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Gary Kirsten Foundation recognises Khayelitsha’s budding cricketers

Talented young cricket stars are quickly being identified in Khayelitsha schools following the creation of comprehensive cricketing ecosystems by the Gary Kirsten Foundation last year.

In a drive to provide gifted individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds with the tools to develop their sporting skills, the Gary Kirsten Foundation initiated the Township Cricket Net Installation project. Learners from Chris Hani Secondary School, Siphamandla Secondary School and Impendulo Primary School are benefiting from the holistic initiative whereby each school received two quality cricket nets, a complete cricket kit as well as a cricket coach trained under the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy.

339938On a recent visit to Siphamandla Secondary School, Gary Kirsten immediately took note of one youngster who is showing incredible talent. The talented cricketer has been taking full advantage of the nets and, under the tutelage of his coach Sivuyile Mfunelwa, has developed into a competitive fast bowler. However, as is the case with many of these learners, the youngster didn’t have any cricket shoes and has been honing his skill in school shoes. To remedy this, Kirsten approached Adidas, who donated quality cricket shoes.

“We are really so grateful to Adidas for responding to this need without hesitation,” said Kirsten. “It is absolutely amazing what can be achieved when these children are just given the opportunity.”

Kirsten, who visits the township schools regularly, said this project was some of the most meaningful work he has done.

“I am so excited to get back to the schools and see what new talent has emerged,” he said. “South Africa is so alive with possibilities and the progress made through the net installation programme proves that there are gifted sports stars everywhere, we just need to invest in them.”

A fourth school has been identified as a recipient for the Township Cricket Net Installation. Sivile Primary School at Site C in Khayelitsha will soon benefit from this advantageous outdoor practice facility.

To ensure the sustainability of each donation, the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy trains a coach from the area who is then provided with a position at the school, overseeing all sporting activities, creating a comprehensive sports’ programme and coaching the youngsters. The coaches work closely with both the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy, as well as Gary Kirsten himself, keeping up-to-date with all elements of the cricketing arena.

“Job creation, skills development and general community upliftment are all key to the success of the net installations and we want to continue expanding this programme into as many South African schools as possible,” said Kirsten.

Each net installation costs approximately R80,000, excluding the cost of cricket equipment and the hiring of coaches. Any organisation or individual interested in supporting the Township Cricket Net Installation initiative can check the Foundation page.

This article first appeared on http://www.bizcommunity.com

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Freedom to Grow

IUDF Freedom Day Speech

The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF)

IUDFThe Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) is a policy initiative of the Government of South Africa, coordinated by the Department Of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).  The IUDF seeks to foster a shared understanding across government and society about how best to manage urbanisation and achieve the goals of economic development, job creation and improved living conditions for our people

The South African Cabinet adopted the draft IUDF in September 2014 for extensive public engagement that will continue for a year before it is finalised in November 2015. Submission forms can be downloaded from the IUDF website. The IUDF was informed by feedback received on a discussion document published in October 2013, Towards an Integrated Urban Development Framework. The intention was to promote vigorous public debate and engagement by putting forward available evidence and some of the most vexing urban development policy issues.

During that period, the Panel of Experts worked on eleven technical Background Research Reports: Demographic trends; Territorial dynamics of the economy; Rural-urban symbiosis; Infrastructure; Spatial resilience; State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and other public entities; Urban risk; Inter-governmental and fiscal relations; Social empowerment and inclusion; Existing policies in relation to the IUDF; and Urban safety. These are available upon request.

The Panel of Experts, in conjunction with the IUDF inter-departmental technical committee, produced the papers.

Panel of Experts

The Panel of Experts comprise of: Prof Peter Gotsch, Mr Graeme Gotz, Dr Ailsa Holloway, Prof Philip Harrison, Dr Lindile Ndabeni, Dr Vuyo Mahlati(deputy chairperson), Mr Pascal Moloi, Prof Edgar Pieterse (chairperson), Ms Wendy Ovens, Mr David Savage, Mr Rashid Seedat, Prof Mark Swilling, and Prof Ivan Turok.

The programme of work is overall led by Dr. Modjadji Malahlela, Chief Director at Cooperative Governance and Traditonal Affairs.

The IUDF was produced through an iterative process of research and engagement since January 2013. Prof Edgar Pieterse serves as the chairperson of the Panel of Experts appointed by the Minister of CoGTA to support this policy initiative.

South Africa’s urban population is growing larger and younger, and it is envisaged that nearly 80% of the total population will be living in an urban area by 2050.

The United Nations estimates that 71.3% of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas by 2030, nearly 80% by 2050. South Africa’s urban population is growing larger and younger. Two-thirds of South African youth live in urban areas.

Cities and large towns produced over 80% of the national gross value added and metros were growing twice as fast as other cities, he explained. Towns had much higher – about 40% – average incomes compared to the country as a whole, while employment grew twice as fast in metros.”Between 1996 and 2012, metros accounted for 75% of all net jobs created in South Africa. Despite this, ‘urbanisation of poverty’ is increasing, especially in townships, informal settlements and inner cities.”Urban areas are dynamically linked to rural areas – flows of people, natural and economic resources. Urban and rural areas are becoming increasingly integrated, as a result of better transport, communications and migration,” Nel explained.Interdependence of rural and urban spaces needed a comprehensive, integrated approach to urban development.High concentrations of people, buildings and infrastructure, he added, increased risk to natural disasters, climate change and variability. Reducing urban risk was critical to achieving sustainable urban growth. Safety, particularly in public spaces, was an essential ingredient for the creation of liveable and prosperous cities.The deputy minister said urban spaces needed to be designed and managed in a way that made citizens feel safe from violence and crime.”By 2030, South Africa should see reviving rural areas and creating more integrated, balanced and vibrant urban settlements… To achieve this, the country must clarify and relentlessly pursue a national vision for spatial development.”

To achieve the vision, there were four strategic goals:

  • Access: to ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices;
  • Growth: to harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development;
  • Governance: to enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work together to achieve social integration; and,
  • Spatial transformation: to forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas.

 

A day in the life of an informal hairdresser by Pasqua Heard

Loud reggae, pop and kwaito are some of the genres of music that compete with each other as you wander through the market at Cape Town central station taxi rank. Customers bustle through the rows of white container stalls, selling cheap snacks, fashionable clothing, haircuts and more. Among the many women entrepreneurs offering beauty services in the market is Odette Motema. She runs a hair and nail salon.
Odette’s day starts at 5.30am when she wakes up in her Khayelitsha home. She prepares polony sandwiches for her five children and gets them ready for school. She sets out a tub of bathwater for her unemployed husband and then heads to work.

“I always travel by taxi to work. They rob you too much on the trains,” says Odette.

She has breakfast at work, which also serves as lunch. Today, it is a banana, yoghurt and a packet of peanuts totalling R12.
Odette opens her stall, squeezed between a luggage stall and a male hair salon, at about 7am. The space is cramped, yet she has found room for a small plastic table and at least four plastic chairs. She has another six chairs stacked in the corner for her busy days. A shelf situated just above the entrance is packed with a range of beauty products and the walls of the container are covered with hanging pieces of “Indian”, “Brazilian” and other “types” of hair. A tiered plastic container carrying brightly coloured nail polish and fake nails sits on the table. Odette never leaves too many products in the stall for fear of them being stolen after hours.

“The crime is bad here. The security guards are supposed to stay overnight to protect the stalls, but they don’t. The last time my stall was broken into was sometime last year. But another woman’s stall was broken into last week.”

It’s a quiet day. While some stalls in the same row as Odette’s are packed with women and children having their hair braided, there are only two customers in Odette’s stall. Odette and Carrine, who is employed by Odette, are both braiding a woman’s hair, while another woman gives a man a pedicure.

“Sisi, Sisi!” yells Odette, as she tries to beckon potential customers into the stall.

At one point, a young woman waltzed into the stall with her hands in the air, exclaiming, “Jonga! I want to do something. I just don’t know what. I’m going out tonight.”

Odette shows her a photo album of elaborate nail designs. The customer seems interested, momentarily, but then leaves to check out the other stalls. Odette follows the customer with the album just in case she changed her mind.
Another man walks into the stall and proceeds to take his shoes off in preparation for a foot soak. However, while Odette boils the kettle and retrieves the foot-bath machine from its shelf, the man receives a phone call which causes him to hurriedly put his shoes back on.

“He has to do something quickly. I think he’ll be back,” says Odette. “At the moment, I see only about three customers in the day. I have the most customers from the 25th to the third of each month.”

Then someone walks into Odette’s stall and abruptly demands that the female customer having her hair braided pay him money he says she owes him. When she is unable to comply, he turns away and mumbles expletives. The man who has finished his pedicure gets up, grabs him by the collar and demands he apologise for his foul language around Odette. After several light punches, an apology is made and both men leave the stall. All the while, Odette has sat motionless.

“I’m worried about my brother’s short temper,” says Odette.

Once the stall is empty and Odette has swept the floors, she sits down to chat. She grew up in rural Congo, she says. “You’ve seen the news. You know what Congo is like.”

Her father was killed. She heard that life was better in South Africa.

Ten years ago, Odette, her husband and two children climbed into a truck and made the long journey to Cape Town.

“I don’t talk about this often and speaking about it now makes me want to cry,” she says.

Odette and her husband were unable to obtain official permits allowing them to work formally in South Africa. Odette says she did a course at Nails4U in Cape Town and then taught herself the art of braiding. She started offering her services informally at the taxi rank.

“We made this market what it is today. When I first started here, I had only one chair and a sign telling people to get their hair done. If we saw the police, we’d run away. Now, we rent these stalls for R1,300 a month. I pay R1,900, because I need electricity and water for my business. It is a struggle, because we can only rent these stalls, so if I die, my children will not inherit this stall,” says Odette.

Odette also teaches other women refugees the art of nail and hair treatment.

Carrine has been employed by Odette for a month. While braiding a woman’s hair, she says in French: “I came to South Africa from Kinshasa three months ago. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t understand English. A man told me about this market and that one of the women who speak Lingala might be able to help me. I talked to a lot of hairdressers, but nobody helped me, except Odette.”

“I have no friends here,” says Odette, “When it comes to money and professionalism, there is only competition between the shopkeepers. You need to be clever so you can survive in South Africa.”

On quiet days, Odette closes her stall at 6.30pm, but on the busier days, she closes at 7pm.

“I want to make sure that I get the customers who come after work,” she explains.

With a packet of polony in hand, she returns home for the night. Her routine will begin again the next day, unless it is a Sunday.

“Sunday is my only day off,” she says.

Source: GroundUp

Thomas Piketty on Inequality in post apartheid South Africa

This is a transcript of economist Professor Thomas Piketty’s address to the 13th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, which took place at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on 3 October 2015.

For everybody from my generation, from around the world, South Africa and Nelson Mandela, of course, has a universal meaning. I was born in 1971 and when I was a teenager, South Africa was, of course, one of the very important countries that I was always hearing about. When I became an adult in 1989 in Paris, we were commemorating the 200th anniversary of the French revolution. But what was really important, what was going on elsewhere, was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid, with the liberation of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and the end of apartheid in the following years.

Being here today 25 years later is something which I find very moving and very strong and I am very honoured and grateful to the Foundation for inviting me.

Of course, now that we are 25 years after the fall of apartheid, we are all puzzled by the fact that inequality is not only still very high in South Africa, but has been rising and, in some way, income inequality is even higher today than 20 years ago, which is extremely puzzling for all of us. This is something we want to better understand.

We also know from history called experience, that extreme inequality of the kind of levels we observe in South Africa is not good for development and growth, and it can also lead to violent reactions and violent events. We all have in mind the very violent episodes at Marikana three years ago, and we know from historical experience that if inequality is not addressed through peaceful means and peaceful democratic institutions it’s always potentially a source for violence. And, of course, this can happen again.

So, what I’d really like to do in this lecture is to try to see what we can learn from the historical experience of other countries with inequality in order to better analyse future opportunities for countries like South Africa, but more generally for the world issue of inequality.

Let me say right away, and I will speak more about this, the fact that inequality today in some dimensions is higher in South Africa than what it was 20 years ago in terms of concentration of income. It’s partly due to international factors which are not completely under the control of the South African government. I will come back to this later. I think the international community broadly speaking has a big responsibility for the situation of inequality in South Africa, in Africa and the world and some of the solutions will have to come from the international community.

But it is not enough to just blame international factors. I think that there are also deeper reasons for the fact that reduction of inequality, the South African revolution so to speak, did not deliver as much as one might have expected. Generally speaking, I would say the general reason is that equality and formal rights and basic civil rights – even though it is of course very important the right to move in your country, the right to take all possible occupations, at least in theory, the right to vote – all these formal civil rights are extremely important, but equality and formal rights are not sufficient to reach real equality.           

So if you want effective rights to move, it’s not enough to be formally allowed to go to other parts of the country. If you cannot pay rent or housing to go where the jobs are, it affects the right to move, it remains a very limited right.

More generally I would argue that we now need to think harder about how to secure effective rights, including the right to work for a decent wage, the right to good quality education, the right to have access to good property, and finally, and maybe most importantly, the right to real economic and political democracy including sharing of economic power in companies and participatory governance in the public and private sector.               
In this presentation I’m going to make three different points. In the first part I will try to put the issue of inequality into historical perspective, and see what we can learn from the history called experiences with the reduction of inequality in different countries. Then the second point will be about a solution for reducing inequality in South Africa, that we can draw from historical experiences, and the third part of the lecture will be about the global response to inequality and the need for international action.   
Let me first start with history and the historical perspective. I think it’s important because there’s a lot of historical amnesia in the world sometimes about inequality, and I think it’s important to take this broad historical and comparative perspective.
As a scholar and academic, my work has been primarily the work of a historian, trying to collect historical data on inequality and wealth. I should stress that this was only possible through a very collective research project. I started working on the inequality of income and wealth in France about 15 years ago, but then I was very fortunate to find many collaborators in many countries – Anthony Atkinson in Britain, who also worked on the case of South Africa; Emmanuel Saez in the US, who also worked on Japan and Canada; Facundo Alvaredo in Argentina, Chile and Mexico; Abhijit Banerjee in India.
I cannot make a complete list, but it is really a very international, global collective research programme that is continuing. I should stress that we still know too little about inequality. We know a little bit more than we used to, and I will try to share some of the lessons that we have learned, but we still know too little.
We are in the social sciences – there are different ways to interpret history, and our objective is not to come with ready-to-apply solutions or a “magic bullet”, but rather to contribute to a more informed democratic discussion about inequality, and ultimately the objective is surely that everybody, normal citizens, can look at this data, look at the book written from this data and make their own opinion, because these issues are too important to be left to a small group of experts.
I think it’s wrong to believe economists like to treat science and their field and economic science, as [being] so sophisticated that the rest of the world cannot understand. But of course this is a big joke.
What’s important is not to let economists do that; I think it is important to realise that issues of inequality, income, wealth, capital, public debt are not technical issues – these are issues in which everybody must have an opinion because ultimately they are what determine political change.
So if you look at this historical database that we have collected, probably the most important finding is that we cannot simply rely on market forces and “trickle-down” mechanisms in order to deliver the right level of inequality.
There is a very optimistic theory of economic development, which at some point was described as the Theory of the Kuznet’s Curve, according to which you have a natural reduction of inequality in advanced stages of development. This theory is just wrong if you take [into account] these very broad international perspectives that we have taken in our research.
In particular, one very important finding is that if you look at the reduction of inequality that happened during the first half of the 20th century in North America, in Europe or in Asia, you can see that this has nothing to do with natural, process-based market forces.
It is due, to a large extent to the very violent shocks of World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and most importantly, to the new policies, the new social policies, welfare state policies, new fiscal policies, progressive taxation that were finally accepted by the elites after these violent shocks and also after the Bolshevik Revolution, which put strong pressures on the elite in Western countries to accept reforms, which until 1914 and World War I were refused.
Now that is a very important lesson. In particular, this is particularly striking from my own country France to see that until 1914, until World War I – you actually have a rising concentration of wealth, with a level of concentration of wealth which was probably finishing higher than a century before or 130 years before the Ancien Regime under the French Revolution.
This is very striking for several reasons, first because at that time in 1910, 1900, 1914, the French Republican elite – financial, economic and political elite – were in very strong denial of this, and basically they were saying, “No, this cannot be possible because we have a major French revolution, so this is enough, we are now are a country of equals, we don’t need aristocrats any more, we have equal formal rights, we have the right to move, the right to take a new occupation, the right to property, the right to vote, at least for man at that time, and therefore we are a country of equals.”
So, for instance, we don’t need progressive taxation, and it’s very interesting to see that France – you know, France sometimes likes to portray itself as a country of equality, but you know there is always a lot of hypocrisy with all these kind of statements about a “country of equality”, “country of opportunity”. You know, elites have a lot of imagination for self-serving statements in order to justify the system from which they benefit.
In the end, France was actually the last country to create an income tax in the summer of 1914, and this was not to pay for education and for schools, this was to pay to go to war with Germany. And other countries had already created the income tax before, the US in 1913, Britain in 1908, Prussia, Japan, Sweden in 1880, 1890. France was the very last one within the developed countries to create an income tax. What is interesting is to understand why; it is because there was this feeling among the elite that: “Well, we’ve done the French Revolution, we don’t have aristocrats, we are a country of equals and we don’t need progressive taxation. Britain, of course, will need progressive taxation because they have all this aristocracy, this Queen and this concentrated land, so they should create progressive tax right away. But in France we don’t need it because we have done the French Revolution.”
So that is interesting, first, for historical reasons, also because we can see that the elites have a lot of imagination to justify their position. It is also interesting because this failure of the French Revolution, which is sort of the bourgeois revolution par excellence which gave equal rights before 1789, before the French Revolution a small group of aristocrats, which were about 1% of the population, had a very privileged right regarding the fiscal system, regarding political rights.
There were also restrictions to mobility within the country and to the kind of occupation you can take depending on your social origins, so there were privileges in the country and at that time, the hope during the French Revolution was that, if we have equal rights to take all occupation to move equal rights to property then this should be enough to bring a country of equals. And the fact that it doesn’t work this way, and that in fact over the course of the 19th century and in the earlier 20th century we get to a concentration of wealth that is in some ways even higher than under the Ancien Regime, is very interesting because it shows probably one of the deep reasons that I try to explain in my research. It is that the fact of being a republic rather than a monarchy doesn’t really change the deep economic mechanisms through which concentration of wealth is working; and in particular the fact that all over the 19th century you have a rate of return to capital that is markedly higher than the growth rate of the economy – 4, 5, 6% per year for the new capital investment in the manufacturing sector, as compared to a gross rate of 1 or 2% per year, well this gap between the two can explain to a large extent why we continue with the very large concentration of wealth until World War I.
So it’s only very violent shocks which occurred in the 20th century which finally convinced the elite to accept a number of fiscal and social reforms that were not adopted before.
I think this is of interest to South Africa, because, of course, I don’t want to compare the French revolution and the South African revolution; it’s completely a different context, and in a way the inequality regime that existed under apartheid was much more oppressive and violent than the Ancien Regime in France.
The group that had more rights than the rest of the population, namely the whites, was much bigger. It was not 1% of the population; it was 10-15%, so that’s more difficult to deal with a situation like this than if it’s 1%. The difference of colour of skin is also important because when everybody is white in France, you can sort of forget a couple of generations later who comes from what group, which is more difficult with the colour of skin.
It’s a trivial remark, but it makes a big difference in the long run, you know, in order to move ahead and solve this kind of situation.
And finally, the repression of basic rights which was happening under apartheid was much more violent with restrictions to mobility and we had a reference to this and expulsion [referring to previous speech] and the very strong territorial discrimination, which did not really exist in France in the 18th century, and which in some ways looked more like the serfdom systems that we had a couple of centuries before.
So, the challenges, the system from which South Africa comes from is, in a way, a much more oppressive inequality system than France and the Ancien Regime, and that another reason why formal, equal rights is not sufficient to bring equality. One of the lessons I draw from this part of my lecture is that we need more than formal, equal rights – rights to move, rights to take occupations – that is important, but that’s not enough.
So now, let me now turn to the issue of inequality in South Africa today and what kind of response to reduce inequality we can think of.
First, what do we know about the level of inequality in South Africa, how it has changed since the fall of apartheid and how this has compared to other countries?

We know too little, in particular, wealth 
concentration, but everything we know suggests an unusually high level of inequality, higher than what we observed pretty much anywhere else in the world, so just to take one number number which I find particularly striking – if we use South African income tax data, together with a national accounts household survey, and we do the same for other countries, we find that the share of total income going to the top 10% income earners in South Africa currently right now is between 60 and 65% of total income for the top 10%.
Just to make comparison, in Brazil, using similar data we are between 50 and 55%. In the US, we are between 45 and 50%, and in most European countries we are between 30 and 35%. South Africa is really at the top of the class, so to speak, and is in a way, way out of the experience that we can see.
Now if we try to explain this, some people say well that’s because we have very high unemployment. Certainly, high unemployment is a big, big problem to solve and to address in South Africa, but I don’t think this can explain this extremely and unusually high level of inequality. I think unemployment is more a symptom of inequality and equal skills and equal distribution across the territories, where people cannot move to where the jobs are and have not have access to the right skills.
But this in itself can’t explain such a high level of income concentration. Just to take an example, there are other countries in the world unfortunately where you have very high unemployment – Spain or Greece, where you also have a 25% rate of unemployment – and you don’t have that level of income inequality. You still have 30-35% of total income to the top 10% as compared to 60-65% in South Africa. So even if the data is not perfect, I think it’s very clear that the extreme level of inequality we have in South Africa is much more than just unemployment. It has to do, certainly, with the legacy of apartheid. In particular, it is striking to see what is really different in South Africa compared to other countries is the top 10% share – if you take the top 1% share it is not so different from the US today, but if you take the top 10% share, then it’s really higher in South Africa. So this really suggests that you have a relatively large group in the country, around 10%, which is very far away from the rest of the population.                 
Of course, this group historically has been predominantly, almost exclusively, white. Even today if you look at the data, especially within the top 1-5%, it will be up to 80% white, so things have changed a little bit, but we are still are very much with this same structure of racial inequality that we used to have. So now how can we make progress? Let me make it clear that I’m not here to give lessons to South Africa, I am trying to see what we can learn from historical experience.
Certainly, the international context has played a role in rising inequality in South Africa since the 1990s. Let me mention a number of reasons.
Certainly, financial deregulation, which has happened over the world in the past 25 years, has contributed to rising inequality. More generally, the fall of communism around 1990 has opened the way for a new era, an unlimited phase in self-regulated markets, and in some cases it has clearly gone too far. Financial deregulation is one example and this has contributed to the rise of financial fragility, and which eventually contributed to the financial crisis of 2008.
More generally, if you have globalisation without proper regulation – globalisation in itself can be a powerful force to reduce inequality at a world level – but if you don’t have proper regulation at the same time, in particular, regarding taxation, this can contribute to rising inequality. Also rising commodity prices, of course has contributed to rising top income shares in South Africa.
But, it will not be enough just to blame these international factors.
I think there are domestic solutions to the inequality in South Africa, so as I already said, there are four areas of rights where we need to turn to a policy of effective rights – rights to labour, work for a decent wage, right to high-quality education, right of access to property, and right to economic and political democracy.                      
So let me say just a bit more about these four rights.  
Regarding right to work for a decent wage. I think the discussions that South Africa is having right now about the introduction of a national minimum wage is extremely important and I think from this historical and comparative experience, I have, in my view, if we are able to find the right level of the national minimum wage then definitely South Africa could and should introduce the national minimum wage.
There are countries in the world, not only in the rich world, but also emerging countries like Brazil, who have a national minimum wage, who were able to find the right level for the national minimum wage, although these are much bigger countries than South Africa, with 200-million inhabitants, a lot of geographic disparity, and I think that South Africa should be able to find the right level for the national minimum wage. This is a way to avoid situation of extreme exploitation of low-skilled workers, particularly in areas of limited opportunity to move. Now this in itself is not going to solve the key problem, which is the inability to access higher-paying jobs, and so here is a second important effective right that needs to be strengthened.
It’s the right to high-quality education together with the right to adequate public infrastructure, including transportation infrastructure. Regarding public education, I think it is fair to say that the quality of public, primary education and junior and secondary education that is available to the most disadvantaged groups in this country is not satisfactory, and that this should be a national priority and a lot of progress could be made in this direction.
I understand that many people, in particular many business leaders that I have met in recent days, are very sceptical about the capacity of the government to deliver this, but on the other hand I think there is no other option than to try to improve the functioning and to contribute, to pay the tax that we need in order to finance this public sector of education. There’s no other strategy according to which we could do it, through privatising the education system and letting the business sector do it. I think it will not work; I think what has worked in history, in order to have sustainable and equitable growth is to have a well-functioning public education and health system, and South Africa should go in this direction.
The third, effective right which I want to stress is the right to property. So that is probably one of the more complicated rights because it involves very difficult and sensitive issues, including land reform. Let me just say that if we take a broad international historical perspective, we see in many countries, in history, much more ambitious land reforms than what we have seen in South Africa since the end of apartheid; I think it’s fair to say that black economic empowerment strategies, which were mostly based on voluntary market transactions, [and or not] market values were not that successful in spreading the wealth and limiting the extreme concentration of wealth from which we start in South Africa. So I think we need to think again about more ambitious land reform.
I also think that like many other countries, but maybe even more than other countries, South Africa will benefit from increased transparency about wealth and about who owns what in South Africa.
I think it is very difficult to have a reasonable democratic conversation about wealth with so little information, so in particular people talk about BEE policies and their impact, but in fact there is very little data in fact on wealth. That’s partly because access to the estate tax data is extremely difficult, to say the least, in South Africa. So there is an estate tax but it is very difficult to know how many taxpayers transmitted wealth between R1- to R2-million or R10-million to 20-million, year after year. Most importantly, even if this data was available this would only be information about wealth at death, and wealth of the living is even more interesting than wealth at death, in a way. I think it would be important and absolutely possible for South Africa to introduce an annual tax on net wealth – a progressive annual tax on net individual wealth, even if it comes with a very low tax rate to begin with. For example, zero percent for R1-million in wealth, 0.1% between R1- and 10-million and 0.5% above R10-million – I’m just putting numbers so that people have an idea.
I think even with relatively low tax rates such as these ones, the big advantage of an annual tax on wealth is that it would produce democratic transparency about wealth and we would know more about who owns what in South Africa and how this is changing over time. I think it is very important in a country to be able to look year after year at how the different social groups and the different wealth groups are doing; and how they are benefiting or not benefiting from growth and development. If we don’t have this kind of public information, then this is what gives a voice to very extreme statements from one way or another, from both sides, and it makes it very difficult to come to reasonable and peaceful solutions.  
I understand that many people in the business community might be against that, but then in the end, in the long run, I think it is in the interest of the business community to promote transparency about wealth. If you refuse transparency, it must be there is something to hide. That’s not good. In order to build trust in a country I think it’s very important to have that kind of transparency about income and wealth dynamics.
And finally, the last and fourth effective right which I would like to stress has to do with economic and political democracy. I think it’s important in South Africa, like in other countries in the world, to have new discussions about worker participation in companies and participatory governance. There are many countries in the world, including countries that are doing very well in terms of economic efficiency and exports and competitiveness, like Sweden and Germany, where workers have strong power in the board of companies. In Sweden, you have one-third of your seats in boards of companies that go to workers; in Germany it’s up to half, and apparently this does not prevent them from producing good products and exporting all over the world.         
In my country, in France, for a long time, employers and business people were completely against it; well, they are still against it, but the difference is that two years ago there was a law that there was going to be one employee representative out of 12 board members; it varies – it’s much less in Sweden than in Germany but because everybody was telling employers in France: “Look, this is what they are doing in Germany and you know German firms are doing better than French firms, so why don’t you want workers on board?” In the end, maybe it’s a way to involve workers in the strategy of the company, so instead of just fighting you can have effective discussion about the strategy of the company, and sometimes this can also be a way to promote more long-run strategy than short-term maximisation of profits.
Now let me turn to the third, and final part of this lecture, which has to do with is the global response to inequality. I think South Africa can’t solve all inequality problems in the world alone and there are many issues which rich countries, particularly countries in the north, have a huge responsibility, particularly in order to promote global financial transparency and fight against tax havens. More generally, it’s clear that countries in the north have a huge historical responsibility for inequality in the world today and poverty in many southern countries. Europe has a direct responsibility for the existence of apartheid in the first place and, more generally, the apartheid system was a simply one extreme version of a form of a colonial inequality structure that you see in French colonies, in British colonies, all across colonial history.
The French Revolution was very strong in terms of abstract principles. Article 1 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789 was saying that all men should have equal rights, that social distinction should be based only on common utility. But, in practice, the French Republic went on to develop one of the worst colonial empires in history. The French revolutionaries said in 1792 that they wanted to abolish slavery, but then, the government of France under Napoleon reinstated slavery, which was finally and abolished finally in 1848.
And when Haiti took the French Revolution seriously and decided that they would be independent in 1804, not only was France very unhappy, but France said in the end, in 1825: “You’re going to be independent, but you’re going to pay a price for it and there is going to be a large compensation to the slave owners, to us, for you being free.” A very large public debt was imposed on Haiti and Haiti had to reimburse until the middle of the 20th century and all along the 19th century, Haiti is paying interest to France as compensation for the fact that the slave owners are not getting any income from their slaves.
There is so much historical amnesia. We forget about these things. When Haiti started to ask for compensation again a few years ago and in 2004, when they were commemorating their 200th anniversary, the French government said: “Okay, we won’t go to Haiti for the anniversary, because we don’t want to hear about this compensation.”
This is just an example to say that historical amnesia, and the responsibility of northern countries in today’s inequality situation in the world is enormous. If we look at the future, because, just talking about the past is not enough, although I think in this case there is still time for compensation and reimbursing that debt that was paid from Haiti to France. But if we look at the future, and from a more global perspective, I think it’s clear that Europe and North America have a strong responsibility if we want to encourage financial transparency in the world. I think Europe and North America should stop having a double language with Africa, which means on the one hand they always give lessons about governance and transparency etcetera and on the other hand, their own multinational companies and their own wealthy citizens are the very ones who are benefiting from financial opacity and they are doing nothing at all about it. So it’s really a double language, which I think is absolutely terrible.
What Africa needs is not foreign aid. Africa is not asking for help. What Africa needs is an international legal system that allows African countries to make multinational companies and wealthy citizens pay their fair tax. This is what Europe and North America should now offer. So I think there are at least two concrete proposals that northern countries should make, on which they should make substantial progress.  
The first one is that there should be a lot more transparency about how much multinational companies from Europe and North America are paying in tax when they are doing business in Africa, and so the European Parliament sort of voted a tax about this two years ago but it is not sufficient information disclosure; and in addition the information is actually very difficult to access, so you know it’s a very strange system where the companies are supposed to disclose information but in the end it’s so well hidden in remote reports that are not accessible freely online that nobody can get the information. In any case, the requirements that were made, in terms of information disclosure, were completely insufficient to compute what we would like to compute in order to impose better behaviour in these companies.
Now the second proposal, which I think is even more important, is that Europe and North America should accept the creation of a world financial register on financial assets, which would be a central repository for financial assets so that we will know who owns what financial assets all across the world.
Some of you might react by saying, “Oh, but this is completely utopian, how could we do that?” Well, let me tell you that in fact we already have this kind central repository for assets, because it’s useful for private companies to know who owns them. You know, now you don’t have paper titles for a long time so it’s all electronic titles and you need someone to keep track of who owns what in the world, otherwise you could have different people who claim that they own the same company which would create a number of problems.
So you have some central repository that keeps keeps this information, but these are private institutions, these are not public institutions. So they are called ClearStream or EuroStream in Europe, they are called National Depository Trust Corporation in the US. So these are private corporations who are offering these services to financial companies, so that they keep track of who owns them. But these private institutions do not collaborate with the public institution, in particular do not send their information to the tax administration. So I think it is time that governments in Europe and North America in particular, but all across the world, take control of these private repository institutions and create a public wealth registry of financial assets.
I think, first that would be useful also for financial regulation when we try to monitor world financial crises when nobody has any idea of who owns what in the world (you know this creates problems also just for macroeconomic policy and basic financial regulation), but most importantly this would be important for taxation policy because this is what would allow the different countries to better know who owns what in their own country and to impose a minimal taxation.
Now this is possible, in particular the European Union and the United States are about to negotiate a new transactive treaty to reduce tax on trade but the bottom line is that there is no tax on trade any more, so there is not much to do in this treaty and that will be a unique opportunity to tell the world, “Okay, now we’re going to be serious to fight tax havens.”
That will be very important for everybody in the world but particularly for Africa, because if we take the existing estimates of what fraction of the world financial assets are held in tax havens, the fraction is much bigger in African countries or for the Middle East than it is for Europe or France. The best estimates we have for Africa are between 30 and 50% of financial wealth is held offshore. So clearly this is in effect a way to take away from Africa some of the resources that are necessary for development.
So again, just to conclude, I don’t think what Africa needs is a new form of foreign aid which, in any case, let me remind you of this basic fact: all aid flows going to Africa are less than the official outgoing profit flows going out of Africa that are paid to owners, in particular in Europe and North America.
Now these are the official flows. So if we think of unofficial flows going to tax havens, again the estimates we have are at least of the same order of magnitude so the total would be vastly larger, at least twice as large as the aid flows. So, again, what we need really for the future is not so much to talk about aid, but simply to change the international legal system so that African governments can conduct a tax policy without being always threatened, sometimes by their own business community, to go away and not contribute to the common good.
I understand some people today are saying, “Okay, but we could just organise the system through voluntary donations and charitable giving,” and I understand that people who have a lot of money would like just to decide how much to contribute to such and such a project, but it’s very difficult to organise a society like this. It’s very difficult to organise a society where thousands of people just want to decide for themselves how much they want to contribute to the public good.
So we need a legal system, in particular an international legal system, that allows African countries to develop a fair tax system that’s asking as much from the people at the top, at least as much as the people in the middle and at the bottom, which is not the case as of today.
Let me now, as a general conclusion, try to be optimistic about the future. I said there are big challenges ahead but there are solutions and there are peaceful solutions to addressing inequality.
Let me be also optimistic about South Africa and Africa; I was making this comparison with the South African revolution and the French Revolution … South Africa and France have a lot in common in a way. Today they are almost the same size: the population of France is 60-million, the population of South Africa is 55-million. So it’s almost the same size, but the big difference is that France has had a stagnant population for a very long time, so the population of France was already 40-million a century ago and 30-million at the time of the French Revolution.
So you know it’s almost the same country, almost the same families, whereas South Africa has gone through an enormous population growth and it’s a very young and dynamic and energetic country, and South Africa in 1910, at the time of the creation of the South African Union, had 6-million inhabitants, including 5-million black and coloured and 1-million white, and now we have gone from 10-[million] to 55-[million] with 5-[million] white and 50-[million] blacks and coloureds. So this is not the same country. When you multiply the size of a country by 10 and the population as of 1980 was around 30-million. So the country has gone from 30- to 55-[million].
Now these are enormous challenges. So when we talk about public infrastructure and public education, it’s difficult to keep up with this. It’s difficult, but in the long run I think that this is an asset. I’ve seen the youth of South Africa and the energy of the population of South Africa. It’s an asset. I think it’s better to have positive population growth, well maybe not enormous population growth but positive, rather than negative, population growth.
European countries who have negative population growth, I think, for the future, it is very frightening in terms of inequality and in terms of what these countries are going to become with the ageing, and some countries like France are having a few more children, and Germany is a bit more open to migrants recently, but then you have many countries in Eastern Europe, they don’t want children and they don’t want migrants either. So they are going to disappear …
South Africa and Africa are not going to disappear, and I think if these challenges that we have referred to today are addressed adequately, I think that Africa and South Africa are the future of the world and so, let me conclude this, and thanks a lot for your attention.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation

Nyanga remains SA’s murder capital

Nyanga retained the unenviable moniker of murder capital in the latest crime statistics, released on Tuesday, while Fish Hoek appears to be the safest place to live in Cape Town.
Nyanga recorded 300 murders, down by five in the previous year.

Nyanga also saw a 2.9 percent increase in attempted murders, from 173 to 178 reports.

Robbery with aggravating circumstances also saw an increase from 983 to 1 242 reported incidents in the last financial year. Common assault increased from 588 to 756.
But Community Policing Forum secretary Dumisani Qwebe said: “Nyanga will no longer become a murder capital. This is the last year.”

There is no time to be cry-babies. We need to strengthen our partnership with law enforcement agencies in order to achieve this goal.”
Qwebe said cops at the Nyanga police station were working under strenuous conditions, and added that they were underresourced – which frustrated residents.
“People are saddened to hear that we have the highest murder rate.”
The Nyanga station polices six sectors.
“There are few vans, but police are doing their best,” he said.
Qwebe called for an additional police station to be build in Brown’s Farm, which falls under the Nyanga precinct.
He said Brown’s Farm was one of the murder hot spots.
“There are lots of informal settlements which at times make it difficult for police inside those areas. That’s why we are calling for a police station to be built that side.”
Brown’s Farm resident, Sakhumzi Mkutu, said he felt that the police were not visible in communities.
Mkutu said when the police did “actual” patrols they often missed criminals.
“You find eight vans patrolling together. They all stop for one random person while the criminal is left scot-free. I don’t feel safe at all in my community.”
Siphamandla Songelwa, of Nyanga, said guns were easily accessible. “Guns are easy to get and to us the sound of guns firing is becoming all too common. It doesn’t startle us, which is wrong. We are living in fear.”
Qwebe blamed Nyanga’s carjacking spike on people buying stolen vehicles:
“There are those who do not want to buy cars through dealerships. They are creating a market for this. It’s not like things can’t change here, Nyanga will change.”
Meanwhile, the 2014/15 crime stats released by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko showed that Fish Hoek was one of the few suburbs where there were no recorded murders or attempted murders.
The number of sexual offences also remained static at nine, since last year.
Robbery with aggravating circumstances and burglary at residential properties had also decreased by 12.5 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively.
There had been just one reported car hijacking and no incidents of truck hijacking.
Resident Merl Witten said she could believe the statistics: “I am confident in my safety in Fish Hoek and I prefer living here than anywhere else.”
Witten said she had never experienced crime for the 13 years that she had been living in the suburb.
She said unlike most suburbs in the city, there were few vagrants and that the the neighbourhood watch was effective.
“If people walk around here late at night they are often stopped and asked where they were going and whether they lived in the area.”
Janet Holwill, from the Ratepayers Association, said crime was being kept in check. “I don’t think we have had things out of the ordinary and our neighbourhood watches keep a close eye.”
Holwill said residents were making good use of social media platforms to alert each other of suspicious activity.
“People are Facebook orientated. We have cameras in improvement districts and at crucial roads. This all makes a difference when combating crime.”
While violent crime remained low, residents highlighted a growing number of burglaries. “Robberies and burglaries are our biggest problem,” said Holwill.
Clovelly Neighbourhood Watch spokesman Adrian Skey said the safety of the area depended on the commitment of the residents. “The greater Fish Hoek makes use of radios because in the Deep South people struggle with cellphone signal. We are co-operating with the police.”
A Noordhoek Neighbourhood Watch member said due to active patrolling there had been a decline in criminal activity. “Women patrol in the morning, and during the day those who are at home keep a close eye out. We also have patrols at around 8pm and sometimes at 3am.”
Source: Cape Argus

An Idiot’s Guide to PW Botha

“We do not pretend like other Whites that we like Blacks. The fact that, Blacks look like human beings and act like human beings do not necessarily make them sensible human beings. Hedgehogs are not porcupines and lizards are not crocodiles simply because they look alike. If God wanted us to be equal to the Blacks, he would have created us all of a uniform colour and intellect. But he created us differently: Whites, Blacks, Yellow, Rulers and the ruled. Intellectually, we are superior to the Blacks; that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt over the years,” said P.W. Botha in 1985.
  
The story of the NP’s most renowned thug, former Prime Minister or the President of white South Africa, or the Minister of Community Development and Coloured Affairs.

Pieter Willem Botha was born on 12 January 1916 on a farm in the Paul Roux district of the then Orange Free State. He attended high school in Bethlehem and later enrolled for a law degree (which he did not complete) at the University of the Orange Free State.
By the age of 20, he had become an organizer for the National Party of DF Malan. As the winds of the Second World War gathered, he joined the shadowy, pro-Nazi Ossewabrandwag organization (but this relationship ended in a spectacular fallout later).

After being appointed Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs in the cabinet of Hendrik Verwoerd in 1958, he became Minister of Community Development and Coloured Affairs in 1961.

He was in this portfolio when he oversaw the destruction of Cape Town’s mixed-race suburb of District Six.

On 11 February 1966, Botha, declared the district a white group area. In 1968, he sent in the bulldozers to start breaking down the houses. Over the next 14 years, more than 60,000 people were moved out of the area, and to the Cape Flats – to drab townships such as Manenberg, Hanover Park, Bonteheuwel and Lavender Hill.

The destruction of District Six and many other long-established coloured communities, such as Simon’s Town, Red Hill, Diep River, Steurhof and Claremont, throughout the Cape Peninsula, caused massive social upheaval in families, with many sons and daughters succumbing particularly to the lure of drugs and gangs.

But it was not only in the Western Cape that the National Party wreaked havoc. Other cabinet colleagues gave expression to the Verwoerdian vision of ‘no more black South Africans’, by forcibly driving African people off their land and into so-called ‘Bantu homelands’.

Estimates put the number of African people who were forcibly removed from their homes at more than 3.5-million.

Botha, meanwhile, continued his relentless drive to change the spatial makeup of the country’s big cities: other communities he helped to destroy included those in Cato Manor in Durban and Pageview in Johannesburg.

After a stint as Minister of Defence in the cabinet of Verwoerd’s successor, John Vorster, Botha became Prime Minister of South Africa in 1978 (after Vorster’s resignation in the wake of the so-called ‘Information Scandal’).

For reasons that have never been clear, Botha was initially seen as one of the more ‘enlightened’ (‘verligte’) members of the party, but as internal opposition to apartheid grew, his leadership, and the methods his government adopted to maintain power became decidedly more vicious in its response to, especially, black opposition to its policies.

This was particularly so after he became Executive State President in 1984.

A state of ‘executive lawlessness’

It was the era of the ‘securocrats’ – an era in which army generals, police hit squads, SA Defence Force assassination units, shady hitmen working from within shady organisations, and police torturers (operating from torture farms such as the infamous Vlakplaas) were given carte blanche to kill, maim, bomb, kidnap, torture and to make opponents of the government ‘disappear’ – and to destabilise countries that gave refuge to Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress.

Looking back years later, law professor Laurence Boulle described the period of National Party rule – from Malan to De Klerk – in succinct terms: he said that this rule had been marked by ‘successive rampant executives casting aside rule of law imperatives as they … made their powers more intrusive and more discretionary, and less responsible and less accountable.

He especially singled out Botha for having taken these methods of governing to new levels of ‘executive lawlessness’.

But Botha and his supporters saw their actions as a ‘Total Strategy’ – a response to a ‘Total Onslaught’ by ‘Communist-backed’ opponents of his regime.

Employing the methods of torture and of how to eliminate opponents that had been perfected by the government of Israel, and by the rightwing juntas which at the time were running Argentina and Chile, Botha’s security forces spread terror throughout South Africa’s black communities.

In this respect, the 1980s were particularly devastating for many opponents of the apartheid regime. ….

Murdered freedom fighters, among whom were some of the country’s most talented individuals, were reduced to tabloid-type headlines in the national media. Among these were the so-called Pebco 3 (Sipho Hashe, Champion Galela and Quqawuli Godolozi), who were murdered in the killing fields of the Eastern Cape, in May 1985. Within six weeks, the ‘Cradock 4’ (Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Fort Calata and Sicelo Mhlawuli) were also assassinated and their bodies burnt and dumped.

Other well-known activists who were also murdered included Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, and Fabian and Florence Ribeiro. And there were hundreds of others, less known, but as committed to the fight for a free South Africa, who were eliminated by the state’s roving bands of killers.

Moreover, in two states of emergency declared by Botha, thousands of people were detained without trial; many of them were brutally tortured. 

 This was the reality of living under the government of PW Botha.