Former S African Minister Essop Pahad launches journal

March 30th, 2009 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, March 30 (IANS) Essop Pahad, former minister in the Office of President Thabo Mbeki, has launched a new intellectual monthly journal in South Africa and plans to have leading writers from India contributing to it.

Pahad, who resigned from his position together with a number of other ministers in the wake of Mbeki being recalled by the African National Congress (ANC) after Jacob Zuma was elected the new ANC leader at Polokwane last year, will serve as editor of “The Thinker” on a non-profit basis.

“The journal itself will hopefully make a serious contribution towards opening up a space for the deepening of political discourse and intellectual debate,” Pahad said as he launched the inaugural issue.

“What we said to the analysts who contributed was that there will be no editorial policy - the analysts will write it as they see it.

“The journal will be non-partisan as far as party politics is concerned, but will be partisan for progressive thought.

“We will also try to deal with issues around the environment; the relationship between economic growth, development and the environment, and the use of more sustainable and alternative forms of energy.”

Commenting on interviews that he had done with both Mbeki and Zuma, who also appear on the cover of the debut issue together, Pahad said: “I will make very bold to say nobody else will ever get both of them in the same issue together, so we are very grateful to both of them for not only agreeing to be interviewed, but also to be photographed in their homes.”

Pahad said the next issue of the journal, which is expected to be out before the General Elections on April 22, will include views from the leaders of eight political parties to whom questions had been submitted.

On the question of sustainability, Pahad said a decision had been taken that “The Thinker” would definitely be published monthly for at least a year.

“On our side, we are not interested in making any money out of this venture. Obviously the sooner we reach the point at which we can cover the expenses of producing the journal, that will be fine. If there any profits to be made, then we will try and see how we can redistribute it both inside the journal and also to those who have made a contribution to the journal.”

Pahad said a whole range of intellectuals, academics and other political commentators from South Africa and the African continent had already agreed to contribute to The Thinker with no payment.

“On a very regular basis, we are going to get people from India to write for us, because in our view, whatever happens in India has a great impact on what happens in the world.

“This edition carries a very interesting article by Rajeev Shukla, who is the spokesperson for the Indian Congress in the Indian parliament, on coalition government in India.”

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