As the African National Congress (ANC) pursues a “talk left, walk right strategy”, Stephen Hurt of Oxford Brookes University analyses what “the left” needs to do to become a potent force in South Africa’s politics once again.
Two weeks ago, “Comrades” Essop Pahad and Ronnie Kasrils disagreed publicly on how members of the African National Congress should vote in next Wednesday’s election. This moment had long been coming.
The posture of the ANC as a united organisation with robust internal discussion of issues was yet again in question. The disagreement, spilling into the public domain will have a progressively corrosive effect on the ANC’s dominance of South African politics.
I took a complete break over Christmas and New Year but instead of going somewhere sensible like Scotland or Sri Lanka I went to South Africa and Lesotho. Sunshine everyday and magnificent scenery with lots of Braais, Boerewors and wine, but it was impossible to switch off completely.
South Africa reminds me of the line in Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s great novel The Leopard when the Risorgimento hits Sicily and the old order is under threat: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change” says the prince.
No sooner had the final results of the recently concluded 2014 national elections been announced than President Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”. The reality however is that the ANC’s victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real ‘winner’, as has been the case since the 2004 elections, was the stay away ‘vote’.
The centenary of the Land Act of 1913 is an opportunity to reflect on its role in constructing a society based on inequality and dispossession.
This occasion arises 17 years after the enactment of the South African Constitution, the guiding law in our approach to land policies and redistribution.
In 2004, the cabinet approved the adoption of a policy on indigenous knowledge systems, known as the IKS Policy. Pursuant to this, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) formulated a policy document on the protection and commercialisation of indigenous knowledge. This policy sought to recognise and protect indigenous knowledge as a form of intellectual property and to enable and promote the commercial exploitation of such material for the benefit of the indigenous communities from which the material originated.
The Protection of State Information Bill’s (POSIB) long passage through Parliament saw it emerge finally in April 2013. It then went to the President’s office for signing into law, where months later it remains in limbo. This is not surprising, given the Bill’s many flaws and its vulnerability to a constitutionality challenge.
In our view, four of its flaws are fundamental:
It sets up an access to state information regime parallel to that envisaged in the Constitution and given force by the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)
We are a group of Palestinian, Israeli, and other oral historians and academics from Europe, South Africa, and North America calling on you to boycott the June 2014 ‘International Conference on Oral History’ organised by the Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While all Israeli universities are deeply complicit in the occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is particularly noteworthy, as we explain below.