Monday, 30 December 2013

Kenny Kunene's Sunday Independent column

The column below appeared in the Sunday Independent of 29 December 2013, in a slightly altered form, and with the opinion of a little-known member of the ANC accompanying it. (

For the original text written by Kenny Kunene, please feel free to reference the text below.

A future more important than our pasts

When Gayton McKenzie and I became involved in creating the Patriotic Alliance, we obviously knew our pasts would be what all our opponents would use most strongly to try to attack us. 
We were prepared for the worst of it.
But those same pasts are exactly what has put us on the tongues of all South Africans. All the same, we’re not counting on it keeping us there. Our present and future deeds will do that, and for all the right reasons. Just as everyone in this country knows that we were once criminals, those same people know that for more than 10 years we have not been criminals. We have actively opposed crime, particularly all forms of gangsterism and have poured our money, energy, personal networks and time into initiatives to reduce crime. South Africa’s future will be one in which gangsterism and crime disappears not because we think that would be very nice, but because we will create a country in which doing crime is not among the few options available to so many of our young people to survive.
There is nothing worse than seeing your own life improve, while you leave your people behind you in the gutter. Sushi has long lost its flavour for me, when it is something the children from my old township might never be able to taste for themselves. To be clear, I am not ashamed of my success, my money or the flamboyant lifestyle I enjoyed over these last few years. It was my right to enjoy my success and there was nothing wrong with me or any of my friends having money. But there was definitely something wrong with all the millions in this country who had nothing and I just can’t look the other way any more. 
I can’t look the other way when presidents build castles for themselves on money meant for our people. When billions are “lost” each year, but should have uplifted the poor. When multibillion-rand deals are signed and simply go towards making a few rich men even richer. When the RDP house a mother once showed tears of gratitude for simply falls apart around her because it’s built so poorly. When gangsters kill each other for nothing more than a few corners from which to make our kids slaves to drugs — all while no one shows the political will to be accountable to those people who put them in power.
I can’t look the other way, when deep down I know what needs to be done to fix this country. You may be surprised to hear such a statement, but I say it not in arrogance but rather with the weight of all the heavy responsibility that statement brings. It would have been easy for me to just shrug and say “this is far bigger than me”, but I would have been lying. Millions of poor people look to me and to Gayton. Together, we are far bigger than any one man or two friends. I must try to make this vision real through something I believe in: the Patriotic Alliance.
It has been far too easy for our detractors to say we are nothing more than a gangster party. When Mzwandile Masina from the ANC Youth League says that he will write to the IEC to object to former prisoners going to Parliament, he is providing evidence that politicians in this country don’t read. After more than five years after your sentence, you can go to Parliament, although — for the record  — neither Gayton nor I intend going to Parliament, though the PA will win a substantial number of parliamentary seats next year. Our place remains in the party, forming alliances with ever more groups, to make them understand our vision to turn South Africa around.
So instead of focusing on the policies we are offering, our detractors focus on our past. They make out we are the first politicians to talk to gangsters. But at every election both the DA and the ANC have gone to speak to gang members to support their election campaigns. They know the gang leaders are trusted in communities more than politicians. Politicians have brought that on themselves and now want to blame the gangsters. They sneak to the gangsters’ houses at night. We go by day because we are all opposed to the culture of gangsterism. The PA doesn’t quietly, tacitly support gangsterim — as the other parties do. 
All the research into gangsterism shows that you only find gangsterism and vigilantism in communities where there is far too much violence — but no justice, no trust in the police, no trust in the government and no alternative forms of survival. In Khayelitsha you see necklacings. In Manenberg you see guns. The root cause of both is the same: complete and utter disinterest from the ruling DA to make a fundamental change in the way our people live.
The PA will not be treating symptoms, because gangsterism and crime is a symptom. We will treat causes. Poverty is a cause. Injustice is a cause. Lack of political will to transform our society is a cause. These are what turn children into gangsters. No child is born a gangster and no child should become one. All the former gangsters who support the PA do so because they are tired of war. They want lasting peace. They want a future for their children.
Everyone said that once Rashied Staggie came out of jail there would be war. But he has done everything he promised us. He has stayed away from gang activities. He has focused on his family.
No gang member is a leader of this party. But all South Africans are welcome to join this alliance, be they former criminals or future saints.
When the PA consulted with the community, we spoke to everyone, from floor cleaners to politicians who once crossed floors in Parliament. At these meetings in the Western Cape and in other areas across South Africa, people came out in their numbers. No one in the PA nominate himself or herself as a leader. We were elected from the floor at our inaugural conference.
There are far bigger issues in South Africa than the pasts of Gayton McKenzie and Kenny Kunene. 
If you think we are missing something in our vision for this country then join this alliance and help us to make service delivery second nature to government, help us to truly empower all South Africa’s people, give them quality education, a corruption-free state with strong capacity, quality healthcare for all, booming industries, a land reform programme that delivers results and a banking system that serves the people instead of exploiting them. Help us to lower crime by raising equality.
Our critics must always remember what Amilcar Cabral says: ““Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.”
This is what our Patriotic Alliance commits to give to our people: A guaranteed future for our children.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Statement on the revoking of parole for Rashied Staggie

The Patriotic Alliance is disappointed at the manner in which Rashied Staggie's parole revocation was handled, without any warning being given and with communication, overall, being far less than desirable. The impression created is that the department of corrections sought any excuse to revoke his parole. The party is currently reviewing the decision.
However, Mr Staggie is not a leader in the PA and his interests in the party lay solely in the peacemaking efforts he promoted in gang-riven areas, which have become lastingly peaceful after an intractable gang war, particularly in Manenberg. It is unfortunate that Mr Staggie has not received any recognition for his ongoing commitment to rehabilitating himself and his community.
The party will consider every legal avenue to ensure Mr Staggie, an ordinary member of the party among many thousands of other ordinary members, has his constitutional rights respected.
The Patriotic Alliance has also lodged a complaint with the press ombud regarding a SAPA article on 24 December that stated that the party "consists of gangsters".
This is a falsehood perpetuated by the party's opponents. This is a party of all the people, for all the people. The "gangster" assertion is a falsehood the party trusts the media will soon no longer fall prey to.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Patriotic Alliance’s certification at IEC now made official

The Patriotic Alliance (PA) herewith announces that its registration was certificated by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa on December 13 this month. Now that the official registration certificate has been issued, the party will be free to contest all future elections. This comes after the mandatory 30 days for citizens to register objections following initial registration elapsed. No significant objections were recorded. 

We praise the sterling work of the IEC, which has once again shown itself to be a strong and independent electoral body, placing the democratic freedoms guaranteed in our constitution at the heart of its work.

It is unfortunate that, during the period in which objections could be made, an opportunistic individual such as Mzwandile Masina of the ANC Youth League felt the need to threaten that he would write to the IEC to object to a party “formed by ex-convicts”. This merely illustrated Mr Masina’s ignorance of the very constitution his party once worked so hard to create. It also illustrates his ignorance of the broad range of people from across all sectors of society who have been brought together under the common banner of the PA.

We as the PA do not know if Mr Masina made such an objection, but of course the IEC would not have paid any attention to it. It would have been entirely without merit or basis.

The PA wishes all South Africans a blessed festive season. The gift it wishes to bring to the country is the firm promise of happier Christmases and better New Years to come.

For more information on the party and all its policies, visit the official website,

A brief background:
The Patriotic Alliance (PA) is a nonracial, non-sexist and democratic political party organising support across South Africa. It is a champion of the people.The PA is an economically centrist party that understands that economic growth is dependent on free-market conditions, but that rampant capitalism encourages only greed and the exploitation of the poor. Therefore, the PA will always identify with the masses so that economic emancipation for the disadvantaged is realised.

The PA is also a party with a conscience and is a champion of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. It will therefore promote state welfare opportunities, including ways that do this in revolutionary and innovative ways, to ensure that hunger, exploitation and general socioeconomic suffering is defeated. 

The PA supports the economic empowerment of the poor and will develop and promote policies and actions that lead to truly broad-based economic empowerment, with the understanding that those members of society who are part of the formerly disadvantaged categories of persons designated by apartheid policy stand to gain the most from such empowerment. 

The PA’s focus is broad and it aims to support and uplift the poor, who would otherwise drift into hopelessness if not for the hope offered by the PA and its plans, which require strong democratic mass support to succeed. Every single citizen stands to be empowered by the brave and revolutionary empowerment policies that the PA has developed.

Too many structural inequalities still dominate the South African socioeconomic landscape and the PA’s policies aim at reforming this unacceptable state.


Statement on the fight of the Cape Minstrels

Since 2011, the tension between the Cape minstrels and the City of Cape Town has been one of many reasons the Patriotic Alliance exists today.

The City’s arbitrary decision in 2011 to cancel what was then a very small amount of funding (R400 000) but which meant a great deal to Cape Town’s poorer communities, was a great blow to the people. They continued their parade through the city streets with joy, but simply having access to the city’s streets was understood to no longer be a guaranteed privilege for the Cape minstrels under this DA-led administration.

It remains under threat today.

The recent impasse between the city and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association, particularly the failure to reach an agreement on how the funding of the minstrels’ annual carnival will take place, proves the low regard the city has for events like these. Carnivals such as these are tourist attractions and should be grown to be far more significant than they currently are. They capture the unique heritage of the Western Cape. 

But the concerns of businesspeople (who do not wish to have any of their activities in the city disrupted on January 2, the traditional date of Tweede Nuwe Jaar) are given priority.

This bias of the DA towards protecting the interests of the wealthy, who do not identify with the heritage of the minstrels in the Western Cape, is plain to see in its disdainful and stingy attitude towards the minstrels.

The Patriotic Alliance has already undertaken in its policies (available at that it will fund and develop important heritage institutions like the Minstrel’s Carnival (especially Tweede Nuwe Jaar).

We call on the people to make their disappointment at the attitude of the governing party towards them known with their vote.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Secretary-General Kenny Kunene's interview on eNCA

Secretary-General Kenny Kunene does a live interview on December 5 to explain the party's position on Rashied Staggie's parole being revoked because of his links to the party.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Statement on the passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

The Patriotic Alliance would like to convey our condolences to the Mandela family as well as to all the close friends he collected during his extraordinary life.

As South Africa’s newest political party, the PA honours Madiba’s memory as the man who did a great deal with his comrades to usher in democracy today. Without his sacrifices, parties like the PA would not have been possible. Truly, Madiba was the first patriot among patriots. His service to our country can never be fully appreciated, but his legacy can be honoured best by building a South Africa that shakes off the shackles of poverty. Only an equal and prosperous South Africa could repay the sacrifices of our heroes of patriotism.

Mandela’s timeless vision of a South Africa for all its people, with a promise of a better world for all our children, is one the Patriotic Alliance is founded on. His work and life has inspired everything the PA stands for and wishes to achieve.

The PA will be observing a period of respect without political campaigning, while we and the nation come to terms with this profound loss.

We know the great love Madiba had for the works of Shakespeare. Thus we say, with great sorrow and love: May flights of angels sing him to his rest.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Statement on the revoking of Parole for Rashied Staggie

The Patriotic Alliance is aware of the recent statements and actions of the department of correctional services regarding Rashied Staggie’s parole.

It is alleged that Mr Staggie violated parole conditions. It is unclear what these violations may be. Whatever the allegations against him are, he was never given a warning before having his parole revoked, which is highly irregular.
The basis of the above appears to be the ludicrous but oft-repeated assertion that the Patriotic Alliance is a “party of gangsters” and that by being a known member of this party, Mr Staggie must be assumed to be socialising with gangsters.
The PA views this as a desperate attempt to undermine both the PA and Mr Staggie and intimidate him and other people against joining the party.
This party is of course not a gangster party by any measure, a position the party has consistently maintained. The department’s actions, if taken in relation to our party, are in fact then little more than defamation of our party, which is a registered legal person at the department of trade and industry and the IEC. The character and status of our party is clearly defined in legal documents, which make no mention of gangster membership, because such exclusive focus would be contrary to the broad vision of what the PA stands for. We do however welcome members from all avenues of South African society, but could never be defined by means of such narrow and prejudiced terms.
If the department is being used to settle political scores, that would be abuse of power.
Mr Staggie is being used to undermine the PA’s challenge to power and the urgent social reforms that are needed in South Africa. The PA cannot allow Mr Staggie, who is no more than an ordinary member, to be used as a political pawn in a game of power that goes far beyond him. The PA will defend his rights, as it intends to defend the rights of all its members and ultimately all South Africa’s people.
It is Mr Staggie’s right to join any political party, a right enshrined in the South African Constitution. The PA will thus be challenging this clear violation of his rights in court, a case that the PA trusts will once again show that no government or political force and its actions can be above the law.
The PA made the membership of Mr Staggie known in order to show that the party is serious about its vision of combating crime and gangsterism. The PA has facilitated an anti-gang-war peace process in the Western Cape and it stands by this work. Mr Staggie’s membership of the PA is in fact proof of his determination to steer clear of gang life and crime. He has been focusing on his work and family life and is done with a life of crime. The department’s harassment is a slap in the face to this man, who should be used as an example to other gangsters of how to embrace a life of peace. Instead, the department is destroying this golden opportunity to steer our people away from gangsterism and violence, by embracing the positive choices Mr Staggie is making. Instead, they condemn it.


Media contact (Lerato): 078 784 5185


Saturday, 30 November 2013