The claim by International Relations minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, that the Australian government is "misleading" its citizens who travel to South Africa about conditions here (Mercury, April 19) shows to what extent our rulers are cocooned in cotton wool.
If the Australian warning is wrong about the high level of crime, robberies, the hazards of mini-bus transport, unroadworthy vehicles and poor service from the SA Police, then can the minister explain how come:
Whether we like it or not, levels of murder, rape and crime in South Africa under the ANC are without precedent in our history. By issuing warnings as to how things are in this country, the Australian government is simply being honest about the facts. Who does minister Sisulu think she is fooling by protesting against those warnings?
EDUCATION SHAMBLES PORTENDS SA'S FUTURE - posted 13/4/18
DA PROMISE TO FURTHER HANI'S DREAMS IS NAIVE posted 13 April 2018
The press release by one Refiloe Nt'sekhe of the DA (Politicsweb, April 11), inter alia acknowledging the 25th anniversary of Chris Hani's death, should make everyone familiar with DA policy wonder where the DA is going.
Nt'sekhe asserts that the DA concurs with Hani's aim to promote the advancement of "our people." As Cope leader Terror Lekota asked in parliament: who are "our people?"
The DA has always claimed to stand for "all the people." So to whom is Nt'sekhe referring?Then Nt'sekhe stated that Hani did not see democracy as the end point of liberation but rather as a step towards social justice. As such, Nt'sekhe commits the DA "to work to realise his dreams."
Clearly Nt'sekhe is very naive about who Hani was and what his dreams were because there is a world of difference between what Hani espoused and DA policy on every level.
Stephen Ellis in his book External Mission: The ANC in Exile (Johannesburg, 2012) provides a number of dispassionate facts on Hani. In brief, he was an outspoken, hard-line communist who as early as 1969 told the ANC that its leadership was "incompetent" and that they were a bunch of "careerists content to travel the world attending conferences" (p. 69).
A rigid disciplinarian, Hani was instrumental in tightening up repressive measures in ANC detainee camps in Tanzania (p. 156; 180). Such was his hold over the ANC that it was said that the SACP "had devoured the true idealism of the original Luthuli ANC" ( p.243).
As an unreconstructed revolutionary, Hani and Mac Maharaj remained insurrectionists into the 1990s,dubious about the chances of a negotiated solution and worried where it may lead" p.283). In a broadcast from
Radio Freedom on 31 July 1986, Hani made it clear that social justice would only be achieved when all land, factories and mines were "given back to our people from which it was stolen" (Politicsweb, April 11).
The South Africa Hani envisaged was one of soviet-type communism. For the ignorant, that means a one-party state with state control over every aspect of life and equality in mediocrity for the masses. The likes of Cyril Ramaphosa would never have acceded to power in such a dispensation. DA attempts to muscle in on ANC icons, as we saw with the deaths of Nelson and Winnie Mandela and now with the anniversary of Hani's death, lack credibility because they are so patently about political posturing and vote poaching. As for Refiloe Nt'sekhe,the DA leadership needs to ensure that its spokespersons are historically and politically literate. Studying Ellis's book would be a good start.
WASHINGTON TIMES/ Natal Mercury/ Daily News
"She subsequently apologised for her remark. But the fact that she now attempts to denigrate those voters as "backwards" shows that her apology at the time was totally disingenuous. Indeed, her remarks about the choice her fellow Americans made can only be described as un-American.
LAND EXPROPRIATION: TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT - posted 7 March 2018
In noting historically that blacks were the real victims of expropriation of land without compensation, the subtle message Dougie Oakes (Daily News, March 6) seems intent on delivering is that the same treatment is justified for current white land owners.
With expropriation of land without compensation now very much in the political cross- hairs,
historical references such as those Oakes cited, whilst valid and informative, seem motivated to heighten emotions and thereby build momentum to justify the scrapping of the relevant clauses of section 25 of the constitution.
The acquisition of land during colonial times, whether here or in Australia or America
was frequently through invasion and subjugation. From a 21st century perspective, it was
harsh and unjust. But in seeking to rectify those wrongs, it is equally unjust to deny compensation to current land owners facing expropriation because of the wrongs of their forebears.
Two wrongs don't make a right.
THE MALEMA/EFF MALIGNANCY - posted 6 March 2018
"South Africa can either choose to have an ANC government or it can have a modern industrial economy. It cannot have both," stated Oxford academic, Dr RW Johnson, on the cover of his book How long can South Africa survive. Added to Johnson's warning should be words to the effect that the politics of Malema's EFF spell utter catastrophe for South Africa. Malema's serial incitement of hate and denigration of whites and everything associated with the white section of the population, constitutes not only an outrage in terms of section 16 (2) of the constitution, but represents a malignancy which, if not excised, will destroy this country.
Whereas an insignificant individual called Penny Sparrow was legally, socially and financially eviscerated for a racist comment on social media, Malema has never been subjected to any such punishment for his November 2016 exhortation that at some future point whites should be 'slaughtered,' (Mercury, November 8, 2016). His latest promise to destroy "whiteness," referring to the white DA mayor of Port Elizabeth and his incendiary demands for the nationalisation of land and property have destroyed the goodwill and hope that flickered briefly following the accession of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency. The spike in white emigration applications are proof of that.
By endorsing Malema's motion for the expropriation of land without compensation, whatever spin Ramaphosa tries to put on it, the ANC have indicated their willingness to renounce a key aspect of the constitution. Moreover, they have shown that they prioritise political opportunism and populism above economic stability, investor confidence, political sensibility.and maturity.
For the DA which saw fit to co-opt the EFF as a coalition partner in various metros, high noon has arrived. Although there is merit in the adage that 'politics is the art of the possible,' the DA, which used to spurn the Freedom Front as sectional and racist and therefore unacceptable as a coalition partner, needs to eat humble pie for having set aside its 'values' so as to accept EFF metro support. As the saying, 'when you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.'
The EFF and its firebrand fuhrer are a cancer in the body politic that must be isolated and eviscerated if South Africa is to have a future worth experiencing.
* In media statements published on 16 February 1994, she encouraged whites to emigrate so as to make room for the black majority. In support of that statement and on several subsequent occasions, she voiced the slogan "one settler, one bullet" which she later moderated to "one settler, one air ticket."
* In response to the murder of American student Amy Biehl by youth members of the PAC, to which she belonged,
* In a report carried by SAPA on 31 July 1995 she advocated land invasions by force.
* In 1998 she actually bussed in land invaders from Tafelsig in Cape Town to occupy a tract of land near Rylands estate (Cape Times,13 August 1998).
COMPARING APPLICATIONS OF THE LAWposted 10 Jan 2018
Derek Bird (Mercury, January 2) rightly deplores the fact that no punitive action has been taken against minister Gigaba despite having perjured himself in court
In concluding that political bosses in ANC-ruled South Africa appear to enjoy different legal treatment from the rest of us, brought to mind how differently political bosses are treated in a First World country like Australia.
Recently Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was fined $250 for failing to wear a life jacket while mooring his dinghy in the shallows of the Parramatta river which flows past his Sydney home. He did not duck and dive in admitting his negligence. Moreover, the officer who wrote out the fine was not intimidated or warded off by a throng of bodyguards. And Turnbull did not resort to appealing the prosecution.
There's a lesson for the political mandarins in South Africa: practice equality before the law.
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:
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.
DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL COMMENDED - posted 25/11/17
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.
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
ZUMA'S PARALLELS WITH SPIRO AGNEW - 13 November 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Newsmax.com
Mr Nkutha will learn a great deal about the positive side of the Trump Administration which will afford him a more balanced outlook
CARTOON ON POLICE TORTURE IS MISLEADING
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?
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
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".
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
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 NHI FOR SA IS WHAT THE ICEBERG WAS FOR THE TITANIC
-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.
ZIKALALA'S VINTAGE COMMUNIST FULMINATION posted 28 June 2017
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).
COLONIALISM CRITIC'S VIEWS EVALUATED -posted 20 June 2017
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.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DEMISE OF THE DA'S LIBERAL TOLERANCE - posted 20/6/2017
The letter by JR Whitlock (Mercury, June 19) cncerning fake smiles and friends in the DA ispertinent 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
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
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.
SUTTNER'S APARTHEID EXPERIENCE NEEDS BALANCE AND CONTEXT
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.
ZILLE CASE: MAIMANE SHOULD BE APOLOGISING posted 16 June 2017
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 wider implication of the Zille Case -posted 9 June 2017
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.
ZILLE IS FIGHTING TO UPHOLD DA PRINCIPLES
posted 6 June 2017
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.
PROSPECTS LIKELY TO BE SHORT LIVED posted
11 may 2017
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.
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
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 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.
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,
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
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
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.
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.
MOTLANTHE THE STATESMAN
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
ZILLE CASE HAS ONLY NEGATIVE OUTCOMES FOR THE DA posted 27 April 2017
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 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?
WHY UPLIFTMENT OF THE MAJORITY IS STALLED AND STUNTED posted 26 April 2017
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.
ZILLE'S REMARKS ON SINGAPORE AND COLONIALISM ARE FLAWED -posted 13/4/2017
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.
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?
KING GOODWILL AND COLONIAL PRACTICE posted 3 April 2017
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.
MOTLANTHE THE STATESMAN
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.
DUNCAN DU BOIS
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.
COUNCIL IS BEING DISINGENUOUS OVER CLAIRWOOD - posted 27 March 2017
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 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.
COLONIALISM ISSUE: RUBICON TIME FOR THE DA
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)
DISTORTED POLITICAL BRANDING
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.
DUNCAN DU BOIS
MAYOR’S JOB CREATION PLAN AT ODDS WITH REALITY posted 24/2/17
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 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
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.
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.
OUTCRY AGAINST TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN IS BASED ON SHEER IGNORANCE
-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
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
APARTHEID NOT TO BLAME FOR BLACK STUDENT PASS RATE posted 26 January 2017
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,
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.
MERCURY’S SUPPORT FOR STALINIST “LAND REFORM” IS OUTRAGEOUS!
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
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.
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.
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,
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.”
GLOBALISM AND NATIONALISM posted December 31, 2016
Although the thrust of the Mercury’s December 29 editorial headed “Year of the grim
reaper” concerned the demise of celebrities, by its inclusion of references to “populist
right wing sentiments” in the US and Europe, it obviously regards such developments
in the same “grim” vein.
With Trump’s inauguration due shortly followed by elections in Holland and France in March
and May, respectively, where the Establishment political structures face critical
challenges, 2017 promises an avalanche of politically “grim” news in terms of the
What is significant is that the Establishment press, which includes the Mercury, never
refer to “left wing sentiments” although they abound in Establishment parties headed by
the likes of Obama and Merkel. Yet anyone who stands up for his or her nation, like Nigel
Farrage in the UK or Marine Le Pen in France, is branded “Far Right.”
This, of course, is the result of politically correct parlance which George Orwell would
have termed newspeak for propaganda.
If journalism is to be credible, it needs to distinguish between globalism and nationalism.
Nationhood is as old as the Bible. The more globalism and excessive immigration threatens
national sovereignty, the greater the outcry will be from those who value nationhood. This
has just been emphatically illustrated in the US where more than 60 million voters endorsed
Trump’s slogan “Make America great again.”
The political pendulum is swinging back strongly in the direction of conserving national
borders, values and cultures. That is reality and it is also the reflection of democratic will.
Instead of trying to disparage the trend, get with the programme!
THE PARALYSIS OF GOVERNANCE - posted 17 December 2106
The protracted legal manoeuvring over a period of nine years involving
judge Nkola Motata’s drunken driving conviction highlights the paralysis
of governance that afflicts this country under ANC (Mercury, December 15).
Closure of his case should have followed immediately after he was
convicted and fined R20,000 for drunken driving in 2007. From a purely
ethical and professional standpoint, Motata should have been disbarred.
After all, he had violated the ethic “as sober as a judge.”
Instead, Motata has played the system for nine years at a cost of R16 million
to the taxpayer. One would expect a judge to be a person of integrity and
But in accepting R16 million for doing no work, Motata has not only
sullied the image of the legal profession but has demonstrated that with
the right political connections, there is no substance to the adage printed
on the title page of the 1996 edition of the SA constitution: “one law for
one nation.” [Curiously, those words do not appear in the tenth anniversary
issue of the constitution booklet].
ZUMA UNFIT TO CELEBRATE CONSTITUTION posted 8 December 2016
The fact that President Jacob Zuma is to lead the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s
constitution (Daily News, December 6) defiles the occasion.
Having been found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to defend, uphold and protect the constitution,
Zuma has no business in celebrating its anniversary. For him to attempt to extol its virtues is nauseating hypocrisy.
Clearly the man has no sense of conscience and is devoid of credibility. His continuation in office is an insult to all who regard
the constitution as the supreme law of the land.
DA’S REPORT CARD: “D” for DISAPPOINTING - posted 7 December 2016
At this time of the year, the DA usually issues report cards on the performance of the
governing structures. Whilst undoubtedly several of my former colleagues have been
beavering away diligently in their wards, however, as a collective entity and as the official
opposition in the Council, the DA’s public profile in Durban’s daily press has been sparse.
That reality does not give credence to the DA’s claim that it works between elections.
It is also strange given the fact that the election on August 3 saw the DA’s representation
in the eThekwini Council increase from 43 to 61 councillors. Yet in terms of political visibility
and volume, its footprint has not appreciated exponentially.
As the major opposition, the DA should be critically and proactively engaged with issues by means of opinion
pieces and press letters. That means taking the initiative. But since September 22 when the
Mercury published a report on the ‘war of words’ between DA leader Cllr Mncwango and the mayor,
nothing further has emanated from the DA’s Council leadership.
Why has there been no critical engagement with issues such as the following:
* the extravagance of the 2022 Commonwealth Games;
* the mayor’s ongoing abuse of ratepayer money by way of press advertisements;
* the mayor’s various claims as to the achievements of her first 100 days in office;
* infrastructure developments such as the proposed desalination plant or the promised Bluff
* the ongoing political implosion within the ANC and its effect on governance;
For all the caucusing and meetings to which the DA subjects its councillors, not to
mention the numerous directives from its provincial office, there surely must be
other issues worthy of public importance and debate.
The DA’s slogan in the recent local government elections was “Change.”
But unless there is constructive criticism and the parading of alternatives, change will not
gain traction in the minds of the electorate. So, in terms of its performance
since the August election, the eThekwini DA’s report card rates only a “D”- for disappointing.
ZUMA’S ANTICS PROMOTE BANANA REPUBLIC STATUS posted 1 December 2016
From the daily press reports of Zuma’s bids through manoeuvring, plotting and posturing to remain in power,
the one thing that seems to have escaped all the constitutional experts and those who routinely gloat about
the virtues of our constitution is that it is not the supreme law of the land.
In March this year, in a unanimous ruling, the Constitutional Court found that Zuma had failed to uphold and protect the constitution with regard to the Public Protector’s recommendations on Nkandla and as such was in breach of his
oath of office. (See the opinions of experts De Vos and Trengrove).
Although for different reasons, Richard Nixon, John Vorster and David Cameron all resigned office because theircredibility and integrity had been damaged or destroyed. None of them was guilty of using vast sums of publicmoney to build a private domain.
The fact that Zuma has failed to do the honourable thing and resign and the fact that his party has decided that,regardless of the constitution, it will decide his fate, makes it very clear that South Africa under the ANC is not a constitutional democracy. Zuma’s insistence on clinging to office reflects the nature and character of a bananarepublic.
Section 83(c) of the constitution requires the president to promote the unity of the nation. Ironically, Zuma is
succeeding very well in that respect because has united people across our diverse social and political landscape in demanding his resignation.
HYPOCRISY AND IRONY OF CASTRO EULOGIES posted 29 November 2016
In the wake of their ferocious opposition to Brexit and to Trump, the eulogies for departed Cuban dictator,
Fidel Castro, from the Establishment press and those who call themselves liberal, while not surprising,
are indeed ironic (Mercury, November 28).
Mark Lowe, a lifelong liberal and proponent of democracy and human rights, manages to gloss over the
Castro’s tyranny by saying that he “did his best, as he saw it, for his country.” Really, Mark? So one-party
state repression, firing squads and gulags for opponents and dissidents, the flight of one million Cubans
into exile, the arrested state of Cuba’s development adds up to “just a shade of grey” in the Lowe lexicon.
Castro’s “doing his best” included becoming a billionaire whilst his subjects experienced equality in poverty.
That “living a simple life” as Lowe claims, meant a life of debauchery, mistresses and luxury, as witnessed by his personal bodyguard for 17 years, Juan Sanchez (New York Post, November 27). That “doing his best for his country” included banning
Christmas between 1969 and 1998. That the man painted as a simple folk hero had 37 women and children massacred
in the Florida Strait on July 13, 1994 as they tried to escape his tyranny.
For the Mercury to state in its editorial that Castro’s “selflessness” inspired “the true meaning of humanity” is a monumentaluntruth. Unless, of course, the Mercury regards systematic repression and one party-state despotism as reflecting “the true
meaning of humanity.”
However, the greatest irony that arises from the Mercury’s November 28 editorial is that it sees nothing amiss in Castro’scommunist minority rule. Yet it abhors the minority rule of apartheid in South Africa where at least there was press freedomand judicial independence, two freedoms Castro denied Cuba.
Thus, it is absolute hypocrisy to eulogise Castro’s minority communist dictatorship whilst simultaneously condemningminority white rule of South Africa.
PROSPECTS FOR KING GEORGE V’S STATUE ON CAMPUS - posted 23 November 2016
Nathi Phetha of the Economic Freedom Fighters claims that the removalof the statue of King George V from the Howard College Campus of UKZNwill be his priority along with renaming buildings with colonial names
(Daily News, November 22).
On February 5, 2016, I received an email from the Director of Communicationsof UKZN, Thembikile Simelane, responding to my inquiry as to why the King George V statue remained in a vandalised state. I was assured by Mr Simelane that “the restoration of the statue would be a priority” as it was regarded as
“an important part of the history of the University.” The email I received was also
copied to the Vice Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld. One trusts, therefore, that the vindictive attitude of Nathi Phetha towards theheritage of UKZN will not be permitted to gain traction and that other student groups representing the DA and the IFP will oppose the EFF.
The likes of Phetha need to appreciate that everything around them is a product of past effort and dedication.
Which is why the Preamble of the Constitution exhorts all to “respect those who have worked to build and develop our country.”
Phetha and his cohorts need to wise up to the fact that they can’t create a different past. In any case, their
sole purpose as tertiary students should be diligent application to their chosen studies so as to improve
their future prospects.
QUESTIONING THE DESALINATION PROJECT posted 23 November 2016
According to a report in the Mercury of November 21, a desalination plant is to be established in the Bluff headland areaas a pilot project. Although there is nothing untoward in a project to test the feasibility of a desalination plant, committing to desalination as a means of addressing water supply ought to be questioned.
An article in the Mercury on March 6, 2014 noted that desalinated water would cost double that of the Umgeni water tariff.Also of note is the large amount of electricity required for such a plant. Although the proposed demonstration model ispredicted to use 30% less energy than conventional desalination plants, the phrasing of that claim does not mean that water
thus produced will be cheaper than Umgeni water.
A desalination plant built in Brisbane has been in mothballs for several years because the supply of water from naturalsources has been more than sufficient. But to keep that plant idle costs Brisbane’s ratepayers $15 million a year and has resulted in a 13% increase in the city’s water price ( Brisbane Courier Mail, March 3, 2015).
With plans to build a dam on the Mkomazi River, which would boost Durban’s water supply substantially, and bearing inmind the liability of Brisbane’s desalination plant, Durban should be very cautious about committing to desalination as a means of sustaining water supply. It should also be appreciated that droughts are not continuous but are part of ourhistorically proven weather cycle.
INDIANS VOLUNTEERED FOR INDENTURE posted 18 November 2016
Imraan Buccus’ cynicism regarding the procrastination in erecting
a monument in memory of the indentured Indians who came to
Natal is fully justified (Mercury, 17 November). However, his claim
that indenture “was not a process of free choice or free will” is inaccurate.
Well- known authority on the history of Indians in Natal, Surendra Bhana,
has stated that the recruitment of indentured labour “was determined by
who was available and those who were available were generally the victims
of forces beyond their control” (A Study based on ships lists, UDW, 1987, p. 84).
The forces to which he refers were the ryotwari and the zamindari. Under the
ryotwari system, the individual land occupant paid tax directly to the state. But
the five acre plots were, on average, uneconomic and as a result many peasants
became indebted to money lenders.
The zamindari system, although community-based, subjected each tenant to taxation
so as to meet the community’s tax obligation. Again, aside from the vagaries of trying
to make a living from the land, peasants were driven into the hands of the money-lenders.
Land tax paid by peasants was fixed at 50% of the value of their crops (Natal Mercury, 15
Thus, the tax system, debt, famine and escape from the rigid caste system were all factors
why individuals volunteered for indentured immigration. It is a sad reality, however, that there
was much abuse of indentured Indians on Natal sugar estates as regards quality of food,
accommodation, medical treatment and hours of work – and that such conditions were worse
in Fiji and Mauritius.
But of the 152,184 Indian immigrants who came to Natal between 1860 and 1911, when
indentured immigration ceased, only 23% returned to India. On completion of their five or
ten year indenture contracts, the others stayed.
TRUMP PHOBIA - posted 16 November 2016
Despite her qualifications and academic record, Alleyn Diesel’s attempt to promote fear and loathing
about Donald Trump (Mercury, November 15) lacks credibility and traction.
She states that the trouble with democracy is that the majority is usually wrong. If Hillary Clinton had
won the presidency would Alleyn Diesel still hold that view? I doubt it.
Her implication that Trump’s rhetoric parallels that of Hitler and that as a result America risks being
swept along a totalitarian path, is not only typical Trump phobia but also reflects a poor grasp on how
the US political system works. There are substantial checks and balances between the legislative and
executive branches of government which ensure against presidential despotism. Trump will not be able
to make treaties, declare war or even appoint ambassadors without the consent of two-thirds of the Senate.
To finance any of his policies, he will have to have the support of the House of Representatives where despite
the Republican majority, Trump is no favourite.
What is particularly galling about Diesel’s remarks is her view that Trump’s slogan – make America great again –
should be “more honestly interpreted as make America white again.” That same kind of perverted
thinking was thrown at Tony Leon in 1999 following his “Fight Back” slogan which his detractors claimed
meant “fight black.”
If there was any credibility in Diesel’s assertion that Trump was anti-black, then Dr Ben Carson, a black American
neuro-surgeon, would not be a Trump supporter who is being touted for a position in Trump’s cabinet. In any
event, the African-American vote Trump received was double what Mitt Romney achieved in 2012. Oddly enough
Hillary Clinton did not receive the same African-American support as Obama did in 2012.
Disparaging Trump is easy but doing so without taking into consideration circumstances in America and what
Hillary Clinton endorsed, hardly builds a credible argument. Rampant emigration is a major cause for concern in Europe
and the US. Countries have borders; hemispheres don’t. Trump wants America to retain its status as a country. Hillary
Clinton, a globalist like Alleyn Diesel, wants open borders and for the US to become part of a western hemisphere open
to 600 million other people. She also wants to allow in 500,000 Syrian refugees – never mind the Isis factor.
Under Obama the number of Americans on food stamps has risen from 32 million to 47 million; the economy is stagnant;
the capacity of US armed forces has slumped to what it was in 1940; Obamacare is neither affordable nor popular.
Yet Hillary Clinton promised more of the same. She failed to address the loss of blue collar jobs which cost her the key
states of Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
From the decay of its inner cities and its crumbling 1950s infrastructure to its stuttering economy and job losses to the
appalling Kerry/Obama nuclear deal with Iran gift-wrapped with $150 billion, there’s a lot wrong with America that the
globalism of Hillary Clinton and the likes of Alleyn Diesel can’t fix.
THE FARCE OF WARD COMMITTEES - posted 15 November 2016
Despite their complete failure during the Council term which ended on August 3,
eThekwini mayor Gumede is now promoting the election of new ward committees,
again using ratepayer money to pay for advertisements in the press each of which
As far back as 2008, the conclusion reached in the Local Government Bulletin (Vol. 10,
No. 1 and No. 2) was that ward committees do not work. These are the reasons:
*First, they are purely advisory. They may not hinder or interfere with the mandate which
the elected ward councillor achieved.
*Second, in that their agendas comprise decisions already taken by the Council, their
ex post facto opinions are pointless and futile.
*Third, the claim that ward committees represent the relevant stakeholders of a community
is utterly risible. Nobody can compel members of civil society to make themselves available
to sit on a ward committee. Volunteerism cannot be prescribed.
*Fourth, as a result of the above, ward committees have become nothing more than extensions
of political party structures packed with cadres at the ratepayers’ expense.
As such ward committees constitute a costly and superfluous additional layer of local government.
With 110 wards in eThekwini, with each ward committee comprising ten members, each of whom is
paid R1,000 per month, amounts to R1,1 million per month or R13,2 million per year, all courtesy of the ratepayer.
During the last “elections” for ward committees, not only did electoral fraud occur in most wards in terms
of candidates’ residence, but the turnout in most cases was less than what a quorum for a school governing body
election might require. On the Bluff, for example, despite a re-run of the “election” only 59 people voted out of
The ward committee exercise is not only an expensive farce, devoid of credibility, but it is also an attempt
to supplant established voluntary organisations within society. It is surprising that the DA which claims to
be frugal about the public purse goes along with this nonsense.
TRUMP’S WIN – A VICTORY FOR FREE THINKING posted 12 November 2016
Like the experience of a mega hangover, the harvest of consternation of the mainstream media
and many of its subscribers at Trump’s election, is both amusing and revealing, as the Mercury’s
letter page of November 11 illustrates.
Dredging up the negatives of Trump’s past and claiming that votes for him endorsed racism
shows the alarming extent to which people have been conditioned by the media’s onslaught
against Trump. A truly Orwellian situation.
Yet those same critics were silent about Hillary Clinton’s background and what she stands for.
Their silence reflects the extent to which the media failed to cast a critical eye on her.
What that amounts to is the extent to which people who call themselves educated and well-informed
succumb to shepherding.
Yet those same people, who also claim to be democratic, have great difficulty in accepting
opinions contrary to their own, whilst simultaneously endorsing change. Indeed, a fine illustration
of how illiberal some liberals can be.
In terms of the parameters of opinion, the fact that over 57 million American voters did not
succumb to the sustained, virulent media onslaught against Trump and refused to be
swayed by its opinion polls, constitutes a major victory for free thinking and the belief in an
alternative to the Clinton platform.
For the Establishment media and its uncritical adherents, Trump’s election should serve as a massive
wake-up call and a turning point in terms of credibility.
Whilst that is as unlikely as a leopard changing its spots, one thing is guaranteed: as a man of action
Trump is going to give you plenty to write as he sets about making America great again. It will
be interesting to see whether his detractors will be able to recognise and acknowledge that.
TRUMP’S WIN posted November 10, 2016
Like the rest of the fawning Establishment media, Independent Newspapers endorsed Hillary Clinton
as US president. So the headline in the Daily News (November 8) likening a vote for Trump with one
for the old National Party simply reflected what has been a sustained, caustic media campaign against
But now that Trump has shattered all the polls and redefined American politics, the credibility of the
Establishment and its media is in a shambles. Nationalism is the new direction. A majority of American
voters want to see America great again. A majority of British voters want to see the UK freed from the EU’s
shackles. Globalism, which Clinton and David Cameron embraced, has been rejected.
Beyond Clinton and the Democratic Party, the real loser in America’s election was the Establishment – Wall
St, Washington and the mainstream media. Those who Clinton called “deplorables” have struck back.
Now they are writing the agenda. Hopefully the Daily News and the rest of the Independent Newspapers stable
will concede their prejudice and, in the spirit of democracy, exercise some objectivity towards America’s political
INCITING GENOCIDE posted 9 November 2016
The statement attributed to Julius Malema that he is not “calling for the slaughtering
of white people, at least not yet,” (Mercury, November 8) goes beyond being racist.
It is blatant incitement to perpetrate genocide.
It also confirms what was circulated on the internet ahead of the 2014 election, that
the EFF is anarchistic and vitriolic towards whites. His beating of the land issue drum is no different
from what Mugabe did in Zimbabwe – with catastrophic results.
Malema’s rhetoric also goes beyond hate speech. If any white person made such remarks
he would be mercilessly assailed. Just look what happened to Penny Sparrow for her
remark about “monkeys.”
Malema’s party should be banned by the IEC and its parliamentary representation terminated.
The press should also stop referring to him as “Juju,” as if he is some cute hero when what he
propagates is malignant in the extreme
WHERE IS ETHEKWINI’S ECONOMIC STIMULUS? posted 28 October 2016
Conspicuous by its absence was any reference to economic stimulation
by local government in the front page story of the Daily News of October 27
concerning the plight of business in Durban.
If the new administration at City Hall was serious about its ambition for
Durban to become the most liveable city, it should be first in line to offer
some form of stimulus to resuscitate the local economy. eThekwini
municipality could cut business some slack by reducing its hefty
service charges in, for example, town planning and construction.
In any event, here’s an example of how that was done from a report in the
Natal Star of 5 December 1857:
‘We congratulate our Town Council on accomplishing the reduction of the
Borough rates from one shilling to eight pence in the pound (33%) on occupied property
and the reduction of the rate upon freehold land to two pence in the pound. The
Council have been enabled to do this partly in consequence of the income
from leases of land...’
Is eThekwini up to the challenge?
UKZN: LAWLESSNESS HAS TRIUMPHED -posted October 22, 2016
There’s another side to the ongoing vandalism and violence at UKZN: it shows that
despite every constitutional precept and volumes of laws, lawlessness prevails.
The primary duty of government is to maintain safety and security. But for weeks
on end rogue elements who claim to be students have torched, trashed and
terrorised UKZN and succeeded in closing it down.
The ANC boasts about having brought the FW de Klerk government to the negotiating
table through violence and intimidation. It boasted then about making the country
Now the ANC is hoist with its own petard: what it once preached, it now can’t control.
On the second day of student protests at Kent State University, Ohio, in May 1970
after students had set alight a building, looted shops and broke windows, the mayor
declared a state of emergency. The national guard was called in.
A state of emergency should have been declared at UKZN months ago. Tough, no-nonsense
security would have stopped what has become an orgy of vandalism and destruction.
But, alas, lawlessness has triumphed. There can be no greater indictment of a government
that allows that to occur.
HISTORY WITHOUT CONTEXT IS PROPAGANDA posted 21 October 2016
As as an academic Imraan Buccus should know that without context
attempts at historical reconstruction deteriorate into propaganda.
Unfortunately, his account of the role of Samora Machel (Mercury, October 20)
is devoid of context.
Cataloguing the attacks by the SA Defence Force (SADF) on Frelimo and the ANC in Mozambique
in the 1980s is misleading unless it is contextualised within the circumstances which
prevailed at that time. The Cold War between communist and anti-communist forces
had intensified in Southern Africa. Communist adherents had made it very clear that
their goal was a communist South Africa. Fighting apartheid served to mask their real
By allowing Mozambique to become a springboard for communist guerilla attacks on
South Africa, Machel placed Mozambique on the receiving end of SADF raids. In war
people get hurt and killed.
The other aspect of context which Buccus’s article lacks is that there were atrocities on both sides.
The SA government’s detention without trial of which Biko and many others were victims, murders
of the likes of Rick Turner, the horrific fates meted out at Vlakplaas. Machel and Frelimo were hardly
angels of mercy as they imposed the jackboot stamp of marxist oppression on Mozambique.
Atrocities in ANC camps in Angola and Tanzania are well documented.
Those ugly conflicts were reined in and stopped through the efforts of De Klerk and Mandela.
But those who eulogise Samora Machel should be grateful that South Africa has rejected his
ideology of a one-party state dictatorship.
OUTRAGEOUS HYPOCRISY - 12 October 2016
Nowhere in the report on the arraignment of so-called students arrested for public violence and arson
(Daily News, October 11) was there a single shred of a sense of shame or remorse on their part.
Instead, there was defiant pride topped by arrogant demands to be released because of academic
commitments. What outrageous hypocrisy!
Reference to Bonginkosi Khanyile’s so-called brilliance as a student is rendered meaningless by his
violence and arson. Besides, the academic endorsement of which he boasts comes from and is
measured by the very institutions he callously and violently vandalised and sought to break.
The plea that if incarcerated these louts will lose scholarships and be unable to prepare for exams
is utterly risible for by their actions they have forfeited any claim to sympathy or consideration.
Besides, thanks to their violence and arson they have disrupted academic life and adversely
affected the lives of thousands of genuine students.
The only justice these louts deserve is to be jailed for ten years without parole and barred from
tertiary institutions for life. Their ilk needs to recognise that civilised society rejects perpetrators
of violence and vandalism. Society also needs a reality check: excessive tolerance leads to anarchy.
MAYOR’S MIS-USE OF RATEPAYER FUNDS posted 27 October 2016
On the 24 October eThekwini mayor Gumede featured in two advertisements -
each almost a quarter of a page in size– one in the Daily News, the other in the
The advertisements concerned candidates for the 2016 matric exams
and conveyed the mayor’s best wishes. Whilst one does not question the
mayor’s sentiments, the question that arises is why ratepayers’ money should
be funding an exercise which is not a Council-related business. Education
is a provincial matter, not a local government one.
Each of those advertisements cost R32,389 – almost R65,000 on an exercise
that, it would seem, has more to do with political profile than with education.
A few days before those advertisements, mayor Gumede splurged a similar
sum of ratepayers’ money on sentiments concerning the passing of a ‘struggle’
hero. Again, that had nothing to do with local government as funded by ratepayers.
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan has instructed local government councils to rein
in expenditure. His words don’t seem to to have been heard in eThekwini.
MEDIA’S ANTI-TRUMP BIAS IS A RED HERRING posted 14 October 2016
The unified Establishment media frenzy to destroy Trump has everything to do with deflecting scrutiny
away from the baleful shortcomings of Hillary Clinton.
By dredging up incidents of Trump’s immoral past and making them the focus of the election, the media
are sparing Clinton and the gullible electorate from the dark policies which she advocates. The worst
amongst her policies is to declare the US part of an open border hemisphere. That policy would
enable 600 million people who live in the North/Central/South American zone free movement into the
With drug cartels in Mexico and the FARC terrorists of Columbia, one has to ask if Hillary Clinton has
lost her mind.
Another of her outlooks is her contempt towards the Catholic Church and evangelicals. How does that
square with the Christian basis of America’s Founding Fathers?
Trump personally has a lot of negatives but at least he is addressing what issues Americans are concerned
about: the tax code, Obamacare, trade and jobs, immigration and borders, ISIS and terrorism, US military capability.
Hillary avoids those issues because her posturing on them is the same as Obama’s which is why he is so
Extramarital dalliances and infidelities, unfortunately, have been part of the American presidency since
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809). He had an open relationship with Sally Hemmings, a coloured slave.
Warren Harding (1921-1923) carried on with a string of women in the White House. FD Roosevelt conducted
a lifelong affair with Lucy Mercer, his wife’s social secretary. JFK’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe
and many other women is well known. Lyndon Johnson kept a mistress in the White House despite
his marriage to Ladybird Johnson. And we all know about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
The Establishment media’s attempts to make Trump’s moral shortcomings the cynosure of political focus
is a cowardly red herring and a dereliction of their duty to operate as a free press.
29 September 2016
EDITORIAL ON WINNIE MANDELA WAS DEEPLY FLAWED
In that objectivity is the enduring aim of The Mercury, the editorial of September 26 eulogising Winnie Mandela failed to uphold that principle. In that her legacy is undoubtedly ‘tarnished,’ as you politely stated, and ‘should not be burnished in the revision of history,’ why then were references to her incendiary incitement of the 1980s ignored along with her double standards of identifying with the poor whilst she lived beyond her means in Gucci-style luxury?
No analysis of the life of Winnie Mandela can be complete without reference to her blood-thirsty, racist exhortations during the 1986-1988 period when she and Peter Mokaba incited violence and mayhem with their mantra ‘Kill the farmer, kill the Boer.’ To what extent could her rhetoric have motivated the killing of more than 1,200 farmers since then?
Nor can her promotion of that unspeakably barbaric method of execution, the ‘necklace,’ be omitted when she stated: ‘With our matches and our necklaces we will liberate this country.’ There were more than 800 hapless victims of necklacing. Would any of their families regard Winnie Mandela as an ‘icon?’
Your editorial praises Winnie Mandela for giving hope to the inhabitants of the ‘shanty towns.’ Yet since the ANC came to power the number of informal settlements has mushroomed countrywide. There are more
informal settlements and far greater poverty today than before 1994. Therefore, attaching some kind of credit to Winnie Mandela for poverty alleviation is misleading.
Role models are exemplary people whose record merits replication. Objectively viewed, having Winnie Mandela as a role model is not in South Africa’s best interests.
27 September 2016
ABSENCE OF A RESOLUTE ACTION FUELS CAMPUS ARSON
Whilst all law-abiding and responsible people express outrage at the ongoing anarchy
and arson that now rules certain university campuses (Daily News, September 27), what
needs to be appreciated is that the perpetrators of that violence and their fellow travellers
are impervious to moral suasion.
As such, the limp-wristed response of both the Government and the university authorities is simply
fuelling their anarchy. Only resolute action can halt this deplorable destruction and disruption of
the halls of tertiary learning. If such a stance had been employed at the outset, we would not be
reading of the latest depredations by what are erroneously termed ‘students.’
Mass arrests and immediate expulsion of all those involved should have been the route taken
coupled with the deployment of specialised riot squad personnel empowered by the declaration
of campus-wide states of emergency. But instead of being proactive in the face of hooligans
and anarchists, those in authority have been merely reactive. Instead of law and order calling
the shots, the anarchists are doing so.
A further blunder on the part of those who claim to be in power is their willingness to negotiate
with the perpetrators of violence. What should have been made very clear is that free university
education is out of the question and that inflationary increases in fees are unavoidable. That is
an incontrovertible economic reality.
Finally, the deafening silence of alumni organisations, academic professionals and political party
spokesmen simply adds to the whole invertebrate response of those who style themselves as
the custodians of civilised values.
WHY TRUMP IS CONTROVERSIAL -posted September 19, 2016
The primary reason Donald Trump’s presidential bid is controversial is not because of his
brash and occasionally blundering character. It is because he is not part of the Establishment
that has controlled US politics, the mainline media and the Ivy League academic institutions
for over a century.
Thus, Ismail Moolla’s fear (Daily News, September 15) that Trump as president would continue
along the same lines as Bush and Obama, is unfounded. Indeed, that is precisely why there
is a frenzied anti-Trump chorus involving all the mainline print and electronic media supported
by a range of Establishment figures from Kissinger, the Bushes, Colin Powell to the Clintons,
Hollywood and the Bernie Sanders Left.
That is why a campaign of character assassination is directed at Trump. He is assailed as a vulgar
buffoon, a misogynist and one who is temperamentally unsuited for high office. The Establishment
is terrified of the prospect of Trump in the White House over which they would have no influence.
Despite the negative slander of the Establishment, polls show that Trump’s support is growing.
There are two reasons for that: the tired pastiche of faded feminism of Hillary Clinton whose own
record as Secretary of State was undistinguished and whose policies replicate much of what has
made Obama unpopular.
The second and more compelling reason is because 40% of Americans loathe political correctness,
failed welfare programmes, fiscal incontinence and feeble foreign policy. They want fundamental
change. They want to make America great again by putting America first in terms of jobs, investment,
overseas interests and to reinstate American values that are being destroyed by rampant immigration.
ZUMA: ANC IGNORES WHAT IS BEST FOR SA - Natal Mercury - posted 11 September 2016
The proclamation by Zuma henchman, Ace Magashule, that his boss and the ANC have
no intention of abdicating their grip on power (Mercury, September 9) shows the extent
to which the ANC pays lip service to democracy and the constitution.
According to Magashule, “there is no way that people can just come up and say Zuma must
resign. They have no right to do so because the structures of the ANC always decide.” So there
we have it:
*Despite the Concourt having found that Zuma violated his oath of office and the constitution;
* Despite well-placed ANC stalwarts urging Zuma’s departure;
* Despite a growing groundswell of opposition to his occupation of the presidency;
* Despite the massive electoral backlash against the ANC under Zuma on August 3 – the man
and his toadies insist that their in-house political structures trump the findings of the Concourt
and public opinion.
Magashule’s fulminations indicate that he and his ilk are in denial of reality. It’s the sort of
truculence spouted by banana republic apparatchiks. What he fails to appreciate, however, is
that by refusing to deal with the elephant in the room, Magashule and company are setting
themselves up for an epic fall in the 2019 election.
There should only be one consideration for the ANC, namely: what is best for South Africa.
Acres of newsprint and volumes of evidence point unswervingly to the ineligibility of Jacob
Zuma to continue as president. By failing to appreciate that reality, the ANC has not only lost
its moral compass, but shows that it is unworthy of being entrusted further with the right to
govern South Africa.