Friday, December 08, 2006

President Mbeki of South Africa Responds to Press Reports and Statements Related to Gautrain

The ANC, ANC leaders, BEE, and corruption

Reprinted From the ANC Today
December 8, 2006
By President Thabo Mbeki

In its 26 November 2006 edition, the Sunday Times published an article written by Wisani wa ka Ngobeni, Dominic Mahlangu and Dumisane Lubisi, under the heading, "Gautrain: Who gets the gravy". The article said: "Two Cabinet Ministers and a deputy minister, as well as National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, have shares in the consortium that is building the high-speed Gautrain...

"The Sunday Times has established that Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Education Minister Naledi Pandor, and Deputy Minister of Health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge stand to benefit from the Gautrain project. The two ministers sat in a Cabinet meeting that approved the project in December 2005 against the advice of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Transport...

"Mapisa-Nqakula and Mbete have shares in Dyambu Holdings, while Pandor is involved in Black Management Forum Investments (BFMI). Both companies and 11 others have a 25% stake - worth R5 billion - in Gautrain, through Strategic Partners Group, which is the empowerment partner in Bombela...The Gautrain saga comes amid criticism that large government tenders mainly benefit a well-connected elite."

On the same day this article appeared, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) issued a press statement in which it said: "The Congress of South African Trade Unions is outraged at the allegations in the Sunday Times that (Mapisa-Nqakula, Pandor, Madlala-Routledge and Mbete), and a long list of ANC officials, hold shares in Bombela consortium which is building and operating the Gautrain...

"Unless the comrades concerned refute these allegations, COSATU will view this as the weekly dosage we keep on reading underlining the crass materialism that seemingly is on the rampage...The question we have asked over and over again is why public representatives, who are very well paid, see it fit to involve themselves in all manner of get-rich-quick narrow BEE schemes?...

"Greed and selfishness have clearly overtaken the culture of service for our people...If the Sunday Times allegations are true, they powerfully reinforce the belief expressed in COSATU's recent Congress that worryingly growing numbers of ANC and government leaders are in the grip of a culture of personal self-enrichment...They have long abandoned the NDR that seeks to tilt the balance in favour of the working class for they are now capitalists themselves."

On 27 November, the SACP issued its own statement, in which it said: "The South African Communist Party is deeply disturbed and outraged at the fact that some of the shareholders and personal beneficiaries from the Gautrain Project are ministers of government. This indeed constitutes a very grave conflict of interests...We are outraged that (the Gautrain Project will)...personally benefit some of the already very well remunerated government ministers. This is simply not what the millions of our people fought and died for...

"The SACP wishes to strongly condemn this as the worst expression of what we have consistently warned against, parasitic capitalism. Parasitic capitalism is the use of one's public position to access resources for personal benefit at the direct expense of the overwhelming majority of the workers and the poor of our country."

Also on 27 November, the Democratic Alliance (DA) issued its own statement, saying: "Reports in the weekend press that two Cabinet Ministers, a deputy Minister and several others with potentially conflicting interests are among the shareholders of a consortium tasked with the already controversial Gautrain project need to be investigated urgently...

Consequently, the DA will request the Auditor-General to conduct a special investigation...We will also request the Parliamentary Ethics Committee to check the affected Members' declarations of interest."

The 1 December 2006 edition of the newspaper, The Star, reported that the leader of the DA, Tony Leon, had argued that "part of President Thabo Mbeki's legacy would be the speed with which corruption was allowed to flourish, because of the collapse of the boundaries between the ANC and the state...

"Referring to the prison contracts and the Gautrain as examples, Leon homed in on the abuse of public tenders by those who were related or politically connected to government ministers and MECs."

What the foregoing means is that during the dying days of the month of November 2006, the nation was presented with the fact of a new multi-party offensive against the ANC, composed of the Commercial Media (Sunday Times), the Democratic Alliance, the South African Communist Party, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

What brought these entities into a common multi-party offensive against the ANC is a shared conviction that:

-leaders of the ANC had been caught in the act of engagement in personal self-enrichment, contrary to what is required of them, that they should selflessly serve the people of South Africa;
-some among these leaders had abused their positions as members of government to ensure that the companies in which they are shareholders win the government tender for the construction of the Gautrain;
-these developments occurred against the backdrop of an entrenched perception in our country that ANC leaders, especially those deployed in government, systematically engage in corrupt practices, based on the abuse of state power, focused on self-enrichment;
-in these circumstances, it is up to the accused ANC leaders to prove their innocence, with no obligation on the part of the accusers to prove the correctness of their allegations of corrupt practice levelled against these leaders; and, unless official inquiries of one kind or another are instituted, consequent to the allegations, the accusers will continue to make the assertion that those they accuse of corruption, abuse of power and greed are guilty as alleged, until they themselves prove that they are innocent, regardless of the often-stated principle that whatever the nature of any allegations, those accused are innocent until they are proved to be guilty.

What therefore confronts us is a strange combination, however temporary, combining the Sunday Times and the DA on one hand, which occupy a particular portion of our national political spectrum, and the SACP and COSATU on the other, which occupy another, and diametrically opposed portion of our national political spectrum.

What has brought them together is a shared conviction that the ANC has allowed itself to be transformed into a ravenous monster controlled by individuals dedicated to the pursuit of personal wealth by "a well-connected elite", "ANC and government leaders (who) are in the grip of a culture of personal self-enrichment", beneficiaries of "parasitic capitalism", and people who have ensured "the collapse of the boundaries between the ANC and the state", enabling them to abuse state power for corrupt purposes, benefiting those "related or politically connected to government ministers and MECs".

This shared conviction is confirmed by the 1 December 2006 article in The Star to which I have referred. The article quotes Tony Leon as having said "when you practice cadre redeployment to the extent that the ANC has done...then you must not be surprised when you get the taint and the whiff of corruption surrounding everything."

The newspaper goes on to report that: "SA Communist Party general secretary Jeremy Cronin yesterday agreed with Leon. But he argued that cadre redeployment was not the major point of concern...but rather the collapse of boundaries between business and public office. 'The key boundary that has been crossed is the business/political boundary,' he said.

"Cosatu said yesterday it too was very concerned about the danger of government officials and ministers privately gaining from business, creating a conflict of interest. Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said it was important for the ANC to maintain the high standards of governance it had brought with it and not sink to the corruption levels prevalent during the apartheid era."

None of the accusers of our movement has asked the ANC whether the allegations made against its members and leaders are true or not. As we have already said, together, even though they have acted individually and separately, these came to the common conclusion that the ANC members and leaders concerned must be presumed guilty until they prove conclusively that they are innocent.

Notwithstanding this eminently strange behaviour, and indeed because of it, we must now state some of the facts relevant to the accusation levelled against our members and supporters, and, in reality, the ANC itself.

The Sunday Times article said the companies in which ANC and government leaders were involved were represented "through Strategic Partners Group, which is the empowerment partner in Bombela." We must therefore answer the question - what is the Strategic Partners Group (SPG)?

This information is easily available on the Gautrain website According to this information, "The Strategic Partners Group was formed in early 2002 by a group of 18 companies (not 13 as stated in the Sunday Times article), that represent broad-based interests of the previously disadvantaged communities...The member companies in the Group represent a wide range of South Africa's population, namely, the professionals, youth, women, organised black business, organised black managers etc...

"The SPG has as its vision the following: to create and maximise value for shareholders, the employees and the communities we serve; to ensure true black economic empowerment that does not benefit individuals only, but communities; to ensure profound and irreversible development in the communities we serve; to be the investment community's first choice which is able to bring the previously disadvantaged to the economic mainstream; play an active role in the rebirth of Africa through NEPAD."

With regard to Dyambu, the SPG website says: "Dyambu was founded in 1996 by a group of high profile and respected women in the black community. These women sought to create a formidable and accountable investment vehicle through its beneficiaries - women's groups, rural women and projects identified by women in the townships..."

Concerning the Black Management Forum Investment Company, it says: "BMFI is a company which is majority owned by the Black Management Forum, a Section 21 (non-profit) Company mainly responsible for leadership development and training of the Previously Disadvantaged Individuals...The (BMF) is actively involved in management and leadership development, in transforming the corporate landscape in South Africa, and in the training and development of scholars and management trainees."

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Baleka Mbete were indeed founding members of Dyambu, which was set up for the purposes stated above. Both of them, like others of their colleagues, have in reality not had any contact with Dyambu since 2000, and do not even own any share certificates. (Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was not among those who established Dyambu.)

At the point when these founding members effectively ceased to play any role in Dyambu, because of internal problems in the company, they were working to establish a Trust that would receive the profits from Dyambu, which would be used to pursue the objectives we have already stated. These have absolutely nothing to do with transforming the women ANC leaders concerned into capitalists.

Precisely because these comrades are loyal, mature and leading cadres of our movement, they do not need anybody to educate them to oppose "parasitic capitalism". Over the years the senior women comrades who set up Dyambu have been as much part of our movement's fight against corruption and the abuse of state power as all other leaders of the ANC.

Like thousands of other members and supporters of the BMF, Naledi Pandor bought shares in BMFI long before she came into government. In this regard, she was responding to the appeal of the BMF to its members and others to contribute to the establishment of a successful commercial venture that would help the Forum to generate the financial resources it needs to realise its central goal of the deracialisation of the South African economy.

The fact of the matter is that like thousands of other black shareholders, Naledi Pandor holds a tiny fraction of the issued share capital of BMFI and would be exceedingly foolish to expect that the dividends that might one day flow from her minute ownership of BMFI could buy her even a month's supply of brown bread. And she is no fool!

As we have already indicated, Dyambu and BMFI are but two of the 18 black companies that constitute SPG, the BEE partner in the Bombela consortium that won the Gautrain contract. How anybody could come to the conclusion that any of the thousands of individual shareholders in these 18 companies could make a killing from the Gautrain contract beats all understanding!

The reality however, is that the accusers of the ANC were not about to allow facts to stand in the way of their determination to project the ANC as being nothing more than a cabal of mercenary politicians, posing as liberation fighters!

One of these facts is that the National Cabinet, on which Mapisa-Nqakula and Pandor serve, had absolutely nothing to do with the conceptualisation of the Gautrain project, the decision to implement it, the issuing of the tender, the adjudication of the bids, and the decision to award the Gautrain contract to the Bombela consortium. Others wiser than us will have to explain how our national Ministers managed to intervene in the Gauteng process to ensure the success of the Bombela consortium!

This process, in its entirety, was handled by the Gauteng provincial government. The national government was drawn into this matter simply because it became obvious that the Gauteng provincial government would not have the resources to implement the Gautrain project.

At this point, the national government also engaged the provincial government in discussions that sought to ensure that the Gautrain project was fully integrated within the national transport perspectives, one of whose central elements is ensuring that the millions of our working people have access to an efficient and affordable public transport system.

I have in the past made the point that a central and permanent feature of the racism experienced by black people over many centuries has been the stereotype that as black people we are inherently amoral and corrupt. Thus some in our country and elsewhere in the world know it as a matter of fact that our government is bound to be amoral and corrupt.

Because of this, it is very easy successfully to market all manner of deliberate falsehoods about the ANC and our government, counting on the stubborn persistence of an insulting stereotype to give credibility to the most outrageous untruths.

Volume 1, No. 43, 2001 of ANC TODAY carried a Letter from the President entitled "The truth stands in the way of the arms accusers". Responding to the detailed investigations and findings of the Auditor-General and others, the Letter discussed the absolute refusal by some in our country to accept that our government had not engaged in any corruption in awarding the primary defence contracts. I said, then:

"At the base of all this, lies the racist conviction that Africans, who now govern our country, are naturally prone to corruption, venality and mismanagement. It is therefore not very difficult to propagate the absolute falsehood and gross insult that our government is, necessarily and obviously, guilty of corruption with regard to the defence acquisition.

"As soon as the report of the investigators was issued yesterday, so soon did the campaign begin to discredit this report. The truth will not be allowed to stand in the way of what had to be proved - that Africans and black people in general are corrupt. The struggle for the creation of a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society demands that we respond to this without equivocation."

The Gautrain story confirms the hard reality that as long as the racist conviction that Africans are naturally prone to corruption, venality and mismanagement persists, so long must we remain on guard to fight the canards that will be peddled, serving as media headlines with greater frequency than the summer rains.


Pan-African News Wire said...

Black economic empowerment and the vision of the Freedom Charter

While black economic empowerment seeks to influence change within a capitalist order associated with inequality and exploitation, it is nevertheless contributing to the realisation of the economic vision of the Freedom Charter, writes Jerry Vilakazi.

"The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people;
The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well being of the people;
All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions."

Freedom Charter, 1955

Inspired and guided by the vision of economic emancipation of the Freedom Charter, the democratic government has inaugurated a host of policy and legislative measures, including broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE), to reduce the levels of economic deprivation and inherited disparities of wealth and income.

However, BEE has recently been subjected to numerous criticisms that have prompted some critics to question the effectiveness of BEE as a vehicle for effecting the deracialisation of economic ownership envisioned in the Freedom Charter. The criticism comes from both within our own movement and from forces that are opposed to our national democratic revolution. This latter criticism is characterised by the tendency to praise and celebrate white success while demonising the success of black entrepreneurs.

This article examines the interplay between BEE and the vision of economic emancipation articulated in the Freedom Charter. In particular, the article sheds light on some fundamental questions informing the ongoing dialogue and debate on whether or not BEE contributes to the kind of society envisaged in the Freedom Charter.

The ANC and its alliance partners have always held that for our political democracy and non-racialism to succeed, there must be economic empowerment and transformation that benefits the black majority. Against this background, debates on BEE have always been welcome and encouraged. Within the alliance partners the debate on BEE has assessed, and at times, challenged the effectiveness of BEE primarily on the basis of its impact on the poor and the working class.

There is broad consensus between the ANC and its alliance partners on the substance of BEE. There is also consensus that BEE must ultimately ensure that the black majority own the country's wealth in accordance with the Freedom Charter. However, what is at stake in the debate are the results that the BEE policy have yielded, which have tended to create economic prosperity for a few, instead of the black majority. While this may be a valid observation, the challenge is not how do we stop the success and prosperity of the few entrepreneurs, but how do we accelerate the process of creating a critical mass of empowered blacks.

The alternative society envisioned by the Freedom Charter is a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. To facilitate this, the Freedom Charter comprises, among others, social, economic, political and legal goals. While the economic goals of the Charter must be seen in the context of the overall objective of the document, it is somewhat unrealistic to expect BEE, which primarily seeks to promote non-racial and non-sexist economic prosperity, to address the multiplicity of goals articulated in the Charter. Those who argue for the dilution of company ownership in the name of broad-based empowerment when they actually refer to broad-based ownership are doing a disservice to our cause. That is why in some sectors we are now seeing a tendency to form broad-based employee share schemes that even ignore employee investment companies to perpetuate white control at operational and board levels.

Our point of departure is that BEE is not a panacea to all the socials ills confronting our society. Rather, BEE is one of many policy instruments designed to restore, through its multifaceted approach to empowerment, the economic heritage of black people.

While the design of the current BEE policy does not resonate with the revolutionary underpinnings of economic change envisaged in the Freedom Charter (nationalisation), its desired outcomes accord with the economic goals the Freedom Charter had intended to accomplish from the outset.

It is too simplistic to argue that BEE does not contribute to the kind of society envisaged by the Freedom Charter simply because of its strategic deviation from the revolutionary underpinnings of economic change originally envisaged in the Charter.

Black economic empowerment is contributing to the realisation of the economic vision of the Charter, though its implementation has been fraught with
contradictions. We must accept the consequences of the policy choices we have made to reconstruct and develop our post-apartheid economy, and devise innovative means to deal with the unintended consequences generated by our policy choices.

Black economic empowerment constitutes an integral part of South Africa's economic growth and development strategy, which is capitalist in character.

While capitalist development has often lead to higher levels of economic growth, it has also been associated with inequalities, poverty and marginalisation of the majority.

Our discourse on the economic emancipation of the oppressed needs to take these realities into consideration and to explore effective means through which the benefits of BEE could be shared, within the constraints imposed by our economic order, among a broad base of enterprises and individuals.

This requires us, first and foremost, to understand the historical origins of economic dispossession and disempowerment of the indigenous people. This is so because the third clause of the Freedom Charter, and the BEE policy which gives effect to its contents, represents a specific response to a specific set of conditions engendered by the economic dispossession and disempowerment of the indigenous people.


Entrepreneurship and trade, the foundation of modern business, have always formed an integral part of black people's ways of life. Even before whites settled in South Africa, black people were engaged in a variety of successful entrepreneurial activities to accumulate wealth, which included, among other things, the cultivation of various crops, the rearing of cattle, sheep and other stock, the manufacture of some iron tools and pottery, and the tanning of animal hides for clothing.

However, the brutal dispossession and expropriation of black people's sources of productive wealth unleashed by colonialism ushered in the implementation of numerous repressive laws that militated against the development of viable and sustainable entrepreneurial activities among black people. These laws also relegated blacks to peripheral economic activities, what today constitute the bulk of 'second economy'.

These repressive laws were a direct response to the enthusiasm with which black entrepreneurs embraced the development of the market economy in South Africa, which was fuelled by the discovery of minerals. The development of the market economy created an insatiable demand for agricultural and other products in towns. This demand for agricultural products gave impetus to the rise of a very successful class of black peasants who supplied towns with agricultural products, wool and other commodities.

However, the success with which black peasants captured the agricultural product market posed a formidable competition to the nascent white farmers.

Moreover, the economic independence enjoyed by blacks due to their access to land and other forms of productive wealth made it difficult, if not impossible, for employers to induce blacks to consider taking up wage employment in mines, farms and other emerging sectors of the economy.

Therefore to help white farmers and miners to overcome the threat posed by black people's economic independence, the colonial governments made decisive legislative interventions to deal with black people's access to land and other sources of productive wealth.

These culminated in the passage of legislative measures that limited the amount of land that a black household could own, and the imposition of various taxes that could only be paid in cash. One major effect of these repressive interventions was to push blacks en masse to towns where they, besides being turned into a source of cheap labour, were subjected to various forms of racism within and beyond the workplace.

At the same time, the rapid urbanisation of blacks precipitated by the industrialisation of the economy provided new business opportunities for black entrepreneurs in towns. However, like the black working class, black entrepreneurs encountered numerous forms of racism that tended to both undermine and restrict their entrepreneurial activities in towns.

With the coming into power of the National Party with its apartheid programme, racial repressive laws against blacks were intensified. This not >only resulted in, among others, denying black workers the right to form or join trade unions but in stripping blacks of, and denying them an opportunity to accumulate, assets. It denied them access to skills, prevented them from playing any meaningful role in major companies and severely reduced the possibility of blacks starting their own enterprises.

The protracted struggles waged by the black people against these forms of economic injustice and all the other forms of deprivation endured by blacks provided a fertile ground for unity among the oppressed, which ultimately forced the apartheid government to enter into negotiations with the ANC.

These negotiations led to the ANC coming into power in 1994.


The ANC-led government inherited a society characterised by vast racial and gender inequalities in the distribution of and access to wealth, income, skills and employment. The economic conditions whose eradication the Freedom Charter had called for in 1955 had not simply disappeared.

Black economic empowerment became one of the main vehicles for transferring economic ownership to blacks. Empowerment is necessary because there was disempowerment in the past. This was a racially based process. Hence BEE takes on a racial character.

In essence, BEE is government's response to dispossession of black people over an extended period of time by successive white governments. The basis of white domination in South Africa was, among other things, the denial of capital accumulation by black people.

However, the early model of BEE that emerged in the 1990s was of limited economic benefit to the black majority due to its over-emphasis on equity ownership. As a result, the government has introduced legislation and regulations to accelerate and broaden the economic benefits accruing from BEE processes and transactions. The way the new legislation and regulations on empowerment are structured is intended to counter measures that underpinned colonial and apartheid processes of economic dispossession.

Concerns with the early model of BEE that emerged in the 1990s lead some critics, from both sides of the ideological divide, to a spurious conclusion that BEE had lost its strategic direction, as it had allegedly become an instrument for enriching "a small black elite with political connections with the ANC". This criticism has ushered in the 'enrichment vs empowerment' debate.

However, this debate about
'enrichment vs empowerment' is misleading. The debate fails to appreciate that empowerment is a multi-dimensional process that includes, among other things, promoting asset ownership among blacks, increasing the skills of blacks by a variety of means, and increasing control by blacks over significant assets.

The central question was recently raised by President Thabo Mbeki at the 4th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture, which is whether there can be co-existence of the values of the capitalist market - almost always driven by individual profit maximisation and greed - and the values of human solidarity that bind us as a coherent society.

Colonialism, apartheid and other forms of racially based programmes, though specifically formulated to ensure racially exclusive privilege, were never able to create mass wealth among beneficiaries. These programmes succeeded in creating a relatively privileged group among whites. Only a few among them were able to accumulate wealth to the extent of being financially independent.

It is for this reason that BEE will not be able to achieve mass black wealth. In all likelihood, if successful it will create a handful -relative to the vast majority who are unlikely to gain huge benefits - of financially independent individuals. Our economy does need those individuals. We should collectively reject the attempts to demonise black success, especially when it is our struggle heroes who are the perpetual targets of vicious attacks from those who want us to believe that it is okay to have white billionaires but not morally right to have black billionaires.

The key fact is that white capital was built through the exploitation of our people and what we should avoid is the rise of black capital at the expense of the black majority through the greed and corruption against which Mbeki has consistently warned. Legitimate wealth creation, even within our own ranks, should be encouraged and supported, as it will strengthen our access to key resources needed to rebuild our country. We also need to recognise and support the key role that our new business elite and captains of industry, who emerged from the historical battles of our national democratic revolution, can play side by side with the poor and the working class of our country. The struggle for the realisation of the Freedom Charter has always been inclusive and cannot be fought within the terrain of exclusivity within our own social ranks. As much as we have rejected sexism, racism and ethnicity, we should reject the notion of separation by class if it seeks to divide us in the unified struggle for economic justice and transformation The economic vision set out in the Charter is yet to be fully realised. Our society is still characterised by poverty, economic marginalisation and vast racial and gender inequalities in the distribution of and access to wealth, income, skills and employment.

However, this does not mean that BEE does not contribute to the kind of society envisaged by the Freedom Charter. Black economic empowerment is contributing to the realisation of the economic vision of the Charter, though its implementation has been fraught with contradictions.

Black economic empowerment is not a panacea to all the social ills confronting our society. Centuries of exploitation cannot be reversed by just twelve years of empowerment initiatives. We must accept the consequences of the policy choices we have made to reconstruct and develop our post-apartheid economy, and devise innovative means to deal with the unintended consequences generated by our policy choices.

Black economic empowerment is capitalist in character and seeks to influence change within a capitalist order. We therefore have to be cognisant and supportive of the multitude of interventions by government to counter the negative effects of a capitalist economy which, while leading to higher levels of wealth, has also been associated with inequality, poverty and marginalisation of the majority.

Jerry Vilakazi is the Chief Executive Officer of Business Unity SA and former Secretary of the ANC Rivonia Branch.

Pan-African News Wire said...

The minister hides behind 'state security'

Zehir Omar: COMMENT
14 June 2006 01:59

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: Why is she trying to cover up the issue?

For the past seven months the home affairs ministry has persistently misled the court and the country by maintaining that Khalid Mahmood Rashid was lawfully deported to Pakistan. In sworn affidavits to the court, the ministry stuck to this claim right up to the time that the South African Air Force spilled the beans.

If the so-called deportation of Rashid had even the slightest semblance of legality, the home affairs ministry would not have taken the bizarre, tedious and unconventional route of asking a foreign government (Pakistan) to confirm a deportation effected “legally” by the South African authorities.

The simple and straightforward procedure is to furnish the flight and other relevant details regarding Rashid’s deportation from Johannesburg International airport, from where all deportations are effected in terms of a procedure that home affairs is legally and constitutionally required to observe.

The ministry has intransigently maintained that Rashid was lawfully deported and that the only reason for having withheld the information of the flight details, et cetera, was the failure of the applicant’s attorney to follow a prescribed legal procedure for the acquisition of information. This argument was dismissed by Judge Justice Poswa.

The chief immigration officer explicitly claimed that Rashid’s deportation was effected lawfully (“by the book”), yet not a single detail of “the book” had been provided until earlier this week when, after repeated denials, the home affairs minister finally admitted that Rashid was whisked away from Waterkloof military base on a private chartered plane on November 6 2005.

Despite the minister’s insistence that this was a deportation, an independent official at the Waterkloof base confirmed that Rashid was the first person in the history of this country to be deported from the Waterkloof base. Noteworthy is the fact that the Waterkloof base is not a port of entry, and all legal deportations must be done through a port of entry.

Our contention is not that Rashid did not leave South Africa. It is rather that he was abducted and sent illegally out of the country.

Why does home affairs refuse to furnish basic information? According to the department, the Rashid case was a simple issue of the “lawful deportation of an illegal immigrant”. If this is to be accepted, then why the frantic effort to cover up the issue; to deny information; to waste hundreds of thousands of rands of taxpayers’ money in legal fees; and to court the kind of publicity that has seriously damaged the image of the department?

Earlier this week, the home affairs minister revealed that the identity number of the plane is A6-PHY. Further investigation revealed that the owner of the plane is Phoenix Airways, based in the United Arab Emirates.

Who paid for the hiring of this aircraft? Which ministry? The source of funds used to hire the plane must be disclosed.

The May 19 edition of The Star reported the following statement of a home affairs official: “We’ll oppose this case in terms of our respected legal system, not because we have something to hide.”

The “respected legal system” as ruled by Judge Poswa, requires the minister of home affairs to furnish the details. The respected legal system requires the department to effect deportation in accordance with the immigration laws, not in the bizarre cloak-and-dagger methods described by the South African Air Force. If the ministry has nothing to hide, it should simply reveal all the details.

In the face of the dogged insistence that Rashid was lawfully deported, Captain Ronald Maseko and another officer at the Waterkloof airbase made the following disclosures:

The South African Air Force was requested to make the airbase available for the plane to land, and to take off with Rashid. Home affairs officials together with the police had arrived at the base from Cullinan, with Rashid handcuffed. They placed him on the chartered aircraft. The officer was told that Rashid was wanted for crimes overseas.

The plane was carrying South African police members and other “official-looking people”, including at least three men with British accents and several Pakistani intelligence officers.

The SAPS, home affairs ministry, and departments of justice and of safety and security had requested that the base be made available for a landing and take-off during the early hours.

Ever since the information regarding Rashid’s unlawful removal from the country was revealed by the defence ministry, a dilemma has faced the minister of home affairs, who has become entangled in her web of falsehood.

The contention that withholding the information we are seeking is in the interests of state security is ludicrous. Surely the air force, which is under the jurisdiction of the defence ministry, is in a better position to understand and decide what constitutes “state security” than the home affairs ministry.

The facts disclosed to date show that Rashid’s removal had nothing to do with state security. The facts suggest a conspiracy between foreign intelligence agents and South African officials of several government departments.

Zehir Omar is attorney for the Rashid family

Pan-African News Wire said...

07 July 2006

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula


By Carol Paton

The minister of home affairs and the president of the ANC's Women's League, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is one of the leading women in SA's political and governmental affairs.

Appointed a full member of the cabinet in 2004 (she was previously a deputy minister), Mapisa-Nqakula is one of a sizeable group who have won status and respect as leaders and benefited from President Thabo Mbeki's strong affirmation of women.

Though she has embraced several leadership positions since joining the ANC in exile in 1984, her role as minister of home affairs is without doubt her biggest challenge. Corruption and inefficiency plague this enormous department. Despite attempts to plug some of the biggest gaps and put measures into place to curtail criminal activity by officials, the public has yet to experience a turn-around in the services the department provides.

Immigration too, continues to be problematic, with too many undesirable immigrants getting in and too many desirable ones, with much-needed skills, being kept out.

Though reforming the department of home affairs is much like tackling a mountain, Mapisa-Nqakula at least has the energy and drive to take on the job. She is not one to be daunted by difficulty or to be scared of a fight.

As chairman of parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and later as chief whip - the two positions she held before becoming a member of the executive - Mapisa-Nqakula showed she has the guts to take on difficult problems and people without flinching. This, with her fierce loyalty to Mbeki, has made her one of his most trusted ministers and colleagues within the party.

Her background in ANC military and intelligence structures originates from her days in exile where she spent six years in the ANC's armed wing, under-going training in Angola and the Soviet Union. She then served as the ANC chief representative - the equivalent of an ambassador - to Angola before returning home in 1990. Her immediate task was to build ANC structures and she was appointed the national organiser of the ANC Women's League.

Like many exiled women, Mapisa-Nqakula has always been active in women's organisations as the fight for women's liberation was viewed as closely bound up with the fight for national liberation. Her election as president of the ANC Women's League in 2003 thus came as a special achievement. It was a far cry from her traditional rural childhood in the Eastern Cape where she grew up. She went to school in Lady Frere in the former Transkei and then trained as a primary school teacher at the Bensonvale Teachers College in Sterkspruit.

After graduation, Mapisa-Nqakula found herself in East London where she inevitably became involved in politics, founding a trade union for domestic workers. It was not long afterwards that she left to join the ANC in exile.

It is hard to speak of Mapisa-Nqakula without mentioning her husband, safety & security minister Charles Nqakula. This is not because she lives in his shadow, but because they are one of the most famous couples on SA's political scene. They have four children, the youngest of whom was very young when Mapisa-Nqakula was sent from Johannesburg to represent the ANC in parliament. Husband Charles, then a full-time member of the SACP and not a member of parliament, stayed behind in Johannesburg and the family insisted that everyone, including the youngest child, remain with him.

Mapisa-Nqakula says this was one of the hardest things she had to do.