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Send  Print  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 May 2009

The Lindsay Williams Blog


Recent Interviews

I’ve interviewed Patrick Craven on several occasions. Not only that, he sends me more e-mails than any other person on the planet, including my nameless stock broker friend who is drunk most lunchtimes and uses me as his afternoon look-busy kit because he can’t be trusted to push the correct buttons on his dealing system.
The aforementioned Craven is an earnest geezer who speaks on behalf of COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions. Earnest, old, and white; which is probably why he bores on every day about equality and empowerment and ‘the people’, trying desperately to hide the fact that actually his scared to death of losing his job to a younger, blacker, and more appropriate firebrand.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality and empowerment, although I must admit, people I try and avoid. If someone is good at something, then in my book they get the job and empower themselves. If not, then tough. Try harder next time.
Patrick, like my stock broker correspondent, has a look-busy kit that is the most impressive I’ve ever been fortunate enough to encounter.
If a woman in Polokwane is kicked out of her home for not paying the rent or for using the premises as a shebeen, then Craven and his mates rattle of an e-mail to a list of press people which often starts something like this:
“COSATU vigorously condemns the actions of the capitalist landlord in the matter of etc etc”.
Where they get the time and energy is beyond me, and what it has to do with the union is another matter entirely. But Patrick makes it his business, and then it all becomes less than amusing and starts to irk one.
But even less amusing, and in fact downright sinister, is Craven putting his name to e-mails I have received in the past week. These messages have concerned the morals and appearance of a democratically elected politician, and others have detailed the interference by COSATU in the listing of a company on the JSE Securities Exchange, that has (thank goodness), ultimately gone ahead and financially empowered tens of thousands of South African citizens.
No jobs were threatened by the unbundling and listing of Vodacom, according to Vodacom itself, and Telkom. As such COSATU had no business sticking its nose in. Of course, the implication might be that Craven and COSATU were being manipulated; a convenient vehicle for those in government who sought to stamp their left leaning authority on the economic policy of the country. Hopefully that is just speculation, especially as the Elephant Consortium, populated by supporters of the previous ANC regime, has scored handsomely from the unbundling and sale to the UK’s Vodafone.
It’s all very disturbing, especially as even a political agnostic like myself had been impressed with the campaign waged by our new President in the run up to the election. Zuma won fair and square, and so did Zille. Why then the unseemly tirade of abuse and accusations from both sides?
Sadly, most politicians in this country don’t know when to shut up, or turn up (at Parliament that is. Cocktail parties are another matter).
The next few months will hopefully disprove the detractors wrong. These are the people who believe, as illustrated by the disastrous attempt to stop the Vodacom listing, that there are a group of influential individuals who ‘installed’ Zuma, and who now believe it’s payback time.
I have a Zuma poster in my study. He looks affable, trustworthy, and while I’m a cynic and have my reservations, brainy people that I’ve interviewed are full of praise for the man and I defer to their superior knowledge.
Recently I was at a venue that was hosting a meeting of politicians. The President was attending, and there was an excitement many hours before his arrival that I hadn’t felt at any time during the latter stages of the Mbeki era.
That’s the reason I stole his poster from a lamp post; I was sure that his rule will would go down in history as memorable. Unfortunately, what I’ve seen over the last week has made me believe I may be right but for all the wrong reasons.
Anyway, have a listen to a recording I did with Blade Nzimande in October last year, have a read of the chain of e-mails I’ve received, and a few of the news stories surrounding the Vodacom debacle. Go to PolitiCast and hear Zille and more, including some coverage of those naughty monkeys at the Palace of Westminster.
As always on BizCast, You Choose.
Here’s some e-mails: read ‘em and weep.
15 May 2009
Urgent Notice on the Vodacom-Vodafone Transaction
JOHANNESBURG -The Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“the Authority”) met this morning to consider the matter pertaining to the Vodacom-Vodafone transaction. In its discussions, the Authority arrived at the following conclusions:
In April 2009, the Authority decided that the transaction did not require its prior approval
The Authority took its decision in light of the provisions of the existing Regulations in Respect of the Limitation of Ownership and Control of 2003
In early May 2009, the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) filed Court papers asking for the decision of the Authority to be set aside
Whereas the Authority awaits the Court outcome on its decision, it is concerned that the Court proceedings will only commence long after the transaction has taken place
The Authority believes that the transaction of this nature should take place in an environment conducive to regulatory certainty
In view of clause 4 and 5 above, and after careful consideration thereof, the Authority has decided to rescind its previous decision
In the interest of transparency, the Authority finds it appropriate that a public process be followed to allow all interested parties to be heard
The envisaged public hearings will take place by mid-June 2009
A notice inviting stakeholders to make written comments will be issued in due course
All media enquiries should be directed to:
Sekgoela Sekgoela
Tel: 011 – 566 3455
Cell: 079 492 3450
With regards to the ICASA statement this afternoon, Dot Field, Chief Communications Officer Vodacom says:
“Whilst Vodacom is seeking legal council, until a decision to the contrary is made, the listing is on track to take place on Monday.”
Ashleigh Dubbelman
M: +27 82 815 1844
The interdict will be souught tonight 16 May 2009!
----- Original Message -----
From: Patrick Craven
Sent: Saturday, May 16, 2009 5:35 PM
Subject: Vodacom interdict
Breaking news
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will be going to the North Gauteng High Court tonight, 16 May 2009, at 22h00, to seek an urgent interdict to stop the listing of Vodacom.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Braamfontein, 2017
P.O. Box 1019
Johannesburg, 2000
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667
Cell: 0828217456
17 May 2009
The SACP would like to join COSATU in expressing outrage at the most scandalous act of the selling off of Telkom shares in Vodacom to Vodafone.
The SACP supports the move taken by COSATU to apply for an urgent interdict to stop this deal. We further wish to pledge our full support to the call made by COSATU for a full boycott of VODACOM should the listing go ahead. to this end we will mobilize all our members and generally the workers and the poor of our country to change their subscription from Vodacom to other networks. It is in the interest of salvaging our state owned enterprises from the capitalist greed that our people must stand in their number and oppose this deal. Gone are the days when narrow transactions would be undertaken in the interest of the parasitic bourgeoisie. We have entered an era where it must be people first.
We welcome the move by ICASA to hold public hearings on the deal. We however find it strange that when ICASA has in the past taken positions against government, nobody ever raised an eyebrow. However, when the regulator takes a principled stance against private capital it is being accused of succumbing to political pressure. This is double standards of the worst kind.
We are also more worried as the SACP at the manner in which this deal and the proceeds thereof are seemingly geared to finance COPE.
In addition to the ICASA hearing we are calling on the incoming administration (especially the Minister of Communication) to investigate to investigate the circumstances under which this deal was concluded and who the real beneficiaries are. This deal goes against the spirit of the call made by our President in his inaugural address where he calls for more public participation.
Issued by the SACP
Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802
Cosatu W Cape Press Statement – 18 May 2009 (2)
Cosatu will deliver the following open letter, [with a bouquet of flowers] to the office of Helen Zille at 13h30 Monday 18 May 2008 at Wale Street Legislature.
For questions please call Tony at 082 77 33 194
An open letter to Helen Zille
18 May 2009
To: The Provincial Government
Office of the Western Cape Premier
7 Wale Street
Cape Town
Dear Ms Zille
Please receive correspondence from our offices in respect of some concerns that we have in relation to the future of our Province and the care we urge from you, in dealing with our Province and country.
We would like to, at the outset, congratulate the DA on their performance in the General Elections and your own position in the Province as Premier. We will, of course, cooperate and work with you to ensure that the W Cape becomes a Province that sees to the needs of all of our people. We are, however, concerned that the latest actions of appointing an all male cabinet as well as the statements against the office of the President of the Republic, undoes the social cohesion that is essential for advancement of our society.
Equity is an absolute imperative in our society and one that you as a leader should honour, as it is the obligation of leadership to appeal to the better nature of our people. Your attack on the President in an attempt to deflect attention from the badly constituted cabinet is disappointing, as it is not in keeping with the stature of your offices as leader of the opposition. Your approach also adds insult to injury to all the woman in the W Cape who you have denigrated with your actions.
I would appeal to you to remember that yours is the most under-represented Premier’s office in the country, with only 31% support of the voters of voting age in the Province supporting the DA. This places an incredible obligation on your office to find ways in which to promote more inclusive governance, that advances the constitutional imperative of a participatory democracy.
The unfortunate dishonesty that you have perpetrated by telling people that you have chosen the best people for the job has been exposed. Donald Grant in his statement that he had to go and read up on the internet about the DA education policy upon his appointment, exposes your office. The lack of leadership in dealing with both Cope and ID, who could both have provided competent woman, is a further indictment of your inability to move beyond petty differences with other leaders in the interest of our people.
I have always had regard for you as an honest leader, but in the face of this latest scandal, have serious reservations. You are missing the opportunity to be a constructive part of a growing democracy, by essentially becoming like Tony Leon, someone who hopes to rise by putting others down. There is no insightful leadership that demonstrates maturity and provides a vision for the electorate. In the election campaign it may have been enough to say stop Zuma, but now we need more, and you need to focus thereon, as even the journalists who supported you and built the profile of your office, are looking elsewhere.
I hope that you will heed our call, or plea, as we will not let someone who has exposed herself as being in defense of elite privilege, undo the promise of our country. We may not make the province ungovernable, but we will certainly protest your actions and call for a referendum on your elections.
Cosatu hereby serves notice that if you, as Premier, do not undo this unfortunate disregard of the constitutional imperatives of South Africa by 28 May 2009, we will:
Table a vote of no confidence in the Premier in terms of section 51 [2] of the Provincial constitution at the Provincial Legislature;
This will lead to a secret ballot which we believe may lead to your removal given the broad unhappiness in the Legislature and even within the DA with your latest conduct. We urge cooperation over conflict, consideration over arrogance and the service to our people as the deciding factor of our actions;
Request that section 109 (1)a of the SA National Constitution be applied;
Further request that section 125 (4) of the SA National Constitution be applied – (requesting the intervention of the National Council of Provinces);
I hope that you will favourably consider our request, so we are able to find a more constructive way forward.
Yours Faithfully
Tony Ehrenreich
We are currently dismayed at the behaviour of the racist premier of the
Western Cape Helen Zille who through her actions she constantly reminds
us of the apartheid era. But our morale is high and we remain committed
to the eradication of apartheid tactics and behaviour that is
untransformed and smells of the old era.
We as MKMVA are political soldiers that are trained and disciplined
hence we remain committed to the ideals of a constitutional democracy
that is free and stable. Helen Zille has shown the worst kind of insult
to our constitutional right to march and picket, to raise our concerns
as citizens of this country and freedom fighters that liberated South
Africa from the scourge of apartheid colonialism.
The government of Helen Zille in the Western Cape refused us the right
to march by denying us the permit. They wanted us to march illegally so
as to run their mouths about us causing instability to the country and
we understand this counterrevolutionary behaviour and we will deal with
the correct and necessary methods. The Western Cape security clique was
ready to ambush us but we had access to information of the strategy they
were to employ after their briefings.
We further commit and state that we are coming back and we cannot be
dealt with through technical means. We will subvert their strategy and
ultimately they will succumb. We were never afraid of the Nationalist
apartheid government and all its might and we can never be threatened by
a lonely voice in the corner smelling of racism. We are coming to the
Western Cape legally and we will apply the necessary pressure to the
little premier who is too big for her boots.
Helen Zille will retract her statements and apologize to the commander
in chief. She will also have to reshuffle her cabinet including herself
if she understands mass mobilisation and defiance campaign.
Issued by MKMVA on 19 May 2009
Kebby Maphatsoe Philemon Ramatuku Maphutha
National Chairperson Deputy General Secretary
073 723 8333 076 894 8722

Mangaliso Khonza
Media Officer
083 617 5546
011 376 8365
Click Here To Listen To Blade Nzimande

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