Wednesday, 01 October 2008

Zuma to oppose Mbeki application

25/09/2008 21:22  - (SA)

Johannesburg - ANC president Jacob Zuma will oppose former president Thabo Mbeki's application to join an appeal against the Pietermaritzburg High Court judgement suggesting he was part of a political conspiracy.

Zuma on Thursday filed notice, in the Constitutional Court, of his intention to oppose the application, according to a statement from his lawyer Michael Hulley.

Mbeki filed papers on Monday applying to join the Constitutional Court appeal brought by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

He argued that certain parts of Justice Chris Nicholson's judgement on the Zuma matter were "unfair and unjust".

"I respectfully submit that it was not necessary for the learned judge to make the findings I am appealing against, or seeking to set aside, in order for him to decide the real issue that was before him.

"In any event, it was improper for the court to make such far-reaching findings concerning me."

Political meddling

In his judgement, Nicholson found that the executive - of which Mbeki was head - might have interfered in the decision to prosecute Zuma, who faced racketeering, corruption, money-laundering and fraud charges related to the multi-billion rand arms deal.

"I am... not convinced that the applicant (Zuma) was incorrect in averring political meddling in his prosecution," Nicholson noted in his ruling.

Nicholson also criticised former justice minister Penuell Maduna's involvement with former national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka early in the investigation.

It was after the court ruling that the ANC announced it was recalling Mbeki, not to punish him, but as "a political way to deal with the implications of Judge Nicholson's ruling".

However, announcing his resignation on Saturday, Mbeki disputed suggestions of his involvement in a political conspiracy against Zuma.

"I would like to state this categorically: that we have never done this and never compromised the right of the National Prosecuting Authority to decide whom it should prosecute and not prosecute," he said.

Unfair and unjust

In his court papers, Mbeki said Nicholson's judgement was made without affording him a hearing and constituted "a violation of his constitutional rights" including access to courts and dignity.

He has asked the Constitutional Court to set aside "all findings of law and fact in the judgement" concerning himself.

"The findings... also go further in that they in effect say that I have failed to fulfil the constitutional obligation to uphold and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic," Mbeki noted.

"It is unfair and unjust for me to be judged and condemned on the basis of the findings in the Zuma matter. The interests of justice, in my respectful submission, would demand that the matter be rectified."

He also said there was a "real possibility" that "persons with malicious intent could act on the judgement to the detriment of the office of the president.

"Unless the errors in the judgement are rectified immediately by means of a judgement, I will continue to suffer and may even suffer great harm as would the office of the President of the Republic of South Africa and members of the national executive."


NPA: Zuma firing irrelevant

30/09/2008 21:15  - (SA)

Johannesburg - Judge Chris Nicholson had no grounds to rule on the establishment of an arms deal inquiry or to comment on former president Thabo Mbeki's decision to dismiss Jacob Zuma as deputy president of the country, according to the NPA.

In its application to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday for leave to appeal against the judgment handed down by Nicholson earlier this month, the National Prosecuting Authority said that neither issue was actually relevant to Zuma's application to have the decision to charge him declared unlawful.

On September 12 Nicholson ruled in favour of the African National Congress president and said that Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, should have obtained representation from Zuma before deciding to charge him.

In its papers filed in court on Tuesday, and referring to Nicholson's judgment where he said Mbeki's decision to run again for president was "at its lowest, controversial and not in accordance with the Westminster system we espouse in this country", the NPA said this was irrelevant to the case being argued.

It also said that Nicholson's judgment, stating that "the decision of Mr Mbeki to dismiss the applicant from his office as deputy president of the Republic of South Africa was unfair and unjust because the applicant had not been given a chance to defend himself in a court of law", was not an issue raised by either the State or Zuma's legal team.

"None of those issues were material to the resolution of the case. This court was accordingly not acting in pursuance of its duty to resolve the dispute between the parties."

In its application, the NPA states 16 grounds that it has for appeal including the fact that it believes that "the court erred in holding that the NDPP had to request and consider representations from the applicant" prior to the 2005 decision by former NPA boss Vusi Pikoli and the December 2007 decision to prosecute Zuma.

The NPA maintained in its papers that there had been no review of the decision to prosecute Zuma but that it "was a fresh decision taken after the prosecution started by the Pikoli decision had been terminated by the order of Msimang J striking the matter from the roll in September 2006".

The NPA, in the papers signed by state prosecutor Anton Steynburg, claimed the court had "committed an irregularity" when Nicholson held that a commission of inquiry should be established to investigate the arms deal.

The NPA pointed out that Zuma's founding affidavit "contained numerous accusations of bad faith which were not only entirely irrelevant to the applicant's causes of action but in many instances were based on hearsay evidence or no evidence at all.

"The NDPP consequently brought the application to strike out those parts of the founding affidavit".


Mbeki fights back

23/09/2008 07:27  - (SA) 

Philip de Bruin, Beeld

Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki has ushered in a new round in the fight against the Zuma camp in the ANC, with an urgent appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Mbeki wants to have "remarks made in passing" by Judge Chris Nicholson that he had meddled in Jacob Zuma's prosecution, set aside.

On Monday, experts on the Constitution said it was a clear indication that Mbeki "had not thrown in the towel" and that "anyone who thinks that the fight between Mbeki and Zuma was a thing of the past, lives in a fool's paradise".

The passing remarks to which Mbeki refers in his affidavit to Chief Judge Pius Langa, are those made by Nicholson in his ruling in the Pietermaritzburg High Court earlier this month.

Nicholson ruled that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had not given Zuma the opportunity to make representations before deciding to charge him again for fraud and corruption, amongst other things.

At that stage Zuma had just been elected ANC president in Mbeki's place.

Serious allegations

Mbeki says in the affidavit that, instead of focusing on the issue at hand, Nicholson went much further of his own accord, saying in passing that Mbeki and the ministers serving or having served with him, had meddled in the NPA's decision to prosecute Zuma.

Mbeki says these are serious allegations against him, not only in his personal capacity, but also as head of state, and they had resulted in him having to resign.

He argues that Nicholson had no right to make remarks of this nature without giving him and the relevant ministers the opportunity to state their case in court.

Mbeki states that this has affected his constitutional rights of human dignity and access to the courts. He argues that he should be given direct access to the Constitutional Court in order to have the "false" allegations set aside.

As Nicholson's remarks were not court orders, an appeal cannot be lodged against them in a Court of Appeal. Only the Constitutional Court now has the power to intervene, Mbeki argues.

Mbeki 'has strong chance of success'

Professor Marinus Wiechers, former law professor at Unisa and an expert on the constitution, thinks Mbeki has a "very strong chance" of success.

"I was astounded when I heard Judge Nicholson make his statements on Mbeki and the executive. That was not the legal issue he was required to rule on. I thought he should have let it go.

"One thing is certain: Mbeki's appeal is proving wrong all those who thought he had gone quietly, as Sunday night's dignified speech on TV could have indicated.

"On the contrary, he is clearly ready for battle, and upon close examination, Monday's appeal is nothing other than a veiled warning to Zuma that the Mbeki-Zuma fight is far from over."

Professor Tom Coetzee, former law professor at North West University's Potchefstroom campus, said he considered Nicholson's statements on political meddling in the Zuma prosecution as "neither relevant, nor fair".

"I was astonished. The Constitutional Court's ruling will be groundbreaking. Mbeki is taking the right route. No one should underestimate his intelligence."


Shilowa resigns 'out of principle'

29/09/2008 14:34  - (SA)

Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa has announced his resignation.

"I am resigning due to my convictions that while the ANC has the right to recall any of its deployed cadres, the decision needs to be based on solid facts, be fair and just.

"I also did not feel that I will be able to, with conviction, publicly explain or defend the NEC's decision on comrade Thabo Mbeki," Shilowa told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.

He denied that he had been "pushed" to resign but said he was doing it out of principle.

"It is a known fact that I hold strong views on the manner of his dismissal and to pretend otherwise would be disingenuous," Shilowa said, referring to the ANC National Executive Committee's decision to remove Mbeki from office.

"I acknowledge and respect the ANC's rights to recall any of its deployed cadres. I am, however, of the view that there was no cogent reason for doing so."

Shilowa denied rumours that he was starting or would be part of a new political party.

"I know of no group who is starting another new party. I cannot be party to something I do not know," Shilowa said.


Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Why Mbeki was fired

22/09/2008 11:20  - (SA) 

Moffet Mofokeng, Caiphus Kgosana and Sabelo Ndlangisa

Pretoria - Deputy-president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is set to lead an exodus of cabinet ministers who are unhappy with the ANC national executive committee (NEC) decision to axe President Thabo Mbeki.

Despite this, ANC president Jacob Zuma is expected to reassure ANC deployees in government that the party wants them to remain in their positions.

This comes after the decision of the all-powerful ANC NEC to sack Mbeki following Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling that suggested that Mbeki, or some in his executive, might have interfered with the National Prosecuting Authority's decision to charge Zuma.

Although it is generally accepted that Nicholson's ruling has impugned the integrity of cabinet, it is the decision of cabinet and the NPA to appeal the judge's ruling that forced the ANC to fire Mbeki.

Zuma's case

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the Nicholson judgment had provided the ANC with the opportunity to put an end to Zuma's legal woes.

"The biggest worry for us is the question of the reversal of the possible closure of that chapter," Mantashe said.

"That case, in our view, is not in the public or national interest. If the case is pursued, it will continue to be a point of division in the ANC. That's the main issue," he said.

City Press can reveal that Mlambo-Ngcuka has told her colleagues in cabinet and some top officials in the presidency that she will resign the moment Mbeki hands over his resignation letter.

"Mlambo-Ngcuka has always been the embodiment of this conspiracy against Zuma. After all, she is Bulelani's (the former NPA boss) wife. She has been under siege from the day she took over as deputy president. Half the ministers are going to follow her," a senior official in the presidency said.

Some of the ministers who are expected to quit when Mbeki resigns are his right-hand man, Essop Pahad, Public Works Minister Thoko Didiza, her colleague at public enterprises, Alec Erwin, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.


Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has already indicated that he will stay on despite earlier rumours that he would follow Mbeki.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was appointed Mbeki's deputy after Zuma's axing in 2005, has in the past wanted to resign because of the hostility she endured from Zuma's supporters but Mbeki urged her to stay on.

At the heated NEC meeting in Kempton Park this weekend, a number of ministers - among them Education Minister Naledi Pandor and Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - and Mbeki's policy guru, Joel Netshitenzhe, argued for Mbeki to be allowed to serve out his term in vain.

"Trevor (Manuel) never said a word. Nkosazana (Dlamini-Zuma) was very incoherent. Zola Skweyiya said that it was very painful for him. He said: 'I have known this man for too long. It is painful'," another NEC member reported.

On the other hand, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, businessman Tokyo Sexwale, SACP boss Blade Nzimande and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema successfully argued for Mbeki's removal from office.

Sympathy resignation

Malema, according to some NEC members, went as far as to threaten to mobilise the youth if the ANC NEC failed to fire Mbeki.

Another source said Sexwale told the meeting: "We can't live another day with this man."

Zuma, who met Mbeki on Friday, told the meeting that Mbeki should be allowed fly to the United Nations to represent the country and only resign on his return.

Pahad has indicated that he will resign in sympathy with Mbeki.

He said though he had not discussed it with Mbeki, he had personally decided to go if the president was asked to leave office.

"I was appointed by him and therefore if he resigns I shall also resign," he said.

"I don't think it has been correct. I think much later they will recognise his great legacy, there's no doubt about that. He has been a great leader of the ANC and a great leader of this country. Even if some people don't recognise it now, they will certainly recognise it in time to come."


Monday, 15 September 2008

The end of Mbeki?

14/09/2008 09:35  - (SA)

Political team, Rapport

Johannesburg - It would appear the ANC was ready to order President Thabo Mbeki's political death sentence.

ANC MPs in Parliament were awaiting orders from ANC headquarters in Johannesburg to put in motion steps to remove Mbeki from office. Nathi Mthethwa, chief whip of the ANC in Parliament, said it was no longer a matter of "if" the ANC would act against Mbeki, but "when".

This came after Judge Chris Nicholson found in the Pietermaritzburg High Court that ANC president Jacob Zuma's corruption case was invalid as Mbeki and others had interfered in Zuma's prosecution.

The verdict basically underscored claims that Zuma's prosecution was a plot to prevent him from becoming president after next year's elections.

Mthethwa said, "A leader of the ANC can't be implicated in a plot to cause the downfall of a comrade and then pretend that nothing happened."

Political experts said Mbeki still had a trump card. As head of state, he had the power to disband parliament and call for an early election - a move that wouldn't save his political life, but could take the ANC by surprise as the party was not yet ready for an election.

A source close to Mbeki told City Press on Saturday that the president was "tired of fighting and would agree with whatever the ANC wanted him to do".

It has been suggested that the same process could be used as in the case of Ebrahim Rasool, former Western Cape premier, who was asked to resign "in the interests of the ANC".

Any legal process to force Mbeki from office will need the support of two thirds of parliament.

Zuma said on Saturday that he felt rejuvenated by Friday's court verdict.



ANC tight-lipped on Mbeki

15/09/2008 09:44  - (SA)

Johannesburg - The African National Congress (ANC) remained tight-lipped on Monday on reports that President Thabo Mbeki's future will be discussed at a meeting of its national working committee (NWC) on Monday.

"We will inform you of decisions and of outcomes - not of speculations. We are not prepared to confirm anything," said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte.

"At this point, we are not going to give you any information on what we are discussing."

The NWC meeting takes place ahead of a meeting of the national executive committee on Friday.

Several Sunday newspapers have quoted "senior ANC members" saying they would call for Mbeki to be dismissed.

This comes after a high court judgment on Friday found it was possible Mbeki was behind a political conspiracy against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma indicated at the weekend that he did not believe Mbeki should be ousted, using a Zulu expression that compared Mbeki to a "dead snake"



'Mbeki breached the Constitution'

12/09/2008 15:25  - (SA) 

Cape Town - Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson's ruling that the decision to prosecute ANC president Jacob Zuma on corruption and other charges was unlawful, is a stinging slap in the face of President Thabo Mbeki and his Cabinet, according to constitutional law expert, Professor Pierre de Vos.

Writing in his blog, on Friday, De Vos also pointed out that a court had for the first time confirmed what many people had suspected - "that Mbeki and his Cabinet have interfered in the decision to prosecute Zuma to gain political advantage".

"The constitutionally guaranteed independence of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been fatally breached in the process," he added.


Nicholson confirmed in his judgment that the NPA should act without fear favour or prejudice when deciding on whether to prosecute and individual, and it failed to do so in the case of Zuma.

"He seemed to suggest that the NPA Act, which allows for the National Director to be fired by the President, may well be unconstitutional and that the president has abused his power and breached the Constitution by acquiescing in the undermining of the independence of the NPA.

"President Mbeki has in effect been found to have breached the Constitution," De Vos, a professor at the University of the Western Cape, said.

He added that in an ordinary democracy, the president would find it difficult to survive such a rebuke from a court, and Mbeki's position "has really now become untenable, and if he had any honour he would resign".

The judgment is also likely to rekindle calls by members of the ANC and its alliance partners for Mbeki to fired.

'Today's judgment will help South Africa'

Meanwhile, Zuma told supporters outside the court that the judgment "is a victory for the judiciary, it is a victory for our democracy, it is a victory for our justice system", Sapa reported.

"My view is, today's judgment will help South Africa," Zuma said.

He also said Nicholson confirmed his belief that there was a political conspiracy against him. "The judge said... this is a political wrangle."

Zuma not in the clear

De Vos pointed out that Zuma is not in the clear, as the judgment made no comment on the advisability of the NPA's decision to re-charge Zuma.

"Even if Zuma is not re-charged he will obviously still have an ethical (if not a legal) cloud hanging over his head and at the very least he will have to try and show to the nation why he would not have been found guilty had he been charged. Otherwise most of us will continue to wonder whether he might not have been corrupt after all and might not have given an opening to President Mbeki to abuse the system to get rid of him."

Judge Nicholson's decision strengthens both Zuma's political and legal hand, and he is now favourite to become the country's next president, De Vos wrote.

"Politically, his claim of a political conspiracy has in effect been vindicated by a court... Legally the judgment seem to strengthen the argument that he would not be able to get a fair trial because of the political interference in the case (although this would still be a difficult argument to sell to a court)."

Reaction from opposition parties

However, opposition parties pointed out that the judgment was not about whether Zuma was guilty or innocent.

"We are still no closer to knowing whether Zuma is innocent or guilty of the corruption charges brought against him," said Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille.

"Zuma remains a suspect with a cloud hanging over his head," said United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said Zuma should still "face the music and clear his name".

She added that the judgment "clearly indicates blatant political interference by President Mbeki and Cabinet members in the NPA process and the timing of charging Zuma".

"The ID views this as a shocking indictment on Mbeki and his Cabinet and lends further weight to the IDs call for a vote of no confidence in the President and the Cabinet, who must take collective responsibility for this entire debacle," De Lille said. - News24/Sapa


Thursday, 07 August 2008

Property bill 'driving farmers out of SA'

August 05 2008 at 01:39PM

By Deon de Lange

The current exodus of South African commercial farmers will eventually force the country to buy its food from Botswana, Agri SA's chairperson has warned.

Theo de Jager was speaking on Monday at a function arranged by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of Property Rights, an informal pressure group established two months ago to raise public awareness of what it believes will be the dire consequences of implementing the controversial Expropriation Bill.

He said many commercial farmers were quitting agriculture in the face of economic pressures, while others had also packed their ploughs for neighbouring countries - like Botswana - to avoid the uncertainty caused by the government's "threats of expropriation".

De Jager said local farmers were "replicating their commercial agricultural ventures" in countries where they were offered better support and did not face the possibility of having their land "nationalised in the public interest".

The Expropriation Bill will, if passed in its current form, allow the public works minister to expropriate any property - not just land - in the public interest.

Dave Steward from the De Klerk Foundation pointed out that a "particularly nasty clause" in this bill would allow the minister to expropriate "any property on behalf of any juristic person where that person has tried to obtain the property through negotiations and failed".

"We view this as a back door clause to allow for a massive expansion of the government's Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment policy," he said, adding that this would effectively allow the minister to nationalise commercial farms and hand them over to BEE companies.

Concerns were also raised that the bill proposes to limit the role of the courts in arbitrating expropriation disputes.

If a property owner is not happy with the amount of compensation being offered, the bill says the courts may refer the matter back to the expropriating authority - appointed by the minister - for reconsideration, creating what Steward described as a "ping-pong effect".

Parliament is due to continue deliberating the bill in the next two weeks.



Mandela - The Legend and the Legacy. Part 2


In the second of two articles examining the life of Nelson Mandela, in advance of Friday's concert in Hyde Park celebrating the living legend's 90th birthday, I shall look at his legacy and the new South Africa which he created after coming to power on a surge of worldwide optimism and hope in 1994, when, following the end of Apartheid, he and his followers promised a new dawn for what became termed the Rainbow Nation.

Today South Africa stands out as one of the most dangerous and crime ridden nations on Earth which is not actively at War. In 2001, only seven years after the end of Apartheid, whilst the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands with 5,6 murders per 100,000 population was declared the "murder capitol of Europe", Johannesburg, with 61.2 murders per 100,00 population and remains the world's top murder city.

In South Africa as a whole, the murder rate is seven times that of America, in terms of rape the rate is ten times as high and includes the ugly phenomenon of child rape, one of the few activities in which South Africa is now a world leader. If you don't believe me, you can read what Oprah Winfrey has to say about it here.

All other forms of violent crime are out of control, and Johannesburg is among the top world cities for muggings and violent assault, a fact seldom mentioned in connection with the 2010 World Cup which is scheduled to be hosted in South Africa.
As always with black violence the primary victims are their fellow blacks, however, the rape, murder and violent assault of whites is a daily event, and there is more ...

As with the Matabeleland massacres, news of which the BBC, together with much of the world media suppressed for twenty years to protect their one time hero, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, another secret genocide is being ignored by the world media, the genocide of white Boer farmers, thousands of whom have been horribly tortured to death in their homes since the end of Apartheid. Anyone who clicks on this link should we warned that it includes some very gruesome images as the savagery of these attacks belie the authorities attempts to dismiss them as nothing more than a "crime wave".

Given that it is now all but illegal in South Africa to report the race of either victim or the perpetrator of a crime (unless the perpetrator is white and the victim black) and as modern South Africa's official crime statistics are notoriously massaged, it is impossible to know the exact numbers of farm murders that have taken place. Many reliable sources estimate the figure as close to 3,000, but even if we take the more conservative figure of 1,600 quoted in the politically correct South African press (but not quoted at all in ours) this is three times the numbers killed by the South African security forces over a period of 43 years, and which the UN calls a crime against humanity.

To put this in perspective, the population of South Africa is 47 million, (13 million less than Britain despite its far greater land mass) of which the 4.3 million whites account for 9.1%, about 1% less than the immigrant population of Britain. Can you imagine the outcry if 1,600 (let alone 3,000) members of a minority community in Britain were tortured to death by the native population?.
Yet when the victims are white, there is hardly a peep in the South African press and silence from the international media. Compare this to when a white youth is the killer, such as in the case of Johan Nel, who shot three Africans, a story which became instant world wide news with the predictable screams of racism and machete wielding mobs baying for his blood.
(And they accuse us of hate?!! Don't such people nauseate themselves with their hypocrisy?!)

Crime aside, Mandela and his ANC inherited the strongest economy in Africa, indeed, despite economic sanctions, South Africa was still one of the richest world nations, and indeed initially there was a brief post Apartheid boom, resulting from the lifting of sanctions and due to the fact that until affirmative action forced most of the whites out of their jobs to be replaced by under qualified blacks, those who had built South Africa were still in place.

However, any optimism was to be short lived. Now, after just 14 years of rule by Mandela and his grim successor Mbeke, corruption is rife, the country is beset with power cuts and the infrastructure is crumbling.

The nation's great cities like Durban and Johannesburg, which could once rival the likes of Sydney, Vancouver and San Francisco, had descended in to decaying crime ridden slums within a decade.
And in the last few weeks we have seen the so called Rainbow nations ultimate humiliation, as xenophobic anti immigration violence spreads across the country. (“xenophobic” is what the media call racism when blacks do it) As poverty and unemployment explodes and is exacerbated by the floods of immigrants flooding in to escape the even more advanced Africanisation of the rest of the country, the mobs turn on those they blame for stealing their jobs, their homes, and their women.

Thus the cycle turns, and, like watching some barbaric version of “back to the future", on the news we see exactly the same scenes we saw on our televisions twenty years ago, wrecked buildings, burning vehicles, mobs brandishing machetes, axes and knives hacking at everything and everyone which comes within their reach. Most horrific of all, we see the return of that most savage symbol of African brutality, the necklace where, to the cheers of a blood thirsty crowd, some poor trembling soul, with a tire around his neck, is dragged from his home and set alight, exactly as all those other poor souls were set alight throughout the Apartheid years, when we were told it was all the evil white man's fault.

As nothing else the return of the necklace exposes the failure of Mandela's revolution, and those who fought for him should weep.
Under Apartheid, blacks and whites went to separate hospitals but they received world class health care, whatever their colour, now the facilities are collapsing or non-existent. Black children went to different schools than white children, but they received an education, something which is now a privileged luxury. When they grew up, their bosses may have been white, but they had jobs and a living wage, as the recent violence shows us, such security is but a memory for most South Africans.

Eighteen years after Nelson and Winnie made their historic walk towards the cameras, and 14 years, since Mandela assumed power on a tide of optimism, a once proud South Africa slides like a crumbling, crime ridden, wreck towards a precipice created though greed, corruption and incompetence.

For all his gleaming smiles, grandfatherly hand gestures, and folksy sound bites, tomorrow night, when crowd cheers the retired terrorist in the gaudy shirt, they would do best not to focus too closely upon his much admired legacy, as they might just find that the Xhosan Emperor has no clothes. For Nelson Mandela's lasting achievement is that, in the face of a wold wishing him well, he, and the party he leads, have shown the world that, for all its flaws, Apartheid was a more benign system than what replaced it, and that the average South African was immeasurably better off under the hated white rule than they are under the alternative which black rule has created.
That is quite an achievement, Mr Mandela, happy birthday.

source Mandela - The Legend and the Legacy. Part 2

Mandela: The legend and the Legacy. Part 1


It is often said that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, however, this usually means that the other man has been less than fastidious in his choice of hero, or that the “freedom fighter” in question was on the crowd pleasing side.

On the 27th of June, London's Hyde Park will play host to a concert in honour of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday and we can be assured that it will receive wall to wall coverage by a star struck and worshipping media, who will continue to laud Mandela as one of the greatest, or indeed the greatest, heroes of our time.

No doubt the beaming old man will appear on stage in one of his trademark multi-coloured shirts and cheerily acknowledge the cheers of the adoring crowd, most of whom have been taught to believe in his sainthood since their first days in primary school, which, for many of them, will have occurred around the same time their hero walked free from Robben Island.

The unquestioning belief in Mandela's universally admired saintliness will again be displayed in the press and by the unending line of politicians and dignitaries who will queue up to genuflect before him and sing his praises. It is a brave politician or journalist who would dare to question the godliness of this legend and consummate showman, and hence no such questions will be raised, nor will his much vaunted “achievements” be subjected to any objective scrutiny.
No matter how many speeches are given or how many news articles are written, it is safe to bet that the full truth about Mandela will not be told.

In fact the truth about Mandela is so hidden in mythology and misinformation that most know nothing about him prior to Robben island, and those who do tend to exercise a form of self censorship, designed to bolster the myth whilst consigning uncomfortable facts into the mists of history.
For most people all they know about Mandela, prior to his release in 1990, was that he had spent 27 years in prison and was considered by many on the left at the time (and almost everyone now) to be a political prisoner. However, Mandela was no Aung San Suu Kyi, he was not an innocent, democratically elected leader, imprisoned by an authoritarian government.

Mandela was the terrorist leader of a violent terrorist organisation, the ANC (African National Congress) which was responsible for many thousands of, mostly black, deaths. The ANC's blood spattered history is frequently ignored, but reminders occasionally pop up in the most embarrassing places, indeed as recently as this month the names of Nelson Mandela and most of the ANC remained on the US government's terrorist watch list along with al-Queda, Hezbollah and the Tamil Tigers. Of course the forces of political correctness are rushing to amend that embarrassing reminder from the past. However, Mandela's name was not on that list by mistake, he was there because of his Murderous past.

Before I am accused of calumny, it should be noted that Mandela does not seek to hide his past, in his autobiography “the long walk to Freedom” he casually admits “signing off” the 1983 Church Street bombing carried out by the ANC and killing 19 innocent people whilst injuring another 200.

It is true that Mandela approved that massacre and other ANC killings from his prison cell, and there is no evidence that he personally killed anyone but the same could be said about Stalin or Hitler, and the violent history of the ANC, the organisation he led is not in question.
According to the Human Rights Commission it is estimated that during the Apartheid period some 21,000 people were killed, however both the UN Crimes against Humanity commission and South Africa's own Truth and Reconciliation Commission are in agreement that in those 43 years the South African Security forces killed a total of 518 people. The rest, (some 92%) were accounted for by Africans killing Africans, many by means of the notorious and gruesome practice of necklacing whereby a car tyre full of petrol is placed around a victim's neck and set alight. This particularly cruel form of execution was frequently carried out at the behest of the ANC with the enthusiastic support of Mandela's demonic wife Winnie.

The brutal reappearance of the deadly necklace in recent weeks is something I shall reluctantly focus upon later.
Given that so much blood was on the hands of his party, and, as such, the newly appointed government, some may conclude that those who praised Madela's mercy and forgiveness, when the Truth and Reconciliation tribunal set up after he came to power, to look into the Apartheid years, did not include a provision for sanctions, were being deliberately naive.

Such nativity is not uncommon when it comes to the adoring reporting of Nelson Madela, and neither is the great leader himself rarely shy of playing up his image of fatherly elder statesman and multi-purpose paragon. However, in truth, the ANC's conscious decision to reject a policy of non-violence, such as that chosen by Gandhi, in their struggle against the white government, had left them, and by extension, their leader, with at least as much blood on their hands as their one time oppressors, and this fact alone prevented them from enacting the revenge which might otherwise have been the case.

As the first post Apartheid president of South Africa it would, be unfair if not ludicrous to judge Mandela entirely on the basis of events before he came to power, and in any event there is many a respected world leader or influential statesman with a blood stained past so in the next part I shall examine Nelson Mandela's achievements, and the events which have occurred in South Africa in the 14 short years since he took power in following the post Apartheid election in 1994.

source : Mandela: The legend and the Legacy. Part 1

Monday, 30 June 2008

A new order is needed

30/06/2008 08:29  - (SA)

Jon Qwelane

This country has never been in worse shape, even under the hated control of the equally disgusting Nats!

A true "state of the nation" review would shock many people:

Turmoil abounds in the ranks of the judiciary, where judges are at one another's throats.
The police service is a hopeless mess: the chief of the police is on trial for payola and for defeating the ends of justice. In short, he is accused of flouting the very laws he is supposed to uphold. Just the other day, the police were firing at each other, after some had used official vehicles to blockade a national highway.
The head of the prosecuting authority has, in effect, been dismissed and there is an unconvincing hearing to determine whether he is the right man for the job.
The head of the intelligence services has been dismissed.
The public information system that is the SABC is a circus of a shambles; its shenanigans are simply unspeakable.
The head of the health services continues to talk twaddle about HIV/Aids.
Education is in a sorry state, and the authorities are keeping mum about the crippling illiteracy of the country's youth: only this week it was revealed that many children use SMS-speak to write answers to examination questions (I suppose something like "da gr8 lakes in da Afrika cntnt is cool, hey!").
Savagery of unparalleled proportions since 1994 is being meted out to immigrants from Africa.
Unemployment is at its highest ever, and the cost of living is astronomically high.

One could go on and on, ever conscious of the snipers waiting to pounce with their question: "What is your solution?"


We have never had it so bad, and even those who normally claim - falsely, of course - that I "hate" their president would be hard-pressed to deny this self-evident truth. And I am not lamenting the demise of the past order when I say, as I do here, that even under apartheid things overall were not as bad as this.

Politically correct "logic" will claim that I am not being truthful but, believe me, lots of people out there are saying apartheid was "much better compared to what we are going through right now".

But what do you say about the restive state of our judiciary? And what confidence will a visitor to this country have in the policing of our communities, when the law enforcement officers themselves go out to break the laws with impunity?

There are those in this land who brag that they are building "world-class" facilities and institutions, but where in the world is a commissioner of police on trial for graft - and the head of state renews his employment contract regardless?

The solution to all this mess, methinks, is in a new order altogether. And yes, I have heard your condemnations loud and clear: I will be voting next year, and I will also encourage a whole lot of other people to do the same.

As I have said before, the men and women with the bombs may have been good liberators, but hard experience convinces me that they are not necessarily good governors.

Jon Qwelane's column is published each week on News24, courtesy of Jon Qwelane and the editor of Sunday Sun, which originally carried the article.



Tuesday, 24 June 2008

No right to self-defence

24/06/2008 13:00  - (SA)

Blood Doll, News24 User

A report posted on News24 today states that a Rustenburg man will be charged with attempted murder and murder. This after he had wounded one intruder and killed another who had invaded his home and tied up his young daughters and domestic worker.

The question is this: has South Africa denigrated from the land of milk and honey into the land of crime and irony? You can now be charged with murder for defending those you love and that which is yours.

This is not a new occurrence, of course. The new dispensation has placed the rights of the criminal over those of law abiding citizens since its inception. That baby should have been thrown out with the bathwater. It seems its views of equality has become somewhat skewed; for at one stage human rights were the backbone of the ANC government's constitution, the unalienable right of every individual to live without bias or oppression.

It seems those rights also extend to animals, if not more so. They shoot horses, don't they? So, why may we not shoot the animals that rape our children and invade our homes? Has self defence and the right to security been omitted from their so-called Freedom Charter? It seems so.

Setting a prededent

The right to rape and pillage seems to have taken precedence and us, as law abiding citizens, have but one right - to do nothing. The government has turned us into voyeurs, forcing us to watch some sick snuff movie with those we love as the participants. Thanks, Thabo.

It seems ironic that the government can spend billions of rands on weapons to defend our country's borders against and unseen enemy yet it will not allow us, the tax-payer who funded it, to do the very same: to defend our borders. Moreover, our enemy is not an imaginary or future threat; they are very real and they're invading our borders, our homes, now. And, thanks to our government's derisory laws, we are left helpless.

Not one to regard the Americans as doyens of civil society, I have to admit sometimes they get it right. The state of Ohio has just passed a bill, Senate Bill 184, aptly referred to as the "Castle Doctrine". It purports to: "...establish a presumption that a person acted in self-defence when shooting someone who unlawfully enters his or her home or occupied vehicle."

Does that sound familiar? Of course it does, it happens everyday in good old SA. The UK has a similar if watered down version called the Intruder Law. This is exactly the type of legislation we need in this beautiful country to avoid law abiding citizens from being charged as common criminals just because we defended our own.

Hazy posts this warning: The question of when you may use a firearm on an intruder is an extremely hazy one that even lawyers approach with caution. Generally, a firearm may not be fired in a municipal area although its use in self-defence is sometimes considered justifiable.

Note, however, that you would not necessarily be justified in shooting someone who enters your house illegally, even if you believe that the intruder is a thief who may harm you. The fact that a suspected thief or burglar runs away and refuses to heed your command to stop is not sufficient reason for you to shoot at him or her.

The right to defend oneself against threats both foreign and domestic have become a misnomer. Are you listening, Thabo Mbeki?

Perhaps if you stayed in the country a bit longer you'd notice the invasion.


Monday, 23 June 2008

'Kill for Zuma an insult to SA'

22/06/2008 21:04  - (SA) 

Johannesburg - The "kill for Zuma" statements made by African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi were an insult to the intelligence of voters, said former Pan Africanist Congress president Motsoko Pheko on Sunday.

Pheko said the electorate in the country had a constitutional right to choose political leaders without "fear or favour".

"The irresponsible statements must be condemned. Why is the killing of opponents in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Kenya wrong, but now should be correct in South Africa?" he asked.

"Our nation needs leaders with ideas and a national agenda that liberates people from poverty, and not bullies who are politically bankrupt and guided by egotism," he said.

Applause and cheering

On Saturday, Malema defended his controversial statement that the youth league would kill for ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi echoed the remarks on Saturday, SABC news reported.

"So, yes, because Jacob Zuma is one of us, and he is one of our leaders, for him, we are prepared to lay (down) our lives and to shoot and kill," he said to applause and cheering, reported the SABC.

Pheko questioned what would happen if political parties in the country killed for their leaders.

"If various political parties were to kill for leaders they love, what would remain of the country? Where would democracy and rule of law be?"



Tuesday, 17 June 2008

'We will kill for Zuma'

June 17 2008 at 07:04AM

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema has vowed that the youth of South Africa would die in supporting ANC president Jacob Zuma.

"We are prepared to die for Zuma," Malema told a Free State rally. "We are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma," Malema added at the end of his speech, while the crowd clapped hands and laughed.

Earlier, Malema said there was no question that the ANC president would be the country's next president. He added that those who did not respect the current ANC leadership should go.

Malema said those in the party who have indicated that they would not be available for positions in the new government, under Zuma, should not wait but leave now.

He also reiterated that the Scorpions case against Zuma, expected to begin later this year in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, should be dropped.

"The future belongs to us. We do not want a situation where the state prosecutes its own president," Malema said.

He said the ANCYL was planning to assemble a legal team to try to get the case against Zuma thrown out of court.


Monday, 09 June 2008

100s object to expropriations

03/06/2008 20:15  - (SA) 

Bloemfontein - More than 300 objections to the proposed expropriation bill were handed to the portfolio committee on public works during public hearings in Grasslands on Tuesday .

"These are individual objections I hand over to you by members of the Free State Agriculture," said Dirk van Rensburg, chairman of the farming body's land-reform committee.

On Monday, nearly 900 objections by individuals were handed to the committee during a public hearing in Bethlehem.

According to Free State Agriculture, certain aspects of the bill are unconstitutional.

The Grasslands meeting was attended by farmers, almost half of those attending, and black Bloemspruit residents who claim to be victims of expropriation practices by the Mangaung local municipality.

Free State Democratic Alliance leader Roy Jankielsohn said he was happy to see the number of farmers who attended the meeting and by the input they gave.

However, he was concerned about wrong information contained in advertisements on venues and starting times for the hearings.

A black former plot owner told the committee he and other land owners in the area had "shot themselves in the foot" by electing black officials into power, after describing a "painful" experience of being "ripped off by fellow Africans".

Had lost five farms

A woman, also a former Grasslands plot owner, told the committee that she knew how "the xenophobia people" felt because she was now homeless.

"I have no residential address. People staying where I stayed, they have (a residential address)," she said, adding that she wanted to know how the meeting was going to "reverse it all".

Another woman said she had lost five farms due to the "lack of interest by government officials" and "lack of government action".

Committee chairperson Thandi Tobias urged the former plot owners to discuss their issues with the committee after the hearing.

She said it would be brought to the attention of the proper parliamentary committees.


Thursday, 29 May 2008

'Govt to blame for attacks'

29/05/2008 15:48  - (SA)

Johannesburg - The government must accept blame for the crisis of violent xenophobic attacks experienced in the country recently, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Wednesday.

"Had the government decisively intervened some ten years ago when it became clear that the Zimbabwe situation was deteriorating, the Zimbabweans would not find it necessary to leave their country.

"Cosatu and others warned a long time ago that the political and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe...(would) eventually force everyone to leave the country and be economic refugees (to) everyone in South Africa," Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told a press briefing following a Cosatu central executive committee meeting.

"Our government did the usual denialism and refused to act."

However, the main reason for the unrest was the "appalling levels of unemployment in the country" and this was blamed on government economic policies.

"It is a failure of our country to restructure the economy and have an industrial strategy as well as genuine and agrarian reform that has brought us to this point. That is the issue."

Cosatu also discussed Eskom's proposed tariff hike and rising food prices at its meeting.

Vavi said the union federation remains adamantly opposed to Eskom's 53% tariff hike.

The union federation said it would resort to industrial action should the proposed hike be approved.

"Our section 77 process however remains in place and we have yet to see any movement from Eskom and government to persuade us to abandon our campaign to defend jobs and prevent the poor consumers to pay the price for the mistakes and mismanagement by government and Eskom," Vavi said.


Thursday, 22 May 2008

Foreign shores lure South Africans

May 21 2008 at 05:51PM

Twenty percent of South Africans are planning to emigrate or are seriously considering it, according to the results of a survey released on Wednesday by global market research company Synovate.

Spokesperson Jake Orpen said 600 respondents were interviewed in all nine provinces of South Africa, using face-to-face interviews.

The results were weighted to ensure representation across province, age, gender and race.

"South Africans are not in the best frame of mind lately, due to the obvious political uncertainty, economic instability and electricity problems," Orpen said.

The option to emigrate was most popular amongst young and middle-aged South Africans (18 to 44 years).

This was of concern because this age group represented South Africa's current and future skills set.

Rand Merchant Bank Senior Economist, Ettienne le Roux, said: "The obvious negative for any country experiencing high levels of emigration is the loss of skills and the future income these skills would have generated.

"If emigration is not matched by immigration of people of at least the same skill, the country will no doubt be worse off.

"In this regard, it is encouraging that the South African government is showing preliminary signs of making it easier for skilled foreigners to come and work in our country."

Some 27 percent of respondents believed that they would be able to successfully emigrate, would have the required funds and that they were well qualified.

On the other hand, 51 percent of respondents said they would not be able to afford emigration and the remainder were unsure.

According to a recent FNB survey, emigration has been cited as the biggest single reason for selling upper-end properties.

The USA emerged as the most popular choice of destination, followed by the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The main pull factor for immigrating to a country was business and employment opportunities in other countries, 88 percent of respondents stated.

Itchy feet, the desire to explore a new country and experience different cultures, were cited by more than a third of those considering emigration, the survey reported.

The main push factor for emigrating from South Africa was violence, crime and corruption, 55 percent of respondents said.

Other push factors were South Africa's volatile economy and the cost of living (19 percent), governmental problems (13 percent) and infrastructure concerns (6 percent).

Family reasons (14 percent), such as joining extended families abroad and better education for children, were also mentioned.

South Africans (4 percent) admitted to having encouraged their children (of university-going age) to leave South Africa and a further 3 percent said they would encourage their children when the children were old enough.

Some 85 percent of respondents said that they had not been encouraged by anyone to leave South Africa. Fifteen percent said they had been encouraged by others to emigrate, of which 8 percent said that when considering emigration, friends were the main influences.

A third of the respondents surveyed said they knew someone who had emigrated from South Africa in the past five years.

Those who had emigrated were perceived to have left for work or crime related reasons.

However, 47 percent of respondents had no intention of leaving South Africa and a further 17 percent had not thought about it.

When quizzed on the things they loved about South Africa, 46 percent said the climate and nature were the main attractions.

Eighteen percent of respondents loved the South African people. Fifteen percent pointed to the freedom South Africans had been granted and 14 percent pointed to the diverse cultures that existed in South Africa.

Just over a tenth loved South Africa because it was home to family and friends. - Sapa


Turning a murderer into a martyr?

May 21 2008 at 12:09PM

By Wendy Jasson da Costa

The daughter of a woman who was killed in a bomb blast set off by ANC activist Andrew Zondo in 1985 is packing her bags and emigrating to New Zealand.

Elaine Shearer, 24, is incensed that the eThekwini Municipality is deciding to rename Kingsway, the street in which her father still lives, Andrew Zondo Street.

She believes that the explosion that killed five people, including her mother, Anna, was motivated by crime and not politics.

"For me it was cold-blooded, and had nothing to do with politics. Now they want to turn a murderer into a martyr."

Shearer says she grew up without her mother because of crime, and does not want to become another murder statistic, forcing her 3-year-old daughter, Amy, to relive the experience. That is her reason for leaving South Africa.

Shearer, who was a toddler when her mother died, said her life would have been different if she had grown up with her mother, especially since her father had been in "permanent mourning" for the past 23 years.

She said all she wanted was to "spend one day with my mom" to find out who she was.

Instead, she has had to feed off her father's memories and meet her mother through a medium.

Anna Shearer and her best friend of almost 20 years, Lyn Lott, went to the Sanlam Shopping Centre in Amanzimtoti two days before Christmas in 1985.

They were just metres away from the bin where Zondo, an Umkhonto weSizwe member, had planted a limpet mine.

Shearer says her mother died instantly in the explosion, but Lott suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and suffered from severe pain to this day.

Five people were killed in the explosion, including three children, while about 40 others were wounded.

Zondo, who was 19 at the time, was sentenced to death by hanging.

"It hasn't affected the way I think about black people," said Shearer.

She still harbours a deep anger at the apartheid government for its policies that led to the bombing, and with the current government for wanting to honour Zondo and for being insensitive to people who live in the area.

"What's the point of renaming the street anyway, because no one will ever refer to it by the new name?" she said.

Zondo's father, Pastor Aiken Zondo, is also opposed to the use of his son's name, saying it would "open old wounds".


Durban-based sociologist Mary de Haas said the renaming proposal was "very divisive" and the worst possible move for reconciliation.

She said the late ANC leader Oliver Tambo held out an olive branch after the Zondo blast, saying the intention had not been to hurt or kill innocent people.

"They couldn't have done a better job at driving wedges between people," said De Haas.

She said Pietermaritzburg's and Johannesburg's approach to renaming had been sensitive, whereas Durban had failed.

"If they want to honour someone (Zondo), they can do it somewhere else," she said.

De Haas also questioned why "leading lights" of the struggle who were from the province, including Johnny Makhatini and Judson Khuzwayo, had been left off the list of people being honoured.

She also believed that there was no good reason for changing the name of Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi to Griffiths Mxenge.

Troops called in as SA burns

May 21 2008 at 06:56PM

President Thabo Mbeki has given the nod for the military to help the police curb xenophobic violence that has claimed at least 42 lives by Wednesday.

Police reported in the afternoon that attacks on foreigners, which erupted in Gauteng last week, had spread to more provinces.

"President Thabo Mbeki has approved a request from the South African Police Service for the involvement of the South African National Defence Force in stopping ongoing attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng Province," a statement from the president's office said.

Police spokesperson director Sally de Beer said they had asked for equipment and personnel.

Police said that 16 000 people had been displaced since the violence began in Alexandra and 400 people had been arrested

Mpumalanga police said the shack-burning and looting targeted at foreigners began there on Tuesday, and in KwaZulu-Natal, police were monitoring Durban's Dalton Road area after an attack on a Nigerian-owned tavern.

Constable Sibusiso Mbuli said that about 200 foreigners sought refuge at Leslie police station on Tuesday night after tuckshops were looted there and in Embalenhle.

"Even now the situation has not stabilised. We see people moving about and when they see police bakkies they run away," said Mbuli.

A Nigerian-owned tavern came under attack in Durban's Umbilo on Tuesday night, and while police were treating it as an act of "criminality", KwaZulu-Natal safety MEC Bheki Cele blamed the IFP.

"There was a meeting of the IFP branch in Dalton yesterday (Tuesday) and...I know it was them who went straight from there to the tavern and raided the place and smashed the cars," Cele said.

Durban's Dalton Road is the site of a number of hostels.

However, the IFP denied responsibility, with IFP KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Mntomuhle Khawula saying he was disturbed by Cele's statement.

He said that if any IFP members were involved in the xenophobic attacks they would face disciplinary action.

"The IFP is all about ubuntu...In the African lifestyle, you never chase away people, you comfort and give protection, so xenophobia is against our policy," he said.

IFP head Mangosuthu Buthelezi said his earlier predictions that xenophobia was brewing were ignored.

As a former home affairs minister he had suggested a more open controlled immigration policy but this was ignored, and abandoned when he left the ministry.

No "serious" incidents were reported in Gauteng on Wednesday, which the provincial government has attributed to co-ordinated efforts by communities and the police.

Spokesperson Thabo Masebe said a number of community organisations had been working "on the ground" telling people that whatever problems they had, it did not justify the violence, and giving police information on pending attacks, as well as handing over people they suspected of the attacks.

"We can attribute it to some work that has been going on and the police. The police couldn't do it without the support of their communities," said Masebe.

Police spokesperson director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said that a councillor and three community leaders were among those arrested.

Meanwhile, the centres and police stations housing people fleeing from the violence urgently needed food, baby food, nappies and blankets for the thousands seeking shelter.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Mkhize appealed for such donations to be taken to the metro's service centres and arrangements to collect bulk donations could be made by phoning 011-874-5025.

The crowded conditions led the police to contract the "Red Ants" usually associated with forced removals, to help control people at the Cleveland police station, especially at meal times.

"Images of 'necklacings', violent beatings and the sight of frightened children caught between marauding mobs and police firing rubber bullets belong to a troubled period in our traumatic history; it has no place in our present democracy," the Helen Suzman Foundation said.

"It is a spectre that great men and women from all walks of life fought against - with great sacrifice - to eradicate from our country's soul forever."

The Coalition Against Water Privatisation said it had held a community meeting in Sebokeng to convince people to help prevent the attacks.

"We sent the message that the reason why there is no delivery of the houses that we are fighting for as South Africans is not because of people from other countries, but it is because of the failure of our own government to deliver services," he said.

"There is no foreigner in Africa. There is no way my brother from Zimbabwe can be seen as a foreigner. These people have done nothing wrong, they want a better life."

The coalition had organised a group of volunteers who had agreed to protect people who felt under threat because of their nationality, after a taxi load of foreigners were confronted as they sought refuge at the KwaMasiza hostel in the area.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) said the government had not done enough to "arrest the anarchy".

Its president Julius Malema said: "We call on government to unleash every resource at its disposal to nip this anarchy in the bud, including deployment of the military if the need arises."

He called on youth to rise against the "thuggery and hooliganism" and to bring order to their communities.

"Killing others and burning their homes do nothing for our society, and may cloud genuine concerns they may have," he said.

A "necklace" is a word coined during apartheid used when a person was doused in petrol with a tyre around their neck, and a match was thrown at them. - Sapa


Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A simple recipe for xenophobia

Justice Malala: Monday Morning Matters

Published:May 19, 2008

Cocktail’s main ingredients are ANC’s failed policies

President Thabo Mbeki and his ANC successor Jacob Zuma were refugees in London, Zambia, Nigeria, Swaziland and Mozambique, among other places, between 1962 and 1990.

I mention this for those of my countrymen and women who have short memories. We should be ashamed that it is us who are today raping, looting and killing foreigners apparently because they “steal” our houses and “our women”.

What caused the terrible scenes unfolding in our country today: children beaten and displaced, women raped and men left with pieces of flesh hanging from their faces, homeless and hungry and desperate?

What led to a situation where young men were unashamed to stand in front of television cameras and say they will kill foreigners?

We should not be surprised. For the ANC, led by Zuma and Mbeki, the chickens are coming home to roost.

A cocktail of factors, mixed by the ANC over the past 10 years, is responsible for the barbarism.

These people are behaving like barbarians because the ANC has failed — despite numerous warnings — to act on burning issues that are well known for having sparked similar eruptions across the globe.

This cocktail is made up of stubborn denialism on Zimbabwe, an increasingly incompetent and corrupt police service, poor service delivery and corruption in government departments.

The crime-does-pay culture fostered by the ANC — criminals such as the Travelgate fraudsters walk away scot-free — is a central ingredient of the cocktail.

But the bulk of the cocktail comprises the failed state that is Zimbabwe. The country’s economy has collapsed. Its political leaders, security services and agents are looting the treasury. Zimbabweans are fleeing.

When a state fails, crime goes through the roof. Corruption, characterised by bribery at every turn, becomes the norm. Crucially, crime is exported across the borders of the failed state to neighbouring states.

The Mbeki government’s refusal to even acknowledge the crisis in Zimbabwe has resulted in as many as 3-million Zimbabweans walking the streets of South Africa.

If Mbeki and his deputy president, Zuma, had acted decisively on Zimbabwe nine years ago, when they were told repeatedly by fellow leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Durban to do so, these Zimbabweans would not be here today.

Mbeki’s resolute refusal to address the crisis in Zimbabwe — and his friendship with President Robert Mugabe — has brought them here. His block-headedness is directly responsible for the eruption of xenophobia.

Add to the cocktail the fact that the SA Police Service has become so incompetent and overstretched there is no way that any of the perpetrators of the past week’s atrocities will be brought to book.

Ordinary citizens predicted last week that these riots would spread to the Joburg CBD. When violence erupted downtown on Saturday night, the police were unprepared.

The police have no intelligence- gathering capacity and can hardly explain what is happening today, let alone contain it.

Their failure is rooted in the fact that many of them are taking bribes from foreign refugees anxious to avoid being deported.

Their incompetence is also responsible for the culture — entrenched during the Mbeki-Zuma regime — that crime goes unpunished. After all, these marauding hordes know that Mbeki protected his crony, Jackie Selebi, for years.

There is no respect for the law. These hordes can rape and loot without fear of arrest, let alone prosecution.

The endemic corruption among government officials is an integral part of the cocktail. There is so much corruption in the construction and allocation of government housing that resentment, misplaced or not, is inevitable.

There are no quick fixes to this mess. The removal of Mbeki, as suggested by Mathews Phosa, is not a solution. The problem is that the ANC’s policies have failed.

In the short term it would be an idea for the incompetent minister of safety and security, Charles Nqakula, to get his charges to come down harder on perpetrators. Better intelligence-gathering, including the early identification of potential trouble-makers, would help.

Government leaders such as Mbeki should visit the communities afflicted by this xenophobia, instead of issuing condemnations from Mozambique.

In the long term, some cool heads, efficiency and moral fibre would help. But asking that of the ANC today is asking a little bit too much. These are the same people who are disbanding the Scorpions. Asking them to act in the interests of the country, and not their own narrow interests, is useless.



ANC rebuffs Phosa's call

Christelle Terreblanche
May 19 2008 at 07:59AM

The ANC has rebuffed a call by treasurer-general Mathews Phosa for an early election to replace President Thabo Mbeki's government with the ANC's new guard under Jacob Zuma.

On Sunday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe described Phosa's appeal as "an individual position".

Phosa's call follows Zuma's rise to power at the Polokwane conference, where Mbeki lost the party presidency.

Mbeki's term as president of the country ends in 2009.

Addressing the SA National Editors Forum during the weekend, Phosa said an early election was the best solution to deal with the frictions within the party.

"We are a year away from an election, and the bringing forward of the date for such an election would make for a speedier, less painful and more productive solution to a number of challenges facing us," he said, stressing that it was not about personalities, but service delivery.


Mantashe said an early exit for Mbeki would not be discussed at today's meeting of the ANC's national working committee (NWC).

"It is an individual view," he said.

"The ANC has a clear position on the matter."

At their recent summit, the ANC and its alliance partners decided Mbeki's rule should not be terminated prematurely.

However, the SA Communist Party brought forward a motion that Mbeki should go.

At the end of the summit, Mantashe told the media that the partners had opted not to blame anyone for the country's problems, but to address them.

Mbeki would not be required to "take an instruction" from the alliance on how to solve the problems, he said.

But the ANC, the alliance and the government would put mechanisms in place to allow consultation on key issues.

It is understood that Tokyo Sexwale, a member of the ANC national executive committee (NEC), expressed concern that as long as Mbeki was the head of state, tensions would remain.

Former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi is apparently also in favour of Mbeki being released early.

On Saturday night, Phosa - who, along with Sexwale and ANC stalwart-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, was accused of plotting to overthrow Mbeki in 2001 - made clear his desire for Mbeki to leave as soon as possible.

Phosa stressed that the country was crying out for "strong leadership and for leaders to set aside all issues, personal and egotistical, and move forward".

"The leader of the executive has lost the confidence of his party, partly because of the view that he seems to have lost touch with the aspirations of the majority of that part of the electorate who supports the ANC," he said.

"Remedies" to resolve the unhealthy stalemate, said Phosa, included that Mbeki resign, that he is removed "through any number of means" or through the calling of an early election.

"Such a solution will create improved opportunities for delivery following the urgent priorities set at the Polokwane conference," he said.

"It would also speed up institutional transformation and give the voters an earlier opportunity to express their views about alternative political agendas presented to them."

One of the signs of tension was Mbeki's apparent stalling on the appointment of party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to his cabinet, as requested by the ANC.

Motlanthe was due to be sworn in as an MP tomorrow, paving his way to the executive.

Motlanthe risked his political reputation by publicly defending Zuma after he was sacked as the country's deputy president following allegations of corruption.

Motlanthe is a former trade unionist who has support across the alliance.

Many in the ANC describe him as an independent thinker who is not afraid to speak his mind.

On Sunday, Mantashe said Motlanthe's deployment was, however, not linked to the current calls on Mbeki to step down.

The issue of his deployment was also not on the agenda for today's NWC meeting, which he said was a regular meeting to prepare for next weekend's NEC meeting.

It is, however, understood that the issue of Motlanthe's position has raised considerable concern among the party leadership and will be brought up at the NEC meeting.


Thursday, 15 May 2008

Attacks on foreigners dent SA's image

May 12 2008 at 06:14PM

By Paul Simao

A mob attacked a group of immigrants with stones, whips and guns in Alexandra, Johannesburg, killing two people and injuring about 40, police said on Monday.

Twelve people were arrested in connection with the violence late on Sunday, which police said was motivated by a belief that illegal immigrants were responsible for a series of robberies.

"From what we were told it is because of the criminal activity that has been taking place," said Constable Neria Malefetse, a spokesperson for the Johannesburg police.

The rampage rekindled fears that xenophobia was rising in a country known as one of the most welcoming to immigrants and asylum seekers, especially from Africa.

Some of those who were attacked were Zimbabweans, the largest immigrant group in South Africa who are often accused by residents of contributing to the country's high crime rate.

Last month, shacks belonging to Zimbabwean families in another township were looted and set on fire and there have been other attacks on foreigners throughout the country.

For decades Africans have flocked to South Africa, the continent's economic powerhouse, lured by abundant work in its mines, farms and homes and by one of the world's most liberal immigration and refugee policies.

Growing hostility towards this group threatens to damage South Africa's relations with other African countries and handicap its buoyant economy, under strain from rising inflation, a shortage of skills and a power crisis.

Cold shoulder

Many newcomers are being met with a cold shoulder and, in some cases, a clenched fist, according to relief workers and rights activists who have noted an rise in violence against foreign-born residents in the "Rainbow Nation".

"It's clearly something that has got worse this year. These are general attacks on foreigners," said Jack Redden, regional representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Pretoria.

"What has been really worrying is the violence that is attached to them."

It is unclear whether the rising cost of living and other economic jitters directly contribute to the violence.

Fear of crime is generally given as the cause of attacks on foreigners, who are often blamed for murders, rapes and carjackings.

Immigrants say they are frequently the victims of crimes and their complaints are beginning to get attention.

Nigeria's Senate last month considered a motion condemning attacks on its citizens in South Africa.

Zimbabwean rights activists accuse police of harassing immigrants and turning a blind eye when criminals prey on them.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa as a result of the economic crisis back home.

South Africa has acknowledged its concern about rising xenophobia within its borders and says it is taking steps to tackle the problem.


Land bill faces legal challenge

May 15 2008 8:10AM

Michael Hamlyn

Cape Town - AfriForum, a pressure group allied to the right wing Freedom Front Plus, is threatening to take the expropriation bill to the constitutional court, because, they say, it breaches rights to property, the right to access to the courts, and to just administrative action.

Kallie Kriel its chief executive said on Wednesday: "The fact that in terms of the bill, the state will have the right to expropriate any property, at an amount which the state will determine itself, while the courts will only have the right to review the expropriation process followed, in effect amounts to the legalised theft of property by the state."

The bill will also undermine the authority and independence of the courts, he said.

In a letter to the portfolio committee on public works, which is shepherding the bill through parliament, Kriel said that the bill's attempt to take away the courts' authority to rule on the expropriation amount, contravenes article 25(2)(b) of the constitution.

He said that in his opinion, it is even more absurd to note that the bill would empower the state to expropriate any item or property (such as a house or car) in order to give it to someone who does not have such an item or property already, and on top of that will also be able to determine the price paid for it itself, as long as the "correct procedures" are followed.

- I-Net Bridge



Wednesday, 07 May 2008

Religion versus politics...

May 06 2008 at 07:17AM

By Wendy Jasson da Costa

ANC President Jacob Zuma has earned the wrath of the DA and ACDP and offended a cardinal for claiming that his party enjoyed the full support of God.

Previously slated for claiming the ANC would rule "until Jesus comes back", Zuma went even further this weekend, saying that God expected the ANC to rule and that the party had God's blessing.

Speaking about the divisions in the ANC in the Western Cape, Zuma told people in Khayelitsha: "We shall build this organisation. We are not going to fail.

"Even God expects us to rule this country, because we are the only organisation which was blessed by pastors when it was formed. It is even blessed in heaven.

"That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back. We should not allow anyone to govern our city (Cape Town) when we are ruling the country."

DA CEO Ryan Coetzee was first to react, saying Zuma "consciously and repeatedly" invoked God to justify eternal ANC rule, and to demonise political opponents.

Ironically, it is the prospect of losing the province to a DA-led coalition which prompted Zuma's remarks.

"As tempting as it is to dismiss this kind of statement as eccentric or amusing, it is actually very dangerous, because to oppose a government backed by God is to oppose God; to oppose governments that rule by divine right is to be a traitor; to attempt to dislodge them, even through the ballot box, is a declaration of war. In short, opposition to the ANC is rendered utterly illegitimate," Coetzee said on Monday.

He was not the only one fuming at Zuma's apparent "God complex".

ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe said Zuma's remarks were "blasphemous", and called on him to apologise.

"The unity he is calling for in the ANC will not materialise. It's a sign of God's displeasure (because) of their rebellion and the immorality they are promoting in the country."

Referring to the legalisation of abortion and same-sex marriages, Meshoe said Zuma was effectively saying that God "blesses" the killing of innocent babies and homosexual relations. He said the ANC would sink like the Titanic.

It was also following the route of "Zanu-PF, which had lost Zimbabwe's recent elections after they thought they would rule forever".

Durban-based Cardinal Wilfred Napier, of the Roman Catholic Church, said on Monday: "I am offended that people use God in a way that has nothing to do with religion."

Napier said he had reminded Zuma of The Beatles - who caused much controversy when they announced they were "more popular than Jesus Christ" - when he had first passed such remarks.

He said people felt offended that the Beatles had trivialised religion and the value they placed on it.


Monday, 05 May 2008

'Mbeki not a credible mediator'

04/05/2008 21:05  - (SA)

Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki can no longer be considered a credible mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, the Democratic Alliance's parliamentary leader, Sandra Botha, said on Sunday.

When Parliament reconvened on Tuesday, Botha said, she intended moving a motion calling for a debate on the post-election crisis in Zimbabwe, and more specifically, probing Mbeki and the SA government's "distinct lack of action" on the matter.

Botha last month gave a representative of Foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma a letter detailing proposed demands to the Mugabe government to help bring about an end to the post-election violence and political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

If the Zimbabwean government failed to meet these demands, the DA proposed that SA pursue more stringent measures, such as imposing targeted travel and financial sanctions on Zanu-PF's ruling elite, and calling for an international arms embargo on the country.

Despite having received these proposals, government had yet to respond to the crisis in any significant way, Botha said.

"To add insult to injury, we now know from reports in the media that President Mbeki not only endorsed the effort by Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF to procure a massive cache of arms and ammunition from China, but that Mbeki instructed the Ministry of Defence and the National Conventional Arms Control Committee to allow the arms transfer to continue unhindered."

This morally bankrupt move would have contributed to the violent suppression of the Zimbabwean people by the military and the police there.

This was "further evidence that President Mbeki can no longer be considered a credible mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis".

'Crime not the only reason'

25/04/2008 20:22  - (SA) 

Pretoria - Heightened security is one of the many reasons the US Embassy is terminating household leases, a spokesperson said on Friday.

US Embassy spokesperson in Pretoria, Sharon Hudson-Dean said the embassy terminated at least 20 household leases for its staff annually.

"The Embassy reviews the inventory of housing for its staff annually and adjusts the type and number of leased residences according to the needs of the mission.

"Every year, the Embassy terminates approximately twenty leases, and this year is no different," said Hudson-Dean.

This follows reports that the embassy was terminating the leases because of high crime rates.

"A heightened security profile is just one of many reasons that leases are reassessed," she said.

She said that the demographics of embassy staff had changed from large families to married couples with no children and single people.

"Smaller families require smaller houses. Several recent lease terminations have been due to the fact that the embassy no longer requires as many large houses," said Hudson-Dean.

She said that security was a "serious" concern to ambassador Eric Bost and carried a heavy weight in the reassessment process.

"As new Embassy personnel arrive, we try to place them in multi-unit secure compounds, replacing the stand-alone houses of the departing families," she said.

She added that when the embassy terminated a lease, it was done in accordance with all requirements of the lease signed by the owner of the property, as well as the Embassy.

Residential leases in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town were terminated annually.


Thursday, 17 April 2008

Mbeki's double standards

17/04/2008 13:03  - (SA)      

Georgina Guedes

African politicians have to dance to two different tunes, representing their countries on a global stage, while still remaining sensitive to local politics.

Thabo Mbeki has proven himself to be a global thinker, and has often come under criticism for this from his own people. But the one issue upon which he has remained intractable has been Zimbabwe.

The concept of "quiet diplomacy", a euphemism for "looking the other way while atrocities are committed" if ever I heard one, is a bizarre one. But a step beyond quiet diplomacy, publicly stating that the world should wait for the Zimbabwean election results, is even stranger.

Standing by a lunatic dictator as he flaunts his own agenda in the face of derailed democratic processes is a very questionable stance for a head of state, notions of brotherhood in the struggle notwithstanding. Has Mbeki forgotten that it was democracy that installed him for two terms in South Africa in the first place? How can he stand by a man who seeks to stymie this process?

Not that I agree with much of what they have done in recent years, but the Americans invade countries for flouting democracy. Zimbabwe should count its (possibly last remaining) blessings that it doesn't have any oil, or it would have to contend with being bombed as well as starving and without essential services.

The global community

Realistically, Zimbabwe needn't fear invasion by democracy champions, but it does continue to be excluded from a global community, and in a rapidly shrinking world, inclusion is essential for survival.

Naysayers insist that it is only because of Western boycotts that Zimbabwe is in such a precarious economic and political position, but this is ignoring the fact that these same powers boycotted the Apartheid government in South Africa, with the result of bringing African leadership into power.

To participate in a global community, a country has to embrace democracy and steer clear of human rights abuses. Democracy isn't just a mechanism to install a leader, after which he can do whatever he wants, it's an ongoing process, involving free and fair elections, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and association and almost no accidents in prison cells with uneven floor tiling.

For Thabo Mbeki to stand by a man who is doing the same things in his country that were done to black South Africans only two short decades ago is a sickening double standard, and a very negative indictment on African politics indeed.

Georgina Guedes is a freelance journalist. She has nothing funny to say today


NPA stands up for Scorpions

Boyd Webb
April 16 2008 at 06:53AM

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has defended the Scorpions after the ANC accused the crime fighting unit of sheltering former apartheid security police intent on destroying the ruling party.

It was reacting to accusations by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who also accused the Scorpions of acting like an opposition party.

On Tuesday, Mantashe said some of the reasons the ruling party wanted to disband the Scorpions was its "unfair" treatment of senior members and the clear antipathy the unit had towards the party.

"We have committed a mistake by putting a lot of the special branch into the NPA and they see their erstwhile opponents as the same enemy today. That is why they have become a political organisation with an objective to fight the ANC."

But NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali hit back, saying: "The NPA is not a haven for criminals, nor is it there to shield those whose mission it is to destabilise democratic order in this country.

"Our conduct has to contribute towards enhancing public confidence in the institutions of state and not sponsor efforts to undermine them."

He said the NPA's business was to investigate and prosecute those it believed had committed crimes.

"We are not a self-serving political organisation, but an institution of state accountable to parliament and to South Africa by extension."

Tlali said all Scorpions staff members had the necessary security clearance to do their operational duties.

This is not the first time the NPA has had to defend one of its own from attacks by the ANC.

In January, the ANC's national working committee accused Gerrie Nel, the Scorpions' Gauteng head and lead investigator in the Jackie Selebi investigation, of being a member of the apartheid-era riot squad. The NPA issued a statement rejecting this as false.

On Tuesday Mantashe also said the Scorpions had to be closed to make way for a more aggressive crime fighting unit to deal with organised crime.

The Scorpions, he said, solved most of its cases through plea bargains.

"We need professional investigators and detectives who fight crime and corruption.

"We don't want people who will give plea bargains to everybody as long as you can incriminate the ANC," he said.

His statement followed a meeting with DA leader Helen Zille on Tuesday, when she again tried to convince the ANC that its decision to disband the Scorpions was foolish.

"We believe it's critical for all South Africans, especially the poor, to have a force that can prevent South Africa from becoming a state in which corruption is endemic," she said.


Diverging paths

April 16 2008 at 07:37PM

By Michael Georgy

South African President Thabo Mbeki's refusal to take a tougher line on neighbouring Zimbabwe has further damaged his credibility and handed rival Jacob Zuma another opening to improve his image.

Regional leaders last year mandated Mbeki to lead mediation between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition but his insistence on "quiet diplomacy" failed to make headway.

As a post-election deadlock deepened in Zimbabwe following the failure to release results from the March 29 presidential poll, Mbeki continued to downplay the situation, saying there was no crisis.

His steadfast refusal to change his stance has brought a flood of criticism and given Zuma a golden chance to strengthen his image abroad, where his corruption trial in August has raised concerns about the future direction of South Africa.

If Zuma can survive the case, he is front runner to succeed Mbeki in 2009, having already ousted him last December as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

"If Jacob Zuma could broker some kind of resolution in Zimbabwe that the international community, particularly Britain and the United States would be happy with, that would probably go a long way to alleviate concerns that other countries have regarding Jacob Zuma's own leadership ability," said analyst Mark Schroeder.

Analysts say Zuma may be angling to become a leading mediator in the crisis to boost his international capital.

In his toughest statement yet on Zimbabwe, Zuma expressed apprehension on Wednesday at the post-election deadlock and its impact on the neighbouring region, and criticised the delay in issuing results that Mbeki has defended.

Mbeki is already seen by critics as a lame duck president and has been battered on a range of issues, where his reluctance to change direction has been similar to his stance on Zimbabwe.

He has presided over an economic boom but crime and poverty are still rife. A major crisis over lack of power generation has raised fears about the possible impact on the broader economy.

Critics blame Mbeki for ignoring warnings years ago that the country lacked the power capacity to fuel a booming economy.

He also infuriated Aids activists for years by questioning accepted Aids science while the disease killed about 1 000 people a day and by delaying the wide distribution of anti-retroviral drugs.

Zuma, without Mbeki's education and intellect but oozing with the charisma he lacks, portrays himself both as a man of the people and someone who can keep foreign investment flowing into Africa's biggest economy.

His decisive response to the Zimbabwe issue, backed by the ANC and his trade union allies, has raised his stature.

"If you take the new ANC leadership generally, I think this is positive for them. It will enhance their image in the eyes of the world. I think there has been lot of anxiety about what the new Zuma-ANC is going to be like. They are showing there is greater resolve than there has been under Mbeki," said veteran political commentator Allister Sparks.

Under fire for his domestic policies, Mbeki wants to be remembered as a champion of African causes, despite what critics say is ineffectiveness in Zimbabwe, which has flooded his country with millions of economic migrants and at times dented the rand currency.

"His political leadership is fragile but he is trying to work on a legacy and the legacy he is trying to work is very much in terms of Africa and southern Africa," said Susan Booysen, a political analyst at South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

Just before leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) gathered for an emergency summit on Zimbabwe in Lusaka on Saturday, Mbeki flew to Harare for talks with Mugabe.

As Zimbabweans anxiously awaited results of an election they hoped would ease food and food shortages and hyper-inflation, Mbeki walked hand in hand with Mugabe on the airport tarmac. It's an image that may haunt him if Zimbabwe's catastrophic downward spiral continues.

Mbeki was under the spotlight again on Wednesday when he chaired a meeting of key members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and the African Union at which Zimbabwe became a key topic despite his efforts to focus on other issues.

Mbeki, current rotating president of the Security Council, had resisted pressure from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Western powers to discuss Zimbabwe.

Mbeki is unlikely to budge, analysts say.

"Zimbabwe has been one of his leading issues. For him to accept backing down to the ANC right now would be a huge slap in his face, a huge embarrassment," said Schroeder, regional director for sub-Saharan Africa at risk analysis firm Stratfor, Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

"He is certainly a stubborn leader," Schroeder said.