The FW De Klerk Foundation held its fifth annual conference and discussed the need for real transformation within South Africa. Their first transformation meeting held on February 2 1990, almost twenty years ago, highlights the anniversary of this conference.
FW De Klerk, a former South African president addressed the meeting and chose the title “real transformation “, based on the need for real change within the constitution. He said the constitution document is a transformation document ensuring that all South Africans enjoys the rights it guarantees within society.
De Klerk mentioned that there were typical conflicting awareness’s of what transformation actually means and referred to the rising division within the South African Society. The future success of the country depended on the potential to change major areas and pledge that all citizens of the country benefit from the new constitutional system and not only the select few multiracial upper class.
Real change would provide education, reduce the high levels of unemployment and transform the economy to sustain growth that can guarantee prosperity for all South Africans. De Klerk said these were essential elements to ensure transformation success.
F W De Klerk mentioned that invitations were sent to senior members of the African National Congress (ANC) to participate in this discussion, but they were unable to attend. De Klerk mentioned the perception of the ANC’s views on transformation, and stressed that it was not their own interpretation. He confirmed that the observations were based on a reasonable examination of the ANC’s policies and strategy document.
De Klerk said the ANC considers itself as a liberating organization and not as a political party with an ongoing fundamental mandate. Reference was made to the continued legacy of colonialist and white minority rule as the significant reality of the South African Society. The ANC, believe this heritage still has a tremendous impact on the behavior in which the majority of people, specifically the black people are influenced by unemployment, literacy and life expectant levels. Therefore, the ANC focuses on mobilizing around these objectives and change of the historically disadvantaged majority.
The ANC do not believe the legitimate negotiations as a method of accomplishing a final accord, rather this was a way to achieve full state control and permit the transfer of balances for their own benefit. After winning the 1994 elections, the ANC focused on shifting the balance of forces in favor by controlling the state control in public services, throughout the country and deployed ANC officials to top positions.
The eradication of apartheid social and economic relations remained the primary goal of the ANC’s democratic revolution after the 1994 election. Affirmative action, access to positions of management, ownership and control of wealth and including the land redistribution were part of the transforming program to shift the balance of power. The strategy to establish a civil democratic society in which all significant levels of state rule will be controlled by elected forces, apartheid charge will be eliminated and demographic embody of the ownership, administration, and engagement in public as well as private sectors. The ANC claim that it is dedicated to the constitution, which includes multi social democracy, division of powers in a constitutional nation, basic human rights for all citizens, respect for different cultures, religions and social fairness.
During the 2012, ANC debate regarding the initiation of their next phase of transition, in the closing remarks President Zuma said that the poverty, unemployment and inequality is a direct action by ‘white males and the ongoing impact of apartheid colonialism.’ He cautioned the need to deal with racial discrimination remained resolute and if left unattended to, would destroy the democratic constitution project. He went on to say that, South Africa had shifted the balance of power sufficiently, and the ANC could stop negotiations it made in the past. De Klerk said that the ANC’s tactical move to change now controls many main aspects of the government and the debate over land reform. Both the public and private sector will be subject to the government’s demographic representation. A fifty percent female quota would be required under the new gender equality bill and will affect both private and government sectors. The transformation policies of the ANC compared to some of its coalition parties are not serious, whereby COSATU and the SACP lean toward a more communistic state.
De Klerk told the meeting that the constitution document accepted in 1996 by the ANC and other political parties does not have the word “transformation” within the document. The document is considered a transformational document with the requirements to change society from 1996 to a new position with founding values. Human dignity and rights, equality, freedom, non-racial and not sexism are recorded in the constitution document. He said a, a multiparty democratic government, respect for the law, and independent elections is needed to ensure accountability and fairness.
The truth of change should be measured by the success of the society build on these sound values. Progress with the realization of human dignity within our broken society is enjoyed by most South Africans. Equality before the law and the protection of a bill of rights law within the democratic society shows progress. There is the quality of the human dignity of millions of people within the country being severely damaged by the collapse of our society to educate the people about their entitled rights. A competent and helpful police and justice structure is considered necessary to ensure the success of protecting the lives of all the people. The crime rate has escalated at an alarming rate, and this reflects on the need to rebuild the police and justice system of South Africa.
Since 1994, the ANC government has built over half a million new homes and generated water, electricity and sanitation to almost eighty percent of South Africans. Sixteen million people have been awarded social grants. The amount people who live in poverty has reduced from the benefit of social grants. The ANC officiated over a successful Soccer World Cup tournament in 2010. These transformations are evidence of ‘real transformation.’
There has been a significant number of failures and in particular the need for education to the children. Unemployment remains a constant nightmare. These are the consequences of transformation failures.
The greatest transform collapse is that South Africa is a more mismatched society now than in 1994. The government’s policy to uphold equality has failed. Affirmation action and the introduction of black economic empowerment are the leading cause for this failure. The most disadvantaged people in South Africa are the emerging black middle class. A strategy to empower the impoverished masses through education, work and key social and civil services would be real transformation.
The constitution is created on a non-racial population with fundamental values of integrating society and mindsets especially of the youth. Once again, South Africans are being judged by their skin color and not their character. Once again, the country is turning into a racially prescript society. Race should not become an issue in a truly democratic country.
Before the 1994, election parliament held all the power, but now we have a Constitution that dominates. This is progress in the transformation of South Africa. The justice system has been transformed, and has the liberty in ensuring legislation and government deeds remain legitimate. There are serious flaws as well that threatens the professional and impartiality of the courts. The tendency to select judges based on race and not a qualifying criterion is a threat to the professionalism of the courts. The cancellation of the Scorpions (South African Special Forces) opened up a floodgate of corruption. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) interference is a cause for concern. The conjectural medical parole of prisoners granted to associates of leading politicians is unacceptable. Real change would require strong action and equally liable investigations including senior politicians.
The functionality and improvement of establishing a multiparty democracy is paramount with the general elections taking place this year. Government is not performing to the constitutional document and remains inefficient in terms of total transformation.
There is progress in some areas of change within our society, yet other critical issues have failed. Education, creating employment, economic development and promotion of equality lag behind. The ANC’s transformation policies do not stem from the agreed constitution document but the principles of a ‘National Democratic Revolution.’ During the constitution negotiations, this was not agreed to by non-ANC parties.
There has been no consultation regarding the ANC’s move toward to transformation and the prescribed second phase of transition, which is directed at South African citizens based on race. This is unconstitutional and serious talks between government and parties representing the minority population, farms business and civil society must be implemented to restore the constitution values of real transformation.
Real transformation talks and action must take precedence and the misplaced struggle strategy of transformation and deviation from the principles in the constitution framework agreed to in 1996 must be stopped. It is time for real transformation of South Africa.
By Laura Oneale