Mamphela Ramphele's bad start

Floyd Shivambu
23 February 2013

Floyd Shivambu argues Agang completely misdiagnoses the cause of the national grievance


MAMPHELA RAMPHELE was over the past few weeks paraded in most media platforms as amongst those who want to join into South Africa's homogenous political spectrum. It is a reality that all political parties or party political platforms in South Africa, including the ANC and the Democratic Alliance have grown closer to each other in terms if their fundamental ideological dispositions and politics.

All political formations in South Africa, including the electorally untested SA Communist Party represent the neo-liberal status quo, which seeks to make superficial alterations on the economy and governance with the false hope that such will lead to the real development and upliftment of all South Africans. All these parties justify their existence in the notion of emancipation of the poor and disempowered South Africans from poverty and starvation.

Grievances will indeed be the propeller behind the formation of any political party, because for a political movement to sustain itself, it should identify the levels and extent of dissatisfaction from the people, and present sets of ideas on how to resolve what sometimes can be national, regional,ethnic, racial, or class grievances.

Whilst identifying the correct national grievances, AGANG as announced by Dr. Mamphela Ramphele completely misdiagnoses the cause of this national grievance, and therefore proposes for application of wrong remedies to the South African grievance of poverty, unemployment and inequalities. The solutions provided by AGANG are not dissimilar from what a larger liberal section of the ANC, Democratic Alliance, COPE, UDM, IFP, and other less significant parties propose. The superficial commitments to improve governance, skills, fight corruption, improve representation and accountability whilst leaving the foundation of South Africa's economy intact defines all political formations in South Africa.

The homogeneity of South Africa's political discourse was recently reflected by all political formations' endorsement of the National Development Plan(NDP), which is basically a rehash of all previous policy attempts that failed to rescue South Africa from deeper structural levels of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. The NDP, like GEAR, ASGISA, and the New Growth Path hover around the pathetic supposition that pursuit of economic growth is panacea to South Africa's developmental problems.

The NDP, like GEAR, ASGISA and NGP do not speak decidedly to the question of discontinuation of private ownership and control of South Africa's natural endowments, which currently stand as the only real basis of total alleviation of unemployment, poverty and inequalities. There will never be any growth and/or developmental strategy and plan in South Africa that will take unemployment below 15% without tapping into the resources owned by private corporations. Unemployment reduction, poverty alleviation and decreasing of inequalities can only happen through rapid labour-absorptive industrialization, or what is referred to as the big-push in development economics and without State control and ownership of the key natural endowments, South Africa will never rapidly industrialize to reduce unemployment, poverty, and inequalities.

The ANC missed its possibly last opportunity to address this resource management question in its 53rd National Conference, despite the fact that its National General Council had established greater consensus on Nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. The ANC failed to deal with this important question, and chose to embrace the NDP as a route towards construction of a non-racial, non-sexist society, despite the fact that its National Policy Conference agreed on strategic Nationalisation and greater State participation in the production, processing, beneficiation and industrialization of Mineral resources. I believe that the ANC 53rd National Conference was the last opportunity for the ANC to correct the strategic retreats opted for during transition from apartheid political order to what we currently have. Despite the youth calling on the ANC to take these necessary difficult decisions, maintenance of status quo was the outcome of its Conference, and status quo means continued governance over a capitalist semi-colonial economy whose biggest beneficiaries are multinational corporations.

Mamphela Ramphele jumped into this bandwagon of neo-liberal politics of addressing superficial issues of governance with the hope of replacing the current governing elite so that she can govern more 'efficiently' on behalf of the capitalist class. Her founding policy statements commit her to unmitigated free enterprise, and Mines/Farms that should continue to be in private hands. As a self pronounced capitalist bureaucrat, it also would be too much to expect anything progressive from Mamphela Ramphele, who despite her opposition to apartheid has not paid detailed attention to South Africa's developmental challenges.

Contrary to what AGANG, the ANC, DA, COPE, Business think-tanks, and Political Analysts think, the crisis of South Africa's economic crises of unemployment, poverty and inequality are not fundamentally the crises of governance, skills, and management of perceptions. To continue believing so even after various studies, and empirical comparison is plain ideological and political negligence. Zimbabwe has skilled people, but has economic problems bigger than ours, even before the imperialist destabilization of that economy.

To reduce inequalities by more than 70%, Brazil only needed decisive actions on the management of its resources, and had almost similar skills profile, poverty levels, and inequalities as that of South Africa. If there is any skill that is in shortage in South Africa, it is the skill of the elite Political leadership to coherently develop a developmental strategy and plan which will resolve the structural inequalities, unemployment and poverty. All political formations reach the same conclusions and the whole society is failing to move forward.

South Africa's developmental challenges lie in the fact that our economy's colonial features remain intact. Intact because we continue to be producers and exporters of natural resources and endowments, whilst importing virtually all consumer goods and services. We will never supersede China and the East in manufacturing, and exports for the simple reason that our labour is correctly costly, and reduction of the cost of doing big business requires a generation to fulfill.

We can only reduce unemployment and poverty through labour absorptive minerals sector indutrialisation buttressed by a reliable skills, education and expertise development strategy and plan, because that is our stronghold. Our problems are far much bigger than the question of representative or party political electoral systems. Those are superficial matters that have no meaning and no bearing on the deeper ideological and developmental decisions that have to be taken.

AGANG does not speak to these issues. This party political platform instead whines and complains about petty issues that will not change anything even if the party political platform can miraculously win elections. The only political solution to these crises will be a Left, youthful political alternative whose agenda will be real revolutionary transformation of society based on combination of ideological clarity and political determination.

Other than this, the other alternative can be a revolutionary reconstitution of the ANC into a fighting force in the same manner of the 1940s radicalization of the Movement by the founding generation of the ANC Youth League which proclaimed 'Freedom in our Lifetime'. This will mean amongst other things, the phasing out of old Freedom Fighters, because it is now poven beyond reasonable doubt that Freedom Fighters conserve truths of the past and all failing to mutate into Economic Freedom Fighters, with the necessary sophistication and ideological clarity to understand the imperialist character of capitalist domination and how this relates to SA almost permanent state of structural unemployment, poverty and inequalities.

At age 100, the capacity of the ANC to radically transform society is obviously limited due to its age and ideological/political infertility. The ANC is too old to breed new ideas, and also too forgetful to observe lessons from liberation movements that have governed in the manner it did post 20 years of political liberation.

With the failure of the ANC to produce new ideas and hone a new culture of political leadership, there certainly will emerge various political interest ground which will present themselves as better governing elites, and like the ANC 100 years ago, the basis of these political formations will be some sort of national, class, ethnic, or regional grievances. Unfortunately, there currently is no political formation in South Africa that represent an ideologically cogent developmental alternative to what the current establishment proposes, and without this, South Africa will be stuck in the vicious cycle of unemployment, poverty and inequalities for the next two decades.

AGANG is not a solution to South Africa's developmental problems, but should be allowed to join the bandwagon of neo-liberal discourse of South African politics until a Left youthful, radical and working class based political alternative to the status quo finds expression in or outside the ANC.

Floyd Shivambu is a student at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg - MA Political Studies.

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 responses to this article

The real Black Conciounous?
Maybe the common law Mrs Steve Biko and her husband, as TRUE Black Conciousnous leaders purposely never became members of the ANC as they knew full well that the ANC would automatically morph into just another Liberation army dictatorship out to rape and . .more

by Non cANCerous on February 23 2013, 20:14
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Your Bad Start
Floyd, you and your goon squad are now irrelevant.

You proclaim to be a Marxist, yet indulge in all the fruits of a capitalist system. Don't be a hypocrite. You are trying to fight a losing battle. Nobody cares about what you or Malema have to . .more

by Sum_1 on February 23 2013, 20:15
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Thank heavens
Thank heavens you and your band of looneys have been banished to the irrelevant cloisters of universities where you can gibber away at each other far from the realities of the real world. Your ideas are too idiotic even for the ANC. You are irrelevant, . .more

by Moor on February 23 2013, 22:38
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Who is this guy?
Who is this "Floyd Shivambu"? His tag says he is a student at WITS? Geez, but the quality of tertiary education is going backward, really!

by BeMoaner on February 23 2013, 23:10
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Floyd who?
Floyd you are a nobody, a nincompoop and dilusional fool now that you wonder the wilderness without gatgabba Juju.
Study at Wits, hahaha how old are you?
Stop wasting your parents money and go drive a taxi instead.

by Tokolosh on February 24 2013, 00:16
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Go for it.
Play the ball not the player guys, that is y our country is not going anywhere. Floyd is telling the truth.

by Pp on February 24 2013, 10:22
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Wrong, wrong and wrong again, Floyd.

The ANC being a failed condition is the cause of the national grievance.

by Ophthal on February 24 2013, 11:14
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Floyd is improving but still off-track.
Good to see Floyd dropping the extravagant bellicose style he used while the ANCYL loudmouth (not once does he use "disgusted" for example).

What he misses is that the biggest cause of the wealth gap, massive poverty and general wretchedness for . .more

by Racist in ANCspeak means educated on February 24 2013, 13:34
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Floyd Zuma Zille etc - all politicians .....
Just politicians, all of them, who will say what they need to say to get votes when they need to say it. And they take money from anyone who will give it. Yes?

by Non Believer on February 24 2013, 16:11
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Para 4
Typical! U contradic yourself in paragraph 4. Go play with dolls like Jeff Dunham in his show "Arguing with Myself". Oh, he's a comedian just like you!

by WJN on February 25 2013, 02:34
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another dumb rant by an dumb "cadre". oh lord!
If the ANC lives for another 100 years (god forbid) it will be incapable of "coming up with ideas" for the nation's economic salvation. That, Floyd baby is because the answers are at hand. They are not a mystery! The problem is that you do not have the . .more

by martin on February 25 2013, 07:42
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He has a point...
Tha ANC cannot deliver.

However, he is wrong if he thinks that centralised state control of the mineral and agricultural resources of south Africa is the sollution.

by Paul C on February 25 2013, 08:24
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Floyd is spot on
True, the ANC has abandoned the NDR and chooses to pursue a neoliberal agenda, operating within the template of the Washington Consensus. True, the ruling party will not make bold Left leaning ideological strategic decisions because the Freedom fighters . .more

by Gauta on February 25 2013, 09:33
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good luck to the wits politics department.....
How the hell did this guy get accepted for an MA.....?

by Rod on February 25 2013, 10:16
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@Rod,why would you deny someone right to education, anyway
its the culture of Verwoed and his generation

by samsam on February 25 2013, 10:33
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MA political Science
Since when does Wits accept students to do Masters without an undergraduate degree. Floyd is a sour loser who thinks SA politics belong to him

by livego on February 25 2013, 10:42
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Loud mouth.

by Tyson Real on February 25 2013, 11:24
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The fallacies of Floyd...

I see this nitwit is still banging on about "Economic Freedom" et al.

Centralising / Nationalising the economy will be an unmitigated disaster for this country. Quite how this tendentious fool cracked the nod to do an MA-anything at Wits . .more

by Marc V on February 25 2013, 12:35
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Instead of debating the issues raised by Floyd, the usual degrading noises
are made by the so-called well-educated white middle-class. If this is the result of Verwoerd legacy, so help us G*d.

by Patrick Sekoe on February 25 2013, 12:39
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Floyd is a kid
Floyd grow up. U will Neva compare 2 the credentials of Dr Mamphela Ramphele. U lack education, son. I'm n ANC card carrying member but very disappointed in ur work

by Albert Titus on February 25 2013, 12:56
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@ Patrick Sekoe

I will ask you, not for the first time, if you actually bothered to read the above statement before indulging in a little knee-jerk reaction?

Anyone with a smattering of history will tell you that the so-called "solutions" being offered . .more

by Marc V on February 25 2013, 13:17
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Excellent writing Floyd Shivambu
I never knew that Floyd can think so coherently . I always thought of him as a dunderhead but my perception of him after today has changed. Most of the stuff he says above is 100% correct. I am beginning to suspect that the reason why they were cast out . .more

by Lwi on February 25 2013, 14:35
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Sober analysis
I have always suspected that Shivambu is the sharpest knive in the oven. However he got entangled in the wrong club of tenderprenuers and the wake up call of being kicked out of ANC has brought some sense in him. Going back to school is the wisest . .more

by Trotsky on February 25 2013, 15:29
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Well Written
I am not a supporter of Floyd Shivambu per se, but he articulates the fundamental issues which face this country, and correctly points out that if Agang or any new political party ignores these it will be not much different to the current political make . .more

by Zepth on February 25 2013, 15:49
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SA can only grow if the Government get the receivers of grants to do some work before being handed the grant. There are lots of labour intensive jobs for which salaries are paid which could instead be done by grant money.
We should also have a . .more

by Gunnar on February 25 2013, 17:02
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A new youth movement mr floyd that's what youth of this country want ,there is no hope in this anc led by gupter family

by mzukisi on February 25 2013, 17:46
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Shame, Floyd Shivambu, are you missing the ANCYL? So commendable that you have started to learn something - but a course in "sense" rather than "political science" would be a start...

by Dinks on February 25 2013, 20:19
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The white and black liberals can not engage hence they are insulting Floyd he is correct the only way to adress poverty ,hunger joblesness is to ues the countries reach resources and governmentthe intervention to turn the country around go and look at . .more

by PIT SKIET on February 25 2013, 21:55
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Floyd is right
White liberals in this country are real retrogades. No attempt to INTELLIGENTLY engage Floyd's central thesis, which is that after two decades of political liberation, South Africa remains a semi-colonial country with the highest levels of . .more

by Trevor on February 26 2013, 01:25
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Floored is a tendentious jargonista
and so are his supporters on this blog. Get real jobs folks. Thats how you make a difference.

by DavidJ on February 26 2013, 08:33
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Floyd's Folly
I see you have learnt well at what seems like Moscow State University circa 1950 about how to lead SA into a total dead end. It seems you want to repeat for the economy the same structural incompetence that the old guard achieved when they took over the . .more

by ForFreedom on June 25 2013, 00:20
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supporting eff
Can someone come with a salution instead of critising comrade FLOYD. SICK of all these anti black development Rampele has never said or talked about empowering the poor black people of this country. It is obviously the anc has failed the development of . .more

by sindile on June 26 2013, 07:09
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