Gatvol of post-Rainbow Nation Racists turning ANC into a tribalist
TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2011
Women’s strength and wisdom remain humanity’s greatest untapped source
A HUNDRED years ago today,
women across the world took a historic step on the long road to equality. The first ever International
Women’s Day was called to draw
attention to the unacceptable and
often dangerous working conditions
that many women faced worldwide.
It brought over one million
women out onto the streets, demanding not just better conditions at
work but also the right to vote, to
hold office and to be equal partners
I suspect those pioneers would
look at our world today with pride
and disappointment. There has been
remarkable progress as the last century. One hundred years ago, only
two countries allowed women to
vote. Today, that right is virtually
universal and women have been
elected to lead governments in every
continent. Women, too, hold leading
positions in professions from which
they were once banned.
Far more recently than a century
ago, the police, courts and neighbours still saw violence in the home
as a purely private matter.
Today two-thirds of countries
have laws that penalise domestic
violence and the UN Security
Council recognises sexual violence
as a deliberate tactic of war.
Despite this progress, the hopes
of equality are a long way from
being realised. Almost two out of
three illiterate adults are women.
Girls are still less likely to be in
school than boys. Every 90 seconds a
woman dies in pregnancy or due to
Women continue to earn less
than men for the same work.
In many countries, too, they
have unequal access to land and
inheritance rights. And despite
high-profile advances, women still
make up only 19 percent of
legislatures, 8 percent of peace
negotiators, and only 28 women
are heads of state or government.
It is not just women who pay the
price for this discrimination. We all
suffer for failing to make the most of
half the world’s talent and potential.
This year’s focus of International
Women’s Day on women’s equal
access to education, training, science and technology underscores
the need to tap this potential.
The agenda to secure gender
equality and women’s rights is a
global one. It was in recognition of
both its universality and the
rewards if we get this right that the
UN brought together four existing
organisations to create UN Women.
The goal of this new body is to
Despite the progress,
the hopes of equality
are still a long way
from being realised
galvanise the entire UN system so
we can deliver on the promise of the
UN Charter of equal rights of men
and women. It is something I have
fought for my whole life.
As a young mother and a paediatrician, I experienced the struggles
of balancing family and career, and
saw how the absence of childcare
prevented women from paid employment. The opportunity to help
remove these barriers was one of
the reasons I went into politics. It is
why I supported policies that
extended health and childcare services to families and prioritised public spending for social protection.
As president, I worked hard to
create equal opportunities for both
men and women to contribute their
talents and experiences. That is why
I proposed a cabinet that had an
equal number of men and women.
We will work, in close partnership, with men and women, leaders
and citizens, civil society, the private
sector and the whole UN system to
assist countries to roll out policies,
programmes and budgets to achieve
this worthy goal.
I have seen what women, often in
the toughest circumstances, can
achieve for their families and societies if they are given the opportunity. The strength, industry and wisdom of women remain humanity’s
greatest untapped resource. We cannot afford to wait another 100 years
to unlock this potential.
● Bachelet is the first Executive
Director of UN Women, a newly
formed UN organisation dedicated to
gender equality and the empowerment of women. She is the former
president of Chile.
BIG MONEY, SMALL HEART
How growth fuels human decline
ECONOMIC growth has for decades
been the darling of modern political
processes. High growth is cause for
national celebration and pride. Low
or negative growth provokes accusations of government incompetence
in “developed” nations and outpourings of pity for “developing” countries.
Of all global leaders only President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, in
commissioning Joseph Stiglitz et
al’s 2008 Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance
and Social Progress, has come close
to acknowledging the wholesale revolution in mindsets and values upon
which any new economics depends.
This shift in consciousness is
critical because it is now clear that
economic growth has failed to
deliver on its promises. Our inexorable pursuit of growth through
debt-fuelled turbo consumption has
caused us to turn a blind eye to
unacceptable levels of rising
inequality between and within
nations. Indeed, there is now
increasing evidence to suggest that
much of the growth, in both developed and developing nations, actually drives inequality, ecological
destruction, poverty and misery
much faster than it generates
“wealth” and is, when all things are
considered, decidedly uneconomic.
Growth has been sold to us as the
panacea that will create endless
wealth and eradicate poverty. Unemployment on the rise? Economic
growth will create jobs! Can’t afford
to cut emissions? Growth will drive
efficient technological solutions!
But on closer interrogation of
the hard evidence, we discover that
in the UK for example, GDP has doubled in the past 30 years while most
measures of subjective well-being
have remained the same or dipped.
In the US, real incomes have
increased by 400 percent since 1946,
yet there has been no increase in levels of well-being. Capitalism is now
driving unprecedented levels of
stress, debt, insecurity, unhappiness
and mental illness, while at the same
time destroying the very things that
actually do increase human wellbeing such as communities, family
life, neighbourhoods and relationships. Compounding this tragedy is
the fact that developing nations such
as South Africa are not far behind
on the same calamitous path of
materialistic addiction. So, despite
higher incomes from economic
growth, we are less happy. And
because the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP), has become a catch-all measure of progress, the true costs of the
more corrosive outcomes of growth
are constantly hidden from us.
So how has this come to pass? To
consider this question, we must go
back to the original foundations of
GDP. GDP aggregates the value
added of all money-based economic
activities. It is based on a clear
methodology that allows comparisons to be made over time and
between countries and regions.
Ironically, the limitations of GDP
were first articulated by its own creator, Simon Kuznets, as far back as
1934 when he stated: “The welfare of
a nation can scarcely be inferred
from a measure of national
Yet today our politicians, economists, and policy makers make
exactly that inference. And so, therefore, do we. When GDP reports rising income, we equate this with rising well being. This logic is
fundamentally flawed, as the following points illustrate:
● GDP growth produces “gross
domestic by-products” (dirty air, polluted water, toxic waste, congestion,
and noise). The social costs of these
are not deducted from GDP, neither
are the real costs considered of the
resulting damage to our personal
economic and/or social well-being.
● GDP includes what is known as
“defensive consumption” without
acknowledging the social problems
that either cause it or result from it.
This type of negative spending that
makes a “positive” contribution to
GDP includes the cost of increased
security due to higher crime rates
(our fences, alarms, security
patrols), the cost of national defence
due to higher perceived threat of terrorism or extra spending to clean up
● GDP does not measure unpaid
housework or care giving.
● GDP does not tell us what mix
of goods and services benefit or
harm society because it assigns
equal weight to products of the same
● GDP does not show how
income is distributed and this
makes a big difference to societal
Consider just a few real-world
outcomes of such shortcomings:
HEAVY BURDEN: Gross domestic product as a measure of success obscures true costs of growth, says the writer.
● The clean-up of the recent oil
spill in the Gulf of Mexico will have
had a hugely positive impact on US
GDP. The environmental, social and
human costs of the disaster will
remain unaccounted for.
● The sale of an assault rifle and
a musical instrument of equal price
is deemed to be of the same value to
the well-being of a nation as measured by contribution to GDP.
● GDP generally falls when
people get married because they end
up spending less money. On the
other hand, every divorce or separation that causes one parent to pay
maintenance to another to look after
the children raises GDP.
In other words, growth goes
down when we love each other
Gatvol of post-Rainbow Nation
MY EGREGIOUS neighbour Gatvol
van der Pomp – who has been keeping a profile as low as a silverfish in
a sock ever since Os du Randt was
shafted as scrum coach for the
Rugby World Cup – has been sniggering over my electrified barbedrazor fence.
Now that the Boks no longer have
a single coach, every dainty move
they make on the field deserves
intense scrutiny by some or other
It seems that Os has been losing
weight alarmingly. He’s down to
386kg, as feathery as the anorexic
ballerinas in Black Swan – hardly
capable of causing irreversible
brain damage to his opponents.
Gatvol, I gather, did at once stage
desire to become the Boks’s bum
coach, where he would teach the
fledgling players how to shove their
entire heads into, say, the colons of
their Welsh foes – causing them to
flee the field. However, the rugby
mandarins decided to concentrate
on the crowd-pleasing spectacle that
is your average thugby punch-up.
While Gatvol did indeed gabble
strangely into my ear above the
grinding of my hamster-driven
lawnmower, what seemed to be propelling him was the fuss involving
Trevor Manuel and Jimmy Manyi,
the government spokesman.
In a State
“He wants the coloureds to
move,” rasped Gatvol, “but Trevor
says he’s talking through his snout.
The fact is, I see this as an opportunity to bring back the grand old days
of apartheid – different people will
live in different parts of the country
and the wider world will be stunned
by our example of perfect calm, lack
of crime, and no vile racist abuse.
It’s only a matter of time.”
This intrigued me and I let the
hamster loose to frolic through the
severed cycads. It twittered and savaged an obese dove. Nature is cruel.
With ceremony, Gatvol unfurled a
length of toilet paper on which he
had daubed his mad vision of a
return to the past and pointed out its
● Because there is an “oversupply” of coloured people in the Western Cape, and they must be feeling
the squeeze, these folk – once leaders
in the sinister United Democratic
Front – should be bused out to the
Winelands and up the coast to the
industrial hum of Atlantis, which,
before it sinks beneath the sea,
should receive subsidies to revive its
thriving hosepipe, tap and nut factories. In the Winelands, the dop system can easily be reinstituted, and
the Atalantans will be content with
● African people do, of course,
have their traditional bantustans –
particularly the rural slums of QwaQwa, formerly the homeland for
ducks – and special permits can be
issued for young men in furry leggings and women without bras to
entertain the guffawing tourists,
now flocking in to eyeball tribal
dances, hire hit men and watch U2.
● Descendants of Indians will be
allowed to settle on the mountains of
Kashmir, and can watch the director’s cut of the Oscar-winning movie
Gandhi, while waiting for the bus.
● White people will be compelled
to live in Cape Town, attending the
Woodstock Music Festival and
watching new Athol Fugard plays at
the Athol Fugard Theatre. The average lunch hour will last for seven
hours, although this might seem a
cruel imposition. Star exiles will
abound – such as Hosni Mubarak,
Laurent Gbagbo, and Muammar
Gaddafi, if he can make it.
In short, Gatvol crowed, “I see the
ascent of the post-Rainbow Nation.”
I remarked that it had all been
tried before, but he simply drooled
and goes up when we fall out!
If GDP isn’t the way to measure
progress, then what is? Other
options are broadly divided by economists into two main categories
according to their defining objective
to either modify or replace GDP.
● The Measure of Economic Welfare (MEW) was the work of William
Nordhaus and James Tobin from
Yale University and was one of the
first indicators calling for a view
predicated on consumption rather
than production and it proposed the
inclusion of elements previously
excluded from national accounts
such as household work, pollution,
and spending on crime.
● The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) was developed in 1989 by Herman Daly and
John Cobb, and attempts to make
explicit the link between the economy, the environment and society. It
accounts for private spending on
defence (a negative), domestic
housework (a positive), the costs of
environmental harm (a negative),
and it also corrects for income
● The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) was developed in 1995 by
Redefining Progress, a private
research institute based in California. It arrives at its Genuine
Progress Indicator by taking GDP
figures and then adjusts them to
take into account economic, social
and environmental factors such as
income distribution, crime statistics, the loss or increase of leisure
time and unemployment data.
● The Human Development
Index (HDI) is the work of the
United Nations Human Development Report. It calculates an annual
HDI that ranks the world’s countries
on their achievements in three main
aspects of human development:
health (life expectancy at birth),
knowledge (as measured by literacy
rates and school and college enrolments) and standard of living (as
measured by GDP per capita based
on purchasing power parity). For
2010, Norway was in first place and
South Africa was 110th (just behind
● The Happy Planet Index (HPI)
is the brain-child of the Londonbased New Economics Foundation
to “show the relative efficiency with
which nations convert the planet’s
natural resources into long and
happy lives for their citizens”. The
most recent HPI ranking (2009) puts
South Africa in 118th place.
● The Gross National Happiness
(GNH) indicator emerged in 1972
when the King of Bhutan declared
that he felt it would be more in tune
with his country’s Buddhist values
to measure happiness rather than
economic growth. As a result, moral
and ethical values have been placed
at the core of Bhutan’s economic
strategy to effect better living
In truth, the solution may not be
to replace or adapt GDP but instead
to adopt a dashboard of indicators
that delivers three main outputs:
● A more forensic and transparent analysis of true economic performance (which should include
externalities, social costs, wealth
distribution, and household consumption).
● Inclusion of well-being indicators as part of our national accounting systems to report on health, education, quality of governance,
political participation and current
and future environmental conditions.
● Careful consideration of the
wider impact of economic activity
on the sustainability of human, natural, social and physical capital.
The SA New Economics Network
is initiating such a new socio-economic indicators dashboard project
for South Africa. So, where to from
here? The concept of “lock-in”
describes a situation where parties
have invested in deeply embedded
systems or processes, the complexity of which makes change
extremely unlikely. Today we are
“locked-in” to the erroneous myth
that GDP growth means progress.
Change will come from the most
fearless of politicians, those who
dare to suggest that GDP growth
should not be considered to be
inevitable, who are brave enough to
deconstruct decades of intellectual
and emotional investment into the
GDP construct and who are prepared to admit that we have been
duped. Change will come from the
most progressive of economists,
who are ready to silence their profession’s assertion that welfare and
happiness have no place in economics. And change will come from
every human being who can
embrace a better indicator of genuine human flourishing.
● Kettleborough is an Executive
Programme Director at the SA New
Economics Network. This article
summarises a Thought Leadership
entry to appear in the second half of
2011 in the 10th Anniversary edition
of The Enviropaedia.
This article is part of a National
Dialogue initiative launched by the
Ministry of Economic Development
the Cape Times and SANE.
Transcripts of earlier essays are at
www.sane.org.za To contribute,
e-mail [email protected] not exceeding 1 600 words.
Racists turning ANC into a tribalist cabal
EVEN more depressing than a top
civil servant’s racist rant that
became public last week is the deafening silence of most black political, business and community leaders on the issue. Or is it quiet
acquiescence? Surely there can’t be
room for neutrality on this issue?
The new populism that has
swept our political landscape since
the Polokwane putsch of 2007 is
now showing its fruits: the crude
tribalism of the Manyi brigade,
Julius Malema’s plea for black people to make more babies “for the
revolution” and his demand for “60
percent of Anglo American’s
money”, the police commissioner
promoting his family and friends
willy-nilly, police intimidation of
the Public Protector; and the presidential clan enriching themselves.
Trevor Manuel’s open letter to
Jimmy Manyi was clearly not a
knee-jerk reaction to a reckless
statement, it was the product of an
anger that has been building up
over time at the ethnic chauvinism
among elements of black society
and the licence these people think
they have to insult and belittle.
It was a roar of protest at politicians’ lack of courage and integrity
to uphold the non-racialism
demanded by the Freedom Charter
and our constitution.
max du preez
Manuel’s letter moved senior
public figures with good struggle
credentials to shout with him –
people like Allan Boesak, Franklin
Sonn, Kader Asmal and Jay Naidoo.
But as Manyi would point out, these
are two coloureds and two Indians.
Zwelinzima Vavi was the only
prominent “African” leader in the
Tripartite Alliance to add his voice
to Manuel’s. That is deeply disappointing and disturbing.
ANC secretary-general Gwede
Mantashe could only say he wasn’t
going to play in the “mud” Manuel
had stirred up. Other ANC leaders
muttered that Manuel should not
have gone public; he should have
addressed the matter inside the
ANC. The ANC Youth League and
others sided with Manyi and
turned on Manuel.
This is not an ANC matter. Nonracialism is crucial to our democracy, social cohesion and stability.
To want ANC leaders to shut up
about a powerful man’s public
racism would be similar to putting
a ban on public comment on the
repulsive Reitz video incident at the
University of the Free State, saying
it was a university matter.
What is relevant is that Manyi is
a civil servant, and a well-paid one.
The black racist lobby’s rottweiler,
Paul Ngobeni, who called Manuel a
gangster and “king of the
coloureds” in an open letter on Sunday, is also paid by your and my tax
money, for he is the special adviser
to Minister of Defence Lindiwe
Sisulu. Ngobeni’s letter criticising
Manuel is clearly in breach of the
original ANC statement criticising
Manyi for treating coloured people
as a “commodity”.
I will be astonished if Sisulu
doesn’t now finally fire Ngobeni, a
fugitive from justice in the US.
Sisulu of all people should be sensitive to the current race debates.
Where was her support for Manuel?
She is the daughter of Walter and
Albertina Sisulu, two of our greatest champions of non-racialism.
Walter must have told his daughter
how the fact that his father was a
white man had been used to mock
him as a youngster in Transkei.
Come to think of it, where is
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s voice
in all this? She must have vivid
memories of how her paternal
grandmother had constantly humiliated her mother, Gertrude, as a
“mlungu” because she had blue
eyes, long hair and a light complexion. The people of Bizana called her
“the coloured”. Nelson Mandela’s
mitochondrial DNA is pure
Khoisan – the ancestors of most of
The narrow “Africanism” rife in
the ruling clique of the ANC right
now existed in the ANC before: in
the 1940s and 1950s none other than
Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and
Oliver Tambo were vehemently
against co-operating with Indians
and coloureds in campaigning
against apartheid. But by the time
the Freedom Charter was accepted
in 1955, these men had changed
their minds completely after intimate interaction with activists
such as Yusuf Dadoo, Ahmed
Kathrada and the coloured leaders
of the Franchise Action Committee
who had helped initiate the Defiance Campaign of 1953. The tribalists in the ANC should go and study
their movement’s history.
Perhaps the Manyi debacle will
prove to be a watershed in our politics. If President Jacob Zuma and
the ANC leadership don’t come out
with a clear and unambiguous position rather than more meaningless
mumblings about “non-racialism”,
the minority groups will accept
that the former liberation movement has become a tribalist cabal.