What Programme ?

30 05 2008

By Nqobile Shoba

The Reconstruction and Devleopment programme was implemented by the ANC almost fourteen years ago. The programme was put in place in order to aid the poorest of the poor. According to the ANC’s Reconstruction and development programme monitor website

The RDP is a plan to address the many social and economic problems facing our country – problems such as…

  • violence
  • Iack of housing
  • Iack of jobs
  • inadequate education and health care
  • Iack of democracy
  • a failing economy.

However like many of the programmes put in place by our beloved government it has dismally failed. Besides the fact that almost half the houses that it builds for our poverty stricken South Africa are dismal, dispicably put together pieces of somewhat thrown together architecture, they have become no more than just money making schemes for poor and rich alike. I guess the question on everybody’s mind right now is ” What the hell is she talking about?” Well it is common knowledge, and by common knowledge I mean to the gossip mongers/ local church going folk in the townships, and the local governement in any city or town in South Africa that these so called RDP houses for the poor are given and awarded to those who have connections within the local governement. This is despite the fact that there are individuals who have been waiting on the list for more than ten years, to get ann RDP house.

Whilst covering a television news story in Vukani , Grahamstown about the renting out of these houses, I met a few individuals who had been waiting for ten years or more. In fact these were the individuals who were forced to rent out the RDP houses from local fat cats keen to pocket extra money from the poor. If not the fat cats it’s the local people from the townships themselves who somehow strike a connection with the local municipality, or its councilors and mange to own more than two houses in two different township areas, to only spend the profits they gain on alcohol or running a shebeen anyway.

The problem here is that no one takes the blame for what is clearly a system riddled with corruption. When one asks the local municipality about the awarding of RDP houses we are only told that they are not responsible for the awarding of houses and we should speak to the construction companies in charge ,The ANC has its promises. Free housing was one of them. I’m still baffled by the fact that people have waited this long for such a basic need.

used to complain about squatter camps but what else are the poor to do. If you can not afford rent, been waiting for more than ten years for a house, why not but build one? I think that is real vision and courage. So the rich get richer whilst the poor as they say get poorer . So as I switch off my bedroom light in my furnished home , slip into my warm bed I realize how lucky I am to have four sturdy cement walls  to shelter me. Paying for a free house? I don’t get it.


The ANC culture and its affects

20 04 2008

By Syanda Ngcobo

I thought I was going to write about the crises facing African leaders, but something else came to mind after I went to South African Students Congress Organisation’s (SASCO) branch general meeting at Rhodes University. What I found there was similar to what I’ve seen at the ANC 52, Conference in Polokwane and what recently happened in the ANC Youth League in Bloemfontein. What I’ve seen is a disaster which needs special attention.

Members show no discipline and are uncontrollabe. There was no order at all. I was shocked and surprised when I arrived at meeting. One of the “comrades” asked me at door “who I came to vote for”. But I said I don’t know, because had no idea that there will be elections for Branch Executive Committee (BEC). Inside the house was chaos and I started to see different camps among the organisation.

But what came into my attention is that, there’s a problem within the culture of the ANC. In Polokwane we have saw division among members. There was a Zuma and an Mbeki camp. All these groups are found in one organisation and have similar goals, but differ in terms of how they are going to pursue these goals. In Bloemfontein we have seen separation among the members. There was a Julius Malemela and a Saki Mafokeng camp. This does show that these organisations are democratic, but the problem arrises when these camps continue to exist even after the conference. This culture  is not a new phenomenon, but started long time ago. I can argue that it is embedded in the organisations. For example one can trace it back from the Mandela generation. Mandela and his camp also did a similar thing in a conference, they disrupt the conference.

When time goes on you start to realise that these camps are not healthy for the organisation. You will find some people criticising so and so, not just because he/she is not doing his work, but just because he/she is from a rival camp. I think comrades must learn to understand that if you have been defeated in a democratic vote, you have to accept the winner as the leader. And the person who wins is going to be governed by the organisation policies. You find some individuals or groups who came into these meetings with their own agendas, opposing everything. Like SASCO, here at Rhodes you will find some people who push their agenda. They don’t want to admit the fact that their agenda or views have been turned down by the house.

The last thing which disturbs SASCO at Rhodes is that they allow more interference of the regional branch committee. I’m saying this because these people always come here and tell the Rhodes Branch what to do and what not to do. These people don’t even understand the problems that are facing this organisation. I think their duty is to check whether SASCO at Rhodes is aligning with the constitution of SASCO or not. These people are irritating sometimes. They make up their own constitutions. I think SASCO at Rhodes should start to define their problems; “hhayi” not allowing the outsiders to play such a large role because they are the ones who bring confusion to the organisation. 

Bye bye bi-sexualism…

13 04 2008

By Alna Dall

Image from: http://www.alwaysproud.com/

In memory of the recent Pride week: I pay tribute to individuals such as Simon Nkoli who signalled the importance of gay and lesbian rights as HUMAN rights. I am particularly pleased that the torch is held high by people such as Zackie Achmat who was the founding farther of the Treatment Action Campaign. As pleased as these people make me, I am nevertheless sadly disappointed by the gay and straight community alike.

There seems to be a small part of society that suffers from underrepresentation when it comes to gender politics, particularly on the Rhodes campus. I am referring to the perhaps-confused, perhaps-perfectly-happy bi-sexuals. We are all aware of the connotations which the word “bi-sexual” implies. Some see them as indecisive, by others they are seen as pretentious attention-seekers. Regardless of whether they are judged by the straight or gay community – they ARE judged and patronised on a regular basis.

When I asked a member of the Outrhodes Committee (students who represent gay rights here at Rhodes) why they pay barely any attention to bi-sexual issues, she was very unresponsive. She did say that if there were documentaries on bi-sexualism, she would air them to the gay community. Is that it?

I do not suggest that we have a bi-sexual pride week. (And it should be mentioned that straight people don’t take a week off to celebrate their pride in being straight…) I am sure all bi-sexuals are happy with their worldwide celebration on 23rd September every year. It would just be nice if the bi-sexuals (even the bi-curious) could be treated as a class of their own. I am sure they would appreciate it. Everyone is “proud” of their sexual orientation but prejudice against bi-sexuals makes it very hard for them to even think of “coming out of the closet”.

As Wendy Curry (bi-sexual activist) said:… “Ignoring us won’t make us go away”. Ignoring bi-sexuals will certainly not force them into being gay or straight either…

Dear Uncle Bob

11 04 2008

By Lloyd Meikle

  Photo source: http://www.usefulwork.com/

Uncle Bob, as I affectionately call him, needs to face the truth. He has lost the Zimbabwean presidential elections. Possibly by a landslide. I am personally growing incredibly frustrated that the poll results have not been announced yet. If I’m feeling this way I can only imagine how the average person in Zimbabwe is feeling. It seems as if Mugabe is determined to hang on to power, even though according to most sources he CLEARLY lost the presidential election. If he was a clever dictator he would have done what some claim he did back in 2002 (and possibly before that too) and RIGGED the elections.

Come on Bob, sitting around and not letting the results be announced doesn’t work in your favour. After butchering your country do the GRACIOUS thing and stand down, so that you country can recover and the suffering can stop. What kind of a man, who fought for his country, would allow his own countrymen to live in utter misery, just to blame it on others. One of the mantras of Mugabe’s recent election campaign, as it has been in the past, was that a vote for him would mean that Zimbabwe would “never become a colony again”. What kind of nonsense is that? I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the ramblings of a mad man.

The sooner those around him realise this the sooner they can steer their country back onto some kind of course toward stability… anything would be be better than the status quo. With inflation running at over 100,000% any path other than the one that this tyrant has taken his country down will offer at least some hope. Robert Mugabe, if you are reading this (you might well be because since you lost the election you have remained unusually quiet in your presidential quarters), for the sake of your people and for the sake of humanity, allow democracy to run it’s course. Democracy is in place to stop people like you hanging around for too long. You’ve held on to power since 1980… that’s roughly 28 years. Having not even been present on Earth for the first seven years of your presidency I can see that it’s clearly been a long time. Why don’t you take a well deserved break and book a room somewhere near the Hague in the Netherlands. They might be needing you there soon.

Click here for the BBC’s latest coverage of this developing story

Gay moms and dads please sign up

10 04 2008

By Nqobile Shoba

I must admit I hadn’t really thought much about this topic until I had a very interesting conversation with a close gay friend of mine. Sitting and chatting we came across the topic of gay adoption. I was interested to hear from him that he didn’t believe in gay adoption, and did not want children of his own. NO CHILDREN!! I was shocked?! Then I realised that he may just have a point.

We all know that the idea of gay marriage has been a hotly contested over the recent years. Statistics from a study published in the January 1996 issue of Developmental Psychology found that children raised by a homosexual parent were much more likely to experiment with homosexual behavior themselves. The question one should then ask is , is there anything wrong with imitating your gay parents? If we are a society that has in fact accepted the idea of homosexual relationships and homosexuality then why not let gay men or couples adopt children? I mean lets look at the facts . There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of children in South Africa alone, that need loving homes. It wouldn’t be so bad if all of them could at least be taken in by loving parents who could provide them with food, shelter, clothes, education… the essentials in life. If that couple happens to be gay, then what? Keep the child in a foster home for its whole childhood life in the hopes that someday it will find loving parents in a heterosexual couple’s home? I mean lets be realistic, what are the chances that a couple that is fully able to conceive is going to want to adopt a child? 

However If a gay man is willing to admit that he does not believe in a child being raised by gay parents then could we not then say in some respect the idea of a gay couple raising a child is not normal at all? Im not saying all gay people or couples agree with that statement, but you have to admit it makes you think doesn’t it? What I’m trying to ask is do you think its normal for gay couples to raise children?

Let me know what you think…

Culturally viable?

4 04 2008

By Nqobile Shoba

www.sowetan.co.za Photo source: http://www.sowetan.co.za

It’s amazing how things can blow out of proportion when they are not spoken about. I was recently in a meeting with fellow journalists who wanted to do a story, concerning the supposed hate between  Zulu’s and Xhosa’s in South Africa. Now I must admit this was a particularly interesting topic for me, as I myself am Zulu yet my parents come from both clans, i.e. my mother is Xhosa and my father Zulu. I believe the measure of this supposed hatred only comes from those close minded backward people, from both clans who can not move on from the wrongs of the past. We all know that Shaka conquered the Xhosa’s and that Mandela became the new Shaka figure for the Xhosa’s when he came into power. What I fail to understand is why both clan’s cant just GHETTOVERIT! Living in a democratic South Africa should mean that we do not base the things that we do now on all the injustices of the past. Then again we are talking about a country that has shaped its identity on the politics of righting all the wrongs of the past.

I think the “Zuma fiasco” as you would call it can be brought up here. To be honest I think the only reason he had such ample support was the fact that he was ZULU. The new Shaka for the Zulu clan. I’m not saying that Thabo may have not been the same for the Xhosa’s but at least Thabo is not a potential president, who still thinks that taking a shower can cure Aids. I guess the Zulu and Xhosa “war” still exists but I’m literally living proof that it’s not true in all cases. Maybe we should make interclan marriages in South Africa a requirement. That’s my solution.

Who should be blamed for SA’s electricity crisis?

4 04 2008

By Syanda Ngcobo

 Photo source: www.imageshack.us

It has been a while now that South Africans have been living unhappy lives. People are constantly scared of the evil demon known as “load shedding”.  Who should really take the blame, since both Eskom and the government refuse to do so.  Now the government and Eskom started to point their fingers at the consumers of electricity which does not make any sense to me. The power shortage was known about long time ago. Both sides that were responsible did nothing to prevent it. I think consumers have the right to blame Eskom and the government for the failure to do something. I am just wondering what the minister of Minerals and Energy was doing all along during her term in office. Is she happy now? I think she is. She must be happy because she brought us into this deep mess.

Now, Eskom and the government are ordering people to use the electricity efficiently. But my problem is, what do they mean by efficiently?  People have paid for electricity and need to use it the way they like. And currently Eskom want to increase electricity price by 60 percent.  I think that is ridiculous. How you can do that while people’s demands have not met yet? Eskom expects people to accept this while they spend hours without electricity. I do not want to talk about affordability in terms of who is going to afford and who is not, because I am not COSATU or Zwelinzima Vavi.

Mr. Government and Mr. Eskom you need to address this problem as soon as possible, otherwise South Africa is going down down!