Saturday, October 31, 2009

South Africa: Is democracy disappearing?

It doesn't take a subtle eye to see that democracy is slowing being dissolved in this country. One thinks to the analogy of the frog that is thrown into hot water and immediately jumps out. However, if he is put in cold water and slowly heated, he will sit there and eventually boil to death. An objective external observer would easily be able to spot the slow but steady corrosion of South African society at the hands of the powers that drive it.

The problem stems from the total lack of accountability present in our society. Democracy is not merely a government of elected officials who represent a country's populace. It is a government that is fully and constantly accountable to the people, a government that permanently has to validate their position and prove that they deserve to hold the power that commands so many lives.

So how does accountability get lost?
All that is necessary for this to happen is for the leader to declare that criticism is unwarranted, or for the leader to establish a power base that makes accountability meaningless even if it is present. In South Africa, both are widely present.

South Africa's democracy stems from a fierce desire to eradicate the evil of racism and give governance to the majority who were oppressed by the minority. This creates the silent rule that if you criticise the new government, you are not supportive of the new good in the country, and by default are evil. This unpleasant association is the initial loophole which provided an almost free reign on the country for over a decade, and silenced all critics.

Like all tyrants, they declare that if you are not one of us, you are one of them - thus creating a polarized two-world view of the state of things. What they conveniently forgot was that criticism is one of the most essential pillars that support a democracy. It regulates corruption, excess and deficiencies and provides a true voice to everyone. With relative ease, the ANC made criticism undesirable, and the hallmark of a racist or supporter of the previous regime, and thus they ran and continue to run, unchecked.

Julius Malema applies the same tactic; a tactic used by tyrants from as far back as can be remembered. He makes statements which openly state that people who are not on his side are enemies of the State. Those who do not support Zuma should be killed. Blacks who are not in the ANC are not blacks. Once again he works on the fear in people's minds that they will be categorised as the unhelpful, evil opposition because according to him, you are either one of us, or one of them. The idea that debate can occur between people and contain disagreements and agreements not contained by party banners is utterly incomprehensible to him.

The end result is the silence of criticism. This has led to the degradation of every facet of our society, which is grossly mismanaged, either by incompetence or corruption to the point that all departments without exception are bordering on collapse. Almost every sector of the country has been on strike this year, and riots due to poor service delivery are higher than they have ever been.

Corruption levels are amongst the highest in the world, once again due to the lack of accountability. Politicians, the least accountable of all, openly lead extravagant lifestyles and spent enormous amounts of public money on private luxuries. Very few people ever see justice for these crimes, and this further reinforces the untouchable culture already infecting our society.

Danger signs abound in our country - subtle changes by the ruling party that undermine the most basic principles of democracy. The precept that an opposing thought is the characteristic of an enemy is one of the most offensive scenarios in an established democracy, but is commonplace here. Without accountability, and with a greater chasm between leaders and the regulation of their power, the next logical step is the subversion of the Constitution, and then its annihilation.

Famous tyrants ruthlessly enslave their countries by performing all of this in a short period of time, and the world gasps and remembers them with scorn. It is, however, the devious tyrant that slowly alters, slowly subverts and slowly corrupts. That way instead of a great chorus of protest that would blast them away, they are left with a multitude of whispers and very little protest. We are frogs sitting in water... the question is, how hot is the water? - Mark (News24)

Security man secures his own future - in Ireland

Every expat can relate to this story.

Gerhard Brand now lives quietly in west Clare after having spent most of his career working in prisons in South Africa, including Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was famously incarcerated.

A former soldier and warden, he was the last governor of the Robben Island prison and helped oversee its transformation to the museum it now is. Since then he has run a restaurant with his wife, Avril, delivered ice-cream and skippered a fishing boat before moving to Ireland where he now works as a security officer for a retail group.

It’s a long way from having big budgets, handling large staff and even arranging the security for the visit of a US president.

He and Avril live in a refurbished cottage near Kilrush, Co Clare, where the commute to work takes about five minutes.

“There is no career path any more. You have this job. Of course, it is frustrating, but on the other hand I can now have a life. I have a job.

“Once you buy your own place and you have a house, then you make peace with that. As long as I can afford to pay the bills and we can live in safety and with the friends we have made around us, I am happy with that.”

He still has fond memories of Robben Island, a World Heritage Site which he found an idyllic place to live. Although Mandela had been transferred to a mainland prison by the time Brand started working there in December 1990, there were still almost 300 political prisoners imprisoned on the island.

“They were all from banned organisations at the time: the ANC, the PAC, the BCM, all these organisations. And we dealt with hunger strikes day after day, and with visits from the International Red Cross and visits from lawyers and all the support that these people were getting to get them out of prison.

“Once Mandela was released the pressure just kept on coming, ‘Why don’t the others get amnesty, why can’t they be released?’ So it filtered down.”

The pressure for political prisoners to be freed continued through 1990 and, by March 1991, only a handful of prisoners remained on Robben Island.

“We used to get calls late at night from the officers of the minister of justice, saying that we have to fill out the documents for the release of the following prisoners for the next day. I had stacks and stacks of files in my office of these guys.

“You then had to write the unconditional immediate release of the prisoner is recommended as he is no longer seen as a danger to the community, and sign . So I signed about 270 of theses releases.”

After the prison was closed, he and Avril worked alongside some of the former political prisoners and received visitors from around the world during this period of transformation before they both decided to move on with their lives.

“I was in charge of safety, security and basically running the infrastructure. We worked for the ANC for two years. We were appointed permanently by them,” he says.

While there he met Nelson Mandela on a number of occasions and has his own experience of the former Robben Island prisoner’s remarkable memory.

“He came on one of his visits to the island when I was still a captain. And then about a year or so later he came back again and I had been promoted in the meantime. He walked in, he was surrounded by people from everywhere.

“He walked straight up to me, he shook my hand and he said, ‘Congratulations Major Brand, I see that you have been promoted’. After meeting millions of people, he is now the celebrity of the world and he still remembers you.”

Brand also met dozens of high profile visitors from around the world, including Bono, Muhammad Ali, Bill Cosby and the late Yasser Arafat and Michael Jackson. In 2006, he was the South African liaison officer for arranging security for former US president Bill Clinton’s visit in 1998 for which he received a certificate from the CIA.

He and Avril had a few years of uncertainty in South Africa after leaving Robben Island. They set up a restaurant together in an area on the west coast which they thought might develop a tourism industry.

“I learnt to make pizzas, steaks and we ran it ourselves. Avril, myself and our daughter, Liezel, who had just finished school.

“We thought the potential for tourism would come in the years to come. After about a year or two, we realised there was just not enough feet through the door. So I tried to supplement the income of the restaurant by doing other jobs as well.”

Finding work continually proved difficult, while rising crime levels made them feel increasingly insecure, and when Brand saw security positions being offered in a country whose location he was unsure of, he decided to give it a go.

“I saw in a Sunday newspaper, a small advertisement. It just read, ‘Security work in Ireland’. I thought I will take the chance and send my CV away once more. We sent it on the internet and a few weeks later we got an e-mail back.”

He worked in Dublin for six months in 2003 before suggesting to Avril that she should sell their restaurant and internet business in South Africa and join him.

“When Avril came over we started to use public transport. My goodness. It is safe to get on a train or bus and go somewhere without being robbed.

“We used to go to Malahide and everywhere. It was so nice to be able to feel safe.”

The high cost of living in Dublin convinced them to transfer to Ennis, Co Clare, and last year Brand moved to a store in Kilrush.

“We bought an old second-hand car and started to explore Clare. And there are very many roads in Clare that we have not travelled on. We used to drive all over – every day that I was off we went to a different place. And it is beautiful. We love it.”

The South Africa he misses is no longer there, he says.

“We went back there in March for two weeks on a holiday. And when we came back I was physically home sick. There was nothing right in Ireland for at least a month till I realised why I left South Africa. It is not that I have a problem with the black government because they are a black government or a majority government. That is not what changed South Africa.

“What’s changed in South Africa is the corruption, the way that there is no more true discipline. Things are falling apart and because of that crime has got of control.” - Irish Times

African farming

No wonder they need our farmers. Great big effing YUK!!!

Off topic: Russian Billionaire Blows $52,000 on Lunch!

Most people don't make $52,000 in a year -- but Friday afternoon one Russian billionaire dropped that much cash on LUNCH!

TMZ has obtained the bill handed to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich after lunch at Nello's in New York -- a bill which totalled a ridiculous $47,221.09.

The check had an automatic gratuity of 20% -- $7,328 -- but we're told the party threw down an extra $5,000, bringing the tip to 26%.

We're told there were 10 people at the table, who feasted on white truffles, fillet mignon and a whole lotta uber-pricey wine.

I have a nightmare..

In a democracy, talking and openly debating a problem is a normal encouraged process that strengthens our society. This is how democracy performs its magic and ensures power is in the hands of governments who are held accountable for their actions through open debate. Look at the BBC as a prime example, they stood up in the face of huge public protest and invited Nick Griffin the leader of the right wing BNP party to openly debate their opinions and party ideologies in a media forum. All the BBC was doing was providing a platform for democracy to unfold and take care of what it deems as undemocratic in nature.

In South Africa we have an undemocratic problem called Julius Malema, and our democracy needs to look at this individual and his intentions with suspicion and doubt. All the media critics out there saying that the media makes him stronger by publishing his statements are ignorant of the fact that if we allow this man to go on unchallenged he will become a nightmare for all of us, including those who think he will be their liberator. Any extremist view in the hands of a youth leader is a recipe of disaster and can have a damaging effect on the youth's perceptions. The media has the power to expose the true nature and intensions of the darker side of Julius Malema.

The man is so full of hot air that it is making him swell up to near bursting proportions. His recent attack and threat on Nedbank for withdrawing sponsorship from ASA is a fine illustration of his psychosis and Nedbank to even consider engaging with him and cow tow to his demands is a mistake. They have every right to withdraw sponsorship if the sponsorships contractual obligations were not being met by ASA, and it is no business of Malema what Nedbank decides to do with their money unless he is a director or shareholder.

Who does he think he is?

Why this troubled soul hasn't been silenced by government yet is beyond my comprehension, his impaired cognitive abilities are so transparent and embarrassing that we are somehow drawn to this stupendous display of irrationality. The only reason I can think of is
that the ANC silently supports and condones his racially motivated comments, constant provocation of opposition leaders and call for mass action and other revolutionary babble. What does he know about revolution and the struggle? His biggest struggle was probably passing matric and changing gears in his luxury Mercedes.

The ANC through distancing itself from Malema's statements is not taking responsibility for this rogue satellite clearly out of orbit. He is the leader of the ANC YOUTH LEAGUE and is therefore part and parcel of the ANC through their name sharing. His controversial statements are intended to strike a negative chord in the disenchanted young masses and work them into a frenzy. Instead of having a leader that talks about dignity, respect for others and the acceptance of cultural diversity we have someone polluting young impressionable minds with talk of revolution, kill for your beliefs and mass action. Anyway you look at it; his message is filled with hatred and anarchy, produced in a troubled mind hell bent on power and privilege through mobilisation and 16th century tribalism.

All this talk about nationalising the mines for the people is another case of how Malema is trying to con the masses into believing it will enrich them. One thing the ANC are good at is enriching a few elite at the expense of everyone else. How on earth are we going to nationalise the mines and attract investors at the same time? This is paramount to economic suicide and will spell the beginning of the end of the republic.

If the ANC can't even manage Eskom properly how on earth are they going to manage our mines? If anything, we need to increase privatisation so our parastatals mired in mediocrity will pull themselves out of the doldrums. Mediocrity is a nasty by-product of nationalism, and a reason why Nationalist policies have achieved very little success in developing countries. It has been the chief catalyst in perpetuating the cycle of poverty, widespread corruption and the mismanagement of services and a collapse in infrastructure. When companies are not held accountable, the medium for incompetence is created and an attitude of tolerance of failure and outright stupidity becomes the norm. One needs only to look at SAA or Eskom for proof in the failure of nationalism.

The best leader

The ANCYL as it currently exists under Malema is an embarrassment to the hard fought freedom of this country. It is clearly
a product of the spoilt black youth and their misguided belief in entitlement and lack of understanding of the term struggle and wealth creation. You need to understand the value of money before you can create wealth.

Malema should be given clear roles and responsibilities that will keep him busy because he clearly has way too much time on his hands. He has an ill informed remark about everything, and those comments are usually saturated in ignorance and arrogance. Look at his comments about the word for hermaphrodite in Pedi or Ms Naledi Pandor's "American accent" to name a few on a very long list.

We are the laughing stock of the world, with Zuma's fat little Goebbels taking the main stage in this comedy of tactless errors. Is this what we voted for in 1994? Is this the best future leader in the ANC junior ranks? If he is then I am disappointed and highly concerned to say the least and the rest of civilised South Africa should feel let down and betrayed by the ANC's promises for the future. - Wayne G, News24

You picked on the wrong news network, Obama

Ahem... All not so quiet on the cable front

Dennis Miller

Who'd have thought that the heretofore ubermeek Obama administration would attempt the first surge of its tremulous tenure against my Fox News Network? As every demented B-lister in a leopard skin fez and a doorman's outfit from the Plaza Hotel steps up to the psychotic speaker's corner to tear the Great Satan (uh, that would be us) a new one, our guy has been loathe to return rhetorical fire for fear of stepping on any sandaled toes.

But Fox News? That's another story. That's a sitter at the net for the quasimystical LOTUS POTUS. With the mainstream (downstream?) media more in his pocket than a grizzled train conductor's pocket watch, he had to look far and wide for a news organization that had not signed a 5 W's abrogation/suicide pact with David Axelrod. And there stood Fox, still skeptical of public officials and under the stellar rein of Brit Hume, still skilled in the ways of good old-fashioned "Woodstein" shoe leather journalism.

As The New York Times scribes stand fawning behind the sawhorses placed beneath Ringo-bama's top-floor window hoping for some acknowledgment, a glimpse, a smile, a hanky, something, anything!!!!! to drift down from the Great One's penthouse, Fox continues to grind. As the Secret Service actually contemplates filing a restraining order against some of BO's more amped-up devotees in the liberal press, Shep, Chris Wallace and the boys loom, eyebrows raised higher than a Rastafarian at a Phish concert.

Listen, I don't believe President Obama to be anything other than a patriot. I don't think of him as evil, malevolent, Machiavellian or subversive. None of the above. And I most definitely don't think of him as (oh my God!) my black president. He's my president, pure and simple, so please fold the race card back into the deck if your intent at the end of this column was to post a comment trying to Oddjob my carotid artery out with that tired old ploy. What I do think is that the president is just plain wrong in his approach to Fox. I not only think he is wrong, but as we say in the comedian trade, I think he has a "premise problem."

In his rush to humble America in the eyes of the world, he strives to placate every mook coming down the midway with a bullied nation in their hip pocket and in turn supplant them in the villain column with a national news agency whose most egregious error would appear to be not swooning every time he opens his "wiser than thou" piehole to speak in encyclical.

What's wrong with this picture? The waiting room outside Dr. Obama's Snake Oil Emporium is populated by the likes of General McChrystal, the Dalai Lama and Fox News, meanwhile Kadaffi, Chavez and Aqua-velvajad are walking around backstage with All-Access laminates. Not since Lana Turner hooked up with Johnny Stompanato has a great star exhibited such poor taste in men.

Obama's play is to downsize as far as American chest-thumping goes. I happen to believe we have oodles to be proud of, he feels the nation would be better off as the lion that squeaked. But if in lieu of engaging our actual enemies, he believes he'd rather pick a fight with a straw man, he has definitely misidentified the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Fox News, Roger Ailes.

You see, a straw man is a straw man because he usually has no spine. Ailes has a spine made of a substance that they use to cut titanium. Ailes makes Rahm Emanuel look like an Amish Lamaze instructor and if they're gonna lock antlers with Ailes, they'd best wear a cup.

Gotta go now. Gibbs (that's Sgt. Shultz to you) is coming to the podium and I anticipate a little incoming. Just gonna have to dig my Fox-hole a smidge deeper tonight. "The horror ... the horror."

Comedian and commentator extraordinaire Dennis Miller appears regularly in the "Miller Time" segment of "The O'Reilly Factor "on Fox News, as well as his own daily talk radio show heard on more than 250 stations across the country.

Tribute to the Rhodesian Defence Force

Yesterday I posted a tribute to our fighting forces which were the best in Africa but you cannot overlook our Rhodesian cousins which were also undoubtedly some of the toughest fighters you could ever encounter. If only there had been leaders in South Africa and the West with foresight that understood the importance of preserving Rhodesia and South Africa - for the benefit of the two countries in question and Africa as a whole, a beachhead of progress and civilization. Instead what we have is a rotten Africa in toto.

Happy Halloween

Right now my kids are out somewhere in the neighbourhood trick or treating, one went as a witch and two are zombies. To celebrate Halloween, I'll leave you with this, my last post for today. Enjoy you day.

Deaths could outnumber births soon

Um, we wish. As long as South Africa is Africa's long-drop and they keep pouring in over the border, they replace those that die 5 fold. Zuma-rub-a-dub-dub-my-duck-after-sex is only showing concern because Aids is eating into his constituents. Sies tog.

President Jacob Zuma has warned that the number of deaths in the country would soon outnumber the births.

Making a renewed call on the fight against HIV/AIDS Zuma said the statistics that were coming through on the country's mortality rate painted a "disturbing picture" on the health of the nation.

He said the statistics showed that nearly 6 out of 10 deaths in the country in 2006 were those of people younger than 50 years.

"More and more people are dying young, threatening even to outnumber in proportional terms those who die in old age," Zuma told MPs.

He said even more disturbing was the number of young women dying "in the prime of their life, in their child-bearing years"

Zuma further said that the Independent Electoral Commission had struck 396 336 deceased voters from the voters roll during September last year and August this year.

"These are some of the chilling statistics that demonstrate the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS is having on our nation," he said adding that a lot of the statistics did not fully reveal the human toll of the disease.

Zuma called for renewed consciousness of sexual behaviour by young people and appealed to South Africans to take responsibility for their health and those of their partners and families.

"All South Africans must know that they are at risk and must take informed decisions to reduce their vulnerability to infection, or, if infected, to slow the advance of the disease," he said.- Times Live

Flip Flop Dilemma

Judging by the article I found in Daily Dispatch online, it would appear that Julius Dilemma is taking his training for becoming the "next President" of RSA very serious. He is starting to sound more and more like jacob zoom zoom every day.

Mbeki’s a hero, says Malema

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has for the first time praised former President Thabo Mbeki as a hero of the ANC whose struggle credentials could never be erased from the history of the ANC.

Malema has in the past been very critical of Mbeki, even accusing him of leading a political conspiracy against President Jacob Zuma.

But yesterday he sang a different tune, even likening Mbeki to such ANC stalwarts as former President Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Albert Luthuli.

Malema even referred to Mbeki as “President Mbeki” when he addressed young physically challenged people in Mthatha. “President Mbeki is a member of the ANC; he is a former president like OR Tambo, like Nelson Mandela, like Albert Luthuli … if you speak to children of South Africa, and in particular of the Eastern Cape, you need to call the names that are exemplary, the names they can associate with and inspire them.”

Malema said Mbeki’s recall was not the “firing of him from the ANC, neither was it rubbing off his credentials in the struggle and his role in the liberation of South Africa”.

He said whatever happened to the ANC did not change the fact that he had been part of the struggle. “He has been our president, he has been our hero and he will remain in the books of the ANC… you can’t talk history of the ANC and not talk about President Mbeki.”

Malema, who is to address a big rally in Mthatha today for the ANCYL’s 65th anniversary celebrations, promised the Khwezi Lokusa Special School for the Disabled that the ANCYL would donate 50 wheelchairs, half of which would be electronic and remote-controlled. Zuma would hand them over before the schools closed for the December holidays, he said.

Malema also took a swipe at the opposition for criticising Zuma’s comment that he was a leader in the making who deserved to inherit the ANC one day. “I am in the ANC, the ANC sends me everywhere to solve problems and intervene, so when the opposition jumps I don’t know what makes them jump; I am a leader of the ANC by virtue of being the president of the ANCYL. President Zuma was not saying anything that is unheard of,” Malema said.

Mthatha Bureau

Pot. Meet. Kettle

Talk about unbelievable gall. This comes from the same individual that strung along his corruption case through the courts for eight years with taxpayer money into the millions whilst also pulling VIP protection to the tune of R1 million monthly. One leads by example and others pull the same flim-flam because they can. These people just cannot connect the hypocrisy dots between what they say and do. You can't make this shit up.

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma said corruption cases should be handled faster to avoid a situation where people are suspended on full pay for long periods.

"I'm of the view that the manner in which we deal with corruption may take too long," Zuma told the National Council of Provinces.

"We need to change the manner in which we deal with the problem, because if we don't then people might take the law into their own hands because they might be knowing the people."

He said though all allegations of corruption must be tested, he was concerned that "people are suspended for a long time without the issue being handled because at times it is very difficult to handle".

Zuma said corruption had frequently been cited as a cause of service delivery protests.

As a democrat he firmly believed people had the right to protest "because they should be free to express themselves", but warned he would not tolerate violence - SAPA

Manuel gets a reality smackdown

Dear Mr Manuel, what you did was wrong

Gill Moodie says the minister's purchase of a R1,2m BMW is no joking matter.

I don't know if your quip that "we'd all like to be more Catholic than the Pope" in Parliament this week following your admission that buying a R1.2 million BMW for official use was an "error of judgment" got a titter from the Honourable Members but for millions of South Africans, it was shockingly callous. Why don't you just kick us while we're down, sir?

Best to keep elitist jokes like that in your own circle. And what a rarified circle it must be, comparing the performance of your luxury vehicles that the Democratic Alliance has revealed has cost the tax payers of this country R45 million this year alone.

But to be fair on our national planning minister, the full quote (after the DA told Parliament that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille ordered that her MECs to use a pool-car system of second-hand vehicles) was: "So, we'd all like to be more Catholic than the Pope, and we commend the honourable Zille on having attained that status, but let's be real about this issue as well" - referring to the fact that there was no point in returning his BMW because of the loss in value.

Mr Manuel, sir, the citizens of this country know all about being real. Stunning as it may seem to you and your exalted colleagues, we do in fact live in the real world so let me remind you what it's like.

Let's take my fairly typical middle class family as an example. Though many of us would hate to admit, it's very hard to pay all the bills every month without dipping into our credit cards. Food, electricity, medical aid and school fees just keep going up and up.

You cough up R250 on essential food items and you walk out of Pick ‘n Pay with one bag. My household pays more than R1000 a month in electricity and we have a gas stove and have coughed up to get a solar geyser. There's very little room to save more except that on power-hungry pool filter and we're considering filling the pool in next year in the face of rising electricity rates. But then that might be a bad idea, considering our municipality has recently valued our house at R2.6 million despite the fact that we'd be lucky to get R1.4m if we put it on the market.

The rise in the valuation means our monthly rates have leapt from R1200 to about R2200 (though I can't really tell as it seems to fluctuate). This despite the fact that the municipality can't pick up the rubbish, cut verges or maintain parks across the city from the plushest suburbs to the townships and squatter camps.

Like many people of my generation, my husband and I support a set of parents financially and the school fees alone for the two children we support will rise to R30 000 next year - and the older one is at a school with classes of 30 to 35 children so, no, it's not a particularly good school.

We seldom eat out, do holidays at self-catering joints within a few hours' drive of our home and on most weekends our recreation involves walking on the beach. We can't afford a domestic worker and pay for a gardener once a week because we don't know what he'd do without the money.

There's not enough money to save for our children's tertiary education or our retirement and we have the pleasure of looking forward to the government exerting pressure on the schools we pay a small fortune for to increase class sizes not to mention the government's ridiculous idea of undermining the private hospitals because the public hospitals are in such an atrocious state.

Like most middle class people, the only consolation is that there are millions more worse off, living in the direst poverty but as far as I can tell the rates and taxes we pay don't do them a damn bit of good.

A former colleague of mine was in China last year to get married and met a couple of top government officials in Chongqing, for whom the standard official vehicle was a VW Passat - which goes for R290 000 new in this country. The mayor of a Beijing district (Changping - where the Ming Tombs as well as a famous section of the Great Wall are), he was surprised to discover, drove an old VW Jetta - the box shape, before they became round body shapes.

Now, if ever there was a country today where the top officials can live a lavish lifestyle with no comeback or opposition, it is China.

So no, Mr Manuel, we don't think you're funny. And we don't wish to be more Catholic than the Pope. We want to stop paying more for less and want you and your colleagues to do your jobs honestly and with integrity.

That means not siphoning off our money to family members and friends by corrupting tender systems and, most importantly, with thrift. In the real world, dropping R1.2m of tax payers' money on a luxury car is just plain wrong - always has been; always will be.

This article first appeared on Gill Moodie's weblog

Racialist Canada

The creepy basis on which they want the Brandon Huntley decision reviewed

Johannesburg - At the end of last month Canada's minister of immigration, Jason Kenney, applied to the federal court for a review of the decision to grant refugee status to the white South African wastrel Brandon Huntley.

There may well be good grounds for review. It seems likely Huntley was chancing it in his application, with his unsubstantiated claims of being the victim of a series of racist attacks by black South Africans. The original ruling also expressed a somewhat distorted view of South African race relations.

But Kenney goes well beyond responding to the original finding on narrow legal and factual grounds. What is slightly creepy about his memorandum of argument is that it denies some fairly basic realities about post-apartheid history, and effectively condones the discriminatory policies white South Africans have been subjected to over the past thirteen years (see here).

It is long established ANC policy to reduce the proportion of white South Africans, in all spheres of society, to their percentage of the total population (under 10%). In order to give effect to this policy this minority has been stripped of most protections against racial discrimination in employment.

This programme has been implemented more ruthlessly in certain areas (the civil service, police and judiciary) than others (the private sector.) In terms of the logic of ANC ideology this principle would ultimately have to be applied to property ownership as well - something which would require the kind of race-based expropriation measures employed by Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe. This was certainly where South Africa was heading until the Polokwane revolution knocked it off the usual post-‘colonial' trajectory.

In his memorandum Kenney does not dispute that this has been ANC government policy. He notes that both Huntley and the main witness Laura Kaplan "blamed their respective failure to find work or progress in their career after democratic rule was instituted in South Africa on the government's efforts to ensure that the work force was reflective of the racial makeup of the country. As described in the decision, the affirmative action policy seeks to ensure that black South Africans and other underrepresented racial minorities are adequately represented in the workforce."

Kenney then goes on to argue that the application of this principle is unobjectionable: "There is nothing offensive to Canadian values or the principles which inspired the Convention in this description", he states. He equates this policy with a regulation of the Canadian federal government, recently upheld by the supreme court, which allows "aboriginal fishers the chance to fish for salmon in the Fraser River and to sell their catch before fishing was opened to other general public."

Whether this comparison is appropriate is open to question. When diligently enough applied the pursuit of ‘demographic representivity' deprives white South Africans of any opportunity for advancement in the land of their birth (not just the ability to fish along a particular patch of water). In Canada the government is intervening in favour of a small minority, not acting against it. If it goes too far with such measures, the majority can intervene democratically to halt them.

It is also seems incongruous for the Canadian government to regard the application of this principle to a productive but politically vulnerable minority as morally unproblematic. This is, after all, the principle that racial nationalist regimes almost always invoke to plough this kind of minority under.

Not least, the effort to reduce Jewish overrepresentation in business and the professions, and thereby solve the ‘Jewish question', was central to mainstream Western anti-Semitism in the 1930s (before it crossed over into its final murderous phase.) As has been noted elsewhere, a central demand of the April 1 1933 boycott of Jewish shops and businesses in Germany was for the "introduction of a limited quota for the employment of Jews in all professions, according to their proportion in the population."

According to the instruction issued by the NSDAP to its local action committees "In order to increase the impact of this step the demand should be limited to three areas for the time being: a) attendance at German high schools and universities; b) the medical profession; c) the legal profession."

A few months later the situation in Germany was the subject of a debate in the British House of Commons. The Times' man in Berlin reported that correspondents for the German press in London "appear to have noticed that the Labour and Liberal members who took part in the debate were predominantly Jews, who, according to the version of the Bรถrsen- Zeitung ‘are represented in the English Parliament (as used to be the case in former German Reichstags) in a disproportionately large number in comparison with the percentage which members of their race form of the total English population'" (July 7 1933).

When it came to Sir John Simon's criticism of Nazi policies towards the Jews The Times

This principle was subsequently enshrined in anti-Semitic legislation in a number of European states as they fell under Nazi hegemony. It was also briefly embraced by Hendrik Verwoerd as a possible solution to the Jewish question in South Africa.

It does not say much for Canada if, as its government now asserts on its behalf, it regards this old racialist principle as inoffensive to its values. Or, that its government describes the mass emigration of a racial minority, precipitated by its application (along with violent crime), as the product of understandable "social disruption."

Kenney further complains that the "board's failure to cite any evidence from which one might conclude that South Africa's affirmative action policy reflects an animus or reprisal against white South Africans shows the perversity of its findings."

The board may not have cited any specific examples of racial animus on the part of the Mbeki administration, which implemented this programme, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Discrimination against white officials in state employ was pervasive and often vindictive through the Mbeki-era. The ANC often preferred to keep critical positions vacant rather than promote qualified white applicants to fill them. Mbeki himself repeatedly expressed a deep seated animus towards the white minority. The rhetoric of the ANC of Mbeki was that all whites (except those who had joined the ruling party) had "blood on their hands", were "racist" enemies of the people, regarded black South Africans as "sub human", and had "stolen" their possessions from the black majority.

Again, it says very little for Canada if its diplomats in Pretoria failed to notify Ottawa of the racially driven approach of the Mbeki government between 1997 and 2007. White South Africans were told during that period that they had no right to equal treatment, and were only being allowed to participate in the new democracy on sufferance. For example, in late 2000 members of the Portuguese community marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the high levels of violent crime they were being subjected to. A memorandum that they had handed over provoked a vicious response by the then Minister of Safety & Security, Steve Tshwete (see here). In his reply, in all likelihood ghost written by Mbeki, Tshwete effectively said that Portuguese South Africans had no moral right to complain about crime given their past:

"[Some among the Portuguese community] came here because they knew that the colour of their skin would entitle them to join ‘the master race', to participate in the oppression and exploitation of the black majority and to enjoy the benefits of white minority domination. It is perhaps because you have not outgrown these white supremacist ideas and practices that you wrote your memorandum, which you delivered to the Union Buildings."

The claims made by Huntley that black South Africans hate whites due to the injustices of the past, while untrue, do not emanate from nowhere. The major proponent of this view in the post-apartheid period was Mbeki himself. From the time he was deputy president he argued, in line with African nationalist thought, that white overrepresentation in the higher activities of society (or ‘racial imbalances') constituted the central grievance of the black majority. If the white minority resisted the kind of measures mentioned above they would bring down upon themselves an "explosion" of black anger.

In a letter to Pik Botha in September 2007, written in response to the latter's criticism of demographic representivity, Mbeki described the ANC as "a buffer between a deeply aggrieved black majority and a white minority that seems mercilessly insensitive to the grievous harm that was done to millions, in its name."
reported the semi-official response from Germany as follows: "As for the Jewish question, it is said that he ought to know that this is not being treated in Germany as a race question, but is merely a matter of reducing the Jewish element in public life and other activities to a degree consonant with its proportion of the population."

South African Defence Force Wall of Remembrance

Moved parents and next-of-kin of South African soldiers walk away after they one by one had the opportunity to lay a wreath under the name of their child at the SA Defence Force’s Wall of Remembrance. The Wall was erected in recognition to the soldiers who had died in military operations from 1961 to 1994. Dr. Mulder, who already a year ago suggested that such a Wall should be erected, expressed his gratitude toward Gen. Opperman and the organizers for the erection of the Wall and for the moving and well-organized function.

Dr. Mulder thereafter referred
to the fact that in addition to the ANC members, the Cubans and even the South American Che Guevara’s is given recognition at Freedom Park, but that it was decided not to give recognition to these South African Defence Force soldiers at Freedom Park.

Dr. Pieter Mulder, FF Plus leader, with Mr. Van den Berg with the wreath which the FF Plus had laid at the Wall of Remembrance. Dr. Mulder thereafter referred to the fact that in addition to the ANC members, the Cubans and even the South American Che Guevara’s is given recognition at Freedom Park, but that it was decided not to give recognition to these South African Defence Force soldiers at Freedom Park. “That is why the FF Plus is glad to be part of today’s events to give recognition to these soldiers at the Voortrekker Monument in this specific way,” Dr. Mulder said.

Inauguration of the Wall of Remembrance at the Voortrekker Monument on 25 October 2009

“Emotions ran high. It was clear amongst the next-of-kin that the death of loved ones after so many years still causes such intense emotions.”

This is how Col. Piet Uys, general secretary of the Freedom Front Plus and veteran of Operation Savannah (1975), said following the inauguration of the SA Defence Force’s Wall of Remembrance on Sunday 25 October 2009 at the Voortrekker Monument’s Heritage Terrain.

“The fact that I have the opportunity to honour the deceased soldiers, some of whom I had known personally, is a great privilege for me,” Uys said.

Uys added that the events had taken place with military precision. The events were attended by more than 800 people of whom a great number had been the next-of-kin of the deceased soldiers.

Dr. Pieter Mulder (FF Plus leader and deputy minister of Agriculture) laid a wreath on behalf of the FF Plus.

The Wall, which was erected under the leadership of the Voortrekker Monument’s directors, gives recognition to the members of the South African Defence Force (SADF) who had sacrificed their lives in the period from 31 May 1961 (Declaration of the Republic) until 27 April 1994 (the establishment of the SA National Defence Force).

The approximate 2500 names which appear on the Wall include the names of deceased SA Defence Force members who had been killed during operations. These names have been marked clearly on the wall. The names of other members who had died on duty as a result of other incidents also appear on the wall.

Homage is also paid to members of the Allied Forces who had been killed during operations undertaken with the SA Defence Force as well as members of other departments and civilians who had died as a result of enemy actions.

The Voortrekker Monument intends to add to the Wall with the names of more deceased which may come to light.

The commissioning of the SADF Wall of Remembrance, which was erected at a cost of approximately R650 000, coincides with the opening of the Garden of Statues. Statues which are threatened in other places will in future be considered for the transfer to the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Garden in the interest of the retention and protection of the statues.

Statues have already been taken into the Garden of Statues amongst which 32 Battalion Honorary Log which originates from Buffalo in the Caprivi. The Honorary Log, which weighs more than a ton, first went to Pomfret and Zeerust before it was recently erected at the Voortrekker Monument’s Heritage Garden. It contains the names of the members of 32 Battalion who had died during battles.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tribute to the SADF Troops in Angola

Watching this video filled me with immense sadness. South Africa did not have to become the hellhole that it has become. We had Africa's best defence force and police, whites and blacks fighting together. We had the military might to overcome anything the world could throw at us yet at the zenith of our power we handed it all over without so much as a street fight to a ragtag bunch of misfit terrorists that couldn't blow up public toilets. May you FW de Klerk and your cohorts rot in hell for what you did to South Africa and may that fighting spirit of the white tribe of Africa rise again one day.

For those who betrayed us, our families and have dishonoured our fallen for political exploit, the day will come when we are all together again and you will stand alone before the Almighty to explain!
- 32 Battalion

The Steady Loss of Sea Ice

Peter Sinclair is an environmentalist and his new video deals with recent sea ice observations, both from satellites and ground observation teams, showing that the area of melting in the northern polar cap is expanding dramatically. The ice that melts flows in one direction only, into the Atlantic Conveyor Belt system.


Climate change: The Global Conveyor Belt explained
Publicize or perish

Liberals muse over.. killing Bush

Just like you and I would talk about the weather. This hate talk coming from the so-called tolerant sector of society.

The way some liberals drool over Obama is just sick. Here Gore Vidal is saddened by his "missed opportunity" to murder former President George Bush, then in another he orally ejaculates over Obama's "intelligence". Really? The longer Obama is President, the less intelligent everybody finds him to be.

The left continually bashes the right for hate speech, inciting violence, or for being a threat to our very souls, yet the only people I ever hear talking like this are people from the left. I'm convinced that people on the left are childlike, of low intelligence, hiding from their fear of the real world in an imagined reality they see only in their minds. It would explain a lot of their mindless antics, the actions of spoilt brats, crybabies, whiny, demanding, nagging.

Related: Here's another: Atheist singer Sting says Obama was sent from God.

A lesson in activism from America

How to get it done. How to start protesting. How to start a movement. How to hold government accountable. How to have your voice heard. How to say 'Enough!'. How to take back control.

1-0-1-1-1 is not a binary code SAPS

Opposition MPs have blasted the SA Police Service for its inability to promptly and properly respond to most 10111 emergency calls.

“Many South Africans have become accustomed to police arriving at a crime scene many hours after the crime was reported,” Independent Democrats MP Haniff Hoosen told members in the National Assembly.

“When you read this report, you realise just why we are not able to reduce the high levels of crime in our country...”

MPs were considering a report by the public accounts committee (Scopa) on an audit, conducted earlier this year, of service delivery at police stations and 10111 call centres.

The report, tabled on Thursday, lists numerous shortcomings and areas of operational weakness in the SAPS, including in its sector policing, vehicle management, training and handling emergency calls, among others.

On the latter, it notes there is no fully functional 10111 call centre in Mpumalanga, and that the minimum set service level of 90 percent “was not adhered to at six of the nine call centres audited”.

Congress of the People MP Leonard Ramatlakane said that when it came to the SAPS, there were too many reports of serious deficiencies and non-adherence to standards.

“The reports of the Auditor General and Scopa have an overload of these. It is unacceptable and utterly disappointing that the very people who are the last barrier between us and chaos are not rendering the expected and demanded quality of service,” he said.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi suggested ordinary citizens had lost faith in the police.

“If you ask ordinary men and women on the street whether they believe the SA Police is adequately equipped and skilled to protect them, or whether they believe phoning the 10111 call centre will get them the help they need, you will be greeted with a resounding ’No!’”

The report did not offer any assurance that the police force was up to the task of fighting crime successfully.

“We urge government to look at this report and to recognise the urgent need to fix the many problems that are paralysing and rendering the SAPS ineffective,” she said.

Democratic Alliance MP Diane Kohler-Barnard said the audit had shown that 10111 call centres had not come close to the stipulated service levels expected of them.

“The reality is that not one single shift in the 10111 sector investigated came even close to reaching the minimum stipulated service level of 90%. Not even close.

“If anyone in this House can explain how a service level of 39 percent during the busiest time of the day — from 2pm until 10pm — is acceptable, I’d like to hear the explanation.”

She said calls to 10111 centres often went unanswered.

“Mostly, no-one bothers to answer the phone, and if they do, frankly one wishes they hadn’t bothered. The calls are frequently answered with just a grunt, and an utter debacle ensues, while the disaster they’re so desperate to report plays out in front of the citizen’s eyes.

“[A total of] 70% of calls made to 10111 centres are abandoned by frantic citizens, who actually believed there was a number they could call if they had an emergency," Kohler-Barnard said.

“Will it take a 2010 visitor... to be hung up on when they make an emergency call to wake the members of the current governing party out of their stupor in this regard,” she asked.

Hat tip: Black Coffee

Dear Grim Reaper…

Dear Grim Reaper,


So far this year, you have taken away my favourite dancer, Michael Jackson;


My favourite actor, Patrick Swayze;


And my favourite singer, Stephen Gately.

Just so you know, my favourite politician is:

image0075Julius Malema

Death to the Reitz-4

Some of us have to live in the real world without the luxury of getting lost in academics. Charles Scheepers presents a much more balanced view of the Reitz 4 spectacle, when compared to the naive post "Does the 'Rule of Law' exist in South Africa?" by Pierre du Vos.

Related post: "Does the 'Rule of Law' exist in South Africa?"

It was with great amazement that I read the inaugural speech of Prof Jonathan Jansen at the University of the Free State a number of days ago. I have long been a fan of his writing and even though I do not always agree with his views, I somehow always look forward to his next column. He challenges the reader, he elicits debate and now it seems he aims to change the status quo. His objectives are so against the grain of standard (or shall I say: endemic substandard) South African thinking that I can not help but think that we should give it a try.

His entire speech is something to behold and I have saved a copy for future reference, but the topic that has the country abuzz is the Reitz debacle. Here we have another four individuals that we can blame for the sad state of our nation and as can be expected from a nation with such low self esteem, our salvation lies in their absolute destruction. We fully expect these youngsters to live out our ideals when we have no such requirements for our leaders or, heaven forbid, ourselves. At least Prof Jansen seems to be scratching in the right place and know this, he is alone. Soon even the white faces around him will melt into the shadows for fear of being diagnosed with that most dreadful of afflictions…

It seems that Prof Jansen will disagree with me on this point, but I do believe that this situation was blown completely out of proportion. It was a media goldmine that probably rivalled the Waterkloof-4. The fact is that there were no signs of psychological trauma until it became a public spectacle. Then suddenly the damage was irreversible. At this stage I would like to clarify to all the overly emotional, thought adverse Don Quixote’s out there, that I do not in any way condone their behaviour. What they did was in bad taste, immature and wrong on many levels, but I just don’t see the malice that we are so valiantly fighting. It was a bunch of seriously misinformed (stupid) students picking the wrong topic for an attempt at humour. I believe that forcing people to beg and steal for food whilst government officials drive million rand vehicles leaves a far larger footprint in the psyches of people than what this incident could ever have.

What I am asking for is perspective and a maybe different approach to our favourite issues. I still believe that vast majority of racism cases are nothing other than mythological dragons and no amount of fighting it is ever going to change that. It may very well be the act of “fighting” it that is keeping it alive. We have many institutions, some even under the guise of redressing the past, that actively promote the colour divide. We are irrevocably linked to the apparent inherent value of the hue of our skin and anybody attempting to move past this will be cut down as a traitor. We know that what happened during Apartheid was wrong and in spite of that we try the same solutions to our current problems only to find, to our practised surprise, that it does not work. Wow, what a revelation. Would it be so bad to at least try something different?

I do believe that everybody, especially youngsters, should learn to take responsibility for their actions. However, I believe that we should be more positive in the application of this practice. We could expect that they get therapy. As a matter of fact, I think that this should be expected from both parties in a racist row – one side to meet reality and the other to grow thicker skin. It has just become too easy to shout racism in this country with no person required to take responsibility for accusations. Should we tie up the courts every time somebody calls another fat, ugly or lazy or should we perhaps dare to rise above primary school put-downs? Where do we draw the line? Would it not be more constructive to have these individuals perform mandatory community service? The problem then is that even though this would help many individuals and set the stage for positive leadership, it would not feed our petty bloodlust and thus makes it wholly unacceptable.

We have some legal experts touting the rule of law and I can not help but laugh out loud. The odds of these individuals getting a fair trial are negligible (case in point being the Waterkloof-4). They will become the next poster boys for all that wrong in this country and they will bear the full extent of our frustration. As a nation we forgive the government over and over again for squandering resources, lying, cheating and plundering but we need to destroy these four individuals as the root of all our problems. I fear the logic is beyond me, but if I know one thing, it is that when all the sheep bleat together you can be sure something is wrong.

I think that turning the Reitz hostel from national shame to a beacon of integration is inspired and I hope it works exceedingly well. I believe that Prof Jansen deserves, at the very least, a chance to prove his theory. If he is right, and I suspect he might be, then he would be a far more worthy recipient of the Nobel peace prize than Barack Obama for instance. If, however, he fails then we already have the “I told you so” speeches ready and we can get to work destroying him. So all in all we will get blood regardless of which way this goes.

I, however, honestly hope that sanity would prevail in this instance.

Hat tip: Daschund

Does the "Rule of Law" exist in South Africa?

I had so many conflicting thoughts while reading this piece that I just have to share the article, and some of my thoughts.

I don’t know Pierre De Vos, and really do not have an opinion on him as a person, but I am really struck by his naivety.

All his points are valid, and the historic content factual, but his conclusion and thought process at the end reminded me of a professor sitting hidden away somewhere in a civilized country and write about a civil society.

Rule of Law? What is he talking about? In South Africa? He is living in a dream world.

The civil veneer in South Africa is so thin, that it is close to non existent.

And yes, I also believe in zero tolerance when you break the law, but to write about it in the context of South Africa, is truly laughable.

Oct 21st, 2009
by Pierre De Vos.

Back in 1995 I reluctantly supported the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), even though the legislation provided for the granting of full amnesty to those who committed abuses during the apartheid era. It was the time of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s ”Rainbow Nation” (remember that phrase?), the Rugby World cup victory and “Madiba magic” and it seemed appropriate to support the TRC because it was going to deal, once and for all, with all the human rights abuses of the apartheid era. This would allow us to start afresh and to build a more just and fair society.

Those who committed heinous crimes in defense of (or in opposition to) apartheid could apply for and be granted amnesty - as long as the crimes were politically motivated, proportionate, and there was full disclosure by the person seeking amnesty. Those who did not apply for amnesty would be prosecuted and the process of re-establishing the Rule of Law would begin.

Disastrously, almost none of the apartheid era perpetrators who failed to apply for amnesty were ever prosecuted. There was, of course, the foot-washing Adriaan Vlok who cut a deal with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the catastrophic prosecution of Wouter Basson, but the Generals, the State Security bosses and the politicians who gave the orders to “permanently eliminate” opponents of apartheid never saw the inside of a courtroom.

Now, almost 15 years later, I am starting to think that the TRC was a disaster for South Africa. Although it did provide the opportunity for ordinary South Africans to tell their stories and to ventilate the horrors that preceded the so called “miracle” of 1994 and although this made it very difficult for ordinary white South Africans to dispute the evils of apartheid, the TRC seemed to have established a precedent. Why stick to the law when it is inconvenient to do so or when a political deal that undermines the law will cause fewer problems for a particular constituency?

That is why, on reflection, I do not support the decision of Professor Jonathan Jansen to interfere with the University of the Free State’s disciplinary procedures. Prof Jansen’s action mean that further disciplinary proceedings against the Reitz students involved in the making of the video will be dropped and those students expelled from campus will be allowed to return to finish their degrees. In his inaugural address Prof Jansen justified the decision as follows:

You see, the biggest mistake made in the analysis of Reitz is to explain the incident in terms of individual pathology. Yet to dismiss the video as a product of four bad apples is too easy an explanation. This video recording was preceded by a long series of racial incidents protesting racial integration especially in the residences of the university. Not all of these racially charged incidents made the press; in fact, had it not been for the public release of the video recording, no-one outside the university would have known about it. And few outside the campus realise that what is now regarded as an offensive video production in fact won an award from the residence for its content.

The question facing us, therefore, is a disturbing one, and it is this: What was it within the institution that made it possible for such an atrocity to be committed in the first place? And there are other questions. Why is it that one after another parent and colleague have come to tell me that the incident was, and I quote, “blown out of proportion?” Why is it that so many adults came to tell me that it was Oros, and not urine, as if it mattered in the simulated act of boys urinating into food? What must I make of the many representations to my office to inform me that the boys, I quote again, “loved the squeezas and brought them food from their parents’ farms?”

When the focus of analysis shifts from that of individual pathology to one of institutional culture, then it becomes clear that the problem of Reitz is not simply a problem of four racially troubled students. It is, without question, a problem of institutional complicity.

Jansen has a point, of course. Those four Reitz students are not the only racists in the Free State (or South Africa). They are the product of the white supremacists society in which they grew up and the University culture which allowed their prejudices to flourish. But we are all the products of our society and the institutions we belong to. The person holding up a grocery store or raping an 80 year old grandmother is also the product of our culture (as is Schabir Shaik).

(Given the vast material discrepancies between rich and poor, the dehumanising effect that some forms of poverty can have on communities, the social disintegration and fragmentation of some poor communities, and the racialised nature of the wealth gap, we should probably have more reason to ”understand” and forgive the behaviour of a young black man robbing a grocery store and to blame society for his actions than we have to “understand” the racism of the Reitz students.)

But Jansen seems to suggest – in the spirit of the TRC – that we should not always hold individuals personally responsible for their actions and that we should therefore not insist that the ordinary legal processes of a University dealing with the disciplining of students should run its course. This seems like a dangerous move. Why stop with the four white guys from Reitz?
Why not excuse the police officer who took a bribe because he wanted to pay for his daughter’s school fees? Why not drop disciplinary charges against a mid-level civil servant who rigged a tender because that civil servant had to keep up with his bond repayments? Why not drop corruption charges against the leader of a political party because it would be inconvenient to have a sitting President charged with corruption?

(And why do so many white South Africans – including DA leaders – always support forgiveness or leniency for the middle class white guys, but not for their black counterparts? Why do so many black South Africans – including many ANC leaders – always seem to support forgiveness and leniency for fellow black men and women, but not for their white counterparts? Do I smell some rank hypocrisy?)

I do not think I am particularly vengeful or that I formalistically and prissily stick to rules when they will have unjust consequences. Where someone made a mistake, owns up to it and pays the price, I would not want that person hounded for life. But I do believe in the Rule of Law. I also believe individuals should (at least to some degree) be held accountable for their actions – no matter to what degree those actions were the result of the upbringing and circumstances of the individual. If we do not hold individuals accountable and if we pick and choose when we want to follow the rules, we fundamentally undermine the Rule of Law and, hence, respect for the rules.

How can we begin to build a society in which individuals will respect each other and the rules put in place to regulate that society to the benefit of all, if we arbitrarily pick and choose which rules we wish to apply on the basis that those who broke the rules cannot help themselves?

Respect for the human dignity of all can only flourish when we try to understand why individuals behave the way they do, when we try to change the circumstances which led to that behaviour, but when we do not try to excuse that behaviour. If we condone too easily and do not hold individuals accountable for their actions, we disrespect the dignity of those who are the victims of the condoned behaviour and we create the circumstances for the recurrence of the very behaviour which has so grievously harmed our fellow countrymen and -women.

One golden handshake for me, one golden handshake for you ..

First example: Hit the road Jacob

The board of Eskom has asked the company’s Chief Executive Officer Jacob Maroga to resign after a troubled tenure marked by power shortages, Business Day reports.

Andrew Etzinger, a spokesman for the power firm said he could not confirm the newspaper report, but confirmed that an Eskom board meeting had been held on Thursday.

“I don’t know if it’s true or not, I have no information on the story at this stage,” he told Reuters.

The utility has been rationing electricity since early 2008 when the national grid nearly collapsed, forcing mines and smelters to shut and costing South Africa billions of dollars.

Eskom has also been widely criticised for fuelling inflation after it was granted a tariff increase of 31,3% this year and 27% last year, but the state-owned utility insists it needs to increase prices to pay for its expansion.

The utility has asked the energy regulator to raise electricity tariffs by 45% annually for three years starting next year, to help the power firm fund the expansion of its generation capacity to meet fast rising demand. - Times Live

Second example: Mushwana gets R7 million golden handshake

Former public protector Lawrence Mushwana has been paid almost R7 million as a gratuity, and R89,000 for leave he didn't take, according to a Johannesburg newspaper report.

Public Protector spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi told The Star newspaper that Mushwana was paid an additional R6,804,000 for his seven-year service when he left office two week sago.

ANC MP Johnny de Lange, the chairman of the portfolio committee on justice in 2002, said he could not remember the "rationale" behind the committee's decision to approve the gratuity.

Opposition parties often criticised Mushwana's tenure as public protector, claiming that he protected ANC officials from scrutiny. In August this year, high court judge Ntsikelelo Poswa criticised Mushwana for refusing to investigate the Oilgate scandal, which involved high-ranking ANC officials.

Mushwana is the new chairman of the Human Rights Commission. - Times Live

Move over Reitz 4, we now have the 'Mandela Insult CD'

Fifty murders a day doesn't stir these people but call someone a kaffir (even in jest) and it's the end of days! I left this story alone for a few days to see if it went anywhere and it seems to have gained momentum. The ANC, Cosatu, separate trade unions, everyone wants a piece of the action. This is manna from heaven for people like Malema to beat whitey with.

So once more unto the breach my white compatriots. Once more we shall be told how insensitive we are, how racist we are, how 'untransformed' we are. The actions of one white man speaks for all of us but a murdering black thug acts for himself and is unrepresentative of his ethnicity. Something is wrong with that premise.

Anyway, if anyone has a copy of the CD, please forward it to me. It's not against the law to call Mandela a kaffir where I am so I will happily post it here. Call it my middle finger salute to Mandela and the ANC on this issue.

It was not yet clear whether the Sun City security company employee fired over the playing of a CD containing racist lyrics would also be charged with crimen injuria, North West police said on Thursday.

Superintendent Lesego Metsi said it was also not clear whether the Falcon Security CEO Ben Burger, who said he had nothing to do with the playing of the CD, would have charges against him withdrawn.

He was arrested at a Sun International staff party after police received complaints that a CD was played from the company's stand "containing remixed lyrics of the national anthem" which called former president Nelson Mandela a "kaffir".

"It has come to light that one of the company's employees... placed a personal CD next to the sound system where it was inadvertently played for about 15 seconds by Falcon Security," the security company said in a statement.

Burger said the employee had said he was the owner of the CD and had left it on the table to be played. He was fired on Wednesday.

Burger said he was arrested in the heat of the moment, as he was not at the stand at the time, and that he was considering legal action over the "tarnishing" of his name.

Burger was expected to return to court in Mogwase for the matter on December 11. - SAPA