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Letters to Newspapers 2017

The Mercury

 CONTEXTUALISING MUGABE'S LEGACY      posted 30 November 2017

 Although there is universal awareness of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse under Mugabe, its extent needs to be contextualised.

In 1978 the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies based in Uppsala, Sweden, published a research paper by Howard Simson which, inter alia, examined the economy of Rhodesia during the period 1965-1978. The paper made the following observations:

 Between 1965 and 1974, Rhodesia’s economy grew at an average of 7% per annum. The per capita GDP rose 35% in 9 years.

The manufacturing sector grew the fastest between 1965 and 1974, expanding by 142%. Commercial farming grew by 72% and mining by 90%. As  a result unemployment was minimal.

The economy peaked in 1974. The increased severity of the security situation as a result of the Bush War which required increasing military expenditure along with the strictures of international economic sanctions brought about a 15% decline in GDP between 1974 and 1978

Rhodesia achieved phenomenal economic growth and industrialisation despite an international trade embargo and sanctions and the destabilising effect and costs of a war against insurgents.  

The consequence of Mugabe’s callous and racist seizure of productive farming enterprises was destitution for over 300,000 African farm labourers who were forced off those farms by the new owners. Famine followed as basic foodstuffs became unobtainable or unaffordable because of importation costs. The distribution of imported food supplies became a political weapon. Those who were deemed to be opposition supporters were denied access to those food supplies.  

As a result of Zanification in which every aspect of life In Zimbabwe  was politically controlled by the Zanu elite,  dysfunctionalism, breakdown and neglect came to characterise daily life from electricity and water supply to road maintenance, refuse collection, infrastructure maintenance, social services and worst of all the buying power of the currency. As government debt spiralled out of control and overseas aid dried up, so the value of the Zim dollar went into free-fall resulting in the worst hyperinflation in history when a trillion dollar note could not buy a pocketful of goods. With every incentive to escape from Mugabe’s ‘liberated’ paradise, more than two million Zimbabweans became refugees. Those that could not leave found themselves as part of the 90% unemployment that prevailed as a result of the economic chaos Mugabe had created.  

In 1980, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania described Zimbabwe as the “jewel” of Africa. Yet Mugabe succeeded in bankrupting Zimbabwe despite boundless international aid and loans and without any external insurgent threat. He also succeeded in transforming a country self-sufficient in food and de-industrialising its manufacturing capacity. Under Mugabe, Zimbabwe became a mendicant state.  

The cruel reality of Mugabe’s legacy, which has been repeated many times in Africa and is being played out in South Africa under the ANC, is that the very people for whom ostensibly “liberation” was achieved – the ordinary African civilian – has become the biggest loser and borne the  brunt of the exploitation, tyranny and failure which  political elites have inflicted.  

Africa is in dire need of liberation from those who have claimed to be its liberators.



The Daily News is to be commended for its forthright and honest editorial (November 23) on the culpability of presidents of South Africa in condoning and failing to act against the brutal despotism of Robert Mugabe.

Verse 8 of Psalm 12 illustrates this sorry and sordid situation accurately: "The wicked strut freely about when what is vile is honoured by men."

If Thabo Mbeki's much vaunted "African Renaissance" had had a shred of credibility,he would have acted firmly against Mugabe's electoral theft and destruction of Zimbabwe's economy. But he did nothing. As for Jacob Zuma, given his insatiable desire for enrichment, it might be said that he was too busy thus engaged to threaten Mugabe, who, in any case was doing what Zuma was doing - enriching himself at the expense of Zimbabwe.

But the hypocrisy of those two ANC presidents goes further. Loud in proclaiming the Freedom Charter as their holy writ, by failing to act decisively against the despot Mugabe, they violated the Freedom Charter's commitment to liberty and independence for African peoples.

The irony of Mugabe's fall from power and the growing groundswell of discontent with the ANC, is that a new era has begun: that of liberation from those who claimed to be liberators.

The Mercury


The remarks by Nokwanda Khuzwayo concerning pupils' culture at schools (Mercury, November 23) provide insight on the decline of discipline in schools.

Khuzwayo argues that teachers have no right to "disrespect" what a particular culture upholds and adduces hair length as an example. Negotiation and compromise on an individual basis, Khuzwayo asserts, should be the way to handle cultural differences.

Obviously some leeway has to be provided where critical religious obligations may apply. But essentially school discipline is premised on uniformity and conformity. One cannot condone dreadlocks for one pupil and prescribe short back and sides for another.

All properly established schools have school rules and an ethos to uphold. If an applicant for enrollment finds that he or she cannot abide by a school's code of conduct, then that applicant should move on and find a school that is compatible or compliant with his or her culture.

Excessive democratisation and liberalisation in schools has undermined and, in many cases, crippled disciplinary parameters. Conformity and uniformity in the formative years of life is necessary in producing order in society. The reason there is social malaise and meltdown nowadays is because discipline has been eroded and neglected in homes. The products of those "homes" and their "anything goes" attitudes then expect toleration and latitude in schools.

Unless pupils respect and accept the conformity and uniformity that should underpin school discipline,
schools can toss their codes of conduct in the bin.


The Mercury

HISTORY AND LEGEND posted 22 November 2017

Vukani Mbhele (Mercury, November 17) is entitled to his own opinions but not to his own facts.

By objecting to the facts I put forward on Oliver Tambo ( Mercury, 14 November), it is clear that Mbhele prefers imagery of legend rather than historical reality. With the passage of time, the images of those who have been hailed by earlier generations as legends are not infrequently tarnished by historical facts that were hitherto ignored or suppressed.

A good example of that is the 2008 publication by Cambridge University historian Nigel Knight on Winston Churchill. Famed for his wartime broadcasts and image of a stubborn bulldog, Knight's research shows Churchill's stewardship to have been marked by poor strategy and disastrous decisions from Gallipoli in 1915 to Dieppe in 1942 and beyond 1945 when he was the absentee leader of the opposition (writing his WW2 histories) and a lacklustre Prime Minister during his second term in office.

Just as the repository of history serves to right-size the image of Churchill, so Mr Mbhele should recognise
that Tambo's image is not immune to historical review. Even Stephen Ellis, who is sympathetic towards the ANC, acknowledges that at best Tambo was an umpire presiding over the quarrelsome factions of the ANC (External Mission: ANC in Exile,p. 102).Until 1969, Tambo's role was that of an acting leader.To a large extent he was upstaged by the UDF after 1985.

Tambo, like Thabo Mbeki, may have lived decades in exile, but Mbhele should not be under any illusions about their lifestyles. As recipeints of aid from the likes of Sweden, the USSR and other leftist donors, they did not exactly slum it in terms of how they were feted and accommodated by their patrons - from London to Moscow.

Another legend that cannot defy the facts of history is that of Samora Machel, Mr Mbhele objects to him
being labelled a tyrant. But there is no other term to describe his cruel incarceration of political opponents
in "re-education camps" where they were tortured, beaten and starved or Machel's wanton massacre of villagers in Tete and Zambesia provinces and his pogrom against Christians. Machel and Mengistu of Ethiopia were the Stalins of Africa. The facts are in Dr Peter Hammond's book The killing fields of Mozambique (Cape Town, 1998).

MUGABE'S LEGACY - posted 18 November 2017

Although the political demise of Robert Mugabe is decades overdue, his legacy in
Zimbabwe will endure indefinitely.

From the outset in 1980 he was the beneficiary of British indifference. Despite thousands of reports of intimidation, torture and beatings meted out against opposition parties by Mugabe's Zanu cadres in the lead up to the 1980 election, Lord Soames turned a blind eye
and declared Mugabe the winner.

Twice, in 1983 and 1985, Mugabe conducted a form of ethnic cleansing against the minority Ndebele tribe. His hired North Korean Fifth Brigade massacred between 20,000 and 40,000 Ndebele. For that alone Mugabe should have been prosecuted by the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity. But nothing happened.

By 1987 Mugabe had colonised his rival Joshua Nkomo's Zapu party and Zimbabwe had effectively become a one-party state. Although the 1979 Lancaster House agreementguaranteed white citizens twenty seats in the Zim parliament, Mugabe scrapped that as well.

Despite the legal registration of white-owned farms with the Zimbabwe government, Mugabe declared war on white farmers who accounted for 40% of Zimbabwe's economy. Hordes of so-called green bombers were instructed to seize farms and drive out their legal owners.

In a reign of terror, in which several farmers were killed or badly beaten,3,500 white farmers, their families, their pets and possessions were brutally evicted from their legally-owned properties, in most cases at short notice. As a result 350,000 African farm labourers found themselves homeless and unemployed.

Mugabe's politically inspired, racist seizure of white farmland destroyed Zimbabwe's economy. Within a short time, previously productive farms were stripped of all their assets by the new owners and left to revert to bush and weeds. Basic foodstuffs became unobtainable and by 2003, some eight million Zimbabweans were starving. Unemployment reached 90%. Desperate to survive, over two million Zimbabweans sought refuge in South Africa.

Every aspect of Zimbabwe's infrastructure and governance became the subject of neglect and impoverishment. Despite that, Mugabe and his Zanu-PF henchmen continued to enjoy lives of luxury and privilege while the most extreme hyperinflation in history totally impoverished the country. Shamelessly Mugabe used the Zimbabwean army to ring-fence a diamond rich area in the Congo during the civil war there and looted a personal fortune of $3 billion(See: Mercury,March 6, 2003).

Despite losing a referendum on constitutional change, Mugabe remained in power by rigging and stealing every election since 2000. Despite that, the ANC routinely accepted Mugabe as the legitimate ruler of Zimbabwe. Despite the Freedom Charter's promise of liberty to "all the people of Africa," the ANC governments of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma ignored Mugabe's brutal violation of human rights in Zimbabwe and his mockery of democracy.

Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF cohorts destroyed a once thriving, promising country. They also destroyed the lives and prospects of millions of its citizens. They achieved this whilst enriching themselves to an obscene extent. When communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, the brutal billionaire dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceaucescu and his wife, Elena, were captured and shot by firing squad. Mugabe and his ilk deserve no less.


ZIKALALA'S ECONOMIC PIPEDREAM        posted 17 November 2017

No degree of reliance on jargon and buzz words such as “game-changer” by ANC KZN faction leader Sihle Zikalala can disguise what is utter claptrap in claiming "a new economic dawn" awaits KZN (Mercury, November 16 2017).

 His latest half page discourse is premised on the fallacy that South Africa is pursuing “accelerated economic growth.” If only that were true. Instead job losses continue unabated and economic growth for 2017 is a mere 0,5%. Undeterred by such facts, Zikalala then claims that on the back of this economic growth his pet socialist policy of redistribution and radical economic transformation will be implemented.

 At the same time Zikalala expects this all to be an “investment attraction” which will be facilitated by a new “one-stop shop” for business which will “fast-track, unblock and reduce red tape in government.”

 Whilst of course there is merit in attracting business investment, that investment is not going to be forthcoming as long as Zikalala and his ilk seek to ring-fence state contracts exclusively for Africans – the policy he announced last month. Investment is not attracted by terms and conditions that prescribe racial quotas in terms of ownership and participation. Besides, the prospect of economic redistribution does not encourage economic growth.

 Then there is the environment into which Zikalala seeks to attract investment. Thanks to Zikalala and his faction, politically KZN is volatile and unstable. Corruption abounds at provincial and local government levels. Dysfunctionalism is the reality of most municipalities where, as in the case of the lower South Coast, water supply was disrupted for weeks.

The only “game-changer” that can herald a new economic dawn for KZN is the removal of the ANC from power and the application of liberal free enterprise policies premised on merit instead of race and failed socialist ideology



Author Jacques Pauw's allegation that, while President, Jacob Zuma received R12 million
from a Durban security company (Mercury, November 9) suggests a situation that has parallels
with the case of former US Vice President Spiro Agnew.

In October 1973 Agnew resigned as Vice President. For the previous eight months he had denied
charges of bribery and corruption during his term as Governor of Maryland and during his tenure
as Vice President in the Nixon Administration.

But when the charges persisted and became a matter of court adjudication, Agnew instructed his
lawyers to plead nolo contendere - no contest, which was the equivalent of a guilty plea. Agnew
was given a $10,000 fine and disbarred.

In 1981, after his attorney-client relationship had lapsed, it was disclosed that Agnew had accepted
bribes worth $147,500 while Governor of Maryland and that the trail of corruption had continued whilst
he served as US Vice President to the tune of a further $17,500. As was stated at the time, "Spiro Agnew
used the privilege of his high office for his own purposes."

Not only was Agnew's acceptance of that money immoral and illegal but his failure to disclose it for tax purposes
was a further crime. Jacques Pauw's contention concerning Zuma and Royal Security company appears strikingly
similar. Not only is it unconstitutional for a president to be on the payroll of a private company, it is a crime for
failing to declare those earnings for tax purposes. At R1 million a month over the period of a year, Zuma may
be liable for R4,8 million in unpaid taxes.

Although initially Spiro Agnew stalled in admitting his guilt, when he saw his case scheduled for court, he
took the only honourable course left and resigned as US Vice President. Already Zuma is denying Pauw's findings
and claiming they are "fictitious stories." Agnew erred disgracefully but at least he did submit tax returns even if they
were inaccurate. Pauw's findings, confirmed by Ivan Pillay, a senior SARS official, are that between 2009 and 2014
Zuma failed to render tax returns.

For that disgrace alone Zuma should resign. After all, his conduct appears far more illegitimate than Agnew's.

The Mercury

TAMBO EULOGY posted 12 Nov 2017

History without context invariably degenerates into propaganda. Arushan Naidoo's eulogy of Oliver Tambo (Mercury, 9 November) is a case in point.

In the first instance Naidoo's eulogy hardly qualifies to feature on a page which claims to be for "analysis." Whatever private views he has towards Tambo as his hero are fine but given the prominence they were afforded plainly suggests their publication was intended to serve a political purpose.

As such, it is disappointing to note how the past is selectively mined so as to bolster current political agendas and platforms. Indeed the discipline of History now seems open to exploitation nd abuse from all and sundry.

In correcting some of Naidoo's views on Tambo, he should note that the ANC leadership in exile enjoyed plush lifestyles courtesy of their Soviet and Swedish financiers. To state that Tambo was an "inseparable" ally of Samora Machel should sound alarm bells for anyone familiar with Machel's tyranny in Mozambique. Certainly Tambo cannot be credited for having played a key role in the transfer of power to the ANC in the 1990s. That role belongs to Mandela.

While Tambo is generally portrayed as a moderate, he never condemned the torture and executions that were carried out in ANC camps and the horrific conditions that prevailed there. But then that was why he was characterised as more of an umpire in striving to contain the fractious elements within the ANC than as a dynamic leader.

If Arushan Naidoo wants to contextualise Tambo's role in history, he needs to divest himself of infatuation and read a bit more widely. Stephen Ellis's book The ANC in Exile would be a good start along with Niel Barnard's
Secret Revolution.
Business Report

WHY THERE IS A SKILLS CRISIS posted 8 November 2017

Few white parents reading Marc Lubner's article headed 'How we can fix South Africa's skills development crisis' (Business Report, November 7) would resonate with his comments.

The reason for that is his obvious acceptance of what has led to the skills crisis: affirmative action and BEE. Lubner needs to visit one of the agencies that do screen tests for those who want to emigrate. There he will be confronted by the reality of the skills crisis. Dozens and dozens of skilled, mostly white, artisans and technicians who are applying for entry into Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US. Skilled human resources have become South Africa's most significant export As education standards decline further and the schools are engulfed by indiscipline, so the plight of youth will worsen. White children are being affected by those conditions just as severely as black kids. But the plight of white children is far more bleak because the likes of Lubner and his NGO apparently do not recognise whites as being disadvantaged.

Schools became multi-racial in 1991. Apart from the franchise, most other apartheid legislation had lapsed before 1994.So, more than a quarter of a century on, it is fallacious to persist talking about disadvantaged sections of society and linking them only to a particular colour group. There are disadvantaged youngsters in all racial groups and there always will be. If one had to conduct an historical audit of South Africa since 1994, one of the most obvious findings would be that the much-vaunted principle of non-racialism is a farce and a fallacy.


The Mercury


It is unfortunate that the Mercury's rather cursory farewell editorial to Chief Buthelezi (October 31) is marred by historical inaccuracy. In stating that "Buthelezi's tenure as IFP leader is not comparable with that of Oliver Tambo who led the ANC's external mission from 1960 to 1990," the Mercury makes two mistakes. Tambo became leader in 1969 having served in an acting capacity until then. So his actual tenure of the ANC's external wing was
just 21 years whereas Buthelezi led the IFP for 42 years. But aside from the difference in time frames, the historical realities are such that it is perverse to suggest that Tambo's role was greater than Buthelezi's. Having recently been treated to pages of print eulogising Tambo, some right-sizing of his footprint is overdue.

Tambo left South Africa in March 1960 and acquired a house for his family in the middle-class suburb of Muswell Hill in London. For the next thirty years he lived out of a suitcase constantly travelling between Africa, Asia and Europe courtesy of funds donated by the likes of Sweden and the USSR.

His greatest achievement during that time was that he was able to remain president of a very fractious ANC in exile. As Stephen Ellis states in his sympathetic account External Mission -The ANC in Exile (2012): "Struggling to assert his authority over an organisation as quarrelsome as the ANC, Tambo saw his role essentially as that of an umpire"  (p. 102).

While Buthelezi was attempting to serve his people within the marginalised structures of apartheid regional government - a role which Tambo initially endorsed - Tambo's contribution was an incendiary one of trying to overthrow Buthelezi via a civil war in KZN. As ANC leader, Tambo must have been aware of the plan of ANC operatives in Lusaka to kill Buthelezi (Ellis, p. 221). And while Buthelezi was a voice of moderation in trying to improve the lives of his people, Tambo did nothing to stop the murderous purges in ANC camps in Angola and elsewhere where conditions were described as inhumane (Ellis, p. 228).

Buthelezi did not promote sabotage and the cowardly murder and maiming of defenceless, innocent citizens. He also resisted the application of disinvestment and sanctions because it would hurt the very people for which the political struggle was being waged. Since 1994 his tenure as minister of Home Affairs deserves commendation in the light of
ANC's efforts to discredit and undermine his ministry (see chapter 67 of The Prince and I by Mario Oriani-Ambrosini).
It is within those contexts, that the legacies of Tambo and Buthelezi should be assessed.


The Mercury


George Devenish (Mercury, October 24) rightly censures the ring-fencing of state contracts exclusively for Africans as proposed by ANC KZN faction leader Sihle Zikalala. But what Zikalala seeks is actually a refinement of what the ANC has been doing for years.

Sections 9, 195 and 217 of the constitution refer to persons, that is individuals, and categories of persons, meaning racial groups, as being favoured for preferment in posts and contracts. Yet the constitution does not prescribe racial group quotas such as we see where jobs and the like are allocated in terms of demographic percentages. Yet in all matters, from procurement to contract allocation and staffing, the ANC appliesracial group quotas.

Thus, in KZN with a black demographic in excess of 80%, that is how the provincial cake is cut despite the wording of the constitution. Of course, this practice is an utter violation of the principle of non-racialism. But as a good Marxist, Zikalala is simply applying Lenin's dictum that "principles are like pie crusts: they are made to be broken."

Having gone unchallenged in applying racial group quotas, the likes of Zikalala are simply tossing constitutional fetters overboard and applying the ideal his ilk has always fostered, namely, the old PAC slogan, "Africa for the Africans." Zikalala's proposal also reflects the political desperation of his faction. Faced with the reality that his grip on power is under severe threat, constitutional niceties cannot be allowed to restrict his political  ambitions.


The Mercury


The disintegration of discipline in schools and in society is neither new nor surprising
(Mercury, 25 October). The Ancients were aware of it and advised on how to avoid it.

Plato, who lived 350 years before the Christ - or the Common Era, as it is now called-
had this to say on the subject in his book The Republic:
"It cannot be hoped that they will grow strong and straight if they are reared amongst images of vice, as upon wholesome pastures, culling much every day by little and little
from many places and feeding upon it, until they insensibly accumulate a large mass of evil
in their inmost souls."

Three of the four Proverbs in the Old Testament on parenting were written by the sage Solomon who lived a thousand years before Christ. In each of them ( 13: 24; 22;13 and 29:15 &17) he makes it clear that the rod of correction has virtuous consequences.

Given the unprecedented tsunami of corrupting influences that exist today, the wisdom of the Ancients is more needed than ever before in disciplining children.

Unfortunately, those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.


The Editor
BIZNEWS/ Business Day/ Star

SA NEEDS A NEW CODESA posted 10 October 2017

History has a habit of repeating itself. By the late 1980s, extra-parliamentary activities had eclipsed the role of Parliament as the arbiter and driver of change. That same reality prevails today. Apart from initiatives of the main opposition parties to pursue judicial action against corruption and fraud, Parliament has shown itself to be unable uphold its oath to serving the people of South Africa by impeaching the corrupt President.

Once again, the initiative, momentum and impetus in promoting action to bring about change lies with extra- parliamentary organisations. Not only are they sentinels calling for justice but they are activists going after the perpetrators of corruption and state capture. They include: forensic investigator Paul Sullivan, OUTA (Organisation undoing tax abuse), Right2know campaign, Helen Suzman Foundation, FW De Klerk Foundation, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Institute of Race Relations, Institute of Security Studies, Afriforum and many others.

When Codesa (Convention for a Democratic Foundation) came into being in 1991, more than 90 organisations and NGOs were represented.Together with political parties they forged the transition from apartheid South Africa to the new South Africa.

With daily accounts of the strife within the ANC, faction pitted against faction, ongoing assassinations and violent intimidation, the hostile political climate of the 1980s and early 1990s is repeating itself, with a key difference: the "Struggle," of which the ANC nostalgically boasts, has returned in a new format, namely, the "struggle" to establish which faction of the ANC can monopolise the looting of South Africa.

Lost in a blizzard of fraud, failure and dysfunctionalism is the ANC's 1994 slogan "Ready to govern." Since the onset of the Zuma regime, that slogan has been shown to be completely false as borne out not only by state capture but the shameless, avaricious scramble by Zuma and his adherents within the ANC to enrich themselves by every crooked means possible. Looting has not become an aberration of governance. Under the ANC looting
is governance.

Clearly, our situation has reached a point where a new Codesa is urgently required as was the case back in 1991. This mess cannot be allowed to stumble on to the 2019 election. Moreover, given the state of politics and parties, it surely is unwise to expect them alone to remedy matters through the 2019 election.

People need hope of deliverance. They need to see that there are real alternatives to the ANC's kleptocracy which is why the convening of a new Codesa is required along with the many extra-parliamentary organisations which, to their credit, have stood up in defence of law and justice.

Just as South Africa needed Codesa to chart the future beyond the moribund National Party, so it needs a new Codesa to chart the future beyond the moribund ANC. Time to hit the reset button.




BACKING THE WRONG HORSE                   posted 28 September 2017

The unprecedented appeal by the owner of Independent Media to his editors to ensure impartial and objective reporting on the upcoming ANC leadership contest is significant for what it leavesunstated (Daily News, September 27).

Whilst it is a given that reporting should attempt to be objective, the unstated reality within Dr Iqbal Surve's epistle is that he is an ANC supporter and, as such, he is like a punter who covers his bets by ensuring that they are coupled on the tote. And because Dr Surve is who he is, sadly, those who edit his papers, are obliged to follow his lead. It pains me to have to say that as personally I have a high regard for the editors of both the Mercury and Daily News.  

But beyond Dr Surve's political moorings, what is saddening is that he actually believes that whoever wins the ANC leadership contest, can take South Africa forward. Such thinking is analogous with betting on an old horse with a poor record to win a punishing sprint race. against upmarket competition.  

As any detached, independent observer of South Africa's condition after 23 years of ANC rule is aware, more of the same is simply not an investment prospect. Put another way, the ANC, like so many liberation groups elsewhere in Africa, has prioritised self-aggrandisement at the expense of the national interest. Corruption, looting and endemic  malfeasance has become synonymous with the ANC. That has to be recognised as reality, regardless of how many acres of print are devoted to nostalgic references to the so-called struggle and its icons.  

The ANC is not the answer to South Africa's future. It is irreparably damaged goods whose sell-by date has expired.


Washington Times

 TRUMP'S UN SPEECH DESERVES APPLAUSE            posted 22 September  2017

Predictably President Trump's address to the UN has triggered a fresh round of anti-Trump

rhetoric.  Not surprisingly his detractors have latched onto two sentences within his 42 minute speech, regarding North Korea and its dictator, in order to justify dismissing Trump as "undiplomatic, unwise and disparaging." But why the double standards?  

In 1993, when newly elected President Bill Clinton was on a tour of Asian states this is what he said about North Korea's dictator - Kim Jong's father: "We would overwhelmingly retaliate if North Korea were ever able to use nuclear weapons. It would mean the end of their country as they know it" ( Washington Post, July 9, 1993). Clinton also condemned the "many renegade nations" that sat within the halls of the UN. Nobody hyperventilated with rage when Bill Clinton made those remarks.  

Of course the problem for the Establishment media is that they are so used to the vacuous, effete,  apologetic, disingenuous bilge that has become the hallmark of speeches in the UN that a dose of straight talk from Trump is like a cold shower. For decades the UN has been recognised by reasonable people as "the theatre of the absurd" because more than half its membership comprises of despots and states that are not fully fledged democracies. As such it cannot be called an "august body" as the mainstream media insist it is. 

President Trump should be applauded for reminding the UN of its core aims and values - sovereignty, security and prosperity - and for condemning the hypocrisy of the mendicant UN members  who pay lip service to human rights and democracy and those who bankroll terrorism.



SCHOOLS: WHAT'S WRONG AND HOW TO FIX IT posted 22 September 2017

News and opinions about our flawed and failing education system in the wake of violent attacks on teachers by so-called learners and the continued use of corporal punishment have resulted in a blame game between unions, the authorities and parents (Daily News, September 18) which is not going to fix anything.

The blunt reality is that education has become a casualty of excessive democratisation.
Teachers are no longer the kings and queens of their classrooms. Indeed their professionalism has been eroded to the point of virtual extinction by bureaucracy and politicisation. It's a case of too many cooks have spoilt the broth. Here's what's wrong and how to fix it:

1] School appointments and promotions should be purely by educational authorities which are staffed by professionally qualified personnel. No union lobbying. No parent body involvement/ interference.

2] Schools are for children - not adults. No enrolment of learners over the age of 19.

3] Repetitive insubordination by a learner should be addressed by the District Superintendent and Principal and the culprit told that should he fail to reform he will be expelled.

4] Violence against teachers involving weapons: immediate expulsion. No suspensions, probations or appeals. Firm, non-negotiable boundaries and deterrents are the only way to restore order, safety and sanity in schools.

5] Corporal punishment: to be re-established as part of school discipline and to be applied only by the Principal or his Deputy. Letters of Warning and paperwork have no deterrent effect. Realisation that misdemeanours will result in a caning worked in the past and ensured that discipline and order prevailed.

6] Teachers to be in classrooms and not at union meetings during school hours.

7] Parent bodies: to confine their activities to fund-raising, buildings and grounds maintenance, newsletters and magazines. Objections and concerns about educators to be directed to the Education Dept. and / or the provincial parliamentary education portfolio.

Professionalism has to be restored in schools which have to be seen as establishments of learning and the inculcation of sound social values, respect and decorum. Vandalism, violence, thuggery, intimidation and insubordination which have been allowed to fester through liberal tolerance and excessive democratisation, have to be prohibited.

Going to school and receiving an education needs to be seen as an uplifting, scholarly process which has to be respected and jealously guarded. Those who refuse to conform or comply and who jeopardise that process have to be decisively dealt with.

Of course, howls of dismay and opposition no doubt will greet the above. But, having spent 34 years in high schools watched a once sound system implode, the only way out of the mess is to apply what used to work.


The Mercury

 TRUMP AND THE MEDIA       posted  6 September 2017

 In pondering why it is that some of us have a different perspective on President Trump, Jack Nkutha (Mercury, September 4) raises a vital question concerning the control over and dissemination of information.

It is well known that the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time magazine along with CNN, NBC and other major cable networks exercise enormous influence in the managing and publishing of news and opinions. As such, they constitute and represent what is known as the Establishment in the US.  

For decades that media have been influential in determining the rise and fall of American politicians. In 2016 they were adamant that Hillary Clinton should be the heir apparent to the White House. So, Trump, whose financial independence and ability to tap into voter neighbourhoods that Hillary described as "deporables,"  became the target of a campaign of denigration in order to cripple him politically Trump's Electoral College victory over Hillary (318 to 232 votes) was an unprecedented upset for the US mainstream media and liberal Establishment. They resent it bitterly and are determined to savage the Trump Administration out of revenge  Of course, as Jack Nkutha points out, Trump is a flawed character and needs to control his impulsive tweets. However, he is not the failure  the mainstream news media  try to portray. What Jack Nkutha and other sceptics need to do is to widen their exposure to news and opinion. By reading sources like the Washington Times and

Mr Nkutha will learn a great deal about the positive side of the Trump Administration which will afford him a more balanced outlook


The Mercury

CONTRADICTORY ECONOMIC VIEWS - posted 6 September 2017

Whilst putting a positive spin on the state of our economy may have short term benefit,
ignoring its fundamental flaws is misleading. On September 4 and September 5 two articles on the state of the economy, one in the Mercury the other in Business Report, contradicted each other.

In the Mercury on September 4, Dr Petrus de Kock argued that SA's global reputation was steadily improving.He premised his claim on three criteria: 1] that we have a dynamic and diversified economy; [2] a world class infrastructure and [3] that FDI inflows have increased.

Unfortunately, de Kock is a tad economical with the facts. The reality is that the economy recorded negative growth of 0,7% in the first quarter, a factor noted in Business Report on September 5 by Woolworths chairman,Simon Susman. Economic growth is forecast to be no more than 0,5% for 2017 with job losses of 76,000. Hardly the dynamic scenario de Kock claims.

As for de Kock's reference to the world class infrastructure, yes, in many respects that is correct. However, urban decay is a reality in municipalities, 90% of which are broke. We have an electricity supplier that sputters along shockingly mismanaged. State owned enterprises that are broke and corrupt. To ignore those realities as de Kock seems to do, places a disingenuous spin on prospects. He also ignores the political shambles that prevails in governing circles, a factor the Woolworths chairman rightly and roundly condemned (September 5) as fundamental to what ails South Africa.

In crowing about foreign direct investment (FDI), de Kock is also short on perspective. While South Africa's FDI share did improve by 31% to $2,36 billion, that sum is below previous levels. The bulk of Africa'sdeclining share of FDI, according to UNCTAD, went to to Egypt, Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Whereas China's leader talks about trade liberalisation, his philosophy is ignored by the Zuma regime which continues to impose restrictive labour practices and to proritise race and demographic ideology as business fundamentals - further aspects of reality which de Kock ignores and which are unlikely to improve future FDI.


The Mercury


In the 1930s, when Russia was facing severe food shortages as a result of the eviction of 10 million kulak farmers from their lands, communists used to console their supporters by saying that although things were bad, they would have been much worse had the Tsarist regime still been in power.  

Similarly, one gets the impression from the cartoon in the Mercury on August 18 showing a pile of skulls representing the victims of police torture during the apartheid era, that the intention is to deflect attention away from current police brutality by focusing on atrocities of the past.  

As such, that cartoon is an exercise in propaganda. It is also grossly inaccurate and disingenuous because during the apartheid era between 1963 and 1985 the number of deaths that occurred in police custody was 74. Yet between 2006 and 2011 the number of deaths in police custody exceeded 4,000 (See: Mercury, March 4, 2013 and SA Security Studies).  

That reality is corroborated by RW Johnson in his book How long can South Africa survive (2015 edition) p. 177 where he states "torture and maltreatment of prisoners in police custody has sky-rocketed to a level far worse  than under apartheid."  

While one sympathises with the Timol family in seeking closure on the tragic death of Ahmed Timol in 1971, it is difficult to escape the feeling that the inquest is being exploited for political reasons, namely, to attempt to sustain focus on atrocities that occurred before 1994 so as to deflect scrutiny from atrocities that are occurring in the so-called liberation era, despite section 12 of the constitution which prohibits police torture.



 OUTCOME OF ZUMA VOTE: YOU ARE DEAD WRONG, MR EDITO      posted 15 August 2017  

The August 8 vote of no confidence in Jacob Zuma was not a routine popularity exercise. It was part of an ongoing series of protests against Zuma countrywide. In dismissing the outcome of that vote, as simply part of the democratic process which we must accept, you are dead wrong, Mr Editor (editorial, August 10). 

The debate concerning Zuma goes far beyond him as a person and his position as President. The whole thrust of opposition and protest against him is about his role in fostering corruption and looting  the state - from his R246 million abode in Nkandla to how his cronies and connections are abusing state enterprises and engaged in every form of deceit and dishonesty. A such, it was a vote liberate South Africa - and indeed, the ANC - from the clutches of  destruction and failure.  

Claiming that the democratic process won the day on August 8 is, therefore,  very shallow thinking. As the DA's John Steenhuizen has remarked, before Zuma set out to capture the state he first had to capture the ANC. The fact that Zuma survived the vote of no confidence shows to what extent the ANC has become putty in his hands. The 198 ANC MPs who supported Zuma do not  represent the best interests of South Africa. Beholden to Zuma through patronage, they are a disgrace to their parliamentary oath and principles the ANC claims to hold of which ANC stalwarts have repeatedly reminded Zuma and his ilk.  

Thus, Mr Editor, it is very short-sighted of you to state that we simply have to soldier on to 2019. The crisis South Africa faces is not something that can be deferred to an election year. Daily your paper and its sister publications report fresh evidence of looting and corruption by those associated with the Zuma regime. Already there are reports that those ANC MPs who voted against Zuma will be subject to a witch-hunt. So autocracy rules - not democracy. 

The situation we face is similar to what has engulfed Venezuela.  Despite massive popular protests and opposition to the Chavez/Maduro regime which has destroyed that country's economy, dictatorship by that elite persists.  

The political reality in South Africa today is that the democratic process like every other aspect of government under the ANC has been hijacked by and for the interests of the Zuma oligarchy. The reality is that democracy under the ANC as led by Zuma has come to represent nothing more that a doormat to seize control of the state and abuse it for benefit of the few. Under Zuma, all claims by the ANC to have brought freedom and an open society  have been exposed as worthless.  

Finally, Mr Editor, your view that it is a virtual  fait accompli that Zuma's ex-wife, Dlamini-Zuma will succeed him as President is very disappointing. Napoleon regarded newspaper editors as more to be feared than a thousand cavalrymen. Where is your voice to speak out against the rot which the Zuma-controlled ANC is intent on perpetuating?



The Mercury

 PUNISH MALEMA FIRST                          posted 9 August 2017

While cutting Penny Sparrow some slack has merit,  as the Mercury editorial of August 7 opines, nonetheless, the punishment meted out to her remains gravely unjust when compared with the malevolent exhortations of Julius Malema. 

Last November Malema publicly  advocated the slaughtering of whites and the seizure of their land.To date he has gone unpunished and remains a Member of Parliament despite the oath he took to serve the people of South Africa.  

Dwelling on the frustrated tweet of Penny Sparrow while remaining  silent about Malema's outrageous attempt to foment violence and bloodshed amounts to utter hypocrisy and double standards.  

If, as the editorial suggests, the objective in dealing with racism is to correct perceptions and not to "condemn for eternity," then Sparrow's fine of R150,000 should be suspended until Malema is punished for his malevolence. 

Then, in fairness, her sentence should be re-assessed  based on the context of her case compared with that of Malema's


Daily News

 HISTORY IS AGAINST THE ANC IN KZN   posted 2 August 2017

History has a habit of repeating itself. The names and dates change but themes are recurrent. Natal in South African history has often tended to be out of step with the rest of the country. This is again apparent with the controversy surrounding President Jacob Zuma.

In 1909 Natal was the only South African colony to hold a referendum on whether or not to join the Union of South Africa. Although the result was decisive, up until the last week of the campaign the referendum outcome was in doubt with many colonists wary of the prospects of Afrikaner domination.

In 1926-1927 agitation in Natal reached fever-pitch over Prime Minister JBM Hertzog’s proposed introduction of a new flag in place of the British Union Jack. Whilst the idea that South Africa should have its own flag in keeping with its new nationhood was a reasonable one, it provoked frenzied opposition in Natal. As historian Paul Thompson has stated, “probably no other issue set so many Britons against Afrikaners in the history of the Union.”

Huge protest meetings were held across the province at which Empire loyalists affirmed their “unceasing devotion to the Union Jack.” The emotional political climate brought forth debate on the idea of secession and separation from the Union. The uproar led Hertzog to brand the province as “a hotbed of jingoism.”  The flag controversy ended in October 1927 when it was revealed that the new Union flag incorporated the Union Jack.

1960 saw a resurgence of Last British Outpost emotions in Natal following Dr Verwoerd’s proposal of a referendum to determine whether South Africa should embrace republic status. Once again a severe polarisation of opinions occurred. But in Natal anti-republic passions took on a degree of zeal that branded republicanism as heresy.

Heading the fight in the province was Natal United Party leader Douglas Mitchell. He addressed rallies of 40,000 in Durban and 25,000 in Pietermaritzburg. His punch line was: “I am not prepared to accept a decision for South Africa as far as Natal is concerned.” To frenzied applause he told Verwoerd to “go and be damned.”

In the referendum held on October 5, 1960, Natal was the only province to reject the republic, recording 135,598 votes against to 42,299 in favour. But overall by a margin of 74,580 out of 1,626,336 votes cast, the republican vote triumphed. Mitchell found himself in a bind: his feisty rhetoric had created expectations for Natal to break away from South Africa. Somewhat desperately he had confidential meetings with Verwoerd and the British High Commissioner, Sir John Maud, on the possibility of Natal becoming a separate state. But Mitchell’s efforts proved futile and with docility Natal accepted the republic.

An enduring feature of Natal’s difference from the other three provinces was its resolute defence of the provincial council system and the limited autonomy it afforded. In all the years that the country was dominated by National Party government, the Natal provincial council was the only one which bucked the trend and was governed by the South African Party and its successors, the United Party and the New Republic Party. In 1981, in what turned out to be the last provincial council elections of the pre-1994 order, Natal’s white voters rallied behind the slogan “Natal stay free – vote NRP.” However, in 1986, the NP government scrapped the provincial system and replaced it with an unelected bureaucracy.

In the 1980s although violence was widespread, KZN was the only province convulsed by a virtual civil war between ANC and IFP supporters which claimed some 14,000 lives. So acute were the tensions in the province that the IFP very nearly abstained from the 1994 election.

In 2017 polarisation and severe tensions characterise the political atmosphere in the province, exacerbated this time by a war within the ANC and mounting calls, particularly from outside of KZN, for Jacob Zuma to resign as President. Of course, underpinning the situation is the Zulu tribalism factor and that KZN is Zuma’s home province. Nonetheless, the stakes are high. Political relegation not just within the ANC but along with the loss of power would have manifold costs.

Thus, it would seem, the stance of the ANC in KZN in support of Zuma is in conflict with the cycle of history as it has affected this province. In other words, the KZN ANC will have to accept the opinion of the rest of the country that Zuma resign as President and see the futility of KZN being a Last Outpost for Zuma diehards.


MAKHOSI, ZILLE -VICTIMS OF WANTON AUTOCRACY           posted 1 August 2017 

The ANC's charges against Makhosi Khoza MP invite comparison with those the DA brought against Helen Zille. Both women, it would appear, are victims of wanton autocracy. 

In both cases the accused are said to have brought the names of their respective parties into disrepute by making statements which impact negatively on party image and unity. Yet in both cases their statements were honest and objective: Zille in stating the historical truth that the effects of colonialism were both positive and negative. Khoza for declaring that Zuma should resign because  of the corruption and kleptocracy with which he is associated.

Both Zille and Khoza have given expression to what  open-minded, reasonable people believe and endorse. Yet in both instances they have come up against party opinions which, in the case of Zille have effectively gagged her for the rest of her term in office. Although Khoza faces the same treatment, given her courage and determination and the fact that others in the ANC have also publicly called on Zuma  to resign, the charges against her will not survive a legal challenge. 

While one would have hoped that Zille would have shown greater resolve in defending the truth concerning her stance on colonialism, given the DA's much- vaunted claim of liberal tolerance, the settlement she accepted, like the muzzlewhich the ANC is seeking to impose on Khoza, provides perspective on the extent to which the democratic process is controlled by parties and cliques within parties. Certainly, in the case of Zille, the punitive action taken by the DA brass for her remarks on colonialism bears not a shred of compatibility with the DA's boast of an "open, opportunity society."  

Both Zille and Khoza have shown themselves to be champions of liberal tolerance and to have aired opinions which find traction with discerning voters. That is how a healthy democracy should function. That their respective political fates are determined behind closed doors by committees is a sad commentary on the state of political "freedom in this country".

The Mercury

 COMMUNISM IS AN ANACHRONISM             - posted 28 July 2017

It is disappointing to note that there are still people in educated positions who somehow believe that communism has something to offer South Africa. This is apparent from the article by Nelson Mandela University academic Ongama Mtimka (Mercury, July 26) who calls for the SACP to sever ties with the ANC.  

Instead of unpacking the tedious turns in the relationship between the SACP and the ANC, the question Mtimka should be exploring is what does the  utterly discredited ideology of communism have to offer that is worthy of consideration in the 21st century.  

More than 100 million were victims of the jackboot of communism in Eastern Europe and China. They succumbed to policies which denied the  human characteristics of individual initiative and enterprise and of belief in Judeo-Christian religion. Denied the five freedoms -

speech, press, religion, assembly and movement - they and over a billion others were forced to accept the ruthless dictatorship of a one-party state elite who hypocritically claimed to represent the interests of the working class. Life under the hammer and sickle ofcommunism was one of fear, material deprivation and austerity. 

Fortunately and eventually communism collapsed in Eastern Europe when its falsehood, hypocrisy and economics proved unsustainable. The SACP like the Castro regime in Cuba are relics of an anachronism. This is always evident in the writings of communists and their fellow travellers: nostalgia for what was  - which, was, as we know, an appalling, blood-sodden failure.  

Perpetuating communism , therefore, is  a no-brainer Yet that is what the likes of Bade Nzimande, Jeremy Cronin and Rob Davies do: perpetuating the lie that communism represents the working class when the reality is that workers are exploited for their vote so that the commmunist leadership can enjoy extravagant lifestyles at their expense.  

Calling for the SACP to separate from the ANC is also a no-brainer. The ANC was hijacked by the SACP during the 1950s.. The ideology of the ANC  like the Freedom Charter (1955) has been scripted by communists. All ANC leaders since 1950  with the exception of Luthuli have been either life-long SACP members or were SACP members at some point in their lives. 

Thus, neither the SACP nor the ANC can offer a workable, worthwhile policy direction for South Africa.The horrendous mess they have created of South Africa in just 23 years is sufficient evidence of that..



IRREGULAR EXPENDITURE IS PANDEMIC           posted 6 July 2017

The outrage at the discovery of irregular expenditure and contravention of the tender process in eThekwini municipality (Daily News, July 4) needs to be seen in perspective. 

First of all it is not an aberration. It has been going on for years and has infected municipalities countrywide the majority of which have become bankrupt as a result. Promises of investigations and disciplinary action make for bold media sound bytes but are invariably quietly swept under the carpet.

The reason for these contraventions is also obvious. With the exception of a few officials, the bloated state of eThekwini's staff (24,000) is the result of a deliberate policy which one sees from the presidency down to local government level to abuse the public service by packing it with comrades, cronies and cadres. 

Thus, the public service and service delivery have become a complex web of patronage and entitlement. Public treasuries have become feeding troughs for the politically connected.As we saw with the former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, the new political elite does not take kindly to exposure and indictment for its culture of enrichment. 

The extent to which such corruption is entrenched was revealed by the late Professor Lawrence Schlemmer. He noted that many of the service delivery protests were not aimed at the local mayor or councillors but were actually part of  factional dog fights within the ANC whereby one faction sought to oust another so it could obtain control over the patronage system (RW Johnson, Howlong can South Africa survive, 2nd edition, p. 57). 

The role of opposition parties in exposing and protesting this state of affairs is unenviable and frustrating because short of removing root and branch those in control, abuse of public funds will continue indefinitely. Ironically, the country needs to be liberated from those who have claimed to be its liberator.




SCRAPPING OF STANDARDS             posted 1 July 2017


As the slide in levels of efficacy and competence got underway, Tony Leon once observed that "standards will be lowered to you."  But now that the KZN ANCYL wants standards scrapped (Daily News, June 29), Leon's prediction has been eclipsed. 

The fact that the recent KZN ANC provincial council approved the ANCYL's  proposal to scrap the need for minimum experience as a requirement for government entry-level posts is significant for a few reasons. 

First, it demonstrates what has been obvious for decades, namely, that for the ANC there is 

no distinction between the party and the state and that the state is simply a feeding trough for cadres.

Second, it shows total contempt for service delivery which can only be further hobbled by installing people in jobs who have no proven competence.

Third, by desiring the elimination of standards in government posts, raises the question of 

whether standards are required for any job. 

Such lunacy  makes a further mockery of the ANC's slogan 'a better life for all' and its boast of '100 years of selfless struggle.' Clearly, the ANC is in freefall, bereft of any sense of direction, morality and integrity. South Africa desperately needs to be liberated from those who claimed to be its liberator.




DEATHS IN POLICE CUSTODY   - posted 30 June 2017


The inquiry into the death of Ahmed Timol who died while in police custody in 1971 

rightly needs to be regarded with compassion and lament that human rights were 


callously disregarded during the apartheid era (Daily News, June 28).But to confine such feelings to that era  is wrong.




In the second edition of his book How long can South Africa survive,  RW Johnson states


"torture and maltreatment of prisoners in police custody have sky-rocketed to a level far worse than under apartheid" (p. 177).



A report in the Daily News of March 4, 2013 confirms that. It noted that between 2006 and 2011,some 4,000 people had died whilst in police custody. In contrast, between 1963 and 1985 - the apartheid era - there were 74 deaths in police custody.In that  torture and deaths in police custody are associated with the apartheid era, how, then, does one account for the blatant disregard that is occurring under the ANC government  of section 12 of the constitution which concerns security of  person and which forbids torture and inhuman treatment?



Remembering those who died for their beliefs before 1994 is well and good. But to disregard far greater violations of human rights that are occurring under a regime which claims to have brought 'liberation' is hypocrisy




The Mercury


-posted 28 June 2017

Given the poor state of the economy, the ANC's determination to foist National Health Insurance on the country (Mercury, June 26) will be for the economy what the iceberg was for the Titanic.

Even if the public health system was working, which it is not, and the economy was ingrowth mode, which it is not, the idea a single publicly controlled fund to purchase services for all South Africans without discrimination in both public and private health is a pipedream

Besides the obvious fact that there are simply not enough doctors and nurses to implement such a scheme, funding of what RW Johnson has called a "monster" is beyond the affordability of the revenue system. The Actuarial Society of South Africa has calculated that the annual cost of NHI would be around R300 billion.

Also militating against NHI is the inability of government departments to manage their finances. Already the vast majority of municipalities run by the ANC are bankrupt. Setting up a R300 billion a year pot for NHI would just be another looting opportunity.

The state of the National Health Service in the UK should be a warning of the burden and pitfalls that such a system has become in a developed country. Not only is the NHS the largest public sector employer in the UK with 1,4 million employees but it is chronically cash-strapped and limps along sustained by constant infusions of billions of pounds of taxpayers' money.

The idea of NHI is a  ploy to win votes by a party which has already proved incapable of governing but which excels at looting.






KZN ANC Commissar Sihle Zikalala's diagnosis at the recent ANC provincial council meeting that the country is facing "economic warfare" from "western monopoly capitalism" is vintage communist fulmination which echoes Stalinist rhetoric of the 1930s when the five year plans and collectivisation of agriculture were failing.


Zikalala's claims are based on deceit. The  ANC's friendship with China  is increasingly becoming a critical factor in the South Africa economy -not Western capitalism. That is the reality.

* Has Zikalala not noticed that  South Africa is China's second largest investment recipient? 

*Is he not aware that China has a 20% holding in Standard Bank?

*That Chevron's (Caltex) operation in South Africa has been taken over by China;

*That China has substantial holdings in metals and minerals companies such as Sinosteel, Blue Ridge and Shanduka Gold;

*That the ANC's Gupta friends from India have virtually captured the state through manipulation and unscrupulous actions. And they have certainly captured the ANC faction of which Zikalala is the mouthpiece.




Indeed, it is common knowledge that China is leading the new scramble for Africa. But such reality does not accord with Zikalala's agenda which is to obfuscate and deny that not only has his ANC  faction run out of road but that their moral and political bankruptcy is the cause of South Africa's downward economic spiral


The only correct perception in Zikalala's rant is that his opponents seek more than the removal of Jacob Zuma. They seek the removal of the ANC from power. Quite right. In the words of RW Johnson (How long can SA survive - 2nd edition), "what is clear beyond reasonable doubt, is that 'liberation' has failed  and [instead] produced a regime that is incapable of governing South Africa as a free, democratic and functioning country" (p. 238).






Muhammad Omar, whose views are usually sensible, catalogues the failings of colonialism in a fashion which ticks the box of political correctness but  otherwise takes a rather select view of history (Daily News, June 13).

His opening statement is particularly problematic. "Civilisation," he asserts, "would have existed in South Africa and progressed with or without the British Empire."  His assertion depends on how "civilisation" is defined.

Before  the minuscule nucleus of a  British presence was established in Natal in 1843, the hegemony of Shaka and Dingane prevailed. Militarily impressive and brutally efficient, nonetheless, it could not be compared with the material aspects of life which followed the wake of British settlement: the wheel, pen and paper, bricks and mortar, spinning and weaving, literacy and Christianity. - all the accrual of many centuries of development.


In time, it is possible that those material benefits may have evolved in Natal without the British presence but that is speculation. The reality is that since the beginning of recorded history, no part of the world has escaped outside or foreign influences. And while those influences have invariably had harsh consequences, they have also had beneficial legacies. (Signficantly, Omar does not list the USA  as having progressed  despite British imperialism.)

For Omar to contend that "colonialism brought nothing less than misery to Africa," is extravagant. In the first place, the British ended the scourge of slavery which had wrought havoc and suffering among Africans for centuries. British authority brought a measure of stability and order to areas under the Union Jack. Of course there were dreadful blunders

such as the Anglo-Zulu war and the brutal crushing of the Bhambatha uprising of 1906.

Omar's likening of colonialism to the holocaust is a sad departure from his usual informed logic. Despite its limitations, the Natal colonial Blue Book of statistics for 1908 shows that the African population grew from an estimated 113,000 in 1852 to nearly 1 million by 1908. Clearly holocaust genocide did not feature here. In Rhodesia the black population

increased 12 fold between 1890 and 1980. Certainly colonialism as practised in the Congo under King Leopold of Belgium was fraught with human suffering and rightly ranks as a dark period in that region.

Overall, what  appears missing from Omar's view is that Africa was subject to bouts of invasion and conquest long before Europeancolonialism. It is an established fact that the southward migration of Africans from the equatorial regions was the result of slave

raiding and trading and internecine conflict which amounted to black-on- black colonisation. It would be interesting for him to account for the benefits of that experience for the San people, the original inhabitants of southern Africa.


The Mercury



The letter by JR Whitlock (Mercury, June 19) cncerning fake smiles and friends in the DA is pertinent in the light of remarks by RW Johnson in the second edition of his book How long will South Africa survive? Noting the growing influence of China and the frequent pilgrimages of ANC leaders to China,Johnson points out that the Chinese communists have not been remiss in educating the ANC on political strategy (p.132-133).Whereas previously ANC strategy towards opponents was, in the words of Tony Leon, "to demonise, marginalise and colonise," stealth is  regarded as the smart way to hobble opponents. It involves planting activists within an opponent's ranks and then getting them to foment trouble on the inside

The IFP was an early target for those tactics which saw a breakaway group named the National Freedom Party causing great damage to the IFP and being rewarded  as an ANC coalition partner along with a cabinet post. In the drive to blacken itself and to maximise recruitment of black support, the DA runs the risk of infiltration.The distinct chorus among black DA public representatives against Helen Zille over her educated and objective remarks on colonialism suggests that a fault line has been found to exploit with a view to causing division and discord within the DA.

The first indication of that is the demise of one of the fundamentals of the DA and its predecessors,  namely, liberal tolerance. The fact that Zille was obliged to apologise for her historically correct stance on colonialism and that DA leader Maimane has snuffed out debate on what amounts to history and heritage, constitutes a significant departure from liberal tolerance and objective thought.

Although the legacies of colonialism have nothing to do with the utter failure of the ANC to govern, it has dredged up colonialism as a red herring to divert attention away from its corruption and looting, By proscribing debate on colonialism within the DA Maimane  is thereby hobbling liberal tolerance. In so doing, he has weakened, not strengthened, the DA . He has thus commenced a re-branding exercise which, in time, may yield further concessions until the distinction between the DA and the ANC is blurred, bearing in mind that already the DA is a firm supporter of BEE and affirmative action despite Tony Leon's call years ago for sunset clauses to be imposed on them.



The Mercury



Raymond Suttner's experiences as an opponent of the apartheid government are significant for a variety of reasons. The re-issue of his book (Mercury, June 14) is a worthy contribution to the history of South Africa prior to 1994.


His pain, privation and incarceration on account of his beliefs and his association with those opposed to apartheid deserve admiration regardless of one's political moorings. Equally of merit is the fact that despite his contribution to that struggle, Suttner is not a blind adherent to the ANC and has distanced himself from the corruption and scandals which

have engulfed the ANC under Jacob Zuma.

However, for the tapestry of history to be fleshed out requires balance and context, otherwise it becomes one-sided and is exploited for propaganda reasons.  Raymond Suttner has proved durable and enduring and a survivor. He has lived to tell his story. Many of his comrades were not so fortunate.

Among those comrades were many whose demise was not at the hands of the apartheid security police but rather at the hands of the ANC 's Mbokodo security officers. In what were called detention centres in Tanzania and Angola, cadres who were deemed "undisciplined" or  "enemy agents"  were subjected to horrific torture and  interrogation using methods learned from the East German communist Stasi. Countless cadres suffered gruesome deaths as a result.

All the big names in the ANC and SACP were aware of those human rights violations and were party to such policy as the Shishita purges. The facts are contained in External Mission: the ANC in exile by Stephen Ellis published by  Jonathan Ball in 2012.

Ironically, unlike Suttner who survived, there were few if any who survived the horrors of those ANC liberation camps to regale  Mercury readers with their experiences, or would risk doing so. Nonetheless, in the interests of historical balance and context equal publicity should be afforded to their fates.




Ostensibly the DA has achieved closure with regard to Helen Zille and her views on colonialism. But while the terms and 

conditions of the settlement reduce Zille to a mere pawn on the DA chessboard, the rhetoric in which the settlement is wrapped is contradictory and disquieting.


In that Zille is required to vacate her position on all decision-making structures including the provincial council of which she is Premier, amounts to total political emasculation. There is no precedent of a provincial premier, like a state governor, whose job description excludes the right to pronounce on policy and who, therefore, cannot lead from the front. How this accords with the DA's claim to embrace "freedom, fairness and opportunity" is anybody's guess.


In his remarks on the Zille settlement, DA leader Mmusi Maimane flaunts his affection for jargon that  resonates well as sound bytes but which is contradictory. "We must challenge each other's ideas in a constructive manner," he stated. Yet it was Maimane himself who impulsively rejected Zille's objective statements about colonialism, unilaterally declared that "colonialism can never be justified" and peremptorily imposed a disciplinary hearing on Zille. No  "constructive manner" in any that.


Maimane also said that "it is healthy for us to engage in robust debate" but clearly that excludes anything about history and heritage. Yet he talks about "reconciling South Africans" and of "non-racialism," Such aspirations will not be realised by declaring subjects

like heritage as being out of bounds for discussion. Maturity as a country will never flourish under such proscription. Americans have never proscribed discussion and debate about their civil war which cost over 600,000 lives.



What the Zille settlement means is that the DA no longer embraces liberal tolerance and for that it is Maimane who should be apologising.



The Mercury

The wider implication of the Zille Case - posted 9 June 2017

Whilst there are clearly personal, vindictive agendas within the DA motivating punitive action against Helen Zille, the implications of her indictment for making objective remarks about the legacies of colonialism are manifold

Central to these is the claim that her remarks were “racist.” If that is the case, then it amounts to proscription within the DA of all and any objective attempts to discuss the history and heritage of colonialism on pain of being labelled “racist.”

The first aspect of that implication concerns its compatibility with the creed of non-racialism. Why should a white person within the DA run the risk of being labelled “racist” for venturing remarks about his colonial heritage while a black member would be free to discuss any aspect of his historical past? Where is the non-racialism in that? The answer: sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and expediency

Carrying that further, it becomes obvious that the slant of a school syllabus towards everything that occurred before 1994 would be jaundiced in the extreme. After all, history without context degenerates into propaganda. Obviously this gives rise to an Orwellian situation: “who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Freedom of expression and objectivity become the hostages of an intimidated mindset.

In that the majority of the DA’s federal executive have endorsed Mmusi Maimane’s declaration that “colonialism can never be justified” and are committed to abandoning what appears to be regarded now as the liberal baggage of the past, wittingly or unwittingly, the DA has re-branded itself. Terms and conditions now apply to its slogan “Freedom, fairness and opportunity.”

The galling aspect about this impulsive and politically immature conduct by the DA is that it runs counter to the preamble of the constitution which exhorts all to respect those who have worked to build and develop the country.

Consequently my future vote will go only to a party which tolerates free discussion of history and heritage.


The Mercury


The DA's treatment of Helen Zille is completely at odds with its official commitment to an "an open, opportunity society" and its motto of "freedom, fairness and opportunity." Thus,in terms of the liberal tolerance to which that equates, Mark Lowe (Mercury, June 5) is quite correct in indicting the DA of scoring "a spectacular own goal."

By his impulsive reaction to Zille's perfectly objective remarks about the legacies of colonialism
and his call for her to be disciplined as a result, DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, has violated the DA's
fundamental philosophy of liberal tolerance. Moreover, he has shown himself to be ignorantof history and given to shallow populism like Julius Malema.

As Mark Lowe has noted, the silence of the rest of the DA over what the uncalled for indictment
of Helen Zille means, is deafening. Is there nobody in the DA with the necessary courage to tell
Maimane that autocracy is not DA policy?

There is far more at stake than simply trying to rake in more black votes in 2019 as seems to be Maimane's sole vision. The issue involving Helen Zille concerns the survival of educated, tolerant diverse, liberal opinion within the DA. By defending herself against the charges brought against her Zille is not only fighting to preserve her self-esteem, but she is fighting to uphold the principles which underpin the DA. That is real leadership


The Editor



MORE ANC RULE IS NOT THE ANSWER TO SA'S WOES        posted  3 June 2017


Despite lamenting the crisis within the ANC  and the extent to which the country is wracked by failed ANC

governance (editorial, May 31), it is disappointing to note that the Daily News ,persists in believing that only the ANC can extricate South Africa from the mess it has made.

In a democracy governments that fail are voted out. While history has recorded that the ANC brought

democratic change to South Africa, that fact does not give the ANC an indefinite right to rule. Few

aspects of life in South Africa have improved in the 23 years the ANC has ruled. Even the constitution

is under threat by a President who has violated it and who has indicated that he favours abrogating

the provision of compensation for land expropriation.

Yet the Daily News avers that the ANC  can "self-correct" and redeem itself as a result. However, the 

reality is that the re-set button is no longer democratically available. A 63-page study titled "State capacity Research Project" by eight South African academics convened by Professor Mark Swilling of Stellenbosch University, published in May, provides a detailed analysis of the extent to which the ANC has been appropriated by an elite whose agenda is inimical to South Africa's interests.

The study confirms that South Africa has experienced a silent coup that has removed the ANC from its moorings and re-purposed it for the benefit of a constellation of networks the apex of which comprises twelve companies and fifteen individuals connected to the Gupta-Zuma oligarchy. The study notes that corruption is merely the symptom of the rot that infests state-owned enterprises and government ministries. The manoeuvring and deployment involved in effecting state capture is the real cause of the crisis the country faces.

Appealing to candidates seeking to replace Zuma as ANC president to "go back to the drawing-board" and "not to over-promise," is futile as long as the game of patronage is controlled by those who have established a state within a state. 

More ANC rule is not the answer to the woes that have engulfed South Africa. Elitist, oligarchic rule has no place in a democratic, open society which the preamble of the constitution professes. As such, we are not a one-party state but a multi-party democracy and therefore it is time to grow up and recognise that there are alternatives to the trust the ANC has betrayed.





Predictably the Reuters report carried in the Daily News on May 8 hailed the election of

Emmanuel Macron in France and, in particular, the margin of his victory. But it is a significance that is misleading.

While Macron's 65% to Le Pen's 34% is indeed a landslide win, the difference between the two votes is not as solid as it seems. Macron was the beneficiary of anti-Le Pen votes rather than votes specifically for him and his fledgling party. As such his vote comprised a loose coalition of moderates, liberals and socialists. 

Consequently, Macron's political platform is anything but secure as he faces the next round of elections on June 11 for the National Assembly.

Although support for Le Pen's National Front was half of what Macron garnered, it is based on firm voter conviction that France's best interests are not served by open borders, the  EU or the Euro. Le Pen was also the beneficiary of a substantial number of younger voters whereas many of Macron's voters were elderly. Returns show that 80% of voters over 65 voted for him.

As the cycle of history turns inexorably towards French nationalism and national sovereignty, Macron's charm offensive and prospects likely to be short lived.


The Mercury

LIBERAL TOLERANCE IN THE DA                                   posted 28 May 2017

For years the DA has prided itself as being the defender of liberal, democratic debate. But to some extent of late,  that mantle apears, ironically, to have passed to the ANC.

Whereas a succession debate now rages within the ANC with two distinct sides shaping up - Ramaphosa versus Dlamini-Zuma with Matthews Phosa as a third contestant, the DA has become paralysed and paranoid over the  red herring issues of colonialism and racism. 

Ramaphosa and Phosa openly condemn Zuma and his cronies. Mcebisi Jonas exposes the silent coup that has taken place under Zuma in terms of state capture (Daily News, May 19). ANC MP Makhosi Khoza bravely refuses to be gagged by intimidatory 

elements in the ANC and sticks to her opinion of Zuma's cabinet reshuffle and her support for a  secret ballot in the no-confidence vote (Mercury, May 19). All that is healthy, robust exercise of democratic rights and debate. It's called free speech - one of the five fundamental freedoms.

In contrast, DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, has decreed that colonialism "can never be justified," and as such, has put a lid on any discussion of the subject. As a conversation, the subject of colonialism within the DA has become fraught with intimidation, demonisation and indictment as poor Helen Zille knows only too well.

As anyone with a basic knowledge of history appreciates,  the legacies of colonialism were both negative  and positive. For daring to point  out the  positives, Zille has been labelled a "racist" by a black KZN DA MPL and others. Thus, white DA members have been effectively gagged  from debating, let alone defending, history and heritage lest they are labeled  "racist."

The corollary of this situation is that the DA now labours under self-inflicted, racial paralysis which should never have come about had Maimane not been so impulsive in indicting Zille for her historically correct and objective remarks about colonialism.

So much, then,  for liberal tolerance within the DA given its uncalled for case against Helen Zille whose liberal credentials and footprint have no equal in current South African politics




SIHLE SIKALALA'S ANTICS                                       posted  17 May 2017

KZN ANC chairman Sihle Sikalala' s antics on the succession debate within the ANC  (Daily News,  May 15) are reminiscent of the joke that used to be told about democracy in the Soviet Union which recalled that a Kremlin burglary had revealed the results of the Communist party's next election.

Until this week, Sikalala had ruled that the lid on the succession debate within KZN had to be kept firmlyshut. Now, after Cyril Ramaphosa, to his credit, brazenly ignored Commissar Sikalala and campaigned for himself in KZN, Sikalala has backtracked. Suddenly it's okay to have an open debate in the province  on the issue- so long as Sikalala's anointed candidate, Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma, wins.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the likes of Commissar Sikalala pays lip service to democracy.Simultaneously, his political aims show to what extent he is opposed to change and, as such,  is very much part of the structures within the ANC which are taking South Africa over the cliff.


The Mercury
QUESTIONS ABOUT IMPARTIALITY                     Posted  12 May 2017

The editorial titled 'We put our trust in you' raises pertinent questions (Mercury, 11 May).

The Mercury is not a national newspaper so Arthur Miller's line of a 'nation talking to itself' does not apply in a strict sense. Instead it would apply in a provincial sense and more especially in the sense of who its readers are.

It is a fact that the bulk of subscribers and readers of the Mercury are persons for whom English is theirfirst, home and probably only language. Based on that reality, it is unlikely that the majority of them would be ANC supporters.

So, from that premise, why is it that since its takeover by Sekunjalo, the Mercury reflects overwhelmingly news and views of the ANC? Yes, one is aware that letters critical of the ANC are routinely published, nonetheless, one gets the impression that that is to project a semblance of balance and objectivity. The bulk of the rest of the paper is so given over to ANC views that it reads like an ANC newsletter.

Your editorial takes delight in the fact that the Mercury is now detached from the Press Council. and that, to all intents and purposes, it is now in the hands of a very capable ombudsman assisted by a judge.

Again, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this new arrangement is to project an image of impartiality. For no amount of packaging can deny the fact that the new  arrangement is an 'in-house' mechanism. Thus, it cannot claim to be totally impartial.In-house, corporate control is no substitute for an external, neutral adjudication mechanism.

Be that as it may, I intend to submit a complaint to your new watchdog about the political slant of this paper and the Daily News. I look forward to the spin-doctoring Mr Rantao applies in attempting to rebut my case and to what extent trust is actually in my hands as a reader and subscriber.


The Mercury

RANK HYPOCRISY                                       posted  12 May 2017

The fawning praise given to an arsonist because he has now graduated from a tertiary institution can only be described as rank hypocrisy and a new low in our plummeting social standards (Mercury, May 10).

Last October Bonginkosi Khanyile was jailed for public violence as a result of his leading role in the disruption of academic classes on Durban tertiary campuses, the torching of buildings, the wanton destruction of equipment and part of the Howard College campus law library. Khanyile even told Independent Newspapers that he was "proud" of the fact that UKZN Pietermaritzburg students had torched a campus building (Daily News,October 11, 2016).

It beggars belief that praise can be heaped upon Khanyile when he showed contempt for education by his violent acts which intimidated and jeopardised the studies of thousands of law abiding students. What also seems to have escaped the Mercury's doting is the fact that for all his protests that fees must fall, Khanyile himself was on a full bursary of taxpayers money granted to him by the KZN Premier's office.

While in prison, Khanyile claims to have drawn inspiration from reading books about Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Dikgang Moseneke. One wonders if he noticed that none of them advocated public violence and the destruction of institutions of learning. Moreover, civilised society has no sympathy for Khanyile's carping about study conditions in jail when he saw fit to deprive others of the right to peaceful study.

Overall, what is particularly galling about Khanyile and the doting media coverage afforded him is that he has never shown a shred of a sense of shame or remorse for his anarchic actions. That ought to prompt  a reality check for the state of society because excessive tolerance leads to anarchy.


Alec Hogg


2 May 2017

Was the English-language press more independent under the Nats?

In February 1982, the Steyn Commission of Inquiry into press freedom warned of the danger of corporate control of newspapers damaging diversity and fettering the information industry. Judge Steyn predicted that amalgamation within the media industry would herald the arrival of a Leviathan situation.

Steyn's fears of amalgamation have, of course, long since been realised with the Argus press monopoly back in the late 1980s and the subsequent O'Reilly takeover in the mid-1990s. Yet despite those developments, critical and diverse reporting and opinion generally prevailed until O'Reilly sold out and an active ally of the ANC, Dr Iqbal Surve of Sekunjalo, acquired control of the bulk of the English-language press.

Sekunjalo's press monopoly is different from those which preceded it because they were privately funded. R800 million of the R2 billion Sekunjalo paid to buy what was alled Independent Newspapers was sourced from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) by means of an interest-free loan. Some R300 million was sourced from the government-owned Public Investment Corporation. Thus a situation has arisen that is hardly different from the funding of the Citizen newspaper in the 1970s.

The Vorster government permitted the diversion of some R64 million to establish the Citizen. At the time the English-language press hyperventilated in its condemnation of the abuse of taxpayers' money. That led to what was called the Information scandal and the resignation of the minister of Information Connie Mulder. Yet today, we have an English-language press in South Africa that was purchased with state funds and is servile and sycophantic in its obeisance to the ruling party as theCitizen once was.


Despite attempts by the apartheid government to proscribe press freedom, diverse political opinion and reporting - excepting where then banned organisations and persons were concerned - featured in the English-language press. The Press Council, although circumscribed by almost 100 strictures, was independent. But since April 22 the Sekunjalo-controlled English press no longer belongs to the Press Council. Surve has withdrawn from it and formed his own in-house 'press council.' And since Surve's shake-up of editors and journalists during the latter months of 2016, all the titles in his stable are now staffed by those loyal to his agenda.
Thus, an ironic situation has arisen: whereas one English-language newspaper, the Citizen,was initiated with state funding in the 1970s, today the bulk of the English-language press owes it existence to state loans. Despite government pressure on the English-language press in the 1970s and 1980s, the independence of the Press Council was maintained. Today the bulk of the English-language press is no longer regulated by the Press Council but is subject to an in-house forum which adheres to an agenda that is not neutral.
Consequently, it may be argued that the bulk of the English-language press was more diverse and independent under draconian Nat rule than it is now as a result of the Sekunjalo takeover. As such, the conversation about state capture needs to consider the plight of the bulk of the Fourth Estate as Helen Zille has already remarked. Those papers controlled by Sekunjalo have become virtual ANC newsletters at the expense of real and diverse news. Judge Steyn's fears have now been fully realised: the bulk of the English-language  press has become Pavlovian in its political direction and is hardly more diverse than Pravda and Izvestia were during the Soviet era.




The Mercury




Whatever else lies ahead this year, the words of former president Kgalema Motlanthe at the

funeral of Ahmed Kathrada will serve as a shining beacon of hope in a political landscape

that has been defiled and morally bankrupted by Jacob Zuma and his ilk.


The fact that Zuma was specifically asked not to attend the funeral speaks volumes which, in

turn, was amplified by the ovation Motlanthe and embattled Finance minister Pravin Gordhan received.

But it was how Motlanthe expressed the late Kathrada’s feelings about the political rot that infests

South Africa which must surely resonate with every responsible citizen.


With eloquence that Tony Leon would find difficult to eclipse, Motlanthe displayed what is so

lacking in South Africa: statesmanship. Ironically,  a funeral, with all that is sad about such occasions,

may prove the touchstone and the turning point in salvaging the country from its downward spiral.


Galvanised by the spirit of Kathrada and clearly resolved in terms of their opposition to Zuma, carpe diem

time has arrived for the  ANC leadership outside of KZN. The resignation of Zuma and his toadies must

be demanded. And, if he is willing, Kgalema Motlanthe installed as President of South Africa



Biz News




Regardless of the findings of the disciplinary inquiry into Helen Zille's remarks concerning the legacies of colonialism, the outcomes for the DA can only be negative. 


If the inquiry finds Zille guilty of bringing the DA into disrepute, whatever penalty is imposed will prove divisive and engender negative fall -out. Her outright expulsion from the DA would be applauded by her political adversaries bothwithin the DA and outside of the party. Such an outcome would also enhance Mmusi Maimane's grip on the party'sleadership and be seen as a positive step in attracting black votes. 


But, at the same time, expulsion would be regarded as excessive and vindictive by the DA's traditional supporters. Moreover, it would give credence to the perception that the DA marches to the drumbeat of populism. Disillusionment among traditional voters could prove costly in terms of votes. 


If in finding Zille guilty the inquiry restricted its recommendation to her removal as Western Cape premier, the country would lose its most competent provincial premier. From a governance point of view, that would be a grave setback. Although such an outcome would find favour amongst her political opponents, her continued membership of the DAwould be hailed as "proof" that the DA is the home of "racists and colonialists." 


Should the inquiry limit its censure of Zille to a suspended sentence, the likes of Mmusi Maimane and certain KZN MPLs, and councillors who have indicated their extreme displeasure at Zille's tweets concerning colonialism,would be displeased and politically marginalised. 


Such an outcome would immediately be seized upon as an affront to Maimane's leadership and ambitions. Besides blunting the DA's drive to recruit new black support, it would potentially run the risk of losing existing black support. But for Zille herself,  such an outcome would hobble her political stature and credibility. Already that has happened to Dianne Kohler-Barnard.  


In the event that the disciplinary inquiry produces a not guilty finding, division within the DA between traditional and new black support would be difficult to contain. After his outspoken rejection of Zille's remarks on colonialism, Maimane would find  his leadership compromised to the point that he would have difficulty in disarming the perception that he was on a leash. 


Of course, those baying for Zille's blood would go into overdrive in condemning the DA for failing to mete out what they would regard as the appropriate penalty. The DA would be accused of failing the test of transformation and to have run out of road in its quest for  black support. 


Of course, none of these outcomes would be possible if the leadership of the DA and in particular, Mmusi Maimane, had not been so impulsive in demanding  that Zille face a disciplinary inquiry. But, as in the 2015 case of Kohler-Barnard, it would seem populist pressure prevailed. 


What Helen Zille said about the legacies of colonialism is historically objective and  correct. There were negative and positive aspects.  By focusing only on the negative, Maimane and his ilk have lost a golden opportunity to place the legacies of colonialism in proper historical perspective; to put an end to the ANC's exploitation of colonialism as a red herring  in our political debate so as to  deflect attention from the dysfunctional state of ANC governance.  


Sadly, whatever happens to Zille, the red herring of colonialism will continue to infest the political arena and draw unnecessary lines of division. Like the Kohler-Barnard case, the DA leadership has handled the Zille issue appallingly. In his haste to curry favour with black radical elements, Maimane has failed to anticipate the permutation of possible outcomes, none of which favours the DA. For the ANC and its fellow travellers, the DA's Zille dilemma is political schadenfreude which could not come at  a better time given the growing groundswell of opposition to Jacob Zuma's presidency.  



The Editor

The Mercury


NEWS BY COMMISSION OR OMISSION?                 posted  27 April 2017


The complete failure of the Mercury (April 24) to publish a single word about the largest gathering

ever to take place in the Southern Hemisphere ranks as a new low in the direction the paper appears

to be taking since it was acquired by the Sekunjalo company.


The fact that between 500,000 and one million people of all races and political stripes were motivated

to travel to Bloemfontein to participate prayerfully for the future of the country was a major event

deserving of prominent front page coverage.


The Mercury's complete omission of this highly significant event is deplorable, a slight exacerbated by

the choice of a soft, starry-eyed story about an urban renewal project which, like others the city routinely

propagates, ends up gathering dust.


The other significant omission from the April 24 Mercury is the fact that the Sekunjalo-owned newspapers

have resigned from the Press Council of South Africa and will, instead, have their own in-house press



If that news is correct, as reported by News 24, then it means that the the ideological location of the 

Mercury and its sister papers has been further tightened. Put another way, control of the mainstream English

press in this country is now subject to guidelines that are more stringent than those laid down by the Nat government

in the 1970s and 1980s because Sekunjalo is an open and active ally of the ANC whereas until 1985, the private Robinson family

had majority control of the Mercury.


In any case, why was the Press Council story omitted?

If the Times Media or Caxton had left the Press Council, Dr Surve and his minions would have had much to say.


The fact that the first three pages of the April 24 Mercury edition are filled with in-house ANC manoeuvres shows clearly that

the Mercury is now commissioned to prioritise blow-by-blow accounts of the ANC's dirty laundry. And as if that was 

not enough, a large op-ed piece by a Western Cape ANC comrade adorns the so-called News and Analysis page.


Quo vadis, the Mercury?



Business Report



Brian Mahlangu's lengthy lament that the "transfer of power has not so far benefited the majority" (Business Report, April 19)

contains nothing new about the subject which he and his fellow travellers persist in misunderstanding.

Prosperity and upliftment cannot  be transferred or conferred. That is a marxist notion which despite worldwide failure and condemnationcontinues to be paraded, disingenuously, as an attainable objective. The same applies to the notion that wealth and prosperity are commodities that can be "redistributed." Where that has occurred, it has resulted in the stunting of economic growth which, in turn, hasreduced employment and exacerbated poverty.


Mahlangu also subscribes to what he calls "an inclusive economy" which he sees as resolving poverty and squalor. How that could be implemented he does not indicate. However, George Orwell in his novel Animal Farm provides a stark illustration of the consequencesof such an economy: poverty and misery for the majority, luxury and sufficiency for the elite.Already South Africa under ANC policies is well down the road to equality in poverty. Eighteen million people are dependent on state welfare. Ten million people are unemployable. Ninety percent of school leavers can't find employment and in time join the welfare queue.

If after 20 years of ANC policies, the hoped-for benefits of democracy have not materialised, it should be obvious that those policies are flawed. Despite expectations and political spin-doctoring, inflexible, race-based labour laws and BEE have failed to benefit the black majority. Instead an oligarchy of fabulously wealthy blacks has emerged who are not inclined to part with their windfalls. Prescriptive legislation along with corruption and cadre deployment has further depleted the engine of economic growth. Consequently,some 46 companies have relocated to London, while discrimination against minorities has seen an exodus of the ablest, brightest and best-trained of our youth to distant shores.

Equality can be legislated but when it is coerced by means of discriminatory labour legislation and BEE, it violates freedom. Respected economist Milton Friedman in his book Free to Choose  (pp. 181-82) wrote that a society which prioritises equality ahead of freedom marginalises itself in terms of prosperity and opportunity. In place of freedom of opportunity, position and privilege become  institutionalised based on race and ideology. That is exactly what has happened to South Africa under the ANC and why economic growth, the only route to upliftment, is stalled and stunted.



The Mercury




Helen Zille's remarks on Singapore's success and her latest colonial denialism are disappointing

to say the least (Mercury, April 7).


In attempting to present Singapore's success since independence in 1965 as an example worthy of emulation,

she appears either to omit certain basic factors or is ignorant of them. Whatever negatives Malaya and Singapore

experienced under different foreign interests - Islamic in the 14th century, Portuguese in the 16th century, Dutch in

the 17th and British in the 19th century -  paled into insignificance compared to the wreckage the Japanese occupation 

caused during World War 2.


Despite Zille's claim of colonial oppression, it was the British who restored Singapore's wrecked infrastructure after 1945.

Moreover, her claim that liberation from colonialism "enabled its people to escape poverty" is simply not true. Instead, 

it was Singapore's separation from Malaya that enabled the island to prosper. That separation saw Singapore's majority

Chinese population (75%) freed from domination by the Islamic Malays of mainland Malaya. Liberation from ideological,

economic and racial conflict provided the launchpad for Singapore's success.


Thus, Singapore's experience is of no value to South Africa with its multi-ethnic society and its subjugation by a political

party which clings to the discredited ideology of socialism.


Finally, by stating that "colonialism should never have happened," one gets the impression that Zille has gone into overdrive

in her attempts to effect damage control over her tweets on the subject. Nonetheless, it beggars belief that an educated 

person can make such a flawed statement. Since history was first recorded, domination, colonisation and liberation have occurred

in unending cycles. South Africa's rich cultural heritage is a product of colonisation. The USA would never have come about

without British colonialism.


The Mercury

WHAT AM I INVESTING IN?                    -posted 13 April 2017


With the exception of the generous space allocated to the Letters column and the variety of subjects which are aired there, it is 

regrettable that the political images and contents of the Mercury have become servile and sycophantic.


Almost daily, the opinion pieces published are from ANC spokesmen, particularly ones that are attached to other provinces and

various government portfolios. It has long been clear that Independent Newspapers, which owns the Mercury title, is anything

 but independent. Of course, as any informed reader knows, Independent Newspapers is part of Sekunjalo whose chief executive

is an unswerving ANC supporter.


As such, the plot is very obvious: the Mercury and its sister publications have become a very unsubtle part of a propaganda

campaign to promote the ANC. Who would have thought,40 years ago when the Mercury was deprecating the Citizen newspaper

as being a taxpayer-funded mouthpiece of the Nat government, that the Mercury would one day fulfill the same role. For, as informed

readers know, Independent Newspapers was acquired by Sekunjalo with R800 million borrowed, interest free, from the Government

Employees Pension Fund.


What needs to be weighed up is to what extent the plot is sustainable. It is common knowledge that subscribership and readership of

big establishment papers in the US is declining, particularly since the onset of the Trump era. That same trend is underway in South

Africa. Moreover, the  internet affords widespread and more immediate access to news and views - for free. So, with the renewal of

my annual Mercury subscription due soon, I have to ask myself: what am I investing in?


The Mercury




In a quiet, yet graphic way the photograph of King Goodwill Zwelithini in the Mercury

on March 31 expresses the reality of our colonial legacy.


In a manner which Queen Victoria would have endorsed, King Goodwill was shown

using a ceremonial sword and tapping his kinsman gently on the right shoulder to mark

the installation of Inkosi Senzeshle Dlamini.


According to the report, the ceremony was attended by 3,000 community members along

with political dignitaries. Nobody objected to the King’s use of what is a very British and

colonial custom, the ceremonial sword.


As such, that occasion proves how legacies unobtrusively have pervaded and, indeed, enriched

our lives. The Decolonisers and their ilk should take note.



The Mercury




Whatever else lies ahead this year, the words of former president Kgalema Motlanthe at the

funeral of Ahmed Kathrada will serve as a shining beacon of hope in a political landscape

that has been defiled and morally bankrupted by Jacob Zuma and his ilk.


The fact that Zuma was specifically asked not to attend the funeral speaks volumes which, in

turn, was amplified by the ovation Motlanthe and embattled Finance minister Pravin Gordhan received.

But it was how Motlanthe expressed the late Kathrada’s feelings about the political rot that infests

South Africa which must surely resonate with every responsible citizen.


With eloquence that Tony Leon would find difficult to eclipse, Motlanthe displayed what is so

lacking in South Africa: statesmanship. Ironically,  a funeral, with all that is sad about such occasions,

may prove the touchstone and the turning point in salvaging the country from its downward spiral.


Galvanised by the spirit of Kathrada and clearly resolved in terms of their opposition to Zuma, carpe diem

time has arrived for the  ANC leadership outside of KZN. The resignation of Zuma and his toadies must

be demanded. And, if he is willing, Kgalema Motlanthe installed as President of South Africa.





The Mercury and Daily News


THE COLONIALISM CONVERSATION                        posted 30 March 2017


The cacophony of voices condemning Helen Zille and colonialism in its entirety is trending towards

the law of unintended consequences.


Although in almost every instance the detractors disdain any pretext of historical context, it is the

vitriol and the fanaticism of their condemnation that bodes ill for the constitutional right of free

speech and its corollary, freedom of thought.


As such, the conversation about colonialism is fraught with the threat of intimidation, demonisation

and indictment, as Helen Zille knows all too well. The outcome of that trend is that the interpretation,

appreciation and understanding of history and heritage risks becoming limited to a maligned, distorted and

politically subjective  view. In other words, an Orwellian situation in which Big Brother – the icon of

political correctness – prevails at the expense of liberal and diverse thought and expression.


What is also surprising, it that many of the voices condemning colonialism have failed to note that the

conversation is a deliberate ploy on the part of those responsible for governance to deflect attention

away from their glaring failures and to erect colonialism as a scapegoat in the public mind.


A further disturbing factor is the lack of maturity displayed by many of the detractors.

Their deliberate neglect of any pretense of objectivity in condemning colonialism amounts to hypocrisy

in terms of the positive legacies of colonialism which they enjoy and experience. Nonetheless, given their

fervent, high octane feelings against colonialism, they should go viral and condemn the excesses of colonialism

in Australia and North America where human rights violations reached genocidal proportions.


In any event, to promote the colonialism conversation my latest book, titled Portraits of Colonial Natal, is due

out shortly. In a series of twelve essays it pans the faults and stains of colonialism as well as its pioneers in the

fields of agriculture, travel and commerce.  Portraits is published in the spirit of the preamble of the constitution

which exhorts us to respect those who have worked to build and develop our country.

Colonial deniers and their ilk will be welcome at its launch.

The Mercury




The recent meeting of Clairwood residents (Mercury, March 23) at which they

confronted Council officials with the plight of their suburb is the latest in a

sad saga which has been ongoing for nearly 20 years.


The reported statement by senior Council official Shunnon Tulsiram that his

task is to find a balance between economic growth and sustaining residential

security is hardly convincing given the rampant industrial and logistics expansion which

has been occurring in Clairwood.


The reality is that Clairwood’s fate was sealed  on December 4, 2006 at a meeting

held at the Fresh Produce Market in Flower Rd. There the then head of Town Planning,

Soobs Moonsammy, in the presence of the then city manager, Dr Michael Sutcliffe,

stated that market forces and not town planning considerations would determine

Clairwood’s future.


Clairwood’s path to extinction was given a further boost when on November 13, 2014

at a meeting of the Economic Development committee (Ecod), the following item was

approved: “the rezoning of the Clairwood residential core for logistics” (p. 108 of the



The progressive decline of Clairwood as a residential suburb, which once had a population

in excess of 40,000 , is a reality which the ANC-led eThekwini Council has permitted and

promoted. It is thus quite disingenuous for Council officials to claim otherwise.







The so-called Twitter storm that has resulted from Western Cape premier Helen Zille’s remarks on colonialism

(Daily News, March 17), has brought to the fore the fact that the DA prioritises  political correctness and hypocrisy ahead of factual honesty and historical context.

Zille was quite correct in rejecting the assertion that the legacy of colonialism was only negative. As she attemptedto argue, the manifold positive legacies of the colonial era cannot simply be wished away. But the fact that sherapidly reversed her stance and apologised for the perception that she was defending colonialismshows theextent to which free and diverse thinking within the DA has become marginalised.


The words of DA leader Mmusi Maimane leave no doubt about that: colonialism, he said, can never bejustified.

One wonders how he feels about the line in the preamble of the constitution which exhorts us to “respect those who have worked to build and develop our country.”


It is also utter rubbish for DA spokesman Phumzile van Damme to claim that “there is not a single aspect of colonialism that can be said to be positive for Africans.” One wonders, then, how she would explain the exponential increase in theAfrican population partly as a result of colonial medicine and establishment of an order which was largely peaceful.And how does van Damme account for the emergence of African newspapers like Inkanyiso Yase Natal in 1893 along with,albeit limited, western educated Africans?


All periods of history contain stains of tragedy and injustice. The colonial period was no exception. But it is

disingenuous to condemn an entire era based only on its negative effects and legacies. Thus it is the height of

hypocrisy for DA MPL Mbali Ntuli to label as “trash” any link between colonialism and development. Having

received her education at institutions which are the products of the colonial era, she has no room to talk.


Of course, the basis of the discord within the DA concerns its precept of “one nation, one future.” South Africa is a highly diverse country. To impose “one size-fits-all” thinking is to impose a new oppression. Unity can only be achieved by recognising diversity and respecting the history and heritage of the different components.


As long as labels like “racist” are attached to anyone who attempts to be objective about the past, there can never be unity and harmony. By failing to adhere to its slogan  of “freedom, fairness and opportunity” and failing to have accepted

Zille’s right to state an historical truth about colonialism, the DA has shown itself to be illiberal and beholden to the empty idol of political correctness.


If the DA wants to be credible, its spokesmen need to adhere to historical realities instead of trying to echo the uneducated mantras of the EFF and ANC on colonialism and the land issue. Failing that, the DA must recognise that it has reached a political Rubicon: by lurching to the populist left it will lose its traditional support base.


MAIL & GUARDIAN ( also sent to Daily News)




It is sad to see an educated person like Charles Villet of the Australian Monash University failing to distinguish
between extremism and reasonable quests for sovereignty by marginalised cultures. Instead he mistakenly, but

nonetheless deliberately, demonises  them as the ‘Far Right.’(M&G, February 24).


Nazis and Fascists have been on the fringes of the political Right for decades, just as communists and socialists occupy the fringes of the political Left. Thus, it is insulting and downright wrong for the likes of Villet to attempt to brand everyone to the right of centre as somehow linked to the totalitarian ‘Far Right.’

Conservatives, courteously and correctly, do not associate left of centre liberals with the totalitarian Left.


The term “white victimhood” is one that the political Left has manufactured which deliberately distorts and disparages what is as old as history itself: defence of cultural and sovereign identity. Conflict in history has always resulted from attempts to impose imperialism and its corollary, colonisation.


The growing opposition in Europe to the deluge of migrants is valid and reasonable particularly as those migrants have no intention of assimilating the culture of the countries in which they seek refuge. No self-respecting people and culture voluntarily surrenders its heritage to aliens. The resurgence of national sovereignty in Eastern Europe since the collapse of the USSR testifies to the resilience of cultural homogeneity.


For the white farming community in South Africa that numbers 35,000, the ongoing murders of farmers is more than just ”problematic,”as Villet claims. More than 1,600 white farmers have been murdered since 1990 – a figure without parallel in the modern,civilised world. Given the incendiary rhetoric of Malema, Winnie Mandela and the late Peter Mokaba in urging the killing of white farmers, reference to terms such as “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” is not inappropriate.


But if Villet finds such terms as constituting “hyperbole,” then he should be wary about attempting to consignall thosewho are prepared to defend culture and heritage as “Far right.” Given his association with an Australian institution, it will be interesting to see how he describes Australian resistance to the ongoing influx of Chinese into Australia and their indifference for the icons of Aussie culture – cricket and barbeque.





The Mercury




eThekwini mayor Gumede’s idea of job creation is typical of her socialist mindset

(Mercury, February 23).


Prescription and rigid regulation do not promote economic growth and poverty alleviation.

The job of government should be to free-up conditions in which initiative and enterprise

can thrive. By prescribing rigid rules as to how contracts are to be carried out will have

three outcomes:  it will discourage tendering because of the red tape involved which,

in turn will drive up costs and result in protracted delivery time.


In business, time is money. Why should an established business contractor have to supply

training for sub-contractors? To what extent would that ‘training’ interfere with the time

schedule quoted for the job? To what extent would that result in additional costs to the

job or project?  Why should the contractor then have to be responsible for the workmanship

of the sub-contractor? What firm is going to place its name and image at such risk?


Clearly mayor Gumede is a stranger to how business in the capitalist world works.

Then there is the bureaucratic red tape involved in securing the prescribed 30% quota

per ward. Having once tried to set up a collective when I was a councillor, the process

is daunting. But then maybe that’s part of Gumede’s strategy so that only cronies and

cadres will apply.



The Mercury


The change in media influence since Watergate    posted 22/2/17


At the height of Watergate, President Nixon was opposed by every

major newspaper and television network in the US which, as a result,

hastened his resignation. In running for the presidency, Donald Trump,

like Nixon, was opposed by the entire mainstream print and electronic

media. Thus his triumph against that media onslaught is an object

lesson in how media influence has changed since Watergate.


In 1976 Bruce Herschensohn published a book titled Gods of the

Antenna in which he analysed the workings of the print and cable

news network with particular reference to Nixon’s presidency. In

short, his findings were that the American public’s views on events

were crafted and purveyed by a small bunch of individuals, specifically

Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Eric Sevareid of CBS, Harry Reasoner of

ABC, Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post along with the New York Times,

Newsweek and Time.


Their influence on the politics of the day was such that views which diverged

were either ignored or subjected to treatment which disparaged their credibility.

But besides that, it was the saturation coverage and distribution they enjoyed

which overwhelmed alternative thinking.


Forty years on, the Gods of the Antenna and their fellow travellers no

longer exercise that same  mental traction. Their credibility and pervasive influence

has diminished drastically  in the face of social  networks, Twitter, the internet and

networks like Fox and Newsmax.


Symptomatic of that development is the New York Times’ attempt to shore up its

declining sales by offering  subscriber rates reduced by 50% for what it calls “real

news and real journalism.” This comes in the wake of a new Gallup Poll which shows

68% of Americans regard the mass media as biased and do not trust it to report news

fairly and fully.


The Washington Times


GEORGE WASHINGTON FACED LONGER ODDS   –    posted 9 February 2017


In terms of historical contrast, the division and opposition Donald Trump faces as President

hardly measures up to the challenges George Washington faced during and even after the War

of Independence.


The issue of independence from Britain was by no means unanimously supported and proved

highly divisive in all 13 of the original states. Indeed, 80,000 loyalists who rejected independence

left the US during and after the war. Patriot communities went about forcing people on pain of

punishment and confiscation of property to swear allegiance to the US.


As one historian has quipped, one third of Americans supported Washington, one third remained

loyal to Britain and one third were out to lunch.


Under those circumstances Washington had great difficulty in mounting a military challenge to

the British forces, who were mostly German mercenaries. With poorly equipped, ill-trained men,

he endured desertion, defeat and intrigue. Several of the 13 colonies like New York, Georgia and

the Carolinas were actually occupied by the British. But Washington survived and profited from

British mistakes and the loss of political will to emerge triumphant in 1781.


Even right up to the eve of him taking office as President, unity was not a given amongst the new

federal states. At least Trump has the support of almost half those who voted in the November election.

He also has the support of a party which controls both houses of Congress. And as time goes by and

protest fatigue sets in amongst his vociferous detractors,  more and more people will appreciate

that Trump’s fight for the sovereignty of the US in terms of trade,  jobs and right of entry is

constitutionally, politically and historically correct.



The Mercury


PERSPECTIVE ON SOVEREIGNTY                    posted 8 February 2017


The choppy political waters which prevail in Europe and the USA are the result of the

resurgence of sovereignty.


Since history was first recorded, conflict over  boundaries and territories has been

endemic. The issue of sovereignty has been central to all disputes. Empires have been

built on the vanquished sovereignty of peoples. Empires have been overthrown or

dismembered as a result of the resurgence of sovereignty of individual nations.


Sovereignty is the essence of nationhood because it identifies language, customs,

culture, history and heritage with a specific group of people. As such, sovereignty

is precious and sensitive. It opposes infiltration and overthrow. It is wary of

elements which fail to assimilate and to subscribe to its specific social ethos.


Globalism is a direct threat to sovereignty - from national identity to social

compatibility to economics. This was patently obvious in the Brexit vote. British

people saw the European Union as usurping their national sovereignty by the

progressive subordination of their  parliament  to Brussels. They also demanded

the right to determine immigration policy, correctly sensing that being swamped by

alien migrants would erode and ultimately destroy their British heritage.


Donald Trump’s inauguration address expressed similar sentiments. He saw his

inauguration as the transferring of power from Washington DC back to the people.

January 20, 2017, he stated, would be remembered as the day the people became

the rulers of America again. “From this day forward it is going to be America first...

we will follow simple rules: buy American, hire American....the bedrock of our politics

will be total allegiance to the USA.”


Marine Le Pen in France emphasises sovereignty when she states that “globalism is

built on the negation of the values on which France was built. Those who come to France

are to accept France; not to transform it to the image of their country of origin.”


In all three cases, the labels of left and right, as Le Pen states, “have outlived their

usefulness.”  As both the Brexit and the Trump vote showed, people on both sides of

the political aisle voted for sovereignty. Cries of racism and discrimination against

those of other religions or cultures thus have no credibility and are meant merely

to intimidate, obfuscate and confuse.


The swing of the political pendulum to sovereignty inevitably clashes with decades

of conditioning by globalists. Cross roads are always hazardous. Ultimately, what

is required is recognition of the onset of a cycle of history that is as old as history





PROPAGATING FAKE VIEWS                        posted 7 February 2017


The corollary of fake news is fake opinion. The article by one Chris Maxon (Daily News, February 6)

alleging a second coming of apartheid is a case in point.


Without adducing any hard evidence beyond a single, secondary reference to a camp at which a few

white teens were allegedly indoctrinated with nationalist ideas, Maxon contrives to concoct a

theory that a return of apartheid is in the offing. As the key to his contrived opinion, Maxon offers

the move of top prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, to Afriforum.


In Maxon’s rose-tinted view, Afriforum is somehow a launch pad for the frustrated “aspirations of

right wing elements and their resolve on the return of apartheid.”  What utter drivel, Mr Editor!


Although it has affiliation with Afrikaner interests, Afriforum is a broad-based NGO which enjoys

growing support from all who are concerned at state corruption, state capture and poor governance.


Besides his cheap attempt to disparage Gerrie Nel, the thrust of Maxon’s rant is clearly an attempt

to perpetuate the failed rule of the ANC by dredging up the bogeyman of apartheid. It is unfortunate

that the Daily News allows its columns to be abused by fake views.



-posted 31 January 2017


The hysteria against President Trump’s temporary withholding of travel visas

affecting seven Middle East states is both sad and pathetic because it is based

on sheer ignorance (Daily News, January 30).


Trump’s order is based on a 2015 law signed by President Obama which specifically

identified Syria, Iran and Sudan as sources of terrorism. As far back as 1979, President

Carter identified Syria as a sponsor of terrorism. In the 1980s, Reagan labeled Iran as

such. In 1993 President Bill Clinton named Sudan as a sponsor of terrorism.


In 2011 Obama imposed a six month ban on refugees from Iraq entering the US because

that state along with Libya, Somalia and Yemen were identified by his Administration as

having terror links.


In 2000, President Clinton deported 1,864,343 aliens from the US.

Yet there was no outcry from the liberal-left against Obama or Clinton.

Trump is fully within his constitutional rights as President to clamp down on entry into

the US from states that sponsor or are linked with terrorism.


It is also specious claptrap for his critics to interpret his actions as discriminating against

Moslems. The Moslem populations of the seven affected states account for only 13% of

the world’s Moslems. In other words, 87% of Moslems are not affected by Trump’s visa





DECOLONISATION: A COCKTAIL OF CONTROVERSY                posted 26 January 2017


Whilst Prof George Devenish is critical of the racial excesses attached to the idea of decolonisation,

(Daily News, January 25), his apparent support for the process in general raises questions.


The aim of decolonisation, he notes, is part of transformation, and as such “genuine transformation

is essential for the health and survival of our democracy.” But  our constitution is premised on a multi-party

system of democracy in which democratic values and freedom are enshrined (sections 1 and 7).

The health of our democracy cannot be promoted by discarding the values and heritage of any section of society.

A case in point is the concern raised by IFP national chairman Blessed Gwala about Ulundi and the fact

that despite its historical significance it has been neglected (Daily News, January 25).


According to Devenish, decolonisation involves “more than merely changing names of buildings and the

removal of statues.” In other words, decolonisation means disposing of history, heritage and culture that

originated as a result of colonialism. Although he always specifies his role in the drafting of the interim

constitution in 1993, the fact that Devenish  apparently supports decolonisation is intriguing.

For section 9 of the 1996 constitution, under the Bill of Rights, prohibits discrimination against culture. (Of course,

section 9 (5) attempts to provide some wiggle room on this by stating that such provision could be modified if “ it is established

that the discrimination is fair.”)


Be that as it may, the preamble of the constitution exhorts all to “respect those who have worked to build and develop our country.”

Thus, we have a contradiction in terms.


The idea of decolonisation is  fraught with contradiction, confrontation, and hypocrisy. That is reality. It cannot unmake the past and

within the context of the global village, it can only have a stultifying effect in terms of tertiary education.



TIME TO REVIEW POLITICAL LABELS                posted 25 January 2017


Given the speed of the Trump tsunami, it is reasonable to forgive the media

for continuing to apply political labels which have become archaic. The Daily

News editorial of January 23 titled “Right wing unity a threat” is a case in point.


Nowhere in Trump’s inaugural address did he make derogatory remarks about

any of the issues which purportedly have resulted in mass protests on the streets.

In that connection, it is an established fact that the protests are orchestrated

and have received financial backing from billionaire George Soros.


Although the behavior of the protesters and their slogans are worthy of Hillary

Clintons’s epithet “deplorable,” Trump poses no threat to their beliefs. In fact he

said it is their democratic right to protest. However misguided their protests may be,

they nonetheless represent the confusion at the sea change in politics which has

come about through Brexit and Trump.


The new wind of change is about nationhood – hence Trump’s slogan ‘Make America

great again.”  It’s also about devolving power away from elites and central structures

like the EU.  Thus, labels such as Left and Right wing are no longer applicable.


Trump’s speech was neither liberal nor conservative, nor was it partisan. But it was

patriotic – a word which globalism has tried to bury. The Brexit vote was also neither

Left nor Right wing with people on both sides of the political aisle opposing it or

supporting it.


Thus, the fear of the Daily News that the ‘'Right wing” poses a threat, is unfounded. Instead

nationalism, which one sees so emphatically during the soccer world cup, is the new

political menu.





The reasoning of the Statistician-General, Dr Pali Lehohla as to why the success rate

of black students at university level is now worse than in the 1980s beggars belief (Daily News,

January 24).


Lehohla stated that in the 1980s for every successful black tertiary student, there were

1,2 successful white students. But instead of that ratio improving after 22 years of ANC rule,

Lehohla has found that the black tertiary pass rate has declined statistically to one successful

black student for every six successful white students.


In accounting for this dismal state of affairs, Lehohla blames apartheid and the Bantu Education

Act introduced by Dr Verwoerd in 1959. For an official who otherwise is quite competent as a

statistician, such reasoning is laughable. For if the education blacks received under apartheid

was so inferior, how does he explain that their university pass rate was way better under

apartheid than it is now since liberation?


The poor tertiary success rate of students of all races is the result of the ANC government’s

meddling in education curricula. In place of the system they inherited in 1994, they substituted

multiple failed versions of Outcomes Based Education (OBE), packaged off good teachers,

closed teachers’ training colleges and amalgamated certain university campuses.


That is the legacy which is now bearing spoiled fruit. Apartheid has nothing to do with it.

Besides, the majority of students at university now were born since 1994.





TRANSFORMATION AT UKZN EXPOSED                    posted 18 January 2017


Central to the apparent controversy surrounding UKZN Vice Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld,

is the concept of ‘'”transformation” (Daily News, January 16).


Although accusations of racism and incompetence levelled at Dr van Jaarsveld have been found to be

baseless, a group calling itself the Higher Educations Transformation Network (HETN) has challenged

the exoneration of Dr van Jaarsveld by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza.


Astonishingly and ironically the HETN spokesman, Lucky Thekisho, has rejected Advocate Ntsebeza’s

findings as “suspicious” and claimed that “it is strange that black leadership victimise black colleagues

We will do whatever it takes to protect members.”


From that it is clear that “transformation” is nothing but a euphemism for black domination. As such, it

is racist  in the extreme. Moreover, it means that fairness, freedom and opportunity – the very pillars

of academia – do not prevail within such a mindset.


The time is overdue for academics who value merit above demographic representivity to tell the likes

of the HETN group to take a hike. Failing that, the further demise of UKZN to junk status is guaranteed.


The Mercury




posted  18 January 2017


The Mercury’s editorial of January 17 endorsing the substance of the

ANC’s call for radical expropriation of land provokes simultaneously a

sense of sadness and outrage.


It beggars belief that the Mercury should lend credence to this latest

ANC outburst of reckless populism which is nothing less than a desperate

attempt to deflect attention from its failings and to shore up its

declining support.


Calling for the expropriation of 70% of the land into state ownership is

openly marxist and Stalinist. For a paper that has charted the total demise

of agriculture in Zimbabwe to support such a policy direction is outrageous.

Clearly, the Mercury has not learned from history.


Yet you are aware that Land Reform minister Gugile Nkwinti has conceded that

92% of land restitution beneficiaries have opted for financial compensation rather than land.

You are aware that 90% of farms redistributed have failed.


So why do you endorse this totally irresponsible and unrealistic rant about

restoring land that was “stolen?”


As it is food security is in jeopardy. If Stalinist expropriation of land is implemented,

famine will follow. Zimbabwe is a case in point.


Like Mugabe, the ANC has only one ambition – to cling to power by all and any means

regardless of the consequences for South Africa.

It’s time the Mercury got its head out of the sand and recognised that reality.


The Mercury


TIME TO RECOGNISE THAT THE ANC IS A SPENT FORCE            posted January 11, 2017


Despite the overwhelmingly pervasive evidence of the demise of governance under the ANC,

the Mercury seems to have succumbed to the eyes wide shut syndrome in terms of its editorial

of January 10.


Attempting to contrive future hope from the ANC is like hoping to derive nutrition from a rotten carcass.

Nonetheless, the Mercury trots out the view that we are “a democracy underpinned by a constitution based

on the rule of law.” De jure that is true. But the de facto reality is that the NEC of the ANC has become the

highest law in the land. They have stated that only they will decide on whether Zuma continues as president,

despite the finding of the Concourt that Zuma has violated his oath of office.


Given the fact that the ills that torment South Africa today are the result of the dysfunctionalism and corruption

that has taken root under the ANC, it is futile to expect the “reigniting of the economy.” Reform is impossible

from the disorganised, faction-riven ANC whose antics and inactions are responsible for the need for reform.


The time is overdue to recognise  that the ANC after almost 23 years in power has become the same spent, corrupt

force that the National Party was after 46 years in power. No credible case can be made to present the ANC as

the only source of South Africa’s salvation.


Instead  it is time to recognise that South Africa’s redemption from the mess the ANC  has made of it lies in the

embrace a new political configuration based on a coalition of participants which put South Africa first and are

free from discredited populist and marxist ideological moorings.




The Mercury


LAND REFORM IMPERILS FOOD SECURITY                posted 4 January 2017


The article on land reform by  Nhlanhla  Mndaweni (Mercury, January 3) is deeply flawed

because it ignores three key issues: food security, the utter failure of redistributed farms

and the fact that most land claim beneficiaries are not interested in farming.


Boasting that 1,2 million hectares of land have been transferred to land claimants and beneficiaries

while the state has acquired farms totaling a further 300,000 hectares, Mndaweni is curiously silent

on the productivity of those lands. The reality is that 90% of farms redistributed have failed and reverted

to subsistence farming or to becoming squatter camps. (See: RW Johnson, How long can South Africa survive,

p. 171).


The aim of “equitable distribution of land ownership,” therefore is a misnomer and a no-brainer. Previously

self-sufficient in food, South Africa now imports much of its food as a result of the progressive marginalisation

of food-producing commercial farmers. Ideologically drive land reform is imperiling food security.


Writing in Business Report on May 27, 2016, John Kane-Berman of the Institute of Race Relations quoted Land Reform

minister Nkwinti as stating that 92% of land restitution beneficiaries opted for financial compensation rather than land.

Gwede Mantashe, ANC Secretary General, was quoted as concurring with the views of the Land Bank that young people

are not interested in farming.


Against that background, Mndaweni’s enthusiastic attempt to promote further distribution of land is dangerously misguided.

Not only should security of land tenure be assured – so our remaining productive farmers can get on with feeding us without

the threat of losing their farms – but as is stated on the IFP’s policy website, “food farming land should be allocated to

farmers with proven skills.


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