Category Archives: Uncategorized

HOME AFFAIRS BORDER PLANS FOR THE 2017/18 FESTIVE SEASON

The Department of Home Affairs has announced the 2017/18 festive season plans for the South African border environment. This is for smooth facilitation and enhanced management of movement of people and goods in and out of South Africa during this peak period.

Traveller numbers are cyclically influenced by reasons for travelling, with increases over the festive season, Easter and school holidays. Travelling is usually for tourism, cross border employment, business, academic and educational purposes.

During the 2015/16 festive period, a total of 5 303 555 movements was captured, comprising arrivals and departures of citizens and foreigners. Of these movements, 3 814 402 were for foreigners. In the 2016/17 festive period, the number rose to 5 504 022 – which is an increase of 200 467 or 3.78%. For 2016/17, movements for foreigners recorded reached 3 944 788.

Learning from past experience, sound planning is critical as we are likely to experience an increase in traveller movements, which exerts additional strain on available resources at ports of entry while posing security risks and dynamics for South Africa and countries with which it shares borders. This makes it necessary to plan for and mitigate against illegal movements and other transgressions.

Integrated port operations

The border environment is made vulnerable by civilians and officials who facilitate illegal and unauthorised movement, especially in peak periods. Invariably, this happens where border officials are corrupt, accepting bribes, or where border systems and business processes are manipulated.

Types of threats and risks identified for peak periods include:

·       Fraudulent RSA travel documents, used by illegal migrants, such as passports and visas,

·       Fraudulent Affidavits, used by travellers of foreign origin to cross the border with South African registered vehicles,

·       Fraudulent or illegal stamping of travel documents, usually from those who have overstayed, are in possession of fraudulent documents or are fugitives from justice,

·       Undocumented travellers, entering the country illegally or with expired visas,

·       Pedestrians, cyclists and equine riders, who are not subjected to thorough inspections, and

·       Borderline challenges, especially where the fence has been cut, and therefore allowing for illegal migration and smuggling activities.

Government departments and agencies with a border control mandate are taking a joint approach for the festive season operation, informed by the need for collaboration and integrated port operations.

Accordingly, the Department of Home Affairs, in consultation with and support from the SA Police Service, will effect enhanced border coordination institutional arrangements, to ensure that the border environment is well managed.

The National Border Management Coordination Committee will assess border control processes at ports of entry over this period and provide situational awareness reports to all relevant stakeholders. Represented on this Coordination Committee are departments and state agencies with a border control mandate – Border Management Authority Project Management Office, SA Police Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Home Affairs, SARS and the State Security Agency.

The Department of Home Affairs will inspect travel documents, log and refer asylum-seekers to reception centres, facilitate deportations and prevent human trafficking. The SA Police Service will focus on patrols, inspection of vehicles, searches and seizures, profiling, access control at land ports, crowd management, response to crime hits and investigations.

The SA Revenue Services will respond to inspection requests in its area, quarantine or confiscate goods as necessary, handover impounded goods and confirm if goods have been correctly declared. The Department of Transport will focus on inspections of cross-border permits, traffic control and adherence to transport regulations.

The Department of Health will handle surveillance or screening measures for communicable diseases, inspections on conveyances at ports of entry, quarantine procedures, compliance with import permits and travel health services.    

Extended hours and additional staff for festive period

Operational hours will be extended for busy ports of entry, covering pre-festive season movements, the festive season period and the re-opening of schools, that is, from 6 December 2017 to 16 January 2018. A table showing extended hours is provided below.

To ensure reasonable turnaround times and to avoid congestion associated with peak periods, the Department of Home Affairs has deployed additional staff at targeted ports of entry. These are: Lebombo (from 147 to 222), Beitbridge (125 to 215), Maseru Bridge (62 to 107), Ficksburg (34 to 64), Oshoek (38 to 63), OR Tambo International Airport (345 to 370), Groblersbridge (14 to 22), Mahamba (10 to 20), Kopfontein (31 to 34), Ramathlabama (20 to 22), Skilpadshek (15 to 18), Caledonspoort (11 to 17), Van Rooyenshek (12 to 20), Tellebridge (4 to 9) Qachasnek (4 to 8), Kosibay (5 to 10) and Cape Town International Airport (from 68 to 75).

As citizens and travellers, we will have a safe and memorable festive season to the extent that we work together to ensure only legitimate people and goods are allowed to enter into or depart from our beloved Republic.

EXTENDED HOURS AT PORTS OF ENTRY

FROM 06 DECEMBER 2017 – 16 JANUARY 2018

Province

Port of Entry

Current Hours

Extended Hours

Increased Hours

Mpumalanga

Lebombo

06:00 – 00:00

24 hrs

6hrs (13 Dec 2017 – 08 Jan 2018)

 

Mananga

07:00 – 18:00

07:00 – 20:00

2hrs (19-23 Dec 2017)

 

Jeppes Reef

07:00 – 20:00

07:00 – 22:00

2hrs (21-14 Dec 2017)

 

Oshoek

06:00 – 00:00

24 hrs

6hrs (21-25 Dec 2017)

 

Mahamba

07:00 – 22:00

07:00 – 00:00

2hrs (22 Dec 2017)

Eastern Cape

Qacha’s Nek

07:00 – 20:00

06:00 – 22:00

3hrs (21-24 Dec 2017)

 

Qacha’s Nek

07:00 – 20:00

06:00 – 20:00

1hrs (25 Dec 2017)

 

Tellebridge

06:00 – 22:00

05:00 – 23:00

2 hrs (15 Dec 2017) &

2 hrs (22-26 Dec 2017)

KwaZulu-Natal

Kosi Bay

08:00 – 17:00

07:00 – 18:00

2hrs (15 Dec 2017 – 10 Jan 2018)

Free State

Van Rooyenshek

06:00 – 22:00

06:00 – 00:00

2hrs (15 Dec 2017)

 

Van Rooyenshek

06:00 – 22:00

24 hrs

8hrs (22-23 Dec 2017)

 

Caledonspoort

06:00 – 22:00

24 hrs

8hrs (22 Dec 2017)

 

Caledonspoort

06:00 – 22:00

06:00 – 00:00

2hrs (23 Dec 2017)

 

Caledonspoort

06:00 – 22:00

06:00 – 00:00

2hrs (02 Jan 2018

 

Monontsha Pass

08:00 – 16:00

08:00 – 18:00

2hrs  (15 Dec 2017)

2 hrs (22-23 Dec 2017)

2 hrs (1-3 Jan 2018)

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE OLIVER AND ADELAIDE TAMBO FOUNDATION CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL ICON

The Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation will host the centenary commemoration of the late anti-apartheid stalwart Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo, at Wits University on Friday, 27 October 2017.

Tambo, who is considered to be one of South Africa’s most renowned leaders, would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year.

The Oliver Tambo Centenary Memorial Lecture, planned by the Foundation, will celebrate the life of Tambo, who famously said: “It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither Whites nor Blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity” – and lived to make those words a reality before passing away, following a heart attack, on 24 April 1993.

Since the beginning of this year, a number of events and activities have taken place celebrating Tambo’s immeasurable contribution to the emancipation of Black South Africans, leading up to the main celebration on his birthday on 27 October 2017. Earlier this month, the South African Mint, a subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), officially launched 3 commemorative coins and the new ZAR5 circulation coin, commemorating 100 years since the birth of Oliver Tambo.

“Oliver Tambo was and remains a giant in the history and the shaping of our democratic country. His role and impact on our democracy and values as a country, along with his legacy, will echo for many generations. It is only fitting that his name continues to be honoured in this way and mentioned alongside other great sons and daughters of Africa,” says Linda Vilakazi, CEO of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation.

Born in the rural village of Kantolo, in Bizana, in the Eastern Cape, Tambo had joined the ANC in the 1940s and, alongside A.P. Mda, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Anton Lembede, was responsible for the formation of the ANC Youth League in 1944. In 1954, at the age of 37, Tambo was elected to the position of secretary-general of the ANC. He became the deputy president of the ANC in 1957, and assumed the reins of leadership following the passing of Chief Albert Luthuli in 1967.

Following the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960, Tambo was instructed by the national leadership of the ANC to leave South Africa and build the ranks of the organisation in exile. With his family in London, Tambo travelled the world, building alliances to establish a foreign mission and escalate the struggle against apartheid to an international audience.

He travelled to a number of countries while in exile, including the Tanzania, Zambia, the United Kingdom, China, United States of America, Swaziland, Angola, India, Algeria, Ethiopia, Sweden and many others.

“A strong proponent of an inclusive African Nationalism as a force for liberation, he was gentle and generous in style, and thoughtful in manner. A democrat to his core, deeply influenced by his Christian beliefs, a great listener who encouraged everyone to speak out, his leadership was characterised by total integrity”, says Justice Albie Sachs, trustee of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation.

Tambo and his wife, Adelaide, dedicated the majority of their adult lives to the liberation of South Africa. Their tireless efforts positively impacted the quality of life for all South Africans and left a lasting legacy which will be enjoyed by current and future generations.

Department of Home Affairs

Home Affairs offices will not open this Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Department of Home Affairs  says it advises citizens and all clients that DHA front offices will not open this Saturday, 29 July 2017.

“Members of the public are therefore requested to stay patient while we seek a resolution to the ensuing dispute over working hours.

All our offices will open as normal, every Monday until Friday08h00-16h00, to serve clients. It is advisable for citizens and clients to visit our offices for services on week days, until further notice.

We apologise sincerely for the inconvenience caused. We care,” says David Hlabane from Home Affairs.

Oration by Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni at the Government Communicators’ Memorial Service in honour of Ronnie Mamoepa: GCIS, Pretoria, 26 July 2017

The Leadership of GCIS
Government Communicators
Members of the Media
Colleagues and friends,
Good morning. Thank you for this Memorial Service, honouring a gallant freedom-fighter, a time-tested public servant, a seasoned government communicator par excellence – Ronnie Mamoepa.
A gathering of Government Communicators and the Media is in itself a special tribute to this humble, calm, patient, cheerful, approachable, gentle, humane, down-to-earth, and most likeable patriot and servant of the people – Cde Ronnie. He spent most of his life among communicators and reporters, serving the people.
His ascension to the beyond, at an early age of 56, is an unkindest cut death unleashed on a true patriot when his career was turning full circle.
The Presidency was among high-points in his communication calling, which he perceived, while at Foreign Affairs, as ‘public diplomacy’. When the shattering tidings of his passage hit us, like a sharp blade in the spine, he was back in the Presidency. Indeed a rarity for me.
Ordinarily, people often get to serve in the High Office but once in a lifetime, with such fearless, indomitable and unimpeachable spirit.
You, who are seasoned communication practitioners, know that before Ronnie was spokesperson to Minister Dlamini-Zuma, at Foreign Affairs, from 2000 to 2009, where I personally met him for the first time, he was Communications Chief Director in The Presidency.
His vast experience in political communication includes Head of Communications for the ANC Regional Executive Committee and Head of Communications for Gauteng Premier Tokyo Sexwale between 1994 and 1996. Indeed he was a veteran and dedicated communicator of note.
We became even closer when together we joined Home Affairs in 2009 after the general elections. It was then the days of ‘horror affairs.’ The most observant among us noted how hard it is to address Ronnie otherwise. It is simply and adoringly Ronnie, as he wanted it to be. Not Mr Mamoepa, or DDG, even in his position as Communications Deputy Director-General at Home Affairs, from 2011. He wouldn’t accept any title. He preferred to be called ‘Ronnie’.
This should begin to explain the person he truly was. He was down to earth. And he was unassuming. Upon his shoulders neatly rests the accolades – ‘Man of the people.’ ‘A leader who had no title.’ ‘A true servant of the masses!’ Yet in his remarkable life, a life cut short like a brief candle brightening the corner, now gone dark, he touched our souls, very deeply. And so it is, with sadness, we are gathered here in honour of his memory.
An important lesson for me is how he handled the media. He had this ability to understand the product itself, whether a birth or an immigration issue. And he understood different segments of his audience.
Thus he was able to come up with a communication strategy befitting the particular grouping. Hence he was able to come up with various channels of communication, effective and tailor-made for the task at hand. Furthermore, you could see he believed a communicator was not the message itself, or the one who usurps the role of chief communicator from the Political Principal.
In addition, to him communication was a must. Hence a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from you, would not have saved you from doing what he asked you to do. During the World Cup, in 2010, we needed a billboard of the Minister at the airport. But ACSA was saying ‘no’. He took the matter up. And at the end, that billboard was up there, enlightening people coming for the World Cup.
With him, politically the face of the department was the Minister, or Deputy Minister. On that, he was constant as the sun rising from the East bringing light and warmth to all of humanity. At the same time, he understood the role of management in communicating administrative issues.
Where he was concerned, the Principal was expected to be the master of the subject-matter. He wanted his Principals to prepare media briefing statements with communicators, so they could answer questions properly. So to speak, he was a good African teacher, aspiring to be a man of law. One of the concepts I learnt from him, is the form and content of media briefings. He taught us to distinguish an off-the-record briefing from an on-the-record briefing, and so on.
The beauty of it all was in the fact that there should be no room for a ‘spin’, for dishonesty, or at worst, for a lie. You could see he learnt from the best.
He was quite clear on the role of the media, understanding that media questions must be answered, with all honesty and integrity. This is to disseminate information to the people, through the media, a powerful medium for distributing information to the populace.
It takes two to tango.’ He wanted feedback on communication efforts, and thus, for him, media monitoring was critical, to test the impact of the communication drive. This is another important lesson I learnt from Ronnie. When I need the media, I trust the media would be there. But reciprocity, like content, is king. Equally, we have a duty as government officials to avail ourselves to the media; to respond to media inquiries.
For him, internal communication was also a key. Departmental officials, as ambassadors, must be informed; indeed it was a question of deploying internal means of communicating, to compliment what you do externally. In this scheme of things, synergy is also critical in running the communication machinery of a Minister and that of a Deputy Minister.
My Brethren, Ronnie may have held his own views about the Americans. But one thing is certain. Your Colleague truly admired the communication system of the Americans. He interacted with this system in 1998. Then he was selected a South African candidate for the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship in Philadelphia, in the United States of America. So he was exposed to high-level communication in various US state agencies, including the White House.
Ronnie would always say about the American communication system, that it was a well-oiled machinery knowing fully why governments must talk to the people, “All the time Chief,” repeating messages, consistently, effectively, and, as he would say, “Without fail Chief.” That was Ronnie!
It is in this context we can better understand two things in his strategy. One is the regular media briefings he institutionalised with Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad at Foreign Affairs. Second is the passion with which he supported the Presidency’s launch of the Presidential Press Corp in the early 2000s.
Something else I must say before closing. Ronnie was an inspiring manager in government, and a reliable, yet unconventional team-player as we saw in senior management meetings and in operations.
What he detested was working in silos. For him government was one seamless system of governance geared at the end of the day to take us towards the strategic objective of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous African state.
He would just walk across Branches, be it Civics or Immigration, for updates on policy and statistics, or for any other reason. He understood clearly his role as a manager, and believed in the unity of all the parts. Each spoke is critical for the whole wheel to run.
Indeed exactly as we believed in the noble struggle for liberation, each of the pillars of the struggle had a role to play, be it international solidarity, mass mobilisation, underground work or the armed struggle.
In the current communication context, talking about the armed struggle as a pillar, reminds me of the advice, given last Friday, by Communication Minister Ayanda Dlodlo to government communicators that, “Communication must be reliable, and accurate, like an effective weapon.”
In a nutshell, the Ronnie I’m talking about underscored profoundly the essence of promoting government as a brand in such terms as clearly articulated by Minister Dlodlo to communicators.
It’s not without reason, people have been saying since Sunday, on Social Media: “Ronnie was a government communicator par excellence!
On behalf of government, our Minister, Deputy Minister, and public servants, I convey our heartfelt condolences to Ronnie’s wife Audrey, his children, his siblings, and to the entire family, colleagues, friends and comrades across the length and breadth of our beloved Republic.
At Home Affairs, we were hoping one day he would return to finish work he started to transform our communications. On excellence in government communication, without the “Ronnie Magic,” we’re left the poorer. We will remember him as a militant, loyal, and committed servant of the people who was fortified by years on Robben Island at a very young age.
With the many who are shocked by his untimely departure, on Saturday 22 July 2017, at Unitas Hospital in Pretoria, following a recent stroke, we would like to say to the family, your loss is our loss, and, as Ronnie would have said from his genuine African heart – Your pain is indeed our pain.
Lastly, the Ronnie Mamoepa I know was a gift for all. Communicators at Home Affairs always say, ‘they learnt a lot from him.’ I for one did learn much from him. Farewell to the Dean of Government Communications!
 
I thank you!

AHMED TIMOL INQUEST RESUMES ON MONDAY IN PRETORIA

Witnesses to include police directly involved in detention and interrogation

The re-opened inquest into the death in police custody 46 years ago of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol resumes in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday. Timol was a young teacher from Roodepoort and a member of the South African Communist Party.

He died on 27 October 1971, four days after being arrested at a police roadblock in the company of a friend and comrade, the medical student, Saleem Essop.

According to the police version of events, which was endorsed by the inquest magistrate at the time, Timol jumped from the 10th Floor of John Vorster Square in Johannesburg while under interrogation.

But family, comrades and friends never believed Timol jumped. They believe he was either pushed out the window by police, or thrown out the window after being tortured to death.

The re-opened inquest heard five days of evidence in Johannesburg last month. Among the witnesses was Dr Essop, who described being brutally assaulted by police in the days after being arrested with Timol.

Dr Essop landed up in hospital. He said the last time he saw Timol, shuffling down a passage, head in a hood, being escorted by his captors, his friend gave the appearance of having been brutally tortured, too.

Over the next two weeks, the inquest will take evidence from witnesses to the fall, and experts on forensic pathology and torture in detention. South African Communist Party members will reveal details of their instructions under interrogation.

And, finally, the inquest will hear from former members of the police who were directly involved in Timol’s detention and interrogation.

Journalists are encouraged to attend and report on these events.

Ends…

Short biography of Ahmed Timol

 Born in Breyten in 1941

  • Attends Primary School in Roodepoort
  • Matriculates from Johannesburg Indian High School in 1959
  • Graduates as a teacher at Johannesburg Training Institute for Indians in 1963
  • Teaches at Roodepoort Indian High School in 1964
  • In 1966 he completes his Hajj to Mecca, then travels to London to reunite with old friends, the ANC activist brothers, Aziz and Essop Pahad
  • In 1969 he accompanies former President Thabo Mbeki to Lenin University in the Soviet Union for political training
  • Returns to South Africa in 1970 to set up underground structures for the communist party
  • Arrested at police roadblock on Friday 22 October 1971
  • Dies on 27 October, the 22ndpolitical detainee to die while in the hands of apartheid police since 1960.

Agro-industry Players Push for Regional Harmonization of Policies and Regulatory Frameworks

Stakeholders in the in the Agro-industry have completed a two-day dialogue that addressed issues affecting sustainability and growth in the sector. The ‘2nd Agro Industry Dialogue’ took place in Kenya, 17-18 May 2017, and came up with common positions to be structured into the policy processes to improve commodity supply chains.

Close to 50 participants composed of Agro industry companies, horticulture processing and producer companies, dairy companies, corporates and SMEs within the agriculture sector, standard setting institutions, agriculture regulatory and trade institutions and other stakeholders supporting agriculture development attended.

Among the key recommendations from the forum was the need to harmonize policies and regulatory frameworks governing agro industries in the COMESA region as a way of promoting intra-regional trade.

Anchored on the theme; Promoting Sustainable Agro Industries and Supply chains in COMESA’ the dialogue provided a platform for knowledge sharing amongst the stakeholders in each of the selected commodity supply chains.

Stakeholders urged COMESA to encourage and support member states that have not already established national dairy boards or equivalent national regulatory body to do so. In this regard, the COMESA Business Council will promote exchanges and lesson-sharing between member states that have successfully established such institutions and those that wish to do so.

“Once established, the regulatory bodies should improve coordination across relevant ministries and agencies dealing with food safety and animal health. They should engage with relevant stakeholders when developing regulations to ensure that these respond to the needs and interests of private sector dairy actors in the country, including smaller actors,” the dialogue report noted.

The delegates recommended the establishment of a regional repository to provide information on businesses and equipment sourcing from within COMESA. This will encourage more regional market linkages and intra-regional trade through local sourcing.

On horticulture, the dialogue recommended the harmonization of standards between regulatory authorities in countries with strong trade ties or partnerships towards mutual recognition of certifying bodies.

Speaking at the forum, COMESA Business Council Chief Executive Officer Ms. Sandra Uwera described competitive and sustainable Agro Industries and supply chains as the best tools for economic development and intra-regional trade.

“We seek to solve the underlying issues that are preventing market access, and also to create more consumer confidence in African products in order to increase intra- trade in Africa,” she said.

In a region where agriculture is at the center of support for the livelihoods of the rural economy and quickly taking prime space on the urban stage, Ms. Uwera said it was essential to develop strategies which can boost the competitiveness of local producers in increasing the purchase of local, quality, value added products to satisfy regional demands.

The recommendations of the dialogue will be streamlined into an advocacy position for the CBC that will feed into the upcoming COMESA Trade and Customs and policy organs meetings in 2017.

The CBC organized the forum in partnership with the African Regional Standards Organization (ARSO), the United States Agency for International Development East Africa (USAID), Pan African Quality Infrastructure (PAQI) and European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).AgroAgro

Thabo Mbeki

Comments Of The Patron Of The TMF, Thabo Mbeki, On His Acceptance Of The Honorary Doctorate Conferred On Him By The Dedan Kimathi University Of Technology, Nyeri, Kenya.

Mr Chancellor,
Hon Cabinet Secretary,
Vice Chancellor,
Members of Council,
Senate and Members of the Academic Staff,
Other esteemed workers at the University;

Fellow students;Ladies, gentlemen and fellow Africans: First of all I would like to convey my sincere thanks for the honour the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology has conferred on me by admitting me as an alumnus of this University as an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

I also apologise that due to other pressing challenges, I could not attend the Graduation Ceremony in April last year humbly to accept this Doctorate in person.

However I plead that we, as fellow Africans, accept the traditional advice – better late than never!
I feel particularly honoured that I stand here today at a University which carries the name of a great African leader and hero, the eminent fighter for the liberation of Kenya and Africa, Dedan Kimathi.

I would like to believe that everybody present here today remembers this as a matter of course that when Nelson Mandela visited Kenya in 1990, four months after his release from 27 years of imprisonment in South Africa, he sought to pay tribute to Dedan Kimathi and his fellow fighters of the Land and Freedom Party whose sacrifices had made an enormous contribution to the defeat of colonialism throughout Africa.

The important comment Nelson Mandela made in this regard, during that visit to Kenya, has been widely reported, but also bears repeating.

As you know, he said:
“In my 27 years of imprisonment, I always saw the images of fighters such as Kimathi, China and others as candles in my long and hard war against injustice. It is an honour for any freedom fighters to pay respect to such heroes.”

I and others of my comrades were brought up and nurtured as fighters for liberation by Nelson Mandela and the other eminent South African revolutionary leaders of his generation.

As young activists involved in struggle for the defeat of apartheid and white minority rule we too were inspired by the example which had been set by such heroes as Dedan Kimathi and General China of Kenya, and others elsewhere on our Continent, such as Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria and Patrice Lumumba of the Congo.

We accepted this as our inalienable obligation that we had to do everything possible to help ensure that as South Africans we engage in struggle to realise the objectives which had been set by other African liberation fighters we accepted as our own leaders, such as Dedan Kimathi and General China.

You will therefore understand that I, like others of my generation of South African freedom fighters, were schooled from our youth to understand that as activists for the defeat of white minority apartheid rule in our country, we were also Pan-Africanists committed to engage in a common all-African struggle for the liberation of our Continent and the African Diaspora as a whole.

Today all of us as Africans, throughout our Continent, face an historic challenge to answer the question honestly – are we acting in a manner which demonstrates loyalty to the objectives which such heroes as Dedan Kimathi, General China, Ahmed Ben Bella and Patrice Lumumba set?

Those objectives include:
o ensuring that as Africans we truly enjoy and exercise our right to independence and self-determination;

o that we use this right to determine our destiny, refusing to allow others to transform us into neo-colonial dependencies;

o that we use this right to enable the people as a whole, not merely an African elite which takes the place of the former colonial power, practically to give expression to the demand immanent in all the African anti-colonial liberation struggles – power to the people!;

o that we use the fundamental right I have mentioned to ensure that our independent States focus on the central task to improve the lives of the citizens on a sustainable and sustained basis in the material, intellectual, cultural and social spheres;

o that Africa achieves the objectives spelt out in the African Union Constitutive Act and the related Treaties, Charters, Conventions, Protocols, and other important documents; and,

o that Africa takes her rightful place as an equal player with others in the world as a co-determinant of the global system of political, economic, security and other relations, through the United Nations and other established multilateral organisations.

I am convinced that the African intelligentsia, which is concentrated in the African Universities, such as our Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, has an absolute obligation to contribute to the achievement of these objectives.

I would like to emphasise this challenge in a direct manner.
The African intelligentsia at our Universities has an obligation to understand that it has a solemn responsibility to address three major challenges.

These are to educate young Africans, to expand the frontiers of knowledge through original and relevant research and to make the required intellectual input to help Africa correctly to respond to the challenges I have mentioned.

It is a matter of common cause that Africa faces such major challenges as:

o the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment;

o ending the violent conflicts which continue to afflict some of our countries, thus to achieve our peoples’ yearning and aspiration for the peace and harmony within which context our continent’s renaissance can come into full flower ; and,

o the entrenchment of democracy in a manner which enables the people both to play an active role in determining their destiny, and to resolve any disputes that might arise among them through peaceful means.

The achievement of these objectives requires serious intellectual inputs especially from our Universities, which inputs would be informed by an intimate understanding of the conditions prevailing in each of our countries.

In his paper, “Tertiary Education and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Dawn of the Twenty First Century: A Lost Hope, Or Present Opportunity?”, Professor Raphael Ogom said:

“In its current form, design and content, (sub-Saharan African Higher Education) is of limited relevance in the context of rapid social and economic changes in the region and bears little connections to the local economy and society. Modelled after European higher education, it has evolved from educating only a few highly qualified students into mass systems of lower quality (Bollag, 2004). This expansion, unfortunately, has not been accompanied by a grounded re-development of curricula that reflects, and is better suited to the realities of the Sub-Saharan Africa environment and development needs. A re-think and re-design of the mission of higher education from the current curricula of theoretical sophistication, mismatch, and irrelevance to one that holistically aligns the educational system with the local industry and overall development needs, is long overdue…(Without this) it is likely, and regrettably so, that the socio-economic development promise of tertiary education in Africa might remain a lost hope at the dawn of the 21st century and beyond.”
In his 2004 paper on “African Academics and African Universities in the Twenty-First Century: Needs and Responsibilities”, Emeritus Professor Eldred Durosimi Jones of the University of Sierra Leone added to these observations and said:

“Our aim in teaching should be to produce men and women who are both critical and creative. Our students should be encouraged to be thinkers and doers rather than accumulators of facts and received knowledge. This must be so if they are to be instruments of change, working towards the realisation of a just and consequently, stable society.”

I would like to believe that this eminent University, true to its Mission Statement, which, as you know, commits the University to “producing relevant technical and managerial human resource and leaders to contribute to the attainment of national development goals”, does not fall within the category of institutions of higher learning of which Professor Ogom said that their teaching and research meant that “the socio-economic development promise

of tertiary education in Africa might remain a lost hope at the dawn of the 21st century and beyond.”
Rather, I would like to believe that the University is doing what Professor Durosimi Jones suggested, of producing graduates who are “instruments of change, working towards the realisation of a just and consequently, stable society.”

On January 29 this year, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda presented a Report to a Retreat of the African Union Heads of State and Government on proposed reforms of the AU. Among other things he said:

“Looking around Africa, any of us can give examples of situations that hurt deeply because we know they would not exist if we had acted much earlier, as we agreed to do so many times over the years.

“There are lives lost in childbirth, villages filled with uneducated children, people locked in refugee camps for decades because of who they are, and countless families who lack the means to guarantee basic dignity.

“…. tens of thousands of young African bodies have been swallowed by the sea, or abandoned in the desert, in pursuit of a decent life for which they are prepared to risk everything, because they believe there is no hope at home.

“They testify to the urgent need to act.”
That urgent need to act emphasises the imperative on us as this University indeed to succeed in the task to produce the well-prepared graduates who will be “instruments of change, working towards the realisation of a just and consequently, stable society.”

With your permission, I would like to take this opportunity to join in congratulating all those who are graduating today.
I am certain that as they leave the University, they will be fully conscious of the fact that this University, named after the outstanding Kenyan and African combatant for liberation, Dedan Kimathi, is an important fighter in the continuing struggle to develop Kenya as a country of hope for all her people.

Its graduates must therefore be our new Dedan Kimathis, committed to use their knowledge and skills to help Kenya and Africa to achieve their renaissance.

Thami Mtshali

Galela Moves to Impact the Lives of 500 Local School Children by Spearheading an Initiative for them to Watch the Widely Acclaimed Struggle Icon Solomon Mahlangu’s Biopic

Leading ICT solutions provider Galela Telecommunication Holdings, is extremely proud to be part of an initiative to empower 500 young South Africans by affording them the opportunity to watch the historic film ‘Kalushi’, about the life of executed apartheid struggle stalwart Solomon Mahlangu.

Kalushi is a South African feature film which was written and produced by Mandla Dube and features a South African cast. It chronicles the life and death of the former MK combative and has been hailed as a powerful and noteworthy South African story that sees an ordinary young man evolve from an “average hawker to a human rights legend.”

The film has already won the Best Film Award at the prestigious Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt showing that it resonates with Africans from all around the continent.

Galela CEO Thami Mtshali (also founder and former CEO of iBurst) says the company became involved in this initiative because homegrown stories such as these depicting the liberation struggle and its icons, serve as a huge source of inspiration for our youth.

“I think these stories are extremely important because they connect the past to the present and help catapult the young people that are exposed to them into the future in a much more meaningful way,” said Mtshali.

“These stories benefit our African youth because they acquaint them with their history through an appropriately black lense that most of them can relate to, thereby awakening them to their own potential,” he said.

Galela Telecommunication Holdings is a 100% black owned and proudly South African telecommunications company offering innovative ICT solutions mainly to State owned entities through Municipal structures, and to some privately owned companies.

The company currently provides VOIP solutions, Wireless Broadband & WIFI services to Joe Morolong, Dr KKDM, Thlokwe, Tshwane North College, USAASA, and the Ethekwini Metro.

Through its relationship with various technology suppliers, Galela has access to the latest Telecommunication infrastructure.

Mtshali says that the partnership that Galela has with the government through various municipalities enables it to provide Internet connectivity to the rural areas of South Africa, allowing those communities which would never have afforded internet connectivity to now enjoy free access to the information highway.

He says this easy and economical access to information allows the children from these rural areas to compete with those in the urban areas and impact their lives and development in a very positive way.

Over the last few years Galela has exposed children from disadvantaged communities to events like the screening of ‘Kalushi’, by funding the entire experience from their transportation to the movie theatre, the movie itself, to the popcorn and drinks that they get to enjoy as part of it – while learning about their own History.

The 500 High school learners that will have the advantage of attending this particular movie hail from Soweto, Tshwane, Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp and Ventersdorp.

Mtshali says Mahlangu’s supposed last words were, “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them.”

“By exposing these young people to a movie portraying a life lived so selflessly to liberate our own, I hope that his story will in turn nourish their minds and make them believe that where they come from does not need to determine where they will end up in this life,” said Mtshali.

Prof_Njabulo_Ndebele

Njabulo S Ndebele from Victim to Accomplice

Yesterday I came across this insight from British writer George Orwell. To many across the world he is known for his novel “Animal Farm” in which he explores the decay of  political morality in the aftermath of a successful revolt by the oppressed against their oppression.

Here is my quotation of the day from one of his writings:“A PEOPLE THAT ELECT CORRUPT POLITICIANS, IMPOSTERS, THIEVES AND TRAITORS … ARE NOT VICTIMS BUT ACCOMPLICES.”  (My caps) I think George Orwell had in mind citizens of any country. But his message may have a special resonance for South Africans right now.Just over two decades in the aftermath of their freedom South African citizens face a dramatic and potentially catastrophic decay of political morality. This decay is spearheaded daily by powerful
elected leaders, served and supported by numerous functionaries appointed by the leaders into key positions in government and in the array of public institutions meant to serve the citizens. They work together to carry out a morbid agenda.

Orwell’s message is also that citizens ought to recognize the depth of their relationship to public institutions. Such institutions are not there only to serve citizens, but also that, in turn, each citizen has a responsibility to such institutions by electing politicians who will strengthen the capacity of those public institutions to deliver on their public mandate for the good of all.

Elected leaders and appointed officers who repeatedly destroy the mandate and capacity of public office and public institutions deserve to no longer be elected or appointed.  It has become a self-evident reality derivable from the Constitutional Court Ruling on Nkandla and played out is so many ways in the public record, that the State President himself, in both the capacities of his office and of his person, had become the source and driver of this willed destruction. He acts like the invisible WIFI signal; never seen but causing things to happen; the pull of gravity of an unseen star, but definitely known to be out there. Seen by its presence in legitimizing public rituals,
but absent in the public and active defense of those rituals as embodying the power of corrective action.

That is why the destructive collective behavior of many public officers today is no longer a matter of speculation. Day by day, both elected and appointed officers concertedly and consistently confirm Orwell’s quote for having become ”corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors.”

It is when citizens fail to exercise their responsibility to name what they have come to see, to embrace the consequences of that recognition; when they fail to take corrective action with the power inherent in their human essence, as much as that essence is embodied in laws, rules, and responsibilities they created and legislated; then, if they have ever thought of themselves as victims of their reinvented oppression, and even took some comfort in that, their salvation will lie in their tough recognition that no longer are they such victims; that they have transformed into accomplices working for their own demise, through their silence, ignorance, self-fulfilling self-justifications, or illusory entitlements to what fundamentally destroys them and others.

Yet, there are countless others who have chosen not to be accomplices. The citizenship they represent is of the kind demanded by the extent of the visible decay of the public sphere. It it a citizenship that cuts across race, class, gender, education, culture, colour, ethnicity, geographic location, and political loyalties of South Africa’s diverse citizenry. It is a solemn responsibility shared across these boundaries.

By definition it proclaims the solemn obligation of all citizens to rise above such boundaries and to reconstitute in the collective interest
embodied in what belongs to them all: South Africa, the land of their past, present, and future. They are called upon to enlist for a new kind  of struggle for a future liberated from the received sentiments in which it became so easy to call for the destruction or end of something but  far more difficult to be energized by a pulsating urge to create something new.

What was overcome in 1994 cannot be fought in perpetuity long after it was defeated even when it may have reinvented itself in an order proclaimed  to be new but in so many ways fundamentally old, and potentially more brutally repressive because it was self-inflicted.

I think this is what George Orwell meant.