Friday, 29 February 2008

Judge slams SA crime rate

28/02/2008 21:52 - (SA)

Pietermaritzburg - South Africa's high crime rate and prevalence of firearms were dissuading some people from visiting the country, said a High Court judge on Thursday.

Acting Judge Sipho Nxumalo sent two armed robbers to jail for 20 years.

Sipho Zitha, 31, of Durban, and Sydney Yende, 31, of Soweto, were convicted of the armed robbery of Coin Security men of R100 000 at a garage at Cato Ridge, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, in October 2005.

Machine-gun fire raked the precinct of a service station while a security man was taking money from a drop safe at the garage.

He ran for his life and a man was struck with shrapnel while the gang, of which the accused were members, grabbed the money.

Zitha and Yende were also convicted of having two AK-47 automatic rifles, six handguns, and escaping from custody.

Judge Nxumalo said that some business people no longer took their money to banks themselves because robbers attacked mercilessly.

R2 400 spent on woman's sandals

As a result, they had to incur extra expenses on security deliveries.

Court books showed that there were hardly any weeks in which armed-robbery cases were not on the rolls.

In most robbery cases, the money was not recovered. If robbers were not arrested at the scene they were often difficult to find and the money was seldom recovered.

The court accepted that the firearms were found at Zitha's house.

Police also found R6 000 in Yende's possessions and cash slips indicating he had indulged in a spending spree within hours of the robbery.

Among his purchases were a pair of Italian woman's plastic sandals for R2 400, a pair of man's trousers for R1 600 and a golf shirt for R800.

The two men were sentenced to a total of 25 years', but part of one sentence is to run concurrently with another, so the effective sentence is 20 years.


Sam van den Berg
What conclusions can one draw from mounting evidence that the ANC may be steeped in corruption?

When the ANC adopted the principle of the armed struggle, like the USA under Bush at Guantanamo, or the Nazi functionaries at the Wannsee Conference (here), they abandoned 'ordinary' concepts of morality and legality and resorted to the Law of Moral Entitlement. It is a context in which graft, murder and torture - even democide - become conceivable and eventually acceptable, because it is done in the name of the greater good - racial purity, human progress, freedom, democracy or some such noble cause. Most people would probably say that during the Second World War this higher ethic was appropriate. It is debatable. Some people would agree that such an ethic is also acceptable in a war of liberation. Gandhi would have disagreed, but it is arguable.

Once a liberation movement becomes a government, it often finds it impossible to change its liberationist mind-set and accept 'ordinary' ideas of the rule of law. The ANC may have accepted the constitution and the Bill of Rights (read their lips), but always with a casuistic reservatio mentalis that everything was still subject to the higher Law of Moral Entitlement. The NEC of the ANC alone could be trusted with the sacred duty of upholding its concept of democracy. No-one else can be trusted.

At least honest
Whatever one might think of Mr Zuma's moral probity, he has been honest about one thing: he has twice publicly announced the supremacy of the ANC over the Constitution.

So - to take a purely hypothetical case - to pilfer state assets and divert money intended for the poor in order to fund elections and to buy the loyalty of influential people would not only be acceptable, but indeed a moral duty - the duty to protect Democracy. Even when things go badly wrong and corruption takes on a life of its own and gets completely out of hand, the Guardians of Democracy may still cling to their sense of moral entitlement - like corrupt and degenerate popes who still somehow managed to believe that they were doing God's work - even while moving in mysterious ways from one 'nephew's' bed chamber to the next.

Is it acceptable for the Guardians of Democracy to lie about their transgressions? No less a man than Winston Churchill answered this question: 'In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.'

The frightening thing is that this sense of moral entitlement probably implies that it is impossible for the Guardians to even think of the possibility of losing an election - and we know what that means in Africa (Mugabe, Kenya) ANC leaders pay lip service to multiparty democracy, but every now and then give the game away. It is significant that when President Mbeki went to Polokawne to seek a third term as ANC president, he did not bring an heir apparent with him. It was either Mbeki or nothing; losing was simply inconceivable. Stalin was also known for his policy of never permitting anyone to be seen as a possible successor.

Mr Zuma finds it inconceivable that a mere charge of corruption could possibly be allowed to stand between him and the presidency to which he is morally entitled, because only he really cares about the poor. The whole top structure of the ANC believes, like Mr Zuma, that the ANC will (and must) be in power 'until Jesus comes'.

Unfortunately - a painful lesson President Mbeki recently learnt: the gods take a very dim view of hubris.

Friday, 22 February 2008

SA: A letter published in the Star, 'You can't disarm a nation that needs protection'

February 19, 2008 in the Star.

Email address for star:

You can't disarm a nation that needs protection

In the latest issue of the Government Gazette, Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula intends to outlaw self-defence weapons.

We, the law-abiding and taxpaying citizens who catapulted the ANC into power, are being asked to defend our hard-won freedom and liberty with sticks and stones. Incidentally, the minister also wishes to ban the catapult.

Unbeknownst to many South Africans, banning weapons such as shockers, batons, catapults, etc is the gateway to civilian disarmament, which often precedes genocide.

Frequently, when presented with these deadly chronicles and the perilous historic sequence, namely that rigid weapons control is followed by banning, confiscation, civilian disarmament and, ultimately authoritarianism, naive South Africans opine that it cannot happen here.

This is not only naive, but also a dangerous attitude because governments have a penchant to accrue power at the expense of the liberties of individual citizens. Civilian disarmament is not only dangerous to one's liberties but also counter-productive in achieving safety.

A glance at our criminal- justice system shows there are minimal or often no consequences for criminal behaviour. Making defensive weapons illegal will primarily disarm peaceful citizens.

There's an old saying: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Wouldn't it be ironic if laws created with the purpose of cutting back on the number of murders and deadly assaults actually had the opposite effect?

Society's apathy and silent acquiescence regarding weapons control is baffling, to say the least.

But make no mistake about it, we will eventually pay a hefty price if we remain silent while we are being stealthily disarmed.

South Africa is the most violent country on earth. In this society, it is of critical importance that we have access to the most effective tools to protect ourselves when an overburdened and frequently unconcerned legal system fails to do so.

Our very lives and livelihood depend on it.

Farouk Araie


Published on the web by Star on February 19, 2008.
© Star 2008. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

BBC's 'crook' questions rattle Zuma

By Elizma Nolte

"Are you a crook?" Jacob Zuma laughs, unsure how to respond to the brutally frank question.

He tries to make light of it, then plays for time by asking for a definition of crook.

"It's somebody who takes money from others for corrupt purposes," the BBC journalist responds slickly.

"Ah, serious," he chuckles. It takes him a moment to collect his thoughts and launch into a familiar argument about having been "put on trial by media".

But the damage is done. Within half an hour on Sunday night, thousands of British TV viewers were given the impression that South Africa's democracy and the ANC's moral integrity were on a downward spiral, while crime, unemployment and Aids ravage the country.

In the BBC1 Panorama documentary entitled No More Mandelas, Fergal Keane asks: "How did the presidency pass from Mandela to this man?"

He calls South Africa a "frighteningly violent" country and notes that although the government is increasing its police force, "confidence is not boosted when the chief of police is charged with accepting a bribe or the leading party votes to disband its anti-corruption unit".

To illustrate his point, he asks some teenagers, high on a mix of alcohol and amphetamines, why they commit crime.

"If you don't want to give me your car, I kill you. It's nothing to kill you because I need the money," comes the reply.

"Is this what Mandela spent 27 years in jail for, so you can go around and kill people?" asks Keane, trying to prove his point, rather than elicit a coherent response.

"No, no, no," falters the drunken chorus, before the guy sitting closest turns to the cameraman: "I could rob you, I could steal your camera."

Keane moves away and on to poverty, explaining that despite everything that has been achieved, the "growing economy hasn't delivered jobs".

A man in a squatter camp tells him that he thinks things were better under the apartheid government - at least he had a job back then.

"From answers like these you get a sense of how far the elite of the ANC has drifted away from their constituency - the people of the townships," he concludes.