About Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose

Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose is the Kwazulu Natal PEC member of the South African Communist Party and the National Committee member of the Young Communist League of South Africa

With the release of the Public Protector’s report on the President’s homestead security upgrades, we have, in the recent past, been bombarded by a variety of degenerate theoretical aspersions in the “South African” mainstream media.

Instead of studying the said report within the broader confines of achievements and challenges epitomising the ANC’s post 1994 democratic dispensation, Dr Xolela Mancgu and Mr Justice Malala, (M &M) succumb to blame game, targeting the ANC and hypocritically praising the departed leaders of our movement with an aim of desperately rebuking the current leaders of our very movement.

Not only that, these fellow ‘think-tanks’ of our time have ran amok and declared that the current Public Protector, Thulisile Madonsela, is the all and be all of our solutions to our challenges as a country, be they economic, social, political or etc.

In a nutshell, M&M are found wanting in identifying causal relations between deplorable conditions and deplorable situations.

On the one hand, they fail to comprehend the fact that South African economic challenges giving rise to unemployment, poverty and inequality are heavily embedded on crisis-ridden capitalist conditions.  On the other hand, and in so doing, these ‘think tanks’ therefore fail to honestly point to the scourge of crisis-ridden world capitalist conditions as the fundamental function for our current deplorable situations.

By understanding the makings of the crisis-ridden world capitalist conditions (which also find more expression even here in South Africa), our ‘think tanks’ would have done justice in contending with the global realities submerging developing countries, including South Africa, in as far as the war against inequality, poverty and unemployment is concerned. (I humbly invite M&M to broadly delve on these issues if they find time)

But this is just the first part of my intervention, focusing on Dr Mangcu’s theoretical turmoil, of course the second part will be focusing on one of our intellectual buffoons, and it would be none other than Justice Malala

Dr Mangcu writes in the Sowetan, March 24, “In any other country, she {Thulisile Madonsela, the current Public Protector}, would be headed to a Constitutional Court, the cabinet or the presidency. Not here.” (!) – meaning that not here in South Africa.

 According to Dr Mangcu, Thuli Madonsela should be elevated to being one of the judges (if not Judge President) of the Constitutional Court or to being a Cabinet Minister (probably for Justice and Constitutional Development), and if need be, to the highest office in the country, that being Head of State.

Though Dr Mangcu does not unveil his reasons for his ambitious suggestions but we are left with no option other than asserting that the logic behind these suggestions resonates around Thuli Mandonsela’s convictions in joining the band wagon of those championing a political mayhem against the ANC, its president and our broader movement through her position as an appointed current Public Protector.

Seemingly, the intellectual in Mangcu has really suffered some amnesia as regards Chapter Two of the South African Constitution which delves on the Bill of Rights and enshrines the following among others; freedom of association, political rights- a right for all South Africans, including Thulisile Madonsela and Mangcu himself to vote and be voted in any institution including cabinet, presidency and down to being a ward councillor.

The ANC-led alliance fought for these freedoms, advances these freedoms and shall continue defending these for all South Africans.

It stands out as fool-proof that Dr Mangcu misunderstood his constitutional rights and freedom of belief and opinion; and these have been abused by himself to his advantage: that you can think and believe whatever you want. (literal to the core).

The suggestion made by Dr Mangcu that since President Zuma was democratically elected in 2009, the South African government (with the exception of Western Cape Province) and / or the ANC itself have set themselves against the poor of our country runs in the face of demonstrable evidence of progressive socio-economic policies and interventions by President Zuma’s Administration.

In the same Sowetan article, Mancgu opportunistically uses some research findings about the socio economic challenges of the Nkadla Municipality and the surrounding areas. In this he tries to desperately link the so-called findings of Madonsela’s report to his research findings.

While not in denial to the prevalent deplorable socio-economic conditions in many rural areas in our country including Nkandla, but do we have to behave like safety-first and myopic critics of the South African reality and opportunistically be all over the place in search of quick-fix solutions to problems that have engulfed our country for more than 350 years.

It is time we remind Dr Mangcu that while he made it his own chose to become an armchair messiah of the poor, ANC activists are and they had been on the ground for more than 102 years fighting and changing the lives of the poor for the better.

Now that he has realised that being a Steve Biko’s self-anointed bravado shadow did not and does not bare him fruits of recognition as he so desired, Mangcu chooses to try harder, and uses any platform at his avail to castigate our beloved ANC and our movement at large.

Because of his addiction to anti-ANC government sentimentalism, he even chose to close his eyes to the fact that President Jacob Zuma is the Head of the South African State not of the village from where he grew up. Mangcu even closed his eyes and was very shy to reveal that the very Nkadla Municipality is in the hands of the IFP and that the Province of KwaZulu-Natal had been in the hands of the IFP for more than a decade since 1994.

But what does Mangcu remember quite well?: is that we must “compare that description of this community (Nkandla) to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s description of Zuma’s homestead…” as if Madonela’s report implicated the President of any forms of maladministration and that if there were no security upgrades at the President’s homestead, the rural communities of Nkandla would have been holistically saved from the scourge of poverty.

Clearly, if the whole world was blind and with a one-eyed Dr Mangcu seeing all of this, the world would, at least, still have a king!

Already the President, in 2013, had instructed the Special Investigation Unit to investigate all elements of corruption that would have ensued on the supply chain management processes leading to security upgrades on his homestead.

And this was triggered by the findings of the investigation by the Ministerial Task Team, which are not diametrically divergent from those of Thulisile Madonsela.

Mangcu also tries to convince everybody that President Zuma should be conceived as worse than the Apartheid government former president Botha and he scolds those he chose to loosely call “Zuma defenders” for sighting the George Airport as one of the infrastructural landscape which were essentially built to accommodate the most notorious former apartheid state president Botha.

In attempting to justify his point Dr Mangcu praises the apartheid former president Botha  in that the airport built to serve and champion the interests of the apartheid regime was a “distance from his (Botha’s) home”  and yet “Botha was actually more sensitive to his surroundings…” because the airport “benefits a broader area”.

Suffice to say that George Airport is actually 23 minutes’ drive away from the conspicuously luxurious homestead of the former apartheid African-human exterminator Mr PW Botha in the Lake Wilderness, one of George’s up-market property areas and surroundings, surroundings to which “Botha was actually more sensitive” according to Dr Mangcu

But do we all need a PHD, (clearly not depicting Permanent Head Damage) to understand that the airport used by heads of states do not necessary have to be located within their private homesteads since that in itself would lay bare a security risk?

Regardless of how former apartheid maestro Mr PW Botha would have been [if he really had been] “sensitive to his surroundings” – as Dr Mangcu’s self-opinionated judgement suggests- the fact of the matter is that the construction and location of the George airport would have been based on security assessment reports.

It also begs a question as to why Dr Mangcu’s research does not reveal the construction of the provincial road (built as the result of the President’s homestead location in Nkandla)  linking Nkandla and Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas like eShowe and Melmoth as well as other centres of social amenities namely; schools, clinics and other multi-purpose government centres.

Surely, without the construction of George Airport (built in the year of Steve Biko’s cruel murder by apartheid security forces), the security of the then apartheid policy guru would have been compromised given the long distance that he would have travelled to and from the nearest airport in order to fulfil one of his key presidential duties: mass extermination of the African South Africans from birth, just a reference to one of his infamous speeches.

Succumbing to black chauvinism, Dr Mangcu could not help hide his lay intellectual hypocrisy when he denies being black if it means being part of “Zuma defenders”. In this Dr Mangcu forgets one thing: that Madonsela’s report on the President’s homestead security upgrades is also subject to criticism like any other reports from any state institution. He, the Doctor, fails to connect the puzzle and thereby fumbling in grasping a simple dialectical connectedness between upholding and respecting public institutions and equally, if need be, criticising such as part of democracy in action.

According to the Doctor, all institutions of state including The Office of the President and individuals heading them should be openly criticised- destructively for that matter- with the absolute exception to The Office of The Public Protector and the revered ‘Her Devoutness’ Ms Thulisile Mandonsela.

This is directly linked to the distortion of our constitution wherein Chapter Nine institutions are opportunistically elevated above other institutions derived from the very constitution like Chapter Four institutions which, among other things, enshrines the constitutional establishment and functions of Cabinet Ministers.

And in this regard, for fear of being called “Zuma defenders” we should all be tight-lipped regarding the controversial conduct and public utterances of Her Devoutness who is heading one of the highly important institutions of our democratic government.

We are lectured by the Doctor to absent ourselves and to disengage from the public discourse as ordinary members of the ANC and the public at large, especially if we are to critique ‘Her Devoutness’.

We are instructed to maintain that ‘Her Devoutness’ should be free of criticism even when she is implicated on the following, among other things:-

1)      That she attended and addressed the DA’s 2012 Women’s Day March, and coincidentally, the same year in which she found nothing wrong or irregular about the Western Cape government’s awarding of a R70 million contract to a 100 % white-owned advertising agency

2)      That her timing on the release of the said report, which had been crafted nine months ago, remains controversial, let alone its skewed recommendations, just seven weeks before national and provincial elections,

3)      That three hours before presenting her report through the media, media houses had already been furnished with the entire report and already commenting on social networks about its exact contents,

4)      That instead of presenting her report to relevant parliamentary institutions as mandated by the constitution, she chose to parade a media circus,

5)      That her office conspicuously leaked the preliminary report to the media houses in 2013 and all that we had to hear from Her Holiness was that she was ignorant about who leaked it.

6)      That her cherry-picking on allegations of corruption to be investigated leaves so much to be desired, and

7)      That her reference to the Inter-Ministerial Task Team which investigated the upgrades as a ‘little committee of Ministers’ should go unchallenged for fear of being labelled as “Zuma Defenders”

If being part of “Zuma Defenders” means ensuring that all institutions of our sovereign state are independent from imperialist agents who hypocritically pose as defenders of our democracy, while hell-bent to disintegrate our beloved national liberation movement and the broader alliance, so be it, I choose to be one of these “Zuma Defenders”.

And if being a Zuma Defender connotes our unceasing commitment to the course of dispelling the axis of white supremacy and out-manoeuvring representatives of international capital who stand against the radical phase of transition, I better be a million times Zuma Defender.

Frankly, being a Zuma Defender, especially at this conjuncture, is tantamount with crystallising and dislocating intellectual lumpenism as expressed through de-classed sections of traditional academics who have consciously or sub-consciously fallen prey to the vicissitude of the western media discourse to undermine the economic independence of the developing world from the clutches of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’s economic order.

Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose, YCLSA National Committee Member and SACP PEC Member, Moses Mabhida Province.

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8 Comments Already

  1. very helpful, thank you

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