Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SA's selective democracy

By Chris Moerdyk

Almost exactly 15 years ago, Nelson Mandela took the oath of office as President of the Republic of South Africa and our country immediately became the world's most shining example of a constitutional democracy at its best.

We smiled, walked tall and generally looked down our noses at far less perfect democracies like the USA, UK, and Europe.

Today, we are not the world's best example of a constitutional democracy. If anything, the only sort of democracy we can lay claim to is a Selective Democracy, which is probably the worst kind of democracy there is.

Selective Democracy is so bad that it's actually almost better to come right out and admit to being a one party dictatorship of a country in which the favourite national pass time is social one-upmanship.

You know you live in a Selective Democracy when:

  • Politicians vociferously commit themselves to upholding the independence of the judiciary until a judgement goes against them and then they publicly say that all judges are racist idiots.
  • When politicians who fought for decades against the iniquities of apartheid and struggled for human rights, ban someone like the Dalai Lama just because his presence in this country might annoy China.
  • When politicians are seen to uphold the rule of law by watching as their friends go to jail for fraud, then use their clout to set them free on all sorts of flimsy grounds before they have spent more than a couple of minutes in a cell.
  • When politicians are found guilty of a crime and their political party carries them shoulder-high to the gates of the prison while behaving as though the guilty party had just scored the winning goal in a World Cup final.
  • When political party youth leagues rant and rave about their democratic right to go and address crowd in opposition strongholds and then talk about killing anyone who doesn't agree with their leader.
  • When politicians create a special task team to combat crime and then disband it when they find it targeting them.
  • When it takes prosecutors five minutes to stick a shoplifter in jail and almost ten years to get to first base in a legal action against a high profile politician in spite of claiming for years and years that they have cast-iron evidence of his guilt.
  • When a bunch of politicians appoint a board of directors to the national broadcaster and within a few months those same politicians want to fire them due to a sudden apparent lack of confidence, but actually because those politicians now have a new boss who doesn't like the old boss and therefore doesn't like the board of the national broadcaster not because they have suddenly become bad people. Then, when they can't fire them they just make up a new law to let them do it.
  • When the most visible result of a decade and a half of affirmative action and black economic empowerment is 500 exceedingly rich fatcats and just as many unemployed as there were before.
Now, because of these fine examples set by politicians, the whole country is getting in on the Selective Democracy act.


To ordinary people, Selective Democracy means:
  • If you are poor you are entitled to steal electricity even if this kills your neighbours.
  • If you are poor you can steal just about anything because your are entitled to. Even steal from other poor people.
  • If you are homeless, you can just move into houses in spite of some equally poor people being on the list ahead of you.
  • Driving unroadworthy taxis like manic madmen, causing accidents and killing passengers right left and centre just because you feel entitled to.
  • Disrupt traffic, destroy property and assault innocent passers-by just because government wants to introduce a better bus service. Selective Democracy to the taxi industry means competition only works when they are competing against poor bus and rail services and absolutely not the other way round.
  • Driving your new BMW at 200kph on a freeway while at the same time changing lanes without indicating and chatting away on your cell phone because you have spent R500 000 on your Beemer and feel entitled to get your money's worth out of it.
  • Selective Democracy means being able to drive any car at any speed and any old how no matter how dangerously because if the taxi drivers can get away with it then why shouldn't you.
  • Selective Democracy means you can beat another motorist to death with a hockey stick for cutting you off, but at the same time feeling entitled to give the finger to and/or shoot anyone who has the nerve to hoot at you when you cut them off.
  • It also means that if you run a business where a lot of cash is involved, paying tax is optional. And if you opt not to, you can still bitch like hell when your rubbish isn't collected or a pothole in the road isn't fixed within minutes of appearing.
  • If you run a big business and a senior executive rips you off, you can give him a golden handshake, ask him to resign and then promise not to say anything if he doesn't, and then sweep it all under the carpet. You don't have to lay a charge of theft even though the law insists you must, because you don't want to damage the image of the company with controversy. Then, you complain at dinner parties about politicians flouting the rule of law.
The list of examples of Selective Democracy goes on and on and, let's face it, not only politicians and businessmen, but a huge number of ordinary folk who are guilty, even in some small way, of manipulating democracy to suit themselves.

But, who is to blame? Who the heck started it all?

Well, there is only one answer to that. It starts by the people who lead us. Politicians and businessmen.

The examples they set by being so patently selective in the way they either vociferously uphold democracy or simply ignore it when it suits them can't help but have an impact on society.

It is the start of a process that has more and more ordinary law abiding people thinking: "Well, if they can do it, why can't I."

Our hospitals from hell

It’s 7.30am at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, and desperation hangs thickly in the air.

The Citizen has linked up with the Gauteng Legislature’s Jack Bloom for a tour of three hospitals, and we’re working our way through a mass of huddled humanity.

Bizarrely, some people seem to have left the queue in which they had been waiting for a stamp.

This stamp allows them to join another queue for a number.

When their number is called out, they are allowed to join a queue somewhere else – if there’s time.

Evidently, the numbers can run into the 900s. Pensioner Abrem Makhoana, 77, patiently endures this rigmarole at least once a month to get his prescription medication.

He’s been here since 5am and has finally received a number: 138. TM Milanze has had the same experience, and usually has to take two days off work.

Only one pharmacist was available to dispense medication, so it ca
n take six hours to see a doctor.

Bloom says that at other hospitals patients struggle even more.

At the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, some people had begun queuing as early as 1am.

When Bloom arrived at 6am they had still not been attended to. Bloom said the situation at the Helen Joseph Memorial Hospital seemed to have improved greatly since his visit two months before.

The hospital now sports a new pharmacy section with five cubicles. At the old section, however, several patients complained bitterly about the hospital’s Byzantine filing system and rude staff.

It was now almost 11.30am, and one man who didn’t have R35
to open a file had been waiting for help since 5am while others slipped in ahead of him.

“You can die here in this queue!” shouted one woman angrily.

“If you don’t have money, they treat you like dirt – what must we poor people do if we’re sick?”

Bloom is compiling a report on 25 major provincial hospitals, and will be presenting the findings – along with the DA’s suggestions on how to sho
rten queues – to health MEC Brian Hlongwa later this week.

These include computerised filing and outsourcing chronic medicine distribution to local pharmacies.

No, Mr Zuma, I will not "back off"

As the song goes, where have all the good men gone? Come on manne, a woman is taking on the ANC! Stand up and be counted. Say what needs to be said, get thrown out of meetings, gatherings, parliament sittings, debates, TV panels whatevah, but state your say and show some balls. Enough with the pansy wansy letter writing, parliamentary questions and running to the SA Human Rights Commission like any of it will achieve anything. Your electorate demands strong leadership and a woman is showing you the way.

The DA leader says that if the ANC president is innocent, he should clear his name in court

Corruption is a cancer eating away at our society. As we have seen in every society where a culture of corruption is allowed to take hold, the poor become poorer. Taxes are not used to deliver services, they are used to line the pockets of the powerful. Investors stop investing in job-creating enterprises because they have little faith that their money will be used appropriately.

Corruption, if it is allowed to spread, starts a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break. This is why I am so determined to ensure that we do not allow this to happen in South Africa. We still have the potential to be a first class democracy and we can still ensure that there is prosperity for all in generations to come. But that depends on the choices we make now.

I find it curious that some people say that I have no business worrying about Jacob Zuma's corruption trial. They say that I must respect the principle that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Of course I respect that principle. But if we allow Zuma to escape his day in court as a result of a back-room deal with the National Prosecuting Authority, we will be no closer to knowing whether he is guilty or innocent. There will be a cloud hanging over his head and the entire government. Escaping prosecution is not the same thing as acquittal. If he never appears in court he cannot be presumed innocent.

If Zuma is indeed innocent, then he must clear his name in a court of law. In fact, he should be begging the NPA not to drop the charges so that he has the opportunity to exonerate himself. But he has not done that. He has dragged out the case at every opportunity. And now, he is reportedly blackmailing the NPA to make sure that he never gets his day in court.

Yesterday, Jacob Zuma told me to "back off." Well, I have news for him: I will never do that. I will continue to hold him and the ANC to account. That is my responsibility as the Leader of the Official Opposition and it is my duty as a citizen.

The fact of the matter is that Jacob Zuma has a case to answer in court. This is as clear as day. It is a fact that Schabir Shaik was found guilty of giving Jacob Zuma money to further Shaik's interests in the arms deal. The NPA has evidence that Jacob Zuma accepted 783 payments totaling over R4 million.

If the National Prosecuting Authority drops the charges against Jacob Zuma, we will demand to know why it did so. If the possibility exists that the DA can take the matter further, we will do so. What we will not do is allow the powerful in our society to escape justice purely on the basis that they hold power. Our duty is to defend the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. In this case, it is you, me and the very fabric of our constitutional democracy that is threatened. We will continue to do everything in our power to make sure that Jacob Zuma and every other powerful politician involved in arms deal corruption has their day in court.

This is an extract of a speech prepared for delivery by Democratic Alliance leader, Helen Zille.

More BEE chiken anyone?

Here's why people in the Western Cape must vote DA to stop this. I've no doubt the FF+ would tackle it as well but realistically, only the DA has a chance of winning the Western Cape and so a vote for the FF+ in this instance would be wasted.

ANC Provincial government Departments rush to push through BEE scam deals before the election. Province will lose at least R54.8m if deals go through.

Members of the commercial property sector have alerted the DA that a number of properties in which the Provincial government is a tenant, or about to become a tenant, have suddenly changed hands. On investigation, the DA was able to identify three of these purchases.

The DA was also able to obtain certain details of the leases from sources close to the Provincial Treasury.

In its investigation, the DA has obtained the advice of one of SA's leading commercial property brokers and evaluators.

In every case, the directors of the purchasing companies are the same, and their various companies are registered at the same address.

In every case, the rentals to be paid by the Province are far in excess of current market rates (at least R54.8m in total over the life of the leases), and in two buildings where the Province is an existing tenant, the new rental is almost double the existing ones.

This scam has been made possible by the Property Charter for the commercial property sector which requires a minimum of 26% black equity in buildings in which the Province rents space, unless their annual turnover is less than R5m.

National Government, working secretly with the Provinces, has decided to go way beyond the charter. During last year the "Property Incubator Program" was initiated which will basically exclude all white landlords who do not have black equity partners from ever entering into leases with government departments.

The scam uncovered by the DA is yet another variant of the unlawful abuse of so-called broad based Black Empowerment.

The scam works like this.

An official from the Western Cape Public Works Department (usually one Miz Penny Penxa, a senior member in the Property Management Department) approaches white landlords whose leases with the Province are due for renewal. She advises them that the leases will not be renewed because the landlord has not achieved the required BEE status in terms of the Charter.

Shortly afterwards, the landlord is approached by an agent offering to purchase the building.

The agent also has a document from the Public Works Department stating their intention to renew the lease at a far higher rental than the current lease.

This document is supported by a a rental evaluation from a property evaluator which is far higher than the market rentals being obtained in similar properties in the neighbourhood.

Thus the purchaser is enabled to buy the building on the surety of the Province's intention to lease.

In essence, the buyer funds the purchase from the new high rentals at the taxpayers' expense.

This is unlawful and contrary to both the provisions of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act. If it is not stopped dead in its tracks, it will spread through national and provincial governments like an aggressive cancer, consuming vast sums intended for service delivery.

The three scams:-

1.The Hurteria Building, York Street, George (erf numbers 15018 and 19335)

This was the old Nelson Mandela College and is now empty. It is to be used by the Western Cape Health Dept as Nurses training college.

Hurteria was purchased from the Port Elizabeth Technicon for R18M by River Bend Trade and Investments 57.

The River Bend Directors are Juan Carl Gossman of 16 Uitsig Close; Dressage Close, Constantia Hills and Peter James Volkwyn of 22 Snowball Street, Protea Valley, Welgemoed. The company`s official registered address is PFK House, 45 Main Road, Claremont.

The valuation was provided by one Mr Weideman at R98 per SM totalling R250000 pm.We are informed that this is an extremely high rental for this building.

Nevertheless, the Provincial Government's Public Works Department increased its offer above the valuation to R273000 per month on a 10 year lease escalating at 9% per annum.The rental to be paid over the 10 year lease would be R50m.

Our commercial property advisors consider this lease to be 44% above the market rate.

Thus over the 10 year period of the lease, the Province and the taxpayer would be forking up some R22m more than the normal market rentals.

2. No 3 Rensburg Hof, Courtney Street (erf numbers 8685, 8688 and 8690)

The Province is the current tenant in this building, and the existing lease had expired on 30.9.2008.The existing rental is R256500 (inc VAT) per month

Rensburg Hof was purchased for R35m from Swanvest 11 (sole shareholder Mr Louis Van Rensburg - 0833777232) by Boomerang Trading 48 (Pty) Ltd.

The Boomerang Trading Directors are Juan Carl Gossman of 16 Uitsig Close; Dressage Close, Constantia Hills and Peter James Volkwyn of 22 Snowball Street, Protea Valley, Welgemoed. The company`s official registered address is PFK House, 45 Main Road, Claremont.

The valuation was again provided by Weideman at R409000 per month, an increase of R152500 or 59% per month. Again,.we are informed that this is an extremely high rental for this building.

Notwithstanding this enormous increase, the Provincial Government`s Public Works Department increased its offer above the valuation to R450000 per month on a 10 year lease escalating at 9% per annum.This is an increase of 75% on the current rental. The rental to be paid over the 10 year lease woulf be R80m.

Our commercial property advisors consider this lease to be 23% above the market rate.

Thus over the 10 year period of the lease, Province and the taxpayer would be forking up some R18.4m more than the normal market rentals, and R39m more than if they had extended the current lease with a 9% escalation.

3. No 2 Maynard Plaza Building, Wynberg.(erf number 145385)

The Province is also the current tenant in this building. The existing rental is R220000 (inc VAT) per month and the lease expired in April 2006.

The building was purchased by Pacific Breeze Trading 52 for an unknown amount.

The Pacific Breeze Directors are Juan Carl Gossman of 16 Uitsig Close; Dressage Close, Constantia Hills and Peter James Volkwyn of 22 Snowball Street, Protea Valley, Welgemoed. The company`s official registered address is PFK House, 45 Main Road, Claremont. In this case there is also another director - Miz Ntombizodwa Yvonne Lungcuzo of 15 Altona street, Oakglen, Bellville.

We are informed that the agent for this deal was Marlon Parring of Baker Street Associates (Cape Town) (Pty) Ltd trading as Baker Street Properties (contact details 0828932832).

Provincial Government`s Public Works Department offered a lease of 5 years escalating at 9% with an opening rental of R408000 per month, an increase of R188000 per month (or 85%) over the existing lease. The rental to be paid over the 5 year lease would be R29.3M.

Our commercial property advisors consider this lease to be 49% above the market rate.

Thus over the 5 year period of the lease, Province and the taxpayer would be forking up some R14.4m more than the normal market rentals, and R13.5m more than if they had extended the current lease with a 9% escalation.

There can be no doubt that Messrs Volkwyn and Gossman will make a financial killing if these deals are approved by Cabinet. Mr Volkwyn is also a Director of Grand Parade Investments, the black empowerment arm of Grand West Casino, which ex-Premier Rasool made a substantial beneficiary of gambling tax cuts now worth over R75m. He is also a director of GPI Slots and the Worcester Casino.

On the 16th March, I advised both Premier Brown and Finance Minister Strachan that we were deeply concerned about a number of leases being rushed to Cabinet for approval just before the election.

A copy of this media release will be sent to them today, as well as to the Auditor General.

Every employee in the Property Management Department, as well as the senior administrative and political management of the Public Works Department must have been aware of these matters. Regrettably, none of them blew the whistle on the scams.

Accordingly, once the DA has assumed power, this entire matter will be subject to extensive forensic audit if this is not already underway.

Statement issued by Robin Carlisle, Western Cape Democratic Alliance MPL.

A Modern Taboo: Black Racism

Written by a black West-Indian woman living in the US.

For me the definition of racism is prejudice against someone due to their race. You judge them, despise them, have a set belief system against them and are disgusted by their very presence based on skin color.

There are several types of racism in the United States that I've witnessed. Racism from blacks and whites against all other races, Racism from all races against each other, Racism from blacks and whites and racism from all races to those of mixed race.

We all talk freely about white racism for all other races but we hardly hear about racism against whites in the US.

I've always thought that it takes two to keep racism going. Without the other half of the racism equation you would simply have terrorism instead.

Why do I say this? If only one group was racist and attacked the group they have prejudices against, all other races would condemn that one group for their actions including people who are the same race of the perpetrators. The US has hate crime legislation but that legislation is seriously flawed. Hate crime legislation should not favour only a few groups because there will always be another group that is targeted and not covered; like sexual orientation. The hate crime laws should cover all hate crimes. Violent attacks of a group against another based on prejudice.

What happens today is that we will see a black person being attacked by another race be it white, Spanish, Asian, or Native American and the immediate outcry will be hate crime. If it was another race being attacked by blacks there is no outcry only an unspoken sense of satisfaction. That maybe the white person was being a racist and provoked the attack. This reminds me of that study done that showed people would react negatively if a woman were being attacked by a man than they would if a woman attacked a man.

I've listened to conversations from African-Americans who will list all the reasons why the "white man" is the devil, how we were stolen from our home and lost our identity. That's just bullshit but if everyone wants to shove their heads in the sand and believe that Africa was a united country that got together and tried to fight off the white slavers, I wish you well with your delusions. No businessman will willingly spend serious cash reserves to equip ships, send paid troops across an ocean to then fight, and be killed, to grab a few African slaves here and there. They also would not keep up the money loss for the next 400 years unless someone was helping them on the other side.

There are some African Americans who do know this bit of history of the established slave trade in Africa before the colonial slave trade began and how deals were made to sell captured slaves to the European slave traders. It's one of the reasons for black on black racism.

I am from the West Indies, or Caribbean, if you will. The first contact with racism was black on black racism during a US Government class in HS. We were having a debate on slavery and I mentioned that slavery had been around since the beginning of time. I said that the one group of people who should be pissed off throughout our entire human history should be women. Every single war that came along you knew what it meant. Capture, rape and then slavery. Men would fight and women got the shitty end of the stick. You lost everything. First your children, then your virtue and last your freedo...wait...you didn't have freedom to begin with.

One African American girl got upset, did not agree with me and thought I was diminishing African American slavery. She shouted at me "Why don't you get back on your banana boat, go back where you came from and stop stealing our men and jobs". Our poor teacher was a young white man in his early 30s and he stood there looking shocked, surprised, and perplexed. After class I had to explain black on black racism.

I guess Africans are the most hated since their tribal ancestors basically sold the African American tribal ancestors and all of us, West Indian and African are considered in the same league as Mexicans. As one African American informed me "You are undermining our fight for equal pay". I didn't really understand that since I worked hard and I got my raises or promotion. At one point I made more money than my white counterpart. He was more educated but I had more experience and I don't walk around with an inferiority complex. Most of us in the West Indies don't have many negative feelings against whites and Africans. That's just how society was back then, society is different now and let's all strive for continued freedom and equality. If we have hard feelings it's usually political stuff.

When I first came to the US, I thought African Americans were people to look up to because they were part of the most powerful country in the world. They had Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and a bunch of black leaders that we heard about all over the world. We respected what we heard. To actually experience African American society in the US was a disappointment and strange.

I met two types of African Americans. The poor and the elite. Almost everyone I spoke to in the ghettos talked about white suppression. I thought to myself, how is white suppression happening to us in a mainly black neighbourhood? I heard about black power, the fight, the struggle, and powers keeping us down. Not being able to find work, having white folks send drugs into the inner city to keep us enslaved. I wondered how that was possible when nearly all of the drug dealers I saw were black. Nearly all of the pimps I saw were black. The reply was that it was the white people who were supplying the black dealers with drugs. Well why don't the black drug dealers just say "No" then? I was naive I guess.

I can't say that I've encountered any discrimination within the work place. I started working in HS, showed up on time and I did my job. I opened a bank account and I saved my money. I never bothered to hang out with anyone in the neighbourhood because I thought it was just too much drama and depressing crap to listen to.

When I went to college, I thought the educated blacks would be different but it was the same thing again just this time in a suit and tie. It was weird when prominent blacks segregated us between Citizen and Resident. If you were a citizen you could stay and they would tell you how to improve and succeed. Offer help. If you were a resident, there was no reason for you to be at the meeting because you "could not vote in elections to support their causes". That's when the last candle I held up went out. They were the same as the people they claimed were oppressing them I thought. Can you blame me? I came here with African Americans placed on a high pedestal and every year the pedestal pieces kept falling off until I was left with clay feet.

The only time I've ever feared other blacks was when I returned from my country with my infant daughter. Why? My daughter was as pink a baby as you could get without both parents being white. She has brown hair and had gray eyes at birth. Everyone in the neighbourhood who had previously paid no attention to me suddenly were very aware of our presence. You have to wonder how they would have taken the news that her father was considered black even though his mother is biracial which makes him mixed race. Same as I am.

At first it was just innuendos on the street. Then it was comments from the men. Then someone shot at our house. Then a group of men tried to corner me. The one sided conversation went "If you can give your pussy away to some white cracker ass mother fucker you can mother fucking well give some of that ass to us." It was after someone broke into my apartment while I was asleep, left my front door open, with my expensive electronics still inside but only my purse missing that I decided it was time I moved. If I were down south instead of Brooklyn and my harassers were white this would be where another black person would be telling me that burning crosses were going to appear on my doorstep.

I became more and more aware of black racism the longer I was in the workforce.

Suddenly it was 6th grade from when I first immigrated all over again. I was "acting" white. I was "talking" white. I was "trying" to be white. No. I was being me. I refuse to censor myself for the approval of a small bigoted bunch of people no matter what colour you are. I refuse to be terrorised into being a statistic so I can be held up as another example of "racial segregation".

Why is it that we have the highest cases of HIV? Why is it we have the highest cases of drug abuse? What's the number 1 reason why so many African American males are in jail? Where is the black community during all of this? I don't mean national and local leaders. I mean our neighbours.

That's what a community is made up of; a group of neighbours looking out for each other. That's why Americans of other races don't have such high rates of all the crap that the black community has. Their community cares about each other, supports each other, and starts resources to help the community.

This kind of behaviour is highly discouraged in the black community.

In a sick sense, we've re-enslaved each other. Our slave owners are the drug dealers, gangs and churches now. The drug dealers keep us dehumanized with drugs, the gangs keep us terrified of violence, abuse and retribution and the churches promote the abuse of the rights of anyone thought to be weak. Women, homosexuals and those who have been "brainwashed" by the white man. All of these groups profit on black despair. The drug dealers with their multi-millions, the gangs with their billions and the churches with their multi-billions.

Drug dealing is actually looked on as a legitimate occupation for the most part or why else would they be so many. I've seen volunteer community centers opened in other sections of the city that teach work skills, the only thing I remember seeing in my Brooklyn neighbourhood was the 24 hour bodega and churches.

So far I have heard that, HIV/AIDS is a white disease; "homosexuality" is a white problem; drugs are the white man's way of enslaving blacks and there's no point in working hard because you're only making the white man rich. The most recent claim has been that the reason why HIV/AIDS statistics of white males have dropped is because the white people have found a cure and aren't sharing. How much denial do you have to be under? HIV/AIDS of black males is off the charts and rising because the black community refuses to recognise Gay African-Americans and offer more community based programs for couple counselling, sexual education and Free HIV tests.

One African American woman told me online that there was no way she could get HIV/AIDS because her husband is black so therefore he is not gay. Only white homosexual perverts contract AIDS. Another woman said that if they are gay, black men were turned gay by having a single mother or being a momma's boy. Basically, the black racism will never permit anyone to get the help and education they need.

In this modern world, the biggest cause of harm to the black community is now black racism.

It wasn't just a group of white people who wanted to segregate the races. A group of black people also approved of segregating the races.

White supremacy groups will continue to exist as long as black racism exists.

Hate and fear cannot survive without hate and fear but both die in the presence of knowledge and acceptance.

This entire subject gives me a headache. I grew up with community support and my community championing my every effort to succeed. In the US, I've seen an entirely different community depending upon which part of the country you go and then which area in that part of the country. I've watched as other African Americans tell youth; you'll never make it because white America will never let you. That doesn't promote positive activity and kills any future argument you may have to make them become a positive role model. Youth's answer will be "Why bother?"

I know not all blacks, whites or other races are racist. It's just those few that we want to strangle.

Another proud week for SA Rugby

First we had the New South Africa, now we have the New South African Rugby. Well at least things are consistent in the rainbow nation where criminals and crime have infiltrated every aspect of our lives.

Rugby player in court after hostage drama

- A College Rovers Rugby Club player who allegedly held other players hostage for four hours on Monday night has appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

Superintendent Jay Naicker said Melusi Zum
a, 23, was charged with attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Zuma - who bears no relation to the ANC president Jacob Zuma - was arrested after holding up almost 30 people, including Sharks Academy players, at Stamford Hill.

All the hostages wer
e freed and nobody was hurt. Zuma would remain in custody until his next court appearance on April 7. Managing director of the Durban-based Sharks Academy Hans Scriba, and College Rovers Rugby Club chairman Graham Mackenzie said in a statement on Tuesday:

"All the boys involved with last night's incident are receiving counselling and we are happy to report they are all responding positively." According to the Mercury newspaper the incident happened at a home provided for the players.

Stabbed Border rugby player “critical”

A Border Bulldogs player who was allegedly stabbed by a teammate over the weekend is still in hospital and remains in a critical condition,. Dumisani Meslani was allegedly stabbed during an altercation with his teammate, Denver du Plessis, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch on Monday, Bulldogs general manager Leon Botha said the player was still critical. “He has lost a lot of blood and he is still in a lot of pain but unfortunately at this stage I can’t comment further about the matter,” said Botha. Botha said it appeared that Meslani will stay in hospital “ for a couple more days”.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mtati Tana said there had still been no case opened about the incident. “No one came to us and reported or opened any case, even the rugby union. So we don’t have any information about the player’s incident,” said Tana. “We are hearing about it in the media.”

Francisco's Money Speech

This is such a good read. The prophetic words were written in 1957 but may just as well have been written today. With the slowdown of the global financial system, we listen with concern as the steady drumbeat gets louder denouncing the merits of capitalism. We are too quick to condemn in the heat of the moment. Capitalism is the engine of wealth creation and prosperity. The imposition of socialism by stealth by political leaders with bailouts and handouts harkens an era where wealth creation and innovation will be discouraged. If capitalism is evil, then socialism is a far greater danger.

In the book
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, the economic logic of capitalism is beyond reproach. The book divides the population into roughly two groups, people who produce and moochers and looters. You can figure out who's who in today’s world!

In it, one of the main characters is Francisco d’Anconia, a wealthy copper magnate who willingly destroys his family fortune rather than have it taken from him forcefully by an ever-encroaching government. He is a heroic figure in the book and had many great speeches where he explained his beliefs. Capitalism Magazine has published
Francisco’s “money speech” and I post it here for you.

Read and ponder the words. Our world is hanging by a thread, just like Francisco’s when the book was first printed in 1957.

The following is an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, © Copyright, 1957, by
Ayn Rand.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Anconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears not all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor--your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money, Is this what you consider evil?

"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions--and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made--before it can be looted or mooched--made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.'

"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss--the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery--that you must offer them values, not wounds--that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade--with reason, not force, as their final arbiter--it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability--and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality--the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth--the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one, would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money--and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich--will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt--and of his life, as he deserves.

"Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard--the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money--the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law--men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims--then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, 'Account overdrawn.'

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world? You are.

"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood--money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves--slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer, Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers--as industrialists.

"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money--and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being--the self-made man--the American industrialist.

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all the others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money.' No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.

"Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters' continents. Now the looters' credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide-- as, I think, he will.

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns--or dollars. Take your choice--there is no other--and your time is running out."

Russian born American novelist Ayn Rand is author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and is originator of the philosophy of Objectivism. You can learn more about her life and philosophy at the website of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Dalai Lama gets 385 million more votes than Trevor Manuel

PRETORIA. After asking 'Who is the Dalai Lama?' last week, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has been informed that the Tibetan is in fact the spiritual leader of 400 million people, or roughly 385 million more than voted for the ANC.

Manuel has also been given a set of encyclopaedias to bulk up his general knowledge, which colleagues describe as "just a gaping hole".

Manuel's question, asked at a conference where he was trying to explain the semantic difference between being China's whore and being China's bitch, added more fuel to the fire of controversy surrounding South Africa's barring of the Dalai Lama.

The comment also sent shockwaves through the financial world as market observers wondered what else Manuel didn't know.
"If he has to ask who the Dalai Lama is, does he even know how to feed himself?" asked a worried Finance Ministry insider who asked not to be named as he did not want to be sent to China for re-education.

"As far as we can tell, Trevor thinks the Dalai Lama is the main character from a Broadway musical called 'Hello Dalai'.

"It is very awkward."

However the exiled Tibetan government has asked the South African public to be patient with its Finance Minister, saying that he could not help it if his general knowledge matched that of a bush of geraniums.

It said it was sending him a set of encyclopaedias with 'Tibet', 'Dalai Lama' and 'human rights' dog-eared in the hope that Manuel would "one day figure out the difference between 15 million voters and 385 million believers".

Manuel's office said the minister was grateful for the gift as he had started taking strain having to formulate fiscal policy using Chappies wrappers as reference material. According to Finance Ministry spokesman Shekels Mpundu, the controversy had put Manuel in a very uncomfortable position.

"As Finance Minister, Mr Manuel is the farm-hand who has to milk the Chinese dragon," explained Mpundu. "Basically he has to massage dragon-teats all day.
"When he comes home he's too sticky and tired to read up on world events.

All he wants to do is have his dinner, watch Desperate Housewives on the PVR, phone Beijing and ask permission to go to bed, and go to bed.

"People should understand that and cut the guy some slack."

Delarey - Boer War

Here you go FishEagle. Just for you. We first posted it in August 2008.

This is for the pride of the Afrikaner Nation. General De la Rey was a Boer General in South Africa who led his brave Boers in battle against the invading British Empire. The odds were staggering, 80 000 Boers to 350 000 British soldiers. The Boers held out to the bitter end.

The British held thousands of Boer women and children in the first ever concentration camps. The British forced the Boers to surrender as they starved their women and children - only for the Boers to return to their torched farms without many of their murdered family members.

This is a salute to the men who fought for freedom and a reminder that giving up is not an option as it discredits the memory of those that died in the wars for freedom.

"Ons Vir Jou Suid Afrika"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blind Faith

This was made in 2003 but is worth revisiting as it tells about Siener van Rensburg who prophesied the future of South Africa, a message more apt today than ever.

"Ek sien 'n nuwe Republiek."

Apartheid killed spirit of enterprise: Manuel

What is it with Manuel these days? First he knocked the Dalai Lama with some lame crapspeak when no-one asked his opinion. Now he says the reason blacks fail at enterprise is because apartheid "dunnit to 'em". Strange that. I can't recall the Nats closing down that many black businesses in '48. Oh yes, that's because there were NONE. Unless cattle herding qualifies as a business because starting commercial enterprises was certainly not a black trait.

Is this the same so-called polished Finance Minister that took the credit for the economic growth of the past 10 years when, truth be told, he was just riding the coat-tails of the greatest global boom in history? A trained chimp could have managed the same.

Now that the country is battling somewhat, he looks lost, out of ideas, clueless on how to engender more revenue to cover the ANC's election promises. He sees rough days ahead..but wait, ta da..ta da, to the rescue comes that trusty old apartheid card. Don't blame little ol' ANC meeee, blame bad, bad apartheid.

Methinks the man has realised his job is on the line and he had better downgrade and act chimp stupid to impress his boss-to-be. You can't act cleverer than the Zoo(ma)-keeper.

Anyhoo, does apartheid have a shelf life or will the ANC use it forever to explain why after 15 years very few real black entrepreneurs have emerged despite aggressive 100% hardcore affirmative action, unfair labour laws and the best efforts of BEE? Give it a break Manuel or I'll tell the Dalai Lama to kick you in the nuts when he is let into the country. Plonker. Go bek to the Kape mehn...

Apartheid destroyed the spirit of enterprise in South Africa, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said on Sunday.

"We don't have the spirit of enterprise [because of apartheid], and the feeble who do [choose to be entrepreneurs] rarely survive this," Manuel said.

"How are we going to deal with this?" He was speaking at a debate on prospects of decent work within a growing economy in Rivonia, Johannesburg.

Manuel was joined by finance experts, including representatives from Eskom and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

anuel said that micro-economics, as opposed to macro-economics, had to come into play, in order for South Africa to strengthen its economy."...There's a view that we haven't quite reached," he said.

He said that the South African economy was also widely externalised, and if money stopped flowing in, then growth would slow down.

"The challenge is to confirm that there is a stable micro-economic environment.

"I think that we need to examine a lot of issues, including our education system...you must also understand, you can't have everything at the same time."

Coloureds caught in the crosshairs

Cape Town - With its art galleries, restaurants, wine estates and pretty antique stores, Robertson is a tourist hub. But beneath its charming exterior is simmering discontent and real misery.

Coloured people, who make up more than 70 percent of the town, say they are second-class citizens and bear the brunt of discrimination from both white and black.

Most of the workforce find employment on farms and many permanent workers live on the farms, while seasonal workers are scattered throughout the district.

Come election day farmers will transport their workers to the polls as they have done previously.

You can tell which part of town you're in by the party posters: the Freedom Front Plus posters have claimed poles in the white areas, while Jacob Zuma smiles from on high in the black area.

Robertson forms part of the Winelands District Municipality, which has one of the highest incidences of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world.

A new study by FasFacts, an NGO which concentrates on the syndrome, has shown that even though the dop system no longer officially exists, the results of alcohol abuse continue to destroy poor communities. Most of the people affected by FAS are coloured.

The old lament of "we weren't white enough, now we not black enough" is said time and time again. Coloured people say they want dignity, they want to be valued, and they do not want to be treated as second-class citizens.

Most of the coloureds work on farms, but some are shop assistants and some have started their own businesses.

Apartheid spatial planning is still evident here. White people live in wide tree-lined streets in the dorp, coloureds live on farms or in one of the many suburbs set aside for them, while black people live in Nqubela on the edge of the village, past the industrial area.

Many people say they have seen little or no change since 1994, and will no longer vote for the ANC, the party which introduced reverse racism, they claim.

Instead they will make their crosses next to the ID or Cope or the DA. Being the majority in the town, where 54 000 people are registered, the coloureds helped to install the ANC in the municipality, but many say they now feel betrayed.

The municipality may be ruled by the ANC, but the economy is run by white farmers and business people. Black and coloured business people mostly ply their trade in their own areas.

Elclauvia Lakay, who works at a dry cleaners, says: "In this town everyone knows their place."

"Racism, huh, the end of apartheid? Not much has changed here. Apartheid is even still practised in the doctors' surgeries."

Coloureds are feeling stifled and oppressed, and they say the election results will not change that. Putting food on the table is their first priority, and watching their children struggle to find work breaks their hearts.

Grandmother Ellen Jansen says: "I just want to be treated like a human being. White people are still the bosses, black people run the municipality, so where does that leave us?

"Even our so-called leaders have not done anything for us, nothing has changed here race-wise."

She urges the Weekend Argus team to "go up the road to the doctor's surgery to see what I mean".

Jansen says she will vote for the ID in the hopes that the party will raise the issues of coloured people.

"You feel like a dog, but what can we do? That's Robertson."

Pat Goliath says he was unfairly dismissed from a construction company because he had "too much mouth".

"My skin was too dark to get a decent job, now it's too light, how must I paint myself? There is no hope in this new South Africa."

Martin Geduld will abandon the ANC this time in favour of the ID.

"Coloured people get too few rights, our children are pushed to the background and black people are being promoted. I will vote brown."

Geduld, who lives in Panaroma outside town, has come to the doctor. Those with medical aid go through one door, cash-payers - all of them black and coloured - through another. They are also treated in separate examination rooms. Medical aid patients are treated first.

The cash patients sit waiting in a small room with wooden benches. Geduld, a spaza shop owner, says he would rather be treated like a second-class citizen here than try his chances at the government hospital, where he would sit for hours and possibly not even see a doctor.

"Yes, it's humiliating, but I don't have a choice when I need a doctor," says Geduld.

In Nqubela social housing is replacing what was once an informal settlement, bringing a sense of dignity to the thousands of black people who were born here. People here can see the changes.

Unathi Teyisi says houses have been built and she is one of 12 people trained at state expense to be a baker. With funds from the district municipality and the provincial department of social development, a bakery has been set up where they will make "fresh, hot bread" for their community.

Most of the white people in the town keep to themselves, many of them disillusioned with the country. But some of the business people have been supporting Cope, putting up money for office space for the fledgling party.

Drienie Mulder owns Bon Appetit, a busy cafe in a side street. Her husband Johan was an accountant at the municipality, but he resigned in disgust as untrained and unqualified people were placed in jobs.

"He ended up having to do their jobs, so he left for the private sector. They lost a good person," she says.

Drienie worked for the Land Bank for years, and her reasons for leaving were similar to her husband's.

"Yes, we can see the changes, and we know exactly who we are going to vote for."

At a florist's shop an elderly woman initially refuses to speak to Weekend Argus, but then changes her mind. A spinster, who worked for many years for a tyre concern, says that when she retired she realised her money was not going to last. She is polite but bitter. She inherited her home from her parents, now the municipality insists on exorbitant rates, she says.

"I am a poor pensioner."

She says the country is in a mess, and as for political parties, "each one is more deurmekaar than the other".

She adds: "I have to vote or else I won't be able to say anything."

Things are not much more hopeful on the farms.

Farm worker Jan Klaasen was recently given the job of driving the grapes from the Roezandt farm to the winery. He says there has not been much political activity on the farms. Many things have changed, he says, but is at a loss as to say how.

Klaasen has voted since 1994 and says if the farmer takes them to the polls, he will vote on April 22.

While Klaasen has managed to go up in the world, pensioner Andries Jansen is battling. The old man lives on the Zevenberge farm in Wonderfontein. He retired three years ago after working on the farm for seven years, and the farmer allowed him and his family to stay on.

He uses an old pair of crutches to get around and has been known to walk for kilometres to the day hospital for his pain medication.

Sometimes he has waited in vain to be treated, only to be turned away from the clinic.

Jansen, who voted for the National Party in 1994, says if he votes he will vote for Cope. Leaning heavily on his crutches he says: "I will never vote for the ANC, they have abused this country and nothing has changed. Maybe I will find a home with Cope."

His daughter Sandra Jansen and his granddaughter Sue-Ellen Le Roux, both police reservists, are excited about the elections, but will not be voting. Neither is registered as a voter.

Redneck Murders

After a recent spate of really serious and depressing articles, I thought some humour would be in order. I borrowed this from the Irish Savant.

Did you know that murders on Rednecks by Rednecks are solved at a statistically lower rate than those of other whites?

There are two reasons for this:

1. The DNA all matches.

2. There are no dental records.

Response to Manuel's attack on the Dalai Lama

By Guy Lieberman

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's comments on the Dalai Lama's visit (see here) were profoundly disturbing. Here is an intelligent man [supposedly - Ed.], one of the brightest minds [supposedly - Ed.] and otherwise most responsible [supposedly - Ed.] members of our leadership, sprouting an entirely erred view on the Dalai Lama's apparent sole agenda for coming to South Africa.

Let's take a step back to consider the following: It is not too far-fetched to liken the Dalai Lama to Nelson Mandela. They share many similar character traits, elements that have raised them to the stature of elder statesmen and peacemakers, both Nobel Peace Laureates, both deeply humble, both immensely effective in expressing their moral authority, both totally committed to the cause of the freedom of their people. And they happen to really like one another, which says something.

Consider the period when, as a freedom fighter, Mandela was traveling internationally garnering support for our liberation struggle. What would we have thought had the US or Germany or Holland or Japan denied him entry to their country because they were trading with the White South African government? We would have balked at the sheer cruelty of it all.

Even though the Dalai Lama's invitation for this visit may have been to come here to speak about peace in general terms at the conference - and not only to try and split the Chinese Motherland as Manuel suggests - the question for us is How dare we stop him speaking about Tibet anyway? What gives us the right to hold the Tibetan people's future in the balance, when we called on the world to help us, for decades, and ultimately received assistance from every quarter which resulted in our eventual liberation?

The Chinese have brutalised the Tibetan nation on a scale that equals the worst the world has seen and is currently experiencing. It easily matches the darkest times in the Middle East, Bosnia and Darfur. The death toll since the Chinese invasion of Tibet is well over a million people. Over a million lives! I have been to Tibet and witnessed firsthand the savagery of the Chinese soldiers' treatment of Tibetans. On one occasion I saw two uniformed Chinese men beating an elderly Tibetan lady with batons, openly in the streets of Lhasa. It was one of the most distressing moments of my life. The barbarity was tangible. (View the recent Chinese response to protesters inside Tibet below)

Of course, should the Chinese ever see this letter, they would either tell me that I was lying, was mistaken at what I saw, or that it was Tibetans dressed as Chinese soldiers pretending to beat another Tibetan in order to give China a bad name in the West. It is one thing for the rudimentary Chinese propaganda to work on an already suppressed Chinese populace, but I find it fascinating that the same simplistic rationale has any actual impact on sophisticated thinkers like Manuel. To quote your article, Manuel said "The reason the Dalai Lama wants to visit South Africa 'is to make a big global, political statement about the secession of Tibet from China.'" Can he hear himself? Does he really believe this?

What has happened to us? How much are we actually getting from the Chinese - what are we talking here, R10 billion? R30 billion? R80 billion? I'd really like to get a sense of the numbers surrounding the buyout of the ANC's soul.

Whatever the deal on the table, the hypocrisy is untenable. We have no right, no right at all to stop the Dalai Lama speaking on behalf of his country. Issues of independence or autonomy or self-rule aside, the Chinese treatment of the Tibetans has to stop. And we were the one example of a nation freed from bondage, a beacon of hope for the Tibetans. Our rejection is an insult to injury.

Finally, the ultimate irony surrounding all of this is the continued promise of economic development through bilateral relations with China. This, at a time when the world is on the brink of financial collapse, which has come about from much the same misconceptions about economic prosperity sans the grounding of a rooted value system. While the Dalai Lama may only have the 'value system' part on his side, it seems that money continues to be able to buy pretty much anything else, even in these precarious days. We have taken out a big loan on our delusions, and sooner or later it will have to be paid back. Bankruptcy for humanity is simply not an option.

Here's to freedom.

Guy Lieberman has served as local liaison for the visits of HH the Dalai Lama to South Africa, and between 1995 and 2000 was a full time activist for the Tibetan freedom movement. See picture below.

Billions needed, not millions

MTHATHA residents fear that their city is on the verge of collapse, with some saying that a multi-million rand cash injection promised by national government is short – by billions.

On Thursday this week, D epartment of Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Lindiwe Hendricks made big announcements at the FNB Rotary Stadium in Ngangelizwe Township in Mthatha.

Hendricks allocated R25 million to Mthatha to deal specifically with the waste water treatment works which serves the town. This allocation was part of a bigger R88m budget set aside for the municipalities in the province.

This R25m is on top of R7m allocated by the OR Tambo District Municipality and R10.6m allocated by the provincial Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs.

Hendricks has also set aside a further R1.1m to look at developing and retaining skills within the municipality.
However, all this money – R43.7m – is not enough to save Mthatha from complete infrastructure and service breakdown, according to the head of Water and Infrastructure in the OR Tambo District Municipality, Solly Nduku .

He believes that more money is needed – about R4.5billion more, to be precise.
Yes, folks 4.5 billion to repair only ONE town. Now do the maths for the rest of the country

Nduku said this was just to address the infrastructure problems of King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) , Nyandeni and Mhlontlo local municipalities. Another R1.2bn was needed at Mbizana, and Inqguza Hill Local Municipality needed R1.5bn.
And it appears it’s not only water supply that is a problem for Mthatha. Residents have been complaining of electricity cuts, potholes and sanitation problems as well.

The Daily Dispatch has been inundated over the past few months with letters from frustrated readers and residents of Mthatha who complain about basic service delivery issues.

Some of the suburbs affected include Fort Gale, Southernwood (where KSD mayor Siyakholwa Mlamli lives), Southridge and Northcrest.
Napgeni residents, a suburb behind the Mthatha Sports Fields, have also experienced their fair share of power cuts recently.

Professor Vuyisile Dlova, who works with ratepayers associations in Mthatha, described the infrastructure troubles as a “ticking time bomb”.
Since 1992 he has lived in Southridge. He said cuts in water supply and power cuts were the order of the day there.

“Almost two nights a week, there won’t be water and there is also a period of the day where electricity runs out,” Dlova said.
He said he pays between R500 and R600 towards rates monthly. Professor Zama Gebeda told the Dispatch that

Southernwood was looking the worst he’d seen it since he arrived in 1987.

“There are always power cuts here and water runs out frequently,” Gebeda said, adding that refuse was not collected, the state of roads was appalling and street lights had not been working for four months.
All this, despite the fact that he pays up to R750 a month towards rates.

Another Mthatha resident, Raymond Knock, who recently made news headlines in this paper when he took the initiative to fix potholes in Mthatha using his own funds, yesterday expressed his disappointment at the council.

“Our municipality has failed us totally. No week goes by without water running out or power cuts, but the worst thing to me is the state of the roads, especially in Southernwood where I stay,” Knock said.
And Sizwe Sakhela of Northcrest complained of roads riddled with potholes.

“Our roads are full of potholes, some streets, which were once tarred, have since become completely gravel,” Sakhela said.

Back to dirt roads in 30 years - AA warning

Toozday Toot: Alphaville - Forever Young

Teens necklaced by vigilante group

Two teenage boys accused of theft were burnt to death early on Saturday morning, allegedly by angry neighbours who used a tyre and clothing to fuel the fire.

At mid-morning on Saturday, the bodies of Sakhiwe Sakhetye, 17, and Ngcina Mbana, 18, were still entwined in a grisly heap, watched over by a large crowd of mostly women and children.

There were sticks and stones lying around and the two appeared to have been badly beaten before being torched by the mob.

The apparent vigilante killing took place in Nkanini, a suburb of Makhaza off Baden Powell Drive.

Harare police spokesperson Constable Nosiphiwo Mtengwane said they were called at 6am after receiving reports of the burning.

The community was tight-lipped about reasons for the horrific attack but some said the teenagers were believed to have "stolen something, although no one would say what".

William Jonas, of the area's community police forum, said he had heard that a mob had turned on the boys after the alleged theft around 2am.

"We are still searching from house to house to find out more," said Jonas.

Sakhiwe's shocked parents Joyce and Simon Sakhetye said the last they saw of him was on Friday afternoon, some hours before his death. His father admitted that Sakhiwe had stolen things before.

"My child was naughty and he was taking drugs," Simon said. His uncle Tali Mqobosha agreed, saying he kept bad company. "My nephew was a rough boy but we were trying to get him right." Ngcina's family members said they hadn't seen him for a week. One of his relatives told Weekend Argus they had heard about the allegation of theft but could not say whether this was true.

The burnt and beaten bodies lay for hours in a sandy area surrounded by corrugated iron shacks near the Nosiseko Cash Store, which was open for business as usual.

Stray dogs had to be occasionally chased away from the bodies.

When some men in a nearby shack turned up their music, several children started to dance unconcernedly.

" Mob rule fears as Zuma calls for vigilante justice Source

Necklacing History

During Nelson Mandela's trial, they found a document wherein he had said that some hideous punishment must be found for "traitors" (i.e. Blacks who actually support, work with and are friendly to Whites). In this document, Nelson Mandela suggested - cutting off their noses. Years later, his wife, Winnie Mandela, publicised the idea of "necklacing" the traitors - which is to burn them alive. They put a tyre around their necks, pour petrol in and set them on fire.

"With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country Winnie Madikizela-Mandela