URGENT PLEA FOR DONATIONS OF CASH OR MATERIALS TOWARDS FINISHING RENOVATIONS TO OUR SMALLHOLDING PROJECT
Qumi Homes would like to express our deep and sincere appreciation to all the individuals, businesses and contractors that have made contributions towards making this long sought-after dream a reality. Without your continued help and support this project would never have been possible.
We are currently in need of the following:
- Maize Rice
Your donations of, or assistance with the above items is sincerely appreciated!
Please contact the Qumi Homes Office at 012 734 5242 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details on how you can help. You can also visit our Facebook Page
Another South African legend has gone. Ahmed ‘Uncle Kathy’ Kathrada, an unassuming, quiet man who has left South Africans with a legacy that’s immediate, not historical.
Born in 1929, two factors mark his life and his passing, as they did for Nelson Mandela: he was African National Congress through and through. And he was a non-racialist. The byline of the Kathrada Foundation, a non-governmental organisation he established, is to ‘deepen non-racialism’. This is something he believed in to his core, even as others around him began to argue for an Africanist approach.
He was saddened that others, in an attempt to advocate for “colour-blindness” or more strident African nationalism, watered down the noble value of non-racialism. He maintained that non-racialism was a radical solidarity that at its very soul had undoing structural and interpersonal racism, and wrote:
I would still insist that meeting the modern challenges of poverty, hunger, homelessness and so on requires an approach that has a non-racial outlook embedded within it.
Kathrada was arrested in 1963 – his 18th arrest for political activities – and sentenced a year later, along with Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders, to life imprisonment at the end of the Rivonia Trial. He was 34 at the time. After 1994 Kathrada was Mandela’s political advisor in South Africa’s first democratic parliament.
Retirement for Uncle Kathy meant more political work, multiple engagements, setting up school, university and youth affiliates of the foundation, and then more work after that. Money was of no interest to him, nor honours or headlines. And he set a pace that most failed to maintain.
Purity of political vocation
His dogged, lifelong pursuit of equality and non-racialism remind many South Africans of how low they have fallen in the shadow of his generation. His passing happened on the same night that the country’s Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance were flying back to South Africa, summarily ordered to do so by the president, to the sound of the currency plummeting and the economy reeling.
Uncle Kathy passing at the same time as the national economy is being sacrificed for cheap personal and political gain will perhaps provide the spark that says to all South Africans: enough! Stop the rot! He did not struggle, sacrifice, and be released from prison to work even harder, to allow it all to be stolen in front of their eyes.
Uncle Kathy had an uncomplicated wisdom that will far outlast his living years. He believed in the purity of political vocation, despite knowing the tendency for the office to be sullied by political vanities. He believed that the human spirit could transcend physical walls meant to divide and imprison. He loved children and believed in the possibility of remaking society through them.
Yet he always reminded those around him that change, freedom or an anti-racist society would never be “delivered” to South Africans. Rather it would have to be wrought through the values, responsibility and integrity of the people. Although he was well-read in the complex art of politics and sociology, he had a matter-of-fact attitude to the challenges the society faced and what was needed to tackle them.
Inspired at close quarters
Working closely with him at the Kathrada Foundation offered many opportunities to be struck by the profound simplicity of the task that lay before us in doing our bit to build an equal and non-racial society. He reminded us all that what people thought mattered, and that our work needed to be based on these realities (uncomfortable as they may be).
While we continued the academic pursuits of meanings and interpretations of race, non-racialism, anti-racism and identities he reminded us that if our deliberations did not ultimately inspire the kind of pro-active work that made the prospects of an African child better than her parents’ had been, we had ultimately failed.
For some time, he had refrained from public political discourse that may have been controversial, but in the past two years, his sense of integrity compelled him to publicly address the ANC – his party – leadership. He was the kind of man that was Exhibit A of the values imbued in the Freedom Charter. He was saddened that his party had become a shadow of its former glorious self, and had come to taint that historic document.
A year ago, Kathy wrote to Zuma, typically casting himself as merely “a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC and broader Congress movement since the 1940s” and admitting the pain that writing was causing him. He spoke directly to Zuma – and indirectly to South Africans:
The position of president is one that must at all times unite this country behind a vision and programme that seeks to make tomorrow a better day than today for all South Africans. Now that the court has found that the president failed to uphold‚ defend and respect the constitution as the supreme law‚ how should I relate to my president? If we are to continue to be guided by growing public opinion and the need to do the right thing‚ would he not seriously consider stepping down? I am not a political analyst‚ but I am now driven to ask: ‘Dear Comrade President‚ don’t you think your continued stay as president will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?’
And bluntly‚ if not arrogantly‚ in the face of such persistently widespread criticism‚ condemnation and demand‚ is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum‚ to consider stepping down? If not‚ Comrade President‚ are you aware that your outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle stands to be severely tarnished if the remainder of your term as president continues to be dogged by crises and a growing public loss of confidence in the ANC and government as a whole?
I know that if I were in the president’s shoes‚ I would step down with immediate effect. To paraphrase the famous MK slogan of the time‚ there comes a time in the life of every nation when it must choose to submit or fight.
Today I appeal to our president to submit to the will of the people and resign.
He will remain, for many a warm, wise uncle, who did not succumb to political limelight, but was unapologetic about his lifelong responsibility – in everyday, and intimate interpersonal ways – to the unfinished project of freedom and liberation in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. And never, ever afraid of asking the difficult questions, or stating the truth as he saw it.
Hamba Kahle Malume (Rest in peace uncle), you are dearly loved.
Dr Caryn Abrahams, senior lecturer at the Wits School of Governance and former head of research at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, contributed to this article
With the electricity connected, the repairs and renovations to Qumi Homes’ new Campus site is in now full swing.
In addition to being the new site for one of Qumi Homes’ day-care facilities, it will also serve as a residence for some of the Qumi residents.
In order to make it safe and secure we need to install security doors to the doors of the main residence, the flats, and the day-care center.
In total ten security doors need to be installed and Qumi Homes would like to ask all our friends, parents, and supporters if they can help us with donations of security doors.
If you are able to assist us, or know of someone who can, please do not hesitate contact the Qumi Homes office.
Your assistance is sincerely appreciated!
The real risks behind South Africa’s social grant payment crisis
The dispute hovering over South Africa’s social grant system and threatening millions of vulnerable beneficiaries with nonpayment creates risks that go far beyond interrupting poor people’s access to desperately needed grants.
The failure of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), which is responsible for the payment and administration of social grants, to act timeously has created a crisis that threatens to deliver grant recipients on a silver platter into the hands of unscrupulous financial services companies.
The latest instalment in the bizarre saga came last week. Sassa officials announced that they would file papers with the Constitutional Court proposing that their invalid contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), which holds the contract for grant distribution, should be extended for another year.
This contract was awarded to CPS in a controversial tender in 2012. It was declared invalid two years ago by the constitutional court, which instructed Sassa to reissue the tender. As the deadline came closer civil rights groups such as Black Sash started sounding warning bells that Sassa was not implementing the court’s orders.
Deadline after deadline passed, and by end the end of 2016 it was clear that Sassa had utterly failed to act on the court’s instructions. Late last week it appeared that Sassa had missed another one. It didn’t make its planned eleventh-hour submission.
This means that there is no credible arrangement in place to ensure that social grants will be paid when the court’s deadline expires on 31 March. The social grant system supports about 17 million individuals. Disrupting the payments will cause huge suffering to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people and is likely to lead to social unrest.
With last week’s announcement, it seems that Sassa officials intended simply to present the constitutional court and the National Treasury with an impossible situation: condone an illegal contract, or face the possibility of social and political chaos.
But there’s even more at stake. If the court allows a further extension of the invalid contract (or approves a new contract with CPS), Sassa will have perpetuated a situation in which the accounts of grant recipients have in effect become mere conduits between the South African fiscus and the private financial empire that has taken shape around grant disbursement.
More than just a contract is at stake
At the centre of the storm is CPS, a subsidiary of Net1 UEPS Technologies which is a listed global financial services and logistics group with operations in a number of countries including South Africa, India and Tanzania.
Net1 owns the fingerprint-based biometric identification and payment system that is central to CPS’s operations. Their proprietary Universal Electronic Payments System technology forms the “back end” of the Sassa smart card CPS uses in the electronic payment of grants. It is access to this system that has enabled CPS to roll out payments to the whole country.
While convenient for CPS, scholar Keith Breckenridge has pointed out that this creates an unprecedented situation – grant beneficiaries are captured within a private technological and financial network owned and controlled, not by Sassa, but by its service provider.
Here it should be noted that the work of CPS is only part of a bigger corporate strategy. Also part of Net1’s global empire are financial services companies like MoneyLine, EasyPay, Manje Mobile Solutions, Smart Life and others. These companies act in concert to make use of the opportunities afforded by CPS’s control of the payment network.
Millions of grants beneficiaries, for example, have not only been provided with a Sassa account; their accounts have also been linked to EasyPay Everywhere, a bank account operated by MoneyLine and CPS’s banking partner, Grindrod Bank. All this is part of an explicit two-stage strategy on the part of Net1: a first wave in which it rolls out its technological infrastructure, and a second wave in which it uses this infrastructure to market a wide array of products and services to an essentially captive customer base.
The net effect is that social grant recipients are now tied up in a web of dependency on financial services companies controlled by Net1.
What this means for financial inclusion
This creates two problems. Firstly, this arrangement may be in violation of competition law. It looks as if Net1 is making use of CPS’s privileged position as social grant paymaster to give its sister companies first bite and privileged access to a vast potential client base.
Secondly, it raises an issue that’s often forgotten in sweeping generalisations about the need to cover the “unbanked” with financial services. Yes, poor people need access to banking services, and may benefit from smart cards and electronic banking. But these services should be designed with their interests in mind.
Deborah James and Dinah Rajak have shown how in South Africa the history of “credit apartheid” and paternalistic control over poor people’s finance has created a situation where creditors wield disproportionate power. Unbridled financial inclusion of the poor may amount to adverse incorporation into a financial sector geared towards preying on them. Already, the Black Sash has collected evidence of troubling instances of unauthorised and unlawful deductions from accounts set up for grant recipients, often with very little recourse.
This is why the social grants crisis has implications beyond the distribution of payments. Sassa has missed a major opportunity to ensure that financial inclusion happens in a beneficial, “pro-poor” way. It failed to follow the Constitutional Court’s order that the payment of social grants should be done in a way that protects the rights, interests, and confidential data of grant beneficiaries. Instead, it has created a situation in which CPS and Net1 hold all the cards. At present, the Constitutional Court and Treasury have almost no leverage to prevent their service provider from simply walking away on 1 April 2017.
Already, Net1 CEO Serge Belamant has made it clear that he is not interested in extending the contract on its present terms. He is in a position to ask for whatever he wants – including provisions that lock claimants even more tightly into his empire.
Sassa’s inactivity has created the worst possible outcome, not only in the short but also in the long term. A crisis over grant distribution looms, and the opportunity to provide meaningful financial inclusion has been missed.
So you want to donate to our fundraising campaign but do not want to open a Paypal account? No Problem! You can still donate by making a direct electronic transfer via your online banking into our Donation Account by following these easy steps:
Step 1 – Load Qumi Homes as a Beneficiary on your Account
Account Holder: Qumi Homes
Bank: First National Bank
Account Number: 621 472 321 94
Branch Code: 25 81 55
Swift code/BIC: FIRNZAJJ
Step 2 – Make your Donation using MPV as your beneficiary reference
Step 3 – E-mail your proof of payment to email@example.com with the following details:
Your Name and Surname*
Your contact number
Your E-mail address
Your Postal address**
* Should you want to make a anonymous donation please state so clearly in your e-mail to us, and we will not post your personal details on the campaign site.
** If you would like us to send you a Section 18a Tax Receipt (SA citizens only)
Qumi Homes is pleased to announce that Ms Jeanette van der Merwe has been appointed as the new CEO with effect from 1 March 2017.
Ms van der Merwe will be taking over the reins from Ms Linda Krause, outgoing CEO and founding member of Qumi Homes, who will be retiring at the end of February 2017 after 9 years at the helm.
“This will make for a very smooth transfer.” – Linda Krause
Ms van der Merwe started as a volunteer worker with Qumi Homes fron June 2008 to November 2011. She then “retired” for 3 years after which she was appointed in her current position as Logistics Manager in January 2014.