Shame on Ramaphosa and his Boys’ Club for their ongoing vilification of Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

By: Sipho Singiswa

The relentless legal battles waged against our current South African Public Protector, Prosecutor and Ombudsman, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, are more about the concealment of the involvement of ANC Tripartite Alliance leadership in corruption in which White corporate bosses and certain members of the inner circle of the ANC Boys Club, including President Ramaphosa, are implicated.

And rather than allow due legal processes, governing the standard norms and practice of an investigation into criminal conduct, to take its course to prove their innocence through the open courts of law, the President and state officials close to him, together with the white ward opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), have fought tooth and nail to ensure Ms Mkhwebane’s probe into official misconduct does not extend into a full-blown and transparent official investigation.

This response proves that it is really about protecting the corrupt officials tasked with the responsibility of project-managing the ‘historical’ White monopoly capitalist agenda.

One of the major objectives of this agenda is the fragmentation and final destruction of the ANC Tripartite Alliance structures. The end goal is to ensure that a divided ANC is denied every opportunity to win a clear majority that entitles it to implement its key resolutions, especially its land restitution plan. With this agenda firmly in place, members of the settler minority communities are then able to entrench their control of the South African political landscape and economic resources, while simultaneously imposing their will on the indigenous African majority while the ANC leaders remain shareholders in this treachery.

Consequently, Ramaphosa and his political cronies have been doing everything in their power to frustrate Mkhwebane’s legitimate investigation into corporate corruption in which senior ANC officials are incriminated. Her investigation also looks into the abuse of power and state resources in which corporate bosses and President Ramaphosa are directly implicated.

Character assassination.

The character assassination of Mkhwebane by the inner-circle started soon after Mmusi Maimane, then leader of the predominantly White opposition party, DA, officially approached her office in 2018, and she agreed, to investigate violations related to the funding of Ramaphosa’s 2017 (CR17) ANC presidential election campaign. The inner-circle did everything it could to coerce her to drop the investigation of Ramaphosa. When she refused, members of the inner-circle who were implicated allegedly colluded with the DA in a media campaign orchestrated to vilify her integrity, qualifications and experience. This begs the question of what the longterm plan is for the ANC and South Africa, as seemingly being discussed between the Thuma Mina faction, the ANC and possibly Afriforum.

Where it all began.

Mkhwebane was unanimously appointed to her office in October 2016 due to her stellar qualifications, record and experience. However, when her investigations, which she was mandated to perform, led her to wrong-doing by certain state officials and evidence implicating Ramaphosa in alleged clandestine corporate funding supporting his ANC Presidential election and, by extension, his State Presidential election campaign, she was quickly vilified by the ANC Boys Club’s inner-circle. One can only surmise that her investigation threatened the historically entrenched White corporate class agenda, the sustainability and profitability of which are reliant on Ramaphosa’s Presidential longevity in office. She has been blocked at every step of the way of her investigations that reveals the President received clandestine election funding from, among others, Bosasa, a correctional service provider company. It is the same company implicated by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture Report for paying for security upgrades at three houses owned by Ramaphosa’s long-time friend and NUM co-founder, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe. Not surprising, Minister Mantashe is one of the leading figures exploiting state, ANC and labour union platforms to undermine Mkhwebane’s investigation and to campaign for her immediate dismissal from her official duties.

Included in Mkhwebane’s investigation is the illegal use of state funds for ANC elective conferences. In this case the validity of Mkhwebane’s investigation is supported by leaked audio recordings of Ramaphosa acknowledging the abuse of state security agencies and public funds to support his Presidential election campaigns. But none of this evidence seems to matter to the lawmakers, the corporate bosses and media houses supporting Ramaphosa because they are committed to their neo-colonial liberal class agenda.When they failed to dissuade her, Ramaphosa, his political cronies and the DA, again connived in a joint campaign that resorted to abuse and manipulation of the parliamentary processes and the judiciary in order to legitimise their campaign and secret pact to get Mkhwebane fired from her office.

Weaponisation of white-owned media.

In this battle White-owned media houses are used as weaponised public platforms to manufacture general public consent to undermine, dehumanise and vilify a Native African woman by forever interrogating her qualifications, mental fitness and ability to perform her official duties and, thus, deliver on the obligations and objectives of a Public Protector. The mainstream media is utilised to justify Ramaphosa’s conspiracy to criminalise and finally silence Mkhwebane by impeaching and firing her from office based on nefarious neo-colonial liberal posturing rather than on sound legal and ethical grounds.This is about laying the false foundation for Ms Mkhwebane’s public ridiculing, humiliation and final lynching that is only reserved for Native Africans who dare to challenge and defy the White minority status quo. When she appealed to parliament and the judiciary for protection against such political harassment, intimidation and official character assassination, the inner circle exploited the ANC’s parliamentary majority to reject Mkhwebane’s appeal, and the judiciary closed rank with the President. They argued that Mkhwebane had demonstrated her mental unfitness and unsuitability to hold the office of the Public Protector by over-extending her investigation into the President’s personal affairs, his conduct and breach of the Executive Ethics Code. They simply based their main collective argument on a March 2020 legally flawed decision by Justice Chris Jafta.

In her 2019 report, Mkhwebane disclosed evidence of money laundering and that Ramaphosa had deliberately misled parliament and recommended that he be investigated by the Speaker and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).However, Justice Jafta declared Mkhwebane “should not have even entertained the issue of money laundering in her investigation into the CR17 campaign”.“The public protector called for bank records of the EFG Bank account, which showed an amount of over 100 million rands were made into several beneficiaries. The PP admitted that she has not authenticated the hard copies of e-mails sent to her. “Those e-mails appeared for the first time in the public protector’s final report,” says Jafta.

Jafta argued that these were not included in Musi Maimane and Julius Malema’s original complaints lodged for investigation and thus Mkhwebane does not have the powers to investigate the President’s breach of the Executive Ethics Code.Despite the evidence backing Mkhwebane’s report into Ramaphosa’s conduct, in March 2020 the Pretoria High Court declared Mkhwebane’s decision to investigate and her report on Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign invalid, and set it aside, thus effectively protecting him at the expense of, yet again, another independent, strong-minded thinker and leading indigenous African woman committed to protecting the public from the actions of corrupt lawmakersThis decision is highly suspect and implies that if one law enforcement agency comes across evidence of criminality outside its immediate jurisdiction it must do nothing, just walk away from such evidence, and not even share it with other relevant law-enforcement agencies for further investigation and prosecution. This, even by layman terms, cannot be rationally and legally correct.

It is worth noting that the conduct of the DA after it had lodged its complaint about Ramaphosa’s election campaign funding viewed with that of his inner-circle of supporters suggest there was an undue expectation from both the DA and Ramaphosa’s camp that Mkhwebane would confine her investigation into his Presidential election campaign to just the R500,000,00 donation from Bosasa which could easily be explained away. But her impartiality and endurance as a public prosecutor, coupled to her on-going struggles as a Native African woman, has exposed the rot of political dishonesty, empty rhetoric, hypocrisy and blackmail by both White corporate captains and the Ramaphosa camp.Needless to say, Justice Jafta’s decision to invalidate and set aside Mkhwebane’s report of Ramaphosa’s 2017 Presidential election campaign will never pass the scrutiny of any self-respecting international court of law. Given all the undeniable evidence contained in the Public Protector’s Report, and the reasons he gave for invalidating the report, Justice Jafta’s decision is nonsensical and simply disgraceful. It points to a Justice and judgement that is less concerned about the irrefutable evidence and truth about Ramaphosa’s alleged criminal misconduct, but rather one that is more interested in serving and advancing Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina campaign to undermine Mkhwebane’s legitimate investigation.

Jafta’s legally unsound and warped ruling lends further credence to the concerns that Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu’s raised in her opinion piece titled Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice, about the short-comings inherent in a neo-colonial liberal constitution and judiciary, as well as their negative social impact to Restorative Justice and a meaningful emancipation of indigenous South African women.That said, it is clear that women like Mkhwebane and Minister Sisulu are casualties of MODERN day politics of a globalised, corrupt and misogynistic ANC leadership and the conspiracy to protect the White corporate friendly Ramaphosa at all cost. To this day Mkhwebane is still being threatened, vilified, attacked and intimidated for executing her mandate without fear or favour. The intended outcome of these dirty politics is to ostracise and intimidate Mkhwebane into succumbing to the pressure to drop her investigation into the President’s clandestine election funding, abuse of power and state resources. The conspiracy to undermine her investigation and the abuse of her as a person goes much more than meets the eye. It, yet again, speaks volumes about the political manipulation of South Africa’s current neo-colonial liberal judiciary system and also exposes Ramaphosa’s willingness to cannibalise his own people in order to achieve selfish narrow-minded objectives.

Where is the feminist outrage?

An equally critical point of disappointment for me, as a liberation struggle war veteran, is the overall silence and betrayal of women organisations purporting to fight for gender-equality, the rights and fair treatment of women. But where is their voice of dissent and intolerance to the years of abuse and injustices still being committed against Mkhwebane? It is disgraceful that these generally overseas funded NGOs’ sense of justice is often trumped by capitalist aspirations, morality and condescending western-based feminist narrative linked to funding considerations. This has, over a space of just 28 years, managed to corrode and fragment the historical unity associated with ‘Wathinta Abafazi, Wathinta Imbokotho’ campaign of the Native African women’s struggle for emancipation and gender-equality in South Africa, and explains their silence to the years of racist and gender-based violence against the likes of Advocate Mkhwebane and Minister Sisulu. However, the betrayal and hypocrisy of corporatised gender equality feminist NGOs has not deterred Mkhwebane and Sisulu from speaking for the subjugated Native African majority. It has instead strengthened their resolve to remain non-partisan in honouring their public mandate to serve the public without prejudice, favour or fear. Their in-depth comprehension of the globalised current political power dynamics, contestation and combative environment in which they have to execute their respective official mandates versus the impact of collusion and resistance by corporate bosses to transparent and accountable social transformation seems to propel them forward and reinvigorates their commitment to fight for justice for the poor and the emancipation of the economically subjugated African people.

It is high-time South Africa and the rest of the global community reflect on the strength and courage of women of Mkhwebane and Sisulu’s calibre. Appreciate and salute them for their sense of justice, hard work ethics and commitment to serve the poor, as well as their leadership tenacity.


By Gillian Schutte

A  copy of the Report on the ANC Integrity Commission’s (IC) engagement with Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reads like a petty and contradictory missive written by those with a vindictive agenda to excise a senior member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for apparently ‘going rogue’ on them. In it the IC recommends that the NEC should: “publicly reprimand Cde Sisulu and instruct her to write a public apology to the judiciary. It goes on to say: “If this instruction is ignored, appropriate action should be taken and the NEC should publicly distance the ANC from her harmful utterances, and apologise to the general public.”

Sisulu’s so-called “harmful utterances” were made in her January 7, 2022, article Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?

In what needs to be read in the framework of critical race theory and Pan African ideology, she points out, amongst other things, the failure of the judiciary and its constitution to adequately represent and protect the poor whilst re-privileging the white settler population.  She also critiques a government that has sold its soul to white capital and elitism – writing: “Meanwhile, our black politicians have become black assets for colonised capital. And that capital keeps knocking at their doors for them to facilitate economic returns to multiply their investments.”

She goes on to write: “The most dangerous African today is the mentally colonised African. And when you put them in leadership positions or as interpreters of the law, they are worse than your oppressor. They have no African or Pan African inspired ideological grounding. Some are confused by foreign belief systems.”

“In America, these interpreters are called the House Negroes. It is what the father of black history Carter Woodson strenuously complained about in his famous book “The Miseducation of the Negro”.

Within the context of Woodson’s writing on the colonised and mentally enslaved Black subject, who remains compliant and complicit to whiteness having been afflicted with self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy and inferiority as a consequence of slavery and oppression, she adds: “Today, in the high echelons of our judicial system are these mentally colonised Africans, who have settled with the worldview and mindset of those who have dispossessed their ancestors. They are only too happy to lick the spittle of those who falsely claim superiority. The lack of confidence that permeates their rulings against their own speaks very loudly, while others, secure in their agenda, clap behind closed doors.”

This it seems, is her cardinal sin and the IC document has this to say:  “It was pointed out that when a senior ANC comrade publicly characterises the judiciary as “house negroes” and having “colonised minds” – it was to be expected that there would be negative consequences.” 


So problematising the judiciary in a neoliberal bourgeois democracy, in which even the state and all its organs, as well as citizens, are stripped of democratic rights and increasingly become subsidiary to the market place, deserves a punitive response? 

This really amplifies the assertion by Noam Chomsky and Manuela Cadelli that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also “every aspect of our thought”.

This is nothing more than an anti-intellectual attempt to malign Sisulu and silence her voice lest the “liberation” party is exposed for the anti-poor, white monopoly capital serving sham that it has become. 


Ironically the IC’s assessment of the interaction with Sisulu begins with these words: “The IC is unequivocal in asserting the ANC’s commitment to free speech. It is one of the basic principles of the organisation and can be found in every relevant policy document . It is a crucial part of the Freedom Charter and was subsequently brought into the Constitution of the Republic by the ANC.” 

It then directly contradicts the above statement with this neo-Victorian moralism: “However, a member of the NEC and the Executive is expected to know where and how to express herself or himself. To select the ‘right to speak’ as a defence to justify her unfortunate utterances in public is disingenuous.” 


So writing in the framework of critical race theory and liberation values is unfortunate and disingenuous?  And does the fact that other senior members of the ANC, as well as some members of the judiciary, have put out to public similar critiques, hold no significance?

Surely we must question why different rules apply to Gwede Mantashe’s calling of the judiciary “counter-revolutionary” and Sisulu’s suggestion that some judges are “mentally colonised.” Why do they elicit such different responses from the party?  Why was Mantashe defended by the ANC for his utterances yet Sisulu was hauled before the Integrity Commission for her free speech?

The somewhat regressive and contradictory conjecture in the IC document can only read as an attempted assassination of Sisulu’s reputation, because she, like Chris Hani and some other ANC members past and present, has stated her alignment with the original revolutionary principles of the ANC when it was a liberation party and has dared to critique the Constitution as having done little to improve the lives of the poor in South Africa. 

Could this attack on Sisulu from within the ANC signify that she is perceived as a threat to Ramaphosa in the Presidential race?  This would explain the obvious collusion between white media, business and the Ramaphosa faction in manufacturing fear and loathing of Sisulu while casting her as a rabid radical.  Liberals across the race bar are still baying for her blood in an irrational backlash that has, bizarrely, cast her in the monstrous Black trope, as they are wont to do with those who are marked as a threat to the status quo.

The white media (which is shamelessly Ramaphosa-aligned) has come down upon her like a neo-colonial shit-storm.  She has been accused of all manner of misdemeanours, including being a Zumanite, a Barbie Doll/Gucci Minister with presidential aspirations, a veritable constitutional vandal, a power monger who has sought to undermine the judiciary with malicious intent and a danger to the “integrity” of her party. Of course we know that her essay has also scared the bejesus out of the privileged asset-owning white population and they have thrown insults at her from all corners of their limited ideology. 

Ramaphosa, on the other hand, has been flaunted as a paragon of virtue, the hope for the return of the heart of the ANC, the poster boy for anti-corruption, ethical leadership, a champion for whiteness as well as a revolutionary actor for the poor. 

What a joke. 

Firstly, Ramaphosa has a publicly known legacy of his own alleged financial corruption. This includes but is not limited to: corporate tax-dodging during his leadership of Lonmin Platinum Mines as well as MTN, the  largest cellphone dealer on the continent.   Add to this the controversial contracts procured through his Shanduka mining company. 

Ramaphosa is also the very man who, along with Lonmin bosses, was at the center of the Marikana massacre and who never adequately apologised for his role in the death of the 34 miners shot down and murdered in cold blood for none other than striking for a living wage. 

Ramaphosa prioritised his shares and protection of the London-based Lonmin tycoons when he insisted that concomitant action be taken against the striking miners. This call for police action was sent in an email on 15 August 2012 by himself to Lonmin management, minister of mineral resources and the police minister. In a collusion between these forces the miners’ fate was sealed and on the 16 August the tragic massacre took place at the Kopple where the unarmed strikers had gathered. As a former union boss, Ramaphosa could have encouraged negotiation.  Rather he chose brutality against ‘expendable’ Black miners.

Ramaphosa’s bloody legacy does not, however, end with the Marikana Massacre.  

What we have witnessed during his feudal-style reign is that any unrest taking place under his watch has been swiftly and brutally dealt with by his state security cluster, resulting in mass violence against defenceless Black body – a violence that destroys any semblance of the applicable rights outlined in Chapter 2 of our so-called progressive constitution.  Horrifically, even in the absence of protest, defenceless native citizens have died in numbers on two notable occasions under Ramaphosa’s Presidency. These are: the Covid level 5 lockdown in which 17, mostly African male township and shanty dwellers from across South Africa, were killed at the hands of the SANDF or the SAPS.  The other is the death of 300 mostly African and poor people in the July 2021 unrest as well as the racially motivated murder of 35 innocent African people by Indian vigilantes in the Phoenix area – a tragic injustice that has become known as The Phoenix Massacre

Again the President has never so much as addressed these tragedies in the public arena nor spoken of reparations to the families of the victims. This really says all we need to know about his empathy-disconnect with the usurped majority. Minister Sisulu, in contrast, visited the families of victims in Phoenix and, a source reveals, she paid for, out of her pocket, some of the burials of victims of the massacre. This echoes her revolutionary conviction in her personal history in the struggle.  It also highlights Ramaphosa’s cold and calculated corporate approach to governance and lack of conviction to the on-the-ground struggle of the poor. 

It comes as no surprise then that Ramaphosa’s gory track record has earned him the nickname, “Mr. Massacre.” 

The ANC ought to be thoroughly embarrassed by Ramaphosa’s ‘off-with-their-heads’ rule. Instead, they claim that Sisulu is the embarrassment, though she does not have the blood of massacres on her hands.  They are, it seems, seeking to impose the step-aside ruling on her for writing a critical pro-poor article, which they claim, brings the party in disrepute. What logic is applied that finds the massacre of innocent civilians and strikers the lesser evil?

It is also worth mentioning that unlike Ramaphosa, Sisulu was never mentioned in all forms of State Capture Reports. Her track record indicates that she faithfully fought corruption in all sectors, from the Public Administration department, to Water Affairs, to Tourism, where, a source reveals, she found dead people still earning salaries. Ironically she never received any form of support from a President who claims to be “fighting corruption on a daily basis”.  It appears his time is spent protecting all those who are aligned to his faction.  A source reveals that Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, is a case in point and is shielded from corruption allegations  because he is talking 2nd term for Ramaphosa. This, the source reveals, means Ramaphosa’s personal ambitions supersede the interests of the country, especially the fight against corruption. He goes on to say: “This is not to say that the Integrity Commission, white media and high-heeled Foundations are not aware of Mabuyane’s corruption cases, but they choose to keep quiet because he is aligned to CR 22. And look at the pace they are using in Mantashe’s implacable role in the State Capture report.  It’s unfolding at a snail’s pace because Mantashe supports the President’s 2nd term.” 

Some have claimed that the Integrity Commission is an extension of CR 22 and this is made obvious by their silence on all Bosasa beneficiaries which includes their President. They question the lack of follow through on the R500, 000 Bosasa story which, it is alleged was paid to the CR17 campaign. Then there is still the scandal of the R2million paid to the  President’s son by Bosasa. 

On reading the IC document on Lindiwe Sisulu I have to question who authored it. It reads like a collusive mix of disgruntled Thuma Mina propogandaists, some Daily Maverick type journalese, perhaps the doublespeak of an embedded ‘formerly progressive’ academic or two, a couple of judges, a bouquet of Stellenbosch stench and a flurry of Foundation gatekeeping.  Certainly it is a curious mix of P W Botha finger-wagging and neoliberal false-morality mixed with white outrage and ‘non-white’ bourgeois  babble. In short it is deliberately offensive and prejudicial to Sisulu, a perceived contender and threat to CR22.  This type of vilification is, it seems, a buffer zone constructed in a concerted effort to protect Ramaphosa’s campaign.

It is hard not to suspect that Ramaphosa and his faction is being shielded by a judiciary that appears to be actively participating in ANC’s internal politics and succession debate. Yet when Sisulu critiques the captured judiciary, which allegedly sealed the 2017 Nasrec files, she is set upon and attacked vociferously. 

In all, Ramaphosa (aka Mr Massacre) seems to be fortified by both the judiciary and the Integrity Commission of the ANC, which deals swiftly with anyone who is likely to contest Ramaphosa.  Assassination-by-reputational-damage is clearly the weapon of choice and is a weapon the White Media is happy to wield in their blood sport of extermination-by-reputational-damage of those considered threatening to Ramaphosa as well as big business and entrenched white privilege. 

But come now.  Surely anyone with a sense of justice, outrage at, and empathy for, the plight of the dispossessed majority, can see clearly that it is President Ramaphosa who must step aside, not his ANC senior, Minister Sisulu.

This article was first published 12.05.2022 on

Ex Political Prisoners say that Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo should withdraw his bid for the position of Chief Justice.


03 FEBRUARY 2022.

We, as a collective of Ex Political Prisoners, are disturbed to note that Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was one of the first to jump into the boxing ring in response to Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulus’s long overdue article, Hi Mzansi, have we seen justice?  After some reflection we are prompted to ask where Zondo fits into the scheme of things regarding the CR presidential campaign?  Why would the Acting-Chief Justice risk engaging himself in a political fray when this can easily be construed as his involvement in a potential ‘conflict of interest’ on the eve of interviews and nominations for the position of the Chief Justice?  

We further ask if Zondo has not crossed the line by involving himself in a matter of a strictly political nature and outside of the legal parameters that bind members of the judiciary from involvement in a conflict of interest, by asking or lobbying the ANC leadership and, by extension, the State President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to take actionagainst Minister Sisulu?  It is our view that, by playing politics and denying the reality of Sisulu’s reflections, Zondo has come off as appearing disingenuous and very mischievous with the truth about the South African political history and dire social conditions for the majority.  

Against allegations that the Zondo Commission is politically biased in favour of protecting the CR camp and has been lenient in its investigations of White corporate crimes, we are disturbed that the, as yet, unsubstantiated attack on Sisulu, appears to be a grand display of political posturing and colonial amnesia. We have to wonder if there is a possibility of Zondo being opportunistic in his ambitions for the position of the Chief Justice.

Again we question whether the perceived successes of the State Capture Commission dulled his better judgment, thus Zondo, unfortunately, has demonstrated poor foresight by involving himself in conduct that, one can argue, is unbecoming for a person in his position.  We can further argue, within reason, that by being selective with the historical facts in his criticism of Sisulu, the Acting-Chief Justice acted irresponsibly as an apartheid apologist and/or denialist. 

In his overzealousness to attack Sisulu, the judge uses selective outrage as justification for calling for action to be taken against her.  However, the judge tactically says absolutely nothing on the validity of Sisulu’s views on how the Constitution, as a fundamental key framework governing the application of the laws of our country, its government administration and responsibilities, nor how the laws must serve all citizens equally.  The judiciary is one of the critical state organs to ensure that these laws are applied and adhered to at all times.  

As liberation struggle war veterans and former Robben Island political prisoners we have no difficulty in comprehending the official need for and relevance of Sisulu’s introspection, given that she is also the chairperson of the ANC Social Transformation subcommittee.  

In his focused attack on Sisulu, Zondo has, seemingly, during a moment of positional overreach, allowed himself to stoop to almost the same low levels of the people he has harshly criticised for wrongdoing during his own State Capture Commission of Inquiry. 

Given this turn of events we can then easily argue that, while helping the campaign of the Ramaphosa camp, the Acting-Chief Justice’s timing of the release of the State Capture Report to Ramaphosa seems to have been pointedly planned to help boost Zondo’s own chances for nomination to the position of the Chief Justice.  This in turn, casts a blanket of doubt on the authenticity of the final findings of the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.

Another factor that is certain to unfairly improve the judge’s bidding for the position, considering the overwhelming view that his leniency in dealing with the economic crimes committed by the White industry giants, has made him their blue-eyed boy, which no doubt boosts his nomination chances with their endorsements. 

Furthermore, we ask whether Zondo’s public attack on Sisulu, in which he called a press conference which clearly swayed public opinion, could be construed as a calculated move in order to assist CR’s presidential campaign by tarnishing Sisulu’s campaign for presidency.

It is also of interest to us that Zondo’s main bone of contention was that Sisulu referred to some Black members of the judiciary as being mentally colonized. In our view it is a fact that all Black subjects remain colonised in neocolonial Settler countries and it is incumbent on us, against all odds, to decolonize our thinking. The Fees Must Fall movement signaled loudly that this is a popular sentiment.  Perhaps Zondo missed that.  From our perspective there can be no dispute around Sisulu’s statement and thus Zondo’s outrage is mute in this regard.

It is against this accumulation of grave concerns that we as a collective of Robben Island ex-political prisoners and liberation struggle veterans, have on ethical grounds no choice but to respectfully call upon the Acting-Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo to please withdraw his bid for the position of the Chief Justice.

Sipho Singiswa  – Ex Robben Island Political Prisoner

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I am ‘Indian’ and I support Jackie Shandu.

By Juanita Chitepo

 I was born in South Africa, classified ‘Indian’ by the Apartheid Government, schooled with and educated by Indians. I still maintain a family home, in what used to be and largely remains a Group Areas Act Indian settlement, in Northdale, Pietermaritzburg. 

When I saw the news of Jackie Shandu’s comment, ‘one Indian, one bullet’, I was not filled with anger or moral outrage. I did not respond with shock or horror. My heart sank, and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of utter helplessness in the face of what I knew was going to be a backlash of mammoth proportion against this passionate young scholar and activist.  I believe Shandu was attempting to express a National and unspeakabable grief (that is being suppressed and ignored in a most inhumane way) through his use of a turn of phrase that is symbolic in South Africa’s history of protest. This is, in my opinion, the legitimate use of artistic and literary device to vocally express that struggle and the lack of actual power or,  as in this case, weapons.

To truly understand and obtain a holistic grasp of South African Indian racial prejudice of the kind that led to the Phoenix Massacre, and all manner of violence against Black bodies around the Province, including my town and area, one must have lived, breathed and moved among the ‘race’ as I have. But most importantly one must be seen as ‘wanting to belong’ to this cultural group, racial category, classified community, as apart from, and even against, other so-called ‘communities’, a term that seems to have become an accepted and constitutionally sanctioned euphemism for race. To associate with Blackness beyond any perfunctory level of interaction, such as labour, business or casual social niceties, is unusual, especially for Indian women. Inter-marriage is an ultimate taboo and will have you disowned, ostracised and isolated if not declared publicly insane.

It is difficult to be intellectual about what to me felt like an attempted genocide of Blacks by so-called ‘Indian Communities’. Discourse around Asian Anti-Black racism in Africa and abroad is by no means new. That Gandhi used racist notions of cultural superiority to plead the case of Indians as deserving better treatment and greater freedoms than their Black counterparts to the British is similarly well documented. To deny now, as absurd and untrue, that cultural, economic, socio-political and linguistic prejudices and behaviours kindled and nurtured by the Apartheid state and perpetuated beyond it by the permanence of the Group Areas Act as the ultimate social and racially motivated social engineering experiment, has led to this bloody moment in South Africa’s violent history, is National mental illness and tragic delusion.

I am terrified of Indian racism in South Africa. I don’t remember an exact moment of any realisation of it, but the recollection of my fear of it began as a child. It was triggered by sight, sound and general sense. The tones of voice and body language reserved for Blacks. The jobs reserved for Blacks. The language reserved for Blacks. The dishes and utensils reserved for Blacks. With the privilege of an educated and politically involved family, as well as by virtue of being in the Christian minority among Hindu’s and Muslims, my inter-racial social interactions were unusual compared to my peers. We socialised to some extent with people of all races and class. There was no overt racism in our household (which is not to say that it did not exist), which made it all the more complex and difficult to comprehend when confronted with the extremities of it among peers. Apartheid was ultimately a lived reality based on difference that we wore like second skin.

The late eighties ushered in a new era of discourse in Indian High Schools. Suddenly we were discussing the potential repercussions of a New South Africa in which we would have to integrate or at the very least assimilate. The idea seemed inconceivable. My most outstanding recollections of those debates were that the boys were up in arms that their half-clothed sisters would be at the mercy of Black predators at the local Olympic Swimming Pool. Any dissention was seen as lunacy and sexual deviance. General racist slurs, the gruesome sexual dehumanisation of the Black female body in casual conversation, the construction of the Black male body as representative of physical threat and sexual violence was the everyday stuff of my teenage years.

Thirty years later, the more things have changed the more they have stayed the same. I have developed a near phobia of leaving my yard for fear of what I will see or hear beyond it. They WE us THEM decent blacks LOOTERS stupid illiterate useless K……For the duration of the period in which so-called communities felt the need to patrol the suburbs armed with artillery, knives, sporting equipment, garden and household cleaning implements as well as Bob whistles in defence of their lives and property, I lurked awake, night after night, sick with fear that the men marching up and down past my house would get what they desperately wanted – A Black to kill, preferably a Zulu, but any would do. People died here. But it wasn’t a massacre and we’ll never know. People died all over. And we’ll never know. But we do know about Phoenix.

When Jackie Shandu made his statements on the stairs of Durban City Hall last week, I had yet to have seen any public comment or media coverage that located the Phoenix Massacre, or any other racially motivated violence in the Province, within the context of deep-seated entrenched Apartheid racism among White, Coloured and Indian so-called communities. The prevailing narrative was one of stubborn defence. While the bloodletting continued unabated the SA Human Rights Commission, the DA, African Democratic Change, The South African Hindu Maha Sabha and eThekwini Municipality said and did nothing. The contrasting response of the public to so-called Hate Speech as opposed to Hate Action speaks volumes of the hypocrisy upon which this Democracy is based.

Jackie Shandu retracted his statement for obvious reasons, made as they were ‘in the heat of the moment’. Had he not, I would support him anyway. If Mr Shandu is to be held up to the Nation as an example of the consequences of ‘hate speech’ where are the warrants of arrests for the hundreds of Indians, Whites and Coloureds (including teenagers) who filmed and posted to social media their hateful, barbaric incitements to murder (and in at least one instance rape) Blacks in so-called defence of property? Until that time, when the daily humiliation, deprivation and dehumanisation of Black Africans by Indians (and other minorities) is boldly acknowledged and addressed at its root I will stand by my support of both Mr Shandu and his statement and continue to reject the racist identity of ‘Indianness’ foisted upon me by both the Apartheid and current government, as an abomination and embarrassment. Bite that bullet.    

Afrikin Vylits.

By: Juanita Chitepo

The rain beats purposefully down upon the tin roof. The sound is orchestral and makes it all the more difficult for me to hold in last night’s drink now terrorizing my four year old bladder. Grandpa snores gently at the far end of the gigantic bed. He is a Health Inspector and rides a motorcycle. Sometime he lets me wear his helmet and pretend to ride but no matter how hard I try to stretch my fingers across I cannot grasp both the handles and the brakes simultaneously. Granny’s chest heaves beside me under the stifling guthrie (A heavy covering made of many old blankets stitched together and covered). If I wake her now, she will be cross and grumpy. She will swear and curse under her breath so as not to wake grandpa, and pinch my arm and push me hastily down the slippery, ragged brick path to the outside shed. There I will climb up the gigantic wooden box and straddle myself across the pit-drop toilet while the paraffin lamp in her hand casts a ghostly glow over the proceedings. Tomorrow, I have been warned, THE PRISONERS are coming to fetch THE WASTE. I am to remain indoors and out of sight for the duration of this event under threat of a severe beating if I don’t. I wonder what THE PRISONERS will look like. I think of THE HOBBIAHS in the story that Ayah reads to me, with their red eyes and sharp teeth, tap tap tapping on the tin roof. I am thrilled and terrified that they are coming. I know I will creep creep creep to the curtain and squint through the tiniest gap in its togetherness tomorrow.

I squirm and try to HOLDIT. That’s what my mother always says when I need to go at a bad time. HOLDIT! I shift under the burden of blankets, careful not to tumble over the edge of the bed, and ponder the afternoon’s events.

My mother has been attacked by ASMA. Ayah packs my bag and dad drives me in his Valiant along the narrow, winding, dusty sugar-cane road from Shakaskraal to Verulam where I am left with my maternal grandparents because mum has had an ASMA attack. I love driving with my dad. I like to listen to the humming of the mammoth motor car, peering at the clouds through the little square window of my made-in-china plastic camera, a little replica of my dad’s real one. It has a button that clicks and a little lever that whirrs when I turn it; just like the sound of dad’s each time he whirrs the film to take a new picture. I don’t mind being away from Mum. Even when she is not being attacked by ASMA she is in a bad mood. One time she broke plates. I think it was my fault. Grandpa says I’m a good girl but mum says I’m not. She smacks me when I pick the flowers from her garden but I can’t help it. They are so pretty and inviting, especially the little purple ones with the yellow and black tumbling all out of the middle that she keeps on special shelves in a special place on the veranda. They are AFRIKIN VYLITS. Come and look at my AFRIKIN VYLITS says mum when there are visitors and they have finished their tea. Besides there is plenty to be done at granny’s house – chickens to feed, eggs to gather, dogs to pet, cats to chase, fruit to eat. Maybe a visit to the shops would yield granny sweets; hot, sharp peppermint disks wrapped tightly together under a wrapping that said XXX. My taste buds had tingled in anticipation as I lay back and closed my eyes into the sun, colours popping and bursting in my brain. And dad driving.

The tin shack has a kitchen with an enormous primus stove, a small bedroom hardly larger than the enormous bed and a modest lounge. It nestles below road level at the bottom of a curving, sandy driveway, neighbourless and surrounded by bush and a small forest of litchi and mango trees. Behind the house a dull concrete building is divided in to a single parking garage and a large coop; beside this are scattered kennels and cages of the rescued creatures that the WHITE LADIES of the Animal Anti-cruelty League bring to Granny en route to their new and hopefully happier lives. One time there was even a goose that chased me. I’d run for my life from the creature, as it snapped and hawed at me, running and jumping and leaping, clumsy and deranged. I’d burst into the kitchen, slamming the flimsy door shut in the nick of time, it’s breath still hot on my behind. I try not to remember my fear and make another concerted effort to HOLDIT.

When the WHITE LADIES come I have to stay out of the way and be quiet. Granny takes out the special WHITE LADIES cups and saucers. Grandpa and Mum look like white people but they are not. Granny is short and round and dark. She is definitely not a white people. Ayah is a HINDOO. She has mandarin skin. She was dark like granny but wanted to be light like mum so she tried a medicine that didn’t work and now she has mandarin skin and no one will ever marry her so she has to look after me forever. She likes to sing. Sometimes when there are weddings she dresses up in a fancy sari and sings a special song. Then she doesn’t look like my ayah any more. Then she looks like a HINDOO princess, like the pictures above the brass lamp in her father’s barbershop. Mum never wears saris. Mum wears WHITE LADIES clothes. Sometimes she even wears trousers. Ayah says mum is a very special lady because she looks like a WHITE LADY. Ayah says I am very lucky that a WHITELOOKING lady like my Mum is looking after a DARKLOOKING girl like me. She says Mum and Dad broughtmefromthehospital when I was two weeks old. Ayah also says sosadshecanthaveherownchild.

Granny has saris. She has cut one of them in half for me, lengthwise, to drape around myself; the pleats stitched together, easy to wind round and round and fling over my shoulder as I sing the made up words to my HINDOO songs. Only today, though, I have been slapped for singing in my sari. For a second I forget to HOLDIT as I remember the stinging humiliation of the afternoon.

Ayah had taken me to a prayer. There had been bells and shells and lots of singing and sweet things to eat. I thought of the singing when dad had left me and driven off in a cloud of sand. I could remember some of the words. REAL WORDS! That was much better than the silly MADEUP words I would sing, to the tunes of HINDOO songs granny and grandpa listened to in the evenings on their record player that looked like a little square suitcase, while whirling and twirling in my little sari. PAR PAR ZINDAGEEEEE KAHBI KAHBI MERE SONA HE LALALA AH AH OH OH ….

HARE RAMA, HARE KRISHNA, HARE, HARE, HARE, HARE! I sang in my sari. HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, KRISHNA KRISHNA!!! I sang in my sari and whirled and twirled in the fading light watching and listening for the purr of grandpa’s motorcycle coming down the drive in the looming dusk. HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA … The sudden grab of my arm, the twisting pinching flesh, the quick-fast five-fingered explosion of pain in my gums and teeth and eyes, so unexpected, sucking the sails out of my sari as granny shrieks and shrieks. DON SING THAT, DON SING THAT, WE ARE KRISTIANS WE ARE KRISTIANS. SING ANY OTHER WORDS ANY OTHER WORDS NOT THAT NOT THAT!!!!


The big black umbrella has kept our heads dry, but our feet and legs are wet from the rushing river of rain that races over the path to the pit. I may as well have peed in my pants I was so wet. Granny huffs and puffs under her breath, heaving and cleaving and towelling us dry before putting out the lamp and curling back under the covers. STUPIDGIRL STUPIDGIRL STUPIDGIRL.

HARE RAMA, HARE KRISHNA … I dream that I am singing in a sari. DON SING THAT, DON SING THAT, WE ARE KRISTIANS WE ARE KRISTIANS shout the WHITE LADIES. Dad is driving, mum is wearing trousers, I am a brown cloud of dust and THE PRISONERS are coming to fetch the AFRIKIN VYLITS.

 Juanita Chitepo is a Theatre practitioner, musician, educationalist and writer. National Arts Festival Fringe Productions comprise a solo performance in Masquerade of Mannequins, a play exploring Indian Female Identity in SA; Speaking Spaces/ Archaeology of an African Identity, a play about the still birth of the Rainbow Nation work-shopped with and performed by Grade 10 to 12 students from 5 PMB High Schools and SOUNDGAZE: Moving Images of Marie in Woyzeck, an Inter-medial interpretation of the original comprising a live band, an original score and photographic images. She has been published by Chimurenga Magazine and National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe. 

Tokyo Sexwale is no Peoples’ Hero.

A Freedom Day reflection from a member of the Ex-Robben Islander Empowerment Forum (ERIEF)

Sipho Singiswa

As many South Africans celebrate the 27 April Freedom Day or 27 years of Freedom during this most trying period, which for many has been considerably worsened by the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, many  liberation struggle veterans and ex-political prisoners are forced to mull over how their lives have turned out since April 27, 1994.  Their daily lived experience of hardship compels them to reflect on what happened to the promised freedom and justice for which they sacrificed their youth in order for the majority to declare and celebrate this day, 27 April Freedom Day. 

But, many South Africans celebrating this day are young people and adults who may not be so well versed in the praxis of struggle politics required to fight the entrenched multi-layered strategies of continued long-term aspirations of white economic domination and its associated racist oppression.  These young South Africans, popularly referred to as ‘Born Frees’, are often saturated in the neoliberal ideologies so ardently pushed at universities, notwithstanding that those who push this ideology are strategically placed white academics and foreign nationals (who are employed before South African Black academics and who are not that invested in South African Black emancipatory thinking) carefully picked from the moderate liberal echelon.  As such, they tend to be dismissive of the true sacrifice of the youth of the 1976 student uprising and the liberation struggle that preceded that uprising.  Indeed they often frame their disparagement of this contribution by all freedom fighters on the premise of the misdeeds and corruption perpetrated by those liberation veterans who joined the anti-black ranks of the white echelon at the expense of the majority.  But let us be clear.  I speak for those 1976 veterans who did not jump on the gravy train and have stayed true to the struggle for the complete emancipation of the Black indigenous majority in South Africa.

It would thus be unjust to place the blame entirely on the shoulders of the millennials for their lack of a critical in-depth analysis on the struggle against the impact of the long-term aftermath of white oppression on its targeted victims and those who directly opposed it. One could rightly say that this political blankness is engineered, beginning at schools where the South African liberation struggle history has been deliberately overlooked, other than a Mandelaesque watered down Rainbow version, which hardly inspires authentic Black Consciousness or radical critical thinking.   Not only that, but liberal embedded academics have smuggled in individualistic cross purpose ideological neo-theories that rule out all 20th century struggles as patriarchal and worthless.  

Nowadays struggles are fractured into multiple individual problematics that vie for attention and funding from the corporatised NGO sector, at the expense of the collective struggle for the economic and cultural emancipation of our majority. This is the weaponisation of real struggles into deformed liberal frameworks that set pertinent struggles against each other. Issues that ought to be addressed in tandem with the emancipation of all oppressed peoples from the clutches of a white patriarchal stranglehold, are herded into individualistic compartments. This strategy has been carefully engineered to obfuscate the overall struggle for Black freedom by distorting radical thought into new frameworks that fracture and confuse revolutionary ideals and decimate the collectivism required as the fuel for radical emancipatory ideology on all fronts for all Black people.  Ironically this shattering of collectivism ultimately protects white economic domination, ensuring the perpetuity of white hegemony.  In addition there is an alarming proliferation of conspiracy theory that is eagerly taken up by a youth searching for meaning in this age of fragmentation and a vampire economy.

Surely, the ruling party has to accept full responsibility for failing to care for, preserve and protect the history and culture of the indigenous African people and their liberation struggle. What they have done instead is to ensure that the youth are spoon fed a distorted history that overlooks the dire impact of colonial brutality on our people and calls for reformation that only feeds their avaricious desire to enrich themselves at all costs. In this way instead of preserving and learning from our experiences they have disingenuously pushed the ANC as the only liberation entity that ever existed in South Africa and enforced liberal capitalist strictures onto what was once a radical objective for liberation.

Despite this our African children are clear about the injustices they are trapped in and are thus caught up in the national struggle for free education precisely because our leadership is locked into the race for self-serving enrichment and the looting of the state coffers and natural resources.  It is hard not to conclude that the ruling party betrayed the indigenous African child and the nation when it reneged on, inter alia, its ANC liberation struggle promise to provide equal access to quality education as one of its fundamental objectives to reverse the racially-based socioeconomic imbalances associated to the history of colonial and apartheid era.  In the haze of this engineered political blankness, the millennial struggle has glaring similarities to the 1976 uprising, a connection many are coerced into not recognising.  

This distancing from our liberation ethos has been further confused by the likes of Tokyo Sexwale, as seen clearly in the social media bunfight fuelled by public allegations made by Sexwale about the existence of a Heritage Fund to help the poor.  Sexwale is well known as one of the liberation struggle veterans and former Robben Island political prisoners who was quickly head-hunted to join the elite after his release. Sexwale is, inter alia, also a former Chairperson of the ANC Gauteng Province and provincial Premier of the same province. This significantly sets him apart from many of his ex Robben Island former comrades in that Sexwale now lives and enjoys a lifestyle of an international oligarch while they wallow in desperate poverty and depression.  

What started off as an investigation into his allegations became a social media spectacle of speculation that seemingly divided people into two obvious camps. Those who believed his story hook line and sinker and who called out any critique of his allegations as mere anti-black conjecture, and those who laughed outright at his allegations as well as his three hour egoistic press conference. Neither of these two camps delivered on any satisfactory critical analysis of the matter.  Firstly the anti-black narrative did indeed jump on the band wagon – as it always does.  However those who believed his story and elevated him to the status of ‘the hero of black struggle’, also fed into a narrative that uncritically refused to analyse his intent and timing and rubbished the opinion of those who have been involved in a struggle against his own self-serving conduct – namely a collective of ex-Robben islanders who have been usurped through his accruement of obscene wealth built upon a welfare fund raised in their name that was meant to look after the needs of ex political prisoners and their dependents. 

One example is an ill-informed Facebook comment questioning the timing of the statement issued by Robben Island Ex-Political Prisoners Empowerment Forum (ERIEF) following Sexwale’s allegations of the existence of the Heritage Fund..  This comment suggested that any critique of Sexwale’s utterance were somehow pushing an anti-black agenda and pushing the #ThumaMina agenda.

ERIEF thus felt it necessary to set the record straight. 

The deliberate attempt at creating a public impression that the timing of ERIEF’s statement following Sexwale’s allegations may be linked to the Cyril Ramaphosa political faction/CR17 or Cyril Ramaphosa’s #ThumaMina election campaign, is ludicrous to say the least.  Not only that, but to wilfully reduce the key focus of the statement to a single event and timing is both politically naive and ignorant.  It is ideologically confused and a disingenuous attempt to smokescreen the real concerns raised by the statement. 

ERIEF will thus not expend any energy on such attempts to associate its statement or its formation to the Ramaphosa election campaigns, except to say – we will not be distracted from our non-partisan mandate and key objective which is, to seek justice for, and to address the dire plight of the marginalised Robben Island ex-political prisoners and all forgotten liberation struggle veterans equally.  

It is not ERIEF that planned and prompted the timing of the statement, but Sexwale’s public allegations that are peppered with half-truths and lies, in order to portray a false public image of his character while continuously invoking, in vain, the name of both Nelson Mandela and the Robben Island former political prisoners he has defrauded.

Furthermore, the focus of ERIEF’s statement has nothing to do with whether the Heritage Fund exists or not, or that Tokyo Sexwale’s allegations are true or not.  Before Sexwale made his allegations public, ERIEF and the general collective community of ex-political prisoners and liberation struggle veterans had absolutely no prior knowledge of the existence of the Heritage Fund.  Consequently, ERIEF will not comment on the existence of such a Heritage Fund or its authenticity.

However, against the backdrop of his allegations about the existence of the Fund and his key role in it, our statement has more to do with his utter hypocrisy and to highlight how over the years, Sexwale has shoddily used and treated his fellow former Robben Island political prisoners and grossly mismanaged their funds to finance his inflated personal lifestyle, while bankrolling both his political and presidential campaigns that have thus far failed to get him the presidency.  This also applies to another failed Tokyo scheme, that being the very ambitious and expensive international campaign for the position of the FIFA secretary-general during which time the name of Nelson Mandela and the Robben Island ex-political prisoners became synonymous with his self-serving campaign to capture FIFA.

For more than twenty four (24) years Robben Island ex-political prisoners have sought legal recourse to force  Sexwale and his cronies to account for the welfare funds (that eventually surpassed the Billion Rand mark in accumulated dividends) a matter that was officially raised specifically to address the dreadful welfare of poverty-stricken Robben Island ex-political prisoners and their dependants. This legal battle between Sexwale and the aggrieved former Robben Island political prisoners is well documented and was even covered by some of the local media houses and journalists over a period of time.  

To reiterate, our original statement, the legal battle started soon after the establishment of a welfare organisation, namely the Robben Island Ex-Political Prisoners Committee (EPPC) at their 12 February 1995 reunion on Robben Island with then State President and fellow Robben Island ex-political prisoner, Cde Nelson Mandela.  It was at this reunion that the EPPA was tasked the responsibility to address the plight of former Robben Island political prisoners, the liberation struggle veterans and their dependants.  The name was later changed to Ex-Political Prisoners Association (EPPA) due to anticipation of potential legal technicalities). 

But the EPPA could not rely on donations alone to address the plight of the destitute ex-political prisoners.  It was resolved that the organisation needs to identify commercial investment opportunities that would also assist with their housing, medical aid and education bursaries, as well as to create both long-term and sustainable employment opportunities for the ex-political prisoners and their dependants.

To achieve this the ex-political prisoners resolved to set up a trust, namely MAKANA TRUST and its frontline commercial vehicle, namely MAKANA INVESTMENT CORPORATION (MIC).  This was the key objective of the EPPA which is contrary to using and exploiting the organisation as a platform of selfish enrichment.  It was clearly understood that the Robben Island ex-political prisoners are the Founding members of these three (3) entities, the EPPA, MAKANA TRUST and MIC.  It was further clearly understood that the said entities will act in full consultation with and must always act in the best interest of the collective welfare and empowerment of Robben Island ex-political prisoners and their dependants at all times.

Not only did President Mandela officially endorse the organisation, he also actively lobbied international figures; celebrities and the corporate world to support the EPPA and its initiatives.  A number of international figures and famous celebrities responded very positive to Mandela’s appeal.  The international financial support was later bolstered by BEE business related partnerships with traditionally local white corporate companies who were keen to grow their BEE status by grooming their own political connectivity to ANC officials, thus government business deals and the mushrooming of ANC Alliance linked tenderpreneurs. 

Soon after, ANC leadership structures were fast turned into breeding ground for aspirant tenderpreneurs to access government business contracts.   They transformed and duplicated themselves into repeat business deals approved by political cronies and overseen by family foundations.

The EPPA, MAKANA TRUST and MIC were not spared. In fact the poverty-stricken Robben Island ex-political prisoners became the first victims of the corruption linked to senior ANC leaders, many named in the Zondo Commission and ERIEF’s submission. 

Contrary to his claim of being a crusader of the poor, Sexwale has since 1995 enjoyed a high life of an oligarch after raising millions of funds using the name of both Nelson Mandela and the Ex-Political Prisoners, as well as their trust, MAKANA TRUST and MIC. 

When the millions (which later turned into billions worth of investments and in accrued dividends) started rolling in, Sexwale and his political cronies then became greedy and corrupt and hastily put into action a plan to swindle their way out of their obligation to the welfare and empowerments objectives of the of the EPPA.  The plan included fraudulently amending, in the 90’s, both the EPPA Constitution and MAKANA Trust Deed governing the organisation and its decision-making processes without any consultation with the Founding members as mandated by the original EPPA Constitution.

Once the amendments were made, Sexwale and his cronies proceeded to hijack EPPA, MAKANA Trust and MIC.  After advice from some of the well-established law firms representing white business, they then exploited legal loopholes to give themselves unfettered discretional powers to do as they pleased with the funds.  There became no consultation, no transparency or accountability to the destitute ex-political prisoners.  Funds were then diverted into secret or person accounts and soon family foundations became very fashionable to a number of politically connected individuals.  

The fact that rampant corruption paralleled to the growing number of politically connected BEE tenderpreneurs had become a standard norm in the senior ranks of the ANC was by no accident, but due to the shocking lack of diligent oversight by the entire collective ANC leadership structure, religious leaders and chapter 9 institutions such as the South African Human Rights Commission.

Among a long list of those who were approached and requested to intervene on behalf of the poverty-stricken former Robben Island political prisoners are (to name just a few):-

Jody Kollapen – South African Human Rights Commission

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Desmond Tutu Foundation 

Navanethem Pillay – United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner

Kgalema Motlanthe – former Deputy State President

Norman Arendse – Advocate and CSA former president 

Christine Qunta – law firm Qunta Incorporated

Mosiuoa ‘Terror’ Lekota – Former ANC National Chairperson and South African National Defence Minister

Barbara Hogan – former Chair of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Finance and Minister of Health and Public Enterprises

Jeff Radebe – Minister in the Presidency

Ahmed Kathrada – Former Chairperson of MAKANA TRUST

Dikgang Moseneke – former Deputy Chief Justice

Vusi Tshabalala – Former Natal Judge President

Thandi Modise – Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa and former Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.

All the named people were warned of the long-term implication of the corruption that was increasingly becoming very rampant in the leadership structures of the ANC and its impact on South Africa’s socioeconomic transformation; distribution of service delivery and social cohesion. 

However, and due to both political and selfish financial considerations, connectivity and complicity nothing was done. Instead they turned a blind eye and/or acted in ways that ultimately protected and financially benefited Tokyo Sexwale and his corrupt cronies.  It later became clear why no action was taken.  Some of the people approached for intervention had become obsessed with growing their political and business careers.  Some ANC leaders had become preoccupied with the scramble to exploit their struggle credentials and political connectivity to become overnight wealthy BEE barons/tenderpreneurs who soon established Family Foundations that were hastily propped up with Sexwale’s financial assistance. 

It is then not that difficult to understand why some of the aggrieved Robben Island ex-political prisoners suspect that the circumstances surrounding the establishment of certain BEE business companies and family foundations that are beneficiaries of Sexwale point to one conclusion, that these were entities set up to serve as secret financial depositories that were also being used as bribes in return for favours and to pay policy makers, including members of the judiciary, to turn a blind eye to a select set of corruption activities and abuses committed by certain comrades.   

As recent as early last year (February 2020) and after a number of tele-communications to the Zondo Commission, ERIEF made a submission, including supportive documents, highlighting a long list of wrong doing to the Commission.  Copies of the submission were also distributed to individual members of the Commission’s legal team such as the following:-

Advocate Paul Joseph Pretorius 

Head of Investigation Terence Nombembe 

Advocate Leah Gcabashe

Advocate Thandi Norman

Advocate Kate Hofmeyr

Advocate Isaac Isaac Vincent Maleka 

Unfortunately, except for one acknowledgement from the Zondo Commission, and advocates Thandi Norman and Kate Hofmeyr, there has been no further action from the Zondo Commission.  The last submission to the Zondo Commission was on 5 April 2021.  ERIEF is still waiting acknowledgement thereof 

This lack of response from the Commission is, unfortunately, reinforcing the narrative that the Commission is caught up in the ANC’s slate politics and factionalism, thus bias.  This bias may also explain why the ANC has basically outsourced its Disciplinary Code of Conduct and Integrity Committee work to the Zondo Commission in order to protect a select mafia-type group of ANC leaders and Cabinet ministers, while pre-empting certain legal outcomes.  (Proof of the submissions and supportive documents will be made available on request based on its validity or authenticity).

Added to this tragic saga that prompted ERIEF’s statement, Sexwale now seeks to exploit the current explosive political scenario and former mentioned political confusion of the youth, by exploiting the on-going national student protest for equal access to quality education for his own personal and political gain.  This includes, among others, an embellishing of the truth, which many respond to, with half-truths and lies while simultaneously marketing himself as a crusader of the poor.  

Surely the exploitation of the plight of ex-political prisoners for his own enrichment sounds the alarm on his own very real anti-black intentions. 

Against this bleak backdrop and cesspool of corruption, nepotism and quagmire of poverty, many destitute liberation struggle veterans and their dependants are apathetic to the Freedom Day celebrations. To them, the celebrations are a constant reminder of an elusive freedom and justice that they, for now, can only fantasise about. IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN A FARCE that insults their sacrifice in the struggle for equality and freedom. 

Sipho Singiswa 

Aluta Continua!

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The South African system enables the killing of Black body.

By Thesna Aston

In living colour.

The list of black people being murdered and brutalised grows by the minute. It’s not just by police officers and military but people behind the uniform they are wearing and the system, aka systemic racism, that backs up police and military action. Basically, systemic racism is anti-black practices, the unjustly gained political and economic power of white people, the continuing economic and other resource inequalities along racial lines, and the white racist ideologies and attitudes created to maintain and rationalize white privilege and power.

Adam Habib is not me. Sipho Singiswa questions Adam Habib’s appointment as Director of SOAS by University of London.

By Sipho Singiswa

As an indigenous Black South African I write to express my dismay and disgust at the recent appointment of outgoing WITS Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, as Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) by the University of London. Board Member Marie Staunton, the Chair of the SOAS Board of Trustees has this to say in her pleasure at his appointment:

Time for a woman to take the reins?

By Gillian Schutte.

The presidential race is underway and for the first time in our democracy a woman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is presented as a definite contender. An interesting by-product of this is that the matter of the ongoing underrepresentation of women across society and in government is back on the table and being hotly discussed on social media.

Though it is said that women enjoy more cabinet representation in South Africa than many other countries on the continent, there is still a long way to go. Statistics show that despite the fact that women outnumber men in South Africa we have remained a male-dominated society. Women in business, in politics and in institutions still earn less than men. Few top positions are filled by women as the glass ceiling is still firmly in place. In this system black women are the most compromised as witnessed in the low numbers of black women in leadership positions across the board. Those who are black, female as well as poor are most unable to enter the neoliberal market and are forced to eke out a living on the margins of society.

All this came to mind as I watched Lindiwe Sisulu give the keynote address at the annual memorial lecture in honor of struggle stalwart, Lilian Ngoyi, in Khayelitsha last weekend. Her feminist and pro-poor delivery was resonant and this got me thinking about what sort of President she would make and how hard it would be for a woman of her stature to run for this position in an administration that remains male dominated.

Feminists from across the political spectrum have been hopeful for some years that a woman president would be elected in South Africa. Thus far all the political parties remain headed by men or have an overwhelmingly higher number of men in office. This means that despite a constitution that promises equality between the sexes, the issue of institutional patriarchy still remains. Until we see equal representation of women in business and in politics, we cannot argue otherwise.

It was revealed in the media recently that Sisulu may also join the presidential race and has been on the receiving end of death threats as a result. Though she has not verified her involvement political writers have indicated that she has the backing of key branches in the Eastern Cape as well as many struggle stalwarts and MK Veterans. Student leaders such as Mcebo Dlamini have publicly declared their support of her saying that students will not be ashamed to march beside her.

But in a male dominated administration it is clear that if Sisulu does campaign she will not only have to run the gauntlet of men in power, many of whom would no doubt resist her efforts, she will also have to deal with the lack of support from women within the ANC ranks since she is effectively running against the Women’s League choice of candidate. To complicate matters further it has been said that Dlamini-Zuma is also Number One’s number one choice.

With a Women’s League that has been harshly critiqued as an organisation that has lost its way and spends its time and resources spin-doctoring on behalf of President Zuma instead of fulfilling its mandate around women’s rights, it seems inevitable that Sisulu will not get support from those quarters within the cabinet. Some have said that they take their instruction from the men on top and lack the feminist agency that one would expect from a movement with its roots in the struggle for justice for women. In fact many say that the Women’s League’s dismal track record shows exactly how little they do to address the multiple injustices meted out to women in South Africa, particularly those surviving on the margins of our economy. Feminists have written on social media that they have become a useless entity there to serve the patriarchy instead of their own constituency.

There have also been strident voices on social media intimating that it is no surprise that Zuma is campaigning for Dlamini-Zuma in the succession race, insisting that she remains beholden to him via relationship and history and is his ‘stay out of jail’ ticket as well as a conduit through which he can maintain his network of patronage and his fingers in the Treasury coffers. Her current campaign tour, on which she has been given presidential security despite not being Member of Parliament nor a registered VIP, has been criticised and she has already been accused in the media of spreading divisive politics. This all compromises her own track record and as a woman in her own right. Dlamini-Zuma, who attained her medical degree at a time when to be black and female meant exclusion, is not the empty vessel that some chauvinistic writers have described her to be. She has held top office in the ANC government and has just completed her term as the first female chair of the AU.

But the fact that she is backed by The Women’s League in cabinet seemingly means that no other woman except the one selected by Zuma himself, will receive the much needed backing and lobbying from them – a matter that sources say, has created tensions within the ranks of the ANC. Apparently since Sisulu has become a potential contender the gloves are off and she is being undermined and disparaged by many of her female colleagues who say she is more of a fashion model than a leader and other such demeaning insults.

If this is true it is an all too familiar scenario that occurs in any environment where patriarchy has taken root and women are forced to play second fiddle. I’ve heard stories from other political parties, progressive social movements, universities and NGO’s that there are always exploitative men who will subject young women to sexual misuse and manipulate more susceptible women to wage war on the strong women leaders who pose a threat to their boys club.

This was a conversation that occurred throughout the Fees Must Fall Movement for example, when female students contested the domination of leadership spaces by men, decreeing that there could be no revolution until patriarchy falls.

Some independent studies suggest that until all women recognise systemic and attitudinal patriarchy as the thing that thwarts their career progress, chances are they will turn on each other in the workplace where patriarchal approval is often the only thing they can rely on to get ahead. Instead of uniting with other women to deal with this institutional chauvinism that continues to undercut them, creates glass ceilings for them and systematically sets them against each other these studies suggest that women will often internalize patriarchy as a way to survive this inequality.

Nowhere is this divide and rule approach more visible than when women are vying with men for political power. In a world where women still have to work doubly hard to gain the same approval as men or to secure social and political power, it is no surprise that this often materialises in hostile marginalisation of women by women. And sources close to Sisulu say that she on the receiving end of this syndrome and is thus being frozen out by the pro-Zuma faction of the women’s league, in response to her possible campaign for presidency.

Sisulu’s arrival as a potential contender in the presidential race has destabilised many it seems. This inimical response could have a lot to do with her stellar track record, not only as a former liberation fighter and senior in the MK, but also because she holds a very senior position in the NEC being one of the longest serving ministers in the cabinet. She also has an impressive record in good governance, an impressive academic record and has published several academic articles pertaining to women’s contribution to the struggle, women in the agricultural sector, and worker women’s rights amongst others. This will endear her to many women from across the sectors especially if her campaign highlights her contributions to knowledge-production around issues that affect their lives. Her CV is studded with global awards and currently I am told, she is doing her second PhD with Leeds University.

It is possible that she is recognised as the dark horse in this race? Could this be why she received death threats even as a comrade who has held the office of Minister of Defense and Military Veterans, Minister of Public Service and Administration and who is currently serving as Minister of Human Settlements.

Not only that but her work on the proposed anti-corruption bill will stand her it good stead with many voters who are sick and tired of the news around endless corruption and patronage within the ANC and the business sector.

If the rumours around Dlamini-Zuma and her inextricable ties to President Zuma hold any truth it would seem more prudent and progressive for the ANCWL to back someone of Sisulu’s stature. This would provide an ideal opportunity for women to become a united front to take the women’s cause forward, independent of the patriarchy. If anyone is up for this it is more likely to be Sisulu, who would come in as an independent candidate without any of the tribalism and benefaction baggage that Dlamini-Zuma has allegedly been coerced into dragging into her campaign for presidency.

This could be the ideal point in South African history for women to band together and vote a solid woman candidate into presidency. It could well be that Sisulu is exactly what the South African voting constituency is looking for after the Zuma and Marikana era, and she could well be the ideal candidate to win this race and to stitch back together the ANC’s tattered image.

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