All charges against the people arrested for public violence in the eMacambini road blockade were dropped today due to a lack of evidence.
Statement from Concerned Members of the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee: Update on Development Talks in eMacambini
A Macambini delegation of four people met with MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu to negotiate about development. The talks were held in Durban last week. The MEC was to report back about his findings, after meeting two possible developers: Rhuwaad and Sport City International. Sport City International is the developer preferred by the community. But Mabuyakhulu told the community that Sport City International is no longer interested in the project, so Rhuwaad is the only developer. But the people of eMacambini are saying “No to Rhuwaad!” This is because of the general corrupt relationship between Rhuwaad and the Provincial Government. But Mabuyahkulu said he will set another appointment to look at the land that the people are prepared to offer and the development will continue on their own terms! Some of the leaders in the community are unhappy about talks, as they happen outside of the eMacambini vicinity. They also are unhappy that talks continue while there are still ongoing court cases taking place because of these unfaithful stakeholders. How can we continue to negotiate about the development project while we are still in court because of Rhuwaad and the Provincial Government?
We wish to remain anonymous in order not to be pressurised by the traditional leadership.
Mannya makes explosive claims against Ndebele
29 Jul 2009
SUSPENDED head of the KZN Agriculture Department, advocate Modidima Mannya, who faces dismissal after being found guilty of 16 charges in a disciplinary hearing, has thrown down the gauntlet to former premier S’bu Ndebele.
Yesterday he made public a letter he sent to Ndebele in February containing explosive allegations. These include a claim that prime coastal land earmarked for the Macambini/Dubai tourism project was to be sold for $1 to the developers. The project, which led to widespread protests along the N2, was said to involve the removal of over 8 000 families.
Mannya is challenging his dismissal in court, claiming that the disciplinary charges against him were “trumped up” to punish him for refusing to obey alleged “unlawful and illegal instructions.
He says: “I am writing this letter basically to appeal to your conscience for you to step down as minister.”
Ndebele is the national Transport minister, but was premier at the time the letter was written.
On the Macambini/Dubai project, which was mired in controversy, Mannya writes:
“Whilst in a meeting we were presented with a draft agreement. I raised a number of objections. Let me repeat some of the objections I raised in Dubai:
“•Provision was made for the provincial government to spend $30 000 (R300 000 000) per annum for the marketing of the project. I would never understand the logic of this. However, you would be aware of the provisions of section 67 of the Public Finance Management Act. A provincial government may not bind itself to any future financial commitment, denominated in foreign currency.
“•Provision was made for the land to be sold at $1. I am certain that you know that the land in question is tribal land and cannot be alienated. You also know that government is not the owner of the land. I do not understand why we could sell land we did not own.
•Provision was made for government to clear all settlements, graves etc. Mr Minister, I would kill, if need be, to protect my ancestral graves. Until then, I thought of you as someone who respects and understand our culture, heritage and the sensitivity of our cultural practices.
“Outside of this draft agreement, I was particularly required to give an undertaking that an environmental impact authorisation will be granted. This is not only illegal, but also illogical. An authorisation can only be issued once there is an application and it meets all the requirements.
“For your interest, when I further objected to this blatant corruption, I was told who was to be bribed and how much each bribe would be. Mr Minister, this whole thing is ethically, morally and legally reprehensible. I understand why you sub-contracted your responsibility to Mbanjwa to ensure my persecution.”
On the over-expenditure in the Agriculture Department under former head Jabulani Mjwara, the letter reads: “What still has to emerge is who else knew and was part of discussions which resulted in that over-expenditure. When this comes out, we will know and understand why, despite serious allegations of financial misconduct were levelled against him, you authorised a re-determination of his contract. Of course he later had to go to court to get his money.”
The letter goes on to raise several other allegations and can be read in full at www.witness.co.za
Logan Maistry, spokesman for Ndebele, said yesterday: “Advocate Mannya left the Eastern Cape provincial government under a cloud of controversy. He was suspended by former premier Sibusisio Ndebele in KwaZulu-Natal. He is now being dismissed by KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize. This in itself speaks volumes. All further queries should be directed to the KZN provincial government.”
We are ALL the public
20 Jul 2009
ACROSS the country the most vulnerable people in our society are being subjected to brazenly unlawful and often violent action at the hands of the state. Homeless people, refugees, sex workers, street traders and shack dwellers are all being taught, in the most literal sense of the term, to know their place. But state illegality is not only aimed at the segregation of physical space, it is also about ensuring that the people on the margins of society know their political place.
This is why protests are often illegally banned and attacked. Protesters are routinely arrested on the charge of public violence when there has been no damage to property or person. As grassroots movements have often noted, there is a clear implication that some people have been defined as being outside of the public and that their demands for inclusion are automatically considered to be an assault on the public.
The lived reality of our society is that every citizen has a right to access some of the basic means to sustain life — social grants, a little water and some health care. But if you are not a worker or consumer in the formal realm you must know your place. That place is outside of both the physical and political spaces that are reserved for the acceptable and legitimate public.
It is true that our Constitution is better than most. But because it costs money to access the courts, the Constitution offers no systemic protection against state criminality. It is also true that our civil society is more vibrant than most. But because it is largely committed to technocratic interventions that carry no material force, civil society is equally unable to offer systemic protection against the state. The left in the Congress Alliance has strengthened its position in government, but we have not yet seen any willingness on its part to take a real stand against the active, armed and often violent attempts at social exclusion by the state.
We need to do some serious thinking about the failures of our democracy.
In recent years there has been a fairly vigorous discussion in our elite public sphere about the way in which the democratic potential of key institutions like the SABC, parliamentary committees and some of our universities has been curtailed. Although this discussion is important, it has often failed to take sufficient account of the unstable but nevertheless clear set of alliances between the authoritarianisms of elite nationalism and corporate power. In fact, it has not been unusual for critics of the former to see the latter as the world-class alternative to the local deviation of the former. This is profoundly mistaken.
Elite nationalism, in and outside of the state, constantly strives to present its narrow interests as those of the nation as a whole. It is not unusual for it to deploy the radical language of resistance to advance interests that are clearly parasitic on society as a whole. Although it evokes a political discourse, it is a discourse in which a small part of the nation is taken to represent the whole, with the result that it functions to close down the space for popular political engagement.
When ordinary people try to stake their claim or to hold their ground in the nation, it’s not unusual for them to be very quickly defined out of the community of people that legitimately make up the public. For Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson of the Johannesburg Metro Police, people who have been driven to live on the streets of Johannesburg should be arrested and herded into prison because they are not “clean”. For Michael Sutcliffe, the manager of the eThekwini Municipality, the administration of which has a long and brutal history of illegal evictions, forced removals and bans on protests, as well as police violence against peaceful protests, most of the traders at the city’s oldest market must be evicted in favour of a corporate mall because they are now suddenly illegal. Tokyo Sexwale recently warned housing activists that the government would distinguish between organisations “acting legitimately” and those “acting under other flags” for whom the police would display “zero tolerance”.
Corporate authoritarianism works, with equal vigour, to justify its continual expansion to new areas of social life in the name of a claim to efficiency and competence that will, by enabling economic growth, competitiveness and development, be in the general interest. This is a self-serving fiction. Once again the interests of a privileged part are being confused with those of the whole. When public housing, peasant farming or education are brought under corporate control, the reality is greater exploitation, greater exclusion and an increasingly rapid movement towards a society split into two fundamentally unequal and physically segregated worlds.
Corporate authoritarianism is organised via the deeply anti-political and therefore anti-democratic system of managerialism. When managerial despotism is extended outside of the corporation it often uses the language of science, with all the authority inherent in that language, to take decision making out of the hands of the public and to place it under the control of experts. It is not just the poor who are excluded from active participation in society and its institutions, as corporate logic is extended to new areas of society. When university professors suddenly find that they must account to line managers who will audit their subordination to a performance management system, the ancient ideal of a university as an institution constituted by a community of scholars has been quietly clubbed to death by human resources experts.
When applied to development, the logic of corporate authoritarianism invests despotic power in the hands of experts who know very little about the lived realities of the people whose lives they seek to plan. When apartheid denied shack dwellers services in cities and then forcibly removed them to transit camps in the middle of nowhere, this was denounced as a crime. Now development experts declare the same processes as best practice. No ordinary person is deemed to have a right to challenge their expertise and so opposition can only be read as perverse, as a matter for the police.
The death of protesters at the hands of the police is not uncommon and the real scandal is that these deaths do not result in any scandal in elite publics. They are just a footnote to the daily news. Some people, like the girl from Kwazakhele shot in the head during a protest for houses, water, electricity and toilets on July 1, just don’t count.
The predatory nature of the alliance of nationalist and corporate elites has perhaps become most extreme in eMacambini on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal where many thousands of people face eviction from their land so that a Dubai developer can build a giant theme park. A recent newspaper article on the proposed AmaZulu World theme park declared that although there is community opposition to the development it has the strong support of the influential KZN Growth Coalition, a public-private partnership between business and the state.
In this formulation, the people of eMacambini, those who have most to lose from the alliance between corporate and political elites, are not the public.
The assumption that the people are not the public is one against which we must rebel if we are all to count and our democracy is to be a living force in our society. We are all, sex workers and accountants, the public.
So if business and political elites, with their mutual dependence, are a ‘public-private partnership’ where does that leave the (neither public nor private) people of eMacambini as Mabuyakulu continues to evict in his new portfolio?
Solution will be found, says MEC
July 06, 2009 Edition 3
FINDING a solution to the controversial proposed AmaZulu World leisure and entertainment development on the North Coast was one of the provincial government’s high-est priorities, MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu has said.
And with a climate of trust between the various parties, he was sure a solution could be found, Mabuyakhulu, the new MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, said in an interview.
“We want to find a win-win situation. I’m an optimist. There is always hope and we believe we can facilitate an amicable solution.”
Consultations with the various stakeholders and affected parties would begin soon, possibly before the end of the month, he said.
The proposed R55 billion phased development would centre around a Disney-type theme park and also envisages hotels, a sports village, a marina, a residential area for several hundred thousand people, golf courses, schooling, including a university, and a nature reserve. It is the brainchild of Ruwaad, a Dubai-based investment company.
It would bring more than 200 000 jobs to the poverty-stricken Mandeni area, 40km from the new international airport at La Mercy.
The project has the backing of the influential KZN Growth Coalition (a public-private partnership between business leaders and politicians), and as a “must see” attraction is expected to boost tourism by 40 percent.
If it goes ahead as initially envisaged, it will eventually be Africa’s biggest single project.
But, while some voices in the local eMacambini community believe it represents an opportunity, there are many others who are opposed to it, because they say that 8 500 people will have to be uprooted to make way for the project.
Some residents blockaded the N2 and R102 routes in December to protest against the failure of the premier’s office to respond to a memorandum of grievances about the project.
The community itself is backing another project by another Dubai company.
Recently however, the local leader, Khayelihle Mathaba, said that his people were open to all developers, including Ruwaad, as long as they did not displace people.
Mabuyakhulu said the government, and he in particular, as the person responsible for economic development and tourism, “would like to pursue this investment”.
But, in doing so, “we would like to consult all the affected parties and stakeholders to find common ground and a win-win situation”.
The concerns of community leaders had to be taken into account, and also weighed up in relation to other considerations.
Mabuyakhulu, who previously held the tourism portfolio in 2002, said he had returned to the job at a difficult time, with the country in recession.
But even in difficult times, tourism remained a growth sector and there were still good opportunities for the KwaZulu-Natal tourism industry, particularly in view of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Asked about attacks on tourists, he revealed that a programme to be launched later this year would counter possible criminal acts.
It would involve the “huge mobilisation” of tourism buddies – including petrol attendants and security guards – and would kick in for 2010 and beyond.
The buddies, who would be clearly identified, would be placed in strategic holiday spots to give guidance to tourists, Mabuyakhulu said.
“This will be launched at the appropriate time.
“It will ensure there is a reservoir of South Africans who really understand the value of tourism, not only to be courteous to tourists, but also to make them comfortable. They will be linked to police stations.
“We are currently in discussions with a number of possible partners,” he said.