Zimbabwe Lesson For SouthAfrica




Prof. Mike Cowling was MC,

Prof. M.W. Makgoba gave the introduction, and Prof. Ron Nicolson gave the vote of thanks.

Zimbabwe: Lessons for South Africa

(”C” shall signify Prof. Cowling, ”M” Prof. Makgoba, ”N” Prof. Nicolson & ”T” Trevor Ncube)  

 M:He was born in Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe, graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a first class Honours degree in Economic History in 1985. After a brief stint as a school teacher and as teacher-assistant at the university, Trevor found his way into journalism, working on the ‘Financial Gazette’ from 1989 to 1996, first as an Assistant-Editor and then as the Executive Editor. His worth was quickly recognised and in 1994, he received the ‘Zimbabwe Editor of the Year’ award. He was one of the founders and shareholders of the ‘Zimbabwe Independent’ and ‘The Standard’ in 1996 and in 1997 respectively. He was Editorial Director of the ‘Zimbabwe Independent’ and ‘The Standard’ between 1998 and 2000, and the Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Zimbabwe Independent’ between 1996 and 2000. In 2000, Trevor became Publisher and Chief Executive of the ‘Zimbabwe Independent’ and ‘The Standard’. The position he still holds up to today. He has been Acting Chair of the Commonwealth Press Union since 1999 and in July 2002 became the Owner and the CEO of the ‘Mail and Guardian’. In August the following year, he was appointed President of ‘Print Media: South Africa’ and Chairman of ‘The Newspaper Association of South Africa’. He is also a member of the ‘World Association of Newspapers Board’. Trevor has delivered numerous lectures on the role of the press, press freedom, democracy and economic structural adjustment programmes in the United States, Zambia, South Africa and Canada. He has written widely for newspapers and magazines in South Africa and in the United Kingdom, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests, please join me in welcoming our Guest Speaker, Mr Trevor Ncube.

T: Well, I’m blushing, but you obviously won’t see it. Thank you, Professor, for those very kind words. And for those who don’t know, PI’m donerofessor is also our Chairman at the ‘Mail and Guardian’ so we are very privileged to have somebody like him as our Chairman. Am I projecting my voice sufficiently to everybody? Thanks very much. Let me start with a disclaimer. Or a clarification. Interesting, isn’t it – to start with a clarification – before you go on – but that – to say that – because usually when I make these speeches, Zimbabwe listens for South Africa, and I know there must be journalists around here – the headline the following morning is ‘Mncube says South Africa is going to go the way of Zimbabwe.’ I’m not saying that and I’m not going to say that – I simply want to draw on Zimbabwe’s experience and see whether there are things that can be learnt from there because I think it’s fundamentally important – so I thought I should start with that clarification. But having said that – excuse me – let me also share with you a real-life story of mine. In 1991, I had occasion to visit Zambia for the first time and I was very excited to see what Zambia looked like and this is at a time when us – you know, arrogant educated Zimbabweans looked down upon Zambians – because of what they had done to their country. And we say to ourselves, ‘never will we ever go the way Zambia has gone.’ We laughed at the value of their currency, we laughed when we saw them cross the borders to come and shop in Zimbabwe and we basically thought that uh – they were of a lower status than us. So I got into Lusaka, and this is a true-life story. I get into Lusaka, jump into a taxi, very excited to be in Lusaka and after the taxi driver has loaded my luggage, I sit down – back seat as usual – to be chaffeur driven and as I sit down I can see there is a big hole through the taxi and I can see the pot holes from where I am sitting and then I said to the taxi driver ‘So my brother, how is Zambia?’ He was now beginning to drive into town and before he had occasion to respond to that question, the right rear wheel of the taxi came off, and as would happen, it sped, overtaking the taxi and nearly caused an accident, or accidents, because it was going the other way as it were. And then – he had a very good sense of humour – he said to me ‘Welcome to Zambia my brother.’ I hope there’s a lesson there.

T: Let me say though that when you look at Zimbabwe and you see the kind of things that have taken place, in Zimbabwe, you say to yourself, ‘We hope that our South Africa colleagues have watched and seen what we’ve done and where we’ve gone wrong.’ There was a time when we considered ourselves the ‘Jewel of Africa’. When we considered ourselves ‘The Brains of Africa.’ when we considered ourselves ‘The Bread Basket of Africa’ when we could feed ourselves and have enough to share with our Southern African brothers. That is no longer the case at the moment and what are the lessons to be drawn from that? The – clearly – when you talk to Africans, and people of black pigmentation, you get a sense that there is so much excitement about what’s happening in South Africa. You get a sense that everybody is rooting for this team called ‘South Africa Incorporated’. Everybody wishes that things go well in South Africa and I think there are a lot of reasons why things should go well in South Africa. I often say that it would be a pity if South Africa doesn’t succeed, because if South Africa doesn’t succeed, who else on the continent is going to succeed? So to me it’s fundamentally important for Black people on the continent, for Black people the world over, that South Africa works, because if South Africa doesn’t work, for Black people across the world – this is going to be a huge indictment and fortunately there are lessons to be drawn from what has happened in Zimbabwe. I will focus on a couple of issues and those issues are on the issue of land, how that issue has been handled in Zimbabwe and whether there are lessons to be gained from there – on the issue of Black Economic Empowerment, on the issues of press freedom, on the issues of health and education, to see whether it’s possible to draw lessons from there. Let me begin with what I think are success stories in Zimbabwe and those success stories in my mind happen to be education and health. Or maybe I should have a qualification, make a qualification there and say that there were, until seven years ago, success stories. Because unfortunately the past seven years has seen a systematic destruction of what were very successful experiments at spreading education and spreading the health delivery infrastructure all across the country. Clearly to me – I am in an education institution at the moment and one of the witnesses of South Africa – as you look around, as an inheritance from apartheid, as an outcome, a direct outcome of Bantu Education, is that there is a lot of work that needs to be done for South Africa to take its most rightful place in the community of nations. But one gets the sense that this perhaps is the weakest link in South Africa’s development, that up to the present moment, you get a sense that South Africa is grappling with exactly what to do with its education system. Exactly what the curriculum should look like, what kind of education system you want and what it should do, and how it should communicate with the rest of South African society, with industry, with commerce and everything else. You get a sense that there’s a bit of disarray, um that there is – a lot of time is being spent on debating how to move forward, rather than on working on practical things to make things move forward. I think this is where Zimbabwe offers a lesson. I say to people no matter how passionately you hate Robert Mugabe, no matter how passionately you wish him ill, if there is anything that he was successful in was in educating Zimbabweans. If there is anything that Robert Mugabe was very successful in was realising that without education, we couldn’t stand as a proud nation, and he invested money, he invested resources, he didn’t waste time in trying to find out what formula that education system should look like, he quickly got into doing the job and did the job very well and some of you remember that when he did so, the IMF and the World Bank opposed him. He had a tough time in trying to do the kind of things that he wanted to do in education because they considered investment in education as a waste of some sort. Investment in education tended to distort the fiscus they would argue, but at the end of the day, the results speak for themselves.

The number of Zimbabweans that are across the world, who are a product of that education system that Robert Mugabe put in place, attest to the fact that that education system was one of the best. It is a pity, as I stand in front of you today, to see the very rapid reversal of those gains, as you have seen behind there – the closure of private schools over the past week, because they have refused to take instructions from Robert Mugabe. But again that could be a whole subject matter for another day. But ultimately there are lessons to be drawn from there – I believe South Africa has taken too long – it’s ten years now – there is no clarity on where education should go and I think the challenge is even bigger in South Africa because of the negative impact of Bantu Education and because of that one would want to see the speed in correcting the kind of education that we have to be multiplied and the fact that there are people that were a product of that Bantu Education who are walking around the streets of South Africa – what to do with those people to make sure that they are in the mainstream of the economy and are productive. Because for as long as those people remain outside the mainstream of the economy, those people pose a threat to the stability of South Africa. I think that’s a message that needs to be driven loud and clearly to the politicians that as long as those people walk without any formal education, without any certificates, as long as they walk basically unemployable, they are – they pose a threat to the stability of this country – and they need to be attended to.

T: Let me move on to health, health again is another issue where Zimbabwe had tremendous success, but again we have seen over the past couple of years, tremendous reversals of those gains that we made. As you know we have seen the products of that education system, in terms of our nurses, in terms of our doctors, the best that the world had to offer. They have been frustrated in their own country and they have taken off to work in Botswana, to work in South Africa, to work in New Zealand, to work in Australia – to work elsewhere where the world offers them hope for the future. But again, like him, or dislike him, Robert Mugabe, at independence, invested tremendous resources in the training of the nurses, in the education of our doctors, in ensuring that infrastructure, primary health care outputs that there was investment in that infrastructure in ensuring that people did not have to walk long distances to get to hospitals, to get to clinics to receive treatment and that went a long way to ensuring that Zimbabwe was a vibrant and healthy society. But, like I said, those hospitals today lie idle because there are no drugs, there are no doctors, there are no nurses, there are no ambulances. I am sure there are lessons to be gained from there.

T: The problematic area which I shall go to now, is one of land. Land reform which – as happens in Africa – we are people that are very close to our land. We are people – we have got sentimental attachments to where we were born and where our parents were born. We want to have that close connection, so in Africa, land is an emotive issue. But let’s look at how the Zimbabwean situation has turned out as far as land reform is concerned. First of all we had a period of twenty one years, upon, during which the government did literally nothing about land reform, this is 1980 – at independence – to round about 2000 and 2001, but within that period what was very clear is that there was a deliberate policy, not pronounced, of enriching a few, well-connected Black people within the party and within the government. Those people became, soon became Zimbabwe’s landed gentry, even though some of them could not even farm, and owning a farm became a status symbol – it became something that people would boast about you know – ‘come to my farm for a braai, boerewors’, but in terms of effective production, those farms were not contributing to Zimbabwe, to Zimbabwe’s productivity. The question is why did Robert Mugabe to take such a long time to address the land reform exercise, because, first of all, he looked at himself as a communist and a socialist, and creating a capitalist class, a Black one for that was considered to be an anathema, but as a contradiction because those that were well connected to him were able to get to the land and enrich themselves. One would have expected somebody like him to be passionate, early on about land, about the fact that it must be re-distributed, but he wasn’t.

Point number one. Point number two, the White commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, having gone for such a long time without anybody doing anything about land reform, took it for granted that nothing would ever happen. So, in my book, the White commercial farmers in Zimbabwe are partly to blame for the crisis that Zimbabwe found itself in. They did not take the initiative to open dialogue and find a way out – um – on an issue that – like I said – is an issue that evokes a lot of passion, as far as a lot of people are concerned. There was an assumption that this issue would go away, that we’d hold onto our land, that in any case we had worked hard for our land and that those that were crying for our land were really day dreaming – this would not happen. And for twenty years they were right, but unfortunately, when it finally happened, it happened the wrong way. What I am trying to say is that I believe that South Africa has an opportunity to look across the border…..(end of first side of first tape)….this man coming up with a land grab rather than a land reform exercise, and I believe that this is the time for White South African commercial farmers to be taking the initiative and saying ‘Where should we go as far as this issue is concerned?’ I hear a lot of people saying ‘We don’t want what happened in Zimbabwe to happen in South Africa as far as land is concerned.’ But I don’t discern any interest in trying to resolve the issue. I discern a concern about keeping what I have – okay – the message is ‘Stop Robert Mugabe from what he is doing, so that what I have is not taken away.’ The message is not ‘Stop Robert Mugabe from what he is doing and let me find time to find the formula as to how to get around the pressing issues of land reform. So my friends what I am saying to you tonight is that the land issue – if left unattended, opens a way – provides an opportunity for a political demagogue, one day in the life of South Africa, who will come in and say ‘Land to the people.’ And like I said that strikes a resonance with the people and things go horribly wrong. This is the time to ensure that the dialogue begins. I had a speaking engagement this afternoon and I sat at a table where there were two farmers and I could hear concern, but I could also hear that they are aware that there are pressures, but nobody seems to want to come out and say – ‘this is the solution that we have as far as this issue is concerned.’ What I am saying is that, I know it’s very easy as we sit here right now, to say ‘No, this is South Africa, there will never be a demagogue, we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.’ But I don’t think any of us are fortune-tellers, to say that that will not happen, because as long as the environment is there and the possibility is there – it will happen. Remember what I said about those millions of Black South Africans who walk the streets without any education, without an opportunity for a job? Those are the people that would be useful when a political demagogue does come up. Let’s not give an opportunity to a demagogue of that sort to come up. The – and as it happens, we’ve seen the disarray that has taken place in Zimbabwe because what we have seen in Zimbabwe is not land reform, and like I tried to say to – to people over lunch, there is a misconception, a very serious one, that what is taking place in Zimbabwe at the moment is about land reform – because it isn’t about land reform. But when you present a demagogue to distort the message, he will distort the message to suit his particular purposes at that particular time.

T: Let me move onto the third issue – if not the fourth issue, and that is the issue of Black economic empowerment. Again, like land reform, Black economic empowerment in Zimbabwe was not seen as the right thing to do. It was an issue that was forced on the political agenda, by Black businessmen who felt that the status quo was going on and had gone on for a considerable time and that the colonial legislation or secular legislation had precluded a lot of Black people in participating in the mainstream economy and that something needed to be done. But when they finally approached the government with a proposal that it was important that there be Black economic empowerment, or indiginisation, as it was called in Zimbabwe, they were seen as having political agendas, they wanted to – to sideline ZANU PF, they wanted to sideline the ruling party and they must be contained, and cleverly, ZANU PF latched on to this ideas of Black economic empowerment and made sure that it contained Black economic empowerment. At the end of the day, the people that got the deals, the people that got the dent tenders, were people that were closely connected to the political party, people that were closely connected to the political structures.

And unfortunately, those that were seen to be independent minded, any Black people that were seen to be independent minded – who wanted to have a slice of the cake were sidelined, because Black economic empowerment became a tool of patronage – it became a tool for rewarding those that were loyal and had worked for the party, and unfortunately the kind of businessman that it produced, what that Black economic empowerment produced was the kind of businessman who became an apologist for the ruling party, the kind of businessmen who thought that their brief was to be forever grateful to the ruling party for having been given – for having given them an opportunity to have a slice of the cake. What are, what are the lessons to be learnt as far as South Africa is concerned? First of all – or maybe before I answer that question – what became important in Zimbabwe – which was not addressed, was the fact that Black economic empowerment was also an act of bringing the majority of the people into the mainstream of the economy, but that didn’t happen because Black economic empowerment was not broad-based, it was selective, like I said and the – the deciding factor was political in a way and ultimately because it was contained in that way, it wasn’t successful, it didn’t produce the kind of businessmen that we would be proud of. The products of Black economic empowerment were seriously compromised and were businessmen that would not compete against the rest of the world. Within the South African context, you hear people sometimes questioning the need for Black economic empowerment. You hear people say that Black economic empowerment is racism in reverse and for how long must these people claim that they want to be empowered after ten years? And it saddens me when I hear those kind of sentiments, because it is again fundamentally important that the Black people of this country get a piece of the action as far as the economy, the running of the economy is concerned, for as long as wealth is associated with one’s colour, for as long as being in business is associated with one’s colour, social and political stability of South Africa is under threat. And I believe that, again, like the White commercial farmers, our White colleagues and our White counterparts in South Africa have a huge responsibility of taking the initiative in resolving the skewed distribution of wealth in this country because again the skewed distribution of wealth in this country which is inherited, an inheritance from apartheid, closes out the generality of the South Africans, the Black South Africans and provides fodder and provides fertile ground again for demagogues, so in my view, it’s vitally important that the captains of industry take the baton stick, that the captains of industry take the initiative and ensure that they engage in a transparent manner in a law-based manner, in a firm manner, to ensure that their Black colleagues get into the mainstream of the economy because your wealth in a sea of poverty can never be a comfortable thing to have because that sea of poverty could sweep you asunder. So it’s fundamentally important and all those people who think that this reverse racism, say so without looking at the larger and broader interests of the nation and I believe that we should see a speedy resolution of this issue and I’m one of those people that are quite critical, for instance, about the Financial Services Charter which has been celebrated as a success, because I think it’s only a halfway house of where we want to go as far as Black economic empowerment is concerned. The financial services industry is the key into getting into the economy. Without access to finance, forget about Black economic empowerment. It is in this sector that it is fundamentally important that the ownership structures reflect this rainbow nation. Banking is about relationships, banking is about who owns the bank, who approves the loans, banking is about networks, banking is about who did you go to school with, and as it is structured at this present moment and by the way I have defined it, it means that a lot of Black people are not bankable, because they didn’t go to school with Mr Viljoen, they didn’t go to school with Mr de Klerk and for Mr de Klerk and Mr Viljoen to give a loan to a Black person, it’s going to take a lot of approvals and whatever to take place, if you are lucky to get the loan. I might sound like I’m trivialising this, but I want to drive the point home that without that re-structuring of the ownership, so that when I walk in there is a Mr Ndlovu there who I recognise and knows me and can vouch for my reputation. Until that happens, I’m going to have problems in getting a loan because wherever I’m going it’s going to be the first time and it’s going to be the first time that is characterised by mistrust. I say this to emphasise the point that as currently structured, the Financial Services Charter to me does not go far enough in unlocking the financial power to allow South Africans, Black South Africans to get into the mainstream of the economy. And again, these things, the longer it’s taken to resolve them, the higher the danger that by the time you attend to them, things will have gotten terribly out of hand.

T: Let me move on now to one thing that I – I read my Chairman’s writing in the Sunday Times and I say it for the first time I disagree with my Chairman, um, having lived in Zimbabwe, having seen what has taken place in Zimbabwe, I, I say to my South African friends, ‘Guys you are so excited about floor crossing and a strong ANC, you are so excited about a two-thirds majority, we were once there, we were excited about the two-thirds majority, we were even excited to give Robert Mugabe as much power as he wanted’. We made him Executive President in 1987, giving him as much power as possible and when we did that we said ‘Oh, but this is Robert, he won’t abuse it, he’s educated, he’s got the interest of the country, there is no way he’s going to abuse this.’ Unaware that we were creating a huge mistake, we are making a huge mistake.

I sometimes say to my South African friends, ‘You know, I know you so this country is so full of hope and excitement, it’s so good to live in this country’, but sometimes I wish I could shake my South African friends and say ‘Guys get real now.’ The things that you forgive now, because you are in a honeymoon phase are the things that will come to haunt you ten years down the line. It’s like in a marriage, the things that you let your partner get away with you will have serious problems correcting ten years down the line. What you don’t like, you must say the first day so that she or he knows it’s not the right thing to do. But you hear in South Africa, that ‘oh’ and you sort of understand that we’ve just come from apartheid and these guys liberated us and there is no way that they can go wrong. But it’s okay to have a two-thirds majority. Yes, it is okay, but things can go wrong. Unfortunately, the problem that South Africa has is that it doesn’t have an opposition that doesn’t pander to the whims of a minority, an opposition that doesn’t pander to the whims of a small section of the society, an opposition that doesn’t think that fighting back is a slogan. To me that poses even bigger dangers because it basically means that South Africa has no opposition political party. And yes, things might be okay now because there is President Thabo Mbeki, but what one day if things do go wrong. So I do have my concerns about the floor crossing which is now history, I do have my concerns about the two-thirds majority. I think for any vital, for any democracy to be vibrant, it needs a patriotic opposition, it needs an opposition that stands out and speaks out. What stops the ruling party, with a two-thirds majority from abusing power? What stops a President with two-thirds majority from abusing power? I hear some of you say ‘Oh, ja, a strong press…’ or ‘We wouldn’t allow them to do this..’ and ‘Oh, look where we’ve come from..’ But you know when I – when you talk to the people in power, and you realise how much, first of all, people are beholden to the Liberation Movement, to the ANC and how much they are beholden to the President, you say to yourself ‘but can they say ‘no’ when he says he wants this to go.’ I’m thinking aloud here and sharing my concerns with you and saying that there is a need for the checks and balances, that it is important for this democracy, if it continues to be vibrant, that we have a strong opposition, but again, like the ANC says, they can’t go and – they can’t go out there and form an opposition party for you, um – so which means one day down the line, there will come – there will be an opposition political party because the ground is fertile for that kind of a thing. I understand the position at the present moment, the brutality of apartheid, the brutality of racism in this country has made everybody fall in love with the ANC, and like on honeymoon, remember, when the love is hot, we are blind to certain mistakes in that relationship and I hope that we are not blind to this. I say this to my friends sometimes and I say ‘You know I wish I could give South Africans, I wish there was a tablet which I could give to my South African friends and say ‘guys, take this tablet and experience what we experienced and see whether you have similar positions..’ But when I say that my friends turn around and say ‘Do you have a formula for your teenage son from not falling in love and hurting himself, it’s from hurting himself that he learns a few lessons’, but for a nation it’s a very costly way of learning some lessons. Um, South Africa has been successful in economic management and I think to a large extent it is being seen as an example of how to run the economic policy of a country and it has received quite um, a number of uh, commendations from the world community. And we’ve seen the growth of a very autonomous Reserve Bank – which is what we need. We’ve seen a very close eye on inflation, inflation targeting and so forth, but my concern is that we are watching the wrong numbers, or we’re paying too much attention on a narrow set of numbers, because I say to myself ‘what’s the point of achieving three percent growth when we are not making a dent on poverty, what’s the point of reducing interest rates to below to a single digit when you are not making a dent on poverty?’ And I believe that there needs to come in the policy dialogue a realisation that yes, it’s good classical economics to have low inflation, it’s good to have low interest rates, but that ought to go in tandem with strategies to reduce, to reduce poverty, with strategies to create jobs, because to me, the thing that frightens me most, like I said, is those twenty-one million – fifteen to twenty-one – depending on whose figures you listen to who are out of the productive sector, the kind of people who, if today Sandton city burnt down will have nothing to regret, because they don’t own a piece of that, so I believe it’s vitally important in policy dialogue and policy formulation for South Africa to begin to realise that yes, like I said, good inflation, good low inflation is down, good low interest rates are good, so low interest rates are good, low inflation is good, but we need to have strategies that talk to poverty reduction. We need to have strategies that talk to unemployment and you know you hear the numbers that are being bandied around in terms of employment creation, the hundred billion that is going to be spent and you say ‘that you hope that that happens and happens pretty soon.’ Um, and I think perhaps one thing that is again, in favour of South Africa, are the checks and balances that we do have between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. But I do have a concern, though that when it comes to the sway that the ruling party has over the legislation. But I have watched with admiration the way the judiciary works independent of the executive, the way the executive works independent of the judiciary and the – the power games that take place that are natural things and there is a lot to be grateful for as far as that is concerned. I know I think I have spoken longer than I am supposed to speak – am I right Mike? Um, let me say – let me conclude again that by saying – or maybe let me not conclude – Mike says I do have a bit of time.

T: Let me touch on an issue which is, I suppose, very dear to my heart and that is the freedom to express ourselves, the freedom to write as we wish – but of course, writing factual things, the freedom not to misquote you Mr Chairman, the freedom to – to publish and be dammed and not publishing worrying whether you’ll be alive the following day. As the Professor said when introducing me – ‘it is clear that all across Africa, the independent media is under siege.’ We have in Zimbabwe, my home country, represents the attitude that the political class in Africa has, as far as the media is concerned. The media on the continent is seen as an oppositional platform, the media on the African continent, particularly the independent media is perceived as an enemy of the state, it is tolerated at best, in most instances, it is dealt with quite viciously. We are still fortunate that we do have an independent press in South Africa, we do have a press when all things are considered, when all these concerns that I have raised are put side by side with the fact that there is such a vibrant media, you say to yourself ‘So, perhaps, you know, we do have more than a fair chance of making sure that this South African experiment succeeds, we do have a vibrant press, we do have levels of tolerance within and outside the government and the ruling party.’ But there are developments that concern you and these are developments that President Thabo Mbeki commented on in Cape Town late last year we he said ‘There is a tendency that the intellectuals in South Africa are staying away from debate.’ The Professor is not guilty of that because he participates in debates, publicly, but there is a sense that it is not safe to speak your mind, I don’t know where it comes from, there is a sense that um, if I venture to offer my opinions on certain things, as an intellectual, that things – that I might, something is going to befall me and I said to myself ‘I think sometimes, people look at a couple of incidences that have happened and say to themselves, ‘is it really wise of me to stand up and say things?’ and I think perhaps, you know, I am sorry to cite you Professor Makgoba, but you, your experiences at Wits and the debate over AIDS is one example.

The experience um – of uh, or rather Jeremy (Cronins’?) experience when he decided to speak out some time last year – I remember – if I recall or 2002/2003, the way he was forced to either swallow his words or apologise, those are kinds of developments that create a culture that says that it is not safe to speak your mind, that say debate and disagreement are synonymous with being unpatriotic and that those kind of tendencies deserve to be punished. I think for a young democracy of this nature – and I was very excited and pleased to hear the President say he was unhappy with that kind of development, because for a democracy such as this one, the juice of a democracy, the stuff that keeps the pulse pumping is the freedom of the intellectuals in particular, and all those who think they have opinions, even those who don’t have opinions worth listening to, but the ability to stand up and say what you believe in and sleep soundly thereafter, that’s vitally important, but if a climate is created that you need to be concerned about what you say because you will be made to apologise, or you will not get tenders, you’re not going to get BEE deals, then we are re-creating a Zimbabwean kind of scenario, we need to see vibrance from all quarters and we need to run away from the tendency that criticism is equivalent to lack of patriotism, we need to run away from saying that ‘those who don’t agree with me are my enemies.’ And the lessons for that are ample from Zimbabwe, the moment we are all cowered down, the moment we all have our heads under the table, that’s when those that are in power, do as they wish with us. I think I’ve said enough for one evening. Um, so thank you very much for listening to me and I go away wanting to leave you with a message that this is the jewel of the continent, this is one country whose success will determine so much whether we as Black people can walk with our heads high, and for me as a Zimbabwean who lives in South Africa, I wish this country so very well and I worry when I see certain things that cause me to ……..(end of second side of first tape)…(first side of second tape)… I want to see this country succeed. It’s because of my passion as a Black African that I want to see an African country succeed. I thank you very much.

C: Professor Ronald Nicolson, could you please come up and give a formal vote of thanks to our Speaker? Thanks very much.

N: Thank you Mike, and before I thank our Speaker for his very eloquent and timely and helpful address, perhaps just a word of thanks too to Professor Makgoba for his kind words about the ‘Maritzburg campus. It’s always reassuring for us Malegapuru, and you do always know how to say the things that we want to hear. Mr Ncube, it has been a great privilege to talk to us, you are somebody who does have the advantage of having a foot in both camps, both in Zimbabwe and in South Africa and we thank you for what has been a very clear and dispassionate analysis of some of the similarities and some of the lessons that we need to draw from the Zimbabwean experience. We do share the hope that you are expressing for our land, we are optimistic and hopeful and believe that it will become a land where everyone has a rightful place of honour, but we hear what you are saying about the parallels between Zambia and Zimbabwe in the days when Zimbabwe was prospering – we hear that we are in danger of falling into those same feelings of complacency and superiority here – we are not very good at dealing with – with foreigners. We’re not very good at subduing our South African arrogance, we too admired the Zimbabwean education system as a university for many years we have received Zimbabwean students here and we wish in many ways that we had um, shared the privilege of the University of Zimbabwe in not really having to bother with or not really having to cater for under-prepared students because the students who finally made it to the University of Zimbabwe, came with very good Oxford A levels. Um, and we wish that in some ways our own education system would have taken the same route that Mr Mugabe took in taking what was already established in education, also of course, using A levels and O levels instead of trying to manufacture an educational system from the ground up – we hear what you are saying about the issues of – of land and the need to be talking now about the redistribution of land and we know from what you say how – how important land issues are to African people. But you are right that it’s not only a question of land, it’s a question of a skewed economy and you’re quite right that our principle as we do, we are glad for other people to become relatively wealthy, as long as nobody touches what we have. And we’re very grateful to Mr Manuel so far for having achieved that, but we also acknowledge that in a sense, Mr Manuel has achieved that by a kind of gentle (Faturitism?) and that can’t last – we can’t continue to hold onto what we have without being willing to share and that is an important lesson which we haven’t yet learnt perhaps in South Africa. We hear your need for Black people to have people to whom they can relate in financial services, and just to finish off with a very quick story of my own. I live now in a little country village and I was in the bank the other day, as and you would expect there were many Zulu people in the bank and a Zulu man came to the lady bank teller to conduct his business and she was unable to speak Zulu, now I have to say in no way was she rude to him, she really wanted to help him – she was gracious, she was kind, but she couldn’t understand him and he couldn’t understand her. There was no bank – there was no Black bank teller in the building and eventually the cleaning lady, with her doek on her head and her broom still in her hand had to come and translate. It did seem to me a fairly powerful indication of what you are talking about and it is something that financial services, I think, need to address.

We hear what you are saying about the need for a patriotic opposition. I expect that the opposition does think that it’s patriotic, perhaps what we need is a more united opposition, rather than a fragmented opposition which speaks for so many different voices, and finally the need for intellectual debate. I think what you said is true, intellectuals are not participating in debate with our government – particularly White intellectuals. I don’t think it’s because we feel afraid to do so, I think it’s because we think that we have lost the right to do so because we too were part of the apartheid domination and we long in a sense for Black intellectuals to emerge who will take this burden away from our shoulders. Perhaps we are running away from what our rightful responsibilities, but in many ways I wish we had more people like the redoubtable Jonathon Janssen, who often says things that I don’t agree with but I thank God almost every week for Jonathon Janssen and wish that there were more Black intellectuals like him able to shoot their mouths off, bravely and instantaneously and shooting down all those sacred cows. So thank you again for a really helpful and inspiring speech which has many lessons for us which I hope we will take to heart and we would like you to accept this small gift as a – as a remembrance of your time with us.

C: Thank you Ron, well ladies and gentlemen, it is now an opportune moment to conclude our proceedings, our guest, our Speaker has really had to not only sing for his supper but he’s also had to sing for his lunch, because he addressed the South African Institute of International Affairs in Pietermaritzburg, where he was kept ’till about half past two, fielding all kinds of questions about the situation in Zimbabwe, and although we don’t have any formal question period during – while the lecture is actually being delivered, that we all have an opportunity to continue this process over drinks and snacks. I would just like to end off by first of all thanking Professor Makgoba for making the time to be available, we all know that he is a very busy person and we do hope he is going to visit the Pietermaritzburg campus more often and that we do appreciate the time and trouble to introduce our guest speaker this evening and secondly I would like to thank Jewel and Estelle, from the Alan Paton Centre, who have largely made this evening the success that it is, so thank you very much to them.