Daily Archives: September 23, 2016

SOUTH AFRICA: MINISTER CONDEMNS VIOLENCE IN VARSITY PROTESTS

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande says he is concerned by violent protests at university campuses.

Students are continuing their call for free education at institutions of higher learning. During a community radio call-in programme on Wednesday, the Minister called on all South Africans, including parents and student leadership, to condemn the destruction of property.

“We need to remind all students that the destruction of property and the disruption of the academic programme does not address the legitimate concerns of students. As the Minister, I will not wait on the sidelines for any further damage to property, injuries to students or ultimately loss of life to occur before acting against violence on campuses.

“Government cannot and will not tolerate the threat to lives and destruction of property, and requests law enforcement agencies to assist with the safeguarding of students, staff, workers and university property,” Nzimande said.

The Minister on Monday announced that universities will individually decide on the fee increases for the 2017 academic year. This follows the Council on Higher Education (CHE) report for 2017 fee adjustments, as well as the Minister’s ongoing consultations with key stakeholders. The recommendation, however, is that fee adjustments should not go above 8%.

Nzimande said government is committed to finding the resources to support the children of all poor, working and middle class families with a household income of up to R600 000 per annum.

The Minister used the platform to call on parents who can afford to pay fees to do so.

“Those who can afford to pay must pay, and the rich and the wealthy must also be able to pay,” said Nzimande.

The Minister said the upward adjustment to fees was necessary to ensure that universities remain viable.

“(Universities) are [among] the biggest rate payers, and in fact, some municipalities are almost entirely depended on university rates. Electricity and water rates go up, and [the price of] food to feed students go up,” said the Minister.

He appealed to all students, parents and the higher education sector to give the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education Funding a chance to do its work, so that it can find a permanent solution to make higher education accessible to the poor.

The Commission is expected to conclude its work in the 2017 academic year.

Source: Nam News Network

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Neil Aggett’s legacy

Honour Neil Aggett by advancing social justice – Public Protector

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has called upon learners and all people of South Africa to honour the memory of Dr Neil Aggett, the first white person to die in detention without trial, by playing their part in advancing social justice and accelerating the achievement of the broader South African dream that inspired Neil Aggett and others to stand up against injustice.

Delivering the Annual Neil Aggett Memorial Lecture at Kingswood College in Grahamstown, where Neil Aggett Matriculated, Advocate Thuli Madonsela told a packed gathering of learners, teachers, parents, community members and the media that we must never forget that it is through the ubuntu efforts and related sacrifices of anti-apartheid activists like Neil Aggett that the democracy we take for granted today was achieved.

Adv. Madonsela applauded Kingswood College for keeping alive as part of our national heritage, the memory of Neil Aggett, who died in detention in February 1982 at the age of 29.

She said keeping the memory of Aggett and others who sacrificed their lives for justice was important firstly to remind us that the democracy we take for granted was earned through selfless sacrifices by people who believed in the dream of a South Africa for all where everyone’s potential is freed and life improved.

Keeping Neil Aggett’s memory alive also reminds us that apartheid injustice was fought by black and white men and women who rejected the oppression of humanity based on race, gender and other irrational expressions of bigotry, she added.

“They fought against the apartheid system of legalised injustice. They did not fight against a particular racial group” she said, going on to reminisce about how when she was growing up the struggle conversation was about fighting the “system”.

She applauded Neil Aggett for standing up against injustice in a manner that transcends what she referred to as a “just us” paradigm which is said was characterised by people only standing up against injustice when it affects them and people close to them. She said it is okay to stand up against injustice against you and your group but more noble to use your position of privilege to highlight and fight against injustice unleashed on the oppressed.

Adv. Madonsela said Neil Aggett was a doctor who, discovered while working in segregated black townships in Cape Town and Gauteng, including the Baragwanath Hospital, that many of the ills afflicting the people he treated were socio-economic in nature and could not be addressed through medicine. He took up a full time position as a union organiser while working part-time in a hospital casualty ward to fund his union activities while also subsidising his union colleagues.

She mentioned that that her life was somehow touched by Neil Aggett’s death as the person who recruited her to the struggle, Teddy Mpesi, met her friend at Neil Aggett’s funeral and subsequently came to recruit at her house in Dlamini Soweto.

She stated that the struggle brought non-racial democracy founded on a progressive Constitution, which promises a freed potential and improved quality of life to all. However, she added that the Constitution is a bridge and not a final destination to the South Africa we committed ourselves to and that like all bridges getting to where we need to be requires crossing.

In this regard she said today is better than yesterday but there are many that are “left behind” with regard to enjoying social justice. She said the best way we can pay the debt of gratitude we owe to Neill Aggett and other struggle heroes is to earnestly play our part in ensuring that no one is left behind regarding experiencing the fruits of democracy.

Adv. Madonsela decried continuing and deepening poverty for many exacerbated by a widening gap between the rich and poor. Despite the constitutional promise regarding the achievement of equality and human dignity. In this regard she spoke about university students sleeping in library toilets, having no food for days, no books and no data to access information relating to assignments as universities increasingly use digitalised communicating. She also mentioned the poverty of outsourced workers whose children cannot study for free at universities.

“There is no dignity in poverty” explaining why many people, particularly young people are angry she said in Zulu we also have a saying that: Indlala ibanga ulaka”, she said

She advised that before judging those who are poor and angry we need to find out what is their story as Neil Aggett did, going further to learn Zulu to communicate better with his patients. She asked all to do something no matter how little to advance social justice, explaining that such contribution could be a small donation towards crowd funding to assist needing students or standing up against injustice such as racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry towards, people with disabilities, the LGBTI community and other disadvantaged groups.

Adv. Madonsela said one way of taking a stand against injustice is to work with the Public Protector and other Chapter 9 constitutional institutions to report maladministration, corruption, unethical conduct and other forms of improper conduct adding that these derail service delivery thus contributing to enduring apartheid racial, gender and other disparities.

“Government is bound to drop the ball but that can’t be persistent or with impunity”, she said.

She exhorted all to emulate Neil Aggett by standing up against injustice and playing their part in reducing enduring racial, gender and other disparities, reminding all that as long as there is injustice somewhere there can’t be sustainable peace anywhere.

She concluded by calling on young minds to apply their minds to conceive philosophical solutions to the socio-political and legal ills that confront South Africa and the world today with a view to promoting peaceful coexistence.

“The Greatest honour we can give to Neil Aggett and others who paid the ultimate price is to keep the South African dream alive”, Adv. Madonsela said.

Adv. Madonsela had the honour of presenting the Neil Agett Award, which recognizes excellence in selfless and courageous service to humanity, to the 2016 recipient Lutho Zono, who is a learner at Kingswood College. According to the school, “Lutho Zono has by example shown what can be done to improve the lives of others if we are sensitive to need and purposeful in making a difference. She is a truly worthy recipient of the Neill Aggett Award for courage and service.”

Source: Government of South Africa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa: University of Venda Graduation Ceremony

Address by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the University of Venda Graduation Ceremony, University of Venda, Thohoyandou

Chancellor of the University of Venda, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe,

Chairperson of Council, Mr Serobi Maja,

Deputy Chairperson of Council, Thovhele MPK Tshivhase,

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford,

President of Convocation, Mr Levy Ndou,

Director of Student Affairs, Dr Catherine Selepe,

SRC President, Ms Mashudu Nthulane,

Members of Council and Senate,

University management and staff,

Traditional leaders,

Religious leaders,

Invited guests,

University of Venda alumni,

Students and graduands,

Ladies and gentlemen.

I am honoured and deeply humbled that this esteemed university has chosen to award me this honorary doctorate. I accept it with an immense sense of gratitude.

While this honorary degree is conferred on an individual, it has been earned by a generation. For everything that this honour recognises is the product of common will and collective effort. It is the product of a generation that was schooled in the crucible of struggle to serve selflessly, without expectation of reward or recognition.

It is a generation to whom history assigned a great responsibility, to join with those who had come before to fight for the liberation of our people from the demeaning strictures of racial tyranny.

It is to that generation of freedom fighters, many whose names are unknown and whose deeds are unrecorded, that I dedicate this honour. This graduation ceremony, however, is about another generation. It is about the generation that proudly counts among its ranks those that are graduating here today.

It is about a generation that is finding its voice and discovering its purpose. This is the generation that has brought down the statues of imperialists. This is the generation that – as it has sought to remove these monuments to oppression and dispossession – has had to grapple with the debilitating legacy of colonialism and apartheid.

A legacy that has trapped so many people in unemployment and poverty.

This is the generation whose angry and insistent cries for free education continue to reverberate through the corridors of power. This is the generation that is determined to change the things it can no longer accept.

Today, as we celebrate your academic achievement, as we applaud your resolve and commitment, we can say with confidence that this is the generation that will rekindle the revolution. For history has determined that this generation too must shoulder great responsibility.

History has determined that this generation must lead. It has been the task of earlier generations to defy unjust laws, to take up arms against the oppressor, to render apartheid South Africa ungovernable, and to build a new democratic order.

It is the task of this generation to fundamentally transform our society. It is the task of this generation to realise the vision of the Freedom Charter. This is the generation that will open the doors of learning to all.

Just as the members of this generation have benefited from the struggles of their parents and grandparents for a decent education, just as they have benefited from the sacrifices made in the face of apartheid terror, we know that this generation will light the path for the next.

This is the generation that will organise, agitate, mobilise and relentlessly strive until free higher education for the poor has been realised. To do that, this generation must combat the complacency and lethargy that can too easily overcome our institutions.

It must root out waste and corruption and excess. It must approach its tasks with intellectual courage and rigour.

It should heed the words of the great African intellectual and revolutionary Amilcar Cabral, when he said:

Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.

This generation, like those that have come before, must resist the allure of easy victories. Most importantly, it must look to the future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is the generation that will have the honour – and must shoulder the responsibility – to realise the 2030 vision of the National Development Plan. We look to those who are graduating here today to take the lead in raising employment through faster economic growth. We look to you to be at the forefront of the fundamental transformation of our economy.

We are certain that you will direct your skills, knowledge, ingenuity and consciousness towards the eradication of poverty.

We are certain that you will constitute a cadre of professionals that will give effect to the injunction that the people shall share in the country’s wealth.

You will bring about new ways of work. You will innovate. You will lead our continent into an age of inclusive and sustainable technology-driven growth. It is you who will lead in improving the quality of education and uplifting the skills of our people.

The struggles that are being waged on our campuses today should not blind us to the educational needs of those who are now barely old enough to talk.

Unless we attend to early childhood development with as much urgency and as much vigour as we pursue access to higher education, we will merely perpetuate the inequality and poverty of the past.

Unless we ensure that all children have a decent education, unless we ensure that all of them – boys and girls – are able to complete their schooling, we will not achieve a prosperous, inclusive society. We look to many of those who are graduating here today to join the ranks of the public service and to be part of building a capable developmental state.

Our country needs public servants who have capacity and commitment, but also an innate desire to serve the people and to advance society. It is always a joy for me to meet students who have graduated from this university in government and in the corporate world.

This university must continue to be a reservoir of talent, integrity and social consciousness. This university must continue to produce the great leaders who will change society. This is the generation that we look to renew our revolution.

It must correct where we have erred. It must resume where we have faltered.

Where we have been diverted by self-interest, by factional disputes, by the trappings of power, this generation must return us to the correct path. Where our principles have been eroded, where our symbols have been co-opted, the generation represented here must restore the founding values of our nation.

It must replicate the qualities of leadership embodied by Nelson Mandela and the other great leaders of his generation. It should seek to emulate their discipline, humility, selflessness, kindness and undying commitment to the service of the people.

This is a generation that builds, that creates, that innovates. It does not burn libraries. It does not destroy art. This is a generation that does not accept that the wilful and senseless destruction of property is a legitimate response to discontent and dissatisfaction.

This is a generation that refuses to destroy its future. Instead, it imagines a different society and it sets out to achieve it. It builds a just society, a caring society, in which the most vulnerable are the most valued. This generation imagines a different institution of higher learning.

This is an institution where class, race and gender present no barrier to entry – an institution that responds directly and deliberately to the needs of the poor, dispossessed and disempowered. This is an institution constituted not only as a site of learning, but also as an agent of economic, social and cultural change.

This is an institution whose faculty reflects in both its composition and values the diversity of the society in which it is located. The University of Venda is well-placed to be such an institution. This university has a rich history and a special proximity to the people it serves.

More than many others, the University of Venda is well situated to respond to the needs of those who live in rural areas ravaged by poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment. To these people it can provide assurance that we are succeeding in our struggle to make higher education accessible and affordable to all.

Through its programmes, ethos, curriculum and research, it should forge a new culture of African scholarship. Like its ancient African predecessors, it must draw to its halls of learning scholars from across the continent. It must defy the arbitrary borders imposed by colonial powers who sought to subjugate by division.

The immensity and diversity of the African continent is matched only by the opportunity and hope it represents. The University of Venda must seize that opportunity and foster that hope. This university is giving birth to a new generation.

This is the generation that will transform our society and fundamentally change our world. This is the generation that will readily shoulder the burden of restoring and revitalising our revolution.

As we leave this hallowed place of learning, we should again by guided by the words of Amilcar Cabral, when he said:

We must act as if we answer to – and only answer to – our Ancestors, our children and the unborn.

I thank you. Ndolivhuha!

Source: Government of South Africa

South Africa: Social Sector Clusters Brief Media On Progress of Implementation NDP, 25 Sept

Social Sector Clusters to brief media on progress on the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP)

Ministers in the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Clusters, will lead a media briefing to give an update on the progress made in the implementation of the cluster’s Programme of Action (PoA) towards achieving the goals of the NDP: Vision 2030.

The briefing follows the pronouncement that Cabinet has since been updated on the progress reports for quarter one (April to June 2016), on the implementation of the Outcomes, which defines government’s PoA in the current phase of the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014 – 2019.

The briefing will outline progress that has been made and future plans to achieve Vision 2030.

Source: South African Government

DoC not asked to appoint Motsoeneng as acting COO

The Department of Communications says it has not formally received a letter from the South African Broadcasting (SABC) board requesting approval for the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting Chief Operating Officer (COO).

“We want to state categorically that we have not formally received such letter from the SABC board for the Minister’s consideration,” the ministry said on Thursday.

This comes after a document reportedly emerged showing the board had decided it was going to ask Minister Faith Muthambi to ratify the appointment of Motsoeneng as COO on an acting basis.

“As stated before, we are confident that the SABC will give due consideration to the court ruling in the case of Motsoeneng. As the shareholder representative, our duty is to wait for the SABC to engage us formally on this matter, in line with the mandate of the broadcaster.

“Until such time, it would be highly inappropriate for the ministry to make public pronouncements,” the department said.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein dismissed Motsoeneng’s application for leave to appeal a High Court ruling that his permanent appointment should be set aside.

Motsoeneng approached the SCA after the Western Cape High Court ruled that his appointment was irrational and unlawful.

Motsoeneng began acting as COO in 2011 and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi confirmed his permanent appointment in 2014.

The SCA dismissed Motsoeneng’s appeal with costs on the grounds that there is no reasonable prospect of success. His lawyer, Advocate Zola Majavu, has indicated that Motsoeneng will not appeal the matter in the Constitutional Court, as he accepts and respects the SCA’s decision.

Source: South African Government News Agency