Quote of the week

It is necessary that the integrity of the electoral process be maintained. Indeed, the acceptance of the election as being free and fair depends upon that integrity. Elections must not only be free and fair but they must be perceived as being free and fair. Even-handedness in dealing with all political parties and candidates is crucial to that integrity and its perception by voters. The Commission must not be placed in a situation where it has to make ad hoc decisions about political parties and candidates who have not complied with the Act. The requirement that documents must be submitted to the local offices of the Commission does not undermine the right to vote and to stand for election. It simply gives effect to that right and underscores the decentralised and local nature of municipal elections.

Ngcobo CJ
Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa v Inkatha Freedom Party
21 June 2007

Now Mangcu puts in the boot

Xolela Mangcu has a scathing column about the new Thabo Mbeki biography in today’s Business Day entitled, Roberts’ shallow ode reflects obsessions of the age of Mbeki. He hits Roberts where it hurts most, accusing him of being obsessed by what whites think. In effect, he says Roberts is a prisoner of colonialism and therefore not a free man. Ouch!

Money quote:

The problem of course is that Roberts is spending so much time convincing white people that he ignores the people who really think his subject is not fit to govern — the natives within the ANC. I suppose white people will always be a convenient diversion for racial populists.

I always feel heart sore when people misappropriate and distort Biko’s message to defend their racial chauvinism. It was perhaps in anticipation of this that Biko wrote his thoughts down.

Biko had a message for black people in his brilliant essay, Black Consciousness and the Quest for a True Humanity. This is what this intellectual and political giant said: “Blacks have had enough experience as objects of racism not to wish to turn the tables.

“While it may be relevant now to talk about black in relation to white, we must not make this our preoccupation, for it can be a negative exercise. As we proceed further towards the achievement of our goals let us talk more about ourselves and our struggle and less about whites.”

Interestingly this mirrors the critique both myself and Johnny Steinberg has leveled against Mbeki himself.

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