South African politician Baleka Mbete on corruption, xenophobia and whether the ANC has lived up to its promises.
In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Baleka Mbete on whether, in the 25 years since apartheid, her party has betrayed Nelson Mandela's legacy and the dreams of South Africa's rainbow nation.
Over the past quarter century, access to education has significantly improved and the rights of all South Africans to free basic healthcare has been guaranteed.
But the ANC's successes have been overshadowed by rising youth unemployment, recent xenophobic attacks on African immigrants and ongoing allegations of systemic corruption, with former President Jacob Zuma currently facing trial.
From fighting apartheid, Mbete rose to become one of South Africa's most powerful women, serving as deputy president, speaker of the National Assembly, and chair of the ANC.
We ask whether the ANC, and Mbete personally, have done enough to hold Zuma to account, and keep Mandela's dream of a united Africa alive.
Hasan and Mbete are joined by a panel of three experts:
Hasan and Mbete are joined by a panel of three experts:
Xolani Xala - founder of South African Business Abroad and member of the ANC
Andrew Feinstein - former South African politician and author of 'After the Party: A Personal Journey Inside the ANC'. He is now director of Corruption Watch UK
Has South Africa's ruling party betrayed Mandela's legacy? With Baleka Mbete, first broadcast on October 18, 2019, at 20:00 GMT with repeats on October 19 at 12:00GMT, October 20 at 01:00 GMT, and October 21 at 06:00 GMT.
Head to Head is Al Jazeera's forum for ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.
South Africa is our beautiful country and we thank President Ramaphosa for all the leadership he is providing to generate new economic opportunities and to create a better life for all in South Africa.
Fellow citizens who raised issues around what is emerging back home in South Africa at the moment, are important. And it is exactly all these issues that President Ramaphosa has been addressing through various new initiatives and government interventions.
South Africa is on the right track, as we rebuild from the effects and legacy of decades of apartheid and most recently even the shenanigans of the 5th administration.
We are grateful to our government for creating the space and opportunity for all our voices to be heard, even those outside the borders of the country. This is the essence of democracy enshrined in the right to freedom of expression of all people.
As President Ramaphosa and government works to address the issues of gender based violence, abuse and violence against women and children, poverty, economic deprivation, we as citizens invested in the growth and development of beloved country has ever seen in protesting, at the same time, the citizens need to allow in due time and show support for these much needed interventions to turn the situation around in our country.
Respectfully our President, who is coming in the United Kingdom to rebuild and re-establish good relations with the UK, is working in all our best interests, especially for us residing here.
It is not easy being away from home, in any way or form. We strongly believe that the constrained resources the government has at its disposal must be allocated and consumed in the interests of future generations.
We are South Africa. We the people have it in us, to support government and use our talents and energies and resources to overcome the very complex challenges, of our times.
Globally the world is not very stable, socio-political challenges are rife, economies are in flux, ordinary people and citizens are suffering.
We need to be part of the solution. We have it in us. And under the leadership of President Ramaphosa, we can achieve much.
There are positive changes already. What we need at this stage is the belief and pride in South Africa and our leadership that can take our country forward, as we appeal to the global investors’ confidence levels. A leadership that proves that not all public servant and politicians are unethical and unprofessional.
President Ramaphosa and our ministers are already committed and addressing matters of concern with diligence and dedication that will benefit our country in general. And we must be part of this programme to rebuild South Africa into a glorious, safe, peaceful and flourishing country.
Moreover, as proud citizens we must continue to express our s solidarity in rebuilding our beloved country.
We very strongly believe that there is no need to hold and / or support any negative protest action: demonstrations or sit-ins to derail the business activities of the President – that is aimed at rebuilding South Africa and to create better conditions for ourselves here in the United Kingdom.
President Ramaphosa is visiting the United Kingdom with a very critical and necessary aim to promote our country, South Africa.
We acknowledge all peaceful protest and demonstrations, people have a right to do so. However, it is important that we direct the use of our rights to just causes – not one with personal agendas that want to capitalize and exploit for nefarious reasons, the real and complex socio-economic challenges of our country. People must not be mis-led by misplaced personal agendas of high placed individuals.
A case in point: singling out and leaking the President’s whereabouts and diary, is very un-becoming and a breach of trust and aims to create a security risk. The State Security Intelligence Agency and Diplomatic Service Agency must investigate and identify the individuals behind this reckless behaviour. This is not what we pay our tax for.
Today we have a democratic South Africa through peaceful and revolutionary demonstration.
We believe very strongly that the planned march is misguided and misdirected to the wrong person, let us tell you why?
The recent establishment of a new specialised court for Child Matters, Gender-Based Violence, sexual offender cases, violence against children and women are given the necessary care.
The 6th administration has committed in taking up gender-based violence as its top priority. The sensitivity of the cases dealt with are traumatic to every caring and loving husband, father, and brother. Today, we have a national plan against gender-based violence. This is evidence that the current government is not resting on its laurels.
South Africa is rebuilding and setting a better foundation of a new era.
On unemployment figures released by Stats SA, President Ramaphosa has demonstrated leadership, and is treating issues of concern with utmost urgency. The president further acknowledged that as a country we are in a deep and serious crisis. The recent statistics also revealed that 50 percent of those employed, remain below the poverty line. This is the President’s number one issue at hand.
The adverse global economic conditions meant that South Africans, along with our elected government are called upon to come up with a whole number of solutions; and some of the resolutions means that together we must be more committed and resolute.
Furthermore, we must combine our commitment and resoluteness with our willingness to be as creative as possible in addressing the crisis together as South Africans wherever we are. South Africans in the diaspora should be taking an active role in supporting our administration, for the benefit of our beloved country.
Almost a year ago, we have seen His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment conference drive to energise and activate impact in the South African economy.
The president’s zealous drive has managed to raise more than R290 billion investment committed to South African economy with the focus on creating jobs.
In few weeks’ time, the President will host the second South Africa Investment Conference.
When it comes to education, President Ramaphosa has recognised that there is still a long way to go. The president said: “As we mark 25 years since the advent of democracy, our actions will continue to be anchored on our recognition of education as a key driver of fair and sustainable development.”
South Africa’s challenges relating to crime in the country are being tackled. And we’re all affected regardless of our current status. We still have our families back home, and the President has openly said there is a great deal of contribution that can be made by communities. We all know that crime has robbed us our fundamental rights to achieve, associate with our beloved ones, and enjoy the hard-fought democratic rights, human rights, and constitutional rights. However, if our communities, together with the police work hand in hand, crime can be withered down. In this way, together we will reclaim our beloved country.
We’re appealing to all South Africans in the diaspora to avoid being misdirected, misused, misguided and misled by morally confused and bankrupt people or officials.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was democratically elected by South Africans globally. An attack that is directed at harming the President and violating his physical security to a sitting President, is a direct attack to all South Africans.
We should be coming out in numbers, welcoming our beloved President and saying, ‘Hands off President Ramaphosa.’
The real depth of the complexities of all our issues as the nation needs all of us to unite, join forces and resources to improve our country and the conditions of South Africans at home and in the diaspora.
The South African Embassy in London should be working together with all South Africans regardless of their race and ethnic background to support an agenda to rebuild South Africa.
Our embassy should focus its energy in making sure passport renewals takes no more than 4 weeks. Identity smartcards should be issued to South Africans in diaspora within 4 weeks. And tourist, students and business visas should be issued no more than 2 weeks. These are measures that would help boost our strained economy.
Another outstanding challenge is the one of Honourable Counsellor’s. As much as we appreciate their contribution and the mission they’re attempting to achieve, we think anyone who has been holding this position for more than a decade should voluntary vacate their position and create opportunities for the younger generation.
Above all, once a South African, always a South African. Working together, we must strive to ensure that our beloved President Ramaphosa continues in building investor confidence, attracting emerging markets and regaining our international dignity; especially now that Britain and European Union are facing the Brexit challenge.
South Africa should take the strategic advantage in positioning itself well within in the United Kingdom. This will better prepare Mzansi as a gateway to Africa for greater opportunities.
The important issues of the day; issues such as improving the education infrastructure, innovating our health care system, providing resources to create skilful citizens ready for the global technical strong economic growth, solving unemployment, resolving Mzansi’s credit rating, and improving consumer and investor confidence, must be our focus.
United we stand. Divided we fall. Here’s to together rebuilding South Africa.