Thursday, July 31, 2008

What FIFA did not mention about 2010

Advice for 2010 tourists

Do not take your chances by breaking even the most trivial of laws in South Africa.

Do not think a little hooliganism will land you in a comfy cell where you will sleep it off, have a scrumptious breakfast then take a taxi to the beach the next morning.

Drinking in public, or even dropping your candy wrapper, will get you arrested and thrown into a very dark dirty cell were you WILL be raped and assaulted by as many people as there may be in your communal cell, and for as many hours are you are there.

Here some trivial drunken mischief will scar you for life and almost guarantee you an Aids death sentence. Forget about your basic human rights, your one telephone call or any assistance from warders or police when you scream for help.

The condom that is issued to you on your arrival at the cells is not for your pleasure, but for one of the 30 men that will rape you. I would strongly advise that you consider where, and how much you drink as this could alter your life forever.


Man cries as he tells of rape

A man, 52, cried in the Pretoria High Court while he told how inmates in a police cell raped him.

The man, a diabetic from Primrose, Germiston, is suing the Minister of Safety and Security and the Minister of Justice for R4.3m in damages.

He claims he was twice unlawfully arrested and that after the second arrest, he was raped in police cells.

He testified how he was arrested on February 28 at the magistrate's court in Witbank when he wanted to fetch a copy of his charge sheet.

Singing and dancing

According to him, he was kept in a cell along with 30 fellow prisoners in the holding cells at the Witbank police station.

He told how he was carried, naked, around the cell by four men while the rest sang and danced. The court had to be adjourned before the emotional man could continue testifying.

"The singing and foot stamping became louder," he said. He described how of the prisoners took one of the green mattresses in the cell, rolling it up lengthwise and put it in front of him. He was told to kneel down over the rolled up mattress.

"The intensity of the singing and dancing reached a climax". The men started raping him. "I must have lost consciousness then.When I came to, they were still busy".

They later stopped and ignored him for the rest of the two days that he was kept locked up with them in the same cell.

He was taken to court where bail was set for R1 000. But he could only call someone to bring him the money a day after his court appearance.

He also had to be taken to hospital as he had not been able to get his diabetic medicine while being in custody.

The man said he asked the doctor to admit him because he was scared of going back to the cell.

He did not tell the doctor or the police members what had happened to him. A friend paid his bail, the case against him was dropped and the money paid back.


How CT prison gang raped me'

A Western Cape prisoner has described in an affidavit lodged in the Cape High Court how he was suffocated with a wet towel, while he was being raped and beaten by a prison gang.

The testimony of the prisoner, a former property developer, was a key element in an urgent application to force the government to improve conditions in South Africa's heavily overcrowded jails.

The application, which was to have been heard on Wednesday, but was instead postponed by consent to October 13, was being brought by the prisoner, who had asked that his identity not be revealed for fear of reprisals, and the Prison Care and Support Network (PCSN), an NGO under the auspices of the Catholic Church.

Constitutional right to dignity

They were asking the court to rule that prison overcrowding was unlawful and a violation of the constitutional right to dignity and the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

In his affidavit, the 37-year-old prisoner said that after being sentenced for cheque fraud and escaping, he was held in Cape Town's Goodwood prison, in a communal cell dominated by members of the 26s and 28s gangs.

The cell was meant to hold 20 inmates, but as many as 30 at a time were packed in.

He said he was often approached by gang members to join or perform tasks for them, and was threatened when he refused.

Warders threaten inmates with the 28s

He said: "The 28s were powerful and even the warders would often threaten inmates with the suggestion that if they should step out of line they would be placed in cells with the 28 gang to be raped."

Tensions between him and the gangsters increased after a disagreement about television channels in the cell, but prison staff refused his request for transfer to a single cell.

"On Thursday August 28 2004, I went to the toilet early in the morning about 2:30. While I was sitting on the toilet, I noticed that a member of the 28s came into the toilet briefly and then left.

"He was a gang member who had previously threatened me and I had already made complaints to the warders about him."

Raped inmate couldn't defend himself

He added: "Shortly afterwards, a group of 28s came into the toilet. Before I had the time to stand up from the toilet, a wet towel was wrapped around my head and I was pulled off the toilet with my pants still around my knees.

"I could not see or breathe properly because of the towel, and I fell onto the floor. I was then repeatedly kicked and beaten on the toilet floor. I could not defend myself and I tried desperately to breathe through the towel.

A shocking disgrace

Few readers will have much sympathy with the lot of a prisoner in crime-ridden South Africa and many may think that whatever they experience in prison is simply just desserts for their deeds.

It is, however, hard not to be shocked by the image we have on the front page of today’s paper which shows, what warders count, as 300 prisoners in a cell meant for 15 at Mthatha’s Medium B prison.

The prison is 400 percent overcrowded and the conditions that people are being kept in are horrendously inhumane.

Many of those in this cell are awaiting trial prisoners. They are people who have not been found guilty of any crime, yet according to staff at the prison, they may as well already have been given a death sentence. There is a 90 percent certainty of contracting HIV/Aids in these cells, say warders, so prevalent is the rape of prisoners by other prisoners. Other diseases are rife within these walls.

We have also seen in our images and video footage, individuals in these cells who are clearly not adults. There appear to be a number of juvenile prisoners held in these cells which would appear to be illegal. But even if you do not care about these aspects of this terrible overcrowding you may care about the security concerns that arise under such conditions.

Each prison warder is effectively overseeing hundreds of prisoners which in itself is a security risk.

It also makes the task of accounting for all prisoners at all times exceedingly difficult.

In one incident in August 2007, seven awaiting trial prisoners escaped from within the walls after sawing through prison bars. One of those to escape was Odwa “Oros” Sithole, 23, allegedly responsible for crimes including murder, armed robbery, cash-in-transit heists, car theft, escaping from lawful custody and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. He was later shot by police trying to re-arrest him.

Shortly after the mass breakout, Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour announced the suspension of several prison staff members.

The conditions in this prison clearly make any attempt at rehabilitation futile. Instead, we are assured of an endless cycle of crime in our community.

There is also the simple matter of our basic humanity. It is easy to say these conditions are simply what prisoners deserve but that does not say much about us if we consider ourselves to be a civilized community.

If our systems and institutions treat people like animals, should we be surprised that this is how they will behave – and how they might one day treat us?

There is no way around it, Mthatha Medium B is a shocking disgrace.

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Prison hell plea rejected

A warder’s plea for intervention at the severely overcrowded Mthatha Medium Prison was rejected by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

In a letter leaked to the Daily Dispatch, Eastern Cape SAHRC provincial manager Lufuno Mmbadi said they could not conduct an investigation into the conditions at the prison.

The Dispatch on Tuesday broke the story of the severe overcrowding at the jailhouse, the worst in the country and more than four times what the prison population should be.

In one picture warders said 300 men were crammed into a cell built for 15. The overcrowding has exposed the prison to possible outbreaks. Two have happened in the last two years.

The commission said in a letter to a Correctional Services employee that its involvement would be premature and that it was not in the position to investigate until all internal processes had been exhausted.

The Dispatch understands that the employee raised a number of matters with the SAHRC, among them the inhumane conditions for prisoners.

The employee also complained about the severity of the overcrowding and pointed out that the decaying infrastructure of the facility made life difficult not only for inmates but also for the prison warders.

On Tuesday Nkosinathi Breakfast, deputy regional commissioner for correctional services, responded to a list of questions sent last week by the Dispatch.

He said that the prison has been prioritised as a “high risk area” for its overcrowding and that a strategy has been developed which includes a regional management task team to deal with the excessive numbers.

The prison was designed to take 580 prisoners but is currently accommodating 2491 inmates. Of those in jail, 1598 are awaiting trial.

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Jail rape: The sordid facts

Cape Town - Confusion and a lack of any clear policy to deal with the sexual interaction of prisoners made it difficult to prevent the rape of inmates in South Africa's prisons, parliament's correctional services portfolio committee heard on Tuesday.

Briefing the committee about gangs and sexual violence in the country's prisons, researchers from the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) said the department of correctional services' 2002 anti-rape strategy had not yet filtered down.

"The people on the ground have never ever heard of it," CSVR researcher Sasha Gear told MPs.

There was no support structure for prison staff or inmates, and rights and roles were not clearly defined.

While consensual sex between adult inmates in prison was constitutionally legal, the problem arose where force was used, which was often the case.

Blatant rape

"Much of the sex that takes place in prison happens along gender lines.

"Depending on a person's role in the sex act, participants are identified in prison culture as men or women," said Gear.

Most of the sex was highly coercive, and blatant rape.

According to prison culture, anyone who had been "sexually penetrated in a power-defined interaction", was considered a woman, and it was then their job to provide men with sex.

"A 'marriage' begins with the act of rape (penetration), and the 'wife' is then the constant target of humiliation," she said. She added, however, that the term "homosexuality" was taboo among prisoners, especially those involved in "marriage relationships" where the role of each partner was clearly defined.

"Sex by mutual consent, where both parties take turns to be penetrated, is also a taboo because it breaks the rules of prison sex and is associated with homosexuality," she said.

Gear said an aggressive sexual nature was often carried into the outside world by prisoners on their release, leading to further acts of violence through warped perceptions of reality.

This was particularly true of young prisoners. Some warders take part in 'trade'

There was no clear policy regarding sexual assault.

This led to confusion of what was outlawed and what was not, she said. The situation was aggravated by warder involvement. Gear said some warders took part in the "trade" of prisoners for coercive sex and rape.

"A sense of resignation among officials to the fact of sexual abuse is reported, as well as fear for their own safety should they intervene," Gear said, noting that overcrowded prisons made the problem worse.

Committee chairman Dennis Bloem agreed the situation had to be investigated, and acted upon immediately.


Doctor confirms disease rife in prison

The full horror of the country’s most overcrowded prison can be revealed in this shocking photograph showing what warders say are 300 men crammed into a cell built for only 15.

A doctor has confirmed that disease is rife in the overcrowded cells of Mthatha Medium Prison.

Dr Bongiwe Mbuwako said HIV was prevalent among inmates at the prison when she worked there as a full-time doctor from 2006. She resigned two months ago.

“Yes, overcrowding can easily cause disease to spread. This can happen in cases where there is close contact with persons who have contagious illnesses,” Mbuwako said.

She said when inmates were brought in they were normally issued with condoms and encouraged to use them.

“We warn them that they might be sodomised inside the cells and advise them to always have condoms handy. I do not have a specific case of someone coming forward and saying they have been sodomised, but we know it happens,” Mbuwako said.

Warders confirmed that rape was endemic in the prison. This resulted in the spread of HIV/ Aids in the prison and outside its walls once inmates were released.

“If you spend even a single day in that prison, chances are more than 90 percent that you are going to be raped or sodomised.

“Jail is a hell of a place to be, especially Mthatha Medium,” said one warder.

Mbuwako said that as a result of the HIV prevalence among the population they established an anti-retroviral unit site that was opened in December last year and started operating in January.

Mbuwako said other diseases like tuberculosis and diabetes were also commonplace – most related to HIV.

All pictures in this post were taken at Polsmoor prison in South Africa, and published by the BBC as can be seen by this link.

Mad World - Tears for Fears

Dutch woman, 66, assaulted, raped at home

Witbank - An unnamed 66-year-old Dutch woman is in critical condition at the Life Health Cosmos-Hospital's intensive care unit after she was viciously assaulted and gang-raped during an armed attack at her Witbank home.

The woman had settled in South Africa from the Netherlands only a few years earlier.

She was attacked on Tuesday July 29 2008 at around 6.30am.

Police captain Eddie Hall said that a week earlier, her living room window was smashed by a group of black men who had then fled without stealing anything.

This window had since been repaired - but yesterday, police found that it was carefully removed from its frame and placed undamaged against a wall.

East Rand-Beeld journalist Aletta Otto reports that the hospital staff describe her condition as 'critical' and that she is being kept alive on life-support machines.

Nando's advert OZ

Nando's Chicken advert in Australia for those in SA who haven't seen it. Cheeky (no pun intended..seriaas! ;o)~

Scorpion's goose is cooked

The demise of the Scorpions is edging closer, with parliament's justice and safety and security committees set to hold public hearings on the necessary legislation over the next two weeks.

Briefing the media on Wednesday, safety and security portfolio committee chairperson Maggie Sotyu and her justice committee counterpart Yunus Carrim virtually closed the door on any last minute backtrack on the issue.

That the Scorpions would be dissolved was not an issue, Sotyu said.

The decision had been taken by the ANC and it was now simply up to parliament to implement that decision, she said.

Contrary to media speculation about "tens of thousands" of submissions having been received from the public, only about 100 had been submitted by the deadline.

Over 55 500 petitions from individuals had been received from a single email address - all stating the same thing - and some 24 000 individually signed petitions also stated the same thing.

These did not help the process of formulating the legislation, as they simply opposed the Scorpions' closure.

Only 35 people or organisations had asked to make oral submissions to the committees during the upcoming public hearings. Sotyu said the committees would be briefed on the draft SA Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bills on August 5, and hold public hearings at parliament on August 6 and 7. Public hearings would also be held in all nine provinces from August 11 to 15.

Two women, one thing in common...

I wonder what that could be..? Ah yes, crime.

- - - - -

Two women have been attacked - one of them stabbed - in Claremont in separate incidents.

Police report that a 44-year-old teacher was walking to work along Main Road on Tuesday when a car stopped a few metres in front of her. When she walked past, one of the occupants got out and grabbed her handbag.

The woman held on to her bag but the suspect took out a knife and stabbed her on her palm and forearm and then fled with the bag.

The woman was taken to hospital where she has been described to be in a serious but stable condition.

In the second incident, a 60-year-old woman was attacked by a man at her home in Palmyra Road.

Police say she was attacked when she went outside to put her dustbin in the walkway. The man is alleged to have held a screwdriver to her neck and demanded to be taken inside, where he tied up the woman and locked her inside the bathroom and stole her valuables before fleeing.

Police spokesperson Angie Latchman said no arrests had been made at this stage and she urged anyone who has information to call the Claremont police on 021 657 2252.

Meanwhile, a second man wanted in connection with the abduction and rape of a 32-year-old woman has been arrested by Philippi East police.

The suspect and his alleged accomplice were to appear in the Athlone magistrate's court on Wednesday. It is alleged that the two men abducted the woman in Manenberg on Sunday, held her hostage overnight at a house in Lower Crossroads and repeatedly raped her.

A 27-year-old man was arrested on Monday Police spokesperson Inspector Nondumiso Paul said on Tuesday that the second suspect had been arrested by police on Monday evening.

The woman had been taken to a place of safety as she was extremely traumatised by the incident, Paul said.

More than 131 babies die in water contamination

Only in Africa

This incredibly sad story has hardly raised an eyebrow or made front page headlines.

This has been swept under the carpet and the government has made no efforts to investigate this tragic story.

Where are Tutu, Mandela and Mbeki that they could make so much noise about the xenophobia deaths, only because of the bad international press but the deaths of more than 131 babies in their own backyard is a non event.

Only one local newspaper ran this story and local authorities threatened with law suits and used all the state machinery to their disposal to sweep this under the carpet. Fortunately they persisted and this is now finally in the open, although we are yet to see a commission of inquiry or any gesture from this government that they actually care.


The provincial portfolio committee for health has found a direct link between the deaths of over a hundred babies and water contamination in an Eastern Cape district.

In a report by the committee that was tabled and discussed in the Legislature on Wednesday night, the death of 131 babies was attributed to poor water quality.

The report vindicates a series of stories published by the Daily Dispatch which found babies had died of diarrhoea and related illnesses because of the water supply in Barkly East and Sterkspruit.

Government departments denied water quality was the cause of their deaths and some officials went as far as to blame HIV as the sole cause.

The same departments have also failed to agree on the actual number of deaths, with figures as high as 142 often quoted.

Cup half full, half empty?

Only half of adults in urban areas feel positive about the country and its future.

South Africans living in the major urban areas are in a funk. This is according to TNS Research Surveys which found that of the 2000 adults polled in the seven major metropolitan areas in June this year only 49% felt "positive about South Africa and its future."

This is down from the 60% who felt this way earlier this year.

This question was first
asked by TNS in 2004. In 2004 66% of respondents expressed optimism about the future of the country, in 2005 67%, in 2006 67%, and in 2007 66%.

Neil Higgs, Director of Innovation and Development at TNS, notes "for a number of years, optimism levels have shown remarkable robustness. However, for two successive readings, new lows have been reached, the June drop being the largest movement recorded for the measure.

Falls have occurred across all demographics. "The poll was conducted among a racially stratified sample of 1260 black adults, 385 whites, 240 coloureds and 115 Indians.

Racial minorities are the most demoralised about the future of the country. Among the white respondents polled 21% felt positive about South Africa, down from 31% in February (the previous low was 40%).

Only 32% of Coloured and 34% of Indian respondents expressed optimism in June, down from previous lows of 50%.

Since 2004 black respondents have generally expressed a greater degree of optimism than those from minority groups. Since mid-2004 the survey series found about three quarters of black respondents consistently saying they were were positive about the future of the country.

However, in the June poll only 63% of black respondents said they felt this way, down from 73% in February, and 78% in the middle of last year.

South Africans have been demoralised both by a downturn in the economy, as well as post-Polokwane political uncertainty.

According to TNS there was a dramatic drop in June in respondents "current and future perceptions of the economy in terms of job availability, business conditions, general economic conditions, prices and inflation, likely income, and the effects of AIDS and crime on the economy."

TNS's index of sentiment about the economy (MSI) dropped from 145 in November 2007 to 127 in February 2008 and 109 in June. This is the lowest score since October 2002.

According to Higgs "large drops were recorded for all race groups. However, the figures for whites and Indians/Asians reached new all-time lows."

Among respondents there is disillusionment with the old ANC leadership and a lack of faith in the new.

32% of respondents said that President Thabo Mbeki was doing a good job, the lowest rating he has received since mid-2002, and down from 54% in the middle of last year.

See Table 1. In June only 37% of respondents said that they thought Jacob Zuma was doing a good job as president of the ANC. Half of black respondents said they thought he was doing a good job, but only around 1 in 10 of the respondents from the racial minorities.

Higgs notes, "As the President's approval rating continues to fall, it is clear that, as yet, Jacob Zuma's rating is not yet rising to fill what may be becoming a perceived leadership vacuum."

100 000 oppose closure of Scorpions

My feeling is you might as well wipe your backside with the petition paper for all the good it will do.

The ANC is hell-bent on removing the only organisation that can stop its top members from unbridled corruption so had even all 45 million citizens signed the petition, the removal of the Scorpions is a done deal.

- - - - -

One always wonders what happens to those petitions that we all sign in
good faith. Do they ever get handed in to the people concerned? Or are they just thrown in a bin?

Well, for those who signed the SAVE OUR SCORPIONS petition, something did come of it.

DA spokesperson on safety and security Dianne Kohler Barnard handed over 2 000 written submissions and 98,000 signatures opposing the Scorpions closure to the National Assembly's Portfolio Committee for Safety and Security.

The petition was part of the Save Our Scorpions campaign started by Hugh Glenister and then supported by the DA.

The petition was either signed by members of the public on paper, on the online petition site, or in the sms campaign.

Tuesday was the deadline for public submissions commenting on the South African Police Service Amendment bill and the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment bill – the two items of legislation that seek to close the Scorpions and create a new unit under police control.

The deadline was at noon, and although the DA handed in over 2 000 submissions by 10:30 am- by noon - over 7 000 had arrived.

“The degree to which the public responded to calls for submissions has been overwhelming and is a clear indication of just how strongly the public opposes the closing of the Scorpions,” said Kohler Barnard.

“The government simply cannot continue to process the two bills in the face of such clear public opposition without confirming their contempt for the wishes of the public.”

Some of the comments by people in their submissions include:

* “I strongly oppose the disbandment of the Scorpions. We must not allow criminals to be protected by the Government. There are obviously some top officials of the ANC that cannot sleep well at night knowing the Scorpions' success rate!”
* “I am saddened by fact that our President and the ANC government would want to legislate to disestablish the Scorpions when it is clear knowledge that our national and provincial government is infected with corrupt officials”
* “Why can't the ANC genuinely act in the best interests of all the people of this country? It is as if the ANC Manifesto is just a meaningless piece of paper. Surely the ANC can see that if it supports criminals in its ranks it will ultimately undermine the whole organisation? It amazes me just how much the ANC is beginning to resemble the Nationalist Party!”
It remains to be seen what the committee will do with the petition and the submissions.

Although the petition doesn’t have much standing in the committee, unlike the submissions, it does send a clear message that a large portion of the public wants the Scorpions to stay.

As the wheel turns...Drunk (hic) Judge

This guy is a JUDGE?!! I’m enjoying this racist bastard squirming. Doesn’t the note just say “I’m f**king legless”?

To quote what he wrote, "The honourable Mr Mr Justice NJ Motata Transvaall Provinccial Divisionn (TPDD)." Hic!

- - - - -

Motata: hand-written note admissible

A note apparently written by Pretoria High Court Judge Nkola Motata on the night of his alleged drunken driving accident was admitted as evidence in the Johannesburg magistrate's court on Wednesday.

The note was apparently given to Richard Baird, the owner of the Hurlingham property where Motata crashed into a wall. The note, with spelling errors, reads: "The honourable Mr Mr (sic) Justice NJ Motata Transvaall (sic) Provinccial (sic) Divisionn (sic) (TPDD)."

A Pretoria-coded telephone number then follows.

During questioning by the state Baird said his perimeter wall, electric fence and irrigation system were damaged by the accident.

It cost about R45 000 to repair everything, he said.

During cross examination by the defence Baird said there was "some commotion" by female metro officers about getting a breathalyser and there was talk that a police officer should bring one. However he said he did not see a breathalyser on the scene.

The defence also raised questions on the discrepancies about the time by which he recorded events and the time metro police recorded events on the scene.

But Baird was adamant that by using the time on his cellphone he had captured an accurate time frame of events on the night of the accident on January 6, 2007.

Baird said it was possible that blood was only drawn from Motata at 3.35am as the doctor who conducted the procedure had noted. This would mean blood was drawn in excess of three hours after the accident occurred. Proceedings are continuing.

South Africa's hidden white poverty

Fourteen years after apartheid ended, South Africa has gone forward in reverse.

We’ve undone what we had, lost more than a million skilled, monied whites and watched as the ‘booming’ economy created no new jobs, created more poor blacks and a new phenomenon, poor white squatters.

Yes, this is called “progress” ANC style.

South Africa latched onto the global economy and rode its crest but now with things slowing down, how are we going to get out of this mess - compounded by the uncertainty of LaZooma’s left-wing cronies all itching to grab their own piece of the gravy train?

- - - - -

Karel and Annetjie du Randt moved to the Bethlehem settlement in Pretoria West five years ago after falling on hard times.

Previously, Mr du Randt had been employed, making tombstones in the town of Rustenburg. Karel du Randt and his wife live in a hut without sanitation or electricity.

The du Randts' home today is a tiny wooden hut on a private plot of land where about 30 whites make up the small community. The huts have no electricity or individual toilets, but there is a spacious garden where the residents can grow and sell vegetables.

"We try to help each other", says Mr du Randt. "We're not just sitting around and crying. Most of the guys here don't have any income, but we're just starting a new project, making small folding tables.

You have to be part of the set-up here, in order to survive." Bethlehem is not nearly as crowded or as impoverished as South Africa's teeming black townships such as Khayelitsha in Cape Town, or Diepsloot in Johannesburg.

However, Bethlehem reflects the face of South African society that is rarely seen - white poverty.

"People are homeless. They have no jobs. They don't earn anything "It's a huge problem, and I don't think people realise how bad it is," says Elsabe Blignaut of the Danville Help Project which assists poor white Afrikaners.

We try to get them off the streets, feed and clothe them, and make life better for them".

In the days of apartheid, impoverished white Afrikaners were amply protected by the state. The National Party which came to power in 1948 on a wave of Afrikaner nationalism, guaranteed Afrikaans-speaking South Africans employment, subsidised housing and state benefits.

Today, the ANC government provides a safety net of social grants and basic services for all South Africans who need them, but Afrikaners have lost the privileges they once enjoyed.

The mainly white Solidarity trade union says South Africa must accept that poverty is not only a "black" problem. "Although poverty is less prevalent in the white communities, there is an alarming increase amongst white South Africans," concludes a Solidarity report that has been handed to ANC President Jacob Zuma.

Mr Zuma went to the Bethlehem settlement earlier this year, and promised to return. His second visit last week, brought South Africa's presidential hopeful face-to-face with the daily problems of poor whites. Accompanying him was Minister of Social Development Zola Skweyiya, who told the residents that in return for government assistance, they must make available whatever skills they can offer.

South Africa has a major shortage of skilled workers. The leader of the Solidarity trade union, Flip Buys, is upbeat about Mr Zuma's involvement. Mr Buys says it used to be very difficult to get the government to address the issue of white poverty.

"We had knocked on the door, and there was no answer," he says. "But with the help of Jacob Zuma, the door is now open. People will be able to access government services".

Mr Zuma is an unlikely ally of poor white Afrikaners. Admitting that his command of the Afrikaans language is weak, the ANC president chose to address his audience in English when he spoke at Bethlehem.

His natural charm may have disarmed some members of the local community, but the Afrikaners remain cautious.

"We're encouraged by what Jacob Zuma has promised to do for us," says Mr du Randt, "but we're not putting our faith in him completely. "If the people here don't want to get up and work together, then we're not going to make things any better for them.

Afrikaners: Beware of Zuma, says HNP

The rightwing Herstigte Nasionale Party warned Afrikaners against falling “hook, line and sinker” for ruling party leader Jacob Zuma’s attempts at wooing them.

“In 2007, there was even a braai hosted by De Kat magazine where Afrikaners socialised with this communist and Afrikaner hater,” HNP deputy leader Sydney Gregan said in a statement.

“But this was not enough. The next thing the punch drunk and humiliated Afrikaner had to experience, was when a so-called Afrikaner organisation, named Solidarity, further humiliated the poor white by inviting this sworn communist to a poor white settlement where he would express his so-called concern about them.”

The trade union earlier this month invited Zuma to visit a poor white informal settlement to witness that poverty did not only affect black people.

Gregan described Solidarity’s invitation to Zuma as opportunistic.

“It reminds one of the equally questionable actions of professor Carel Boshoff who once invited the communist Nelson Mandela to Orania.”

The HNP warned against Zuma being portrayed as the “knight in shining armour”.

“That the public fell for this hook, line and sinker is just a confirmation of the enormous destructive influence the media enjoys on people.”

Gregan said behind the “friendly mask of Oom Jacob” was a “communist who hates the Afrikaner and who still wants to destroy white people in this country through various methods”.

The HNP came into being in the late 1960s when a number of MPs broke away from the former National Party because they viewed the party’s sport policy as too liberal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are we destined to blow it after all?

South Africa’s plummeting image internationally must surely be a cause of concern today.

This year things have significantly worsened with such new crises as the xenophobia outbreak, power cuts and continuing leadership vacuum in the ruling party being added to the usual concerns about out-of-control crime, HIV/Aids denialism and failures to confront the Zimbabwe fiasco.

What makes things worse is that, with the downturn in the world economy, the most sustained period of economic growth in this country’s history would seem to be coming to an end.

I now regularly receive emails depicting South Africa as a society in chaos, well on the way to becoming yet another African basket case. Many of these originate with unreconciled whites who take some kind of perverse comfort in what they take as further evidence of black incompetence. However, as the neutral media monitoring organisation Media Tenor has recently shown, negative international perceptions of the country today are evident right across the spectrum of informed opinion.

The Zimbabwe issue has been particularly disastrous from a public relations point of view. The international community is not especially interested what the South African government has to say, for example, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notwithstanding the latter’s pretensions of playing some kind of role in resolving this perennially vexed issue. It is definitely interested, however, in its policy regarding what is happening in its own back yard. Here, South Africa’s record has been one of abject failure, and indeed worse than that. Far from merely failing to put due pressure on the Mugabe regime, this country’s leadership has in fact supported it, diplomatically and for all we know economically as well. Struggle-era loyalties have evidently trumped their ostensible commitment to the values of democracy, freedom and human rights.

The implications of a Zimbabwe-style melt-down in this country are dire, not just for the 50 million or so people who live here, but for the entire Southern African region. There’s no doubt about it – if we go down, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland will surely follow.

Economically, they are inextricably linked with the fortunes of the South African regional giant. And in our case, unlike those of the countless foreign nationals who have made their way to this country, there’ll be nowhere to run to. It’s a scary prospect, especially when you’ve got young children.

South Africa is still a young nation finding its feet, and the jury remains out regarding its long-term prospects. Yes, we defied the pessimists to broker a lasting political settlement ten years ago, but do we really deserve credit for that? If someone messes up his own house, there doesn’t seem to be much sense in complimenting him when he finally gets it together to clean it up. Anyway, all that is ancient history. South Africans face a whole new set of challenges, and on the evidence of the first half of this year, we seem to be in danger of blowing it.

For a few years, roughly from 2003-2007, emigration levels from the Jewish community dropped dramatically, allowing its numbers to at least remain static for the first time in a quarter of a century. There was even the encouraging evidence of former émigrés wanting to return, and some actually doing so. This nascent optimism, so vital if the self-fulfilling threat of Afro-pessimism is to be overcome, has taken a severe body blow this year. From my perspective in Jewish communal affairs, although no hard data is yet available, there is likely to be a significant upsurge in people leaving when the final numbers are tallied.

What Jews are doing will obviously be reflective of developments in the wider society. Over a fifth of qualified, monied whites, as well as many others of other races, have left in the past decade.

I remember a University friend who was a member of a student band. Hardly anyone ever came to their gigs, but he insisted it wasn’t because of their music. Rather, people would arrive, see that there was hardly anyone there and go away. A few minutes later, the same thing would happen. If people had only stayed put for a little while, he lamented, a good crowd would have built up and created its own positive dynamic.

The truth of the matter was that their music was pretty terrible, but he had a good point all the same.

Similarly, if only a few gifted South Africans could stick it out and actually prove their worth on home soil, maybe other South Africans would start believing in themselves and begin competing on equal terms with the successful nations of the world. Just because we look good compared with our immediate neighbours doesn’t mean we should be satisfied with second best. What is worse, unless leaders can be found to effectively address the decline, even second best will end up being all but unattainable.

SAAF has just 20 fighter pilots

The joys of affirmative action

The SA Air Force has lost 91 pilots and 822 technicians since 2005, according to Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

In a written reply to a question in the National Assembly, he said financial imperatives were among the main reasons for personnel leaving the SAAF.

"White members have a perception that there are limited career opportunities within the organization. (gee, I wonder what prompted them to think affirmative action restricted their opportunities?)

"This prompts them to seek other opportunities elsewhere, moreover for remuneration packages far beyond what the SAAF can offer to retain skills," Lekota said.

Since the latter part of 2007 the SAAF had experienced a number of its members seeking employment abroad.

More qualified, skilled personnel

It was not necessarily foreign employment agencies' recruitment drives that caused personnel to leave the SAAF, because many of the resignations were linked to contact with colleagues who were already abroad and employed by companies or organisations that were in search of more qualified and skilled personnel.

Such resignations were often prompted by various personal reasons such as immediate citizenship, extended flying careers in the case of aircrew and other perceived advantages such as low crime and a good standard of living, Lekota said.

The SAAF currently had only 20 operational fighter pilots, of which two were black, male pilots and one a white female. There were four trainee fighter pilots of which two were black males.

Air Force collapsing

Altogether 123 pilots were currently under training in the SAAF.

Commenting on the reply, Freedom Front Plus spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said it was clear the Air Force was collapsing.

"Apart from the concern about the pilots, the true crisis is the huge number of technicians that have been lost," he said. Aircraft cannot be maintained without technicians.

Troubles at Oprah's racist school

Like most men, I loathe Oprah. Her show is crap.

She is also the beneficiary of affirmative action in the 70s when it was not common practice.

Now, having reached the zenith of her career and immense wealth, you’d think she would repay the chance she was given by treating everyone around her fairly without coloured glasses.

The world has come a long way to the point where a person of mixed-colour could become the president of her country.

Does she open the school and let all races in? No, blacks only thank you.

Only after the fact is brought to the media’s attention does she pick two white girls at the last minute, just TWO out of 152 pupils, and ensures the sole two white girls are included in the first photo to publicise her school. Clever. Her audience is mostly lap-up-all-the-bullshit white women after all.

Note that she personally interviewed and selected every girl and did not pick a single white girl initially.

There are no longer white girls at the school and that fact is conveniently ignored. No affirmative action here towards whites, no sirree.

This school is basically a publicity stunt and by reserving the intake to one race, black, makes her and the school a racist exercise.

- - - - -

Virginia Mokgobo, a former dormitory matron charged with abuse at U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey's girls academy in South Africa, pleaded not guilty at a court appearance on Tuesday south of Johannesburg.

Here are some details about the residential academy which is situated on 52 acres (21 hectares) at Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg.


- The $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls opened on January 2, 2007, with a launch attended by former South African President Nelson Mandela, U.S. singers Mariah Carey, Tina Turner and Mary J. Blige, comedian Chris Rock, actor Sydney Poitier and filmmaker Spike Lee.

- The goal was to create a safe place for girls and young women to learn about themselves and their heritage, and become future leaders.

- Winfrey selected the first class of 152 poor, mostly black pupils, based on academic and leadership potential.

- The school boasts state-of-the-art facilities including laboratories, a yoga studio and beauty salon. Tuition and board is free. The academy provides its 450 students with textbooks, uniforms and meals.


- In March 2007, parents said they wanted greater access to their children, and compared the school's restrictions on visits, phone calls and e-mail contact to prison rules. Some mothers complained the two-hour visit permitted one Sunday a month was not long enough to reconnect with their daughters.

- In May, some parents complained their children were not allowed junk food and, when they visited the school, they had to go through a security gate.

- Last November, South African police arrested former Mokgobo, on charges including assault, indecent assault and soliciting under-age girls to perform indecent acts.

- At least seven alleged victims have submitted statements about the woman.

SA criminals have so much to teach the world

This weekend, news in Australia was enlivened by revelations of an attempted ATM robbery in Brisbane.

In the dead of night on July 26, the Bank of Queensland branch was torn apart by an explosion that damaged nearby stores and threw the ATM into the footpath. The criminals escaped empty-handed and police suspect that at least one of them was injured in the explosion.

It was quite pathetic, really.

With the resources boom, Australian criminals should have easy access to commercial explosives.

The only excuse the Australians could possibly offer is inexperience in this new technique. Using explosives to break into ATMs is quite new in Oz, in contrast to South Africa, where criminals have ATM robberies down to a fine art.

By July 12 this year, it was reported that no less than 292 ATMs across the land had been bombed, with the crime up 3 000% in the past three years; Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies said that the bombings were sophisticated and that the individuals involved in them clearly had a military background.

Perhaps the criminals of Queensland could issue a couple of 457 visas for them. Their skills are clearly needed.

ANC infighting will cost Western Cape

The firing of Rasool as Western Cape Premier is a result of ANC in-fighting.

"The firing of Ebrahim Rasool as Premier of the Western Cape by the ANC will not resolve the internal problems of the ANC in the Western Cape”, was the reaction of Dr. Corné Mulder, Leader of the FF Plus in the Western Cape about the ANC’s decision.

Conflict and factions within the ANC of the Western Cape is not linked to the position of the Premier, but it is all about a much deeper division.

Furthermore, the appointment of Lynne Brown as new Premier of the ANC in the Western Cape will not succeed in keeping the ANC in power in the Western Cape after next year’s general election.

"The sacking of Premier Rasool not only means the end of his premiership, but is also the beginning of the end of the ANC’s control and governing of the Western Cape. A coalition of opposition parties will govern the Western Cape after next year’s general election”, was Dr. Mulder's prediction.

Dr. Mulder also said that this is actually a refining process to replace Mbeki loyalists with Zuma loyalists.

It should be remembered that Lynne Brown was the only provincial minister in the Western Cape who was elected to the National Executive Committee of the ANC at the party's conference last year in Polokwane.

Gwede Mantashe, secretary general of the ANC, did not, without any reason last week state that not only the heads of the premiers in the Eastern and Western Cape will be rolling but that they also have the premiers of the Free State, Northwest and Northern Cape in its focus.

It makes this refining process very dangerous because it isn't about better service delivery or to curb corruption. To the contrary, the divisions within the ANC are already busy influencing the functioning of municipal councils.

Mr. Werner Weber, FF Plus provincial leader in Mpumalanga, just last week said in a statement that it is not at all strange nowadays for ANC members in the Pixly ka Seme Municipality (Volksrust) to hurl death threats at each other during council meetings.

"The ANC will have to urgently look at the actions of its members who are involved in this in-fighting and refining process in order to prevent democracy in South Africa from being damaged.

If the ANC leadership fails to do this, the internal fighting and violence will also spread to other areas of the community", Mr. Weber added.

Poor zillionaires

How do you make sense of money in a country with an unofficial inflation rate soaring past 15 million %?

Many Zimb
abweans seem to have given up trying.

"I just come here to keep my job," said the cashier at a TM supermarket in Harare, where a tin of baked beans cost - at least for the next few hours - a mere 256 billion Zimbabwe dollars (worth about US$1 at the current exchange rate).

"It's just ridiculous. We put the prices up several times a day. The salary I was paid at the start of this month cannot even pay for my bus fare here this morning. I am struggling."

It's becoming harder and harder to keep the army, police and civil service happy by paying them in Zimbabwe dollars.

The cashier shrugged and then - like many other people I have spoken to while working undercover here over the last two weeks - he smiled awkwardly at the absurdity of it all.

Harare is fast becoming a city of unemployed, impoverished zillionaires - struggling to spend thick wads of banknotes in empty supermarkets before the cash becomes worthless, and increasingly dependent on funds sent home by the millions of Zimbabweans who have already fled abroad.

In the subdued, seemingly half-empty capital, people wait in long queues outside banks to withdraw a maximum of a 100bn dollars a day.

In bars, the price of beer goes up between rounds.

Many people are reduced to eating one meal a day.

Adults leave hungry children at home and walk for hours to work because they cannot afford the bus fare, while the newspapers advertise lotto prizes of a quadrillion dollars.

As the country sinks deeper into a surreal economic twilight zone, many analysts believe it is hyperinflation that is now driving those in power towards the negotiating table.

"Something has to give before very much longer," said Tony Hawkins, a Harare-based economist. "Which is why some people, myself included, think that the economy will bring down the government sooner than sanctions or anything like that... I would have thought months at the most."

Others believe the ruling elite - backed by hard currency revenues from a few surviving export industries - could hold out for another year or more.

But worryingly for President Robert Mugabe, the police and armed forces are not immune to the economic chao

I watched soldiers push angrily to the front of a queue when a rare delivery of sugar arrived at a Harare shopping arcade last week.

‘It's becoming harder and harder to keep the army, police and civil service happy by paying them in Zimbabwe dollars, because the money becomes worthless very quickly," said Mr Hawkins.

Many observers remain optimistic about the country's long-term economic prospects.

"This situation can be healed," said a Western diplomatic source in Zimbabwe. "But not by this regime. Zanu-PF couldn't run a sweet-shop."

A prominent local businessman with links to Zanu-PF agreed with that assessment. "This thing has just spiralled totally out of control," he said.

But he also noted that "the ruling elite talk about the need for change more than we do".

"Mugabe is not stupid," he added. "However they acquired their wealth, these people now have a stake in the economy and they see what's happening and know it can't go on... If change comes, it won't take long before this [economy] is fixed - five years at most."

But in the meantime, malnutrition rates continue to rise alarmingly. Hyperinflation, combined with another disastrous harvest, are driving thousands more Zimbabweans to flee the country.