Thursday, April 29, 2010

You Can't Make This Sh*t Up

Today in the Cape Times:

One of the accused in the assault and battery of baby Marzaan Kruger and her minder asked to be released without bail.

His reason?

He has children to look after!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zuma Passes the Buck - What's New?

Right on cue, JZ lays the blame for 16 years of misrule at the door of Mr.Whitey, the catch-all scapegoat for South Africa's woes.

My comments in blue:

By Xolani Mbanjwa and Sapa

South Africa celebrated 16 years of democracy yesterday with President Jacob Zuma offering a stark reminder that the effects of unjust apartheid laws were still felt.

"Our people still have to daily confront the impact of the law," Zuma said in Pretoria yesterday during the commemoration of 16 years of a democratic South Africa, referring to the now-repealed Group Areas Act.

Addressing thousands of people gathered at the Union Buildings for Freedom Day celebrations, Zuma said the act - which marked the institutionalising of racial partitioning of cities and towns - was still having an effect 20 years after it was repealed.

"Many still live in areas once designated for black people... away from economic opportunities and civic services," he said. [Just like in ALL major urban centres, the poorest people live furthest from the centre - until they move into slums in the city, as blacks are now doing in SA]

"Freedom imposes on us a responsibility to work together in the process of changing such conditions." [no, freedom means not doing anything and letting people fend for themselves. Nice Orwellian touch there from JZ]

This was one example among many which Zuma said needed to be addressed to ensure that people "enjoy the fruits of freedom".

He cautioned that in four years' time - after 20 years of democracy - the government would not have sympathy for reasons advanced to explain its failure to make a difference in people's lives. [and what of the failures of the people themselves?]

Zuma urged tolerance for other racial and cultural groups, saying further engagement was needed to promote common understanding.

This, he said, would stem the tide of criticism exchanged over, for example, geographical name changes, Struggle songs, and the slaughtering of animals to appease ancestors, practised in some cultures. Zuma repeated his call for "a conversation about the true values that underpin our common identity and destiny".

"It will help us to find a common perspective through which we can view the various backgrounds, habits, traditions, customs, cultures and religions that define who we are," Zuma told about 10 000 people who braved the chilly and wet weather.

Zuma highlighted the achievement of 16 years of ANC rule, including building a million houses, and providing education, water and sanitation.

He admitted that "the response rate from many government departments has been very slow".

After announcing his HIV-negative status on Sunday, Zuma told South Africans that after knowing their status they must "adjust your lifestyle accordingly".

Most opposition leaders - who attended the commemoration - spoke against corruption and lack of services 16 years into democracy.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said the country should guard against corruption because "corrupt leaders keep the people impoverished".

He also cautioned that the country should not degenerate into a place where narrow nationalism bred tribalism, ethnicity, xenophobia and genocide.

Cope's parliamentary leader, Mvume Dandala, said there should be a move away from a "self-centred obsession with the trappings of wealth".

There should rather be a determined focus on improving education and health and making the country safer.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the greatest challenges facing the country were corruption, nepotism, fraud and inequalities.

"We owe it to those who laid down their lives in the fight for freedom.

"We need to wage a war against corruption," said Holomisa, saying tender corruption was ravaging the country.

African People's Convention leader and standing committee on public accounts chairman Themba Godi warned against using political positions for self-enrichment.

IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, addressing celebrations in Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal, said that after 16 years, the message had to go out that "there is something better than empty promises".

"There is something better than a leadership plagued by corruption and scandal.

"There is something better than poor service delivery and constant excuses."

He added that voters would not elect people "whose hands stank with corruption". [yes they would. They do.]

The ANC too bemoaned corruption, saying South Africans should defend the gains of freedom by fighting crime and graft.

"Defending the gains attained through this freedom means fighting crime and corruption, and volunteering ourselves to work for good causes in our townships and suburbs," the party said.

The Freedom Front Plus said democracy was tainted by the high murder rate in the country. FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said South Africa was racially more divided at the moment than at any other time since 1994.

He said racism was "easy politics", and "difficult politics" was to make a place in the sun for everyone in the country and find win-win solutions.

The SA Communist Party said the first democratic election in 1994 did not mark an end to the national democratic and class struggle, but had brought a struggle on a different terrain.

"We need to place our society onto a different developmental path, one in which meeting social needs is the priority, and not profit-driven growth," the party said.

Cosatu said a lot more needed to be done before South Africans could say they were truly free.

"We cannot ignore the 58 percent of South Africans who live in poverty, who cannot really benefit from political freedom as they face a daily struggle to survive," spokesman Patrick Craven said.

He said massive inequality had made South Africa the most unequal society in the world.

"Such inequality mocks our struggle to build a free, fair and equitable society.

"Nor can we celebrate freedom when our society is scarred by such high levels of crime and corruption," Craven said.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who should we thank?

The law of unintended consequences, states that all good intentions always leads to unintended consequences.

In short, the cleverest people on the planet cannot foresee the unintended consequences of their actions. Imagine what happens if stupid people sit and try to make other people behave the way they see as the “right” way …..

I, read a lot of news related to South Africa, and obviously its neighbours. I stumbled onto this article in the Zimbabwe Mail, which made me think about the last 40 years of turmoil in the Southern African States.

Yes, I am old enough to have seen all of it.

I was in the army in the then South West Africa when we suddenly started to withdraw our forces out of Angola.

There were a lot of reasons given, but we obviously were not privy to the real reasons, but I can remember the rumours that the CIA has withdrawn their support, leaving the then South African government with no American support.

If we look at the road Zimbabwe took aver the last 30 years, and we look for reasons of why it is what it is today, we have to think of how the transformation happened there, And we obviously also have to look at who did what, and who was responsible for what.

Here I have to single out the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Carter administration of the USA of the time.

They did not like the peaceful negotiations that led to Muzorewa leading Zimbabwe, and under their “leadership” we had elections that led to Mugabe. They rather associate themselves with bloodthirsty murderers, than with any peaceful negotiations with white people.
They got what they asked for.

That brings us to South Africa.
Sanctions by the west, which is the USA, the UK and most if not all of Europe lead to the eventual “peaceful” negotiated new government and constitution. And at the forefront of all this were the leftist extremists that were the most vocal and threatening.
They got what they asked for.

Which brings us to today’s news that you can read below.
Are the west seeing there unintended consequences?
The southern part of Africa is a real threat for world peace. Is this a farfetched conclusion?

I don’t think so.

With Iran's Ahmedinejad in Harare last week and ANC's Julius Malema in Caracas, meeting Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez. Events are moving with incredible speed in southern Africa, almost too quickly to comprehend, as a new world order takes shapes in a configuration that has changed the sub-continent forever.

President Ahmedinejad of Iran, last week arrived in Zimbabwe as the guest of the Mugabe regime, for a secret deal to mine uranium for Iran's nuclear programme.

Julius Malema arrived in Venezuela as the guest of the Yanqui-bashing regime of Hugo Chavez (Iran and Venezuela both sustained by oil revenues, Venezuela with its comprehensive statisation of the economy, Iran hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons for the global Islamist Armageddon).

Extending ever deeper southwards, China is the new benevolent uncle bestriding the sub-continent in the shoes of Cecil Rhodes, on condition that African governments should not be too solicitous about their independence....

Meanwhile, in South Africa: weak government, with the overwhelmingly dominant party of state racked with ferocious internal divisions, the President (of the state, and of the ruling party) racked with indecision as he attempts to hold together the factions of his ascendancy to office, in an increasingly fractious coalition.

Iran - China - Venezuela ... here is the alignment of a new world order unimagined by George W Bush, as he led the United States with the blind assurance of a sleepwalker into unimaginable debt, and wars in the Muslim countries (is it correct to say 'states'?) of Iraq and Afghanistan, with the former Great Britain (now brand 'UK') at his heels.

Here there is no road-map from the past to guide South Africa to the future.

This was a context unimaginable to the Christian gentlemen who founded the African National Congress almost one hundred years ago, and led it under the guidance of iNkosi Albert Luthuli and even, to some extent, in exile, Oliver Reginald Tambo.

Unimaginable too to the rugged champions of the Communist Party of South Africa, which metamorphosed itself into the SACP after it was banned in 1950: both parties ideologically baptised in the secularist font of Soviet Russia, and whose Iranian sister party, the Tudeh, was massacred by the mullahs' regime now headed by Ahmedinejad on a scale that would make Mugabe's Gukurahundi killings in Matabeleland look like a children's nursery.... So much for the emancipation of women, for free and fair elections, for the secular alliance of Christian, Muslim, Jew and Hindu which convened the Congress of the People at Kliptown in 1955, and created the Freedom Charter.

And all the while, South Africa deteriorates into a condition in which, as one anguished commentator put it last week, "all the manouevres in the ANC have one thing in common: access to economic freedom for those who can use their ANC positions to do so."

A party of warring kleptocracies and would-be kleptocracies, in which the ideals of decades of sacrifice are boiled down to the lowest common denominator, where a scramble for public office is the means to private graft.

Where the phrase 'tenderpreneur', invented only a short time ago, almost overnight becomes a term of everyday speech, in a movement in which a few decades ago individuals went to the gallows for a certain ideal of public service.

Where the term 'Bermuda' now refers - not to an island in the Caribbbean, or a holiday destination for the rich, or a sinister legendary triangle - but to the 'shorts' by which politically-connected tenderpreneurs leave their ill-gotten public contracts half fulfilled, so that their bridges fall down, and their roads wash away in the rain. Where the public, once again, is short-changed....

Where the serial murder of politically connected individuals - related, apparently, to tenderpreneur deals for the World Cup stadium at Mbombela, in Mpumalanga - appears to have extended also to the death in a car crash of January Masilela, exile veteran of Umkhonto we Sizwe's intake from the 1976 generation, and holder of a post no less than that of Secretary of Defence in the civil service.

"All changed, changed utterly," wrote Yeats in 'Easter, 1916', his poem about insurrection in Ireland. As he asked in 'The Second Coming', a dystopian prophecy: "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/ Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

Here is the introduction to southern Africa's Brave New World.

Chavez a Threat to Peace

From Ozzie Saffa.

Experts warn of escalating Chavez threat

Another heart-warming expose on the peace-loving dictator and Obama's pal from Venezuela.

Latin America experts are warning about the growing threat from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, citing new evidence of Chavez’s expanding ties with Iran and Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.

The Venezuelan president also has demonstrated his willingness to buy elections throughout the hemisphere to empower enemies of the United States, several experts said in presentations Thursday during a conference that the Center for Security Policy sponsored on Capitol Hill.

“Today, Venezuela airports are being freely used by drug cartels to export drugs to Europe and the United States,” said Luis Fleischman, senior adviser for the center’s Menges Hemispheric Security Project. “Chavez has helped the FARC fight against Colombia, [while] Hezbollah cells have increased their fund-raising and other activities in the area.”

What’s more, Fleischman said, “Young Venezuelans are being trained in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon . . . and Venezuela has reportedly produced uranium for Iran.”

Because of the close ties between Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “there is a real possibility” that Chavez could get a nuclear weapon from Iran after Iran acquires that capability itself, he said.

Obama’s “friendly interaction” with Chavez at last year’s Summit of the Americas has only emboldened the Venezuelan strongman in thinking that the United States will do nothing to oppose his regime or his anti-American activities, Fleischman said.

Also hammering that point was Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who blasted the Obama administration for helping to bring back to power a communist dictator in Honduras and for empowering a return of Sandinista thugs to Nicaragua.

The Cuba-born Floridian also warned of the “growing Iranian influence throughout the hemisphere.”

“The flights that take place all the time between Tehran and Caracas should be a worry to anyone who cares deeply about our national security,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

"The people on those flights don’t go through customs,” he said. “But the cargo area is always full.”

“The tractor factory doesn’t make tractors, and the cement factory doesn’t make cement,” Bailey said. “The tractor factory makes weapons, and the cement factory is used for the export of cocaine.”

Bailey believes that Iran has cultivated Chavez in part “to make it possible for Iran to retaliate against the United States in the event Iran is attacked by Israel or the U.S.”

“For all practical purposes, Venezuela is on a war footing,” he said.

He also noted the ability of drug traffickers tied to Venezuela to weld special compartments onto the outside of ships to carry drugs to Europe.

“They could just as easily put cylinders of high explosives on those ships instead of drugs, and blow them up in the Panama Canal,” he said.

Chavez’s strategy was to build allies in the United States by offering low-cost heating oil to lower-income Americans through Joseph Kennedy Jr. and his Citizens Energy nonprofit, in the hopes that security-conscious voices would be drowned out.

“My favorite Chavez quote is, ‘I will put my enemy to sleep, so that one day he will wake up dead,’” said Jon Perdue, Latin American programs director at the Fund for American Studies.

At one point, former Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich accused the Telesur reporters of “harassment,” and threatened to call the sergeant at arms to get them tossed out of the House meeting room.

Reich called Chavez the “head of the snake” of a revolutionary movement aimed at subverting his neighbors. “The brain is in Havana, but the head of the snake is in Caracas,” he said.

Several years ago, the Colombian armed forces seized a computer during a raid on a FARC compound that included documents detailing the financial ties between Chavez to the FARC.

Since then, Chavez has sought the overthrow of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who has spearheaded the crackdown on the FARC.

Tensions between the two presidents flared during a “Unity Summit" near Cancun, Mexico, in February, when Chavez shouted that Uribe should “go to hell.”

Reich said the evidence of Venezuela’s support for the FARC and other terrorist groups is so overwhelming that the United States “should declare Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism. The evidence is there. The Defense Department has it. The Congress has it. The political will is missing.”

The United States should revoke the visas of Chavez’s business partners, the “Bolivarian billionaires . . . who own homes in the United States and travel back and forth and who are the ones who carry those bags of money to the Daniel Ortega’s” and other Chavez political allies in the region, Reich said.

“This is a subversion of democracy under our noses and the United States is saying nothing,” he said.

The third measure Reich advocated is to end U.S. dependence on Venezuelan oil.

Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, blasted the State Department for what he described as its “malign neglect” of Chavez’s misdeeds, and warned of the peril if the United States doesn’t take action.

“We don’t have the luxury of ignoring this,” he said. “We will be hurt badly by it . . . We have enemy armies now operating from safe havens in our hemisphere that we know have the capacity to bring weapons of mass destruction” into the United States. “So the cost of waiting could be high.”

That couldn't possibly be Sean Penn with old Chav could it?


Stop "War" in Africa: Shoot the Leaders

On Freedom Day, let us reflect on the best means to ensure freedom in the world: killing savage war-hungry despots.

Great stuff from Ozzie Saffa.

Africa's Forever Wars

Welcome to Africa - where "classy" freedom fighters are a thing of the past and who have been replaced with predators. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage....

There is a very simple reason why some of Africa's bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: They are not really wars. Not in the traditional sense, at least. The combatants don't have much of an ideology; they don't have clear goals. They couldn't care less about taking over capitals or major cities -- in fact, they prefer the deep bush, where it is far easier to commit crimes. Today's rebels seem especially uninterested in winning converts, content instead to steal other people's children, stick Kalashnikovs or axes in their hands, and make them do the killing. Look closely at some of the continent's most intractable conflicts, from the rebel-laden creeks of the Niger Delta to the inferno in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and this is what you will find.

What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else -- something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you'd like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry. My job as the New York Times' East Africa bureau chief is to cover news and feature stories in 12 countries. But most of my time is spent immersed in these un-wars.

I've witnessed up close -- often way too close -- how combat has morphed from soldier vs. soldier (now a rarity in Africa) to soldier vs. civilian. Most of today's African fighters are not rebels with a cause; they're predators. That's why we see stunning atrocities like eastern Congo's rape epidemic, where armed groups in recent years have sexually assaulted hundreds of thousands of women, often so sadistically that the victims are left incontinent for life. What is the military or political objective of ramming an assault rifle inside a woman and pulling the trigger? Terror has become an end, not just a means.

This is the story across much of Africa, where nearly half of the continent's 53 countries are home to an active conflict or a recently ended one. Quiet places such as Tanzania are the lonely exceptions; even user-friendly, tourist-filled Kenya blew up in 2008. Add together the casualties in just the dozen countries that I cover, and you have a death toll of tens of thousands of civilians each year. More than 5 million have died in Congo alone since 1998, the International Rescue Committee has estimated.

Of course, many of the last generation's independence struggles were bloody, too. South Sudan's decades-long rebellion is thought to have cost more than 2 million lives. But this is not about numbers. This is about methods and objectives, and the leaders driving them. Uganda's top guerrilla of the 1980s, Yoweri Museveni, used to fire up his rebels by telling them they were on the ground floor of a national people's army. Museveni became president in 1986, and he's still in office (another problem, another story). But his words seem downright noble compared with the best-known rebel leader from his country today, Joseph Kony, who just gives orders to burn.

Even if you could coax these men out of their jungle lairs and get them to the negotiating table, there is very little to offer them. They don't want ministries or tracts of land to govern. Their armies are often traumatized children, with experience and skills (if you can call them that) totally unsuited for civilian life. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage. And they've already got all three. How do you negotiate with that?

The short answer is you don't. The only way to stop today's rebels for real is to capture or kill their leaders. Many are uniquely devious characters whose organizations would likely disappear as soon as they do. That's what happened in Angola when the diamond-smuggling rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was shot, bringing a sudden end to one of the Cold War's most intense conflicts. In Liberia, the moment that warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor was arrested in 2006 was the same moment that the curtain dropped on the gruesome circus of 10-year-old killers wearing Halloween masks. Countless dollars, hours, and lives have been wasted on fruitless rounds of talks that will never culminate in such clear-cut results. The same could be said of indictments of rebel leaders for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. With the prospect of prosecution looming, those fighting are sure never to give up.

How did we get here? Maybe it's pure nostalgia, but it seems that yesteryear's African rebels had a bit more class. They were fighting against colonialism, tyranny, or apartheid. The winning insurgencies often came with a charming, intelligent leader wielding persuasive rhetoric. These were men like John Garang, who led the rebellion in southern Sudan with his Sudan People's Liberation Army. He pulled off what few guerrilla leaders anywhere have done: winning his people their own country. Thanks in part to his tenacity, South Sudan will hold a referendum next year to secede from the North. Garang died in a 2005 helicopter crash, but people still talk about him like a god. Unfortunately, the region without him looks pretty godforsaken. I traveled to southern Sudan in November to report on how ethnic militias, formed in the new power vacuum, have taken to mowing down civilians by the thousands.


Monday, April 26, 2010

South African Politicians: Nothing Short of Impressive

Please tell me this isn't for real?

SACP: Capitalism Still a Challenge

Yes it is, when you're a Communist.

Enjoy this Freedom Day message from South Africa's favourite Communists!

Capitalism remains a challenge in South Africa and the needs of humanity was yet to be met, the SA Communist Party (SACP) said on Monday evening, ahead of Tuesday's Freedom Day celebrations.

"Millions of our people remain homeless and have little to celebrate with us," said spokesman Malesela Maleka.

"The challenges of capitalism and its inherent inability to meet the needs of humanity has continued to present us with a huge challenge." [you mean replacing it with a system that's even worse at meeting them? - Ed.]

He said although significant progress had been made, it was not enough. [it never is..]

The education sector, he said, continued to reproduce significant racial and class discrimination, while the health system showed major weakness with the slow implementation of the National Health Insurance.

He said these were "clear signs" and something needed to be done to give democracy meaning. [shoot Communists perhaps?]

"We need to place our society onto a different developmental path, one in which meeting social needs is the priority and not profit-driven growth," said Maleka.

"We have built a constitutional order of which we are rightfully proud, but a great majority of South Africans are unable to fully enjoy the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights." [the first true thing he has said. Educating them in Marxist dogma is not the best way of achieving this. Maybe teaching them how to take part in Democracy and the economy would work.]

He said this was not a moment to despair, but a moment for national reflection on the challenge of nation building.

"It is a moment to deepen our resolve to build working class power and people's fronts in the areas of education, health, in building vibrant and strong participatory governance at a local level, in transforming the workplace and fostering a decent jobs agenda, building sustainable livelihoods and fighting crime and corruption."

He said Freedom Day marked an important day in the struggle calender because of a democratic breakthrough.

However, the election did not mark an end to the national democratic and class struggle, but a struggle on a different terrain, said Maleka.

The party urged South Africans to remember struggle heroes like Chris Hani, Yusuf Dadoo, Harry Gwala, Oliver Tambo and Moses Mabhida. - Sapa


COSATU also bitching about stuff on Freedom Day.

What a bunch of whingers. Not content with "freedom", they want to throw a wet blanket on our holiday by complaining about "inequality", an elusive subject I've discussed here.

Johannesburg - South Africa still has a lot to achieve before all South Africans are really free, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Monday.

"We cannot ignore the 58% of South Africans who live in poverty, who cannot really benefit from political freedom as they face a daily struggle to survive," spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

He said massive inequality had made South Africa the most unequal society in the world. [Note: no it isn't. See here. We have learned never to expect truth from these people, however]

"Such inequality mocks our struggle to build a free, fair and equitable society. Neither can we celebrate freedom when our society is scarred by such high levels of crime and corruption."

Gross exploitation of workers

He said there was a continued restructuring of the working-class into a two-tier labour market.

"We suffer from the gross exploitation of workers, as capitalists seek new ways to enrich themselves at the expense of the working-class and dodge around the labour laws."

He explained that the first layer of workers enjoyed most of the rights contained in the Constitution.

"They are covered by collective bargaining and enjoy better work security and better pay."

The second layer was of super-exploited workers without any rights or freedoms.

"For them, joining a union is a personal risk and upward job mobility is an illusion. It is a large and growing army of workers employed in low-paid, temporary, casualised jobs or employed through the enslaving labour broking system."

He said the highest levels of poverty and under-development were still concentrated in the former bantustans.

"The black working-class, despite government provision of thousands of new houses, are still located far away from workplaces, forcing workers to spend a lot of the little wages they receive on ever-rising transport costs."

Job losses

Workers bore the brunt of the recent capitalist crisis, caused by the greed of capital.

In the first nine months of 2009 the country lost 959 000 jobs, and workers lost R17bn, worsening poverty and inequality.

This was the underlying reason for all the service delivery protests in the country's poorest communities.
Craven said the only way for workers, their families and communities to win real and total freedom was for them to get organised in strong, fighting trade unions.

"Cosatu urges every worker, and all South Africans to celebrate Freedom Day actively, by attending the many events around the country," he said.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The BBC Meets Eugene: A Reminder of What Eugene Stood For

Just a reminder what Eugene Terreblanche stood for. We have featured this video before, but is worth watching again. It seems very evident to me that he was a seperatist.

The AWB and eTV: An Overt Display of Bias

Regardless of whether you agree with the AWB's politics or not, get a glimpse of how the media treat them. This journalist would not allow the AWB to put forward their case, instead choosing to block their attempts and to obfuscate, by trying to get them to take a position on the millions of impoverished blacks. Of course the journalist has subsequently played the victim role, and expects an apology.

South Africa is rapidly speeding towards a brick wall.

Sweden: Stop The Boer Genocide

Admittedly, it was a small demonstration, but there was a similar demonstration in Russia; and more importantly, the world is getting to hear about what is happening. The video is very well put together, and has an emotional resonance.

Dutch Tourist's Rape Ordeal in Cape Winelands Hotel

Tourist tells of rape ordeal

Dutch woman on antiretrovirals after horrifying ordeal in four-star hotel

Apr 25, 2010 12:00 AM | By BUYEKEZWA MAKWABE

A Dutch tourist has vowed never to set foot in South Africa again - unless it is to give evidence against the man who gagged, robbed and raped her twice in the Cape Winelands.

Mrs. Den Hollander
Mrs. Den Hollander
quote The hotel said she was negligent with her own safety by not properly locking her room door quote

Yvonne Petronella Den Hollander, 62, is suing the four-star Lord Charles Hotel for failing to keep her safe and is claiming R1.7-million in damages for the terrifying ordeal she endured.

Den Hollander, a divorced mother of two, was brutalised within hours of checking into the luxury hotel. She was put on antiretrovirals after the attack, and underwent psychological counselling for trauma.

Two years after she was raped and robbed of R3600 at the hotel on March 9 2008:

  • Police have yet to arrest a suspect in the case;
  • The hotel says it is not liable to pay damages because guests signed a disclaimer protecting it against claims for loss, damage or injury; and
  • Den Hollander is being asked to put up R200000 as security for court costs before her lawsuit can proceed against the hotel, because she is a foreigner.

The high cost could derail her case.

In court papers, she accused the hotel of negligence and failure to put in place measures that could have prevented her ordeal.

Speaking to the Sunday Times this week through her lawyer, Luuk Rijnen, she said she would never again set foot in Africa, except to face her attacker in court.

The trip to South Africa was a dream come true after she had saved up to pay for an affordable 17-day holiday package which included a trek in the Drakensberg mountains, a visit to Swaziland, a trip to the Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal.

It was shortly after arriving at the Lord Charles Hotel, ahead of a tour of the Cape Winelands, that the trip turned into a nightmare.

In the statement to the police after the incident, she said she was convinced she would be killed by the rapist.

"He made me lie on the bed with my face down. He took the telephone wire. With this he tied my ankles. I was lying on my belly with my hands and feet tightly tied to my back.

"I remember that he made this quite tight. After this he put blankets and pillows over me, so I was afraid now he would shoot me because of all this noise-insulating material."

Her assailant had been hiding behind the bathroom door when Den Hollander returned to her room after a few drinks with her tour group.

The hotel, however, is defending the claim and in turn said Den Hollander was negligent with her own safety by not properly locking her room door despite written warnings.

The hotel said it had taken "reasonable steps to guard against harm to guests by among other things, engaging the services of an independent contractor".

Group chief executive officer for Command Security Services, Shaffie Mowzer, said on Friday that what had happened was both unfortunate and tragic but the company could not comment.

"The case was investigated by the police and there was never any finger pointed at the company or at the work we do."

The hotel further stated in court papers that Den Hollander had, upon arrival at the hotel, signed a disclaimer absolving it of any liability. It read: "The Lord Charles accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage or injury that may occur on our premises."

The hotel has applied to the court to compel her to pay R200000 in security for costs.

Rijnen said Den Hollander broke down when he told her about the R200000 security required.

But Den Hollander has vowed to fight on.

"She says it was only after realising that, if she stopped now without fighting back, she would feel raped twice.

"She has now pulled herself together and says she refuses to be bullied," Rijnen said.

Den Hollander told the Sunday Times via e-mail: "Did they change anything? Or do they just try to push me away so no one finds out how unsafe it is?"

Western Cape police spokesman, Warrant Officer November Filander, was unable to comment on the police investigation on Friday.

Go, Lara! South Africans Petition Wilders for Dutch Citizenship

The Hague, Netherlands - A white South African family has petitioned popular local right-wing politician Geert Wilders to help them gain Dutch citizenship more than 300 years after their ancestors left the land of tulips and windmills.

Speaking on behalf of her two brothers, 37 and 41, and her parents, Lara Johnstone, 43, this week told the Algemene Dagblad that her forebears, the Bosmans, left Amsterdam in 1707 to settle in the Western Cape.

"We want to go back to where we came from: Holland," she is quoted as saying.

Johnstone told the paper that she and her family were afraid of increased violence against white South Africans. She claims that inter-racial violence has "risen sharply" since the murder earlier this month of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche.

In a petition sent to Wilders this week, the family asked if the leader of the Partij Voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV) can assist "white Afrikaner refugees with Dutch ancestry" to attain Dutch nationality.

The Algemene Dagblad goes on to quote Durbanite Len van Eeden, 40, who claims Dutch ancestry dating back to "around '0", saying he was "very worried" about race relations in South Africa.

"We are stuck here in South Africa. We are getting worried. We do not have extreme right-wing ideas, but are simply 'moderate whites'," he said. He said Terre'Blanche's murder got him thinking about his future.

Wilders' public relations consultant, Gaelle de Graaff, said the party leader was "very, very busy preparing for an election" and would not have time to respond to enquiries about the issue.

Wilders is expected to do well in national elections in June. He is particularly popular among voters who want an end to the "Islamification" of the Netherlands.

Wilders, who likens the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and wants the book similarly banned, has slammed Islam as "the Trojan Horse of Europe".

After receiving numerous death threats, Wilders now enjoys a greater level of security than any other politician in a country where members of parliament still cycle to work alongside other citizens.

The latest refugee appeal by white South Africans comes just months after a Canadian refugee board caused a diplomatic storm by granting South African Brandon Huntley refugee status in Canada. The board declared there was an "inability or unwillingness by the government and security forces to protect white South Africans from persecution by black South Africans".

This followed Huntley's complaint of multiple muggings and that he had been called a "white dog" by black citizens.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A lie repeated becomes the truth.

It appears more and more that the “evil” right wing in South Africa is a fabrication of the MSM.

I truly despise radicalism in any form.

It is a fact that you get people of all spectra of live that does stupid and evil things, but to paint the AWB as an organization that murders others, intimidate others in an organized fashion, that openly intimidate people is an outright lie.

Dangerous falsehoods in City Press
The Ratcatcher
23 April 2010

The notorious "unsolved" 1999 murder of Ventersdorp Mayor, Kabelo Mashi, examined

JOHANNESBURG - The week after the brutal killing of AWB leader, Eugene Terre'Blanche, City Press published an article by Andile Mngxitama, policy advisor to the European Union's Foundation for Human Rights in Johannesburg. Headed "Blacks in Bondage" it stated that due to the "criminal neglect" of black people by the ANC Terre'Blanche "and his gun-toting men" had been allowed to spread terror in Ventersdorp, right up until his death. In support of this contention Mngxitama related the following horrific story:

"In 1997, a young black mayor of Ventersdorp, Kabelo Oupakie Mashi, a staunch member of the SACP, stood up against the bullies of Ventersdorp. He transformed budgets, cajoled the local criminal justice system to take racist violence seriously, and attempted to bring freedom to Ventersdorp. Mashi was abducted and murdered, his body left in the veld. Witnesses were openly intimidated and the murder remains unsolved. If a mayor can be killed for challenging white power and the perpetrators can get away with it, what chance do ordinary mortals have? Terre'Blanche had carte blanche to terrorise black people."

In such a context, Mngxitama argued, Terre'Blanche's killers were not murderers but "mere children" who had heroically acted to defend themselves and their community. Since Ventersdorp was, according to Mngxitama, but a "microcosm of South Africa" presumably this logic would apply to other farm murders in South Africa. These killings too would be a case of young black youth "pushed into a corner" fighting back against their white oppressors.

This article seems to have impressed a number of commentators. The credulous BBC correspondent, Andrew Harding, said on his blog that Mngxitama's piece summed up well the "anger I've heard from black colleagues." In The Times meanwhile Richard Pithouse, of Rhodes University, described the AWB as "like the Ku Klux Klan in some dismal Mississippi town, partisans of a brutal regime of white terror that, as Andile Mngxitama argues, has never released Ventersdorp from its grip."

It is curious that no one seems to have bothered to query the accuracy of the central factual claim in Mngxitama's piece: That AWB members had killed Mashi, that they had been able to cover it up, that the crime remains unsolved to this day, and that (as a result) blacks in Ventersdorp have lived in terror ever since.

Something does not smell quite right about this account. Would the ANC really have allowed one of their own to be murdered by the AWB and then done nothing about it? Even if they had, why didn't the media take up the story?

In truth, the story of the murder of the ANC mayor Ventersdorp, Philip Kabelo Mashi (sometimes spelt "Mashe"), is somewhat different to the version presented by Mngxitama.

According to contemporaneous press reports Mashi went missing on Saturday March 20 1999. He had told family members that he was going to pick up an associate, Johannes Bota Monatle, to take him to a farm in Lichtenburg. He did not return. On Sunday the police launched a search for him and Monatle after a farmer in the Elandskuil area reported seeing his car abandoned in a mielie field.

There was concern expressed in the immediate aftermath of the disappearance that there may have been a political motive behind it. Shortly before Mashi went missing the ANC caucus on the Ventersdorp council had acted to terminate the services of a security company with links to AWB leader, Eugene Terre'Blanche after a series of robberies (The Star, March 25 1999).

The North West police were clearly under pressure to solve the case. They offered a R20,000 reward for information. And by Wednesday, March 24 1999, 80 police officers - on horseback, motorcycles and in helicopters - had been deployed to search for the two missing men.

On Thursday, March 25, police detectives tracked down Monatle to a farm in the Lichtenburg vicinity. He was found with R1,020 in his possession which police suspected came from the R4,000 that Mashi had withdrawn from the bank shortly before his disappearance. Following his arrest Monatle led detectives to the location of Mashi's body, in a sunflower field about 2km from where the car had been abandoned. The police found the murder weapon, a knife, in the vicinity. A subsequent post mortem found Mashi had died after being stabbed in the heart and lungs.

At 5pm the same day Monatle appeared in the Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court on a charge of murder. The Sunday Independent (March 28 1999) reported that following the announcement of the arrest 300 protestors marched to the Tsing police station to demand that Monatle be handed over to them. One elderly resident of the township told the newspaper "This thug who killed our mayor should pay."

In November 2000 the case came before the Pretoria High Court's circuit court in Potchefstroom. Monatle pleaded guilty before Judge van Oosten to one charge of murder and one of robbery. According to the account presented by Monatle to the court Mashi had owed him R2,000 in connection with a transaction involving some rough diamonds, but had refused to pay him the money. This dispute had reached boiling point on the day of the murder, when the two men were sitting together in Mashi's vehicle.

Mashi had climbed out of the car, opened the door on Monatle's side, pulled him out and thrown him to the ground. Monatle had then pulled out his knife and stabbed Mashi in the chest, killing him. Monatle took the deceased's ID book, which contained R2,000, as well as his cellphone. He made his escape in Monatle's car which he abandoned in the mielie field. He threw away the car keys in bushes in Ventersdorp somewhere.

On November 27 2000 Judge van Oosten sentenced Monatle to twenty years in prison for murder and five years for robbery.

To sum up it had taken five days for the police to solve the murder of Philip Kabelo Mashi and a year and eight months to secure a conviction. This story was extensively reported on in most of the Johannesburg newspapers. The Star, Beeld, Citizen, Sunday World and Sunday Independent all ran reports about the disappearance of Mashi and the arrest of Monatle. However, his eventual conviction and sentencing seems to have gone unreported.

In a context where two farmers a week are being murdered in South Africa, the claims of Mngxitama about the murder of Kabelo Mashi are not only false, but dangerous. It is difficult to see why City Press chose to give them credence. On Sunday March 28 1999 the newspaper itself had reported: "After an intensive four day manhunt by police Monatle was found and, according to police, pointed out Mashi's maggot-infested body, the spot where he threw away Mashi's cellphone and the knife suspected to be the murder weapon."

Was Jesus the First Socialist?

... and would he have joined the ANC?

Robbers "Batter" Baby.

From IOL.

A one-year-old baby brutally assaulted during an apparent robbery in Randburg was still in a serious condition in hospital, an official said on Friday.

Sandton Medi-Clinic spokeswoman Liezel Furlong said the baby girl's condition was serious but would not give any further details.

"At this stage nothing has changed and the child is still in a serious condition," she told Sapa by phone.

Police remain tight-lipped about their investigation into the attack at a house in Robin Hills on Thursday, during which the baby and her caregiver were brutally attacked.

Colonel Eugene Opperman said he had spoken to the baby's mother and the caregiver, but would not share any more information with the media.

"The investigation will go on. We have nothing more to tell you than what we have already given out," he said.

Paramedics said the woman and baby were taken to hospital in critical conditions with serious head injuries.

"They were both transported to hospital in a critical condition," ER24 spokeswoman Vanessa Jackson said.

The child minder was taken to Helen Joseph hospital with gashes to the forehead and behind her ear, reported The Star newspaper.

The baby's mother - identified by Beeld newspaper as Madelein Kruger - arrived home from work at 1pm to find the baby unconscious and the care-giver beaten and tied up.

The Star reported a neighbour came out of her house to see the mother holding the child in her arms.

Blood was pouring from her nose and ears, Olga Rossouw told The Star.

When two security guards arrived on the scene, the baby had stopped breathing.

They drove the mother and baby to Sandton Medi-Clinic. - Sapa

Microsoft At It Again

Remember this?
Bill Gates white kids not eligible for my scholarships.

Now Microsoft is looking to invest in South Africa: but only in "black-owned" companies.

No, I'm not making this up: read on.

Microsoft seeks firms to empower in R492bn BEE deal

Rather than sell a stake in its company to local investors, Microsoft has opted to empower between five and 10 small information technology businesses in an equity equivalence deal worth R492 million.

The transaction, which has been endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Department of Communication, will be announced today.

Mteto Nyati, the managing director of Microsoft SA, said the process would lead to the selected companies being transformed into entities with the clout to compete locally and internationally.

"We want to create a new model for entrepreneurship," Nyati said.

The programme, which kicks off on Monday with a nationwide request for proposals, would be geared towards black-owned companies involved in developing technology solutions in areas such as health care, education and safety and security. Qualifying companies should have a turnover of no more than R10m and be a software developer in areas including cloud computing, which involves delivering common business or research needs such as the storage of data, across the internet to a service provider.

Microsoft hoped to work with the finalists from July.

"We are giving them access to Microsoft SA and its infrastructure, access to our labs for software development; (we are) specifically targeting unemployed graduates so that they can be placed in these companies," Nyati said.

Motse Mfuleni, the general secretary for the Black IT Forum, yesterday said the deal would contribute significantly to the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in terms of intellectual property development and job creation.

"But it must not be used as a short cut to redress the ownership of the industry," he said.

"It is focusing on only two pillars of broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE): enterprise development and skills transfer. The core is ownership," he pointed out.

Mfuleni said a recent study revealed that ownership in the ICT industry was "still in white hands".

Andre Wills, the managing director of Africa Analysis, an independent ICT consultancy firm, said any investment to lift the profile of the declining local software market was key.

Wills said a challenge would be to keep the skills and money in the country once these companies attained success.

"It's always tempting to lift the company offshore," he said.

Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of technology research company World Wide Worx, said this was the first time a major multinational invested financial muscle and expertise in the small to medium enterprise sector, as opposed to a generic offering of money that was not applied to a specific outcome.

Thabo Masombuka, the director of the BEE division at the dti, said Hewlett Packard was the only other multinational in the ICT sector which had pursued a similar path to Microsoft. The rest were in construction and engineering.

Masombuka said many companies were interested but dropped out when they realised the complexity of this process. "It becomes a very expensive and long process. Eventually many of these companies pull out," he said.

He said the dti only gave Microsoft a conditional approval, but the company promised to fulfil "one or two things".

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Schools and education will determine the future.

Intervening in discipline issues, audits to see where schools income come from, claiming schools have to many luxuries, and then using the “racism” card when the courts do not agree with you?

“….former Model C schools’ behavior was a national issue…” What exactly does this mean?

The future of South Africa is its children, and the education they get.

Rather than having (former) model C schools comply and confirm to lower standards, all schools should be encouraged to comply and confirm to the higher standards of the (former) model C schools.

Or, as an afterthought, do the “officials” want the perceived riches and luxuries of these schools for themselves?

Model C schools under fire


ALL former Model C schools are to be audited to see where their income comes from because, according to one official, they seem to have too many luxuries.

The provincial Department of Education decided on the crackdown following claims of run-ins and refusals to comply with department policies.

The principal of one top school is to be charged with insubordination.

In a heated meeting in the Bhisho Legislature yesterday, Professor Harry Nengwekhulu, the acting superintendent-general, and portfolio committee chairman Mzoleli Mrara delivered a scathing attack on the schools and slated their refusal to “comply and conform”.
“We’ve already started engaging schools around this issue,” Nengwekhulu told the portfolio committee meeting.

Nengwekhulu said the former Model C schools’ behaviour was a national issue, which he had started addressing in the province.
Mrara told the committee and department officials that former Model C schools were often “racist” and used courts to get their way with the department.

In the past few years, at least three of the schools – George Randell Primary, Queen’s College and Queenstown Girls’ High – had taken the department to court following issues regarding expulsion and enrolment.
“You should get Model C schools to comply and conform to policies,” he told Nengwekhulu.
Nengwekhulu then announced the audit.
Afterwards, another official, discussing overheads at former Model C schools, said they seemed to have too many luxuries.
According to Nengwekhulu, schools across the country were known to rent out flats or houses attached to the school, earning at times an additional R66000 a month.
Citing examples of former Model C schools’ disregard of policy, Nengwekhulu said:
• They refused to have an HIV/Aids advocacy campaign; and
• How, when he tried to intervene in a discipline issue at a top Queenstown school, the headmaster slammed the phone down and sent the school lawyer after him.
“There are huge problems at (former) Model C schools. The principal became very aggressive to me; even if he did not know who I was, he shouldn’t have dropped the phone.”
Nengwekhulu added that the principal in question was on a collision course with the department as he faced charges of insubordination.
Yesterday, some of the schools shrugged off the department’s allegations while one labelled them as “reckless”.
Queen’s College principal Chris Harker, who admitted hanging up on Nengwekhulu, said they would be happy to be audited as they had nothing to hide. He disputed that his school was not following policies, and declined further comment.
Hudson Park High School principal Roy Hewett said they would wait for specific instructions from the department regarding the audit. “School finances are handled by the school governing body and therefore would be dealt with by the SGB,” said Hewett, but the school complied with the department’s requirements.
Another former Model C school principal, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal, said: “They are targeting our schools because we are at least the only schools that are correctly functioning.” The principal said schools could not ignore policies because they all operated according to the department’s guidelines, including those on financing. He welcomed audits as they had nothing to hide.
Clarendon Girls’ High School principal Owen Nel said: “We go out of our way to comply with the department’s guidelines.”

Why We're Still Talking About Malema

While concerned citizens still bitch and moan about giving JuJu airtime and attention, the right-wing hater fear-mongers, such as myself, maintain that he is still a real threat to peace and democracy in South Africa. Here's why.

hat tip: Ozzie Saffa

ANC, Zuma, Malema and the right royal mess they've made

Read and weep....

Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-dumber

The conflicting messages that come out of the ANC these days bring that inescapable impression of internal chaos and warring groups that manoeuvre behind the scenes, organising and re-organising, ready to pounce.

There are some moments in politics when you feel that change is a’coming. There’s the moment Zuma stood up at Wits University 10 days before Polokwane and said, “We must declare a state of emergency on Aids and crime”, the moment FW won the referendum, the moment you realised John Mcain had no chance and Barack Obama would be the next US president. That feeling is in the air this week.

Usually it’s exciting. But this time it comes with that feeling you get when your dad’s brand new Merc goes crunch into the lamppost; with that spine-chilling realisation that the spider is actually inside the shower with you.

We're not given to sensationalism. But this is a sensational story. It’s about how Julius Malema seems to be winning the fight for control of the ANC, about how he’s got the upper hand over President Jacob Zuma of all people. The rule of thumb in the ANC used to be, at all costs don’t cross Zuma. He’ll win. He’s the guy who beat the overwhelming odds that the power of incumbency is supposed to bring. And yet, at this moment, he looks like he's down on the floor.

To make it worse, it really looks as if Zuma did all he was supposed to do. He went to the national executive committee and said, “Look, let’s draw a line here”. They agreed. Malema then crossed it. And Zuma acted, supposedly with the mandate and full might of the NEC behind him. And now he’s seriously considering dropping any charges against Malema.

Is this an Et tu Brute moment? Has the NEC turned on Zuma? Or perhaps some serious people inside it. Over Malema, of all people! This is one of those moments when you ask who will gain from this mess, who benefits from a weakened president. And just about everyone on the NEC, it seems to us, gains from a weak leader. From this perspective, it is really difficult to see Malema running the country, not for very long at least. But he does seem to be very useful for some people. (I see you avoided the phrase “useful idiot” – Ed). When I see a headline screaming that Mathews Phosa is against charging Malema, the thought has to be, not that he’s a supporter of Malema, but that he has his own eye out for the main chance, would like a bash at the Union Buildings himself, and a weaker Zuma improves his chances. The same would probably hold for loads of other people.

But there’s another tectonic movement taking place. If Malema gets off, after Zuma was so forceful in a press conference he arranged especially to say that Malema’s actions “went against the traditions of the ANC”, it is that he’s not really in charge. That he’s in office, but not in power. And the question that begs to be asked is, then who is in power now? That’s followed by, and then don’t you think, well, if Malema is more powerful than Zuma, is he in power. Have we really gone from Mbeki to Malema in just three years? Is that possible?

There are some people for whom we have sympathy here. ANC deputy secretary general Thandi Modise is one. This isn’t her fight, and on Tuesday she had to face the press and explain how in the ANC, someone is told they’ll be charged, then the disciplinary committee investigates, then they are given the formal charges. So Malema’s been told he’ll be charged, but hasn’t been given the formal charges yet. That rare combination, a former MK commander, a doer and a thinker, even Modise can't cover the fact that it’s impossible to justify what’s going on in the party now.

The person we find it very difficult to have sympathy for is Zuma. Yes, the Youth League has unleashed its A-bomb, claiming that everything Malema “does, everything he says, he’s representing the league”, which pits them directly against Zuma. But, hell, he's the one who let this happen. On his watch. There are loads of things he could have done to silence the loose cannon before, but he just encouraged Malema. It was advantageous for Zuma when Malema was shouting “I’d kill for Zuma” before last year’s elections, curdling Cope supporters' blood. Zuma should have rebuked him publicly back then, because that was where the chaos started.

But this street fight isn’t over by any means. The political brains and experience at Zuma’s disposal mean Malema will probably be out-gunned in the end, one way or another.

It is all about political will, and the way it is shaped and used in a one-party state.

PS. And, to all the people of South Africa, today is 50 days before the World Cup; we're still talking about Malema.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Conversations on Long Street

One of the most striking things about Cape Town is how vibrant and friendly it is by day, and how seedy and menacing it can be at night.

I have just moved into the CBD for the next two weeks or so, and while Long Street is now effectively my back yard, the contrast, once the sun sets, is frightening, and a reminder of what Pretoria and Johannesburg have become.

I managed, surprisingly, to walk the entire length of Long Street, acquire some KFC, and then return home not only unscathed, but having managed not to distribute most of my loose change in the process. I have taken to walking in the middle of the road in parts to avoid the many "conversations" the idle traveller is subjected to along the street.

The beggars are overwhelming young, able-bodied and male, and the dealers of drugs and women usually foreign, but not always so. I suppose if the demand did not exist, neither would the supply, but I think one of the reasons I am so anti-drugs is because of the type of people who make money off them. I'm no prude, neither I am much of a social conservative, but in a city like this, you need your wits about you.

Capetonians, why can't you keep your hands off the Colombian marching powder? Look what all this sh*t is doing to your city. It seems that even Cape Town's wealthy are unable to connect the dots.

Middle-aged, bearded, German men indulge their self-loathing by picking up young black girls on the street.

The worst are the beggars/dealers who follow you, walking alongside trying to strike up a conversation. The same guy tried this both ways.
"I am from Tanzania", he said.

"That's funny", I replied. "You were from Liberia ten minutes ago."

The conversations usually begin with calling you "sir", or something equally offensive like "master", or, to my dismay, "father".

It's hard to know whether to be aggressive, or just walk faster. I generally choose the latter, in a country where life is cheap. I never smile, I've learnt it's a sign of weakness, or encouragement, so I keep an icy expression.

There is no police presence, at all, as there would be in the quietest of European cities. And so Cape Town descends into a night-time world of whispers from doorways and offers of illicit services to passers-by.

Off-Topic: Equal Opportunity in Workplace Fatalities

I think this makes a good point ..

Mark J. Perry

Creating ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’: Occurs Next in 2021

By Mark J. Perry

April 14, 2010, 3:38 pm

The recent deaths of 29 men in a West Virginia coal mine illustrate an important point about the labor market: men have much greater exposure than women to work-related fatalities because men are overrepresented in the most dangerous, high-risk jobs like coal mining (almost 100 percent male), fire fighters (97 percent), police officers (84 percent), correctional officers (73 percent), and construction (97 percent), according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

In 2008 (most recent year available), men were 13 times more likely than women to get killed on the job—4,703 men died in work-related accidents compared to only 368 women (see chart below). Workplace safety improvements have reduced the annual number of fatal occupational injuries in the United States by almost 25 percent since the early 1990s, but the share of male deaths has remained constant at about 93 percent for the last several decades (BLS data here).


Economics tells us that total worker compensation takes the form of both monetary and non-monetary factors. The less favorable the non-monetary factors of a job are (e.g., physically demanding labor in relatively dangerous work conditions), the more monetary compensation is required to offset those undesirable job characteristics. Because male workers are disproportionately exposed to dangerous work conditions, the wages in many male-dominated professions reflect a wage premium to compensate for the higher occupational risk, and this is one reason for a gender wage gap.

This has nothing to do with discrimination, but can be explained by gender differences in workplace risk tolerance. On average, men are more willing than women to accept higher compensation for a higher risk of work-related death or injury.

For those groups that support gender pay equity, like the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), they have to also be simultaneously advocating increasing the number of women in higher-risk occupations like coal mining. That will reduce the gender pay gap, but it will come at a huge cost: thousands of additional women every year will face certain work-related deaths.

Interestingly, groups like the NCPE never mention the issue of worker safety when they explain differences in pay, but instead claim that:

Part of the wage gap results from differences in education, experience or time in the workforce. But a significant portion cannot be explained by any of those factors; it is attributable to discrimination. In other words, certain jobs pay less because they are held by women and people of color.

To promote its position of gender pay equity, the NCPE annually publicizes “Equal Pay Day,” upcoming next week on Tuesday, April 20. According to the NCPE:

This date symbolizes how far into 2010 women must work to earn what men earned in 2009. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages.

Inspired by Equal Pay Day, and in recognition of the significant gender differences in workplace deaths, let me propose the creation of “Equal Occupational Fatality Day,” which will occur next on October 11, 2021. That date symbolizes how long women will have to work before they experience the same loss of life from work-related deaths that men experienced in 2008. Because most women work in much safer occupations than men, they must work about 13 years longer than men to experience the same number of occupational fatalities. Equal Occupational Fatality Day is being originated to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s occupational deaths, and bring awareness to the fact that closing the pay gap would also close the work-related death gap and expose thousands of women to occupational fatalities each year.

NUMSA: Eskom Must Renegotiate With BHP

hat tip: anonymous poster

Eskom must renegotiate its contract with mining giant BHP Billiton, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Wednesday.

"The imperialist companies BHP Billiton and Anglo American signed clandestine deals with Eskom in the past decade, guaranteeing the two imperialist owned companies the supply of cheap electricity at a price of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for most of the lifespan of aluminium smelters built on the basis of the contracts," Numsa said in a statement.

It said the "clandestine" deal was nothing less than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.

Numsa demanded that Eskom unwind its agreement with BHP Billiton "in the interests of the workers and the poor" and that the parastatal halt its tariff hikes.

The Democratic Alliance said earlier on Wednesday in a statement that it had in its possession a confidential Eskom report.

The report showed that Motraco, a Mozambican electricity distribution company, had been paying 12 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity which was "far below cost".

The report said Motraco was the fifth largest electricity user in South Africa, taking 3.7 percent of all electricity generated in the country.

"Motraco supplies 95 percent of its electricity to Mozal Aluminium Smelter in Mozambique and Mozal in turn is a subsidiary of BHP Billiton," the DA said.

It said BHP Billiton was Eskom's second largest buyer of electricity for its Hillside and Bayside smelters in Richards Bay, which consumed 5.6 percent of the total electricity in South Africa.

"In other words, BHP Billiton, directly and through its subsidiaries, takes up 9.3 percent of all electricity generated by Eskom -- making it the single biggest user of electricity in South Africa."

According to reports, Eskom was currently renegotiating its contract with BHP Billiton which was expected to be concluded before May 27. - Sapa

Anonymous added the comment:
"Remember, the real enemy is Big Capitalism, who use white africans as the scapegoat while milking the continent! "

....Which, I have to disagree with, actually: when companies cosy up to government and get 'special deals', it's not Capitalism, it's Corporatism.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cape Town 6th Best City to Live in - For Men :)

Singapore - New York has beaten Chicago as the world's best city to live in 2010 if you're a man, coming up trumps in both professional and personal fields, according to a survey.

The poll, by men's website ranked 29 cities across the globe based on how good they are for men to live, work and play, based on data that includes the number of vacation days, the ratio of men to women, the weather, the unemployment rate and new restaurant and club openings.

Despite being battered by the global economic crisis, New York took the top spot, with Melbourne, Australia, coming in second. Tokyo was ranked third and Madrid and London rounded off the top five.

Cape Town is ranked number six.

"We're positioning the best cities that you can live in say, for a year, somewhere exotic, with cultural options, and job opportunities as well, and also entertainment as a man, which includes clubs and fresh air options," James Bassil, the website's editor-in-chief, told Reuters.

Newcomers to this year's list include Las Vegas, at number 29, which Bassil said was a surprise given the city had been hard hit by 2008's economic turmoil. Other "surprises" include Bogota, Colombia - "it's not always been seen as the safest place," Bassil said - and Shanghai in China, due to host the World Expo this year.

Last year's top five cities, according to, were: Chicago, Barcelona, San Francisco, London and Sydney.

The website ranks cities on seven factors: weather, cost of living, professional life, dating, night on the town, day on the town and this year's newcomer, fresh air factor.

It uses data from the United Nations and global consultancy Mercer, among others.

Following is this year's list of top 29 cities for men. 1. New York City 2. Melbourne 3. Tokyo 4. Madrid 5. London 6. Cape Town 7. Miami 8. Buenos Aires 9. Sydney 10. San Francisco 11. Paris 12. Los Angeles 13. Hong Kong 14. Tel Aviv 15. Barcelona 16. Sao Paulo 17. Berlin 18. Lisbon 19. Beirut 20. Istanbul 21. Shanghai 22. Montreal 23. Amsterdam 24. Chicago 25. Toronto 26. Kyoto 27. Bogota 28. Rome 29. Las Vegas

Tourists stay away from World Cup

Less than half of the 500, 000 foreign tourists expected to travel to South Africa for the World Cup are actually going to arrive.

Current Font Size:
FEW REAL BODIES: Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto  Parreira at a World Cup training session in Herzogenaurach, Germany,  this week. Recent figures suggest fewer international fans will make the  journey to South Africa Picture: GALLO IMAGES
FEW REAL BODIES: Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira at a World Cup training session in Herzogenaurach, Germany, this week. Recent figures suggest fewer international fans will make the journey to South Africa Picture: GALLO IMAGES
quote Owners have spent thousands refurbishing their premises

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Fifa officials saying that the number of soccer fans expected to arrive in South Africa has dropped to 220, 000.

As a result, South Africa's economy, and particularly its tourism sector, has been dealt a major blow because many owners have spent thousands refurbishing their hotels and guesthouses and are now less likely to get their money back.

In 2007, international business consultants Grant Thornton projected that the World Cup would bring R21.3-billion into the local economy and create 159, 000 new jobs.

Two months ago, international consultants Morgan Stanley estimated that 350, 000 visitors would spend about R15-billion on their World Cup trips.

This now looks unlikely.

The government has spent about R33-billion on the tournament, building stadiums and improving infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications and transport.

Fifa spokesman Delia Fisher confirmed that the number of tourists expected to arrive in South Africa had dwindled, but said issuing actual figures would amount to a "premature calculation".

By early this year, Match, Fifa's hospitality arm, which could not be reached for comment yesterday, had already released about 500, 000 beds back on to the market after it became clear that fewer international soccer fans wished to travel to South Africa.

This devastated owners of small guesthouses and bed and breakfast establishments, including Lizz Chanza, owner of the Chanza B&B in Pimville, who expected to earn a packet from the tournament.

"They [Match] are very cruel. They dumped us at the last minute. I hate Match for what they did," she said. "They wanted to take the bread out of our mouths. We are not expensive, our pricing is reasonable."

Match had also booked 45, 000 return seats on SAA-operated local flights but reduced the total to a mere 1, 000, a move that has resulted in a substantial drop in airfares during the World Cup period.

Michael Tatalias, CEO of the Southern African Tourism Services Association, said his organisation had been "very realistic" about the number of visitors expected during the World Cup.

"We've been expecting around that number [220, 000] anyway, though our predictions were slightly more than that," he said.

"We are disappointed that it may be fewer than we thought, but we expected a total of 450, 000 people - including the teams, their managers and partners as well as the entire international media."

Tatalias said he felt sorry for those who thought they would make "a fortune" from the month-long tournament.

"Tourism is a confidence thing and the current economic climate in Europe is fragile," he said.

"Because of job insecurity, people are more concerned about the cost of a long-haul trip to South Africa so some may opt to buy a big-screen TV and maybe appease the family with a little holiday to a nearer destination later, which would cost much less than coming here."

Tatalias said all that remained to be done was offer the best possible experience for overseas tourists so that "even those who could not come can see that South Africa is a great holiday destination and thus create tourism opportunities for years to come".

South Korea and Japan, which hosted the 2002 World Cup and is also a long-haul destination from Europe, recorded about 404, 000 visitors.

SA Tourism's chief marketing officer Rosen Singh said they had been expecting about 300, 000 but it was still too soon to say how many will arrive.

"All we can base things on right now are the ticket sales and we are still unsure as to what those relate to in visitor numbers," she said.

"There has never been a consolidated number of how many visitors we would have, but we are working on a figure of 300, 000 and we believe we will reach that."

The Associated Press reported that because Fifa still has 355, 000 tickets to sell in eight weeks before the tournament, it has been forced to offer cheaper tickets to "avoid a public relations disaster - the sight of empty seats at stadiums".

But Fisher said Fifa was pleased with how the final over-the-counter ticket sales phase was going and was confident that stadiums will be full, "even without lowering ticket prices."

About 2.3-million tickets have been sold.

What the ecomomists say:

Ecomomists said that the combination of the global financial crisis, expensive long-haul flights to South Africa and pricey accommodation have all contributed to the decline in the number of visitors expected to attend the 2010 World Cup.

The UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper yesterday reported Fifa officials saying that only 220, 000 of the expected 55, 000 fans are likely to turn up.

Economist Mike Schussler said: "Our own greed contributed to it through expensive hotel prices, flights, etcetera. People saw it as a get-rich-quick scheme. Guesthouses outside the host cities will see little or no visitors at all."

Schussler said the recession was largely responsible for the decline in the number of expected visitors. He said that many of the projections were made before the global recession.

Investment Solutions economist Chris Hart said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decrease in numbers of foreign visitors expected to attend the tournament.

However, he said this could be a blessing is disguise because many potential visitors could now take advantage of the resulting cheap tickets and accommodation.

South Africans, Hart said, had let the country's international image slip at a crucial time: "The Terre Blanche murder, stories about the selling of bullet-proof vests and crime help reinforce perceptions that South Africa is a lawless society."

But Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt believes that the World Cup will still have many positive spin-offs, although he did say that the decline in visitor numbers will deprive the South African economy of about R10-billion.

"I think we will not see less than 300, 000 visitors. The most important thing is that those who come should be treated well. The real long-term benefits will be after the World Cup," Roodt said.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Right Winger" arrested for arms cache

Right-wing organisation allegedly planning to sabotage the World Cup

Apr 19, 2010 7:01 AM | By Sapa

A 62-year-old man was arrested earlier this week when an arms cache was found during a raid on his Worcester home, the Sunday Independent reported.

Army rifle and ammunition

Almost 10,000 rounds of ammunition, a 9mm pistol, South African Defence Force equipment and explosives were found in the home of Frederick Rabie, a former lieutenant colonel in the commandos.

He was granted bail and expected to appear in court again on Monday.

The raid was reportedly part of a police investigation on members of the extreme right-wing organisation, the Suidlanders for allegedly planning to sabotage the Fifa World Cup.

The Independent reported that raids had taken place in Pretoria, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

The paper claims the investigation of the alleged sabotage plot is linked to the website

The website carries a large banner that reads "Why We Are White Refugees...". It carries articles entitled "Wake up Whitey!", "Boycott 2010 World Cup" and "ANC: VIP's of Violence", amongst others.

Police have refused to comment on the investigations.

The Independent quoted a "well-placed" source within the Suidlanders as saying members were collecting arms and ammunition to carry out "dirty tricks" in an attempt to scare away foreign visitors.

However Suidlanders national co-ordinator Johann le Roux said the organisation was not a political movement.