The Namakwa Civic Movement (NCM) is a political party from the Northern Cape province. They are based in Springbok which forms part of the Nama Khoi Local Municipality. The Daily Vox spoke to the NCM’s secretary, Richie Cloete, to understand some of the challenges the district faces.
The Namakwa Civic Movement
The NCM started in February 2021 from Cloete’s drive-time radio show, Hamba Khaya. He was approached by leaders of the NCM; general practitioners Dr’s Gustav Bock and Calvino Watt. That conversation involved the state of Namakwaland, and how they needed to mobilise its people to rise up.
Cloete said people are sick physically and mentally because of poverty. “People look at us in terms of 2% of the country’s budget. That’s how you get conditioned to always get the least. The Northern Cape is the biggest province in SA and completely ignored,” said Cloete.
The NCM are contesting the Nama Khoi municipality. In 2016, the African National Congress and the Khoisan Revolution formed a coalition to govern the municipality. “The big political parties are like vultures who look for votes and leave when they have it. We wanted to start it to stand up and contest. We decided to register as a party to take back the dignity of our people,” he said.
The NCM’s platform is based on ethical leadership. They believe that in order to rule there has to be an active interest in the people. The province and South Africa at large are plagued by corruption and a lack of resources, said Cloete.
Cloete was born and bred in Namakwaland. He studied social work and has a diploma in speech and drama. He is a social worker with a private practice in Springbok. After returning home in 2010 after a decade of living in London, he realised he wanted to make a difference in his province. Cloete began various community programmes including a performance arts training. He used all his training in Namakwaland including life coaching and working at a child and youth care centre.
“Our people have been conditioned to wait for something to happen. We have to take the lead without any support networks unfortunately,” said Cloete.
There are gravel roads, no town planning and no development. Cloete said poor governance is the order of the day. The NCM want better education, psycho-social support, arts and culture and recreation facilities for the community. They use social media for their marketing, which Cloete said has yielded positive results.
Cloete resigned from the department of Education last year. He had been the only social worker in the Namakwa district, serving 74 schools. He has not yet been replaced. The district has one occupational therapist and one senior learning support specialist.
Cloete said the lack of therapeutic support is a disgrace. The kids face many difficulties like abuse and neglect. He shifted his focus to fighting for mental health resources in the province. There are no support services for adults either. Healthcare is in a dire state and compounded by the lack of infrastructure, he said.
There are no stable industries providing jobs in the Northern Cape after the mining companies left. People are becoming desperate and mining in unsafe conditions, said Cloete. An unverified number of miners died recently at Nuttaboy Mine in Namaqualand.
“Neglect is one of the biggest forms of abuse, this neglect of the people is wrong on all levels. It is inhumane and the politicians don’t see that,” Cloete said.
The NCM’s campaigning in the #LGE2021
The NCM’s slogan is rise NCM rise, move NCM move. Cloete said they have support from the youth and elders. Their volunteers are unemployed youth who have no resources to study further. They are also seeing people cross over from the big parties like the ANC and Democratic Alliance to join them.
“I believe people can govern themselves, when they stand up and believe in their abilities. We stand for Namakwaland. We need to preserve the identity of the people of Namakwaland,” Cloete said.