Tutu speaks 'the uncomfortable truths'

2012-10-04 22:21

Johannesburg - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu thanked the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for the "once-off" special award it gave him on Thursday.

"I would like to thank Mr Mo Ibrahim and his Foundation for their faith in our work," Tutu said in a statement.

He said he had received news of the prize while celebrating a combined birthday party with his wife Leah.

"I have been very fortunate throughout my life to be surrounded by people of the highest calibre, beginning with my extraordinary wife," Tutu said.

"It is these generous people who have guided, prodded, assisted, cajoled and ultimately allowed me to take the credit."

The special award, which carries a cash prize of $1m (about R8.5m), will be formally presented to Tutu in Dakar, Senegal, at the 2012 Ibrahim Forum.

"In everything he stands for, everything he says, and everything he does, he displays a consistent obligation to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak the uncomfortable truths," said Mo Ibrahim, in Johannesburg.

In August, Tutu made headlines when he withdrew his attendance at a Discovery leadership summit, because former British prime minister Tony Blair was speaking at the same event.

At the time, Tutu said Blair's decision to support the United States' military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible.

Last month, he called for Blair and former United States president George Bush to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for their roles in the 2003 United States-led invasion of Iraq.

Also last month, the retired Anglican Church's archbishop said democracy in South Africa had turned into a nightmare.

"But I ask myself, why were we in the struggle? The highest price was paid for freedom, but are we treating it as something precious?"

Ibrahim said on Thursday that Tutu's integrity deserved recognition.

"We hope this award will inspire the next generation," said Ibrahim.

Jay Naidoo, who attended the announcement said the award was not given to Tutu because he was part of the older generation, but was meant to inspire others.

He said society had to work towards having organisations, young people and women in business who would be awarded similar prizes.

Ibrahim said the award was not a replacement of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement but rather "reflected the assessment" of the Achievement Prize.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement is awarded to African heads of state who have excelled during their terms in office. It aims to recognise good and responsible governance.

Joaquim Chissano, of Mozambique, was the first to be awarded the prize in 2007. Botswana's Festus Mogae was awarded the prize in 2008.

In 2007, former president Nelson Mandela became an Honorary Laureate for his role in South Africa and the African community.

Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde, was the recipient in 2011. No award was made in 2009.

Tutu turns 81-years-old on Sunday. His wife's birthday is next week.

Desmond and Leah Legacy Foundation executive director Reverend Mpho Tutu said her father was caught in a rather busy retirement from public life.

"He is trying to slow down, to quiet down, but knows there is still so much work to be done," the reverend said.

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-05 01:41

    Especially when he said, I quote said the damage apartheid caused was impossible to escape.He said white citizens needed to accept the obvious: \You all benefited from apartheid.Your children could go to good schools. You lived in smart neighbourhoods. Yet so many of my fellow white citizens become upset when you mention this. Why? Some are crippled by shame and guilt and respond with self-justification or indifference. The Cape Argus spoke to Tutu after the speech, where he expanded on his wealth tax call.

      Nigel - 2012-10-05 07:40

      You're not entirely wrong, but my question is do we now jump up and down and rejoice about this? Are we for evermore going to blame Apartheid and Whites in general for every shortcoming of this country when we all know damn well it's 90% due to this inept government? Or Lerato, are we going to put our heads together Black and White, and make a go of this country? Sadly it appears this will not be the case.

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-05 08:23

      The problem is when we try and address the past injustices some of our unrepentant white colleagues, especially those who were dilly dallying during apartheid and failed to make use of overflowing opportunities during that period cries foul. Look at the revision of the BEE Act, the government now want to up black ownership of companies to a mere 10% mind you the term black refers to coloureds, blacks, Indians and Chineese, this group happens to make at least 90% of the population but the 10% wants to hold on to more than 90%, ask yourself is it sustainable? These issues must be addressed otherwise we will always refer to apartheid, remember 200 years of oppression is more like destruction and such destruction can’t be reversed in a mere 18 year period. On the ground apartheid still exists even if we try and pretend its gone, if the rich minority doesn’t want to strive for equal representation in capital ownership one day the masses will take it by force, look at the Zim situation, they grabbed land in an disorganised haphazard way but trust you me, what goes down must come up, this year they managed to produce 80% of the highest output ever produced in Zim and this time the money was shared among 56 000 farmers instead of the usual 1200 white farmers!

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-05 08:42

      Yes good points. I honestly believe also that many blacks, too many, use Apartheid as an ongoing excuse for their failures and incompetence (not to say there aren't incompetent White people as well). I base this on the fact that many of those 'inbalances' are being addressed, and successfully. Since '94, I can see much more wealth amongst our Black S,Africans. So why is it that some are prospering, moving on, progressing yet others just sit back and play the blame game? Your reaction to that?

      kala.bafazi - 2012-10-05 08:45

      Lerato - Here is my problem with your BEE principals. Why should someone who has worked hard to get his company to the level it is at, only to have to hand over 10% to PDIs just so that he can continue doing business. If he chose not to hand over 10% and as a result his company was forced to close down as there was no more business, where would all those he employed be? Surely if PDI's wanted a share of the economic pie why don't they start their own businesses. I know of many that have done this and are very successful but I bet they won't hand 10% of their business to a white employee in order to conform with WEE (as opposed to BEE).

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-05 09:06

      @ kala.bafazi, from what you are saying I can see you have never bothered to look at the act. No company is forced to give away the 10% ownership, mind you this 10% will not be given free of charge as you are implying these shares will be sold to blacks at market going rates. Basically the government is trying to encourage established companies to involve blacks in company operations so that they gain experience, imagine there are many industries where blacks were not allowed to operate during apartheid, be it financial, medical, IT, mining etc, during apartheid blacks were allowed to operate shops in the ghettos and operate taxis that’s it. So the purpose of BEE Act is to try and involve blacks in the mainstream economy. Having said that lets get back to ownership, as I said the 10% will be sold to blacks at market going prices, if a company does that then it gets more BEE points and gain access to government tenders. If a company decides to remain 100% white, its their own choice the company will not be forced to close I don’t know where you got that idea, a 100% white only company will have less BEE points hence this limit its leverage for tendering government contracts. We are living in a new world information is all over, research and understand these policies. HONESTLY IM SHOCKED TO NOTE THAT THEY ARE ADULTS WHO THINK THAT IF A COMPANY DOESN’T HAVE A BEE COMPONENT IT WILL BE CLOSED!!! Knowledge is power!

      vandeventer.sarel - 2012-10-05 09:13

      The problem lies with stupidity. Wealth should be created, not shared. 600 billion wasted to fraud since 1994. Thats a hell of a lot which could have been used to create black wealth. Now u ask why we turn a blind eye. Start being less corrupt then we wil start being more understanding

      el.torro.509 - 2012-10-05 09:56

      Lerato, i have several comments. First on zim 80 percent increase on not much is still low, and given the grain shortage from the u.s drought the breadbasket of africa should be alieviating our suffering. Secondly a wealth tax on all whites would be unfair, what about white immigrants, those in mixed race families and most importantly those who made money after 94. The biggest theft wasnt money but education which is still being neglected. Lastly BEE, with regards buying of shares, those who can afford shares are probably the same few enriched elite meaning the poor who really need the benefit still mis out. Secondly it limits us all to fighting over the same small pie economically speaking rather than actually seeking to start new business which is basically the reason nigeria is fast catching us here.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-10-05 10:05

      If our company does not have a BEE rating we will be out of business. The same goes for 90% of business today. We will not be forced out of business in the sense that some official will close our doors, but we will not have enough business to survive. We have complied with BEE policies but those who have been given shares in the business have not contributed in any new meaningful way to the company and I don't think we are the only ones. Why does the government not finance black business instead? Why do they insist on riding on the back of established businesses? Do they have no faith that the black population could be successful business people?

      lerato.kay.3 - 2012-10-05 10:22

      Being a business person as you say am sure by now you know that in any industry they are restrictions to entry, this might not be because of restrictive laws but by simple demand and supply issues. Say for example you want to start a bank, is it feasible, is it competitive most likely your competition will out-price and swallow you before time. As for government intervention you mixing issues here, it is not the government duty to set up black companies or any companies in that matter, the government role is to set a conducive environment for business, if you follow financial activities you will be aware of the SAA and Comair debacle. If you are a smart business person and you want government tenders you rather have 10% shareholders being black, the fact that they don’t add value is a non-event as their 10% voting right can easily be ignored or swayed, do you mean to tell me that every shareholder in all listed companies make any other contribution except through financial contributions. In SA we got a big problem that most of our people including so-called business people are ill-informed, how big is your business if I may ask. I suggest you get a consultant to keep you up to date with market operations. I agree with you that 80% Zim tobacco production is low but it’s definitely not too low! Mind you in 2000 Zim produced the biggest harvest in the country’s history, so we can’t say 80% of the highest is too low, your grain argument doesn’t hold water, basic economics will tell you to produce products that give you competitive advantage, every Tom can grow maize and it can’t be said of tobacco.

      louwhan.hoffmann - 2012-10-05 10:33

      Tutu and the elite freedom fighters had their children in private schools in Switzerland and the best America has while black south african kids burnt down theirs with everyhting inside. They asked you to give up your education for an entire generation so that their kids can rule yours only to give them worse education you got.

      el.torro.509 - 2012-10-05 10:58

      What good persuing competative advantage of tobacco when you have to import grain or maize and 1.7 million are dependant in food aid and its set to get worse. Any tom might not be able to grow tobacco but every tom needs to eat. This is a result of failed agricultural policy. But enough on zim. With regards your 10 percent shareholders who add no value and can be outvoted what then is the point. I thought the idea was to EMPOWER through skills transfer in addition to economic. After all a fool and his money are easily parted. You are correct in one instance about barriers to entry not just being governmental, although it could be argued that its in governments interestvto keep monopolies in major industry seeing as their members are bee shareholders! On top of that there are major obsticals to entry that the government is responsible for, the biggest being education. Ultimately we need to increase the number of businesses in this country not the number of people in existing businesses

  • muzi.cele.5 - 2012-10-05 07:08

    Tutu is a true hero,a freedom fighter.I always hear some people bedevelling him for their petty political ambition,I'm like OK,how dumb and silly they are.

  • Sakhiwo - 2012-10-05 08:28

    \We prayed for the apartheit government,we will pray for this ANC government.\

  • louwhan.hoffmann - 2012-10-05 10:32

    Tutu and the elite freedom fighters had their children in private schools in Switzerland and the best America has while black south african kids burnt down theirs with everyhting inside. They asked you to give up your education for an entire generation so that their kids can rule yours only to give them worse education you got.

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