Saturday, May 31, 2008

* Security Warning * - An eyewitness account on "coloured markings"

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on the use of crayon markings, in the Durban area.

Despite the fact that numerous security firms have confirmed that this is actually happening, some people still don’t believe it is true, and is an urban legend. But I highly doubt that each of the security companies are making this up.

Well, yesterday, my colleague sent me an email that was from a resident in the Durban-North area. The resident, Micky, had sent an email to the eblockwatch team warning them about the markings.

Whether this is true or not, I can’t be 100% sure. But eblockwatch certainly has a respected bunch of community members on their website, and I doubt anyone would lie.

And if my previous blog has anything to go by, the stories are very similar.

So here is what Micky had to say:

I came back from the Hyper by the Sea, on my way to fetch Jude from Creche….. as I drove past my house, I saw a metallic blue Mercedes (old, old one) parked on my verge. There were two guys inside the car, chatting to my gardener. So, I stop…. Asked them what I can do for them. They grinned at me and said they were just asking for directions and drove off. Another car driving pass, witnesses this and stopped to chat to me. This guy told me to be really careful, because the police issued a warning for a similar car… marking houses in Durban North… all know about the markings hey?

He then told me that the guys gave my gardener a piece of carton to put behind my pot plant , next to our boundary wall…… I would NEVER have known it was there, if he did not tell me. I spoke to Henry, our gardener, and he said that they were not looking for directions, like they told me, but that they said he must place the RED board behind the pot plant for municipality reasons, Which Henry of course believed and placed there. He would not have told me about it either, seeing that he did not give it a second thought. Scary!!!! I’ve got their number plate: ND 205563 And RED means HIJACKING!!!! Scary when you’ve got a child in his carseat!!

So, moral of the story - it’s true. They are indeed marking our houses!!!! And I saw it with my own eyes. Oh, and yesterday Jude’s Creche had a green marking on the intercom, which they immediately washed off. Creches are easy targets.

Send this to anyone you feel needs to know this.

Court ties Shaik to Zuma

(click to enlarge pic)

Nearing the end of the reign of Mbeki the Magnificent Moron, the country has the ignominious record of starting another (presumably) two terms with a president (Zuma) whose preponderance for accepting sweet deals and financial handouts have been confirmed by two of the highest courts in the land.


You can influence that. Vote for anyone BUT the ANC. It is your only chance or pray that the upcoming prosecution of Zuma succeeds.

- - - - -

Schabir Shaik's bribery of ANC president Jacob Zuma has been proved and established, says South Africa's highest court.

But while ruling that Shaik must pay back the more than R33-million in benefits he received because of his corrupt relationship with Zuma, the Constitutional Court on Thursday found it was "neither necessary nor appropriate" to examine whether Zuma believed the payments he received from Shaik were bribes.

In a unanimous verdict, the court found that the State had established "as a matter of fact" that Shaik, Zuma's former financial adviser, had received multimillion-rand benefits "as a result of Mr Zuma's support for Mr Shaik and his companies".

In the last of his six failed legal battles against the State, Shaik - who is serving a 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption - challenged two courts' findings that he had obtained certain benefits after Zuma intervened on his behalf with French arms company Thomson-CSF/Thint.

Speaking on behalf of the court's 11 judges, Judge Kate O'Regan found the State had proved that Zuma met Thomson after the company, acting on information that then president Nelson Mandela and then deputy president Thabo Mbeki did not like Shaik, started backing out of its relationship with the businessman.

After meeting Zuma on July 2 1998, Thomson recommitted itself to a relationship with Shaik and his companies - resulting in Shaik obtaining a 20 percent interest in African Defence Systems (ADS) as part of the Thomson consortium, which was awarded a multimillion-rand contract to provide the combat suites for the navy's new corvette vessels.

It was these shares and their dividends that the State then seized, arguing they were the proceeds of crime - a claim on Thursday backed by the constitutional court.

Addressing arguments by Shaik's counsel, Martin Brassey SC, that the State had failed to prove that Zuma had intervened on Shaik's behalf solely because of the bribes and not out of friendship, O'Regan said it was "neither necessary nor appropriate … to traverse Mr Zuma's subjective state of mind".

O'Regan accepted the supreme court of appeal's finding that Shaik's payments to Zuma were made "in order to influence Mr Zuma to promote Mr Shaik's business interests and, in attending the meeting in London in July 1998, Mr Zuma did as a matter of fact promote Mr Shaik's interests.

"I conclude therefore that the State has established as a matter of fact that both benefits at issue in this case flowed from Mr Zuma's support for Mr Shaik."

Shaik maintained during his 2005 trial that he would have obtained the ADS shares without Zuma's help.

But, describing this claim as of "no assistance" to the appeal brought by Shaik and his companies, O'Regan pointed out: "Mr Shaik did not choose to litigate. Instead he called on Mr Zuma for assistance and that assistance was furnished in July.

"The effect of that intervention is clear and is not disputed on the record.

"Thomson-CSF (France) changed its mind and set in train a process whereby (Shaik's companies) gained a significant share in the ADS initiative.

"What is clear is that (Shaik and his companies) did not have to litigate because Mr Zuma's intervention made that unnecessary."

Speaking to the media outside the court on Thursday, Shaik's brother, Yunis, said he was "disappointed" by the ruling.

Shaik's family had earlier said that, should they win their battle for his assets, they would use the money to fight for his release.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Tlali Tlali on Thursday said the State was "very pleased" with the judgment.

UN Rights Expert 'Dismayed' At Xenophobic Violence

Let’s see. Is this the same talking shop that keeps quiet while Mugabe and other despots like him wreak havoc around the world only to re-appear as the ‘benevolent benefactor to help the needy’?

If they took pre-emptive action against people like Mad Bob, Sudan, Burma, Somalia, Liberia, Congo and.. and… there wouldn’t be a fraction of the crises in the world today.


- - - - -

A United Nations human rights expert today said he was distressed at the current spate of xenophobic attacks on foreigners and ethnic minorities in South Africa, which has claimed the lives of 56 people.

"I express my distress at the recent xenophobic violence targeting refugees, migrants and South African ethnic minorities in Johannesburg and surrounding townships," Doudou Diène, the UN's Special Rapporteur on racism, said today in a statement.

Mr. Diène called on the Government of South Africa to carry out a thorough investigation of the acts of violence to bring the perpetrators to justice and to prevent the spread of atrocities.

He also urged the authorities to launch a comprehensive discussion about how to better integrate migrants in the country.

"Only a cultural and ethical approach can address the deep-rooted problems of racism and discrimination and promote long-term tolerance and living together among all communities," he said.

He said that the recent violence in South Africa underlined the relevance and legitimacy of the Durban Review Conference on racism which will be held next year.

Meanwhile the UN refugee agency is releasing 2,000 tents to the South African government to help provide much-needed shelter to the estimated 100,000 people who have been uprooted by the violence.

A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that the majority of the displaced people were undocumented migrants from Mozambique, Malawi and other African countries, some of whom have since returned to their countries of origin, or to a third country.

To date, some 42,000 migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, are sheltered in 95 makeshift sites, mostly in Gauteng and Western Cape provinces.

Among those affected are thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ethiopia and other African countries, whose homes were destroyed and businesses looted, and burned.

There are presently more than 128,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa, coming from a wide variety of countries.

Grit and bear it

Sadly, it now looks obvious why everyone is calling for President Thabo Mbeki to step down.

No one has presented a more compelling argument for the case than the man himself, limping from blunder to blunder somewhere off in the wings of our national life.

We all knew that Mbeki viewed the battle for the leadership of the African National Congress as a definitive struggle over his project for the country and the continent, and it's clear that many of the people who backed his third-term bid have been shattered by its failure.

But none of us anticipated that the nature of the battle with Jacob Zuma, and Mbeki's complete defeat, would so utterly erode the president's personal stature and his apparent willingness to lead the country.

It is as if he thinks that, having rejected him and his vision, we no longer deserve him. He may be right -- but not for the reasons he has in mind.

Mbeki is sulking in his tent at the worst possible time.

Since Polokwane we have suffered the electricity crisis, a series of price and interest-rate shocks and the descent of Zimbabwe into an increasingly bloody post-election stalemate.

To the extent that he has offered any action on these issues, it has done more harm than good, culminating in his ludicrous hand-holding with Robert Mugabe and his blithe profession that there is no crisis in that country. He has been driving away international friends too, snubbing the Britain's Gordon Brown, and persists in holding an inexplicably contrarian position at the United Nations.

But it is in his absence that he does the most damage. He made a fine speech about xenophobia at the safe remove of a television studio. But it took him two weeks. Not until nearly 50 were dead and 30 000 displaced did he favour us with fine words about our place in Africa.

It is maddening, and inexplicable, that someone who has placed South African lives, prestige and treasure on the line in pursuit of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire and the Central African Republic and even Zimbabwe, should trot off overseas at a time when his people are butchering African refugees and migrants.

So, should members of the National Assembly push him out of office?

On the face of it, there is every reason to do so. We are adrift and anxious, desperate for the current interregnum to end. Surely new leadership would help us to get back on course?

Probably not. If Mbeki were to go, who would replace him?

That person must be an MP, which means the obvious answer is Kgalema Motlanthe, recently sworn in to the National Assembly, and well ensconced in the ANC's new top leadership structures. But that would really move Motlanthe into pole position to keep the presidency after next year's elections, and, as such, represent a setback for Zuma. It would probably spark a fresh round of jockeying for position within the ANC.

Even if it did not, how would a temporary president run his Cabinet? Loyalty to Mbeki may have dramatically diminished at the apex of government, but there are important pockets of resistance.

Would anything really get done?

So, reluctantly, we agree with Cosatu - that axing Mbeki now would create more problems than it would solve. We'll simply have to grit our teeth, lower our expectations and wait out the year. Anyone who feels in need of leadership until then is advised, quite simply, to look elsewhere.

A small matter of R2,5bn.

The violence of the past fortnight has shown us in very stark terms just what the real consequences of failed delivery to the poor can be. There are many reasons for that failure, not least, a weak civil service. But money is crucial too. Those who are able to make a good living in our grossly unequal society have to give up a bit of it so the government can help those who are worse off. There is the small matter, too, of funding all the expensive things that underpin a modern state, where the making of money is possible. It is a simple social contract, enforced by a moderate set of tax laws.

Because more and more people are obeying those laws, the proportion of our income that we fork over to Pravin Gordhan has declined steeply, even as he rakes in ever more cash for the fiscus.

All between 1998 and 2001, when the government, seriously strapped for cash, felt forced to implement tough fiscal restraints under the Gear programme in order to get the national balance sheet in order.

Tax morality is not simply a matter of doing what you are told. It goes to the heart of the kind of society we are trying to build. The merits of the case may be complex, but we can't help siding with the taxman on this one. Houses and toilets are more important than dubiously acquired Falcon jets and wine farms, and we hope that any proceeds flow swiftly to where they are needed most -- the strife-torn streets of our poorest areas.

Community’s xenophobia pledge

A three-week-old baby twin, the youngest person to die since the start of the xenophobic attacks, was buried yesterday.

This has prompted the community of Siyahlala informal settlement near Randfontein on the West Rand to vow that they would never again tolerate xenophobic attacks in their area.

The twin baby boy died when his family was forced to flee and spend the night in the cold in an open veld during last week’s violence.

“Now we say never again,” area councillor Thembi Matuwane said. “We will not accept it.

“It will not happen here again.”

The incident happened last Tuesday night when the temperature dropped to an icy 4 degrees Celsius in Johannesburg.

“It was a bitterly cold night,” said the baby’s mother Celina Fernando Wate. “We fled without our blankets. We panicked.”

Wate, a 28-year-old Mozambican, said though she will never forget what happened she intended to stay in South Africa.

The twins, Siphiwe who died, and Sipho, were born prematurely.

Wate said: “Nothing is going to bring back my child. I’m just glad I did not lose both of them. I have been here for three years and have started a new life for myself.

“I’m deeply hurt by what happened but I know with time I will heal.”

Wate and her family and other foreign nationals have been reintegrated into the community.

“We have not experienced any problems so far and are hoping that things will remain like this for ever,” she said.

Councillor Matuwane said when she heard about the attacks she rushed to find the family.

“When I got there I found the babies and their mother and took them to my place,” Matuwane said. “I realised that the babies were not breathing properly so I took them to the clinic.”

Siphiwe died on Saturday while Sipho survived.

Matuwane said she was happy that the Siyahlala community had come to their senses.

“We are all Africans and belong to this continent.”

She said it was sad to know that the young people were involved the attacks.

“Siphiwe’s death has shed light for the community,” she said.

“They have realised that what they did was wrong.”

'I really hate your country'

Well, I don't. So f**k off to you mate.

I have sympathy for your terrible experience at the hands of a small group of black South Africans.

Apartheid was about separating that group from the rest of us that want to work, contribute, and be productive – black, white and brown.

You have the right to be disappointed but you do NOT have the right to insult my country.

What happened recently is NOT South Africa.

It is an aberration that should never have happened but it did because of the policies of a terrible government - not South Africans.

If you had said, “I hate the ANC and the SA government”, ok. But you can f**k off when you insult my country.

Nobody invited you here. You didn’t ask permission to come to South Africa. You are an illegal entrant in MY country. You have no right being here much less pass judgement on MY country.

F**k off to that Somali paradise you come from and take your f**king mates with you. You know the way. Just look north for a shithole and start walking.

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Somalian Muhamed Barre is bitter about his neighbours in Khayelitsha looting his shop and threatening to kill him.

“I was behind the counter in my shop when my neighbour came in. I’d lived next door to her for six years and we were friendly. She started doing that dance … toyi-toyi you call it.

“I said: ‘Hey, sisi (sister)! You must sing when you dance!’ She looked into my eyes and shouted: ‘Hamba kwerekwere, hamba (go, foreigner, go).’”

So began Somalian-born Muhamed Barre’s terrifying ordeal in Khayelitsha’s Site C last Friday night. At least 30 Somali-owned shops were closed in the township, most after being looted.

The neighbour’s sinister dance was the trigger for an invasion.

“So quickly, the other people and children picked up from her and then they started breaking and looting and also shouting ‘hamba kwerekwere, hamba!

“I know everybody who looted. They were my neighbours; some lived across the road. I gave sweets and chips to their children. I sometimes did their shopping for them. I lent them money.

“A woman across the road asked: ‘Where’s this man? We must put him six feet under tonight’.”

Barre is no newcomer; he has run a spaza shop in Site C for 13 years.

The store was open seven days a week, sometimes from the early morning until 11pm.

Twenty-four hours after foreign traders were chased out of Du Noon in Milnerton and their shops looted, his was one of the first in Khayelitsha to be hit.

Barre fled to the back of his shop. “People became more and more crazy and they started breaking up the whole place; I ran outside where a police vehicle was parked.”

As the rioters, some with knives and metal poles, turned their attention to his house, he says the police were largely inactive.

“A woman walked past one of the policeman with a big 15kg of [looted] sugar. She lost her balance and the policeman helped her to get a better grip on the sack. He laughed when she said thanks and danced away.”

“The cop asked me: ‘Do you want me to save your life?’ I said: ‘Please, please, they’ll kill me.’ He opened the back of the van and said: ‘Get in kwerekwere; I save you.’”

At the police station he found other Somalis who had taken refuge. There he phoned his former wife, a South African living in Delft.

“She cried over the phone saying I must not worry about our boy. She said I must please not come to Delft because I will be killed and her house will be burned.”

“What will happen to my Faizel? He looks like me. He’s also a Barre.”

In addition to his house and store, Barre lost R40 000 worth of stock.

Possessing just his resident’s papers and the clothes he is wearing, he is now effectively interned at the refugee camp at the Youngsfield army base in Wetton with 1 400 other foreign nationals.

Hugging himself against the icy north-wester, he now has less than when he left Somalia.

The army has erected rows of brown tents and banned the media. A Muslim relief organisation feeds the fugitives twice a day.

NGOs coordinated by the Treatment Action Campaign and helped by the state’s disaster management service say the refugees desperately need medical and other assistance.

Barre wears a green plastic armband bearing a number which he must display if he wants to move around the base. Between 7pm and 5am, no one may leave or enter.

“We’re trapped,” said Barre. “We can’t use the railway because we’re told we’ll be killed and thrown off the trains. We’re scared of the taxi drivers. What can we do, madam?”

In an outpouring of bitterness and fear, Barre described South Africa as “a kind of hell”.

“I hate this country. Some of the black people in this country behave like animals.
They’re cruel and uneducated and can’t even show on a map where Somalia is. They’re too lazy to work. They want to sit down and be fed and looked after by the government. I created jobs through my shop. I worked very hard and tried at all times to be a good neighbour. But now I really hate your country and I’m sorry for feeling like this,” Barre said.

The official policy in Cape Town is to reintegrate the fugitives into the communities from which they were driven. But Barre, like many others, has no desire to return.

He has lost all trust in South Africans.

“We buried more than 50 of my countrymen in Cape Town in 2006. The government did nothing. Now people are talking about reintegration -- how will that work?

“They want me to go back and sleep next to the people who wanted to kill me! You can’t change the hearts of people so quickly.

“Even the kids in this country hate us. I want to go back to Somalia, even though there’s a war there.”

Tensions increase among foreigners displaced by xenophobic violence

Tensions mounted Thursday among foreigners displaced by xenophobic violence amid demands that the U.N. should step in to help with what looks set to become a long-term refugee crisis in Africa's richest country.

About 300 people, mainly Somalians, began a hunger strike in a camp north of South Africa's capital, Pretoria, after attacking aid workers and other foreigners, police said.

"The situation is tense in the sense that they are making threats," police spokesman Willie Baloyi said. "We are afraid that if they get a chance they will attack."

One police officer was seriously injured and two foreigners suffered minor injuries in clashes Wednesday. Protesters also cut an electricity cable and a water pipe in the camp.

In the southern town of George, one Somali man was killed in a knife fight with another Somali over donated clothes, police said.

More than 50 people were killed and some 40,000 foreigners fled their homes as a result of violence that erupted earlier this month in Johannesburg and spread to the rest of the country, according to central government figures — although this is likely to be a big underestimate.

In Cape Town alone, there are nearly 20,000 displaced people, divided among churches, community halls and tent camps. Other cities have proved less prepared for the emergency than Cape Town.

Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille was mobbed when she visited the city's largest camp — a tent city for 3,000 people right on the beach near one of South Africa's most famous scenic spots, the Cape of Good Hope.

A large crowd surrounded her, calling for U.N. protection and holding signs reading: "We don't want to stay in South Africa. We don't want to stay in a no-man's land."

Mothers with young babies lay on blankets inside a large striped marquee as dozens of people waited in line for food handouts on the Atlantic shore — a sight that would have been unthinkable last month in one of the world's tourist hot spots.

"It is a disaster," said Zille. "We don't have the resources or the experience to deal with displacement on this scale." She said city authorities were considering erecting more tent camps at holiday resorts around the coastline, despite criticism that the so-called safe sites resembled internment camps.

"It's not ideal, but we've got to do what we can," she said.

More than 30,000 Mozambicans have so far made the relatively short journey home, and many Malawians are following suit. Somalis — many of whom owned or worked in stores — also say they want to go back to their lawless, shattered country, but don't have the means to get there because it is too far and therefore they need U.N. help.

"You work, they rob you. You work again, they rob you again," said Mohamed Osman Haji, a Somali who has lived in South Africa for nine years and was staying with 1,000 others on a muddy military base with few facilities.

"They robbed me in Johannesburg so I moved down to Cape Town. They robbed me here," he said, holding up a tattered driving license saying he had no more need of it as thugs stole his car after they looted his shop.

When asked how many people wanted to return home, a large crowd of Somalis shouted with one voice: "All of us."

Many Zimbabweans — who are believed to make up the majority of South Africa's migrant community — say they can't go home because of the economic and political meltdown there.

"We don't want to go back to Zimbabwe, but we don't want to stay in South Africa," said Evelyn Davison, who was in a tent camp near the wine and fruit growing center of Somerset West, just outside Cape Town.

Yusef Hassan, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in South Africa, said the U.N. agency has given aid to those seeking shelter, and offered support to help authorities.

But he offered little hope to everyone demanding U.N. intervention.

"The responsibility to protect the rights of those people is that of the government that has given them asylum, and in this case that is the government of South Africa," Hassan said.

South Africa is the continent's economic and political powerhouse, attracting jobseekers from its poorer neighbors. But it also suffers staggeringly high unemployment and lack of decent housing and other services. Foreigners thus became easy targets for the long-simmering discontent over the government's failure to improve the life of millions of black South Africans, 14 years after the end of apartheid.

At the best of times, South Africa is one of the world's most crime-ridden countries, with more than 50 murders a day. But the violence of the past two weeks caught the government and everyone else by surprise.

Government spokesman Themba Maseko said the army was on standby should the violence flare up again. He said the government would rather have displaced people housed in small centers near their workplaces and schools rather than massive refugee camps.

But all the foreigners were adamant that they would never return to the communities that chased them out.

"Never," said Francoise Kanyamuneza, a nurse from Burundi.

"I'm too scared to go to work, too scared to send my children to school. I don't trust South Africans any more," she said.

Winnie speaks out on SA's issues

The "Queen of Africa" opens her pie hole.

She, of the “with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country” slogan.

Coming to expect the workmanship of your trained minions, are we?

And who can forget the kidnapping and killing of Stompie Sepei?

Then, she smacks more nails into Mbeki’s coffin as well. My, my, how quickly they jump from one seat of power to the next.

“Zuma, Zuma, he’s our man, if he can’t do it, no one can.” *sing it cheerleading style*

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ANC veteran and member of the party's national committee, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has spoken out on Thabo Mbeki's government and the country's woes, the Mail and Guardian reported on Friday.

In an interview with the newspaper, she described recent xenophobic attacks as "the worst tragedy in the post-apartheid era", and said government's poor economic policies and lack of service delivery had contributed to the recent wave of violence.

"Is it not a terrible indictment when, 14 years after our liberation, the minister of housing stands up in parliament and says she could not build houses because there is no money?

"This is 14-years after the drafting of the ANC's original manifesto..."

Madikizela-Mandela said she went into Alexandra after the xenophobic violence broke out.

She said Zimbabwean refugees in Alexandra told her the violence could have been started by Zimbabweans who wanted to drive their countrymen home to vote in the election.

Without mentioning Mbeki's name, she blamed the ANC leaders who did not tolerate debate in the party for devising policies that have failed.

She said the xenophobic crisis had arisen also because of the fact that government had not controlled or monitored the number of foreigners entering the country.

"The reality is coming to us now, if we had debated policies, we would not have had Polokwane... but no, people were called ultra-leftists and counter-revolutionaries."

She said the country was now in serious trouble and educational institutions were in crisis because "we had these mergers that were totally ill-advised.

ANC Setting Country On Path Toward Failed Statehood

Finally, people are awaking to the truth about the ANC and its destruction of South Africa.

This type of critical analysis was rare but now it is becoming more frequent which means the honeymoon is indeed OVER.

This isn’t critique coming from Western powers. This particular article is from within South Africa and we need more of it. The ANC has had a free ride for too long and people have been complacent (or complicit?) in not questioning the ANC.

It is a new wind blowing through the country and South Africa may just get a second chance.

Read this article. Pass it on. It is brilliant.

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The recent explosion of xenophobic violence in SA has caused President Thabo Mbeki finally to be written off. Can Jacob Zuma reverse the slide towards failed statehood?

The question is about both Zuma himself and the African National Congress (ANC). This party wants to tighten control of the state but, like the state, it is increasingly characterised by arrogance, complacency, corruption and cronyism. They would sooner rename streets than repair them. They vote millions for a "Pan-African parliament" but cannot supply schools with lavatories.

The rot set into Mbeki's presidency when he torpedoed the arms deal investigation. The state presidency to which Zuma aspires will start on an equally rotten note -- the destruction of the Scorpions.

Affirmative action, nepotism, corruption, and the ANC's deployment policy have undermined almost every department at every level of government and eroded the capacity of local authorities to provide services to poor communities.

The independence of regulatory bodies such as the Medicines Control Council is under threat. Having been hijacked by one faction of the party, the SABC is now a target for another hijack. Factionalism also helped to turn the nation's intelligence services into a comic opera.

Destruction now threatens private healthcare, property rights, the Land Bank and commercial agriculture. The country's capacity to produce enough food will be undermined, just as its ability to produce enough electricity has been jeopardised. Our capacity to combat AIDS has been undermined by ministers who trash modern medicine in favour of quack remedies. Poor people battle through the courts to obtain social grants that thousands of civil servants are happy to steal. We cannot produce, retain, or attract the skills we need. Nor can we keep our borders and airports secure, let alone make our roads, suburbs and townships safe.

Even as their ability to do anything useful declines, our ministers seek more intrusive and arbitrary powers. But their ability to build is far outweighed by their power to destroy. Think of the mostly useless sector education and training authorities (Setas). How easy it was by contrast simply to shut down teacher training colleges.

For none of this is anyone held accountable. Accountability has been shed in as cavalier a fashion as Eskom sheds its loads. The only person to pay a price for his actions is the one who tried to upset the gravy cart of cronyism, Vusi Pikoli.

Along with the legacy of apartheid and the liberation struggle itself, the ANC inherited the most technically advanced state in Africa. No other liberation movement started with so valuable an asset, built by people of all races, yet it shows a greater capacity to run it down than to run it.

South Africans are not naturally xenophobic. Millions of workers from neighbouring states lived in hostels and toiled on our mines for generations with little conflict. Now their entrepreneurial abilities and work ethic seem too much for local people to stomach in the context of the corruption, crime, unemployment, poverty, squalor and despair for which the ANC is responsible.

Unlike the Soweto explosions in 1976, the current violence has not been accompanied by widespread destruction of government property. But once the foreigners have been chased home, there will be other targets to attack.

Like Mbeki in his aeroplane, the ANC seems remote from the consequences of its failed policies. Can Zuma see the writing on the wall? It is hardly conceivable that he will not fire the health minister. His visits to western countries suggest he will pursue a foreign policy less hostile to the liberal democracies than that of Mbeki. His call for labour market reform can open up debate on an issue Mbeki finally ducked.

But the big question is whether Zuma has the wisdom, strength of character and leadership skills to turn the ruling party into a different kind of animal.

Kane-Berman is CE of the South African Institute of Race Relations.

South Africa: Coffee Break is Over

The rest of Africa is really, really pissed off at black South Africans.

This article is from an Ugandan.

The South African black is a breed apart as they are finding out for themselves.

Maybe that apartheid thing was not totally wrong after all and, as a first - note the date and time on your calendar - whites are not being blamed and neither is apartheid.


- - - - -

We have always known South African black people to be even more discriminatory than the whites who rode roughshod over them during apartheid. We just didn't think they'd go this far- beating and killing fellow blacks from other countries, blaming them for their economic woes.

You are tempted to think the calm they have enjoyed between 1990-2008 was simply a coffee break which is now over, and normal service has resumed: discrimination and violence.

Clearly, the pain they suffered during the apartheid era didn't teach them that it is primitive to discriminate against others, not to mention killing them. It's odd and outrageous that the people we sympathised and identified with and helped in so many ways during their time of tribulation are now turning against us just because they now have the whip hand.

It shows their weakness as a people- never willing to take responsibility for their problems, constantly cutting themselves out as the kings of excuses. First they blamed apartheid, now they blame foreigners. Soon they will blame the weather, wildlife, globalisation and possibly the Most High.

But it also exposes the weakness of South African President Mbeki- a decent, down to earth intellectual who is too timid and tender to withstand the vagaries of the Byzantine politics of the Dark Continent.

In February 2004, when Libya (Muammar Gadaffi) and Nigeria (Olusegun Obasanjo) opposed the political aspect of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as interference into domestic affairs, Mbeki who was looked up to as the "Head Prefect" among African leaders shrugged and said it was alright (never mind how stupid the whole idea was).

It was not until intense pressure from Canada's Jean Chretien, then President of the G8 that Mbeki caved in and had political governance included in the areas for review.

And now when his own country is in chaos, Mbeki's leadership has been weighed and found wanting. Mbeki is arguably a small fellow in a high place and is only lent size and prominence by the fact that he heads (rather than leads) Africa's most prosperous economy.

Even his rise to domestic leadership was largely because he was backed by a strong party- the African National Congress (ANC). Were Mbeki presiding over a small banana republic of no strategic importance to the West, in all likelihood he'd be obscure and inconsequential, and on demand for his intellectualism at academic fora, rather than big time summits with the global big boys.

It clearly illuminates the problem of putting a small man in a big office. At first we judged him rather unfairly - stepping into the shoes of the great man Nelson Mandela. Many uncharitably declared that he was not even worthy to try them on for size. Now their verdicts are being vindicated by none other than the man himself.

However, let's broaden the issue and look at it from an African perspective. Chaos in Zimbabwe comes in part because President Mugabe is too strong and the institutions weak; for South Africa the chaos is in part because although the institutions are reasonably strong, Mbeki is too weak- two extremes which call for Africa to look for a middle ground that breeds strong institutions with reasonably strong and decisive leaders.

Critically, the chaos in S. Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, etc shows that any attempts to form a United States of Africa now is silly. If we can't control Africa at micro level, we can't do it at macro level- certainly not with the current array of leaders that reads like an inventory of the dysfunctional.

Lastly, if we are really serious people in a global village, South Africa's credentials to host the World Cup have effectively been lost. The world that for the last few months has been pelting China for its brutality in Tibet and threatening to boycott the Olympics, should now serve the same treatment to South Africa- it's time to use sports as a tool for shaping politics and social conscience in the right direction all over the world.

The Chinese have no business hosting the Olympics. And South Africa, a nation that is killing foreigners, has no business hosting the biggest sports event in the world.

Apartheid 'not root of SA riots'

Oh goody, creepy FW has something to splutter.

This is the man responsible for the shit we find ourselves in today - by handing over the country lock, stock and barrel to a bunch of terrorists.

Too bad the genius didn’t keep his word and arranged a federal type of government where the various regions and race groups had some sort of autonomy.

But no, in a bid to secure himself and his cronies from prosecution after the ANC took over, he sold out the white population and the country. He now lives the good life and the rest of us duck for cover. Effing arsehole.

If you care what he has to say read on. Me? I’m reaching for a bucket.

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South Africa's former President FW De Klerk has told the BBC that the heritage of apartheid cannot be blamed for this month's xenophobic attacks.

"It would be a great over simplification to blame everything which is wrong... on the heritage of the past," he said.

The last apartheid-era leader said unemployment and the high crime rate were the main reasons for the violence.

More than 70,000 people have fled the attacks and more than 50 died.

Mr De Klerk became president in 1989 and started to dismantle the apartheid regime, which ended five years later.

Aid workers in South Africa have been pushing for disaster zones to be declared in the areas worst hit by recent xenophobic attacks.

Correspondents say there is growing concern about the conditions in which tens of thousands of displaced people are living.

Most are still sheltering in community halls, churches and police stations and some are sleeping out in the open.

The government says it is working urgently to provide more suitable accommodation for them.

'Loses credibility'

In an interview on the BBC's Today programme, Mr De Klerk said that the attacks against foreigners were "unacceptable" and high unemployment amongst black South Africans and crime were to blame.

He said that immigrants were "prepared to work at lower wages".

"Therefore many black South Africans feel that these people are robbing them of their jobs and of their food and of their livelihoods so I think that's the main root cause," he said.

He said that crime could not be solely blamed on foreigners.

"But there's no doubt that a substantial percentage of the illegal immigrants are involved in the high crime rates which we have."

Under apartheid, people were deprived of their full political rights, but not on a "socio-economic basis", he said.

"It was quite developmental if you look at what has happened in the educational field, in the field of housing - I'm now talking from the 1960s to the 1990s, the establishment of new universities, the creation of opportunities, small business development," he said.

Apartheid is often blamed as a means of "political expediency", he said.

"But there's no doubt that we've now had a new full open democracy since 1994 - it's almost 15 years - and month by month the claim that everything which is wrong is to be blamed on the past loses its appeal and its credibility."

In a statement on Thursday, the government acknowledged "the urgent need to accelerate its programmes for alleviating poverty, unemployment and other forms of socio-economic deprivation".

It also appealed to communities "to reject any agitation from those who wish to reduce this country into a lawless country".

Friday, May 30, 2008

United Nations in South Africa

Fourteen years ago, we were a strong, proud nation. We held our own. Even though the world hated us, we were still respected – even by our enemies.

We had a mighty army, a powerful efficient police force, a First World infrastructure and an economy the envy of (certainly) Africa, ready to burst on to the global scene.

Despite sanctions, boycotts and everything including the kitchen sink being thrown at us, we were a local superpower.

Today? Look at us. We are a pitiful nation. Crime-ridden, violent, corrupt, a failing infrastructure, barely scraping by as a Third World country, unemployment and poverty getting worse – a typical one-party African basket-case.

For such a self-dependent nation to be accepting donor money and UN-help is a testament to the sorry state of affairs in South Africa under ANC rule.

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UN jets in to help terrorised South African refugees.

The South African cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria were declared a disaster area yesterday in the wake of anti- foreigner violence that has left some 80,000 citizens of the two cities homeless.

The decision enables extraordinary measures to be taken under the country's Disaster Management Act, including permitting the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to manage ten camps for Zimbabweans, Malawians, Mozambicans, Ethiopians,

Both cities are in Gauteng, South Africa's richest province.

Senior UNHCR officials have arrived from Geneva and will begin intervening today. There have been reports of disease, fighting and rape among refugees sheltering in police compounds, churches, community halls and makeshift shelters on waste land, where sanitation has broken down and there are few doctors to treat the sick.

The UNHCR sites will include tents, latrines, medical workers and food, but the government will not allow them to be classified as "refugee camps" – they should be described as "temporary shelters", it said.

The government is aiming to reintegrate the foreigners into the communities from which they were driven, with the loss of at least 56 lives and some 700 wounded. But critics said it was being hopelessly unrealistic. The facts on the ground are "ethnic cleansing" by poor South Africans suffering 40 per cent unemployment and poor service delivery, and it will be impossible for the foreign migrants to return to homes that have been looted and burned.

A typical attitude is that of South African factory worker Jan Mahlaba, 33, a resident of the Ramaphosa settlement east of Johannesburg, where a young Mozambican, Ernesto Nhamuave, was publicly burned to death in a so-called "necklace killing". Mr Mahlaba said immigrants undercut wages and contributed to the country's high rate of violent crime. "I'm happy they are being killed because their lives are full of crime," he said.

The first task for the UNHCR, under the three-month disaster decree, will be to end the violence that has gripped an open-air camp of some 800 displaced Somalis, Ethiopians and Eritreans near Pretoria. Police opened fire with rubber bullets on the refugees when they refused to be moved. "People were killed here and they (the police] were looking," said a young Somali. "We don't want any help from the government. We don't trust them any more. We want the UN to help us."

Manto ‘must fix her own department’

Dr Stupid is still floating around like a turd in a toilet. Somebody flush her!

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Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang should leave the private health care sector alone and rather focus on fixing the crumbling public health care sector, United SA Pharmacies said today.

While the private health care sector had been asked by the health department to comment on draft amendments to the Medicines and Related Substances Act and the National Health Act, USAP was skeptical of the department’s commitment to substantively consider these proposals. (the ANC listens to no-one, it only pretends to care what others have to say. It is called 'playing democracy')

"Our experience with the department of health over the issue of the pharmacy dispensing fee for medicines has left us cynical in the extreme," USAP chairman Julian Solomon said in a statement. (the pharmacy dispensing debacle, wow, is that ever a f**k-up)

"It is time the private health care sector put a stake in the ground and said: leave us alone and rather focus on fixing the crumbling public health care sector." (yes, finally, grow a pair)

The proposed amendments had wide-ranging implications for delivery by the full range of private health care providers, including pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals and medical aids, he said.

"We are concerned the department will pay no more than lip service to the many very serious and considered submissions being made on these proposed amendments. (uh huh, now you’re getting it..)

"The reality is that unless the department takes account of the proposals and concerns raised by those at the coal face of private health care service delivery, the flood of health care professionals already leaving this country will increase, which will have a further material impact on the ability of the private sector to deliver quality health care services," Solomon said.

Like private hospitals and medical aids, pharmacies were businesses and any business needed to make a reasonable profit to exist. (in the socialist world that the ANC inhabits, profit is evil except for the leaders)

The proposed regulations in respect of the dispensing fee would require a non-commercial approach and any attempt from USAP to compromise with the department had been met with disinterest or disregard. (the ANC never compromises – it is the ANC way or the high way)

In November last year, USAP had submitted a plan to the department, which if implemented, would bring down medicine prices overnight.

"To date, we have heard nothing," he said. (put pictures next to the words, write in big letters and read it to them slowly. We are dealing with the very stupid here)

USAP had now submitted its input in the proposed legislative amendments.

"We are appreciative of the opportunity and can only hope that the invitation to comment... will be met with a proactive approach and in a spirit of compromise and co-operation. (in a spirit of.. what? This is the ANC remember. They don’t care and they don’t think about the consequences. Good old Soviet-style training)

"As skeptical as we are, we live in hope of an acceptable viable solution and will certainly play our part in reaching a solution," Solomon said.

A spokesman for Tshabalala-Msimang was not immediately available for comment.

Blackouts: Prepare for the worst

Imagine TWO WEEKS with no power at all. No cooking, no warming yourself in winter (or fanning in summer), no lights, nothing.

I hope you’ve got the solar panels up, the windmill power generator running and plenty of fuel for the power generators – just in case.

Don’t put anything beyond the ANC and Eskom being able to bring this monumental stuff-up to fruition. If there is one thing the ANC has proven it can do well, it is f**k up on a grand scale.

Here’s the defining statement, according to Maroga: "Of course we want to have zero unplanned outages, but the reality is that that is a fantasy,"

Having no outages is a “fantasy”? Not in most countries where efficient, competent staff are employed that are able to forward plan, maintain and run the equipment.

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Eskom on Thursday warned that it could take about two weeks to bring South Africa's power system back up if it were to collapse.

Speaking at a breakfast presentation, Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said SA had not experienced a nationwide blackout despite being on the brink of collapse in January this year.

"I don't want to be alarmist," said Maroga, "but the consequence of a nationwide blackout is not fully understood."

While Eskom has suspended planned load-shedding following a reduction in consumer demand over the past few months, Maroga warned that the threat of load-shedding and to the system as a whole would remain until the utility had restored its reserve margin.

"The system remains tight, and a tight reserve margin requires the use of emergency measures more often," Maroga said.

A fall in reserve margin, the additional power available in the system that allows it to be run securely, has forced Eskom to run its power stations harder.

This has resulted in additional primary energy costs and consequently in the utility's request for an increase in electricity tariffs.

Secure supply and cheap electricity was the result of excess capacity enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Days of cheap power are over.

Both Eskom and the government have warned that the days of cheap electricity are over. Maroga said policy-, regulatory- and planning issues conspired to get Eskom to where it was today.

"The situation we are in is deep, it is serious and it's material," he said.

Since January's declaration of a national power crisis following the forced shutdowns of mines and rolling blackouts countrywide, Eskom has undertaken some maintenance, limited further unplanned outages, brought an additional 2 600MW on stream and improved its coal stockpiles to 18 days.

"Of course we want to have zero unplanned outages, but the reality is that that is a fantasy," said Maroga.

Eskom is hoping to limit its unplanned outages to 2 500MW at any one time, but this cannot be guaranteed.

'Cops escorted dope smugglers'

The thin blue line between criminals and the police is becoming very blurry. In fact, is there a line at all nowadays?

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Four police inspectors of the Ficksburg crime prevention unit were arrested on Thursday for allegedly providing safe escort for dagga smugglers through the Free State, police said.

Superintendent Motantsi Makhele said the four were arrested in an operation to eradicate and "cure" corruption in police ranks, which was launched last year.

"Information gathered during this operation revealed that these members were involved in the practice of escorting some of the vehicles transporting dagga through the province, so as to protect them from being arrested, in return for payment."

Makhele said the four inspectors were expected to appear in the Ficksburg Magistrate's Court on Friday, May 30, facing charges of corruption, defeating the ends of justice, and illegally dealing in dagga.

Two women and a man were also arrested in Klerksdorp while 26 bags of dagga and a minibus were confiscated during a transaction involving an undercover agent.