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The Editor

The Witness

STUDENT ANARCHY - posted 10 Feb 2019

Nicola Jones’ scathing review of the demands and conduct of those who call themselves students (The Witness, February 8) must resonate positively with all bona fide students and graduates.

A tertiary education is not an unqualified right. The halls of higher learning are not the place for hooligans and arsonists. Having a degree is no guarantee of a job or of a particular lifestyle. Yet the seeds of such expectations have been politically sown and are now fomenting violence and anarchy.

The root cause of all that is wrong in this country is excessive tolerance. Perpetrators are seldom punished for their wrongdoing. The result is that an ‘anything goes’ culture has evolved which is headed in one direction – anarchy.

The situation calls for draconian action to salvage appreciation for the culture of learning on our campuses.


The Star,  Mercury, Witness, Daily News


International indifference to the brutality of the Mnangagwa regime in Zimbabwe invites comparison with the international condemnation and sanctions which were applied more than 50 years ago to what was then Rhodesia. The glaring difference between the two is double standards and hypocrisy.

Whatever criticisms one could make against white rule of Rhodesia, it never resorted to the following: indiscriminate shooting and beatings by police, arbitrary arrests and a complete media shutdown. People were not subjected to jackboot repression for protesting against conditions which included no fuel, no medical supplies, unaffordable and unobtainable food supplies, a worthless currency, irregular electricity and water supplies and rampant unemployment – which runs at 90% in Zimbabwe.

Yet world sanctions, disinvestment and political pressure drove Rhodesia into submission by 1980. In the years that followed, despite the ethnic cleansing the Mugabe regime inflicted on the Ndebele, the demonization and marginalisation of opposition and the violent expropriation of white farmers, international opinion never mobilised against black human rights oppression in Zimbabwe to the extent that it clamoured for the termination of white rule in Rhodesia.

If international opinion was consistent, it should declare the Mnangagwa regime outlawed, despatch an international caretaker administration – like the British did when they sent Lord Soames to Rhodesia in 1980 – prosecute the Mnangagwa regime along with Mugabe and the rest of the ZanuPF human rights violaters, institute a Marshall Aid programme and set a date for properly monitored elections within a year.

Unless matters are remedied in that sort of fashion, there is no hope for the people of Zimbabwe. With the army fully backing Mnangagwa, repression and tyranny will prevail indefinitely. The question is: does international opinion give a damn? Oppression of blacks by blacks apparently is not an issue.


The Mercury


Articles like the one by Brian Mahlangu (Mercury, January 22) proclaiming radical transformation as the key to job creation, serve only as an attempt to divert attention away from the ANC’s inability to shrink the ten million-strong army of unemployed.

In trotting out the myth of monopoly white capitalism, which he blames for the high unemployment rate, Mahlangu seems oblivious of the fact that money knows no colour. Thirty eight percent of the stocks on the JSE is foreign-owned; 46% is owned by corporates. Only 16% is owned by private individuals.

As with other experts on our sputtering economy and its high unemployment, Mahlangu carefully avoids mentioning the role of stringent job-inhibiting labour laws and BEE prescriptions along with the demands of militant socialist trade unions in hobbling economic growth and employment opportunities.

In appealing for radical transformation, Mahlangu claims it will lead to non-racialism. But as most informed people are aware, transformation is simply a cover term for majoritarianism. The only way non-racialism can be achieved is by the application of the principle of merit which ensures that competence prevails rather than demographic representivity.

Equity has no place in the hierarchy of competence which is crucial in the generation of wealth and its corollary, job creation.


The Mercury


It is difficult to have any sympathy for the DA’s chagrin over being denied the use of the Mandela capture site to launch its election campaign details.

Already sharing the ANC’s views on affirmative action, BEE and demographic representivity, which the DA semantically terms ‘diversity,’ its attempt to appropriate the aura of the Mandela legend is shabby but not surprising.  For no matter how the DA chooses to spin its commonality with Mandela, historically he belongs to the ANC.

In claiming that it shares Mandela’s values, the DA would do well to appraise them more closely. Much is made of Mandela’s conciliatory role, yet he never renounced violence during the negotiating years leading up to the 1994 election. In his book titled The Prince and I, the late IFP MP, Mario Oriani Ambrosini, listed the following  in his deconstruction of the Mandela myth (pages 265-268):

·        Although a civil war raged in KZN, Mandela delayed meeting Chief Buthelezi for a year after his release from prison. When they did meet, Mandela failed to implement the agreement to hold joint meetings to pacify violence-torn areas. As a result a further 1,000 lives were lost.

·        In 1995 Mandela admitted giving the order to shoot unarmed Zulus gathered outside the ANC’s Shell House HQ in Johannesburg on March 28, 1994. Fifty Zulus were killed and 180 injured.

·        Mandela allowed the ANC to defy a court order on behalf of the families of those killed in the Shell House massacre.

·        While Buthelezi was a minister in his cabinet, Mandela requested former SADF General Constand Viljoen to prepare a plan for the army to take military control of Ulundi and impose martial law in KZN. Viljoen declined the task.

·        The controversial arms deal began during Mandela’s presidency.

·        He never presided over a single cabinet meeting. They were run by Thabo Mbeki.

So much, then, for Mandela’s style of politics and values.




In lamenting the fact that unemployment stands at almost ten million, it is amazing that Kabelo Khumalo (Business Report, January 9) fails to question the reasons unemployment has tripled since 1994.

Down the years numerous studies have pointed to ANC economic policies as being the root cause of unemployment and sluggish economic growth. BEE in all its evolving forms has failed to generate meaningful employment prospects and instead produced a small elite at the expense of the working class. Along with affirmative action, BEE  has deterred foreign investment and hobbled economic growth.

Prescriptive labour laws allied with politically powerful trade unions have further discouraged economic growth and investment. Of course, ideology is the bedrock of the hobbled state of our economy. Socialism is historically unregenerative, yet the ANC  adheres to it by way of bloated government and rising national debt. Indeed the only answer the ANC has produced to unemployment is social grants on which 18 million people now rely. As the saying goes, “subsidise poverty and you get more of it.”

It does not say much for Business Report’s objectivity that it  can publish an article which claims to address unemployment yet ignores the fundamental causes of the situation and tamely suggests that the panacea of our woes is simply to make a “concerted effort to lend a hand and make a difference.” What a load of pathetic humbug!


The Mercury
If the response of the minister for Rural Land Reform, Maite Mashabane, to a question tabled by Freedom Front leader Dr Pieter Groenewald MP was widely published, then distortion of the facts concerning land reform and ownership, which is serving to fuel emotions and populist agendas, would diminish.
Central to the highly-charged debate on the issue is the claim that whites still own 72% of agricultural holdings and that only four percent are in black hands. But as an analysis in Politcsweb on January 8 points out, those statistics are disingenuous because of the context in which they are presented.
The contrast of 72% to 4% holdings refers to individually owned, non-urban classes of land. As statistics they exclude all state-owned land, community-held former homeland territory and land privately purchased by blacks through trusts, companies and closed corporations.
The minister’s response noted that 12,1 million hectares had been transferred in terms of land restitution – 3,5 million directly to beneficiaries; 2,9 million concerned those who opted for financial compensation; 4,9 million acquired by the Government for distribution along with a further 822,388 hectares. What is missing from that statement is that, at the outset, the ANC inherited 16 million hectares of the former homeland territories.
Thus, the extent of land restitution and redistribution between 1994 and 2017, although pedestrian- paced, is actually greater than what is commonly believed.





Seldom has an opinion piece reflected such confusion and ignorance as that penned by Ebrahim Harvey (Daily News,December 19) in which he blames neo-liberal policies for the socio-economic mess that has materialised under the ANC.Contrary to what Harvey claims, if neo-liberal policies had been properly implemented, the country would not be in the retarded condition that now prevails. For neo-liberalism calls for deregulation, privatisation, free trade, reduced government spending and minimal government interference.
In every respect those neo-liberal principles have been hobbled. Stringent labour laws along with ever-evolving BEE regulations have choked free trade, employment prospects and foreign investment. Privatisation is opposed by trade unions and the SACP. Bloated government at every level has made reduced spending impossible.

Added to that is the ANC’s prioritisation of cadre deployment and demographic representivity which has resulted in the sacrifice of competence and efficiency in service delivery. Allied with that is corruption and nepotism on a scale unprecedented in our history which facilitated state capture and the theft of over R 500 billion.Thus, it is laughable for Harvey to blame the absence of proper housing and sewage disposal in townships on neo-liberalism when it is obvious that corruption and incompetence are the real causes of such shortcomings.

He would also do well to inform himself of what township service delivery protests are often about. The late Professor Lawrence Schlemmer established that they are dog-fights over the patronage system as ANC factions squabble to secure priority in fleecing municipal contracts. (RW Johnson, How long can South Africa Survive? 2016, p. 57).

Although Harvey appears not to understand neo-liberal economics, beyond hinting at a “social democratic character,” he fails to spell out what economic policy should be applied. However, in that he would like to see the ANC “rehabilitated,” as he puts it, he obviously favours socialism which the ANC has always embraced. In which case, he clearly is ignorant of the monumental failure of socialism in the USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, Mozambique and Tanzania under Nyerere to name a few stellar socialist records.

The Mercury




Hypocrisy reigns as regards vicious, anti-white statements and the lack of punitive action against them. Two years after he stated that whites should be "slaughtered" at some future date, Julius Malema remains untouched by the law. Now we have one Andile Mngxitama of the ultra-racist Black First Land First prescribing the killing of five whites for every black person killed.  The response by the political establishment is verbal reproach and exclamations of "concern."  How pathetic! Yet Vicki Momberg is in prison not for having threatened to kill black people but for uttering racist remarks. There is a huge difference between the racist rhetoric of Momberg and the intention to massacre on a genocidal scale as expressed by Malema and Mngxitama. If law and order means anything in this country, then one of two things must occur: Either Vicki Momberg should be instantly released from prison.

Or Malema and Mngxitama should be imprisoned -  for an indefinite period. If we are sincere about wishing for  peace, security and prosperity, then the likes of Malema and Mngxitama and their ilk cannot be permitted to threaten that prospect.



The Mercury


In attributing the increase in racial outbursts to the use of social media platforms, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) ignores a critical factor that provokes racism (Mercury, December 11).

Racial prejudices lurk in all population groups, whether by nature or nurture. In finding that racist remarks emanate particularly from whites, the HRC ascribes that tendency to what it calls “the spectre of apartheid.” Although that may  be part of the cause, it is not the sole cause.

What needs to be considered is the context of the structures and strictures within which white people find themselves today. In that demographic representivity is prioritised at all levels of employment, promotion and procurement, notwithstanding claims of non-racialism, society has been re-racialised.  Skin colour has replaced proficiency as the key criterion in job occupation.

RW Johnson observed in his book How long can South Africa survive? (2nd edition, p. 241) that the  gross incompetence and inefficiency encountered in daily life as a result of people occupying positions for which they are neither capable nor qualified is fuelling racist comments. The negative image which accrues as a result provides sustenance for racist mindsets.

Much of that could be remedied by the implementation of merit as the only criterion in all employment aspects. Greater proficiency would engender a more positive image and, therefore, act as a deterrent against hurtful racial remarks about other population groups. As the 2019 election approaches, it is significant that only the Freedom Front Plus is bold enough to espouse merit as one of its key principles.



Sydney Morning Herald


Only if one believes in globalism and the erosion of the sovereignty of nations can the UN’s Global Compact on Migration be hailed as a “victory," which sections of the media are proclaiming.

By seeking to criminalise criticism of mass migration and to normalise it, the UN Compact and its adherents aim to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Moreover, by promoting the idea that people claiming to be refugees should enjoy a range of rights in countries where they have never previously set foot, is nothing more than a subversion of the sovereign rights and laws of nations.

To claim, as UN representative Louise Arbour does, that those opposed to the UN Compact are practising “a culture of exclusion” and that they are adherents of the “far right,” is a red herring. No self-respecting nation seeks to have its culture and heritage subdued and subverted by those whose language, culture and religion are foreign to their own. Only the globalist elite led by Macron and Merkel welcome the obliteration of their respective national cultures.

Besides the cartels that are funding caravans of migrants, the UN is promoting a Tower of Babel conflict that is already resulting in deep social division and confrontation throughout Western Europe. The UN Global Compact on Migration amounts to a declaration of war on nationalism and nationhood. The Australian government is to be commended for declining to support the UN's chicanery.




 Alhough Ebrahim Harvey displayed boldness in attempting to right-size the historical image of Nelson Mandela (Daily News, December 12), he might have delved a little deeper in producing his critique.

In his book titled The Prince and I, the late Mario Oriani Ambrosini was outspoken in deconstructing the Mandela myth. Between pages 265 and 268, Ambrosini stated the following:

·        Although a civil war raged in KZN, Mandela delayed meeting Chief Buthelezi for a year after his release. When they did meet, Mandela failed to implement the agreement to hold joint meetings to pacify violence-torn areas. As a result the bloodshed continued with the loss of a further 1000 lives.

·        In 1995 Mandela admitted during a parliamentary debate that he gave the order to shoot unarmed Zulus who gathered outside the ANC’s Shell House HQ in Johannesburg on March 28, 1994. Fifty Zulus were killed and 180 injured.

·        Mandela allowed the ANC to defy a court order on behalf of the families of those killed in the Shell House massacre.

·        While Buthelezi was a minister in Mandela’s cabinet, Mandela requested former SADF General Constand Viljoen to prepare a plan for the SA Army to take military control of Ulundi and to impose martial law in KZN. Viljoen declined the task.

·        From the time he became President, Mandela built a financial empire around his persona so as to ensure that he had control of all marketing of his name and face from medallions to T-shirts.

·        The Mandela Children’s Fund has never disclosed its financial information or been publicly audited. The Fund has produced very little in terms of expenditure on children. Also lacking is any visible sign of it conducting any social work beyond tokenism.

·        The controversial arms deal began during Mandela’s presidency.

·        Mandela never presided over a single cabinet meeting. They were run by Thabo Mbeki.

Ebrahim Harvey is certainly correct in stating that Mandela was no saint.


The Mercury

FAILURE OF THE TRC'S VISION - posted 4 Dec 2018
Revisiting the purpose and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on the twentieth anniversary of the submission of its report (Mercury, December 3) is well and good. However, the impact of that report tends to be diminished when contextualised within the history of the past twenty years.
The purpose of the TRC was twofold: to catalogue the suffering experienced under apartheid and the wrongdoing that was inflicted; to chart the way forward to reconciliation and “a better life for all,” as the ANC phrased it. The TRC succeeded to some extent on the catalogue, although it trod lightly around ANC human rights violations in their camps and the violence within KZN in the 1980s. But to what extent has the TRC’s vision found traction since 1998?
Much is made of police brutality before 1994. Yet when statistics are compared, the result is disquieting. Between 1963 and 1985, there were 74 deaths in police custody. But between 2006 and 2011 there were more than 4,000 deaths in police cells (Daily News, March 4, 2013). Professor RW Johnson noted in his book How long can South Africa survive? (2nd edition) that “torture and maltreatment have skyrocketed” under the SAPS (p.177).
Crime has reached tsunami proportions with 57 murders perpetrated every day. Unemployment has surged from 3,4 million in 1994 to almost 10 million. Joe Slovo’s promise of an initial million new houses remains unfulfilled as informal settlements mushroom around all towns and cities. The political murders which characterised the KZN landscape in the 1980s continue to this day. More people are mired in poverty than ever before. Corruption and dysfunctionalism is rampant at all levels of government. Two thirds of municipalities are bankrupt. Seizure of control of the key organs of state has been exposed.
Instead of the reconciliation the TRC envisaged, a blame game has taken root in an effort to divert attention away from the failed state of government with the charge of “racism” hurled at those who criticise the state of affairs.
Have those who suffered the pain of the past earned the mess that now prevails?


The Mercury


According to a report in a Sunday newspaper, the DA ‘s chief whip in the National Assembly, John Steenhuizen, may find himself demoted because he does not hold a university degree. That outcome could arise if DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango’s policy that senior office holders in the DA should be university graduates is agreed to.

The potential dilemma Steenhuizen faces would never have arisen if the DA embraced the principle of merit. A university degree is no guarantee that a person is better suited to a position than one without a university degree. PW Botha was not a university graduate yet he was acknowledged as a competent parliamentarian and administrator.

But the DA’s obsession with transformation, which is just a code word for racial representivity, has much to do with the direction in which Mncwango appears headed. If Steenhuizen is demoted as a result of Mncwango’s policy, the DA would relegate a highly experienced and competent representative whose abilities as DA caucus leader in the eThekwini council were widely respected long before Mncwango appeared on the scene.



President Trump is waging a shrewd and cunning game in touting Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.His support has some significant possible spin-offs.

First, given the already fractured and fragmented situation within the Democratic Party, support from arch-enemy Trump can only exacerbate the fault lines running through the Dems.

Second, if Pelosi clinched the post of Speaker by means of Republican support, it would not only increase the tensions within Dem ranks but oblige Pelosi to be more compliant in supporting Republican proposals.

Third, by promoting support for Pelosi, Trump is signalling a bipartisan approach to the political road ahead which is not only good for the country but which defangs his critics’ claim that he is the major cause of division in America.


The Mercury

EULOGISING IDEOLOGIES - posted 2 November 2018

The generous half page spread in the Mercury of October 22 eulogising Eric 'Stalin' Mtshali of the SA Communist Party raises an interesting issue:
if eulogising members of discredited, failed ideologies like communism is worthy of such indulgence, then why was Pik Botha's association with the discredited and failed ideology of apartheid not afforded a similar half-page spread?

Regardless of who Eric Mtshali was as a person, he was staunchly associated with an ideology that imposed tyranny and terror wherever it prevailed. Yet Mtshali was proud to have the nickname 'Stalin - man of steel,' despite the fact that
Stalin was responsible for the deaths of over 30 million people in Russia through jackboot collectivisation of farms, enslavement and a network of gulag prison camps. Stalin, as with all communist leaders, outlawed democracy and the five freedoms - speech, press, religion, association and assembly.

Given Mtshali's embrace of communist revolution, the epithetic, bourgeois bouquet writer Vusi Shongwe bestows, is bizarre and inappropriate. John Donne, HW Longfellow, Yeats and DH Lawrence whom Shongwe cites, represented social outlooks and values which communism marked for overthrow and repression. In that opinion pieces on deceased apartheid figures like Pik Botha reflect ideological reproval and historical context, the same criteria should also apply in cases of fallen adherents of communism.



The claim by the Establishment media that press freedom is under threat as a result of President Trump’s suspension of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass (Daily News, November 9) is humbug and fake news.
What your report did not mention is Acosta’s adversarial approach to Trump. He did not rise to ask a question, which is what reporters are supposed to do. Instead, his opening words to Trump were: “I want to challenge you on one of the statements you made during the campaign.” Press briefings are about an exchange of information not about attempting to indulge in rancorous debate.
Acosta displayed unprofessional aggression and disdain towards the President, the White House Press Secretary and an intern. In rebuking him, Trump sought to instill a tone of decorum in the proceedings. Unfortunately, Acosta and CNN have an antipathy towards Trump that commenced in 2016 and has become their full time obsession. None other than former CNN host Larry King recently stated that “CNN stopped doing news a long time ago.”
The fact that Trump devoted 90 minutes of his time to that press briefing indicates that he appreciates the role of the press and is not posing a threat to the first amendment. What he rightly objects to is the likes of CNN who abuse the first amendment to run a slander campaign and to propagate fake news.


The Mercury


With reference to Professor George Devenish’s article in the Mercury of November 9, the re-racialisation of South Africa has been going on for over 15 years.

In October 2006, in a letter to the then Leader of the Opposition, Tony Leon, I pointed out that demographic representivity is not stated in sections 9 and 217 of the constitution (nor is applicable in section 195). In his reply dated 26 October 2006, Tony Leon fully agreed and forwarded my letter to Adv Paul Hoffman SC of the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

Unfortunately, since then nothing further developed. Moreover, since Leon’s time the DA has embraced what it calls “diversity” and implemented it in a fashion that closely patterns demographic representivity.

From that perspective, Prof Devenish indulges in wishful thinking if he thinks that  there could be a shift away from racial representivity should a coalition government involving the DA come into being as a result of the outcome of the 2019 election.

Only by embracing the principle of merit can the baasskap practice of demographic representivity be terminated. Grand apartheid ended more than 25 years ago. Its unconstitutional reinstatement by means of demographic representivity makes a total mockery of the principle of non-racialism


The Mercury


Media exuberance at the Democrats' performance in the US mid-term elections (Mercury, November 8) does not quite measure up to what actually occurred in that while the Democrats made gains in the House of Representatives, they lost ground in the Senate.

First, there was no Democrat "blue wave." Obama, the Clintons, Oprah and Joe Biden failed to ignite and energise Democrats in the way Trump did with rallies of tens of thousands of Republicans.

Second, the Democrats' takeover in the House of Representatives with 32 new seats was a modest Republican loss compared with the 60 seats Obama lost in his first mid-term and the 54 seats Clinton lost in 1996. Added to that,
it should be pointed out that 40 Republican congressmen retired, so their seats were contested by new faces.

Third, the fact that the Republicans consolidated their grip on the Senate is an historic outcome for a mid-term election. With a run-off election due in Mississippi on November 27, which the Republican Party stands to win, it should have 54 seats in the Senate.

Fourth, there was an attempt by left wing billionaire George Soros and his fellow travellers to buy the election by injecting hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Democrat candidates. Republican election spending was modest in comparison.

Fifth, Trump has unified the Republican Party whereas the Democrats are fractured and fragmented. Radical socialists like Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff will prove very difficult for prospective House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rein in and to subject to a disciplined policy programme.

With the Republicans in the Senate solidly in support, Trump will be able to continue his foreign policy initiatives and any further Supreme Court appointments without hindrance. But for the House Democrats to accomplish anything, they will need to work with President Trump.


MERIT WILL REDUCE RACISM - posted 28 October 2018

Placed below Mercury's front page masthead is the statement "Racism stops with me." But in attempting to stop racism, it makes sense to establish what is causing racism. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Besides the racial prejudices lurking amongst all population groups, whether by nature or nurture, the accusation of racism seems to be particularly focusedon whites following the Penny Sparrow and Vicki Momberg cases. As I argued on September 5 in these columns, racial outbursts from whites need to be considered within the context of the structures and strictures within which white people find themselves today.
The architect of our social and economic structures is the ANC. By practising demographic representivity, which is not what sections 9, 195 and 217 of the constitution advocate, the  ANC has prioritised cadre deployment in all levels of government, state owned enterprises and through BEE. Besides re-racialising employment, promotion and procurement, despite claims of non-racialism, the ANC government, wittingly or unwittingly, has legitimised the outcomes of incompetence and kleptocracy.

As RW Johnson stated in his book How long can South Africa survive? (2nd edition, p. 241), dealing with so-called officials, in many cases, requires walking the pretence that they are proficient in their jobs, when the opposite is often apparent. Such experiences are fuelling racist outlooks and comments. There can be few people reading this who have not felt frustration and resentment at having to deal with incompetence by someone whose position was acquired purely through political connectivity and racial demography. The consequences of this jobs- for- black- pals policy is that at all levels of government, governance has collapsed or is near to that stage. Billions of Rands are expended on remuneration of many who have neither proficiency nor professionalism.
This ugly situation is the result of ANC policies. Whilst there are certainly those within government structures who are competent and whose role is sincerely appreciated, the image of government as a whole, is negative. And therein, unfortunately, lies a great deal of the provocation and derivation of racist mindsets.
To improve the proficiency of government and consequently minimise racial outbursts, merit should be
the only criterion in job allocation. As the 2019 election approaches, significantly only the Freedom Front Plus has made merit one of its key principles

The Witness


It is disappointing to see The Witness (October 25) echoing the same story of despair and pity as the mainstream media concerning the so-called 'caravan' of migrants seeking to enter the US.

Never shy to criticise and question the Trump administration, somehow that journalistic investigative spirit has failed to question how it is that, seemingly spontaneously, thousands of people leave their homes and belongings and join a 2,000 mile trek to the US.

Where are the questions as to who is paying for this? Who organised it? After all, a support system and logistical planning must be part of such a large exodus of people. Surely those aspects are the most important part of the story and not just the outpouring of pity?

The reality of this issue is that it is an organised invasion of the US. Criticism of Trump for denying it entry into the US has no moral or legal foundation.It is simply part of the ongoing, nauseating attempts to demonise Donald Trump and the millions of Americans who believe in firm borders and legal immigration, unlike the Democrats who want open borders and Hillary Clinton, who in 2016, stated that the US is not a country but a hemisphere to which all are free to enter.


SOCIALISM PROMOTES RUIN - posted 23 October 2018

In carrying the comments of SACP member Blade Nzimande and the marxist Dlamini Zuma at the funeral of their comrade 'Stalin' Mtshali, the Daily News of October 22 has reminded us that as long as the bankrupt, dinosaur policy of socialism is promoted, South Africa can look forward only to equality in poverty.

The entire Soviet Union collapsed because of the inherent inability of socialism to promote economic growth and to alleviate poverty. Cuba remains mired in an arrested state of development thanks to58 years of socialism. Currently Venezuela is plumbing the depths of economic misery because of socialist coercion. Brazil has wised up to the fallacy of socialism by rejecting it in its presidential election.

After 24 years of ANC/SACP socialist policies, it should be obvious that that ideology does not deliver economic growth and poverty alleviation. If it did, then how is it that the unemployment rate has grown from 3,6 million in 1994 to almost 10 million? If socialism was the answer, how come the likes of Blade Nzimande and his elitist comrades prefer private hospitals and private schools to the rundown state versions?

For Nzimande and his ilk to claim that socialism is the panacea for the mess they have inflicted on South Africa is downright hypocrisy and falsehood. Socialism is synonymous with degradation and ruin.


The Mercury


In that the Mercury, like the rest of the Establishment media, has a negative opinion of the Trump administration, the Reuters report published on October 19 on the looming US mid-term elections was typically biased and unbalanced.

The conclusion which that report promotes is that the Democratic Party is a knight in shining armour poised to rid America of a rogue president who is defiling democracy. The unvarnished reality, of course, is that the Reuters' report is nothing more than Democratic Party propaganda masquerading as informed opinion.

Since Trump took office the so-called Democrats, as the representatives of the globalists and their George Soros bankrollers, have been pursuing a perverse agenda to resist, delay and demonise all Trump's reforms. Nowhere was that wanton attitude more evident than in their conduct during the Kavanaugh hearings. For the most part the antics of the Democrats have been to distort truth and promote red herrings. The Mueller probe into Trump's alleged collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election is an expensive joke. In 18 months, Mueller has failed to find a shred of evidence on Trump. Allegations of waste by the Trump administration are another red herring. His administration is not only leaner than Obama's but he has stripped away volumes of Obama red tape regulations.

Not surprisingly, the Reuters report is silent on the Democrats intention to raise taxes, impose socialism and to have open borders so that the riff-raff of every stripe can flood into the US. Not surprisingly the Reuters avoid noting that under Trump, the US economy is booming with GDP exceeding 4%; unemployment at its lowest in 50 years; four million fewer people are on food stamps. The biggest tax reform in US history amounting to $1,5 trillion has sliced corporate tax from 35% to 21%; over 6 million new jobs have been created. And what of Trump's defusing of North Korea's nuclear threat? Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama were never able to walk that talk.

For the Reuters to claim that Trump has "attacked democratic institutions' is nauseating hypocrisy. The reality is that the Republican Party is the party of law and order whereas the Democrats have embraced mob rule. That was violently and vividly evident with Kavanaugh's confirmation. Recently it has escalated to official endorsement of physical violence and anti-social conduct towards Republican office holders. Former Attorney-General Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton have both endorsed what she euphemistically calls "incivility" towards Republicans. If anything, it is the Democrats who are defiling democratic practice, even demanding voting rights for non-citizens in their frenzied quest to defeat Trump.

Pejorative reporting is only going to tarnish the credibility of the establishment media and diminish its


The Witness


Nowhere has the influence of the media been more significantly demonstrated than in the process involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation as a US Supreme Court Justice.

That influence is reflected in the letters by Elizabeth Tweedie and AB Modak in The Witness of October 11, which, it would appear, now accepts any claim of sexual molestation by women is credible, regardless of the evidence or the lack of it. The upshot of that emotional mindset is disregard for the principle of innocent until proven guilty and that all men are sexual predators.

In arriving at their conclusions, did Tweedie and Modak consider the following?

* That Dr Ford could not remember whether her alleged rape by Kavanaugh took place in 1982 or 1983;
* She was unable to state either the location of the alleged attack, how she got there and how she got home;

* Her best friend denied ever being at such a party or having seen Kavanaugh there;
* Kavanaugh's diary for both 1982 and 1983 shows he was out of town on the occasions Ford thinks he attacked her;
* Ford has refused to make public the polygraph test she took in July and cannot remember who paid for it and whether it was videoed or not;
* Ford claimed in testimony that she fears flying and initially declined to travel from California to Washington. But her travel record shows she is a frequent flyer.
* Mrs Mitchell, the special sex crimes prosecutor of 25 years experience who questioned both Ford and Kavanaugh at the Senate hearings, stated that given Ford's inability to provide substantial evidence, her case would not have qualified for criminal adjudication.
* Sixty five women have come forward and attested to Kavanaugh's cordial and courteous dealings with women including his former girlfriends.
* Seven FBI probes of Kavanaugh did not turn up a shred of evidence regarding sexual misconduct.

Elizabeth Tweedie claims that either Ford or Kavanaugh is lying. Neither one was lying. Kavanaugh faced the charge of perjury if he was lying and disbarment. As for Ford, whilst one sympathises with what she claimed occurred, her mistaken identity of Kavanaugh has been crudely exploited by the Democratic Party for political ends.


The Mercury


Democrat senator Chuck Schumer's description of Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the US Supreme Court as one of "the saddest moments in the history of the Senate" (Mercury, October 8) is correct but for none of the reasons Schumer contends.

The protracted and squalid process to which Kavanaugh was subjected has been termed a "national disgrace" by 93% of Americans polled, responsibility for which lies squarely on Schumer's so-called Democrats. From the moment Kavanaugh's nomination was announced, Schumer pledged to oppose it. For three months his colleague,Dianne Feinstein, sat on a letter she had received from a Dr Ford alleging that Kavanaugh had sexually molested her in 1982 or 1983, she could not recall exactly. Just when the Senate's role of adjudicating Kavanaugh's eligibility was nearing an end, Feinstein produced the letter.

What had been a job application up until that point then turned into a vitriolic character assassination ordeal unprecedented in the history of appointments to the US Supreme Court. For Schumer now to claim that Kavanaugh "lacked the temperament" to be a Supreme Court Justice is contrived nonsense. Kavanaugh's robust defence of his integrity and his family in the face of the unsubstantiated claims by Dr Ford have nothing to do with temperament, as Schumer avers. How else was Kavanaugh supposed to have responded in the face of false accusations which were being deliberately exploited for political ends?

Thanks to the obfuscating and delaying tactics deployed by Schumer and his ilk along with the George Soros- sponsored far left wing fanatical demonstrations, violence and intimidation transcended the peaceful right to freedom of speech and the right to dissent.

The real loser in American politics is liberalism. Previously it resided in the Democratic Party. But sadly it has now been replaced by extreme intolerance and socialism.




                                                        By Duncan Du Bois

 The front page headline of the Daily News of September 28 stating that “corporal punishment breeds violence” is flagrant nonsense.

Society was not beset by violence when corporal punishment was standard practice in schools. On the contrary, respect for law and order, decency and values were a hallmark of those times. Thus, it is sad to note that more than twenty years since the prohibition of corporal punishment in schools, teacher societies are investigating “alternative methods.”

Having spent 34 years in high school classrooms and been in charge of the drafting and updating of codes of conduct which exclude corporal punishment, experience showed that such discipline structures are ineffective against hard core serial offenders. Letters of warning, disciplinary hearings, suspensions, community service, counselling, threats of expulsion have no effect on deterring such refractory elements. Records of paperwork are no deterrent. Those who routinely disrupt, threaten, steal, vandalise and violate are not intimidated by the proliferation of paper on their record files.

Expulsion is neither a threat nor a reality. Requiring provincial authorisation, it is dependent on the decision of officials who invariably are loathe to authorise expulsion and who have no sense of urgency. One such district official boasted that he had turned down hundreds of applications.

Of course, unwittingly, schools have become the showcases of society’s ills and dysfunctionalism. Bereft of parenting and upbringing, often the products of child-headed households, increasing numbers of youngsters in schools today have no sense of routine and decorum. Consequently, they resent and defy order and conformity.

Classrooms have become arenas in which the undisciplined do as they like regardless of what the teacher says. And they know they can get away with it because the system is loaded in their favour. Teaching under such conditions is reduced to a minimum and often made impossible. Instead of serving as transmitters of knowledge and understanding and being mentors, in many schools, teachers have become hostage to anti-social elements that dominate, disrupt and intimidate.

I was once told to F-off by a learner after repeatedly asking him to desist from shouting across the classroom to his mate on the opposite side and who routinely failed to bring any books to school. At a subsequent disciplinary hearing concerning the incident, he was given a five day suspension which made no difference to his arrogant  and unco-operative attitude.

If schools are to regain their status as centres of learning and as custodians of civilised values, teachers need to recoup their roles as the kings and queens of their classrooms. School management together with governing bodies need to be able to expel unruly, violent elements. Authority needs to be devolved to the teaching profession.

Learners need to know that there are finite and final boundaries and that corporal punishment applies to certain misbehaviour and misdemeanours. Such punishment should be administered only by a few senior staff members and appropriately recorded. That system worked in the past.

The elastic extent of liberal tolerance is responsible for the rot that besieges the fabric of society and the rise of social deviance. Respect for law and order has declined through the failure to uphold law and order and the emergence of anything-goes norms. Excessive tolerance produces chaos and from there it is a short step to anarchy.

Proverbs in the Bible makes four references to the disciplining of children by means of corporal punishment which may be summarised as: spare the rod and spoil the child. The Bible also shows that when God’s word is ignored or defied, suffering and ruin follows. The crisis of indiscipline that besets the education process in many state schools today is the result of the absence of uncompromising disciplinary boundaries which have come about through the enactment of facile liberal legislation.

Given the breakdown of family life, the role of schools is more critical than ever before in instilling moral and civilised values – in loco parentis – namely, substitutes for parenting. If schools were permitted to play that role, as they often did in the past, it would have a positive effect on youth and reduce the tendency towards violence.

                                      ---------------------- Du Bois is an independent post-doctoral researcher


The Witness


The Witness is to be commended for presenting a positive angle on South African history in considering Richard Steyn's newly published work on the country's first prime minister, Louis Botha (October 1).

With the proliferation of books focusing on what is called 'struggle' history and those associated with it, the perception that has been advanced, wittingly or unwittingly, is that nothing of merit occurred before 1994.

The first study of Botha since Johannes Meintjes 1970 biography, Louis Botha - A Man Apart is, therefore, a timely and welcome reminder of the need to view the past through an objective lens, as Helen Zille has tried to contend. Of course, those bent on wall-to-wall condemnation of the entire pre-1994 period will note that it was Botha's government which enacted the Land Act of 1913 the legacy of which the country is grappling with today.

However, beyond the role Botha played at Versailles, as excerpted from Steyn's book, Louis Botha, like George Washington, faced the difficult task of trying to forge a common political ground between different and diverse colonies. Besides unifying the civil service and establishing national administrative departments, Louis Botha's key aim was to cultivate reconciliation between English and Afrikaans-speaking whites.
Also forgotten is Botha's magnanimity in releasing Zulu king Dinizulu from prison because he believed Dinizulu had been unjustly treated by the Natal colonial judiciary for his alleged role in the Bhambatha rebellion. On Botha's orders, Dinizulu was granted a farm near Middelberg along with an annual pension of £500. Louis Botha is an overlooked and under-studied figure in South African history whose experience and challenges remain relevant.



For a party that advocates land seizures, whose members have indulged in the trashing and burning of university campuses and whose leader favours the slaughter of whites at some future stage, the lengthy article by Floyd Shivambu of the EFF (Daily News, September 20) glorifying the totalitarian regime of Cuba elevates hypocrisy to a new level.

In heaping praise on the Cuban regime for liberating South Africa from what he calls "nonsensical colonial apartheid oppression and repression," Shivambu conveniently ignores the fact that what he despised about South Africa before 1994 are the very measures under which the people of Cuba have been living for 59 years.

It beggars belief that Shivambu can find virtue in a regime in which democracy is outlawed, which prohibits dissent and freedom of expression, which practises arbitrary arrest and detention, which denies access to human rights groups, which tortures political prisoners and which has subjected an entire population to economic hardship and stagnation for nearly six decades..

If life under the dictatorship of the Cuban communist party was as rosy as Shivambu proclaims, then he should explain why over 500,000 Cuban have fled the island since 1960 - 54,000 in 2016 alone.

History without context degenerates into propaganda which is what Shivambu's diatribe amounts to.




The Witness


In his Heritage Day message (The Witness, September 25), DA leader Maimane urges people to "negotiate their future." Although that is a sensible approach, giventhe cultural diversity that exists, his appeal needs to appreciate that the future can never be divorced from the past.

Fundamental to heritage is the fact that it provides identity through context. It is natural for each generation to enquire about its heritage in order to qualify its identity. Harking back only to the early 1990s and the Codesa talks, as Maimane advises, is meaningless without the context of what preceded it.

Unfortunately, Maimane's perspective on heritage is a very jaundiced one as we saw with his dogmatic denouncement of the entire colonial and white-ruled periods in 2017 when Helen Zille attempted to suggest, objectively, that those periods did contain some positives. So when Maimane invites discussion about culture, depending on one's demographic affiliation, it would seem that terms and conditions apply, despite the exhortation in the preamble of the constitution that respect is accorded to all those who have contributed to the development of the country.

In that Maimane exaggeratedly claims there is a "class and racial war" within South Africa, he needs to appreciate that politicians have exacerbated that situation by ignoring the differences that are natural and inescapable amongst the different population groups. This is particularly evident in the pursuit of employment, procurement and promotion policies which adhere to demographic profiling - better known as affirmative action.

As long as the DA embraces such discriminatory views and policies, its slogan of '"one South Africa for all" is disingenuous and will not negotiate a better future. If Maimane is sincere in wanting to minimise class and race differences, then the DA needs to revert to its liberal roots and embrace merit as the arbiter of its aims.



The Mercury

- posted 18/9/18

Outgoing Cosatu leader S'dumo Dlamini's rejection of what he calls the "neoliberal tendencies" of President Ramaphosa (Mercury, September 17) needs to be seen within the context of Cosatu's policy priorities for 2019.

Those priorities were published in Business Insider on September 12 and are thoroughly marxist.


* They call for an end to the licensing of private hospitals and for the establishment of state-owned pharmaceutical companies.
* They demand that 50% of private retirement funds be invested in State Owned Enterprises (like Eskom). * That tax on companies be increased to 50%.

* That estate duty on all estates be increased to 50%.

* A total ban on scab labour during a strike and the total shutting down of any company hit by a strike.
* The establishment of a state bank to grant interest-free loans for women and township co-operatives.
* Punitive taxes on the export of capital and the repatriation of profits by foreign companies.
* Nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.

As they have in the past, Cosatu has indicated that it will not contest the 2019 election as a separate entity but will partner the ANC. Unless Ramaphosa has tremendous reserves of political will to ignore the failed ideology which Cosatu promotes, South Africa can expect only further economic decline and failure should the ANC win the 2019 election.


The Mercury


Two articles in the Mercury of September 14 make one wonder what has happened to logic and common sense.

The Concourt's ruling that a so-called struggle song which "rejoiced" in inflicting physical violence ("hit") on a "Boer," whilst "offensive," was not necessarily racist although it was "inappropriate."

The question that appears not to have been asked is that of motive.Are we to assume that lyrics which target a particular racial group, whites in this case,and which express joy in punitive action against that group, are harmless and sung with no more malice than a traditional nursery rhyme like "Oranges and Lemons?"

The response of the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) to the Concourt's findings suggests otherwise. "Struggle songs are part of who we are....Any limitation on this right is a limitation on the right to freedom of speech," a Numsa spokesman stated. In other words, malice towards whites in so-called struggle songs remains in place. Yet, amazingly, such lyrics do not constitute hate speech.

The article by doctoral candidate Anine Kriegler argues that the main reason crime is so bad is because of socio-economic inequality. Research, she insists, supports this claim and posits that respite from violent crime will occur only when we become a "more equal society." The insulation of such ivory tower theorists from reality is breathtaking.

Social inequality is a reality worldwide with the US as the most glaring example where one percent of the population owns 40% of everything. Yet despite that reality, in 2016 there were only 17,250 murders in the US which has a population of 325 million. In contrast, the latest statistics show that 20,336 murders have occurred in South Africa which has a population one-sixth the size of the US.

Kriegler's social inequality case is absolute humbug. During the Great Depression in the US, when more than 25% of Americans were made destitute, there was no spike in violent crime.Violent crime will recede only when capital punishment is reinstated. Imprisonment is no deterrent to murderers. Instead the tsunami of violent crime reflects the failure of liberal measures in punishing criminals.


The Witness


The outrage and hand-wringing at the release of the latest crime statistics adds nothing
to deterring the tsunami of violent crime that prevails (The Witness, September 13).

The reactions of the different party spokesmen on the subject read like a stuck record.Police minister Bheki Cele feels the police "have dropped the ball." Maybe, but then the SAP have been hobbled by incompetent leadership as a result of political agendas.

IFP spokesman Narend Singh's call for a national dialogue on crime prevention is a step
in the right direction but only if it recognises the need for constitutional reform. Whilst more policing and improved investigative capacity may put the bite on crime, until there is the will to deny murderers the right to dignity, the right to life and security of person - sections 10, 11 and 12 of the constitution - deterring violent crime is not going to be effective.

For too long too many have indulged in proclaiming the merits of our constitution. They enthuse about its moral order yet seem blind to the contradiction that murderers are constitutionally entitled to the right to life, dignity and security of person which they denied to their victims.

Rights that are not respected should be forfeited. Terms and conditions must apply. It is absurd in the extreme that perpetrators of murder should be afforded the very rights they denied to those they killed.The claim that the constitution cannot be amended to make provision for the death penalty is humbug. No constitution is cast in stone. If section 25 of the constitution can be changed so can any other section.Besides, the relationship between democracy and the constitution is a two way street. In that that latter is premised on the will of the people, then it needs to keep in tune with the will of the people.

So let's have a national dialogue or a codesa on violent crime. Let's recognise that only by confronting murderers with the prospect of losing their lives for their deeds that violent crime can be deterred and true justice can prevail




If historians of the future have to rely on the so-called mainstream media and its mindset to determine current trends they will be mistaken. A report in the Daily News (September 11) on the recent election in Sweden provides a case in point.

In many European countries, as the British Brexit vote showed, voters are increasinglydemanding the defence of national sovereignty. Their demands are twofold: rejection of the emasculation of sovereign power by the European Union and resentment at the colonisation of their countries by immigrants whose culture, race and religion is completely at odds with European norms.

Nationalism is what those voters are endorsing. Yet the Daily News, like other mainstream media, persists in calling such voters 'Far Right.' Strangely one never reads about the 'Far Left.' Globalists, socialists, communists are the Far Left, but their true branding is masked by the use of  labels such as 'liberal' and 'progressive.'

Just as communists and their fellow travellers are Far Left, the real Far Right comprises Fascists and Nazis. It is, therefore, wrong and unacceptable to label folk who want to preserve national sovereignty and cultural homogeneity as 'Far Right.' Support for the Brexit vote came from both sides of Britain's political aisle and included well-known leftist figures like Lord David Owen. Let's have an end to this distortion of political values.

The Mercury


Whilst in agreement with Judge Thumba Pillay's appeal for an overhaul of parliamentary representation (Mercury, September 11), the electoral system also merits review

As it stands, all citizens over the age of 18 have the vote in determining who holds power in South Africa Inc. Thus, the vote of an unemployed person, who pays no tax and is a beneficiary of state welfare, has the same value as a person whose taxes the government depends upon to fund welfare and to run the country.

As things stand in South Africa, a minority of tax payers, fewer than 10 million, funds a growing majority of non-taxpayers - more than 17 million. Obviously such a situation is not sustainable in the long term as former Finance minister Trevor Manuel has pointed out. Nonetheless, that vast number of welfare- dependent voters is exploited by communists and socialists in the ANC to remain in power. As history shows, the success of socialism has always been to promote equality in poverty and mediocrity. The growth in unemployment from three million in 1994 to over nine million is proof of the failure of socialism to alleviate poverty.

Thus, we need an electoral system which will promote better governance by strengthening the role of stakeholders in the economy of the country. In such a system everyone would have a single vote irrespective of their status. Additional votes would accrue to taxpayers based on the extent of their contribution to the SA Revenue Service. That would promote transparency and accountability in revenue collection and ensure that those with actual stakes in the economy had a greater and fairer measure of influence in policy making. Political parties would be obliged to tailor their policies and the quality of their representatives to reflect the democratic wishes of such an electorate.

Rising tax revenues would enable those in power to expand employment opportunities thereby progressively reducing unemployment and dependence on welfare. It is a win-win system because of the benefits of improved governance for all, while seriously curbing the cycle of poverty and the practice of those who exploit it for failed ideological and selfish political reasons. In short, systems based on merit promote upliftment, whereas mediocrity ensures stagnation and worse.


The Mercury

THE SS K- of 1893 - posted 1/9/18

David Sumpton (Mercury, August 31) is correct in stating that ships plying our waters in colonial times frequently had African names including the now offensive K-word.

The British Colonial Steam Navigation Company had several ships one of which was called the SS K-. It was a 2,736 ton steamer and regularly plied between Durban and ports in India. Clearly its owners saw nothing untoward or offensive in the name they gave their ship or saw any distinction between that name and the other African names of their ships.

The Company regularly advertised the destinations of its ships in the colonial press which included the Natal Mercury. Attached is one such advertisement announcing a voyage of the S K departing from Durban on August 24, 1893. It appeared in the Mercury on August 21, 1893.


The Mercury


As passionate and sincere as George Devenish is about improving race relations, none of the suggestions and remedies he proposes (Mercury, August 30) is viable on account of historic, demographic and political realities.

On the positive side, the vast majority of South Africans get along with each other. This is attested to daily in millions of social interactions. We are interdependent. Take a day in your life and consider to what extent, irrespective of your race, you interacted with and were dependent upon someone of a different race to have provided you with a service, directly or indirectly and reciprocally.

So at which level does the rainbow relationship come adrift? The answer is obvious. It has always been at the political front. In the past politicians stoked the fears of the swart gevaar. Nowadays it is about white monopoly capitalism and the white theft of land. Certainly there needs to be land reform and as it stands the constitution makes provision for that. But because of the allure of power, past white exploitation is being mined to sustain political ascendancy.

Unfortunately the hand of history weighs heavily. Post colonial Africa has been dominated by forces that have always represented the extremes of the political spectrum. The political landscape in South Africa is no different. Faced with a challenge to its left from the EFF, the ruling ANC has opted to neutralise that political threat by adopting its opponent's policy of expropriation of land without compensation.

Political ambition is poisoning race relations. Attempts to undo the legacy of the past are proving more divisive and rancorous than apartheid itself. To expect race relations to improve and to prosper is naive when minorities, especially whites, find themselves politically demonised, marginalised and vulnerable because they are white.

Although non-racialism is constitutionally and officially pronounced as policy, minorities are acutely aware that demographic representivity is pursued, despite the fact that it is unconstitutional. Healing the racial divide is never going to happen as long as this situation prevails; where eligibility for employment and promotion is determined by racial ratios - 9% in the case of whites - and where merit counts for nothing. Further aggravating and alienating white sentiment is the flagrant, unpunished, racist rhetoric of Julius Malema and his exhortation to slaughter whites at some future point.

Thus, for all his sincerity in seeking to promote a harmonious racial dispensation, George Devenish's appeal fails to appreciate the psychological conditions under which whites exist. As a fifth generation settler of 1850 in Natal and as rooted as I am to South Africa, it is extremely saddening to witness the progressive decline of every aspect of this country. There is not a single factor or element that has improved since 1994. And the greatest barometer of that reality is the value of the Rand. At worst, before 1994 it traded at R2.25 to the US dollar. Now we are told that when the Rand trades at R14.30 to the dollar it has "strengthened." The value of the Rand reflects the banana republic status to which this country has been reduced.

With the exception of crude ranters like Vicki Momberg, when white people like the unfortunate teacher at Westville Girls High and Penny Sparrow before her, resort to racially hurtful terms, as unacceptable as that is, such outbursts need to be seen within the context of the structures within which white people find themselves today. Put bluntly, prospects are far from encouraging. No wonder young white people are emigrating at an increasing rate.

The Mercury


Tony Leon once presciently stated that "standards would be lowered to you." Daily the accuracy of his prediction finds fulfillment and is exemplified by the plea that several so-called students be pardoned for their acts of public violence and arson so that "they can lead normal lives" (Mercury, August 27)

One can only speculate as to what the writer of this plea, Hendrick Makeneta of the Education for Social Justice Foundation, means by "normal" and the irony of his request. He seeks to have charges dropped for deeds that were shamelessly and willfully committed and which seriously disrupted the academic lives of entire campuses. The deeds involved the torching of buildings, wanton destruction of equipment and theburning of part of the Howard College law library. One of arsonists, Bonginisi Khanyile, stated that he was "proud" of the fact that following his example, students on the Pietermaritzburg campus of UKZN had torched a building (Daily News, October 11, 2016).

To add insult to injury, despite being on a full bursary of taxpayers money granted by the KZN premier's office, Khanyile and his ilk demand that tertiary education should be free for all. In a normal society, such acts of anarchy do not go unpunished and cannot be pardoned. For Makeneta to attempt to argue that his clients "did not anticipate that their actions would lead them to jail," besides being risible, raises the question of the perception his clients have of what constitutes "normal" conduct.

Given the track record of how violations of the law are dealt with, Justice and Correctional Services minister Masutha is likely to grant Khanyile and his fellow arsonists amnesty from prosecution thereby further affirming Tony Leon's dictum on declining standards. But what needs to be appreciated is that excessive tolerance ultimately results in anarchy





The fulmination of the political Establishment and press at President Trump's expression of concern for the plight of South African farmers and the ANC's decision to expropriate land without compensation is not surprising.

No amount of anti-Trump hysteria can divert attention from the basic facts of the situation:

* the rate at which white farmers are being murdered since the ANC came to power is
without precedent in a peacetime dispensation and an appalling tragedy;

* the uncertainty and negative speculation around the issue of land reform is entirely the fault of the ANC as a result of its failure to address the matter over the past 20 years and its decision to capitulate to the incendiary populism of Julius Malema by endorsing the policy of expropriation without compensation.

For the ANC the chickens have come home to roost. During its so-called struggle years, the ANC never lost an opportunity to run to the UN and the US government to lodge protests about the apartheid government. Through its lobbying it succeeded in having sanctions and disinvestment applied. Yet now that it is being exposed for failing to halt the ongoing murder of white farmers and for wanting to seize land without compensation, the ANC cries foul play. What comes around goes around.
When it suited the ANC, it promoted US interference in South Africa. Now the ANC must swallow the same medicine.

In noting the published reaction of opposition political parties, it is significant that only the Freedom Front Plus expressed a responsible and informed opinion about the possible consequences for South Africa in terms of the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) agreement. The official opposition DA declined to comment (Daily News, August 23). Its silence on Trump's critical concern makes one wonder.


The Editor
The Washington Times


The fulmination of the political Establishment and media at President Trump's critical concern for the plight of white South African farmers and the Ramaphosa government's decision to expropriate land without compensation is not surprising.

No amount of anti-Trump hysteria can divert attention from the basic facts of the situation:

* over 1,600 white farmers have been murdered since Ramaphosa's African National Congress (ANC) came to power in 1994. Such a situation is unprecedented in a peacetime dispensation and an appalling tragedy;

* the uncertainty and negative speculation around the issue of land reform in South Africa s entirely the fault of the ANC as a result of its failure to address the issue constitutionally over the past 24 years.

For the ANC the chickens have come home to roost. Before 1994, the ANC never lost an opportunity to run to the UN and the US government to protest the apartheid government.
Yet now that it is being exposed for its inability to control crime and for imposing banana republic tactics, the ANC cries foul play. When it suited the ANC, it promoted US interference in South Africa. Now the ANC must swallow the
same medicine.

The most critical aspect of this whole sorry saga is that the future stability and viability of South Africa is actually premised on the security of its minorities. By demonising and marginalising white, Indian and mixed race minorities and accusing them of stealing the land, the lot of the majority will not be improved. The history of post-colonial Africa shows that wherever minorities were marginalised and persecuted, the economic well-being of those countries declined. Nowhere has that been more tragically illustrated than in Zimbabwe.

By attempting to define the future through the lens of failed, populist ideology, namely land seizure, the Ramaphosa government risks destroying South Africa. For the reality is that the welfare of the majority depends on the security of the minorities. The Trump Administration is to be commended for being the first in the US since 1994 to take a critical line against the failings of black rule in South Africa.


The Mercury

posted 23/8/2018

Imraan Buccus's opinion piece (Mercury, August 22) expressing concern over President Ramaphosa's pandering to populism on the land question is a refreshing departure from his usual socialist offerings.

Buccus rightly states that the focus should be on urban rather than rural land.The fact that 92% of the recipients in land restitution cases have opted for the cash value of the land they claimed, exposes the falsehood of populist rhetoric that an agrarian revolution is imminent.

In 2013 the World Bank warned that developing countries should prepare to house an additional 2,7 billion people between 2013 and 2050 as migrants move in unprecedented numbers from rural areas to pursue aspirations in urban areas. That trend is a distinct reality in South Africa as indicated by the mushrooming of informal settlements around urban areas.

It is disturbing, therefore, to note that for all his business savvy, President Ramaphosa feels a virtuous economic cycle will evolve by handing over rural land to the poor. Is he blind to what occurred in Zimbabwe?

The root of the ANC's posturing on the land issue is its adherence to the discredited communist ideology found in its 1955 freedom charter. The charter's assertion that "all shall have the right to occupy the land wherever they choose," besides being unconstitutional, is an invitation to anarchy. In sanctioning land expropriation without compensation, the ANC is attempting to adhere to the charter despite the folly of such a policy in terms of food security and its massive, negative economic and investment consequences.

What commentators on the land issue appear to have neglected to date is that the future stability and viability of South Africa is actually premised on the security of its minorities. By demonising and marginalising white, Indian and coloured minorities, accusing them of stealing the land and imposing constraints on how much land (12,000 hectares) they can own, the lot of the majority will not be improved. The history of post-colonial Africa shows that wherever minorities were marginalised and persecuted, the economic well-being of that country declined. Nowhere has that been more tragically illustrated than in Zimbabwe. 
By attempting to define the future through the lens of failed, populist ideology, the ANC risks destroying South Africa. For the reality is that the welfare of the majority depends on the security of the minorities

Business Report

- posted 8 July 2018

The detailed analysis of the latest B-BBEE amendments and codes (Business Report, July 4) is such that it diverts attention from what the B-BBEE exercise really amounts to.

In putting an objective perspective on B-BBEE, it is absurd that a group that accounts for 79% of the population requires barriers to be erected against a white demographic minority of 9%, a coloured minority of 9,6% and an Indian minority of 2,4% in an attempt to claim economic security.

B-BBEE mocks the much-vaunted claim that South Africa is a non-racial society. In that context it is acutely more racist, prescriptive and discriminatory in regulating business and employment than such practices were under apartheid. With its entrenched demographic profile,B-BBEE is brazenly at odds with the constitutional notion of equality, irrespective of race.

The argument that the purpose of B-BBEE is to correct past imbalances in the economic landscape is a red herring. As Moeletsi Mbeki has noted,far from achieving that objective, B-BBEE is stifling the emergence of black entrepreuneurship. Instead it is creating a small class of wealthy black crony capitalists devoid of experience and expertise in initiating and
managing new business.

Compared with the economic elites of Asia, the beneficiaries of B-BBEE lack the driving ideology of entrepreneurship on which Asian business success is based. In contrast, B-BBEE promotes a culture of entitlement which, psychologically, can never prove proactive in generating economic growth. B-BBEE also perpetuates a mindset of victimhood, despite the fact that the most prescriptive aspects of apartheid had been abandoned by 1990.

Aside from being harmful to race relations because it is so glaringly, racially discriminatory, B-BBEE strikes a negative chord not only for the prospect of expanding a business but also in attracting foreign investment.
In that prescriptive labour legislation hobbles the prerogative of businesses to hire, fire and promote employees, B-BBEE is an archaic handbrake on the economic potential of South Africa.

Daily News


Saber Ahmed Jazbhay's stance on South African history (Daily News, July 5)appears to be ambiguous. On the one hand he exhorts the "study of our beloved history." But then he advocates erasing history by changing the names of streets and the cities.

Name changing as an attempt to erase the past is shortsighted and imprudent. It is also an insult to whoever is chosen as the name beneficiary because it amounts to a second-hand
tribute, like re-gifting. Yet Mr Jazbhay would have us believe that by renaming "Durban," the "thorns of the racist past" will be removed and, somehow, reconciliation will follow.

Besides renaming being a very expensive exercise, the "thorns" which Mr Jazbhay detests
would still be in evidence wherever he chose to look. Logically, then, he should advocate the demolition of all buildings that were erected in the "racist" era, starting with the City Hall and the GPO. Then he would need to clear out all statues and relics of those hateful times.
When he is done with that, he would need to cease using the English language - the medium of the "thorns" era he so detests.

The past can be reviewed and revised but it cannot be erased. Heritage and history provide context and identity. The significance of the present era would be lost without the history that preceded it.

By the way, Mr Jazbhay, Sir Benjamin D'Urban was never a governor of Natal. He served as Cape governor between 1834 and 1837.




The hazards the police face in confronting violent protests (Daily News, June 28) and their lack of resources provides insight as to why South Africa is succumbing to anarchy.

According to a report published in The Mercury on June 15, 2016, between 1999 and 2016 there were 67,750 protests staged which works out to 13 each day. Many of those protests were violent.

Based on that reality, police resources need to be capable of dealing with what is virtually a daily occurrence. But what also needs to be drummed into those  bent on violent protest is that their constitutional rights under section 17 to protest,demonstrate and picket are valid only in an unarmed capacity.

When protesters start throwing rocks, trashing property and endangering the lives ofthose whose task it is to uphold law and order, then violence needs to be confronted with equal ferocity. The thin blue line which the police constitute, should not be vulnerable or forced to retreat in the face of mob violence. If the police are unable to maintain law and order and to defeat violence, then what is the worth of other aspects of the Bill of Rights?

Public violence cannot be condoned or tolerated. Excuses about the lack of service delivery
and other social gripes can in no way justify public violence and assault on the police. Given the violence and looting that occurred at the Mooi River toll recently and elsewhere,
perhaps the time has come for the police to warn that in future they will treat violent protest
the way Napoleon did - with a "whiff of grapeshot." It cured anarchy in his time.


The Mercury


The report in the Mercury of June 26 that the ANC is shocked at the scale of corruption
in the country is as ludicrous as Satan saying he is shocked by sin.

While, of course, measures to remedy the corrupt state of SOEs such as Eskom, Transnet, SAA and Prasa are to be welcomed, responsibility for the tsunami of corruption that engulfs every aspect and level of  governance is entirely that of the ANC.

When ANC kingpin Smuts Ngonyama stated in 2008 that he "did not join the struggle to remain poor," he effectively proclaimed enrichment at the expense of the taxpayer as an acceptable pursuit. The same ANC bigwigs who now claim to be aghast at the extent of looting and corruption, observed a deafening silence during the Zuma years while their comrades not only thieved their way to obscene wealth but succeeded in state capture in the process.

For over 20 years we have seen incompetent, corrupt ANC members recycled and redeployed from one ruined state entity to the next. Worse still, we have seen the likes of Brian Molefe rewarded with millions despite the damage he did to Eskom. Wherever the stench of corruption simmered, ANC cronies were  to be found responsible. Yet real punitive action against those types is never forthcoming.

So, with an election around the corner, for the ANC suddenly to proclaim that corruption "goes against every value and principle for which the ANC fought" is completely bereft of credibility. With the exception of upright ANC members like Pravin Gordhan, the quip that ANC stands for African National Corruption,is undeniable.

Given the pervasiveness of corruption and looting that has occurred under the ANC , what the ANC should be shocked about is the hollowness of its historical claim to have delivered "100 years of selfless sacrifice." The burgeoning army of unemployed that has grown from 3,6 million in 1994 to almost 10 million is proof of the hypocrisy of that claim.




The proposal that History be made a compulsory matric subject has invited speculation
as to what the subject content should include and how it should be taught.

Since History embraces all branches of knowledge and experience, its inclusion in a fully
rounded education package should be automatic. But what has hurt the subject going back
more than a century is the content focus that has prevailed: political, ideological and military.

While, of course, the reigns of rulers, the causes and effects of wars and the making of
empires are necessary to provide context, such material does not necessarily appeal to the
average student. There are numerous other themes that should form a syllabus focus such as:.
health and medicine, exploration, transport, literary and musical, humanitarianism, industrial
development, environment, flight,electricity, trade and construction.

As has been pointed out, the content of a new South African History for high school would have to go beyond 1994. But there lies the difficulty: if such a package focuses purely on the political, it will degenerate into propaganda and be viewed as nothing more than a political prop for those in power.

Thus, an important challenge in shaping a new history syllabus is to ensure a wide focus of themes which educate the learner as to the extent of and challenges to progress in fields such as transport, infrastructure,industry, health, environment and education, albeit within the context of the political framework that prevailed before 1994.

The other challenge would be to examine how much of what was achieved before 1994 was allowed to deteriorate and decline along with greatly reduced safety and security and greater inequality. Such a History syllabus would prove instructive and serve as a touchstone for the next generation.

Mid-South Coast Mail


The recent rejection by Judge Yasmin Meer and her two assessors of a land claim involving 1,380ha in the Scottburgh area is to commended.

It is gratifying when the repository of history is utilised in establishing the facts. By consulting the record, Judge Meer's court was able to show that the claim of land dispossession between 1914 and 1940 by a group calling itself the Elambini community, was unfounded.

Settlement of the South Coast beyond the Mkomazi River began in 1858. In making grants of crown land to white settlers, the colonial government was careful to avoid the locations which Shepstone had set aside for Africans. Joseph and Thomas Landers established Renishaw and Maryland farms in 1858 in the area claimed by the Elambini. Between 1876 and 1882, Samuel Crookes purchased Renishaw, Maryland and Restalrig estates which became the nucleus of the Crookes sugar business.

Apart from the uncalled for action of Colonel McKenzie in 1906 at Umzinto, my research of the history of the South Coast between 1850 and 1910 shows that relations between settlers and Africans in Alexandra County were stable and peaceful. Settlers frequently complained about the fractured territorial integrity of the South Coast as a result of Shepstone's location system which accounted for 270,000 acres of African reserve between Isipingo and the Mzimkulu River.

African ownership of those lands was ring-fenced. Requests permitting white settlement on those lands were rejected. Of further interest is the dependence of white settlers on the production of maize by Africans until the 1890s. From that perspective, Judge Meer's finding in favour of Crookes Bros enables the continued development of South Coast to proceed after having been stalled on account of a false and protracted land claim.

In that one of the new criteria being proposed on land restitution is that of "use it or lose it,"
that criterion should be reciprocal. In other words, land claims that fail to reflect development within a window period should be forfeit and placed on the open market. It is not in the general economic interest either for frivolous land claims to disincentivise development or for previously productive land to fall fallow because of the inability of restored owners to develop it.




In his attempt to assert that capital punishment will not materialise in South Africa (Star, June 6), Dougie Oakes ignores the relationship between constitutionality and democracy within the context of moral order.

Given the increasing impunity of criminals and the lawlessness engulfing the country,public outrage at the callous murder of 9-year old Sadia Sukhraj in Chatsworth and 3-year old Courtney Pieters in Elsies River, has renewed demands for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

The standard response of those, like Dougie Oakes, is to cite the 1995 ruling in the Makwanyane and Mchunu case which saw convergent thinking amongst judges abolishing capital punishment on the grounds that it ran contrary to the precepts of a democratic constitution.However, what the adherents to this argument overlook is that whilst the working of democracy is premised upon the constitution, it is a two-way relationship. Constitutions are not cast in stone. They are subject to amendment at the behest of the people. After all, a democracy is supposed to be premised on the will of the people. In a democracy, supreme power is invested in the people.

So the claim that the constitution cannot be amended to make provision for the death penalty is humbug. Curiously, one does not hear the same people raising that argument now that the ANC has indicated that it may amend the constitution so as to expropriate land without compensation.

Given the cold-blooded and often barbaric way in which murders are committed, it surely is time to recognise that the perpetrators of heinous crimes are not deserving of sections 9,10 and 11 of the constitution which provide for the right to equality, dignity and life. Moreover, to afford such rights to them mocks the value of moral order. In other words, renders it farcical.

The trouble with constitutional rights is that terms and conditions are not applicable. Rights that are not respected should be forfeited. In committing murder, the perpetrator shows total disregard for his victim's right to life and dignity. It is, therefore, absurd in the extreme that the murderer should enjoy the very rights he denied his victim.

Typically, Oakes cites the harsh reality of death by hanging. Yet he is silent about the suffering of murder victims. While he seeks to premise his case on moral order and democracy, he is indifferent to the denial and violation of those rights where murder victims are concerned. Thus, there is neither logic nor justice in the argument that society owes a murderer the right to be treated with dignity and respect for his life.

Arthur Chaskalson's claim that "the greatest deterrent to crime is the likelihood that the offender will be apprehended, convicted and punished," has been eclipsed by the realities of crime in South Africa. Between April 2016 and April2017, some 19,000 people were murdered. That is 52 murders every day. With only 10% of criminal cases achieving convictions, Chaskalson's "likelihood" of deterrence is a disastrous failure. Moreover, the reality is that imprisonment is no deterrent.

Excessive liberal tolerance is paving the way for anarchy. South Africa teeters on the brink of anarchy not only as a result of poor policing but, in the main, because of the absence of an intimidating deterrent in the form of the death penalty.

The Mercury


Eulogies to what are termed "struggle icons" have become common place in Independent Newspapers, the one on Moses Mabhida (June 8) being a case in point.In terms of free expression, there can be no substantial objection to historic recollections just as the Mercury carries the series by Catherine and Michael Greenham depicting early twentieth century Natal. However, the difficulty with articles about ANC "struggle icons" is that they are purely eulogistic and, therefore, devoid of objectivity and context.

The only objective aspect of Vusi Shongwe's lengthy tribute to Moses Mabhida concerns his lament that Mabhida "would decry the present era where the moral compass ....has lost its bearings where an avowed distaste for individual possession of wealth has been replaced by a merciless contest in conspicuous consumption."Well said, Dr Shongwe, and too true!

But in acknowledging that Mabhida was an avowed Marxist-Leninist, does Shongwe really
believe that if Mabhida's ideology had triumphed we would be free today? The Soviet Union, with which he was closely aligned and enjoyed material support, prohibited democracy and freedom. Instead it coerced socio-economic mediocrity.

Also absent from Shongwe's tribute is the role of Mabhida as a hardline commissar within
the SACP. Although sympathetic to the ANC, Stephen Ellis in his book External Mission -
the ANC in Exile (2012), notes that Mabhida was a feared and powerful figure within the
SACP security apparatus and Central Committee. He was directly involved in repressive measures carried out in the notorious Quatro detention camp and the Shishita purge of 1979-1981. Executions and savage beatings were rife. Often victims were left tied to trees for days (pp. 154; 172-173).

The omission of such facets is at odds with Shongwe's account of Mabhida as an avuncular figure.History without context and attempts at objectivity degenerates into propaganda.

Regardless of the persuasion of past figures, unless publication thereof is reasonably dispassionate and objective, articles such as the one by Shongwe on Moses Mabhida constitute blatant propaganda.

The Mercury

GANDHI'S IMAGE   -   posted 8 June 2018

Whilst worthy of commemoration, the report on the 125th anniversary of Gandhi's ejectionfrom the first class compartment of the train at Pietermaritzburg station (Mercury, June 7),besides containing some factual errors, exemplifies how the selective exploitation of history can nurture an image. 

Unfortunate and regrettable though that train experience was, it was not the issue which galvanised Gandhi into becoming a champion of the rights of those subjected to discrimination. After spending nearly a year in Pretoria assisting his brother's merchant firm in a legal case, Gandhi intended to return to India. It was upon arriving back in Durban in April 1894 that he read of legislation to be introduced in the Natal parliament disenfranchising Indians. That news proved a watershed in his life. For the next twenty years he remained in South Africa championing the cause of Indians.  

However, the image of Gandhi as a crusader of rights is not quite as shiny as portrayed. His Natal Indian Congress, as historians Maureen Swan, Joy Brain, Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed contend, reflected the interests of the Indian merchant trading elite. In their book Inside Indian Indenture, Desai and Vahed note that Gandhi distinguished between indentured labour and free immigrant Indians. He regarded indenture as an issue of contract and bargain (p. 372).  

In an interview with the New Statesman on 13 November 1896, Gandhi made it clear that his notion of equality did not include all Indians and that he had no intention of paving the way for "coolies" to vote (Maureen Swan, Gandhi - The South African Experience, p. 63). As Swan points out, Gandhi's protestations  reflected a class rather than a race interest. Equally significant at that time, Gandhi and the NIC shared whites' prejudices towards Natal Africans (p.50).  

Gandhi's selective interest in acts of discrimination was particularly evident at the time of the inquiry into human rights abuses on Reynolds Bros estates in Umzinto in 1906. Along with the rest of the colonial press, Gandhi's Indian Opinion was silent in reporting and commenting on the appalling treatment of indentured Indians.  

To remedy the credibility of politically nuanced views of Gandhi, a source worth consulting is Desai and Vahed's book The South African Gandhi - stretcher-bearer of Empire (2016).


The Mercury


Transport minister Blade Nzimande's reasons for appointing failed former eThekwini city manager, Sbu Sithole, as the new head of the Passenger and Rail Authority (PRASA) ,once again, reveal why good governance eludes the ANC (Mercury, June 6). 

So poor was Sithole at his post as eThekwini city manager, that even the local ANC saw fit not to renew his contract. However, the real issue here is that of probity. Clearly, as Nzimande relates, inability to manage one's personal finances, is not a hindrance in eligibility for a top government post. In fact, as Nzimande sees it,it seems to be quite acceptable.  

Also very telling from the reported comments  by Nzimande is his absolute commitment to appointing a black person to the job. Here we see the failure of the ANC to walk the talk about non-racialism.There are many eligible Indians, coloureds and whites who could fill that Prasa post. Yet Nzimande discriminates against them and selects Sithole who could not run a municipality. 

With the exception of minister Pravin Gordhan who at least valuescompetence ahead of colour and comradeship, the likes of Blade Nzimande are condemning the country to ever-downward spirals of poor governance.



 Whilst one has deep respect for Professor George Devenish's constitutional knowledge and experience, the array of constitutional and moral arguments he presents concerning the death penalty (Daily News, June 1), nonetheless, raises the question of the relationship betweenconstitutionality and democracy within the context of moral order. 

In the wake of the callous murder of 9-year old Sadia Sukhraj, a petition to reinstate the death penalty has rapidly passed the 50,000 mark. Public outrage at the impunity of criminals and the increasing lawlessness which is engulfing the country, is promoting the plea to amend the constitution so as to provide for capital punishment.  

With respect, Professor Devenish should perhaps regard that petition with a little more gravitas instead of dismissing it as "merely an expression of public opinion." After all, ademocracy is supposed to be premised on the will of the people. In a democracy, supreme power is invested in the people. 

In that South Africa is a constitutional democracy, what appears to be overlooked is that while the working of the democracy is premised upon the constitution, it is a two-way relationship. Constitutions are not cast in stone. They are subject to amendment at the behest of the people. 

In marshalling his argument as to why the constitution is unlikely to be amended so as to provide for capital punishment, Professor Devenish cites convergent legal thinking. Foremostin those opinions is the view that capital punishment violates the right to equality, dignity and life - sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Bill of Rights Given the cold-blooded and often barbaric way in which murders are committed, it surely is time to recognise that the perpetrators of heinous crimes are not deserving of such rights. Moreover, to afford such rights to them mocks the value of moral order. In other words, renders it farcical. 

Devenish puts forward four specific arguments against capital punishment. First, in Arthur Chaskalson's view, execution is inconsistent with the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment as set out in section 12 (1) (e) of the constitution. Second, Chaskalson sees the imposition of the death penalty as being subject to "capriciousness" in its application. Third, the Concourt has found that retribution constitutes vengeance. Fourth, Albie Sachs has posited that capital punishment is an "illusory solution and as such detractsfrom really effective measures." 

Sachs' "effective measures" are not mentioned by Devenish. But what is clear is that imprisonment is no deterrent to the tsunami of violent crime. Professor Robert Blecker of the New York Law School  debunks the argument that retribution is equated with revenge. He stated in 2014 that whereas revenge knows no bounds, retribution  governed by what is proportionate and appropriate is not vengeful. 

Chaskalson's assertion that capital punishment is "degrading" and "cruel" is devoid of context and makes a mockery of any claim to moral order for the simple reason that it ignores what murder victims suffer at the hands of murderers. There is no logic in Chaskalson's view that society owes a murderer the right to be treated with dignity and respect for his life. Society is obligated only to provide a fair trial. 

Whilst it is true that 12 persons in the US were wrongly executed, to use that as a reason not to reinstate the death penalty is weak and evasive of the fact that the majority of studies in the US recognise the deterrent effect of capital punishment. See: Dr David Mulhausen, Heritage Foundation, 2014. 

The purpose of the petition seeking the reinstatement of the death penalty is to achieve justice. Arguing for a better criminal justice system and more competent policing would certainly help in bringing criminals to court. But as long as a murderer knows that his right to life, dignity and equality will be upheldregardless of the brutality of his crime, and that some legal quirk may mitigate his prison sentence, violent crime in this country will continue undeterred. 

The trouble with the constitution's provisions of rights is that terms and conditions are not applicable. Rights that are not respected need to be forfeited. In committing murder, the perpetrator shows total disregard for his victim's right to life and dignity. It is, therefore, absurd in the extreme that the murderer should enjoy the very rights he denied his victim. 

Seeking the reinstatement of the death penalty is not new. What is new is the extent to which support for the measure has grown. The people are appealing. The time for their representatives to wake up and heed what the people want is overdue. That is democracy. Being held hostage by the convergent, liberal views of a legal coterie is not just undemocratic. It is autocratic. Excessive liberal tolerance paves the way for anarchy. With murder and violent crime now a daily occurrence, to what extent is South Africa teetering on the brink of anarchy?




posted 30 May 2018

In attempting to dispute my argument that white privilege is a matter of history,(Daily News, May 21), Martin Gardiner (Daily News, May 29) appears to have difficulty in distinguishing between the faults of the past and those made since 1994 which have exacerbated rather than alleviated social inequalities.

While Gardiner rightly states that his generation benefited from white privilege,his theory that once privileged means privilege in perpetuity is a fallacy. Today there re white people living in squatter camps around Pretoria. There are many whites who are living on the margins of poverty. Having been a ward councillor until 2016,I encountered a great deal of poverty among whites in my Bluff ward. Moreover, the new job reservation rules that require demographic representivity, discriminate strongly against whites and other minorities. Gardiner's claim that the economy is "still very firmly in white hands," is also inaccurate. Only 14% of the wealth of South Africa is in the hands of individuals of all races. 38% is controlled by foreigners and 48% by institutions like banks and conglomerates.

In deploring the bleak social circumstances that face the vast majority of South Africans who are not white and contrasting that with the favourable circumstances he and his family enjoy, Gardiner's theory of adversity perpetuating poverty is challenged by the experience
of the Indian community.

Marginalised as settlers during colonial times and subjected to discrimination until 1994, through their own initiative and enterprise the Indian community uplifted itself from the servitude of the cane fields and achieved prosperity and success in many areas of life.
Most whites do not "go about their lives unchanged" as Gardiner claims. They are acutely aware of the collapsing state of governance and society that impacts on us all in a variety of ways. Those previously advantaged are no longer automatically privileged.
Living in a state of permanent self-abnegation because of the advantages his white skin has given him, is Gardiner's choice. But it is not going to alleviate the circumstances that prevail in the country or change the past.


The Mercury


It is remarkable how a deafening silence has descended over the difference between the R60,000 fine imposed on Edward Zuma for hate speech and the R150,000 fine imposed on Penny Sparrow for an offence, which, by comparison, was not in the same league as Zuma's.

For referring to black people on social media as "monkeys," Sparrow was the subject of withering press criticism. On social media she was the target of hate mail and relentless vilification. She lost her realtor job and as a seventy something grandmother, she is now destitute.

The key difference between Sparrow's and Zuma's racial comments is that hers were an extemporaneous rant on social media. But Zuma's took the form of an open letter which comprised pre-meditated, historically contextualised, anti-Indian and anti-white statements.

By referring to Minister Pravin Gordhan as a "corrupt cadre who thinks African natives are no better than being sugar cane cutters" and who regards" black Africans as "low caste k*****s who are sub-human," Zuma clearly harbours a deep, residual hatred of Indians, despite their role in the ANC's "struggle."

Zuma's antipathy for Indians in that open letter was directed just as bitterly against whites. Despite the "struggle" credentials of his fellow ANC comrade, Derek Hanekom, Zuma castigated him as part of a "racist, paternalistic minority" and "an enemy of the people" (Mercury, 23 May).

From those excerpts alone, one does not need to be a psychoanalyst to recognise that Edward Zuma has not come to terms with the preamble of our constitution which exhorts South Africans to be "united in our diversity" and the founding provision which stipulates respect for human dignity and non-racialism.

Yet despite the extremely racist nature of his written thoughts, Zuma has not been required to undergo counselling.Instead he has been commended for eventually accepting his party's plea to issue an apology to Gordhan and Hanekom. Moreover, he added insult to injury, by excusing himself from the court convened to rule on his race hate conviction on the basis that "he had other commitments to attend to."

If Zuma had a sense of remorse and a desire to show that he appreciates the gravity of his offence, he would have prioritised his court appearance ahead of his "other commitments." But by failing to be present in court and to personally accept the court's ruling, Zuma has invited speculation as to the extent of his repentence.
For far less, and in an emotional state having suffered a smash and grab experience, Vicky Momberg was sentenced to two years in prison. The outcome of the Edward Zuma hate speech case is a clear illustration that all are not equal before the law.



 ANC IS ITS OWN WORST ENEMY   - posted 24 May 2018 

Long after the communist seizure of power in Russia had crushed andexiled all opposition, so-called counter-revolutionaries were routinely blamed for instability and the failure of service delivery. 

The opinion piece by one Ndabezinhle Sibiya (Daily News, May 22), which purports to analyse political instability in KZN is a classic piece of communist disingenuity. 

Sibiya's claim that the division in the ranks of the ANC is the work of "the enemies of transformation" is utter nonsense. The instability within the ANC is entirely self-inflicted. Those divisions essentially are the result of allegiances that are split between the Zuma and Ramaphosa factions.  

Thus, Sibiya's attempt to blame so-called counter-revolutionary forces forthe mayhem within the ANC is a total red herring. The ANC is its own worst enemy.  

As for Sibiya's dream of transformation, his call for "communities to freely vote the ANC into power to ensure the return of the land to its rightful owners," has to be the most naive, ignorant and irresponsible appeal made in a country that is supposed to be a constitutional democracy. 

Just as Lenin and Stalin transformed Russia into a land of constant food and material shortages along with terror and coercion, it is clear from Sibiya's rant that his political vision would transform KZN into an economic wasteland.


The Mercury

PREJUDICED BY ANTIPATHY      -   posted 21 May 2018 

It is interesting how unfailingly the lens of marxism is able to interpret failure as success andto project residual antipathy as enlightened objectivity. In  that respect Imraan Buccus's opinion piece (Mercury, May 18) is a success.  

Buccus writes nostalgically about former president Kenneth Kaunda and "the journey Zambians have travelled in locating their country as one of the most respected political players on the African continent."  He also discloses his private joy of cycling along the arterial road in Durban North that now bears the name of Kenneth Kaunda.  

Unfortunately Zambia's history under Kaunda was not so endearing. Although Buccus says he is teaching democracy to young Zambian activists, his admired figure, Kaunda, was not so inclined. In 1966 Kaunda banned all opposition and declared Zambia a one-party state.  

He then nationalised all industries and businesses and set Zambia on a downward trajectory to impoverishment. Twice, in 1985 and in 1989, Zambia required IMF bail-outs, as a result of the dire straits into which Kaunda's socialism had plunged Zambia's economy. How that squares with Buccus's claim that Zambia is a "a respected political player," only a marxist can fathom. 

In rejoicing that NMR Ave is now named after ANC stalwart MB Yengwa, Buccus derides the repressive role of the Natal Mounted Rifles in earlier times. But he omits to credit the NMR for its role against Nazi oppression in World War 2.  

Brutality is abhorrent, irrespective of who perpetrates it. Undoubtedly, the NMR and Koevoet bear blame for instances of brutality. But if Buccus seeks credibility, he should also indict the SACP for its association with and perpetration of brutality. Instead he waxes nostalgically about the SACP which took its orders from the communist regime in Moscow that subjected  Russia to 73 years of tyranny. 

Possibly Buccus finds it cathartic to "sneer at the ugliness of the NMR building" each time he passes it. But in harbouring such residual hostility, he prejudices not only his ability to reflect objectively but also his credibility as a director of so-called political transformation.


The Mercury


As reported (Mercury, May 15), DA leader Mmusi Maimane is quite right to state that advancement will not be achieved by focusing on and blaming the past. Why, then, does he persist in making critical comments about so-called white privilege?

Whites were certainly privileged under apartheid. But the main props of apartheid-Group Areas, separate schools and job reservation - were abandoned by 1991. That was over a quarter of a century ago.

Since that time whites have lost whatever privileges they had. And whites born since
1994 are in fact less privileged than blacks because of affirmative action and demographic
criteria applied to employment opportunities.

Mr Maimane needs to explain how I, as a white, am privileged today. I pay rates and taxes. I face the same risks in terms of crime as anyone else. My costs of living are no different from anyone else. My rights under the constitution are no different from anyone else. My vote is no more significant than anyone else's vote. So where's the "white privilege," Mr Maimane?

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that by banging on about so-called white privilege the objective is to create a surrender complex. Whites are just nine percent of the population. It is impossible for that minority to uplift the black majority. Even if every white gave away half his property or income it would make no material difference to the mass of black poverty. In any case, there are whites today living in squatter camps; others are living on the margins of destitution.

This whole so-called white privilege issue is a misnomer and a red herring which the DA leader has copied from the ANC in a perverse attempt to gain black votes. The DA used to be very different from the ANC. Clear-blue water, they said, distinguished the DA from the ANC. Well, not any more. Until the DA formulates MERIT as its cornerstone policy, it will be seen as merely the moderate version of the ANC just like the old United Party was the moderate version of the National Party.


The Mercury


For politicians who have run out of road in resolving the issues that confront the country, the latest red herring in circulation is so-called white privilege.

Its promoters include bitter socialists like Terry Bell (City Press, May 13), the ANC, advocates of moderate anarchy like Julius Malema and, not to miss the red herring bus, Mmusi Maimane of the DA.

It is an historical reality that ruling classes always enjoy privilege.Therefore, there can be no debate that whites were privileged under colonialism and apartheid. But that's the past, It's gone. It's water under the bridge. No amount of hand-wringing can change that.

Instead, the question to be asked is: What purpose is served in demonising whites for apast they can't change and a new white generation that had nothing to do with life before 1994?
How does that promote nation-building and racial harmony?

Of course, politically, the answer is very obvious: whites are being made scapegoats for the
faults and failings of the new political rulers. That said, it is total claptrap to claim that white privilege has exacerbated black poverty and inequality. Here's why:

* ANC restrictive labour policies have discouraged wider employment practices and hobbled
economic growth. Whereas unemployment stood at 3,2 million in 1994, thanks to worldwide
sanctions and disinvestment promoted by the ANC, by 2017, after 23 years of liberated ANC rule, unemployment had grown to 8,3 million.

* Blacks have benefited hugely as a result of demographically based preferment policies on
procurement and employment at the expense of minorities.

* Whereas the civil service was once white-dominated, it is now almost exclusively black.

* Statistics show that blacks now outnumber whites in the high-end living structure.

* Cadre deployment and state capture has done nothing to benefit the army of black unemployed.

* Education standards have declined under the ANC to the point where Dr Mamphela Ramphele (widow of Steve Biko) has remarked that Bantu education was better than what schools under the ANC are producing. Poor literacy and numeracy, thus, has further disadvantaged employment prospects.

History shows that the marginalisation of minorities produces two outcomes: emigration and/ or self-preservation. Thus, minorities in South Africa are increasingly entrepreneurial because employment opportunities in government and in corporates are demographically limited by the new job reservation legislation.

Whereas minorities survive through their own initiative and enterprise, the biggest mistake the ANC has made in to promote the view that government is the source and solution for all social needs. Thus, socialist welfarism has now reduced 18 million to dependence on state grants for survival.

Black inequality and poverty existed before 1994. But its subsequent exacerbation and extenuation is entirely the result of the ANC's socialist policies

The Mercury 


As exemplified by the Mercury's editorial of May 11, much of the outcry against President Trump's decertification of the Iran nuclear deal is based on false premises.  

First, the Mercury's claim that the deal  was "a treaty" is incorrect. What Obama and Kerry produced was no more than an understanding with the rogue Iranian regime.It was not a treaty as it was never submitted to or approved by the US Senate as the US constitution requires of treaties.  

As such, Obama and Kerry tried to make US foreign policy by arrogant contempt for the constitutional separation of powers process. As such, Obama's Iran deal had neither legitimacy nor the force of law. In by-passing the constitution's treaty-making  process, Obama gave his successor every right to discard the deal. Thus, by calling Trump's action "childish," the Mercury displays ignorance and spite. 

* Second, it follows, then, that the claim that the deal was "not in the hands of a single country to terminate unilaterally," is unfounded. Officially, the US never approved the agreement. Thus, the claim that America's word is worthless, lacks credibility.  

* Third, in that the rogue Iran regime never actually signed the deal, renders all the anguishabout Trump's decision even more bizarre.  

Fourth, the claim that Iran agreed to cut its enriched uranium stockpiles and that the UN Atomic Agency had full access to monitor Iran's nuclear programme, does not square with the facts. From the outset limits were placed on the monitoring process while weapons such as ICBMs were not included in the Obama 2015 deal. As result Iran has continued to develop its nuclear programme. 

* Fifth, the only part of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was comprehensive was Obama's donation of $100 billion to the Iran regime and the lifting of sanctions. But instead of using that money to uplift Iran's shattered economy, it was used to sponsor terrorism and to prop up the Bashir-al-Assad regime in Syria.  

* Sixth, what is completely overlooked by those lamenting Trump's decision is Iran's history of contempt for sanctions and UN resolutions. In 2014 Iran's Foreign minister, Javad Zarif, boasted that between 2005 and 2013, despite sanctions, Iran had continued to expand the number of its centrifuges which reached20,000  by 2015. Yet despite that history of contempt, Obama and Kerry gave approval to Iran's nuclear programme that was previously considered illegal, a deal which Obama described as his "major accomplishment." 

Although the Middle East is a volatile political cauldron, Trump's decision has been welcomed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain which fear the Iran regime. The squeeze of economic sanctions on Iran may facilitate regime change given the growing groundswell of popular opposition.  

Despite the howls of dismay that Trump was going to cause a nuclear war with North Korea, we now see North Korea talking about de-nuclearisation and even suggestions by Trump's critics that his handling of the issue puts him in line for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thus, Trump's decertification of Obama's Iran deal may yet have a virtuous outcome.




-  posted 12 May 2018

Complaints about poor service delivery are a daily occurrence. According to a study done in 2016, between 1999 and 2016 there were 67,750 protests -13 everyday (see: Mercury, June 15, 2016).

Invariably the cause of service delivery protests is not because of lack of resources. It is the result of political corruption, in-fighting, incompetence and indifference on the part of those elected to represent ratepayers, residents and taxpayers.

Right now in four provinces service delivery is being hampered because of politicalin-fighting. In North West a revolt has broken out over the ongoing corruption of its premier who treats the province as his private fiefdom. In KZN progress and servicedelivery is hamstrung by the violent divisions within the ANC, each camp seeking to gain poll position over the feeding trough of financial perks and spoils.

In the Eastern Cape, the city of Port Elizabeth is in gridlock because  politicians prefer to waste ratepayers money and time on trying to get rid of the mayor simply because,as the malignant Malema of the EFF howls,  he is white.

In the Western Cape, the city of Cape Town faces a similar handbrake on progress and functionalism because its mayor, who faces a formidable charge sheet of misdemeanorsand shortcomings, refuses to accept the termination of her DA membership.

Whatever happened to the dictum of Batho pele - which means: We serve?Whatever happened to the meaning of the concept:  public representative? No voter, regardless of party affiliation, ever voted for political gridlock.

The democratic process of which mantras and hosannas abound, is not mandated to produce a crop of power-hungry, greedy, self-serving representatives. It is thereto reflect the wishes of the people. In that respect, regardless of political affiliation,voters want competent management of the resources their rates and taxes produce.

 The courts should not be the umpires of political squabbles and dissent.Political parties need to have in place stringent codes of conduct which preventthe kinds of mayhem that is engulfing provinces and municipalities. And public representatives need to appreciate that because they owe everything to the voters who elected them, their focus needs to be 100 percent on their constituents.

 Before 1988, when the then National Party decided to politicise municipal elections,the election of councillors was based on community standing and perceived competence. Municipal shutdowns, gridlock along with the term 'service delivery' were unheard of.Time to hit the reset button.



Worldwide the promotion of tourism requires conditions that are respectful of law and order and that promise safety and security when accessing sites and attractions. Yet the commissar for Tourism, Sihle Zikalala, prioritises racial and gender representivity ahead of such considerations (Mercury, May 8). 

Thanks to the ANC's inability to curb and prosecute crime, KZN is under siege: Land grabs, rock throwing frombridges, sabotage and looting at the Mooi River toll, mobs that arbitrarily shut down construction sites, a stadium that is trashed, violent murders that occur daily, the most dangerous roads in the country with 111 people killed during the Easter recess. Such circumstances do not promote tourism.  

On top of that, the majority of municipalities, on which tourism depends for basic services, are bankrupt, corrupt and embroiled in looting exchanges between different factions of the ANC, some of which we now know are even uneducated.  

Tourism can thrive only in an environment that is secure and stable. The fact that Zikalala ignores those issues and instead obsesses about racial and gender quotas shows how out of touch he is with the realities of the tourist and hospitality industry. But then that is hardly surprising given the shambles that prevails in every aspect of governance under the ANC.


Business Report


Half the heading to the article by Karabo Mashugane (Business Report, May 2) is correct:
"The BEE codes are inhibiting..." But what appeared to promise some divergent thinking
on the subject of BEE, turned out to be more fine-tuning of what has become a runaway

Since its inception, BEE has become Byzantine in the plethora of regulations it imposes on
those engaged in trying to generate wealth and meaningful employment. The fact that BEE
and its expanded form of B- BBEE is not making any impression on unemployment and now, according to Mashugane, needs new layers of regulations to service the SME category should trigger alarm bells.

Here's why:

* BEE in whatever incarnation it exists, does nothing to promote black entrepreneurial skills
because it affords an easy passage to low-risk, soft option positions. In other words, by making positions available for blacks in white-owned companies, blacks are not being incentivised to create their own companies.

* As John Kane-Berman has argued (November 2009), the redistribution of posts and positions which is termed "empowerment," is actually disempowerment because it is not creating anything new while simultaneously allowing opportunities for independent black initiative to be lost. 

* BEE perpetuates the syndrome of victimhood and a culture of entitlement. Redistributing jobs and wealth based on victimhood and entitlement ,which some now claim must hark back to 1652,is simply a recipe for more poverty because redistributing wealth is not a substitute for economic growth. As such, BEE is part of a political agenda to marshal votes and to service the illusions of transformation. If BEE was the Government's answer to poverty, then why is the army of social grant recipients constantly increasing - now in excess of 18 million?

By shackling the business of wealth creation and productivity to the prescriptiveness of a social charter,BEE has not advanced entrepreneurship for blacks. Moreover, it has retarded job creation and has not incentivised foreign direct investment. Although at the outset of his opinion piece, Karabo Mashugane makes reference to the law of unintended
consequences, it is ironic that he fails to recognise its relevance to the whole concept of BEE.

The Mercury


Constitutional scholar, George Devenish, asserts that South Africa's socio-economic inequality is not due to the failure of the constitution but is a consequence of, inter alia, maladministration and corruption (Mercury, April 30). But given the way aspects of the constitution have been interpreted, Professor Devenish's view invites query.

Sections 9, 195 and 217 of the constitution refer to measures to be applied to achieve equality.To that end they note that such measures are applicable to "persons, or categories of persons,  disadvantaged by unfair discrimination." Nowhere do those provisions state or refer or specify compliance with the actual demographic profiles of national and regional populations. Instead they refer only to "broad representation."

Yet section 42 of Act 47 of 2013, the amended Employment Equity Act, requires demographic profiles to be taken into account so as to achieve compliance with the Act. In plain terms, that means racial quotas based on regional and national demographic profiles. Nationally those profile percentages are: 78,6% African, 9,6% coloured, 9,1% white and 2,7% Indian. Non-compliance by companies with those provisions may attract a fine of up to R1,5 million. In KZN, for example,with higher regional African and Indian demographics, percentages would differ.

Equality can be legislated but not its outcomes. Adherence to ideology, as the Employment
Equity Act requires, is no guarantee of socio-economic upliftment. In fact the reverse is true.
Apart from crime, maladministration and corruption, the biggest handbrake on economic expansion and emancipation is prescriptive legislation, now endorsed by the constitution, concerning the hiring, firing and advancement of labour and personnel. As such, it discourages foreign investment and disincentivises economic expansion. Thus, it would seem, the constitution is not promoting upliftment.

Exacerbating and perpetuating socio-economic differences is the welfare system which prevails. As Professor Devenish notes, some 19 million people are reliant on state welfare. But for many, the receipt of welfare does not incentivise them to improve their lot. For as the saying goes, 'subsidise poverty and you get more of it.'

Socio-economic inequality is a worldwide reality. In the USA, one percent of the population owns 42% of all financial and resource assets. But where inequality is most evident is in countries that implement
socialist policies. History abounds with evidence that socialism results in equality in poverty and mediocrity for the masses while the drivers of that ideology enjoy material luxury. The comfortable lifestyles of the SACP, Cosatu and ANC elites exemplify that.

Striving to improve the quality of life and opportunities is necessary and important. But striving to establish socio-economic equality is not possible unless one is prepared to lower stands and to institutionalise mediocrity which is what socialism delivers.
The Mercury



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:

  • 510 people were killed on the roads during the recent Easter season; over 1,700 died on our roads in the 2017/18Festive season.

  • more than 2,000  were fined for driving unlicensed or unroadworthy  vehicles during the Festive season; 

  • if crime is no big deal, why are there so many security companies?

  • if crime is not so bad, how come billions of Rand is spent on providing ANC politicians with bodyguards, elaborate security measures and Blue Light cavalcades?

  • that a mere 10% of cases handled by the SA Police result in convictions because of shoddy case compilation;

  • that the murder of farmers continues unabated at a rate that is unprecedented for peacetime conditions.

 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?





The report in the Daily News of April 11 on the dysfunctional state ofMariannridge Secondary school in many ways reflects the trend in education after 24 years of ANC rule.

Not only is the infrastructure of the school broken in terms of toilets, doors, windows and lights but vandalism is rife. Added to that, those who call themselves teachers are failing to lead by example in terms of punctuality, enforcement of dress code and etiquette. Instead, their union meetings take precedence over school attendance. Their apparent indifference has resulted in learners absconding, gambling, selling cigarettes and dagga.

A deplorable state of affairs indeed but sadly one that is encroaching on schools countrywide and which has manifested itself at tertiary level. So-called students who trash libraries and facilities on university campuses and technikons and, for the most part, get away with it, are setting the tone and the parameters of the future of this country.

What kind of society will prevail when their generation has grown up? What kind of offspring will they bring into the world given their own anarchic conduct?

As a retired teacher, there is no former colleague I know who would go back to teaching in a state school for any price. Worse still, of the younger teachers I know, most are disillusioned with teaching and its prospects.
The sad shambles of Mariannridge school portends South Africa's future.
No wonder emigration just keeps accelerating


The Mercury


 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.



The Editor
The Mercury


From the lavish coverage afforded the death of Winnie Mandela (April 3), one might be forgiven for thinking that the Mercury had changed its name to the Winnie Mandela Times.

Underpinning that eulogistic coverage was your editorial. Apart from a fleeting acknowledgement that she was "a controversial figure at times" - on which you failed to elaborate - the Mercury' s sycophantic coverage of the issue was well summed up by its cartoon depicting the departed "icon" adorned with a halo.

This is not the first time that journalistic objectivity has been set aside. Other ANC "icons" have received similar treatment.Whilst it is perfectly reasonable to acknowledge the trials and tribulations Winnie Mandela experienced on behalf of the cause sheserved, in appraising her life, her dark deeds cannot simply be airbrushed from the record.

In the mid-1980s, she famously declared that "with our matches and our necklaces we will liberate this country." About 800 black people suffered the gruesome fate of necklace immolation. She and the late Peter Mokaba exhorted their followers to "kill the farmer, kill the Boer." Such intentions and exhortations served to inflame an already tense situation and can only be described as criminal.

In the late 1980s, as a thorough investigation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission revealed, Winnie Mandela and her soccer team were feared as gangsters and responsible for the murder of several people, among them the 13 year old Stompie Seipei and Dr Asvat Abu-Bakr.

In 2003 Winnie Mandela received a five year jail sentence based on 43 counts of fraud and 25 theft offences. The magistrate found that she abused her position as head of the ANC Women's League and defrauded dozens of poor folk (See: The Guardian, 25 April 2003). How this squares with the accolade that she was the "mother of the nation" is difficult to fathom.

Such misdemeanors - crimes, in politically incorrect parlance - cannot be simply be brushed under the carpet as inconvenient truths.Significantly, the poll conducted on News24 as to how Winnie Mandela would be remembered showed that 74% of those who participated
believed she would be remembered as "a law unto herself."



For most of the 24 years since 1994 it has been apparent that lip service is paid to the principle of non-racialism. Although the DA professes to embrace that ideal, by seeking to prioritise racial diversity in its structures (Daily News, March 26), it risks succumbing to racial nationalism and reviving what are supposed to be past, outlawed classifications.

Having had sight of the five page submission by DA MPs M Cardo and G Davis, they warn that by "replicating diversity in its own ranks," the DA risks institutionalising demographic representivity which would hardly distinguish it from the ANC. Indeed, the plea for racial diversity is simply a euphemism for racial quotas which is ANC policy. For the DA, a tipping point looms.

The responses of two black DA public representatives, Gumbi and Mncwango, serve to underline the importance of the warning Cardo and Davis pose. Both Gumbi and Mncwango show that they are mired in the pre-1994 tribal, racial, cultural identity syndrome. For Gumbi, the principle of fit for purpose and and ability in the allocation of positions and responsibilities ceases to be worthy if racial diversity is neglected or "left out," as he puts it.

By claiming that the model of liberalism, which espouses fair opportunity regardless of race, does not work in Africa, Mncwango reveals his true colours and the extent to which he is at odds with the liberal democratic core on which the DA was founded and which is also the essence of non-racialism.

Gumbi and Mncwango need to appreciate that the DA is not a personal benefit club but a vehicle that aspires to govern. Like a business, it needs to ensure that unless merit is prioritised, achievement is at risk.They also need to appreciate that they do not own the DA. It was formed long before they came along. If they want principles which are not part of its foundation, then they should form their own party or join the ANC.


The Mercury

RACE OBSESSION - posted March 18, 2018

If the Mercury's March 16 edition was placed in a time capsule for posterity to examine, the only conclusion that could be drawn would be that by 2018 South Africa had become a race-obsessed state.

Apart from the Classifieds and Legal pages and page 7, eight of the twelve pagesconcerned the race issue. Here's a brief summary: front page: white-owned sugarfarm torched by black protesters; page 2: Bill approved criminalising racial remarks;page 3: title deeds and black land ownership; page 4: land ownership based on race; page 5: racial discrimination against Gandhi 125 years ago; page 6: fury at Aussie
sympathy for white SA farmers; page 8: editorial on race and white farmers; page 9:op.ed articles on race in cricket and political parties.

Although officially non-racialism is proclaimed constitutionally, socially and politically,race obsession prevails and is as entrenched as it was before 1994. The reason for this is the ongoing restructuring of society on the basis of majoritarian representivity and profiling.Such social engineering promotes the law of unintended consequences: insecurity, resentment, resistance. In a word: racism.

In most of the articles cited above, focus on demographic identity ensures a corollary that is about racial disparities and differences. Distinctions and differences in multi-ethnic,multi-cultural societies are an inherent reality.

Where different groups are in contention, tensions are guaranteed within a framework which promotes majoritarianism. Things could be very different within a framework premised on merit.

The Editor
The Mercury


The controversy over the election of a predominantly white caucus executive by the DA's eThekwini councillors has exposed the extent to which the notions of racial diversity and majoritarianism are at odds with the democratic process and the principle of fit- for- purpose job suitability and competence (Mercury,March 22 & 23).

Lost in this unnecessary uproar is the fact that the non-white majority of the DA's caucus
(45 of the 59 members) voted for the candidates they believed are the best suited asleaders. In so doing they prioritised competence and experience ahead of window dressing which results when, for the sake of servicing the notion of racial diversity,skin colour is prioritised over job suitability.

The Mercury of March 23 carries two reports on the dysfunctional state of local government as a result of incompetence and political party infighting. Both reports reflect the fact that preference for cronyism over the principle of fit- for- purpose capability has crippled service delivery and led to insolvency.

If the ideal of non-racialism is to be realised, then notions of demographic representivity and majoritarianism must be discarded. In that the predominantly non-white DA eThekwinicaucus cast their votes in favour of fit for purpose colleagues who happen to be white should be applauded as a victory for non-racialism and the democratic process.

Racial discrimination will never end until notions of majoritarianism and demographic representivity are abandoned. Moreover, there is abundant evidence proving that good governance suffers when those notions are prioritised


The Mercury

- posted March 17, 2018

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, has described the response of the SA Foreign Ministry to the remarks of his colleague, Peter Dutton, on white South African farmers, as "over the top." The same and more applies to the Mercury's editorial of March 16.

While agreeing that the issue of expropriation of land without compensation is indeed "volatile," the Mercury's attempt to downplay the vulnerability of white farmers along with the cartoon it published depicting Australia as racist, is insensitive and inaccurate. For the record, anyway, Australia abandoned its whites only immigration policy in 1958.

Claiming that there is "no evidence to support the notion that white farmers are targeted
more than anyone else in the country" may have relevance in terms of broad statistics, but when contextualised your assertion lacks credibility. For nowhere during peacetime conditions has a particular sector of the population been subjected to such ongoing brutality
and murder.

The attacks on white farmers have been described as "not normal criminality" in that they their perpetration has frequently involved "brutal torturing in a most barbaric way." Yes, black farm workers have also been subjected to the same onslaught. According to Dr Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front of the 3,100 killings on farms since 1990, forty percent of the victims wereblack.

Despite the fact that statistics on this subject are disputed by the likes of Africa Check, there can be no denial of the vulnerability of white farmers to violent, fatal attacks. In 2017 alone, 71 farmers were murdered. Has the Mercury forgotten the reason for the country-wide Black Monday protest by farmers last October?

Although President Ramaphosa has decreed that land seizures will not be tolerated, by
irresponsibly endorsing the principle of "expropriation without compensation," he has initiated a Pandora's box of speculation and emotion.

Given the insecure state of white farmers, Australian minister of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton,
is not wrong in expressing sympathy for South African white farmers. In fact, he deserves
credit for recognising their vulnerability which is more than the ANC government has done
in 20 years.

It is also pleasing to note that Dutton's stance is supported not only by Australia's opposition
Labor party, whose Senator Kim Carr has endorsed Dutton's views, but that there is growing support from Western Australia to Queensland for a humanitarian approach to the plight of SA white farmers and severe criticism of the "do nothing " approach of SA politicians

(see: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 16 , Qld MP Andrew Leming).


The Editor
African Independent (This a new glossy magazine sent free to all subscribers of the Mercury)


It beggars belief that someone affiliated to Harvard University, namely, Emmanuel Akyeampong, whose post is that of Professor of African Studies, can credit Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere as having had "vision" which Africa needs to embrace.
African Independent does its credibility no favours by publishing such nonsense (issue 02/March/April 2018).

Clearly, Akyeampong has never read Martin Meredith's book The Fate of Africa: A history of fifty years of independence published by Public Affairs in New York in 2005. The book was acclaimed, inter alia, by the New York Times, Boston Globe and the Financial Times.

Here are the key facts regarding Nkrumah and Nyerere.Although, semantically, Nkrumah quarrelled with Nyerere over what socialism in Africa should be, his pursuit of it had the same disastrous outcome. Like Nyerere, he advocated the nationalisation of the economy. By 1966 there were 50 state owned enterprises in Ghana.They included: Ghana National Construction Company; State Steel Works; State Gold Mining Company; State Fibre Bag Corporation; Ghana Fishing Corporation; State Vegetable Oil Mills Corporation; State Farm Corporation; State Airline - p.185 of Meredith's book.

By 1966, the year Nkrumah was ousted in a military coup, all those enterprises were loss-making disasters and part of the reason Ghana was bankrupt by 1963 - just six years after receiving independence at which it was described as the 'jewel of Africa." State farms were staffed by Nkrumah functionaries who were agriculturally illiterate. Living standards had receded to what they were before 1939.(pp. 186-87).

Nyerere's embrace of socialism replicated the mass relocation of peasants that Stalin and Mao Tse Tung carried out in Russia and China - with the same disastrous outcomes.

In 1967, in the Arusha Declaration, Nyerere stated his intention of clustering Tanzania's peasant population into extended villages. The policy was called ujamaa and was intended to promote self-reliance. It was to be implemented on a voluntary basis. (Meredith, pp. 252-54) At the same time, Nyerere nationalised the entire Tanzanian economy - every aspect from banks to manufacturing and food production. By mid-1973 only some two million peasants had opted to live in the ujamaa villages. Impatient to see his collectivist plan fulfilled, Nyerere used coercion and brutality to herd a further 11 million peasants into his ujamaa paradise (Meredith, pp. 253-54).

By 1979, with 13 million Tanzanians effectively incarcerated in camps, mass starvation had become a reality since their communal agricultural efforts produced only five percent of the country's food needs.Food aid through the World Bank amounted to 200,000 tons. (pp. 256-57)

Between 1977 and 1982, national productivity in Tanzania declined by 33%. Living standards plunged by 50%. Whilst admitting that his socialist dream had not materialised, Nyerere remained adamant that socialism was the answer (p. 258). Under Nyerere, in the 1970s Tanzania became the world's greatest recipient of foreign aid - $3 billion (p. 259). Yet thanks to socialism,it had nothing to show for that aid and became one of the planet's most impoverished states.

From this cursory critique, it should be obvious that neither Nkrumah nor Nyerere can be regarded as beacons towards which Africa should chart its future. One hopes, in the spirit of audi alteram partem, that you will have the courage to publish this critique in the next issue of African Independent.




WASHINGTON TIMES/ Natal Mercury/ Daily News


Fourteen months after being defeated in her bid for the White House,Hillary Clinton's continued denigration of Americans who did not vote for her (CNN, March 13) exposes her not only as a very poor loser but as an opponent of the democratic process.

Although she may have won more popular votes than Trump - more than a million of which were found, subsequently, to be illicit - she was soundly defeated in the Electoral College vote by 306 to 232. Moreover, she failed to carry key Democratic states: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania. When Al Gore lost his White House bid to George W Bush by a a few hundred votes cast in Florida in 2000, he conceded defeat and moved on.
But by her on-going denigration of the result of the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton shows herself to be shamelessly illiberal and politically psychotic. This was apparent when recently she claimed in a CNN report that Trump's victory was based on "backwards" voters and on people who were racists and sexists.
During the 2016 election campaign, Hillary referred to Trump supporters as "deplorables.

"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.

Absent from Hillary's attempted critique about why she lost is any reference to why voters rejected her. That, of course, is no surprise, After all, self-abnegation is not within her capacity or that of the political elite.
In claiming that "America does not deserve Trump" and by deprecating the ideal of making America great again, Hillary Clinton and her ilk display an agenda that is undemocratic and contrary to the ideals on which the USA is based. For her un-American agenda, history has consigned her to the dustbin where she belongs.





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.



The Editors


The DA's dilemma with its Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille, is entirely self-inflicted.
In that the DA prescribes rigorous probity tests for its public representatives, De Lille
should never have been accepted as a DA public rep.

In Biznews on February 2, veteran journalist Ed Herbst provided a comprehensive account
of De Lille's political history, which, as the following excerpts indicate, should have disqualified her from membership of a party which its leader, Mmusi Maimane, claims, prioritises "values" as one of its core criteria.

* In Die Suid-Afrikaan on 31 December 1993, De Lille rejected the Freedom Charter view that the land belongs to all who live in it, black and white. According to De Lille, black people had exclusive right to all the land.

* 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,
De Lille stated on 19 April 1994: "The youth of the townships have been deprived of democracy for 340 years. What other means do you expect them to use if they were denied human rights?"

* 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).

She was referred to by the Citizen newspaper and by the Sunday Times as Patricia De Liar following her eleventh hour volte face in endorsing the ANC's candidate for mayor in 2006 after assuring her ID party that she would support the DA's candidate. Despite her record of political values, she became the DA's mayor of Cape Town in May 2011.

The fact that the DA's investigation into De Lille's tenure as mayor has found, inter alia, dereliction of duty, unexplained loss of revenue, intimidation and mismanagement is regrettable in terms of the DA's claim to promote good governance. But the lesson for the DA in this sad saga is that values and principles are compromised when political expediency and opportunism are prioritised.


The Mercury

EDITORIAL COMMENDED posted 22 Jan 2018

The Mercury's editorial "An empire crumbles" (January 22) marks a refreshing and encouraging departure from its posture of the past year when it often attempted to navigate between the pro and anti- Zuma factions within the ANC.

The resolute approach of Cyril Ramaphosa in tackling the Gupta incubus and in cleansing the Augean stables of the detritus of misrule by Jacob Zuma and his cronies, emboldens all sections of society to embrace this virtuous cycle which has been so sorely needed.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that the pages of the Mercury will no longer feature the sycophantic discourses of Zuma toadies like Sihle Zikalala. Instead new voices, hitherto sidelined by the tendency to service those who held power, need to propagate the road to making South Africa great again.

As a line from Proverbs states: "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to the evildoers" (21:15).

The Mercury


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.
The Mercury

 CONTEXTUALISING MUGABE'S LEGACY      posted 30 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

The Mercury


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

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

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

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

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

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


The Mercury

HISTORY AND LEGEND posted 22 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

posted 18 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ZIKALALA'S ECONOMIC PIPEDREAM        posted 17 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mercury

TAMBO EULOGY posted 12 Nov 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

posted 8 November 2017

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

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

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


The Mercury


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

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

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

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

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

The Mercury


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

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

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

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


The Mercury


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

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

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

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

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


The Editor
BIZNEWS/ Business Day/ Star

SA NEEDS A NEW CODESA posted 10 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



BACKING THE WRONG HORSE                   posted 28 September 2017

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

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

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

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

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


Washington Times

 TRUMP'S UN SPEECH DESERVES APPLAUSE            posted 22 September  2017

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Mercury

 TRUMP AND THE MEDIA       posted  6 September 2017

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

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

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


The Mercury

CONTRADICTORY ECONOMIC VIEWS - posted 6 September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Mercury


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Mercury

 PUNISH MALEMA FIRST                          posted 9 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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


Daily News

 HISTORY IS AGAINST THE ANC IN KZN   posted 2 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mercury

 COMMUNISM IS AN ANACHRONISM             - posted 28 July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



IRREGULAR EXPENDITURE IS PANDEMIC           posted 6 July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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



SCRAPPING OF STANDARDS             posted 1 July 2017

As the slide in levels of efficacy and competence got underway, Tony Leon once observed that "standards will be lowered to you."  But now that the KZN ANCYL wants standards scrapped (Daily News, June 29), Leon's prediction has been eclipsed. 
The fact that the recent KZN ANC provincial council approved the ANCYL's  proposal to scrap the need for minimum experience as a requirement for government entry-level posts is significant for a few reasons. 
First, it demonstrates what has been obvious for decades, namely, that for the ANC there is 
no distinction between the party and the state and that the state is simply a feeding trough for cadres.
Second, it shows total contempt for service delivery which can only be further hobbled by installing people in jobs who have no proven competence.
Third, by desiring the elimination of standards in government posts, raises the question of 
whether standards are required for any job. 
Such lunacy  makes a further mockery of the ANC's slogan 'a better life for all' and its boast of '100 years of selfless struggle.' Clearly, the ANC is in freefall, bereft of any sense of direction, morality and integrity. South Africa desperately needs to be liberated from those who claimed to be its liberator.


DEATHS IN POLICE CUSTODY   - posted 30 June 2017
The inquiry into the death of Ahmed Timol who died while in police custody in 1971 
rightly needs to be regarded with compassion and lament that human rights were 
callously disregarded during the apartheid era (Daily News, June 28).But to confine such feelings to that era  is wrong.
In the second edition of his book How long can South Africa survive,  RW Johnson states
"torture and maltreatment of prisoners in police custody have sky-rocketed to a level far worse than under apartheid" (p. 177).
A report in the Daily News of March 4, 2013 confirms that. It noted that between 2006 and 2011,some 4,000 people had died whilst in police custody. In contrast, between 1963 and 1985 - the apartheid era - there were 74 deaths in police custody.In that  torture and deaths in police custody are associated with the apartheid era, how, then, does one account for the blatant disregard that is occurring under the ANC government  of section 12 of the constitution which concerns security of  person and which forbids torture and inhuman treatment?
Remembering those who died for their beliefs before 1994 is well and good. But to disregard far greater violations of human rights that are occurring under a regime which claims to have brought 'liberation' is hypocrisy

The Mercury

-posted 28 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Zikalala's claims are based on deceit. The  ANC's friendship with China  is increasingly becoming a critical factor in the South Africa economy -not Western capitalism. That is the reality.
* Has Zikalala not noticed that  South Africa is China's second largest investment recipient? 
*Is he not aware that China has a 20% holding in Standard Bank?
*That Chevron's (Caltex) operation in South Africa has been taken over by China;
*That China has substantial holdings in metals and minerals companies such as Sinosteel, Blue Ridge and Shanduka Gold;
*That the ANC's Gupta friends from India have virtually captured the state through manipulation and unscrupulous actions. And they have certainly captured the ANC faction of which Zikalala is the mouthpiece.
Indeed, it is common knowledge that China is leading the new scramble for Africa. But such reality does not accord with Zikalala's agenda which is to obfuscate and deny that not only has his ANC  faction run out of road but that their moral and political bankruptcy is the cause of South Africa's downward economic spiral

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




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

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

Before  the minuscule nucleus of a  British presence was established in Natal in 1843, the hegemony of Shaka and Dingane prevailed. Militarily impressive and brutally efficient, nonetheless, it could not be compared with the material aspects of life which followed the wake of British settlement: the wheel, pen and paper, bricks and mortar, spinning and weaving, literacy and Christianity. - all the accrual of many centuries of development.
In time, it is possible that those material benefits may have evolved in Natal without the British presence but that is speculation. The reality is that since the beginning of recorded history, no part of the world has escaped outside or foreign influences. And while those influences have invariably had harsh consequences, they have also had beneficial legacies. (Signficantly, Omar does not list the USA  as having progressed  despite British imperialism.)
For Omar to contend that "colonialism brought nothing less than misery to Africa," is extravagant. In the first place, the British ended the scourge of slavery which had wrought havoc and suffering among Africans for centuries. British authority brought a measure of stability and order to areas under the Union Jack. Of course there were dreadful blunders
such as the Anglo-Zulu war and the brutal crushing of the Bhambatha uprising of 1906.

Omar's likening of colonialism to the holocaust is a sad departure from his usual informed logic. Despite its limitations, the Natal colonial Blue Book of statistics for 1908 shows that the African population grew from an estimated 113,000 in 1852 to nearly 1 million by 1908. Clearly holocaust genocide did not feature here. In Rhodesia the black population
increased 12 fold between 1890 and 1980. Certainly colonialism as practised in the Congo under King Leopold of Belgium was fraught with human suffering and rightly ranks as a dark period in that region.
Overall, what  appears missing from Omar's view is that Africa was subject to bouts of invasion and conquest long before Europeancolonialism. It is an established fact that the southward migration of Africans from the equatorial regions was the result of slave
raiding and trading and internecine conflict which amounted to black-on- black colonisation. It would be interesting for him to account for the benefits of that experience for the San people, the original inhabitants of southern Africa.


The Mercury


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

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

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

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

The Mercury


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


His pain, privation and incarceration on account of his beliefs and his association with those opposed to apartheid deserve admiration regardless of one's political moorings. Equally of merit is the fact that despite his contribution to that struggle, Suttner is not a blind adherent to the ANC and has distanced himself from the corruption and scandals which
have engulfed the ANC under Jacob Zuma.
However, for the tapestry of history to be fleshed out requires balance and context, otherwise it becomes one-sided and is exploited for propaganda reasons.  Raymond Suttner has proved durable and enduring and a survivor. He has lived to tell his story. Many of his comrades were not so fortunate.
Among those comrades were many whose demise was not at the hands of the apartheid security police but rather at the hands of the ANC 's Mbokodo security officers. In what were called detention centres in Tanzania and Angola, cadres who were deemed "undisciplined" or  "enemy agents"  were subjected to horrific torture and  interrogation using methods learned from the East German communist Stasi. Countless cadres suffered gruesome deaths as a result.
All the big names in the ANC and SACP were aware of those human rights violations and were party to such policy as the Shishita purges. The facts are contained in External Mission: the ANC in exile by Stephen Ellis published by  Jonathan Ball in 2012.
Ironically, unlike Suttner who survived, there were few if any who survived the horrors of those ANC liberation camps to regale  Mercury readers with their experiences, or would risk doing so. Nonetheless, in the interests of historical balance and context equal publicity should be afforded to their fates.


Ostensibly the DA has achieved closure with regard to Helen Zille and her views on colonialism. But while the terms and 
conditions of the settlement reduce Zille to a mere pawn on the DA chessboard, the rhetoric in which the settlement is wrapped is contradictory and disquieting.
In that Zille is required to vacate her position on all decision-making structures including the provincial council of which she is Premier, amounts to total political emasculation. There is no precedent of a provincial premier, like a state governor, whose job description excludes the right to pronounce on policy and who, therefore, cannot lead from the front. How this accords with the DA's claim to embrace "freedom, fairness and opportunity" is anybody's guess.
In his remarks on the Zille settlement, DA leader Mmusi Maimane flaunts his affection for jargon that  resonates well as sound bytes but which is contradictory. "We must challenge each other's ideas in a constructive manner," he stated. Yet it was Maimane himself who impulsively rejected Zille's objective statements about colonialism, unilaterally declared that "colonialism can never be justified" and peremptorily imposed a disciplinary hearing on Zille. No  "constructive manner" in any that.
Maimane also said that "it is healthy for us to engage in robust debate" but clearly that excludes anything about history and heritage. Yet he talks about "reconciling South Africans" and of "non-racialism," Such aspirations will not be realised by declaring subjects
like heritage as being out of bounds for discussion. Maturity as a country will never flourish under such proscription. Americans have never proscribed discussion and debate about their civil war which cost over 600,000 lives.


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


The Mercury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Mercury


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

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

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

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


The Editor

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


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

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

In a democracy governments that fail are voted out. While history has recorded that the ANC brought
democratic change to South Africa, that fact does not give the ANC an indefinite right to rule. Few
aspects of life in South Africa have improved in the 23 years the ANC has ruled. Even the constitution
is under threat by a President who has violated it and who has indicated that he favours abrogating
the provision of compensation for land expropriation.
Yet the Daily News avers that the ANC  can "self-correct" and redeem itself as a result. However, the 
reality is that the re-set button is no longer democratically available. A 63-page study titled "State capacity Research Project" by eight South African academics convened by Professor Mark Swilling of Stellenbosch University, published in May, provides a detailed analysis of the extent to which the ANC has been appropriated by an elite whose agenda is inimical to South Africa's interests.
The study confirms that South Africa has experienced a silent coup that has removed the ANC from its moorings and re-purposed it for the benefit of a constellation of networks the apex of which comprises twelve companies and fifteen individuals connected to the Gupta-Zuma oligarchy. The study notes that corruption is merely the symptom of the rot that infests state-owned enterprises and government ministries. The manoeuvring and deployment involved in effecting state capture is the real cause of the crisis the country faces.
Appealing to candidates seeking to replace Zuma as ANC president to "go back to the drawing-board" and "not to over-promise," is futile as long as the game of patronage is controlled by those who have established a state within a state. 
More ANC rule is not the answer to the woes that have engulfed South Africa. Elitist, oligarchic rule has no place in a democratic, open society which the preamble of the constitution professes. As such, we are not a one-party state but a multi-party democracy and therefore it is time to grow up and recognise that there are alternatives to the trust the ANC has betrayed.




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

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

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

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

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

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


The Mercury

LIBERAL TOLERANCE IN THE DA                                   posted 28 May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



SIHLE SIKALALA'S ANTICS                                       posted  17 May 2017

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

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

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


The Mercury
QUESTIONS ABOUT IMPARTIALITY                     Posted  12 May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Mercury

RANK HYPOCRISY                                       posted  12 May 2017

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

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

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

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

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


Alec Hogg


2 May 2017
Was the English-language press more independent under the Nats?

In February 1982, the Steyn Commission of Inquiry into press freedom warned of the danger of corporate control of newspapers damaging diversity and fettering the information industry. Judge Steyn predicted that amalgamation within the media industry would herald the arrival of a Leviathan situation.
Steyn's fears of amalgamation have, of course, long since been realised with the Argus press monopoly back in the late 1980s and the subsequent O'Reilly takeover in the mid-1990s. Yet despite those developments, critical and diverse reporting and opinion generally prevailed until O'Reilly sold out and an active ally of the ANC, Dr Iqbal Surve of Sekunjalo, acquired control of the bulk of the English-language press.
Sekunjalo's press monopoly is different from those which preceded it because they were privately funded. R800 million of the R2 billion Sekunjalo paid to buy what was alled Independent Newspapers was sourced from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) by means of an interest-free loan. Some R300 million was sourced from the government-owned Public Investment Corporation. Thus a situation has arisen that is hardly different from the funding of the Citizen newspaper in the 1970s.
The Vorster government permitted the diversion of some R64 million to establish the Citizen. At the time the English-language press hyperventilated in its condemnation of the abuse of taxpayers' money. That led to what was called the Information scandal and the resignation of the minister of Information Connie Mulder. Yet today, we have an English-language press in South Africa that was purchased with state funds and is servile and sycophantic in its obeisance to the ruling party as theCitizen once was.

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

The Mercury
Whatever else lies ahead this year, the words of former president Kgalema Motlanthe at the
funeral of Ahmed Kathrada will serve as a shining beacon of hope in a political landscape
that has been defiled and morally bankrupted by Jacob Zuma and his ilk.
The fact that Zuma was specifically asked not to attend the funeral speaks volumes which, in
turn, was amplified by the ovation Motlanthe and embattled Finance minister Pravin Gordhan received.
But it was how Motlanthe expressed the late Kathrada’s feelings about the political rot that infests
South Africa which must surely resonate with every responsible citizen.
With eloquence that Tony Leon would find difficult to eclipse, Motlanthe displayed what is so
lacking in South Africa: statesmanship. Ironically,  a funeral, with all that is sad about such occasions,
may prove the touchstone and the turning point in salvaging the country from its downward spiral.
Galvanised by the spirit of Kathrada and clearly resolved in terms of their opposition to Zuma, carpe diem
time has arrived for the  ANC leadership outside of KZN. The resignation of Zuma and his toadies must
be demanded. And, if he is willing, Kgalema Motlanthe installed as President of South Africa


Biz News


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Editor
The Mercury
NEWS BY COMMISSION OR OMISSION?                 posted  27 April 2017

The complete failure of the Mercury (April 24) to publish a single word about the largest gathering
ever to take place in the Southern Hemisphere ranks as a new low in the direction the paper appears
to be taking since it was acquired by the Sekunjalo company.

The fact that between 500,000 and one million people of all races and political stripes were motivated
to travel to Bloemfontein to participate prayerfully for the future of the country was a major event
deserving of prominent front page coverage.

The Mercury's complete omission of this highly significant event is deplorable, a slight exacerbated by
the choice of a soft, starry-eyed story about an urban renewal project which, like others the city routinely
propagates, ends up gathering dust.

The other significant omission from the April 24 Mercury is the fact that the Sekunjalo-owned newspapers
have resigned from the Press Council of South Africa and will, instead, have their own in-house press

If that news is correct, as reported by News 24, then it means that the the ideological location of the 
Mercury and its sister papers has been further tightened. Put another way, control of the mainstream English
press in this country is now subject to guidelines that are more stringent than those laid down by the Nat government
in the 1970s and 1980s because Sekunjalo is an open and active ally of the ANC whereas until 1985, the private Robinson family
had majority control of the Mercury.

In any case, why was the Press Council story omitted?
If the Times Media or Caxton had left the Press Council, Dr Surve and his minions would have had much to say.

The fact that the first three pages of the April 24 Mercury edition are filled with in-house ANC manoeuvres shows clearly that
the Mercury is now commissioned to prioritise blow-by-blow accounts of the ANC's dirty laundry. And as if that was 
not enough, a large op-ed piece by a Western Cape ANC comrade adorns the so-called News and Analysis page.

Quo vadis, the Mercury?


Business Report


Brian Mahlangu's lengthy lament that the "transfer of power has not so far benefited the majority" (Business Report, April 19)
contains nothing new about the subject which he and his fellow travellers persist in misunderstanding.

Prosperity and upliftment cannot  be transferred or conferred. That is a marxist notion which despite worldwide failure and condemnationcontinues to be paraded, disingenuously, as an attainable objective. The same applies to the notion that wealth and prosperity are commodities that can be "redistributed." Where that has occurred, it has resulted in the stunting of economic growth which, in turn, hasreduced employment and exacerbated poverty.
Mahlangu also subscribes to what he calls "an inclusive economy" which he sees as resolving poverty and squalor. How that could be implemented he does not indicate. However, George Orwell in his novel Animal Farm provides a stark illustration of the consequencesof such an economy: poverty and misery for the majority, luxury and sufficiency for the elite.Already South Africa under ANC policies is well down the road to equality in poverty. Eighteen million people are dependent on state welfare. Ten million people are unemployable. Ninety percent of school leavers can't find employment and in time join the welfare queue.
If after 20 years of ANC policies, the hoped-for benefits of democracy have not materialised, it should be obvious that those policies are flawed. Despite expectations and political spin-doctoring, inflexible, race-based labour laws and BEE have failed to benefit the black majority. Instead an oligarchy of fabulously wealthy blacks has emerged who are not inclined to part with their windfalls. Prescriptive legislation along with corruption and cadre deployment has further depleted the engine of economic growth. Consequently,some 46 companies have relocated to London, while discrimination against minorities has seen an exodus of the ablest, brightest and best-trained of our youth to distant shores.

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


Helen Zille's remarks on Singapore's success and her latest colonial denialism are disappointing
to say the least (Mercury, April 7).

In attempting to present Singapore's success since independence in 1965 as an example worthy of emulation,
she appears either to omit certain basic factors or is ignorant of them. Whatever negatives Malaya and Singapore
experienced under different foreign interests - Islamic in the 14th century, Portuguese in the 16th century, Dutch in
the 17th and British in the 19th century -  paled into insignificance compared to the wreckage the Japanese occupation 
caused during World War 2.

Despite Zille's claim of colonial oppression, it was the British who restored Singapore's wrecked infrastructure after 1945.
Moreover, her claim that liberation from colonialism "enabled its people to escape poverty" is simply not true. Instead, 
it was Singapore's separation from Malaya that enabled the island to prosper. That separation saw Singapore's majority
Chinese population (75%) freed from domination by the Islamic Malays of mainland Malaya. Liberation from ideological,
economic and racial conflict provided the launchpad for Singapore's success.

Thus, Singapore's experience is of no value to South Africa with its multi-ethnic society and its subjugation by a political
party which clings to the discredited ideology of socialism.

Finally, by stating that "colonialism should never have happened," one gets the impression that Zille has gone into overdrive
in her attempts to effect damage control over her tweets on the subject. Nonetheless, it beggars belief that an educated 
person can make such a flawed statement. Since history was first recorded, domination, colonisation and liberation have occurred
in unending cycles. South Africa's rich cultural heritage is a product of colonisation. The USA would never have come about
without British colonialism.
The Mercury

WHAT AM I INVESTING IN?                    -posted 13 April 2017

With the exception of the generous space allocated to the Letters column and the variety of subjects which are aired there, it is 
regrettable that the political images and contents of the Mercury have become servile and sycophantic.

Almost daily, the opinion pieces published are from ANC spokesmen, particularly ones that are attached to other provinces and
various government portfolios. It has long been clear that Independent Newspapers, which owns the Mercury title, is anything
 but independent. Of course, as any informed reader knows, Independent Newspapers is part of Sekunjalo whose chief executive
is an unswerving ANC supporter.

As such, the plot is very obvious: the Mercury and its sister publications have become a very unsubtle part of a propaganda
campaign to promote the ANC. Who would have thought,40 years ago when the Mercury was deprecating the Citizen newspaper
as being a taxpayer-funded mouthpiece of the Nat government, that the Mercury would one day fulfill the same role. For, as informed
readers know, Independent Newspapers was acquired by Sekunjalo with R800 million borrowed, interest free, from the Government
Employees Pension Fund.

What needs to be weighed up is to what extent the plot is sustainable. It is common knowledge that subscribership and readership of
big establishment papers in the US is declining, particularly since the onset of the Trump era. That same trend is underway in South
Africa. Moreover, the  internet affords widespread and more immediate access to news and views - for free. So, with the renewal of
my annual Mercury subscription due soon, I have to ask myself: what am I investing in?

The Mercury

In a quiet, yet graphic way the photograph of King Goodwill Zwelithini in the Mercury
on March 31 expresses the reality of our colonial legacy.
In a manner which Queen Victoria would have endorsed, King Goodwill was shown
using a ceremonial sword and tapping his kinsman gently on the right shoulder to mark
the installation of Inkosi Senzeshle Dlamini.
According to the report, the ceremony was attended by 3,000 community members along
with political dignitaries. Nobody objected to the King’s use of what is a very British and
colonial custom, the ceremonial sword.
As such, that occasion proves how legacies unobtrusively have pervaded and, indeed, enriched
our lives. The Decolonisers and their ilk should take note.



The Mercury
Whatever else lies ahead this year, the words of former president Kgalema Motlanthe at the
funeral of Ahmed Kathrada will serve as a shining beacon of hope in a political landscape
that has been defiled and morally bankrupted by Jacob Zuma and his ilk.
The fact that Zuma was specifically asked not to attend the funeral speaks volumes which, in
turn, was amplified by the ovation Motlanthe and embattled Finance minister Pravin Gordhan received.
But it was how Motlanthe expressed the late Kathrada’s feelings about the political rot that infests
South Africa which must surely resonate with every responsible citizen.
With eloquence that Tony Leon would find difficult to eclipse, Motlanthe displayed what is so
lacking in South Africa: statesmanship. Ironically,  a funeral, with all that is sad about such occasions,
may prove the touchstone and the turning point in salvaging the country from its downward spiral.
Galvanised by the spirit of Kathrada and clearly resolved in terms of their opposition to Zuma, carpe diem
time has arrived for the  ANC leadership outside of KZN. The resignation of Zuma and his toadies must
be demanded. And, if he is willing, Kgalema Motlanthe installed as President of South Africa.
The Mercury and Daily News
THE COLONIALISM CONVERSATION                        posted 30 March 2017
The cacophony of voices condemning Helen Zille and colonialism in its entirety is trending towards
the law of unintended consequences.
Although in almost every instance the detractors disdain any pretext of historical context, it is the
vitriol and the fanaticism of their condemnation that bodes ill for the constitutional right of free
speech and its corollary, freedom of thought.
As such, the conversation about colonialism is fraught with the threat of intimidation, demonisation
and indictment, as Helen Zille knows all too well. The outcome of that trend is that the interpretation,
appreciation and understanding of history and heritage risks becoming limited to a maligned, distorted and
politically subjective  view. In other words, an Orwellian situation in which Big Brother – the icon of
political correctness – prevails at the expense of liberal and diverse thought and expression.
What is also surprising, it that many of the voices condemning colonialism have failed to note that the
conversation is a deliberate ploy on the part of those responsible for governance to deflect attention
away from their glaring failures and to erect colonialism as a scapegoat in the public mind.
A further disturbing factor is the lack of maturity displayed by many of the detractors.
Their deliberate neglect of any pretense of objectivity in condemning colonialism amounts to hypocrisy
in terms of the positive legacies of colonialism which they enjoy and experience. Nonetheless, given their
fervent, high octane feelings against colonialism, they should go viral and condemn the excesses of colonialism