Friday, February 24, 2017

Zimbabwe President Mugabe Says: ‘I Don’t Listen to Prophets of Doom’
President Robert Gabriel Mugabe (RGM) turned 93 years old on February 21, 2017. The following is Part One of the interview the President had with Tazzen Mandizvidza (TM) of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corportion ZBC.

TM: Thank you very much Mr President for affording us this time to talk to you. We know you have a busy schedule. Let me start by saying congratulations, makorokoto on turning 93.

RGM: Thank you.

TM: Your Excellency, during the Harare Agricultural Show some years back, a palmist once read your palm and predicted that you will live up to 100 years, makore zana. But almost every year we come across the so-called prophets proclaiming that President Mugabe is going to die on this date and that date but you are here, you are alive. What would you want to say to these so-called prophets as you celebrate 93 years?

RGM: So-called prophets. Why don’t you say prophets of doom? Uhhm? They are prophets of doom who prophesy what really are their wishes, so they turn their wishes into prophecies or dreams perhaps, but hardly any dreams. I would want to think. It’s just wishes, that this man must go. This man must go and the man is not going. So year in year out, it’s the same wish. And the same prophesy.

Why do you care about them? I don’t care about them anymore. We have had even some pastors praying for my death. And even a bishop in my church, wekuMatabeleland uya watakazobata anemudzimai akazviregera. So we get such people in society. They won’t see some of them. In fact, the numbers may tend to increase sometimes. Ndakanzwawo chimwe chichiti President arikufa muna October, asi kana asingade kufa ngaataure, nhai? (laughs) So there it is. I don’t pay much attention to them at all.

TM: Meanwhile, Your Excellency, there have been calls for you to step down on account of your age and how do you answer such calls including from non-Zimbabweans like Julius Malema?

RGM: Do you listen anything from Malema? Who is Malema? The call to step down must come from my party; my party Congress, my party Central Committee. I will step down. But then what do you see, get? It’s the opposite. They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party. And it’s their voice I heed and the voice of no one else.

Of course, if I feel like I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so and even if I might feel I wanted to rest but with, you know, that volume of wishes for the President to stand, the number of people who will be disappointed is galore and I don’t want to disappoint. More so, that the majority of the people feel that there is no replacement actually nor successor who to them is as acceptable as I am.

But the people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of President Mugabe as the criterion, but I have been at it for a longer period than anyone else. Leaders will have to be, you know, as it were given time to develop and to have that ability to meet with the people and to be judged by the people.

Silently in the majority of the cases, the people must see and be convinced that yes so and so can be a good successor. Others think because they have been this long in the party or they are this in the party they are capable of succeeding the President. It’s not that easy.

TM: But Your Excellency, are you now changing your mind? You are on record as saying you will not groom a successor, but now you sound like you are saying maybe somebody needs to be given time. Are you now thinking of grooming a successor?

RGM: No, no, no. that doesn’t suggest grooming a successor. A successor is groomed by the people actually. You see. Those around you can get the confidence of the people as they operate around you and gain the confidence of the people. When the people see their leaders, they can trust their leaders beyond corruption, their leader’s knowledgeable, sure, that’s grooming I mean.

TM: Thank you Mr President. Now allow me to move on to the First Lady. When Dr Grace Mugabe was requested to lead the Women’s League, I remember you pointed out that you advised her on what to expect in the political arena. But now, today with so many stories about her, the family and yourself, how do you console her against all that? And don’t you regret maybe you could have advised her not to get into this?

RGM: Against all the what?

TM: The stories that are coming out about her, about you, the criticism and all that.

RGM: The criticism. Well the criticisms, I get are criticisms from the opposition. From the party, well there have been a few criticisms from vananaMutsvangwa and so on and so forth who, you know, I then saw something quite different in her. They thought she was an ambitious woman who would want to work herself into a position of power. But I had my first wife Sally, she organised the women.

We did not have the Women’s League here, the Ghana’s style, the (Kwame) Nkrumah style of the Women’s League which gained acceptance in our region was introduced by my wife and others in Zimbabwe, my late wife I mean. But in fact people were saying aaah the leaders must not disallow their wives from participating in politics, we want their wives to lead us, but what you get nowadays from some quotas is that the leader’s wife should not participate in politics. Why not? Why not? I don’t know what criticism you are referring to? She is very acceptable, very much accepted by the people. I thought you saw her on television today (Friday).

TM: Yes, I did Your Execellency.

RGM: It’s fireworks isn’t it? (laughs)

TM: Yes, it indeed (laughter all round)

TM: Sometimes the media tends to write so many stories and when she is facing all that, how do you comfort her as a seasoned politician?

RGM: I donot know what do you mean? She is well seasoned now, she is a very strong character.

TZ: Let’s move on from the family to look at economic issues. My first question is on the land reform. I remember you once said on his deathbed the late Father Zimbabwe Cde Joshua Nkomo told you to ensure the land is given to the people.

RGM: Two things, land to the people, unity.

TM: Yes, two things but let me focus on the land first. If you were to talk to him what would you say about the land reform?

RGM: Yes, I would say we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land, which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our own people and what there is now for us is to ensure there won’t be any retrogression. That those we have given the land will keep it, use it, cultivate it properly and ensure that its made productive.

So I would say what you wanted me to do I think I have done and done well. And I think our objective earlier on which constituted our first grievance as we fought the struggle, that the people, land that is possessed by settlers must be repossessed by we the indigenous and not just that, but that it should also be defended, protected and never be allowed once again to fall into the hands of the settlers. I think we have done that well.

TM: The issue of unity we will talk about it later on. Still on the economy, Zimbabwe’s economy is still on a recovery path, but Your Excellency, what else would you want to see done in order to speed up the process and also to ensure that those jobs that were promised by Zanu-PF towards the last election are made available?

RGM: Well the process, you know, it’s a gradual one as we improve the economy sector by sector and bring about employment alongside that improvement. Naturally, we shall also be transforming the overall economic sectors in accordance with our Zim-Asset and transforming means, adding value to the raw materials that might come out of agriculture, mining et cetera.

So we ensure that upon the exportation of goods from these sectors, we shall receive, perhaps, double or even more than double what we might have got if we did not transform them all and add value to the particular goods. That whole process its an economic process. As you transform the economy, you are actually ensuring greater employment sector by sector. It’s the creation of industry, by the way and industry is created in mining, in agriculture and in commerce by that transformative process, which ensures that we can now talk of our country having transformed and a greater part of our people having been employed.

By the way employment, getting a job is not the only thing that we need to look forward to, we would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs such thats what I was talking about this morning kuma researchers. Is it just the production of tobacco, or production of tobacco and turning tobacco into cigarettes but in the process, if our producers were dependent on foreigners for the production, are we now the main producers.

Have we really become the producers of our own goods? Have we become the masters of our own economy, or are we still, you know, thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs ? I have my worry in that regard, great worry indeed. Because even where we have said to our people get together form companies, partnerships, collectives as African, Zimbabwean entrepreneurs , you know they would want to see investments made by whites, where they are able themselves to get together and invest in the particular area. They want to see a European invest and then they go and work for that European as director, as managers, the CEOs, yes.

Of course the whites would be happy to see us to continue to work for them. If yesterday they did not, as they held the economy, did not want Africans to be at the management level, today in order to secure their positions no and ofcourse also because they recognised Africans are well educated and well skilled, they would be very happy to stay in the country, run various enterprises with Africans, African young people from universities at the top as accountants, managers CEOS etc be there in the background, after all they are not that many.

They are in the background and they play their game. They have a company here, they like Zimbabwe a lot and they want to stay here and they have something also in South Africa so they are not foolish at all. One leg here and one leg in South Africa but those who were here, I think it’s better here than in South Africa. We are seeing in the agricultural sector quite a number of these surreptious operations where they come and say “you don’t have to worry if you have a farm, we can cultivate for you. Stay where you are, live in town, we will do the work for you”.

At the end of the day of course they cultivate, they have the machines and you are in town and you say, “ah yes, I am using him he is a worker in my farm”. He is a worker on your farm yes, and he will say yes I am just a worker, a manager here. Year in, year out and what happens after five years, he is in the same position. Stupid, stupid we, as indeed we are doing that. Ndozvatirikuita hameno kuti chiiko? Kutadza here basa, kana?

Those who are doing it I know there are some who are really genuine about farming and they are doing farming. Even though they are in town they have some jobs to do at the weekend, Fridays like today they go and ensure that their managers are doing the right thing at the farms and stay on for some time and correct a number of things at the farms and have their own children in some cases. But there are others who really have gone to sleep and the whites have taken over once again, its sad isn’t it? Yataiti tinoda nyika, maida kuti muzope varungu zvakare? Aah!

TM: Your Excellency, you mentioned the concept of weekend farmers vari kumabasa kumatown during the week then voenda kufarm paweekend, are you therefore suggesting a model where if one is farming they should be farming, kana watsvaka basa watsvaka basa kutown? Somebody has argued that Zimbabweans are doing two jobs, one as a farmer and then a banker somewhere else, so should we be moving towards that where we are seriously on the land?

RGM. I think for now that double dealing is necessary because it is those in the banks, those in management areas, those working in town, those employed in the civil service, where we have given them farms, they are the ones with the capacity, financial capacity, with money, you know, really to do something on the farms. Then there are others without that capacity and I would like to believe that those who have financial capacity by and large have been ensured that the farms belong to them and they will become like managers.

Some have their own children who have been to university and done agriculture and it’s not that bad everywhere. But it is bad in some cases. Kozoti vasingagone zvavo including some of our chiefs. Eeh kozoti mamwe maheadman vanofunga kuti if they have an area of control vanokwanisa kusettler wo vanhu, aah nzvimbo iyi ndakaipihwa ndeyangu. So persons coming from elsewhere can be resettled, provided they pay something. That has been happening.

Fanika nyaya yemachiefs, yeah, I know machiefs vanorimirwa nevarungu and who say aah oh today ah oh murungu akanaka uyu, akanaka anotirimira. So especially vamwe vakasaririra varungu vatanga tisati tabvisa, vari juxtaposed to the farms dzema chiefs, nemaheadman and ivavo who are neighbours, you know, the trickery of doing something for their neighbours who are chiefs and headmen yah and then the chiefs say ah, regai kubisa uyu wakanaka.

Nharo chaidzo idzo. Musatibisire uyu and we have had missions, paid to us to ask kuti ah the ministry would want this European who is next to us and who has been doing quite a lot for us yah yah yah, he is also a member of the party. Anoita zvakati, zvakati, zvakati aah tinomuda.

TM: Your Excellency, from that let me take you to the issue of investments. You have signed a lot of investment agreements including mega investment deals with China and recently you met the Chinese President while you were on your annual vacation. From that meeting, Your Excellency we just want to know, what did you focus on?

RGM: We just focused on programmes that we have with them and the programmes which they themselves have offered us so that they can be accelerated and where I think one or two areas like defence. They felt I should raise the issue ye claim yavo yeplatinum yavakapa ku a Chinese company kuti iitwe exploit so the money therefrom can be used to secure and pay the debt which they have rema arms avakatenga kuChina.

I think that was the only fresh one. The rest were just, you know, pushing, pushing. Trying to push so that there is speed in executing and ensuring that the programmes are done. But some are underway actually. They are underway but others have stalled because Finance has not been able to pay mainterest on the funding. They have delayed paying but they been paying but slowly anyway.

The programmes with the Chinese are very good programmes. It was really to ensure that we are strongly together nanaXi Jinping on the programmes they promised us and that the others that come from the $60 billion and we have those which are bilateral, the others in these multilateral grouping and we have so many African beneficiaries mu $60 billion. Isu I think we have gone for about three or four programmes to be funded from mari ye $60 billion. So hushamwarika, kana taendako hamungarege kutaura zvamurikuita.

TM: Asi muchitarisa shamwari dzedu muchiita compare nedzimwe nyika dzirimuAfrica varikutipawo here zvakawanda. In comparison with others in terms of investments?

RGM: I think so. I don’t know what they are giving other countries but it depends on our capacity not only to absorb the funding but to ensure also that we repay what we should repay by way of the refunds. Mamwe mafunds are not gratuitous, they are not grants. They are debts, loans that are being extended to us and we should be able to repay or start repaying them. When then we fail to do so then our friends say ah, but whats happening? And this has been the situation in some cases regarding the Chinese loans.

TM: Let me bring you back home. There were calls made for the establishment of a Women’s Bank I think as far back as 2013, what has been stalling or delaying the launch of such a bank. I know you are championing the empowerment of women

RGM: I push, I just push from the back but I think it’s oncoming. You don’t just establish a bank by word of mouth. It must have funds. It must have depositors. And not just initial little amounts. It must attract on regular basis deposits. I think we have been going through bad times. No liquidity flowing cash was vanishing and I don’t think it has returned yet but we hope it will return.

So unless we can say there is now the possibility of having the bank resourced financially and then you will be paying lip service to it. And I think this is what we have tended to be doing. it’s still the talk on the lips of the women. Mai SME, Nyoni, I call her Mai SME, yah she has been very very very interested in having a bank, a women’s bank and we back her in that, but ka interest yake, yemadzimai ndokunge vaine mafunds to be deposited.

But if they say we have a bank and at the same time from their earnings and there is the informal sector and they carry what they carry those earnings into their pillows and briefcases back home and hold the funds back home and become reluctant to release them, then the bank will not have any resource and will continue to talk of illiquid banks, illiquidity in the system. Thats what has happened. Dzimba idzi dzizere nemari. Tikati kumapurisa nemasoja go yee house by house and dig for the funds that are being hidden there.

Don’t take them as yours but dig them up and tell us who and who have them. You will be guilty, I will be guilty, I don’t know who will not be guilty here nekuti tinotya . . . (laughs) . . . dzimwe (laughs) ukaona tumari twako wotya (claps) kuti aah ndikanoisa uko kuti ndizonoitora mangwana hapana. So you tend to keep it. it’s not your fault, its not his fault. It’s the fault of a system that has not yielded enough cash. Mind you the dollar is not our currency we are actually using it.

MaAmericans vari kuti aah we will not impose sanctions on that one we want them to use our dollar and make it more popular but then they will say aah that is as far as we can go but we can’t issue them fresh piles of dollars when they need them. Ndopouya masanctions ipapo and that’s how we have been restricted, that’s the cause of most of the liquidity that we have, illiquidity that we have because we have not been able to replenish the dollars.

If you look at some of the dollars that have gone round tsvina (laughs) ine mari yacho, goodness me! Kana ari madollars, one dollar I think they are the dirtiest of all, the smaller ones, one dollar, two dollar.

TM: Your Excellency, talking of the dollars, we have the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries they are calling for the adoption of the rand as the official currency and I know right now we also have the bond notes they are also in circulation but does it appear like Zimbabweans are not confident of having their own currency, what is the solution to having our own currency in Zimbabwe?

RGM: (Laughs) . . . My you don’t seem to know the history we had with our own currency, that galloping inflation and we thought of giving it up and adopting the dollar. That’s how it all happened, the rand, we are a multi-currency country.

Well, I don’t know why the Ministry of Finance together with the Reserve Bank have not wanted to use other currencies. I have asked actually again and again kuti why not have euros, why not have yen, why not have rand alongside with the dollar? Ah tichazviita, tichazviita. At least if we had the euro, I don’t think we have sanctions on the euro but the euro is slightly more expensive than the dollar but the difference is minimum.

TM: That’s okay Your Excellency, last year you lamented over how diamond mining has not benefited the nation, you even spoke about how Zimbabwe had been prejudiced of up to $15 billion but now we have the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in place but why is it that the benefits are not yet apparent?

RGM: Oh! Oh! Oh! These various companies which operated alongside the ZMDC operated for quite a long period. We don’t know how the earnings, you know, from their operations were accounted for and they just regarded them as their own earnings and nothing seems to have come to the ZMDC, which was partner. In turn nothing seems to have come to Government as revenue.

Then we decided, after studying how the diamond sector was controlled in two countries, perhaps three, Botswana, Namibia and Angola, and there just one company. It may have two operations or so, the system in Botswana, system in Namibia those two, I looked at they were satisfied that there was need for consolidation, they don’t allow anyone else, no small company, hakuna makorokoza so the diamond industry is in the hands of the state and maybe the State and the private company together in this case and I was told by Khama how they are very strict about the earnings dzemadiamonds because that the resource they depend upon in the main for their survival.

So anyway we offered the other companies, the Chinese one, the Lebanese one and neyanaMhlanga all the three, the choice do you want to join Government in a consolidated company or do you want to stay out and go? Make your choice, the Chinese said they wanted to go, the Lebanese said they wanted to go, the South Africans said they wanted to go, Mbada ndeyema South Africans yana Mhlanga they wanted to go. Aaah, we said think again. They didn’t want consolidation hmmmm, so we said why would you resent consolidation it’s a get together, working together and then you share a product.

Because they used to pocket everything they got ivo anaMbada ivava. Alright your question is why has there been no change, well ah it’s because it’s much more recent, getting you know this new company together, the consolidated company together has taken time yet it had to have the machinery and in a number of cases also it has been taken to court and it tended to delay the process of its operations. It affected the speed with which it could begin its operations.

TZ: Thank you very much Your Excellency for being with us on this special programme. That brings us to the end of part one of the programme President Robert Mugabe at 93. Viewers note that we shall be bringing you Part Two where we will continue with this discussion.
Zimbabwe President Mugabe Backs Multi-currency System
February 24, 2017
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabweans should not solely rely on the United States dollar, but use the rest of the currencies in the currency basket until the economy fully recovers, President Mugabe has said.

In his 93rd birthday interview with ZBC-TV aired on Monday and Tuesday, President Mugabe said he was fully behind the multi-currency system for now.

This is contrary to reports in The Daily News yesterday claiming President Mugabe said Zimbabwe should adopt the South African rand as the base currency.

Said President Mugabe: “Well, I don’t know why the Ministry of Finance, together with the Reserve Bank, have not wanted to use other currencies (on top of the US dollar).

“I have asked actually again and again kuti why not have euros, why not have yuan, why not have rand alongside with the dollar?

“Ah tichazviita, tichazviita. At least if we had the euro, I don’t think we have sanctions on the euro, but the euro is slightly more expensive than the dollar, but the difference is minimum.”

The Daily News used exactly the same comments to claim President Mugabe had said he wanted Zimbabwe to adopt the rand as the main trading currency.

On Zimbabwe having its own currency, the President said: “Maybe you don’t seem to know the history we had with our own currency, that galloping inflation and we thought of giving it up and adopting the dollar. That’s how it all happened, the rand, we are a multi-currency country.”

He said while the Americans wanted their dollar to be popular, they did not want to issue new notes.

“MaAmericans vari kuti aah we will not impose sanctions on that one, we want them to use our dollar and make it more popular, but then they will say aah that is as far as we can go, but we can’t issue them fresh piles of dollars when they need them,” President Mugabe said.

“Ndopouya masanctions ipapo and that’s how we have been restricted, that’s the cause of most of the liquidity that we have, illiquidity that we have, because we have not been able to replenish the dollars. If you look at some of the dollars that have gone round tsvina (laughs) ine mari yacho, goodness me! Kana ari madollars, one dollar I think they are the dirtiest of all, the smaller ones, one dollar, two dollar.”

He said many people, mainly those in the informal sector, were reluctant to bank their money as a result of a “faulty system”.

“Dzimba idzi dzizere nemari,” President Mugabe said.

“Tikati kumapurisa nemasoja go yee house by house and dig for the funds that are being hidden there. Don’t take them as yours, but dig them up and tell us who and who have them.

“You will be guilty, I will be guilty, I don’t know who will not be guilty here nekuti tinotya . . . (laughs) . . . dzimwe (laughs) ukaona tumari twako wotya (claps) kuti aah ndikanoisa uko (bank) kuti ndizonoitora mangwana hapana. So you tend to keep it, it’s not your fault, it’s not his fault. It’s the fault of a system that has not yielded enough cash. Mind you the dollar is not our currency . . .”
Zimbabwe Speaker of Parliament Mudenda Condemns Zionist Israel
February 24, 2017
Zimbabwe Herald

Tehran. — A two-day international conference in support of Palestine opened here yesterday, with Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda condemning Zionist Israel for its continued violation of a series of UN resolutions, including the regime’s ongoing construction of illegal settlements within Palestinian territory.

The conference, dubbed “Together Supporting Palestine” was sponsored by the Iranian government, with more than 500 delegates from over 60 countries in attendance.

“The relationship between the people of Palestine and the people of Zimbabwe is deeply and firmly rooted in our comradeship forged in our common struggles for independence and sovereignty driven by the humanitarian motive force against oppression and ethnic supremacist misdirected as political ideology,” Adv Mudenda told the 6th conference which was officially opened by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Zimbabwe fully supports the just cause of Palestine to be a sovereign state (and) Zimbabwe upholds the principle that only a two-state solution is the open sesame to the current apartheid arrangement, where Israel has usurped the right to self-determination of Palestinians.”

The Speaker is leading a three-member Parliamentary delegation, whose other members are chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs Kindness Paradza and committee member Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga.

Among the countries represented at the conference, whose focus is to support Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, are superpowers Russia and China, North Korea and a host of other pro-Palestine militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Adv Mudenda said efforts to resolve the Palestinian crisis should now go beyond just UN resolutions or conferences to include a “concrete plan of action” to deal with the 70-year-old crisis “once and for all”.

Said Adv Mudenda, “Our hope now lies in intensive and robust Parliamentary diplomacy.” This was in reference to current efforts to expel Israel from the International Parliamentary Union.

The Speaker reminded the delegates of President Robert Mugabe’s speech to the UN General Assembly on September 12, 2002 when he stated that,

“The Palestinian question should be resolved without further delay as it is causing untold suffering to the people in the occupied territories.

Israel must withdraw her forces from Palestinian land soon and the Palestinians must be afforded the opportunity of having a state of their own. Israel must know that her chances of peace and security lie in having a Palestinian state that will live side by side with it in mutual respect of sovereign states.”

As proof for its support to the Palestinian cause, Adv Mudenda said Zimbabwe was among the first countries that in 1988 recognised Palestine as an independent state and upgraded the then PLO offices in Harare to become a fully-fledged embassy with an accredited ambassador.

The Speaker paid tribute to Iran for its unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, a move that has led Tehran to endure a cocktail of sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies.

He narrated several attempts that were made, over the years, at international level to resolve the Palestinian crisis, which failed as successive Israeli governments ignored or violated all the agreements.

“The greatest tragedy is not the manner in which Israel has conducted itself with respect to Palestinian occupied territory, but the double standards demonstrated by some Western powers with respect to Israel,” said Adv Mudenda.
Zimbabwe Civil Servants Embrace Bonuses
February 24, 2017
Felex Share Senior Reporter

Civil servants’ unions leaders risk being left in the cold as most workers they purport to represent stampede to embrace Government’s stands-for-bonus proposal.

Information from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) indicates that tens of thousands of civil servants prefer residential stands to cash for their 2016 annual bonuses.

The stands come at zero deposit.

Civil servants are making their choices through questionnaires being circulated by CSC in all Government departments.

Government has set today as the deadline for the return of the questionnaires.

Only those in areas affected by floods will complete the forms later.

The decision to solicit views was arrived at after it emerged that most civil servants wanted stands, but union leaders were standing in the way.

The union leaders want cash.

Not all civil servants fall under the unions, hence the decision to gather the workers’ views.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said: “While the total number of those in need of stands would be known at the end of the survey being carried out by the commission, information on the ground indicates that people need residential stands than a once-off cash payment.

“The move (to conduct a survey) follows an increase in the number of civil servants who have approached the Civil Service Commission in request for the stands in lieu of bonus.

“All civil servants are encouraged to approach the nearest Civil Service Commission offices, human resources departments or heads of stations where the questionnaires can be availed.

“Those who cannot make it to the CSC offices or otherwise due to natural factors like floods, should not panic as they will be allowed to complete the questionnaire even after the deadline of Friday the 24th of February.”

The questionnaire requires a worker to state the town of preference for the residential stand.

Minister Mupfumira said Government would continue engaging civil servants unions through the National Joint Negotiating Forum.

Union leaders who fall under the banner of Apex Council yesterday insisted they wanted their bonuses in cash.

“The so-called survey by the Civil Service Commission is null and void since the minister, in her statements, already concludes that the majority of workers prefer stands in lieu of bonuses,” Apex Council said.

“Workers are already waiting for their cash bonuses. The manner in which the so-called survey was being conducted is a negation of our role as unions, making the February 27 meeting a prejudged process. The stands-for-bonuses issue is pie in the sky, as there is no formula according to which the government will be able to avail stands for every civil servant in the short run.”

The unions said if Monday’s scheduled meeting with Government was inconclusive, they would seek audience with President Mugabe.

Government recently offered its workers three payment options for 2016 bonuses which included residential stands, a cash stipend coupled with non-monetary benefits and property investment bonds.
Zimbabwe Vice President Mnangagwa Blasts Alleged Backers
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Mandi Chimene tour Taguta Farm which is participating in the Command Agriculture programme in Manicaland on February 23, 2017.

Abel Zhakata in Mutare
Zimbabwe Herald

VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said those pressing for him to be President while President Mugabe is still in office must be expelled from Zanu-PF.

VP Mnangagwa described such people as “mad” and said some of them had since been expelled from the revolutionary party.

He said this in Mutare yesterday after touring Mutare Prison Farm, which grew maize under the Government’s food security scheme, Command Agriculture.

His comments were triggered by recent reports in the private media quoting officials who said he should take over from President Mugabe.

“There are these mad young people who move around saying they want Cde Mnangagwa to be President and I told them you are mad. We don’t want to hear that. We have our father (President Mugabe) who has led us for over 60 years. We have travelled with him that far and you hear young people, some of them born after independence, saying such bad things,” said VP Mnangagwa.

“We don’t want that. Yes, even in a family set-up you can have a bad apple among your children. We must all know that if you want to succeed in our country, you must be a member of the ruling party; the party that has a liberation struggle history; a party with leaders we can bank on because they sacrificed a lot for this country,” he said.

“Today we have President Mugabe as our leader. White people might fume and say all sorts of things, but President Mugabe will soldier on with his people. President Mugabe always tells them that he does what the people want, reminding them to mind their own business,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa said the success of Command Agriculture was premised on the fast track land reform programme ushered in by President Mugabe.

“President Mugabe said the principal cause of the liberation war was the land question. He has fought hard to ensure that the landless majority reclaim their land. President Mugabe did not stop there, for he proceeded with indigenisation that economically empowered our people. So Command Agriculture is empowering the people,” the VP said.

“Zanu-PF will rule forever and those ruled will forever be ruled and I don’t understand why you opt to move away from the rulers and stay with those being ruled. That’s pure madness. Zanu-PF is the party that brought independence under the leadership of President Mugabe.”

VP Mnangagwa said President Mugabe would be re-elected in 2018 to lead the country.

“We are going to vote for President Mugabe in next year’s elections together with Zanu-PF Members of Parliament and councillors. We want a repeat of what we did in 2013 to amass a two-thirds majority in Parliament and continue to rule with President Mugabe as our leader.”
Zimbabwe Tobacco Marketing Season Opens March
February 24, 2017
Elita Chikwati
Senior Agriculture Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

The 2017 tobacco selling season officially opens on March 15, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has said.

Deliveries will start on March 6, while contract sales begin on March 16.

The tobacco marketing season traditionally starts mid-February, but opened on March 30 last year as the crop had been affected by the El-Nino induced drought.

TIMB corporate communications manager Mr Isheunesu Moyo told The Herald recently that the opening dates were arrived at after considering the level of preparedness of farmers and the industry.

“We carried out a crop assessment and realised that most farmers were still reaping and curing their crop, he said. The crop was three quarters to maturity.

“Stakeholders in the industry, including farmers unions were consulted on the opening dates and the industry agreed to open on March 15.”

Mr Moyo said preparations for the marketing season were progressing well and mock sales using the new electronic system were being carried out.

Boka Tobacco Floors is the first floor to carry out trials of the new electronic system.

Mr Moyo could not give expected volumes of tobacco for the 2017 season, but indications from other stakeholders are that more than 200 million kgs could pass through the hammer this season.

“It is too early to talk of the volumes, he said. When we carried out the crop assessments we were looking at the quality of the crop and level of preparedness for marketing, not on the volumes.”

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya last year called on the tobacco industry to consider opening auction floors earlier to ease cash shortages.

Dr Mangudya said during the tobacco off season, foreign currency, especially US dollars, goes down.

Government recently awarded tobacco farmers an export incentive, which rewards the growers for generating foreign currency through exporting goods and services.

The incentive pays the farmer a bonus of up to five percent on the foreign currency generated.

The incentive is paid in bond notes, which are at parity with the US dollar.

The 2016/17 season has been characterised by heavy rains and flooding in some areas and this affected farmers as their crop presented false ripening, while others lost their crop to hailstorm.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has licensed three auction floors – Boka Tobacco Floors, Premier Tobacco Floors and Tobacco Sales Floor – and 19 contract buyers as preparations for the 2017 marketing hit top gear.

As at February 9, 82 183 farmers had registered for the 2017 season, an increase of 17 percent from 70 537 growers who had registered during the corresponding period last year.

There are 14 880 new growers this season, an increase of 64 percent from the 9 057 new growers last year.

A total of 107 035 hectares have been put under tobacco this year, compared to 95 160 hectares last year.
SACP Gauteng Province Welcomes State of the Province Address by Hon Premier David Makhura
20 February 2016

The South African Communist Party Gauteng Province welcomes the State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered today by Honourable Premier David Makhura at the Greenfields Stadium in Randfontein, Yusuf Dadoo District.

We are pleased that the SOPA was successful, peaceful and stable, consistent with its character as a tribune of the revolutionary people.

Solidarity with the bereaved families of the 100 Psychiatric patients who lost their lives:

We congratulate and applaud the Premier for reaffirming the profound founding principle of our entire revolutionary movement, solidarity with the working class and poor.

We commend the sterling leadership of the Premier who started his SOPA by showing solidarity with the bereaved families of the psychiatric patients who died after being transferred to various Non-governmental Organisations (NGO`s) across the province.

We are encouraged that the Premier invited the bereaved families to the State of the Province Address and that he acknowledged their presence by reading out the names of those who attended. The Premier has also worked with the families and supported them in finding lasting closure by holding a healing ceremony held at the Freedom Park on Sunday, 19th February 2017.

We also congratulate the Speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), Comrade Ntombi Mekgwe for directing the house to observe a moment of silence in solidarity with the bereaved families. We believe that this was a principled revolutionary gesture by the Legislature. We therefore reaffirm our principled call for the provincial government to ensure that in implementing the internationally renowned policy of de-instutionalisation of mental health care, this function remains the core responsibility of the state. We call on government to provide proper facilities and trained personnel in order to carry out this function as its core mandate.

We also congratulate the families for their unwavering confidence in the ANC provincial government, and commit to work with them to ensure that the recommendations of the Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba are implemented without fear or favour.

Advancing a radical socio-economic transformation:

We believe that the SOPA has laid a solid foundation for a radical socio-economic transformation of our province to address the triple contradictions of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

We welcome, in particular, the total number of net jobs created, that is, the jobs created taking into account those lost in the same period in our province.

We are convinced that this achievement is unprecedented and therefore believe that this achievement is qualitative, taking into account the cumulative effect over the years of the world capitalist crisis that imploded in 2008.

We welcome the outline of key interventions to grow the economy, create jobs and grow the township economy, driven by the motive forces of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).

We call on the provincial government to take a firm stand against any attempts by retail monopolies that seek to derail and undermine the township economy.

We commit ourselves to working with the provincial government by mobilising the working class to fight any attempt to frustrate the growth of the township economy.

We firmly support the commitment to increase the infrastructure spend to propel economic growth, job creation, poverty eradication and the reduction of inequalities. We believe that the commitment to leverage infrastructure inputs to drive manufacturing and industrialisation is groundbreaking.

We also welcome the commitment by the provincial government to consolidate and intensify the development of the productive forces by delivering quality public education. This includes the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU`s) signed with universities in our province to support their needs such as infrastructure expansion for student accommodation and lecture halls.

We believe that the commitment to quality public education supported by the provincial government bursary contributions and the Tshepo 500 000 initiative is profound and historic and will address the needs of the youth of our province.

We also believe that the radical posture of the provincial government on land, to deliver infrastructure is profound and critical. We commend the provincial government for being decisive on this matter.

We also welcome the establishment of the Economic Advisory Panel as we have already noted the good balance achieved in the composition of the Panel. We hope that the Panel will appreciate and anchor its work on the principle that poverty, unemployment and inequalities affect mainly the working class and poor. We will monitor the work of the Panel.

We also commend Premier Makhura for an unwavering and principled commitment to clean administration and the fight against corruption and maladministration. We call on the provincial government to intensify its efforts to defend the public purse against looting and rampant corruption.

We welcome the SOPA and commend the Premier for remaining true, consistent and principled on the task of transformation, modernisation and re-industrailisation of our province to resolve the legacy of a Colonialism of a Special Type and white minority rule.

We are confident that the provincial government is on track to meet the ANC`s election manifesto commitments of 2014.

Issued by the SACP Gauteng province

Contact:

Jacob Mamabolo - SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 884 1868
SACP Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee Statement
20 February 2017

The SACP PEC in Limpopo Province held its ordinary meeting in Polokwane on 19 February 2017. The meeting reflected on the national and provincial political situation.

Appointment of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to Parliament as ANC MP

The appointment of Mr Brian Molefe to represent the ANC as an MP strengthens the public outcry about corruption and the capture of the state by the parasitic bourgeoisie. This SACP views this with deem light. This is against specifically the principle of legality where someone is fingered in corruption report and at the same time promoted.

The anarchy of opposition parties in Parliament

Continually portraying the ANC-headed Alliance as an enemy of the people is a cheap politicking ploy by the opposition to discredit the revolutionary capacity of our movement. We call on the working class, the masses of our people, to reject this narrative by the opportunistic opposition parties in parliament.

Competition Commission`s findings on banks

The report by the Competition Commission about the collusion of banks exposed the rotten the financial sector under the monopoly of big financial institutions. This vindicates the SACP`s campaign for the transformation of the financial sector. The sector is full of manipulation, collusion and immoral profiteering. A stern action must be taken against these delinquent banks. Their profits must be retracted and put in the national revenue to support immediate national priorities such as health, education and water. The behaviour of these financial institutions strengthens the call for the establishment of co-operative banks and transformation of the Postbank to provide developmental financial services to our people, especially the workers and poor in urban and rural communities.

Public Protectot`s report on the provincial transport, safety and liaison department

The SACP urges the Limpopo Provincial government to act swiftly and implement the recommendations of the Public Protector`s Report to root out maladministration within the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison. We call on the Premier to act against those implicated in the Public Protector`s Report. The SACP will intensify its anti-corruption campaign to protect public assets and resources and ensure quality service delivery to the working class.

Forensic reports in municipalitIes

The SACP is calling for the immediate release of Special Investigation Unit (SIU) investigation reports and implementation of their recommendations dealing with corruption and maladministration. Corruption and maladministration deprives our people of quality service and the benefits of our democracy.

Eviction of farm workers

The SACP condemns the ongoing evictions, maltreatment and exploitation of farmworkers at Tolwe, Maastroom, Sebarakoma and Sawrtwater and Biesfontein in the Capricorn and Waterberg Districts. The Party will embark on a vigorous campaign to oppose court applications by the farmers to evict the workers.

Alliance and provincial government

The meeting resolved to strengthen the Alliance, to support progressive provincial government programmes and fight against all forms of factionalism in Limpopo Province.

Issued by the SACP Limpopo Province

Contact:

Gilbert Kganyago - Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 609 0551
Machike Thobejane - Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: 0823070095
Tel: 015 297 8128
Now, More Than Ever Before, the Party Has More Responsibility to Advance the NDR!? - SACP Mpumalanga Province
20 February 2017

Augmented PEC statement

The SACP in Mpumalanga Province convened its 3rd ordinary plenary session on 18-19 February 2017 at Secunda, Govan Mbeki municipality. The meeting was attended by members the Central Committee, PEC members and augmented by district officials, sub-districts, our youth wing the Young Communist League of SA, alliance partners, Progressive Youth Alliance and the Communist Party of Swaziland.

The meeting received messages of support from the alliance partners, the ANC and COSATU, a message of international solidarity from the Communist Party of Swaziland and the Central Committee.

The meeting further received a presentation on Socio-Economic Development Perspective of the Mpumalanga Provincial government from the MEC for Economic Development and Finance.

The year 2017, which we declared the year of the branch and building capacity for state power, is a critical year in our revolutionary calendar as the movement. It is the year of the centenary of the birth of the revered struggle icon and the longest serving President of the ANC, Comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo. This year is the year of the centenary of the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution. It is also the year of the 14th National Congress of the SACP and the 54th National Conference of the ANC.

The NDR is in Crisis: Defend and Advance the NDR!

We firmly believe that the National Democratic Revolution is on the brink of collapse because of foreign tendencies that have engulfed our ANC-headed movement. The revolution is facing the real threat of failing to achieve its objectives.

These tendencies, institutionalised factionalism, slate politics, arrogance of power and the influence of money, among others, have brought about corporate capture of the state and the movement. This is underpinned by looting of public resources by the parasitic bourgeoisie, such as in the case of the Eskom-Tegeta deal.

The only way to defend, advance and consolidate the revolution is commitment by revolutionary left forces and unity of the working class to confront these threats. Factionalism, corruption, looting and other related tendencies undermine the legitimacy of the leadership role of our movement.

State of the alliance

The SACP remains committed to the revolution, the existence and unity of the liberation alliance. We reaffirm that, we are in alliance with the ANC, COSATU and SANCO and not with any faction in the stated organisations. We are calling on the ANC to dissolve all factions. Factions distract the movement from focussing on the genuine cause of moving the national democratic revolution on to a second, more radical phase and impact negatively not only on the ANC but also on the Alliance.

We welcome the newly found unity in the province. As the Party we have always been striving for that unity. But unity must not be reduced a talk show at public platforms. It must be principled unity based on a common programme. The provincial Alliance leadership must assist the convening of all regional summits before the end of March 2017.

Unity does not in any way mean that the SACP loses its independence to implement its adopted programme of action and campaigns on the release of reports on KaNyamazane and political killings. We must unite in fighting against corruption and looting of public resources. The SACP will intensify its work in this regard.

Build mass power and radically transform the economy to serve our People

The working class and poor are on the receiving end of the challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty. The working class and poor also find themselves in the middle of a battle between the emerging and established monopoly capital, including attempts capturing the National Treasury. Our strategic enemy is, and will always be, monopoly capital. Its colour does not matter, whether Black or White or White and Black. Liberation will not be complete unless our national resources and wealth are at the disposal of the people as a whole and are not manipulated by sections of individuals, be they Black or White. This is why as the SACP we will confront attempts at hijacking the second radical phase of our revolution and reducing it to be about developing Black exploiters of the masses of our people, the workers and poor.

We are calling for policies to develop national production. Without national production, and without policies to share the wealth produced according to the contribution of those involved in its production during the labour process, it will be impossible to fight the triple challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty. It is important for the state to swiftly implement the establishment of a state-owned bank, co-operative banks, and to expand public and
socialised ownership across the economy.

We are concerned with the extreme high levels of private monopoly, oligopoly, concentration and dominance in the province and country at large. Private monopoly, oligopoly, concentration and dominance have resulted in a relatively weak manufacturing, co-operatives and small and micro and medium enterprises sector. It has become difficult to advance the township and rural economic development in the province. Mpumalanga is very rich in mineral resources but it is affected by high levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty. The wealth of the province is appropriated by big mining, wholesale and retail, private game lodge, casino and hospitality capitals, among others. The workers earn poverty wages or are unemployed. This must come to an end. The second radical phase must distribute a fair share of the wealth from production to the workers who produce it, rather a few individuals empowered on a capitalist basis in the name of all Black people.

The PEC commended the Competition Commission on the eventual action of investigating capitalist bank involved in corruption, the so-called collusion. It has for many years been our call that the working class is being robbed by financial institutions. The validity of our campaign for the transformation of the financial sector has been confirmed by the exposure.

This has proven the fact that there is more corruption in the private sector than the public sector. The massive impact of collusion by big business far outweighs the corruption that we have seen in the public sector. In any case there is no single case of corruption in the public sector without private interests involved. Private interests are the sole driver of corruption in our society. We call for harsh punitive measures against these banks.

The Party more than ever before, has a responsibility to confront all forms of monopoly in our economy and breakdown on all oligarchies whether established or emerging, Black or White!

The admission of Morocco to the African Union

We are surprised by the unfortunate decision of the African Union to admit Morocco as a member state, and, worse, without tabling any conditions. Morocco continues to advance a colonial agenda. This is a setback to the freedom of the Sahrawi people whose land is occupied my Morocco. We applaud the stance taken by the South African government of not voting for the admission of Morocco without conditions. Morocco must evacuate Western Sahara and allow the people of
Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination.

Swaziland

The people of Swaziland continue to languish in poverty whilst the Mswati regime spends money on international holiday trips at the expense of the vast majority of the struggling masses burdened by high levels of HIV prevalence and economic deprivation. We note with concern, the silence of the SADC nations on the ongoing human disaster and lack of democracy in that country. Failure for these member states to take a clear stance will undermine SADC's integrity and international standing on human rights.

We reaffirm our stance on the Umsebe Accord in support of the struggle of the people of Swaziland.

Solidarity with Palestine

The Party condemns the reckless behaviour by the DA leader Mmusi Maimane and his delegation to attempt giving legitimacy to Israel's apartheid. However, Maimane's shenanigans did not come as a shock because the DA remains the voice of monopoly capital and the oppressors against the opprossed. We call on our government to take a tough stance against the apartheid state of Israel, including cutting diplomatic relations untill such time that the Oslo Accord on the two-state solution is implemented and the proliferation of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestine ceases.

We call on our members to support and participate in a 365-day anti-apartheid Israel programme and activities.

Issued by SACP Mpumalanga

Contact:
Bonakele Majuba - Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 968 4877
Lesetja Dikgale - Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: 076 869 4360
Nomusa Keninda - Provincial Media Liaison
Mobile: 072 741 4050
Twitter: @SacpMp
nomusakeninda@gmail.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SACP Eastern Cape Press Statemnet on the PEC Outcomes
20 February 2017

"Unite our communities, the working class and our movement: Drive SA`s second radical phase of transition"

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape convened its 8th plenary session of the 7th Congress Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) on the 18 - 19 February 2017 at King Williamstown. The PEC meeting was held for the party to assess the working class revolutionary advances and setbacks and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our party in struggling to change the socio-economic conditions of the working class.

The PEC meeting received a Central Committee input delivered by Cde Mandla Makupula, which served as the theoretical and ideological guide and firm base for the political discussion used interchangeably with the political report of the province. The meeting adopted the SACP programme of action for the year 2017 informed by the fact that 2017 is a year of the centenary of the Red October Revolution, the SACP 14th National Congress and our 8th Provincial Congress to be held in October.

Education summit:

The PEC meeting was preceded by the successful SACP education summit held on the 17 February 2017. The summit was convened for the SACP to dig deeper in the challenges facing the education system and provide clear solutions using our scientific Marxist-Leninist tools of analysis. The education summit was attended by our allies and the stakeholders in the education fraternity. The summit received and discussed presentations from the Department of basic education and the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The summit adopted an SACP Eastern Cape position paper on education which will form basis for the party to engage in policy discourse of our country, given that this is the year of the ANC National Policy Conference. The position paper on education will be made available to the structures of the party, the movement and the people in general for robust engagement.

Cyclone in Mozambique:

We pledge our solidarity with the people of Mozambique and other parts of South Africa who have been affected by the cyclone. More efforts should be done by the international community to rescue lives in the affected areas. The imperialist countries cannot just watch, they should be taking greater responsibility as it is the system of imperialism that lead to environmental degradation and climate change as they pursue profit for the minority. There ought to be plans to cushion the people from these occurrences which are an outcome of the global warming, which is a disaster of the bourgeoisie mode of production.

Disasters and water shortages in the province:

The PEC expressed its support to the people affected by recent disasters including O R Tambo district and welcome the allocation of R70 million by the provincial government to help our people reconstruct their lives. We urge the provincial government working with national government to dedicate more resources in addressing water shortages in the province as water remains one of the basic necessity of our people.

Corruption by the private monopoly finance capital:

The meeting reinforces our Central Committee in condemning in the strongest terms possible, the manipulation of our Rand by foreign and local banking and finance monopoly capital, and welcomes the decision of the Competition Commission to refer a case of collusion by foreign and local banks and financial institutions to the Competition Tribunal of South Africa for prosecution. For over 17 years now the SACP has consistently been almost a lone voice, together with its campaign partners, campaigning for the transformation and diversification of the banking and financial sector as whole.

We further call on the Competition Commission to prefer criminal charges against the executives of the banks who presided over this brutal criminal act. These corrupt activities cannot go unpunished, however we must be against them being used to justify rampant looting by the parasitic bourgeoisie (The smash and grab of the Guptas and company).

The significance of the year of O.R Tambo:

This year marks the centenary of Cde Oliver Tambo, the longest serving President of the ANC. He would have been 100 years old if he was alive today. The ANC NEC in its January 8th statement correctly declared a year of O.R Tambo and unity of action. It is a very decisive period to remember him given the challenges we facing as the movement.

Comrade Tambo is remembered by many for his commitment in building unity and cohesion of our people and their movement. He was the glue that kept the movement together for a sustained period of time through his exemplary leadership, he was not associated with nor loyal to any faction for he was a unifier of all in the movement. He was never associated with any corrupt and unethical conduct.

In remembering O.R Tambo, we should unite and defeat the rising ethnical factionalism in the movement. The polarisation of our country, the rise of tribalism and racism requires that we rededicate ourselves to the struggle for the building of non-racial and united country. It is important that our leaders disabuse themselves from the corporates, the corporates should not decide with our leadership about the direction of our country whether it is the Ruperts or the Guptas.

Province:

We welcome the State of the Province Address (SOPA) as delivered by Premier Phumulo Masualle. The SOPA is characterised by commendable progress and plans in many fronts that include among others infrastructure as it relates to roads and bridges, agricultural projects and partnership with SANDF to train young people and the focus on local spend in big projects and beneficiation by local people. However, the SACP expected progress report on the pronouncements of the previous SOPA specifically as it relates to the above.

The PEC raised its concerns on the deteriorating state of local government in the province, in particular Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and Mnquma Local Municipality. The infighting at Mnquma which has been characterised by factional power battles, rampant corruption and fighting over state resource for selfish accumulation by a select few. The fights in Mnquma have led to the compromise of service delivery to the people and we welcome the recent arrests for alleged corruption and call upon the law enforcement authorities to apply the law without any fear or favour.

The impasse in Buffalo City cannot go unabated as it divides the attention of the political and administrative leadership in delivering services to the people. What is taking place there confirms our long held view that the suspension of the ANC Regional Secretary was just an academic exercise as he remains in control. The conflict between the ANC Regional Chairperson and the suspended ANC Regional Secretary confirm this SACP long held view.

We welcome the move by the ANC provincial leadership to attend to these challenges. We are however of the firm view that any intervention in these challenges require an alliance shared approach as both municipalities were identified as hotspots by the alliance and agreed to attend to them collectively. We are of the view that part of the things that must be attended in Buffalo City is the outsourcing of the municipal service. The alliance must get to the bottom of what informs the decisions to outsource in many municipalities and some provincial departments as it reverse the gains made by the congress movement and the alliance decision in favour of insourcing.

We welcome the intervention by the Hawks to dispatch the national task team to investigate corruption in some of the Eastern Cape municipalities as there has been glaring corrupt activities in many municipalities. We however wish the dispatching of the task team has nothing to do with the ANC factional battles ahead of both the Provincial and National Conferences, as the Hawks have been highly politicised recently. We have witnessed the Hawks and other security forces being used to settle political battles, and used by former apartheid agents to pursue genuine comrades of the movement. We have observed with concern that key positions in the security cluster are occupied by former apartheid officers who seem to be used to target former MK operatives. We would like to see the task teams dispatched to investigate corruption in other municipalities in other provinces as well.

Education:

The SACP welcomes the three year turnaround plan by the Department of Education. We are of the view that the plan represent a firm base for any kind of intervention to be anchored on. We are of the view that government should do more in improving the conditions in the schools in the rural areas and townships. Those schools should be turned around from being mere classrooms into being complete schools with all the necessary facilities to harness success. As part of rebuilding confidence to public institutions, the SACP will campaign for public representative and officials to take their children to public schools particularly quintiles 1 to 3 which are schools in the townships and the rural areas, this includes our public hospitals.

It is our considered view that the Department of Education must only focus on its core mandate which is teaching and learning, if we are to turn things around and build the future of our country. The department should not be burdened by the responsibilities that are not within its expertise like infrastructure delivery. These additional responsibilities have corrupted the department and invited some greedy political elements to target certain individuals in the guise of acting in the best interest of education, whilst they are chasing tenders.

It is in this context that the SACP calls for the establishment of the infrastructure agency that will be responsible for coordination of infrastructure delivery in the province. The line departments like the Department of Health and the Department of Education would then submit their infrastructural needs to the agency, so as to give the departments space to focus on their critical core mandate.

Health:

The meeting once more raised its concern with the downgrading of the health institutions in the working class communities through inadequate funding and removal of certain services to the previously white dominated areas. We are of the firm view that the health institutions in the areas with the African majority should be capacitated with the necessary funding including clinical personnel. The people cannot be forced to travel long distance to get healthcare and worse even services that were provided by the apartheid regime.

We are calling upon National government to avail necessary budgetary support to the provincial Department of Health to enable it to meaningfully roll out the National Health Insurance (NHI). It is important that practical steps are made to ensure the realisation of the universal healthcare for the people of South Africa.

Matatiele:

The SACP rejects any attempts to bargain with Matatiele to keep control of the Ekurhuleni Metro without a widespread consultation with the affected parties. We are opposed to the idea of demarcating Matatiele into Kwazulu Natal. This will have a bearing on the budget allocation of the Eastern Cape and will further disadvantage the province after we have lost Kokstad and Umzimkhulu. It is in this context that the PEC has called for the return of Kokstad and Umzimkhulu back to the province.

It cannot be that the Eastern Cape is always used for the benefit of Gauteng and other affluent provinces. The people of our province work as migrant labourers for the better part of their lives building the economy of Gauteng and other provinces, and come back home poor. They give their sweat and blood to building Gauteng and other whilst their province suffer. The SACP says "We have nothing left to offer to Gauteng and other provinces."

Conclusion:

We recommit ourselves to build a larger but quality party and strengthening its organisational capacity to be more ready for any eventuality. In closing the PEC asserted that, as the SACP, we are a party of influence and power, we refuse to be reduced to only as a party of political education, a party which was better when small as if we are in a museum of history, we want to multiply ourselves in preparation of assuming power. We will work with all the progressive social forces in the province to build a popular broad front.

Issued by the SACP Eastern Cape.

Contact:
Siyabonga Mdodi
SACP Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: +27833588070
Office: +27406351042
Email: simdodi@gmail.com
Facebook: SACP Eastern Cape
Twitter: @SACPECmedia
SACP Statement on the South African Budget Speech
22 February 2017

The South African Communist Party (SACP) notes the Budget Statement delivered by the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan in Parliament today. Economic conditions both domestically and internationally remain unfavourable as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis that erupted in 2008. This remains a major constraint on our budget. Nevertheless our process of democratic transformation has strategic tasks to implement on our shores.

The SACP welcomes the key entry point that must guide the perspective of radical economic transformation as quoted by Minister Gordhan from the first ANC Strategy and Tactics document adopted in 1969.

"Our nationalism must not be confused with chauvinism or narrow nationalism of a previous epoch. It must not be confused with the classical drive by an elitist group among the oppressed people to gain ascendancy so that they can replace the oppressor in the exploitation of the masses."

The crucial importance of this revolutionary principle cannot be overemphasised!

In particular corporate capture and corruption by those who are pushing their private interests under the guise of radical economic transformation will destroy the revolutionary fibre of our movement. In that Strategy and Tactics document quoted by Minister Gordhan there is no confusion about what the ANC meant by economic emancipation. The document states in no uncertain terms that:

"in our land this cannot be effectively tackled unless the basic wealth and the basic resources are at the disposal of the people as a whole and are not manipulated by sections or individuals be they White or Black".

Radical economic transformation is not narrowly about changing ownership patterns in favour of a few individuals. It is first and foremost about decisive measures to radically reduce class, racial, gender and apartheid spatial inequalities towards equality. Radical economic transformation requires an inclusive growth process and a comprehensive approach on overcoming the legacy of colonialism and imperialist domination.

The SACP welcomes the new top personal income tax rate of 45 percent for those with taxable incomes above R1.5 million, and the insistence on a progressive income tax structure. This will be an important source of a significant proportion of the anticipated tax revue increase.

The SACP welcomes the commitment to convene the second financial sector summit this year. We further welcome the commitment to ensure that there is much more supervision of financial markets. The importance to advance and deepen the transformation of the financial sector cannot be overemphasised!

We therefore welcome the provisional granting of a banking license to the Post Bank and the commitment to recapitalise it. Accordingly we are calling on the Department of Social Development to hand over the distribution of social grants to the Post Office. As part of fighting corruption, the Department must not perpetuate the illegal tender of social grants distribution that was awarded to the Cash Paymaster Services.

The SACP welcomes the no increase on VAT.

But we are concerned about the increase in fuel levy and the impact it will have on all South Africans especially the workers and poor who spend a significant proportion of their wages on transport. The increase in fuel levy will also affect the prices of consumer goods including basic necessities.
The Competition Commission's Deal With Citibank is a Farce
The Competition Commission's settlement agreement with Citibank is a travesty and an insult to all South Africans. According to the Commission's statement, Citibank N.A. will pay an administrative penalty of R69 500 860 (Sixty Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty Rands) for their sabotaging the country's economy. The reality is that this figure does not exceed 10% of Citibank N.A.'s annual turnover in the Republic of South Africa and does not even represent 10% of their turnover from currency trading.

The Commission has not disclosed the extent of damage caused by Citibank N.A's participation in the price fixing of US dollar rand exchange rate. It is possible that the Commission may have levied a 6 or 5% on turnover of Citibank contrary to the maximum 10% penalty. This is despite the fact that the impact of the fixing of the rand might have caused far more damage the imposed penalty.

A weaker rand has meant that the country needed to spend billions of additional rands to import oil. This has bled workers and the economy dry to cover higher fuel prices. It has fuelled inflation of basic goods to cover higher transport costs. The question is whether these financial plunderers will reimburse workers and the industry of these billions of rands. We want the SARB to explain exactly, what was the real cost to the economy and in job losses.

COSATU believes that only criminal sanctions against CEO's and not traders will discourage traders from engaging in an anti-competitive behaviour. It is not clear why the competition commission is taking time to implement the criminal provisions of the Competition Amendment Act.

These companies are neither being punished nor deterred by these penalties and the South African government and the Competition Commission are just playing public relations games. This charade is meant to pacify financial institutions and to prove to them that South Africa is still committed to the free market. We are seeing a situation of "too big to be prosecuted" in South Africa after witnessing the "too big to fail" phenomenon during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794- 082 558 5962
E-Mail: sizwe@cosatu.org.za
COSATU's Response to the 2017/ 18 National Budget Statement
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has taken note of the 2017/18-budget speech presented by the Minister of Finance Comrade Pravin Gordhan in parliament today. The federation feels that there were no surprises and that the minister generally continued to do the usual balancing act; and also stuck to the same mechanisms of incremental or piecemeal reform that have not worked.

The emphasis on growth takes us back to the days of GEAR where it was assumed that growth will result in jobs. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be transformation of the economy or restructuring as set out in the RDP because high or lower growth would not result in transformation.

In defining radical transformation the minister rightly said that the transformation must be mass based and not elitist. However, he ignored or neglected to mention that BEE is an elitist programme by its nature and therefore, a stumbling towards a mass based economic transformation. Therefore, the budget is ambiguous about whether radical transformation is possible and if so how and when will it be accomplished.

The budget reflects government's lack of a coherent integrated and targeted job protection and creation plan that would ensure that all South Africans are employed. We need to create at least 100 000 jobs per month and increasingly the jobs being offered to South Africans, especially low skilled workers are temporary, low wage and through labour brokers.

Whilst some departments have clear job creation programmes and have done excellent work, too many departments, provinces and municipalities are silent on this national crisis. At best they believe that unemployment can be left to public works programmes. Until government begins to match resources and programmes to its public commitments to deal with unemployment, we will not see the economy grow and our many socio-economic challenges resolved.

We appreciate the excellent work done by the Departments of Trade and Industry and Economic Development to protect and support key economic sectors, e.g. textiles, car manufacturing, agriculture etc. We are happy that thousands of jobs have been protected and created there. However, we remain deeply disappointed that government's job creation programmes seem to be left to these badly under resourced departments. Allocating R9 billion to DTI is woefully insufficient if government wants to reindustrialise the economy, boost manufacturing and exports to create jobs.

Government's job creation plans and policies are fragmented and incoherent as a result of having five different economic departments. The DTI, EDD, Science and Technology, and Small Business Development need to be consolidated as one capacitated department charged with industrialising the economy.

Government policies need to be coherent. We cannot talk about boosting agriculture and jobs on the one hand, whilst on the other we plan to massively increase a tax on sugar drinks which by government's own admission will see 5000 jobs lost. Government needs to learn the importance of engaging and planning and the need to protect and create jobs.

We had hoped to see more resources allocated to support the growth of the job creating tourism sector.

We welcome government's targets to reduce mining deaths and accidents. However government's silence on the mining jobs blood bath is shocking. Government needs to intervene and assist those mine workers with retraining and job placement programmes.

Government's efforts to alleviate drought relief and support emerging farmers are welcome, however more needs to be done in this regard. Government's continued failure to address the thousands of outstanding land restitution cases is deeply worrying. We also demand more explanation on how government plans to prevent job losses in the sugar industry with its planned tax on sugar sweetened beverages.We had hoped to hear how government would free underutilised state owned land to advance land reform.

The federation appreciates some of the many key progressive government commitments highlighted in the budget.

Health

While we have been deeply worried at the continuous delays in moving forward to build a progressive National Health Insurance, we are pleased with the President and the budget's commitment to build a badly needed NHI. We hope that we will see progress this year.

We remain concerned about the impact of freezing critical public service posts and the negative impact it has had on public health care. Nurse and doctors are working 36 and 48 hour shifts. Hospitals and clinics lack basic medicines, equipment and security. Government needs to move from progressive commitments towards adequately resourcing public health care. COSATU strongly welcomes government's continued excellent work to reduce HIV/ AIDS through the roll out of ARVS.

Education

COSATU applauds government for its massive shift of resources to help working and middle class university and college students. While billions have been shifted, however more needs to be done and fast. We cannot afford to continue to allow tertiary education to be unaffordable for working and middle class students. The fees commission must move with speed. We need a clear programme and plan to ensure working and middle class students are no longer denied access to tertiary education.

We welcome the increased allocations to address our school infrastructure backlogs. However ,we are disappointed that government has not indicated when will all mud schools be eradicated or when will all schools have decent sanitation, text books, staff, resources and security

Energy

COSATU welcomes government's commitment to expand renewable energy. Eskom's recalcitrant leadership must not be allowed to continue to act as an impediment to the badly needed expansion of renewable energy.

Likewise Eskom must not be allowed by government to continue to fleece badly stretched working and middle class families and the economy with massive above inflation price increases. We hope that government has realised, finally, that we simply cannot afford to expand nuclear energy at a price tag of R 1.5 to R3 trillion.

Workers are bearing the brunt of climate change and global warming. We had hoped that government would share a clear plan to ensure South Africa meets its climate change targets.

Revenue

The federation welcomes government's decision to not increase VAT but we condemn Treasury's continued motivation for a future increase. This will further squeeze workers' meagre wages and depress demand and economic growth.

COSATU welcomes the increase in income tax for the wealthy. However we condemn government's back door effective income tax hike on working and middle class families through minimising inflation adjustments for tax brackets. The workers are in effect handing over their annual inflation increases in their salaries to cover government's budget shortfalls. Unfortunately less money in workers' pockets means less consumer spending and no money to stimulate economic growth.

Government should have increased taxes on imports and luxury goods as well as company tax for well off companies. Its approach of continuously squeezing working and middle class families is punishing them for government's failures and further delaying badly needed economic growth. The corporate income tax should have been increased from 28% to 45%.

We are happy with an increase in the dividend withholding tax rate from 15 per cent to 20 per cent ,which amounts to a tax on profits. This is important when only 10% of the population owns 90% of SA's wealth.

We are equally opposed to government's rushing into taxing sugar sweetened beverages without adequately preparing and supporting sugar farms and mills to transition to healthier products, e.g. bio-fuels. Government's projected 5000 job losses in the sugar industry will cause an economic crisis in rural towns in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Many of these towns are still feeling the pain of having lost 1000s of textiles jobs. Government needs to delay and engage with industry and labour on a plan to meet government's corrective health objectives of reducing over consumption of sugar, whilst protecting and creating scarce jobs.

Expenditure

COSATU is worried that government's austerity approach to the public service is having a negative impact upon critical public service vacancies, in particular in health, education, social development, police and correctional services. We must not overstretch and underpay public servants that are performing badly needed public service functions.

We applaud government's wasteful reduction e.g. reducing the costs of constructing new schools. This needs to be expanded to the inflated figures of billions cited for building new departmental head offices, regional offices and embassies as a matter of urgency. We still need to see more commitments by government to reduce real wasteful expenditure and corruption.

COSATU applauds the massive increase in SAPS employment levels over the years. However the projected decrease in SAPS employment levels over the MTEF is worrying and does not make sense in the face of increasing levels of violent crime.

We are happy with government's efforts to create work relief for the long term unemployed through the EPWP and CWP. However these have now come to be abused as sources of cheap labour for cash strapped municipalities and departments and are now performing permanent government functions.

Using tax revenue to fund road infrastructure is good policy because it avoids the contentious user pay policy, which is being used to fund the -etolls. SANRAL receives R15.4 billion over the period ahead for strengthening and maintenance of the national road network, which now stands at 21 946 kilometres. However, the minister should have announced the scrapping of e-tolls altogether.

Social Security

The budget's silence on the pending crisis of how social grant recipients will receive their payments from 1 April is deeply worrying. The Constitutional Court issued a clear judgement in 2014 that the Department of Social Development had issued an illegal tender for CPS to pay social grants. It was given 2 years to address this matter. It was warned repeatedly by Parliament, COSATU and Treasury to do so to no avail. Now CPS has informed DSD that it will cost government R3.5 billion to extend its contract for a further 18 months.

The leadership of DSD needs to be held accountable for this national crisis. SASSA has clearly shown why key government functions must not be outsourced. SASSA needs to be reintegrated into DSD and the payment of social grants should be allocated to the Post Bank. Treasury must be tasked with ensuring that the Post Bank is sufficiently resourced and capacitated to undertake this function as a matter of urgency.

COSATU is equally disappointed in how government has continuously delayed engaging with labour and industry on Nedlac as it committed to do so repeatedly, on comprehensive social security, including retirement reforms. We hope that this year will see government engaging on this critical matter at Nedlac.

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation

Government's silence on the budget crisis in the Department of Water and Sanitation is surprising. Government's lack of a comprehensive desalination programme whilst we are in the midst of a long term water scarcity crisis is reminiscent of how government previously delayed dealing with our electricity challenges till it became a national crisis.

Government needs to establish a water war room with key stakeholders that will develop a national conservation and desalination programme. Municipalities cannot be allowed to continue to dump above inflation water tariff hikes on the poor.

COSATU had hoped to hear from government as to when it will ensure that all informal areas and villages have access to decent basic services. We appreciate the good work government has done to provide homes to millions of South Africans. However we believe that the proposed shift to rental housing stock will be a mistake. Families need to own and not to rent their homes less they be rendered homeless in the event of a bread winner losing a job.

State Owned Enterprises

Our various SOEs are well known for their many challenges; from corruption, to outsourcing, retrenchments, and governance and delivery failures. The Minister was largely silent on how good governance will be brought to our SOEs, in particular SAA, Eskom, and the Post Office etc. The budget speaks of further job losses at the Post Office, whilst postal workers have borne the brunt of thousands of retrenchments and outsourcing. COSATU does not understand why government says it will not retrench or outsource yet it tolerates it in its SOEs.

Conclusion

Lastly we are encouraged that the minister seems to be prepared to work with all social partners and stakeholders to find solutions to our economic challenges. But we are disappointed that government has failed to seize the moment and use this budget to drive job creation and radical economic transformation.

While the budget acknowledged that wealth remains highly concentrated, 95 per cent of wealth is in the hands of 10 per cent of the population; and 35 per cent of the labour force are unemployed or have given up hope of finding work. The budget is still consumption based than investment led, the promise to support labour intensive sectors is not reflected in the budget

Without a serious comprehensive plan to ensure all South Africans have decent permanent jobs, we will not be able to move forward as a nation. Unfortunately , people are running out of patience and government is running out of time.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794- 082 558 5962
E-Mail: sizwe@cosatu.org.za