the harsh reality of fast-rising emissions in sectors that make our city exceptionally vulnerable when carbon taxes do finally kick in, given how far Durban is located from the world’s main markets and given adverse implications for tourism.

    At one point, buried in a dry table, are the names of Durban’s biggest emitters measured by consumption of municipal electricity: the Mondi paper mill, Sapref and Engen oil refineries, Toyota, Frame Textiles and the Gateway and Pavillion shopping malls. But the city’s biggest contributor to climate change via the national grid’s coal-fired power plants is a deadly manganese smelter, completely forgotten in Assaf’s study even though Assore’s most recent annual report concedes, “Electricity consumption is the major contributor to Assmang’s corporate carbon footprint and reflects energy sourced from Eskom grid supply, particularly by the Cato Ridge Works.”

    Nor in Assaf’s chapter on “The national context” do we learn that South Africa is building the world’s third- and fourth-largest coal-fired power plants, Eskom’s Kusile and Medupi, with a $3.75 billion loan from the World Bank in spite of fierce opposition from civil society.

    Not mentioned either are apartheid-era special pricing agreements that give BHP Billiton and Anglo American Corporation the world’s cheapest electricity ($0.02/kiloWatt hour), about 1/8th what ordinary households pay. Nor is there a word about the millions of poor South Africans disconnected from electricity, unable to absorb the 130 per cent price hike Eskom has imposed since 2008 so as to pay for the coal-fired generators.

    These gaping holes are too wide for even Durban’s most skilled greenwashers – like municipal climate adaptation manager Debra Roberts – to hide, and to her credit, joking that “You want to get me fired for publicly agreeing with you”, she did just that when at the International Convention Centre launch I drew attention to these white-elephants-in-the-room.

    Assaf chief executive Roseanne Diab replied that the city’s main mitigation focus should be Durban’s anarchic truck-freight transport mess, which she claimed can be tackled by air-quality regulation. That might be the case if South Africa had the USA’s Clean Air Act, which considers greenhouse gases to be pollutants – something the South African Air Quality Act doesn’t. And it might also help if the municipality had an effective air pollution monitoring unit, but in March it was stripped of most of its staff by the city manager and is now considered a joke.

    And here in South Africa’s petrochemical armpit, from where I write, we South Durban residents continue to be the main victims, including Settlers Primary School with its 52 per cent asthma rate, the world’s highest. I spent an hour last Friday night (August 26) out on Clairwood’s Houghton Road, where local residents’ association secretary Mervyn Reddy led 100 people blockading Consolidated Transport for letting truck drivers race like Michael Schumacher through the neighbourhood. After 10 deaths caused by maniac truckers, who can blame this community for rising up.

    Durban chases the carbon trade
    What Reddy knows, but Assaf doesn’t say, is that the sources of climate-threatening CO2 emissions are also responsible for much more immediate socio-ecological destruction. For example, Assaf enthusiastically promotes landfill methane gas-to-electricity conversion at Durban’s infamous Bisasar Road dump without observing (as do most academic articles) that Africa’s largest “Clean Development Mechanism” is actually one of the world’s primary cases of carbon-trading environmental racism, worthy of a front-page article in the Washington Post in 2005 on the day the Kyoto Protocol took effect.

    Placed in a black neighbourhood during apartheid, Bisasar Road – Africa’s largest landfill – should have been closed when Nelson Mandela came to power, as African National Congress pamphlets in the 1994 election promised the community it would be. But thanks in part to World Bank encouragement, Bisasar became the leading pilot for carbon trading and still pollutes the area to this day, with no prospect for closure before it fills up around 2020. A sister landfill in northern Durban, La Mercy, also had a methane-electricity project funded by the World Bank, but Assaf concedes that it failed to properly extract the gas.

    In its enthusiasm for such financing, the Assaf study also forgets that the COP17 will witness the demise of Kyoto, the treaty that mandates these kinds of carbon-trade investments in places like Durban. The end of the only binding multilateral climate treaty is mainly due to Washington’s intransigence, and it is heartening to those of us in Durban that hundreds of people have been arrested at the White House over the last two weeks, demanding US rejection of filthy Canadian tar sands oil. In solidarity, Durban climate justice activists will demonstrate at the US Consulate just west of City Hall on Wednesday during afternoon rush hour.

    Blithely, Assaf scientists recommend “innovative market-based financing mechanisms” such as “the voluntary carbon market” – while downplaying the emissions-trading fraud, corruption, speculation and collapse now rife across the world. As even a February 2011 report by the US Government Accounting Office revealed, for such voluntary market offsets to be considered genuine requires proof of “additionality”, but this “is difficult because it involves determining what emissions would have been without the incentives provided by the offset program. Studies suggest that existing programs have awarded offsets that were not additional.”

    As for measuring CO2 in the voluntary emissions markets, “it is challenging to estimate the amount of carbon stored and to manage the risk that carbon may later be released by, for example, fires or changes in land management”. And verification of offsets is a challenge because “project developers and offset buyers may have few incentives to report information accurately or to investigate offset quality”.

    Climate-smart Durban?
    Regrettably, Assaf believes in a few other “false solutions” to the climate crisis, such as biofuels (Durban is a sugarcane centre) and co-incineration of tyres in cement kilns. Interestingly, the GAO has just released a report confirming analysis by progressive scientists in the ETC Group that the “climate engineering” technologies of choice – geo-engineering, nanotechnology, biofuels and synthetic biology – are “currently immature, many with potentially negative consequences… Climate engineering technologies do not now offer a viable response to global climate change.”

    In another disturbing development, Assaf’s emphasis on residents’ behavioural change risks a blame-the-victim mentality: for example, discouraging flush toilets for poor people so as to avoid increased electricity use at the sewage works. Adds Diab, “We must encourage people to stop using their cars and start using public transport” – yet she is silent about how city officials let a crony-capitalist firm, Remant Alton, privatise and wreck our municipal bus system.

    Not a total write-off, Assaf’s report at least encourages Durban to “produce local, buy local” at a time of inane currency-induced trading patterns that have little to do with rational comparative advantages between competing economies. The report condemns suburban sprawl and much post-apartheid planning, while endorsing the “polluter pays” principle, which, if ever implemented, would radically improve the city’s environment. All obvious enough, but what hope for implementation given our rulers’ pro-pollution bias?

    “Climate smart”, according to Roberts, means a city’s “low-carbon, green economy provides opportunities for both climate change mitigation and adaptation and fosters a new form of urban development that ensures ecological integrity and human well being”.

    Precisely. But if Diab is correct that “poor public awareness” is a major barrier to addressing the most serious crisis humanity has ever faced, Assaf scientists now contribute to that very problem with their bland, blind greenwashing of climate-dumb Durban.

    Why we question COP17: Climate Justice for Durban?

    The Climate Justice movement in Durban is trying to ensure the COP17, from Nov 28 to Dec 9, isn’t simply another failed, elite summit-hop. It will be that, because:

  • The Kyoto Protocol’s binding commitments to reduce carbon will be trashed and replaced by Washington’s ‘pledge and review’ voluntary hot-air non-commitments.

  • The so-called Green Climate Fund will be captured by private for-profit interests.

  • Carbon trading will be heavily promoted, even though it is failing in practice and
  • Urgent emissions cuts – 50% by 2017, as science requires – will be scoffed at.

  • Our expectations are terribly low because 16 years of talk by procrastinating,
    paralysed UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiators, guided
    by fossil-fuel-addicted big business, have left us no strategy to save the planet. Likewise, South Africa’s energy and climate policies are set by the corporate Minerals-Energy Complex. SA’s already-vast CO2 emissions will soar, with the world’s third and fourth largest coal-fired power stations now under construction. Who wins? Eskom still supplies the world’s cheapest electricity supplied to the world’s biggest mining and metals houses – BHP Billiton and Anglo American – which in turn permanently degrade our water resources and pollute the air. Opportunities for Climate Jobs and renewable energy are practically ignored. Meanwhile, power disconnections affect millions of low-income people each year as a result of a 130% electricity price increase since 2008, making it unaffordable and inaccessible to the poor, who are returning to dirty paraffin, coal and firewood. And in 2009 President Jacob Zuma was one of the five ‘leaders’ who, led by the US White House, signed the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, leaving Africa to fry. Given the adverse balance of power, an estimated 20,000 COP17 delegates will waste their time inside Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC). The last such tragic event here was the UN World Conference Against Racism, where more than 15,000 of us demonstrated on August 31, 2001 because under Washington’s thumb, conference chair Mary Robinson refused to table civil society concerns: Israel’s racist occupation of Palestine; and reparations due for centuries of slavery, colonialism and apartheid.

    A year later, at the UN’s Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, more than 30,000 marched against UN commodification of nature: ‘Bluewashing’ in the UN ‘Global Compact’ with big corporations, and UN privatization of water and even the air (known as ‘emissions trading’)


    Kungani sinemibuzo ngeCOP17
    IsiZulu Translation

    Ingqungquthela yabangcolisi bomoya womkhathi’,eyayibanjelwe eCopenhagen ngo2009 naseCancun ngo2010

    Bungaba khona ubulungiswa ngokushintsha kwesimo sezulu eThekwini Inhlangano elwelwa ubulungiswa ngokushintsha kwesimo sezulu yaseThekwini iClimate Justice izama ukuqinisekisa ukuthi iCOP17, kusukela ngoNovemba28 kuya kuDisemba9, akuyona—nje enye ingqungquthela engenampumelelo yababusi. Ingaba yilokho, ngoba:

  • Izibopho zeKyoto Protocol zokwehlisa insizi engcolisa umoya womkhathi ziyocekelwa phansi esikhundleni salokho kubekwe imigomo yaseWashington ‘yokuzinikezela nokubuyekeza’ ngokuvolontiya okungenazibopho;

  • iGreen Climate Fund iyothathwa ngabangasese ukuze benze inzuzo;

  • ukuhweba ngensizi engcolisa umoya womkhathi kuyobe kugqugquzelwa, noma kwazeka ukuthi akuphumeleli ukwenzeka; futhi

  • ukukwehliswa komoya wensizi engcolis umkhathi okubalulekile okufanele kuqedwe – ngamaphesenti angamashumi amahlanu ngo2020, njengoba kusho abezesayensi – kuyodelelwa.

  • Esikulindele kuncane kakhulu ngenxa yeminyaka eyishumi nesithuphs yezingxoxo zokungasukumeli phezulu, ezicekelwe phansi abakhulumeli beUN Framework Convention on Climate Change, benganyelwe izimboni ezinkulu ezisebenzisa kakhulu imikhiqizo yezemvelo yokubasa, esenze sangaba nacebo lokuhlenga umhlaba.

    Ngokunjalo, imigomo yezamandla kanye nesimo sezulu yaseNingizimu Afrika ilawulwa i Minerals-Energy Complex. Ukungcolisa okukhulu okwenziwa yiNingizimu Afrika ngumsizi weCO2 kuzonyuka, ikakhulukazi njengoba kwakhiwa izizinda zamandla ezakhiwayo zamalahle ezinkulu kakhulu emhlabeni . Ubani ozophumelela? UEskom uyaqhubeka nokuphakela amandla kagesi amanani aphansi kakhulu ezimbonini ezimbili ezinkulu kakhulu emhlabeni zokumbiwa phansi kanye nenzimbi - iBHP Billiton kanye ne Anglo American – bona futhi abaqhubekayo nokungcolisa izizinda zamanzi ethu kanye nokungcolisa umoya. Amathuba emisebenzi yokwenza ngcono isimo sezulu kanye nendlela yamandla kagesi ongabuye usetshenziswe iyazitshwa. Ngalesosikhathi futhi, ukunqnyulelwa amandla kagesi kuhlukumeza izigidi zabantu abahola kancane minyaka yonke kangangokuthi ukunyuka kukagesi ngo130% kusukela ku2008, kwenza ungafiki futhi ungakwazi ukukhokhelwa ngabampofu, abagcina sebesebenzisa uparafini, amalahle kanye nezinkuni.

    Leaving oil in the soil, from Durban’s coast to Ecuador’s Amazon

    By Patrick Bond, presentation from CCS Seminar 2 August 2011

    There’s no way around it: to solve the worsening climate crisis requires we must accept both that the vast majority of fossil fuels must now be left underground, and that through democratic planning, we must collectively reboot our energy, transport, agricultural, production, consumption and disposal systems so that by 2050 we experience good living with less than a quarter of our current levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

    That’s what science tells our species, and here in South Africa a punctuation mark was just provided by a near-disaster in Durban – host of the world climate summit, four months from now – during intense storms with six-meter waves last week. A decrepit 40-year old oil tanker, MT Phoenix, lost its anchor mooring on July 26 and was pushed to the rocky shoreline in Christmas Bay, 25km north of the city.

    The shipwreck is in the heart of a beautiful albeit class-segregated tourist and retirement site, Durban’s North Coast, that just two weeks earlier held an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world competition, Mr Price Pro. That event boasted some of the best waves ever seen in ASP history, said contestants.

    But cold winter swells from marine hell reemerged just when MT Phoenix was being towed into Durban harbour for confiscation, having lost its engines a few hundred miles down the coast. According to Cathleen Jacka of the website, the incident confounded the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), what “with hints at a deliberate beaching; the possibility of a mystery stowaway still hiding onboard; uncertainty as to the true identity of the owners and even that the vessel was scrapped in India last year.” A SAMSA official observed that the 15-member crew “seemed inexperienced in the basic actions required to stabilise the vessel’s position” and remarked, “It would not be the first time that an unscrupulous ship owner was prepared to sacrifice a vessel in attempt to realise the insured value.”

    Except that there was apparently no insurance for the MT Phoenix, since Lloyds took it off the books late last year, and allegedly it was on its final trip, from West Africa to India’s ghastly ship breaking graveyard. The owner, Suhair Khan of Dubai, stopped taking calls, leaving South Africans to bear the risk of 400 tons of oil spilling if the ship broke on the rocks. Estimates of the heroic rescue operation’s cost to the taxpayer easily run into the millions of dollars, but thankfully the crew was saved and oil was laboriously pumped ashore.

    Offshore drilling in the ‘remarkably stable’ (sic) Agulhas Current
    However another potential oil disaster looms in this very location, thanks to South African government energy bureaucrats. On May 5, the Petroleum Agency of SA began authorizing seismic oil surveying by a dubious Singapore-registered company, Silver Wave Energy, in water depths ranging from 30 meters to two kilometers. By comparison, BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform in the much calmer Gulf of Mexico drilled 1.5 km down to the seafloor surface.

    Silver Wave Energy’s primary owner is Burmese businessman Min Min Aung, who is tight with the junta that still rules there, according to reliable reports. Exploitation of oil and gas in Burma’s Andaman Sea has long been controversial (my grandfather was deputy warden there during brutal colonial times), and when Unocal – now Chevron – built a pipeline to Thailand, it did such enormous damage to people and the environment that local villagers, supported by Earthrights International, successfully sued the firm for $30 million.

    Since 2007 the Arakan islands on Burma’s Bay of Bengal coast have been the main site of intense conflict, as Jockai Khaing from Arakan Oil Watch told me last week, and again Aung is a key player. Silver Wave has also been exploring dubious extraction projects in Russia, Sudan, Guinea-Conakry, Indonesia and Iraq, but in spite of sanctions against Burma (supposedly supported by South Africa), Aung received PetroSA’s endorsement to explore 8000 square km stretching from Durban to SA’s main aluminum-smelting city, Richards Bay.

    Source: PetroSA, July 2011

    Silver Wave simultaneously announced a $100 million oil search in the fragile Hukaung Valley in northeastern Burma, and if the company carries out its initial plans, this will threaten local villagers as well as endangered tigers, Himalayan bears, elephants and leopards. Although the area contains the world’s largest tiger reserve, according to reporter Thomas Maung Shwe of Mizzima news service, “the Burmese regime has encouraged logging, gold mining, large scale farms and the building of factories inside.” As the scandal grew, Silver Wave denied what its own press release had announced, but conceded it would drill near the reserve.

    A company this dastardly is a high risk, and to prove the point, Silver Wave’s environmental impact document includes a description of the notorious Agulhas Current, which begins at the Mozambique border: “Compared to other western boundary currents the Agulhas Current adjacent to southern Africa’s East Coast exhibits a remarkable stability.” Huh? In reality, the Natal Pulse races down the Agulhas a half-dozen times each year, pushing 20km per day. It is one reason Durban’s coastline hosts more than 50 major ship carcasses. Creating havoc further south on the Wild Coast, the Pulse contributes to the rouge waves that have sunk 1000 more vessels in what is considered one of the world’s most dangerous shipping corridors.

    Susan Casey’s book The Wave pays Agulhas this respect: “Crude, diesel, jet fuel, liquefied natural gas: oil in all its forms was heartbreaking, infuriating and all-too-common sight in the ocean. Supertankers, behemoths that couldn’t make it through the Suez Canal, swung down from the Middle East, took their chances hopping a ride in the Agulhas, and met their share of disasters. Salvagers used every tool at their disposal to prevent the damaged tankers from gushing out their contents, especially in fragile near-shore environments, but sometimes the battle was lost.”

    Source: Silver Wave submission to PetroSA

    South Africa’s petrochem armpit
    If, thankfully, the beaches at Christmas Bay were saved from a spill this week, others have not been so fortunate. Just offshore South Durban’s Cuttings Beach, a few kilometers from where I’m writing, we witnessed a significant 2004 oil spill of five tons at the Single Buoy Mooring, the 50-meter deep intake pump that feeds the refineries with 80 percent of SA’s crude oil imports. Onshore, corporate pollution standards are so lax that the rust-bucket structures regularly spring disastrous leaks and explode.

    Source: Southen Durban Community Enviromental Alliance photos of 2007 incidents

    Daily, poisons are flared onto thousands of neighbouring residents. The Indian, coloured and African communities suffer the world’s highest-ever recorded asthma rate in a school (52 percent of kids), as Settlers Primary sits next to the country’s largest paper mill (Mondi) and between two refineries: one run by Engen, Chevron and Total; and the other, called Sapref, by BP, Shell and Thebe Investments. Sapref’s worst leak so far was 1.5 million liters into the Bluff Nature Reserve and adjoining residences in 2001.

    Source: SDCEA

    Together these refineries can process 300,000 barrels of oil a day, more than any other single site in Africa aside from an Algerian mega-refinery. A new 705km pipeline from the Durban refineries to Johannesburg will double the existing pumping capacity, an invitation for much more damage here. Delayed two years, the government pipeline project’s cost overrun went from $1.4 billion announced in 2005 to $3.4 bn today. Our petrochemical armpit gets smellier, as soaring financial costs add to the social and environmental calamaties.

    Amazonian oil soils our forest lungs
    Because of flying so much, I am feeling an acute need to identify and contest the full petroleum commodity chain up to the point it not only poisons my South Durban neighbours but generates catastrophic climate change. And regrettably, this search must include Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador (and from last week Peru as well), for even South America’s most progressive governments are currently extracting and exporting as much oil and gas as they possibly can. We may even be recipients in South Africa, if government’s plans to build a massive $15 billion heavy oil refinery near Port Elizabeth come to fruition. A $300 million downpayment was announced in the last budget, and full capacity will be 400,000 barrels per day.

    From where would this dirty crude come? Two weeks before he was booted from office in September 2008, disgraced SA president Thabo Mbeki signed a heavy oil deal with Hugo Chavez. It appeared a last-gasp effort by Mbeki to restore a shred of credibility with the core group to his left – the Congress of SA Trade Unions and SA Communist Party – who successfully conspired to replace him with their own candidate, Jacob Zuma, as ruling party leader nine months earlier. In those last moments of power, Mbeki fancifully claimed he wanted to pursue Bolivarian-type trade deals, and Chavez told Mbeki, “It is justice ... it will be a wonderful day when the first Venezuelan tanker stops by to leave oil for South Africa.” The harsh reality is that the preferred refinery site, Port Elizabeth’s Coega, will probably retain its nickname, the “Ghost on the Coast”, and Durban will continue to suffer the bulk of oil imports, as BP now actively campaigns against a new state refinery.

    Venezuelan dirty crude is akin to Canadian tar sands, and hopefully sense will prevail in Caracas. There is a fierce battle, however, for hearts and minds in both Bolivia – where movements fighting ‘extractivism’ have held demonstrations against the first indigenous president, Evo Morales, even at the same time his former UN ambassador Pablo Solon bravely led the world climate justice fight within the hopeless arena of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations – and Ecuador where Rafael Correa regularly speaks of replacing capitalism with socialism. Both have ‘rights of Mother Earth’ in their constitutions – so far untested.

    In Quito and Neuva Rocafuerte deep in the Amazon last week, I witnessed the most advanced eco-social battle for a nation’s hearts-and-minds underway anywhere, with the extraordinary NGO Accion Ecologica insisting that Correa’s grudging government leaves the oil in Yasuni National Park’s soil. Because he was trained in neoclassical economics and hasn’t quite recovered, Correa favours selling Yasuni forests on the carbon markets, which progressive ecologists reject in principle.

    Accion Ecologica assembled forty members of the civil society network Oilwatch – including four others from Africa led by Friends of the Earth International chairperson Nnimmo Bassey from the Niger Delta – first to witness the mess left by Chevron after a quarter century’s operations. Six months ago, local courts found the firm responsible for $8.6 billion in damages: cultural destruction including extinction of two indigenous nations, and water and soil pollution and deforestation in the earth’s greatest lung – but Chevron’s California headquarters refuses to cough up.

    Oil spots from Texaco’s operations already encroach into Yasuni – where Bassey feels at home

    The really hopeful part of the visit, however, was Accion Ecologica’s proposal at Yasuni, on the Peruvian border, that $7-10 billion worth of oil in the block known as ITT not be drilled. Part of the North’s debt for overuse of the planet’s CO2 carrying capacity must be to compensate Ecuador’s people the $3.5 billion that they would otherwise earn from extracting the oil. Leaving it unexploited in the Amazon is the most reasonable way that industrial and post-industrial countries can make a downpayment on their climate debt.

    If the UN’s Green Climate Fund design team, co-chaired by South African planning minister Trevor Manuel, were serious about spending its promised $100 billion a year by 2020, this project is where they would start, with an announcement on November 28 to put the Durban COP17 climate summit on the right footing.

    Don’t count on it. Instead, as usual, civil society must push this argument, in the process insisting on leaving oil in the soil everywhere so that other tankers share what we pray will be the final fate of the wretched ship MT Phoenix: a graceful not rocky retirement.

    Patrick Bond directs the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban

    Threatened lagoons at Yasuni National Park

    Yekelani amafutha emhlabathini – noma nibhekane nokuchitheka kwayo olwandle lwaseNyakatho neTheku, ningcolise umoya waseNingizimu neTheku futhi nicekele phansi nehlathi iAmazon?
    NguPatrick Bond
    Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

    Ayikho futhi enye indlela esingakhuluma nagyo: ukuxazulula ukuqhubeka nokushuba kwesimo sezulu esidinga ukuthi samukele ukuthi izindlela okokubasa kwemvelo kudingeka ukuthi manje kuyekelwe emhlabathini, futhi nangokuhlela okunokubuswa kwentando yeningi kufanele sonke siqale kabusha izindlela zamandla okubasa, ezokuthutha, ezolimo, ezokukhiqiza, ezokuthenga kanye nezokuchitha ukuze kuthi mgomyaka ka2050 sikwazi ukuphila izimpilo ezinhle lapho ingxenye enkulu yezisizi ezingcolisa umoya wasemkhathathini uzobe ungasafani nowamanje.

    Ilokho ososayensi abasitshela khona, kodwa okunesihibana uma sesibheka imbedumehlwana ecishe yenzeka olwandle lwaseSheffiled ngenkathi kuneziphepho ezinkulu kulamasonto adlule, ngenkathi umkhumbi omdala onemimyaka engamashumi amane othwala amafutha,MT Phoenix isuka emgqeni wemikhumbi ebilindele ukungena emtateni weTheku futhi wabusujama endaweni enamatshe amakhilomitha angamashumi amabili nanhlanu kusukela edolobheni.

    Ngokusho kukaCathleen Jacka wewebsite, lengozi yaxaka abaphathi beSouth African Maritime Safety Authority, “engath into eyenzeka ngamabomu; futhi kucatshangwa ukuthi kungase kube khona ababecashe emkhumbini; ukungazi kahle abanikazi bomkhumbi nokuthi lomkhumbi ubungasavunyelwa ukuba sebamanzini ngokwaseIndia kusukela ngonyaka odlule.

    Esinye sezikhulu saqaphelisisa ukuthi ithimba labasebenzi abayishumi nanhlanu bomkhumbi “babebonakala bengenalo ulwazi olwanele mayelana nendlela yokumisa umkhumbi” futhi waphawula ukuthi kobe kungekona okokuqala ukuba umnikazi womkhumbi onobuqili wayezimisele ukunikela ngomkhumbi ukuze athole unzuzo yomshuwalense.”

    Kwakunengcephe yamathani angamakhulu amane amafutha ayethwelwe umkhumbi kuloluhambo lwayo lokugcina, kusukela eNtshonalanga Afrika kuya eIndia lapho kuphahlazwa khona imikhumbi. Ukuba achitheka lamafutha ngenkathi uhluleka ukuqhubekela phambili, amafutha athwelwe ilowa mkhumbi ayezokona amakhilomitha ayishumi echweba.

    IMT Phoenix kakade yayisidinga ukusizwa ngankathi izinjini zayo zifa eMpulanga Kap ngenyanga edlule, futhi abasemthethethweni behlela ukuwubopha bawuthatha kulabanikazi abangaziwa kahle abazibhlaise ngokuthi iPanama A&K Shipping. Kodwa ngokuqagela ungathi ukuhlengwa ngobuqhawe balomkhumbi obize abakhokhi bentela izigidi zamaRandi, sibonga ubuchwepheshe babasebenzi bezimo eziphuthumayo beNational Sea Rescue Institute abasindisa ithaimba labasebenzi bomkhumbi kanye nabanye abasiza ukuthi lamafutha afinyelele kahle ngale kolwandle.

    Kodwa-ke enye imbedumehlwana elokhu isijeqeza kuyoyona lendawo; okunokungakholeki, njengoba sizobe singabaphathi bengqungqthela yomhlaba emayela nesimo sezulu ezinyangeni ezine kusukela manje. Iziphathimandla ezinganalwazi futhi ezingenandaba zasePitoli zibeka iTheku enkingeni ukuthi kubuye kuchitheke amafutha, engazuthi asinayo ngokwanele lenkinga njengalapho ngibhala khona eNingizimu neTheku, lapho kuhleli khona umnotho wezwe lwethu wezamafutha.

    Mhlaziyisihlanu ngenyanga kaMeyi, iPetroleum Agency of SA taqala yagunyaza iSilver Wave Energy ukuthu yenze ucwaningo kokuzamazama komhlaba ngamafutha, kusukela eAmanzimtoti kuya eRichards Bay, kumanzi ngadephile kakhulu abanzi ngamakhilomitha angamashumi amathathu nashona ngamakhilomitha amabili. Ngokuqhathanisa, Ibp Deepwater Horizon indawo ethule kakhulu kuneGulf yaseMexico embiwe ikhilomitha nohafu ukushona phansi olwandle.

    ISilver Wave Energy izinze eSingapore kodwa umnikazi wayo umhwebi waseBurma uMin Min Aung, futhi ngaphandle kwezixwayiso (engazuthi ezivela ePitoli) ezaziqonde ukujezisa ubudlelwane obujululi buka Aung nejunta esabusa eBurma, wathola ukuxhaswa iPetroSA ukuhlola amasquare khilomitha ayizinkulungwane eziyisishagalombili.

    Emva kwezinsukwana, iSilver Wave yamemezela u$100 wezigidi zokuhlola amafutha eHukaung Valley enyakatho nempumalanga yaseBurma. Nokubika kwentantheli uThomas Maung Shwe wezindaba zeMizzima, uma iSilver Wave iqhubela nalezizinhlelo, lokhu kuyobeka engcupheni izimpilo zabantu abahlala kulendawo futhi kubeke engcupheni impilo yezingwe, amabhele aseHimalaya, kanye nezindlovu. Noma lendawo inezingwe eziningi kanye nendawo yemvelo, “umbuso waseBurma uyakunxenxa ukugawulwa kwezihlahla, ukumbiwa kwegolida, amafamu amakhulu kanye nokwakhiwa kwezimboni ngaphakathi.” ISilver Wave yashesha yaphika okwakuhiwo incwadi ababeyithumelele kwabezindaba, kodwa bathi bazomba kulendawo yezemvelo.

    Inkampani enonya kangaka iyingcuohe kakhulu, futhi ukuze sikubonise lokhu, umbhalo weSilver Wave mayelana nezemvelo ukuthi zizomosheka kanjani iPetroSA yachaza ngesimo seAgulhas Current edume kabi, eqala emgceleni waseMozambiqueneNingizimu Afrika: “Uma siqhathanisa kanye neminye imingcele yasentshonalanga iAgulhas Current encike neningizimu yeAfrica yechweba laseMpumalanga ikhombisa ukuthoba okumangalisayo.”

    Ngempela? Eqinisweni, iNatal Pulse igijima phansi neAgulhas izikhathi eziyisithupha ngonyaka, isunduza amakhilomitha angamashumi amabili ngosuku. Kungesinye sezizathu iTheku lugcwele izidumbi zemikhumbi ezingaphezulu kwamashumi amahlanu. Lokhu okudala inking eWild Coas, iPulse inomthelela kumagagasi ayizigcwelegcwele asezike amakhulu emikhumbi emikhulu endaweni eyaziwa njengephaseji eliyingozi kakhulu kwezokuthutha ngolwandle.

    Ngaphandle-nje kancanekwebhishi laseCuttings eNingizimu neThekhu, sabona ukuchitheka okukhulu ngenkathi eyodwa ngo2004 eSingle Buoy Mooring, futhi ngaphandle kolwandle, izixazululo zezimboni aziqinile ngokwanele kangangokuthi izindawo ezigcina amafutha zezindala zivuza kakhulu okuholela ekugqmukeni komlilo kubantu abakhelene nazo. IMerebank inesibalo esikhulu umhlaba wonke sezingane eziphathwa ufuba esikoleni (amaphesenti anamashumi amahlanu nambili ezinganeni), njengoba iSettlers Primary ihlala ngaphezu kwembono yphepha iMondo futhi phakathi kwendawo egcina amafutha: enye ephethwe iBP, uShell kanye neThebe Investments, futhi siseduze nesikhulumo sezindiza esidala, bese kuthi futhi ngasenyakatho imboni yokuhlanganyela iEnref eshayelwa nguEngen, neChevron kanye neTotal.

    Ngokuhlanganyela bakhiqiza amabharel ayi300 000 amafutha ngelanga, ukudlula zonke ezinye izindawo eAfrika ngaphandle kwenye imboni eAlgeria. Ulayini weTransnet omusha wamakhilomitha nagu705 asuka kulezizimboni oya eGoli uzokwenza kuphindwe kabili ukumpompwa kwamafutha. Njengoba lolayini usudlule ngaphezu kweminyaka emibili ukutba uphele ukwakhiwa kwakudae kubikwe ukuthi uzobiza uR9.5 wamabhiliyoni njengoba kwashiwo ngo2005 kodwa usufike kuR23.4 wamabhiliyoni.

    Kulamasonto adlule iEcuadoran Amazon, ngahlanganyela kanye namanye amalunga angamashumi amane avela emiphakathini enhlangano iOilwatch – kuhlanganisa nezinye zaseAfrika ziholwa ngusihlalo weFriends of the Earth International uNnimmo Bassey waseNiger Delta – ukuba ngufakazi wemfukucu eshiywe ngemuva ukumba kwemboni iChevron kuleyandawo. Ezinyangeni eziyisithupha ezedlule, izinkantolo zakuleyandawo zathola lemboni inecala lomonakalo obalelwa ku$19 bhiliyono wokona ezemvelo(izizwe ezimbili zokudabuka sezanyamalala), amanzi kanye nokona amanzi kanye nokugenca kakhulu amahlathi – kodwa ikomkhulu leChevron eCalifornia leyenqaba ukukhokha lamademeshe.

    Into eyathembisa ngaloluyahambo, kodwa, kwaba ukuthi esasibavakashele ihlangano ezomele iAccion Ecologica yaveza ukuthi eYasuni National Park emgceleni wasePeru, bathi ‘akuyekelweni amafutha emhlabathini’. Esinye isikweletu saseNyakatho ukuthi isebenzise kakhulu insizi C02 kakhulu okufanele ikhokhele abantu baseEcuador u$3,5 wamabhiliyono ongabe imali abayithola ngokumba amfutha. Ukuyekela amafutha emhlabathini eAmazon iyona kuphela indlela enomqondo lapho abezimboni namazwe acebile angakhokhela ngayo isikweletu sesimo sezulu.

    Umangabe ithimba leUN Green Climate Fund, lapho uTrevor Manuel engomuye wosihlalo bayo, bezimisele ukusebenzisa lesisethembiso esingu$100 wamabhiliyoni kuze kufike kunyaka ka2020, iyona into yokuqala lena abayoyenza, ngokumemezela ngoNovemba 28 ukuze I COP17 ibe nomphumela omuhle.

    Asingathembeli kakhulu kulokho. Esikhundleni, njengokwejwayelekile izinhlangano zemiphakathi kufanele ziqhubeke nalomnyakazo, bese futhi kuthi imikhumbi emidala yamafutha ingabi nohambo olufana neMT Phoenix: kodwa iguge ngesizotha.

    uPatrick Bond ungumqondisi weCentre for Civil Society, eUKZN

    Fighting the minerals-petroleum-coal complex’s wealth and woes in Durban

    Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife 19 July 2011

    When African National Congress youth leader Julius Malema recently proposed the mining industry’s partial nationalization – and last week asked, quite legitimately, ‘what is the alternative?’ to those in the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Business Leadership South Africa who threw cold water at him – a debate of enormous ideological magnitude opened in public, which workers, communities and environmentalists have already joined in their myriad struggles.

    For those of us in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, awareness of mining’s foibles is vital for several reasons, including new scientific findings about overestimated coal industry reserves; SACP leader Jeremy Cronin’s recent useful suggestion to ‘phase out aluminum smelters’ at the vast Richards Bay port (and we might add, at Durban’s killer-manganese Assmang at Cato Ridge which alone chews a third of our city’s electricity); and the global climate summit that Durban hosts in November-December.

    It is no secret that the COP17 will be embarrassing for South Africa, not only because Durban will host the demise of the Kyoto Protocol’s binding commitments, due largely to the destructive influence of the US, Japan and the European Union. WikiLeaks revealed Washington’s bad habits – bullying, bribery and blackmail – when promoting the non-binding 2009 Copenhagen Accord, a sham of a climate agreement. Pathetically, SA president Jacob Zuma played into the hands of the major polluters as an original signatory.

    Expect more UN wreckage on December 9, closing day. But that aside, the main reason that Pretoria faces embarrassment is increasing local awareness of SA’s coal-fired electricity dirty laundry. This is a result of the way that mining houses – especially Anglo American Corporation and BHP Billiton – have managed to monopolize the world’s cheapest energy while poor people are so overcharged that they face widespread disconnection.

    Fighting for electricity, water and health
    High-profile resistance this month alone included the burning of municipal councilors’ houses over high prices and prepayment meters in Soweto, residents’ attacks on Eskom officials engaged in power cuts in the small northern city of Tzaneen, and here in Durban’s Kennedy Road, successful protests against a municipal subcontractor chopping illegal electricity connections.

    South Africa’s ‘Minerals-Energy Complex’ – a phrase coined by former Trade and Industry director-general Zav Rustomjee and British economist Ben Fine – has become a barrier to society’s balanced development and also a threat of great magnitude to the local and global environment. As last month’s diagnostic document from the new planning ministry admitted, ‘SA’s economy is highly resource intensive and we use resources inefficiently. As a result we are starting to face some critical resource constraints, e.g. water.’

    Eskom is the biggest water consumer, so as to cool Mpumalanga power plants. The coal burned in the process has ruined many rivers, and so badly polluted the Kruger Park that hundreds of crocodiles have died.

    The main beneficiary, whose smelters guzzle more than a tenth of SA electricity, is BHP Billiton, headquartered in Melbourne though rooted in South Africa through the Afrikaner-owned Gencor mining house. Eskom’s annual report admits BHP Billiton was given a $200 million subsidy last year thanks to apartheid-era deals, and was responsible for Eskom’s $1.4 billion loss the year before.

    This is why our wealth is a ‘resource curse’. Dating back to the discovery of Kimberley diamonds in the 1860s and Witwatersrand gold in the 1880s, a handful of corporations gained power over national development policy. At one point, Anglo American and De Beers – run mainly by the Oppenheimer family dynasty – controlled almost half the country’s gold and platinum, a quarter of the coal, and virtually all the diamonds, with held critical stakes in banking, steel, auto, electronics, agriculture and many other industries.

    According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the mining industry’s ‘direct involvement with the state in the formulation of oppressive policies or practices that resulted in low labour costs (or otherwise boosted profits) can be described as first-order involvement [in apartheid] … The shameful history of subhuman compound [hostel] conditions, brutal suppression of striking workers, racist practices and meager wages is central to understanding the origins and nature of apartheid.’

    Apartheid-economy residues
    The legacy of Minerals-Energy Complex political power continues, as witnessed by the World Bank’s 2010 financing of Eskom’s new coal-fired mega power plant Medupi and other foreign finance for its successor Kusile (the world’s third and fourth largest), the energy ministry’s multi-decade integrated resource planning exercise – run by a committee dominated by electricity-guzzling corporations – and Pretoria’s contributions to global climate debates. These include the COP17, Zuma’s co-chairing of a UN sustainable development commission, and Planning Minister Trevor Manuel’s role as co-chair of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) design team, which seeks $100 billion a year in North-South flows.

    Last week at a Tokyo GCF meeting, Manuel suppressed debate requested by Nicaragua about World Bank conflicts of interest, for it provides input to the huge fund as well as serving as interim trustee, against UN procedure.

    Instead of paying reparations for ‘climate debt’, the GCF appears to cement existing power structures, and instead of raising funds from from polluters in the North to deter emissions, potentially half of the fund might come from carbon trading (a suggestion by Manuel), which will prolong Northern corporate climate destruction. No doubt we will learn soon of GCF funding of ‘false solutions’ to the climate crisis, such as nuclear, Carbon Capture and Storage, biofuels and whacky geoengineering schemes (sulfur in the air to shut out the sun, or iron filings in the sea to create algae blooms).

    Minerals-Energy Complex ecocide extends to Johannesburg’s acid mine drainage drisis. Mine tailings dams composed of waste material measure 400 square kilometers, alongside six billion tons of iron sulphide, which, exposed to air and water, creates acid mine water which drains into the water table. The combination is devastating, especially when added to the coal mine pollution further east, on the country’s best agricultural land, not to mention hundreds of thousands of workers’ silicosis and tuberculosis, traced by Durban’s Health Systems Trust to the mines.

    These legacies mean that even if Malema has won the spotlight, mining and energy firms are consistently criticized by labour, communities and environmentalists. The problem so far has been divisions of interest that prevent them from coming together effectively, a problem that needs to be urgently solved, certainly before the COP17 Conference of Polluters begins.

    Satyagraha time
    On the positive side, it is now certain that December 3 is a global day of civil society protest action, with a march against climate change culminating at the Durban beachfront – South Africa’s leading public space with unusually mixed class and race access – for a ‘going away party’ to the receding sand. What is needed next is a strategy to ratchet up pressure as protesters pass by the International Convention Centre, Durban’s City Hall and the US Consulate, and generate consensus on the next stage of commitment.

    Amongst the world’s highest profile climate activists is Greenpeace International director Kumi Naidoo, who in his Durban youth learned and practiced the highest arts of democratic advocacy within the Natal Indian Congress and anti-apartheid youth structures. Last month, Naidoo scaled a Greenland deep-sea oil platform to present 50,000 signatures against dangerous Arctic drilling. A fortnight later, his Johannesburg comrades dumped five tonnes of coal at Eskom’s headquarters in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs to protest the climate-catastrophic Kusile powerplant construction.

    With extreme weather events worsening in recent months, who can doubt the imperative to get what Naidoo terms a fair, ambitious and binding (FAB) deal? Such a superhuman, genuinely multilateral effort has been tried once before, in the 1987 ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer’, which banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions by 1996, in the nick of time.

    Since then, nothing else attempted by elite global negotiators aside from AIDS-medicines access – granting an exemption to intellectual property rights at the 2001 Doha World Trade Organisation summit, driven from below by the Treatment Action Campaign – has properly addressed world-scale economic, environmental and geopolitical crises. Nothing, really.

    Blame the neoliberalism of the 1990s or the neoconservatism of the 2000s or Barack Obama’s fusion of the two vicious ideologies since then, but it’s usually vested corporate interests that block progress, impose austere economic imperatives (as is even hitting home for western workers from Greece to Wisconsin) which in turn generate even more desperation for ‘growth’ at any cost, and then ignore their historic responsibility for climate-change culpability.

    Top US State Department negotiator Todd Stern, who has already publicly written off the COP17 on two occasions, put it plainly at the Copenhagen COP in 2009: 'The sense of guilt or culpability or reparations – I just categorically reject that.’

    That bad attitude is why Greenpeace and others in society passionate about the environment are so desperately needed, putting their bodies on the line to dramatise the threats and solutions. And why unity on strategy and messaging is vital.

    Divergent NGO paths
    But as an Australian civil society unity initiative (‘Say Yes’) six weeks ago showed, this is not easy. Two activists at the website ‘Climate Code Red’, David Spratt and John Rice, ask tough questions about the Australian climate lobby: ‘Do the branding imperatives of large NGOs, financially reliant on e-list supporters, drive them to market themselves as separate and distinct from, and of higher standing, than other NGOs and the community groups with which they profess common purpose? Is this one reason why climate advocacy is so often chronically divided and ineffective?’

    Adds Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, ‘Greenpeace did a good action against Eskom, but where were they when we ran our community campaign against World Bank financing for Medupi last year? Why don’t they support local activism?’

    These complaints join others about Greenpeace’s naïve climate policy messaging: supporting Pretoria’s negotiating stand in Copenhagen and encouraging Zuma to turn up on the last day even though, predictably, he sabotaged the Kyoto Protocol there; supporting SA tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk to head the UN climate body though he was a laggard at home; and supporting carbon trading (what critics term ‘the privatization of the air’) even though at Durban’s massive Bisasar Road landfill, that strategy for financing methane-to-electricity has locked in environmental racism.

    But in this time of urgency, the challenge is to find common cause amongst all the visitors to Durban. For in contrast to the hopelessness of a UN conference where procrastination, paralysis, pollution and profit will probably beat the interests of the people and the planet, it’s the indominable spirit of Greenpeace staff and those like them, willing to take huge personal risks for the sake of the planet and people, that will shine through.

    One reason is the host locale, Durban, whose 20th century legacy of heroic figures willing to make great sacrifices includes Dube, Luthuli, Naicker, Meer, Biko, dockworkers, community activists, women’s groups, the Diakonia faith community, the Mxenges, Turner, Brutus and so many others. The most compelling for climate politics may well be Mahatma Gandhi, who a century ago in his Phoenix settlement in northern Durban built up a tradition that needs revival today: Satyagraha, putting bodies on the line in search of truth, to shake the system and avert its destructive course.

    The same spirit of civil disobedience is being invoked in Washington against the Canada-US tar-sands/pipeline complex in late August, with a host of leading climate activists including Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Tom Goldtooth, Danny Glover, James Hansen, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben (

    The desire of those promoting climate justice in Durban is to evoke that earlier round of protests at the SA embassy in Washington a quarter century ago, which conjoined international solidarity to militant activism in the townships and in turn led to sanctions and the fall of a regime. This one is bigger and will fall more slowly – but for our survival the Minerals-Energy Complex will have to take the same course as apartheid.

    Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife are at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society

    Eskom and the World Bank sowing the seeds of destruction

    The great billion dollar drug scam: Part 2

    The great billion dollar drug scam: part two

    The pharmaceutical industry uses dirty tricks to maximise profits at any cost, hurting sick people and taxpayers.
    Khadija Sharife 3 July 2011

    Vaccines are often priced 40 ‑ 100 times more than the cost of
    production, and drug companies cite research expenses as the culprit [EPA]

    This is the second of a two‑part series examining the methods by which
    multinational drug corporations inflate their expenses and justify their
    pricing strategies. The first part revealed how, far from costing the
    reported (and widely accepted) $1bn to bring a drug to market, actual
    costs may be less than a fifth of that, thanks to accounting tactics and
    corporate tax breaks.

    Of course, the US government is very conscious of moves designed to
    avoid taxation. But little effective action has been taken to tighten
    the tax net. In 2005, Congress extended atax holiday to pharmaceutical
    corporations, allowing companies to repatriate hidden profits at just
    5.2 per cent of the corporate tax rate. At the time, Pfizer had untaxed
    profits at $38bn; Merck $18bn; Johnson & Johnson $14.8bn ‑ at least,
    those were the profits they were willing to declare.

    Generally, a considerable portion (upwards of 12 per cent) of big
    pharma's research and development (R&D) costs is Phase IV or
    post‑marketing trials of drugs already commercially sold to consumers,
    in an attempt to expand sales. The figure was estimated at 75 per cent
    of R&D costs by the Tufts Center, said Harvard Medical School's Marcia

    Since the majority of Phase IV studies will never be submitted to the
    FDA, they may be totally unregulated. Few of them are published. In
    fact, like all industry‑sponsored trials, they are not likely to be
    published at all unless they show something favourable to the sponsor's
    drug. If they are published, it is often in marginal journals, because
    the quality of the research is so poor, she said.

    Innovations and free‑rides
    Ironically, the Tufts Center study by Joe DiMasi et al, which estimated
    the price of bringing a new drug to market to be more than $800m,
    drastically skewed R&D costs by basing analysis not on the general state
    of approved drugs but instead on self‑originating NCEs or New
    Molecular Entities (NMEs) which comprise only a small portion of drugs
    approved annually by the FDA ‑ estimated at 35 per cent (1990‑2000) ‑ a
    figure that has since decreased in the past decade.

    Pharmaceutical innovation is determined by two crucial factors: a) the
    creation of a new molecular entity(NME) ‑ which in itself may or may
    not be useful for treatment but which signifies the introduction of a
    new, distinct molecular form, and b) an NME that constitutes apriority
    drug: ie: a drug that offers, in the words of the FDA,a major advance
    in treatment or which provides treatment where no adequate therapy
    exists ‑ in short, a therapeutic advance for serious illnesses.

    Under the 1992 Prescription Drug User Act, the FDA operates via a
    two‑tiered system of review: Standard Review (S) applied to drugs that
    offer only minor improvements over existing marketed drugs, and Priority
    Review (P), a fast‑track ‑ a six month process since 2003 ‑ pretty
    speedy for any company who wants to drive through innovation.

    Though the two comprise separate categories, by blurring the
    definitions, pharmaceutical companies are often able to misrepresent
    NMEs, withinnovations justifying the high costs of patents ie:
    exclusive government‑approved marketing rights.

    From 2006‑ 2009, just 48 drug innovations (P+ NME) were approved by the
    FDA, while an average of 84 per cent of research funding comes from US
    taxpayer sources, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Light
    and Warburton conclude that the net corporate investment in research to
    discover important new drugs is about 1.2 per cent of sales, not 17‑19
    per cent.

    So, while drug companies claim that the EU has suffered from a lack of
    innovation, trailing behind US R&D expenditure by 15 per cent in 2004,
    little of this figure corresponds to reality.

    Easy free‑riding of the US public funds and R&D is the primary reason
    why drug companies have flocked to the US. Just a quarter of NMEs are
    estimated by specialists as being actually developed by drug companies,
    instead, most are licensed from government/public‑financed labs such as
    the NIH and universities ‑ as well as smaller companies.

    Acts and licensing
    In 2002, then‑CEO of GSK Bob Ingram spoke to the Wall Street Journal on
    the subject of licensing: We're not going to put our money in‑house if
    there's a better investment vehicle outside. Ingram pointed out that
    GSK was eager to reach the levels of other companies, such as Merck,
    which received 35 per cent of its revenue from licensing.

    The cost differential between a licensed NME and one developed in‑house
    is vast: a licensed NME costs just 10 per cent of actual R&D expenditure
    (2000) in contrast to an in‑house developed NME at 74 per cent. In 2000,
    just 13 per cent of approved NMEs were developed in‑house ‑ a figure
    that has not drastically changed.

    The system of licensing came about via the Bayh‑Dole Act ‑ named after
    Senators Birch Bayh (D‑Ind) and Robert Dole (R‑Kans) ‑ designed to
    enable universities and small businesses to patent discoveries that came
    about from NIH‑financed research (the primary distributors of taxpayer
    funds for medical research) ‑ thereafter granting the patents to
    pharmaceutical corporations in exchange for royalties.

    The Act did articulate taxpayer protection rights concerning
    non‑exclusive licences ‑ if the action is necessary to alleviate health
    or safety needs which are not reasonably satisfied, or the action is
    necessary to meet public uses.

    But Ronald Reagan's 1983 Executive Memo changed tack, liberalising
    access to include coverage for large corporations. Prior to this,
    publicly financed discoveries were considered knowledge in the public
    domain. One further piece of legislation ‑ the Stevenson‑Wydler Act ‑
    removed the barriers betweenpublicly funded systems (mainly the
    government but also universities) and the private sector.

    Weighing the costs
    In short, depending on whether or not the NMEs were developed in‑house,
    estimates by Light and Warburton ‑ in addition to other specialists,
    such as Angell ‑ reveal the costs of R&D as more along the lines of $50m
    ‑ $200m.

    So much for the $1bn pill ‑ but what of the costs of development for the
    Rotavirus vaccine?

    Vaccines are often priced 40 ‑ 100 times more than the cost of
    production. Drug companies claim that pharmaceutical research is very
    expensive and that R&D costs are extremely high.

    Unfortunately for GSK, the usual 5,000 or 6,000 clinical trial
    subjects ‑ people involved in Phase III trials ‑ drastically escalated
    to around 63,000 to 68,000 people ‑ in order to rule out a perceived
    fatal side effect (intussusception) that forced Rotashield off the
    market some years earlier.

    Prior to the massive Phase III trial, the costs of GSK's trials ranged
    from $1.8 million to $2.4 million, stated Light et al. Unlike Merck, GSK
    conducted many trials in developing countries, drastically lowering the
    potential costs. But even estimating at the higher range, the total
    costs for GSK's Phase I ‑ Phase III trials reached between $128m and
    $192m ‑ for all 63,000‑plus people.

    Few of the clinical trials conducted in developing nations are
    investigated by the FDA. A 2008 Pfizer presentation [PDF]showed just 45
    of 6,485 (0.7 per cent) of foreign trials were scrutinised. In 2008,
    more than 76 per cent of the people used for clinical drug trials were
    foreign subjects ‑ some 232,532 people.

    The cheapened value of poorer peoples ‑ including better value for
    physician must not be underestimated.

    One report, dated 2000, by the inspector general of the US Department of
    Health and Human Services, disclosed that physicians in the US were paid
    $10,000 per patient enrolled for a drug trial ‑ plus a further $30,000
    on enrolment of the sixth patient. Costs, no doubt, included as
    research and development.

    Aside fromcheapness, in developing countries there exists far less
    regulation, oversight and awareness; and the poor are unlikely to
    litigate if and when damage/deaths occur as a consequence of the drug.
    This is particularly lethal when it comes to experimentation on
    children. More than 78 per cent of children‑focused clinical trials were
    conducted outside of the US.

    Vaccines and identification
    The Rotarix vaccine was not developed in‑house but was licensed in: In
    1988, Richard Ward PhD isolated the human rotavirus strain and developed
    a live, orally deliverable vaccine candidate under a licensing agreement
    with the Virus Research Institute, which later merged with another
    company, to become Avant Immunotherapeutics, a small firm that has often
    received grants from the NIH.

    As Donald Light, a professor of comparative health policy, and economist
    Rebecca Warburton revealed in their paper analysing the development cost
    of the rotavirus vaccine, Avant funded a Phase II trial of Rotarix in
    1997‑1998 which found the drug gave protection in 89 per cent of cases.
    Light et al go on to write that, in 1997, GlaxoWellcome (later GSK)
    negotiated global rights and agreed, in exchange, to finance development
    costs, paid Avant $5.5 million and agreed royalties of 10 per cent on
    net sales.

    The rotavirus vaccine signified a radical turning point in the
    introduction of vaccines: usually, poorer nations wait out a 15 or 20
    year period. GSK's rotavirus vaccination instead proceeded via
    regulatory approval not in the country of manufacture, but instead, the
    country of first intended use ‑ Mexico.

    Why not Africa or Asia?
    Mexico proved the perfect site for introduction: since the 1990s, the
    government created, expanded and strengthened a national surveillance
    system for diarrhoeal disease, noted Walsh and Situ. Hospitals and
    clinics had well‑equipped laboratories to identify infectious diseases;
    the Ministry of Health regularly monitored and reported cases, as did
    the clinics and hospitals, as part of the Mexican Social Security
    Institute (MSSI) system.

    Since 2004, the Pan‑American Health Organisation (PAHO), comprising more
    than forty nations of the Americas, supported ‑ along with other
    organisations ‑ the development of rotavirus surveillance systems in
    countries including Argentina, El Salvador, Guyana, Uruguay, Suriname,
    Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras. Monitoring was engineered
    tocharacterise the proportion of diarrhoeal hospitalisations
    attributable to a rotavirus infection, serotypes of circulating
    rotaviruses, and the seasonality of rotavirus infections, writes Julia
    Walsh MD in The critical path for vaccine introduction[PDF]. This
    information is fed into economic analyses, a critical element in the
    countries' decision on whether to introduce a vaccine.

    The good news, for GSK, about Mexico and Brazil, is that the percentage
    of population targeted to be vaccinated is more than 98 per cent. In
    2006, Duncan Steele from the Initiative for Vaccine Research (WHO)
    stated that the Rotarix vaccine was being introduced to Brazil, Panama,
    Venezuela and other countries ‑ at a cost of $7 per dose for public
    health use. In 2004, Brazil purchased eight million doses (two doses per
    child), at the full $7 per dose. Ward would later say that rotavirus
    hospitalisations were estimated to be down by 59 per cent.

    Efficient manufacturing?
    Presently, unless Merck makes an entry into the international
    marketplace, there exists no competition for GSK which already describes
    itself as,the main supplier of vaccines to UNICEF and GAVI. According
    to GSK, PAHO and other aid agencies intend to purchase enough Rotarix to
    ensure immunisation for 80 per cent of the world's children. Avant
    estimates that the global market for the drug will generate as much as
    $1.8bn annually. Neither GSK nor Merck have published a summary of their

    Light and Warburton estimate that the cost of Rotarix ‑ due to the
    incredibly large expense of the almost 70,000‑person trial is as high
    $466 million, excluding capitalised costs ‑ and that out‑of‑pocket costs
    could be recovered with a single year's profit. From 2008 onward, sales
    totalled more than $1bn.

    At efficient manufacturing costs of $1.50‑$2 per dose, GSK will make a
    jolly profit from the full price in developed nations, and the 98 per
    cent successful vaccination target rate in countries such as Brazil.
    Once the five‑year period is up, GSK ‑ holding the global monopoly, will
    be embedded as part of the national health budget in 40 or more countries.

    GSK's home country ‑ the UK ‑ donated the largest chunk of taxpayer
    funds to the AMC pot ‑ at $1.34bn, while IP king Bill Gates offered a
    further $1bn. Gates claimed that he felt great about the prices GAVI
    received but acknowledged that Indian and Chinese manufacturers could
    bring the price downsomewhat if they ramped up vaccine output.

    No matter that drug companies like GSK actually sat on the GAVI board at
    the time such decisions were made.

    Developed nations banging the trade‑related intellectual property drum,
    and intellectual property captains such as Bill Gates, will not bypass
    the anti‑competitive grip of patents ‑ for which there exists no free
    market, and where all patent value is opaquely imputed by the company in

    This is the flipside of charity, this is a calculated attempt to
    sustain the status quo ‑ a world structured on inequality, where the gap
    between those with access to medicine, and those without, is not only
    undeserved and systemically unjust ‑ but also lethal.

    To paraphrase brilliant comedian Chris Rock, drug companies ‑ or drug
    dealers, as he put it, don't want to cure you (or kill you). The money
    comes from making you live in need.

    The great billion dollar drug scam: part two
    The pharmaceutical industry uses dirty tricks to maximise profits at any
    cost, hurting sick people and taxpayers.
    Khadija Sharife

    Vaccines are often priced 40 - 100 times more than the cost of
    production, and drug companies cite research expenses as the culprit [EPA]

    This is the second of a two-part series examining the methods by which
    multinational drug corporations inflate their expenses and justify their
    pricing strategies. The first part revealed how, far from costing the
    reported (and widely accepted) $1bn to bring a drug to market, actual
    costs may be less than a fifth of that, thanks to accounting tactics and
    corporate tax breaks.

    Of course, the US government is very conscious of moves designed to
    avoid taxation. But little effective action has been taken to tighten
    the tax net. In 2005, Congress extended atax holiday to pharmaceutical
    corporations, allowing companies to repatriate hidden profits at just
    5.2 per cent of the corporate tax rate. At the time, Pfizer had untaxed
    profits at $38bn; Merck $18bn; Johnson & Johnson $14.8bn - at least,
    those were the profits they were willing to declare.

    Generally, a considerable portion (upwards of 12 per cent) of big
    pharma's research and development (R&D) costs is Phase IV or
    post-marketing trials of drugs already commercially sold to consumers,
    in an attempt to expand sales. The figure was estimated at 75 per cent
    of R&D costs by the Tufts Center, said Harvard Medical School's Marcia

    Since the majority of Phase IV studies will never be submitted to the
    FDA, they may be totally unregulated. Few of them are published. In
    fact, like all industry-sponsored trials, they are not likely to be
    published at all unless they show something favourable to the sponsor's
    drug. If they are published, it is often in marginal journals, because
    the quality of the research is so poor, she said.

    Innovations and free-rides
    Ironically, the Tufts Center study by Joe DiMasi et al, which estimated
    the price of bringing a new drug to market to be more than $800m,
    drastically skewed R&D costs by basing analysis not on the general state
    of approved drugs but instead on self-originating NCEs or New
    Molecular Entities (NMEs) which comprise only a small portion of drugs
    approved annually by the FDA - estimated at 35 per cent (1990-2000) - a
    figure that has since decreased in the past decade.

    Pharmaceutical innovation is determined by two crucial factors: a) the
    creation of a new molecular entity(NME) - which in itself may or may
    not be useful for treatment but which signifies the introduction of a
    new, distinct molecular form, and b) an NME that constitutes apriority
    drug: ie: a drug that offers, in the words of the FDA,a major advance
    in treatment or which provides treatment where no adequate therapy
    exists - in short, a therapeutic advance for serious illnesses.

    Under the 1992 Prescription Drug User Act, the FDA operates via a
    two-tiered system of review: Standard Review (S) applied to drugs that
    offer only minor improvements over existing marketed drugs, and Priority
    Review (P), a fast-track - a six month process since 2003 - pretty
    speedy for any company who wants to drive through innovation.

    Though the two comprise separate categories, by blurring the
    definitions, pharmaceutical companies are often able to misrepresent
    NMEs, withinnovations justifying the high costs of patents ie:
    exclusive government-approved marketing rights.

    From 2006- 2009, just 48 drug innovations (P+ NME) were approved by the
    FDA, while an average of 84 per cent of research funding comes from US
    taxpayer sources, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Light
    and Warburton conclude that the net corporate investment in research to
    discover important new drugs is about 1.2 per cent of sales, not 17-19
    per cent.

    So, while drug companies claim that the EU has suffered from a lack of
    innovation, trailing behind US R&D expenditure by 15 per cent in 2004,
    little of this figure corresponds to reality.

    Easy free-riding of the US public funds and R&D is the primary reason
    why drug companies have flocked to the US. Just a quarter of NMEs are
    estimated by specialists as being actually developed by drug companies,
    instead, most are licensed from government/public-financed labs such as
    the NIH and universities - as well as smaller companies.

    Acts and licensing
    In 2002, then-CEO of GSK Bob Ingram spoke to the Wall Street Journal on
    the subject of licensing: We're not going to put our money in-house if
    there's a better investment vehicle outside. Ingram pointed out that
    GSK was eager to reach the levels of other companies, such as Merck,
    which received 35 per cent of its revenue from licensing.

    The cost differential between a licensed NME and one developed in-house
    is vast: a licensed NME costs just 10 per cent of actual R&D expenditure
    (2000) in contrast to an in-house developed NME at 74 per cent. In 2000,
    just 13 per cent of approved NMEs were developed in-house - a figure
    that has not drastically changed.

    The system of licensing came about via the Bayh-Dole Act - named after
    Senators Birch Bayh (D-Ind) and Robert Dole (R-Kans) - designed to
    enable universities and small businesses to patent discoveries that came
    about from NIH-financed research (the primary distributors of taxpayer
    funds for medical research) - thereafter granting the patents to
    pharmaceutical corporations in exchange for royalties.

    The Act did articulate taxpayer protection rights concerning
    non-exclusive licences - if the action is necessary to alleviate health
    or safety needs which are not reasonably satisfied, or the action is
    necessary to meet public uses.

    But Ronald Reagan's 1983 Executive Memo changed tack, liberalising
    access to include coverage for large corporations. Prior to this,
    publicly financed discoveries were considered knowledge in the public
    domain. One further piece of legislation - the Stevenson-Wydler Act -
    removed the barriers betweenpublicly funded systems (mainly the
    government but also universities) and the private sector.

    Weighing the costs
    In short, depending on whether or not the NMEs were developed in-house,
    estimates by Light and Warburton - in addition to other specialists,
    such as Angell - reveal the costs of R&D as more along the lines of $50m
    - $200m.

    So much for the $1bn pill - but what of the costs of development for the
    Rotavirus vaccine?

    Vaccines are often priced 40 - 100 times more than the cost of
    production. Drug companies claim that pharmaceutical research is very
    expensive and that R&D costs are extremely high.

    Unfortunately for GSK, the usual 5,000 or 6,000 clinical trial
    subjects - people involved in Phase III trials - drastically escalated
    to around 63,000 to 68,000 people - in order to rule out a perceived
    fatal side effect (intussusception) that forced Rotashield off the
    market some years earlier.

    Prior to the massive Phase III trial, the costs of GSK's trials ranged
    from $1.8 million to $2.4 million, stated Light et al. Unlike Merck, GSK
    conducted many trials in developing countries, drastically lowering the
    potential costs. But even estimating at the higher range, the total
    costs for GSK's Phase I - Phase III trials reached between $128m and
    $192m - for all 63,000-plus people.

    Few of the clinical trials conducted in developing nations are
    investigated by the FDA. A 2008 Pfizer presentation [PDF]showed just 45
    of 6,485 (0.7 per cent) of foreign trials were scrutinised. In 2008,
    more than 76 per cent of the people used for clinical drug trials were
    foreign subjects - some 232,532 people.

    The cheapened value of poorer peoples - including better value for
    physician must not be underestimated.

    One report, dated 2000, by the inspector general of the US Department of
    Health and Human Services, disclosed that physicians in the US were paid
    $10,000 per patient enrolled for a drug trial - plus a further $30,000
    on enrolment of the sixth patient. Costs, no doubt, included as
    research and development.

    Aside fromcheapness, in developing countries there exists far less
    regulation, oversight and awareness; and the poor are unlikely to
    litigate if and when damage/deaths occur as a consequence of the drug.
    This is particularly lethal when it comes to experimentation on
    children. More than 78 per cent of children-focused clinical trials were
    conducted outside of the US.

    Vaccines and identification
    The Rotarix vaccine was not developed in-house but was licensed in: In
    1988, Richard Ward PhD isolated the human rotavirus strain and developed
    a live, orally deliverable vaccine candidate under a licensing agreement
    with the Virus Research Institute, which later merged with another
    company, to become Avant Immunotherapeutics, a small firm that has often
    received grants from the NIH.

    As Donald Light, a professor of comparative health policy, and economist
    Rebecca Warburton revealed in their paper analysing the development cost
    of the rotavirus vaccine, Avant funded a Phase II trial of Rotarix in
    1997-1998 which found the drug gave protection in 89 per cent of cases.
    Light et al go on to write that, in 1997, GlaxoWellcome (later GSK)
    negotiated global rights and agreed, in exchange, to finance development
    costs, paid Avant $5.5 million and agreed royalties of 10 per cent on
    net sales.

    The rotavirus vaccine signified a radical turning point in the
    introduction of vaccines: usually, poorer nations wait out a 15 or 20
    year period. GSK's rotavirus vaccination instead proceeded via
    regulatory approval not in the country of manufacture, but instead, the
    country of first intended use - Mexico.

    Why not Africa or Asia?
    Mexico proved the perfect site for introduction: since the 1990s, the
    government created, expanded and strengthened a national surveillance
    system for diarrhoeal disease, noted Walsh and Situ. Hospitals and
    clinics had well-equipped laboratories to identify infectious diseases;
    the Ministry of Health regularly monitored and reported cases, as did
    the clinics and hospitals, as part of the Mexican Social Security
    Institute (MSSI) system.

    Since 2004, the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), comprising more
    than forty nations of the Americas, supported - along with other
    organisations - the development of rotavirus surveillance systems in
    countries including Argentina, El Salvador, Guyana, Uruguay, Suriname,
    Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras. Monitoring was engineered
    tocharacterise the proportion of diarrhoeal hospitalisations
    attributable to a rotavirus infection, serotypes of circulating
    rotaviruses, and the seasonality of rotavirus infections, writes Julia
    Walsh MD in The critical path for vaccine introduction[PDF]. This
    information is fed into economic analyses, a critical element in the
    countries' decision on whether to introduce a vaccine.

    The good news, for GSK, about Mexico and Brazil, is that the percentage
    of population targeted to be vaccinated is more than 98 per cent. In
    2006, Duncan Steele from the Initiative for Vaccine Research (WHO)
    stated that the Rotarix vaccine was being introduced to Brazil, Panama,
    Venezuela and other countries - at a cost of $7 per dose for public
    health use. In 2004, Brazil purchased eight million doses (two doses per
    child), at the full $7 per dose. Ward would later say that rotavirus
    hospitalisations were estimated to be down by 59 per cent.

    Efficient manufacturing?
    Presently, unless Merck makes an entry into the international
    marketplace, there exists no competition for GSK which already describes
    itself as,the main supplier of vaccines to UNICEF and GAVI. According
    to GSK, PAHO and other aid agencies intend to purchase enough Rotarix to
    ensure immunisation for 80 per cent of the world's children. Avant
    estimates that the global market for the drug will generate as much as
    $1.8bn annually. Neither GSK nor Merck have published a summary of their

    Light and Warburton estimate that the cost of Rotarix - due to the
    incredibly large expense of the almost 70,000-person trial is as high
    $466 million, excluding capitalised costs - and that out-of-pocket costs
    could be recovered with a single year's profit. From 2008 onward, sales
    totalled more than $1bn.

    At efficient manufacturing costs of $1.50-$2 per dose, GSK will make a
    jolly profit from the full price in developed nations, and the 98 per
    cent successful vaccination target rate in countries such as Brazil.
    Once the five-year period is up, GSK - holding the global monopoly, will
    be embedded as part of the national health budget in 40 or more countries.

    GSK's home country - the UK - donated the largest chunk of taxpayer
    funds to the AMC pot - at $1.34bn, while IP king Bill Gates offered a
    further $1bn. Gates claimed that he felt great about the prices GAVI
    received but acknowledged that Indian and Chinese manufacturers could
    bring the price downsomewhat if they ramped up vaccine output.

    No matter that drug companies like GSK actually sat on the GAVI board at
    the time such decisions were made.

    Developed nations banging the trade-related intellectual property drum,
    and intellectual property captains such as Bill Gates, will not bypass
    the anti-competitive grip of patents - for which there exists no free
    market, and where all patent value is opaquely imputed by the company in

    This is the flipside of charity, this is a calculated attempt to
    sustain the status quo - a world structured on inequality, where the gap
    between those with access to medicine, and those without, is not only
    undeserved and systemically unjust - but also lethal.

    To paraphrase brilliant comedian Chris Rock, drug companies - or drug
    dealers, as he put it, don't want to cure you (or kill you). The money
    comes from making you live in need.
    Part 1

    Khadija Sharife is a journalist and visiting scholar at the Center for
    Civil Society (CCS) based in South Africa, and a contributor to the Tax
    Justice Network. She is the Southern Africa correspondent for The Africa
    Report magazine, assistant editor of the Harvard World Poverty and
    Human Rights journal and author of Tax Us If You Can Africa.

    NEW PUBLICATION:How and why poor people help each other

    The second Young Researchers Philanthropy Initiative report is based on a research project focusing on understandings of Ubuntu and local level forms of giving in Maphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal. It was carried out in 2010 by SDS Masters Student Siphamandla Chili and SDS PhD Student Anne Murenha. It is entitled ‘How and why poor people help each other: A perspective from the Maphumulo rural community in KwaZulu-Natal’.

    NEW PUBLICATION">NEW PUBLICATION: Women’s organisations and the struggle for water and sanitation services in Chatsworth and Inanda

    Women’s organisations and the struggle for water and sanitation services in Chatsworth and Inanda, Durban: The Westcliff Flats Residents Association and the Didiyela Women’s Group
    Shauna Mottiar, Orlean Naidoo and Dudu Khumalo

    Struggles for the right to basic water and sanitation in Chatsworth and Inanda, Durban, have largely been undertaken by civil society organisations lead by women and comprising mainly female membership. This Perspective, following a typology put forward by Rachel Einwohner, Jocelyn Hollander and Toska Olson (2000), examines the way in which two of these organisations namely the Westcliff Flats Residents Association and the Didiyela Women’s Group are gendered pertaining to composition, goals, tactics, identities and attributions. In terms of composition, it considers how movement issues may attract larger numbers of female as opposed to male members. In terms of goals it considers movement objectives and the level of attempts to transform gender hierarchies or differentiation. With regards to tactics the way protest is framed is examined including anything from demonstrations and picketing, to the signs and symbols employed by movement protestors.

    With regards to identities it is questioned whether movement actors include cultural meanings about gender into their identities and whether they use these identities to lay claim to certain issues. A review of attributions centres on the ways that meanings are attributed to movements by those outside of the movement, including its opponents, and whether stereotypes about gender alter responses towards the movements they are attributed to. In adopting this typology for analysis, the writers attempt to add some insight into the extent that approaches and techniques employed by women’s organisations have been successful in securing the right to basic water and sanitation.
    Read Publication

    South Africa’s coming fight over capital flight

    Patrick Bond 16 September 2011

    At a time South African trade unions are under fierce attack from big business for winning above-inflation wage increases through strikes, and for opposing both informal labor outsourcing and a state-subsidized sub-minimum wage for youth, the sibling of former president Thabo Mbeki is helping restore balance.

    According to businessman-intellectual Moeletsi Mbeki, speaking last week to the white-dominated opposition party, “Big companies taking their capital out of South Africa are a bigger threat to economic freedom than African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema.” (The latter, a tycoon through crony deals, recently achieved notoriety for advocating the nationalization of mines.)

    It is a ripe time for such in-your-face challenges to orthodoxy here, given the post-apartheid elites’ hostility to exchange controls.

    South Africa suffers stagnation, 35 percent unemployment and the highest Gini coefficient measuring income inequality of any large country. After generalized overproduction during late apartheid followed by deindustrialization and financialization, the 2000s commodity boom – including the soaring gold price – failed to generate jobs or recirculate profits. SA’s real estate price rise was four times that of the U.S. from 1997-2008 and then collapsed by 15 percent, while once-vibrant consumer spending is hampered by overindebtedness. SA banks’ ‘impaired credit’ list now has 8.5 million victims (up from 6 million in 2007), representing nearly half of all SA borrowers. That figure includes many of the 1.3 million people who lost jobs in the 2009-10 downturn and haven’t got them back.

    The overvalued currency (the Rand) and imminent arrival of import-maniacs from Walmart make matters worse. When asked about that retailing behemoth, Moeletsi Mbeki questioned the neoliberal agenda that his brother decisively implemented: “In South Africa we think we will just open the doors and everything will be hunky dory. Of course it won’t.”

    The doors swung open not only to East Asian consumer imports but also the other way: to rich South Africans and the country’s largest firms, which were allowed to leave with apartheid-era loot. Mbeki complained that there was never “an explanation for why companies had been allowed to list in London. On what basis did they allow them to go, to move their primary listing? Why did they approve it? What did they get out of it?”

    Tough questions, especially because the outflow of profits, dividends and interest payments to Anglo American, DeBeers, Old Mutual and Liberty Life insurance, SABMiller beer, Mondi paper, Investec bank, Didada IT and BHP Billiton mining raised the current account deficit to 7 percent in 2009, leading The Economist to rank SA most risky of 17 peer economies. Although the deficit then fell, SA’s foreign debt soared to cover payment outflows: from $25 billion inherited by Nelson Mandela from apartheid to more than $100 billion this year.

    How to exit the crisis? The International Monetary Fund’s annual Article 4 Consultation was released late last month, and simply reiterated conventional banker wisdom. In meetings with SA Treasury officials, IMF “Staff recommended stronger fiscal consolidation beyond the current fiscal year than currently being considered” as well as “policies to moderate real wage growth.” The IMF praised the SA Reserve Bank’s “prudent” policies “together with a flexible exchange rate” which allegedly “helped dampen the adverse effects of those global cycles.” In reality, SA’s volatile currency crashed by 15 percent or more five times since 1994, thanks to 30 separate relaxations of exchange controls.

    But if you dare suggest merely a “small tax on inflows to try to curtail inflows or at least change their composition,” IMF staff point out “significant drawbacks”: “it likely would raise the government’s financing costs. Second, even if this were to help engender nominal rand depreciation, absent wage restraint it is unlikely this would enhance competitiveness.”

    The rebuttal is easy: eschew competitiveness and impose exchange controls on outflows of capital to address capital flight, and then systematically lower interest rates because amongst the world's 50 largest economies, SA’s are second highest only to Greece. In the process, manage the appropriate decline in the rand’s value. But to boost effective demand and internal linkages, assist workers return to at least the wage/profit share they had won by the end of apartheid: 54/46, compared to just 43/57 today.

    Imposition of capital controls would be a first step away from perpetual economic crisis. Given IMF conservatism (after raised hopes of a conversion to exchange controls earlier this year), it is to Mbeki’s credit that he has tabled capital flight as both a moral and economic challenge, and it is now up to civil society to more forcefully demand solutions.

    The Triple Crisis Blog is pleased to welcome Patrick Bond as a regular contributor. He is a political economist and Director of the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies in Durban. His research focuses on political ecology (climate, energy and water), economic crisis, social mobilization, public policy and geopolitics.

    Palestine solidarity

    Erez (Gaza border) protest on Nakba day, 15 May 2011

    Hypocritical Washington raises Middle East tensions
    Can democracy activists undo US and IMF damage?
    Patrick Bond 23 May 2011

    Here in Palestine, disgust expressed by civil society reformers about Barack Obama’s May 19 policy speech on the Middle East and North Africa confirms that political reconciliation between Washington and fast-rising Arab democrats is impossible.

    Critique of leading SA economics official

    After publishing an article critical of Pretoria’s fetish for large-scale, highly-subsidised, capital-intensive, energy-guzzling projects, Patrick
    Bond was confronted by denials from one of the most eloquent SA government economic policymakers, Alan Hirsch, Deputy Director-
    General in the Presidency.

    The correspondence below was drafted for publication on the AfricaFiles website. It consists of:

  • Letter of complaint from Alan Hirsch (28 January 2011, “AH”)

  • Rebuttal intertwined with the above letter, by Bond (“PB”, italics)

  • Follow-up letter by Hirsch (7 February 2011, “AH”)

  • Another rebuttal by Bond(“PB”, italics); and

  • The original article by Bond (October 2010 AfricaFiles, reprinted in the March 2011
    Review of African Political Economy).

  • More


    Founder's Career Ends in Disgrace: A Run on Grameen Bank's Integrity
    Patrick Bond
    Grameen Bank and microcredit: The `wonderful story' that never happened
    Patrick Bond and Khorshed Alam
    Reputation and reality
    Khorshed Alam
    As Yunus falls, women’s microcredit hopes sink Khadija Sharife (Eye on Civil Society column)
    Patrick Bond

    Climate finance leadership risks global bankruptcy

    Patrick Bond 26 April 2011

    South Africa’s most vocal neoliberal politician, Trevor Manuel, >was just named as co-chair of the Green Climate Fund. On April 28-29 in Mexico City, Manuel and other elites meet to design the world’s biggest-ever replenishing pool of aid money: a promised $100 billion of annual grants by 2020, more than the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and allied regional banks put together.

    The Climate Justice lobby is furious, because as a network of 90 progressive organizations wrote to the United Nations, “The integrity and potential of a truly just and effective climate fund has already been compromised by the 2010 Cancún decisions to involve the World Bank as interim trustee.” A Friends of the Earth International study earlier this month attacked the Bank for increased coal financing, especially $3.75 billion loaned to South Africa’s Eskom a year ago.

    Manuel chaired the Bank/IMF Board of Governors in 2000, as well as the Bank’s Development Committee from 2001-05. He was one of two United Nations Special Envoys to the 2002 Monterrey Financing for Development summit, a member of Tony Blair’s 2004-05 Commission for Africa, and chair of the 2007 G-20 summit.

    Manuel was appointed UN Special Envoy for Development Finance in 2008, headed a 2009 IMF committee that successfully advocated a $750 billion capital increase, and served on the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Finance in 2010. (Within the latter, he suggested that up to half the $100 billion climate fund be sourced from controversial private-sector emissions trading, not aid budgets.)

    No one from the Third World has such experience, nor has anyone in these circuits such a formidable anti-colonial political pedigree, including several 1980s police detentions as one of Cape Town’s most important anti-apartheid activists. Yet despite occasional rhetorical attacks on “Washington Consensus” economic policies (part of SA’s “talk left walk right” tradition), since the mid-1990s Manuel has been loyal to the pro-corporate cause.

    Even before taking power in 1994, he was considered a World Economic Forum “Global Leader for Tomorrow”, and in 1997 and 2007 Euromoney magazine named him African Finance Minister of the Year. No wonder, as in late 1993 he had agreed to repay apartheid-era commercial bank debt against all logic, and negotiated an $850 million IMF loan that straightjacketed Nelson Mandela.

    With Manuel as trade minister from 1994-96, liberalisation demolished the clothing, textile, footwear, appliance, electronics and other vulnerable manufacturing sectors, as he drove tariffs below what even the World Trade Organisation demanded. After moving to the finance ministry in 1996, Manuel imposed the “non-negotiable” Growth, Employment and Redistribution policy (co-authored by World Bank staff), which by the time of its 2001 demise had not achieved a single target aside from inflation.

    Manuel also cut the primary corporate tax rate from 48 percent in 1994 to 30 percent five years later, and then allowed the country’s biggest corporations to move their financial headquarters to London, which ballooned the current account deficit. That in turn required Manuel to arrange such vast financing inflows that the foreign debt soared from the $25 billion inherited at apartheid’s close to $80 billion by early 2009.

    At that stage, with the world economy teetering, The Economist magazine named South Africa the most risky of the 17 main emerging markets, and the SA government released data conceding that the country was much more economically divided than in 1994, overtaking Brazil as the world’s most unequal major country.

    “We are not in recession,” Manuel quickly declared in February 2009. “Although it sometimes feels in people’s minds that the economy is in recession, as of now we are looking at positive growth.” At that very moment, it turned out, the SA economy was shrinking by a stunning 6.4 percent (annualized), and indeed had been in recession for several months prior.

    More than 1.2 million jobs were lost in the subsequent year, as unemployment soared to around 40 percent (including those who gave up looking). But in October 2008, just as IMF managing director Dominque Strauss-Kahn told the rest of the world to try quick-fix state deficit spending, Manuel sent the opposite message to his impoverished constituents: “We need to disabuse people of the notion that we will have a mighty powerful developmental state capable of planning and creating all manner of employment.”

    This echoed his 2001 statement to a local Sunday newspaper: “I want someone to tell me how the government is going to create jobs. It’s a terrible admission, but governments around the world are impotent when it comes to creating jobs.”

    Governments under the neoliberal thumb are also impotent when it comes to service delivery, and thanks partly to his fiscal conservatism, municipal state failure characterizes all of South Africa, resulting in more protests per capita against local government in Manuel’s latter years as finance minister than nearly anywhere in the world (the police count at peak was more than 10,000/year).

    Ironically, said Manuel in his miserly 2004 budget speech, “The privilege we have in a democratic South Africa is that the poor are unbelievably tolerant.” In 2008, when an opposition politician begged that food vouchers be made available, Manuel replied that there was no way to ensure “vouchers will be distributed and used for food only, and not to buy alcohol or other things.”

    Disgust for poor people extended to AIDS medicines, which in December 2001 aligned Manuel with his AIDS-denialist president Thabo Mbeki in refusing access: “The little I know about anti-retrovirals is that unless you maintain a very strict regime ... they can pump you full of anti-retrovirals, sadly, all that you’re going to do, because you are erratic, is to develop a series of drug-resistant diseases inside your body.”

    Instead of delivering sufficient medicines, money and post-neoliberal policy to the health system, schools and municipalities, Manuel promoted privatization, even at the Monterrey global finance summit: “Public-private partnerships are important win-win tools for governments and the private sector, as they provide an innovative way of delivering public services in a cost-effective manner.”

    He not only supported privatisation in principle, as finance minister Manuel put enormous pressure (equivalent to IMF conditionality) on municipalities – especially Johannesburg in 1999 – to impose commodification on the citizenry. In one of the world’s most important early 21st century water wars, residents of Soweto rebelled and the French firm Suez was eventually evicted from managing Johannesburg’s water in 2006.

    Water privatisation was Washington Consensus advice, and as Manuel once put it, “Our relationship with the World Bank is generally structured around the reservoir of knowledge in the Bank” – with South Africa a guinea pig for the late-1990s “Knowledge Bank” strategy. Virtually without exception, Bank missions and neoliberal policy support in fields such as water, land reform, housing, public works, healthcare, and macroeconomics failed to deliver.

    In spite of neoliberal ideology’s disgrace, president Jacob Zuma retained Manuel and his policies in 2009. In September that year, Congress of SA Trade Unions president Sdumo Dlamini called Manuel the “shop steward of business” because of his “outrageous” plea to the World Economic Forum’s Cape Town summit that business fight harder against workers. The mineworkers union termed Manuel’s challenge “bile, totally irresponsible… To say that business crumbles too easily is to reinforce business arrogance.”

    Manuel also disappointed feminists for his persistent failure to keep budgeting promises, even transparency. “How do you measure government’s commitment to gender equality if you don’t know where the money’s going?”, asked the Institute for Democracy in South Africa’s Penny Parenzee. Former ruling-party politician Pregs Govender helped developed gender-budgeting in 1994 but within a decade complained that Manuel reduced it to a “public relations exercise”.

    As for a commitment to internationalism, in early 2009 when Pretoria revoked a visitor’s visa for the Dalai Lama on Beijing’s orders, Manuel defended the ban on the exiled Tibetan leader: “To say anything against the Dalai Lama is, in some quarters, equivalent to trying to shoot Bambi.”

    At the same moment Manuel was sabotaging Zimbabwe’s recovery strategy, chosen by the new government of national unity, by insisting that Harare first repay $1 billion in arrears to the World Bank and IMF, otherwise “there was no way the plan could work.” Zimbabwean economist Eddie Cross complained, “In fact the IMF specifically told us to put the issue of debt management on the back burner… The South Africans on the other hand have reversed that proposal – I do not know on whose authority, but they are not being helpful at all.”

    Given his biases and his miserable record, many within SA’s community, labour, environment, women’s, solidarity and AIDS-treatment movements would be happy to see the back of Manuel. His own career predilections may be decisive. Often suggested as a candidate for the top job at the Bank or IMF, Manuel recently confirmed anger at the way local politics evolved after Zuma booted Mbeki from the SA presidency.

    In an open public letter last month, for example, Manuel told Zuma’s main spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, “your behaviour is of the worst-order racist” after a (year-old) incident in which Manyi, then lead labour department official, claimed there were too many coloured workers in the Western Cape in relation to other parts of SA. Manyi had earlier offered a half-baked apology, but suffered no punishment. Once a political titan, Manuel now appears as has-been gadfly.

    His disillusionment apparently began in December 2007, just prior to Mbeki’s defeat in the African National Congress (ANC) leadership election. After his finance ministry job was threatened by Zuma assistant Mo Shaik’s offhanded comments, Manuel penned another enraged open letter: “Your conduct is certainly not something in the tradition of the ANC… You have no right to turn this organisation into something that serves your ego.” In May 2009 Shaik, whose brother Schabir was convicted of corrupting Zuma during the infamous $6 billion arms deal, was made director of the SA intelligence service. Manuel was downgraded to a resource-scarce, do-little planning ministry.

    It is easy to sympathize with Manuel’s frustrating struggle against ethnicism and cronyism, especially after his opponents’ apparent victories. However, former ANC member of parliament Andrew Feinstein records that the finance minister knew of arms-deal bribes solicited by the late defense minister Joe Modise. In court, Feinstein testified (without challenge) that in late 2000, Manuel surreptitiously advised him over lunch, “It’s possible there was some shit in the deal. But if there was, no one will ever uncover it. They’re not that stupid. Just let it lie.” Remarked Terry Crawford-Browne of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction, “By actively blocking thorough investigation of bribery payments, Manuel facilitated such crimes.”

    Nevertheless, the myth of Manuel’s financial wizardry and integrity continues, in part thanks to a 600-page puff-piece biography, Choice not Fate (Penguin, 2008) by his former spokesperson Pippa Green (subsidized by BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Total oil and Rand Merchant Bank). And after all, recent politico-moral and economic scandals by World Bank presidents Robert Zoellick and Paul Wolfowitz (whom in 2005 Manuel welcomed to the job as “a wonderful individual . . . perfectly capable”) confirm that global elites are already scraping the bottom of the financial leadership barrel.

    Yet it is still tragic that as host to 2011’s world climate summit, South Africa leads (non-petroleum countries) in carbon emissions/GDP/capita, twenty times higher than even the US. Even more tragic: Manuel’s final budget countenanced more than $100 billion for additional coal-fired and nuclear power plants in coming years.

    In sum, Manuel’s leadership of the Green Climate Fund adds a new quantum of global-scale risk. His long history of collaboration with Washington-London raises prospects for “default” by the industrialized North on payment of climate debt to the impoverished South. Indeed, if Pretoria’s main man link to the Bretton Woods Institutions, Manuel, co-chairs the fund and gives the Bank more influence, then expect new forms of subprime financing and blunt neoliberal economic weapons potentially fatal to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

    (Patrick Bond is with the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban

    Commentary from CCS staff

    South Africa Hits the Green Wall: The Conference of Polluters
    Hosting the Durban COP17 – let’s rename it the ‘Conference of Polluters’ – starting in late November puts quite a burden on the African National Congress government in Pretoria: to pretend to be pro-green.

    Embarrassingly, last week’s US Export-Import Bank loan of $805 million to South Africa will feed huge profits to the notorious US corporation Black & Veatch so that a vast coal-fired power plant, ‘Kusile’, can be constructed, mainly on behalf of smelters run by BHP Billiton and Anglo American Corporation – whose profits soar away to Melbourne and London.

    But poor people are facing an electricity price increase of more than 125% in coming years, according to the power company Eskom. Of its four million customers, already a million are disconnected. Multiply the cut-off figure many times more when municipalities are considered.

    Academic sanctions and global solidarity for Palestinian liberation: A view from South Africa on the need to unfriend Israeli universities

    This panel is not only devoted to considering arguments about implementing the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, but also about broader problems of progressive political positioning and backlash in the academy. Although I do not deal with the April 2 case of Richard Goldstone’s unprincipled U-turn on the findings of the United Commissions commission into Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza invasion, the incident suggests the extent to which South African commentary on the oppression of Palestinians has become acutely politicized. For if Goldstone’s return to his Zionist past – recalling, too, his past as a minor apartheid-era judge (hence as a human rights ally, his zig-zag unreliability, reliability and now unreliability) – serves any purpose aside from empowering Israeli militarists, it will be to compel us to use South Africa as a base from which critical inquiry into the condition of Palestine must now be intensified.

    Khadija Sharife on xenophobia

    It's dangerous out there!: Struggles of Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa
    by Khadija Sharife

    For millions of Southern Africans who crossed into South Africa as political refugees or in search of work, the risk of robbery, rape and extortion at the border is just the beginning of their problems. Exploited and scapegoated, most simply want to feed their children.

    Looking more closely, their survival is inspiring.

    Interviewees claim they traverse borders either through expensive organised syndicates, or via illegal routes where robbery and rape is common. ‘On many occasions, even before reaching the border, buses are stopped by the police and everyone is asked to produce a passport. Those who do not have would have to pay the requisite bribes,’ claims the source.

    With the moratorium on deportations of Zimbabweans now over, and the majority of these immigrants still without official travel documents and asylum permits, the last resort is ‘bribing Home Affairs officials and police on the way,’ according to one of my Durban sources.

    The influx of Zimbabwean migrants hoping to find work as manual labourers and domestic workers has lowered the cost of labour here, but these immigrants are themselves socioeconomic refugees. Complains one former school teacher, ‘By the time I left Zimbabwe, my monthly salary could not buy two litres of cooking oil.’

    South African business is pleased. Trusted workers in restaurants, farms, construction and other projects are often asked to bring their friends to prospective employers. Road hawkers sell pirated CDs. Domestics are most often women, while males work as cleaners and gardeners for a similar wage. The influx of immigrants, however, means that jobs are hard to come by and wages cannot be negotiated upward.

    While many South Africans express sympathy to me about the predicament of Zimbabweans and say they abhor xenophobic pogroms, it is common to hear the insult makwerekwere (the derogatory phrase used to describe immigrants), and hostility is often blatantly expressed. ‘See that one,’ said a local South Beach vendor, pointing at a Congolese car guard. ‘He is no better than a monkey, an animal.’ However, set against the backdrop of South Africa’s political economy, in which poor and working people are materially worse off today than during apartheid, such pathological xenophobia is simply one of many desperate and ruthless reactions to socio-economic stress.

    As one former government official informs me, ‘The situation in squatter camps and townships - it is like a tinderbox - anything could set it off. People are desperate.’ There remain strong memories of the 2008 and 2010 xenophobic attacks, when faceless immigrants were murdered, burnt, beaten and driven out by enraged masses. Xenophobia lurks beneath the reality of daily life, penetrating and informing every choice, claim and opportunity.

    Even the civil society uprisings called ‘service delivery protests’ occasionally get hijacked when local commercial operators take the opportunity to loot and burn shops set up by immigrants.

    This became such a problem that last Wednesday, residents of Ramaphosa township physically defended Somalis and Pakistanis shopkeepers against thugs from the Greater Gauteng Business Forum, testifying that immigrants’ prices are lower and they pay their South African workers more than do the local spaza shops.

    Conflict is also common over housing, as most immigrants are forced to live in dangerous conditions, most often in corrugated iron shacks, roasting in summer and freezing in winter. ‘The most common form of accommodation in these areas is shacks (wood or tin) that are filthy, crowded and very uncomfortable,’ says Tyanai Masiya, a Zimbabwean based in Cape Town.

    ‘Since most of us are unemployed, temporarily employed and underpaid, living in small crowded shacks becomes the only option. These shacks, made up of old and rusty zinc and rotten boards picked up at the dump sites, are the worst kinds of shelter for human beings.’

    Immigrants unable to meet lease requirements - such as legal status, stable employment and funding for deposits - may pay as much as R400 per room monthly for accommodation costing South African citizens R150. Where immigrants cannot pay the bills, they are allowed to sleep (sometimes in shifts) four to a shack room at R150 - R200 per head.

    Such pressure on scarce housing leaves local residents angry about the lack of affordable access, since government has not made meaningful progress in cutting the backlog. Immigrants were not aware of any legal or other recourse and feel helpless as they are subject to evictions and drastic rent increases without notice. ‘I am trapped,’ says a car guard working at South Beach. ‘There is nobody I can appeal too.’

    Language, dress code and physical features identify immigrants, he says. ‘When the robbers are not very certain if one is an immigrant, they get one into a dialogue, for example, through just greeting him/her. From the response they can detect if one is an immigrant. Those who are fluent in local languages sometimes get spared.’

    Police are allegedly reluctant to search for the attackers. According to one interviewee, ‘I suspect that these police get bribes from the robbers. Even if you tell them (the police) that you have seen your attackers somewhere, they will not go there. Yet you have taken a risk to go and report, because some who are seen reporting to the police are attacked again for reporting.’

    According to multiple sources, immigrants in the Kraaifontein area have been repeatedly robbed and stabbed. Says one, ‘These people [attackers] do not give you time to surrender what you have, they just pounce on you and begin to stab you all over. It is up to you to ask for forgiveness and pledge to give them all you have. If they feel that you want to resist they can easily stab you to death even in broad daylight. It’s dangerous out here.’

    Khadija Sharife is visiting scholar at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society and southern Africa correspondent for The Africa Report.
    Read Paper


    Call to participate in recording & remixing Oral History for a Global Audience!

    ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, DESIGNERS, RAPTIVISTS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, FILMMAKERS! your creative donation will support the on-going work of the DURBAN SINGS collectives in Africa, a network of young cultural activists originating from the townships around Durban.

    COLLECTIVES OF CULTURAL ACTIVISTS AROUND THE WORLD! your creative donations can be the start of an on-going correspondence and productive exchange with like-minded organisations in Southern Africa.

    WRITERS, RESEARCHERS, POETS,SCHOLARS! donating your creative and analytical skills to the work of the young cultural activists in Durban can support them in their efforts and enlighten the awareness about cultural activism across the borders of a divided world.

    When you are posting a contribution to us, please include links to the archive tracks you are remixing or responding to and, if you wish, links to your own on-line work. Thank you for your active listening!

    This is an open call for listeners contributions. for your response to be included in this year’s DURBAN SINGS publication the deadline is 31 March 2010

    DURBAN SINGS is a regional audio media and oral history project with a story to tell. Using street recordings and internet audio archiving to create an open platform for contributions and remixes from artists and activists around the world. DURBAN SINGS is a sound network joining hemispheres via audio correspondence between listeners; building a listening bridge between communities, artists and activist groups in KZN and the rest of the world.

    suggested links to start listing if you want to learn more about this project: audio compilation July 2009 incoming listener responses to date radio interview about DURBAN SINGS (page + quicktime link),62 community portal (info and picture archive on website of the Centre for Civil Society)

    THANK YOU FOR SPREADING THE WORD! you are very welcome to pass on this call by word of mouth, or duplicate and distribute it with electronic and digital means. pass the fire!


    Welcome to DurbanSings

    A CCS project with Durban community groups

    who is moving what in Durban communities?

    Welcome to the CCS Portal to Community Action, which is supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. This page offers an online tool to promote information sharing among community groups and academic researchers we work with at CCS. The need for this site was identified as a crossroad meeting spot for activists and researchers from many kinds of backgrounds. The monthly Wolpe lectures are one such physical site, as several hundred attendees come to Howard College Auditorium the last Thursday of each month . We hope that more groups will find and join this portal. If you are a Durban community group and would like to participate with your organisation in this network please send your contact details to the address below, or call 031 260 3195. If you are a visiting local or international activist/ academic/ researcher and find entry points for interaction through this page, please contact us to become more involved. We hope that this way a network of interaction will grow and gain visibility.

    Thank you for your visit and participation

    Durban Sings
    DurbanSings is a CCS project which links many of the communities already, and which highlights audio and eventually video work by organic media activists.

    Durban Sings Audio Archive

    Audio Workshops 2008

    Youth Organisations involved with Durban Sings

    Ubuntu Babasha
    Adress: Clermont
    Interests and activities:
    Contact: Molaodi Sekake 079 622 0744,

    Imisebenzi Yentsha
    Adress: Folweni Township
    Interests and activities:
    Contact: Claribell Mthembu 074 551 7828

    Youth in Action
    Adress: Inanda (Newtown A)
    Interests and activities:
    Contact: Nhlanhla 073 793 0072

    Adress: Mznyathi
    Interests and activities:
    Contact: Bongisipho 073 501 1734,

    isiZulu Articles & TranslationsisiZulu Articles & Translations

    Read Articles

    Dennis Brutus: A Small Tribute to a Giant Man


    Beverly Bell 22 December 2010

    The luminary Dennis Brutus ‑ freedom fighter, economic and environmental justice activist, professor, and poet ‑ died last year on December 26. We republish this eulogy because of the transcendent lessons Dennis’ life offers to Haiti, the U.S., and all places where people seek greater justice and humaneness.

    How does one pay tribute to Dennis Brutus? To do so appropriately would
    take a short book or a very long poem. Someone should attempt the feat,
    both because Dennis deserves it and because it would help spread the
    power of his life, work, and words. And spread is what Dennis’ life, work, and words must continue to do, for in them lie the essentials for a more just, nurturing, equitable, and environmentally sustainable world.

    The Dalai Lama is reported to have said, “Let your life be your
    message.” Dennis’ was, in the humility with which he carried himself,
    the kindness with which he treated others, and the wisdom and clarity of
    those words. His message, and his life, lay also in the strength of his
    convictions and the energy with which he worked for them, whether the
    cause be liberation from oppressive regimes; reparations to victims of
    Apartheid from corporations that made profits off the system; the
    dissolution of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World
    Trade Organization; or control over corporations creating climate change.

    I met Dennis in the early 80’s when we were both fighting the Duvalier
    dictatorship in Haiti, during which time he was also fighting for his
    own political asylum from South Africa. Our collaboration deepened in
    the 90’s through the global boycott of the World Bank, and through our
    joint engagement with the Center for Economic Justice. Though reaching
    the Center’s board meetings in the remote city of Albuquerque required
    many hours of travel, and though he often had meetings or presentations
    in other countries on the front and back ends, and though his
    participation was often for no more than a day, still he came, for
    Dennis was faithful to whatever he committed to. The same was true of
    the World Bank boycott: Dennis appeared for most any workshop,
    presentation, or meeting we requested, raising high the flag with all
    his strength and brilliance.

    He lobbied us all to involve ourselves, to turn out, to unite our voice
    and strength, to do more than we were already doing. The man was
    tireless and fearless, and gently urged us to be, too.

    He always showed up with his most pressing passions and politically
    urgent campaigns.

    I recall running a workshop on strategies to challenge the World Bank’s
    power in a church in Washington during a week of protests. Making a
    cameo appearance, Dennis asked for the floor and proceeded to make a
    long appeal for everyone to join him at another gathering on another
    topic in another country, many months out. As he went on about that
    gathering, a woman hissed at me that the speaker was off‑message and
    that I should cut him off. I was polite while denying her request, but
    what I really wanted to say was, “Do you have any idea who is speaking?
    You should just feel honored. Listen very carefully to what he has to say.”

    The schedule he kept was remarkable for anyone of any age or state of
    health, but I never heard him complain or make excuses. On he plugged
    even after he had surpassed 80, when his health had diminished, when his
    itinerary exhausted him, when his memory had wandered. I ran into him at
    the World Social Forum in Mumbai in one of his final years when he was
    clearly weary of body and mind. After sharing a big hug, he said, “I
    must go now because I have a meeting. I can’t remember with whom, or
    where it is, but I know I have one.” And off he went through the
    throngs, tenacity and a fierce commitment to obligation trumping all
    personal challenges.

    When we were lucky, Dennis had the time and inclination for a story. The
    narrative was always marked by his beautiful verbiage, exquisite
    oration, enlivened eyes, and ‑if a good story‑ delight, or ‑if one of
    injustice‑ calm. My favorite stories were of his and his comrades’
    fierce fights against Apartheid. So much courage and creativity they
    bespoke. He found humor in unexpected places, and always understated his
    own suffering.

    There was the tale of attempting to flee guards as he was being
    transported from one prison to another, jumping out of the police car at
    a red light and setting off in a dash. “That was when I learned what a
    through‑and‑through wound was,” he said of the bullet which pierced his
    chest and went out his back. He told of lying on the ground bleeding,
    “in the shadow of the Anglo American Corporation, appropriately enough,”
    waiting for the ambulance. When a whites‑only ambulance arrived by
    mistake, he was not allowed in it and had to lie on the verge of death
    for another long period awaiting a second ambulance, this one for
    so‑called coloreds.

    He told of his comrades’ breaking into the hospital to free him after
    the shooting, as he barely survived on life support, and of his
    stealthily writing on his hand, “Abort mission,” sure that he would die
    in the attempted rescue. He told of being under house arrest with guards
    parked in front of his home around the clock, while he climbed out the
    side window to attend political meetings.

    During one of his narrations in my living room, I noticed that the
    self‑deprecating chortle that usually punctuated his stories had
    vanished. Dennis was quietly crying. A tear ran down his nose and hung
    at the tip, where it remained throughout the rest of his tale of horror
    and brutality. Like Dennis’ life, the sadness and frustration behind
    that tear never stopped his truth‑telling.

    Poems were easy to get from him, whether he read them during a public
    presentation or shared them in a calm moment. Whenever Dennis had a new
    book (he published 13), he carried copies around and freely gave them
    out, after adding a warm inscription in his exquisite calligraphy.
    Dennis was perhaps most full in his poems, which merged the personal and
    the political, which never denied the existence of tyranny but always
    brought his breath of hope that the world can be different – if we
    organize to make it so.

    It is perhaps easiest to remember Dennis the fighter, but I was always
    equally impressed with Dennis the human being. No matter how ugly the
    political fight, Dennis’ anger remained streamlined on the unjust
    systems and policies, not wasted on the individuals behind them. He kept
    his eyes on the prize: the principles at play.

    The same was true with his approach to social movements. When comrades
    and allies around him made errors, when internal politics divided, his
    response always shone like a beacon. He seemed to know better than most
    that we are all limited and imperfect, and that the benefit of the doubt
    or the possibility of change is a grace we need for humanity to continue
    to evolve. Or perhaps it was simpler: perhaps he believed that he was no
    one’s judge. Or maybe he just knew that the world was harsh enough
    already, as he expressed in his poem “Somehow We Survive”:

    All our land is scarred with terror
    rendered unlovely and unlovable
    sundered are we and all our passionate surrender
    but somehow
    tenderness survives.

    Dennis wrote his own simple obituary in 2009 as he discussed the 1960
    Sharpeville massacre. “I was committed to the struggle and I would if
    necessary die in the cause of liberation: ‘Freedom or death.’ It was a
    very simple resolve.” He did indeed die in the cause of liberation,
    though fortunately not violently or prematurely. Every single thing that
    Dennis did was in the cause of liberation.

    I would say I will miss Dennis, but he's not going anywhere. He’s in all
    of us who care profoundly for justice, humanity, and the planet.

    (Bell directs Other Worlds:‑bell‑bio )

    'Mubaraking' Muammar, Maliki, Mugabe, Michael...

    Patrick Bond 28 February 2011

    February 27, 2011 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The late South African anti-apartheid poet-activist Dennis Brutus occasionally used “Seattle”, the name of a city in the northwestern United States, as a verb. We should “seattle Copenhagen”, he said in late 2009, to prevent the global North from doing a climate deal in their interests, against Africa’s.

    The point was to communicate his joy that in December 1999, the efforts of tens of thousands of civil society protesters outside the Seattle convention centre and a handful of patriotic African negotiators inside together scuppered the Millennium Round meeting of a stubborn ruling crew: the World Trade Organization. Their pro-corporate, free-trade agenda never recovered.

    Although a decade later Brutus died, his verb-play signalling a democratic society rising against tyranny lives on if we consider the shaken ruling gangs of Libya, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Durban in South Africa, each a product of scandal-ridden crony capitalism, and each impervious to popular demands that they quit. After Tunisia and Egypt, where Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak lost power in recent weeks, a growing cohort of now fragile dictatorships are experiencing a dose of “mubaraking” by hordes of non-violent democrats.

    British support for Gaddafi
    Libya is the ripest regime to fall, but London’s generous military aid and support from politicians like former prime minister Tony Blair, oil company BP, arms-deal facilitator Prince Andrew and London School of Economics (LSE) intellectuals seem to have emboldened Muammar Gaddafi and his family, leaving open the question of how many more hundreds – or thousands – the lunatic will kill on his way down.

    Gaddafi may try to hang on, with his small band of loyalists, allegedly bolstered by sub-Saharan African mercenaries – potentially including Zimbabweans, according to the Harare media – helping Gaddafi for a $16,000 payoff each. After Gaddafi zigzagged to a pro-Western stance in 2004 by demobilising weapons of mass destruction in exchange for closure on the PanAm airline bombing and subsequent sanctions, some millions of the family’s ill-gotten wealth were showered on the academic crowd most favoured by Blair.

    Blair’s “Third Way” political advisor, former London School of Economics director Lord Anthony Giddens, visited the Libyan dictator in 2007, pronouncing: “As one-party states go, Libya is not especially repressive. Gaddafi seems genuinely popular… Will real progress be possible only when Gaddafi leaves the scene? I tend to think the opposite. If he is sincere in wanting change, as I think he is, he could play a role in muting conflict that might otherwise arise as modernisation takes hold.”

    To help “mute conflict”, as Giddens might have it, British weaponry is mainly being deployed against Libyans in the capital Tripoli, for Gaddafi’s army seems to have defected nearly everywhere else. Muammar’s second oldest son (and most likely successor) Saif al-Gaddafi – who has vowed to “fight to the last minute, until the last bullet” – was awarded a doctoral degree from the LSE and his foundation then gave £1.5 million to its Centre for Global Governance.

    The centre’s money-blinded director, Professor David Held, remarked at the time: “It is a generous donation from an NGO committed to the promotion of civil society and the development of democracy.”

    But to clear-sighted LSE students, that funding “was not obtained through legitimate enterprise but rather through 42 years of shameless exploitation and brutal oppression of the Libyan people”, as one put it, and so a sit-in ensued last week to demand that Held transfer the funding back to assist Gaddafi’s victims.

    So far Held has only agreed to halt the North African reform research underway with the Gaddafi money, not return it, and last week his lame excuses for the murderous Saif sickened former admirers (myself included).

    In the same spirit, several African civil society organisations and Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu insisted on February 25 that the African Union (AU) act against Gaddafi, on grounds that “Article 3 of the Constitutive Act of the AU lists the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as one of its key objectives. Despite this, the AU and African governments have been slow to react.”

    South African arms to Gaddafi
    Sorry, don’t expect peace promotion from the African National Congress government in South Africa. Late 2010, the chair of South Africa’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee, justice minister Jeff Radebe, approved the sale of 100 South African sniper rifles and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition to Gaddafi. Any references to human rights in the committee’s deliberations are already considered a joke, but Radebe may now have some serious bloodstains on his reputation.

    The civil society/Tutu statement continued: “The three African countries that sit on the UN Security Council – South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon – as representatives of the continent have a special responsibility to ensure that the people of Libya are protected from grave human rights violations constituting crimes against humanity.”

    But all three also have substantial popular uprisings underway internally.

    Looking eastward from Libya to Iraq, the US-installed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was protested by tens of thousands on February 25, in a “Day of Rage”.

    According to Washington Post reporters, state security forces opened fire, killing 29 and arresting “300 prominent journalists, artists and lawyers who took part in nationwide demonstrations, in what some of them described as an operation to intimidate Baghdad intellectuals who hold sway over popular opinion”.

    The Iraqis were “handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit”.

    Iraqi protester demands “ranged from more electricity and jobs, to ending corruption, reflecting a dissatisfaction with government that cuts across sectarian and class lines”, according to the Post. The day was “organized, at least in part, by middle-class, secular intellectuals” against whom Maliki’s troops “fired water cannons, sound bombs and live bullets to disperse crowds”. Shades of Saddam.

    Moving south and west, other democracy protests were waged in recent days by tens of thousands of activists in Gabon, Oman, Djibouti and Sudan, where on January 30, “students held Egypt-inspired demonstrations against proposed cuts to subsidies on petroleum products and sugar”, according to a Durban journalist serving Al Jazeera News’ courageous service, Azad Essa. In Ethiopia, Essa reports, police “detained the well-known journalist Eskinder Nega for ‘attempts to incite’ Egypt-style protests”.

    Zimbabwe repression
    Even harsher treatment was meted out by Robert Mugabe’s police to 46 Zimbabweans led by former member of parliament Munyaradzi Gwisai. The group was charged with “high treason” (punishable by death) for showing news clips of Egyptian and Tunisian protests at a February 19 meeting of the International Socialist Organization-Zimbabwe.

    As 10 of the group were apparently tortured by Mugabe’s police and the dozen women arrested were transferred to the notorious Chikurubi maximum security prison, demands for their release grew louder, with South Africans chiming in at a Hillbrow, Johannesburg picket on February 26.

    At home, brave Zimbabweans’ support will emerge more publicly on March 1 at noon, when democracy activists gather in Harare Gardens to demand the prisoners’ release, Mugabe’s resignation, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, press freedom, fair elections and an end to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) regime’s political violence, which is currently resurgent in several hotspots, from Mutare in the east to Harare to Gwanda in the west.

    Diamonds fund election irregularities
    But Mugabe wants to hasten the same kind of unfree, unfair elections he has been “winning” over the last decade, and has apparently amassed a war chest through illicit diamond sales to once again dominate the campaign. On February 22, finance minister Tendai Biti from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) confronted Mugabe over the diversion of $300 million in revenues from the Marange diamond field, site of hundreds of civilian deaths by the armed forces a few years ago.

    The Kimberley Process to identify “blood diamonds” remains chaotic and corrupt, as self-interested South Africans and Israelis support diamond exports controlled by Mugabe’s generals. Reports Harare journalist Dumisani Muleya, “There are fears that the $300 million has either been stolen or was being kept secretly somewhere by Zanu-PF ministers as a war chest for anticipated elections.”

    Rebutting wildly, Mugabe’s ally and chair of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Godwills Masimirembwa, claimed (without proof) that Biti would not pay civil servants a promised pay rise in order to prompt an “insurrection so that we have another Egypt or Tunisia in Zimbabwe”.

    Amnesty International representative Simeon Mawanza blames South African President Jacob Zuma and other regional leaders: “Their silence might be interpreted as being complicit in what we are seeing.”

    Hopewell Gumbo, who contributed enormously to one of our Centre for Civil Society political economy programs in Durban, was one of the activists tortured after their arrest on February 19. He was recently quoted on the radio: “I personally work for an organisation that has started an initiative with the rural cotton farmers, in terms of pricing of their commodities, that kind of strategy goes above political differences because when ZANU-PF and MDC farmers meet they realise their problems are common and political issues can only divide them at the end of the day.”

    More international solidarity for oppressed Zimbabweans is urgently needed, and from 12:30-2 pm on March 1 in Durban, refugees Shepherd Zvavanhu and Percy Nhau lead a Centre for Civil Society public discussion on the situation in the University of KwaZulu Natal’s (UKZN) Memorial Tower Building, and at 5:30 pm in Washington DC, a pro-democracy demonstration will be held at Zimbabwe’s embassy on New Hampshire Avenue near DuPont Circle.

    From Durban to Wisconsin
    Meanwhile, back home in Durban, city manager Michael Sutcliffe’s regime appeared terminally wounded when his protector, provincial African National Congress chairperson John Mchunu, died late last year. The neoliberal-nationalist municipal order is now in much greater danger because in recent days, the figurehead mayor, Obed Mlaba, broke with Sutcliffe and his officials over a $500 million fast-track spending scandal. The ruling party seems to be backing Mlaba.

    Sutcliffe has repeatedly defended corrupt municipal deals with the Mpisane family on ill-constructed black township housing and Remant Alton on the failed privatisation of municipal buses. Sutcliffe is widely disliked because of autocratic tendencies, including the repeated banning of protest marches, a factor that community and environmental activists are taking into consideration for the November-December 2011 UN world climate summit.

    The “mubaraking” of Libya’s Gaddafi, Iraq’s Maliki, Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Durban’s Sutcliffe is long overdue. But revolt is just as necessary in the country that long propped up so many dictatorships, the United States.

    On February 26, all 50 US state capitals witnessed demonstrations held in solidarity with public sector workers in Wisconsin, who are under attack by a hardline conservative governor. Even in the frigid weather and snow of the Wisconsin capital, Madison, 70,000 people marched against the Republican governor’s attempt to end collective bargaining, in what is probably the most important US class struggle since the 1930s.

    Revolution is still in the air and throughout the most visionary television network has been Al Jazeera. Its director general Wadah Khanfar had an easy explanation for the network’s repeated scoops: “When opinions crowd and confusion prevails, set your sight on the route taken by the masses, for that is where the future lies.”

    (Patrick Bond is co-editor of the new Africa World Press book Zuma’s Own Goal.)

    Anti-Xenophobia Project

    Seeking solutions in times of insecurity
    Shepherd Zvavanhu 5 August 2010

    On a recent Sunday morning, I saw xenophobia as close as I ever want to: the anger of a poor community in Durban’s main hotspot, Bottlebrush.

    Baruti Amisi, Patrick Bond,Nokuthula Cele, Rebecca Hinely, Faith ka Manzi, Welcome Mwelase,Orlean Naidoo, Trevor Ngwane, Samantha Shwarer, Shepherd Zvavanhu

    Xenophobia Research Page

    Refugee eviction attempt reflects Durban police brutality

    Photo exihibit: on refugees & xenophobia, 4 - 28 November

    Durban police constable Kwesi Matenjwa confesses - on the morning of Saturday, 1 November - how the great white shark, City Manager Michael Sutcliffe, ordered his unit to evict (without alternative accommodation) 47 desperate people, mostly from the Eastern DRC. The area from which residents of Albert Park fled has witnessed four million casualties in a civil war over resources, as warlords - funded by corporations such as Anglo American (as Human Rights Watch discovered) - loot and pillage for coltan (used in our cellphones) and other minerals, making it unsafe for return. The refugees are also victims of the May 2008 Durban xenophobia and of a confrontation with Sutcliffe at City Hall in July. CCS has produced a photo exhibition by Oliver Meth and colleagues on their plight, displayed in the UKZN library. Sutcliffe accused the refugees - mainly women and children - of being involved in crime, offering no evidence. But Matenjwa explained that a political rally on 4 November and the 2010 World Cup were the real reasons police tore down plastic shelters and confiscated refugee belongings - including vital immigration papers - without warning. In the process of their attempted eviction, the refugees' human rights were drowned, Matenjwa admitted, a not uncommon occurrence for a Durban metro police force that regularly shoots to kill. The refugees vow to remain in Albert Park until they have a chance at dignity.

    Delphin Mmbiya’s photographs on flickr

    Links to audio recordings by the group of DRC refugees on (interview) (more songs) (metro police sings) (an imbiso) (Bekin’s questions) (Bekin’s songs)

    Transcript of Dbn cop singing about refugee eviction (Albert Park,1 November)

    Due to pressure from Durban City Manager Mike Sutcliffe - who police
    informally call the great white shark - and the prospect of 2010,
    municipal police carried out an eviction of 47 refugees in Albert Park
    on Saturday morning, 1 November.

    Constable Kwesi Matenjwa spoke to us at noon, about four hours after he
    followed an official instruction to evict the refugees by destroying
    their shelter and confiscating most of their goods (including official
    refugee papers). The transcription is from a 7-part recording posted

    1) Where did this instruction come from?

    Q: Mr Matenjwa, we were just wondering, where did this instruction come

    A: Eh, professor, we have been following a chain of command. Only, we
    have been given instructions by the captain.

    Q: Is Captain Ragavan on his way?

    A: We've been waiting for him.

    Q: And the superintendent, who did he get the instruction from?

    A: He got the instruction from the Area Commissioner, the chief of
    metro police.

    Q: And who did he get the instruction from, council?

    A: On the fourth of November there's going to be Imbizo, which is more
    or less like a rally.

    Q: Who's coming for that?

    A: Our MEC, Mr Zweli Mkhize, to attend to the so-called informal
    traders. Let’s just bear in mind that the elections are around the
    corner. So each and every
    political party is canvassing.

    Q: How does that explain treating these people so badly?

    A: It's that 2010 (Soccer World Cup) is around the corner. Because 2010
    is going to be here, so the people from the so-called other countries,
    when they come to this country, they must have this image that South
    Africa, the city of Durban is clean, that there are no vagrant people,
    there are no traders in the streets. So that is why people like us are
    detailed to deal with certain complaints.

    Q: Who made the complaints?

    A: No one ever made a complaint. We just received instructions from the
    captain who received instruction from the superintendent, all the way to
    our area commissioner, Mr Nzama.

    Q: Who did Mr Nzama receive instructions from, was he told by the
    council, or the city manager?

    A: Mr Nzama, with his authority, I cannot say where he got his instruction.

    Q: But you told me earlier on that Mr Michael Sutcliffe gave you strict
    instructions to move the people.

    A: Yes, he gave the instructions to our captain. Because yesterday we
    failed to comply with his instruction. Because yesterday we were
    supposed to come here and demolish this place. But because yesterday we
    decided not to do so because of our sympathy, because we are also human
    beings – we feel for these people.
    [speaking on two way radio in Zulu – Hello Bheki, how are you? (Bheki’s
    reply not heard) I’m still charging my phone by one kweri-kweri]

    2) I failed to comply with instructions

    A: Yesterday I was instructed by the same supervisor that we are waiting
    for to come here and demolish the place

    Q: Is he a team leader of your police unit?

    A: Yes. And yesterday at about 20 past nine I said to him “The people
    are asleep and they have kids and women that are expecting. How do you
    say to me ‘you must demolish the place’?”

    Q: And what did he say?

    A: He said he would get back to me, that he’s going to phone the chief,
    the station manager. And this morning when I came to work again he
    instructed me to come here because yesterday I failed to comply with
    instructions. That will result in him charging me for failing to obey

    Q: Have you had to do this kind of thing before with any other refugees?

    A: No, this is my first time.

    3) Human rights drowned

    Q: Did they tell you about the rights of these people? Did Captain
    Ragavan inform you of the people’s rights? Because, you know, if you
    take someone away then they have to have somewhere to go to.

    A: Yes, yes. And I’ve just informed our call center that we’ve got a
    situation here and they must inform our so-called spokesperson because
    I’m not a spokesperson of Metro Police.

    Q: Yes, but did they tell you about the rights of people, that if they
    are taken away they must have somewhere to go?

    A: Yes. I’ll tell you one thing, about the technicalities of the law
    and the constitution of this country I am well aware of it. It’s just
    that, at some stage, you get thrown in a deep ocean, in a deep sea
    whereby you cannot even swim.

    Q: And the human rights have drowned with you too, eh?

    A: Yes, they have drowned in the sea. No matter how good you are in
    swimming, you can’t even swim because you are just a small fish in a
    deep ocean where only the big boys, the sharks, the so-called ‘white
    sharks’ exist in the environment.

    Q: The white shark? Who is the great ‘white shark’?

    A: (laughs) That’s what I’m saying. You know, I’m a human being and I
    don’t want to say things that at the end of the day, maybe they will
    bring fire to me.

    4) Violence on violence

    Q: I think we’re all in agreement that this should not be happening, am
    I correct?

    A: Thank you, thank you. But what I am saying is that I don’t want to
    put my head on a neck (gestures as if putting his head on a chopping
    block) for something that I know personally is political. If it was a
    matter that (gestures as if taking something from someone) of a man
    being robbed and the suspects are here and I’ve apprehended the
    suspects… I’m sorry to say this, but that is when a policeman they use
    it, because a man has been robbed, his camera has been taken away, his
    cell phone has been taken away. I’m sorry to say this but before that
    person that robbed him gets into those cells, I always say that he must
    be taught a lesson. I’m sorry to say this.

    Q: What kind of lesson?

    A: As much as you can say it is unlawful, but tell me why must you be
    inhuman, treat another human being like an animal. So, to me you’re
    like an animal that belongs in the zoo.

    Q: Who? The criminal?

    A: Yes.

    Q: So you’re trying to say violence on violence…

    A: Yes, violence on violence. That is my philosophy. So, in this case
    I failed to implement violence because there is no violence. These
    people, they are just like me; maybe from another country or called by
    other names. It is within my powers that I can say no. I, myself, am
    in trouble for failing to take instructions from above, that’s why I
    said no, we will not go anywhere, we will sit here, we will stay here
    until our supervisor comes. Then he must consult with your people to
    see why we are told to come here and tell these people to move away.

    5) Orders from above

    A: I don’t disagree with what you are saying, but I am only following

    Q: And you are fairly sure that you have to follow these because they
    come from the very top, is that Mike Sutcliffe?

    A: Thank you, thank you.

    Q: Can we not persuade Mike Sutcliffe that he’s violating rights here?
    We are trying to phone him up here, and he’s not answering his phone.

    A: I’ll tell you one thing, the reason he is not answering his phone is
    because he is very aware of what is happening here.

    6) What rights do these people have?
    (Captain Ragavan speaking) I was told that we had an operation to do
    because we know that Monday, the 4th there is going to be an imbizo.
    And we was told that the xenophobia people who are here with these tents
    must be cleared.

    Q: But was it coming from the council or from the city manager or…?

    A: Coming from the council, direct business support themselves.

    Q: From whom? From business support?

    A: They’re from the council, yes.

    Q: That would be the deputy mayor? He’s part of business support, right?

    A: It will definitely be coming from Mr. Sutcliffe himself, he will
    definitely know about this. I got it from my officer.

    Q: Did they instruct you about the rights of the people to have
    accommodation somewhere else?

    A: In fact, when they pitched up these tents here they were told a long
    time ago. This was on a temporary basis.

    Q: Yeah, but what rights do the people here have? Do they have any
    rights? Their shelter has just been taken away.

    A: They were warned about this

    Q: That today, November 1 their things would be taken away? Can you
    tell us when the warning was made that on November 1 their shelter would
    be removed?

    A: How are you all related to this?

    Q: We are in solidarity with them.

    7) Instructions from ‘the great white shark’

    (Captain Ragavan cont.) I agree with whatever you’re saying, but at the
    end of the day, we just take instructions. These guys take
    instructions. I take my instructions from above.

    Q: But we’re trying to figure out where these instructions came from?

    A: The instructions probably come from the big man himself.

    Q: Who is the big man?

    A: Our boss, Michael Sutcliffe

    (Constable Kwesi Matenjwa) I can’t even say a word because I feel like
    I’m being cornered, I feel like I’m being used.

    Q: Who is using you?

    A: My boss. I’m not a boss of my own, I’m given instructions. If it
    was Kwesi’s world, things would go my way and I’d take my own decisions
    according to my opinion, but in this case I can’t because I have to.
    It’s easy for them to squash you like this because as I’ve said to you,
    you are a small fish.

    8) Business support
    Q: What is going to happen to these people and these small kids? Where
    are they going to go? And the pregnant women? They are already
    extremely distressed

    A: (Captain Ragavan) Well, we got the instruction to remove these
    people here, to take away the tents and stuff like that from Business
    Support and Itemp as well.
    This is not something that we feel good about.

    Q: You don’t feel good about getting 47 people from DRC, making them
    miserable. One woman is now in the hospital.

    Go back home, immigrants told

    By Canaan Mdletshe (The Sowetan) 6 November 2008

    Kwazulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society yesterday called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to step in and halt xenophobic attacks in Durban.

    This after 47 refugees were evicted by Metro police from Durban’s Albert Park at the weekend.

    The CCS spokesman, Oliver Meth, said as an immediate measure the UN has “to take responsibility and resolve the issue of xenophobia”.

    He said eThekwini municipality should also provide “alternative emergency shelter and ensure that refugees’ basic human rights are protected”.

    The refugees themselves yesterday lashed out at municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe and Metro police head Eugene Nzama.

    The mainly DRC immigrants accused the two leaders of giving police the go-ahead to remove them from the park because Sutcliffe and Mayor Obed Mhlaba were due to speak at a small business Imbizo at the park on Monday.

    Akili Arthur Kabila, 30, from DRC said there were about 47 people, mainly children, living in the park.

    “It has been four hard months in the park. No one is helping us with anything, including food or shelter,” he said.

    “ Actually, what is happening is that we are victimised and assaulted by police.”

    He said on Saturday police came to the area and asked them to leave “because of the Imbizo”.

    “They assaulted us, took some of our money and some of our clothes. As it is, we are left with what we are wearing,” he said.

    “I personally lost my papers to be here and my education diploma.”

    Sutcliffe said the issue was very simple.

    “The families have a choice of either going back to their countries or to the places in the community they were living in before the July problems.

    “The municipality cannot suddenly prioritise their housing needs when we already have 200000 people with housing needs in the city itself.”

    DRC Tragedy
    The Mercury 5 November 2008

    The civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has claimed more than two million lives, will continue unless a holistic approach is adopted to deal with the problems. In this country where people have often berated its mineral wealth as its curse, the upsurge of violence in the east is an ever-present sore that continues to fester.

    The script that has been prepared for the general public sees Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda - complete with black cowboy hat and dictator stick in hand - as the villain. With the Bible in one hand and an AK-47 in the other he fits the stereotypical crazed African warlord image. Anyone looking for the hero on a white steed to arrive will be sorely disappointed.

    The complexity that is the Congo sees President Joseph Kabila doing very little to improve the lives of the citizenry, instead focusing on improving his grip on power by disposing of opponents.

    The UN, with the largest peacekeeping force in the world in attendance, is unable to fulfil even its Chapter Seven mandate, which is to protect itself and the local population from imminent danger. And then there is Nkunda, a man who purports to be fighting for the rights of the minority Tutsi population who undoubtedly have suffered and continue to be persecuted in eastern Congo, where the killers - known as the Interahamwe - have been waging a low-level war in the Congolese forests.

    Nkunda has been instrumental in destroying these forests, not so much to go after the Tutsi killers but rather for self-enrichment. And he is but one of a class of fortuitous businessmen whose bloodied hands continue to exploit the Congo's rich natural wealth.

    Kabila has shown no urgency in dealing with the Interahamwe, giving Nkunda a ready excuse to continue his activities in the east. Instead, the UN and international community continue to back Kabila's paltry army in dealing with the reaction and not the cause of the instability.

    The bodies of men, women and children strewn along the wayside reflect the true cost.

    Metro police told to 'move refugees'
    By Nompumelelo Magwaza 3 November 2008

    The metro police, assisted by Durban Solid Waste workers, have taken
    down tents housing refugees in Albert Park, Durban, and removed the
    refugees' clothing and documents.

    The refugees said the police had been brutal during Saturday's
    operation, which the city said had been aimed at cleaning parks around
    Durban this weekend.

    The 47 refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, were
    affected by xenophobic violence in different parts of Durban in May. The
    municipality arranged temporary accommodation for them in a Broad Street
    shelter, but later stopped paying the rent, after which the group set up
    tents at Albert Park.

    Aziza Wilondja, a mother of six, who has been living at the park for
    four months, said the police and Durban Solid Waste workers forcibly
    took their clothes and identity documents.

    The police took our things and put them in the garbage vehicle. They
    brought down our tents and threatened to beat us, she said.

    Rebecca Hinley, of the Centre for Civil Society, which has been helping
    the refugees, was surprised at the brutality shown by the police. She
    said the police were paying a second visit to the park on Saturday
    morning when she arrived.

    The police said they had come to take away more things, she said.

    Metro police Supt Joyce Khuzwayo said officers conducted such operations
    twice a week in Durban.

    She said she had received reports that Durban Solid Waste had been
    instructed to clean up the park, and the police were present to maintain
    the peace.

    Municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe said the city had warned the Albert
    Park refugees that they could be evicted because the city was cleaning
    up its parks.

    Sutcliffe said the city had given the refugees options to repatriate, to
    re-integrate into their former communities locally or to be transported
    to a refugee centre in Pretoria, but many had refused the offers.

    I have instructed the metro police to remove the people from the park
    because the surrounding community has complained about crime, he said.

    Sutcliffe said he understood that there were many groups living in the
    park. He said they would all be dealt with as the city continued with
    its programme.

    City cops out of control: Swearing, assault among flood of complaints from public
    Independent on Saturday Staff Reporters 18 October 2008

    DURBAN police seem to be out of control. Swearing at and abusing
    motorists at road blocks and physically assaulting and threatening to
    arrest those who question them were just some of the complaints received
    by newspapers and the police watchdog this month over the conduct of
    police officers in Durban.

    The increase in complaints against Metro Police and members of the South
    African Police Service (SAPS) has now reached the attention of the
    Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), which is urging residents to
    know their rights and not take the abuse lying down.

    The Independent on Saturday has received several complaints from people
    of being abused by Metro officers and the SAPS.

    The SAPS is also under fire for the increasing number of suspects shot
    dead in custody.

    This week, Metro Police were criticised by members of the public for the
    way they treated Durban CBD business owners and motorists after towing
    away several vehicles in Bertha Mkhize (Victoria) and Dennis Hurley
    (Queen) streets.

    One motorist alleged she was yanked from her moving car and others
    accused Metro Police officers of swearing at them.

    The ICD has launched an investigation into the reported behaviour of
    these police officers.

    In an unrelated incident, Rajan Ethwar, of the Bluff, said he was livid
    at how the Metro Police hurled insults at him and his 79-year-old sickly
    mother, Muniamah Naidoo, at Addington Hospital last Friday.

    My mother had just had an eye operation the previous day and she was
    there for the post operation procedure. She was feeling weak and it was
    scorching hot,said Ethwar.

    There was a car about to back out, so I was waiting for it. I was
    barely there for 30 seconds when the police said I should move my car,
    he said.

    Ethwar said he tried explaining that he had to park near the entrance
    because he needed a wheelchair for his mother, but a policeman told me
    to move my car before he charged me, so I asked him when it had become a
    criminal offence to wait for another car to reverse.

    That's when he just lost it, said Ethwar. He said another policeman
    then pulled his keys out of the ignition.

    Ethwar said he pleaded that his mother was sick, but the officer
    replied, I don't care, she's not my mother.

    In July, The Independent on Saturday published cellphone images of a
    Chatsworth scrapyard manager, Daya Pillay, 50 being throttled on the
    floor by Metro Police members. This week Pillay said the harassment has

    The SAPS has also come under fire from the ICD for setting a police dog
    on a suspected hijacker in Umzinto about two weeks ago. The incident was
    recorded on a cellphone.

    There have been many questions raised in recent weeks over the number of
    suspects who have been shot dead by police while in custody.

    In almost all the cases, police have said that the suspects were
    attempting to grab their guns to shoot at them.

    The ICD's annual report showed that 117 suspects were killed in
    KwaZulu-Natal during the 2007/2008 financial year with about 60% killed
    during the course of arrests and 11% while committing crime.

    Metro Police spokeswoman Supt Joyce Khuzwayo said people often became
    angry when Metro Police enforced the law, and that only once both sides
    of the story were heard did the truth emerge.

    She said if people had complaints against the police they should submit
    them in writing so the incidents could be investigated.

    Khuzwayo said many people did not understand the laws regarding
    double-parking and loading zones, adding that because someone had a
    loading zone in front of their business, it did not entitle them to park
    there. Furthermore, people could not remain in their double-parked cars
    and expect to be allowed to stay there.

    Statistics 'Not surprising': KZN police kill 117 suspects in one year
    Kamini Padayachee (The Mercury) 10 October 2008

    KwaZulu-Natal police officers have killed more suspected criminals than their counterparts in other provinces in the past financial year.

    This was revealed in the Independent Complaints Directorate's annual report, which was released last week. According to the report, 117 suspects were killed in KZN during the 2007/2008 financial year. The period also saw a 13% increase in the number of suspects' deaths nationally.

    About 60% of the suspects were killed during the course of arrests and 11% were killed while they were committing crime.

    Recently, KZN police came in for criticism when they killed six suspects linked to the murders of Kranskop police officer Supt Zethembe Chonco and three members of the prominent Sham family, of Durban.

    In response to the deaths, community safety and liaison MEC Bheki Cele praised the police. He said at the time that the shootings showed that police were heeding his call to shoot at criminals and not die with guns in their pockets.

    Cele made the call after Chonco and another officer, Supt Frans Bothma, were killed in separate incidents in August.

    Yesterday, Cele said he would not comment on the report, as he had not seen it.

    KZN police stations that came under scrutiny for more than five deaths at their stations included Durban Central, Empangeni, Greenwood Park, Inanda and Malvern.

    The report said the suspect officers in the majority of deaths by police action nationally were lower-ranking constables, while inspectors were involved in 35% of cases.

    David Bruce, senior researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Rehabilitation, said people should not be overly alarmed by the statistics.

    In terms of KZN, proportionally, the statistics are not that alarming.

    The province has the biggest population in the country and when you look at the percentage of deaths, it is only slightly higher than the province's percentage of the country's population.

    While I do not think there is a general pattern of abuse and excessive force, some police officers do probably use more force than is necessary.

    I also think the statements being made by certain politicians could also be contributing to the increase.

    Bruce said that the increase could also be owing to the fact that there were large numbers of relatively inexperienced police officers in the force.

    The police have embarked on a massive recruitment drive and you generally find that in these instances, officers will not receive adequate training.

    Therefore we have a lot of inexperienced officers who do not know how to react in certain situations, which could result in the deaths of suspects.

    KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said the statistics were not surprising.

    This is unacceptable. The police are getting away with murder, literally. We cannot deny that police do have to defend themselves in some instances, but it is very hard for me to believe that all these 117 suspects had to be killed.

    These sentiments were echoed by KZN Law Society president Thoba Poyo Dlwati yesterday. Dlwati said suspects' deaths at the hands of the police gave rise to a suspicion that there was a tendency on the part of some police to take the law into their own hands, in some instances.

    Police shooting to be investigated
    Nathi Olifant October 17, 2008 Edition 1

    THE Independent Complaints Directorate confirmed yesterday that it was
    investigating a case in which a 22-year-old toy-gun-wielding man had
    been killed by police officers in Chesterville last Friday.

    The police said Nkosikhona Nzama was killed after he threatened police
    officers with an object resembling a gun.

    Police Supt Vincent Mdunge said members of the crime prevention unit
    from Cato Manor had been on routine patrol in Chesterville when they had
    spotted a man holding a suspicious object.

    Naturally, they approached him with the intention to search him, but he
    fled. They gave chase and he turned around and pointed an object that
    resembled a gun at them. Fearing for his life, a police officer fired a
    warning shot, but the man continued to charge towards him and he fired a
    shot, and the man was hit in the stomach and fell down. Police went up
    to him and realised he had been threatening them with a toy firearm.

    Nzama was taken to King Edward VIII Hospital, where he was placed on a
    ventilator. He was under police guard.

    Nzama died the following morning.

    Mdunge said the police had opened an inquest docket.

    Nzama's mother, Nompumelelo Nzama, said the family might consider legal
    action against the police officers responsible for killing her son.

    Nzama said her son had never carried arms and lashed out at the
    exhortation from politicians to shoot to kill, saying it was encouraging
    police to terrorise innocent people.

    Thabiso Ralo, provincial head of the Independent Complaints Directorate,
    confirmed that the unit was investigating the incident.

    Two more suspects killed Fast-draw police get high praise
    Kamini Padayachee 17 September 2008

    THE police were praised yesterday after the killing of two men suspected of involvement in the murder of a top KwaZulu-Natal officer brought the number of suspected criminals killed by police in recent weeks to five.

    The killings came just two days after police arrested two suspects for the murders of three members of the prominent Sham family, of Durban. The suspects were killed when they tried to escape from police custody during pointing-out procedures.

    Community safety and liaison MEC Bheki Cele praised the work of police yesterday, saying they were heeding his call to shoot to kill criminals.

    The two suspects - Magojela Ndimande, 37, and Sibusiso Thokozani Tembe, 32 - were believed to have been involved in the murder of top KwaZulu-Natal policeman Zethembe Chonco.

    Chonco, station commissioner at Kranskop, was ambushed and killed on August 27. Another man, Lee Buthelezi, 28, who was also suspected of involvement in Chonco's murder, was killed by police at KwaDukuza two weeks ago.

    Supt Henry Budhram said Ndimande and Tembe were killed near Merrivale when they tried to flee from police.

    Detectives had received information that the men would be travelling on the N3 highway and pursued them. All attempts to stop the vehicle the men were travelling in proved fruitless. The suspects shot at police, who returned fire with the intention of stopping the vehicle. When the suspects' vehicle eventually stopped, police found that both suspects were dead.

    Police recovered automatic weapons and ammunition in the suspects' vehicle, said Budhram.

    Cele commended the work of the police in tracking down the suspects in Chonco's murder.

    The shooting of these criminals shows that police are heeding my plea to shoot at criminals and not die with guns in their pockets. I hope this will be a lesson to other criminals that police are serious about their work and will not hesitate to protect themselves and the community they serve, he said yesterday.

    Cele made the call for police to shoot criminals last month when Chonco and another officer, Supt Frans Bothma, were killed in separate incidents.

    Police officers must ensure that they protect themselves and put criminals behind bars or send them to the nearest mortuary, he said.

    Institute of Security Studies senior researcher Johan Burger said it was difficult to say whether Cele's comments had had any impact on how police had since conducted their work.

    In the incidents in the past few days, it seems as if police were within their rights to use the force they did. I don't think they need the MEC's statements to guide their actions. If they found themselves under threat, then they would have acted accordingly.

    Burger said Cele's statements did not call for irresponsible action from police.

    The MEC is saying that police should not wait to be shot at, but should take action if they feel they will come under fire. I agree with this as police officials are much more under threat now than in the past.

    World Cup Watch

    Click on the picture for Click on the picture for WORLD CUP WATCH

    Fahrenheit 2010: Documentary tackles SA's World Cup struggles

    CCS colleagues - the late Dennis Brutus, our nominated honorary
    researcher Ashwin Desai, and Patrick Bond - are critics of the way the
    2010 World Cup was implemented in Durban and across South Africa. For
    more, see the film Fahrenheit 2010.
    Watch Fahrenheit 2010

    Documentary tackles SA's World Cup struggles
    14 December 2009

    Cape Town - South Africa has wasted resources on next year's soccer
    World Cup and will be left with stadiums that are no more than white
    elephants, a critical new documentary says.

    Continental economic powerhouse South Africa, the first African nation
    to stage the sports spectacle, has spent billions of dollars to build
    new stadiums and refurbish existing venues in 10 cities where games will
    be played.

    But social activists and academics say the funds would have been better
    spent tackling poverty, housing shortages and a health system buckling
    under a major HIV and Aids epidemic.

    When you build enormous stadia, you (are) shifting those resources ...
    from building schools or hospitals and then you have these huge
    structures standing empty and being used to a very limited extent. They
    become white elephants, anti-apartheid veteran Dennis Brutus, who was
    jailed with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island in the 1960s, tells
    Fahrenheit 2010.

    Lingering concerns that some stadiums will become empty shells that are
    a burden to taxpayers have threatened to take the shine off government
    plans to leave a meaningful post-tournament legacy. In September Finance
    Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government faced a R2,3-billion
    shortfall for six new stadiums.

    Besides funding challenges, claims of corruption and tender rigging have
    been linked to the new Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit, where only four of
    the 64 World Cup games will be played.

    The location of other new stadiums, notably semi-final venues Green
    Point in Cape Town and in Durban, have also been criticised.

    There is currently no contingency plan saying what's actually going to
    happen to this stadium (Mbombela) once the World Cup is gone... and at
    the end of the day one can only think that the stadium is going to stand
    redundant and empty afterwards, said Anthony Benadie, an opposition

    Feature documentary Fahrenheit 2010, written and directed by Australian
    Craig Tanner, was screened to a Cape Town audience for the first time on
    Sunday evening.

    South Africa, emerging from its first recession in two decades, is
    hoping 450 000 foreign tourists will boost revenues during the
    month-long tournament starting June 11.

    Marketing the country's attractions to a global audience estimated at
    one billion is also expected to lead to a long-term tourist boom and job

    But besides a politically connected elite, centred in the construction
    sector, there was little evidence so far to suggest South Africans will
    benefit economically.

    FIFA expects to make R25-billion from its 2010 television broadcasting
    deals alone, more than the combined total achieved for television rights
    in its 2002 and 2006 tournaments.

    The tragedy is that public funds have been looted for a moment in our
    history. People are still going to be living in shacks, the jobs are not
    sustainable - this is a blatant misuse of funds, said sociologist
    Ashwin Desai.

    However, some viewed the tournament in a different light - as a vehicle
    for uniting a nation still battling the effects of discrimination 15
    years after apartheid, and where the gap between rich and poor is the
    highest in the world.

    With all the negative things that are taking place in Africa, this is a
    superb moment for us. If we are going to have white elephants, so be
    it, said Archbishop Desmond Tutu. - Reuters
    Fahrenheit 2010

    Watch Fahrenheit 2010

    Hard look at 2010 behind the scenes
    Colleen Dardagan (The Mercury) 29 July 2009

    A HARD-hitting film questioning how South Africa is preparing for the
    2010 World Cup is set to launch at the Durban International Film
    Festival this week.

    Fahrenheit 2010, made by the Australia-based, South African-born
    film-maker Craig Tanner and Durbanite Michael Cross, raises some
    uncomfortable questions about the country's bid to meet Fifa's draconian
    requirements for the successful hosting of the event.

    This film is not about whether South Africa should host the event but
    we are questioning the way in which it has been done. Money has been
    hijacked to build new stadiums when adequate facilities exist, said Tanner.

    The recent hosting of the Confederations Cup was held successfully in
    existing stadiums. Newlands in Cape Town and Absa Stadium in Durban
    could have been renovated for fairly modest amounts of money.

    It's inevitable that these two facilities will be demolished - as
    Durban's city manager, Michael Sutcliffe, has conceded in the film.
    There are no long-enduring benefits from these new stadiums.

    More than 1 000 people are dying of HIV/Aids a day in this country and
    such obscene amounts of money have been diverted away from keeping
    people alive and providing them with decent shelter to host football
    matches. It's outrageous, said Tanner.

    Unfortunately it's too late to debate whether the new stadiums should
    have been built, the country is already committed, but I hope anyone who
    sees the film will begin to ask questions and it will give them an
    opportunity to reflect on what this World Cup is really all about.

    Tanner, who is making the journey from Sydney to Durban's Elizabeth
    Sneddon Theatre for the opening, said he had been shocked at what had
    been revealed during the making of the film, particularly in more remote
    areas such as Nelspruit. When I arrived in the country to start
    filming, I didn't have any sense of what we would find. I was told to go
    to Nelspruit because things were going on there. What we found there was
    shocking. Kids kicked out of their school to make way for a 48
    000-seater stadium. They are now being housed in prefab classrooms in a
    spot where a road is going to be built. The land for the stadium was
    bought from the community for R1.

    Debate rages over costs of stadium
    The Mercury 7 September 2009

    DURBAN'S landmark new R3 billion Moses Mabhida stadium is central to its
    aim of creating an African capital for sports, entertainment and other
    events - and eventually to host the Olympic Games

    These ambitions are not shared by everybody, however. The film
    Fahrenheit 2010 airs the views of both city management and critics.

    The Sharks, who lease the Kings Park land from the eThekwini
    Municipality but own the Absa Stadium, had initially suggested upgrading
    the stadium's capacity of 55 000 to better satisfy Fifa's 70 000
    requirement for a soccer semi-final. The early first estimates were
    around R38 million but costs escalated and Durban's vision changed.

    The Moses Mabhida stadium will host seven Fifa World Cup matches
    (including a semi-final). These are some extracts from those interviewed
    in the film.

    City Manager Michael Sutcliffe: Because the city was going to pick up
    that tab, it commissioned studies. The figure rapidly increased to R700
    million (at prices of four to five years ago). As the figures rose it
    became more economically viable to build a new stadium. Why put over R1
    billion into an old stadium that will never really serve the uses we
    have planned for this new stadium?

    The stadium is primarily paid for by national government... we are
    picking up about 30 percent of the cost. This was an opportunity for
    windfall money that we normally would not get for the financing of

    We need a sporting precinct. From an economic viewpoint the stadium
    needs to be 54 000 seats. We will increase it to 70 000 for the World
    Cup. We can increase this to about 85 000 to 90 000 seats when we win
    the Olympics... The first decision the Sharks will have to make is when
    they will come over... It is really an old stadium and at some point it
    will have to be demolished.

    Activist and socialist Ashwin Desai: Durban's argument is a joke of
    almost Monty Python-like proportions. We can't use two stadiums at the
    same time... so one stadium is going to become obsolete... the huge new
    stadium will not be used (to capacity) again. Our local games, even
    derby games, might attract 30 000 people at the maximum...

    Some R600 million comes from city coffers. It is my belief that a lot
    of this money is siphoned off from other work from basic health care,
    from housing.

    It is mythology to suggest all the expenditure is going to benefit the
    broader South Africa.

    We are really going to see post the World Cup, when it becomes very
    obvious, that these stadiums will become empty shells... that our money
    has been used for what really is a pyramid scheme...

    Patrick Bond from the Centre for Civil Society: The difference in cost
    between revamping Kings Park and building a new stadium was over R1bn.
    The Sharks... have to avoid having their stadium torn down and being
    forced to move to the new stadium... they know they will never fill it
    and will be unable to afford the rent.

    Activist Dennis Brutus: Sutcliffe is incorrect in rationalising that the
    million or billions spent can be used at some future time for the

    Once they realise the consequences of 2010, people will ask why they
    should do it a second time.

    Will World Cup Stadiums Change Africa's Image?
    New York Times 28 December 2009

    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's World Cup stadiums could change
    the image of Africa forever, or stand as spectacular monuments to
    extravagance and waste in a country still struggling to spread the
    fruits of majority rule.

    South Africa has confounded sceptics who said the stadiums would never
    be finished in time for next June's soccer spectacular and is close to
    completing 10 top class venues that bear comparison with the world's best.

    But while that controversy has passed, the debate has not diminished
    over whether Africa's first World Cup should have been more modest,
    freeing up millions of dollars to help an army of poor who live in
    squalor 15 years after the end of apartheid.

    When Pretoria won the right to stage the 2010 tournament back in 2004,
    it set the budget for stadiums at around 3 billion rand (249 million
    pounds). After the addition of two extra arenas and some dazzling
    architectural overlays, that figure has now escalated to at least 13
    billion rand.

    Critics say the money was wasted and should have been spent on
    alleviating poverty -- which feeds South Africa's frightening rate of
    violent crime -- building millions of new houses to replace
    apartheid-era shanty towns and combating the world's biggest HIV
    caseload. They charge that many of the stadiums will quickly become
    unused relics after the tournament.

    When you build enormous stadia, you are shifting those resources...from
    building schools and hospitals and then you have these huge structures
    standing empty...They become white elephants, the late anti-apartheid
    campaigner Dennis Brutus said in the recent documentary film Fahrenheit

    Will it ever be possible for a (ruling) ANC party politician who claims
    to have the mandate of poor blacks in this country to go and stand in
    some of these poor areas and justify why the government saw fit to spend
    a billion rand or more on a stadium? It cannot be done, Frans Cronje,
    deputy CEO of the South African Institute of Race Relations told Reuters.

    But there is another side to the argument that says the World Cup gives
    Africa the chance finally to reverse stereotypes of famine, pestilence
    and war that still blight the continent.
    Nobel peace prize laureate and anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond
    Tutu has said the World Cup will have as big an impact for black people
    as the election of U.S. President Barack Obama and will give new pride
    to a still divided nation.

    With all the negative things that are taking place in Africa, this is a
    superb moment for us. If we are going to have white elephants, so be
    it, he said.

    Economists also say World Cup construction has cushioned South Africa
    from the global recession and will contribute close to 56 billion rand
    to the economy. It has been a huge blessing for South Africa in view of
    the recession, said Gillian Saunders of business consultants Grant

    The World Cup cannot be detached from its context, a country still
    scarred by apartheid where soccer is the passion of the black majority
    -- who sometimes in the past had to go cap in hand to white-run rugby
    stadiums to stage matches.

    Under the apartheid government, football facilities in disadvantaged
    areas were neglected and there was a complete lack of recognition for
    the sport, the local organising committee said this year.

    The newly built stadiums certainly go beyond what is strictly necessary
    to stage a football match, even one watched by the world's biggest
    television audience.

    From the soaring arch and sky train over Durban's oceanside venue to
    Cape Town's majestic arena between Table Mountain and the Atlantic, to
    the white petals shrouding Port Elizabeth's bowl and the huge,
    calabash-shaped Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, the new stadiums
    are magnificent.

    Even the smaller arenas of Nelspruit and Polokwane have their own unique
    architectural flourishes, although with no top rugby or soccer teams
    here or in Port Elizabeth it is harder to rebut charges that these
    stadiums will become white elephants after a few World Cup matches.

    Nevertheless, the stadiums' spectacular style can perhaps be seen as
    going way beyond football -- the affirmation of the capabilities of a
    young, democratic country in the face of doubts and cynicism both at
    home and abroad.

    For the many little boys kicking a ball in the streets of the world's
    townships and squatter camps, football is the stuff of dreams, said
    commentator Tinyiko Sam Maluleke.

    I will not deny millions of boys in Africa and all over the chance to
    watch their idols strut their stuff on African soil. I will not deny
    them inspiration. 2010 is about much more than money and text-book
    definitions of development, he said in the Mail and Guardian newspaper.

    Cronje said the World Cup would not drag South Africa out of poverty
    but it does something else. It puts Africa quite directly in front of
    the rest of the world...the impression of Africa as a continent will

    Nobody who is poor and lives in a shack is going to be living in
    different circumstances when the final whistle is blown....but it may
    happen in the long term that people go back to the soccer World Cup and
    say it was a milestone of change on the continent and in the way the
    continent is regarded.

    One South African World Cup official, who asked not to be identified,
    told Reuters: Football means a lot to these people in our country. This
    is not a panacea but it has lifted our people's psyche, lifted their
    belief in themselves.
    (Editing by John Mehaffey)

    CCS Reality Tours

    When critically-minded people visit Durban and seek out a 'reality tour'
    typically denied by the mainstream tourist circuit, one of the stops is
    the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Located
    at the highest point in Durban (the top floors of Memorial Tower
    Building in Glenwood), the Centre introduces sympathetic visitors to the
    work of leading social activists and environmentalists. The sites that
    kombi-taxis arranged by CCS reach include an inner-city tense with
    resistance to xenophobia and gentrification, the largest petrochemical
    complex in a residential area in Africa, a variety of shack settlements
    and working-class 'African', 'Indian' and 'coloured' neighbourhoods, the hotly-contested source of Durban's water at Inanda Dam, and the university environs.

    Contacts: Patrick Bond - or Lungi Keswa (27 31 260 3195)

    Sample tour (November 2009)

    A Durban Reality Tour
    by Pamela Ngwenya, CCS Post-Doctoral Scholar,

    On 4th November 2009, the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal led a tour of Durban that conveys the gritty reality faced by ordinary Durbanites. This video documents the highlights of the tour, including the 'toxic' South Durban Industrial Basin, the tented community of Crossmoor and, on a more positive note, the development of an organic community garden and biodigester in the township of Cato Manor.

    Durban Reality Tour from Pamela Ngwenya on Vimeo.


    CCS Wired DVD & Community Video Project

    Centre for Civil Society report on 2009 activities

    As 2009 drew to a close, the formal resolutions we had waited a year for finally passed the university of KwaZulu-Natal Council and Senate, giving CCS permanent status within the school of Development Studies. This followed a very positive 2007-08 UKZN Review and then an inexplicable mid-2008 UKZN Administration threat to close the Centre, in turn rebuffed by the Howard College Faculty Board after local and international outcries, but not without damage to CCS’s staff complement and morale. The team limped through 2009, and only in September were we authorized to grant contracts longer than three months’ duration.

    Then on December 26, we mourned the death of our politico-cultural mentor, Dennis Brutus.

    Externally, matters were just as hard for those civil society forces committed to social and environmental transformation. December was also the moment it became clear our planet will suffer extreme global warming, given the outcome of the UN’s Climate Summit; CCS had contributed analysis, newspapers and inputs to a widely-viewed internet film (‘Story of Cap and Trade’). Indeed, 2009’s ongoing economic and environmental crises provided ample evidence of political gridlock on all the macro, meso and micro issues we work on. Having seen many of these processes up close, we’re more impressed by ineptitude of those with power at global/continental/national/local levels, the overweening elite self-interest (mainly on behalf of competing corporations, in the context of a dramatic downturn in profits, financial wealth and output), and states’ ongoing incapacity to pacify rising grassroots fury.
    Read Full report


    Meer’s death reminds of society’s unfulfilled desires
    By Patrick Bond and Orlean Naidoo

    “Impoverished people, people who haven’t got food on their plates. Now
    you are going to take away the roof from their heads. And where do you
    expect these people to go? You are just compounding their indigency.
    Then you move in with these security guards and dogs and guns. Now if
    this is not fascist brutality, what is fascist brutality?”

    The scene could have been an apartheid‑era forced removal, with a brave
    black activist haranguing the white regime. But this question was asked
    of the new government by Fatima Meer exactly a decade ago, at the peak
    of the Chatsworth housing battle, on the SABC show Special Assignment.

    The unity of poor black African and Indian people fighting city
    government impressed Meer. She had come to Chatsworth a year earlier as
    part of the Concerned Citizens Group of mainly Indian struggle veterans,
    campaigning for a vote for the African National Congress at a time
    minority parties were gaining ground.

    Always nimble, Meer did a quick U‑turn. On a Sunday shortly before the
    1999 national election, the Jankipersadh family faced the threat of
    eviction from a Chatsworth shack. Shocked by the living conditions she
    encountered, Meer stayed to fight, cajoling and threatening city
    officials to halt the Jankiperasdh removal. Clearly intimidated,
    KwaZulu‑Natal Premiere Zweli Mkhize recalled this very incident at her
    state funeral on Saturday at the Durban International Convention Centre.

    Within a year, Meer would be sucking in the smell of post‑apartheid
    teargas that became so familiar in Chatsworth, her eyes streaming tears
    of anger, her throat coughing up disgust at the local ANC rulers whom
    she had helped put into power with unmatched courage during the bad
    years when she was beaten and banned.

    A decade ago, the ruling party was not quite so corruption‑ridden as
    now, although state prosecutors’ documentation of Jacob Zuma’s alleged
    bribery via Schabir Shaik made Durban deal‑making at the time seem even
    sleazier than now, if that’s possible.

    But the tendency of Durban officials to crush poor people’s aspirations
    was just as pronounced. On the week of Meer’s death, it may be Mike
    Sutcliffe denying local civics the right to march; back then, it was
    deputy mayor Trevor Bonhomme, bringing in the cops while accusing Meer
    and other organisers of harbouring shebeens, drug lords and brothels.

    Within two years, Meer had not only helped organize the community to
    successfully resist. She managed to bring together all the fractious
    campaigning groups within Durban’s poor communities against the World
    Conference Against Racism. One day at the end of August, 2001, the
    Concerned Citizens Forum of grassroots civics allied with Muslim
    pro‑Palestinians, her beloved Jubilee 2000 anti‑debt movement, and other
    human rights groups from across SA and the world.

    Rightly, they were infuriated that US Secretary of State Colin Powell,
    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and SA President Thabo Mbeki had agreed
    to remove from the conference agenda two critical issues: racist Israeli
    Zionism, and reparations for slavery, colonialism and apartheid. Meer
    and her dear comrade Dennis Brutus led more than 10,000 people in a
    march against the UN conference that day, and suddenly the idea of SA
    civil society taking on malgovernance was a reality.

    That force was perhaps unique in the country’s history, able to think
    and act locally, nationally and globally. Writing her obituary in City
    Press, Meer’s co‑conspirator Ashwin Desai now laments that the new urban
    social movements which emerged on that 1999 Sunday in Chatsworth are a
    ‘spent force’, but many others in Meer’s circuit will disagree.

    For example, from her South Durban birthplace of Wentworth, Desmond D’Sa last month helped launch a new local‑global campaign – now more than 200 organisations strong – to halt World Bank financing of Eskom. The activists’ ability to derail a R29 billion loan has apparently worried one of the funeral attendees, minister of public enterprises Barbara Hogan.

    Aside from the police squad carrying her casket on Saturday (we imagined
    her voice inside cajoling them for ongoing ‘fascist brutality’), one
    reason Meer’s funeral seemed uncomfortable was because civil society was
    given no opportunity to celebrate the non‑ANC causes she lent her
    prestige to.

    She opposed a loan that Hogan – who oversees Eskom ‑ insists we need to
    fund a new coal‑fired plant (the world’s fourth largest) and partial
    energy generation privatization, to be paid for by huge increases in
    tariffs for poor and working people.

    Environmentalists, labour and community opponents of the World Bank and
    Eskom join Meer’s longstanding concern that the Bank must first repay
    black South Africans reparations, for supporting apartheid‑era white
    power when from 1951‑67, Washington financiers lent $100 million to
    Eskom but zero African people received electricity.

    Meer would have publicly ridiculed the statement by Hogan at a press
    conference on Friday, just as the great activist passed away: “If we do
    not have that power in our system, then we can say goodbye to our
    economy and to our country.”

    “Rubbish!”, Meer would have shouted, impatiently explaining that by
    switching supply away to the common person, away from the overconsumers
    who get the world’s cheapest electricity – e.g. BHP Billiton – we would
    meet many economic and social objectives, while avoiding construction of
    new climate‑destroying coal plants.

    She would have added, we believe, that if no Bank loan means the ruling
    party’s Chancellor House investment in Hitachi does not yield the R1
    billion in easy profits anticipated from Eskom’s new coal‑fired plants
    (a business relationship Hogan herself recently implied is unethical),
    well, too bad for the corrupt ANC!

    At the same press conference last Friday where Hogan expressed paranoia,
    energy minister Dipuo Peters expressed myopia: “Wide coverage has been
    given to those who are opposed to the application by Eskom, whilst we
    are of the view that the silent majority does indeed support our...
    acquisition of the World Bank loan.”

    So where does Peters get that phrase? According to Wikipedia, “the
    ‘silent majority’ was popularized by US President Richard Nixon in a
    November 3, 1969 speech, where it referred to those Americans who did
    not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the
    time… [and has also] been used in the political elections of Ronald
    Reagan, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg” – all hostile to poor
    people and the environment. In this country it was used last by
    opposition party COPE a month before the 2009 election: “The people of
    South Africa, the silent majority are going to deliver a lethal blow to
    Zuma’s dome‑shaped soft belly.”

    Meer would have cringed at the irony. Most myopic of all, perhaps, was
    her old friend Pravin Gordhan, who in London recently made the startling
    claim that this would be SA’s “first World Bank loan” – when in fact
    there were several others since 1994 (‘Industrial Competitiveness and
    Job Creation’, ‘Municipal Financial Management Technical Assistance
    Project’ and destructive Lesotho dams) as well as Bank investments in a
    failed Domino’s Pizza franchise and similarly well‑conceived
    poverty‑reduction strategies.

    Meer’s dismay at ANC graft, bling and the youth league leader’s
    right‑wing populism was noted by her brother Farouk at the funeral, but
    what went missing – especially with Gordhan in attendance – was how
    revolting she found the Treasury’s ongoing neoliberalism and the
    dalliance with the World Bank, emblematized by the failed Growth,
    Employment and Redistribution programme which Bank staff coauthored.

    Delivering the Harold Wolpe lecture at the Centre for Civil Society in
    February 2007, Meer observed that the Bank and International Monetary
    Fund (IMF) had “usurped power in South Africa and the world” because
    they “are structured to exploit us.”

    Gordhan knows this, for he was the Transitional Executive Council
    economics representative who in December 1993 co‑signed the $850 million
    IMF loan that pledged her friend Nelson Mandela’s government to painful,
    neoliberal policies.

    On a personal level, we recall how much Meer herself suffered, not only
    at jail but also here at varsity. According to Eddie Webster of Wits
    University, “I think the big disappointment in her life is the treatment
    she got in the sociology department at Natal in the sixties and
    seventies. Her masters dissertation should have been a PhD but they did
    not transfer it to PhD status. It was published by Routledge – the top
    international academic publisher. She was treated by the establishment
    in a patronising and offensive way.”

    So we have now lost Durban’s – and South Africa’s ‑ two most senior
    civil society scholar‑activists in fewer than eighty days: Brutus on
    December 26 and Meer last Friday, and that probably pleases many
    oppressors in Washington, Pretoria and Durban.

    As for the rest of us, the interview Meer did for SABC’s Special
    Assignment in 2000 provides as clear a mandate as we will ever hear, in
    light of how there is “No commitment at all to the poor people. It’s a
    very sorry state of affairs. Those of us who can stand up and shout,
    regardless of how many years we have spent in this life, we must get up
    and shout.”

    With this beautiful voice silenced, surely our responsibility now is to
    stand up and shout louder still.

    (Patrick Bond and Orlean Naidoo work at the UKZN Centre for Civil
    Society, and Naidoo helps organize Chatsworth against injustice.)

    Funeral tribute paid to her sacrifices on behalf of poor
    Lyse Comins (Daily News) 15 March 2010

    Tributes have been pouring in for Professor Fatima Meer.

    Many highlighted the personal sacrifices she made in the struggle
    against apartheid and mourned her loss as one of a generation of
    activists who were committed to non‑racialism.

    Meer died at St Augustine's Hospital on Friday after suffering a second
    stroke in eight years.

    Former Durban academic and social activist Professor Ashwin Desai, now
    an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Rhodes
    University, said the loss of Meer deeply impacted him personally as the
    loss of a strong protector, and on a political level as the loss of an
    icon of non‑racial politics.

    Personally, I feel like I have lost that strong person in the corner
    who will also protect you when you are growing up, Desai said.

    She is of that generation that really believes in and fostered
    non‑racialism and, if you look at the people she built friendships with,
    whether it was Alan Paton, Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Jay Singh or
    Monty Naicker, she conducted politics and friendship in the most
    beautiful ways.

    Given the discourse in the public domain right now, where racial
    slandering has been normalised and there are so little politicians
    involved in non‑racialism, she is one of a whole generation that is
    passing. She was one of those people who were able to reach out and have
    the political capital to reach out beyond racial lines, Desai said.

    He recalled fondly how there was always a little bit of a girl in
    Meer, who had had a great sense of fun and laughter and even while
    battling poor health, courageously championed the rights of the poor.

    I remember going with her in 1997 to a protest in Chatsworth where an
    elderly woman was being evicted, and her husband phoned and she lied to
    him and said she was at home resting and she gave me a wink, Desai said.

    Desai said he was torn by Winnie Madikizela‑Mandela's announcement that
    she would work towards having Meer's Sydenham home declared a national
    heritage site.

    He said it would be a far better memorial if the government worked to
    provide services and decent housing for the people living in the area.

    Clearly, it is a house of eminent historical significance because so
    many great people, like Mandela and Luthuli, have visited.

    But I am worried because overlooking it are hundreds of shacks where
    people have no access to water and electricity. When you walk out of
    that house you are going to see how little the lives of ordinary people
    have changed.

    Just the location makes me worry about name changes and memorials as an excuse not to do something something more tangible, Desai said.

    Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said South Africa mourned the
    loss of a tireless anti‑apartheid and human rights activist.

    On behalf of the Democratic Alliance, I extend my deepest sympathy to
    the family and friends of veteran anti‑apartheid activist Fatima Meer.

    Meer was an inspirational human being, a prominent academic, writer and
    activist who played an important role in opposing the apartheid government.

    Her outspoken opposition to the ruling National Party resulted in her
    and her family sacrificing a great deal in the struggle for freedom and
    democracy in South Africa.

    In recent years she has remained an outspoken activist for human
    rights, despite her frailty, Zille said.

    Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele conveyed his condolences to Meer's
    family and relatives.

    This is a great loss, but she can rest knowing she fought a good fight.
    Because of her intellect, she was a formidable opponent of apartheid
    and, when apartheid's victory was becoming assured, because everyone
    else was banned, through her writings and research into apartheid and
    its workings, she inspired a lot of other activists, Ndebele said.

    She kept the fires burning in the dark days of apartheid. May her soul
    rest in peace, Ndebele concluded.

    Taking up the cudgels to deepen democracy
    In this excerpt from her Harold Wolpe Memorial lecture at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society, Prof Fatima Meer calls for a South African social forum

    Those who are ruling us have usurped power. They are incapable of
    establishing equality or democracy. Who, then, will establish this

    You will find two communities in the world today, divided against each
    other. One is the community of governments and the capitalists of the
    world, which met recently in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic

    The other community is civil society. But many of us in civil society
    have been converted into vote banks and consumers for the other community.

    Delivering his Budget speech, Trevor Manuel was ebullient as ever, and
    all we heard about were billions and billions of rands that we had
    helped to save. And then there was this pittance for those on social grants.

    There was so much self-congratulation in that house of parliament.

    We have hundreds of organisations throughout the country, maybe even
    thousands. What we lack is the co-ordination of these organisations, so
    that we can form a South African Social Forum to connect to the World
    Social Forum.

    South Africa is a microcosm of the world. Previously discrimination was
    based on colour, now it is based on class. The poor are blamed. There
    are all sorts of myths that radiate all over the place, because the
    media is not in our hands.

    It is up to us to liberate ourselves. They are not going to give it to
    us. As a young girl I learnt that freedom is not presented to you on a

    We have to struggle for it, we have to fight for it. You know those
    institutions which have usurped power in South Africa and the world: the
    United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the
    World Trade Organisation.

    All these organisations are structured to exploit us and the rest of the

    We lived throughout colonisation, a pernicious system. It transferred
    the resources of Africa, Latin America and Asia to Europe and North
    America. They transferred the populations they wanted, as slaves and
    indentured labourers.

    Replacing colonisation is a new form of domination, ravaging and
    destroying the world: globalisation.

    Those in charge cannot tolerate a moral order. They have broken the link
    in our two-dimensional humanity: body and soul, material and spirit.

    They have completely destroyed the idea of the spirit or soul. It does
    not consume, and they cannot profit through that part of humanity. They
    concentrate on science and technology, which they develop to increase
    their exploitation of our universe.

    The activism of civil society is not something that began recently. It
    started in the 19th century and, here in Durban, Mahatma Gandhi later
    developed the strategy of satyagraha, the struggle for truth.

    The challenge we face is enormous, and so we must establish a South
    African Social Forum, along the lines of the World Social Forum, which
    has already held so many successful summits and meetings, roughly 18 in
    other African countries.

    As far as the existing Social Movements Indaba network is concerned, I
    would hope they would partner with all our movements to form a social forum.

    Community organisations founded the last bastion of the fight against
    apartheid, the United Democratic Front.

    The Congress of the People was authored by similar organisations coming
    together, as was the Freedom Charter, which was the basis of our

    The challenges before us are enormous. If we accept the responsibility
    of organising democracy in our country, we have to work out solutions
    collectively. We have the intellectual capacity. More important, we are
    motivated. We as civil society are also the repository of the moral
    order. Together we will overcome.

    Fatima Meer's 80th Birthday 10 August 2008

    Tribute to Fatima Meer
    Ari Sitas September 2008

    1. Fatima Meer’s career at Natal University spanned four critical
    generational cycles: a cycle of hope when she was a young sociologist; a
    cycle of isolation and discrimination as the Apartheid state tightened
    its grip on everything; a cycle of anticipation, as her personal banning
    and restriction limited her contribution to rising tides of resistance;
    a cycle of energy when, at 54 years of age, she embarked through the
    Institute for Black Research on a wave of action-research activities
    which would have been the envy of a hyperactive teenager. Then she was
    retired but continued in her own way from the small bungalow below
    Jubilee Gardens to produce and act.

    2. Fatima Meer and Ben Magubane were nurtured as sociologists by Leo
    Kuper, a principled liberal and a defining figure in the sociology of
    race, class and power. This was the period of hope on the cusp of rising
    resistance against Apartheid from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. It
    was a time of hope because in the corridors of MTB, a critical sociology
    was in emergence. But it was a potential that was never realized: the
    1959 Universities Act enforced the teaching of black students away from
    Howard College in town and the principled stand of all of them was to
    teach Sociology downtown and not at Howard College. Kuper and Magubane
    went into exile only to emerge as contestants later in the Pluralism Vs
    Marxism debate around race, class and ethnicity in Africa. Fatima Meer,
    through untold political hardship remained, steering a middle-course.
    Fascinated by Emile Durkheim’s sociology of deviance and anomie, she
    penned her study of suicide and suffering in the Indian community trying
    to balance between the importance of race and the importance of class in
    South Africa.

    3. The period of isolation and discrimination followed. As a black
    woman, marked by connections in the resistance movement, she was barely
    tolerated and hardly appreciated in the 1960s. We have her harrowing
    account of what it meant to be her during those years at the University
    of Natal: it will be the opening chapter to her Festschrift that SASA is
    planning. At least she did not lose her job and when not restricted, she
    taught what she had to and only felt collegiality when at the Medical
    School among black students and a sprinkling of black colleagues. What
    kept her going were her interactions and engagements with the broader

    4. The cycle of anticipation involved the rise of the black
    consciousness movement and the first impulses of a worker challenge to
    Apartheid and capitalism. Fatima Meer had to endure another assault: a
    banning order because of her responses to the emerging challenge.
    Instead of diminishing her it increased her stature, but teaching,
    researching and interacting became acutely difficult. But it was also a
    period of intensive networking because once again, change was in the air.

    5. Finally, by the early 1980s, however dangerous or repressive the
    times were, there was enough of a critical mass of people- black
    intellectuals and activists, funding partners and community
    organizations that facilitated the creation of the Institute for Black
    Research through which most of her energy was to be focused. This did
    not immediately signify an end to Fatima Meer’s marginalization from the
    University and from many of her colleagues, but it facilitated the space
    for a critical and public sociology to emerge, to publish and
    communicate on burning issues. By the time the post-Apartheid South
    Africa emerged, she was about to be retired. She continued with her work
    in IBR to this day as an associate, and a colleague- challenging,
    criticizing and coaxing.

    6. Many of the issues that Fatima Meer stood for have been main-framed
    in South African society and our institutions. For example: one of the
    key reasons of the existence of the IBR was to create opportunities for
    black researchers and to groom a critical mass of them, capable of
    taking over scholarship. Now the entire R&D framework of the country is
    supposed to be doing that. How successful it has been is another
    question. But many of the issues that hurt her then continue to hurt her
    now: the appalling education of black children, the increasing
    disparities between the wealthy and the poor, the rising xenophobia, the
    Indian community’s distance from African concerns and of Africans to
    so-called Indian concerns, the Afro-Zulu tensions in the province and
    the double-standards of many of our new people in power.

    7. In short, Fatima Meer has been an important public sociologist: we
    would like our future students to worry about whom we perceive to be
    deviant. They would have to read her Andrew Zondo study and try to
    understand how a young man could have been perceived as a selfless hero
    for some and a heartless killer by others. But they would have to also
    deal with her broader work on anomie and its relation to
    self-destructive acts (like suicide), criminality or sedition.

    8. We would also like them to understand the social sources of defiance
    and what animates a pulse for freedom among oppressed communities. They
    might find her studies of defiance, of black protest and insurrection
    wrong, but they have to venture and risk better hypotheses and
    explanations. They should have to deal with her fine work on African
    Nationalism in South Africa, its flexibility and open-ness and sweat to
    compare it with others.

    9. We would like them to consider the women’s question and the role of
    gender, whether as addressed in her coordinated study of Black Woman
    Worker or her more challenging and controversial on the women’s question
    in Iran and the relationship between religion and women’s rights.

    10. Poverty, its causes, its race and ethnic profiles, so close to much
    of her work will be a vital pre-occupation too. A pre-occupation that
    has grown stronger with her realization of the failure of global and
    local poverty-alleviation programmes.

    11. We would finally like our students to ponder on her enormous work
    (her own, orchestrated by her, or developed with others) on heritage and
    its construction. The Ghandhian Legacy (the Gandhi Omnibus she edited),
    the legacy and institutions of South African Indians, the Documents of
    Indentured Labour, the editions on Luthuli’s, Gokool’s, Daddoo’s and so
    many others’ including her Nelson Mandela biography. They have to sift
    through them and dig further.

    12. We would like to see colleagues in the future who share a sense of
    challenge. It would be difficult to replicate the sense among students
    of the future of this one-woman vanguard, so difficult to pigeon-hole
    who can been at once a boundary-maker and a boundary breaker and someone
    who might be on occasion an Islamic and socialist/democratic bourgeois
    when you dared play Caliban and a fierce Caliban if you dared bourgeois
    pretensions in class. It would be difficult to find a replica. But we
    can try and keep through her presence a Public Sociology alive.

    Principled To The End
    Opinion (The Mercury) 15 March 2010

    PROFESSOR Fatima Meer passed away in Durban on Friday at the age of 81,
    less than three months after fellow anti-apartheid activist Professor
    Denis Brutus.

    Both were at the forefront of the country's post-liberation social
    movements. Like Brutus, Meer was not afraid to speak truth to power.

    As sociologist Ashwin Desai has said, she not only played an important
    role in the Struggle for a free South Africa: her conduct after 1994
    distinguished Meer as probably the greatest champion of freedom that
    South Africa has known.

    Meer was not prepared to toe the party line, when she saw how poor
    people were being betrayed by the new elite.

    She eschewed the materialism and wealth of her comrades, some of whom
    were not embarrassed to declare publicly that they had not joined the
    Struggle to be poor and others who brazenly flaunted their riches as
    their right.

    In calling for a South African social forum in 2007, Meer warned that
    those who are ruling us have usurped power.

    It was fitting that Meer's brother, Farouk, used her funeral on Saturday
    to echo the widespread concerns about the state of the governing ANC,
    almost 16 years into democracy.

    He expressed a fear that the legacy of ANC leaders like Oliver Tambo,
    Moses Kotane and Moses Mabhida was being eroded.

    And in an appeal to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was among the
    mourners at the funeral, Farouk Meer added to applause: We must get rid
    of corruption. We must bring down the salaries of our politicians. We
    must bring down the massive handouts that go to those who control our

    It is South Africa's tragedy that the voices of principled activists are
    disappearing fast and those who replace them in the political structures
    are not cut from the same cloth.

    Motivated by self-interest and greed, they have lost the plot - unlike
    the true activists of old like Denis Brutus and Fatima Meer.

    We'll miss her strength in our corner
    Ashwin Desai (The Mercury) 15 March 2010

    The Exhibition Centre is a cavernous theatre situated in the heart of
    Durban. It was the setting for the funeral of Fatima Meer on Saturday.

    They came from everywhere. Cabinet ministers, lower-level politicians,
    liberation veterans and the new struggle heroes in the city - those who
    have fought off evictions and electricity and water disconnections, the
    activists striving to save the Durban market and the last remnants of
    the noble art of subsistence fishing.

    They sat uneasily together. Almost like boxers eyeing each other from
    different corners. Up ahead, the religious figures took centre stage,
    each straining to display their openness to different religions but
    trying hard to put their god first.

    Then it was the turn of the secular gods. The politicians. When the ANC
    speaks these days, Julius Malema hangs like the spectres that haunted
    Macbeth. Their smooth handshakes seem not to matter anymore because one
    gets a sense that this is the hand that quivers at the feet of Malema.

    Winnie Mandela was the first up on the platform. She spoke beautifully
    of friendship. Her sincerity and grief were deep and raw.

    Farouk Meer, the brother who never really found a place in institutional
    politics, took the stage. His lament on corruption was met with huge
    applause. When he challenged Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan on the
    ethics of cabinet colleagues who hid behind ministerial handbooks to
    live the life of Riley, this drew even bigger applause.

    While everybody there knew their own Fatima Meer, it was outside that
    one got a sense of the people who really grasped the essence of the late
    activist. Excluded from the official platform, they eyed contemptuously
    the once struggle luminaries who implemented policies that made their
    already hard lives even more precarious. People like working-class women
    from Chatsworth. They appreciated that unlike many of the struggle
    heroes hanging around outside, Meer was a post-apartheid fighter.

    From the very large marches in the centre of Durban to the small,
    everyday battles in its ghettoes, she was there. One of her last battles
    was to try to save the market. She told us at a small meeting, let them
    build a shopping mall at the Royal Durban Golf Club or even at Currie's
    Fountain. But save the market.

    I remember Meer striding into Chatsworth in 1999 to campaign for the
    ANC. She quickly realised that disenchantment with the former liberation
    movement did not stem from racism or apathy, but that people in these
    poor areas were under direct attack by the government, her government.
    Their lights and water were being cut, they were being evicted. She hurt
    at the callousness. Meer switched tack. She stopped campaigning for
    votes and started rebuilding resistance. Out of that refusal to simply
    toe the party line, social movements in Durban were born.

    'A great friend and a mother to our children'
    Winnie Madikezela-Mandela (Opinion) 15 March 2010

    Extract from Winnie Mandela's eulogy titled, Fatima Meer: The Friend I Chose as Family:

    She was one of a very few people who could be counted on to visit while
    we languished in prisons. She visited me in detention and in Brandfort,
    despite the laws of the day. She also visited Madiba on Robben Island.

    It was no surprise that she was asked by Madiba to write his biography
    in consultation with OR Tambo.

    I arranged her communication with Lusaka and Higher than Hope was the
    end product.

    When we needed somewhere to stay or hide, Fatima was always first to
    mind. Both Madiba and I visited and used the Meer home as a hideout,
    both in Johannesburg and in Durban.

    And it was to her credit that even when there was a fallout between
    Madiba and I, she did not take the side of the most powerful man in the

    She remained loyal to both of us and this is an example of true
    friendship that is rare to find.

    As is usually the case, such bravery was accompanied by a tremendous brain.

    Farewell To A Woman Of Integrity
    Muna Lakhani 15 March 2010

    IT WAS with the deepest sorrow when one learns that someone critical to
    one's upbringing is no longer with us.

    Aunty Fatima (if I called her anything else, I would get my ear twisted
    by my mom) was a lodestone, as she was a simple living proof of
    integrity, compassion and genuine understanding.

    Not only was her mind that of one of the finest analysts in our country
    and beyond, but her command of appropriate language always meant that we
    kids understood exactly what she meant, politically or otherwise.

    Given that she and my mom were like sisters, it was also l

    Recent SA political-economic analysis

  • The Influence of Labour in the New South African Government
    Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, 12, December 2009.

  • In “Power” in Pretora - New Left Review, 58, July-August 2009.

  • Apartheid Reparations and the Contestation of Corporate Power in Africa – Review of African Political Economy, 119, 2009.

  • Realistic Post-Neoliberalism: A View from South Africa
    Development Dialogue, 51, 2009.

  • South Africa’s Developmental State” Distraction
    Mediations,24, 1, 2008, pp.8-27,

  • Social Movements and Corporate Social Responsibility in South
    – Development and Change, 39, 6, 2008.

  • Can Reparations for Apartheid Profits be Won in US Courts?
    Africa Insight, 38, 2, 2008.

  • Southern Africa: Popular Resistance to Neoliberalism, 1982-2007
    – in I.Ness (Ed), The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, Malden MA, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

  • Townships – in W.Darity (Ed), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd edition, Detroit, Macmillan Reference, 2008, pp.405-407.

  • Televised debate (November 2009) about the South African economy, on Etv's The Big Debate:

    New Funder for the CCS Website

    CCS in Crisis
    CCS Communiques
    Media coverage, UKZN announcements
    Should CCS close? Testimonials say no

    Centre for Civil Society report on 2007 activities

    In a context of dramatic increases in ‘Gatherings Act’ incidents reported by the SA police (10 000 per year in 2005-07, up from 5800 in 2004-05) and worsening inequality, our guiding CCS objective is of even more relevance: the advance of socio-economic and environmental justice through developing critical knowledge about, for and in dialogue with civil society.
    Our research work benefits from praxis-based production of knowledge, in which we learn how power relations are challenged by civil society organisations – in the streets, the courts, the media, negotiating fora, theatres and cultural clubs, sportsfields and other sites - thus generating new information about systems and organisational strengths and weaknesses. We then feed back research into the society through both arms-length and participatory analysis, in the forms of books and articles, films and DVDs, tours and lectures.
    Read Report

    CCS UKZN Review 29 February 2008

    CNN Interview with Adam Habib

    Banned from the U.S., Professor says He's a Victim of Ideological Exclusion

    University of Johannesburg Professor Adam Habib has been able to return to the United States after being excluded since 2006. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of the American Sociological Association, the American Association of University Professors, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights to get Habib back into the country. Then in January Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lifted the exclusion against Habib's visa. Habib this weekend spoke at the American Sociological Annual Meeting in Atlanta. What changed? Why did the United States permit him to enter? Don Lemon sits down with the once-banned professor.

    CCS statement on Adam Habib's unbanning from US travel

    Exactly a year after Barack Obama became president, Centre for Civil
    Society founder Adam Habib has been freed from a Bush Administration
    State Department order dating to 21 October 2006, which banned Habib and
    his entire family from entering the US. Ending this ban was one of CCS's
    2007-09 campaigns, led by the late Dennis Brutus, himself a victor in a
    1981-83 US State Department deportation dispute - a time when Brutus
    would have been persecuted in South Africa as one of apartheid's twenty
    leading enemies abroad, according to the Bureau of State Security. In
    February 2008, Brutus led a protest at the US Consulate in Durban, prior
    to a US court hearing on the case.

    But the full year that it took for Obama to make this tiny repair in
    Washington's appalling international image reflects the durability of
    State Department bias against those like Habib who speak clearly for
    democracy and justice.

    We should be motivated, now, to renew solidarity with those aiming to
    end State Department and Pentagon oppression, from Haiti to Colombia to
    Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia. Moreover, Brutus and others
    lobbied against the ongoing incarceration of political prisoners in the
    US, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier and Guantanamo Bay
    prisoners who had a hope (since dashed) in Obama's inaugural promise
    that the torture centre there would soon be closed, and that US torture
    would end.

    Still, the victory by Habib and his lawyers at the American Civil
    Liberties Union gives us confidence that the forces of peace, justice,
    freedom and democracy that Habib, Brutus and so many others have
    represented all these years, will prevail against Washington's paranoia,
    Islamaphobia and imperial arrogance.

    Habib, Adam wrote:
    Dear Patrick
    I have good news, at least from my perspective. As of today, the US
    State department has agreed to settle the case of my deportation and
    visa denial by no longer applying the rationale for my exclusion. A copy
    of the press release of the ACLU is attached. This effectively means
    that I can now apply for a visa and the application will be treated as a
    normal one. As a result, I will hopefully before long be able to enter
    the US and once again engage with academic colleagues.
    > This outcome would not have been possible had it not been for the
    principled stand taken by a number of American and South African
    organisations, the CCS included. The CCS's committment to the principles
    of academic freedom and the free engagement of ideas represent not only
    the more progressive face of the SA and global academy, but it also
    provides hope in a world where civil liberties and tolerance has been
    eroded, and democracy is imperilled. Please communicate to all your
    staff my appreciation for the stand they took with regards to my exclusion.
    If I can reciprocate your actions or if I can assist the CCS in any
    way in the future, please do not hesitate to call on me.

    State Department Ends Unconstitutional Exclusion Of Blacklisted Scholars From U.S.
    Professors Adam Habib And Tariq Ramadan Likely To Be Readmitted To United States, Says ACLU

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 20 January 2010
    CONTACT: Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

    WASHINGTON – In a major victory for civil liberties, Secretary of State
    Hillary Clinton has signed orders that effectively end the exclusion of
    two prominent scholars who were barred from the United States by the
    Bush administration. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the
    denial of visas to Professors Adam Habib of the University of
    Johannesburg and Tariq Ramadan of St. Antony’s College, Oxford
    University, in separate lawsuits filed on behalf of American
    organizations that had invited the scholars to speak to audiences inside
    the United States.

    The orders ending the exclusion of Adam Habib and Tariq Ramadan are
    long overdue and tremendously important, said Jameel Jaffer, Director
    of the ACLU National Security Project. For several years, the United
    States government was more interested in stigmatizing and silencing its
    foreign critics than in engaging them. The decision to end the exclusion
    of Professors Habib and Ramadan is a welcome sign that the Obama
    administration is committed to facilitating, rather than obstructing,
    the exchange of ideas across international borders.”

    During the Bush administration, the U.S. government denied visas to
    dozens of foreign artists, scholars and writers – all critics of U.S.
    policy overseas and many of whom are Muslim – without explanation or on
    vague national security grounds. In a speech in Cairo in June 2009,
    President Obama addressed the relationship between the United States and
    Muslims around the world, calling for “a sustained effort to listen to
    each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to
    seek common ground.” The ACLU welcomed the State Department’s orders as an important step toward achieving that goal.

    “Given the orders issued by Secretary Clinton, we hope and expect that
    Professor Habib and Professor Ramadan will soon be able to come to the
    United States to meet and talk with American audiences,” said Melissa
    Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “The
    Obama administration should now conduct a broader review of visas denied
    under the Bush administration, reverse the exclusions of others who were
    barred because of their political beliefs and retire the practice of
    ideological exclusion for good.”

    The orders signed by Secretary Clinton state that, in the future,
    Professors Habib and Ramadan will not be denied visas on the same
    grounds that they were denied them in 2006 and 2007. To enter the United
    States, however, the scholars will need to apply for visas – a process
    likely to take several weeks. The ACLU expects that, given Secretary
    Clinton’s orders, the visa applications will be granted expeditiously.

    Professor Adam Habib is a respected political analyst and Deputy Vice
    Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Advancement at the University of
    Johannesburg, as well as a Muslim who has been a vocal critic of the war
    in Iraq and some U.S. terrorism-related policies. The ACLU and the ACLU
    of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit in 2007 challenging his exclusion on
    behalf of the American Sociological Association, the American
    Association of University Professors, the American-Arab
    Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian

    My family and I are thrilled by Secretary Clinton’s decision, and we
    are thankful to the many organizations that put pressure on the Obama
    administration to stop excluding people from the United States on the
    basis of their political views,” said Habib. “This is not only a
    personal victory but also a victory for democracy around the world, and
    we hope this signals a move by the administration to begin restoring the
    liberties and freedoms that have been so badly eroded in recent times.

    Professor Tariq Ramadan is Chair of Contemporary Islamic Studies at St.
    Antony’s College, Oxford University. In 2004, he accepted a tenured
    position at the University of Notre Dame, but the U.S. government
    revoked his visa just days before he was to begin teaching there. The
    ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2006
    challenging his exclusion on behalf of the American Academy of Religion,
    the American Association of University Professors and the PEN American

    “I am very pleased with the decision to end my exclusion from the United
    States after almost six years,” said Ramadan. “I want to thank all the
    institutions and individuals who have supported me and worked to end
    unconstitutional ideological exclusion over the years. I am very happy
    and hopeful that I will be able to visit the United States very soon and
    to once again engage in an open, critical and constructive dialogue with
    American scholars and intellectuals.”

    The ACLU will be in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New
    York this afternoon for a status conference in Ramadan’s case, Academy
    of Religion v. Napolitano. Attorneys in that case are Jaffer, Goodman,
    Judy Rabinovitz and Lucas Guttentag the national ACLU, Arthur Eisenberg
    of the NYCLU and New York immigration lawyer Claudia Slovinsky. At the
    conference, the parties will address the implications of Secretary
    Clinton’s order for the long-running lawsuit.

    Attorneys in the Habib case, American Sociological Association v.
    Clinton, are Goodman, Jaffer and Rabinovitz of the national ACLU and
    Sarah Wunsch and John Reinstein of the ACLU of Massachusetts.

    More information about both cases is available online at

    HSRC expresses its concern about the decision to deny Professor Adam
    Habib entry into the USA


    The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) notes with concern that
    Professor Adam Habib, Executive Director of the HSRC’s Democracy &
    Governance research programme and a respected scholar and an outspoken
    political commentator, had his visa revoked by the US government on his
    arrival in New York on Saturday 21 October 2006 and was subsequently
    deported back to South Africa. To date no reasons have been given for
    these actions.

    Prof Habib was part of a HSRC delegation to the USA, led by the CEO Dr
    Olive Shisana, which will be meeting a number of institutions including
    the National Institute of Health, the Centre for Disease Control, the
    World Bank, Columbia University, and a number of donor agencies
    including the Carnegie and Gates Foundations during their visit.

    Dr Temba Masilela, the acting CEO of the HSRC, said that “the HSRC has
    written letters of concern to both the Department of Foreign Affairs and
    the US Embassy in Pretoria requesting their assistance in establishing
    the reasons for the denial of entry. As soon as more information is made
    available, it will be communicated to the public.”

    ‘The Practice of Academic Freedom in SA’: 19 October 2006, UKZN University Forum Lecture
    Adam Habib (Honorary Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies and Centre for Civil Society)

    This is a very opportune time for the CHE to investigate the issue of
    whether institutional autonomy and academic freedom is under threat in
    South Africa. Xolela Mangcu’s departure from the HSRC and Ashwin Desai’s
    troubles with UKZN has sparked a national debate on academic freedom and
    on government’ s involvement in academic and research institutions. This
    debate follows one a year or so earlier when Jonathan Jansen accused the
    Department of Education of undermining institution’s autonomy and
    academics’ freedom through the funding formulae and legislative
    interventions. However, for this investigation and the debate it
    inspires to be fruitful, it is necessary that we transcend emotional
    interaction and deal with the issue as dispassionately as is possible
    under the circumstances.

    At the outset, it is important to identify who we are talking about when
    we engage in this debate. Who are the alleged violators of academic
    freedom? Clearly the debate in contemporary South Africa is not the same
    as that under apartheid. Neither is it the same as in some others parts
    of the continent and the world where academics are regularly harassed,
    maimed, jailed and even killed. In these cases, the repressive apparatus
    of the state violates academics’ freedom. Contemporary South Africa is
    not confronted with such a threat.

    But who then are the perpetrators of this crime in contemporary SA? If
    you listen to Jonathan Jansen and many of the institutional managers in
    the historically white universities, then the alleged violator is the
    state. But their ire is directed not at the repressive arm of the state,
    but rather at the institutional bureaucrats at DOE and dare I say, CHE.
    For Jansen, these bureaucrats have made severe incursions into
    institutional autonomy through the funding formulae and the
    post-apartheid legislative apparatus. The result is not only a violation
    of university’s autonomy but also individual academic’s freedom.

    But there is a second perpetrator of this crime, namely the
    institutional bureaucrat. This alleged violator is identified not only
    by Jansen, but also by Southall and Cobbing, and even by Andre du Toit.
    All of these academics speak and write of the corporatisation of the
    university, the new managerialism and how it undermines the collegiate
    atmosphere of the academy. This is the essence of du Toit’s critique of
    Jansen. He argues that Jansen is able to conflate institutional autonomy
    and academic freedom, following T.B. Davie’s original formulation,
    because he sees the threat as external. But once it is recognized as
    internal as du Toit does, then the conflation in fact becomes dangerous
    for academic freedom itself. This is because institutional autonomy
    could land up empowering the institutional bureaucrat rather than the
    individual academic.

    The third alleged violator of academic freedom is seen to be the senior
    academics themselves. This has not often been recognized in the recent
    debate, but this argument was made in a provocative article published in
    the late 1990’s in a left wing intellectual journal entitled Debate. The
    article, authored by Ashwin Desai, entitled ‘Death of the Intellectual,
    Birth of the Salesman’ effectively tracked the writing of leading
    Marxist scholars in the 1980s and 1990s, and it argued that their
    research agenda is no longer determined by themselves, but rather by
    those who are prepared to buy their research and writing skills, most
    often either the government or the private sector. Academic freedom in
    this case is said to be violated by the senior academic’s propensity to
    sell his or her skills to the highest bidder.

    I raise this issue not to contest or support any of these perspectives.
    After all, I think there is at least a kernel of truth in all of these
    analyses. My purpose in reflecting on these articles is to bring to the
    fore the variety of stakeholders involved in this debate. Moreover, it
    is also useful to demonstrate that the divide is not as neat as one may
    first assume and one needs to conceptualize the debate in much more
    nuanced terms than may have happened thus far.

    It is important to identify the conundrum we confront as the South
    African academy, and it is the same as that confronted by the rest of
    the continent in the first decade or two of their own post-colonial
    transitions. In these societies at the dawn of their transitions, their
    academies were confronted with higher education institutions largely
    staffed by expatriates or settlers. Newly trained African intellectuals
    felt very much marginalized in these institutions. Confronted by this,
    these newly trained black intellectuals turned to the state to
    intervene. The settler academics and expatriates raised the banner of
    institutional autonomy and academic freedom but they were soon
    overpowered. The problem, however, was that almost as soon as the state
    entered these institutions, it refused to leave. The irony was that a
    decade or two later the very academics who had asked the state to
    intervene convened in Kampala, Uganda, to raise the banner of academic
    freedom and institutional autonomy- those same demands raised by the
    expatriate and settler academics of a decade or two earlier.

    What are the lessons to be learnt from these experiences? The problem
    with the debate in South Africa thus far is that it has eerie echoes of
    that which took place in the continent a decade or two earlier. So
    Jansen raises the critique of the state ‘s intervention in the
    university, and the response raised by the Minister of Education, Naledi
    Pandor, is that intervention is necessary in order to advance the cause
    of democratization and transformation. In this she is supported by a
    number of black academics. The debate is of course polarized. On the one
    hand you have politicians, technocrats, and some black academics, all of
    who raise the flag of democratization and transformation. On the other
    hand, you have institutional managers, the white academy and some black
    academics, which are the flag bearers of institutional autonomy and
    academic freedom. Southall and Cobbing would be on this side of the
    debate, although they would see the institutional managers as the
    conduit of the state’s neo-liberal logic. How to get out of this binary
    mess, for if we do not, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes and, as a
    result, experience the consequences of our compatriots to the north of us?

    We can begin conceptualizing a way out of this intellectual quagmire
    with Andre du Toit’s formulation of academic freedom. Du Toit makes a
    distinction between libertarian and republican conceptions of academic
    freedom. In the former, it is conceptualized as a negative right,
    whereas in the former, the definition is conceptualized in more positive
    terms. In this more positive conception, academic freedom is seen to be
    compatible with social accountability. Using this conception we can hold
    that academic freedom needs to be coupled with transformation if it is
    to retain any relevance in contemporary South Africa. This position, I
    believe, would be supported by even Jansen and the more far-sighted
    institutional bureaucrats and state technocrats.

    But I do not think this break through goes far enough. This is because
    it suffers from the same methodological weaknesses associated with state
    technocrats and institutional bureaucrats. For these actors, if freedom
    and autonomy is conceptualized in a progressive way, and if it is
    codified in a regulatory framework, then somehow this will magically
    translate into reality. But the African experience shows that this is
    not the case. Even though the nationalist academics called for an
    intervention in the language of rights and responsibilities, events on
    the ground soon overtook them. This is because the contestations on the
    ground were determined not by abstract conceptions and a framework.
    Rather they were determined by how power was organized. The state
    prevailed because power was dispersed in its favor.

    So I want to construct a solution beyond the perspective of the state
    technocrat and institutional bureaucrat. I want to use the lens of the
    political science academic or even the social activist. I want to start
    by recognizing that while having a republican conception of freedom is
    useful, we need to go beyond it. There is an urgent need to reform the
    higher education system and its practice to realize a dispersal of
    power. And, it is precisely in the contestation of empowered
    stakeholders - state technocrats, institutional bureaucrats, academics,
    students and a variety of other collectives - that institutional
    autonomy and academic freedom gets constructed.

    So what are these reforms of the higher education system and academic
    practice that can lead to this dispersal of power? I have identified
    four such reforms, two of which facilitate institutional autonomy, which
    is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for academic freedom,
    while the remaining two speak directly to the latter right. First, a
    plurality of stakeholders must be represented in the higher education
    system. This need not only mean that the higher education system must be
    representative of our demographics. Of course this is necessary and a
    path must be charted to achieve this end. But the higher system must
    also reflect a plurality of ideological voices including those that are
    intellectual dissidents in our society. It is precisely this demographic
    and ideological plurality that will legitimize the higher education
    system, and enhance its credibility vis-à-vis state technocrats and
    other empowered stakeholders.

    Second, the higher education system must have a diversity of income
    streams supporting its activities. Presently, it is almost entirely
    reliant on state funding and student fees. While public funding will
    inevitably comprise a sizable component of the university system, it is
    important that higher education managers open up other income streams to
    support their institutions’ activities. This would obviously involve
    accessing the resources of the private sector, individual benefactors,
    and domestic and foreign foundations. And, it would require transforming
    research from an institutional cost to an income stream. There are a
    number of successful cases, both international and local, where these
    reforms have been attempted with some success. Lessons need to be learnt
    from these experiences for multiple funding streams for higher education
    can only but enhance universities power vis-à-vis the Department of

    Third, institutional cultures that reward scholarship and intellectual
    productivity need be built in the higher education system. Currently, a
    relatively egalitarian tradition in the academy, reflected in fairly
    equitable remuneration scales within hierarchical bands, tends to
    undermine the incentives that may inspire research productivity and
    innovation. Indeed, the problem is even further aggravated by the
    embarrassing remuneration afforded to members of the academy especially
    in relation to other professions, organized in both the public and
    private realms in the country. The net effect is that the brightest
    minds tend to gravitate away from the academy with dire consequences for
    not only the higher education system, but also for economic development
    in South Africa. A system of rewards for scholarship and intellectual
    productivity reflected in both better remuneration for productive
    academics, and better financial support for research by public and
    private stakeholders would go a long way to reforming the system of the
    incentives in the universities. More significantly however, it will, in
    addition to attracting great minds to the academy, also enhance their
    power vies-a vies institutional bureaucrats who would recognize the
    value of productive academics because their academic stature and
    intellectual output would be so instrumental in enhancing resource flows
    to the university.

    Finally, academic entrepreneurialism is something that needs to be
    encouraged, valued, and even actively built in the higher education
    system. This is because such entrepreneurialism, meaning the active
    marketing of the academy, is necessary for translating academic work to
    the benefit of a variety of stakeholders, including marginalized
    sections of society. This not only brings greater credibility to the
    higher education system, but it can also translate into increased
    resource flows into the university. And, it is precisely academics
    involvement in the generation of these benefits for the university that
    enhances their power vis-à-vis institutional bureaucrats.

    Collectively these four reforms then can have the systemic effect of
    dispersing power to a variety of stakeholders in the higher education
    system. And, as has been argued earlier, it is in the contestation of
    these empowered stakeholders that academic freedom and institutional
    autonomy can be constructed. This recommendation is of course very
    different from that which seems to implicitly emerge in the existing
    literature. In this literature, either there is a hope for some distant
    institutional revolution to recreate the macroeconomic fundamentals for
    a better resourced or even free higher education system, or there is an
    incessant hand-wringing and continuous complaints about the neo-liberal
    character of our world. Instead, the recommendation advocated by this
    academic intervention is that institutional autonomy and academic
    freedom need to be constructed through the contestation of empowered
    stakeholders, which itself is a product of the messy process of higher
    education reform and entrepreneurial academic practice.

    Banned: Why a South African is Going to Court in the U.S.
    Adam Habib

    Sometime in November 2006, while my wife, Fatima, drove back from work
    in Pretoria to our home in Johannesburg, South Africa, she received a
    call from John Webster, an official at the American consulate in
    Johannesburg. John very apologetically notified Fatima that her visa had
    been revoked, as had the visas of my children, Irfan, 12, and Zidaan, 9.
    Irfan had been invited to the U.S. as part of the People to People
    Ambassador Program for young leaders established by President Dwight
    Eisenhower to promote understanding among peoples of the world. I had
    not made up my mind yet about whether to send Irfan. Scared that he
    might be harassed at U.S. airports, I was conflicted. But now that
    decision was already made, and by somebody else. The 'sins' of the
    father had been visited upon the sons.

    Our saga began a month earlier when I arrived in New York on October 21,
    2006. Having lived there before while earning my Ph.D. from the City
    University of New York, and having traveled there multiple times
    thereafter, I expected to be irritated, but nothing more. Even when I
    was sent to the Homeland Security waiting room in JFK airport, I was not
    overly concerned. But after five hours, I began to realize that this
    went beyond the normal harassment. By the time I called the South
    African Consulate and some U.S. and South African officials, it was too
    late -- the decision had already been made to revoke my visa and
    'deport' me. Soon I was escorted under armed guard to a plane bound for
    South Africa. But I never lost my cool. Partly, I think, because it was
    nearing the end of Ramadan, a period in which you are not only supposed
    to fast, but also to control your temper when daily challenges arise.

    The U.S. furnished no reason for the revocation of my visa. Despite
    repeated inquiries and protests by me, South African officials, and U.S.
    organizations, to this day the U.S. has never explained itself. There
    were, however, several guesses. Some suggested that it was racial
    profiling. But when my wife and children's visas were also revoked, this
    theory no longer seemed credible. Others, including some high-ranking
    public officials in South Africa, believe that it had to do with my
    involvement in anti-Iraq war demonstrations in 2003. Some suggested that
    photographs were taken of me addressing a rally in South Africa and
    downloaded into some kind of U.S. database. But there was never any
    confirmation of this theory from any official or department in the U.S.

    Am I critic of the U.S. government? Absolutely. In addition to my active
    participation in anti-war demonstrations, I have been very critical both
    in my speeches and in my writing about American foreign policy in Africa
    and the Middle East. But I have also been equally critical of other
    governments -- including my own. Is that a rationale for excluding me? I
    would hope not. Can you imagine if suddenly American academics and
    citizens were deported from South Africa because they criticized the
    government's policies on HIV/AIDS? If our governments get in the habit
    of excluding academics, intellectuals, journalists, and citizens of
    other countries for ideological reasons, then we are on a slippery slope
    to the abrogation of all kinds of freedoms. Having lived in apartheid
    South Africa, I know what this means.

    While I remain excluded from the U.S. without explanation, I continue to
    receive invitations to speak in the United States. Together with lawyers
    from the American Civil Liberties Union, I decided to re-apply for a
    visa. I was meant to speak at the American Sociological Association
    Conference in New York in August 2007, but was notified at the very last
    minute that my application would not be processed in time. To date I
    still have not heard anything about my visa application. As a result,
    with the help of the ACLU, U.S. organizations that have invited me to
    speak in the U.S. -- the American Sociological Association, the American
    Association of University Professors, the American-Arab
    Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian
    Rights -- filed a lawsuit today in federal district court to force the
    U.S. government to act on my visa and end its effort to block a free
    exchange of ideas.

    Why do I fight to get into a country where its government obviously does
    not want me? My answer has always been threefold. First, I have said my
    relationship with the U.S. extends beyond its government. It is
    established through my relationships with American citizens. It is also
    constructed by my fond personal memories. My son, Irfan was conceived
    there. When I came to defend my dissertation at the City University of
    New York two years later, I remember feeding ducks in Central Park with
    him. I remember Irfan's love for riding the subway, which would lull him
    to sleep. I remember snow fights with Zidaan and Irfan in the middle of
    Manhattan a few years later. And all of us remember visiting Disney
    World in 2003. This is a country where we have memories and friends. It
    is part of our world and that should not be taken away by an arbitrary
    action of a public official.

    Second, in my new job as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research,
    Innovation and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg, it would
    obviously be inconvenient for me to be barred from the U.S. It is where
    we have relationships with scholars, institutions and donors. I
    routinely collaborate with U.S.-based scholars on academic projects.
    While my exclusion from the U.S. may not be debilitating, why should I
    be subjected to these inconveniences without any explanation from the
    U.S. government?

    Finally, and perhaps even more importantly, this case symbolizes a
    broader struggle in our world. I am concerned, as many others are, at
    the rise of what I would call 'chauvinistic identities' across the
    globe. We see these identities in nations like the U.S. and South
    Africa, where some define being American and South African in narrow
    racial and cultural terms. We see it in religious communities where some
    interpret being Muslim as having to hate a Jew and Christian, where to
    be Hindu must involve hating Christian and Muslim. We see it in
    linguistic divides where to speak French means to oppress one who speaks
    Dutch, where to speak Arabic means to reject Farsi. This has also led to
    increasing conflict between peoples and nations. It leads to bombing,
    and counter-bombing, wars and counter-wars, each feeding off each other
    in an ever-vicious cycle. All of this has occurred at a time when
    structural developments like globalization require collaboration on an
    unprecedented scale.

    And this is what tthis case represents for me. It was filed on my behalf, a South African, by the ACLU and other U.S. organizations. The lawyers are American, the plaintiffs are Americans. The cause is the right of these Americans to hear and speak with a South African. We are not all of one ideological persuasion. Many of those who have stood up on my behalf, I don't even know. What unites us is that we stand for principle.

    And this is the fight of the future. The coming struggles for freedom will be played on the global plane and they would require progressives to build bridges and human solidarity across national, religious and ideological boundaries. Assisting in this struggle is what we can bequeath to our children. Fatima and I can leave Irfan and Zidaan assets, but these can always disappear. Principles will always be with them. At least when they think back in years to come, they can say that their old man and old lady stood up instead of folding, built bridges instead of dividing, stuck to principle instead of capitulating. They can say we were on the right side of their struggle for freedom.

    Patrick Bond on the Global Economic Crisis
    Articles on the world/African financial crisis, October 2008

    Strauss-Kahn strikes again!
    (Counterpunch, October 29)

    Left learns lessons from financial follies
    (Financial Mail, October 24)

    Resisting free trade and global finance
    (Pambazuka News #403, October 23)

    >Background to Volatile Global Capitalism: Political and Economic Aspects since the 1970s
    (Presented at the World Forum for Alternatives, Caracas, October 15)

    Global financial bubbles and capitalist crisis
    (Presented to the World Forum for Alternatives, October 13)

    Zimbabwe and the Bretton Woods Institutions
    (Presented at Georgetown University, October 10)

    Global capitalist crisis and African resistance: Analysis, evidence, practice
    (Presented at the International Forum on Globalization, San Francisco,
    October 8)

    The US financial meltdown, Part 1: What really happened
    (CCS Seminar paper, October 3)

    The US financial meltdown, Part 1: What really happened
    (CCS Seminar slideshow, October 3)

    Letters to Strauss-Kahn on global financial reform (23 November)

    (Now TWO letters have emerged for sign-on to the International Monetary Fund's leader, regarding next steps in the world financial crisis. Please choose. It's true that the second letter has more signatories - the first only has mine - but maybe that will change in coming hours.)

    LETTER 1)
    Please consider signing this letter which urges the IMF Managing
    Director, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to boycott the Doha Review
    Conference on Financing for Development.

    Deadline is Monday November 24, by 3 pm US Eastern time. (Please send
    sign-on endorsement to

    While initially scheduled to attend the Doha Financing for Development
    (FfD) Review in Doha, the IMF Managing Director Mr. Dominique
    Strauss-Kahn has hinted he is no longer planning to attend.

    This is most fortunate, especially given the extraordinary influence
    that had earlier been given to the IMF in the FfD drafting process, and
    the counterproductive nature of the FfD process to date. By withdrawing
    representation at the highest level, the gesture would send a political
    signal that seeks to distance the IMF from the UN process, as it enters
    into critical matters of reform of international finance and at a very
    critical juncture in the negotiations addressing such issues at this
    moment in New York.

    That distancing would give some hope that the new team at the UN -
    especially left and centre-left advisors to General Assembly President
    Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann (including Joseph Stiglitz, Jomo KS, Maude
    Barlow, Leonardo Boff, François Houtart, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark,
    Richard Falk and Howard Zinn) - can break through the inherited FfD
    nonsense and come up with a genuine alternative to the Bretton Woods 2
    elite project of financial system relegitimisation begun at the G20
    meeting on November 14-15 in Washington.

    The letter:

    Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
    Managing Director
    International Monetary Fund

    Dear Mr. Strauss-Kahn,

    We, the undersigned, are writing to urge you to boycott the Doha Review
    Conference on Financing for Development.

    On November 29, governments of the world will gather in Doha, Qatar, to
    reassert their 2002 Monterrey Consensus commitments to “eradicate
    poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable
    development as we advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global
    economic system,” and evaluate progress.

    We know that then, as now, these words are fakery. We know that in
    reality, globalisation and more rapid trade/investment/financial
    integration have generated worsening inequality, exclusivity and
    ecological degradation. We know that military expenditures have
    exploded, and that in the last two years, OECD aid payments to the South
    are dramatically lower - and we know such payments consist
    overwhelmingly of 'phantom aid' in any case. We know that the IMF has
    also spent the period since Monterrey squeezing debt payments out of
    wretched countries and imposing old-fashioned structural adjustment
    programmes, including on your very few new borrowers like Hungary (whose
    civil servants you recently denied a 13th cheque this year as part of
    loan conditionality). We know that most middle-income countries that
    could afford to, began rejecting your advice and repaying IMF loans
    early, leaving your institution in the red, forced to privatise 15% of
    your economists. The fact that only a few weeks ago your institution was
    called the Turkish Monetary Fund - in honour of your sole major
    borrower - meant that you are fortunate now, to potentially be rescued
    as a lender by the worst financial crisis since 1929.

    The Monterrey process was unique in that it represented a new and fresh
    type of fakery, one that sought to confuse and distract delegates from
    governments, global institutions with different economic
    responsibilities, such as the one you head, development
    responsibilities, civil society and the private sector. Its
    multi-stakeholder nature generated the banal, meaningless blather - with
    no accountability - that we inevitably encounter in global policy-making
    in a changed - and changing - world.

    After all, since the 1996 Montreal protocol banning ChloroFluoroCarbons,
    there has not been any substantial progress made in global governance
    venues on any of the major issues confronting the world, including
    militarism, trade, United Nations governance, Bretton Woods Institution
    reform, the climate crisis, nuclear non-proliferation, nonrenewable
    resources depletion, racism, gender discrimination, and so on.

    More importantly, in the collective agreement to build those bridges at
    the global level, Monterrey also paved the ground for talking left and
    walking right at the domestic levels of governments. In the South,
    finance ministers returned from the 2002 conference in Mexico full of
    self-important, inflated rhetoric, which (along with the temporary
    commodity boom from 2002-08) allowed them to confuse local
    constituencies into believing that taking more Washington Consensus
    medicine would lead to more generous financing terms.

    In the North, aid ministers could continue going to G8 conferences -
    especially Gleneagles in 2005 - making empty promises they knew from
    experience in Monterrey would not be taken seriously except by naive
    journalists and NGOs. The roles of the IMF and World Bank were
    relegitimised, in the immediate wake of a period of deep crisis, during
    the late 1990s Asian fiasco, when your institution was considered the
    most destructive economic force in the world, not counting US Treasury
    Secretary Lawrence Summers (now a renewed threat as chief economic
    advisor to US President-elect Barack Obama).

    In this sense, the Monterrey Consensus represented not a static, one-off
    event, but a dynamic one. It established an innovative process for
    dialogue: dynamic enough to allow for the adjustments that any learning
    process brings, but solid enough to ensure the continuity of a global
    partnership. Such a partnership continues to be premised upon coopting
    foolish Third World politicians and civilised society from international

    Indeed, the global partnership between elites and aspirant elites is
    crucial to distracting more serious initiatives - mainly by a sometimes
    uncivil society - for progressive social change premised not on a
    ridiculous harmony model, but on recognition of a logical conflict
    between neoliberal/neoconservative rulers and capitalists on the one
    side, and the mass of the world's people and our environment on the other.

    By not attending the Doha FfD meeting, you will offer a chance to
    transcend the Monterrey partnership, so that a genuine alliance of left
    and centre-left forces can be built up, to battle the degradation
    associated with financial crisis and worsening austerity, that is now
    beginning to be felt around the world, especially if the Obama
    government attempts to revive neoliberal imperialism as might reasonably
    be anticipated by his senior appointments.

    Though unforeseen at that time, the Doha Review Conference will take
    place at a time when debunking the global governance myth is more
    crucial than ever. A global financial crisis, the largest anyone alive
    has seen, is threatening to undo globalisation's destructive march, but
    only if common-sense steps are taken to weaken the existing Bretton
    Woods Institutions and all that they represent. The Conference also
    takes place amidst global crisis in food, energy and climate. The
    Monterrey follow-up offers the best hope of generating confidence in
    national states' abilities to reverse their vulnerability to global

    That will require harvesting the broad-based knowledge, ownership, and
    political support that a response to these exceptional times calls for,
    and drawing upon positive recent national experiences such as default on
    illegal/illegitimate debts (as did Argentina in 2002 and as Ecuador now
    intends), successful imposition of exchange controls (as did Malaysia in
    1998 and Venezuela in 2003), and financial reregulation and bank
    nationalisation (as are so many countries doing now). Recognition that
    national governments must regain control over financial systems and in
    the process must delink their economies from the most destructive
    characteristics of global finance, is to recall what Keynes himself
    advised: let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and
    conveniently possible, and, above all, let finance be primarily
    national (Yale Review, 22, 4, 1933, p.769).

    But developing such insights within the notoriously repressive
    conference venue at Doha - where in 2001 the World Trade Organisation
    received a temporary new lease on life - can only work if the most
    dogmatic, reactionary partners leave the table. In spite of the name of
    the political party from which you hail, the French 'Socialist Party',
    you qualify. Your institution's advice (in an Article IV consultation)
    to South Africa on 22 October, for example, was to persevere with steps
    to open the economy to greater international competition, just days
    after the most extreme outflows of finance in many months, at a time
    South Africa's current account deficit was so great that international
    agencies were lowering its credit rating. This is the kind of Old
    Washington perspective that should be missing from Doha, if a solid new
    global financial architecture, built on the existing powers of national
    states, is to be constructed.

    It is, therefore, with the utmost concern that we write to you to urge
    you to boycott the Doha Financing for Development Review. We understand
    you are seriously considering not to attend this conference, even though
    you had committed at a very early stage. We believe were you to go ahead
    with this threat, it would send the correct signal about the seriousness
    with which the IMF takes the challenges that we face, and how it
    perceives its role as a heretofore utterly destructive force against the
    international community of nations and organizations. Your boycott of
    Doha would certainly allow for new, more effective leadership in global
    financial crisis response efforts.

    Sign-on letter urging IMF Managing Director to boycott Doha FFD Review

    Name (country)

    Patrick Bond (South Africa)|

    LETTER 2)

    Please consider signing this letter which urges the IMF Managing
    Director, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to attend the Doha Review
    Conference on Financing for Development.

    Deadline is Monday November 24, by 3 pm US Eastern time.


    While initially scheduled to attend the Doha Financing for Development
    Review in Doha, the IMF Managing Director Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has
    hinted he is no longer planning to attend.

    This is very unfortunate and difficult to explain, especially given the
    extraordinary influence that has been given to the IMF in the drafting
    process (in fact, the IMF is on record making suggestions on the same
    footing with member states, even though only member states are supposed
    to formally make drafting suggestions and even though its intervention,
    with such representation regime, means an unfair advantage for some
    large developed countries in the negotiation). By withdrawing
    representation at the highest level, the gesture would send a political
    signal that seeks to undermine the strength of the UN process as it
    enters into critical matters of reform of international finance and at a
    very critical juncture in the negotiations addressing such issues at
    this moment in New York.

    The letter:

    Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
    Managing Director
    International Monetary Fund

    Dear Mr. Strauss-Kahn,

    We, the undersigned, are writing to urge you to attend the Doha Review
    Conference on Financing for Development.
    On November 29, governments of the world will gather in Doha, Qatar, to
    reassert their 2002 Monterrey Consensus commitments to “eradicate
    poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable
    development as we advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global
    economic system,” and evaluate progress.

    The Monterrey process was unique in that it represented a new and fresh
    type of multilateralism, one that sought to build bridges across
    governments, global institutions with different economic
    responsibilities, such as the one you head, development
    responsibilities, civil society and the private sector. Its
    multi-stakeholder nature generated the open, fresh approach needed for
    facing the challenges of global policy-making in a changed—and
    changing-- world. More importantly, in the collective agreement to build
    those bridges at the global level it also paved the ground for building
    those bridges at the domestic levels of governments.

    In this sense, the Monterrey Consensus represented not a static, one-off
    event, but a dynamic one. It established an innovative process for
    dialogue: dynamic enough to allow for the adjustments that any learning
    process brings, but solid enough to ensure the continuity of a global

    Though unforeseen at that time, the Doha Review Conference will take
    place at a time when those principles and commitments are more relevant
    than ever. A global financial crisis, the largest anyone alive has seen,
    is threatening to undo progress in poverty reduction and achievement of
    MDGs of several decades. The Conference also takes place amidst global
    crisis in food, energy and climate. The Monterrey follow-up offers the
    best hope of harvesting the broad-based knowledge, ownership, and
    political support that a response to these exceptional times call for.
    But it cannot work without all the partners at the table.

    It is, therefore, with the utmost concern that we write to you to urge
    you to attend the Doha Financing for Development Review. We understand
    you are seriously considering not to attend this conference, even though
    you had committed at a very early stage. We believe were you to delegate
    this responsibility, it would send the wrong signal about the
    seriousness with which the IMF takes the challenges that we face, and
    how it perceives its role as a partner in solidarity with the
    international community of nations and organizations. It would certainly
    undermine its claims to leadership in global financial crisis response

    Sign-on letter urging IMF Managing Director to attend Doha FFD Review

    Name (country)

    SAYOUTY El Hassan
    Savini lorenzo
    Sabine Mèdétadji (Benin)
    Jean-Pierre Dégué Social Watch Bénin
    Elsa Duhagon (Uruguay)
    David Obot (Uganda)
    Arjun Karki
    Abdulkadir Khalif Sh. Yusuf (Somalia)
    Verena Winkler Belgium
    Soeurs Unies à l'Oeuvre Thomasia Agbodjogbé
    Social Watch Bénin SEP
    Nouvelles Perspectives Afrique (Bénin) Sabine Mèdétadji
    Social Watch Roberto Bissio
    Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh M M Mahbub Hasan
    NURRU David Obot
    LDC Watch Arjun Karki
    Center of Concern Aldo Caliari
    VOICE/ Bangladesh Ahmed Swapan
    Somali Organisation for Community Development Acti
    EUROSTEP Belgium
    EEPA Belgium
    New Rules for Global Finance Coalition United Stat
    Soeurs Unies à l'Oeuvre
    Coastal Development Partnership (CDP)
    Network of Ugandan Researchers and Research Users
    Somali Organisation for Community Development Activ

    Eskom and World Bank sowing the seeds of destruction

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     Isaac Khambule, CCS Seminar: A 5 Year Review of South Africa’s National Development Plan and its Developmental State Ambition. Wednesday 29 May 2019 
     CCS Documentary Screening: Everything Must Fall. Thursday 30 May 2019 
     Patrick Bond, Lisa Thompson & Mbuso Ngubane, CCS and African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy Seminar: The Local-Global Political Economy of Durban. Friday 17 May 2019 
     Judith Ojo-Aromokudu CCS Seminar: Understanding the spatial language of informal settlements in Durban: Informing upgrading programs for self-reliant and sustainable communities. Tuesday 7 May 2019 
     CCS and φowerfest! Free Public Screening: Shadow World. Thursday 25 April 2019 
     Lubna Nadvi, CCS and UKZN School of Social Sciences Seminar – What do party lists reveal about political parties contesting the 2019 SA Elections? Wednesday 24 April 2019 
     Lukhona Mnguni, CCS and the UKZN Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit Seminar: Elections 2019 and South Africa’s 25 years of Democracy "Where to from here?". Wednesday 18 April 2019 
     Sthembiso Khuluse and Daniel Dunia, CCS and the Right2Know Campaign Seminar: Your Right To Protest in South Africa. Friday 12 April 2019 
     Lerato Malope CCS Seminar: Service Delivery and Citizen Participation in Cato Manor. Wednesday 10 April 2019 
     Ranjita Mohanty, Ilya Matveev, Brian Meir CCS Seminar: Democratising Development: Struggles for Rights and Social Justice – An Indian Case Study. Friday 5 April 2019 
     Nduduzo Majozi, CCS Seminar: Housing Service Delivery in Cato Manor. Wednesday 27 March 2019 
     Ben Madokwe, CCS Special Webinar Series:Right2Know Campaign 
     Danford Chibvongodze, CCS Documentary Screening: An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela. Friday 29 March 2019 
     Geoff Harris and Tlohang Letsie CCS Seminar - Demilitarising Lesotho: The Peace Dividend - A Basic Income Grant? Wednesday 20 March 2019 
     Thobani Zikalala CCS Seminar: Wokeness vs Consciousness. Wednesday 13 March 2019 
     Nisha Naidoo, CCS: Impact Strategy Workshop. Thursday 7 March 2019 
     Philisiwe Mazibuko & Percy Nhau, CCS Seminar: The ‘#Data Must Fall’ Campaign. Wednesday 6 March 2019 
     Mzamo Zondi CCS Seminar: Empowering Communities to Self-Mobilise: The TAC Method. Wednesday 27 February 2019 
     Nisha Naidoo, CCS: Impact Strategy Workshop. Wednesday 13 February 2019 
     Aziz Choudry and Salim Vally, CCS Seminar: History's Schools: Past Struggles and Present Realities. Tuesday 27 November 2018 
     CCS & Powerfest Public Screening The Public Bank Solution: How can we own our oewn banks?. Thursday 8 November 2018 
     Dr Victor Ayeni, CCS and African Ombudsman Research Centre Seminar: Improving Service Delivery in Africa. Tuesday 6 November 2018 
     Alude Mahali, CCS & HSRC Present Documentary Screening & Seminar: Ready or Not!. Thursday 22 November 2018 
     CCS & Powerfest, Public Screening of "Busted: Money Myths and Truths Revealed". Thursday 25 October 2018 
     Henrik Bjorn Valeur, A Culture of Fearing ‘The Other’: Spatial Segregation in South Africa. Wednesday 7 November 2018 
     Danford Chibvongodze, Seminar Six: "Half Man, Half Amazing"- The Gift of Nasir Jones' Music to African Collective Identity. Thursday, 11 October 2018 
     Brian Minga Amza and Dime Maziba, CCS Seminar: 31 Years Later - A Consideration of the Ideas of Thomas Sankara. Wednesday, 24 October 2018 
     Ajibola Adigun CCS Seminar: African Pedagogy and Decolonization: Debunking Myths and Caricatures. Thursday 18 October 2018 
     CCS & Powerfest! Public Screening of "FALSE PROFITS: SA AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS". Wednesday, 26 September 2018 
     CCS Seminar: Co-Production of Knowledge - Lessons from Innovative Sanitation Service Delivery in Thandanani and Banana City informal Settlements, Durban. Wednesday 17 October 2018 
     Mxolisi Nyuswa, CCS Community Scholars Seminar: Complexities and Challenges for Civil Society Building and Unity: Perspectives from the KZN Civil Society Coalition. Thursday 27 September 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS Documentary Screening: Rural Development and Livelihoods in South Africa. Thursday 13 September 2018 
     Thobani Zikalala, CCS Seminar: Adopting a Black Consciousness Analysis in Understanding Land Expropriation in South Africa. Wednesday, 12 September 2018 
     Simbarashe Tembo, CCS Seminar: Constitutionalism in Zimbabwe: An Interrogation of the 2018 Election. Wednesday, 19 September 2018 
     CCS Community Scholar Workshop Activism and Technology. Wednesday, 29 August 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS Documentary Screening: Canada's Dark Secret. Thursday 30 August 2018  
      CCS UKZN & Powerfest!: Festival of Powerful Ideas, Public Screening: The D.I.Y Economy. Friday, 24 August 2018 
     Daniel Byamungu Dunia, CCS Seminar: Building capacity and skills for effective and successful integration of refugee communities in South Africa. Wednesday 8 August 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS Documentary Screening: Human Trafficking, Thursday 19 July 2018 
     CCS UKZN & Powerfest!: Festival of Powerful Ideas, Public Screening of AUTOGESTIo. Thursday 12 July 2018 
     Wenche Dageid, CCS Seminar: Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development – prospects for health and equity. Monday 9 July 2018  
     Sachil Singh, CCS Seminar: Questioning the Medical Value of Data on Race and Ethnicity: A case study of the DynaMed Point of Care tool. Thursday 5 July 2018  
     CCS Seminar: Should I stay or should I go? Exploring mobility in the context of climatically-driven environmental change, Wednesday 27 June 2018 
     Gerald Boyce, CCS Seminar: From blackest night to brightest day, Thursday 28 June 2018 
     CCS, UKZN and Powerfest Festival of Powerful Ideas: Cuba-An African Odyssey, 14 June 2018 
     Mvu Ngcoya, CCS and Critical Times, Critical Race Project Great African Thinkers Seminar Series 2017 / 2018: Land as a multi-splendorous thing: Kwasi Wiredu on how to think about land, Wednesday 30 May 2018 
     Deborah Ewing, Emma Goutte-Gattat, Aron Hagos Tesfai CCS and AIDS Foundation Seminar: Using technology to improve refugee and migrant access to sexual and reproductive health care?,Thursday 31 May 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS Documentary Screening: White Helmets, Thursday 24 May 2018 
     CCS, UKZN & Powerfest! Festival of Powerful Ideas: Celebrating Africa Month Stealing Africa, Wednesday 16 May 2018 
     Andrew Lawrence CCS Seminar - Obstacles to realising the 'Million Climate Jobs' Vision: Which policy strategies can work? When? How?, Friday 18 May 2018 
     Chris Desmond CCS Seminar: Liberation Studies: Development through Recognition, Wednesday 9 May 2018 
     CCS, UKZN, Powerfest: Festival of Powerful Ideas (FREE FILM AND POPCORN SERIES), Thursday 26 April 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS Documentary Screening: April Theme Earth Day "Seeds of Sovereignty" & "Cowspiracy"...Discover environmentalism. 19 April 2018 
     Alfred Moraka, How Not To Despoil Yourself of African Wonders: Oyeronke Oyewumi’s work as African Epistemological Enchantment. Wednesday 18 April 2018 
     Dr Joseph Rudigi Rukema, CCS Seminar: Entrepreneurship through Research - Converting Research into Community Projects. Wednesday 11 April 2018 
     Philile Langa, Centre for Civil Society and Critical Times, Critical Race Project Great African Thinkers Seminar Series 2017 / 2018. Thursday 29 March 2018 
     Confessions of an Economic Hitman, The Centre for Civil Society and Powerfest: Festival of Powerful Ideas 2018 Free Film and Popcorn Series. Wednesday 28 March 2018 
     Professor Siphamandla Zondi, CCS and International Relations, School of Social Sciences Seminar: Hearing Africa Speak Again - Amilcar Cabral’s Seven Theses on the African Predicament Today. Tuesday 27 March 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS Documentary Screening: #MeToo vs. Time's Up & We Should All Be Feminists. Thursday 22 March 2018 
     Documentary Screening, CCS and KZN Palestine Forum Documentary Screening: Anti Black Racism and Israel’s White Supremacy, 14 March 2018 
     Mary de Haas, Of Corruption and Commissions but no Conclusions Seminar Series: The Moerane Commission, 15 March 2018 
     Jay Johnson, CCS Seminar: Contested Rights and Spaces in the City: the Case of Refugee Reception Offices in South Africa, 13 March 2018 
     Daniel Byamungu Dunia,CCS and Africa Solidarity Network (ASONET) Seminar: The Trials of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants in South Africa , 1 March 2018  
     97% Owned, CCS and Powerfest: Festival of Powerful Ideas 2018, Documentary Screening Series 2018, 28 February 2018 
     King Sibiya, CCS and Powerfest: Festival of Powerful Ideas, 27 February 2018 
     Eliza Solis-Maart, CCS: Documentary Screening , 22 February 2018 
     Siviwe Mdoda, Right 2 Know (R2K) Campaign Seminar: Public Interest Information vs Private Information: Jacques Pauw’s ‘The President’s Keepers’ Case, 1 February 2018 
     Shaun Ruggunan CCS Seminar: Waves of Change: Globalisation and Labour Markets, 15 November 2017 
     Gerard Boyce The Dentons Commission, 1 November 2017 
     Ndumiso Dladla Prolegomenon to an Africanist Historiography in South Africa: Mogobe Ramose’s Critical Philosophy of Race, 25 October 2017 
     Eliza Solis-Maart CSS Seminar: Young Civil Society and Contemporary Issues, 11 October 2017 
     Rozena Maart Great African Thinkers Seminar Series 2017 / 2018 , 27 September 2017 
     Gerard Boyce CCS Seminar: Of Corruption and Commissions but no Conclusions Seminar Series, 20 September 2017  
     Shauna Mottiar CCS Seminar: Everyday Forms of Resistance in Durban, 1 September 2017 
     Mhlobo Gunguluzi and Thabane Miya Centre for Civil Society and Right2Know Campaign Seminar: The Right to Protest, 27 July 2017 
     Bandile Mdlalose, Daniel Dunia and Nisha Naidoo, The Peoples Economic Forum Responds to the World Economic Forum, 1 June 2017 
     Mvu Ngcoya, Rozena Maart, Shaun Ruggunan, Mershen Pillay Centre for Civil Society Seminar: Decolonising Curricula, 25 May 2017 
     Peter Sutoris, Environmental Activism and Environmental Education: (De) Politicising Struggles in India and South Africa, 18 May 2017 
     Lubna Nadvi, Lukhona Mnguni, Shauna Mottiar, The April 7th Protests, 20 April 2017 
     John Devenish, CCS Seminar: The use of interactive maps and scatter graphs to study protest in the BRICS countries, 13 April 2017  
     Shauna Mottiar, Mvuselelo Ngcoya BOOK LAUNCH: Philanthropy in South Africa - Horizontality, ubuntu and social justice, 22 March 2017 
     Peter McKenzie Photo Exhibition - Durbanity, 09 March 2017 
     Elisabet Van Wymeersch On change, conflicts and planning theory: the transformative potential of disruptive contestation, 2 March 2017 
     Daniel Byamungu Dunia, Africa Solidarity Network (ASONET) Community Building Workshop: CRIMINALISATION OF HATE CRIMES AND HATE SPEECH, 24 February 2017 
     Jasper Finkeldey, Centre for Civil Society Seminar: (No) Limits to extraction? Popular Mobilization and the Impacts of the Extractive Industries in KZN, 9 February 2017 
     Bandile Mdlalose, New Urban Agenda’ – Report Back from Habitat III, United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development Ecuador, 28 November 
     Patrick Bond, From Trump to BRICS, where is civil society headed? 18 November 
     Gerard Boyce, Arguments in favour of putting the South African government's nuclear plans to a popular referendum, 28 October  
     Duduzile Khumalo, Sibongile Buthelezi, Cathy Sutherland, Vicky Sim, Social constructions of environmental services in a rapidly densifying peri-urban area under dual governance in eThekwini Municipality, 26 October  
     Itai Kagwere, Daniel Byamungu Dunia and Gabriel Hertis CCS Seminar: Challenges of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants in South Africa, 26 August 
     Alex Hotz CCS Seminar: Challenging Secrecy and Surveillance: Building Anti-Surveillance Activism, 19 August 
     Delwyn Pillay CCS Seminar: Sight on the target: Tackling destructive fishing, 12 August 
     Carolijn van Noort CCS Seminar: “Strategic narratives of infrastructural development: is BRICS modernizing the tale?”, 26 July 
     CCS Co-Hosts: The Governance and Politics of HIV AIDS, 19 July 
     Moises Arce CCS Seminar: The Political Consequences of Mobilizations against Resource Extraction, 12 July 
     Zimbabwe's Despondent Political Economy - a Durban workshop to honour Sam Moyo 13-14 June 2016 
     Patrick Bond gives political economy lecture to Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Women in Business Forum, 26 April 2016 
     CCS hosts mining critics for press conference, 7 April 
     Assassination in Xolobeni: Film screening and memorial meeting for Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, 6 April 
     Patrick Bond & Ana Garcia launch BRICS in Toronto, 31 March 
     Akin Akikboye CCS Seminar: KZN's Internally Displaced People, 31 March 
     Patrick Bond & Ana Garcia present critique of world ports, New York, 30 March 
     Dieter Lünse CCS Seminar: Strength of nonviolent action, 22 March 
     Hafsa Kanjwal CCS Seminar: India in Turmoil, 23 March 
     Patrick Bond testifies at public hearing on Transnet's South Durban plans, 21 March 
     Patrick Bond lectures on BRICS and Pan-Africanism, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 15 March 
     Yaa Ashantewaa K. Archer-Ngidi CCS Seminar: The role of Black women in liberation, 10 March 
     Patrick Bond reports on research into urban economic and ecological violence, IDRC & UKAID conference, Johannesburg, 8 March 
     Patrick Bond addresses Women in Mining (Womin) conference on movement building, Johannesburg, 7 March 
     Allen & Barbara Isaacman CCS Seminar: Dams, displacement, and the delusion of development, 4 March  
     Patrick Bond presents South Durban paper in Merebank, 2 March 
     Andrew Lawrence CCS Seminar: Why nuclear energy is bad for South Africa, bad for the world—and how it can be opposed, 29 February 2016  
     China Ngubane , Chumile Sali & Dalli Weyers CCS Seminar: Social Justice Coalition Citizen Oversight of Policing in Khayelitsha Court Case Presentation, 26 February 
     CCS hosts groundWork, SDCEA and FrackFreeSA for climate and energy workshop, 25 February 
     Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Can the SA budget afford #FeesMustFall demands and other social spending? 23 February  
     Patrick Bond joins Mondli Hlatshwayo & Aziz Choudry to launch Just Work, Ike's Books, 22 February 
     Peter Cole CCS Seminar: A History of Dockers, Social Movements and Transnational Solidarity in Durban and San Francisco, 17 February 
     Patrick Bond lectures on BRICS at Univ of the Western Cape, Cape Town, 15 February 
     Delwyn Pillay, Jorim Gerrad, Madaline George & Nozipho Mkhabela CCS Seminar: A return to MUTOKO, Zimbabwe, 10 February  
     Nick Turse CCS Seminar: AFRICOM’s New Math and “Scarier” Times Ahead in Africa, 5 February 
     Menzi Maseko & Mandla Mbuyisa CCS Seminar: Black Consciousness, Fees Must Fall and Lessons from the Life of Ongkopotse Tiro, 1 February  
     Gabriel Hertis, China Ngubane & Daniel Dunia CCS Seminar: Central African and Zimbabwean geopolitics and their implications for Durban civil society II, 27 January  
     Patrick Bond keynote at Tata Institute Development Studies conference, 23 January 
     Patrick Bond, Thando Manzi, Bandile Mdlalose & China Ngubane present urban analysis at Tata Institute, Mumbai, 19-22 January 
     Patrick Bond, Achin Vanaik, Ajay Patnaik & Alka Acharya launch BRICS book, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 18 January 
     Gabriel Hertis, China Ngubane, Daniel Dumia & Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: African geopolitics and their implications for Durban civil society I, 11 January 
     Events Index 2015 
     CCS students Boaventura Monjane, Mithika Mwenda, Tabitha Spence & Celia Alario at the COP21 climate summit, Paris, 1-12 December 
     Jorim Gerrard & Paul Steffen CCS Seminar: Influencing society's views of refugees, 9 December  
     Workshop on Climate Change and Environmental Justice with the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, 7-10 December  
     Ashwin Desai, Betty Govinden, Crispin Hemson & Andile Mngxitama CCS Seminar: The Gandhi debate, 27 November 
     Stefano Battain & Daniela Biocca CCS Seminar: Alternative development or alternative to development? 27 November 
     Patrick Bond debates Sihle Zikalala & Vasu Gounden on the state of South Africa, eThekwini Progressive Professionals Forum, 25 November 
     CCS Seminar: Remembering Sam Moyo, 25 November  
     Christelle Terreblanche debates Ubuntu at the University of Pretoria, 23 November 
     Patrick Bond & Toendepi Shonhe CCS Seminar: BRICS crumble, commodities crash and Africa's climate changes, 20 November 
     Patrick Bond seminar on BRICS banking at University of Cape Town School of Economics, 16 November 
     Delwyn Pillay CCS Seminar: KZN civil society responses to the Paris Climate Change Conference, 9 November 
     Patrick Bond with Numsa and BRICS climate critique at Historical Materialism conference, London, 5-6 November 
     Andile Mngxitama CCS Seminar: Black First! but what is Black? 4 November 
     Patrick Bond seminar on BRICS as sub-imperialism at Open University, 4 November 
     Patrick Bond debates BRICS and climate change at Sussex University, 3 November 
     Mondli Hlatshwayo CCS Seminar: Numsa, technological change and politics at ArcelorMittal's Vanderbijlpark plant, 22 October 
     Tri Continental Film Festival Screenings at CCS 21-24 October 
     Patrick Bond delivers keynote at Cyprus conference on mining and sustainable development, 16 October 
     Patrick Bond launches BRICS book in New York 19 October 
     Brian Minga Anza, Mwamba Kalombo Thithi & Sinqobangaye Magestic Pro Sibisi CCS Seminar: Creative challenges to xenophobia, 15 October 2015 
     Patrick Bond, Bandile Mdlalose & China Ngubane CCS Seminar: Inequality, the criminalisation of protest and internecine social conflict, 9 October 
     Patrick Bond delivers sustainability keynote to SA Public Health Association conference, 8 October 
     Patrick Bond debates UN Sustainable Development Goals, ClassicFM, Johannesburg, 1 October 
     Patrick Bond talks on African uprisings at Mapungubwe Institute, Pretoria, 30 September 
     Patrick Bond debates Africa in the world economy, Channel Africa, Johannesburg, 29 September 
     Ana Garcia presents BRICS critique at Geopolitical Economy conference, Winnipeg, 26 September 
     Patrick Bond lectures on degrowth in Berlin, 16 September 
     CCS welcomes World Social Science Forum to Durban, with talks by Vuyiseka Dubula, Patrick Bond & others in CCS, 13 - 16 September  
     CCS welcomes Codesria and WSSF to Ike's Books, 12 September 
     CCS hosts the South-South Institute during the World Social Science Forum, 10-18 September 
     Patrick Bond lectures at Codesria/Osisa Economic Justice Institute, 8-9 September 
     Patrick Bond, Boaventura Monjane & Mithika Mwenda at Africa Climate Talks, Dar es Salaam, 3-5 September 
     Vladimir Slivyak What's wrong with Russia's nuclear energy deal-making? 4 September  
     John Devenish CCS Seminar: Mapping social unrest in South Africa, 1 September  
     Patrick Bond lectures on climate and deglobalisation alternatives at Attac University, Marseille, 26 August 
     Patrick Bond lecture on legacy of Rosa Luxemburg at New School for Social Research, New York, 21 August 
     China Ngubane CCS Seminar: Xenophobia as symptom, 20 August  
     Justine van Rooyen CCS Seminar: The Social Inclusion/Exclusion of Intersex South Africans, 12 August 
     Patrick Bond keynote speech at BRICS-in-Africa conference, Livingstone, 7-11 August 
     Patrick Bond and Sam Moyo speak at Trust Africa conference on Illicit Financial Flows, Harare, 3 August 
     Patrick Bond delivers paper on climate and the blue economy, Wits University, 2 August 
     Patrick Bond in economic debate at M&G Literary Festival, Johannesburg, 1 August 
     Yaa Ashantewaa Ngidi CCS Seminar: The state of the Pan Africanist movement, 30 July 
     Ryan Solomon CCS Seminar: Belonging, inclusion and South African civil society in the campaigns against AIDS and xenophobia, 29 July 
     Patrick Bond moderates UKZN College of Humanities debate on xenophobia and higher ed transformation, 28 July 
     Lloyd Sachikonye CCS Seminar: Social research and civil society in Zimbabwe, 28 July 
     Patrick Bond & Mithika Mwenda at Climate Futures symposium, Italy, 13-17 July 
     China Ngubane, Bandile Mdlalose & Nonhle Mbuthuma CCS Seminar: The state of social activism against xenophobia, human rights violations and mining exploitation - three case sites, 3 July 
     CCS co-hosts (with Chris Hani Institute) World Association for Political Economy, Johannesburg, 19-21 June 
     CCS workshop with ASONET, Action Support Centre and South African Liaison Office, on South Africa, Peace and Security in the post-2015 Development Agenda, 10-11 June 
     CCS/ASONET workshop on xenophobia, 5 June 
     Alf Nilsen launches his book We Make Our Own History, at Ike's Books, 4 June 
     Patrick Bond addresses civil society electricity crisis summit on load-shedding, Johannesburg, 2 June  
     Patrick Bond talks on extractivism, BRICS sub-imperialism and South Africa at Left Forum, New York, 30-31 May 
     China Ngubane, Gabriel Hertis, Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Persistent Durban xenophobia and Operation Fiela, 20 May 
     CCS hosts Colgate University students for social movement research, June 
     Nonhle Mbuthuma CCS Seminar: Xolobeni mining, unobtanium-titanium battle update, 14 May 
     Patrick Bond lecture on carbon markets and climate debt, Gyeongsang University, Jinju, Korea, 12 May 
     Patrick Bond speaks on South African political economy, Hong Kong Reader bookshop, 11 May 
     Gcina Makoba, Bandile Mdlalose & China Ngubane CCS Seminar: Rhodes' walls must fall! 30 April  
     CCS Film Screening: The GAMA Strike A victory for all workers, 24 April 
     Patrick Bond lectures on degrowth and the green economy, Berlin, 21 April 
     Faith ka Manzi & Bandile Mdlalose at Climate Justice strategy meeting, Maputo, April 21-23 
     Paul Kariuki, Bandile Mdlalose, China Ngubane CCS Seminar: Xenophobia in Durban, 14 April 
     CCS joins Greenpeace and R2K in solidarity meeting with Somkhele coal victims, northern KZN, 12 April 
     China Ngubane & Jean-Pierre Lukamba CCS Seminar: Xenophobia in Isipingo, 7 April 
     Patrick Bond lecture on water commodification and resistance at Zimbabwe Sustainable Economics Forum, Harare, 9 April 
     Alice Thomson, Desmond D’Sa & Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Liberal and radical approaches to Environmental Justice campaigning, 1 April 
     Patrick Bond speaks on coalitions for national economic sovereignty, World Social Forum, University of Tunis el Manar, 25 March 
     Akin Akiboye & Jorim Gerrard CCS Seminar: Xenophobia and displacement, 17 March 
     Sofie Hellberg CCS Seminar: Water, life and politics in Durban, 10 March 
     Faith kaManzi, Nonhle Mbuthuma, Melissa Hansen & others International Women’s Day at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society: Resistance to Resource Cursing in KZN, the Eastern Cape and the DRC, 9th March 
     Israeli Apartheid Week Events 2 - 8 March 
     Baruti Amisi and Boaventura Monjane speak at US Power Africa conference, University of Illinois, 2-4 March 
     Baruti Amisi, Gerard Boyce & Patrick Bond CCS Workshop: 'False solutions' to climate and energy crises, 26 February 
     Carlos Cardoso CCS Seminar: Knowledge production and intellectual formation in Africa from Codesria's perspective, 20 February 
     Benny Wenda CCS Seminar: The campaign to free West Papua, 19 February 
     Gcina Makoba & Faith ka-Manzi CCS Seminar: Campaigning against coal in KZN, 18 February 
     Patrick Bond debates BRICS sherpa Anil Sooklal, UCT Centre for Conflict Resolution, 16 February 
     Desmond D'Sa, David Le Page, Bhavna Deonarain, Winnie Mdletshe & others: Launch of Fossil Free KZN, 13 February 
     Angus Joseph CCS Seminar: Climate justice and solidarity from Lima to Paris, 13 February 
     Nhamo Chikowore & China Ngubane Zimbabwe's new conjuncture and SA's new xenophobia, 6 February 
     Baruti Amisi, Brain Amza & and Jacky Kabidu DRC uprising, repression and solidarity, 5 February 
     Chris Coward CCS Seminar: New spaces of social activism, 28 January 
     Immanuel Ness CCS Seminar: Lessons from the labour movements of China and India, 27 January 
     Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Electricity crisis scenarios, 20 January 
     Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Oil spills, coal digs, resource cursing and resistance, 12 January 
     Events Index 2014 
     Gcina Makoba & Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: United Front Preparatory Assembly assessment, 22 December 
     Thando Manzi, Au Loong Yu & John Devenish CCS Seminar: BRICS-from-below struggles for justice, 19 December 
     CCS hosts South Durban climate camp, 8-11 December 
     Patrick Bond, Bandile Mdlalose, Shauna Mottiar, Themba Mchunu & China Ngubane CCS press conference and workshop: Durban politics stressed to break-point, 5 December 
     Mondli Hlatshwayo CCS Seminar: Organised labour's losses since 1994, worker-community relations after 2014, 28 November 
     Patrick Bond critiques World Bank at UWC poverty conference, 27 November 
     CCS hosts launch of Fossil Free South Africa, 27 November 
     Faith ka-Manzi debates SA social protest at Gumede Lecture, Durban History Museum, 27 November 
     Melissa Hansen CCS Seminar: Struggles over conservation space in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, 24 November  
     Patrick Bond lectures on Africa's Resource Curse, Stellenbosch University, 20 November 
     Vuyiseka Dubula, Faith ka-Manzi & Mzamo Zondi CCS Seminar: Treatment Action Campaign reaches the knife-edge, 18 November, 2014 
     CCS hosts Durban environmental network, 15 November 
     Aziz Choudry CCS Seminar: Learning and research in social movements, 14 November 
     Aziz Choudry CCS Seminar: NGOization, 'civil society' and social change: Complicity, contradictions and prospects, 13 November 
     Gun Free South Africa workshop with CCS, 12 November 
     Creesen Naicker CCS Seminar: Sport for Development in South Africa, 11 November 
     Patrick Bond joins SA panel at Historical Materialism conference, London, 7 November 
     Patrick Bond lectures on neoliberalism and social policy at South-South Institute in Bangkok, 5 November 
     Patrick Bond keynote address on African IT, to the International Development Informatics Association, 3 November 
     Patrick Bond debates GDP with SA government, Pretoria, 31 October 
     Patrick Bond debates GDP reform at University of Pretoria, 28 October 
     China Ngubane and Patrick Bond at UKZN Geography workshop on community politics, 24 October 
     CCS hosts CT Social Justice Coalition training on sanitation advocacy, 22 October 
     CCS hosts Greenpeace film on climate and Arctic oil, Black Ice, 14 October 
     Diana Buttu CCS Seminar: The situation in Palestine, 8 October 
     Mithika Mwenda lecture on climate justice at Climate Change and Development Conference, Morocco, 7 October 
     Stefan Cramer CCS Seminar on Karoo fracking, 7 October 
     Omar Shaukat CCS Seminar: Thinking through ISIS, 1 October 
     Patrick Bond lecture on SA social policy at University of Burgundy, Dijon, 25 September 
     Patrick Bond debates Mark Weisbrot on BRICS at IPS, Washington, 23 September 
     Mithika Mwenda and Patrick Bond talk on climate justice, Converge for Climate at Graffiti Church, New York City, 20 September 
     Awethu! network meets at CCS, 20 September 
     Patrick Bond lecture on South Africa at City University of New York, 18 September 
     John Saul and Patrick Bond launch books at Cape Town Open Book Fair, 17 September 
     The UKZN Centre for Civil Society and Palestine Solidarity Forum host a Gaza Documentary Screening, 11 September  
     Gcina Makoba update on recyclables project in Inanda, 15 September 
     Patrick Bond debates the causes and implications of Marikana at the Durban Democracy and Development Programme, 10 September 
     Mnikeni Phakathi & Asha Moodley CCS Seminar (with the Right to Know Campaign): Student Protest at UKZN 2014, 5 September 
     Patrick Bond debates climate and energy at Univ of Leipzig 'Degrowth' conference, Germany, 5 September 
     Gcina Makoba & Patrick Bond Durban water and sanitation policies, projects and politics, 1 September 
     Patrick Bond input on BRICS at Centre for Conflict Resolution seminar, Pretoria, 31 August 
     Patrick Bond on Resource Curses and antidotes, at Institute for Social and Economic Studies, Maputo, 28 August 
     China Ngubane & Sizwe Shiba Southern African people's solidarity dynamics, 28 August 
     Patrick Bond lecture on South Durban strategy, Gyeongsang National University, South Korea, 22 August 
     Patrick Bond lecture on SA political economy at Chinese Academy of Marxism, Beijing, 20 August 
     Mithika Mwenda CCS Seminar: Climate change and global policy battles, 15 August 
     Niall Reddy CCS Seminar: BRICS after Fortaleza, 14 August 
     Ilan Pappé Dennis Brutus Memorial Lecture: Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine, 5 August 
     UKZN CCS Masters Student Mithika Mwenda testifies on Climate Justice on Our Common Planet, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA, 4 August 
     Loraine Dongo & Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Climate, oil and activism in South Africa, 31 July  
     Patrick Bond debates Intensive Energy User Group's Shaun Nel on energy, SAfm, 23 July 
     Patrick Bond debates SACP's Alex Mashilo on SA politics, SA Democratic Teachers Union KZN Province, Durban, 24 July 
     Susan Spronk Contesting Water Privatisation through an Efficiency Narrative, 23 July 
     Matt Meyer The State of the Art in Non-violent Civil Disobedience, 22 July 
     Patrick Bond discusses infrastructure finance, Fortaleza, 15 July 
     Patrick Bond debates JP Landman on SA poli econ, Ike's Books, 9 July 
     CCS-Brazilian collaboration at the 2014 BRICS Summit, 14-16 July in Fortaleza 
     Bhekinkosi Moyo CCS Seminar: Southern African civil society, 7 July 
     Jack Dyer CCS Seminar: The economic consequences of Durban's port expansion, 25 June 2014 
     Patrick Bond lecture on SA macroeconomic conditions, at UKZN SA Research Chair initiative workshop, 20 June 
     Patrick Bond debates SA soccer leader Danny Jordaan on the World Cup's legacy, BBC radio, 18 June 
     John Devenish CCS Seminar: Protests in India, South Africa & Brazil The issues participants & tactics, 17 June 2014 
     Patrick Bond debates the SA economy with MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, UKZN Business School, 11 June 
     Patrick Bond debates sustainability at Governance Innovation conference, University of Pretoria, 5 June 
     CCS hosts mineworker solidarity event, 31 May 
     Patrick Bond lecture on South African water commodification, University of London, 30 May 
     Patrick Bond debates 'Africa Rising (or Uprising?)' in Maputo at Frelimo Political School, 29 May 2014 
     Patrick Bond speaks on global finance at the World Association for Political Economy, Hanoi, 24 May 
     Shauna Mottiar presents at 'Contentious Politics' seminar, University of Johannesburg, 22 May 
     Patrick Bond & China Ngubane CCS Seminar: BRICS from above, the middle and below: which directions for alliances and conflicts? 16 May 
     Patrick Bond debates BRICS civil society, SA Institute of International Affairs, Johannesburg, 13 May 
     Patrick Bond presentation on climate justice governance via skype to Linkoping University, Sweden, 8 May 
     Gcina Makoba and Thuli Hlela host Miners Shot Down in Durban townships, 1 May 
     Admos Chimhowu CCS Seminar: Food Sovereignty Discourses, Land and Labour in Southern Africa, 30 April 
     Patrick Bond presents on BRICS geopolitics and BRICS banking, Rio de Janeiro, 28-29 April 
     Shauna Mottiar delivers paper on popular protest in South Africa, Oxford University, 26 April 
     Floyd Shivambu, Innocent Ndiki, Louise Colvin and Patrick Bond CCS Workshop: Which critiques of post-Apartheid malgovernance - and which counter strategies - come next?, 25 April 
     Bram Buscher CCS Seminar: ‘I Nature’: Web 2.0, Social Media and the Political Economy of Conservation, 25 April 
     Patrick Bond discusses DeSutcliffisation at Durban University of Technology Urban Futures Centre, 24 April 
     Patrick Bond talk on SA@20 in New York, 19 April 
     Patrick Bond keynote lecture on climate, health and risk, University of Washington, Seattle, 17 April 
     Ken Walibora Waliaula CCS Seminar: Remembering and Disremembering Africa, 16 April 
     Ben Turok School of Social Sciences & CCS Seminar: With my head above the parapet: An insider account of the ANC in power, 15 April 
     Thando Manzi CCS Seminar: Brazilian civil society contests the World Cup, economic injustice and BRICS, 10 April 
     Patrick Bond gives three talks at the Association of American Geographers, Tampa, 10 April 
     Patrick Bond on comparative solidarity with Palestine and South Africa, Johns Hopkins University, 7 April 
     Patrick Bond paper on Climate Change, Debt and Justice in Africa at University of North Carolina conference, 5 April 
     Zackie Achmat, Thando Manzi, Paul Routledge Dennis Brutus Memorial Debate: The state of our social movements, from SA to BRICS to the world 31 March  
     Paul Routledge CCS/Development Studies seminar on politics of climate change, 31 March 
     Zackie Achmat and Ndifuma Ukwazi offer activist Autumn School, 31 March - 2 April 
     Prince Mashele CCS Seminar: The fall of the ANC, 28 March 
     Patrick Bond seminar on a Redistributive Eco-Debt Payment system, University of Lund, 28 March 
     Waldemar Diener CCS Seminar: Identity formation amongst immigrant traditional healers, 27 March  
     Charles Mangongera & Toendepi Shonhe CCS Seminar: Who rules Zimbabwe - and what should civil society do now? , 25 March 
     Patrick Bond and Xolani Dube debate 20 years of liberation (plus booklaunch), Time of the Writer festival, 20 March 
     Lukhona Mnguni, Molaudi Sekake & Lesiba Seshoka (invited)CCS Seminar: UKZN student woes and freedom of expression, 20 March  
     Patrick Bond responds to Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim foreign policy presentation, 19 March 
     Vanessa Burger and Faith kaManzi support Durban harbour mobilisation, Dalton Hostel, 16 March 
     Israeli Apartheid Week talk by Miko Peled, CCS co-sponsorship with Palestine Solidarity movement, 14 March 
     Peter McKenzie CCS Seminar: Cato Manor Between hope and Possibility, 13 March 
     Patrick Bond testimony on water politics at SA Human Rights Commission, 11 March 
     Patrick Bond lecture at Rosa Luxemburg centenary of Accumulation of Capital, Berlin, 9 March 
     Patrick Bond seminar on SA's Resource Curse, Harare, 28 February 
     Sreeram Chaulia CCS Seminar on Brazil-Russia-India-China-SA, 25 February 
     Patrick Bond seminar on 'tokenistic' social policy at UKZN Development Studies, 19 February 
     Patrick Bond addresses PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance challenges, Dakar, 10 February 
     China Ngubane addresses conference on Community Serving Humanity, UKZN, 12 February 
     Vishwas Satgar runs workshop on the United Front approach, 30 January 
     Patrick Bond addresses Numsa shopstewards on economic crises, Johannesburg, 25 January 
     Patrick Bond testifies to Parliament against mega-projects, 16 January 
     Shauna Mottiar Protest and participation in Cato Manor, Merebank and Wentworth, 15 January  
     Patrick Bond lecture on development and political economy and method, Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine, 6 January 
     Events Index 2013 
     China Ngubane and Patrick Bond speak at the People's Dialogue BRICS strategy session, Johannesburg, 10-12 December 
     Thando Manzi and Patrick Bond discuss Durban slum research at the Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, 10 December 
     Patrick Bond, Farai Maguwu and Khadija Sharife testify to African Union commission against corruption, Arusha, 7 December 
     Mithika Mwenda CCS Seminar: Report-back from Warsaw climate summit, 6 December 
     Patrick Bond debates natural capital and GDP at Wits University, Johannesburg, 5 December 
     CCS hosts Democracy from Below citizenship movement 30 November - 1 December 
     Giuliano Martinello CCS Seminar: Dispossession and resistance to SA agribusiness in the new scramble for Southern and Eastern African land, 28 November  
     Patrick Bond at South Durban BRICS-from-below campaign against port-petrochemical expansion, Wentworth, 27 November 
     Film Screenings: Non-Violence as a Strategy for Social Change: CCS Seminar room, 19 September, 17 October, 21 November 
     Patrick Bond debates climate and capitalism at COP19 in Warsaw, 17 November 
     CCS participates in South Durban People's Climate Camp, 14-17 November 
     Patrick Bond lectures on global finance in Brussels, 13-15 November 
     Patrick Bond presents on Commoning, Rights and Praxis at Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin, 8 November 
     Patrick Bond public lecture on the New Africa Scramble in Berlin, 7 November 
     Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: Financial crises and social resistance, from household to global scales, 6 November 
     Gcina Makoba & Muna Lakhani CCS Seminar: Mapping Waste From Cradle to Grave: the Inkanyezi Community Recyclers and Global Zero-Waste Movement, 31 October 
     CCS founder Adam Habib launches South Africa's Suspended Revolution, Ike's Books, 29 October 
     Brutus Memorial Debate: "From democracy to kleptocracy", 26 October 
     Faith Manzi CCS Seminar: The Anatomy of a Cato Manor 'Popcorn Protest', 24 October 
     Patrick Bond critiques financial markets at Unemployment Insurance Fund board meeting, 15 October 
     Waldemar Diener CCS Seminar: Cartooning race and class after Marikana, 10 October 
     Molaudi Sekake, Christelle Terreblanche & China Ngubane CCS Seminar: Commoning as an antidote to uneven development in Southern Africa, 9 October 
     CCS PhD student Vuyiseka Dubula leads AIDS research workshop, Johannesburg, 4 October 
     CCS co-organises workshop on 'Beyond Uneven Development' in Maputo, 1-3 October 
     Patrick Bond on Durban's urban neoliberalism, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, NYC, 29 September 
     Margherita di Paola Film Screening - On the Art of War, 20 September 
     Patrick Bond speaks on the World Economic Crisis and BRICS, at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, 13 September 
     Patrick Bond speaks at 'Rising Powers' workshop, Fudan University, Shanghai, 12 September 
     Patrick Bond at Shanghai Academy of Social Science, 11 September  
     Patrick Bond lecture on geopolitics at Institute for International Relations, Prague, 9 September 
     Patrick Bond at G20 Post-Globalisation Initiative G20 counter-summit, St Petersburg/Moscow, 2-6 September 
     Geoff Harris & Sylvia Kaye CCS Seminar: Nonviolence in social-change strategy and tactics, 30 August 
     Patrick Bond on BRICS and 'natural capital' at Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Harare, 29 August 
     Khadija Sharife at 'No REDD in Africa Network,' Maputo, 27-29 August 
     China Ngubane helps launch Diakonia's KZN School of Activism, Albert Falls, 27 August 
     Patrick Bond at Durban Flatdwellers conference, 24 August 
     China Ngubane, Joy Mabenge & Tafadzwa Maguchu Regional and Zimbabwean civil society challenged, 22 August 
     Ed Harriman, Khadija Sharife & Sarah Bracking CCS Workshop: Corruption, corporate bribery, arms deals and social critique, 21 August 
     Simphiwe Nojiyeza & Richard Kamidza CCS Seminar: Neoliberal water, neoliberal trade, 19 August 
     Simphiwe Magwaza, Simangele Manzi, Thando Manzi, Niki Moore, Knut Nustad, Jabulile Wanda & Philani Zulu CCS seminar on Cato Manor politics, Thursday, 15 August 
     Patrick Bond debates BRICS, UKZN Student Union, 14 August 
     Patrick Bond discusses SA's economic crisis at National Union of Metalworkers, Johannesburg, 8 August 
     Christine Jeske CCS Seminar: Social conceptualizations of work, unemployment, and blame in KwaZulu-Natal, 6 August 
     Larry Swatuk CCS Seminar on water resource conflicts, 1 August 
     Lorenzo Fioramonti Centre for Civil Society Seminar: Gross Domestic Problem, 18 July 2013 
     CCS hosts Open Society's Sustainable Development course for Southern Africa, 15-27 July 
     Faith ka-Manzi, Anne-Marie Debbané & Patrick Bond CCS Seminar on Durban hotspots (Cato Manor service delivery and South Durban privatised wastewater and port/petrochem expansion), 10 July 
     Thamsanqa Mthembu & Hylton Alcock Video Screening: Participatory video as a tool for social transformation, 4 July 
     Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja CCS Seminar: Southern Africa and the Challenge of the Congo, 27 June 
     Patrick Bond debates Blade Nzimande on 21st Century Socialism, Chris Hani Institute, Johannesburg, 25 June 
     China Ngubane & Patrick Bond CCS Seminar: The state of eco-social justice campaigning in East Asia and the Americas, 18 June 
     Khadija Sharife and Shauna Mottiar Analysis of illicit flight presented at the UN Economic Commission on Africa conference on illicit capital flight, Lusaka, 18 June  
     Patrick Bond at Ecuador conference on eco/economic crises, Quito, 12 June 
     Patrick Bond at Left Forum,New York City, 7-9 June 
     Patrick Bond lecture on Enviro Impact Assessments at Savannah School of Law in Georgia, 6 June 
     Amanda Huron, Amanda Thomas & Victoria Habermehl CCS Seminar: Geographies of Justice: experiences from three continents, 3 June 
     China Ngubane speaks at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development counter-summit, 1 June 
     Nik Theodore & China Ngubane CCS Seminar: Migration and the Struggle for Urban Space, from Chicago to Durban, 28 May 
     CCS hosts Antipode Institute for the Geographies of Justice, 27 May to 1 June 
     Abby Neely CCS Seminar: Local Biologies, and ART Protocols: A Political Ecology of Tuberculosis and the Body, 24 May 
     Silke Trommer CCS Seminar: Transformations in Trade Politics - Participatory Trade Politics in West Africa, 23 May