Submitted by NamibianSun101 on Sun, 2013-11-24 02:00
Former South African President FW de Klerk has advised former South West African Territorial Force (SWAFT) and Koevoet members to approach the African Union (AU) with their grievances.
This was said by his spokesperson, Dave Steward, in response to a letter sent by the Namibian Communist Party (CP) on behalf of former SWATF/Koevoet soldiers in the country. In the five-page open letter CP leader Attie Beukes draws De Klerk’s attention to issues including the alleged failure of the Swapo-led government to incorporate these former soldiers into the defence force, police, intelligence service, City Police or prison services.
Steward said: “De Klerk no longer has any locus standi in this matter and is unfortunately not in a position to intervene.” Steward said De Klerk thought by now the policy of national reconciliation would have been in full swing in Namibia. “It was hoped that Namibia’s independence process would be followed by genuine efforts at national reconciliation and integration of all armed forces into a new national system – as happened in South Africa,” said Steward.
The letter also refers to the Namibian government’s refusal to grant these ex-soldiers war veteran status, with the benefits that entails. It asks what happened to the N$36 million South Africa had handed over to Swapo shortly after independence, which was meant to be distributed to the former fighters as pensions. “Our advice to those who feel that they have been treated unfairly is to make use of all the mechanisms available under the Namibian constitution – including your courts,” Steward said. He added that the party should take up the matter in the Namibian parliament.
The CP is the only party that has openly sided with former SWATF/Koevoet soldiers, and it is not represented in Parliament. “They can also approach the mechanisms established by the African Union and the Southern African Development Community,” Steward said. According to him, in the case of the “disputed N$36 million” should be taken up with the government of President Jacob Zuma. “[They can] make use of the media in Namibia and South Africa to air your grievances,” he further advised. In an earlier interview with Namibian Sun, Swapo Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba said former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers should pay the price for siding with the former colonial masters and killing their own people.
“They fought against their own people for a foreign army under the command of the enemy,” said Mbumba at the time. The South West African Territory Force (SWATF) consisted of Namibian conscripts, volunteers and career soldiers who fought alongside the (SADF) against Swapo. Koevoet was the South West African Police Counter-Insurgency Unit and fought fiercely against Swapo combatants during apartheid.
WINDHOEK ELVIS MURARANGANDA
Submitted by NamibianSun101 on Fri, 2013-07-19 08:19
Swapo secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba said former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers should pay the price for siding with the former colonial masters and killing their own people.
“They fought against their own people for a foreign army under the command of the enemy,” said Mbumba in reaction to an announcement by the group under the banner of the Communist Party that they plan to sue the government.
The group, led by Willem Beukes, said that 21 000 former SWATF and 6 400 Koevoet soldiers and their families will join the Communist Party (CP), led by Attie Beukes, in a bid to have the party elected into parliament next year.
The South West African Territory Force (SWATF) consisted of Namibian conscripts, volunteers and career soldiers who fought alongside the (SADF) against Swapo.
Koevoet, also known as “Operation K” was the South West African Police Counter-Insurgency Unit and fought fiercely against Swapo combatants during apartheid.
Attie Beukes maintained that those Namibians who formed part of these two forces did not join voluntarily but were conscripted or jailed under South African law if they refused to join.
“They were under colonial rule and did not voluntarily take up arms against Swapo,” Beukes added.
But Mbumba responded: “I do not care about that excuse. Other people were also forced but instead of fighting against their own people they fled the country. Why didn’t they do the same?”
Beukes told a gathering of close to 15 former SWATF and Koevoet members yesterday that with the help of the CP they will institute criminal and civil claims against the “Swapo-led government” for pension money which was allegedly paid over by the former South African government to Swapo at independence.
“That money was N$36 million at that time and now we hear it has accumulated to over N$1,4 billion. This money plus the pension surplus must be paid back to the former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers,” said Beukes.
Mbumba asked where this money, which he called an “exaggerated amount”, was being held.
Furthermore, the group said Swapo went back on a ceasefire agreement which stipulated that SWATF and Kovoet members had to be absorbed into the Namibian Defence Force and police.
Beukes added: “The Swapo-led government has been paying lip service on the policy of national reconciliation.
“We want backdated payment equivalent to the salary and fringe benefits of paid to a soldier in the national army for the past 23 years.”
But Mbumba maintains that the government has kept its end of the deal and did indeed absorb some of the former soldiers into the police and the army.
“There are even Swapo combatants who could not be taken up in the army and police because there is limited space,” Mbumba said.
Beukes also cried foul over how bursaries are awarded by the Ministry of Education, claiming that the children of former SWATF and Koevoet fighters are excluded.
The group will also bring to court the refusal by the government to accord them war veteran status and also wants backdated payment of the State grants paid to other veterans.
Mbumba retorted: “The law says a war veteran is one who fought for the country’s independence during the liberation struggle. They fought against their own people. What war veteran status do they want?
“If they want to challenge the law then they must do so. It is their right to approach the courts.”
Attorney General Albert Kawana told Namibian Sun that his office was ready to receive any summons and would “deal with them according to the laws of the Republic of Namibia”.
The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kaapanda, said the group’s allegations do not hold water and are not substantial enough to hold government liable.
Submitted by NamibianSun101 on Thu, 2013-06-13 08:40
As next year’s general elections draw closer, political parties not currently represented in parliament have promised to give larger parties a run for their money.
Communist Party president Attie Beukes said his party’s campaign will focus on “the spirit of the indigenous people and the struggle of the working class”
“The current set up has allowed the creation of kings and queens, while the ordinary people are still suffering. People are slaves in this new democracy,” he said.
“We are not only going to participate in both elections, but we are going to State House,” he said.
National Democratic Party of Namibia (NDPN) leader Martin Lukato is optimistic that should the government not offer funding to all registered political parties before the elections, his party would follow the same campaign strategy as that of 2009.
“The voice of the NDPN in 2009 reached all the corners of the country, but we were robbed by those with resources,” he added.
According to him, his party will start campaigning this year already.
“We are concerned about the current federal system and will promote the accommodation of all ethnic groups in the leadership of this country,” Lukato said.
The NDPN has reportedly been in consultation with the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), led by Joseph Kauandenge, to join forces for the elections. Lukato said the two are yet to sign an agreement.
Recently, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) denied knowledge of an application for registration from Kauandenge’s party, despite claims by the young politician that he had applied.
The United People’s Movement, headed by Jan van Wyk, said although his party has a strategic plan, it will not make any promises in a manifesto.
In a surprise turn of events, the Monitor Action Group (MAG) this week announced the retirement of its leader, veteran politician Kosie Pretorius.
According to Jurie Viljoen, who represented the party in the National Assembly (NA) after Pretorius vacated his seat in 2004, MAG has not yet decided whether to participate in next year’s elections.
From one brother to another
(Voorgelê deur Republikein op Di, 2012-09-18 02:00)
Mr. Attie Beukes, president of the Communist Party in Namibia, writes:Open letter to Joseph Mathunjwa, President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in South Africa:
The Communist Party extends revolutionary solidarity and support to each and every worker belonging to the Association of Mineworkers and construction union (AMCU) of South Africa.
Having resorted to the strike-action as the only effective weapon against brutal socio-economic exploitation and oppression, your union has earned our deepest admiration and respect. With you the Communist Party most sincerely bemoans the cold blooded Marikana killings of 34 worker-comrades by the South African police force of President Jacob Zuma’s ANC-government.
The remaining number out of the total 44 deaths we obviously lament as well. The Communist Party offers our heartfelt condolence, extends sympathy with and gives solidarity to the bereaved families of the slain mineworkers and those of all the other victims.
AGENTS OF CAPITAL
Comrades, in this hour of brutal daylight annihilation of workers by the ANC-government which leadership is but an agent of international capital, the Communist Party most seriously urges you to remain steadfast in a revolutionary-spirit and manner, also to be calm, collected and vigilant on a 24 hour-basis! Please guard against every form of agent – provoketeerism as well, while refraining from the disastrous temptation of carrying traditional or any other weapons of whichever kind. The class-enemy is deliberately luring militant independent workers? unions such as yourselves into spontaneity which paves the way towards unnecessary physical battles in the class arena.
Comrade President, don?t let your AMCU be provoked by anyone, nor any real or artificially-created situation on the ground meant as a death-trap. As workers, all of you are revolutionary fighters central to production and most definitely not terrorists. As a result, do not resort to individualized terror-tactics derived from emotionalism, desperation and despair. As a workers? union you are indeed obliged by both the great realism and dialectical acuteness of revolutionary theory itself always to adhere to logic and to conduct every operation in a well planned and highly disciplined fashion.
The workers? fight for higher wages coupled with better fringe-benefits, must follow a strict revolutionary path of absolute order out of objective necessity far away from any actions of spontaneity, empiricism and sectarianism. This is essential for the achievement of real long term success of the workers movement not only in South Africa, but everywhere else in the world. Such a realistic approach and strategy alone, will lead to a consolidated and coordinated worker power-base in South Africa.
The following was clearly spelled-out by Comrade Hewat Beukes of the Workers? Advice Centre, at a worker demonstration, held at the South African Embassy here in Windhoek. Namely, that the South African ANCgovernment of Jacob Zuma (like is the case with the Swapo-government of Hifikepunye Pohamba in Namibia) is serving in the capacity as a caretaker government for the overall interests of regional colonialism as well as global-imperialism. The Communist Party, cannot but fully agree with his analysis.
NOT THE ENEMY
The rank and file of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) nor COSATU itself should in our view not be considered by your AMCU as part and parcel of the class-enemy. The fact that NUM under COSATU is affiliated to the ANC and thus in a governing-alliance with the government, do not make its rank and file opponents nor enemies of the AMCU and of the South African working class in general.
On the contrary, unless the revolutionary- minded AMCU becomes organizationally totally integrated and absolutely one with the rank and file of NUM and therefore with the ordinary workers of COSATU as well as with the entire working class of South Africa, the AMCU itself is doomed to failure.
The issue of former trade union leaders such as ANC?s Cyril Ramaphosa, reportedly now a business tycoon, is of course an entirely different matter altogether!
It is imperative to caution against the popular tendency to romanticise sectarianism. Such practices unavoidably leads to the formation and glorification of so called ?red workers? union?, entirely isolated from so called ?traditional reactionary workers? associations?. Such concepts and actions remain a fundamentally reactionary and counter-productive.
The only purpose such philosophic outlook and theoretical thinking serve is the strengthening of the reactionary traditionalist leadership in the trade union movement, while weakening the workers? movement by dividing its membership and simultaneously selling out their overall socio-economic interests to the global right wing forces of anarchy!
While African despotic politics derives numerical strength from tribal alliances, the working classes on the continent are making their presence felt, everywhere, no doubt. This is the class significance of the moment we live in.
In this scenario the role of the trade union movements as the basic organization of the workers has effectively ceased to exist. Instead, the various trade union movements the world over have become instruments for either the continued socio-economic exploitation and oppression of the entire working class under a system of capitalist decay or the necessary tools for its very own political emancipation in a socialist conclusion.
Your ongoing battle is an accurate embodiment and reflection of the process to divide and so weaken the working class based upon camps of ?revolutionary reds? and ?reactionary collaborator? factions in and by itself become anti-working class. Solid workers? unity and revolutionary class consciousness are what is most needed at this juncture in history.
The execution of this vital task rests upon nobody but yourself and the comrades who are at the helm of both AMCU and the South African trade union leadership in general.
The Communist Party, congratulates the AMCU and critically supports the leading role it has chosen for itself in the turbulent South African labour-capital environment.
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA)
By Catherine Sasmann | April 15th, 2012
Namibia’s reputation for harmony is coming under more and more strain as disputes over power and influence are increasingly tinged with tribalism – including recent conflicts over land. In one example, in March, an angry group of around 150 Herero communal farmers armed with knobkerries, pangas and guns put up a roadblock on a rural road in the Otjinene constituency in the eastern region of Omaheke. Their aim – to stop Stefanus Gariseb, the Damara-speaking chief of the /Gobanin Traditional Authority, from proceeding to an area within the constituency where he was intending to allocate 20-hectare plots to more than 100 beneficiaries.
Police averted the potentially explosive situation by persuading Gariseb and the potential new land owners to leave the area until leaders of the conflicting groups had discussed the matter. Nonetheless, fearing for his safety, Chief Gariseb fled to Windhoek and only returned a week later after police assured him that he would be safe.
But the heart of the problem has not been resolved. The Otjinene constituency is largely populated by Herero communal farmers, who feel that Gariseb’s planned land distributions will infringe on their grazing area. In addition, they are infuriated by the fact that many of those slated to receive land are Oshiwambo-, Kavango- and Tswana-speakers.
And just as importantly, the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) under Herero Paramount chief Kauima Riruako contests Gariseb’s jurisdiction over the area, arguing that – in accordance with the Traditional Authority Act of 2000 – a traditional authority chief has no control over land, but only over the members of a particular tribal community.
Gariseb claims that he does have the necessary authority since the /Gobanin clan was given permission to live in the area in 1947 by Herero chief at the time and because he has been recognised by the current government as the official representative of the /Gobanin.
In the end, further conflict was temporarily avoided when both parties agreed that any future land allocations would be done with the consent of the Herero communal farmers in the region – an unlikely prospect. So the current calm is likely to be just a lull before another storm since the demand for land will not simply disappear.
Meanwhile, politicians have – unsurprisingly – jumped on the bandwagon. The leader of the Communist Party in Namibia, Attie Beukes, said that the ‘deliberate immigration’ of ‘other Namibians’ – like the Damaras, Owambos, Okavangos, Tswanas and San – into the Omaheke, which has historically been occupied by the Herero, was “politically reckless and socio-economically irresponsible.”
The country’s constitution clearly states that Namibia is a unitary State. But this concept is coming under increasing pressure, particularly in relation to competing demands for land.
Indeed, Beukes said that the Namibian government is enforcing the concept of ‘one Namibia, one nation’ and that it is time for greater self-determination – even perhaps for a federal arrangement. “This democratic right demands [freedom] from oppressive Owambo dominance and the freedom of oppressed and exploited and marginalised ethnic minorities to agitate by means of a referendum in order to secede in a peaceful manner,” said Beukes.
However, Beukes’ view remains the minority. Political commentator, Phanuel Kaapama, speaks for most when he says that this would be a very dangerous route for Namibia to take as it amounts to the total nullification of both the Namibian State and its constitution. But he did agree that the Otjinene incident has once again shown that there is a growing trend of ‘ethnicification’ of issues in Namibia – and particularly so in relation to land, which still provides around 60 per cent of Namibians with their livelihood.
BY CATHERINE SASMAN, 29 MARCH 2012
COMMUNIST Party (CP) president Attie Beukes said the “deliberate immigration” of other Namibians like the Damaras, Owambos, Okavangos, Twanas and San for land acquisition in the Omaheke Region is “politically reckless and socio-economically irresponsible” and speaks of an “intense provocation”.
The Otjinene constituency in Omaheke, where a tribal clash was averted weeks ago, has historically been inhabited by Herero-speaking Namibians.
Beukes suggested that the Government is “imposingly” enforcing the concept of ‘one Namibia one nation’ upon various individual “aboriginal” inhabitants of Namibia, which he said is counterproductive for nation building.
Before Namibia can contemplate nationhood, he said, the continued ethnic tension, hostility and politically explosive situation has to be defused democratically.
Disturbingly, he further suggests that ‘marginalised ethnic minorities’ are continually and forcibly subjected to a “Swapo-designed and ethnic institutionalised unitary State”, “where absolute Owambo dominance prevails unabated after 22 years of independence, arguing that self-determination of ethnic marginalised people is “long overdue”.
“This political, democratic right demands the political secession from the oppressing Owambo dominance and the freedom of such oppressed and exploited marginalised ethnic minorities to agitate by means of a referendum to obtain such desired freedom to secede, in a peaceful manner,” Beukes said.
Political analyst Phanuel Kaapama described this line of argument as dangerous.
“This is a very dangerous route to take because it would amount to the total nullification of both the Namibian State and its Constitution,” said Kaapama.
He said the principles of Organisation of the African Union (OAU) which were inherited by the African Union (AU) call for respect of colonial boundaries, with the exception of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Similarly, said Kaapama, Beukes’s suggestion that the unitary state was “designed” by Swapo is erroneous. The Namibian Constitution was agreed to by all those who comprised the Constituent Assembly before independence.
Beukes also said that while he does not argue for a federal arrangement in Namibia, the Communist Party would prefer and support “unconditionally if it comes to that” even a federation rather than “national inequality” as the only path towards “complete democratic centralism”.