ECOPEACE MANIFESTO-CONTRACT 2006

This document is an addition to the ECOPEACE platform and not a replacement of previous ECOPEACE commitments. Your constructive comments are most welcome.

ECOPEACE demands REAL HOMES to build REAL COMMUNITIES
iECOPEACE ifuna AMAKHAYA ANGEMPELA ukwakha IMIPHAKATHI YANGEMPELA

Silwela uHulumeni ohlanzekile 2006
Action for clean government 2006
indlala ibanga ulaka; hunger makes us angry

ECOPEACE stands for a development centred ecologically sustainable economy and full employment - through intensive investments in climate stable renewable energy with preferential tariffs especially for household production - through labour intensive organic permaculture with preferential subsidies for wholesome healthy food production and appropriate land reform - through job creating resource and environment saving recycle intensive zero waste policies" and through ecosystem recovery work and invasive alien plant eradication.

ECOPEACE fights for direct participatory democracy - through municipal delivery of affordable broadband connection including a free basic service - through public multi-media centres in all communities - and through the right to free access to all relevant information - and through expression for all in easily accessible mass media.

ECOPEACE will continue to raise awareness and to fight for the poor and environmentally disadvantaged - who still suffer from unemployment, hunger, homelessness, lack of services including adequate and appropriate schools, etc. We will continue to propose environmentally sustainable solutions. The only acceptable deadline for delivery is NOW - adequate and appropriate sustainable development programmes are long overdue.

ECOPEACE demands all councillors receive the same wages as ordinary municipal workers; and be legally bound to accountability to their electorate.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT:
• ECOPEACE is the only party that votes against Councillor Pay Increases. ALL OTHER PARTIES have always supported Councillor Pay Increases - regardless of performance; regardless of any record or not of delivery; regardless of the ever growing gap between rich and poor.

• ECOPEACE Councillors take only a living wage allowance from their salary. The rest is donated back to the party to fund community projects. YOUR VOTE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

• ECOPEACE Councillors make a legal agreement not to cross the floor.

• ECOPEACE has stood shoulder to shoulder with ordinary citizens in numerous protest actions on justice issues of local and international human, environmental and economic rights.

• ECOPEACE will continue to fight for the rights of the poor and environmentally disadvantaged.

• ECOPEACE supports labour intensive organic permaculture for healthy food and employment for all. ECOPEACE supports food sovereignty and food security for all. ECOPEACE will fight for eThekwini (and other municipalities) to be GE/GM/GMO free.

• ECOPEACE supports the rights of access and of movement for subsistence fisherfolk - they must not be excluded from those areas they have used for generations. Their common law recognition of tenure must be protected.

• ECOPEACE supports the rights of access and movement for ordinary citizens and visitors; for recreation, and for appreciation of nature.

• ECOPEACE is the only party that voted for a cross-subsidy from high industrial water consumers, and from over-consumptive wealthy households, so as to ensure that everyone receives a larger amount of free basic water; and so that there will be no water cut-offs inflicted on the poor and indigent; and so that all outstanding families are connected to receive water urgently - as an ethical and moral demand. Presently industry receives a fifty percent discount on water rates a reversed subsidy for the rich.

• ECOPEACE proposes proper and sufficient municipal cross-subsidies for all necessities (such as water, electricity, land, housing, etc.) through changed rates and tariffs, so as to deal with inequalities that are amongst the world's worst; so as to ensure free minimum essentials for human dignity as required by the constitution; and so as to limit excessive environmentally damaging and socially unsustainable levels of greed, including resource and market monopolisations. The extreme wealth of some contrasts the crippling deprivation of a poor majority attempting daily survival against odds wilfully stacked against them. Municipalities pathetically under utilise their powers to employ cross-subsidies to help the poor and indigent - and in the case of water rates this subsidy is even reversed.

• ECOPEACE proposes a comprehensive social service including a Basic Income Grant ('BIG' - set according to unemployment and poverty/inequality levels) that would be available to all people on the basis of a universal human right; financed progressively through an environmentally relevant redistributive tax and tariff rates system.

• ECOPEACE recognises that poverty and inequality are interrelated - to deal with inequality is to deal with poverty - and hence ECOPEACE rejects the 'two economy' thesis and desires a unified approach to eradicate this dual problem.

• ECOPEACE has not supported any of the ANC Government's municipal budgets for Durban - because they do not supply essential services to all, and instead squander public monies on expensive projects that have financial benefits only to the already wealthy - welfare for the morally rather than the environmentally disadvantaged. The municipality's service strategy is often based not upon supplying but instead upon removing and disconnecting essential services; and those who protest against this - like MARCEL KING - are shot and killed by mercenaries in the employ of the Municipality. This is nothing less than armed robbery and murder. (On 24 June 2004 during a peaceful protest against electricity cut-offs in Phoenix, Marcel King was shot when he stepped between a municipal outsourced armed guard and his mother in order to protect her from the guard‚s threats.)

• ECOPEACE has always recognised the now established facts of GLOBAL CLIMATE DISRUPTION - ECOPEACE supports intensive investments in energy demand management (energy conservation) and renewable energies - the only ultimately sustainable options - such as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, solar chimneys, wind, wave, ocean current, biomass, biofuels, biodiesel, ethanol, etc. for full employment, economic security and ecological well-being. ECOPEACE is concerned by the municipality's role in the false solution to climate change known as 'carbon trading'.

• ECOPEACE will fight for eThekwini (and other municipalities) to be free from Eskom‚s Poorly Built Mistake of a Reactor (PBMR) nuclear fission experiments, and to be free from the potentially dangerous transport of uranium that is effectively unnecessary. There is presently inadequate information, equipment, training and insurance coverage for workers, drivers, emergency personnel and members of the public. Informed choice - a prerequisite of a democracy - is made impossible through apartheid era secrecy legislation.

• ECOPEACE calls for eThekwini to be ultimately planed and developed as a sustainable EcoCity - with returned ecosystems; urban agriculture; mixed use densification nodes, where walking and cycling are sufficient; and safe affordable efficient public transport between those nodes.

• ECOPEACE protested with communities against the Municipal Spatial Development Plans. Such designs must be developed with full informed public participation. The ruling elite‚s visions of abandoning South Durban to become an industrial wasteland have no popular consensus. Bulk transport highways through residential areas are not acceptable. Apartheid style divided suburbs must have appropriate improvements as required by residents - not social engineering imposed alien-like from stratospheric heights.

• ECOPEACE supports ZERO WASTE (Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Remake, Recycle, Redesign) for increased employment and corporate responsibility. ECOPEACE supports establishing centres for product redirection with clean work. The concept of waste needs to be changed into an alternate resource. ECOPEACE will continue to fight for the immediate closure of the Bisasar Road Municipal DUMP - within a just transition ensuring no loss of jobs and with guarantees of transforming those jobs into safe clean work.

• ECOPEACE calls for access to electronic information transfer and storage to be recognised as a basic human right and a necessity for informed consent - as required of a participatory democracy - to which ECOPEACE aspires. Accessible multi-media centres in all communities are also a necessity if the concept of outcomes based education is to make any sense. Unfortunately ruling elites inevitably rely on eroding mass revolt through lack of delivery on education and information.

• ECOPEACE recognises both the local and global environmental crises we must all face together, otherwise we shall all perish together - Furthermore it is only the environmental justice approach to ecological social and economic sustainability that ECOPEACE promotes that will enable us to survive on our precious planet. "The same mindset that created a problem cannot be used to solve it", Albert Einstein. The ruling party, the official opposition and almost all other parties still promote failed or severely limited neo-liberal policies like GEAR and NEPAD that have caused global, continental and local environmental, social and economic problems and inequalities. Dogmatic attachment to outdated ideologies is not the solution. South Africa is in dire need of much more than simple minded obsession with inflationary control. Over 50% of Black South Africans live in poverty. The Gini coefficient of inequality has risen within the black community from 0.35 in 1975 to 0.69 recently (Quarterly bulletin March 2005). The rise of a Black Middle Class is at the expense of all 3 lower quintiles of all race groups. Poor people regardless of race have become significantly impoverished - this is increasing under WTO trade liberalization as investment favours capital, and COSATU follows a high-performance-now strategy which increases unemployment. Globalisation shifts the terms of trade against the low skilled working class, increasing structural unemployment. GEAR not only has no answer for structural unemployment but is actively creating it.

ASGISA like NEPAD and GEAR will continue to worsen the situation by running the state as a private company for the benefit of an elite few, rather than solving these challenges.

Millions of women subsidise this elitist economy without any fruits accruing to them. Economic growth will depend on increased efficiency becoming a transfer cost from the unpaid work of women at the household level. An increase in per capita income and consumption may even be detrimental to women, the poor, working people and the environment as we have experienced in government‚s current neo liberal framework. Economic growth that depends on cuts in public expenditure, productivity, Œderegulation‚ etc. is dangerous to women, the poor, unemployed, working people and the environment. The contributions of women to resistance, opinions, wisdoms, economic development, nurturing and caring are ignored by obsessive compulsive fixation on GDP. Without policy that recognizes the importance of nurturing and maintain life within the family and communities especially through women‚s wisdom, intellect, and achievements then neither the markets nor the government can act in the interest of society as a whole or women in general.

Gender inequality is central to poverty and elitist concentrations of wealth. Women are the most unemployed; women are the poorest. When food prices increase, when charges for water, healthcare, electricity, and education are introduced and increased, women inevitably shoulder greater responsibilities at the household level and many have greater restrictions on their mobility. These interlocking disadvantages result in women having less time to access work and less power to negotiate opportunities. Many women work in the informal market under conditions of insecurity, are subjected to harassment and exploitation and have little bargaining power and opportunity to organize.

70% of the unemployed are young people. Only about 14% of tertiary institution graduates find secure employment in the formal economy. Although poverty is no excuse for anti-social behaviour, a sense of hopelessness obviously leads to increased crime, substance abuse, unprotected and unethical sex etc. ECOPEACE calls for restorative justice to serve the victims rather than the state - with emphasis on prevention, victim compensation and rehabilitation (especially for economic crimes).

Meanwhile the state-owned arms manufacturer DENEL exports to dictators and countries at war, fuelling global armed conflict. The company describes corporate globalisation as a wonderful opportunity to increase its markets and profit margins. Proponents of ASGISA do not see DENEL‚s growing involvement in the international arms trade as an obstacle to world peace, but rather as crucial for economic growth. Mbeki‚s dressed-up repackaged plans, now-called ASGISA, will not lead to shared wealth and equality unless the planning and process are a shared democratic initiative and responsibility. Accelerated Growth through a neurotic obsessive compulsive tunnel vision fixation on the GDP is economically and environmentally dangerous and unsustainable. Comprehensive development must urgently prioritise benefits to the PRESENTLY disadvantaged poor.

ECOPEACE plans to eradicate poverty and end unemployment by creating quality jobs through a strong developmental economic policy based on environmental sustainability; with - Labour intensive organic permaculture to produce healthy food, bio-fuels and stable communities, especially in rural areas - Massive investment in job creating renewable energies, appropriate technologies, and intensive zero waste recycling - Building housing, transport, health services and infrastructure - Appropriate land reform with supporting economic mechanisms and cross subsidies - land, urban community gardens, and quality housing available close to the economic centres - Supporting education and participatory democracy. No child or capable and willing adult must be denied access to education opportunities due to poverty or cultural customs like dress or hair (dreadlocks) or informed medical choices (no vaccination).

ECOPEACE fears, expects and warns that if the present ruling party remains in power then the unnecessary evictions, relocations, cut-offs and dereliction of duties will continue and most probably in an intensified manner. The only reversal is for the poor to recapture their voting power, and to show the elite-capital tripartite alliance (ANC, COSATU, SACP) that the people will no longer be exploited by non-egalitarian representation, false economic growth and badly planned, poorly implemented plans such as GEAR. The majority are excluded from the elite black and white wealth. People perceive this as a failing in the democratic process and unrest occurs. However they must not be culpable in this failing or be lulled by the siren music of false expectations inculcated by their capitalist ANC overseers through the creation of a minority black middle class.

ELECTORAL OPTIONS:
• ECOPEACE urges everyone to use their Municipal votes wisely and to make as informed a choice as presently possible. ECOPEACE supports only one Independent Candidate in Durban - Mr. Rajah Naidoo the chairperson of the Merebank Residents Association (MRA). Mr. Naidoo and the MRA are in support of the ECOPEACE party and have submitted a member, Rashida C Reddy, for the ECOPEACE PR list in expectation of sufficient votes for at least two Council seats from Merebank. The MRA has an illustrious environmental record and historical struggle credentials opposing South Africa‚s past apartheid regime. If elected, Rajah Naidoo will remain accountable to the MRA. Unfortunately other independent candidates may not be accountable through any organisation and caution is urged.

• ECOPEACE also supports the Operation Khanyisa Movement which is standing for election in Johannesburg with prominent community activist Trevor Ngwane.

• ECOPEACE furthermore endorses the sentiments of the Ant-Privatisation Forum (APF) Local Government Platform. (APF is not a political party and is not standing for elections - but they have issued a comprehensive position statement on local government elections).

The call to refrain from voting may receive attention from authorities and might lever some tactical concessions. However, although it is any person‚s right (which must be respected) to abstain from voting - this does not ultimately achieve anything at the polls; except perhaps the opposite of what might be intended:

The 2004 election results show that 42% of eligible voters chose to boycott - the largest block was their 11 596 744 non-vote.

25% of eligible voters did not even register and almost 5 million registered persons chose not to vote. The 77% poll of 2004 was far short of earlier IEC predictions of 99%. The ruling party is presently in charge with a mandate from 10 851 919 people only 39% of the eligible voters. In 2001 at least 27 420 457 South Africans aged 18 and over were eligible to vote, according to the census by 2004 this would have been even greater.

Figures like this force us to question our 12 year democracy - is there something wrong with the system, or with the prominent political players?

Those contemplating the option of not voting should rather consider putting their majority to better use. That majority can choose an alternate government as has been the case in Bolivia and Venezuela.

That majority is likely to represent those suffering from and protesting against an inhuman lack of even the most basic essential services. It is inconceivable why refuse is not collected from informal settlements, or why a cross-subsidy from very high industrial water consumers is not used to ensure adequate water for all without cut-offs. Why are even the simplest of measures not put in place to guard against the fires that devastate the lives of those who have to resort to living in shacks? Ensuring that there are sufficient hydrants and access to extinguishers, buckets, etc. while training and supporting local people as monitors is not rocket science.

Delivery, including developing and applying appropriate building and fire regulation bye-laws, disappears when it comes to the poor who continue to await formal housing. These issues can and must be dealt with immediately instead of issuing Zeno paradox promises of halving poverty. Urgency cannot be overstated - there is absolutely no reason why anyone should wait until 2014, or 2010, and not even 2007 for these simplest of municipal functions to occur. The date of some or other sport event or political anniversary is of absolutely no relevance.

That poor people continue to suffer such privations is not by accident, nor due to the performance of this or another councillor or official, nor due to some previous situation - but by conscious decisions and deliberate policy of the ruling party - and this is done in the name of and on the authority of those who continue to willingly chose to vote for, support, or maintain membership of that party even with this knowledge in mind.

Government must either decide to change itself - or it will be changed through democratic process. That process includes the right to protest peacefully without being baton charged or shot at with live ammunition or rubber bullets, as happened recently in Durban. That process includes open public consultations on policies and decisions that affect people‚s lives, taking concerns seriously and acting upon them. That process includes but is not limited to the right to vote.

It is valid to view the vote as a weapon. And the threat of any weapon is in its use - not in abstaining from using that weapon against those who do not deliver, against those who steal from the weak, the defenceless, the poor; for their own corrupt enrichment and benefit. Yes, corruption in South Africa is systemic; and presidential comments concerning one or other individuals are nothing less than a distraction from culpability, and an exercise in scapegoating.

Rather than once more abandoning the human right AND RESPONSIBILITY to vote - let us all work for this not to be the case in 2006.

ALUTA - CONTINUA (THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES)

VIVA ECOPEACE - VIVA (LONG LIVE ECOPEACE - LONG LIVE)

AMANDLA - NGAWETHU (POWER TO THE PEOPLE)