Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Now It's the Sunshine Science

Are economists the "sunshine journalists" of the new era? There was a period of South African history when it was impossible to open a newspaper without reading some fawning and grovelling "analysis" piece on the Mbeki government.

Slightly burnt by this experience, one suspects, journalists are generally more cautious about taking sides, with some very obvious exceptions. In the process of reading rafts of analysis and opinion columns written by South African economists, I can't help getting the uneasy feeling we are being had.

For a start, it's suspicious that so much of this information is publicly available, unlike corporate analysis, which is generally hidden from public view and confidentially passed on to institutional clients.

This means banks are using their economists as part of their marketing efforts, and it's beginning to show. One is left with a sense there is an underlying cheerleading agenda. Just to take a few recent examples, I have read a piece pointing out the "five things the new government has done right", and a long piece comparing statements made by presidents Mandela, Mbeki, and Zuma. The aim is obviously to show not much has changed. But, if you can't see the difference between the forces and underpinnings of the Zuma government compared with Mbeki's , then you are involved in an act of mystification rather than an act of elucidation.

SA's growth rate over the past decade has on average underperformed the global average, the Asian average, the developed world average, the developing world average, and, by substantial margins, the Africa average.

Surely this is the starting point of all economic analysis of SA?

Distorted teaching 'encouraging rape'

South African activists have warned that distorted teaching in some initiation schools is leading to a rise in rape incidents and the spread of HIV.

1 in 4 South African BLACK males ADMIT to rape
Mom watches baby being raped
Another child raped and murdered
72-Year-old Gang raped and murdered
Malema In Hot Water Over Rape Claims
9-year-old raped, killed
One child raped every three minutes!

The concern follows a recent survey by South Africa's Medical Research Council which showed that one in four men have admitted committing rape, with 46 percent admitting they have raped more than once.

Researchers interviewed 1,738 men of all race groups.

A campaign group said it is now working with traditional leaders to change the practice.

Mbulelo Dyasi of Masimanyane, a women's support centre in east London, told the Independent Online website: "This is not part of our tradition; this is crime.”

Dyasi said groups fear that ritual sexual violence is being encouraged by widespread myths in areas such as the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

She said young men fresh from initiation schools are being taught that they should first have sex with women who are not their partners to clean the penis and test if it working.

Nono Eland of the Treatment Action Campaign told the website that young initiates are encouraged to first have sex - without a condom – with people seen to be of "lesser value" in the community, such as women who had previously had many sexual partners.

Eland added that some also join gangs where members encourage new recruits to commit rape as a sign of good luck after circumcision. This increased the risk of exposure to HIV, Eland said.

The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders is now revising the guidelines for initiation schools, to be released by December.

Vuvuzela fevah spreads to Europe

Uh oh, what's the bet the vuvuzela becomes a feature in European football? Olé...!


Sissy players want vuvuzela banned from WC2010

Bye bye vuvuzela?


The constant droning foghorn din that was audible during every single Confederations Cup match was the result of an instrument known as a vuvuzela. The noisy plastic trumpets are very popular in South Africa, and are often blown by home fans in a frantic attempt to “kill off” the opposition.

Not only are they irritating, but they could also be used as a weapon, and perhaps a cynical instrument of marketing by opportunist companies who plaster their logos all over them.

After crashing out to the USA amidst a deafening chorus, Xabi Alonso made his views on the vuvuzela clear: “I think they should be banned. We’re used to when people shout but not to this trumpet noise which doesn’t allow you to concentrate and is unbearable.”

Alonso’s Spanish team-mates obviously didn’t share his opinions, as these pictures from Madrid Airport show. Fernando Torres must have been a particular fan of the insufferable noise, as he was proudly carrying two of them on his trolley.

Many have asked for vuvuzelas to be banned during World Cup 2010, but in-touch-with-the-people FIFA President Sepp Blatter opposes the idea, saying we should not try and “Europeanise” the World Cup.

Stereotypes: Are They True?

Participating on a blog, like this, can be annoying at times. Equally as annoying is engaging individuals on associated topics, when, inevitably, you get branded a supremacist (note I don't add white, since it is assumed that only whites can be supremacists), a bigot, a xenophobe, a racist or some other descriptor. In reality, the problem may be complex, but usually involves a poor grasp of the definitions.

Since racism is often used as an all encompassing term, it will be prudent to quickly analyse a definition thereof.

According to the Oxford Dictionary racism is a belief or ideology that members of each racial group possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, distinguishing it as being either superior or inferior to another racial group or racial groups.

So there are two components, belief and superiority, and this is where many of our critics come unstuck.

Yet, consider this, any statement made by a white person, referring to another race, is considered potentially racist; even though it falls outside of the definition.

Recently Black Coffee branded me as being racist for pointing out that average sub-Saharan black IQs are below 90. Is that racist? Let's look at the definition. No it isn't. I did not mention IQ in order to reinforce a view that whites are superior. I mentioned IQ in the context of internet usage. However, the fact that white IQs are higher than sub-Saharan black IQs, by definition, makes whites superior BUT only in so far as IQ is concerned. If the belief is absent, namely the belief that I am somehow better than you, then it is not racist. I know black males, on average, are better at long distance running than me. This makes them superior, when it comes to running, but it isn't racist to make this claim.

If we look at most exchanges revolving around race, much of what we experience is not racism, perhaps stereotyping. Let's look at a few examples.

Peter De Villiers suggesting that the international press corp and David Dowd are racist.

This is complete nonesense, and should be treated with contempt. De Villiers makes his assertions based on flawed assumptions. Those assumptions are that ALL whites believe they are superior to blacks. This projection reveals De Villiers to be a bigot. Although his stereotype may be correct, it says nothing about the individuals involved.

Black men are a bunch of raping, thieving thugs.

Of course this is untrue, not all black men fit this profile, but the stereotype is valid.

Both examples do not reflect racist remarks, but rather stereotyping. Below is an article on stereotyping.

What Is Stereotyping?

What people call “stereotypes” are what scientists call “empirical generalizations,” (What I call the preponderance of probablity) and they are the foundation of scientific theory. That’s what scientists do; they make generalizations (Deductive reasoning). Many stereotypes are empirical generalizations with a statistical basis and thus on average tend to be true.

If stereotypes were not true, they wouldn't be stereotypes.

The only problem with stereotypes and empirical generalizations is that they are not always true for all individual cases. They are generalizations, not invariant laws. There are always individual exceptions to stereotypes and empirical generalizations. The danger lies in applying the empirical generalizations to individual cases, which may or may not be exceptions.

But these individual exceptions do not invalidate the

An observation, if true, becomes an empirical generalization until someone objects to it, and then it becomes a stereotype. For example, the statement “Men are taller than women” is an empirical generalization. It is in general true, but there are individual exceptions. There are many men who are shorter than the average woman, and there are many women who are taller than the average man, but these exceptions do not make the generalization untrue. Men on average are taller than women in every human society. Everybody knows this, but nobody calls it a stereotype because it is not unkind to anybody. Men in general like being taller than women, and women in general like being shorter than men.

However, as soon as one turns this around and makes a slightly different, yet equally true, observation that “Women are fatter than men,” it becomes a stereotype because nobody, least of all women, wants to be considered fat. But it is true nonetheless; women have a higher percentage of body fat than men throughout the life course (and there are evolutionary reasons for this as well). Once again, there are numerous individual exceptions, but the generalization still holds true at the population level.

Stereotypes and empirical generalizations are neither good nor bad, desirable nor undesirable, moral nor immoral. They just are. Stereotypes do not tell us how to behave or treat other people (or groups of people). Stereotypes are observations about the empirical world, not behavioral prescriptions. One may not infer how to treat people from empirical observations about them.

Stereotypes tell us what groups of people tend to be or do in general; they do not tell us how we ought to treat them.

Once again, there is no place for “ought” in science.

As empirical generalizations borne of the observations and experiences of millions of individuals, most stereotypes are on the whole true. If they are not true, they cannot survive long as stereotypes. Nonetheless, theory and research in evolutionary psychology
have overturned a few stereotypes and shown them to be false.

So is it wrong to hold a stereotype?

Of course not. It is our way of short circuiting mental processes. You wouldn't survive very long if you required a solid body of evidence on every individual prior to taking action; but of course the Libbies will make you feel guilty for stereotyping. What you need, though, is personal honesty. Recognise when you have made a mistake, and judge individuals on their merits. On this basis, you may even find that you will have a black/muslim/gay friend.

If a group of black youths walk towards me, in a lower socio-economic area, it would be imprudent not to cross the street; not racist.

If you ignored this short circuiting system, you may get a Noddy badge from some, but you will incur a lot of hardship and your "gut feel" will be absent.

Jackie Selebi’s Contract Expires

It would be nice to see Zuma cut this bag of shit loose. Don't hold your breath.

President Jacob Zuma and Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa will meet this week to discuss the appointment of a permanent national police commissioner, as Jackie Selebi’s contract expires today, Mthethwa’s spokesman said.

"That process will kick-start this week," said Mthethwa’s spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Commissioner Tim Williams had been acting in Selebi’s position while he was on special leave pending his court case on allegations of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

Selebi’s contract was renewed last year by former president Thabo Mbeki while the former Interpol boss waited for his trial to begin.

Mulaudzi cautioned against assuming the end of the contract meant Selebi would no longer be commissioner.

"It does not mean that his contract will not be renewed. If he comes back, let it be," said Mulaudzi.

The appointment of a national police commissioner is Zuma’s prerogative, as chief of staff in the government, he explained.

Selebi and Zuma met last week, he said.

Selebi’s lawyer was not immediately available to indicate what he intended to do about the expiry of his contract, or whether he would insist on renewal until the finalisation of his case.

Selebi took special leave in 2007, when it emerged that he was about to be charged with alleged corruption relating to his relationship with convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti.

He faced two charges of corruption and one of defeating the ends of justice.

Agliotti was also a co-accused in the murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble, whose funds were allegedly used to pay Selebi.

Selebi made his first court appearance in February 2008 by agreement and without arrest, and his actual trial had been delayed by various applications and counter-applications relating to the investigation against him.

His trial was supposed to have started in April this year, but at his last court appearance in Johannesburg in May, he was angered by the delays.

"Let the people have the courage to put the allegations they have to me in an open court of law - that’s why I’m angry," he said at the time.

In a television interview earlier in June, Zuma said it was not good to have "acting people all the time" and that a "very decisive decision" would be taken when Selebi’s contract expired.

"It doesn’t give a good impression that you are dealing with issues seriously, so that is going to be addressed, and the minister is working on it," Zuma said.

Mulaudzi said the appointment could be made within the next four weeks.

Africa: Zuma is Out of Step With History

Just ahead of this week’s African Union summit in Libya, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has advocated an old and discredited approach for dealing with African heads of state facing international justice, write Comfort Ero and Piers Pigou.

When a leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress speaks on such critical issues as impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations, the rest of Africa listens. We listen because we recall with passion how apartheid was dismantled, ushering in a new era of democracy for South Africa.

So it comes as a shock that President Jacob Zuma used the recent meeting of the World Economic Forum for Africa to call for a continental policy favouring impunity.

Sharing a roundtable conversation with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Zuma proclaimed that the “world has changed” and that we must “do things differently and … not emphasise punishment” in dealing with leading perpetrators of serious crimes.

His statement is embarrassing and retrogressive, especially because the world has indeed changed – but not in the ways Zuma assumed.

What has changed is that over the last two decades a global consensus has grown that amnesty for violent crimes is morally and legally unacceptable. Africa led this change in many respects, and the newly-democratised South Africa enthusiastically supported the creation of the International Criminal Court in 2002.

What Zuma now proposes is not a “new” approach but an old and discredited one that would reinforce outdated visions of an Africa which resists human rights and is willing to tolerate the worst forms of brutality.

At a time when Radovan Karadzic is being brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, Charles Taylor faces justice before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Peru has tried and convicted Alberto Fujimori, Zuma has chosen to make the worst kind of rationalization for African exceptionalism.

Even worse, Zuma’s statement was made just ahead of this week’s African Union summit in Libya, which has on its draft agenda at least two reports dealing with attempts to bring to trial African heads of state. Zuma’s “new” approach, coming just as the continent faces pressures from some of its leaders to thwart justice, threatens to undermine the legitimacy of international humanitarian law.

Zuma’s approach would protect the perpetrators and architects of violence at the expense of redress for their victims. Not only is no thought given to providing reparation to victims of such violence, but their right to see justice done would be extinguished. When societies fail to make victims’ needs a priority, those societies risk new cycles of violence.

President Zuma did not distinguish between short-term peace processes and durable peacebuilding. His “bold approach” would do more to promote political violence as a means of gaining power than promote peace. He would invite leaders of political violence to look forward to impunity and a mansion in a neighbouring state.

Zuma presents this position – a safe retirement home for African despots – as being “for the sake of our people,” when clearly this protection is antithetical to the public interest. His position suggests that domestic, regional and international legal commitments can be airbrushed away, cloaked under the rubric of the pragmatic notions of what best serves Africa.

Many commentators assume Zuma’s remarks refer mainly to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Zuma is indeed faced with a serious problem in Zimbabwe that is likely to be resolved only when Mugabe is persuaded to step aside.

Mugabe’s decision to leave the scene will likely depend on guarantees of impunity being extended to members of his inner circle. That is all the more reason that accountability should not be bargained away. Prospects for sustainable transformation in Zimbabwe require more, not less accountability, extending to economic crimes and corruption.

Perhaps Zuma’s public remarks are a tactical gamble, presenting himself as “on side” with the recalcitrant leaders while knowing full well that Africa’s political leadership can provide no meaningful guarantees of impunity. If this benign interpretation is true, is it worth the egg that has landed on his face as a result of appearing an apologist for the continent’s perpetrators?

The Abuse of Citizens In The Name of Human Rights

I urge you to watch these videos if you believe in your Right to Freedom of Speech, free from harassment from any Western secular government. Freedom of Speech, Thought, Opinion and of the Press is under attack in all secular and Western societies, in the name of being reasonable or to appease small interest groups that assert a pseudo-right to not be offended. Ezra Levant is a Canadian lawyer, and one time editor of a magazine, who dared to exercise his rights, as enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and published the Mohammed cartoons. For this he was harassed, intimidated, accused, branded and forced to explain himself to a Kangaroo court; even though it was his inalienable right. This is the farcical system called Human Rights Commissions, and is a scourge experienced in all secular and Western societies. No doubt South Africa is no different, somebody just needs to scratch.

By the way, he was not found "not guilty", but rather as a result of global and media attention, the commissioner stepped away from his case, and ultimately it was withdrawn. Ezra Levant drew attention to his cause by using You Tube. The commissioners do not even have to have a legal background, merely a matric (Grade 12).


All it took, to initiate a complaint, was a handwritten faxed complaint, by a muslim imam. Thereafter the imam was not required again. The laws of evidence didn't, and don't, apply but it cost levant $100,000 to defend his cause. I would urge you to read Levant's book, Shakedown.

Ageing icons grateful to survive Fawcett and Jackson

LOS ANGELES. Stars of the 1990s have reacted with joy and gratitude after waking up alive on June 26, the day after both 1970s icon Farrah Fawcett and 1980s icon Michael Jackson passed away.

"In this time of grief we need to remind ourselves that the most important thing right now is that we survived the great Celebrity Harvest of June 25, 2009," said a spokesman.

Former Charlie's Angel Fawcett, 62, and eccentric pop icon Jackson, 50, died within hours of each other, prompting a wave of panic amongst fading and forgotten stars of the 1990s, who were convinced that they were next.

"It's really hard to stay narcissistic when legends are dying," said a spokesman for former rapper Vanilla Ice. "Because obviously the first thing you feel is not self-love but total panic."

Former teen idol Luke Perry said the news had hit him "very hard".

"I was like, 'Holy crap! Is my mortal show about to cancelled by the celestial Aaron Spelling?'"

Perry's former co-star on Beverley Hills 90210, ice-queen Shannen Doherty, who is currently a spokesmodel for Actors Anonymous, said that the deaths of Fawcett and Jackson had "lit a fire" under her.

"Life is so short," she said. "When I heard the news, I went straight down to the lab to see how my cryogenic chamber was coming along.

"Thank God I did. Dr Klaus had been using it as a chest freezer. It was full of prawns and bottles of vodka. I was like, 'Dr Klaus, haven't you heard about Farrah and Michael? I'm really stressed out right now.' And he was like, 'Ja, sorry.'

"Seriously. I can't work with German scientists."

Paula Abdul said that although her music career was dead, she at least still had her health.

"The passing of people like Farrah and Michael really reminds you what's important in life," she explained. She could not remember what those things were, but said she was sure she had them.

Meanwhile the media says it is trying to give an honest reflection of the outpouring of grief for Jackson, while enjoying the inpouring of money for itself.

"You could say that Michael's life was a terrible parable of what happens when genius is damaged and how a fragile, brilliant person was ground to death by bad choices and an insane media," said LA Chronicle editor, Scoop Sleimbohl.

"But we're not going to say that. For us Michael's death is going to be an awesome revenue stream for at least a week."

Bok coach disg-RACE

Racism by any other name is still..er, racism. Note date and time folks, this is one for the record books. It may be the first and only time that a non-white in South Africa is pulled up to answer for racist remarks. Slowly - but surely - the tide is turning and it won't be only whites that will need to mind their words in the future. I say fire the twat AA appointee, he's obsessed with race and is a disgrace to the Springbok name.

Read also;
Div: I don't give a damn - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers on Monday described himself as "a God-given talent" in reply to a question on how he viewed the increasing media criticism. (De Villiers and Julius Malema must be related)

Bokke Befoked
HEADLNE NEWS ON BBC WORLD: Boks Coach Defends Burger 'Gouge'
Peter de Villiers versus the Springboks

By Jan de Koning (Rugby365.com)

Colourful and often controversial Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will be hauled on the carpet by his employers to answer the racial remarks he made at a media conference last week.

The announcement, that De Villiers has been 'cited' to appear before South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins, came in the wake of the Springboks' series-clinching 28-25 Test win over the British and Irish Lions in Pretoria on Saturday.

SARU issued a brief statement, saying that "the management committee of SARU was on Friday mandated by Hoskins to meet with De Villiers" to discuss recent statements attributed to him.

"The management committee was unanimous in its concern over the racial connotations used by de Villiers in discussing the performance of scrumhalf Ricky Januarie," the statement concluded.

It also follows De Villiers' outlandish reaction at a media briefing after the Boks' victory in Pretoria, in which he suggested flank Schalk Burger should not have been yellow carded for the offence that saw him being sin-binned in the first minute of the Test at Loftus Versfeld.

Two Bok players - Burger and Bakkies Botha - were subsequently cited for foul play and will appear before a judicial hearing on Sunday.

Burger was cited for an act contrary to good sportsmanship – Law 10.4 (l) – by allegedly attacking the eyes of Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in the first minute of the Test. Burger was yellow carded by French referee Christophe Berdos for the offence.

Botha was cited under Law 10.4 (g) for dangerous charging in the fourth minute of the second half on Lions prop Adam Jones.

De Villiers has become increasingly unpopular in the media over his outrageous statements and indignant reaction to questions from journalists at press briefings.

However, it was De Villiers' remark, at a media conference last Monday, which left journalists aghast, that has now landed him in hot water.

It came just two days after the 26-21 first Test victory in Durban - when media questioned De Villiers' decision to replace an inform scrumhalf Fourie du Preez with an out-of-form Januarie.

With his team leading 26-7 De Villiers cleared his bench, which saw the Lions score two late tries to close the gap to 21-26 and the Boks hanging on in desperation at the end.

De Villiers initially suggested that he wanted to "inject pace" into the game in Durban, but when he was questioned why Januarie was brought on for Du Preez, he stunned the media with his reaction.

"I'm not concerned about his form, he may have made a blunder but so did a few other players," he said.

"What I learned in South Africa is, if you take your car to a garage and the owner is black or a black man, and they mess it up, you never go back to that garage.

"If the owner is white, you say ag, sorry, they made a mistake and you go back again. This is how some people live their lives in this country."

It is this inference that those who questioned his decision to bring January on were racist that has now landed the Bok coach in trouble.

De Villiers has a history of outlandish, bizarre and contradictory behaviour with the media, which began on the first day he was appointed.

Hoskins said - at the announcement of De Villiers' appointment in January last year - that "issues other than rugby" had been factors in the selection of De Villiers, intimating that his racial make-up had played a role.

De Villiers immediately denied this, saying he did not want to be seen as a "black coach".

However, he has a history of pulling the race card on journalists.

He has, on occasion, accused a black rugby writer of not knowing whether he was "black or white", and it is well known that De Villiers and another black writer have had an ongoing disagreement over what the coach feels is a "conspiracy" to get rid of him.

The strange politics of the tripartite alliance

Stanley Uys responds to a critique of his article from S'Thembiso Msomi of The Times.

Writing in The Times last week, S'Thembiso Msomi chides me gently for "wrongly" thinking (in these columns) that the Tripartite Alliance (ANC, Cosatu, SACP) is going to split (see article). I say gently, because Msomi is politeness itself. But there is something about the indictment that he brings against me that is puzzling.

First, he says that when Jacob Zuma was elected ANC president at Polokwane in December 2007, he (Msomi) thought "the matter was settled." Wrong. The rest of the country, I am sure, knew the matter was just beginning.

Second, Msomi says the cabinet Zuma appointed on May 10 was "fairly inclusive," because both Cosatu and the SACP leaders were given positions in it. That's it, then: deliver cushy jobs to the top rank - and behold the "inclusive" society! Besides, someone has to manage those trade unionists who (Msomi's words) are in "continuing dispute" with the government.

Also, what was the fuss about the "war of words" between Cosatu and the Zuma-led ANC over the Reserve Bank's inflation-targeting policy? And the row over Cosatu's "premature call" for Zuma to serve more than one term as ANC president? It's the name of the game, isn't it?

Next, Msomi closes in on my "prophecy" that the tripartite alliance will not survive the remaining three-and-a-half years or so of Zuma's five-year term as ANC president. It was my mistake, he says, to fail to see that all that is happening in the alliance is "current public debates" and "a continuing battle for political control between various interest groups within the ruling party and its alliance parties." Just the lads having a chat over a beer.

Relations in fact "have never been sweeter" between the ruling party and the (Cosatu) federation." Like ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe (he also moonlights as SACP chairman) telling Cosatu to mind its own business? I can see now where I went "wrong": I failed to grasp the proper definition of tripartite alliance ethics.

"What Uys and others are missing," says Msomi, "is the context within which some of the militant statements by unionists are made." He continues: "There is an elective national congress in September and, in order to be re-elected, the federation's leaders have to convince their members that they remain fearless in their advancement and defence of workers' rights. If they show any signs of softening on important issues, such as wage talks and inflation targeting, merely because their preferred political leader, Zuma, now runs the government, they run the risk of being voted out."

Cosatu, therefore, has to put on a show. Nothing it really believes in - just a show. Ethics as a kind of pop concert. Leaders must sound tough, because if they look soft, they will be voted out of those jobs they hold. Such nice, well-paid jobs.

So what I have been seeing as a vice, is in fact a virtue. It's not a disgrace, not one of the reasons why people say a plague on all politicians: it's ethics played with style.

Msomi has more thoughts. "Cosatu is well aware that its close ties to the ruling party make it vulnerable to attacks from rival unions who want to convince its members - especially in the public sector - that the federation does not put the interest of workers before all else.

"So, when medical doctors in the public sector took to the streets recently to protest against their meagre salaries, (Zwelinzima) Vavi (Cosatu secretary general) et al had to throw their weight behind the doctors' actions. Failure to do so, the federation knew, would have opened up a strategic gap for rival federations and unions to exploit. Even Zuma seems quite conscious of this.

"Though it's true that he recently urged unions to reconsider the wisdom of engaging in strikes in the current economic climate, Zuma says his government and the ANC will not stop Cosatu members from downing tools".

From this, Msomi concludes: "The tripartite alliance, it appears, will be with us for a very long time."

You see my problem, the puzzlement to which I referred in the first paragraph? Either Msomi is condoning alliance ethics at their most disgraceful; or he has written what is probably the most subtle article to emerge from an analyst's pen since the post-Mbeki alliance started to play its Great Game. The points he makes have an outer meaning (the ones I comment on), and an inner meaning, which mock the alliance game-players.

Kipling said it all. If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it/And - which is more - you'll have understood alliance ethics, my son!

The Red Necks and the Dutchmen

It is 1899 and General Edward Fatbottom and his 1000 English troops are riding through the bush looking for the Boers.

All of a sudden this raggedy scruffy individual jumps up from his seat on a koppie. He yells down to the English, "Hey Soutie, come up here so I can kick your arse. Or go back to England you bunch of useless fairies."

So the General loses his temper at this impudent Boer and tells his 2IC to send 10 men up to sort him out.

Off go the English, a huge commotion breaks out, dust clouds and hair flies. After about 2 minutes the Boer comes back out into sight dusting himself off with his hat. "Is that all you have?", he shouts down. "Go back to England you pansies. Here you will just get beaten like the women that you are!"

So the General sends another 30 men up to silence this loud mouth for once and for all. Again with the dust clouds, loud shouting and swearing. Cries for help. Eventually it quietens down and the Boer once again emerges. His shirt torn, hat askew...

"Is that it? Do you want me to come down there and kick ALL of your arses at once? You lot are pathetic!" he shouts.

Losing it completely the General orders a 100 men up the koppie! "Come back with his head or don't come back at all!" he screams.

This time a monstrous noise erupts, clods of earth and rocks fly through the air. Trees are uprooted! Pieces of uniform fly through the air! Then, one Brit troopie comes crawling over the hill. All ragged and bloody!

"Its a trap!!" he yells, "Its a trap!! There are two of them!!!"

South Africa gun owners get reprieve

From the Examiner (USA)

Musings of a wise old gun slinger
Guns handed to cops – and then?

Gun control laws take a dump

Press Release - BGOASA

How to beg for your gun rights from the ANC

SA Gun owners won't take a bullet

South African gun owners have received a stay on implementation of firearm laws that would have turned many of them into unwitting criminals.

These million or more citizens are already licensed to own their firearms and have committed no crime at all. At the stroke of midnight on 30 June 2009 they will turn into criminals, subject to jail sentences of 15 years if convicted in a court.

We learn from Independent Online News:

More than one million South African firearm owners who have not yet re-applied for their licences were given temporary reprieve by the High Court in Pretoria on Friday...The interim order will remain in effect pending the final outcome of the association's application to have certain sections of the new Firearms Control Act declared unconstitutional.

Abios Khoele, Chairman of the Black Gun Owners Association of South Africa, confirms to me by email:

The Firearm Control Act was today put on hold indefinitely by the Pretoria High Court. The Hunters Association challenged the gun law's constitutionality and won.

Here's more about BGOASA. Interesting. I'm looking forward to telling you more about them in the near future.

I've been following the gun law situation in South Africa for some time, after learning from a CBS News report that "every 26 seconds a woman is raped." I contacted Speak Out, an organization that has risen to prominence as a women's resource when it comes to rape, its prevention, and actions to take in its aftermath. You can find my correspondence, along with background information and the dismissive reply I received by clicking here.

Bottom line:

South African Rape Prevention & Support Group Maintains Women Have No Right to Self Defense

Fortunately, some of their citizens recognize madness when they see it. The challenge to the FCA, and the interim reprieve granted by the court, are hopeful indicators. I'll certainly keep my eye on developments there to talk about here.

For more information: Read "What is wrong with the FCA?" from Gun Owners of South Africa.

Sipho on his way to a B.Y.O braai

The invite did say "Bring Your Own food". Tsk.

Related Articles:

Our nation of 'action'

There isn't much to disagree with here. I think we can all relate to the frustration of having constant threats of strike action thrown at us for every little niggle which a union thug-head deems worthy of his attention. Sometimes I think strikes are called for the sake of giving the union leaders something to do and thereby show his membership that he serves a purpose other than to dine on the union's expense account. I mean, what was it recently? They threatened to strike because of job losses..?

Also, in the news today:
COSATU condemns Moeletsi Mbeki's comments on unions - Moeletsi Mbeki says that "they have no leadership. Cosatu lost their leaders in 1994. The unions are left with leaders who have no education, no knowledge, no expertise. That's why the poor are being ripped off... they don't understand the political economy of SA". (Hear Hear!)


By Thando Tshangela
(News24 user)

South Africa is a nation of industrial action. Teachers, doctors, police officers, and emergency service workers go on strike without any compunction. Even students sometimes go on strike; I'm waiting for the time when primary school learners and soldiers demand their right to go on strike.

In a democratic society workers have the right to negotiate better working and salary conditions. It is an essential right which lies at the core of our society like the right to dignity, equality and freedom of speech. But all rights are not absolute; they can be limited as enshrined in section 36 of the Constitution. Obviously they cannot be limited arbitrarily but only by a law of general application.

Workers like police, doctors, emergency services workers, and teachers should not be allowed to strike. The government is currently revising labour laws. It will be advisable for the government to classify the aforementioned work as essential services and therefore drastically curtail their right to strike.

Soldiers have a union but they do not have the right to embark on industrial action. They have mechanisms in place to resolve their grievances. If they go on strike they threaten national security and they will be charged with mutiny.

There is no reason why the same shouldn't happen to doctors, teachers and police officers. The doctors hold the life of their patients in their hands and if they strike they endanger precious and innocent lives.

As for the police, crime is a national crisis and if the cops go on strike they give criminals Carte Blanche. During the last civil service strike the police couldn't strike as they were declared to be essential services by the court.

With regard to education, South Africa is bottom of the list in literacy, maths and the standard of education. And the education of our kids is important to ensure a prosperous and productive society that can compete globally. The right of teachers to strike must be outlawed and a special bargaining council be put into place.

If it should be necessary for industrial action it should happen outside school hours. Student organisations like Congress of South African Students must not be allowed to embark on class boycotts or be banned from organising in schools. Education must be classified as the number one essential service above national defence.

To ensure that people who work in the essential services do not go on strike the government must pay better salaries for these workers. It does not help to work as a qualified teacher for 10 years and earn a salary equivalent to that of a Personal Assistant who has only matric.

The top officials must trim their fat pay cheques, beginning with the president, and pay good salaries to people who really matter most, those who hold our life, future and security in their hands.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fraudster Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years

Heed the warning Barry Tannenbaum, J. Arthur Brown and Gary Porritt. The world has no tolerance for your kind; you will not be able to simply emigrate, crawl under a rock and stay there. Truth be told though, given the state of South Africa's NPA, you stand a good chance of getting away with it ... you filthy swines.

NEW YORK — Applause erupted in a Manhattan federal courtroom Monday as a federal judge sentenced Bernie Madoff — the man behind the world's most notorious investment fraud — to 150 years in prison.

The sentence by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin was the maximum possible for the 11 criminal convictions in the $65-billion Ponzi scheme the 71-year-old ran until last fall's stock market crash led to its collapse.

"The breach of trust was massive and the fraud unprecedented," said Chin.

"The message must be sent that Mr. Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one, instead, that takes a staggering toll."

The sentence dwarfs prison terms handed out in other major white-collar fraud convictions of recent years: WorldCom Inc. CEO Bernard J. Ebbers, 67, for example, received 25 years; and Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas, 84, is serving a 12-year sentence.

The judge said the estimated $13.2 billion in losses for Madoff's victims was conservative because it had not taken account of cash from feeder funds.

Madoff pleaded guilty March 12 to charges including securities fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He was ordered directly to jail at that time.

Madoff appeared Monday in a dark, charcoal-grey suit, white shirt and dark tie after receiving advance permission from the judge to wear his own clothes.

As he sat between his lawyers at a polished table, the back of his head faced the nine victims who elected to testify from among the thousands he defrauded.

During the six minutes he took to deliver his prepared statement, he leaned forward, put his hands on the table, and described his decades of bilking billions of dollars as a "terrible mistake" and a "judgment error."

He then turned toward his victims, and said: "I face you. I know this will not help. I'm sorry."

Madoff signalled anew that his wife, Ruth, knew nothing of the fraud even though she had worked at her husband's company.

"How do you excuse lying to a wife who stood by you for 50 years?" he said.

Neither she nor their two adult sons were in court, prompting the judge to remark that no friends or family had submitted letters of support. Such letters typically attest to an accused's strength of character and good deeds over the years.

But Ruth Madoff, who just days ago agreed in a deal with prosecutors to give up all but $2.5 million of some $80 million in assets, issued a statement following the sentencing.

"I am breaking my silence now, because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie's crime, which is exactly the opposite of the truth," it read.

"Many of my husband's investors were my close friends and family. And in the days since December, I have read, with immense pain, the wrenching stories of people whose life savings have evaporated because of his crime."

A former A-lister within New York's social scene, Ruth Madoff, 68, now cannot even get an appointment with her longtime high-society hairdresser. She was photographed last week riding on the New York subway, and snapped at the photographer: "Are you having fun embarrassing me, and ruining my life?" (Boo hoo)

Madoff's victims included charities, a large swath of middle-class investors and celebrities — among them actor Kevin Bacon and director Steven Spielberg.

One victim who testified Monday raised the case of Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, who had handed $15.2 million that his foundation had amassed over to Madoff.

"As if Wiesel hasn't already suffered enough in his lifetime," said Burt Ross, a former mayor in New Jersey, who lost $5 million.

Madoff's lawyer, Ira Sorkin, accused victims of seeking "mob vengeance" as he asked ahead of the hearing for the judge to impose a 12-year sentence.

He also claimed his client had "co-operated" with investigators seeking to recover the lost billions.

Prosecutor Lisa Baroni scoffed at the request as she charged that Madoff had stolen "ruthlessly and without remorse" for years.

"Twelve years is a sentence for a garden variety crime," she said.

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee for the defunct Madoff firm, said in a filing to the judge that Madoff had been unco-operative. Picard has been able to locate just $1.2 billion of the estimated losses.

The judge said he would consider Sorkin's request for Madoff to serve his sentence at a prison close enough to his family that they can visit him.

Beyond the courtroom, victims and their lawyers said they believed Madoff couldn't possibly have spent all of the money he stole despite the lavish lifestyle he and his wife led. The implication was that huge amounts of cash are hidden somewhere.

"It's really hard to spend a billion dollars, let alone $65 billion," said Ilene Kent of the Madoff Survivors Group.

Matthew Gluck, a lawyer representing about 100 victims, noted that almost seven months had passed since the fraud became known but little has been recovered.

"The bank accounts, stock and cash of the entity have been turned over, and a couple of boats and a house or two," he told Fox News Channel.

"That either means that there isn't anything else, or he can't possibly be co-operating."

Constant Fear and Mob Rule in South Africa Slum

From The New York Times

Diepsloot - The two robbery suspects had already been viciously beaten, their swollen faces stained with rivulets of red. One of them could no longer sit up, and only the need to moan seemed to revive him into consciousness. The other, Moses Tjiwa, occasionally stared into the taunting crowd and muttered, “I didn’t do anything.”

The suspects were awaiting the final cathartic wrath of the mob, the torment of being burned alive, wrapped in the fatal shawl of a gasoline-soaked blanket. Then suddenly they were saved from that hideous death by the brave intervention of a local politician. “Let the police handle this,” he implored.

As usual, the police arrived late on that recent evening, and many in the mob angrily objected to their being there at all. Finally, one police inspector shouted: “Get back or I’m leaving this place and never helping you people again. I hate Diepsloot!”

Crime in South Africa is commonly portrayed as an onslaught against the wealthy, but it is the poor who are most vulnerable: poor people conveniently accessible to poor criminals. Diepsloot, an impoverished settlement on the northern edge of Johannesburg, has an estimated population of 150,000, and the closest police station is 10 miles away.

To spend time in Diepsloot over three weeks is to observe the unrelenting fear so common among the urban poor. Experts point to the particularly brutal nature of crime in this country: the unusually high number of rapes, hijackings and armed robberies. The murder rate, while declining, is about eight times higher than in the United States.

In Diepsloot, people usually bear their losses in silence, their misfortune unreported and their offenders unknown. If a suspect is identified, victims usually inform quasi-legal vigilante groups or hire their own thugs to recover their property.

There is also the impromptu mob justice, when an apprehended suspect becomes the sacrificial culprit for a thousand grievances. Even Jacob Zuma, the new president, says that citizens cannot be “blamed if they take the law into their own hands.”

In one way or another, most already do. Among the wealthy, private security is the substitute for police protection. The open veldt surrounding Johannesburg is filling in with one barricaded development after another, fortified with electrified fencing, cameras and armed patrols.

But the poor have no money for such defenses. Robbery is the most common crime in Diepsloot, a place where most every door is flimsy and each pathway a peril. Five-pound hammers are commonly used in assaults. Thieves hide easily in the darkness, preying on those who begin their walk to work before dawn and return after nightfall.

In the case where the mob turned its rage on Mr. Tjiwa and another man, Philip Dlamini, a young woman had been toting a satchel with about $500, the day’s proceeds from the grocery where she worked. Mr. Dlamini, accused of snatching the bag away, was quickly seized. A beating made him give up the name of an abettor, Mr. Tjiwa, who at the time was beginning an evening of beer at Themba’s Bottle Shop.

“What’s this about?” he recalled demanding as he was being wrenched away.

“You know what it’s about,” his accusers said, smacking his head with the metal end of a spade.

A mob’s haste sometimes leads to irredeemable errors. A few days later, Superintendent Sam Mokgonyana, the commander of the police station closest to Diepsloot, speculated that neither Mr. Dlamini nor Mr. Tjiwa was involved in the robbery. Rather, he supposed, the woman carrying the cash was in league with others in some inside conspiracy.

“She should have been the first one arrested,” he said. Then he sighed before adding, “I wish I had 100 more men like me so I could do some proper policing.”

South Africa is a young democracy, and people have yet to trust the government for protection. Under apartheid, the police were agents of state repression. Now, says Antony Altbeker, a criminologist, attitudes toward law enforcement have “turned from hatred into contempt.”

By international standards, the South African Police Service has an adequate amount of manpower per capita, though it is an undersized force in relation to the amount of violence. Whatever the measure, people here often dismiss the police as bunglers at best and crooks at worst. In Diepsloot, an arrest is usually seen as a way to gain the leverage needed to exact a bribe.

While Superintendent Mokgonyana agreed some of his officers were corrupt, he insisted a larger share of the venality rested with prosecutors and the courts.

The superintendent is new to this command and said he tried to keep at least six vehicles on patrol in Diepsloot, but said that the few paved roads did not penetrate the contorted pathways of the shacks. Officers rarely move on foot among the hovels of salvaged metal and wood.

With nightfall, the people themselves are loath to venture out. On May 17, shortly after midnight, robbers shot up Ndlovu’s Tavern, killing a man and wounding 12 others. While the gunshots likely awakened hundreds, those who hear everything most often believe it is wise to do nothing.

The heist lasted three hours. Some of the robbers leisurely played snooker while others did the hard work of carrying away crates of beer. The customers had been ordered to lie face down on the floor, and one of the gunmen selected a Freddie Gwala tune on the jukebox and danced on the backs of his captives.

That killing was the first of four that week in Diepsloot. “Nobody helped,” George Ndlovu, the tavern’s owner, said of his neighbors. “I don’t blame them. I would not have helped.”

Diepsloot is something of a depository for South Africans forcibly evicted from other overcrowded townships and a collection point for immigrants. It is divided into 12 “extensions.” The better areas have government-built houses. The worst have only the haphazard shacks, with no light except that provided by kerosene and paraffin. Water trickles from communal taps. Toilets are the portable kind found on construction sites.

The police now park a small trailer in Extension 1, but the officers there deal only with paperwork. A red-brick police station stands on the township’s northern perimeter, but those inside are unarmed municipal officers responsible for traffic, not crime.

“Even if you know who robbed you, there is not much you can do,” said David Kaise, a day laborer who was recently parted from $50 and his cellphone.

But he did try, taking his troubles to the Comrades, a group of vigilantes available for hire. They hang out amid the squalor of Extension 1, nursing bottles of Black Label beer as they await the next customer. Their methods are notorious. They chain prisoners down and pour saltwater on their buttocks to soften the skin. Then they wield a heavy plastic cane called a sjambok. A dozen or so whacks are usually enough.

“The sjambok is very good medicine,” wisecracked Evens Matamisa, a slender man with dreadlocks and the Comrades’ vice chairman. “We bring people to our office. It is the best clinic in town for giving the medicine.”

Those who fight crime and those who commit it are too often the same. The Comrades required a $20 fee before accepting Mr. Kaise’s “case,” and then returned with only the phone, which was broken. The day laborer regretted his decision. “The guy who robbed me must have paid them more,” he said.

Each of the extensions has a “community policing forum,” a legally empowered group of volunteers meant to assist the police — and very often to act in lieu of them. They vary in size and tactics, but many hunt down suspects and handcuff them. As punishments, they impose fines. They demolish shacks. They sometimes apply beatings.

President Zuma is an advocate for these forums and has spoken approvingly of the “instant justice” they provide. His party, the African National Congress, has called for a “massive” expansion of community policing, with stipends paid to young enlistees.

But police work is dangerous and citizen vigilantes are most often unarmed. Julius Malepe, the forum chairman of Extension 7, complained that his group had apprehended several suspects only to find them back on the street within days.

Then the criminals get angry with him and that puts his life in danger, he said. “We do the job for the police and at the end of the day, they get a fat check and we get nothing,” Mr. Malepe said.

That complaint came a month before Mr. Malepe was murdered. Early one Saturday this month, he led two dozen unarmed civilian “patrollers” through the neighborhood. Their vigil ended at 3 a.m., and the forum chairman and another man, Samuel Matari, walked home.

As they passed the New Creation Missionaries church, they were confronted by four gunmen. “We’ve been warning you,” one of the assailants called out, according to Mr. Matari. He and his friend ran for their lives.

Mr. Malepe, the earnest, gap-toothed chairman of Extension 7, was shot down on one of the many undulating dirt roads of Diepsloot, falling dead in the darkness just a few feet from the Fly by Night Tavern.

Minding our reputation

The last paragraph is a real thigh slapper, "..democracy is the critical barometer of whether or not a country is functioning. And that's what really matters. South Africa works." Tell that to the 50 people murdered every day and the millions starving living on less than $2 a day. Tell that to the millions of victims of crime.

Democracy "works" when people have access to jobs and security. It is the duty of the State to create the conditions to allow both. Without it, you have the illusion of a democracy. In any event, democracy in South Africa will end the day the ANC realises [that] it will lose power at which time it will roll up the paper on which our constitution is written into a cone shape and shove it up our collective recta.

By Fiona Forde (Cape Argus)

The world cried foul last week when it appeared that the Egyptian soccer team had fallen prey to South African criminals. It was an incident that tapped right into the heart of the negative perception of South Africa overseas, and for the 48 hours following the incident, the internet was flooded with damning reports.

Though time would tell a different story - it was not the average criminal who had robbed the players of their money, but their lady play-friends instead - the moral of this story will not change: the country's international reputation is a vulnerable one.

Danny Jordaan, as the CEO of the Local Organising Committee, and Fikile Mbalula, as the deputy minister of police, picked up on this when they took the local and international media to task this week. Give the place a chance, they said. South Africa was innocent until proven guilty, they said.

That same day Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa wondered why we always pulled the short straw: Look at Brazil, he pointed out, where crime statistics are as bad as our own, yet the country floats on a positive reputation of great soccer and good samba.

"Why is that?" he asked.

"Maybe it's because we had less to overcome than South Africa did," says Paulo Sotero, the director of the Brazil Institute at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson centre. "We never had the trauma of the legal system of segregation to get to grips with, so maybe we were less divided as a nation when we started out."

Like South Africa, Brazil has a dark past and only crawled out from beneath the cloak of dictatorship in 1985, yet has enjoyed a steady upward climb ever since. In 1980, Brazil's gross domestic product accounted for 40 percent of South America's. Today it accounts for 57 percent.

Sotero puts it down to steady progress doused with a realistic outlook on life and the feeling that while much has been achieved, much more needs to be done "and that the democracy is still being built on a daily basis. And that not only helps our reputation, but our own sense of self as a nation".

Brazilians have rarely been short on optimism, though, and have defined their identity by a vision of what they are going to become as a nation.

South Africans, on the other hand, continue to define themselves by their past, suggests Marian Tupy, a policy analyst at the Washington-based Cato Institute.

He believes that for a long time, South Africa was given the benefit of the doubt, "with a general bias in favour of blaming much of what was wrong with South Africa on the legacy of apartheid, as opposed to the ANC's incompetence", which resulted in a generally positive perception of the country.

That reputation then became sullied under Thabo Mbeki's watch, he argues, because of the former president's Aids denialism, his handling of the Zimbabwe situation, and his general animosity towards the West, which he believes was evident in SA's foreign policy.

To Aids denialism Tupy adds a denialism of sorts where crime is concerned and a perceived tendency on the part of SA authorities to withhold crime data.

Twelve months have passed since the SAPS released its annual statistics and it's understood that this year's figures will not emerge until August or September.

In the view of branding specialist Thebe Ikafaleng, this is a missed opportunity on South Africa's part. "If we don't manage our own brand, then the world will begin to do it for us, which is what is happening. Either you take control of the perception, or the perception will begin to define you. Now we've allowed the image that we are a land of criminals to fester."

Thomas Cargill, the assistant head of the Africa Programme at London's Chatham House think tank, has also watched South Africa's reputation wither in some respects, but suggests it is something that should be appreciated in a wider context. With the global recession has come a shift towards conservatism in the West, and, with that, a return to a more reductionist, and negative, kind of coverage of Africa.

Ian Vazquez is the director of the Project on Global Economic Liberty in Washington and dares to compare two countries' international reputations. "Brazil has a reputation as an increasingly successful emerging market economy that has followed a disciplined macro-economic set of policies, and has managed to maintain a sensible democracy. South Africa's democracy, on the other hand, has been critiqued and put under a little bit of doubt."

He suggests that leadership also sways in Brazil's favour. "The fact that the new South African president has been linked to corruption, but has managed to get off, is not helping. It looks like there's a blatant impunity to commit crime and if you're powerful, nothing will necessarily happen."

"Yes, there's a question mark around (President Jacob) Zuma," Sotero agrees, but not for the same reasons that Vazquez suggests. "It's just that we don't know him yet as a president, and he's critical" as one of the major democracies of the so-called south.

Cargill is of the view that time will show us that Zuma will do good for the country's reputation, while Sotero points out that South Africa is far from lacking in leadership. "They've got Mandela, which we never had, a man who continues to teach the world by example. And the world will never forget South Africa for that."

Achille Mbembe is a research professor at Wits University in Johannesburg and reminds us that however bad the country's reputation might be today, it will never be as bad as it was during the apartheid era, "and which only changed the day Mandela was released".

The negotiated settlement that followed "was held as a miracle" by the world and suddenly South Africa and its people were very much in vogue.

However, the country missed the opportunity to articulate a sense of South Africanness and secure a permanent place in the democratic world because though South Africa is inherently pragmatic, it lacks imagination. "The magic of South Africa" is nowhere to be seen today.

While much of this is South Africa's own doing, much of it is down to the fact that South Africa became the darling of the world in 1994 because it was not unlike the rest of the world. "An African country that was potentially worldly," as Mbembe puts it.

"Now the reputation is in tatters," he suggests, but makes the critical point that that is partly because South Africa has become "another ordinary African country" in the eyes of the world.

The challenge now is to combine the two and create an "Afropolitan" state, as he puts it, one that is vibrant as a democracy, with a growing economy, but which is firmly rooted in the African continent. "Totally African and totally wordly. Because Africa is not a world apart. It's a part of the world. And our world would be poorer without it."

If it was the Confederations Cup that put our reputation to the test, then it's up to South Africa to ensure that next year's World Cup defines it.

South Africa's reputation is what it is today, but it's not to say it cannot change tomorrow, though author and analyst Clem Sunter is of the view that if it is not broken, we shouldn't try to fix it.

However negative the coverage of last week's soccer players' misfortune may be, nothing could be more damning than the coverage of Britain right now, a country that is not only reeling from the recession, but left limping by the members of parliament expenses scandal.

"Imagine what they would have said about us if an expense scandal like that broke out here," he says.

He also points to Iran, where massive unrest has been sparked by the disputed election results.

"We've just had an election in South Africa and nobody disputed the results of that. Yes, there's crime and we have to manage it. But democracy is the critical barometer of whether or not a country is functioning. And that's what really matters. South Africa works."

Toozday Toot: Tribute to an Angel

Farrah Fawcett died on 25 June 2009 after a brave battle with cancer. This is my personal tribute to an angel that formed the basis of many a young boy's fantasies including yours truly. A remarkable beauty. The song is "Send Me An Angel" by Real Life (1983).

HEADLINE NEWS ON BBC WORLD: Boks Coach Defends Burger 'Gouge'

So we have an AA Bok coach, that is now on display for the world to see. What a pathetic character this Peter De Villiers is. Essentially he has just justified that it is acceptable to play dirty, just don't get caught. Interesting coming from a black man, that is quick to play the race card, and hold whites to a higher standard. His insights go a long way to show you the black mind at work. No fooling the world anymore how AA is impacting intelligence.

Before you read and watch the latest BBC article, please watch this video where De Villiers states, categorically, that discipline "is 80% of it" and an "integral part of the game." Observe also, how quickly he plays the race card.

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has launched an astonishing defence of banned flanker Schalk Burger.

Watch the BBC Video and read the Article here.

He was found guilty of "making contact with the face in the eye area" of British and Irish Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in Saturday's second Test.

"It is a contact sport and so is dancing. Guys who can't take it, let's go to the nearest ballet shop and get some tutus", De Villiers said. (Watch the international rugby fraternity start to gang up on South Africa, or refuse to play us if we don't control our discipline)

South Africa will not appeal against Burger's eight-week ban.

The world champions also saw second row Bakkies Botha handed a two-week ban for dangerous charging.

They have yet to decide whether to appeal against Botha's ban, and as a result have delayed naming their team for the third Test until Thursday - the same day as the Lions.

Five Lions players were taken to hospital following Saturday's game, with Welsh duo Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones out of the third Test with a broken cheekbone and a dislocated shoulder respectively.

(Watch how are winning the series will be tainted by ill discipline charges.)

When he was asked if he thought the sport was becoming more violent De Villiers said: "If we are going to make it soft because we want a safe series and people don't like it, I can't do anything about it."

Television footage showed Burger's fingers making contact with Fitzgerald's eye inside the first minute of the game in Pretoria.

Fitzgerald was able to continue after treatment, but Burger escaped with only a yellow card from French referee Christophe Berdos, a decision taken on the advice of New Zealand touch judge Bryce Lawrence, who spotted the offence.

"I have watched the television footage, and am still convinced that nothing he did was on purpose," said De Villiers. "He is an honourable man - he never meant to go to anyone's eye."

The International Rugby Board (IRB) says it is looking into the issue of eye-gouging after the incident involving Burger and another involving Italy captain Sergio Parisse, who was also banned for eight weeks for a similar offence during Saturday's 27-6 defeat by New Zealand in Christchurch.

The IRB is awaiting the report from South Africa via their judicial officer Alan Hudson.

"The IRB does not condone any violent behaviour and there is no place for illegal play in our game," said an IRB spokesman.

According to the IRB regulations, the recommended minimum sanction for "contact with the eye or eye area" is 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, former England hooker Brian Moore wants gouging bans to be increased.

"It's been a publicised issue, bans have been handed out but people aren't stopping doing it and if the bans aren't working they have got to be longer," Moore told the BBC.

"Rugby is a contact sport and you have to accept the risks but Burger gouged him, it was as simple as that. It can't be accidental and there is no place for it in the game.

"I don't know how Bryce Lawrence, who was the referee in the first Test and had the best view of this incident of anyone in the world, could not understand that there is no other sanction other than a red card for gouging. "He is an elite referee and to get that wrong is scandalous."

(Watch how all the referees start piling on the penalties. Saturday was an example. Peter De Villiers keep your mouth shut in the future. Better yet, get an educated and knowledgeable spokesperson.)