Conceding EFF’s youth appeal, ANC Gauteng premier still upbeat that ANC will win at polls as rivals are ‘in disarray’
Gauteng Premier David Makhura is all too aware of the fact that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is making inroads among young voters in the wake of the ANC Youth League’s failure to attract members. Despite this, he remains confident that his party will regain control of the province. “The EFF will get some votes from young people,” Makhura told City Press during an interview at the provincial legislature on Friday. “We have a youth league of the ANC that is not in good shape. But we are working with the league in this province to help them so that they become the real voice of the youth. That vacuum is creating problems for us.”
Makhura said the EFF would continue to win the support of young people, but he remained unflustered. “There is no harm. They will have votes from some of the youth.”
His remarks come on the back of a survey on voters, conducted by the SA Institute of Race Relations between August and September this year, which indicated that the EFF could double its support in next year’s general elections at the expense of the ANC.
But the poll was conducted before the EFF got enmeshed in the VBS saga, with reports that party leaders may have benefited from the financial scandal.
Makhura, who is also the ANC’s Gauteng chairperson, believes that both the EFF and the DA have lost public confidence regarding their respective bids to dislodge the ANC from power in next year’s general elections, adding that the ANC would have to make a profound mistake between now and May to lose the election.
“That mistake has not been made. The ANC in this province is ready to go to war. We have made peace with the fact that we will be back and that they have lost the plot. Tell me which opposition party is organised to dislodge the ANC. They are in disarray, those guys. There is no way that they will erode our support.”
However, Makhura admitted that the ANC had lost voter support because it was seen to be soft on corruption. “When voters are unhappy, parties must change their ways. Even when there were voices in the ANC against certain corrupt elements, others were dismissing them.”
Makhura cited the DA’s internal battles, including the debacle over former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, as issues that had landed it in trouble.
He took a swipe at Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, the DA’s candidate for Gauteng premier, saying: “The DA’s campaign is premised on somebody who cannot run a municipality. Someone who cannot run a metro cannot hope to run a province.” The desire by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to bring the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) back into the Cosatu fold has hit a snag.
An SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) national executive committee meeting last week discussed the possibility of the move, along with the Food and Allied Workers’ Union and Numsa forging a “principled unity” with Cosatu.
But it appears that Numsa has shut the door on calls for it to return to Cosatu.
Numsa played a vital role in the formation of Saftu.
Numsa general-secretary Irvin Jim said: “Let us put the record straight, there is no formal process that has been taken by Cosatu to approach Numsa for the much talked about clarion call for Numsa to return to Cosatu.
“To be honest, it is our humble view that this is just an electioneering campaign, which is a hidden-and-open tactic to target the votes of Numsa members in the upcoming [general] election.
“This is no different to the hollow, empty, so-called new dawn led by President Cyril
He said the Tshwane metro under Msimanga’s leadership was unable to deliver basic services such as refuse removal, water and electricity. “I am going to be engaging with Solly. The municipality is not functioning. I will institute legal processes that would be able to say the premier did not just sit.”
However, he added, he would follow all the right channels. “The law does not allow for the arbitrary exercise of power.”
The DA rated Makhura five out of 10 for lack of accountability and failing to deal with corruption.
“We gave him an opportunity in the first year. He made promises he has failed to fulfil,” said the DA’s Gauteng leader, John Moodey, yesterday.
Makhura delivered his fifth political report on the ANC-led provincial administration in the legislature on Friday.
In the report, Makhura admitted that crime was totally out of control in the province. “Our communities and CBDs are flooded by criminals.”
He said that the province achieved a 100% unqualified audit performance, while the Western Cape got one qualified audit and a disclaimer.
“In the area of clean governance, Gauteng has made huge strides over the past four years. We have increased the number of clean audits from 56% in 2013/14 to 65% in 2017/18, while achieving 100% unqualified audits in two successive years: 2016/17 and 2017/18.
“Of course, there is no doubt that more work needs to be done to hold officials accountable for irregular expenditure that stems largely from not following supply chain procedures.”
The premier expressed concern that DA-run metros Tshwane and Johannesburg were no longer supporting the township economy revitalisation and reindustrialisation initiatives. “I can only assume that this is for party political reasons, not rational policymaking. I will continue to make a call to the mayors to join the growing movement for township economic development. This is for the good of our economy.”
Makhura reiterated that the e-toll system had no future in the province. Ramaphosa. If this was an honest call, it wouldn’t have been shouted in marches and rallies.
“Cosatu would have formally approached both Numsa and Saftu. Cosatu cannot just be calling for Numsa to come back. They should first appreciate that they messed up, which is why we doubt, in the absence of an honest reflection, there can be such an honest change of heart in the interest of unity of workers, which Numsa remains not opposed to.
“An honest call would first appreciate that Numsa is part of Saftu. If there was such an honest resolve by Cosatu, the starting point would have been to approach Numsa and Saftu leadership and to champion common programmes around common issues between Saftu and Cosatu, just like Numsa and the NUM are working together in defending Eskom.
“Numsa leadership will never be opposed to the principle of the unity of workers.
“This we have demonstrated in the wage negotiation in Eskom and in the bus strike negotiations, where Numsa worked together with Satawu [the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union] and other unions,” Jim told City Press last week.
Workers affiliated to the NUM and Numsa protested together against retrenchment at Eskom, as well as against the closure of coal mines and government’s renewable energy programme last month.
Numsa was expelled as an affiliate by Cosatu for extending its organising scope and withdrawing support for the ANC in 2014.
Numsa, the biggest trade union in the country, is now a key affiliate of Saftu and its return to Cosatu would likely lead to the death of Saftu.
Jim said Numsa’s source of expulsion was triggered by democratically taken resolutions in its own special congress in 2013, which resolved that the ANC-led alliance post 1994 had consistently failed the working class.
“We called on the ANC to ban labour brokers, but it refused and instead chose to regulate them. The special congress resolved that metalworkers will no longer campaign and vote for their worst butchers and that the time had come for the working class to organise itself as a class for itself.”
NUM president Joseph Montisetsi said the union was lobbying other affiliates to support its latest attempt to reunite Numsa with Cosatu. He warned that the ANC could be harmed in next year elections if Numsa does not return to Cosatu. Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery is calling on South Africans to be more circumspect with regard to their communications on social media, warning that not doing so could land them in jail.
On Tuesday, the National Assembly passed the Cybercrimes Bill, which has implications for those who use social media and other electronic platforms for “malicious communications”.
Jeffery told City Press this week that even retweeting a tweet that incites violence could be a criminal offence, even if the user did not deem a retweet to be an “endorsement” of its content.
With numerous protests taking place monthly across the country, the deputy minister warned that although it was legal on social media to organise protests or marches, organisers would have to choose their words carefully.
“When it comes to what you say in cyberspace, be responsible – and, particularly, don’t threaten anyone with physical harm, violence or damage to property.
“On the issue of marches, do not say things that can be implied, such as: ‘We going to burn the MyCiti buses because we are not happy with the wage offer’, or ‘We are going to burn the Jammie Shuttle [a bus shuttle service available free of charge to University of Cape Town students and staff] because the vice-chancellor is not hearing our demands’.”
Jeffery said social media users could organise an event but could not urge followers to damage property or physically harm anyone.
He cited the example of a recent post on Facebook by an intern at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal who threatened to rape his neighbour’s daughters to “teach them a lesson”.
Jeffery said a post like that would be a criminal act in the new bill.
The bill still needs approval from the National Council of Provinces. Thereafter, it will be handed to the president to officially sign it into law.
Another major component of the bill addresses the distribution of “intimate images” without consent.
“What is in the body of the bill is criminalising the distribution of an intimate image,” explained Jeffery.
“Often there is confusion. Couples split up and the boyfriend distributes nude pictures of his exgirlfriend. It is revenge, not porn.
“If he had distributed images of them having sex, that would be revenge porn. There is a legal distinction. In court he would be charged with distributing a data message of an intimate image.
“What the bill provides for is that you can go to court and get an order,” Jeffery said.
“You have to get consent to distribute an image of an intimate nature. The consent is not taking the picture, it is making it available. You can consent to the picture but not to its distribution.”
The bill also addresses other criminal activity related to the internet, such as fraud and extortion.
“We as the NUM are saying they have to return to Cosatu. If we are divided as the working class, we will be weaker. We work with Numsa at Eskom, we believe that there is a need to work together,” Montisetsi said.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the labour federation was not “hostile” to the idea of uniting workers.
“We have a standing resolution of uniting the workers. We have long said that we are open to engaging anyone who is interested in uniting the working class,” Pamla said.
He said Numsa would have to reflect on whether sticking by its resolution to enter other fields, where other Cosatu affiliates already existed, was uniting or divisive.
Saftu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the trade union federation was desperate for a principled unity.
“We are desperate for that. If there is a principled unity we will jump to that. We want unions which are independent from political parties.”
Vavi described calls for Numsa to return to Cosatu as an attempt to divide Saftu.
“It is pipe dream. It is not going to happen. I know the current NUM leadership never supported the expulsion of Numsa from Cosatu.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura at his office in Johannesburg