Bayanda Mzoneli

About Bayanda Mzoneli

Bayanda Mzoneli is a public servant. He writes in his personal capacity.

Dear Cde Sindiso Magaqa (ANCYL Secretary General)

Congratulations on your election to lead our generation of youth to Economic Freedom in our Lifetime. Your unanimous election demonstrates the confidence we have in you.

I doubt we have been properly introduced before, in the interest of courtesy, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bayanda Mzoneli. I am a member of the ANCYL. I work at the Department of Public Enterprises. I am responsible for Parliamentary and Constituency Unit in the Department. The Minister of Public Enterprises is Malusi Gigaba. This should take care of any perceived ambiguity of my subjectivity or my split loyalty on the matters I will raise, but towards the conclusion my consistency on principle will be apparent. You are now a “public figure”; you should draw comfort in that I know you already. For the purposes of this communiqué, this should suffice.

I will also have you know that as a member of the YCLSA, before it was fashionable to do so, I have long supported the nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy as outlined in the YCLSA’s 10 Youth Demands. I still believe that the ownership patterns of the modes of production in South Africa is not sustainable and needs to be changed through, among others, nationalisation.

I read with interest your statement in response to the Minister’s remarks to the effect that the reckless manner in which the debate on nationalisation is being conducted harms the reputation of South Africa as an investment destination. Unfortunately, the part that addresses this point was missing in your statement, but I realised that the statement does end with an indication that you will seek a meeting to clarify this point.

You indicated in your statement that, “The ANC Youth League is relieved that at last, Mr Gigaba who never held a political view on any issue before, now has courage to speak about nationalisation of Mines…” I have accepted that if I do not know about something, it does not follow that it does not exist. It could mean I may have not been sufficiently exposed to it due to variance of my interests or my lack of reading. I doubt it is a helpful frame of thinking to conclude that if one does not know something, it does not exist. I admit that I am subject to correction in this regard. I am aware of a lot of views Minister Gigaba has held before. I am certain that with time, you will come to know those political views.

Your statement promises to, “take him through basics on Nationalisation of Mines and its relationship to future investments and employment creation.” I am not sure if your reference to the “future investments” is an acknowledgement that presently investments may, indeed, be harmed by how the debate is being handled, hence implying he may have been correct. Because I suspect your use of “future” meant exactly that, the future.

In your statement you said, “This generation of the ANC Youth League is the first to firmly place on the agenda of the ANC, an economic transformation programme which will change many people’s lives and the political landscape in South Africa. THIS IS UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE WHO LED THE ANC YL FOR MANY YEARS AND NEVER HAD ANY IMPACT, NOR INFLUENCED ANY POLICY SHIFT, INCLUDING ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT.

I am sure you are aware that when Minister Gigaba was the ANCYL President from 1996 to 2004, Minister Fikile Mbalula was the Secretary General of the ANCYL, the position you now occupy. So you would understand how the President and the Secretary General would relate. During the same period, the current Provincial Secretaries of the ANC in the Western Cape, Cde Songezo Mjongile, KwaZulu Natal, Cde Sihle Zikalala, North West, Cde Kabelo Mataboge, and Gauteng, Cde David Makhura, plus the current Deputy Ministers; Andries Nel, of Justice and Constitutional Development, and Tandi Tobias of Trade and Industry were also part of the ANCYL NEC either as elected NEC members or as ex-officio leaders from their respective provinces. I may not know exactly what you meant if you say they “never had any impact” but I doubt they will agree with you on that. In fact, I suspect some of them may even find your insinuations offensive. Our lack of awareness about their impact or influence should not lead us to conclude that there was none.

You further said, “The only thing known about some people is government flowers, which have nothing to do with the National Democratic Revolution and the Freedom Charter.” I believe you speak for yourself when you say this is the only thing you know about him. Not knowing about other things does not necessarily mean they did not happen.

Trying to introduce you to some of the things he has done may sound like an eulogy, so I will resist the temptation. However, I will share this bit with you. Minister Gigaba was appointed to be the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs in 2004, after serving 3 consecutive terms as the President of the ANCYL having been first elected as the youngest ANCYL President ever. From his appointment as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs until he was redeployed in November 2010, he ran the most consistent Internship and National Youth Service (NYS) program in government, reporting about targets and achievements in each and every Budget Vote speech, annually. Those speeches are readily available on the internet if you want to know more than just the flowers and the youth development program I just mentioned.

I am reminded of a riddle that relates to ontology which says, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It would appear that a frame of thinking exists which says if one is not around to hear the tree fall, even if others are there, it would not make a sound. This frame of thinking presupposes that if something’s existence has not been ascertained by any of one’s five senses therefore it does not exist. Imagine if this frame of thinking was to be used to consider the existence of your brain, or mine.

I will continue to support and defend the ANCYL as I have done on the input I wrote for the ANCYL newsletter, Hlomelang, on 14 July 2011 to defend us against those who perceive us as “demagogues and buffoonery.” But I will also seek, as far as possible, to air my views where I think our utterances as the ANCYL may be feeding into a perception that we seek to shed of “buffoonery.

I have, respectfully, raised the matters of fact and principle with you through this letter. I have avoided throwing insults or undermining you as a person and the office you occupy. However, I do not claim that I deserve similar treatment from you.

If anything I have written here offends you, I wish to apologise in advance.

Yours Sincerely

Bayanda Mzoneli

03 August 2011

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